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Captain America: Civil War (2016)
Words can't describe my love for this film so, in one word, just like Spider-Man: Amazing!
8 years ago, some of the greatest characters in comic history had a whole new world opened up to them thanks to 2008's Iron Man. Nobody thought the film would have the impact it did, including me. Now we are in 2016 and we have reached Captain America: Civil War. It boasts the most characters in a Marvel film, the best film in the entire Marvel franchise and also the greatest action scene in any superhero movie ever, but we will get onto that later.
So the film serves as not only a new Avengers story but also a solid sequel to Captain America: The Winter Soldier. It would be easy to make a film with so many characters sideline the Captain America story, but this film really is at it's core a Captain America film. Sure there is a lot to cram in but it is done so well and fits in so well as part of a trilogy. I saw this film as a midnight screening and saw it along with the other two films beforehand. It really is a good idea to watch both Captain America films before and notice the detail put in to incorporate these stories. Cap is my all time favourite Avenger and seeing the development all three of these films has give him really is amazing.
The basic plot without spoilers involves the Avengers causing a huge disaster on a mission in Lagos which results in the government devising the Sokovia accords which they must sign in order to operate under them. Tony Stark feels guilty about the casualties and destruction but Steve Rogers wants to keep operating freely and saving the world. This results in a divide between them and the other Avengers are forced to decide who's side they are on. Whilst this is happening Cap and Falcon are still on the hunt for Bucky Barnes which does play in to the start of the Civil War but i will leave it at that. So already there is a lot going on and we also get the introduction of Spider-Man and Black Panther as well as Daniel Brul as villain Baron Zemo. It would be easy to make this film a complete mess like Batman v Superman but it was not. It is hard not to compare the films because they are quite similar, involving destruction etc. But this film does it so much better.
The airport scene in this film where the two teams fight for the first time is perfect. Tom Holland's introduction as Spider-Man happens just before this and his personality even when fighting is perfectly nailed. Black Panther also feels the same way, just the way these characters are on the big screen is a dream come true. Seeing Ant Man (who is awesome by the way) interact with Vision and Spiderman interact with Ant Man and Black Panther interact with Captain America etc. It is perfect. I also have seen the film and still don't know which side i am on. You want to be with both Steve and Tony on this because they are both right and have valid points. But seeing the personalities of every character clash and play in to every scene they are in is just brilliant. The villain of the film, Zemo, is average at best though which is the only small gripe. Crossbones as well barely has any screen time, but Zemo's plan almost seems like something that the teams could have fought over themselves.
At 2 hours 20 mins there is a lot to cram in but in the end as a Marvel film this one is the best by far. It is emotional, hilarious and most importantly awesome. I cannot recommend the film enough. I have seen it twice already and that won't be the last time. Films don't get much better than this.
The greatest Gladiator match in the history of the world.. sort of
So first things first i am not a fan of Man of Steel, i really didn't like it. But also bear in mind that i was excited as hell when this film got announced. So Batman v Superman Dawn of Justice, how could you not be excited by that name? But like many i have some strong feelings on the film that need to be addressed and i will dive straight into them.
The film follows on directly from Man of Steel and the opening is very cool. We are shown the destruction of Metropolis and it was quite an interesting take on what most people hated from MoS. We are introduced to Bruce Wayne who was there when things were going down with Superman and Zod and straight off the bat (no pun intended) Ben Affleck was incredible. He gives what is in my opinion the most accurate and raw performance as Bruce Wayne and Batman yet, as one of the few people that was on board with Batfleck from the beginning that makes me happy. Jeremy Irons as Alfred i also liked a lot, but he wasn't in it enough and instead the focus is on less interesting characters such as Amy Adams' Lois Lane, who did nothing in this film and bored me.
So overall the Batman element was very cool and it was great getting to see him do some real detective work. Ben Affleck's take from that to the fighting style was very similar to the Arkham games but take that as a huge positive. Anyway, that being said the rest of the film just comes across in one word as Sloppily edited. Scenes will be taking place and then completely change into another scene that feels out of place and has no context. This happens a hell of a lot of times. I have no problem with Henry Cavill but in this film Superman is one of the least interesting parts. At first it is interesting to see him in the courthouse and he is on trial, people are trying to figure out whether he is a hero or a threat. I liked that, but i feel it is something that maybe should have been addressed in Man of Steel and not here because honestly it takes up most of the film and just comes across as boring after a while, especially when the film focuses on Clark and Lois for long periods of time.
So already it feels like a lot is going on, but there is more. My biggest worry was Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor, i felt he was a miscast and guess what, i've seen the film and i still feel like he is a miscast. Lex only speaks in one liners for this entire film and it did not feel like the character although he was playing Lex Luthor Jr. It was nice to see Jesse put his own stamp in the character but ultimately it didn't work because as i was watching the film i was thinking "this guy would be great as The Riddler". So we have the subplot of Lex obtaining Kryptonite in order to take out Superman as well as creating Doomsday for no reason. Then we have Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman. I'll be honest, i thought she was awesome but the film would have been the same film without her. I feel she was used to shoehorn in other members of the Justice League who are all introduced, my favourite of which was Cyborg, but we do see Aquaman and the Flash too. Anyway, when Wonder Woman turns up it was an awesome moment, she had her own really cool theme song and the Trinity standing together was such a wow moment and it made me crack a huge smile. But yeah, she has her own plot so already we are getting ahead of ourselves and haven't even spoken about the main event.
So the fight happens towards the end of the movie and is resolved in about 10 minutes. The fight itself was really cool, Batman and Superman clashing was awesome and the dialogue between them was great, i like how they made Superman more human because you actually see him get hurt. The fight is so brutal but the way the two of them resolve it, well it was just ridiculous. And then we have Doomsday, who for one thing was spoiled in the trailer, but he didn't need to be here at all. He was like the love child of a 2012 Ninja Turtle and the troll from Harry Potter, but he was literally just a plot point to bring the Trinity together and to see them fight on the big screen for the first time which admittedly was cool to see.
