Tuesday, 22 December 2015

(film review) - Star Wars: The Force Awakens

After spending almost a week, running, ducking, diving, jumping, swimming and rolling away from Star Wars Spoilers EVERYWHERE online, I am glad to say that I have finally watched the film and I loved it.  Yes, there are a few issues with it, but what film is perfect? I saw this film last night and I have spent all day reading and listening to what people thought, their reviews, what they liked and disliked and generally how the film made them feel.   For me, after watching this film, I wanted to see it again.  I will not go into spoilers, but I will try and review this film without giving a lot away.

Star Wars VII (7) is about the fall of the Galactic Empire, who inspire a military dictatorship now called the First Order who has begun executing it's plan to depose the New Republic and reclaim control of the galaxy.  The film picks up around 30 years since Return of the Jedi, after the fall of the Galactic Empire and a lot has changed.  Luke Skywalker is missing.  The veterans from the Rebel Alliance, in response to the First Order are now called the Resistance and they retaliate against the First Order and their new weapon of mass destruction.  With the introduction of Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac), an ace fighter pilot for the resistance who is captured by Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) and the First Order, he is taken to be interrogated for very important information.  Poe eventually meets Finn (John Boyega) who in turn meets Rey (Daisy Ridley) who later meet Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew) to only be pulled into General Leia Organa's (Carrie Fisher) fight against the First Order.  With the odds stacked against them, success for the resistance seems nonexistent and it is now up to our heroes to defeat this new threat that is the First Order.

Now if you have seen A New Hope, there are blatant parallels with Episode IV and this is the aim.  Where a lot of Episodes I-III have a great deal of exposition, the general plot is given to you whilst the film flows at a rapid pace.  Having watched the film, you will leave the cinema thinking, one of two things, overwhelmed or underwhelmed and mainly because, although this is a good film, there are a lot of things missing, i.e exposition. Sitting or standing in circles discussing politics.  Relationships between characters are not forced, but not very well fleshed out to be majorly impactful.  The film acts as a springboard or a passing of the torch to the new characters and if you want to know about the older characters, watch the previous trilogy.  Moreover, you simply might have wanted a lot more than what JJ Abrams gave to us.  J J Abrams had a lot to do and without making this children's film (enjoyed by adults) run for too long, J J was only able to deliver on what I felt he did what the Prequel Trilogy didn't manage to do, but should have; and that is to produce and direct a film that resembles the original trilogy films which were made, update it with the technology we have now and deliver a quality product.  Although this was done in the prequel trilogy, sort of, a lot of the puppets, set pieces and acting (funnily enough) was not real.  Some of the acting didn't carry much weight.  Wooden or very bad dialogue/scripts.  The reason why a lot of people who have watched the original trilogy basically trash the prequel trilogy, is due to the way it was directed and how the characters acted and were portrayed along with the bad dialogue.  Too much kiddie elements to it with a lot of bad acting and bad characters.  The Force Awakens is a return to form and we can only see this progressing further into the next trilogy and beyond.

Things I didn't like about the movie, was the pacing.  It was too fast and even though it didn't feel rushed as such, everything moved quite rapidly once we got into the film and this didn't allow for some story elements or scenes to be 30 seconds longer just to fully appreciate the story, situation or dynamics.  With soo many things left open to the imagination or for us to wait until the sequel, although the film doesn't answer all our questions, it just gives us another bunch of questions you will have to figure out yourself or like I said, wait until the follow up film.

Seeing the Millennium Falcon again was great.  Sexy beast of a hunk of junk.  And the X-Wings are as sexy as they can ever be.  The sound and special effects are tip top and when it comes to the cinematography, nearly every single frame is a screenshot masterpiece.  Like, pause it at any moment and print screen, put it in a frame and hang it up.  Another gripe I didn't like was Lupita Nyong'o's character.  The character was fine, but we didn't need her for it and felt that this award winning actress was misused.  But other than that, this film is a stepping stone for the sequel and many more movies to come.  Hopefully the second movie doesn't get too dark.  Word has it, Star Wars Episode VIII (8) will be the Empire Strikes Back of the franchise.  I'm expecting explanations and a lot of people dying.  Dark days for the resistance.

Oh, by the way.  People don't understand the "HYPE" about this film.  For me, there is no "hype". If you appreciate storytelling and film, then you would get the "Hype", otherwise you just won't get it.  A lot of this is due to the knowledge of watching the original trilogy since 1977 and understanding what Star Wars has done for the movie industry.  What George Lucas has done for the movie industry.   Don't raise your hopes up either.  This is just the start of another journey to a galaxy far far away, long ago.


Sunday, 27 September 2015

(film review) - The Martian

What have you done for me lately, Ridley? Some of us have these thoughts when we think of Ridley Scott. The guy who brought us some great and classic films such as Alien, Blade Runner, Thelma & Louise, Gladiator, Black Hawk Down and American Gangster. So what was your last few films Exodus: Gods and Kings? The Counselor? Prometheus? Although I didn’t think Prometheus was that bad, but it wasn't a classic nor great. So, again. What have you done for me lately, Ridley?Ridley has done, nothing! And people are starting to think that this great director has simply run out of juice. Well, fear not, because The Martian might be his return.

