Rush

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Director: Ron Howard.
Screenplay: Peter Morgan.
Starring: Daniel Brühl, Chris Hemsworth, Olivia Wilde, Alexandra Maria Lara, Stephen Mangan, Christian McKay, Julian Rhind-Tutt, Jamie de Courcey, Pierfrancesco Favino, Natalie Dormer.

A wise man can learn more from his enemies than a fool from his friends“.

Before he became a director, Ron Howard was originally known for his acting as Richie Cunningham from “Happy Days” and that character seems to have plagued his career since. Howard can certainly resemble the character’s name in some ways; He makes production companies ‘rich’ and he most certainly delivers ‘ham’ but he lacks the ‘cunning’ to be the truly great director that he perceives himself to be. Please excuse the very poor puns but if Howard can get away with as many clichés as he does, then I deem myself the right to use as many bad puns as I want. “Rush” is further proof of Howard’s over-praised talents and no amount of money or positive word-of-mouth will change that.

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The real-life story of British playboy James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth) and pragmatic Austrian Niki Lauda (Daniel Brühl) who develop a bit of a rivalry while racing in their younger years in Formula 3. As both of them grow in stature and skill, though, they soon make it to the top of the sport and find themselves in fierce competition with one another for the coveted Formula 1 Championship.

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So, Hollywood hack Ron Howard is up to his old tricks again. I’d heard so many good things about this film beforehand and upon it’s opening it seemed like they were all true; there was a good feel for the 70’s setting; there was an interesting dynamic between the characters; there was the anticipation of these characters going head-to-head in a historical sporting rivalry; the racing scenes were even shaping up as the film’s momentum grew and… then… well… Howard couldn’t help himself. He pulled out his dog-eared, almanac of Hollywood clichés and finger-licked his way through the pages to tick all possible boxes. Dramatic licence was cranked into 7th gear and every moment that could have melodrama, was indeed, very melodramatic. Subtlety went out the window quicker than a discarded cigarette butt; the schmaltzy music was used at every possible turn and the film became more manipulative by every shifting gear. There was no resistance to include each sports flick cliché in the book: the watching family and friends at home; the growing respect between the rivals before the big event – which in this case, results in a ridiculous salute – and, of course, the obligatory and overly-descriptive sports commentary that no film of this genre can do without.

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You have to feel a bit sorry for the actors, though. They are actually quite good; Hemsworth brings the requisite cocksure arrogance to James Hunt and Daniel Brühl brings the dramatic weight and focused determination to Niki Lauda. However, even their performances can’t quite overshadow the ridiculously tacked on dialogue. Of which, I’m quite surprised about. Screenwriter Peter Morgan is normally quite reliable but here, his material is in the hands of an unoriginal and very generic director. When will people finally come to the realisation that Ron Howard is a buffoon. He epitomises everything that’s bad about Hollywood and only serves the high powered executives who’s interest is solely in commercial gain.

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Doing very well with the box-office and viewers alike, I was lulled into a false sense of security and expectation with this. Considering the acclamations I had heard, I was surprised to see it omitted from this years Oscar nominations (as many others seemed to be) but I have to say, the Academy got it spot on here. This film was simply and categorically abysmal and it’s laughable to even consider it amongst the years best. Quite frankly, it’s one of the most colour-by-numbers and weakest of 2013.

Rush“, you say? After two hours, I was in a rush for this stinker to pull into a pit-stop and get written off. The skid marks in my underpants carry more weight and interest than any you’ll see in this film.

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Mark Walker

Trivia: The James Hunt/Niki Lauda 1976 race depicted in the film, was the last Formula One event staged on Germany’s notorious Nürburgring Nordschleife (North Loop), since the lap was deemed far too hazardous.

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94 Responses to “Rush”

  1. Ouch! Definitely the most scathing review I’ve read of this one. Personally I thought it was great – it was my favourite film of last year! I dunno why, but it just clicked with me. I thought Howard really managed to capture the noise and excitement of F1 during the race sequences, although I do admit that it’s overly by-the-numbers at times. I also thought Hemsworth and Bruhl were excellent.

