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The Fate of the Furious (2017)
This is the eighth entry in the Fast and the Furious franchise. This time we see Dominic Toretto betraying the people he is close to and working for the villain Cipher played by Charlize Theron.
As with the more recent movies in the franchise, the action was top- notch. There was plenty of comic relief from Tyrese Gibson making this movie more funny than the majority of comedy movies (which I personally don't find funny). Cipher made a good villain and was played well by Charlize Theron. It is also interesting, without giving anything away, to see much of the family dynamic in this movie.
It is safe to say that this movie delivered just as much as the more recent entries in this franchise and it paves the way for more movies to come. Bring them on!
Where Eagles Dare (1968)
Why isn't this a classic?
Where Eagles Dare is a World War 2 based action thriller where British secret agents are given a mission to infiltrate a Nazi castle and rescue a prisoner of war.
I first heard about this movie via the Facebook group For Bond Fans Only where one member mentioned the movie stating that Richard Burton's performance would have qualified him for the role of James Bond. I myself became eager to see the movie and ordered it from Amazon for only £2.
While the plot may seem thin when you first read the blurb on IMDb, it turns out to be much more complex than that with a few great twists. This in turn adds to the thrills of the movie which will get you gripped. The double act of Richard Burton and Clint Eastwood added star quality to the movie. The action sequences were also very exciting to watch and added extra spice to the movie.
I must say I was pleasantly surprised with this movie. This is not your typical World War 2 movie. In fact it was more than that. I don't understand why this movie is not well know. It should be considered a classic. I may consider watching other classic World War 2 movies after this such as The Dirty Dozen. My £2 spent was definitely worthwhile.
Captain America: Civil War (2016)
What Batman v Superman should have been
Captain America: Civil War is the third Captain America movie with a similar theme to the more hyped up Batman v Superman. While Batman v Superman was an enjoyable movie it failed to live up to the hype. So it was up to Captain America: Civil War to redeem the theme of superheroes facing off against each other, and I'm glad to say it did that.
It has a better storyline and it delivers it much more systematically unlike Batman v Superman where it was very slow. It was also able to utilise other Marvel superheroes in a much better way than Batman v Superman. We also get a bit more background behind the characters portrayed in the movie. And the action is a lot better compared to your typical superhero movie.
I really enjoyed Captain America: The Winter Soldier and thought it was the best movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But Civil War manages to just about match it. The Russo brothers have once again managed to do a fantastic movie. The good news is that they will also be directing Avengers: Infinity Wars Parts 1 and 2 so I'm really hoping that the Marvel Cinematic Universe will be better from here on. As for DC, standards seem to have slipped since Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy. Either they need to get Nolan more involved or take a leaf out of Marvel's book if they want Justice League to be successful.
Not as good as Man of Steel but still worthwhile
Before this movie had started filming there was some negativity over some of the casting choices, more notably Ben Affleck as Bruce Wayne/Batman and Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor. But as time went on, there was considerable hype over the movie. Then the negative reviews came along. Now I don't trust the critics so I just went along and saw the movie.
The storyline was OK although I have to say it was quite slow and took some time for it to add up. I didn't mind Ben Affleck as Bruce Wayne. Jesse Eisenberg tried to make the role of Lex Luthor his own but it didn't quite work. In fact his portrayal of Lex Luthor wasn't really like that in the previous movies. A couple of the action sequences were fun to watch and some of the special effects were nice. I watched the movie in IMAX which did make it that exciting.
Overall I thought it was a good, enjoyable and worthwhile movie but I didn't enjoy it as much as Man of Steel. Some of the elements that made me enjoy the movie were there but not to the extent of Man of Steel. In terms of superhero vs superhero movies, I hope Captain America 3 can improve on that.
Was the hype justified?
I believe it was 3 years ago when the announcement came that Disney bought the rights to Star Wars and announced that they were making a new trilogy of movies. When I heard this, my thoughts were "this is a joke". I continued to hold that thought over that period of time and the hype surrounding the movie was unfathomable. I honestly did not see how it would be possible to continue after the events of Return of the Jedi.
Nevertheless I thought I would still watch the movie. To my surprise I actually liked it. They were actually able to come up with a decent story to continue. They also introduced new characters and made them the main characters rather than put the focus on the recurring characters which I thought was a good idea. I also liked the background of the characters. It did leave one or two unanswered questions which hopefully will be answered in the later movies. I liked J.J. Abrams's movies and once again he has delivered.
I'm still not quite sure if the hype is justified though. There have been a number of occasions when a movie has been bigged up, I end up going in and thinking it wasn't as great as people thought it was. In this case, however, my expectations were lowered. I can only hope that the other two movies to be released keeps up the standard.
More suited for kids
It's Christmas time and being a massive movie fan I decided it would be appropriate to watch some Christmas movies. I hadn't seen Elf so I thought I'd give it a go.
So Will Ferrell plays a human who was brought up by elves and decides to go and find his real family.
Now there are a few Christmas movies which I enjoy but unfortunately this isn't one of them. I found it minimally funny. In fact the humour was a bit too childish for my own liking.
I was never really a fan of Will Ferrell. I found him a bit silly and I don't think he fitted the role. I think his role would have been better suited to someone younger.
Please forgive me for being like Scrooge but I did not enjoy this movie. If you want a good family Christmas movie, watch Home Alone instead.
