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Sorry, but a movie completely and utterly destroyed mainly by terrible sound and score............
A film I have been dying to see ever since it was announced and early reviews were 'Nolans Best Film!!' 'A Masterpiece!!' Really?? I don' think so. So what went wrong, other than critics, websites and movie mags over praising yet another film?? Well the main reason I hated this film is because of the sound. Yes the sound. I always see blockbusters or films on a grand scale like this in IMAX. I have never watched a film in the format where you couldn't hear what the cast were saying 50% of the time like what happened with Dunkirk. Whether its been Star Trek, Star Wars, Marvel movies or even Nolans Interstellar, I have never had such a bad experience like this with IMAX before. I don't believe it was the fault of IMAX, it was the actual sound done for the film itself that was the huge problem. This didn't help at all with that god awful 'ticking clock' in the film as well. Over the trailer for Dunkirk, there was a ticking of a clock that ran through the trailer. Now that is fine for a trailer but through an ENTIRE movie????? Really???? It eventually stopped 10 minutes before the end where I felt absolute relief, and it is no coincidence that I then started to enjoy the movie in such short space of time. What an horrendous decision to make and it also didn't help that Hans Zimmers score (who is normally excellent with Nolans movies) was also terrible. I have never done it before, but I was close to walking out of the film half way through as I had enough and my head was literally pounding. I know a lot of people complained about the sound in The Dark Knight Rises so although Nolan is a great story teller 80% of the time and has literally nailed what visuals are up on screen, he REALLY needs to work on the sound for his films.
Another reason the film doesn't work is the constant moving backwards and forwards in the story by having the same part of the story told time and time again from different peoples views and situations. This was also a big mistake and didn't help the flow of the film at all.
Don't get me wrong, it wasn't all bad. This film was visually faultless and I mean faultless. You really felt like you were there in the middle of this war. A so so bunch of actors and characters with Cillian Murphy on top form but unfortunately his character was a coward and for me, also a murderer. The real hero in this film though (even though he is behind a mask for 90% of the film) is Tom Hardy. In what is probably the most incredible realistic aerial battles ever put in a movie and up there on screen, his character is the real hero of the film. This brings me to one of the most beautiful breathtaking shots in a film ever where Hardy's Spitfire is 'gliding' along the beach at Dunkirk after he has run out of fuel. It was an incredible shot.
This however, is not enough to make up for how the rest of the film was handled. If it hadn't been for the sound and the constant backwards and forwards with the story, this would have been rightly a masterpiece and Nolans best film. Alas it is not and for me his masterpiece is still Interstellar.
Quite possibly the most over praised movie since Gravity which was another huge disappointment.
I must admit I only saw the B&W version of Dunkirk last year and I would rather watch that version any day of the week than Nolans.
What a way for a director to utterly destroy what could have been a film that would have ended up in my top 10 of all time.
Going forward Mr Nolan, PLEASE work on the sound in your films as I don't ever want to be put through that ever again!!!
Point Break (2015)
At the time of writing, I haven't seen the original with Keanu Reeves and Patrick Swayze and people seem to be doing nothing except comparing this remake with the original and giving it a massive slating in the process without trying to separate the two.
Well, guess what, I came out of this film thinking it was great. Its been quite a while since I saw a film like this that was literally breathtaking in certain places. The film is a huge globetrotter which puts Bond film locations to shame with some absolutely stunning imagery and scenery that go hand in hand with the incredible stunt work.
I can understand people not being impressed with Luke Bracey who is a poor replacement for someone like Keanu Reeves. But Edgar Ramirez always has great screen presence and is excellent in the role of Bodhi. He also got the gig as apparently Gerard Butler pulled out due to schedule conflicts, but I'm glad Ramirez got the job. Ray Winstone going through the motions and not really adding anything to the film.
The stunt work in this is incredible to watch with the highlights set in the Alps and the end rock climbing scene in Venezuela. Also, albeit slightly short, is an incredible shootout towards the end of the film, the likes of which I have not seen since the shootout scene in Michael Manns HEAT. On top of all this was the 3D which REALLY did work for this film. Again this was thanks to the locations it was filmed at.
Ignore ALL the negativity about this film as I thoroughly enjoyed it. I will however buy the blu ray of the original and watch with a fresh mind.
