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Its pretty to look at, but doesn't really do anything, MIB did it better!
So, Mothers Day here in the UK, missus wants to be taken to the Cinema, and as we've got an 8 year old in tow, choices are limited.
It has to be said, this is most definitely one of those movies where all the best bits are in the trailer, because when we saw this advertised, we thought we couldn't go wrong based on that trailer.
We were wrong about that.
Its a pleasant enough little movie, certainly the attention to detail on the textures and lighting is great, its aesthetically pleasing enough.
The lead character of Oh and the rest of his ilk, they also look good, nicely animated. Its fair to say, Home does look good.
The problem is the story. Its almost Men in Black lite for kids, the storyline is that generic in its comparison.
The other problem is that inevitably us adults get dragged to see this stuff, and its as if Dreamworks completely forgot that.
This movie is far more geared toward kids than anything else I can remember in recent times. Sure, all these CGi cartoons are aimed at kids, but Shrek and the likes of Megamind have the little sly nods to us adults to get us in on the jokes...... Home didn't at all.
Its just not funny enough. Sure, some of the escapades Oh gets into are amusing, but going back to the trailer, thats where most of the funny stuff was in the first place.... we've seen the funny stuff already! Rihanna was fine, I didn't even realise it was her until much later in the movie, Jennifer Lopez was fine for the short time she was used. Steve Martin? Yeah, he was the Captain character and I really didn't get that at all. Since when do you hire someone of Martins calibre and then not allow him to sound like Steve Martin? Jim Parsons as Oh was alright, sufficiently different from his character from Big Bang Theory, but he just wasn't given enough material to be properly funny.
All in all, whilst Home isn't a bad movie, its a very disappointing movie because Dreamworks seem to have forgotten who has to take the kids to see movies like this, and other than a couple of slapstick moments that got some kids in the theatre laughing, the laughs were thin on the ground, it appeared to want to be more of a life lesson kind of movie than what it should have been.
A real shame, it looks great, but the script isn't upto the same quality as the visuals. 5/10
Kingsman: The Secret Service (2014)
All those things Bond hinted at.... Kingsman delivers!
Been looking forward to this one since I saw the first trailer for it. And for the first time in an absolute age, the movie lived up to the promise of the trailer... and then some.
The casting of Colin Firth was frankly, sublime. In exactly the same way that Liam Neesons casting was genius in the first Taken movie, so Firth delivers in ways you simply don't expect.
With cool suave and barely a disturbed hair on his head, he dispatches the bad guys with a flourish, and hardly breaks a sweat doing it either.
Taron Edgerton who plays 'Eggsy' was actually quite likable. Sure, his chav routine is a little wearing, but that in itself is essential, because his transformation has to be observed, and his voice and mannerisms are part of that transformation.
He suited the role well, the only thing that seemed a little too simplistic, was all of the other recruits being posh 'Ruperts', which kind of slapped you around the face a little too hard with the "new boy is a chav and his competition can't talk for all the silver spoons in their mouths!".
But in a way, that served well when Arthur speaks his last (you'll know when you hear it!), it just took a long time before Arthur did so.
Mark Strong was particularly good, had plenty of decent quips, in fact the humour throughout the movie was very well paced, it never felt forced, it always felt natural, even after Harry Hart dispensed with a pub load of morons and then casually sat down to finish his Guinness.
Samuel L Jackson was alright, would probably have preferred to have him not lisp his way through the movie, but I guess the intention was to show him as being the most unlikely genocidal maniac until he actually activated his plan.
Lots of set pieces were done well, the Church fight scene was frenetic, but, Vaughn didn't shake the camera to pieces to do it. Yes, there is some shaky cam going on, but not so you can't view whats going on.
There's a load of swearing, lots of gore and violence, its rude, and its about bloody time we got something adult.
There's a further scene 2 minutes into the end credits, and I yearned for more.
If this is the start of a new franchise, then i'm in for Kingsman 2
Taken 3 (2014)
Not a patch on the first movie, and shaking the camera is getting old!
