The blog of Amon Warmann: Film journalist.

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Film Review | American Ultra

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★★★½☆

Things start simply enough in Nima Nourizadeh’s American Ultra as we meet Mike (Jesse Eisenberg), an unmotivated stoner who works at his local cash and carry and lives with the girl of his dreams Phoebe (Kristen Stewart). Their lives are turned upside down when it comes to light that Mike is actually a highly trained sleeper agent created by the CIA, who have just targeted him for termination. To survive against deadly government assassins led by power mad agent Yates (Topher Grace), Mike must put his newly discovered set of skills to good use.

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Film Review | Straight Outta Compton

Straight Outta Compton

★★★★★

When discussing the distinguished pantheon of hip hop greats, it would be impossible not to mention N.W.A. Their 1988 debut album Straight Outta Compton – which features the incendiary anthem ‘F**k tha Police’, a statement track which feels sadly timely given recent stateside events – had an unquantifiable impact on the evolution of hip-hop. As such, you’d be hard pressed to find worthier subjects for the music biopic treatment, and in translating their story to the big screen director F. Gary Gray has produced a fittingly raw and powerful film.

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Film Review | The Man From U.N.C.L.E.

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★★★½☆

2015 has been a great year for spies at the multiplex. Not only have the movies been entertaining, they have all offered different takes on the espionage genre. Kingsman: The Secret Service brought back the cool gadgets: Spy was a hilarious comedy: and Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation set the bar high for action. Enter Guy Ritchie’s The Man from U.N.C.L.E.: based on the spy-fi NBC TV series (which aired from 1964 to 1968), it has all the stylistic elements you’d expect from the director, benefitting more from the chemistry of its cast than its storytelling or action.

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Interview | Nat Wolff & John Green Discuss Paper Towns

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Paper Towns is the second of John Green’s highly popular books to get the silver screen treatment. The first to make the jump to celluloid was the 2014 hit The Fault in Our Stars, in which Nat Wolff played the blind friend to Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort’s lead characters. Whereas that was more of a supporting role, Paper Towns sees Wolff graduate to leading man status and his talents are all the better displayed for it.

I took part in a roundtable discussion ahead of the movie’s UK release, and while Green spoke of comparisons to John Hughes, Wolff discussed who he’d like to work with in future and how the Pokémon theme song found its way into the film. It’s all been transcribed for your reading pleasure below.

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Film Review | Fantastic Four

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★½☆☆☆

After Tim Story’s Fantastic Four films ended with the catastrophe that was the Galactus cloud, you could be forgiven for thinking that the only way was up when it came to depicting Marvel’s first family on film. Indeed, there were plenty of reasons to be excited for Josh Trank’s reboot: the director had previously made Chronicle – a fun and interesting take on teens with superpowers – and Michael B. Jordan, Kate Mara, Jamie Bell, Toby Kebbell and Miles Teller have all impressed in previous projects. So it is doubly shocking and disappointing that the fourth try at a live action Fantastic Four barely stacks up to Story’s aforementioned films, let alone the high standards we’ve come to expect from comic book movies today.

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Interview | Carmen Ejogo Discusses Selma

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Though the focus of Ava Duvernay’s Oscar-nominated Selma is rightfully on Martin Luther King, throughout there is a great emphasis on how a collective group can accomplish great change. Just as King was surrounded by a host of great men and women, so to is Selma’s star David Oyelowo aided by a terrific ensemble.

One of its members is Carmen Ejogo, who plays Coretta Scott King for the second time in Selma. Ahead of the film’s home entertainment release, I spoke to the actress about meeting Coretta King, black actresses in Hollywood, and much more.

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Film Review | Avengers: Age of Ultron

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★★★★☆

It would have been easy for Avengers: Age of Ultron – the sequel to Marvel’s franchise mega-hit Avengers Assemble – to rest on its laurels. Thankfully, Avengers 2.0 improves on its predecessor on many fronts even if it doesn’t fully recapture the magic of the 2012 endeavour.

Whereas it took a little while for Avengers Assemble to get going, the opposite is true for the sequel. We begin with a Bond-esque opening skirmish between our heroes and HYDRA cronies that ends with the recovery of Loki’s scepter and a party to remember. But when Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) and Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) attempt to use the power of the scepter to jumpstart a peacekeeping program, the inadvertent result is Ultron (James Spader), a highly intelligent robot hell-bent on human extinction. Making matters worse, Ultron joins forces with powerful Maximoff twins Quicksilver (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen).

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