In the end, i can't help but feel disappointed by Dawn of Justice. Ben Affleck and Gal Gadot are going to make great additions to the DCU and there are a lot of cool things to like. But the pacing is terrible, the CGI completely took me out of it especially during the weird dream sequence. The villain had no motivation and i forgot why he was after Superman and most of the characters, besides Batman and Wonder Woman, were uninteresting. Is it worth seeing? Well, sure but i know you will be seeing it anyway. Is the pay off enough? No it really isn't. It was cool to see the characters together but the film could have been so much more. I am however excited for the Wonder Woman movie and excited to see how they move things forward in later films so if the film was trying to be a tease for things to come in the future then yes it did succeed, even if in the end all we get is something that is 100% average.
10 Cloverfield Lane (2016)
this is how you do tension..
10 Cloverfield Lane is 2016's biggest surprise, nobody knew we were getting a sequel to Cloverfield, but really we never were. This film carries the Cloverfield name but it actually has nothing to do with Cloverfield. None of it is filmed with hand-held cameras and honestly i found myself a lot more entertained by this one. I like the first film a lot, but this is a different film entirely and it really benefits from it too.
The film follows Mary Elizabeth Winstead's character who is involved in a terrible accident, but is "rescued" and finds herself captive in a bunker with Emmett played by John Gallager Jr. And Howard, a man who doesn't seem like the person he says he is, played by a creepy but incredibly well acted John Goodman. He tells her that she can't leave the bunker because the air outside is toxic and that they will all die, but is this as accurate as he says? Honestly the cast in this film is great. John Goodman has done some brilliant films and i love him as an actor, but i have NEVER seen him like this before. There are scenes where you feel bad for him and you want to really like him and then he does something where you're thinking "who the hell is this guy?!" There was more than one occasion where i jumped out of my seat and the tension really had me gripping the sides of my seat because it was so well done. There is a scene quite near the end where something happened and my hand instantly went to cover my mouth and i stayed like that for at least 5 minutes because it shocked me so much, there is no build up, it just happened.
Most of the scenes that take place in this bunker have an air of tension to them, even when John Goodman is wiggling his backside to music on his jukebox i thought, man this guy is hiding something. It is really easy to put yourself in the shoes of Mary Elizabeth Winstead's character because it almost makes you feel like you are trapped in this bunker with the three characters not knowing who to trust. A lot of people have issues with the ending of this film and yeah, i don't really know how to feel about it either. It happens, the film ends and you're sort of sat there like "hmm.. okay", i don't hate it like a lot of people do, but i see what they're getting at and it could have been handled a little better. But all in all, this is one of the best films of 2016 so far. The last 15-20 minutes are straight up tension fuelled madness and my heart was racing. I'd say watch it a few times because the ending may make more sense which is why i am going to see it again, but this is a highly enjoyable, intense thrill ride which needs to be seen
Fifty Shades of Black (2016)
a film that is a parody of a film that is a fan fiction of a film that already got a parody.. EUGH!
Here is my review in short. DO NOT SEE THIS FILM. It sucks worse than fifty shades of grey.. which is an absolute trainwreck. I didn't pay, but feel bad for giving any of my time to the film and as well as being unfunny it is incredibly boring, racist and horrendus. I chuckled about twice and one of those times was coz fifty shades of grey was read as a torture technique.. so well played. There was a skit involving whiplash which may have been bearable on SNL but not here.
All i will say is save your time and oxygen. Go and be with your family, be anywhere but here. Quite frankly i saw 10 Cloverfield Lane today and i'd rather talk about that so.. see ya.
the most unnerving cinematic experience in a very long time.
I've heard a lot about this film prior to going in. It is the sort of film that you either really like or really dislike and it is clear why. The Witch is a 1630s English folktale and it doesn't shy away from showing that. Things get very real very fast and i can easily say this is the most unnerving films i have been to see for quite some time.
By that i don't mean it is a jump scare fest. I've seen a fair share of horror movies this year and all of them have been complete tripe, with countless jumpscares and a put you to sleep kind of vibe. The Witch features my favourite type of horror, the psychological type, and with that it provided something truly unique. The plot is simple, a 1630s family is torn apart and plagued by witchcraft and terrible unsettling things happen. Of course a lot more does happen, and over the course of the film i felt more and more uneasy. I have heard people complain the 1630s feel makes it boring, but never once was i bored. I was transported straight to this time period and i was transfixed to the screen for the entire duration. This is very much a family film and every member of the family does such an amazing job. The father of the family plays his role so well and you are constantly guessing what he is possibly hiding. This film will keep you guessing the whole way through, but does a stellar job at getting right inside your head and under your skin.
The first scene where the witch was introduced to the audience happens quite early on, it genuinely terrified me. Not to the point i was screaming aloud and jumping out of my seat, it was a different type of terrified. I was glued to my seat, not able to take my eyes off the screen as the sounds from the speakers were ringing through my ears getting louder and louder until the scene changed and put me back into reality. All of the scenes like this were the same, they would consume and take you out of reality for a bit to remind you that what you are watching is something that could have easily happened. It was terrifying also how realistic this film actually was, i know it was only filmed over a course of 25 days but it feels like the camera crew literally went out to film a 1630s family suffering from the threat of witchcraft and put it into a 90 minute film. I love when a 90 minute film can pull you in so much that it feels like a lot longer.
I hope psychological horror makes a huge comeback, i said this when i reviewed It Follows and until now, nothing had quite compared, but The Witch does. It is the best horror for a very long time and is one that i will honestly be thinking about for well over a week because that is what this genre of film does for me. Go and see it in cinemas.. but if you are faint hearted then beware because it will keep you up at night, in the best possible way.
one of the most beautiful, heartfelt, human pieces of cinematic art i have ever seen.. with no actual humans
Anomalisa, this film itself is a bit of an anomaly. Something that could have easily been done with two live actors is translated perfectly into a stop motion animation that looks and feels so wonderful. I swear halfway through i forgot i was even watching an animated film, i was so enthralled and mesmerised by what was going on in the film itself and it really is something that begs to be seen to be believed.
The film follows Michael Stone, who is such an interesting and complex character to begin with. He is voiced wonderfully by David Thewlis who gives this character such raw emotion and throughout this character is unpredictable. He sees everyone as looking and sounding the same (Tom Noonan voices all secondary characters in a creepy yet mesmerising fashion) and is fed up with his mundane life as he is lonely and depressed. He then meets Lisa who is incredibly different to him, voiced again perfectly by Jennifer Jason Leigh. He believes Lisa is the person to turn his life around and she is seemingly perfect to him, but by the end there is a shocking revelation but i won't spoil this for you.
