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The force reawakens with a new hope in this solidly entertaining sequel that dares to go bold with the formula
What was so surprising about The Force Awakens was how entertaining it really was. Sure, it offered overblown fan service and the story was nothing new, but it blended together old and new formula nicely with supreme energy.
With The Last Jedi, those elements are shape shifted, creating a middle chapter that's difficult to compare with its predecessor. It takes what we think Star Wars is and sugarcoats it with a clean slate. This is all thanks to writer/director Rian Johnson, who plummets into warp speed to show this franchise what he's made of.
The movie starts precisely where the original left off: Rey is handing Luke Skywalker his lightsaber on an island, Finn is in a coma, Kylo Ren is bent out of shape and Leia is fighting to end the good-vs-evil battle that the series became known for. That's pretty much the outline of the film, and it would be foolish to give away the rest. For your own safety, what you think will happen may or may not happen. You've been warned.
The action scenes, locations and set design are all beautifully crafted, and are brought to life by the exuberance of John Boyega, Mark Hamil, Daisy Ridley, Oscar Issac and Adam Driver. Hamil playing Luke again proves that any actor over 60 can still have the talent that their younger selves would have lived in. He never tries to outsmart the youngsters, but instead has the time of his life like age doesn't matter. The new generation of actors are still on grand form and Carrie Fisher gives a wonderful final performance as Leia, implying that her legacy lives on in the franchise, no matter whether she's on or offscreen.
The director adds some interesting ingredients to the table that haven't been explored before. The lightsaber and space battles clearly have Japanese and World War influences and interestingly expands on the focus of the force. For those familiar or new to the saga, these elements will no doubt surprise you at some point.
But the force isn't always strong. A long scene involving a casino feels like footage that should have been left on the cutting room floor. It's fun, but adds nothing to what we already have. The pacing is frequently uneven as the story repeatedly jumps from one subplot to another. Also a few characters come off as either disappointingly one dimensional, underused or shoehorned in. But Johnson keeps the story barrelling along like a roller coaster ride, even if it's a touch too long at 152 minutes.
The choices Johnson makes towards where the story goes would provoke polarising opinions, but he's not phantom menacing. It is perhaps the right time to reignite the formula before it becomes stale. It will be interesting to see how director J.J. Abrams takes these alterations forward with Episode IX.
Baby Driver (2017)
So what happens when you mix a music video with a mediocre action movie? You get a strangely fresh, audacious and sassy crime musical from the director of Shaun of the Dead
As I watched Edgar Wright's Baby Driver, another movie came to my mind in comparison: Nicholas Winding Refn's Drive. These movies are in many ways different but are both about getaway drivers with strange names. Despite its visual style and all the talent involved, Drive disappointed me personally due to all the over-hyped acclaim from critics and its excruciatingly slow pace all the way through. Baby Driver makes Drive look like Battlefield Earth. This is a movie with enough fun and originality to tick the boxes off to becoming one of the better summer blockbusters of 2017. After his clashing involvement with Ant-Man, Edgar Wright is back on track again, even though this isn't his best work.
Here we have Baby, a getaway driver working for a mob boss with a gang of rivals, but he has a special trick up his sleeve he has compared to the others: he can listen to music for 24 hours straight and while he drives, playing different songs that demonstrate the mood that he feels at every moment. He comes across a waitress named Debora (played nicely by Lily James) who he starts to date, but then a final job pops up in the pipeline that causes everything going for him to be sacrificed. Some plot points feel familiar here, but it is the superpower-like idea of music that gives them a shakeup. Had it not been present, the movie would feel unoriginal obviously, but the cast may have saved it from becoming a disaster. Who knows and who cares? What we have here is good enough.
This is writer/director Wright's first film to be shot in the United States, which feels like a risky detour for his filmmaking roots, but the end result is, after his four-year directorial absence since The World's End, he luckily hasn't skipped a beat. This is his most unlikely film since Scott Pilgrim vs. the World but is thankfully and once again a very good, if not quite great, feature. You see and feel his love for music and cars, but his trademark style is often hard to find. There are no comedic scene transitions (probably as this isn't billed as a comedy) in the editing and his frantic camera movements have dialled down slightly, which makes his latest feature all the more interesting and experimental.
The other thing that makes this a different Wright movie is the use of an all American cast: Jamie Foxx, Kevin Spacey, Ansel Elgort, Jon Hamm, Lily James, you name it, a bit of a Tarantino-like collaboration going on. Elgort is flat-out amazing as Baby, conducting an often expressionless character but with a confident brain. He has the heart of an old school heartthrob in the music scenes and is engagingly subtle in the more intense scenes. Spacey is as good playing an average mob boss as he can ever be, while Foxx is on fine form and Hamm is what you can expect from a cut-throat mob rival as he pulls off rough facial expressions.
To call this a Mamma Mia! for people who didn't like the 2008 hit would be an understatement. Car chases and shootouts are present, but songs in the background give the crime genre a layer of soul, creative juice that has been thrown off so often by bleak atmosphere and bloody violence. There are a few long takes of singing that try to compete with the musical numbers from La La Land but with already published lyrics. Whenever the songs are absent, the film descends into action thriller territory and leaves you yearning for the next cue. When they're rolling, the film is a music video stretched to feature length.
While starting well and ending with hope, it drags slightly midway through as it bogs down telling the story in a serious manner, and the final showdown feels a tad formulaic, forgetting to be original like the rest of the movie. But they are saved by a jazzy atmosphere and nicely chosen songs (look out for Queen). It isn't as wacky as Scott Pilgrim nor as funny and iconic as the Cornetto trilogy, and the cinematography and costume design are nothing special, but what you can safely say about Baby Driver is that it is not a noisy and soulless migraine like the rest of modern action flicks. It has a brain, confidence at influencing pop culture and, finally, a bit of pride for writing and directing in the action genre. Now that's really saying something.
Dad's Army (2016)
This is a painfully unfunny and disgracefully embarrassing effort to try and revive a piece of pop culture that was perfectly fine left alone.
If you thought "Ghostbusters" was tragic, check this one out.
Want to know what one of the most recent cinematic revivals is? Dad's Army. You guessed it. It has been brought back to the big screen for the second time after 45 years, but except this time it's a reboot. Is this the chance for us to revisit one of the greatest comedies of all time? Well this is sadly not the case because Dad's Army 2016, a film I personally had high expectations for, is a crushing disappointment.
We begin with Captain Mainwaring and his crew are secretly searching for something lurking in the wilderness. During this scene we get a title sequence that pays direct homage to the end credits of the original show and it's nostalgically impressive. From this very moment on, we're offered a handful of comedy sketches that often fall flat in execution. You can clearly tell the actors are working their socks off to try and make these gags work, but the majority of them fail to land. The laughter track has been obviously omitted so we as the audience have to fill in the job. If there is nothing much here to laugh at then how can this be set in stone? There is one scene where the slapstick works and it's funny, then we're immediately treated with the same material as before. What was Hamish McColl, one of the writers of the ironically better "Johnny English Reborn", really thinking when he wrote this?