The Revenant (2015)
An absolute masterpiece of movie making.
It wont be to everyone's tastes but its been a while since I watched a film and came out of it thinking that was a masterpiece and is now in my top 10 films of all time. Leonardo Dicaprio absolutely knows what hes doing as everything he does, whether thats professionally or personally just gets better and better and better. Although its not much of a speaking role for him (especially in the middle part of the film) it doesn't matter because of what he goes through in the movie. It really is his fight for survival and how he is determined to get to his destination is where his acting is just mind blowing when he is up against nature and the elements.
At the time of going to the cinema there were only late showings in IMAX but I will definitely go and see it in the format for my second viewing.
An incredible piece of film making which actually makes you 'feel' like you were there. A top notch cast as well with Domnhall Gleeson, again like Dicaprio, just getting better in everything he does. Everyone behind the scenes saying that this was without a doubt the most difficult shoot they have ever done, but boy oh boy every bit of hard work is up there on screen. Beautifully shot as well with some mind blowing imagery and a perfect score for such a powerful film.
As mentioned, it wont be to everyone's tastes, but if you appreciate films like Dances With Wolves (another masterpiece) you will love this film. Go see it and go see it on the biggest screen possible. This film is what cinemas are there for.
The third best film in the saga after Episodes IV and V.......................
Well here it is. After an incredible marketing campaign with some brilliant trailers, we have the seventh Star Wars film without the shadow of George Lucas hovering over it. JJ Abrams really has brought a superb sequel to the screen, pleasing old fans like myself while still making sure that the new trilogy will be its own thing by the time Colin Trevorrow brings us Episode IX in 2019.
At the time of writing this, critics love it and if I'm perfectly honest, so did I and is without a doubt the third best in the entire saga. So far I have watched it twice in IMAX on successive days and loved it each time.
However, a lot of fans are making out its just a rehash of Episode IV with some of Episode V mixed in. Now this is true to a certain extent but it does NOT ruin what has been put up there on screen as it sets up far too many things for Episodes VIII and IX and by the end, it becomes its own film AND story entirely.
So many good things about this film and its just so great to have an incredible cast of actors and characters (both old and new) become a 'family' together on screen again just like the original trilogy, but was completely lacking from the prequels.
The welcome return of Harrison Ford (back on form here as the Han Solo we knew and loved in Episodes IV and V), Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill (Although I was over the moon to see him, I was disappointed with his 2 minute voiceless cameo at the end), Peter Mayhew and Anthony Daniels. Then we have the 'new generation' of actors taking the saga forward and the casting was just incredible as they each give it their all. The star of the new cast is without a doubt Daisy Ridley who plays Rey. Considering this is her first film, she is very beautiful (that smile) and is incredibly likable. Her lightsaber fight towards the end with Kylo Ren was just thrilling, and once a familiar piece of music kicks in, its classic Star Wars. John Boyega is also excellent as Finn and again such a likable character. Oscar Isaac was a revelation in this as the incredibly heroic Poe Dameron. Adam Driver playing the sagas best villain since Darth Vader in the form of Kylo Ren. He was more 'frightening' with the mask on and I just LOVED his voice!!! I have to mention BB-8 who is just a brilliant successor to R2D2 and C3PO with some spot on comedy moments in the film. Rounding off the cast we have Gwendoline Christie as Captain Phasma. She is underused but we know she will be back for Episode VIII. Domnhall Gleeson as the 'Peter Cushing-esque' General Hux. Andy Serkis on form with motion capture again as Lord Snoke. And again another likable character in the form of Lupita Nyong'o' Maz Kanata who seems to know more than she lets on.
What we didn't get with the prequels in the form of love for the characters, is the complete opposite here and that is what will makes us love this trilogy even more.
Lots of people slating John Williams score which I find just unbelievable to be honest. I am listening to it now while writing this and although its not his best score of the saga it is still superb and would you rather he had NOT come back???????? Ridiculous!!!! I think also that the score got 'drowned out' during the movie due to the amount of battles, sound effects, etc in the movie which is why people didn't seem to 'recognize' any new themes. But the score IS a Star Wars score and I just LOVE the theme he has come up with for Rey. Beautiful theme and classic John Williams.