Animated films are a great way to show raw emotion from a character, but never has it been done so perfectly. These characters are flawed and have deep desires and when they meet each other you feel nothing could be more perfect. I won't lie though by the end i was looking at my own life and thinking about all the flaws etc. I have because Charlie Kaufman is just so good at doing this. The relationship between the two characters are like a cross between Lost in Translation and Eternal Sunshine, the latter because at times this film gets VERY surreal. As a result, this film won't be for everyone, but it really helped me to connect to it. You will walk out wondering what is real, or what is a depression induced nightmare. But at the same time it is bittersweet, you look back and feel pretty good about this film but then you think to the core of it and it makes you sad you even thought that. So at the end of it all, it is an interesting Marvel to behold.
Please, see this film. It won't be out for long. Don't let a hard R animation put you off.. because yeah this film gets graphic and has probably the most realistic sex scene I've seen in forever. But i really hope people go to see this one, it won't be out for long, but like Lost in Translation i feel that Anomalisa deserves to be called a modern masterpiece. I hope it garners a cult following in years to come, because it would be much deserved.
The Other Side of the Door (2016)
what is it with horror movies and lost potential?!
Like, seriously. Here we have a film with a plot that genuinely sounds decent but the filmmakers are incapable of pulling off. Sound familiar? Well that is because this has happened already this year with The Forest.. but The other side of the Door manages to be even worse. Horror films used to be inventive and fun in a twisted way, but is that now impossible to pull off?!
The plot involves a woman who's son is killed in a terrible and tragic accident, she discovers she can communicate again with him through an ancient Indian temple, but is warned to never open the door. Of course, if you warn somebody in a cliché horror movie not to do something they are totally gonna do it and she does which brings all the spirits into the world of the living. It could have been done so well.. but i put emphasis on the COULD. First of all the son is evil now. Literally a line of dialogue is "he is evil". Now, correct me if I'm wrong but this was never explained.. ever. Are we supposed to just look at him and say "yeah that makes sense considering he's dead". There was no hint to this when he was alive and no back story.
Unexplained things like this happened a lot in this film and it really bugged me. Nothing was ever scary, not even the jump scares made me jump, which is a bad sign to begin with. Not to mention i drifted off many times for a few seconds over the course of the film.. which should never happen if i am enjoying something. By that i mean i did not enjoy any of this film. The premise is great but the way it was executed just felt so wrong. So in the end, this film is just another cliché horror garbage fest that i will end up forgetting about by the end of the week probably. I really hope i get the horror i crave by the end of the year, 10 Cloverfield Lane is why i remain hopeful.
London Has Fallen (2016)
chances are.. you have already seen this film.
And by that title i don't mean you have all flocked to see it on opening weekend, i mean as far as action movies go it is so bland and forgettable that it just feels like we have already seen it. I give London has Fallen a 5 however because i do not remember sitting in the cinema hating this film.. but i definitely don't remember liking it so much either.
So Gerard Butler returns as right hand man to Aaron Eckhart's president as they go to London after the prime minister has been killed. It started quite interesting really, all the world leaders were conviniently there but i thought maybe they will go all out this time and put all the world leaders at risk.. because at least then it adds something more for the audience. Nope, they are never seen again after things start to blow up. So yeah, throw in Morgan Freeman in a control room and we have our movie. The action itself was cool i wont lie, i was engrossed into it.. but then after an action scene had ended i would think oh yeah.. that happened in every other action film ever. So in that sense London has Fallen doesn't really have much of a reason to exist at all.
The friendship between Gerard Butler and Aaron Eckhart is very believable which i guess is a nice little bonus and Butler is pretty badass. The third act though.. it was nonsense. The CGI was just bad. For example a huge CGI flame chases the leads down a hallway. How they don't look like Anakin Skywalker from Episode 3 i don't know because i swear it went straight through them. But here's the thing.. i switched my brain off and if you quite literally do too then you won't have a terrible time probably. I don't hate the film, i don't really like the film.. i have no feeling towards it which is why i gave it the average rating of 5.
Hail, Caesar! (2016)
another solid Coens brothers effort.. just not quite a classic yet
I love the Coen brothers. They are responsible for some of my favourite comedy films including The Big Lebowski and Fargo so naturally i had high hopes for Hail, Caeser! Amazing star studded cast, interesting premise and a brilliant trailer. The film isn't quite to scale of those classics but it is a very solid film and i did have a lot of fun watching it.
Hail, Caeser! Is the name of a film within a film that provides the backbone of the movie. Josh Brolin is a top Hollywood screenwriter, Ed Mannix and George Clooney plays his leading man Baird Whitlock. When Baird is kidnapped from the set Ed wonders to himself why?! And that is about all i can say because the trailers are vague and i want everyone to go into this film not knowing too much because i guarantee you will have a better time. Now i did mention the cast is star-studded but by that i mean they all have very small roles. Clooney and Brolin are the only characters who get a huge amount of screen time and the story very much revolves around them, which is fine because they both shine. Especially Clooney walkibg around in an amusing roman get up. Scarlett Johansson shows up and does well as always but for a very limited and almost pointless time. Jonah Hill, he is just a cameo. I was excited to see how Jonah Hill would fare in a Coens brothers film but he appears for probably 30 seconds or less. Channing Tatum is great too though, he adds comedic flair but also has a big role to play in the main storyline.
Can i recommend Hail Caeser to a variety of audiences? Yes i can. Fans of the Coens will have a good time, media students like myself and screenwriters will have a good time and i believe general moviegoers will enjoy themselves too. There are a good few laugh out loud moments and it is a lot of fun unravelling the bigger picture. Like i said, not quite a classic yet, but maybe it can reach cult status in years to come.
