Tuesday, 13 February 2018

(film review) - Black Panther

Captain America: The Winter Soldier, was a great film.  Arguably for me, the best stand-alone movie from the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  Captain America: Civil War, was a great film.  My opinion on the Russo Brothers second movie with Captain America comes in as a tie for me with it's predecessor.  I just don't think it passes TWS, BUT it does do a great job in introducing the Black Panther character flawlessly to steamroll right through this movie.  You got to see this character, his values, how he presents himself, part of his story AND a glimpse of his country.  As soon as he arrives, it's absolutely no nonsense and you immediately loved the character and like me, wanted to know more.  Now having his own movie, it is a wonder how this movie will go.  Directed by the young Ryan Coogler, who also directed Fruitville Station & Creed, Ryan does the most masterful job on showing us who Black Panther is and where he comes from, Wakanda.

Picking up shortly after the events of Civil War, The Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) returns home to be greeted by his mother, Ramonda (Angela Bassett), Sister Shuri (Letitia Wright) and his Royal Guard the Dora Milaje.  Now that his father, T'Chaka (John Kani) is dead, T'Challa must now take up his Kingship and rule his nation of Wakanda as their new King.  With the emergence of a long time enemy of Wakanda Ulyesses Klaue (Andy Serkis), T'Challa must go on a mission to take down this enemy, but when the mission goes wrong on 'Day-One', this sets some uneasiness with some of the locals and also coincidentally brings forth a new foe Erik 'Killmonger' Setvens (Michael B. Jordan), who is a direct threat to T'Challa and the Throne.  T'Challa must overcome these challenges and threats to himself, his people and the throne.

This is a great and very layered film.  From the beginning of the movie until the very end after the Credits.  The Social commentary and political standpoints in this movie are very apparent, but do not beat you over the head with it.  They address current issues in real life flawlessly as well as negating stereotypes and turning them on it's head.  Very culturally aware and without coming across preachy, is able to drip feed a tiny bit of history of the real world, what has been done, what we do as people and what is likely to happen.  Baring in mind that the MCU is set in the "real world", this movie does a lot to change the narrative a little and opens you up to ideas of what could have been, could be and how things should be.

At first, when I heard and read reviews of this film, I was slightly disappointed once I had finished watching it, but then I asked myself, "what could have been done better?" I thought about this long and hard until I decided that although the film isn't perfect and should have been a little longer, ultimately I needed more from the villain.  This made me realise that, not only was the villain great, his story was also great.

The visuals are amazing.  The colours usedThe acting in this movie from everyone was excellent.  Sure some accents were not THAT great, but you understood where they were going with it and what was being said.  The costumes and outfits were amazing and very well realised and detailed.  Pulling a lot of real life culture into this movies and you could see it.  I've not read a Black Panther comic book, BUT the imagery looked as though it was taken directly from the comics.  The fights scenes although, not a lot, were all pretty good.  The mission fight was just excellent in every way and the use of the camera and the angles were great.  The last fight scene was not THAT great, a little CGI heavy, but they were awful and did not take away from the story.  I do believe that Marvel did a better job in giving us what they have done for a few films now, with their bad guy.  Mentioning the bad guy; excellent.  You understood his motives and although sometimes you just want to hate the bad guy and he must be defeated, he makes you feel sympathetic to his cause.  The film is VERY funny in places, may actually make you cry and I walked away from the film ranting and raving about the character M'Baku (Winston Duke).  People will have their favourites but he was mine.

A lot of people may want different things from this movie due to it being a comic book/superhero movie, but this movie is much bigger than that.  The fact that it didn't really feel like a superhero and it feeling different, but still feeling the same was an achievement which walks the same line as The Winter Soldier for me.  A stand-alone movie that raises the bar and connects to the larger MCU story-arc and will definitely get you excited for Infinity War.  Go watch it...you may even watch it more than once because it is THAT entertaining.