The ONLY downside with the whole film for me was the aftermath of Hans death at the hands of Kylo Ren, who we find out is actually Han and Leias son who has turned to the dark side during Luke training him. He has destroyed a new Jedi order and hence why Luke has vanished during the film. Hans death was perfectly done, but the rest of the characters just seemed just to 'get on with it' after it had happened. Even Chewbacca and Leia just walked past each other after the Millennium Falcon returned to the rebel base!!?? There were a couple of moments of 'sadness' from Leia and Chewbacca but it just wasn't enough after seeing the sagas most popular character killed in such a horrible way and even then at the hands of his own son who we find out that his real name is actually Ben.
Anyway, I just cannot wait for Episode VIII now that JJ Abrams has set up so many things in this film. I read recently that Episode VIII will be completely different from any Star Wars film that has been before and that is exactly the RIGHT thing to do. I think its safe to say that Daisy Ridley and John Boyega will be front and centre in Episode VIII, but PLEASE give Mark Hamill lots more to do in Episode VIII and Don't kill him off!!! I would also like to see a Force ghost in the form of a popular little green fella. I also hope we get plenty more of Oscar Isaac's Poe Dameron as well who will be a great replacement for Han Solo.
All in all and just like Jurassic World, this sequel has given fans like me reason to believe in Star Wars again while at the same time is going to bring us something new. A brilliant sequel and it was exactly what I hoped for. Roll on Episode VIII!!!!
Terminator Genisys (2015)
Second best Terminator film by far and haters haven't got a clue........
Well after some so so trailers and people hating the film (even before release!!!???) I went to see this today in IMAX and although I had my doubts, it is an EXCELLENT sequel and is now my second favorite in the series after T2. Part prequel, sidequel and sequel all in one, but by the end, really becomes its own film.
Firstly the good. Although the cast seem to be getting slated, they are really good in this. Emilia Clarke is brilliant as Sarah Connor and I actually preferred her to Linda Hamilton to be honest due to how her character is in this film, which I will come to in a minute. I'll be the first to admit that I cannot stand Jai Courtney as an actor but even he is good in the role of Kyle Reese. He is however no Michael Biehn. I really have to take my hat off to Arnie as well who is excellent in this. The whole 'age' thing doesn't matter as we all know he is a robot at the end of the day. A good supporting cast too with Jason Clarke playing a very different John Connor this time round as he is very latest model Terminator. JK Simmons was a bit wasted but Matt Smith played his role very well and I found him quite creepy to be honest. Rumour is he has a bigger role in the next one.
I loved the story of the film which involves lots of time travel which always works well in science fiction if done properly and it does with this film. The Terminator vs Terminator battles in this are the best ever in the series and CGI Arnie at the start of the film (recreating scenes perfectly which takes place in the 1984 original) is just incredible. No end of advances have been made since TRON: Legacy where the 'de-aged' Jeff Bridges scenes were a bit hit and miss. With this film though they have really nailed it and CGI Arnie has been recreated perfectly. Its a shame they didn't do the same with Robert Patrick as Byung Hun Lee was a poor replacement for the T1000 to be honest. The scene on Golden Gate bridge was also excellent and stunning to watch. I also liked how they kept the human prisons pretty much the same as they were in Terminator Salvation. Some good nods here and there to the first two but all the while the film eventually becomes its own.
I also loved how Sarah Connor is now what John was in T2 by having Arnie be her father figure just as he was to John in T2. She also shows the same love for Arnie and I thought it was a nice touch, especially towards the end.
The bad points are very few in my book. People complaining about the helicopter scene which is a bit out of place but nowhere near as dumb or stupid as the third act in the past two Fast & Furious movies. As mentioned, the T1000 was a bit disappointing as he is only in the film at the start and Byung Hun Lee is no replacement for Robert Patrick. I did however like how he was destroyed in the film. Lastly, although Lorne Balfe and Hans Zimmer did a good score (the new version of the original Terminator theme over the end credits is EXCELLENT) its a shame Brad Fiedel didn't return to do the score. Especially with all the nods to the first film.
So all in all a fantastic sequel with a cracking story and I really don't know why there is all the hate towards it as it was SO much better than I could have hoped for. Just like Jurassic World, this is an excellent sequel and I hope it doesn't disappoint at the box office as I would gladly watch another one set in this time line. Mid end credits scene as well setting up the sequel so hang around for that. 8/10.