I liked the first Taken, it introduced us to Liam 'badass' Neeson, and they way it was filmed, you importantly believed that Liam aka Bryan Mills was an ass kicking machine.
He did more with less, less movements, basically everything he did was a conservation of energy, doing what had to be done to get the job done, no long and protracted fight sequences, putting the bad guys down first and hard, and then moving onto the next one.
Well, someone didn't pass that memo onto the director of Taken 3, because it appears that he wasn't quite sure of what made the first movie work.
OK, so we know that Liam Neeson is 63 years old in this movie, and in the first movie he was in his late 50's, but because his character didn't do any useless running and sprinting, everything he did do, had an ounce of REAL about it, we could certainly imagine an older guy holding his own in a fight....... but in this movie, the director just made Neesons character look like he should be in a home for the old.
Running? Sprinting? Since when were either of these things, 'things' that Bryan Mills does? He didn't need to before because he was always thinking one step ahead of the bad guys. Even the fight scenes have been butchered to the extent that Bryan Mills as a character appears to have been weakened.
Lets not mince words, when people were talking about Bryan Mills in the first movie, they were comparing the character to Jason Bourne or James Bond, and they were legitimate comparisons......... seems laughable in Taken 3 now.
The closeups in the fight scenes are too close, the quick cut editing in the car chases is frankly some of the most IRRITATING i've seen in a VERY long time, it doesn't build excitement, it just grates as you don't get time to appreciate a cargo container crushing some expensive piece of German automobile, it might as well have been a Yugo! And the camera shake was just awful. I was kind of 'meh' about Taken 2, its largely forgettable, but the original Taken is and was a decent movie, and I think we would all have appreciated that the director of this movie could have at least copied the style of the original, or at least bought a camera tripod with legs that didn't seem to flop about when trying to capture a shot! It was nice we got to see a little bit more of Bryans team of guys that help him out, probably would have been better had they been featured more as this is supposedly the final Taken.
As for Forest Whittaker...... He was less annoying than he was in Vantage Point, but I still find his acting 'style' off putting and just too played up to the camera.
Liam Neeson might well be 63 years old, but was there any need to make him look older? Such a missed opportunity, and this franchise deserved a better send off than this.
Utterly predictable, but kind of great at the same time
Wasn't particularly enthused about seeing this one with my missus and 8 year old son, but didn't hate the advert on TV for it, so when the missus told me the 'great' news that she'd gone ahead and booked tickets, I just kind of went along with it.
Turns out that was a pretty good way to spend an hour and a half! I'm difficult to please when it comes to movies, but this one ticked all the right boxes. The VFX for Paddington was spot on, really did look good, and the voice of Paddington (played by the guy who is the new Q in James Bond) fitted as well.
It was nice also to see Nicole Kidman kind of let herself go and get involved, she does things in the movie that frankly I would have thought beneath her, but by all accounts, she got stuck right in, as as the villain of the piece, she was pretty good.
The rest of the cast was good, even the kids were quite good as well, they certainly performed better than a few child actors did in their first foray into a certain Wizarding movie franchise! Overall, it was amusing, it was well conceived, just everything about the movie worked. My son loved it, the missus loved it, and damn it, I thought it was alright to.
Looks like my son will be getting it on Bluray for his birthday.... perfect excuse to watch it again whilst still protecting my manly exterior! ;) Cracking film.
Unfairly maligned, better than Superman III & IV at least
Haven't watched this movie for a LONG time. Put it off as well, because obviously being a bloke, it was never 'cool' to like SuperGirl when you're a kid.
And do you know what? Its actually a lot better than I remembered it to be.
I'm not going into the story, I'd rather just state what I do and don't like about the movie.
Firstly, Helen Slater. Decidedly toned down as a schoolgirl as shes supposed to be, but when she turns into SuperGirl.... Damn she still looks great.
