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SPOILERS for TV watchers who haven't read to the end of Book 5, A Dance with Dragons.
Any films from the original version of this list, Sci-Fi and fantasy of 2012 and beyond, which have been released by the 10th April 2014 have been removed.
I will accept any sensible suggestions.
I originally had two seperate lists for LOTR and The Hobbit, but the films correspond so much more than the books, so I merged them.
Roland Emmerich's on here because I've seen almost every film of his during my childhood, not because I think he's an amazing director.
I don't like to write reviews full of hate, but I was disappointed by Prometheus. I love Alien, Aliens, Alien 3, Alien Resurrection, and even Alien vs Predator was alright. Prometheus, meanwhile, was not what I had expected.
It was well made, with a good cast and an alright script. The movie's directing was brilliant - Ridley Scott on top form, but something was lacking. The thing that annoyed me the most about the film was it left so much unanswered. Not just stuff like why did the Engineers want to go to Earth?, and why did David infect Holloway? These questions would be on your mind if you've seen the film.
They can be answered when you think hard enough. It's other questions like why did they a team of the weirdest scientists in the world? How did Sean Harris become an indestructible zombie? and why didn't Michael Fassbender play Rowland instead of Guy Pearce. Annoying, that's what those questions are.
The film isn't that scary, but it is exciting, epic, and at the start, intriguing. The aliens from Alien and it's sequels turn up a bit, and are scarier than the engineer aliens. The Plot is good, and includes space exploration to study a building built by 'Engineers'. Engineers are aliens who, according to Doctors. Shaw and Holloway, created the human race.
The plot is almost thrown out the window once things start going wrong, and the film is almost completely kept together by Ridley Scott's directing and the character of David. David is a robot who looks like a human and watches 1950s films to try and learn what it's like to be a human. David is played by Michael Fassbender, and film shows just how good an actor Fassbender is.
All in all, the film is alright, but could have done with a plot rethink. It does star the most unlikable character in the franchise (including all the Predator and AvP films) played by Charlise Theron, and has brilliant Special effects, but was just missing something.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (2011)
This is a brilliant game-it far surpasses oblivion, especially in it's graphics. While the main quest-line is very serious and is to do with the dragon-born and Grey-beards and dragons returning, the side-quests are just as enjoyable and rewarding, but also more fun. The map for Skyrim is huge, apparently twice as big as Oblivion's Cyrodil map, although that did have plains of Oblivion to explore as well. The weapons and armour vary greatly, and the majority of the armour looks fantastic. The environment is very lifelike, although the water will sometimes glitch in some ways. The best thing about Skyrim is although it is advised to do the big quest, you can follow almost any of the quest-lines you want. You get to choose your side in the civil war,which is Stormcloak rebels vs the Empire. While I chose Stormcloaks because I think their leader, Ulfric, is cool, but my brother did the imperial campaign and said it's just as good. As well as the two warring sides, you can join the companions, who are werewolf mercenaries, the dark brotherhood, who are Skyrim's best assassins, and the thieves guild, an general crime organisation, as well as two colleges; The Bards College in Solitude, and The Mages College in Winterhold. All five of these guilds have their own quests you can follow. There are nine holds, each with a city, which is home to a Yarl(a Lord). None of the cities come close to the size of Imperial City from Oblivion, but Whiterun is in the centre of the province and has all the best shops. Solitude meanwhile, is very large (compared to the other Skyrim cities), and is visually incredible, as it is built on a giant arch. Another thing that impressed me is that when I looked on Skyrim's IMDb page, I saw that Arngeir, leader of the grey-beards is voiced by Christopher Plummer, Esbern, an ex-blade, is voiced by Max Von Sydow, Dolphine, another ex-blade, is voiced by Joan Allen, Tullius, leader of the Imperials, is voiced by Michael Hogan, and Ulfric, leader of the Stormcloaks, is voiced by Vladimir Kulich. It was obvious that the Skyrim creators have spent some money on voice casting. The quests themselves range from tiny things such as reading a message to big things such as killing a dragon. The combat is better than Oblivion, and while the game has giants, trolls and dragons, which are all brilliant opponents, I miss Oblivion's minotaurs. The first DLC, Dawnguard, is great, and gives you werewolf perks, vampire lords, vampire perks, armoured trolls, death hounds and massive headquarters for both the vampires and the Dawnguard. All in all, it is a fantastic game, and all Oblivion and Morrowind fans will enjoy it.