The Martian is about a man named Mark Watney (Matt Damon) who with his team are out on a mission on Mars, but becomes stranded by himself when his team leaves him behind. Being the only human on Mars, Mark the Martian must figure out a way to survive and also return back to earth or die on Mars.

The premise is pretty simple and with that said, makes you wonder, ‘Is there anything else to this film?’, ‘This film is going to be pretty boring, right?’, ‘Can Matt Damon carry an entire film by himself?’, ‘He is no, Will Smith!’. Well, rightfully implied in the trailers, Matt isn’t by himself as there is a team trying to figure out a way to get him back to earth. Also, although this film is 141 mins (just over 2 hours and 20 minutes) long, this film does not feel long at all. The film gets straight into it at such a steady pace, you do not once think about the time. There is suspense, there is unexpected comedy elements and there is a lot of character in this film. Very clever script writing, directing and screenplay. At the end of the film, I actually wanted to clap for Ridley Scott. Like, literally stand up and cheer for him as the film I had just watched was soo entertaining, I felt it was necessary. I didn’t, but I did think it.

Although this film didn’t leave me gripping the seats whilst sitting on the edge of it like Gravity did, this film reminds me of Cast Away (not that I have seen it) fused with Gravity. I think what made me love the film more than the visuals and the story was Mark and his character as well as the supporting cast. Jessica Chastain, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Sean Bean, Jeff Daniels, Michael Pena. The casting was brilliant as every character brought something to their role, or at least, every character had a pivotal part to play. I do feel that Sebastian Stan was a little under used, but that is probably due to the great performance he did as The Winter Soldier (Great film by the way). I felt very relatable to Mark and I actually felt like I was going through this situation with him. The film was very grounded, although set in space. I felt like he was the every guy voicing the things an every guy would do in his predicament. All the trials and tribulations, I was experiencing these with him.

It is out on the 30th, so go and watch it. If you don’t like it, honestly, there is definitely something wrong with you (although I know movies are subjective). A brilliantly Directed film by Ridley Scott. Well done, Sir.

Saturday, 8 August 2015

(film review) - Fantastic 4

I've been watching this develop from when they first announced it. I knew they were going to reboot it at some stage because the previous 2 didn't do that well and had they not rebooted the franchise, the rights would have went back to Marvel. With that said, Fox are having a decent time with X-Men due to First Class and Days of Future Past, but for Fox to keep a hold of their franchises, they will need to make a film every so often or reboot the franchise and do them well. This means, anything Mutant related belongs to Fox and Fox needs to come up with scorchers to keep them or break them up as much as they sensibly can and make great films which brings in money (spin-offs). Deadpool, Gambit and even X-Factor. A New Wolverine is coming but this is meant to be Hugh Jackman's last time. So unless they recast the role, Fox needs to pull more rabbits out of the hat. In Fantastic Four's case, Fox pulled out a Skunk.

Fantastic Four is about a man named Franklin Storm (Reg E. Cathey) who is looking into inter-dimentional travel with his student Viktor Von Doom (Toby Kebbell). He goes to a science fair with his daughter Sue Storm (Kate Mara) and finds a teenage Reed Richards (Miles Teller) along with his buddy Ben Grimm (Jamie Bell) who has somewhat cracked inter-dimentional travel when he was young but has found a way to complete the entire transition. Pleased with what he has seen, Franklin asks Reed to join him in completing a grander design in order to be the first to achieve such a feat. Reed accepted and once he enters the Baxter building and joins Viktor and Sue in the project, they decide to travel through the device only to re-enter earth horribly disfigured. However, once they hone their powers, Doom has his own plans and the team are required to band together to defeat him.

First of all, I'd like to say that this film is better than the first 2 put together, but it isn't a good film at all. The film tone-wise is great. Dark and horror-like for the first half of the film, but after that, the film seems choppy, rushed and just full of nonsense. The dialogue was boring and not very clever. The character's aren't very well developed or their back-stories at all. They had plenty of time to flesh them out. When Dr. Doom arrives, everything goes to sh*t. The special affects are standard, there are some inconsistencies and there is "logic" which makes no sense. There was barely any action and the "Boss Fight" is barely watchable. Again, I say, they had plenty of time to flesh things and plot points out. 

Don't get me wrong, the film wasn't absolutely garbage as I have seen some terrible films in my time, and some terrible superhero films, but this film just isn't good. The acting was perfectly fine, even the plot wasn't that terrible, but the cinematography and direction was appalling. For myself, the best bit in this film was when they came back and were all disfigured. That felt like a horror. It was dark, frightening and twisted, but that is the only redeeming thing about the film. Oh, and the throw away remark regarding Dr. Doom's name was excellent and the part in the woods was OK but just wasn't long enough.

This film lost its beat and travels at a ridiculous pace and kinda reminded me of The Amazing Spider-Man 2 at the end but as badly as that was done, this one is worse.
Watch with caution if you really like this from the trailers but to be honest, you are probably best to wait until it arrives on Netflix.

P.s...half of the things in the trailer aren't even in the film and the other half is is the film.


