Reviews written by registered user
|226 reviews in total|
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I've been a Trek fan since the age of ten and it was the show that
ultimately opened to door to the world of science fiction (and
geekiness!) for me. So I do hold strong feelings for this franchise and
that is why I swiver over my feelings for Abrams' films.
The film opens with Kirk extensively breaking the Prime Directive and, while he does so with good intentions, he is portrayed to be much more devil-may-care and arrogant (perhaps, even adolescent) than Shatner's Kirk. But before he can suffer Starfleet's disciplinary action, Earth is attacked by a terrorist John Harrison. Determined to bring him to justice, Kirk and his crew set out after him only to discover nothing is what it seems.
Benedict Camberbatch did a good job as the ruthless Harrison but, through no fault of his, the actual character portrayal within the story meant he never quite had the same complexity of the Joker or even Loki from the Marvel-verse. Not to ruin the film too much but I do think this is the result of this franchise being restricted to two films compared with the original films, which had a whole series to build upon. I can't complain about the Enterprise characters as I do think they all do their roles justice and are worthy successors (I can complain, however, that there just was not enough McCoy- give him more scenes in the next film!).
In terms of the actual plot, it makes for a great popcorn flick that will appeal to general cinema goers who have no clue about Star Trek as well as being entertaining enough for Trek fans who do tolerate Abrams' films. As I said, it did lack some of the emotional appeal because the characters just do not have the history and level of deep friendship that we saw in the original films (and how can they when there is only meant to be a year between this film and the first one?). I also wish they would do more to recreate the Kirk/Spock/McCoy friendship that was such a part of the original series. McCoy barely has screen time here and I think that even despite being biased about my favourite character.
In all, I do think it's worth a look. It's not fantastic nor does it compare to 'Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan' but it is an entertaining film that moves along well from what was established in the first film. I hope it doesn't take them as long as four years to produce a third film. One thing though, see it in 2D if possible. The 3D is pointless and a waste of money for those of us who have to fork out extra for 3D tickets. It's time Hollywood relegated 3D to kiddie films and cartoons.
The 1982 animation 'The Snowman' has always been a Christmas must in my
house for as long as I can remember so I was delighted to hear that,
after thirty years, a sequel was being produced.
'The Snowman and the Snowdog' starts with a mother and son moving into a new house with their old dog in the summer. But as summer turns to autumn, we see the heartbroken family burying their beloved dog. Then winter arrives bringing snow and it is then that the boy discovers a box under the floorboards of his bedroom containing the hat, scarf and coal as well as a photo of James and the Snowman. And so the boy decides he will rebuild the Snowman and, with the leftover snow, he also builds a little snowdog too. I will not ruin how the story ends but it is complete with a journey to the North Pole to visit Santa Claus.
There is no way any sequel could ever match the originality and enchantment of 'The Snowman'. It is a classic that will remain unequalled in the hearts of millions. However, this is a delightful little sequel that does charm, particularly anyone who has ever owned a dog. Only a pet-lover with a heart of stone would not feel tearful at the first scenes. And there is no denying that the Snowdog is absolutely adorable! The music is not as memorable as 'Walking in the Air', and it's actually a bit jarring at first to not hear the expected soundtrack of 'The Snowman', the musical score is not terrible either. And the artwork is, of course, perfect and clearly drawn lovingly with the traditional scenes of a snowy white British landscape (far removed from the damp, rainy rubbish that we are being forced to endure in reality!).
I certainly hope to see this animated film shown every year after 'The Snowman' as it nicely compliments the classic and is a great Christmas film.
I have to admit that I was quite interested in this film purely because
of such names as Jason Isaacs and Signourney Weaver being attached to
it. I should have known better when I also saw a trailer heavily
featuring Taylor Lautner and Lily Collins that this was to be a
'Abduction' centres around eighteen-year-old Nathan who leads a happy life with his parents in a nice big house filled with Apple products. Happy until his class is assigned a project about missing children and Nathan then happens upon a website featuring a photo of a missing child who bears a striking resemblance to himself. After his 'parents' are murdered by assassins, Nathan finds himself embroiled in a CIA conspiracy and on the run along with his crush Karen.