There are two more DLCs, Hearthfire and Dragonborn, which are about to be released. Hearthfire is about the player's home and edits you can make to your home. Dragonborn is much more exciting and seems to be more about another Dragonborn returning. Having now completed the majority of the quest-lines, i can say that the Thieves guild is the most enjoyable. The Thieves Guild Quest-line is to do with the leadership of the guild, and the characters and the history of the guild. The Dark Brotherhood quest-line is very exciting,but once it's over, it's completely over. The Companion's Guild quest-line is too short and no at all exciting. The Main Quest-line is brilliant, apart from the final battle with Alduin. The Civil War quest line is entertaining enough but feels way to repetitive, and isn't a complete victory for your side. The College of Winterhold quest-line is interesting enough, but is the hardest to put your finger on. It's a little too obvious but you feel proud once you've completed it. All in all, Skyrim is a very good game, but I wish I hadn't killed Cicero. I look forward to any future DLCs.
This is a review of the film Troy, which was released in 2004. It is directed by Wolfgang Petterson and written by David Benioff, and based on the Iliad by Homer. King Agamemnon (Brian Cox) is ruler of Mycenea, but wishes to rule an empire, so his army slowly conquers the rest of what is now Greece. The only threat to his empire is a neighbouring country called Troy. Agamemnon's brother Menelaus (Brendan Gleeson) is tired of war, so he negotiate's peace with the Trojan princes Hector (Eric Bana) and Paris (Orlando Bloom). Upon leaving, Paris reveals to Hector that he has taken Menelaus's wife, Helen (Diane Kruger) with him, as he loves her. Menelaus goes to Agamemnom to start a war, and Agamemnom manages to convince legendary warrior Achilles (Brad Pitt) to fight among the Greek army. Hector and Paris arrive in Troy, and tell their father Priam (Peter O'Toole) of the upcoming war. Agamemnom arrives on the beaches of Troy with 1,000 ships, but after day 1, Achilles refuses to fight, and instead cares to Trojan prisoner Briseis (Rose Byrne). Over the next two battles Hector kills Menelaus, Ajax (who is the Greek's best warrior after Achilles), and Achilles's cousin, Patroclus, and finally Achilles decides to don his armour and face Hector in a duel to the death. Achilles wins and kills Hector but makes a pact with Priam to allow the Trojans 12 days of peace. After 12 days, Priam and his men ride out to find the Trojan horse, and all the Greeks gone. Priam orders the horse to be brought into the city of Troy. That night, Odysseus (Sean Bean) and his men escape form the horse, and open the gates and allow Agamemnon and all of his thousands of men in. Achilles also escapes from the horse, and goes to find Briseis. in the confusion, Priam is killed by Agamemnon, who is in turn killed by Briseis, and as Achilles escapes for a new life with her, Paris shoots him through the ankle and he dies. While all three of leads have both good points and flaws, it is Peter O'Toole and Julie Christie in small supporting roles that, as per usual, put in the best performances. Brian Cox seems to ham it up to much, but Brendan Gleeson and Sean Bean do well enough with the bland characters they are given. The fight scenes are great, although some of the close combat tactics used by Achilles are all but impossible. The more rough style used by Hector of Ajax feels more realistic, but the duel between Hector and Achilles is the best scene of the film.