(film review) - Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation

I like Tom Cruise, but there are people who don't. I don't know what it is as to why people don't particularly like him, whether it is his face, his acting, his nose, I don't know. I mean, if you don't like him because of his height, then I guess that could be a reason why you may not want to take him seriously, but with prejudices like that, ultimately, you are preventing yourself from having some fun in the cinema. He isn't that much shorter than Robert Downey Jr. and everyone loves Ironman (a 6-footer). An example of fun at the cinema would be, Edge of Tomorrow. The marketing for that film was poor and it made you think it was Oblivion 2 or something. Even though Oblivion wasn't that poor, it just wasn't a great film. Edge of Tomorrow is a great film and it just didn't get the push it really needed, whether you like Tom or not. Excellent story acting and a stunning Emily Blunt. But what I will say is that, Tom knows how to make action movies, action thrillers as well. Collateral was great. The Mission Impossible franchise is a franchise which knows exactly who it's audience is and what to do to make a very entertaining film, like the Fast & Furious franchise. So what I'm really saying here is, Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation is brilliant.

The Impossible Mission Force is a highly organised, skilled and dedicated ghost unit who operate undetected across the world saving the world from notorious villains and threats. When rumours of the Syndicate emerges, Ethan Hunt tries his best to seek out who they are and their agenda. With the pressures of the IMF having their operations shut down, Ethan discovers that the Syndicate is a Rogue Nation, who are the polar opposite of IMF and are also highly organised, skilled and dedicated. Ethan and his team are tasked with the impossible mission of revealing a ghost organisation twhotheoretically, does not exist and stopping them from acting out their sinister plans.

Pretty simple right? I mean the synopsis is far from impossible. Their task doesn't sound impossible does it? Ethan, Benji & Luther can do this type of thing with their eyes closed! Well, I can only state to you that this film combines the tension of the first film and the action of the last film, Ghost Protocol and gives you an excellent sequel. The team as we know it is the same. The dynamics are lived in and you can tell, everyone has each others back. The camaraderie is real and evident in the film. So as everyone works together, the stakes are believable. And boy are there some pretty high stakes. There is a under water scene which plays out soo well, I was clutching my chest as my heart couldn't take the suspense. Gasping here and there and gasping for breath, the suspense was actually trying to kill me, I swear. The action scenes were enough and engaging, it didn't over do it. With the perfect amount of comedy, gadgetry and fisty-cuffs, this film aims to please and does it soo damn well. If you saw what the trailer had to offer, the film offers that and then some without being over the top or extravagant.

If you are looking for a film to see, it's not Fantastic Four, unless you really have to. It is this film. You are going to have fun with this. If you don't, it's because you hate Tom Cruise and his face.

Sunday, 19 July 2015

(film review) - Ant-Man

People make me laugh. I mean, I'm not entirely sure what it is, as I have thought about it for a little while, but I can only assume, 'popularity/familiarity'. I'll explain several experiences I have been through recently.
Upon watching the trailers, for this film, I have heard from females (might I add) "Ant-Man? Really? No, not watching that?" When I ask, "why not?" and the reply was always "Ant-Man? It sounds stupid! Ant-Man? C'mon!? And he can communicate with Ants? Nope, this sounds stupid". I cannot remember the exact verbatim, but along these lines. I usually laugh it off and encourage them to watch it but, I don't know. However, these same people may love the hell out of a Spider-Man or even Batman? Maybe it is the fact that he communicates with ants or because he can shrink in size. Anyway, I digress. But what I want you to do is, go in with an open mind.

Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) is a father who has not been doing well in his life. Incredibly smart, a great thief, but has a daughter in which he is trying to connect with, but due to his problems being out of work and incarcerated on occasion, Scott needs to change his life around. Scott crosses paths with Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) who offers him a job. Being down on his luck, Scott wants to make a difference and to be there for his daughter and takes the job, but the main objective upon taking this job requires Scott to steal something in a daring heist which will hopefully be the life/game changer he has been waiting for. Well, hopefully.
The films ongoing theme is fathers and their daughters and with that said, this film is brilliant. Exercuted very well. For those who don't know the history behind this film, it was meant to be made and released several years ago. When I say several, I mean before Ironman 1. But this film has gone through soo many writers and when Edgar Wright (known for Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz & At World's End) left the project, most people thought the project was doomed. But I guess, 'In Marvel We Trust'? They haven't really failed us THAT bad, right? But due to Ant-Man having soo many issues, Story-Arcs and history of such marvel characters have been warped and twisted to servce the cinematic purpose, ie.e around Tony 'Ironman' Stark as it was really Hank Pym who created Ultron.

Michael Douglas on screen is great. The dynamics of the characters are fairly plausible too. With how the film was shot, could not have been shot any better as the cinematography is fascinating and engaging. When Ant-Man shrinks down to the size of an ant, that is when the film really shines. Interacting with the ants could have been silly and/or cheesy, but it works really well. With the ability to shrink and grow at will, laced with comedic elements, this film is a must see. Even Michael Peña who plays Luis, who is a friend of Scott Lang and is undeniably the funniest character in this film is evidently the character who will stand out to you more than anything. Some great dialogue, themes, scenes and quite a few laughs. If you don't laugh at least twice in this film, you are absolutely dead inside.
What you see in the trailer is not all of what you see in the film. The villain does seem like he is an after thought and the plot is similar to what we have seen before, but who cares? DC Fan Boys. You ought to enjoy this film. Well, at least if the trailer does something for you...then the film will definitely do something for you. Have a watch and enjoy!

