See this review on The Fan Carpet.
In cinemas September 13th 2014 in Japan and March 6th 2015 in the UK!
Starting as one of Japan’s most popular manga comics, ‘Kenshin the Wanderer: The Romance of a Meiji Swordsman’ by Nobuhiro Watsuki, the story was first transferred into motion picture with the release of ‘Rurouni Kenshin’ in 2012 and was met with huge enthusiasm. A commercial film combining unparalleled speed and overwhelming action in a moving human drama, ushering Japanese film into a new era. In 2014, the second film in the franchise, ‘Rurouni Kenshin 2: Kyoto Inferno’, was released and now we find ourselves at the final part of the “Kyoto Arc” with ‘Rurouni Kenshin 3: The Legend Ends’.
I’ll be honest. I was a little apprehensive about watching this film. Coming from a purely Western background and with limited knowledge of Manga and its epic stories, I worried about being lost in a world I did not understand. Luckily for me this is a film made for an expansive audience. Although true to its origins it is also, in its most basic form, a damn good action movie.
Opening with a beautiful expansive shot of a world torn apart, we are first shown how Kenshin met his mentor Seijuro Hiko (played by the brilliantly snarky Masaharu Fukuyama). Not only are we introduced to Kenshin’s beginnings, but this starting shot sets the bar for the image of the film as a whole. It is stunning. Hats off to the cinematographer, Takuro Ishizaka.
Then we rejoin the film at the point where Kyoto Inferno left off. Kenshin has been left for dead and wakes up in his mentor’s home with no idea what has happened to his friends or love Kaoru (Emi Takei). He knows that he must retrain and find his strength so that he can finally defeat Shishio (Tatsuya Fujiwara), who is storming to Tokyo in his iron clad ship to bring down the Meiji government and return Japan to chaos. Much of the film is following various small storylines of the splintered group, building up to the epic climactic showdown between Kenshin and Shishio.
The films true strength lies in its ability to mix stunning action with true and relatable characters. A very human element within the spectacle. A key part of this is Kenshin Himura himself played by Takeru Sato. At the beginning of the film he beautifully portrays a broken man, at once angry, distraught and defeated. You watch him transform throughout until, by the end, he is the confident, strutting, action hero that you wish for. Also of note, bringing the fun and classic comic book bad-assery (yes that is a word) are Sanosuke Sagara (Munetaka Aoki) and Hajime Saito (Yôsuke Eguchi). The first continuing to fire burning quips to his enemies even in the midst of a fight to the death and the second as a sort of Kick-ass James Dean character who only takes a cigarette out of his mouth long enough to, quite literally, cut someone down to size and then promptly relights.
All in all, if you like a great bit of action with strong characters and lots of fun (and let’s face it, who doesn’t) this is one to watch.
Review by Melanie Crossey.
See this review on The Fan Carpet.
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In cinemas January 29th in the UK and February 13th in the USA!
An absolute pleasure. Kingsman: The Secret Service grabs your attention from the opening sequence which is set in the past. We then jump forward to meet Gary “Eggsy” Unwin (Taron Egerton). A wayward young man who, having grown up on a rough South London housing estate with an abusive step father, ignores his potential and looks set to follow the wrong crowd to a lifetime in and out of jail. Luckily for him he is sprung from prison after a stunt involving a car by dapper gentleman spy Harry Hart: codename “Galahad”, who owed a debt to his birth father.
Harry (Colin Firth) offers him the chance to change his life around and recruits him to be trained and tested for the chance to become the new “Lancelot” and join their secret service. The organisation head quarters, Kingsman tailors on London’s Savile Row, are presided over by “Arthur" (Michael Caine) and the whole set up nods towards the agents being the modern day gentleman knights.
Meanwhile the highly popular, yet villainous, celebrity Richmond Valentine (Samuel L. Jackson) and his lethal assistant Gazelle (Sofia Boutella), who has blades for legs, set in motion a horrific and diabolical plan to solve the worldwide problem of climate change. This film is not only one to see, but one to reserve a spot on your shelf for. It's hat-tip to the James Bond 007 era of spies is edgy and quick witted, bringing back the fun to action films. Packed with gadgets and tension there is no wasted time as the story digs in its hooks and pulls you along for a thrilling and exhilarating ride that couldn’t be more British if it tried.
Colin Firth gives an absolutely stunning performance and fits in this role like it was made for him. He is everything you want a gentleman spy to be and more, mild-mannered and moral yet absolutely lethal. Taron Egerton as “Eggsy” couldn’t be more different from “Galahad”, and yet somehow this chalk and cheese mix works so well. The two form a bond that is on screen brilliance and has you laughing with and rooting for them.
Newcomer Egerton has proved with this film that he is here to stay, with a character transformation that sees him go from a reckless and good-for-nothing kid to a suited and brogued spy who would look as comfortable ordering a martini as he would be saving the world. Genuinely fantastic. As is Samuel L. Jackson as a not so typical bad guy who cannot stand the sight of blood and yet intends to kill huge numbers of people.
The fight sequences in this film are just perfect. The choreography is slick, stunning and effective; while the way in which it is shot makes it stylish and sophisticated, not to mention elegantly brutal. The church scene will leave you reeling with your mouth hanging open, and probably has the best use of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Free Bird you will ever see!
Director Matthew Vaughn has not only hit the nail right on the head, but he has hung a sign from it saying ‘Follow This...’
Review by Lydia Kay
See this review on www.thefancarpet.com
In cinemas January 9th in the USA and February 6th in the UK!
A hard hitting and thought provoking film about the struggle for equal rights. The Oscar and Golden Globe nominated ‘Selma’ is a stunning re-telling of the historical events and protests that took place in the Alabama city. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 had been passed, legally desegregating the Southern States of America and granting African-American citizens the right to vote. However the levels of discrimination were still extremely high in some areas and it was made very difficult, if not impossible, for them to actually register to vote.
Throughout the South were districts where the majority of the population was made up of black men and women, and yet very few were registered compared with white people. Officials and local law enforcement used any means available or outdated legislations to discourage or refuse them. In 1965 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (David Oyelowo) and his followers selected the city of Selma, where racism was rampant, as their battleground to fight for this right.
Despite violent opposition they continued their peaceful protests and Dr. King organised a march from Selma to Montgomery in defiance of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s (Tom Wilkinson) hesitation to change the law and allow them the freedom to vote.
This is a film that everyone needs to see. A clear picture of how far we’ve come, but also of how far we still have to go in eradicating racism and discrimination. Expect intense, brutal and disturbing scenes of racist abuse against the non-violent protestors. The historical accuracy of the events in this film is a powerful educational tool that will make you weep with shame at the fact that human beings could behave in such a way, especially so near in time to the present day.
However it also ignites hope and faith in the huge numbers of people who will stand against it in the fight for equality. ‘Selma’ is an absolute masterpiece that goes just far enough and also pulls back the curtain on what happened. Not only does it depict the events that took place, but it also gives a strong insight into the personal life of Dr. King and how everything affected him.
Director Ava DuVernay should be applauded on such an iconic film that will stand its ground in historical cinema. David Oyelowo gives an utterly breathtaking performance as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as he captures the essence of this great man. Carmen Ejogo as his wife Coretta beautifully illustrates the personal effects of King’s campaigning, while Tim Roth portrays the racist Governor George Wallace so well that you are utterly disgusted by him.
A film of true suffrage that will keep your eyes glued to the screen and wet with tears. Brilliant.
Review by Lydia Kay
See this review on www.thefancarpet.com
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