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011)
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
This film never came to local cinemas, but I thought it looked great, so when it came out to rent I got it straight out to watch. For anyone who doesn't know it's based on a John LeCare novel in which detective George Smiley (Gary Oldman) is brought out of semi-retirement by Control (John Hurt) to find the mole in the British government out of 5 liable suspects(Bill Haydon, played by Colin Firth, Roy Bland, played by Ciaran Hinds, Percy Alleline, played by Toby Jones, Toby Esterhase, played by David Dencik and Smiley himself). The film is exquisitely directed by Thomas Alfredson, who obviously knows LeCare's novel very well. It's a line up of an acclaimed Swedish director with a collection of the best British character actors, and it pays off. Smiley gets straight on with his investigation, being assisted by younger detective Peter Guillaum (Benedict Cumberbatch) and young apprentice Ricki Tarr (Tom Hardy), who has recently returned to Britain after receiving information about the mole while being in Istanbul. The suspects themselves, are very one-dimensional, and aren't given very much time to shine. Despite this, I liked that by the end of the film, you are almost certain who the mole isn't, it turns of to be them. All the performances are strong, but for me Cumberbatch and Oldman carried the film. I've never seen Alec Guiness play anyone buy obi-wan Kenobi or Prince Feisal, but I imagine his shoes would be very hard to fill, but Oldman does it so well. Benedict Cumberbatch's character is the youngest main character, and gets all the cool ties and a Beatle's haircut. As they have said in proper reviews, TV's Sherlock is Smiley's Watson. Mark Strong also appears as a betrayed teacher who becomes a primary school teacher, a 2nd plot line which helps cut away from the heavy detective work. All in all, TTSS is a very powerful, well made and entertaining film which contains almost no guns (with the exception of one scene), blood, swearing or sex and is definitely a DVD purchase for me. The ending of the film is perhaps my favourite part, and sets it up nicely for a sequel film, which Oldman said he would be interested in making. Can't wait!
Sherlock: The Reichenbach Fall (2012)
Sherlock: The Reichenbach Fall
I came to this episode, and was, due to the hype, expecting it to be the best episode of Sherlock yet. But it's just not. The pacing for this episode is slow, and only takes place over a couple of days, which reminded me of A Study in Pink. The plot is simple: Moriarty is back and wants to attract sherlock's attention. The episode does start with a fairly comical scene in which Moriarty steals The Crown Jewels and robs the bank of England in Broad daylight. I know he's a genius, but come on, he's not that good! The actor who plays Moriarty, Andrew Scott, is great at playing version of Moriarty who so bored of life among 'normal people' that he has tipped on the verge of insanity. I felt that the middle of the episode was very strong, especially a scene where Sherlock was in a Taxi, and Moriarty came on the TV, telling him about the tale of Sir Boastalot, which is a parody of what was going on at the Scotland Yard with Lestrarde and Anderson at that exact time. The episode had a lot of buildup to what was ultimately a disappointing climax. Despite the clever wordplay of Richard Brook/Riechenbach, Moriarty didn't jump off the building, and instead shot himself. I felt Mroiarty's death was gotten out of the way very quickly to make way for Sherlock's apparent death. But the biggest problem of the episode is exactly what Guy Ritchie did wrong too. In The Final Problem, Moriarty and Sherlock both jump from Riechenbach, and Watson does't know Moriarty or Sherlock are alive. It's not until 3 years later, in The Adventure of the Empty House, that Watson walks in to find Sherlock sat in their flat. To reveal that Sherlock is still alive before Watson has even left his funeral is't incredibly accurate. Although the quality of the episode changed a lot, Steve Thompson's script is better than it was in The Blind Banker, though I do think Moffat and Gatiss were assisting him more in this one. The acting is great, as usual, particularly Andrew Scott and Benedict Cumberbatch. Not a brilliant episode, but good enough to conclude the series. Sherlock may not be back on our screens until January 2014 as that is when Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman will have returned from New Zealand after filming the Hobbit.
If you haven't seen Gladiator you've probably still heard of it. It is set in The Roman era and stars Russell Crowe, Joquain Phoenix, Oliver Reed, Connie Nielsen, Djimon Hounsou, Derek Jacobi, David Schofield, John Shrapnel, Ralf Moller and Richard Harris. The plot is straight forward enough, but it is the depth of the characters that I feel make it far more interesting. Russell Crowe takes the lead as General Maximus, friend and apprentice of Emporer Marcus Auerlius (Richard Harris). When Aurelias names Maximus as his successor, Aurelias's son Commodus (Joqauin Phoenix) kills his father, banishes Maximus and assumes control of the throne. Maximus is bought into a Gladiator troop owned by rich ex-gladiator Proximo (Oliver Reed, in his last acting role). Maximus uses his military skills in the arena to get him all the way back to Commodus until it is agreed he will fight the Emporer one-to-one. Maximus then gains the trust of Commudus's sister (Connie Nielsen), Nephew (Spencer Treat Clark) and First Senator (Derek Jacobi). The stage is set for an almighty show-down between a lowly gladiator and his emperor. I found the film very powerful in terms of emotion and meaning, and Ridley Scott's directing is his best since Bladerunner. The ensemble cast, headed by Russell Crowe, works great, although what I don't understand is how Russell Crowe won the Oscar he was nominated for, but Joquain Phoenix didn't. Oliver Reed and Richard Harris perhaps give the strongest performances, as the film's 2 classic actors. The film is now 12 years old, but because of it's picture quality, and fantastic CGI, it looks like it could have been released yesterday. The final note is that Hans Zimmer's score is one of the best in any film made in recent years.