The Age of Adaline (2015)
Brilliant film, shame about the narration.. .
Firstly, let me get the bad out of the way with this film. I would have given this film 10 stars if it wasn't for the god AWFUL narration at the beginning and end of this film. It is TERRIBLE!! I don't have a problem with what was said, it's just the narrators voice. This guy sounds like he should have been narrating a Civil War Documentary!!! It is completely wrong and out of place for the film and it sounds really cheesy. With what happens to Adaline involving the comet, it should have been Harrison Fords voice doing the voice over as he knew about the comet due to his job. Here's hoping it will be removed from the blu-ray, but I'm guessing it won't. Shame.
Anyway, other than the above, this film is brilliant and I loved the story to it. A lot of comparisons made with the movie Highlander, but other than the flashbacks to years gone by, that's where the similarities end. A really good cast and Blake Lively is excellent as Adaline as you really do feel she has lived nearly 100 years after a car accident means she doesn't age past the age of 29. But the real star of the show here is Harrison Ford. I am being biased here as he is my favourite actor of all time, and although Age Of Adaline isn't his best film, it is without a doubt his best acting outside of the movie '42'. He really is amazing in this and you feel for his character as he is the only one of Adalines love interests who doesn't have a happy ending with her. On a side note, Anthony Ingruber who plays a young Harrison Ford is just inspired casting and it is incredible how much he looks (and sounds) just like Harrison Ford. If the rumours are true and there is a standalone Star Wars movie being made about a young Han Solo, then filmmakers could do a lot worse than give this guy the job!!! You would get no complaints from me, that's for sure.
If you like the movies Somewhere In Time and The Time Travellers Wife, then Age Of Adaline will appeal to you no end. A definite purchase for me though when its released.
Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)
Visually amazing. But a good Mad Max film??? I don't think so.......
Well, after 30 years we finally get another Mad Max sequel after years of development hell and false starts.
Firstly the good: This film is visually incredible. Production kept the film as real as possible with the stunts, etc and you can see that every penny made it up there on screen. I saw this in IMAX 3D and was blown away by how it looked and towards the end, it has quite possibly the best 3D effect ever in a film. Yes it was cheesy, but it suited the film. The films characters (with the exception of Max, which I will come to in a minute) was brilliantly portrayed by an excellent cast which you would only get in a Mad Max film. Nicholas Hoult should get a special mention as should Hugh Keays-Byrne returning to the franchise after playing the Toecutter in the original 1979 film. He was quite frightening as Immortan Joe and had the appearance to go with it. The guy with the flame throwing guitar needs a special award as 'Most crazy awesome minor character in a movie'. However, this is where the films only strengths lie.
The bad: I'm sorry folks, but Tom Hardy is VERY overrated as an actor and he is quite possibly the worst one in this film. He is NOTHING like Mel Gibsons version of Max. I bet he only has a few lines of dialogue in this film and the film really shouldn't have been called Mad Max but Mad Furiosa, as the film seems to be all about Charlize Therons character. When Hardy did speak its as though he was trying to find a middle ground of him being Mel Gibson and being his own actor and it was very badly done. I really think that the films praise is exactly what happened with the movie 'Gravity', and although Mad Max is nowhere near as bad as that movie, I think its another classic case of people being in so much awe of whats on screen, they have completely forgotten if they are watching a good film or not?? To me, this film is NOT what Mad Max should be. With the original three movies there was something towards the end of each movie that sent Max over the edge which made him 'Mad'. But with this film he is just along for the ride and for this reason and the fact that Tom Hardy was awful as Max, I didn't like it. Yes I am a HUGE fan of the original three films and its obvious that we will NEVER get back the grittiness of the first two films which in my book are the action equivalent of Leones Spaghetti Westerns, especially in style. Also the music was just awful as well. I liked Junkie XL's music for 300: Rise of an Empire but god, I missed the brilliance of Brian Mays scores from the first two Mad Max films.
The above is why I don't get why this film is being praised so much?? I recently watched the original film for the first time on blu-ray. It looked and sounded amazing and I still love it today. Probably because the first film is more relevant for todays times than ever before. I really did try and go to watch Fury Road with a fresh mind, but as I have mentioned, this just wasn't Mad Max for me. Its just a damn shame that George Miller didn't get to make this film 15 years ago with Mel Gibson. Sets were built, everything was a go, then the damn Iraq War started and everything got shut down.
