Reviews written by registered user
|8 reviews in total|
(Rating: 12A, 121 mins) Written by Zen Terrelonge
Starring Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Bradley Cooper, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel
If you've seen the trailers for Guardians of the Galaxy, you'd be within your rights to think Marvel Studio execs have been hitting the bottle hard or taking LSD.
The film revolves around a group of dysfunctional but goodhearted criminals think Robin Hood's Merry Men of the future comprising human thief Peter Quill aka Star-Lord (Pratt), green assassin Gamora (Saldana), talking raccoon Rocket (Cooper), knife-wielding Drax the Destroyer (Bautista), and walking tree Groot (Diesel).
Like the Avengers, the Guardians get off to a false start but soon unite over a common cause, namely, the galaxy being obliterated by genocidal maniac, Ronan not Keating the Accuser.
Ah yes, the old, let's-exterminate-everyone-for-the-mistakes-of-their-forefathers ploy.
But unlike Avengers Assemble, Guardians of the Galaxy oozes offbeat originality and frankly, it's the most unique and delightful film Marvel has created to date.
It's a hell of an achievement given the extensive movie library the company is building up and when you consider the characters aren't household names like 'big three' Iron Man, Thor and Captain America, but Marvel seems well aware of that fact with the final production risky to say the least.
The film opens in 1988, which is when Quill is abducted from Earth, and 26 years later we see he's become a crooked intergalactic outlaw with a taste for all things shiny, valuable and not his.
Given the distinct decade in which he was taken, his cassette player and mixtape of 70s and 80s tracks are laced throughout the film, which creates a quirky yet grounded quality in the midst of all of the dazzling interstellar warfare that takes place along the way.
In addition to the soundtrack, jokes and comedy have never been more of a feature in a Marvel film perhaps Iron Man 3 was the closest as gags are thrown into the unlikeliest of scenarios to lessen the tension, and I would imagine, to really differentiate itself from Avengers Assemble, Star Wars and Star Trek, which by comparison are left looking very sombre.
That said, if you were going to compare Pratt's Quill to someone, the character is quite reminiscent of Chris Pine's Captain James Kirk smart, womanising, reckless leaders, who eventually find their feet.
The editing is supreme and makes each bit of dialogue super-sharp and tight, so when the infamous five are bickering or talking generally, the repartee all feels really clean and natural without being awkward or forced.
Thor can be stubborn, Iron Man can be arrogant and Captain America is considered too stiff, but all of the Guardians bring even more wildly different qualities to the table and offer some diversity that doesn't ever grate or bore, which wouldn't have been possible without such excellent casting.
Meanwhile, the film is very much in the here and now, with Quill's backstory the only one that truly gets a look-in, which creates a sense of intrigue about his colleagues who only have their pasts hinted at, meaning sequel fodder.
There's just no way of knowing where you're going and tonally the movie delivers a piece of everything and it's done big and without hesitation.
Guardians may have been a gamble, but I'm Grooting for it to Rocket to the top.
The Fast and Furious franchise has undergone a radical transformation
since launching 12 years ago, with the changes following Justin Lin
taking hold of directorial duties from Tokyo Drift (film three)
The series has made the transition from street races to include drugs, heists, and now terrorism, while lead characters Dom Toretto (Diesel) and Brian O'Conner (Walker) have gone from petty thug and law enforcer to wanted fugitives.
With an opening sequence reminiscent of Quantum of Solace, Toretto and Brian screech around mountaintops as the latter readies himself to become a father, demonstrating how adult and family-minded they've become. Meanwhile, what follows is a nice refresher for those acquainted with the series and for newcomers alike, acting as a highlights reel to bring everyone up to speed of the events experienced in the previous five films.
The antagonist for Fast 6 is Mr Owen Shaw (Evans), a former special ops military man that uses his knowledge, contacts and fast cars to make robberies for the highest bidder. In this instance, it just so happens he has his eyes on a chip that would incite terrorism in the wrong hands, which prompts baby oil-loving federal agent Hobbs (Johnson) to round up Toretto and his crew for back-up, offering them full pardons in exchange for their services.
London is the main backdrop for the film, which, naturally, features a very corny cameo, though the the bright lights, black taxis and double-decker buses dotted around the city are infinitely more welcome.