The main problem with this film is that it relies too heavily on the young cast of Taylor Lautner and Lily Collins and neither of them are solely able to carry a film. What doesn't help the younger pair's rather bland acting skills is the fact that both of the characters they play are not only dull but are as thick as two planks ('yes, we know the CIA/bad guys can trace phones but let's still use the phone to call folk!' or 'let's split up despite the fact we're being hunted'). Karen is also an utterly redundant character and there is absolutely no point to her other than to provide some teen romance.
The one positive is that Lautner can handle himself in the action scenes, which again why he might have pulled this film off if he'd had a stronger actor to work alongside and guide him. In fact, they might have produced a fairly decent popcorn flick if they had kept the much more talented adult cast involved heavily alongside Lautner, for example, if they'd had Weaver or Isaac's character on the run with Nathan rather than the pointless Karen. But clearly the producers were not that bothered with making a decent film.
Now I do enjoy a good action film but first we have about forty-five minutes of Nathan's boring high school life then we go from fight to chase all because the two characters are too stupid to properly protect themselves and make one stupid decision after another. In between, we are bombarded with messages about how cool Apple and BMW are (why does Nathan need a Macbook, an iMac and an iPad?).
People are comparing this to 'Spy Kids' but at least the two wee moppets in that film were smart and interesting. I'd say 'Abduction' is more 'The Bourne Identity' for kids and young teens. They should have just rated this a PG and advertised this for kids because I can't imagine anyone past high school age being interested in this (other than girls only interested in seeing Lautner).
While I am partial to a film featuring martial arts (largely because
that has style whereas boxing/wrestling/whatever seems so thuggish), I
don't have any interest in professional fighting whatsoever. I only
went to see 'Warrior' as there was little else to see in the cinema.
And I was very glad that I did because it was a surprisingly good film
that is much more than men beating each other up.
'Warrior' is a film about a broken family haunted by past domestic abuse, alcoholism and grudges. Tommy Conlan (Tom Hardy) was once considered a prodigy in the mixed martial arts cage but, now an adult, he is a Marine carrying much anger and hurt. By comparison, his estranged elder brother Brendan (Joel Edgerton)is a physics teacher leading a settled life with his wife and daughters until, thanks to greedy bankers (yes, we all know about them), he is at risk of losing his home. For very different reasons, the two brothers embark on the path to try to win a major tournament-- a quest that will leading to them being reunited after years of separation. In the midst of it, their father Paddy (Nick Nolte) is a recovering alcoholic who is struggling to regain the trust of the sons whose childhood he wrecked.
Perhaps this could easily have been a bland, violence-filled film but thanks to strong characterisation that was brought to life by three excellent actors, we have a story that transcends a basic plot about fighting. Hardy and Nolte excel at portraying two haunted characters who can't let go of their pasts while Edgerton is great as the character who has managed to carve a decent life for himself despite his boyhood hurts.
I do wish we could have had a more rounded ending, however. It would have been nice to see where Paddy's place in his sons' lives after the final fight was. But that is probably the only negative that I could find and I suppose that sometimes there are aspects that need to be left for the viewer to decide for themselves.
After a year of rather mediocre films, 'Warrior' is compelling viewing that both entertains and also offers an emotional aspect to the audience. And certainly do not be put off by the fact that it features cage fighting because that is such a small part of this film. Well recommended (and, on a side note, Hardy looks more than ready to play Bane in 'The Dark Knight Returns').
I'm someone who is very excited to see 'The Avengers' in 2012 ever
since I first heard about the project. Howvever, I have to admit that
'Thor' was always the film I was least looking forward too since
Ironman and Cap are my favourites of the team and I also doubted if
adapting the Thor comic book was going to end well. Luckily, I was very
wrong! 'Thor' sets up the premise that the legends of the Norse gods
are, in fact, powerful aliens who inhabit Asgard, one of nine worlds
connected to each other through a wormhole system known as the Rainbow
Bridge. Thor is a cocky and egotistical prince who is preparing to
succeed his father Odin as king, much to his younger brother Loki's
quiet resentment. However, when Thor's arrogance leads the race of Ice
Giants (who reside on another of the nine worlds) to declare war on
Asgard, Odin casts his son out in the hopes of teaching him humility.