Friday, 10 July 2015

(film review) - Ted 2

So, we have a sequel to a film about a grown man and his childhood talking teddy bear named Ted. Sometimes I wonder, how people think of these things. Then I wonder, "Ok, fine. So the movie did well, so why a sequel? I'm sure that isn't going to work the second time around." Well, let me tell you.

We are 6 months since the previous outing and not a damn thing has changed, well, really.  Ted (Seth MacFarlane) is living with his girlfriend and John (Mark Wahlberg) is living a lonely life without Lori. However, as Teddy is having issues with his wife, Tami-Lynn (Jessica Barth), he decides to marry her and have a baby. The only one problem, Ted isn't considered real or better yet, he is not considered a real person. So, John and Ted must find a way to prove Ted can be considered a person with the help of a lawyer named Sam L. Jackson (Amanda Seyfried).

What can I say about this film other than, people will ask me if this film is better than the first one, in which I would reply, "Ummm, I think i preferred the first one more, I think i need to re-watch it". But with that said, some films are soo amazing, it doesn't matter how long since you watched the original, you know straight away which one was better. In that case, I'd say, "no".
Remember when you watched the first Hangover film, everything happened organically. Then you watched the second film and then thought, WTF!? To be honest, this second instalment in the Ted franchise is good, I had some good laughs, but for me, just like The Hangover Part 2, just doesn't quite hit the mark like the first one did.

Sometimes, some films should just be a one-and-done but, they wanted to make a sequel as the first one did soo well. Doesn't mean you should follow through with a sequel. Although this sounds bad, I did fully enjoy the film and the comedy and even some of the running gags throughout the film. Just like the first one, stupid, silly, but funny. However, I simply can't state that this film is better than the first film, though you might disagree with me. It's likely you'll enjoy it, but, that's just it for me. It's kind of a seen this, done that feel. Mark is funny and so are the supporting actors, you gotta love Morgan Freeman, but other than that, that is it. Maybe it's my sense of humour or how I feel with Seth MacFarlane and his characters and stories. Sometimes I feel he is reaching for a laugh. A bit hit and miss with me. There was a google gag that ran on for too long and the most funniest moment in the film for me was Marks computer folder, other than that, meh! Definitely go and see it though, if you like the previous Ted and/or you like MacFarlane and his work.

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

(film review) - Knock Knock

First of all, I do not open my door to anyone. Police, Jehovah's Witness, door-to-door sales (wo) men, Bailiffs, Aunt's, Uncle's, Stray Cats, ANYONE! If I'm not expecting you or you do not call before you arrive, do not expect to gain an answer or entry. With that said, had Keanu Reeves' s character ADOPTED one of my core principles, we would not have a film. So, onwards and upwards aye.

Evan Webber (Keanu Reeves) as an architect living happily with his wife and two children. With Both adults being the artistic type, Keanu requires some personal space so he can focus on a project he needs to complete and has the house to himself on Father's Day weekend. His wife Karen (Ignacia Allamand) is awaiting a delivery of a project she is working on but she takes the kids away on a family - planned beach trip whilst Evan can focus over the weekend. Once she is gone, That Night, the door knocks (Knock Knock) during heavy rain and two females was drenched at the door looking for help and assistance. Not wanting to leave them out in the pouring rain, Evan lets them in with the assist, but things go from pleasant to bad, to uncontrollable and worst as a sinister agenda agenda unfolds.

Seeing the credits roll and then reading the name Eli Roth, made this movie make a whole lot more sense. Not that it confusing but what Eli has a twisted sense of humor. Considering this film is a thriller, it does not take much to understand the debacle. Plus it is somewhat erotic.

Keanu to me was brilliant in this role. Somewhat different to what we have seen him in recent years of, he is a wooden actor, but he felt more fluid and relaxed in this film. I felt this way watching 'The Man of Tai Chi'. Brilliantly written, with not much of a plot or plot twist; this film does Exactly what it says on the tin. On a lonely night a man opens his door to two strangers and madness ensues. Keanu Seemed as though he what having fun and enjoyed making this film.

I loved the dialogue as it was very clever and smart. A lot of the scenes were simply crazy and I found the movie somewhat clever. Some really jaw dropping moments.

Watch it. Very funny, clever, frightening and somewhat disturbing but more comical than terrifying.

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

(film review) - San Andreas

Can The Rock do any wrong? Ummm, of course he can. He is not immune. I mean, there are actors all over the world and Hollywood who do nonsensical films. Maybe just for a paycheck as they simply 'Mail-It-In', but The Rock has been trying to choose his films wisely. I won't mention the film he did with the Lion on his head, Hercules, (Opps, I just did), although, I never saw it, I heard it didn't do very well. Ahh well, I'm kind of glad I didn't as the trailer didn't do much for me anyway. Anyway, this film, San Andreas, a film a lot of people thought it was a film based on a very popular 2004 video game by Rockstar North for the Playstation 2 called Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, this film is NOT that.