For me, five was the best of all of the films, but six gives it a run for its money, taking the stunts to ridiculous new heights (literally). You could, of course, reprimand the film for its use of impossible feats, but that's the whole point of these films, right? To get bigger and more extreme, as demonstrated with the big and extreme and always affable introduction of Johnson in Fast Five.
For me, Johnson changed the game and breathed new life into a franchise that was beginning to get stale, and seeing Hobbs join forces with Toretto and co makes for brilliant viewing. The action is insane and the banter is electric, with the camaraderie between the cast obvious.
The only criticism of the film is its length. There was a particular moment that seemed as though the film had wrapped, though it continued for another half hour, and while what followed was laced with adrenaline and big bangs, the film could have done with a 20 minute tightening.
Shaw isn't an intimidating or imposing character, particularly when facing off against Hobbs and Toretto, but he is devious, ruthless and sharp, presenting an entirely new threat to the series.
Those in the know will be aware Tokyo Drift threw the timeline entirely out of sequence, but the game comes full circle at the end of the film, and you won't want to miss the credits sequence that follows
Originally posted at www.zentertainmentweekly.com
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Written by Zen Terrelonge http://wp.me/p1AJJT-1UZ (Rating: 18, 88 mins)
Starring Thomas Mann, Oliver Cooper, Jonathan Daniel Brown.
Forget every teen movie you've ever seen. Seriously, do it.
Whether you have memories of Stifler drinking sperm-tainted beer (American Pie), seeing a naked Chinese man leap out of a car boot (The Hangover), or witnessing a disturbed redhead performing masturbation to an unsuspecting party with her feet at a dinner table (Wedding Crashers), Project X is out to surpass them.
It's young Thomas Kub's (Mann) 17th birthday, and who is Kub you wonder? Well, nobody really. At least, he's a nobody in the eyes of his fellow peers (and father), and as a high school virgin that means a significant amount to him and fellow outsiders/best friends, the token crude and obnoxious loudmouth Costa (Cooper) and regulation fat nerd JB (Brown).
It just so happens Thomas' birthday coincides with his parents' wedding anniversary, which leaves them foolishly trusting their shy and retiring son to stay out of trouble while they leave town, an impossibility with Costa around.
Following the likes of Cloverfield and more recently Chronicle, the entire film is shot on a hand-held camera by an AV goth named Dax, as part of Costa's documentation of Thomas' big day, which allows the audience to become really immersed into the film/experience.
The three boys, well Costa anyway, leads preparations for a party at Thomas', which is billed to be the party to end all parties in an attempt for the lads to become cool and get the holy grail of the female ladygarden. (Of course, to clarify, that's not the term used in the film).
The Hangover director Todd Phillips is on board for production duties and his influence seems to have rubbed off. I personally found the three central characters of Thomas, Costa and JB mildly comparable to Phillips' own Stu, Phil and Alan, in the way that they're portrayed normal, wild and stupid.
Think of the wildest bash possible, and then double it, by 900,000, smothered in drugs, and you'll be approaching something like Project X. If we ever saw what happened on the night that The Hangover boys forgot, it would probably look like that.
The film itself is actually based on the events of an Australian teen that invited over 500 people to his house via MySpace, which ended up causing $20,000 worth of damage.
The characters aren't new or unique, and Costa is a lot like Stifler and every one of Jonah Hill's characters rolled into one, but Cooper nails the role with what seems like ease.
The film has a number of real jaw-dropping moments, some of which, most actually, will make you green with envy, while others will definitely be cause for laughing out loud.
For fantasy, extremes, a monstrous soundtrack and making me wish I was American, the film grabs an 8.5/10 Project X is in cinemas from 2nd March 2012.
(Rating: 18, 95 mins) Written by Zen Terrelonge
Starring Neil Maskell, MyAnna Buring, Michael Smiley.
Kill List is a hit-man film like never seen before and with good reason if anyone thought this up a few years ago they'd possibly have been burned at the stake or less dramatically, sectioned.
The opener shows off the distinct sound that director Ben Wheatley toyed around with personally, as the rumbling noise of a knife scratching on wood creates the film's symbol on the screen.