Thor then finds himself stranded on Earth, powerless and mortal with
only scientist Jane Foster and her friends to aid him. Meanwhile, Loki
is plotting away with his own plans of leadership.
Those who were worried about Chris Hemsworth's role as Thor (considering he is best known in the UK for 'Home and Away!) should relax as he carried the character off perfectly, right from Thor's conceited side to his growing maturity and sense of responsibility. By the end of the film, it is easy to see Hemsworth's Thor take his place as one of Earth's Mightiest Heroes. Tom Hiddleston, who played Loki, was also another pleasant surprise as he was excellent in depicting the vulnerability of the character as well as his guile, bitterness and jealousy. Natalie Portman was a good Jane Foster, although this was obviously very much Thor's film and it will need a sequel to properly develop Jane as a character. And, as always, it was great to see Clark Gregg as SHIELD agent Coulson, one of the best original characters that the films have produced.
I found that the plot was near-perfect for a comic book adaptation, doing well to explain the background of Thor's character and how he evolves to being an Avenger. Loki was also nicely development as a sympathetic antagonist rather than some bland 'black and white' villain. There was a good mix of drama, action and humour and the actual story flowed. You can see how this is nicely coming together with the 'Ironman' films to finally culminate next year to 'The Avengers'.
There are some negatives. I did feel Odin could have done with slightly better depiction as he came across as a rather cold father to his sons (it's easy to see why Loki felt he had to take the path he did). Also, there was no need whatsoever for 3D. I've seen the film three times, twice in 2D and once in 3D and felt the latter added absolutely nothing to the film except for making pretty credits at the end. I wish Hollywood would stop with this fad since it's rubbish.
I do highly recommend this film to comic book fans as well as anyone looking for a good film. Roll on 'Captain America' in July!
While the Green Lantern has never been one of my favourite comic book
characters, I have looked forward to seeing this film since I first
heard it was on the cards. It's good to see Hollywood adapting comic
books (even better when they do it well) not just because I'm a bit of
a sci-fi geek but also it is a huge improvement to churning out yet
more remakes of old films.
For those unfamiliar with the premise, the Green Lantern Corp is an intergalactic group of heroes who protect the universe with the aid of rings which give them great powers, one of which includes solidifying whatever they imagine (I'm not sure if I explained that well enough but watch the film for a better description!). This film focuses on Hal Jordan, an irresponsible hotshot pilot, who is forced to mature up when he is chosen as the first human being to wield the ring and protect Earth from an evil threat that even the most accomplished of the Lanterns fear.
I felt the CGI was a case of 'hit or miss' with some scenes coming off well while others seem a bit cartoony. I do feel that perhaps this was a film that should have been kept to one side for another few years until CGI had improved enough to pull the suit off well. And when will Hollywood realise that 3D is pointless and stupid. There is absolutely no need for this film to be 3D-- keep it for kids' animation or slasher flicks.
In terms of the acting, Ryan Reynolds as Hal Jordan was not as bad as some feared. He does suit the role of irrelevant over-grown kid that the character starts out as although he did lack the depth to show Hal's serious side. Mark Strong, on the other hand, was excellent as Sinestro, an alien Green Lantern who is very doubtful of Hal until his faith is affirmed at the end. I wish we could have seen more of Sinestro and his acting as a reluctant mentor to Hal. Blake Lively played Carol Ferris, Hal's love interest/childhood sweetheart (and who, in the comic books, will also one day become a superhero) but her presence was barely felt. She seemed to just be there to highlight how childish Hal can be and give the film some romance.
The plot was flowed reasonably well but there was no great depth to Hal's journey into becoming a great Green Lantern nor was there any great character development. Perhaps, if there is to be a sequel, it should focus on another human Green Lantern John Stewart who is a character that is easier to depict without falling into the pitfall of making the film too light-hearted.