Tuesday, 2 January 2018

(film review) - Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri

Unless I'm attending a secret screening and on the off chance, I have not seen the movie trailer for the film I'm about to see, it is HIGHLY UNLIKELY for me to sit down in a cinema and watch a movie I have no clue about.  That being said, a friend of mine told me to watch the trailer as it is funny, but I only went to see this movie because it was something different from the superhero and sci-fi movies I usually review.  I mean, c'mon guys, I do watch other movies, heck, I watch a ton of movies and a lot of them have not been reviewed on here yet, but as it is 2018, I'm going to do my best.  And with THAT said, this movie; I thought was some small town story about some small town issues of family dramas and something that doesn't interest me a great deal.  And boy was I right and soo damn wrong at the same time.  I'll explain.

3 Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri is about a white woman who lives in a small town who has some outrageously terrifying, horrific and brutal actions taken out on her daughter in which leaves her daughter dead.  Mildred Hayes (Frances McDormand), having mourned for her child, puts up 3 controversial Billboards for the attention of William Willoughby (Woody Harrelson), the towns revered Chief of Police which leaves the town divided.   Not only has nothing been done to capture the culprit, half the town side with Mildred whilst the other half are against her and her methods.  When mother's boy Officer Dixon (Sam Rockwell) with a penchant for violence gets involved, things only get from bad to worse for Mildred while she does everything she can to get justice for her daughter.

I honestly thought this film was brilliant.  I was pleasantly surprised.  Very dark humour, in a crime film written and directed by Martin McDonagh which not only pulls on your heart strings but also makes you laugh out loud if you are not already crying.  I almost cried a few times because I kept thinking and putting myself in Mildred's situation.  The acting in this is great, Frances is excellent, Woody is excellent and Sam is also excellent.  I mean the acting is great all around and the dialogue is more than witty, not to mention very tongue in cheek, but the movie comes together very well.  Was shocked when it ended, but wasn't surprised.

A great film I would recommend to anyone who likes crime films and/or comedy.  I think the best way to think of this might be to think of 7 Psychopaths, same director.

Thursday, 27 July 2017

(film review) - War for the Planet of the Apes

"Does this film end the Trilogy?  Is it all over now or do we get more?" The questions which were plaguing my mind having seen this excellent movie.  I just don't know what to say other than, I saw some real Apes talking and it was....and it was Amazing.  I was not aware Apes could do that yet and I want more of it, like...yesterday!?

The movie picks up several years after Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014) which is the third film since Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011) and stars Andy Serkis as Caesar, an intelligent Chimpanzee and reluctant leader of all apes who finds himself stuck in a war with the Humans who want to exterminate his kind.  Having moved from location to location, Caesar struggles to find peace with humans and becoming who he hates the most.  With the support of his fellow Ape, Caesar must battle the Colonel (Woody Harrison) in order to save his kind from extinction as well as trying to find a peaceful way to settle the situation without any more bloodshed.

I wish I could write more, but If I did, I would give too much of the film away.

Beautiful.  This movie is great and having seen the 3 recent movies, I can only say, I want to see more as they story is soo great and it can most definitely reduce you to tears.  Not me, though...I fought them back (Damn you tears, not today)... but although this wasn't the greatest out of the Trilogy and could likely be the second instalment where we actually see 'Apes on Horses', this movie is a great book-end to the story-arc of Caesar (if we are talking trilogy story arcs).  Where he came from and what he did for Ape kind against the evils of humanity.  I mean, in the movie, Woody explains, human's created the Apes and now they are trying to kill the apes before the Human's are extinct.  But then, doesn't this just make you think, well if there is a threat to you and your people, what are you willing to do to remedy the situation? It also makes you wonder, who is the bad guy here?

I cannot stress how beautiful this movie is.  The cinematography is excellent, the acting is excellent, the story is very good and not to mention how it fits with the recent films, this film definitely belongs are there with the best Trilogies of all time.

Go and see it if you haven't

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

(film review) - Spider-Man Homecoming

So, they have released another Spider-Man movie because Sony Pictures (Sony) who have made Spider-Man movies since 1977 and while technology has got a lot better over the years, the last few memorable movies over the last 15 years have been good and somewhat great in parts, to me, has not really captured the essence of Spider-Man.  Shout out to Tobey Maguire but, I DID prefer Andrew Garfield.  But the Spider-Man 2 film can arguably be the best Spider-Man movie they have ever done.