The plot follows former soldier Jay (Maskell), turned idle layabout and burden to his exhausted wife Shel (Buring) and as their funds run low, enormously explosive rows between the two go off, something their young son is a constant witness to.
During a dinner date at their home, best friend to Jay, Gal (Smiley) visits with new squeeze, the 'glary-eyed phantom' Fiona. Former Army buddy Gal, knowing Jay's current financial situation tells him about a bit of 'work' that has come up. Though initially reluctant, egged on by those around him, Jay opts in.
As for the cinematography, it is absolutely on point. Some great hand-held shots, close ups, over the shoulder, as well as sudden and delayed cuts create an edgy, tense experience.
A sprawling British countryside landscape complete with grey, drizzled skies displays the out of city gig that the film is set.
The locations of the hits all look quite nondescript but it's the sheer graphic violence that takes place within that will imprint on the audience.
The film overall is quite silent, it makes for an underwater sensation and then lapping over the top of the silence comes ringing ominous tones.
Wheatley may have been mildly inspired by one blood-loving man (no, not Edward Cullen), as it seems he and Kill Bill director Quentin Tarantino share a fondness for chapter titles with Kill List ensuring select scenes are complete with introductions.
Maskell is brilliant as the erratic wideboy with varying personalities, his time of service clearly plays a factor to his mental state, the numerous rows between Maskell and the bold and beautiful revelation that is Buring are genuinely awkward, and the intensity projected from them both is incredibly real.
The screams wash over you as though you're in the room with them not knowing where to look or like you're a neighbour next door cursing whilst pumping up the volume on the TV to mask their domestics.
Arguably the film could be deemed a pitch black comedy, one so dark it's blue, the line execution, particularly that of Smiley's is hilarious as he and Maskell bounce off of each other.
Throughout the film I was hooked, totally compelled as the kill scenarios gradually got darker and more disturbing but what disappointed me was the ending.
Until that point I was riveted and the mind was fully switched on, having seen that conclusion, I think my mind will stay permanently wired in a way Red Bull can never achieve until I can figure out just exactly what it was I witnessed.
Genre has been a big debate, many consider it a horror, it's horrific but it's not a horror, it's a graphic, dramatic thriller with unbelievable tension and mystery building up throughout.
Killer casting, killer direction but a not so killer finish.
Brought to you by zentertainmentweekly.com Kill List is out in cinemas now.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
(Rating: 12A, 111 mins) Written by Zen Terrelonge of
Starring - Kristen Scott Thomas, Melusine Mayance, Niels Arestrup, Frederic Pierro, Aidan Quinn.
A powerful and gripping drama set in both the time of the second world war 1942 and the years proceeding it, as well as the present day.
Throughout the duration, the film flits between the two ages seamlessly just as it does with the French and English language.
The majority of the film takes place in France, it's the setting for the disgraceful suffering the Jews suffered at the hands of their fellow countrymen during the time of Hitler's command.
Julia (Scott Thomas) is the investigative journalist in the present day that retraces the steps of a hidden tragedy that happened when thousands of Jews were rounded up and contained in a temporary prison the Velodrome which held inhumane conditions.
There was no food, no water and no toilets, not only were men taken but also women and children had to suffer the torture which saw many die or go mad from the trauma.
This particular event was swept under the carpet and ignored by locals and most in the present are unaware it even took place.
Back to 1942 and young Sarah (Melusine Mayance) and her little brother are playing together in a Parisian apartment whilst their mother does motherly type things, presumably hiding biscuits on the top shelf, cleaning up sticking fingerprints and so on.
A thundering rap of knuckles bangs at the door and in enters a soldier demanding to know who's at home, Sarah conceals her brother promising to return to him and so she and her parents are carted off the the prison before they get divided at the concentration camps.
Sarah finds an accomplice and together the two embark on a mission of rescue to retrieve her brother from the apartment she promised to return to.
Without warning the scenes change from present to past, past to present and gradually not only do we see Sarah progressing on her quest and the dangers that lie in her wake, we also see American Julia getting closer and digging deeper to the history and secrets around the brave little girl.