This was a good film to see as an entertaining summer blockbuster but don't go in expecting to see 'Batman Begins' (we all know Bats is the coolest and no-one can compare to him, anyway!) or even 'Ironman', which was far superior in balancing drama with action and humour. If you do want to see a better depicted Green Lantern then check out the animated film or even the animated 'Justice League' show. However, do check this out if you're in the mood for some light-hearted entertainment.
While I enjoyed the original 'The Karate Kid', I am a couple of years
too young to say I hold great nostalgia for it so I was not that
bothered to hear of the remake (other than wonder why Hollywood can't
think up new ideas any more). Since watching this, I doubt it will be
held in the same regard by children and young teens today as the
The film revolved around twelve-year-old Dre whose mother's job forces them to move to China. Life is hard enough adjusting to the cultural and language changes but then finds himself the focus of a gang of Kung Fu-trained bullies after he is caught flirting with a girl in their class. Luckily, the local martial artist handyman Mr Han takes Dre under his wing and teaches him the skills to fight the bullies in an upcoming Kung Fu tournament.
The main problem with this film was the ages of the young cast. Jaden Smith, who played Dre, seems to have trained for the film but he looks no more than a tiny ten-year-old child (I think he actually was only about ten at the time of filming) and he looks far too young and soft for such active fighting. At that age, he shouldn't be expected to fend off bullies alone, and his mother and teachers should be intervening to help him. It doesn't help that Dre went from picking up his jacket to becoming a wonderful martial artist who can take on kids who have been training since infancy in a matter of weeks. We see little of his progress or anything to convince us of his newfound skills.
In the original film, it worked that Daniel was in his late teens and felt he was too old to look for parental help, and his bullies were the same age as him. Dre's 'love interest' and the bullies look a good two to four years older than him, making the whole situation even more ridiculous. Even then, the bullies are still kids too so when Mr Han, with Jackie Chan in the role, looked like an oaf beating them up when he should have dragged them all home to their parents.
Another major point is that this isn't the early Eighties any more. Hollywood remember when producing remakes that what was acceptable decades ago is not what we would put up with today. Six kids physically beating up another boy to the extent that they could have seriously injured or killed him is not something that you just shove under the rug. It is an offence and would probably be a police concern today.
In terms of the film, I think primary school children would very likely enjoy it but anyone older would find these points a bit hard to swallow. With a little thought and a young cast aged around sixteen then this film might have been of more interest. As it is, it's something I would watch as background noise.
I have never seen an episode of the original 'Hawaii Five-O' (although
I will certainly give it a go if it is ever repeated on television) so
I have no preconceptions of what to expect with this rebooted version.
However, I do love American cop shows and have been looking forward to
this since I first heard it was being produced. For those unfamiliar
with the premise, the show is set in Hawaii and centres on a newly
formed police unit consisting of ex-Navy SEAL Steve McGarrett, New
Jersey detective Danny Williams (who has grudgingly moved to Hawaii to
be with his young daughter), wrongly disgraced Hawaiian detective Chin
Ho Kelly and his rookie cousin Kono Kalakaua (who, apparently, was a
guy in the 1970s version but is played by Grace Park in this version).
'Hawaii Five-O' is very much a light, fast action show and doesn't pretend to be anything more. To watch this show, you are required to sit back, relax and suspend your belief. since the characters and story lines are the television version of 'Bad Boys' and 'Lethal Weapon'. As a fan of shows like 'LA Heat' and 'Fastlane', it is refreshing to see the car chases, cop banter and beating up of bad guys that is found in 'Hawaii Five-O'. If you are wanting realism and dark story lines then watch 'Criminal Minds' or 'Blue Bloods' instead, both of which are also good for different reasons to why this show is enjoyable. There is so much realism on television today that I do like something that is pure and simple fun although I do hope that as the show progresses, we will see the characters develop and strengthen.
It certainly a show that deserves a look-in. Even if one doesn't like the characters or the story lines, it's worth watching just to see beautiful Hawaii and the wonderful sun (for British viewers, this is probably the only chance we'll get to see the sun until June, if then!).