    Shame you didn’t like it man, but a fine review. Even though I didn’t agree, I still smiled at the vitriol you poured into this 🙂

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    • Haha! Cheers Chris. I thought this started very well, man. It really looked the part but then it started to creak and by the time it began to build momentum that’s when Howard fucked it up. Like I say, it’s like he had a book of cliches that he was determined to tick off. I found that it became ridiculous and I just couldn’t resist getting stick into him for it. I was actually embarrassed at certain points. It was so bad.

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  2. Although I did enjoy it I also was not as crazy about it as everyone else seemed to be. You are right that it uses a lot of cliches, but so do most sports movies. Is there any movie from Howard which you like?

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    • It really didn’t work for me Nostra. If I had to say that Howard has reasonably impressed me at any point, it would have to Frost/Nixon and (maybe) A Beautiful Mind. It could also just have been the performances from those that impressed me, though. I’d have to watch them again to scrutinise Howard’s approach.

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  3. Nice review. Like yourself, I’ve always found Howard to be overrated as a director who has mostly boasted middlebrow and conventional sensibilities. He has done things I’ve liked (Arrested Development is one of my all-time favorite TV shows though Howard only acts as an executive producer), but a majority of his directorial work isn’t very impressive.

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    • Thanks man! I’ve never really been a fan. His films are predominantly successful but success is not convincing enough for me to believe that he has any talent. I mean, The DaVinci Code says it all really.

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  4. While I do not hate Howard the way you seem to, and while I do not hate Rush, I do agree it is not nearly as good as many think it is. Because, like you say, it is loaded with cliche (we even get an ‘awful start come from behind to almost win scene’), and because the characters are half as well developed as I think they need to be. I think this above average, but not good, per se ( I gave it a C+).

    And I agree: it did not deserve any Oscar nominations.

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    • There was no way this deserved any Oscar love, man. In fact, as I type this the advert just came on the tv claiming it to be “5 stars” and a “masterpiece”. I find this rather ridiculous and extremely misleading. Bad, bad movie in my opinion.

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  5. Eeep… strong feelings there Mark. Can’t say I agree because I really loved Rush. I normally get cliche rage but somehow this one really got to me. Always nice to see an alternative view point though.

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    • Ha! I just couldn’t see past the cliche, Abbi. It was loads with them. More than any film has the right to be. The last time I was so let down by a film was Howard’s The DiVinci Code. Another stinker that failed to capitalise on a fabulous book or story.

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      • I agree about the Da Vinci code being a stinker but then I wasn’t big on the book either.

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      • I thought the book was riveting little thriller but it was the science and spiritual side to it that made it interesting. Of course, the best part of the book – Howard decided to leave it out completely and concentrate on a lame arse thriller that just didn’t work. I hate Ron Howard (incase that’s not apparent already) 😉

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  6. “The skid marks in my underpants carry more weight and interest than any you’ll see in this film”

    Muckers got some poo-poo undies…. I see we have more things in common…

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    • Poo poo panties indeed, amigo. I would have been happy to have taken a shot on the floor rather than sit through this film again. The missus wouldn’t be happy but then she never wants to see this crap again either. Maybe shitting on the floor isn’t sooo bad. 😉

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  7. Fun review, Mark, but I’m with Chris and Abbi on this film.

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    • Thanks Michael. I know I’m in the minority on this one and fully expect the backlash for it but I couldn’t help but give this a scathing review. I actually think I’m being generous with 2 stars. I considered lower. Really, vehemently hated this. Total waste of time for me and I normally find formula 1 quite exciting.

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      • I just watched Hunt vs Lauda: F1’s Greatest Racing Rivals documentary, loaned very generously by our friend Ruth, in fact. You’d probably like it better. Thanks, Mark.

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      • I remember Ruth doing a little review on that. It sounded great. I’d be more than up for tackling that, than any of Ron Howard’s depiction of events. Not that he depicts the events entirely untrue (I do suspect some though) but I have completely lost faith in him as director. He’s been in the business for a long time but there are very few quality movies from his résumé that really stand out. He’s a hack in my eyes yet I always seem to go back and give him the benefit of the doubt. Sadly, I’m often disappointed.

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  8. A very good read Mark. This is the most negative review of this film I’ve watched. Initially I thought this looked terrible and then I thought I had misjudged it because of the acclaim it was getting, but reading this review has made me apprehensive again.