Kung Fu Panda 3 (2016)
Kung fu panda is a concept so ridiculous that we think to ourselves.. it is actually genius. Jack Black returns as the lovable Po, and shows us just why we missed him so much in the years we had to wait. These films always deal with acceptance and Kung Fu Panda 3 is no exception, with an added family element. I give praise for this for the simple reason that Bryan Cranston is AWESOME and really stands out in a movie that already has some brilliant stars, he was so funny and heartwarming as Po's biological father and makes a welcome addition to the cast.
The story follows Po as he is asked to teach the furious 5 so Shifu can retire and master 'Chi'. After a bad session he meets his father by chance and finds out about a new supernatural threat from the spirit realm, played by the brilliant J.K Simmons. He adds his own stamp to this character and gives us a badass villain, like Cranston becoming a welcome edition. Po embarks on a journey to a secret panda village to himself master 'Chi' and take out Kai for good. So for a start the story is brilliant, it keeps everyone entertained and never lingers on for too long. The members of the furious 5 however do get less screen time, even Angelina Jolie's Tigress although she does play the biggest role of the 5. The standout for the limited screen time he has is Seth Rogen's Mantis. I don't know what it is but i love this character and wanted more of him.
If you are a fan of the other films in the Kung Fu Panda franchise like i am then you won't be disappointed. The film manages to stay on par with both previous films and has all the humour and kung fu action you can expect from it. If the franchise ended here i would be happy, i would love more from the characters and the world built around them, but i really don't want the franchise to outstay it's welcome at the same time. But anyway, go see Kung Fu Panda 3. It is much better than the forgettable London has Fallen and you won't regret it!
The Forest (2016)
great premise... strays from the path it encourages you to stay on
Like a lot of people, the overwhelmingly negative reception for The Forest didn't really put me off. I mean, sure i looked at the 10% rotten tomatoes score and thought "that many people surely cant be wrong?" But the film has a great premise which intrigued me, the problem is that it never managed to pull off what so easily could have made one of the better horror films in recent times. I mean, a few tweaks and this film could have been a psychological nightmare and a modern horror classic.. which is why it sucks that the film never managed to do that.
The film follows typical horror movie hot blonde Sarah (Natalie Dormer) as she embarks on a journey into the suicide forests of Japan to find her twin sister who is believed to have killed herself (also Natalie Dormer). What was interesting though is the underlying themes of madness within the forest. They were definitely there, but where they tried with the surreal imagery and the plot twists involving Sarah's overtaking madness, all it came across as was bizarre and not in a good way. Like the male character in the film, can't remember his name, but he was sort of a shifty character all of a sudden. There was no hint to it and then suddenly it is like "is he as bad as we are being led to believe?" Which again is a cool premise, but we needed to be slowly introduced to that from the beginning, not because the plot calls for it to suddenly happen. My theory is that he may have been that way because of her imagination and how the forest messes with her head, but it wasn't even made clear whether we were even supposed to speculate this, so he probably was just that way for the sake of it.
The setting looks great and creepy and could have had some real dark, psychological moments for us to be thinking about. What the film does is what most horrors do, which is rely on jump scares to lazily scare us. It doesn't work. The film wasn't scary and i really wanted it to be with such a premise. From the beginning creepy imagery and jumpscares are what we are spoon fed to be scared. The film did try i think, it had things there which worked, but as a whole it let me down. But Natalie Dormer does her best and shines as the lead and i have seen horror much worse than this before. In the end The Forest comes off as mediocre at best and i would only recommend if there is nothing to do and you happen to catch it on TV.
i haven't laughed this hard for a very long time..
Grimsby is the latest from mastermind Sacha Baron Cohen. And by mastermind i mean completely twisted individual who makes me laugh until i can't breathe. I love all of the films this guy makes, even the Dictator made me laugh a lot. So the man behind Borat brings us something so bizarre that it may well just be the most bonkers thing he has done yet. Over the short 80 minute runtime we get an elephant orgy (with two men inside one of the elephants), a crude use of fireworks and Donald Trump is given AIDS. If none of that appeals to you or sounds too vulgar do not go and see Grimsby.
The film follows Sacha Baron Cohen as Nobby, a football fan from Grimsby who has been searching for his long lost brother (Mark Strong) for 28 years. Now first thing to note, i have never been to Grimsby, but i imagine it is at least slightly different to how we see it in this film. What we are shown is a run down town where kids walk around with jugs of beer down the pub. We meet characters such as Johnny Vegas as a fisherman and Ricky Tomlinson.. a registered sex offender. But anyway, Nobby's brother Sebastian is an MI6 secret agent and when Nobby finds him he accidentally puts his whole mission in jeopardy. So of course, Nobby and Sebastian have to team up and stop a virus spreading to all the lowlifes, by an underused Penelope Cruz. The most unrealistic thing about this film isn't the over the top spy sequences or Mark Strong getting nobbed in the head by elephant bellend, but the fact the last action set piece takes place with England at the world cup final, but anyway.
The film provided way more laughs than i ever imagined it could. A scene in particular where Nobby happens to mix up a woman who is trying to seduce him with a toilet cleaner is laugh out loud hilarious and i was honestly doubled up laughing at the situation he got himself in to. It is safe to say that with this film i laughed way more than i have this year and i had tears streaming down my face. Rebel Wilson plays "well fit" Nobby's wife among other actors in the film, but this film very much relies on the chemistry between Strong and Baron Cohen and it really works. Its the funniest Sacha Baron Cohen film since Borat and if all you are looking for is a good laugh then i highly recommend. Yes a ridiculous plot and yes it is absolutely 100% British humour, but i had a great time watching this film and to be honest, i don't doubt i will be seeing it again.
Triple 9 (2016)
great performances, not sure about much else..
Triple 9 follows a gang of criminals, including Aaron Paul, Anthony Mackie, the dude from 12 years a slave (can never spell his name), Norman Reedus and more. They rob a bank, but for their next job they have to actually kill a police officer. Anthony Mackie's character though is a slippery snake police officer as well as criminal and they decide to target his new partner, Casey Affleck. Now that premise is an intriguing one and when the film focuses purely on this aspect it becomes an intriguing film. However, there was more than one time that i was bored in this movie.