Raymond "Ray J" Gaines (Dwayne Johnson) is a Los Angeles Fire Department Air Rescue Pilot who does just that, rescue people who are in accidents. He has a wife, Emma (Carla Gugino) and a daughter, Blake (Alexandra Daddario), but their relationship has it's complications and is a little strained. When a Seimologist, Lawrence Haynes (Paul Giamatti) discovers a small earthquake which warns of an even bigger and mightier Earthquake yet to come which can potentially be felt on the west coast, Ray J must do all that he can to save the people he loves, his family.

A fairly simple plot and something we have seen probably a bagillian times, but this time it stars, Dwayne Johnson and everybody loves, Dwayne, right? Trying not to go into any spoilers, but it is plain to see that everything goes to sh*t and Dwayne has to save people. No plot twist. Nothing special at all, other than the special effects. From what you can gather in the trailer, all the destruction and falling/crumbling buildings, this film does exactly what 2012 does. It also had a Tsunami. However, with 2012, I really did feel that the film was more of an environmental advert once I left the cinema. With this film, I didn't.
The Rock doesn't do anything too grand here, but he doesn't just 'Mail-It-In'. I like his story and his relationship with his family, but other than his great charisma channeled through into his character, everything else is fairly redundant. None of the other characters have much gravitas or even add much to the story plot. But since the plot is a huge major earthquake whilst one guy tries to save his family, who really cares.

An entertaining popcorn flick with a lot of destruction and actually makes you think, "WOW" especially if you know the area (So I have been told). Have a watch. If you like this type of thing and if you adore The Rock. I mean, who doesn't Love what The Rock is Cooking?

Thursday, 14 May 2015

(film review) - Mad Max: Fury Road

I'd like to start off by saying, I do not believe I have seen a Mad Max film, ever! As you gasp in disbelief, I'd like to point out that I am completely aware of them and that I have a rough idea about the character's background, but I do not remember watching a single Mad Max film from beginning to end and remembering it. Maybe it was a touch before my time or maybe I just weren't interested, probably the latter. But this film, I will remember. This film is a spectacle.
Max Rockatansky (Tom Hardy) is a Main Force Patrol Officer, haunted by past memories and some may actually deem him as being mad/insane. He is a wanderer of a post apocalyptic wasteland where most of, if not all of the Earth is a desert and civilisation has collapsed. Water is hard to come by and the people who now live on this desecrated planet are fearless, ruthless and will do anything to survive or die for the cause.
Max unfortunately, is on the run and trying to escape a situation he got himself into and once he crosses paths with Furiosa (Charlize Theron), Max has to make a choice to trust this stranger or take her out as, you cannot trust anyone in these badlands as everyone has their own agenda.
This film is AMAZING. I haven't seen any of the previous films (and I will now, due to seeing this), but this film is a roller coaster ride from beginning to end. This film was like watching Gravity for me. At the edge of my seat, eyes transfixed onto the screen trying not to dip my fingers into the salsa dip as I lose my way trying to find the nachos by being too engrossed into this film. What a spectacle. Vibrant colours, camera angles and visuals, explosions, insane looking vehicles, characters and appendages. The film is soo insane with soo many moving parts, you can't help but follow Max in his journey. There were soo many 'Oh no' parts, where I was soo into this film, I was concerned more about the characters than how I looked once I left the cinema after spilling all types of dip onto my clothes because I couldn't find my mouth.
The only thing I didn't appreciate in this film was Max's voice. Tom Hardy is a brilliant actor and I felt maybe he was trying to sound like Mel Gibson ' rendition, but I haven't a clue. When Max spoke, it took me out of the film for a moment, but it was a good thing he doesn't actually say much. SPOILER ALERT, maybe?
They call him a mastermind, George Miller. But from watching this, I understand why. Charlize was perfect as she is a great actress and the story was plain and simple with little depth to it, but with soo much little things going on at the same time, this film is most definitely something to see, especially if you are a fan of the franchise. This film is a glimpse of what is inside George Miller's mind and it is, MAD!
Wait until you see the heavy metal rocker with the guitar and the guys playing the drums. This film is just insane from start to finish. Go see it.

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

(film review) - A Royal Night Out

Not something I would have planned to see as I was completely unaware of this films existence. A friend of mine had asked me if I wanted to join them to watch this film and I said, "Yeah, sure" as I wasn't doing anything and well, why not? I do reviews, right?
So, as I understand, this film isn't even out yet and I am watching this film based on a special screening, but I won't spoil the film other than give you a general synopsis, what I thought of the film along with the acting and what I got from it.

Heir to the British Throne, Princess Elizabeth (Sarah Gadon) seems restless with being Royal. Everything she says and does is open to scrutiny which may reflect badly on the Royal Family so there isn't much she can do outside of the royal home. She feels she has no sense of adventure and she cannot be normal. Her sister Margaret (Bel Powley) is the more adventurous, mischievous and care-free out of the two of them and she devises a plan to go out to celebrate VE Day with her sister. After the initial "No's" from the Queen Mother (Elizabeth I)(Emily Watson), King George (Rupert Everett) allows them to go out, just this once, but with a chaperone to keep an eye on them so that they do not come to any harm. Once out, the two princesses find themselves, incognito, apart, lost and in places they would never have dreamt of ending up.