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  9. So are you saying it has squeezed its way into your top 10? Fun review Mark. As I mentioned to you elsewhere, for some reason I just haven’t been attracted to this picture. I’ve said I’ll check it out when it hits DVD but I was never hungry to see it at the theater.

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    • Haha! My top ten worst movies of 2013? I hated it, man, and that is largely due to Howard’s inability to construct anything without cliche or milking every moment for what it’s worth. He doesn’t treat an audience with respect, he forces everything he can on you and demands a response of some sort. Things don’t flow naturally with him. He’s the worst director working in Hollywood today.

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  10. Whoa. We definitely disagree on this one!

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  11. well, my heart is broken. 😦 lol good review dude.

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    • Haha! Sorry bud! I had to speak my mind on this. Abysmal! Just abysmal…

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      • Fair is fair. 😀 see now to me, ‘abysmal’ would have indicated a 1 out of 5 stars, not a two. what garnered the second star for you?

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      • I totally agree. 1 star was my original rating. The other came for the performers (especially Bruhl) I think they guys done a great job. Plus the film did, admittedly, start very well. It did actually look good at one point. Sadly, it wasn’t to be.

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  12. Not a fan then brother?!?! Not seen it yet, I got into F1 just after this era really so not high on my watchlist. As you say though it seems to be getting glowing praise from most places, nice to see a different point of view as always.

    By the way, loving the new tweaks on here, with the image links for reviews on the homepage (which genius gave you that idea?) and star ratings. Looks great 🙂 Just a shame your theme doesnt let you have those widgets on each page rather than just the homepage. Thats why I had to change theme a while back.

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    • Not a fan of this one at all bro! Really could have done without wasting 2 hrs of my life on this dross.

      Yeah, things are looking a little snazzy around here eh? All influenced by your good self! Any other ideas for me?

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      • Personally I wanted the reviews and widgets available on all posts, so when Im reading this review for example I could see your others and get tempted to click them. Not seeing them makes it harder to tempt people. I mean, how many times do you visit someones homepage? That was my thinking anyway but I know we’ve discussed it in the past. Looks good regardless 🙂

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      • Totally agree, man. I wish my theme would allow for such things. It’s the biggest hang-up I have with my theme. I reckon I’d get a lot more views if it did work that way. I can’t seem to drag myself away from this theme though, as I love the black and red anarchist colours 😉

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      • Embrace change!!!! Must be a theme you can get pretty identical with just extra perks? Would be well worth it 🙂

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      • Maybe so! And I’m open to suggestions but I’ve looked and can’t quite find the right one. I want to keep my header for a start but I’m sure I could manipulate the colour scheme to suit. If you come across anything let me know!

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      • Maybe I still remember your password. I’m gonna fuck your site up and make it pink 😉

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      • Make it pink? Just to bring out my eyes? I bet you’d like Jared Leto in pink?

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      • Oscar winner baby, oscar winner 🙂

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      • I’ve not seen the film yet! But for me, it’s The Fass. The Fass all the way. That guy deserves awards recognition.

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  13. The way in which Howard gets us to sympathize with both of these guys is really something that surprised me. But what surprised me even more were how great the performances were in giving us actual, real glimpses at who these guys were and why they mattered. Good review Mark.

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    • It was the performances that got me most, Dan. However, i reckon they were wasted in a sub-standard movie under the direction of an idiot. I really can’t go Howard and his usual schtick.

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  14. Haha, awesome review, Mark! Yeah, I didn’t hate this thing quite as much as you did, but I did find it pretty underwhelming, and in the end, the movie did absolutely nothing for me. Among the year’s best, this movie certainly is not. 😉

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    • Tee hee! Glad to hear you’re somewhat in agreement here Chris. I thought this was a real stinker. Howard’s same old tactics didn’t work on me the way it did many others. I hated it. And two stars is more than it should really be getting. I let it off lightly. 😉

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  15. Well, you tore this one a new arsehole, and no mistake! I’m not a fan of Howard either to be honest. Always found him a bit bland as a director. That’s not to say he isn’t without technical merit, but his films don’t really do a lot for me. Quite a lot of hype around Rush though, so I’m still tempted to see it. You’ve cooled my jets somewhat though. hehe. 🙂

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    • Glad to be of service Monkey! When I don’t like a film or director, I can’t help but banish my normally serious approach and get tore in. This was the perfect film for tearing into. A real piece of shit!