The Expendables (2010)
The Expendables review
If your looking for any type of intelligence, do not watch this film, because it will just annoy you. The film's aim is to essentially pit every action star since the 80s against each other, with cast including Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Eric Roberts, Steve Austin, Randy Couture, Terry Crews and Mickey Rourke. Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger make very unhidden cameos, and are uncredited. Like Rambo 4, it is directed and co-written by Stallone. The story follows a bunch of super-tough mercenaries (Led by Stallone)who are hired by a powerful incorporator (Willis) to recapture an island from a military dictator (David Zayas). But Zayas has his own personal army, and is being supported by Ex-CIA Agentd (Roberts and Austin). I felt that the pace dragged in the middle, between the two major trips to the island. I also felt that the characters of the Expendables were either too prominent, e.g. Statham and Lundgren, or not prominent enough, e.g. Crews and Couture. While Stallone's directing isn't of the brilliance that some actor-directors are, he does know how to handle the pace and excitement of every action scene. Every actor does what they do best - very little talk, lots of punch, but for me the actor who stood out among the ensemble was Mickey Rourke, who takes a small supporting role as Tool, a character who simply hangs out with The other Expendables, and gives them tattoos and gives them the lowdown on missions.
Don't believe the hype about this film. It's not that bad, and there's nothing to hate about it. James Cameron directs it, and it stars Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Stephen Lang, Sigourney Weaver and Michelle Rodriguez. The colonist marines on the planet Pandora are after a super-expensive rock underneath the colony of the locals, a species of alien called the Navi. The Marine Commander(Lang), appoints a disabled Marine (Worthignton) to take on an Avatar body, with will make him look just like a Navi. Unfortunately, The Marine falls in love with one of the Navi (Saldana) and switches sides. A Conflict is inevitable. In my opinion, District 9 was better, although this is far more visually impressive. James Cameron apparently spent 15 years making this film, and the budget is absolutely huge. While Wikpedia labels it the 5th most expensive film ever made, many people do believed to be the 1st. The budget has been put to better use, though, than it was in some of the films which beat it in that list, like Spider Man 3. Like all the good James Cameron films, it means an enormous breakthrough in CGI, and the shots of Pandora are so very believable. While Sam Worthington is entertaining, Sigourney Weaver and Stephen Lang are the ones giving the more memorable performances. Like many big films, it also uses motion-capture. But don't expect this to be an all-action romp (like Terminator 2 or Aliens), as there is only one large fight, and that is towards the end (There is a lot of build up, and character moments and small skirmishes throughout the film instead). All in all, a good film, but could have been better.
Review of Joss Whedon's Serenity
I bought this film at a second-hand DVD shop for £1.50, and my expectations were low. But don't expect to be disappointed, because this film not only has a surprisingly deep plot line, and an enjoyable cast. I know there has been a series called Firefly, which the film is based on, but I haven't seen it. The film is written and directed by the creator of the series, Joss Whedon (who also created Buffy and Angel). It stars Nathan Fillion, Alan Tudyk, Adam Baldwin, Summer Glau, Chiwetel Ejoifer, Gina Torres, Morena Baccarin, Jewel Staite, Sean Maher, Ron Glass and Michael Krumholtz.
The plot follows Captain Malcolm Raynolds(Nathan Fillion)and his crew aboard his ship Serenity. The cast for this movie is the same as the cast of the television series (so don't expect any huge movie stars), and the only significant newcomer is Chiwetel Ejoifer, who plays the film's protagonist, known as The Operative. The Operative is after one of the ship's crew, a girl called River Tam, who in secret is a lethal weapon that can be set off at any time. The hunt spans a fair bit of the firefly universe, and reveals the origins of the mysterious Reavers.
Likable performances (with surprisingly deep characters), an above par director and an already established plot make this a film to watch.
If you're looking for a smart, entertaining, and bold sci-fi, and don't want a Vin Deisel film, then this the film for you.