Toby Jones plays an acceptable Mainwaring, bringing back the slick witty mannerisms of Arthur Lowe's efforts. Tom Courtenay achieves as Corporal Jones but sadly can't quite resurrect Clive Dunn's memorable absurd goofiness. The Inbetweeners' Blake Harrison shines as Pike that would do Ian Lavender proud. But sometimes a cast has a downfall, and sadly here there is one: Bill Nighy. He plays more Bill Nighy than his character Sgt Wilson, dawdling around the classic scenery with a face expressionlessly boring enough to put John Le Mesurier to sleep. He puts on the derivative technique of lazily expressing emotions, making the iconic supporting character an unlikable one altogether. There is one scene where he wakes up after a rough night all dazed and confused but in a way that looks like he hasn't read his lines properly. Stupid boy!
It's surprising that there are only a very few things they achieve at. It's shot on film that makes the scenery look retro which is a starter towards success. The production and costume design are seamlessly spot-on, capturing exactly what Generation X grew up watching. This is a perfect callback alongside everything else that isn't.
It's all so shockingly dull that you wonder how unfamiliar the filmmakers were with the original show. Director Oliver Parker and his collaborators manage to strike gold with the cinematography, costume and production design but the slapstick humour and nostalgic flair are almost nowhere to be found. It has a strong ensemble cast, including Catherine Zeta-Jones, but that's overall not enough to enliven this adaptation up to the bar raised by its classic counterpart.
Luckily this doesn't ruin my affection for the show, it just makes me want to watch the sitcom more to get this abomination out of my head.
This is overall a whimsical and often magical starter to a series that stands on its own without even trying to better its predecessor.
Fifteen years after the release of the Philosopher's Stone and five years after Deathly Hallows: Part 2, the prequel/spin off cycle of beloved franchises has continued with the Harry Potter franchise, and its finally one done right. Since the news of J.K. Rowling developing a spin off in 2013, I've had huge speculation on what it would be. Three years later, "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them" is upon us and it's safe to say that the magic is back and it's untouched.
The risk about a spin-off is whether it is rich like the products that spawned them, but there is no sign of that here because this is written by Rowling herself. As the creator of this universe, she writes with passion and almost perfect understanding of what fans want. You can tell through every line of dialogue, set piece and character that she has her fingerprints trademarked all over them. Instead of setting another story in Hogwarts, she makes the fresh decision to set it in 1920s New York.
Here we meet Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) whose visiting the city with a suitcase full of magical creatures. The community has strict guidelines and does not allow creatures in it. His problem starts when his creatures suddenly start to escape and cause havoc across the city. He has to make the challenge of trying to find them.
Redmayne shines as Newt, having the quirkiness and maddening cheerfulness of Matt Smith's Doctor Who. He's often funny and charismatic, a different hero from Daniel Radcliffe's dive at the main man of the story. Him and Rowling have done a nice job at crafting a perfect protagonist for the next big fantasy series.
Colin Farrell plays Graves whose in charge of the Magical Security in the city. He's fairly good, relying on lead villain territory heavily and never collapsing into cliché as much. Dan Folger plays Newt's sidekick Jacob Kowalski whose a surprisingly likable supporting character. He's charming and full of interest like his leader. Katherine Waterston and Alison Sudol are spellbinding too as sisters Tina and Queenie who help Newt on his quest.
David Yates does just about a good job at directing this as he did with the last four Potter films, but due to the alterations of the universe, it feels seamless. This is because he's kept to his rules of bringing this world to life with real sets and impressive CGI. His directness has a Tim Burton-like feel that really makes the film extraordinary but different. The action scenes under his wing are impressive but not necessarily more effective than anything we've seen before. He'll be directing the next four films in this series so there's a guarantee that he will do justice again.
"Fantastic Beasts" isn't quite as fantastic as it thinks it is. While the plot is surprisingly original, it feels occasionally thin when it comes down to Newt and Kowalski trying to capture the creatures over the city. It sometimes feels like video game montage than your average fantasy quest. Also as this is the first part of the series, there's a lot of heavy world-building exposition to be done, which sometimes overlaps and wobbles the pace a little bit.
Now that the setup has surfaced, Rowling and Yates can now do more of whatever they want next time round. While it isn't as intelligent as the best Potter films, it kindly resolves the problems of the more average entries of the series. It's one of the biggest pleasures of the year, like what Star Wars: The Force Awakens was in 2015. This could be the benchmark for all spin-offs to come: fresh and pretty much its own thing.
Breaking Bad (2008)
Matchless as well as unmatched, stylish in its own right, addictive, experimental, triumphant and novel in every possible way, this is one of the great TV shows of all time.
If Breaking Bad was the first TV series to ever exist, something incredible certainly would have made history. If it were to be the last show to ever run, that would make it a perfectly historical culmination. However, as it arrived eight years into the 21st Century, it ranks as a game changer for television eternally.
None of the films and any other TV show I've seen in my lifetime have impressed me as much as this. It's impossible to describe this series in one word but it deserves to be described with every single positive one ever created on this planet.
It's pretty staggering how much creator Vince Gillian and his crew beat the odds to tell a story about a man who rises to crime by cooking drugs after his cancer diagnosis. The way Walter White changes from a family guy to a money-obsessed drug lord is incredible. Okay, its subject matter obviously isn't for the faint of heart but whether you're into that or not, you'll be hooked to this thing like what that disgusting drug does to people.
It's not just a crime show, its more than just that. In fact there's so much to obsess over: the character development and dialogue are professionally thought-out and never cheat, the cinematography is experimental, the direction is strong and the locations are beautifully staged. The writing is by far the selling point of the series. The team of ten writers (including Gilligan) know how to keep the story moving from one moment to the next with unstoppable energy while absorbing unique ideas that never feel or become stale and derivative. They also understand how to capture the horrific transformation of a normal human turning evil unhurriedly. Kudos to the directors for translating them onto screen, which is just as impressive due to the fact that their work is so seamless that the audience can become completely unaware of it. Notable directors Rian Johnson (Star Wars: Episode VIII) and David Slade (The Twilight Saga: Eclipse) helm a few episodes which adds as a bonus to the series' success.
The storytelling is of the highest order. It's clear Gillian isn't a by-the-numbers storyteller, he cares about characterisation and slow introduction for the colourful and dark world he's created. From the first episode to the very last, nearly every frame roots for the beauty of character-driven narrative as well as artistic cinematography that vaguely shows the beautiful locations in the background. We care for these characters, we follow them, we relate to them in some way. To be truthful, they feel realistic throughout the entire series. If only films adapted this element better.
Bryan Cranston is mind-blowing as Walter White. Anchored by the writing, he sets the character up perfectly as he gets sucked into the criminal underworld. His attitude towards everyday life slowly begins to change throughout the series, and it's played beautifully. Aaron Paul is awesome as Jesse Pinkman, portraying an uneven post-student drug addict in all the best ways. He's funny, argumentative but you also oddly enough care for him in many parts of the show.
Dean Norris is top-notch as DEA brother-in-law Hank. He plays a little with comedic attitude throughout the first couple of seasons but that slowly fades away as the story gets darker. Anna Gunn and RJ Mitte are spectacular at wife Skyler and son Walter, Jr. They have the characteristics to support a normal family before all hell breaks loose.
If they're any flaws, there is perhaps only one. While the cinematography is stylistic, the first half of the series is viewed from a hand-held perspective, making the experience sometimes slightly frustrating but luckily later on it turns to the camera placement that I can handle. Without giving anything away, the finale is anything but average which is a low for the show. It doesn't have the same richness that the pilot had, but hey, you can't have everything.