A story which revolves around the future Queen of England, our current Queen. This film was fun to watch. A comedy drama with a positive and uplifting feel to it. At first I wasn't sure what genre this film was categorised under before entering to watch it, but there was humour littered all over this film along with crazy antics which made it enjoyable to watch. Some of the acting was a bit stiff, but the story wasn't too bad and based on a single night out, I never felt like the night was too long or that the scenes were forced. The only things I didn't really like about it, was the character named Jack. I found his acting annoying and a bit off. Also, some plot details were also a bit off but, I guess for the film to work, certain things were glossed over/ignored. But the main star of the film for me was Bel Powley as Margaret. Although the dialogue/script was great, her character was excellent and she did a brilliant job in playing Princess Margaret.

If you want something fun to watch, comedy with none of that over the top violence and explosion (although there is nothing wrong with that), the go out and watch this film. Charming and fun.

Thursday, 23 April 2015

(film review) - Avengers: Age of Ultron

The bar has been raised. Joss did such a great job with the first Avengers (Avengers Assemble) movie, that he had to find a way to top himself. Or at least, match bar for bar, his first Avengers film. Did he do it? Well, in Whedon we trust, right? Let's get down to it without any further delay.

The Avengers pick up where Captain America: The Winter Soldier left off. If you do not know the Winter Soldier story, shame on you. Basically, the events which occur in that film have a ripple effect which spills out onto the Marvel Cinematic Universe and directly into this film. Just like how the events which occur in the first Avengers film have a ripple effect which spills out onto Ironman 3.
Ironman (Robert Downey. Jr), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Black Widow (Scarlett Johanson), Captain America (Chris Evans), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) & Hulk (Mark Ruffulo) are looking for Loki's Scepter which are in the hands of Hydra leader Baron Wolfgang von Strucker (this was seen in the end credits of Captain America: The Winter Soldier). He has been using it to conduct experiments to create some form of enhanced beings/super soldiers and used them on the Maximoff twins, Scarlett Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) and Quick Silver (Aaron Taylor-Johnson). Once they get a hold of the scepter and obviously being exhausted from all the globetrotting, Tony Stark jump-starts and creates a peace keeping programme named Ultron (James Spader) to help assist with the work they are doing all over the world so that the Avengers are not stretched so thinly. However, Ultron learns how humans treat each other and decides that humans are a danger to themselves, so he conjures up a plan to amend this problem. With both the Avengers and Ultron seeing each other as the threat to humanity, they battle it out. The End.

This is the general semi-detailed synopsis of the film in which you can pick up from watching the trailers and having watched The Winter Soldier, Avengers & Ironman 3, you should have a rough idea of where everyone's mind is at and where each character is at this point in their lives. However, there is a lot more going on in this film. Not only do we have guest appearances from War Machine (Don Cheadle), Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), Falcon (Anthony Mackie), Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell) & Heimdall (Idris Elba), this film seems to have edited out a lot of scenes/plots, but managed to sow enough seeds for future Marvel films. There were many rumours flying around about other characters in this film in which I either missed or ultimately, they were edited out. I mean, where was Captain Marvel?

If you do not know the slate of films to be released by Marvel for the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, as it stands, Ant-Man (Finishes Phase 2), Captain America: Civil War (Starts Phase 3), Doctor Strange, Guardians of the Galaxy 2, Spider-Man (Untitled Spider-Man Reboot [Yes Reboot]), Thor: Ragnarok, Avengers: Infinity War Part 1, Black Panther, Captain Marvel, Avengers Infinity War Part 2 & Inhumans (Finishes Phase 3). As it stands, this is the line up.
This film, Age of Ultron manages to somehow promote, hint or grant us viewers, Easter Eggs for almost every single film in their Phase 3 Slate. Although these were woven into the storyline quite neatly, I felt that by the end of the film, the film ended with an Anticlimax. Well, at least for me and a few of my friends. I just felt like something was missing and I needed more. A lot of details were left out which were either glossed over or never explained at all (will probably be explained in a movie tie-in comic [But I don't read comics] in which you would need to read to have a few questions answered) and I also felt that some elements of the film were rushed. I thought Ironman was not going to be Ironman after Ironman 3!? However, with that said, the pacing of the film was soo relentless, the 141 minutes (2hrs and 21mins) did not feel like it at all. To be fair, if they just made it a 3hr movie, I don't think anyone would have cared. I surely wouldn't have.

But the biggest question of them all is, 'Is this film better than the first one?' As I stated once in my review for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, it is human nature to compare. We do it all the time. Sometimes we do not even realise we do it. And people will compare a Marvel film with a Marvel film whether or not it is in the same universe or not or they will compare comic book movie to comic book movie. I gurantee you, people will compare Ant-Man to Age of Ultron and Fantastic 4 to Ant-Man and Age of Ultron. To answer this question, I will say this. Had you watched this film first, there is an absolute guarantee that this film is the BEST marvel movie you have ever seen in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (dependant on how you feel about The Winter Soldier). Had you watched the first Avengers film afterwards, you'd feel like, "Meh, it was really good, but I've kinda seen it all before!". Now, I'm not sure if this is the feeling of fatigue from the onslaught of comic book movies, almost 3 a year, but I did not leave the cinema thinking, "DAMN, THAT FILM WAS EXCELLENT, I NEED TO SEE IT AGAIN!!!". But with Captain America: the Winter Soldier, I did. This could well be down to expectations, I had already set from before the film started, but we will see what people think once they have seen it and if this film will top the Box Office numbers the first Avengers made. $1.518 BILLION!!! I mean, everything about the movie is great. I was only being nit-picky earlier. If anything, this movie is most definitely on parr with the first film. The fight scenes and teamwork were phenomenal. But what would we have expected from Joss? I mean, in Whedon We Trust, Right? RIGHT!!

