Film Review: The Purge: Election Year

The Purge: Election Year

The Purge: Election Year is a suitable conclusion to the franchise. There are some interesting ideas in the film, although these are overplayed at times.

Former police officer Leo Barnes is now head of security for Senator Charlie Roan. Roan is running for president on a ticket of eliminating the annual purge. Those in power are less keen to see her succeed…

The first Purge film was a home invasion horror. The political overtones were clear, but these became much more overt in sequel The Purge: Anarchy. The Purge: Election Year is much less a horror film, although violence is frequent. The film functions as an action thriller – a race against time to protect the senator. This third instalment positions political and social allegory at the centre. Where it’s predecessor highlighted the inequalities of its dystopian world, this film makes the case on a grander scale.

The construction of the film is to introduce new characters, and make the audience care about their survival. Writer-director James DeMonaco gives Roan a backstory by way of brief flashback at the beginning of the film. This is enough to offer reasons for the character’s drive, yet does not flesh out a character that audiences will really care about. Having fought his demons in the previous instalment, Barnes is solely a protector in The Purge: Election Year.

Elsewhere, Joe’s dialogue is amusing to begin with, but quickly turns embarrassing. The girls who enter his shop are hideously overplayed. This distracts from a later sequence that works rather well. There are a few good set pieces in the film; the action is certainly stronger than the dialogue. Frank Grillo is strongest in the physical sequences, whilst Elizabeth Mitchell looks suitably ernest. Mykelti Williamson must despair at some of his material.

The Purge: Election Year, like its predecessors, has great ideas and good action sequences. However, the parts remain better than the sum.

Previews: Criminal Trailer, Julieta and More!

A host of film-related goodness in this week’s previews, including the Criminal trailer, Julieta, The Purge: Election Year and more…

Criminal Trailer

Here is the new Criminal trailer. The film features an enviable cast that includes Ryan Reynolds, Kevin Costner, Gary Oldman, and Tommy Lee Jones. Criminal revolves around death-row inmate Costner, who is implanted with the memories and skills of CIA operative Reynolds. The film will hot the big screen on 15th April 2016.

Julieta Trailer

Here is the trailer for Pedro Almodóvar’s latest film Julieta. The film centres on Julieta, a 55-year-old teacher who writes a confessional letter to her estranged adult daughter. The films seems to lack the comedy of Almodóvar’s other recent efforts; it seems a more reflective affair. Julieta is set for release in UK cinemas in August 2016.

Mike & Dave Need Wedding Dates

Mike & Dave Need Wedding Dates Poster

Mike & Dave Need Wedding Dates is the latest Zac Efron comedy. The film stars Efrom and Adam Devine as brothers who are required to bring dates to their sister’s wedding. Aubrey Plaza and Anna Kendrick may look the part, but they are after a free trip to Hawaii. Mike & Dave Need Wedding Dates is set for release on 12th August 2016.

Our Kind of Traitor Trailer

Ewan McGregor and Naomie Harries star as a British couple who meet a charismatic Russian money launderer on holiday. Based on the John Le Carré novel, the film also stars Stellan Skarsgård and Damian Lewis. Directed by the acclaimed Susanna White, Our Kind of Traitor will be released in cinemas on 6th May 2016.

The Purge: Election Year Trailer

The third instalment of the franchise, The Purge: Election Year sees the return of Frank Grillo’s character. In this film, he must protect a senator who has publicly spoken about her intention to end the annual purge event. The Purge: Election Year bounds onto UK screens on 15th July 2016.

Film Review: The Purge: Anarchy

The Purge: Anarchy

James DeMonaco’s sequel The Purge: Anarchy offers some interesting ideas, like its predecessor. It is a shame that these are not executed as effectively as they could be however.

The annual night of the purge is about to commence, and most citizens are rushing home to barricade themselves against intruders. When a few innocents unwittingly find themselves on the streets after sunset, it is up to a mysterious stranger to help them survive…

The Purge: Anarchy follows the same format of its predecessor, confining action to a single day of the purge. The sequel deviates by focusing on a few disparate pairs. Rather than the wealthy family of the first film, The Purge: Anarchy focuses on less well-off characters.

The distinction between rich and poor was a key theme of The Purge. This dynamic takes centre stage in the sequel. The ideas here are adequate enough; it is a pity that some of them remain underdeveloped, whilst others are not really executed in a satisfying fashion.

Characters in The Purge: Anarchy are not really developed enough for viewers to become invested in their fates. The exception to this is Frank Grillo’s character, who retains some mystery. Other main characters have little to give them colour. To begin with, the snippets of information present an edge of mystery. Unfortunately, as the film progresses, it becomes clear that they are simply one dimensional.

The Purge: Anarchy presents its viewers with some apparently shocking situations. Violence is frequent, yet some of these incidents are not as affecting as writer-director James DeMonaco may have hoped. The set-ups are fine, but sometimes an understated approach would have had more of an effect. The film is rather clear on its opinion of violence. Yet, it does not shy away from gratuitous scenes.