The reason why we have another movie is due to Spider-Man having a soft Reboot of the character when they put him in Captain America Civil War after striking a compromise with Sony, Marvel are able to use Spider-Man in their MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe), renting him whilst Sony are basically leasing him out as they currently have the rights to use him as agreed by Marvel.  Long story short, the character belongs to Marvel but marvel sold the rights off to Sony.  Sony need to do a movie with Spider-Man every so often or the rights will revert back to Marvel.  So this deal to use Spidey in the MCU is short-term at the moment but we will never know at this moment in time if this will become longer term.

As for the Movie, Peter Parker (Tom Holland) has been Spider-Man for around 6 months and the movie basically picks up after Captain America Civil War, where Peter Parker enjoyed being an Avenger and wants to continue crime-fighting and thwarting bad guys. Peter is at school and between studying and wanting to be Spider-Man soo bad, Peter is finding school tedious.  When Peter discovers The Shocker (Bokeem Woodbine) only to later find out that he is working for Adrian Toombs aka The Vulture (Michael Keaton), Spidey finds himself in an impossible situation where he is trying to impress Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) and stop the bad guys in his Amazing Spider-Man suit, but is being knocked back by Tony because he wants him to focus on the smaller scale crimes and to leave the major criminals to the bigger guys who handle bigger threats.

This film is spectacular and even more superior in the 4DX experience.  The direction in this movie is great and I do not have a single complaint.  Having seen this twice, I might need to see it again to break it down a little more to comb through it with a fine toothed comb, but I understood everything Sony/Marvel were going for.  Also, great in 3D, but 3D does take away some of the finer details, visually.

To explain, this is another reboot of the character EVERYBODY and their Grandparent knows and we totally did not need another Uncle Ben death OR 'With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility' speech...AGAIN!
I understood that they wanted to focus on a kid playing a kid rather than a 30+ year old man playing a kid.  This played out through the characters, the acting, the things they say and how they say it, what they are doing and the general setting/environment.  Spider-Man is a geeky kid with a few geeky friends and this film plays into that a lot.  There is even a part in the movie where Spidey is shown as being vulnerable and emphasises, this is just a kid.
I understood the motive of the villain and is one of the more fleshed out villains in recent years from Marvel. You understand his plight and wasn't just moustache twirling.
The side characters were well cast and although they have been picking and choosing between different comic book iterations of Spider-Man, I really enjoyed what they did here and it didn't bother me that some of the characters are not as "Traditional" as they were in a comic books written how many years ago with a mostly white cast.
I also understood how they were trying to make this Spider-Man film a different one to it's predecessors and how they tried to connect it to MCU and for the future and not just cramming 'the future' down our throats.

There are soo much things in this movie, soo many villains they either tip the hat to or subtly point at or elude to with big comical or small comical moments. A VERY minor spoiler here, so SPOILERS (although this doesn't really give much away at all), There is a scene we see in the trailer where Tony and Peter are in the car talking. In the background, Happy is trying to take the suitcase out of the boot and is obviously struggling. When Peter comes out the car and the car drives off, Peter is casually holding the suitcase making those who spot the small detail that, Spider-Man is incredibly strong.  I mean, who caught that?

I'd definitely recommend you see this.  Charming, has heart and is a very well grounded film with a much more loveable Spider-Man because he is KID.  It is very funny without it being a comedy and the drama isn't half-baked.  Definitely the BEST Spider-Man there has been who absolutely captures the essence of Peter Parker the way he was initially intended to be like.

P.S. there are a few things in the trailers which are not in the movie, but to be honest, I don't think you would even care to notice.

Go watch it.

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

(film review) - X-Men: Apocalypse

I was never really interested in this film.  Why I hear you ask.  Well, I am a child of the 80's and the 90's X-Men cartoon was at the time THE BEST CARTOON from a comic book out there.  Spider-Man was also great as well, but this was cartoon/comic book gold.  My understanding of the X-Men and everything I learned from the X-Men came from here.  I knew about Apocalypse and that, he could not be defeated by the X-Men.  He was more powerful than all the other mutants as he was r claims he was the first mutant and even with all the X-Men and their powers combined, he just wouldn't die.  He has an entwining story with Cable and the cartoon made Apocalypse an monologging egotistical megalomaniac villain who was just great.  The only way you could defeat him would be to trick him into going back to sleep.  Considering we are starting X-Men from the beginning with First Class, Days of Future Past and now Apocalypse, I really felt that an Apocalypse film NOW was the wrong move, a misstep, as there are greater, but smaller villains out there like Mister Sinister for example. Anyway...