Without wanting to sound like a fashion designer, her costume has aged really well. Skirt isn't too short but short enough, her hair isn't worn in a style other than long and down and to be honest, if you could transport the Helen Slater SuperGirl complete look into a modern movie, she really wouldn't look out of place, shes the one part that didn't look dated.
Jerry Goldsmiths theme.... I remembered it well, but there's nothing like hearing it properly again for the first time in decades. Obviously its not as iconic as Supermans theme, but its still a damn fine composition.
Put it this way, whilst I enjoyed Man of Steel.... I really couldn't begin to remember what the theme was.
Even the titles at the start seem very modern, even the use of the font still looks modern.
For the most part, the VFX are as good as Superman 1 & 2, I would say that the flying sequences in SuperGirl were better, probably because Helen Slater moves easier in the flying harness in comparison to the much larger Christopher Reeve, and there appeared to make a real effort to get her to mimic the flying conditions of whatever is projected behind her so that for the most part her movement matches the film, whereas in Superman it wasn't always the case.
There's one scene where shes flying above some horses, and there's a massive flare from the sun appears on film, so they matched the flare onto her as well to just try and make it more believable shes there.
However, it was a lot easier to spot the wires holding her up than in Superman, i'm not entirely sure why, not sure if its crappier film quality thats shown it up, or simply that the film makers hoped the shots would be fast enough that you simply don't see them, but we do, and quite often which is a shame, because a couple of her flying sequences are done really well.
Faye Dunaway was alright, her comedic friend was OK, Peter Cooke I really didn't like in the role, constantly scowling and sneering. OK, I get it that its supposed to be his character, he just seemed out of place in this movie.
The one thing the movie suffered from was exposition..... not enough of it. Sure, today we bitch and moan about movies that have too much with characters having convenient conversations so we can get some important plot details, but the movie was clever enough to have a radio announcement that Superman was travelling millions of light years away to investigate something so that gave useful account of why he wasn't around (hey, why couldn't Iron Man 3 be that clever?), but then there was the whole Argo City conundrum.
Kara (SuperGirl) is related to Clark Kent, yet Krypton was destroyed. Was Argo City a part of Krypton or was it a separate entity of its own? Did Zaltar save them? Why let him go so readily to the Phantom Zone if he was their saviour? A couple of other issues. Its clear that Kara likes the male love interest in the movie, and yes she has to save Argo City first, but there's no acknowledgement that shes going to come back, just that she has to go, and that everyone keep quiet about it, and when you consider Jimmy Olsen from the Superman movies is there as well, its inconceivable to believe he'd keep quiet about meeting a member of his family.
Kara was almost like a young teenager on Argo City, but all of a sudden becomes worldly wise (a world shes not from incidentally) virtually right away when she lands on Earth.
I'll state right now, SuperGirl *IS* a better movie than either Superman III or IV. Other than the conflict between Superman and Clark Kent in III, there wasn't much to redeem that movie, and the less said about IV the better.
I understand that for the most part, Americans got short changed on SuperGirl MASSIVELY, they had over 20minutes chopped out of the movie for seemingly no good reason, which affects lots of scenes, and makes certain things kind of "what?", probably why this movie is more regarded this side of the pond.
The storyline for the most part was so, so, I didn't really care too much for the sorcery and witch angle, though I'm lead to believe both are staple adversaries for Superman in the comics.
A real shame then that we'll never see Helen Slater don the cape again, she was stunning in the role and captured the innocence of the character, and for the most part you can thank Superman III's performance at the Box Office for this one failing, it seemed people had started to tire of anything to do with Superman and anything associated with the character.
By all accounts SuperGirl wasn't a flop, it just didn't perform anywhere near expectations.
A shame, I really didn't mind this one at all.
As a kid I liked it, as an adult, its a mess!
Sometimes, the stuff you liked as a kid, you really shouldn't watch it again after a 30year hiatus.
Some movies of the 80's i've watched over and over, but Krull I only ever watched it once on VHS (ooh, get my age!).
I watched the Blu-ray rip with my seven year old son, and to be frank, Krull is an absolute mess.