To me among an all star cast Aaron Paul and Anthony Mackie really stood out. But when you have such a big cast with Woody Harrelson and Kate Winslet also included, it means some big stars get a lot less screen time. For example i don't really watch the walking dead but i did want to see Norman Reedus show me his acting range, yet he just wasn't in this film long enough to even be credited among the main cast. But the stories of the two before i mentioned in particular were great, Aaron Paul's performance was sort of similar to the way he portrays Jesse Pinkman in Breaking Bad but it worked and he shined in the role. Kate Winslet though, i don't really know what she was trying to get across with her character but whatever it was didn't really work for me. I'll be honest, i didn't even recognise her at first.
So anyway, to wrap it up, Triple 9 isn't bad. The opening of this film is great but then you start to hope the film wraps up soon because it starts to drag and feel longer than it is and when a film makes you feel like that it doesn't make you want to see it again. But when the story kicks in it gives some good twists and turns and it is solid. So whilst this film is far from perfect, it is an okay film and i'd say if you were to catch it on TV then try it out, just don't expect it to go out all guns blazing.
Pizza Toots, HAHAHAHA! What a load of bull chip..
I'm gonna take a slightly different approach. It would take me too long to go in depth as to what i think of this film, so i'll start at the beginning and talk about aspects of.. you know what, let's just do this, as i take a swig of the strongest whiskey i can find.
So the Road Chip, another hilariously bad title, follows Alvin, Simon and Theodore as they go on a road trip (in a plane?) To stop Dave, a suicidal looking Jason Lee, from marrying the mother of a guy who is a serious animal abuser but then we are supposed to feel for him. Along the way they encounter Tony Hale as an air marshall who hates the Chipmunks for an incredibly stupid reason. As far as plot goes that is literally it. Tony Hale's character i kept forgetting about until he would randomly appear in a scene to move the plot forward and the same goes for the Chipettes. They spent 2 movies building these characters up and now its like... okay have them disappear for most of the film and then have them come back 5 minutes before the film ends to sing a terrible song. I mean, i feel for Jason Lee, he has been in all of these things. At least David Cross got out of it. I will say, this is the best of the 'Squeakuals' because i guess the plot is more consistent, but that isn't saying a huge deal now is it?
Anyway, in the course of 90 minutes, the chipmunks kidnap and DRUG squirrels, become ACTUAL TERRORISTS and John Waters makes a cameo with Alvin referencing PINK FLAMINGOS! Okay i admit i laughed out loud at that scene. But all of what i just mentioned, i couldn't make that up guys. I'd say that i would cut the film some slack for being an innocent kids film, but it doesn't even manage that! Bad CGI chipmunks singing uptown funk may be entertaining on Youtube but in a 90 minute film? Please stop. Jason Lee lives with ACTUAL RODENTS and nobody bats an eyelid, his girlfriend is just fine with that. By far the stupidest scene is when she asks Dave whether the boys are his and "how does that work?" This happens 10 minutes in and its safe to say, i switched off at this moment and gave up. Do i recommend? Well of course i don't. I give it one star for the John Waters scene, one star because the talk with my friends about it and this review were fun and one because.. well it is a film. Stay away from this one, it may give you rabies
Zoolander 2 (2016)
a dumb movie about dumb people.. think about that
Ben Stiller's cult comedy classic Zoolander came out back in 2001 and like many i love it, it is one of my favourite comedies. I heard about the sequel and as somebody who actually enjoyed another long time coming sequel, Anchorman 2, i was actually a bit excited to see Derek, Hansel and Mugatu back on the big screen. I thought that as long as there is at least one scene that was as funny as the 'Relax' scene from the first then i would enjoy it. Whilst nothing ever hits that mark here, i did laugh a fair few times and i did feel entertained just not to the same extent. It was great to see the characters back together again but if this movie had never happened then it wouldn't have made a huge impact.
I will start off by saying that this film probably has the best opening scene of all time. There is just something so gleeful and satisfying about seeing Justin Bieber get shot down multiple times. Anyway, this sets the course for one of a few loose plots which involves the world's most beautiful people being killed. Of course, Derek Zoolander is pulled into this world after some catastrophic events that happened after the events of the first film. Derek and Hansel are brought in by a hot interpol agent played by Penelope Cruz, and along the way try to get Derek's son back. And then Mugatu is released from prison to further the plot Etc. Etc. So as you can tell the plot is absolutely all over the place. Once again Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson have great chemistry and bounce off of each other very well. All the cast looks like they are having a great time, especially Will Ferrell who is again hilarious and does provide most of the laughs with his bizarre villain. Although, where the first film was perfect at being a send up of the fashion industry, this one falls flat more than a few times. I get what they were trying to do, send up modern day fashion and celebrities, but the weird amount of cameos do nothing for the film. I will say that Benedict Cumberbatch as fashion model All provided laughs, purely because of the sheer awkwardness and weirdness of seeing an actor of his calibur in a role like this. I would have welcomed more cameos like that but most of them don't work all that well.
Kristen Wiig also joins the cast in quite possibly the strangest role she will either play. She talks with this thick accent i couldn't quite decipher, but not gonna lie, this made me chuckle a few times. Like a lot of sequels this one has a bigger budget just because it can and a lot of CGI is present which kind of took me away from it a bit. The film is just as offensive and crass as you would expect, but to me this did not feel like a cash grab. I believe Stiller and co. Really were passionate about this project and tried their hardest so i give them props for that. So will you chuckle? I think so. If you are a fan of Zoolander give this film the benefit of the doubt, it never passes as more than an okay film, but it is nice to see the cast back together.
as far as comic book movies go.. perfection!
Back in 2008 (or 2009, who cares?) We got our first glimpse of Deadpool on the big screen. What we got took away everything decent about the character, he is the merc with the mouth, yet his mouth was sewn together! Ryan Reynolds seemed perfect for the role, how did it all go so wrong? Well now, in 2016 Reynolds returns and we get our first official Deadpool movie. In that we get the world's greatest apology for one of the most abysmal films in the superhero genre, and a highly original film that does 100% justice to one of the most lovable douchebags of all time!