The film kicks off in Egypt where Apocalypse (Oscar Issac) has his four horsemen (War, Pestilence, Famine and Death) and is preparing to go to sleep.  He then wakes up several years later and decides that the earth requires cleansing.  He goes out in search for his four Horsemen to carry out his wishes, but is opposed by Professor Xavier (James McAvoy) and the X-Men who rally together to stop him from destroying the earth and all humanity.

Pretty Simple.  Very short and sweet.  Nothing too extravagant and it sounds good on paper, right? However, where they went wrong for me, was with EVERYTHING.  There was too much liberties taken with Apocalypse and his horsemen.  I felt that the story alone, just was not strong enough to carry the movie.  There were some nice moments in the film and some brilliant scenes starring two separate people at two separate times, but it felt like Batman V Superman, more style over substance.  There were a few funny moments here and there and Apocalypse did feel like a threat, but he didn't seem overpowering to me.  I felt like they had to justify his powers too much.  He didn't seem like a Megalomaniac at all, just someone who wants to destroy the earth.  Almost a Moustache twirling Bond villain.  The film was gorgeous as the special effects were great and certain characters, you understood their motivations.  With others, it wasn't even a wink and/or nod, it was just mashed together for us to just accept it.  Even worst that these characters didn't get much dialogue.  Trying not to go into spoilers.
I never got why Mystique had to be soo pally pally with Xavier and she should not be leading the X-Men.  You see this in the trailers and it makes no sense to me.  A lot of things for this movie made no sense and although it worked in the film and I'm not trying to be pedantic about the comics and movies etc, but Bryan has been fudging up this universe from the very beginning and seems to be very unapologetic about it.  For the most part, this film works, just like all the others and I did enjoy it, but it felt like it was lacking and not in one particular area, but everywhere.  It needed more.  I have to say that Bryan is a smart guy and there is a moment in this film which ties a particular character among the other films which came before it (Although now erased).  Although I never liked it, this made it make sense and I accepted it.  Just like the final fight was lack-luster and the ultimate weapon that took down Apocalypse felt forced, but I got why they forced it in.

This film is much more graphic than previous films and although there isn't an abundance of blood (If it was directed by Tarantino, then we would need to wipe the lens in one particularly awesome part), a particular section in this film looked like it was ripped straight from the comic.  Which is an excellent thing.
McAvoy and Fassbender are great as usual.  I really did like Hoult (Beast), Shipp (Storm), Sheridan (Cyclops), Turner (Jean Grey) & Smit-McPhee (Nightcrawler) in their roles.  Some of the chemistry worked between Turner and Sheridan, but for me, I felt Shipp wasn't given enough, but she did well with what she had. Peters (Quicksilver), is dynamite as usual (when you compared to Days of Future Past) and Mystique was ok.

The way forward, is to build on Cyclops and Jean and their love for one another.  They need to build up the team and bring in more characters in the team and a better team dynamic tis time around. No, major leading characters unless it is to do with the main leaders of the X-Men, Cyclops and or Storm as she is second in command after Cyclops.

Have a good time with it, it is decent.  I just felt that Days of Future Past for Fox, has a very high and raised bar they need to match and/or beat.  This film didn't do it for me and I felt it could have been better.

Saturday, 30 April 2016

(film review) - Captain America: Civil War

So, I've been telling a friend of mine that you need to watch Captain America: The Winter Soldier as it is the best stand-alone Marvel movie from the Marvel Cinematic Universe to date.  I did explain that you would need to watch Captain America: The First Avenger and then Avengers: Assemble to understand Cap's growth from his first film to his second.  His third film, now coming after Avengers: Age of Ultron, the Russo's have done nothing but another superb job.

Captain America: Civil War is a film that has a story which spins off of several story plots and events from various movies which came before it.  It is another Avengers Movie.  It is another Captain America Movie.  And it is a set up movie to help set up the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) along with introducing two brand new character's along with juggling a story, action and screen time for 13 of our heroes and 2 and a half villains.

Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) and the rest of the Avengers is called in by Thaddeus "Thunderbolt" Ross (William Hurt) who wants to discuss the Sokovia Accords due to the major event that took place where a city was dropped from the sky causing hundreds and thousands of casualties.  Accompanied with the Battle of New York and destruction caused in D.C, the newly appointed Registration Act is to be put into place for the Avengers who are to act on behalf of the Government.  However, having different ideologies, Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) and James Rhodes (Don Cheadle) agree with the rules, but Steve Rogers and Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) do not share the same thoughts.  Other members of the Avengers start to take sides until things properly kick off.  In the middle of this, The Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan) is wanted for questioning due to actions carried out causing problems for Steve, but Steve must do everything he can to find and capture The Winter Soldier and get to the bottom of what is really being going on, who is in control and to also be there for his friend.  While Tony and Steve go head to head, a civil war erupts bringing in two newbies and nobody is safe.

This film is excellent.  I am not saying this because I love Marvel films, but I am saying this because the Russo Brothers can direct.  When you really think about it, 13 heroes in a single film and all given adequate screen time to fit the story and let them shine, which was emotional, about revenge and as I said before, a set up for future movies as well as a sequel to two others, there is no doubt that these two are the best directors to do it in the MCU.  This is not at a discredit to Joss Whedon at all, but it is definitely difficult to not hold these two guys, up there as a set of directors who definitely deliver an excellent experience in movies.  Albeit, comicbook movies, but great movies nonetheless.

Every actor was on their A-Game and the performances was terrific.  The fight scenes were excellent.  As I said the bar has been raised AGAIN.  The story was great and this is an all round great movie to watch.  Every hero felt like they needed to be in this movie and their drive was equally met.  But this goes down to the superb directing.  What I will say is that, the special effects were great, but a lot better in 2D.  3D felt odd in some places.  The fight scenes were upped since CA:TWS and the introduction of the two new characters did not feel forced at all.  If anything, the main villain had his reasons but ultimately didn't need to be in the movie at all but other than that, wait until you see the Airport scene.  The single most greatest action sequence in Comicbook Movie history.  Maybe even Movie History.  Spider-Man (Tom Holland), Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) and Ant-Man (Paul Rudd), literally stole the entire film. If you haven't seen Ant-Man yet, I am pretty sure this film will make you want to see it. Spider-Man homecoming is due out in a few years and so is Black Panther, so we do not have long to wait guys.


Friday, 22 April 2016

(film review) - Bastille Day

When I first saw the trailer for this movie, I couldn't get my head past the annoying accents.  It looked like another British made film where the plot was half-hearted, pitched to be something Hollywood worthy but the budget always said otherwise and frankly, a pile of sh*t.  Although most of these ran true, I must admit, it wasn't a pile of sh*t.  I have seen worst, trust me.

A con-artist, Micahel Mason (Richard Madden) who comits different types of frauds and is also a specialist at picking pockets, is currently living in France and one night he purposely pinches a bag with a bomb in it belong to a woman named Zoe (Charlotte Le Bon).  Unknowing of the bomb and the danger, after not finding anything of any value or interest to him, Michael disgards the bag but unfortunately blows up an area in France.  Whilst activists and terrorist groups are plotting attacks on the city and with an upcoming protest on Bastille Day, Michael gets caught in the middle of it all as the CIA believe he is the bomber and call Sean Briar (Idris Elba) an Ex-CIA agent to help capture Michael before the French authority find him and before the situation escalates further than it already has.

As I said earlier, the accents were very unnecessary, but I believe I understand why they did it.  If Idris spoke normally, he would probably be seen as John Luther and if Richard Madden spoke normally, I guess everyone would just see him as Rob Stark from Game of Thrones.  So like I said, I get it but I didn't welcome it and it did leave me slightly unhinged throughout the entire movie.  There were a few twists here and there which were predictable for me, but all in all, along with the jokes littered throughout the movie and the action, I felt that this film was Idris' audition to become the next Daniel Craig in the Bond Franchise.  The fighting was really good and gritty. With a big hulking man like Idris, he isn't quite, The Rock, but looks as though he could throw down with the team in the Fast & Furious franchise.  Richard didn't offer much to be honest, but as I stated, this film wasn't quite the pile of sh*t I thought it was going to be.  So enjoy.