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Bill O’Byrne’s Bargain Bin Blues: Paranoia

PARANOIA ☆☆☆☆☆ Director: Robert Luketic. Cast: Gary Oldman, Amber Heard, Liam Hemsworth, Harrison Ford, Richard Dreyfuss.  So the producers of Paranoia are getting the team together to shoot this hi-tech cyber thriller and all the focus groups say that the way to get women along to what is generally a penile-centric genre is to get a pretty-yet-macho […]

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Bill O’Byrne’s Bargain Bin Blues: The Double

THE DOUBLE ☆☆☆☆☆ Director: Richard Ayoade. Cast: Jesse Eisenberg, Mia Wasikowska, Wallace Shawn, Yasmin Paige. Some movies you just enjoy watching – they’re full of interesting bits and twists and great characters and you’re thinking, ‘wow, this is fantastic, now all we need is a really great ending to tie this together and by hokey, it’ll be one helluva movie!’” […]

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Bill O’Byrne’s Bargain Bin Blues: How I Live Now

HOW I LIVE NOW  ☆☆☆☆☆ Director: Kevin Macdonald. Cast: Saoirse Ronan, Tom Holland, George McKay, Harley Bird. If you are on the electoral roll, sometimes the New Zealand government will pay you to watch porn. Well, pay is probably a loose term. In my case I received a $50 Farmers voucher from the Office of […]

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Bill O’Byrne’s Bargain Bin Blues: The Hundred-Foot Journey

The Hundred-Foot Journey | Value for money: $$$ Directed by Lasse Hallström. Written by Steven Knight. Starring Om Puri, Helen Mirren, Manish Dayal, Catherine Le Bon. If you love food, understanding between human beings, Helen Mirren, more food, romance, beautiful cinematography, even more bloody food, France and absolutely no plot twists or turns, then this, my […]

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Bill O’Byrne’s Bargain Bin Blues: Brick Mansions

Brick Mansions | Value for money: $$ Directed by Camille Delamarre. Written by Luc Besson, Robert Mark Kamen, Bibi Naceri. Starring Paul Walker, David Belle, Catalina Denis, RZA. Brick Mansions is a tale of redemption. And civic renewal. And parkour. A lot of parkour. Which is the Dungeons and Dragons of stunt work, but it certainly brightens […]

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PHIL vs BILL
This hi-tech turkey about artificial intelligence gone rogue isn’t as bad as its box office press suggested. Johnny Depp plays a controversial AI scientist who’s assassinated by extremists – but not before his wife (Rebecca Hall) and best friend (Paul Bettany) upload his mind and soul to merge man with machine, and unwittingly unleash a worldwide dystopian threat. Transcendence brims with troubling political, scientific and technological concerns but compromises its exploration of these to become just another glossy Hollywood thriller with echoes of everything from The Terminator to Invasion of the Body Snatchers. The extras barely transcend their electronic press kit genesis, comprising two short making-of extras and a couple of lightweight shorts about the movie’s themes that deserved far greater investigation. -- Phil Wakefield.

Bill O’Byrne’s Bargain Bin Blues: Transcendence

Transcendence Directed by Wally Pfister. Written by Jack Paglen. Starring Johnny Depp, Rebecca Hall, Paul Bettany, Morgan Freeman. Value for money:  $$ if it is crap like I suspect $$$$ if it is a genius look at AI and morality. Which went over my head. Transcendence is either a ham-fisted thriller with clunky characters and […]

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PHIL vs BILL The only similarity between this and ‘70s conspiracy classic 3 Days of the Condor lies in the title. Kevin Costner may play an old-school CIA agent but everything else is as extreme and absurd as you’d expect from the combined forces of director McG (Charlie’s Angels) and writer Luc Besson (The Transporter, Taxi). Costner’s ex-spook is dying of brain cancer when he’s offered an experimental drug in exchange for terminating the world’s most wanted terrorist – while still finding time to reunite with his estranged family. This extended cut is a corny, clunky shambles leavened only by its sturdy lead and two terrific action sequences. -- Phil Wakefield.

Bill O’Byrne’s Bargain Bin Blues: 3 Days to Kill

3 Days to Kill (Extended Cut) | Value for money: $$  Directed by McG. Written by Luc Bresson.  Starring Kevin Costner, Amber Heard, Hailee Steinfeld. You just know an action movie isn’t doing what should be when halfway through it you pick up the back of the movie case to see the movie is 122 minutes long […]

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PHIL vs BILL Anyone unfamiliar with the recruiting gamesmanship of pro-football franchises in the United States should first watch this disc’s illuminating extras before playing the movie. It stars Kevin Costner as the Cleveland Browns’ general manager racing against the clock to revive his team’s fortunes while trying to escape the spectre of his legendary predecessor (his late father), coping with the unexpected prospect of becoming a father himself, and generally being offside with everyone. Draft Day is slickly made but is too inside-baseball, and not funny or dramatic enough, to be as memorable as Costner’s other sporting triumphs (Bull Durham, Field of Dreams, Tin Cup). -- Phil Wakefield.

Bill O’Byrne’s Bargain Bin Blues: Draft Day

Draft Day | Value for money: $$$ Directed by Ivan Reitman. Written by Scott Rothman, Rajiv Joseph. Starring Kevin Costner, Jennifer Garner, Denis Leary. $18.99 (Mighty Ape) This is one for the sports fans. And while you don’t have to be a fan of American football, it sure will help in your appreciation of Draft […]

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Bill O’Byrne’s Bargain Bin Blues: Just One Day

Just One Day | Value for money $$ Directed by Adam Rodgers. Written by Glenn German, Adam Rodgers. Starring Vera Farmiga, Andy Garcia, Tom Skerritt. Despite high levels of tweeness and ham-fisted emotionalism, in certain circumstances Just One Day will probably get you laid, which is a lot more than you can say for Lawrence […]

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Bill O’Byrne’s Bargain Bin Blues: The Raid 2

The Raid 2 | Value for money: $$$$$ Directed, written and edited by Gareth Evans. Starring Iko Uwais, Arifin Putra, Yayan Ruhian. The Raid 2 is the first Bargain Bin Blues flick to get the coveted five dollar signs of super value. For whatever you shell out for this wherever you find it, you get two and a half […]

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