A TV series can go on for years or maybe decades, but what this did so damn well was that it finished exactly when it needed to. In an age where shows are dragged until completely decreased quality, this is a triumph. Gilligan chose wisely.
Crime does not pay but Breaking Bad certainly pays the price, thanks to the indescribable and unthinkable effort of the entire production anchored by a true discovery in television: Vince Gilligan. I doubt we'll see anything like this again.
A generous, energetic and brilliant return to a galaxy far, far away...
For a starter, I'm not really a Star Wars fan. However, I enjoy the movies but now after seeing The Force Awakens, the way I look at the films has changed. I feel more familiar with the franchise than ever before. A feeling I haven't had with any other film released in 2015.
Daisy Ridley plays Rey, a scavenger living in the Abu Dhabi-shot desert on the planet of Jakku. She one day finds a rollerball droid named BB-8 who she decides to keep. Meanwhile John Boyega's character Finn is a stormtrooper who exits his part in the evil First Order and runs into Rey and BB-8 and embark on a journey to fight against Adam Driver's post-Vador villain Kylo Ren. In the process they bump into an aged Han Solo and co, including a new character Poe Dameron played by another franchise newbie Oscar Isaac.
Its great to have Han Solo and the rest of the old cast back and a grand welcome for two new leads, Daisy Ridley and John Boyega, that have enough potential to kick start successful Hollywood acting careers thanks to this. Every performance is rewarding, big or small. Besides Ford, Ridley and Boyega completely steal the show. It's amazing how much talent they've got having not done anything much in Hollywood beforehand. Ford is the one to praise for bringing the nostalgic feeling from the original trilogy back onto it's feet. From the moment his "Chewie we're home" line is said, the real Star Wars is back! It's a moment of magic.
Director J.J. Abrams certainly had a risky task to take on board after the disappointing results of the prequels. He keeps on roots with the originals by using practical effects instead of CGI, real locations rather than green/blue screen and cute, caring creatures instead of another Jar Jar Binks. He knows how to blend old and fresh new ingredients together without ever losing interest in either of them. This is what many filmmakers fail to do. The old and fresh blood are entertaining anyway, almost like two movies merged into one.
There are some flaws I feel though. After all the hype of Kylo Ren leading up to release, he results as a disappointing low key villain with nothing much special or original about him at all, besides the lightsaber. Driver is the wrong casting choice for the role. He's too young and looks less of a villain and more of a commercialised heartthrob. Even the First Order and it's characters feel underdeveloped without any logic to them whatsoever. Also Carrie Fisher's returning Princess Leia isn't the same person we saw last back in 1983. She's turned into a grandmotherly figure and although does a very good job at it, it is hard to see the character everybody once loved.
Amongst these minor flaws, this is one heck of a Star Wars film. The action scenes from lightsabers to X-wing battles are endlessly exciting and John Williams' musical score has become mind-blowingly electrifying in the background. It's a joy to listen to. Abrams' cinematic return couldn't be more surprising. May the force be with him.
Kingsman: The Secret Service (2014)
Brilliant, twisted, thrilling, funny, pleasantly enjoyable and agreeably entertaining. Matthew Vaughn strikes gold (again). He has a licence to thrill this time. A winner.
We have got eight more months until we see Spectre, which we be Bond's next outing on the silver screen. If there in anything in these eight months that would entertain us while waiting, Matthew Vaughn's Kingsman: The Secret Service is one of the closest to your calling.
Five years ago, we got Kick-Ass, a spoof superhero movie that unleashed a new cinematic language. It was rather one of the most irresistibly entertaining films of the past few years. It's ultra-violent structure and bar-over-topping scale of profanity and humour proved that director Vaughn could be a genius at this stuff. The plot focuses on a teenager who decides to become a superhero. Basically for me, even though it isn't one of my favourite films of all time, the film feels like an instant classic.
Newcomer Taron Egerton plays Gary 'Eggsy' Unwin, a cockney teen from London. Harry Hart (Colin Firth) is a secret agent who works for Kingsman (a secret spy service similar to MI6) on a "Diagon Alley", like London street. He finds 'Eggsy' and recruits him to stop an evil mastermind, Valentine (Samuel L. Jackson). He wants to take over the world with an evil plan (the typical baddie plot, hey?). But before doing so, he needs to complete in a few life-risking tasks with other opponents (sounds familiar to you? Hunger Games? Divergent? Yes, most of the young adult books seem the same these days. Don't you agree?).
Mark Strong and Michael Caine play supporting roles alongside Firth in the service. Even Star Wars' Mark Hamill pops up (as a professor, not a Jedi in case you were wondering...) and clearly and obviously, at 63, looks different to how he looked four decades ago. Let's see how he revisits as Luke again in "The Force Awakens" this December.
The jokes arrive agreeably but not as quickly as I was expecting. The film deals with themes such as dysfunction families and bullying. These are serious issues so some ways it has a more mature nature than Vaughn's previous film (Kick-Ass). Vaughn's tone hasn't changed which is a relief. Even if it takes time to register, it's pretty funny stuff. Vaughn and his co-writer Jane Goldman also throw in Bond references as well which add to the fun.
The lacking of ultra-violence is really the only disappointment. There's an overlong entertaining church fight sequence, and the climax at the finale is overblown (probably one of the biggest key references to Bond throughout the whole film). There's also a noticeably clichéd but really fun pub battle. Other than these, there's not a huge amount of action.
You can't help thinking that it might be a mirror image of Vaughn's previous film as it's done by the same director and writers. But after a while, you get used to the different structure of the film itself.
Could Vaughn be an expert at spy movies? I can't answer this. It's a question only for you to answer. Myself, I consider it to be perhaps the best and most clever spy spoof since the Johnny English films. So my answer would be that he would not entirely be an expert at spy movies but one at these style of spoofs. Having done a superhero spoof in 2010 and a spy spoof in 2015, we'll have to see what handle he'll give us in another five years.
No other blockbuster this summer could probably beat the heights of this!
Michael Bay has finally done the inconceivable. Not for the worst, but for the better. He's fixed something that I never thought he would fix. Well most of it. This fourth instalment in the mostly unfavourable film franchise inspired from the Hasbro toy line has taken risks and has improved over its careless and agonising stupidity that took over the last three movies.
Transformers: Age of Extinction is a standalone spectacle on mostly every level that the franchise can take. There's no more goofiness and unnecessary dialogue, there's just one clean line of perfection. As fans may know this is the start of a second trilogy of films. This time there's no wimpy Shia LaBeouf as the lead role, instead Mark Wahlberg takes his place as an engineer named Cade Yeager who lives in Texas countryside with his daughter, Tessa (Nicola Peltz).
To get people on the right track, this takes place four years after the rather disappointing Dark of the Moon. It's climax, referred to as the Battle of Chicago, makes big changes in store for the Autobots. Humans are hunting them down and killing them all off. Meanwhile, Cade buys a wrecked truck which turns out to be Optimus Prime, the leader of the Autobots. Now they must join him as they are targeted by the government and a new villain, Lockdown. It's kind of a good thing that Optimus has chosen different people to come and help him. You kind of got fed up with LaBeouf's constant moaning that ruined the last film. The humans are more mature in this film. That's what I've liked to see.