Firstly, if you actually pay attention to the narration given by Freddie Jones (the guy who plays The Old One in the movie), much of what he says is patent nonsense.
He says something along the lines of when Colwyn and Lyssa get together they will rule the planet of Krull, and their son will rule the galaxy.
Sounds great when you're a kid, but when you're an adult and actually try to find evidence of that claim, you need to remember that their 'technology' hasn't progressed beyond Horses!!!!! I'm not sure how they think their child will rule the galaxy when its apparent that traversing great distances on their own planet involve riding an animal!! Coupled with the fact that Colwyns family and Lyssas family have been at war with each other for a long time, and its only the arrival of the Black Fortress that gets them to change their minds, and rather conveniently, Colwyn and Lyssa can't get enough of each other.
So much rivalry forgotten so quickly! To be fair, Lyssa (played by Lysette Anthony) was an absolutely stunning looking woman in Krull, a pity then that she was dubbed for the entirety of the movie with some ridiculously breathy American who seemed determined to over pronounce every word..... "Col.....Wyn!" Great to see the likes of Liam Neeson and Robbie Coltrane in earlier roles.
VFX for the time were pretty good, OK, it looks a little clunky now, but this wasn't a cheap movie and they didn't skimp on the visuals.
So what else? Well as a kid, I thought the Glaive was the coolest looking weapon ever, much cooler than a lightsabre.... upon watching it as an adult, I don't remember it hardly being used until the end of the movie! Considering the lengthy rock climbing, lava dipping scene to get the damned thing, it was barely used.
And what of the main bad guy.. the Beast? Looked kind of OK until it moved. Clearly someone dressed up in a costume with liberal amounts of Vaseline smeared over the camera lense to obscure it, the entire time the Beast moved, it just looked.... not scary.
Doing weird things with its arms as its firing stuff at Colwyn, moving too fast when being attacked by the Glaive, and the worst thing...... not being quite sure how big the Beast was.
Any time you saw it, you assumed it was massive, then something would happen to put something you knew the size of into shot and the Beast all of a sudden looked a lot smaller.
And yes, Lyssa was stunning, beautiful, even as a child I thought "yeah, if I was older, I would so put my Rubiks Cube down for that!", but the Beast was massive, just what did it think it was going to do with her? A technologically superior alien being with powers and big wants a small tiny pretty human girl from a planet that hasn't even mastered electric lighting or a Postal service!!! The problem with Krull, is its a fantasy, and the film makers thought that gave them carte blanche for "anything goes".... but thats not quite how it works.
Characters making bizarre choices simply so the plot can move on.
Your missus turns into a widow in a spiders web for killing your child? Not a problem, just brush that one off.
Band of brigands that rob to stay alive decide to go on a perilous quest with the new King? Not a problem, and throw in casual disregard for safety by each one of them apart from two dying into the bargain as well.
I don't hate Krull, but its a mess and it was obvious that someone had a truck load of cash to make the movie and were more concerned with spending it rather than wait to see if what they were spending it on was worth it.
Nostalgia and Lysette Anthony are why i'm not being harder on this movie, by all rights I should be voting it 2/10, but Nostalgia and Lysette Anthony are a powerful combination.
Now go rule the galaxy.... on horseback!
Sex Tape (2014)
Not nearly as funny or raunchy as you'd expect
Movie title... Sex Tape. Comedy, Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel.... both were in Bad Teacher......Hey, this could be great.
Sigh.... it could have been great, alas it was simply OK.
Lets sidestep the nudity aspect for a movie called Sex Tape for one second, because obviously that's the McGuffin to kick off the whole movie in the first place.
Where this movie fell flat is the race and comedy over them trying to retrieve and delete each copy of the sex tape should have been a hell of a lot funnier.
It was ripe for some great writing, and that just didn't happen.
Sure, the scene with the dog was quite funny, but those scenes also felt quite stretched out, when they could have ended that scene sooner and moved onto the next set piece.