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  16. Nice review Mark. I am one of the few that agrees with you on this film, have seen it on a lot of top 10 lists, but I was not fond of it. Howard is an average director. If he has truly great material, then he can make a decent film. But for me, he has never shown an ability to elevate a script through his talents as a director.

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    • And the other thing, with this film, Howard had such a phenomenal story fall in his lap. It should have been so exhilarating, an awesome tale of one of the greatest years in the sport. But it is all a little bland and unexciting.

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      • Once again, I agree. Sporting rivalries are normally excellent material but Howard didn’t run with this. The opening of the film was pretty good, though, when it was concentrating more on character development but when it got down to the nitty gritty, Howard wasn’t able to keep it all together. He dropped the ball bad and I’m amazed that so many people didn’t see through this film.

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      • Yeah I was really surprised that the film got so much acclaim.

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      • Yup! Can’t quite get my head around the high praise.

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    • I couldn’t have said this any better Tim. A good director should be able to elevate a script and I’ve never honestly seen that from Howard. Frost/Nixon is probably his best film but the script for that was excellent, as were the actors. There’s no way Howard could have made a bad movie out of that.

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  17. This was an EXCELLENT review, Mark.

    “Subtlety went out the window quicker than a discarded cigarette butt…” – wow, that is not cool.

    Kept hearing good things about this (even though I had no idea how this would be good), but decided I should check it out and maybe be surprised. Your statement of a false sense of security is perfect… now I am weary. I will look into it sometime soon and see where I stand on the list!

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    • Thanks Zoe. I wasn’t initially interested either because I knew that Howard was directing. I tend to avoid his films but after all the positive write-up’s, I had to check it out. I will say one thing, Howard didn’t actually let me down… He delivered garbage which I always expect from him.

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      • Well, it is evident that there is no deviance then. I am really interested to watch this now and see!

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      • You might completely disagree with me Zoe. Many have but see for yourself anyway. I’m interested in your thoughts.

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      • I’m very interested to see now… I’m usually afraid of hyped up movies, and have been wondering how this movie is going to work. Going to watch it anyway. I enjoy Formula 1, maybe I am won over with this! 🙂 Hopefully I’ll get to it soon!

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  18. You appear to have bucked the trend there Mark! I enjoyed it enough I suppose, although I was surprised at how many Top 10 lists it made. Great review by the way.

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    • Cheers Mark. This is one of those unpopular posts were people get quite taken aback that a film so highly revered is actually a piece of shit in someone else’s eyes. It had some decent moments but I was actually quite pissed off how formulaic and ridiculous it ended up.

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  19. I find it incredible someone who praised Fruitvale Station criticizes Rush for ‘old tricks’. Hollywood hack? Really? Wow, talk about harsh and undeserved, his Frost/Nixon is one of the best movies of the decade.

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    • I see the approach to Fruitvale Station and Rush very differently Sati. Two entirely different films. I do agree that there were some manipulative moments in Fruitvale but Rush was one big manipulation. It did start well and the focus of the characters was admittedly well done but it totally lost its way and even though the actor were good and their rivalry interesting, neither of the characters were very likeable. That wasn’t really the biggest issue though. The stuff that really got to me was the tired old techniques that Howard used. The clichéd salute between the drivers, Hunt beating up the reporter for insulting Landa, the car coming from behind to miraculously become a front runner, the overproduced music, the ridiculous use of symbolism to signify danger. Not all these techniques are necessarily bad but Howard doesn’t have the tact to pull them off.

      I will give some love to Frost/Nixon, however. I remember really enjoying that and Howard’s hack approach was thankfully left to the side and concentrated more on a solid script with solid actors.

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  20. Well this was a surprising read! Gotta say, I’m a big fan of this film. Way to make your review fun though. 😉

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  21. Great review. Thought Daniel Bruhl put in a good performance and some of those hospital scenes were pretty tough to watch. The script is very hit and miss though, especially early on.

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    • Thanks Natalie. I actually liked the earlier part the film more. Howard’s cliches weren’t as apparent to me then. It got worse as it went on, though. Agreed on Bruhl. I thought he was great.