Scott Thomas' Julia is bold, determined and fixated with her path to finding out the truth behind the past which runs as a mirror image to the same manner in which Sarah is tackling her own target.
With Julia's research, a discovery is made which completely changes her life for the revelation involves her more than she could have ever thought possible.
Love and passion is the fuel for the films engine and as the film progresses the mind will wander into along its own calculative route as it tries to derive what the outcome of the tangled web will be.
Sarah's Key is released in cinemas in the UK from 5th August.
For more visit - http://wp.me/p1AJJT-mV
(Rating: U, 90 mins) Written by Zen Terrelonge of
Starring Theo Stevenson, Parminder Nagra, Anjelica Huston, Mathew Horne, Scarlett Stitt, Ross Marron, Richard E Grant, Dick & Dom.
Horrid Henry is the new generation Dennis the Menace, complete with accomplices The Purple Hand Gang (I imagine because they love a sticky sweet) all he needs now is a crazy afro, stripy jumper and a dog with rather human like teeth and a penchant for nipping at Postman's behinds to complete the full transformation.
Adapted to live action on the silver screen from its cartoon TV series (which was adapted from a book series) it reaches screens on 29th July with immaculate timing to reach the hordes of screaming, gooey children over the summer holidays.
Henry (Stevenson) is introduced along with the supporting characters including his family, his gang, his rivals and schoolteachers.
All of which have a distinct characteristic whether that's a lightning bolt scar, red hair or a hand me down robe sorry wrong film, I'm still recovering.
As I was saying, each character is very identifiable; boffin, jock, cry baby, moody, scary teacher, everyone you can be sure to come across at a school, all in varying shades of colours from the beloved rainbow.
With Anjelica Huston taking on the role of Henry's terrifying teacher Miss Battle-Axe she strikes fear into the heart of children just as she did as the Grand High Witch in the aptly named film, The Witches.
Richard E Grant is Vin Van Wrinkle, devious headmaster of a rival school who creates a plot that will see Henry's own primary institution for learning, Ashton School closed down.
An unlikely alliance between Henry, his perfect teacher's pet brother Peter (Marron) and rival Moody Margaret (Sitt) begins and they create their own scheme to foil the plans of the dastardly Wrinkle.
With an abundance of famous British faces that include Mathew Horne, Noel Fielding and Kimberly Walsh of Girls Aloud fame in her big screen debut, this is a great helping of family fun.
A visual kaleidoscope, the film looks brighter and bolder than the cartoon series and with added 3D and plenty of musical mayhem from Henry and his band the Zero Zombies, it won't fail to keep kids entertained.
Don't worry the band name Zero Zombies doesn't actually connect to a penchant for brain eating.
Presumably that's for the sequel when a virus hits Ashton.
Make sure you toon in!
Horrid Henry: The Movie in 3D is released on 29th July.
For more on the young prankster visit http://wp.me/p1AJJT-tP
(Rating: 15, 98 mins) Written by Zen Terrelonge of
Starring Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis, Charlie Day, Jennifer Aniston, Kevin Spacey, Colin Farrell, Jamie Foxx.
If the film were based purely around how hot Jennifer Aniston is as a nymphomaniac dentist, it would be a very incontrovertible 10/10.
That's not the case though unfortunately, there is actually a plot.
The latest comedy from over the pond is about three friends, Nick (Bateman), Kurt (Sudeikis) and Dale (Day) who happen to have the most undesirable bosses; a psychopath, a cocaine addict and a nympho.
I don't see the issue with the latter either.
After a drunken night out and a particularly trying days graft, our hapless trio discuss what it would be like to murder their bosses.
As you do of course.
This leads our trainee assassins to seek out someone to get their hands dirty on their behalf.
Now I'm no hit-man, but searching the 'Men Seeking Men' section of a newspaper for a cold- blooded killer seems a bit unusual to me turns out is is.
After a failed rendezvous with a potential erm.. accomplice, enter MotherF**ker Jones (Foxx), who enlists as the Murder Consultant and sets up a 'genius' scheme of how to take down the purveyors of injustice played by Spacey, Farrell and Aniston.
Spacey shines as a stark, raving, mad, lunatic CEO who gets sheer joy out of being nothing short of cruel to Nick on a daily basis, think Mr. Burns and Scrooge combined and you'll be heading in the right direction.