Rob Lowe had an OK part and the movie used him quite well later in the movie, but he was about the only real decent surprise, there just wasn't enough material really for the other characters.
Why not more humorous conflict with the kid who was causing them problems? Just so much ripe for riffing on, and the movie just didn't do it.
I liked both the leads in Bad Teacher, and that part for Diaz for me felt like a show of Diazs versatility as an actress.
Now shes in a movie called Sex Tape, and the rating is in place, hey, we're going to get an adult movie that doesn't have to do things in shadow or Dutch angles to obscure things.....
Well, you'd be wrong on that. I didn't expect Diaz or Segel to just get their stuff out every two seconds, but in a movie called Sex Tape, I really didn't expect there to be so much coy either.
Diaz rushing to cover herself with a towel, or Diaz walking away awkwardly as she makes sure her arm covers up most of her boobs (hey we got to see her arse, that was nice!).
I know nudity isn't everything, but this is a movie called SEX TAPE with a suitably adult rating, its not likely to EVER be edited for TV for daytime viewing, why the shyness? You could tell with Segel that he was up for it (one particular hand stand scene), and its also obvious that much of what he did was cut, and the reason is simple, if we saw too much of Segel, people would REALLY start to notice Diaz's attempts to cover up.
If the film makers couldn't even make good use of the movies premise to show the characters properly, its a no wonder they didn't have the ability to write a movie the premise really deserved.
The Expendables 3 (2014)
Just never close to fulfilling the promise of the cast within it.
To say i'm disappointed in Expendables 3 is frankly being too kind. In all honesty, i've been disappointed with the Expendables franchise since I watched the first one.
Sure, the first one was OK, but it never fulfilled the promise of its reason for existing, i.e. give aged action stars a vehicle they could star in that would bring up only the best memories of 80's action movies.
Seeing Lundgren back on the big screen is great, same with Stallone and some of the other action stars who haven't been treated well over the years, they just deserved better.
Then came Expendables 2, again, just OK, but I felt that JCVD was utterly wasted in it and he wasn't quite as bad as he really needed to be.
So, now we're at EX3, and.... sigh. Schwarzenegger, Ford, Gibson, Snipes, ALL wasted! Jet Li.... why bother have him in at all if he's going to get mere minutes screen time? I really was hoping this one would be the movie to really give the franchise either a great kick in the pants to reinvigorate it, or give it a rousing send off.
It was neither.
Sure, the action sequences were good enough, but this movie suffers the same fate as Batman & Robin..... too many main characters vying for screen time, and very few of them getting anywhere near enough attention.
You had Schwarzenegger and Ford competing for movie in joke lines, Gibson who was the bad guy but really didn't get much of a chance to show it, and then had a fight with Stallone that really was a massive anti-climax.
The story was frankly cheap and lazy. Go into battle, get asses kicked, leave. Go back into the battle, get asses kicked, leave. Go back into battle finally kick ass, and then leave.
The younger Expendables characters, other than Ronda Rousey, what a complete and utter waste of time and space. Why? Why not simply focus on the actors and characters the series was setup for in the first place??? More Lundgren, more Li, More Snipes, hell, more of the main bad guy so we can see why he's supposed to be the feared bad guy, and lets not muck about with the younger Expendables with the exception of one that didn't add ANYTHING to this movie.
What saddens me more than anything is I am the demographic for this movie, I grew up on Stallone, Russel, Schwarzenegger, Gibson movies in the 1980's, and it can't even please the right demographic.
It was a shame that this movie was pirated before release, but lets not use that as an excuse as to why this movie fails. It fails because its simply not good enough.
Great stable of actors and this movie couldn't make decent use out of any of them. Sad times.
Never succeeds in being more than a vaguely amusing movie title
And thats part of the problem. I've never read the Dark Horse comic series this movie is based on, but it just feels like someone thought "Hey, instead of LAPD, why not RIPD, like a Rest in Peace Department in Purgatory?".
And the entire concept of the movie rests on that..... and really doesn't do enough with the concept to make it feel more than that description.