So, here we follow Wade Wilson, a former mercenary who is diagnosed with terminal cancer. He undergoes an experimental procedure and is transformed into Deadpool, a badass loudmouth with the ability to heal. One problem remains, he is now ugly as sin. We follow Deadpool on a revenge story, as well as a love story of sorts that really raises the bar for future comic book movies. What i absolutely love about this film is that the whole origin is told through flashbacks looking over Wade's life. Deadpool is a character who is well known for breaking the fourth wall and the way that is addressed in this film is both hilarious and amazingly true to it's source. It is also easily one of the funniest films for a very long time. The opening titles had me laughing out loud alone and if they don't peak your interest right away then I'm afraid you're in the wrong film! I love self aware jokes like that and there are a fair few of them scattered around.
The supporting cast do amazingly well as well. Colossus and Negasonic TeenageWarhead from the Xmen are just the greatest additions to this film. This is easily the best incarnation of Colossus we have ever seen and with such a low budget he looked beautiful. Of course, with them on board there are some very funny Xmen jokes to look out for. Morenna Baccarin (did i spell that right?) Is the perfect love interest for Ryan Reynolds. Her character is a lot better than other 2-Dimensional females in comic book films. When she is introduced and the way that happens shows how much of an impact she makes and it is great. As for villains, Ed Skerin was so unlikeable, which is great because with a character like Deadpool it is important to hate our main villain and the inclusion of Angel Dust was also a good decision. And lastly, TJ Miller acts almost as Wade's second in command, Weasel. He stole quite a few scenes, but in the end this is Ryan Reynold's show and nobody tries to take that from him.
So do i recommend? Hell yeah i do! Its the perfect comic book film for the fact it really sticks to it's awesome source material and i could not imagine a better film for Deadpool. Stick around for after the credits because we get a great little surprise. Definitely not for the faint of heart because as well as being very violent in an over the top way, there are also some pretty dark and shocking scenes that can even be a little hard to watch, but they don't last long. Anyway, go and support Deadpool because we need more superhero films like this. Now i have the sudden urge to listen to 80's music and eat chimi changas...
13 Hours (2016)
It's slightly less Michael Bay.. with hints of more Michael Bay??
I had high hopes for this one, i really did. Michael Bay's best is what i kept hearing, so i thought hey maybe it will break through the typical Michael Bay stereotype, which it does and doesn't at the same time. I will explain what i mean later on but in short i found myself bored to be honest. I was thinking to myself about all the other things i could be doing which isn't how i want to feel during a movie.
I would compare my view on 13 hours to that of M. Night Shamylan's 'The Visit'. Completely different films but hear me out. Both films were described as the director's return to form. I watched both and by the end i wasn't sold on either of them. I came out feeling 'that was alright, but to be honest doesn't sell me that this director will be making great movies again in the future'. Bay's films are bad but i enjoyed films such as the first Transformers, heck i even enjoy Bad Boys II. They are stupid but a lot of fun. What Bay has tried to do here is make a serious Biopic, he did Pain and Gain and probably realised it was a bad idea to make it a comedy, but making a drama like this just comes across as boring and you cant even have fun with the "badness" because here he tries too hard to be serious which is fine to do in a movie, but Bay doesn't really know how to do it well. I mean, it is a good story and a real life event involving Benghazi soldiers and the death of an ambassador which could have translated well. But making it 2 hrs 24 minutes, not a great deal happened and a lot of it was filler.
At times in the movie we are watching something really exciting and i think, the movie really could redeem itself here, then the next scene is something really boring that i wasn't interested in. This happens for the entire runtime which is almost like watching 2 different films. One scene involves the main character running across a battlefield in slow motion with a beautiful sunset behind him whilst things are constantly exploding behind him. To me it perfectly describes Bay as a director. Brilliant style, poor substance. The film wasn't terrible, but nothing overly memorable happens which has me sold that he is a good filmmaker either, so in the end it's just an average film that doesn't stand among the rest of the true story films out today.
shocking.. yet captivating
Spotlight follows a team of reporters as they unravel a string of accusations against priests and how they have been accused of molesting children. Now a film like this runs the risk of leaving a bad taste in the mouth or even being tedious and boring. The film we get does neither of this, it opened up a number of doors and captivated me as well as equally making me feel disgusted, but none the less is a solid and very good film.
The main cast give it there all. Mark Ruffalo and Michael Keaton take centre stage and play really well together, almost as opposites, but they both have such a strong presence in scenes that you really feel like you are right there with them unravelling this string of clues, it feels almost harrowing to be in the situation but at the same time you can't help but take in the story and it is almost impossible to think about anything else. If a film like this can do that for me, then kudos because it really succeeds in making a film which could have been drab and gloomy into something you are incredibly interested in. Rachel Mcadams also stars and does a brilliant job, she is the person in the film that i think i connected with most because she is so likable but at the same time so genuine and real in the role and it was refreshing to see her do something so different because she is a wonderful actress. Liev Schrieber also gives a strong performance, but isn't as easy to connect to because he isn't in the film a huge deal.
I'm really glad to see Michael Keaton is back for good, i didn't really see him in much since Birdman, but he proves he is still as brilliant as ever here. The fact this film is based on a true story is extraordinary. The events that take place here are set in one location but by the end it is shocking when we are told how many places in the world actually had these allegations. It is unbelievable and the film does a brilliant job at spreading awareness for such a tragic subject. I highly recommend you see this film. I mean the last two films i saw before this were Ride Along 2 and Dirty Grandpa. It is safe to say i am relieved to see a film with actual quality and i hope this one cleans up at the Oscars, it is well deserved.
Dirty Grandpa (2016)
i didn't want to kill myself by the end...
This film to me looked like a bloodbath of terribleness (probably not a word). The trailer was unfunny and terrible, it just came across as awakward. But in reality it wasn't THAT bad. I'm not saying this film counts as good comedy and i don't think its worth paying out to see, but if you want to switch your brain off and have a few good laughs, well i suggest this over Ride Along 2 because you will have a better time.
The first thing about this film is that Zac Efron and Robert DeNiro actually to my surprise work well together. The plot is all over the place and stupid. I mean the main plot involves the two going to Daytona Beach for some reason that is made up, but doesn't become the real reason. Zac Efron is getting married, DeNiro thinks she is too uptight etc. Then the plot gets a load of rubbish shoveled into it to pass the time. But some of it passes as enjoyable, i mean one scene towards the end made me laugh.. and quite hard. Sure i only laughed hard at one scene, but again it was one more than Ride Along 2. As you would expect penises make for most of the humour. When they need something funny, we get something penis related.. i'm human, i laugh at penis jokes.. when they are done right. For the most part they aren't here, but i didn't want to kill myself by the end of the film so i guess it succeeded.