It's partially a reboot and a sequel mixed together but with just one urban plot hole: what happened to the previous characters? Four years later and they just disappear without any explanation. Even Cade in the film doesn't ask Bumblebee the simple question: who and what happened to your last owner? There has to be an answer. They can't just GO! The film offers everything in the Transformers canon that you could ask for. There are car chases, bike chases, sky chases and overall, timeless typical action scenes. Some run for like 10-15 minutes or so, especially the big chunk at the end. They're more explosive and bigger than ever. But when the Dinobots (who are the Transformers that were going to appear in the very first film but Bay decided not to use them, after two movies he decides to bring them in for some strange reason) roll in, that's when it all really goes crazy. They have potential screen time but they have no real characterisations while on screen (not in their plot points). All they mainly do is just stomp around and barge into things like mad.
One of the things Bay has fixed is the humour. It's actually funny compared to the worthless, cheesy comedy last time round. There's one moment when a ship (with Cade in it) crash-lands onto a car and the person in the car asks him for insurance. Ehren Kruger's script is fresh and has got less clichés than the last two movies but has too much of a plot. There didn't need to put so much into it. With Dark of the Moon's plot, that was enough. This just crosses the line.
The biggest problem with AOE is that it's too long. Bay promised it would be shorter than DOTM (Dark of the Moon) but instead he lies, again. It turns out to be exhaustively 165 minutes long, the longest one yet, eleven minutes longer than DOTM. It would have been better if it was shorter. It takes the first 40 minutes to get the actual thing going. In those forty minutes, there's nothing but human communication. The film drags a bit in places.
The 3D: it's the best experience I've had since Gravity. Whether you see it in 3D or IMAX 3D, the viewing is extraordinary. But it's a tough choice for people who can't survive wearing the glasses for nearly three hours. I couldn't bare it for that long, especially with how eye-popping the effect was. Probably the best 3D film of the year so far.
The acting – well I'm not sure there's loads of it but I wonder whether sometimes the actors just act as themselves, not with their characterisations. Especially Wahlberg, you sometimes wonder that he's actually doing that. Or as he always done that in his films? Even Stanley Tucci, who plays Joshua Joyce, the head of the company KSI who creates a new technology based on the Transformers. Most of the time he plays his character but whenever he gets angry and shouts it feels like he's playing himself.
The thing I miss about the Transformers franchise is the originated relationships between the robots and the humans. In this one, neither there's a particular friendly relationship between them unlike the previous movies. The humans just follow and help the Autobots around and don't have a moment or two to get to know each other in a friendly way. In the previous trilogy, Shia LaBeouf's character, Sam Witwicky, had a relationship with Bumblebee because he was his car. Here, Bumblebee is more involved in the mission and has no time for talk. Prime is more involved in that process this time.
Despite a few little wobbles (even including the worst ending yet when, without giving away too much, the Dinobots head off unexpectedly), this is the best, biggest, craziest, funniest, calmest, most enjoyable, explosive and exciting & action-packed instalment yet. This indeed is the Transformers movie we've been waiting for.
A huge improvement over the first with a touch of tone from The Avengers! Let's hope it carries on that way.
It's been three years since the First Avenger made it to the big screen and has made his move going through the Marvel marathon starting with his first solo movie and then continuing with 2012's crossover Avengers movie. He's played by Chris Evans, the guy (the actor not the other one) that played Johnny Storm/Human Torch in Marvel's Fantastic Four movies if that sound's familiar to some.
As Captain America/Steve Rogers still struggles settling into the world he's living in after defeating the Hitler-like villain Red Skull in World War II and then waking up in the modern world in the disappointing first movie, a new threat comes in sight: the Soviet agent known as the Winter Soldier. But with S.H.I.E.L.D. agents Nick Fury (the 65-year-old Samuel L. Jackson), Falcon (Anthony Mackle) and Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) beside him, he can defeat the threat once and for all. If it is possible to stop him.
Unlike many badly developed super villains like Parallax from the dreadfully disappointing "Green Lantern", Red Skull from the first Captain America movie and General Zod from the last year's dreadfully unevenly paced Man of Steel, the Winter Soldier is not a badly developed super villain; he could be one of the best. He wears a mask that seems far more complex than the one Tom Hardy's Bane wears in The Dark Knight Rises. At one point I thought it was played by The Hobbit's Richard Armatage (Thorin Oakenshield) but he wasn't, it was played by Sebastian Stan.
There's a new hero in town: Falcon (Sam Wilson, real name), a new superhero that can fly like a talented bird of prey. He is played by Anthony Mackle who you may recognise from last year's "experimental" Gangster Squad. When he and Cap have screen-time together, I thought it was familiar to the Iron Man duo (Robert Downey, Jr. and Don Cheadle). Scarlett Johannson's Black Widow probably has more screen-time than in previous films. Her hair style's changed from short to long, but her fight scenes certainly haven't changed.
This is probably a Marvel movie we've been waiting for. If you've watched 'Avengers Assemble' you may find a few elements in this a little familiar. This is proof that the Marvel movies are getting better. Before 'Avengers Assemble', some of the Marvel movies were average. It was the 'Thor' and 'Captain America' predecessors that sucked, and a little of the Hulk remake (not completely) but no way the Iron Man predecessors sucked, although it was said that Iron Man 2 wasn't as good as the original, it doesn't mean to say it sucked.
So this is how the sequel is and should be taught as: bigger, better, and darker than its predecessor. Because the predecessor was set back in World War II time, it had old fashioned superhero set-pieces meanwhile this one has modern Avengers-like set-pieces. Although this is way better that The First Avenger, I'm not sure whether this even beats off Iron Man 3 but it is the best Marvel film since it though.
Like I've said, it keeps close to 'Avengers Assemble', but doesn't beat it (probably next year's Age of Ultron will very well do). The action is exhilarating but unlike Iron Man 3 and Avengers' action, this action had less excitement in its heart to thrill me. I'm not completely criticising it all, but one little inch in perspective. This is a BIG sequel but its action had no heat-pounding substance to blow me away; I don't know it may be me or 'it'; you'll have to see for yourself.
Ah yes, the one I must never forgot: the 3D. Now here's my verdict: good but not challenging enough. It's eye-popping, with the close-ups of faces, but in this one no stars and stripes shield comes flying at you or other catchy effects. It could be worth seeing in 3D if you're really bothered, but I don't think it matters, the experience is probably mainly for 2D but it's up to you.
Like Iron Man 3 and Thor: The Dark World, The Winter Soldier is a "true" sequel, even if it's trapped within the Marvel universe. It's not like Star Trek into Darkness where you could actually watch that sequel before the first one and it actually makes sense, the first Cap America you need to see before this one otherwise you probably won't know what the heck is going on (well maybe in the first act).
Although this is probably the best one since Iron Man 3, its hero probably isn't the best of the Avengers. Some may find him a little boring. He has a steel shield that can be used for throwing and bouncing off things like a boomerang; without it, he can only use his fists. Not many powers for him. He's like Thor: he has a steel hammer that he throws and comes back to him unhanded. Don't you like superheroes with only one piece of weaponry and that's it? I don't really notice that. I just respect superheroes the way they are; not with how much weaponry they've got.
Marvel still goes on with humour, especially after 'Avengers Assemble' that was funnier than probably any other superhero movies at the time. A little amusing when Sam Wilson/Falcon asks Cap which people would be the bad guys during a fight. I would ruin the answer for you. There are still some wacky action moments too. There's one when Cap single-handedly takes down a ship in less than 10 seconds. But it's too quick to get you enthralled.