Aniston also gleams -
A. For being so unbelievably attractive.
B. More appropriately for stepping outside of her usual character role and really letting loose with some seriously explicit vocabulary the kind of things you'd never expect to hear from the former Rachel Green.
The trailers and early footage made the film look incredibly promising but as seems to be the case with recently hyped films, it hasn't surpassed expectations and though the laughs are there, the constant dithering about from the harassed workers turn the laughs to half hearted chortles.
It's actually a film about inspiration if you think about it, so if you snipe your employer on Monday and get the promotion you've been seeking it can't be totally horrible.
(Rating: 12A, 130 mins) Written by Zen Terrelonge of
Starring Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Ralph Fiennes, Maggie Smith, Alan Rickman, Matthew Lewis.
What begun in the 90′s as books, bows out in the 21st Century with the films, which have made a dizzying four billion pounds - Harry Potter is unquestionably, one of the greatest modern legacies to have been forged.
For a decade, the world has been watching the Harry Potter series brought to life and the young cast have grown from fresh-faced children to talented, young actors.
After a wonderful 10 years, the finale that has had such a phenomenal following has landed.
Tonight, in cinemas across the country, when the clock strikes midnight, fans will finally see the end of Potter Mania as we know it.
The tagline we've heard for weeks upon weeks 'It All Ends' is finally upon us and it's the perfect close to the uber, perfect world.
For anyone that has the audacity, to never have dabbled with Potter here's the nutshell version.
- Power obsessed wizard You-Know-Who (Voldemort, don't speak his name though, it's taboo) becomes the most feared sorcerer of all time.
- He kills Potter's parents and hundreds more in order to achieve greatness.
- Plan backfires, left powerless for a decade but regains power.
- Now this is the last stand between Good vs Evil.
The film spares no time explaining the past and continues from Part I instantaneously.
We resume with the survivors of Malfoy Manor and the hunt for Horcruxes steams along at full pelt, like the Hogwarts Express on mutated lumps of super-coal.
New characters are introduced, old characters develop and you can always expect the unexpected. Trust me.
The movie still receives token tweaks but they're immaterial, for it is as accurate as a film adaptation can be and for that I am over the moon!
Duels, death, disaster and darkness all descend upon Hogwarts School of Witchraft and Wizardry and the school has never looked more visually excellent.
Dare I even say, Hoggy Warty Hogwarts even looks manages to feel more inviting than ever?
The bulk of the film takes place at the castle and as well it should, it's the biggest character of all one that connects all children of the wand.
With the heat on Harry (Radcliffe), Ron (Grint) and Hermione (Watson) to destroy the horcruxes and ol' snake features slithering along on their trail, its only a matter of time until they come head to head.
The acting is on needle-sharp point with the cast pouring their heart and soul into the finale, you can see that in every word they utter.
Radcliffe is Harry Potter; a true hero, selfless in the face of danger, a born leader, now a man ready to accept his destiny.
Fiennes has made You-Know-Who, a most wonderful villain, he is absolutely ruthless and fascinating to see in action.
Other outstanding performances come from veterans, Smith and Rickman as Professor's McGonagall and Snape though only handed a limited screen presence, they command their time with grandeur.
Interestingly, an unlikely contender for Harry's position of Gryffindor Legend is found in Neville Longbottom (Lewis), who is given the chance to do something apart from blunder.
Though something wicked waits at every turn, the magic is absolutely beautiful and combined with a sensational orchestral soundtrack, these provide the monumental and dramatic send off the series has undeniably earned.
If you're worried about less magic in your lives don't be. I believe if Universal Studios have any sense they'll be making a Gringotts Roller-coaster as we speak!
This world has touched many people's lives for different reasons and in different ways, what will succeed it and if anything ever will hit such heights is anyones guess.
I can't fault the film in anyway and I wouldn't want to, it's the best of the eight.
Touching, emotional and thrilling, the Deathly Hallows is positively breathtaking in every way.
I think it's only fair for us all to say a special thank you to J.K. Rowling, without her, our lives would all have a little less spark in them.
And to Mr. Harry Potter The Boy Who Lived!