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I was quite excited when I heard that the BBC were airing a new sci-fi
mini series as there is a lack of decent sci-fi on television at the
moment. However, after watching the first episode of 'Outcasts', I was
just left wondering why we are forced to fork out for a licence fee
when this is the dirge we are 'rewarded' with. 'Outcasts' is set about
four decades in the future when the world has been decimated by some
form of disaster and remnants of humanity have escaped to this
mysterious new planet, attempting to rebuild once again. It is
basically a British version of the US 1990s show 'Earth 2' mixed in
with some 'Stargate' and the new 'Battlestar Galactica' but,
unfortunately, no-where near as good.
The main problem with 'Outcasts' is that while there is a cast of apparently decent actors including Hermione Norris, Jamie Bamber, Liam Cunningham and Daniel Mays, there is a lack of likable characters. Instead, the show is laden with smug, whiney, self-righteous and irritating characters who the audience just want to see dead. The one engaging character (played by the actor who will have drawn in many sci-fi fans) is killed off in the pilot thus ending my own interest in this show since I am now left with watching a show filled with characters I couldn't give a toss about.
The other problem is the absolutely lack of an engrossing plot-- a major ingredient as you can imagine. This is meant to be a sci-fi show about humanity thrust into a dire situation and forced to become pioneers in an alien world where they lack provisions and technology. We have families who have been torn apart and characters who will have faced death countless times. In all, we should have been expecting an exciting programme filled with action and drama. Instead, the characters walk around in a stilted daze and there is no discernible plot other than whingeing from politicians who think they know best.
I doubt I will be watching any more, especially when I can easily watch the same plot done better by slotting in a 'Stargate: Atlantis' or 'Battlestar Galactica' DVD. This show just proves that, aside from 'Torchwood' and 'Doctor Who', the BBC is best leaving the sci-fi to the Americans who can actually do it well. Instead of wasting money on this trash, they would be better off producing more 'Sherlock' (something that they can actually do well yet are making us wait months for).
I am not a fan of British television (too dreary and depressing for my
liking) and do not watch much produced by the BBC other than the news
so I was fully prepared to dislike this show. In fact, I only watched
it because my interest in Sherlock Holmes had been kindled by the 2009
Robert Downey Junior film. So, I was astonished to find myself
enthralled by this show from the moment the first episode opened.
'Sherlock' is not yet another tedious adaptation of the Arthur Conan Doyle novels but instead updates the characters all together and sets them in 2010 London while still retaining the traits and personalities that make them the characters we know and love. It could so easily have descended into a mess were things not handled so well that the audience is left wondering what Holmes ever did without a mobile phone and laptop! Purists needn't fear though because although this is 21st century London with all the technology that goes with it, Holmes and Watson are still very much themselves.
Benedict Cumberbatch, as Sherlock Holmes, does an excellent job portraying this almost dark, pragmatic character who can be infuriating one minute yet likable the next. He perfectly nails down the obsessive nature so inherent to the character as well as his hidden empathy (I firmly that Holmes is not a sociopath and he does want to do good even if he doesn't openly show it). And Martin Freeman is a perfect Doctor John Watson, depicting him not as some meek little sidekick but very much an equal to Holmes. Watson's loyalty to Holmes is evident from the start as we see their friendship develop but he is no pushover in the slightest when we see numerous scenes of how he too can be pragmatic and strong-willed. Other characters are portrayed just as well, including Inspector Lestrade, Mrs Hudson and Holmes' elder brother Mycroft. We also have the introduction of Lestrade's colleagues, who are at odds with Holmes' way as one would expect of 21st century police officers being shown up!
This show definitely is becoming a firm favourite of mine and I'm glad to see the extortionate licence fee finally being put to use to produce something that can rival American imports that have, for years, been far superior to British television. I certainly hope the BBC will be airing more episodes than the three mini-films shown over the summer and highly recommend this to anyone who enjoys Sherlock Holmes and/or crime dramas.
|Page 1 of 23:||          |