Captain America is going well and hopefully will keep doing it as well in the future. Who knows what he has in store for his next outing. And by the way, stay for the end credits; otherwise you'll miss something special
The World's End (2013)
Hilarious, Insane, Thrilling, Twisted and Powerfully Entertaining in the bitter end of the last Cornetto on sale at the Pegg/Frost/Wright ice cream van!
Well there was one thing I knew about 2013, there would be two apocalypse comedy movies coming out. One is acclaimed apocalyptic sci-fi comedy spoof-like 'This is the End', where celebrities such as James Franco, Seth Rogen and Jay Baruchel play themselves and are forced to survive against an apocalypse. As for the second, it is a gang of guys getting involved in alien annihilation. That film is titled 'The World's End'; Simon Pegg and Nick Frost's latest outing where they're not against zombies or bad guys; they're against pubs, pints and alien forces!
'The World's End' tells the story of five blokes, Gary King (Simon Pegg, the ringleader as always), Nick Frost, the sidekick (usual in their films), Oliver (The Hobbit & TV's Dr. Watson: Martin Freeman), Steve ('Tyrannosaur' director Paddy Considine) and Peter (Eddie Marson), who all reunite to return to their hometown to try to make it to the bitter end (Gary refers it as 'lager end') with the ultimate pub crawl, code-named The Golden Mile, which they failed 20 years ago. They journey to drink 12 pints at 12 pubs, including The Famous C***, The Kings Arms and finally last but not least, the big one: The World's End. On their way they bump into old face Sam (Rosamund Pike). But other than that, they encounter a pub crawl is like no other...
This is an idea that the other Pegg/Frost movies haven't pitched yet: Sci-fi apocalyptic madness. But yes, like their previous films (except for 'Paul'), all involve pubs. Unlike in 'Hot Fuzz', Pegg's character, Nicolas Angel, get's the duty of kicking teenagers out of a pub; in this one there's no kicking out, there's battle. Yes, not with teens though, but with alien robots! Yep there's plenty of head-smashing and blue blood to come along. Their rather crafty at first, but as time goes on; everything gets really strange and creepy. Now with 'unstoppable' forces around them to prevent an ultimate pub crawl, the gang are up for a night of running, head-smashing, drinking, swearing and fence-jumping in the biggest, most violent and insane pub marathon yet!
This marks the third collaboration between Pegg, Frost and director Edgar Wright (six years since Hot Fuzz) and the fifth between Pegg & Frost (two years since "Paul", but without Wright - the directorial credit taken by "Superbad"'s Greg Mottola instead).
This film is part of The Cornetto trilogy, a movie saga which involves small England towns, jumping over fences, and blood (which is blue and which they refer to as 'ink') that splatters everywhere. With only three flavours to rule them all; Cornetto flavours that is. The trilogy was born with romantic zombie(?) comedy 'Shaun of the Dead' which was released in 2004, presenting a theme of an ice cream with a strawberry tang to represent the blood and gore in the film. Lovely!
Secondly was 2007's 'Hot Fuzz', a buddy cop film at its finest with its successful comedy, good entertainment, furious action and unexpected James Bond kick-off: Timothy Dalton. Themed of an ice cream as a blue original cone to represent the police material in the film.
And thirdly,now 'The World's End', one of 2013's Hollywood sci-fi apocalypses is a finale to a funny-flavoured film saga! An ice cream with mint chocolate chip to end it all, but what's the purpose of the theme I wonder?
The VFX are good, but they're not up to 'Star Trek into Darkness' standards. The aliens look alright except their blood which makes you wonder if it's just blue paint or if it was all just completely computer-generated. Could be right; could be wrong.
Remember in my 'Star Trek into Darkness' review I said Simon Pegg would hopefully be funny in this? Well thankfully I was right. He succeeds. Actually he's probably one of the funniest things about this film. Also,despite the usual serious character and tone he has in his films that he stars with Pegg in, Nick Frost succeeds as well.
This is actually based on a true event Edgar Wright experienced in the past. When returning home from Art College he had a plan: to take on a pub crawl, calling it 'The Golden Mile', on all his taverns in his hometown (which were 15 he states). But unfortunately it had only made it up to 6 pubs which didn't break a possible world record.
So what happens next? Up for Wright next is Ant-Man in 2015, his break from comedy to switch to superhero. What's up for Pegg and Frost? And what will Wright do after Ant-Man? Will the Blood and Ice Cream (the other title for the trilogy) gang reunite for a fourth time in the future? After it all started with 'Spaced', a long-gone comedy show that began the long-time relationship between Pegg and Frost, and continued with three more movies that started the relationship with Edgar Wright. But the question is, where does the journey end? Has it ended? Will it continue even without Cornetto in place? It might happen. You never know. I would be surprised if they did. Hopefully an article will appear someday on the internet to explain a pleasing next project that fans will be waiting for. I know someone one day will send a tweet to one of the trio to ask what's next after their upcoming flicks. Don't get any ideas from this, readers!
But last out of all, to bring this review down with a bang just like the film, 'The World End' never fails to disintegrate the formula of the Cornetto trilogy's sensational glory. Just like the previous outings, it gives you laughs, madness and blood and violence! My first 15-rated film at the cinema was a perfect choice. Not to be missed, especially by Pegg/Frost fans!
Star Trek: Into Darkness (2013)
J.J. Abrams' 2009 reboot was slightly disappointing for me. I felt that it needed a little bit of an extra boost of action to keep science-fiction\action film lovers (like me but except I like not love it) occupied with the system. After 4 years, it's surprisingly and (I think for many) expected sequel arrives to prove that a follow-up to a successful movie could be more successful and approval over the first outing and yes J.J. you've done it this time!
"Star Trek Into Darkness" is a knockout sequel which overlaps the action and excitement of it's predecessor. I never watched the original "Star Trek" series but anyone who's a newcomer, like me, to "Trek" you should give this a go.
The ensemble cast return again as the young vision of the Star Trek team (Chris Pine: Kirk, Zachary Quinto: Spock, Zoe Saldana: Nyota Uhura, Simon Pegg: Scotty, Karl Urban: "Bones" McCoy, John Cho: Sulu, and Bruce Greenwood as Christopher Pike) with 'Trek' newcomer Alice Eve (Carol Marcus) on board. "Sherlock"'s Benedict Cumberbatch portrays Kahn, the next suspicious and dark villain (after the strange and average villain Nero, portrayed by Eric Bana in the predecessor) who wants to destroy Earth, without making any spoilers at all. I must admit he's quite good at playing Kahn and even especially for Simon Pegg, who plays Scotty. He's got a bigger part in this than the first entry, even funnier, in which is what Pegg's normally like. He isn't as brilliant as in his films with Nick Frost (Paul, Hot Fuzz and hopefully in the upcoming The World's End) but he's still quite good.
The special effects are dazzling. You see shots of CGI London in 2000 years away from skyscraper view which works well with the 3D. You can see St. Paul's Cathedral (I didn't see it) still hanging there if you take a lookout (this isn't a spoiler it's a hint). There's many futuristic buildings lying around to make it look like a typical futuristic city unlike in present day.
