Peter Mullan

Welcome to the Punch Trailer

For a movie made for $8.5 million, Welcome to the Punch is strikingly polished. While that’s a prominent amount of cash, writer and director Eran Creevy makes every penny count. For the brisk 93-minute running time, Creevy makes his routine thriller fresh enough to turn the gruff cop “with something to prove” and cool-minded criminal “pulled back in the game” scenario play exceedingly smoothly. When we’re first introduced to James McAvoy’s Max Lewinsky, he’s in hot pursuit of Jacob Sternwood (Mark Strong) and his goons, all of whom are dressed as suavely as possible. Max ignores orders to wait for backup — because whoever waits for backup? — and ends up chasing Sternwood by foot while his team rides off underground on dirt bikes. Max catches up with Sternwood, and the encounter goes as good as it can for the unarmed Max: he ends up with a busted kneecap. From the score to the composition, it’s a fantastic opening that establishes everything we need to know, especially the sleek style of Creevy’s film and his two leads.

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Paddy Considine is a recognizable face onscreen thanks to memorable (and diametrically opposed) turns in movies like Dead Man’s Shoes and Hot Fuzz. You may also recognize him from recent (and fantastic) movies like Red Riding 1980, The Bourne Ultimatum, and Submarine. After years of toiling in supporting roles and the occasional lead Considine has taken a step back behind the camera for his feature directorial debut, Tyrannosaur. The film stars Peter Mullan (pictured above) as an angry drunken Irishman prone to violence and verbal meanness, and yes, Mullan is at risk of being typecast. He meets a woman who’s seen her fair share of violence and pain but still manages to hold onto a forgiving and caring heart. The two become friends, for lack of a better term, but her abusive husband (Eddie Marsan) suspects there’s more to their relationship. Check out the clip below to see the three fantastic actors play off each other with dialogue and even more powerful silence.

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War Horse is a sprawling war epic that’s so old-fashioned it belongs in a museum. Not only has director Steven Spielberg painstakingly recreated the look and feel of a classical picture of this scope, imbued with a heavy dose of mid-century British formalism, he’s essentially made a carbon copy of a David Lean movie. Such a nostalgic enterprise would be welcome if it told a story worth telling, with the strong, determined characters and bold cinematic brushstrokes of a Lean picture. Spielberg’s film does nothing of the sort — it’s a stodgy, ridiculous movie with a horse that simultaneously serves as an allegory for the bond that unites all mankind and a symbol of profound, idealized purity.

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr pulls out his screening schedule, which looks like a gambling addict’s racing form. He bounces from huge, mainstream releases to minor indie award contenders. Facing motion-capture CGI, tattooed bisexual investigators, cross-dressing waiters, silent film actors, and a lead star who is literally hung like a horse, Kevin tries to make sense of the seemingly countless releases this holiday week. Exhaustion from this process makes it impossible to buy a zoo or face the 3D end of the world, but his movie stocking is full, nonetheless.

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The bleak, grey world of Tyrannosaur will be familiar to anyone who’s spent time in the cinematic universe of British miserablism, that subgenre of grim movies set on the isles. Protagonist Joseph (Peter Mullan) inhabits a milieu of depressed flats and rundown pubs, living a hopeless existence on the estate in Leeds. Yet, the movie is the feature filmmaking debut of the terrific character actor Paddy Considine, who is not content to simply wallow in the misery.  The director transforms what, at first appears to be the straightforward portrait of a violent man, into an affecting love story that chronicles his subtle redemption. In doing as such, the filmmaker has given an exceptional vehicle to Mullan and Olivia Colman, who plays a shopkeeper named Hannah. Considine’s characters are not simply defined by first impressions and easy conclusions; instead, they’re afforded the opportunity to grow and change, to reveal the reservoirs of experience, the unexpected strengths and profound, hidden weaknesses that collectively define their lives.

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Andrew Garfield in Boy A

Foreign Objects travels the world of international cinema each week to highlight films worth visiting. So renew your passport, get your shots, and brush up on the local age of legal consent, this week we’re heading to… the UK!

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published: 04.17.2014
D+
published: 04.17.2014
B-
published: 04.16.2014
B+
published: 04.16.2014
C-

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