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.

(film review) - Friend Request

There are plenty of horror movies out there and to me, they are all basically crap.  I've never really cared for these small movies as they are a run-of-the-mill and are never really anything great, but a few sneaky ones do slip through.  Do you remember Saw? It came out in 2004 and made for $1.2m and made a Box Office of $103.9m.  Do you remember The Grudge? Also 2004 and made for $10m and made a Box Office of $187.2m.  Do you remember The Ring? A little further back, 2002 and made for $48m and made a Box Office of $249.3m.  In case you do not see it, the point I am making is that, these type of films are made for a little bit of money and can make soo much money back, hence the reason why we get soo many of these films.

Laura (Alycia Debnam-Carey) is a very popular girl at college she has 800 friends on Facebook and she enjoys life with her friends and family.  However, one day, a girl named Marina (Liesl Ahlers) sends her a friend request on Facebook in hopes to becoming best friends.  Not knowing anything about Marina, Laura accepts the request and becomes friendly with her, but when Laura does not invite Marina to her Birthday dinner, Marina becomes upset when she sees pictures posted on Facebook and angrily confronts Laura in college, publicly the following day.  In the confrontation, Marina states she will seek revenge on Laura and when Laura unfriends Marina, Marina commits suicide via webcam video and sends it to her.  After that Laura finds herself being stalked and harassed by Marina's demonic spirit.

This film was interesting.  I enjoyed it although it was predictable.  There were a few jump scares involved and a few things that creeped me out a little, but nothing to really write home about.  The film was most likely made for the price of a boneless bargain bucket from KFC and is likely to make soo much more money back as these films do well in the cinema, but with that said, we will see what it does and if it becomes the new SAW series and spawns countless more other films.  Watch if it is your thing or want to know how not to treat others.

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

(film review) - 10 Cloverfield Lane

The word Cloverfield packs quite a punch.  I mean, a film produced by J.J. Abrams in which, for the most part, not a single person knew what the film was about and I remember when I first saw it in the cinema, I was still confused at the end.  I hadn't a clue as to what was going on, how it happened and why.  That was 8 years ago.  Now, we have another film with the word 'Cloverfield' in it and AGAIN, once I left the cinema, I hadn't a clue as to what was going on, how it happened and why.  Is tis great directing or sloppiness?

10 Cloverfield Lane revolves around a woman, Michelle (Mary Elizabeth Winestead) who gets into an accident and wakes up in an underground bunker.  She is joined by Emmett (John Gallagher, Jr.) and the owner of the bunker, Howard (John Goodman).  The world outside the bunker is believed to be unsafe, told through stories told by Howard and Emmett and although Howard is holding these two people in his bunker to help keep them safe from the outside world, Michelle becomes reluctant to stay as she believes there is more at play and maybe the world isn't what she has been told to believe.  With that said, she is faced with endangering herself or her co-habitors in order to seek the truth.

This film is creepy.  It has tension and you never really know what the characters motives are.  Emmett, what is his deal? Howard, is he just crazy and insane or is he telling the truth and the world outside really is a mess.  Until the very end of the film, you never really get an understanding of what is going on and as soon as you do, you are thrown through a loop as things become even more unclear.

This film was good.  I'm guessing a lot more could have been done with a slightly bigger bunker and bigger cast, at least that way, there would be more people to trust, not trust and would have raised that suspense and tension a little more.  The acting from these characters were great and there are some comedic elements to it, but deep down, this film is a thriller.  A scary film where something sinister is lurking and monsters can come in different forms.  The only thing I would say is that, the ending of the film could have been a little better, but it is not certain that when the film is over, if this film is connected to the previous Cloverfield or not. Bizarre but worth the watch.  Nice popcorn flick.

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

(film review) - Triple 9

So, I saw the trailer to this and was like, "Oh right, this looks like it could be good!".  We have a dude from one of my favourite shows I am currently watching, The Walking Dead; another dude from an excellent show I applauded once I finished watching it, albeit, 2 years after everybody else, Breaking Bad; Batfleck's (Ben Affleck) kid brother; a white man who couldn't jump (a favourite actor of mine); Captain America's buddy, The Falcon and a dude who was 12 years a slave, not to mention Wonder Woman or the woman who lost DiCaprio at sea in Titanic.  This film was stacked!!! But did you enjoy it though? I hear you ask.  I did.

A bunch of guys perform a bank robbery to obtain an item for a Russian mob boss, however, when said boss holds out on payment, the gang of crooked cops and criminals led by Michael (Chiwetel Ejiofor) and his two buddies, Russell (Norman Reedus) & Gabe (Aaron Paul), are required to pull off another robbery before they can finally get paid.  Under pressure by the mob boss' wife, Irina (Kate Winslet) and some skeptical members, whilst plotting how to pull off their next robbery, they devise a plan to pull a 'Triple 9' which will mean every cop will race and attend the scene of the crime buying them time to pull it off.  However, things go awry when gang members are wary of one another, cannot trust one another and each member have their own drive and motivation.  Throw in a new cop partner (Casey Affleck) in there and a Sgt. Detective (Woody Harrelson) trying to solve the bank robbery looking for every bit of clue he can find, we have ourselves a sticky situation.