Did I mention the 3D? Yes I did. And just to let you know the 3D is incredible. Like with the special effects it stands out with the film and introducing the world of "Star Trek" to non-Trekkies (like me) in an exciting way. According to Abrams, they shot the film in Imax (which probably has some very good Imax shots) and converting the film into 3D during post-production, expecting the experience to be slightly ruined by the unnecessary use of 3D because believe me, I seen many films at the cinema that have bad uses of 3D (like Gulliver's Travels and Narnia 3 and many more which I can't think of), but unbelievably, I've never seen any converted-3D film as good as this. And because of this, this is one of the best films I've seen in 3D, and the first 3D film in converted 3D which I like the most. Especially Abrams' lens flare trick (read Abrams' Empire issue for info) which works well with the 3D (look out for that as well).
Abrams boosts some exciting, thrilling and noisy action sequences to the film, more powerful than it's predecessor's. But UNLIKE it's predecessor, other than the gun and Enterprise fights, the face-to-face fight scenes are just brutal. Just punches until it goes too far. Probably Abrams' writers, Robert Orci & Alex Kurtzman (Transformers 1&2) and Damon Lindelof, wanted to add more violence to make it more thrilling. No luck, just unnecessary (you'll understand once you're watching it). Don't be disappointed. You'll agree.There's still plenty Enterprise ship battles, Abrams hasn't left those bits out. Goodness no he hasn't.
Just to remind you, this isn't Star Wars from George Lucas. It's Star Trek from J.J Abrams. Speaking of which, Abrams is going to helm "Episode VII" next. Don't you just think for a minute that Abrams slow down with science fiction?
It may be the start of Summer 2013 according to rumours, but "Darkness" could be part of the beginning of it. It's a summer blockbuster that packs a powerful villain (played by a professional actor) an understanding (and maybe sometimes be incomprehensibly confusing) plot and good and exciting action and 3D (that'll quite possibly turn up in upcoming action blockbusters (such as Pacific Rim, Man of Steel and more). Out of everything I've said about this film, it's a successful and must-see sequel you should catch in the cinema before it's too late because (I think) it's the only best experience for it (I saw this before May Half Term so I'm sending in a late review).
Life of Pi (2012)
Spectacular 3D, Outstanding VFX and Talented Acting!
Ang Lee's 3D VFX film adaptation of Yann Martel's 2001 award-winning book of the same name, "Life of Pi", is such an amazing film with stunning artwork. Sitting in the cinema last night with friends, it was quite a jaw-dropping experience. I've got to say this would be impossible to do with real animals. Richard Parker, the Bengal tiger, if he was real, not CGI, would have not been easy on set. The way they animate the tiger and background is incredible. Whenever I saw a clean shot of the boat (that Pi and Parker sail in) and the sinking ship, it reminds me of the look of the animation they do in Spielberg's Tintin.
Pi's life is told in three stages: childhood, teenage life and adult. The adult stage is quite emotional. The story is delivered by adult Pi (Irrfan Khan) retelling the story about his unbelievable past life to a writer (Rafe Spall, Prometheus).
Pi's childhood (portrayed by Gautam Belur, age 5 and Ayush Tandun, age 13) starts with him being bullied at school because of his unusual name, which then he shortens, but still causes teasing. He soon begins to become interested with different religions which causes some amusement. His father owns a zoo and he teaches Pi how to take care of the animals. These lessons Pi's been taught helps him later on in his life.
The teenage Pi's life (portrayed by Suraj Sharma) begins his perilous journey when sailing on a ship moving to Canada, when his family agree to move from India. On the way, Pi and the ship encounter a heavy storm which ends up sinking the ship and him ending up on a lifeboat, becoming the only (human) survivor. While lost at sea with no hope, he discovers that a tiger (Richard Parker) has come aboard. Although he knows the tiger wants to kill him, he eventually works out a way to control him. Thinking about Parker, he reminds me a little bit of Aslan from C.S. Lewis' Narnia series; when he walks and roars and uses tiger facial expressions, but not when he attacks. He's a lot fiercer than Aslan, who is more calm and friendly.
For Suraj Sharma (teenage Pi), this is his first ever acting debut in film and already he's received his very first Bafta nomination for the Orange Rising Star Award category (and that's what I think he deserves). He brings a touching and rewarding performance as Pi, I think he's the perfect choice for the role.
It's special effects and 3D are fantastic. Whenever you see the animals and human extras, you even wonder if their completely CGI. Of course whenever I saw Richard Parker I knew it was going to be computer-generated, but I've just learnt that four real tigers were used in some shots. and you still can't tell which is which. It would have been completely impossible to film right out at sea, so thanks to computer-generated imagery, it couldn't be easier. The 3D effects are incredible (like Martin Scorsese's Hugo but in a different way). This isn't a gimmick. No. These are unlike the other 3D films we see today in which 3D is sometimes unnecessary. Lee (I think) uses 3D almost like they use it on 3D wildlife channels on 3D TV. In this film the animals look as real as on a wildlife programme. You wonder how they manage it, and that's what gives the film an amazing look. At one point it feels like the sea will spill into the cinema. You'd be amazed.
Life of Pi is a film that should be seen in 3D to experience the special effects. It isn't the best film I've ever seen but I still think it's spectacular. A must-see!
Drop Dead Fred (1991)
A Wretched Popcorn bag.
Drop Dead Fred is a horrible experience full of immature material. Only a very small amount of slapstick humour (which I didn't find amusing while others kind of did), but that's not enough to keeping the whole movie occupied. It was so incoherent that it provided me with the most unpleasant and embarrassing experience I've ever had watching a film.
The plot is unimaginable and incomprehensible. Fred is a complete idiot who ruins and humiliates Elizabeth (Phoebe Cates, Gremlins I & II), the main character's life. I mean if you're seeing an imaginary friend you either can't see it or its hallucination. He makes her throw a bin of yellow slimy stuff at her Nan. I would hardly recommend any viewers under 5 to watch this. It could teach them bad manners. If you're watching this pile of puke right now I'd warn you to turn it off, get away from toddlers banging pans together and smashing dishes, go into the bathroom, look into the mirror (cover your face with water), clear your mind and think about something completely imaginable (I know it sounds strange but it's just a warning from me).
Now this is a film where the actors/actresses go way over their heads. Once DD Fred causes embarrassment, all the others main actors on the set go bonkers. At one point Liz has coffee with a chap named Mickey Bunce, a date kind of thing, which Fred wrecks as always, causing Bunce to go nuts. I couldn't get my head round it. Martha Mason plays the mother of Liz, Polly Cronin. She's completely unhinged over Fred. It's like she wants to abandon her child on the street. She traps him in a wooden box and wraps it in cello tape, causing young Liz to end up in tears. There's another thing I don't get: Why would Liz let loose a mental maniac from the box years later when she's wants to get on with her unstable life (to try and make it better) and it's going to make her life more unstable? If I was her I would just leave him there to suffer and then throw the box into a dump compactor(probably what I should do with the DVD).
Now as Drop Dead Fred provides nothing to recommend, I'm starting to think why it was made this way. It could have been a kid's movie. What I mostly think of this is why it was even made. I can't believe it's not on IMDb's Bottom 100 list and why anyone would even like this. It's one of these unusual Hollywood movies where parents, with their children, would end up going to the nearest exit outside the cinema or a DVD showing, which I attended. Any parent would be appalled with the entirely childish and occasionally inappropriate content. I spent most of my experience trying to figure out a way to get out of the place. Misguided, misconcieved and completely mental and stupid, you won't survive the running time. It wastes your time. Avoid.