The French Connection (1971)
Much better on second viewing but still does not meet the mark for me
I had heard about this movie being a classic actioner featuring a classic car chase and having won 5 Oscars. Eleven years ago I watched this movie when it came on TV. At the time I thought it was the worst movie I had ever seen and was so baffled as to how it could be so popular. I felt it was just a series of random events put together and so deeply disappointed by the so called classic car chase which was just a car driving fast underneath a trainline. In my previous review for this movie I actually went as far as rating it 1/10.
However there have been a number of movies which I enjoyed more after a second viewing including Batman Begins, Alien and Point Break. So I finally decided I would give The French Connection another go.
I will admit it was much better than my first viewing. However I do not think this is a good movie, let alone a classic. There was a storyline which was OK although it did get a bit disjointed at times. Gene Hackman did a good job in his role as well. There was no score for the movie which would have made it more intense. There was of course still little action and I was still a bit underwhelmed by the car chase.
While it is something you can watch if you've got nothing else to do, for me it does not qualify as a great movie. My opinion is you'd be better off watching Dirty Harry released the same year or Ronin which I think are far better movies.
Got what I wanted - really liked it
I have been a fan of the James Bond movies since I was a teenager. Three years ago when the franchise celebrated its golden anniversary I was really looking forward to Skyfall. When the movie came out, it split opinion. Although I thought the movie was good, I was a bit underwhelmed by it. It was quite slow, the plot borrowed from other movies and a lot of the action sequences were too brief. I felt Sam Mendes was partly to blame because he is an artistic director, not a mainstream one and not the right person to direct a Bond movie.
So I was disappointed to hear later on that Sam Mendes will be directing this Bond movie as well. Nevertheless my excitement was still high. Then the movie was released and once again, having read all of the comments here on IMDb, it has split opinion. I was getting worried about how this movie would be like following my views on Skyfall. This evening I watched the movie in IMAX and I'm glad to say that I really like it.
First of all the gun-barrel sequence is back where it should be: at the beginning of the movie. I know a lot of people don't like Sam Smith's "Writing's On The Wall" for the theme song but I absolutely love it. I can't tell you how many times I've listened to it now. The song also accompanies an always visually exciting opening credits sequence. The storyline was a better one than in Skyfall and also incorporated characters into it by exploring the backgrounds of Bond and the villain. Other regulars, M, Q and Moneypenny are utilised more. I'm also glad to say that the action sequences are considerably better than in Skyfall, and when I say better I mean longer. Christoph Waltz did a decent job as the villain playing it cool and cerebral. There were also great captures of the sceneries, a couple of thrills, links to Craig's previous Bond movies and good humour as well.
I will admit there are a couple of flaws with this movie. I know a lot of people have complained that it takes things from other movies. Well, yes it does but the references to other movies aren't as bad as in Skyfall. Others have said that parts of the score was the same as in Skyfall. I did also feel that there were some parts in the movie where score should have been used. Also some more substance about the organisation would've been nice.
Overall my wait and excitement had paid off. I thought this was a great movie. It was better than Skyfall and I do feel that Sam Mendes has improved although I'm still not sure if he should direct Bond again.
A Bond fan is left satisfied.
Spooks: The Greater Good (2015)
It worked for me.
The Spooks TV show has been a popular hit in the UK. Now the producers have gone and made a spin-off movie. Peter Firth is back in his role as Harry while we welcome a new addition in the form of Kit Harrington.
First of all, this movie is somewhat separate from the TV show. You don't need to have seen the TV show in order to understand what is going on. The movie had a fairly decent storyline and that is what it mainly focuses on. There are also a couple of intense moments which is what I like in a thriller. There is also a bit of character development as well. Without giving anything away there are also a couple of twists. Don't go into this movie expecting gun fights and car chases - you will be disappointed. They didn't have that kind of thing in the TV show, so it would make sense to do the same thing for the movie.
All in all, it was a good movie to enjoy. I have only seen the first two seasons of the TV show which I enjoyed and I didn't have any problems with this movie. So for me it worked.
Jupiter Ascending (2015)
Jupiter Ascending is the latest offering from the Wachowski siblings who brought us The Matrix.
It stars the stunningly looking Mila Kunis as the protagonist who is destined to have a bright future but instead works a dead end job cleaning the toilets. She is then helped by Channing Tatum's character to meet that destiny.
I have been aware of this movie for a while and had been looking forward to it. The delay of the movie made me more eager to watch it. I was a bit surprised when the first votes for this movie weren't very good. Nevertheless I was still wanting to watch it. It seems that the votes are now justified.
The Wachowskis tried to make a complex storyline like they did with The Matrix but unfortunately it didn't work out. A lot of the story elements either weren't explained at all or not explained properly.
While the visual effects were stunning, the same can't be said for the action sequences which were ruined by the camera-work making them more difficult to enjoy.
Eddie Redmayne, who recently did a good job as Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything, sadly falls flat as a villain in this movie, especially his voice which was not as menacing as it should have been.
One redeeming factor is that it does have one or two comic moments. Perhaps a bit more would have been nice.
While the movie started off fairly well, it gradually lost its steam. Overall the wait was not worth it. I didn't get what I wanted from it. You're better off watching The Matrix or Inception again.