This film is gritty and hard.  It reminds me of training day, but with more characters and a lot more action.  The pacing of the film is a little off as I found it somewhat difficult to follow and I couldn't figure out who were the cops and who were the criminals (probably playing to the aim of the director) and what the end game was.  I felt like I was in the movie trying to watch my own back, it was somewhat gripping but slow in places.  Not so much the twists and the turns, the film does become somewhat predictable.  I do feel that maybe this film would have been better if Nolan directed it or the Russo Brothers.  I can't explain it, but I felt like it was missing something.

Go and see this film though.  I mean, with such a cast, with not a single person phoning it in, this is a well acted and enjoyable film.  Affleck, Ejifor, Mackie, Winslet...all brilliant.  Even Reedus and Paul were great.  I would like to see more films for them so they can up their game. So for the most part, it's a good movie, have a gander.

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

(film review) - The Brothers Grimby

The best character of Sacha is Borat.  When I first saw Borat on the Ali G part of the bjbl Show, I found him soo funny, that when the film came out, I had to watch it.  Had to.  And I was not disappointed at all.  Soon after was Bruno in which I thought was borderline ok at very best. It felt like Borat but an overly extreme version and most of the gags, to me anyway, I didn't find overly funny like how I found Borat.  Like a rehash of the jokes.  The Dictator was better and now we have Grimsby, a cross between Ali G and...well, Ali G, I guess.

Grimsby is about a man who reconnects with his long lost brother after years of no contact.  A lot has changed between the two brothers, one of them is an undercover spy for the MI6, Sebastian (Mark Strong) and the other is a man how has 11 children living with his wife, Nobby (Sacha Baron Cohen) and lives in a small fishing town he grew up in called Grimsby.  When Nobby meet's his brother, Nobby doesn't realise that his brother is a spy and ends up tagging along so that he does not lose his brother again.  However, the life of a spy is no joke and could mean tactical espionage, shooting guns, fights and saving the world.  Sebastian might need the help of England's biggest idiot, his brother Nobby to help save the world.

First off, I wasn't expecting to see this film and having seen the trailer, I wasn't going to.  I mean, I knew it would be funny, but with what I had said earlier in terms of a rehash of jokes, I went into this film thinking, "yeah I've seen this before and it's going to be the same kind of thing".  Was I right, pretty much.  Was it funny? Pretty much.  Was it a decent film to watch? Pretty much.  Will you love it? Depends on your humour, but for me, No.  I liked it as it was entertaining and funny but not a cinema movie at all.  You could probably wait to see this on TV at home and you will enjoy it whilst chilling.  Maybe even drunk or high.  The film isn't garbage and Sacha brings all that he can into this type of movie.  The kind of movie he is known for doing like the fore-mentioned, but for me, I want to see something different from him.  Well acted as usual by Sacha and even better for Mark Strong as I didn't know he could transition to this kind of film and he was very funny in it.  But ultimately, this film is nothing to write home about.  Your normal slapstick, below the belt and somewhat outrageous scenes and jokes you've seen and not seen before.  Prepare to laugh and be somewhat grossed out.

Saturday, 13 February 2016

(film review) - Deadpool

Deadpool. What the hell is a Deadpool? Well the answer to that is actually explained in the film.  I'm not 100% if this is correct to the comic book universe which has been retconned over the many years after the character was conceived, but like Deadpool, he derives from the Marvel comic book universe and is a genetically modified person.  Think of Captain America.  Think of Wolverine's adamantium covered bones and healing factor.  Think Spider-Man (A character they modelled Deadpool off of fusing him with Deadshot from DC. Comics).  The point I am trying to make here is that, Deadpool is an experiment and not necessarily a Mutant although he has the Mutant healing ability Wolverine has as he was also a part of the Weapon X program Wolverine was subjected to.  A point that was slightly/briefly covered in the terrible film, X-Men Origin: Wolverine, a film that brought us Deadpool as Wade Wilson and completely butchered his character and appearance.  This film basically gives you a better and more correct telling of Wade Wilson, the merc with a mouth who is a completely self-aware character and how he becomes Deadpool.

Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds) is a Mercenary.  He will kill people for money and he has no problems with that.  A bit of an arsehole and a bit crazy (messed up in the head), he eventually meets a woman who he then falls in love with, Vanessa (Morena Baccarin).  Whilst in this relationship, Wade is diagnosed with terminal cancer which forces him to leave her to seek treatment at the hands of Francis/Ajax (Ed Skrein).  However, as the deal does not pan out to be exactly how it was initially intended, Wade must now correct the outcome of the experiment and save his girlfriend at the same time.  To add to Wade's troubles, both Colossus (Stefan Kapičić) and Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand) join him on his quest.