Go watch it!

P.S. There is nothing after the credits finish rolling!

Friday, 3 April 2015

(film review) - Fast & Furious 7

Fast and Furious 7. Yes, 7! There has been 7 films in vein of speedy cars, daring heists and street fights under the banner, 'Fast', 'Furious' or an amalgam of them both. And to think, who would have even thought this franchise would amount to 7 movies. I'm pretty sure Vincent didn't see this one coming. And having done all these films over a number of years, the stars who brought this together have grown a bond with one another, so with the passing of Paul Walker, mid - shoot, you can only imagine how special this film is to them and the many many fans who adore the franchise.
Where the director and studio were in two minds about cancelling the film altogether, they decided to go ahead and complete the movie after their short break and what we got, was a very entertaining and decent film.

Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) and his family are attacked very close to home forcing him to retaliate against the previous movies antagonist's older brother Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) after their last family outing. He is a Ghost. You don't find him, he finds you. As the attack leaves a family member dead, Dom and the gang rally up to pull off a daring heist to capture the ghost and eliminate him with the help of Frank Petty (Kurt Russell) and Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson). Pretty straight forward, right? Yup, nothing more to it.

You couldn't have expected anything more or anything too intricate about FF7 as these films have never been story driven (No pun intended), as such. But, with that said, over the years, it hasn't always been about cars and car racing like how it was back in the day. With the seemingly seem less call back and inclusion of Tokyo Drift (a film everyone tries to forget) James Wan effortlessly makes the insertion of this bad egg film, seem somewhat noteworthy and gives it (partially - I might add) new life and credibility.

You get the same gimmicks from the previous two films (and why not, they have been killing it in the box office, right?), humour, insane and practically impossible feats and stunts, eye candy for men (if cars weren't enough, right?) and brawls like none other. Yes, there will be bits where you think, "Come off it", "Yep, that is some bullsh*t" and "No f*cking way is that possible", but it is all aprt of the F&F fun. Nothing too over the top (haha), as far as F&F goes and nothing too underwhelming. Fast Cars, Explosions, Comedy & Family.
However to some this film up. You get ultimately what you got in the previous outings but with the death of Paul Walker, they amicably weave his departure from the series nicely which doesn't capitalise or force the issue. A tribute, if you will, to a great character in a great series. Time for Fast And Furious...In space!

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

(film review) - Project Almanac

A film about time travel and the repercussions when you alter the timeline. Something which has been trial and tested over the many years from the day it was first conceived. Many successful films involve time travel. Some are poor in execution and some are just poor. But the ones which are successful, stand the test of time (No pun intended) and are obviously classics in their own right. Back to the Future, The Terminator, 12 Monkeys (Now a TV show in which I am finding hard to follow), Timecop & Looper, just to name a few. But we all know the consequences, right?

Aspiring inventor, 17 year old David Raskin (Jonny Weston) is admitted into MIT and upon searching through his attic, he stumbles across an old video camcorder which belonged to his father who hasn't been around for 10 years with a recoding of his 7th Birthday on it. When viewing the recording, he notices both his 7 year old self with his 17 year old self spotted in a reflection. When David and his sister Christina (Virginia Gardner) as well as his friends Adam Le (Allen Evangelista) and Quinn Goldberg (Sam Lerner) do some more searching, they stumble across a device called Project Almanac, a Temporal Displacement device on which his father Ben Raskin (Gary Weeks) was developing for the United States Military. With the blueprints they find, they continue work on the device and create a time machine to travel back in time.

There is only one rule. If they are to use the time machine, they must all use it together so everyone knows what is happening at any one time. This is also to help the structure of the timeline so that no one amends/changes the timeline without any one else knowing, leaving the "current" timeline in disarray. However, David fails to declare his feelings to his crush Jesse Pierce (Sofia Black D'Elia) and uses the time machine to amend this, but this leaves ramifications when David arrives back to present day and things start to fall apart.

Project Almanac is a found footage teenage science fiction thriller which involved a bunch of students who come across a video camcorder with a recording on it. They Travel back in time and things start going crazy. This is exactly what you would expect in a movie like this, so I wouldn't expect anything majorly spectacular. A good little popcorn movie in which you may not even need to see in the cinema, but if you want to see something to pass the time, this film will keep you somewhat entertained. I wouldn't say the film is rubbish or badly written, but it is a time travelling movie which is Sci-Fi but fairly grounded. So with that said, it does exactly what it says on the tin. What I would say is, if Sci-Fi Time Travel grips you, as time-travel can be very confusing if not followed correctly, you will definitely enjoy this film as you will be itching to find out what these ripple affects are and how can they amend them. But like I said before, nothing too note-worthy and not as much of a classic like some of the films I mentioned earlier, but a decent watch nonetheless. Maybe this will change in time. Haha...get it?