An overlong, lazily directed and poorly written extravaganza that lacks the goodness of summer blockbusters
Peter Berg's Battleship is a disappointing experience on every level that I and a few others think that it makes it seem like it's unfamiliar with many other films of alien invasion. It's strangely based on a battleship board game. Why the heck would someone make a film based on that? If it's based on it then why is the whole thing different? There's one possibility: Hancock main man Peter Berg, who's directed and produced this film, has brought science fiction down to his level, his way, his rules. It's nearly the same as when M. Night Shyamalan kicked off his slated live-action version (The Last Airbender) of the cartoon show 'Avatar: The Last Airbender'. This is probably the first film I've seen that Peter Berg's done and I'm sure his other films are much better than this. I also have to say, like what most people said about Shyamalan (I kinda disagree on that), Berg has really overdone himself this time. But there's plenty more people I can stick to on that.
John Carter's Taylor Kitsch plays a cocky random person who does a pathetic and humorous attempt to impress a girl (Brooklyn Decker) then everything goes all berserk when his hot-headed older brother Stone (Alexander Skarsgard), a Commander Officer of the USS Sampson, gets the hump with him and decides to put him in the Navy to teach him a lesson. He's joined on USS John Paul Jones ship joined with unexpectedly star singer Rihanna super gunner, Jimmy 'Ordi' Ord (Jesse Plemons), crew mate and Chief Petty Officer Walter 'The Beast' Lynch (John Tui). The last half-an-hour involves a fleet of different mother ships battling each other in order to save the universe. The human characters are rather witless most of the time. In one point during the film Jesse Plemons' character has an idea how to defeat the aliens from an incident of when he took his pet lizard to the seaside. What? The funny and unexpected news about the casting is that Rihanna joined the cast. The bad news is that she doesn't try very hard. She spends a lot of her time screaming, shouting, being cocky and shooting (although that's sick). Anyone or should I say everyone, who's worked for this film 'very hard' (sigh) could and should have worked for their jobs much harder (and better).
The battle scenes are tiring. The last half-an-hour involves a fleet of different mother ships battling each other in order to save the universe. And so it does. It doesn't really reflect with toys even though it seems like it. At one point during the battle between humans and sea, the ships fire clumsy Beyblade-like alien metal balls (and explosive gas tanks that take aim at the ships) which land and cause destruction across Hawaii. Whenever a human sees an alien something of its kind, it often shoots or hits them with whatever's around to be used for violence. I'm not sure whether I'm right or if I'm wrong here but if someone shoots at an alien it doesn't create any damage and harm to it. Well during metal ball battle sequence you often see Air Force pilots/soldiers firing mini guns at the metal balls for like 15 seconds of the scene. Like I said, how's that going to cause much damage? The armour's too thick and they'll something a lot more heavier to destroy. They could take out a skyscraper. I'm beginning to think that Battleship really lacks Transformers. Now those films are a lot better than this. Ugh. It could be a lot more duller if this was in 3D. 3D is beginning to become a wasteland of dizziness and headaches. So thank goodness Berg declined the idea. Now that's good.
What were the writers thinking? On what time, day, second, month and year did someone came up a implausible idea for such a project as 'Battleship'? Who think's making an board game into a film is a good idea? It lacks an original story. So there's no need for asking how incomprehensible it probably is. It begins with NASA and a scientist named Dr Nogrady that discover these unbelievable planets known as 'Planet G'. They fire a signal beam into space to get any unusual response but the aliens end up coming down to invade Earth, marking first to knock down a skyscraper with a flaming satellite. They hit sea, interrupting the Naval war exercise and creating a giant shield across Hawaii. Now that's when it all goes wrong. I mean, why would the alien ships float on water? Otherwise the ships would hover in the air and go causing destruction across Earth instead of getting involved in a board game.
This film is probably the worst science fiction/alien invasion film ever made. If the writers and actors worked a lot harder at their jobs, it could've been a lot more exciting and action-packed. Instead you get this: a boring and dumb pile of disappointment. It also runs on a loud, long and paced scale of 'overly long' running time. I'm not meaning that it's 3 hours long. I'm just saying that it's 126 (2 hrs, 6) minutes long that doesn't very long. But because of all the silliness and lame action, it makes it look like it's longer than it's supposed to be. Suffered with an indifferent tragic script and less interesting characters, this could and should have been a lot better.
Fixed plot, average characters, binned CGI with 3D and crazy action
Journey 2 The Mysterious Island is a moderately entertaining experience in some aspects that I think could have done better. It stars 'The Rock' (with his usual characterisation), John Hutcherson (more adventurous), Michael Caine (happy and jolly this time) Luis Guzman and Vannesa Hudgens. I praise the acting, plot and mythology but disappointed by the special effects, 3D sequences, direction and dialogue between some of the characters.
Let's start with the special effects, it's totally gimmicky. You can easily tell it's fake. The effect is much worse than 2010's 'Clash of the Titans', The Hulk from 2012's 'Avengers Assemble' and 2011's 'Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides'. It makes it look like they have re-used footage from old 'video games'. Same with the 3D effect (I never saw it in 3D). When you watch the visuals and 3D sequences on DVD you'd think "What the heck is wrong with these people? It should have gone right. Why didn't they do a better job?". A 3D sequence is suppose to be shown for 3 seconds. BUT in the middle of the film (This isn't a BIG spoiler to let you know before you carry on) you see a dragonfly fly and stop before the camera. It stays there in that position for maybe 10 secs and flies off (you'll see what I mean when you watch it). Even The Rock, Michael Caine and Luis Guzman's characters dialogues are too intensive to follow. I was also unimpressed over the film's journey.
Let's go positive now. The acting's just right but The Rock's always playing the same character: half-selfish, angry mode and negative about stuff. It get's annoying and tiring after a while. Michael Caine kind of plays the same character as he did in the third Austin Powers movie. I thought Luis Guzman was the perfect person to play his character (Gabato) but like I said about the intense characterisation.
You'll like it, not love it. I felt it wasn't as good as the first Journey. This is how light this film is: a street light.
The Lorax (2012)
Adults and teens would like it, toddlers would love it.
When I first saw the trailer for this movie it looked okay. When I saw this in the cinema in 2D, it was alright but let me down a little bit. It was a bit strange but it got better. Like most Dr Seuss books and films they are unusual. There's a bit of adult humour in it. They made the Dr Seuss environment just like the version in the book. They really made the lorax look interesting with enormous blue eyes and yellow moustache. Although I couldn't really remember the full story they've made a few changes. The character Aloysius O'Hare really reminds you of Ken Jeong. The background and characters' animation are tiny bit different to 'Despicable Me' but have the same brightness and colour as it. It's more of a fairy tale animation and background to 'Despicable Me'. It's fun for the whole family.
Cowboys & Aliens (2011)
James Bond leaves his agent life, goes back in time and teams up with Indiana Jones in the west to fight aliens
'Cowboys & Aliens' is a 2011 film that mixes sci-fi and western together. It stars two major lead roles from two popular film franchises: Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford. I enjoyed the visual effects, action sequences and acting. But disappointed by the characters and length. Let's start with the characters and running time, it's not the story. I thought the way the characters moved and went on during the film was a bit rapid for the running time. Despite that I thought most of the characters were a bit wooden. Harrison Ford looks too old for the part and a bit cocky as a powerful cattleman. Daniel Craig and Olivia Wilde are in fact the only people who are not that cocky characters. What I mainly describe about the two main antagonists teaming up together is what I put as the summary at the top. I thought it was going to be more creepy aspect than action-packed. Jon Favreau as created a new genre: west-sci!
