Skilfully made by Swedish filmmaker Janus Metz (the award-winning Armadillo), this film is essentially a biopic about tennis icon Bjorn Borg that centres on his fascinating rivalry with John McEnroe. Indeed, in Scandinavia, the film is simply titled Borg. But the script has a complexity to it that finds clever parallels between two players who seem on the surface to be opposites. And it has things to say that will resonate with audiences who know nothing about tennis history.
It's set around the 1980 Wimbledon final, an epic match that captured the world's attention as it pitted the ice-cool four-time champion Borg (Sverrir Gudnason) against the volcanically tempered upstart McEnroe (Shia LaBeouf, in a nifty bit of casting). While it felt like a battle between the old guard and a young upstart, there were actually only three years between 24-year-old Borg and 21-year-old McEnroe. But while Borg was intensely focussed, meeting with his manager Lennart (Stellan Skarsgard) and keeping his fiancee (Tuva Novotny) at arm's length, McEnroe was partying with his friends, fellow players Peter Fleming (Scott Arthur) and Vitas Garulitis (Robert Emms), at least until time came to meet them on court.
The script digs occasionally into McEnroe's childhood, but spends considerably more time with Borg over the years (played as a youngster by Leo Borg, Bjorn's son, and as a teen by Marcus Mossberg). Intriguingly, when he was younger Borg was a lot more like McEnroe, with a short temper that erupts into epic tantrums, and watching him he learn to suppress them is fascinating. In the present day, Gudnason and LaBeouf capture the characters perfectly both on-court and off, finding big contrasts and more subtle similarities. And both Novotny and Skarsgard have strong scenes of their own, creating real-life people out of what could have been simplistic side roles.
Continue reading: Borg/McEnroe Review
Dave and Mindy have been forced to abandon their Kick-Ass and Hit-Girl monikers following the defeat of ruthless crime boss Frank D'Amico and the death of Mindy's father Big Daddy. Dave goes back to his school life, while Mindy enrols alongside with him and struggles to fit in amongst her fellow female classmates. However, their 'normal lives' don't last when a new group of masked crime-fighters hit the streets led by the patriotic Colonel Stars and Stripes and they decide it's time to do what they think's right and join with them. It's just as well too, as D'Amico's vengeful son Red Mist has adopted a new alter-ego, The Motherf*****, and is attempting to rally an army of supervillains - with names like Black Death, Mother Russia and Genghis Carnage - to take Kick-Ass and Hit-Girl down.
Continue: Kick Ass 2 - Extended Red Band Trailer
After their previous caped capering defeating mob boss Frank D'Amico, things seem back to normal for Dave Lizewski and Mindy who have abandoned their respective Kick-Ass and Hit-Girl monikers in favour of a regular high-school life. Mindy struggles to fit in, however, and when Dave tells her of the new generation of crime-fighting, masked civilians, the offer to get back on the streets of New York seems too good to turn down. This new league of superheroes is led by the formidable Colonel Stars and Stripes who encourages his co-crusaders, above all else, to have fun. Though when news of Red Mist, the son of the now deceased D'Amico who now dubs himself The Motherf*****, rallying together an army of supervillains to take on Kick-Ass and his cohorts, things seem less than enjoyable for the teenage heroes.
Continue: Kick Ass 2 Trailer
Dave Lizewski is Kick-Ass, a real superhero who's been trying to live a normal life as a high school student alongside his younger counterpart Mindy, also known as Hit-Girl. However, his escapades fighting and killing crime boss Frank D'Amico has inspired a generation of masked crime-fighters to band together as an alliance led by Colonel Stars and Stripes to protect the streets of New York. Kick-Ass and Hit-Girl decide to don their costumes again when news of Red Mist, D'Amico's son who is now known as supervillain The Motherf*****, assembling an army to destroy them reaches them. However, the hero duo have other things to worry about when the NYPD decide they've had enough of cleaning up the mess of the city's masked protectors and so vow to arrest every costume donning person on the streets. Hit-Girl is apprehended and forced to give up her moniker, and so Kick-Ass must join superhero league Justice Forever in order to combat the imminent uprising of the new formidable evil.
Based on the comic books of the same name by Mark Millar and John Romita. Jr and following on from 2010's 'Kick-Ass' directed by Matthew Vaughn ('X-Men: First Class', 'Stardust', 'Layer Cake'), 'Kick-Ass 2' is the thrilling sequel seeing Kick-Ass and Hit-Girl older and tougher than ever before. It has been directed and written this time by Jeff Wadlow ('Never Back Down', 'Cry_Wolf') and is set for release on August 16th 2013.
Kick Ass 2 was produced by Matthew Vaughn, Tarquin Pack, Adam Bohling, David Reid and Brad Pitt
By Rich Cline
While this strikingly well-made film is a great calling card for rising-star filmmaker Norris, it's also so relentlessly dark and unsettling that it's difficult to see the point of it all. This is such a bleak coming-of-age tale that it almost obscures any hope at all, focussing a series of horrific incidents into a confined space that gives the actors and filmmaker a change to shine, but leaves the audience exhausted.
It's set in a North London cul-de-sac, where the pre-teen Skunk (Laurence) lives with her big brother Jed (Milner), her single dad (Roth) and her nanny Kasia (Marjanovic). But her happy life is thrown into chaos when violence erupts: hotheaded widower Bob (Kinnear) storms across the street and punches simple-minded Rick (Emms), seemingly for no reason, triggering a series of events that Skunk struggles to understand. And Bob's three daughters seem to be just as violent. One (Bryant) is mercilessly bullying Skunk at school, while another (Daveney) is seducing Jed.
The way so many story elements circle around Skunk makes the film feel almost like a stage play. Everyone is so interconnected that we wonder if much of this exists only in her mind. For example, Kasia has just started a relationship with Skunk's schoolteacher (Murphy), who has been accused of abusing one of Bob's daughters. And there are even more issues that put Skunk in both emotional and physical peril, including a new boyfriend (Sergeant) who might have to move away and the fact that she has Type 1 diabetes. And Skunk's world seems to be limited to her street and a junkyard across the field.
Continue reading: Broken Review