TIFF 2015 Review: Legend

Brian Helgeland’s Legend owes more than just passing “respects” to Goodfellas. It should kneel, kiss its ring and swear to handle whatever favours are asked of it. From its use of period precise music to its narration to long take club-entering shots, Legend shoots for that Scorsese vibe and view of the intoxicating power of gangster life. It doesn’t achieve that of course (primarily due to far too many moments that are inexcusably mundane), but still manages to keep a good pace and remain mostly entertaining. And that is primarily due to two key performances: those of Tom Hardy and also Tom Hardy.

Legend covers the rise and reign of the Kray brothers – the legendary gangster twin siblings who grew up in London’s East End. As the film opens, the pair are already local celebrities who ingratiate themselves with the neighbourhood while also running protection rackets and a few nightclubs. Reggie has business sense and can put things into context, but can also suddenly “lose his temper”. As violent as he can be, it feels controlled and with purpose. His brother Ron, however, is all instinct, fight first and ask questions never. He feels that when in doubt, it’s always best to stir things up. He doesn’t easily mix in with general society, though has no issues in openly proclaiming his bisexuality even though the film takes place during the 50s-60s. He begins the film in an asylum, but is released after a little “convincing” of his doctor by Reggie. Clearly no one believes he is in his right mind due to his appetite for mayhem, but Reggie wants/needs him out – they’re brothers after all. Though Reggie wrestles with it occasionally, Ron always wins the competition for Reggie’s allegiance – a battle fought more often after Reggie marries the beautiful young Frances (Emily Browning with a fantastic supporting performance by her cheekbones). Though not necessarily looking to give up “the life”, Reggie does somewhat long to simply run his new club in the West End. It’s profitable, the rich & famous drop by and it’s a sign that they have moved towards conquering all of London and acquiring that broader respect. Of course, that doesn’t fit with Ron’s plans and he actively destroys the regular clientele when Reggie has to do a short spell in prison.

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A New Trailer for “Sucker Punch”

“You will need to find five items.” Well, I think I’ve found them: some dragon fire, a little bit of Scott Glenn, exploding Nazi look-a-likes (i.e. nods to steampunk), robots, swordplay in lingerie – all tied together with Led Zeppelin. Upon subsequent viewings I am not much of a fan of 300 and pretty much loathe Watchmen on almost every level; yet consider me along for the ride with Zack Snyder and his Sucker Punch. This newest trailer isn’t a whole lot different than the one we got back in July, but this one is about twice as long and we now have a bit more of an idea of what the storyline is along with why and how it is being told. There is also a lot more guns, explosions and robots being vertically split in half.

For elaborate CGI fan-service, the trailer is tucked under the seat.

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Sucker Punch Trailer

We have been pretty much on the down low for Comic Con stuff, more from disinterest in the usual fan-based culture stuff than anything else, but this big wet CGI of a film (tagline: Alice in Wonderland with Machine Guns) seemed to land nicely onto the web yesterday and it is worth sharing if you have not had a glance of it. Zack Snyder has been hit and miss, I find myself liking Watchmen more and more as time goes by, and liking his Dawn of the Dead remake and 300 less and less (Of course, the opening credits for all three of those films are smashingly good!) But as bubblegum cinema goes I will continue to check out Snyder’s projects and Sucker Punch is no different. As per usual with Snyder, things are over-stuffed with pretty images and a nice bit of music over the trailer. The cast featuring Emily Browning, Vanessa Hudgens, Abbie Cornish, Jamie Chung and Jena Malone is not hard on the eyes either.

A young girl is institutionalized by her wicked stepfather. Retreating to an alternative reality as a coping strategy, she envisions a plan which will help her escape from the facility with her fellow inmates before she is lobotomized by the staff.

Trailer is tucked under the seat.

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