In the end, there isn't a huge load to say about this one. DeNiro is pretty funny, Efron is fine and the plot is terrible. Turn off your brain and relax, i don't regret seeing it, but would i see it again? I highly doubt it
Ride Along 2 (2016)
i guess it was better than the trailer..??
Comedy sequels.. unneeded comedy sequels to be exact. Do we need them? No.. hell no we don't. Will they keep making money? Probably. Are they causing any harm? Well no, so the fact that movies such as Ride Along 2 do exist in the world doesn't make me mad. But it isn't like by the end of the year i will remember seeing this film either.
So the sequel to Ride Along once again stars Ice Cube and Kevin Hart and this time Hart's character is a full time police officer. For a start i didn't exactly buy him in this role but whatever the movie wasn't made for the logic. The plot is so basic that it literally just involves the two going to Miami to solve a new case involving Ken Jeong as a hacker for pretty much the same reason as the first film. What we as an audience really want is for it to be funny and to buy the relationship and chemistry between the two leads.. which it doesn't succeed in either. For a start i don't find Kevin Hart funny in the first place, but i know he has potention. I adore Ice Cube.. but his character was just a butthole and didn't really have any likability. Although i liked him more than Hart's character because his act of being the silly short guy wore off long ago. It has a few chuckle worthy moments for sure, but no where near what it was trying to aim for. A lot of the humour is more awkward than funny and a prime example is about halfway through the movie. Kevin Hart is driving through a car chase but suddenly the film changes into a video game version of the events that are happening. It was so random and out of place, like he even looks at Ice Cube and he becomes a creepy avatar of himself. Were we supposed to believe this was happening in real life or in his head or what? It is never explained, the scene just moves on.
In the end there isn't a lot to say. We have an awkward, unfunny sequel where the main characters have no chemistry so you can't believe they are partners. The actors try their best but don't save the final result. Do i recommend it? Well no i don't, but there could be worse ways to spend your time, so at least there's that?
The Big Short (2015)
Interesting look at how the rich get richer..
Adam McKay making a black comedy about the Wall Street crash? Im already sold. Throw in Christian Bale, Steve Carrell, Ryan Gosling and Brad Pitt.. how could you go wrong? The film was a very interesting look into the corruption of the government and how the rich take from the poor in order to get richer, it is something we have seen before but with it's own style and the subject matter interests me greatly, so naturally i found a lot to like and enjoy about this film.
First off, i swear marketing wanted us to believe this was going to be the Christian Bale show.. i mean don't get me wrong he did a good job in this film and as always is a joy to watch, but the film wasn't focused around him as i expected. We follow each of these characters in different ways. Ryan Gosling adds the energy in the vein of a Jordan Belfort type character (i will touch on that later), Steve Carrell doesn't provide as much of the comic relief as i thought, he adds more of an emotional core to the story which i was surprised to see from a character played by an actor of his calibur. Don't get me wrong the dude is funny, but he is someone who has suffered a great loss and who is an angry guy but you can see why. In my opinion he gets my pick for best performance in this film. Brad Pitt's character was necessary but with him he just sort of felt like halfway through the movie he randomly joined in, disappeared for a bit and then came back for the finale. But i like seeing him in these Brad Pitt type roles where he is so cool and suave about everything and always so damn likable!
Now, the film does feel like at times it copies a fair bit from The Wolf of Wall Street. The fast-paced opening where Ryan Gosling introduces what is going on to the audience is exactly like how it happened with that film which is the main comparison to Jordan Belfort. That being said McKay employs his own style and we see the fast paced editing take effect where we see certain images pop up and clips etc. But some of it is very random and feels kind of out of place. For example, random celebrities are brought in at random times to explain certain plot points and whilst humorous, it probably would have just made more sense to have one of the existing characters explain it to us. But then again, it would just draw more WoWS comparisons i guess. But the insight into this corrupt world was as interesting as ever and it is sort of set out as a heist movie of sorts with a knockout soundtrack. It establishes the subject matter in it's own right and i liked that, so i will give it props.
In the end, the film entertains a lot more than something like Ride Along 2 and is worth checking out on a Sunday afternoon when you want to relax and chill out. I will say see it for sure. The acting is great, it's captivating and it is a film that keeps your mind working afterwards and that is exactly what i wanted from it, so it didn't disappoint.
Heartwrenching yet surprisingly uplifting..
Room was a film that i was very intrigued to see to the extent i actually did go out of my way to see it. I knew barely anything about it, i had seen the trailer a good few times in front of other movies but i never looked into it a great deal. It is one of those rare films that never strikes as something that would be worth going out of the way for, until it is actually released and then you think about it and realise you in fact do want to see it because it peaked my interest a great deal. With that being said, i do not regret my decision. It is a film i highly recommend in fact.
First of all, Brie Larson stars as the main character, a young woman who was abducted from a young age and is forced to raise her son who is now five years old in a confined space that they deem 'room'. She gives us an incredible performance, i had only really seen her as Jonah Hill's love interest in 21 Jump Street, but she is so different here that it is hard to recognise her without prior knowledge of who she is. The stand out however is young Jacob Tremblay who plays the young boy Jack. I will say this now, he is really going places and will be a big star in the future if he carries on with performances like this. As a child actor his performance sucked me in as much as the big nominations currently in the Oscars. Whilst being vague, when you actually get to see him experience the outside world for the first time it really brought tears to my eyes because he plays the role in such a way that you really believe he has only known that one plave his whole life. For example he sees 'Old Nick' (the man who is keeping them captive) as a sort of magical being who brings them clothes etc. Because he has never even seen another person in his life. This makes it all the more interesting when he experiences real life people for the first time.