The special effects were great. Along with the acting, the storyline was decent (not much to it really) and the pacing of the film was good. Not once did i feel bored or think there might have been a hole in the plot. This sometimes happens when you come across time travelling stories as there are soo many moving parts when you start to mess with the timeline.

Like Time Travel, go watch it. Not superbly great. Teenagers and a Time machine. What more would you want?

Monday, 2 February 2015

(film review) - Ex Machina

What have we learnt about artificial intelligence? So many films have covered this and for some reason, like Time - travel, Zombies and Vampires, we do not tire from these stories. I'll ask you again. What have we learnt about artificial intelligence? Well, that it isn't real, yet. What if you are able to create an intelligence soo real, you'd mistake it for real intelligence and not an artificial one. What if you are able to create an intelligence soo real which also inhabits a humanoid body soo real, you'd mistake it for a real organic human being and not an artificial technological construct. Is this a scary thought? Does this intrigue you?

The film stars Caleb (Domhnall Gleeson) who is a computer programmer who wins a company lottery syndicate which allows him to meet the CEO of his company, Nathan. Nathan is an eccentric genius who lives in the mountains in his plush home with his only assistant, Kyoko and wants Caleb to spend a week there to perform a series of tests on a humanoid robot named 'Ava'. The tests are to establish if the android's artificial intelligence can be distinguished from human ones. However, Caleb runs the risk of becoming too involved with the experiment and trying to figure out, what is real and what isn't.

I hadn't seen the trailer to this movie, but the movie poster intrigued me. Knowing nothing whatsoever and entering the cinema with a blank slate was refreshing. Sometimes it is great to know absolutely nothing about the film you are about to see. With that said, damn, what an eff'ed up movie. At least had I known what I was getting into, I would have realised this film was a Thriller, a good one, but sometimes knowing just that much helps a great deal. Also with that said, also allows you to pick out the plot. With a small twist at the end which left me dumbfounded, I can honestly say that, visually, this film was great. The storyline and the acting was decent and intriguing. Not once did it get boring or feel strained and Nathan is such an odd character, you want to know more about him along with Ava and everything what is going on in this house. With the tension and suspense building, the final few scenes are dark and twisted, yet gratifying to an extent, but along with being anti-climatic, leaves you wanting more. Maybe they will do a sequel. SkyNet, anyone?

Friday, 2 January 2015

(film review) - Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

I have read a lot of columns and articles revolving around a lot of what people have been stating about this film. Apparently it is a parody of sorts of the main actors life. And after viewing this film, I guess I am at liberty to say, I somewhat agree. To an extent of course. Fortunately, this film came out a lot later over her in the UK due to it's limited release in the states.

You need to be of a certain age to remember Tim Burton's Batman It starred Michael Keaton and Jack Nicolson. These days, people only talk about Christopher Nolan's Batman and if you are lucky or unlucky, you might have caught Val Kilmer or George Clooney's Batman. Although Nolan's Batman Trilogy was great, Tim Burton's Batman and Batman Returns were great films, however, Keaton didn't return after Returns. They are deemed by most, the original Batman films and arguably, Keaton was the best Batman, EVER! Obviously this is subjective and open to debate. It came out in 1989 and although I can proudly say that I didn't see the film when it came out, I did however watch it on my cousins VHS.

This film is about a man named Riggan Thompson (Michael Keaton) who is a washed up hollywood actor trying to get back on track to where he used to be in life. Infamous for playing the role of Birdman, a fictional superhero character which has grossed him popularity and success decades earlier, Riggan wants to reinvent his career by writing, directing and starring in his own Broadway Production. His best friend and lawyer, Jake (Zach ) tries to help him where he can and give him good advice while he is struggling with the production involving problems with the actors. Riggan employs Mike (Edward Norton) a method actor to help resolve this issue. Riggan also struggles with his daughter, Sam (Emma Stone) and the relationship they have together, not to mention that the grand opening is in a few weeks, the previews have been terrible and an influential critic promises to write a negative review, just because she doesn't like Riggan. It is a lot to take in and deal with for Riggan, not to mention the good old glory days being Birdman. Is it time for the Birdman to resurface?

Not to give too much away, this film is an oddly laced black comedy where the location is set on and around the set. Cleverly directed with very clever screenshots. When you go to watch it, I want you to count how man times the camera changed angles. Now I don't mean pan into an angle, I mean change. Film does it all the time, however, this film comes across like one long consistent shot that continues moving. A bit like what Gravity did, but I felt that this film was soo much better due to the dynamic characters and how they used the technique. There is soo much things going on and soo many clever things to see, hear and laugh at. You might even cry during the course of this film, but if you find yourself unable to get into it, you must enjoy the actors and their efforts to bringing their characters and this screenplay to life. Excellent. From the trailers, you aren't particularly shown what this film is about other than a few laughs here and there and a fight, but once you watch this film, you WILL enjoy it. If you don't, I dare you to leave halfway through the film. The actors deserve their nominations for awards, the director and the film. Brilliantly written and directed. I can't really think of anything else to say other than go and see it. It's really really good! Quite possibly one of the best films I've seen this year. I know, we've just started.