First of all, this is a hilarious movie.  Maybe for some of you, some of the jokes may not hit, but there are soo many jokes throughout this film, you'd be forgiven if you thought this film was a comedy.  To be precise, this film is a revenge movie infused with a love story.  About a man trying to get his girl.  But as well as being a revenge story, a superhero comic book movie as well as one, NOT FOR KIDS, this film is firing on all cylinders.  If you have seen the marketing, the lewd/sexual jokes and the violence (including blood) in the trailers, this film basically spells out ADULT in every single way possible.  This is a character for adults with adult themes, although a superhero movie.  You will see the contrasts of his character and the X-Men characters when you watch the film which makes the movie work soo well.  Another element to this movie that makes the movie work soo well is that, Wade is a very self-aware character.  In the comics, he is THE ONLY CHARACTER in comic book history (I think), who knows he is in a comic book.  He would often approach subject matters outside of comic book lure and also address his readers.  This film does the same thing.  They stick soo close to the comics with this, the results are hilarious.  Poking fun and making jokes about anything and EVERYTHING! Blink and you will miss it, but there is a moment #Spoilers (I guess), that Deadpool actually moves the camera for the audience and at times he would randomly address the audience where the other characters won't have the foggiest of whom he is talking to.

Brilliantly executed by director Tim Miller and excellent acted by Ryan Reynolds.  With other actors doing a great job such as the main villain Ajax, his "sidekick"/Bodyguard Angeldust (Gina Carano), this film is bound to entertain.  The fact that they made this film for $58m dollars, which sounds like a lot, but in comic book movie standards is, peanuts, this film does not come off as sloppy, badly edited nor cheaply made.  I guess there is an argument to made in regards to a few shots but...$58 million? X-Men Origins Wolverine was made for $150m and the last X-Men film, Days of Future Past was made for $200m. How is that for context?

Have a watch, i'm sure you will love it.

Friday, 1 January 2016

(film review) - Creed

For those who know me, you know I love to watch movies.  For those who don't know, I only blog about movies I have seen in the cinema.  With that said, there are a ton of great or classic films I have not seen growing up and while some will shock and surprise you, others might even urge you to disown me.  Also, I do not watch movies which are halfway through a story.  I have to start from the beginning.  In regards to Creed, this is the 7th "Rocky" film from the Rocky franchise in which I have not seen before.  Well, properly.  Any of them.  But this is different, right?  Leave me and let me get on with it.

If you are completely new to the fold (like me, *cough, cough* - Sorta), Creed is a spin-off from the Rocky films starring Sylvester Stallone as Rocky Balboa, an underdog boxer, his struggles and rise to fame and eventually, his retirement (I think, I'm not entirely sure as I haven't seen them all properly or the last one).  Creed follows a similar beat.  Adonis (Michael B. Jordan) is a young guy with a passion for boxing trying to find his place and make a name for himself.  One might say it is in his veins and is the only thing that keeps him alive.  From having a troublesome childhood, Adonis has dreams of being a boxer like his father and although he has a lot going on for him in life, nothing gets his blood pumping more than boxing.  Wanting to become just like his father, a famous boxer, a champ, Adonis seeks the help of Rocky to train him.  Rocky being retired, at first is reluctant to train young Adonis but due to Adonis' drive and passion, ends up being trained by the famous Rocky Balboa to his first proper fight.  That's really about it.  Nothing more, nothing less really.  But this is a very well directed film.

The Director Ryan Coogler did a brilliant job of balancing old with the new and telling a story which stands on it's own away from the Rocky franchise but manages to stay connected.  A story about a young aspiring boxer trained by an old legend.  Charming in places, funny in others and the cinematography, for me, was great.  Angles and imagery.  The settings, how more "urban" it was without being oversaturated. The story isn't overly unexpected or surprising but their are some great moments with great dialog and scenes. What this film did for me, should do for others who haven't properly seen the rise of Rocky Balboa.  The true underdog story.  Having seen this film, I really wanted to watch all of the previous Rocky films and get an understanding of how Rocky became Rocky.  For those who have seen a few Rocky films and enjoyed them or are fans of the Rocky franchise, they should love this film.  This film sits firmly within the Rocky universe as it's own individual franchise apart from Rocky, but within the same wheelhouse.

Sylvester's acting was great.  I cannot compare his character to his previous, for obvious reasons, but as an old boxer who isn't caught up with today's youth, urban culture and/or society and technology, this film has some truly great moments of letting these shine through, especially with the training montages.  Michael is excellent in his portrayal of Adonis.  There is a scene where Adonis is talking with Rocky after an incident at a club and is somewhat emotional. That Coogler really knows how to touch you in that spot, even if it is slight.  I cannot wait to see more from the three, hopefully.  Go and see this film.  With the Oscars coming up, someone should be winning something.  The Director maybe?