Ghostbusters II (1989)
The worst sequel I've seen so far
In 1984, 'Ghostbusters' came out to be ranked 28th in The American Film Institute's top 100 comedies of all time. In 1989, the second film arrived and I thought it's the worst sequel ever made. They got lost. A sequel is about making it bigger and better than the original, not this. How do you make a sequel ten times better then the first? You've got to go bigger. Sometimes you lose the relationships with sequels that are from the original that are unexplained. You lost a bit of the relationship between Peter and Dana. Without those relationships the film and script would make more sense. Ivan Reitman, Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis resprised their roles as directing, writing and acting and made it worse. Fingers crossed that the third installment is better if it's made.
Better, shorter and darker than it's predecessors
This is the best Pirates so far. It brought numerous occasions down to lower levels such as action sequences, murderous moments, length and plot; but darker than the previous films. The story is much easier to follow than the last sequel (At World's End). Captain Jack Sparrow and Mr. Gibbs go on a hunt to find the Fountain of Youth. But it's not just them that are hunting for it alone: Blackbeard and his daughter Angelica are after it too. Brimming with swashbuckling special effects and thrilling moments, this film gives another cinematic experience of pirates, treasure hunting, scary stuff and sword fighting. A franchise and film that could carry on to do more sequels but wait until you've watched it to agree.
Toy Story 3 (2010)
The perfect final chapter to a stunning trilogy!
Toy Story 3 is a heart warming and laughable experience in every category that I think should be ranked as the title: The Best Animated Film In History. You'll laugh, you'll cry, then after you've watched it you'll be desperately going discuss or recommend it to friends wherever you go to see. There's a tiny bit of negative aspect in this film that effected me (it's only the cinematic experience not the home version). It was the ear splitting sound and 3D that was unpleasant for me. The 3D made no difference. NOTHING came out of the screen that was disappointing. Although the dialogue looked very good, it still hurt my eyes. Also a complaint about the sound. It was very loud and at the beginning of the film I had to put my hands over my ears. It was that loud. That all that was bad about it. Despite it's future references and new dialogue, it brings new characters and all new unexpected things to the franchise that gives you heart to the characters and feelings you've loved and known for past and years to come. When I first read the plot I thought (and what most people say) it was nothing different than to the first two. But when you watch it it makes some big and better differences to the scenes and animation. Director Lee Unkrich brings Toy Story to a extraordinary and exciting conclusion. Delivering an animation that's funny, amazing and sad in some places. It's worth going out to buy it from the DVD shop or off Amazon. This is truly the best, perfect and worthy finale to the franchise that brought computer animation to the big screen and made Pixar popular.
John Carter (2012)
Star Wars Episode VII: John Carter of Mars
If you're going to make a sci-fi film/franchise and reach to become a sci-fi creative genius like George Lucas, Steven Lisberger, Ridley Scott, James Cameron and Gene Roddenberry, then the next generation starts here. 'John Carter' is a sci-fi that should be another universe's generation to Star Wars and Avatar. The company Double Negative and other companies made a big bang job on the visual effects. The effects were good in Matai Shang's eyes making them big dark blue and the Tharks as well. The Tharks really remind you of the "Na'vi"s (from Avatar) when you first see them but you can clearly see a few major differences what they look like to the Na'vis. I think Taylor Kitsch is the perfect person to play John Carter. I'm not really sure if Sam Worthington could be better. Remember critics and box office records went so poorly that it became Hollywood's biggest flop? I mean come on, it isn't THAT bad. It didn't need to lose £200m from Disney. Ever since 'Star Wars' finished you'd be thinking, 'What would replace it?'. Full of insane creatures and fantasy fight scenes 'John Carter' feels like it's set 100 years after the Star Wars era.
An excellent ending to one of the greatest film series in history!
The legend ends. The excitement's largely thrilling. A motion picture of a generation... Part 2 is unlike any other final chapter or Harry Potter film ever made. It made a good finale by making it epic and larger. It's far better than part 1 and the action sequences are praisingly exciting.'Avengers Assemble' didn't need to beat it as the box office record that was the 3rd highest grossing film of all time but took this down a level lower because it shouldn't ridiculously be as successful as this. Although the 3D was an unpleasant experience David Yates(director) has the soul of an epic conclusion. An aspect of characters and relationships that return for the last time. Full of untold flashbacks and spellbinding visual effects, this film has to end with a big bang, laughter, excitement and sadness. Goodbye Harry Potter. You've changed cinema and enchanted the world for the last 10 years. We'll always remember from the beginning of his childhood to the death of evil he banquised.
The Karate Kid (2010)
Good film but Jaden Smith spoils it
The only goodness in this film is 1. Jackie Chan 2. the scenes when Mr Han REALLY teaches Dre how to be a master and when the woman deeply focusing the snake. The badness of this film is average acting and directing, Zhenwei Wang, boring and stupid scenes and Jaden Smith. Mainly the badness in this film is Jaden Smith. With all his coolness, translating Chinese to people it's just not good enough (although his dance skills are good). Jackie Chan's plays a good performance as the serious and widowed master Mr Han. This is the second film I've seen him in since 'The Forbidden Kingdom'. This film's alright, nothing special. But it turns out to be a better relationship between Dre and Mr Han than it first starts as.
Jack and Jill (2011)
A hilarious and enjoyable family film
I wasn't expecting this film to be any good after I read the poor reviews and number of stars critics slated it. You call this bad? It was very light-hearted and very funny. Adam Sandler gives the performance as the two main characters. He does a good portrayal as the antic and gleefully insane Jill and after a while you don't even notice it's him. It has an ensemble of famous people such as Al Pacino and and John McEnroe. Full of childish potty humour and adult laughter, did this film seriously deserve to win every category in the Razzies? No. Believe me. It ISN'T that bad. Okay let me say it again. It isn't that bad at all. It's only critics and the Razzie awards going over their heads over awfulness. It's just a typical Adam Sandler film. Ignore the reviews and watch it with your family because believe me, nothing is wrong with this movie (except for the continuity errors).
The Avengers (2012)
Outstanding! The Best Action Movie Ever!
Avengers Assemble is the best superhero film ever made. I thought it was better than The Dark Knight and as soon as it started, I felt like seeing Harry Potter all over again at the cinema. It mainly follows up from 'Captain America: The First Avenger', 'Thor' and 'Iron Man 2', S.H.I.E.L.D boss Nick Fury brings together a group of human superheroes who have different identities and events in their pasts: Iron Man (Robert Downey, Jr), Hulk (Edward Norton is out. Mark Ruffalo is in), Captain America (Chris Evans), Thor (Chris Hemsworth) with S.H.I.E.L.D assassins: Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Hawkeye (Bourne Legacy's Jeremy Renner) to stop a villain from destroying earth forever. The massive battle scene is incredible. Strangely enough besides that there's a bit more laughter in this than any other SH film. I don't know how the sequel's going to turn out to be. After you've seen this you'll be asking the same question as me: how will it make it bigger and better? It's like 'Transformers: Dark of the Moon' but the autobots replaced as Marvel superheroes, without Shia LaBeouf and decepticons replaced as the villain's giant army.