This movie couldn't wait to jettison Ryan Reynolds character into death so he could join the RIPD as soon as possible, and in doing so, sleepwalked its way through the setup to get him dead. Kevin Bacons character was the bad guy? Man I didn't see that coming - Sarcasm! But what of the movie when he gets to RIPD? Well, I feel it simply didn't do anything like enough to show how long RIPD has been going. Sure, there was a couple of cops in older uniforms from 100 years ago, but where was the rivalry in modern and old technology? There should have been plenty of laughs to be had there.
Jeff Bridges character was really old school, but they way he adapted to new technology really missed something that could have been amusing, old cop in a new world kind of thing, but the movie just ignored that completely.
The avatar thing, with James Hong and Marisa Miller being how other people saw Reynolds and Bridges, again, no where near enough attention was paid to this where it could have been utilised for some great laughs, the movie was just replete with missed opportunities.
The CGi? WTF was that all about? The Jeykyll and Hyde character from Van Helsing looked OK for the time, but its not aged well, and yet someone seemed to think that it was ripe for homage....... just horrible. Any time any of the 'deados' expanded in size, they just looked diabolical, and lets not give this movie a pass because it was a small budget, it wasn't, it was a bloody expensive movie, there was no excuse for it.
The whole storyline felt like a cobbled together version of BeetleJuice and Ghostbusters, the whole thing with the portal to shut down Earth to Purgatory where RIPD was just felt like i've seen it before, and better, and years ago as well.
Jeff Bridges? Reckoned he could have toned down the good old boy schtick a little, sometimes I really had to struggle to hear what he was saying.
Ryan Reynolds? Did alright with what he had, had some funny lines inspite of his mourning having exited Earth earlier than he wanted, but i'm really not sure he looked uncomfortable or he was just playing the part.
All in all, the promise was all in the title of the movie, except this movie didn't have the wherewithal to exploit it in anything like a satisfactory way.
A shame, I like the underdog movies, but I really didn't care for this one at all.
Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
Just..... a good time throughout, how movies should be.
When I first heard of this movie, I was kind of "might be alright". Then as it gathered momentum, and the first trailer came out, i'm thinking "hey, this might just be pretty good." It was the latter.
And it was the latter and then some.
I'm not going to go into the story, kind of pointless, i'll just detail what I did or didn't like.
There's just something about this movie, where it just all worked. The VFX as we have come to expect are excellent. Groot and especially Rocket Raccoon look great.
The acting is great from everyone, including, Dave Bautista, who underplays the character of Drax, and in all honesty, he nearly competes with Rocket for some of the funniest scenes and lines.
And the humour is great throughout. Its not an out and out comedy, but it knows when to pick its comedy moments.
The storyline has hints of stuff we've seen before, but it just did it all in such a compelling way that you never stopped to dwell on it too much.
It almost harked back to the 1980's where movies then were a little more mad and virtually any concept stood a chance of getting greenlit.
What about the theme music? I have no recollection of it at all, because the use of classic music from the 70's and 80's really did feature that heavily and worked so well, that I couldn't even pretend to know what the theme tune would be.
My seven year old son loved it, the missus loved it, even the step daughter who is 'too cool' for this kind of thing, she liked it as well.
Just about everything was right about this movie, when a character can get away with saying one line throughout, and it works, you know that Marvel and James Gunn have worked hard to not just have this movie ride on the coat tails of the name Marvel and previous efforts.
I like Thor, Captain America and Iron Man..... but I have to admit, I'm keener on seeing where Guardians of the Galaxy goes over all three of those characters.
Whilst its a comic book movie, they ain't super heroes, and the movie whilst being a part of the Marvel universe, does its own thing, and just works because of it.
Only criticism I had is that the sound mix wasn't quite right sometimes, and some characters vocals were drowned out. Now this might simply have been an issue for the theatre I was in, but a couple of times I had to lip read, I couldn't hear what they were saying otherwise.
Great stuff, hugely entertaining, and can't believe the time went by so quickly.
Worth the wait