Pacing in the film is good, and performances are adequate. The downside to The Purge: Anarchy is that some good ideas are not developed into memorable viewing.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier Press Conference

Captain America: The Winter Soldier UK Press Conference

Last week the directors and stars of Captain America: The Winter Solider were in London to promote the film. Samuel L. Jackson, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Anthony Mackie, Sebastian Stan, and directors Anthony and Joe Russo were on good form for the film’s London press conference. Here are some of the highlights…

On what Steve Rogers should catch up on

Anthony Russo: I would recommend he check out Captain America: The Winter Solider!

Joe Russo: Four words. Fifty Shades of Grey.

Scarlett Johansson: Umm, cakepops!

Samuel L. Jackson: Red 2

Sebastian Stan: The Godfather for sure, right? And maybe cronuts.

Anthony Mackie: Any Eddie Murphy movie before The Golden Child.

On putting other characters they have played into the Marvel world

Chris Evans: Oh my movies are terrible, I don’t want to do this!

Samuel L. Jackson: I’d put Mitch Henessey from The Long Kiss Goodnight into the Marvel universe.

Scarlett Johansson: If I could do the voice from Her that would avoid the early morning gym hours so I’m going to choose that one!

Sebastian Stan: Looking at my brilliant filmography outside of the Captain America movies, I’m not even going to speak right now…

Anthony Mackie: I would say Nate Ruffin from We Are Marshall because he was such a cool, hip cat.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier UK Press Conference

On Captain America: The Winter Soldier deleted scenes

Samuel L. Jackson: As usual Nick is always trying to be three steps ahead. All of a sudden when he finds out that he’s been used it becomes incumbent on him to find out why, and use all the tools he has at his disposal to make that happen. And, as usual, part of it has to do with subterfuge and diversion, even down to fooling and his most trusted compatriot. We actually shot a scene that where that’s explained but I’ve been told it slows the film down in a significant way, and they didn’t want to slow it down. But, when you get the DVD and you click on my face there’s a hidden feature that will allow you to access that scene!

Joe Russo: I think there are about six or seven minutes of deleted scenes.

On stunts and injuries

Chris Evans: Doing stunt work, it’s physical stuff and even when you block a punch, that punch lands somewhere. Any fight with Frank Grillo – he doesn’t know how to pull his punches!

Anthony Mackie: Yeah, we were hitting each other for real.

Chris Evans: If you don’t block Frank Grillo’s punch, you’re going to get knocked out. He’s a boxer, he doesn’t know anything but 100%.

Anthony Mackie: No, that’s because he is a mean person.

Scarlett Johansson: Frank Grillo beat the shit out of me! I like to be able to do as much of the stunt work as possible. As capable and amazing as the stunt team are, I would rather do some of it and have some battle wounds.

Samuel L. Jackson: I used my stuntman extensively. I have no issues with him being hurt, that’s what he’s paid to do, and he loves it, he’s from a stunt family. His father was a stuntman, all his brothers are stuntmen. Before they could eat breakfast in the morning their father kicked them down the stairs or made them jump out of a window to come downstairs to get their breakfast. I used Kiante [Elam] more than… my god, he works more than I do sometimes.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier UK Press Conference

On musical talents

Anthony Mackie: I deal with the trumpet a little bit; growing up in New Orleans you have to learn an instrument. I’m nice on the spoons, I can do a funky beat, you know, slip some turntables…

Samuel L. Jackson: So in other words, no!

On Sebastian Stan’s nine-picture Marvel contract

Anthony Mackie: Damn kid!

Samuel L. Jackson: That’s what happened to the rest of my deal!

Sebastian Stan: I have no idea [what will happen with the character]. I’m still trying to realise that I’m sitting up here with these guys. Wherever [Anthony and Joe Russo] want to take the stories, that’s where I’m going.

Anthony Russo: We were going to use this press conference to announce than Anthony Mackie will no longer be with us. Falcon was a one-off!

Captain America: The Winter Soldier UK Press Conference

On Captain America 3 going head to head with Superman vs. Batman

Anthony Russo: When two cars are speeding at each other, one of them has to veer out of the way at some point.

Anthony Mackie: Hell yeah! Put it out there, baby! Tell them, tell them!

Anthony Russo: I think Marvel announced that date originally. Marvel was trading off that May date for a long time, and I think when Warner Brothers decided to move that film they moved it to the May date. I can see why Kevin [Feige] wasn’t moving from that date.

Anthony Mackie: Boom. Deal with that!

Chris Evans: All we can do is focus on making the best movie that we can make. Depending on how it gets releases, well there are other forces at work.

Anthony Mackie: In other words, punks step up to get beat down. Know about that!

Samuel L. Jackson: There’s Marvel where you have heroes, and DC where you have interesting bad guys.

On their heroes

Chris Evans: My parents.

Scarlett Johansson: David Bowie!

Samuel L. Jackson: The young people who put their lives on the line for us.

Sebastian Stan: My mum definitely, and I guess probably Jim Carrey.

Anthony Mackie: My two brothers.

Joe Russo: I can’t decide whether it’s Superman or Batman.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier is released in UK cinemas on 26th March 2014.