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  22. The rivalry between the two begins almost instantly, but never grows, instead of exploring the relationship between the drivers; we are only provided with moments of banter and snide comments. So, that was my main issue with the film.

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    • The rivalry was definitely there from the outset and I think your spot on; it never fully developed it. Cliches aside I will admit that there was a good balance and portion of the film divided between the two. It seemed, at first, that the film was all about Hunt but Landa was given just as much attention and actually came out as the more rounded character.

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  23. And there was me thinking people liked this one. I’ve read a number of good reviews but have yet to see it myself. I’ll lower my expectations a little…

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  24. Alright Mark. I thought Rush was good so I don’t agree with the score but loving how you’re still sticking to your guns 😉

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    • Hey there Kev, my man! Good to see you peeking in from the cold. Still no reviews in the pipeline yet?

      Yeah, many loved Rush, man, but it wasn’t for me at all. I hate Ron Howard’s style and from what I heard this could possibly have been different. Alas, it was the same old tired cliched shit.

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  25. Popcorn Nights Says:

    Just didn’t fancy this at all despite reading a lot of good reviews, and this counterpoint to all of them was fun to read. Not a major Howard fan either, though I don’t hate too many of his films. He definitely has the knack of appealing to the masses. You could say he’s the EdTV to Peter Weir’s Truman Show.

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    • Yeah, if I were you I’d give it a miss Stu. Who knows, though. You might like it. Many people praised it highly but it just wasn’t for me. It’s a shame, as it did have potential.

      Spot on about the comparisons with EdTV and Truman. That says it all really! 🙂

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  26. Good review Mark, it was fun to read, but I am with majority 🙂 I’ve not seen a sports movie, and especially F1 movie that was so much fun. This is my most favorite, so far.

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    • Unfortunately I’m out in the cold on this one Nika. Near enough everyone loved this film but it just didn’t work for me. It had great potential but I reckon Howard made a mess of it. Thanks for stopping by anyway and taking the time to read and comment. Much appreciated. 🙂

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  27. Wow, that is a scathing review. Interesting to see a counterpoint but not even close with you on this one at all though.

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    • Understandable! Many will be on your side with this one but it really didn’t go down to well with me. It started well but soon lost its way and I couldn’t forgive the cliches.

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      • The people there at the time have said in racing magazines how authentic it was and they didn’t expect it to be so true. Any other films everyone else seemed to like but you couldn’t see it? I love Kubrick but I’ve always struggled with 2001: A Space Odyssey.

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      • The racing scenes weren’t the biggest issue for me. It was the cliches that Howard couldn’t resist. I didn’t like the drivers saluting each other – it felt cheesy – and Hunt beating up the reporter didn’t work for me either.

        I struggled with 2001 for years but the more I see it, the better it gets.
        I’m struggling to think of a film off the top of my head, other than most ones like Seven Psychopaths and Anchorman. Really couldn’t get the humour and thought they were very childish and a poorly scripted.

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      • Hunt beating up the reporter (fictional) was something I would have left out happily. But I did feel you got an insight into the characters and I really thought it was a good film. Just different viewpoints on this one I guess.

        I didn’t like Anchorman either (hugs). From what I heard of Seven Psychopaths just reminded me how much I wanted to watch In Bruges again.

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      • I liked the insight into the characters too and the actors done a fine job but it’s started to become too much like a bromance. I reckon this was Howard’s poor handling again.

        Yay! Another (rare) person who doesn’t like Anchorman. 🙂

        I really wanted to like Seven Psychopaths as I thought In Bruges was great but it was nowhere near as good. Such a good cast wasted.

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      • I guess that really is one film we are polar opposites on. Oh well. We’ll always have Anchorman 😉

        In Bruges is terrific My fave line is this one http://alexraphael.wordpress.com/2013/10/20/lines-of-the-day-45/ What do you think of Farrell as an actor?

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      • We’ll always have Anchorman! (Clink)!

        Yeah, not too sure about Faza. I used to really like him. He was great in Tigerland and Phone Booth and showed a real intensity and ability to command the screen but his choices of late have been very poor and he looks like he’s going through the motions now. Still, there’s that celtic spirit about him that I like.

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      • Yeah, I’d say that covers it.

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  28. Properti

    Rush | MARKED MOVIES

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