At it's core the film is really a powerful story about the bond between a mother and son, but as well as this it is a metaphor for life itself and how we can take it for granted. With such amazing performances from the two leads it became something really special and whilst it is shocking and heartwrenching in places by the end it becomes a real uplifting, inspiring gem. As much as it may be tempting to ignore this film in favour of all the terrible comedies January is notable for, please don't. This is a film that must be seen. When i first saw it i thought maybe it dragged on 5 minutes too long, but in fact looking back i wouldn't take anything out. It shows us that nothing is more powerful than love and for that alone it deserves to be seen.
a real heavyweight knockout of a film..
I want to be honest and make this review clear.. i have never seen a Rocky film. Judge me if you will, but i just never got round to it. That being said i know of other work by Sylvester Stallone and from what i have seen this is actually his best performance yet.
The film follows Addonis Creed, who wants to make a name for himself instead of simply following his father, Apollo Creed's legacy. Rocky Balboa takes him under his wing and trains him under the name Johnson to be a champion in his own right, but when Rocky gets sick they both have to fight their own battles. That is what sets this film apart from other boxing films, it is more than that. A fighting film yes.. Rocky fights out of the ring this time though, which made him that much more compelling to watch. Michael B Jordan once again proves himself as the leading man. He went from being in the worst film of 2015 to giving a real knockout performance, if you'll mind the pun. We get a good insight into what both of these characters are going through and they play off of each other so perfectly.
So why do i call this Stallone's best performance? Well firstly, he went from adding some hilarious humour to the film, to bringing me to tears. You feel like he is in this for Creed. He says he is ready to embrace death, yet you see in his eyes and in this brilliant performance that he really wants to see Donnie succeed and become everything his father was and more. The cinematography also stands out really well. From Donnie's first fight you knew it was something special. I knew this was the scene that was done in one shot and it looks amazing. We follow Creed and his opponent as they are throwing punches and evading them. It makes us as an audience feel we are right there in the ring dodging blows. This carries through a few times and the last climatic fight is a spectacle to behold, especially when that iconic Rocky theme blares from the speakers. It put a huge smile on my face. There are more than a few times that i teared up at this movie too, especially at the heartwarming ending that really shows how far Rocky, as well as Donnie, have come as champions.
So does it make me want to watch the Rocky films before this? It sure does. I am going to now spend the time to watch them all and get to know these characters as well as i got to know Donnie and i am looking forward to it. I was on the edge of my seat by the end, but as i said this film has a hell of a lot more to offer than just the boxing.
The Revenant (2015)
A spectacle to behold and an amazing story..
Leonardo Dicaprio.. wow, he has literally no competition this year, the Oscar is practically in his hands and it is very well deserved. The fact that this film is based on a true story truly amazes me. Once again a reminder of why Dicaprio is my favourite actor of all time.
He stars as Hugh Glass, a man who loses everything and is left for dead by his own men after being mauled by a bear. The film played out very differently to how i was expecting, for example scenes with Glass aren't very dialogue based at all, but i really liked this. It gave a better sense of emotion and let us relate to him in an almost eerie way. We go on this journey with him and we feel isolated with him which makes the film so compelling and reminds us that this is man who has suffered through everything on the way. Tom Hardy also gives a really good performance. We have seen him in a lot and each time he is very different, this film is no exception. I really hated his character, which made the performance so great. Even when he played villains such as Bane i didn't feel such a villainous nature to the character, but here he is such a horrible person that you cant help but get sucked in to the performance he gives.
Making this film itself must have been a huge challenge. I heard a lot of crew left the project and i can see why. Also, the film is very gritty and realistic meaning there are scenes that are flat out hard to watch. The initial scene with the bear that i mentioned is so intense and it doesn't stop there. The film is slow, but not in a boring way. It is slow because its a character study on Glass' part and the amazing performance we get makes it the compelling type of slow. But when there is an intense scene, all notches are turned up 100% and we do not know where things are going to be heading. I never actually read up on the story itself, but that meant i was on the edge rooting for his survival the whole time and not knowing how things would end. The way things do end though are so clever and satisfying that it was worth the wait to see.
As the Oscars approach i have to say, i see this film getting a huge number of them. Dicaprio's long overdue Oscar is in the bag and between Tom Hardy and Sylvester Stallone there is a heated competition. A heartbreaking at times, heartpounding at times type of film that is one of the best in a long time. The hard work put into this film was well worth it in the end.
The Hateful Eight (2015)
Tarantino is back folks.. that's all you need to know
Quentin Tarantino is among the finest of filmmakers working today, i would go as far as to say Tarantino is the best director of all time. I will keep the description of this film vague because i went in vague and i was hugely surprised at the outcome. We follow two bounty hunters played by Samuel L. Jackson and Kurt Russell who meet by chance during a blizzard. We also have Jennifer Jason Leigh who is a prisoner that is being taken to her death to be hung. They take refuge in a cabin whilst the blizzard dies out with 6 other strangers. So you now have these 8 characters and we are left to unravel the mystery within.
Do not go into this film expecting a fast paced western, in fact don't even go in expecting to see something similar to Django Unchained because this is very different. As a fan of Tarantino i knew that we would be given a lot of dialogue, the dialogue here is so captivating that it puts you right in this time period with these characters. But when something happens.. oh boy it becomes a tense thrillride. There is one scene in particular towards the end, where i literally rose to the end of my seat because i had no clue as to who was going to make it out alive. I like films where you don't know what is around the corner and where you have to keep guessing even when a scene is happening. The Hateful 8 is no exception.
What i also like is where you have a cast of characters that you at times want to root for, but who are also unlikable. Literally none of the characters we face are likable.. they have all done terrible things. Kurt Russell in this film is a mega douche but does his job so well and Jennifer Jason Leigh is a character who you really want to dislike but can't. It was nice to see Samuel L Jackson in this film as the main character, if there were a "hero" it would be him, but he has still done things that are terrible. Tim Roth for me was a real standout, he is the most likable, but is so shady at the same time.
In the end, what can i say, it's Tarantino. He takes these situations and throws us right into the mix. It was captivating, fun and gruesome. The last act is pure Tarantino blood and guts carnage, but for all the right reasons. The soundtrack was one of the best I've heard in recent years, especially the opening track which continues throughout the film and you can see where 70mm film is used because it also has a very unique look about it. It proved itself as the best film of 2015 next to the Force Awakens and i highly recommend anyone who loves film see it. I can't wait to see what Tarantino throws at us next.