Just a thought why the series hasn't been as good since the second one?? Its obvious that the 'glue' that made the first two so special was obviously down to Byron Kennedy who produced the first two and sadly died while location scouting for the third film. Just like the Star Wars films, it was the same when Gary Kurtz left, the films have not been the same since. Although the director is responsible for the actual end product, its obvious that lots of help and ideas comes from the producer. Its a shame really.
Anyway, there is already talk of another Mad Max sequel and I hope it goes back to basics next time and not the overblown and overpraised movie that is Fury Road. 5/10 and that was pretty much for the visuals.
Robin of Sherwood (1984)
Still the best version of the legend of Robin Hood....................
I was fortunate enough to have seen this show during its original run on television and I have bought the videos, the DVD's and for the past three weeks, I have had the pleasure of watching the show again from start to finish on blu-ray. A show that is still in my top 5 shows of all time and this version of the story of Robin Hood is still the definitive version and to be honest, it will never be topped.
The show is near on perfect with exactly the right balance of story, action and mysticism, with the latter being done perfectly in my book. Even if you had never seen the show before, I cant think why you would be disappointed with it as each episode is a gem.
The main cast through all three series was just some of the most spot on casting ever in a show and Ray Winstones Will Scarlet will NEVER be topped. He was fantastic in it as he got the balance of the character just right. Another mention should go to Nikolas Grace with his portrayal of The Sheriff Of Nottingham. You couldn't help but love him and hate him at the same time. And his put downs at Gisbourne were at times were just hilarious and some of the real highlights of the show. Guest stars aplenty during its run as well with the likes of John Rhys Davies, Ian Ogilvy, Michael Craig, Lewis Collins (superb!!), Phil Davis (brilliant and hilarious as Prince John!!!), George Baker, Richard O'Brien and Patricia Hodge amongst others just excelling in the roles they were given. Its as if they born to play each of their characters.
My two favourite episodes were The Greatest Enemy and The Inheritance with both episodes having brilliant pay off endings which were done to perfection. The Greatest Enemy is still a tearjerker even today. Also with this series, this was always the legend of Robin Hood I grew up with and was told about: The Silver Arrow and especially the part of the legend that says where Robin Hood fired his last arrow, is the place where he died. For this reason, the show just nails it. With regard to Michael Praed leaving, it was really a double edged sword to be honest. IF he had stayed, the series would still have ended after series three and we wouldn't (or would we??) have got the episode The Greatest Enemy. So it wouldn't have made much difference really. Its a shame he did leave though as he never really went on to anything better afterwards. I always thought he left as he got offered a role in the series Dynasty, but he actually left to go to Broadway which completely back fired on him.
When series three came around, I always remember having no problem with Jason Connery taking over. Again, it was another case of excellent casting and although he was a very different Robin, he seemed to be more 'full on' with the character.
The music by Clannad. Again, it was another case of doing the right thing for the show and their music was just the icing on the cake to be honest. Hernes Theme still send shivers down my spine every time I hear it and its just a shame that we STILL haven't had a proper full release of music from the show for all three seasons. Season three having no release whatsoever!!
After watching the documentaries on the show again, I always thought that the reason a fourth and final series never happened is because Goldcrest who put up a lot of the money for the show went bust after financing the Al Pacino flop Revolution. But this wasn't the case at all. It was the fact that the money just couldn't be found and so we never really got a proper send off for this amazing show. I think this is a real shame as the show never lost its way. But like with most classic shows, the reason they are so good even today is because so few episodes were made.
I ask everyone to watch this version of Robin Hood and don't waste your time with any other version. This has and always will be THE definitive version of the show. Excellent.
Dances with Wolves (1990)
Not many films deserve the title of 'Epic'. This is one of the exceptions
Had to write this review on here as I have always loved this film and it is still in my top 10 of all time. A lot of people call some films 'Epic' and this is up there with the best of them.
I am writing this though as it was the first time I had watched the film on blu-ray recently. I only watch the extended version, even though both the theatrical and extended are both excellent. But like with many of Ridley Scots films (Kingdom Of Heaven is a classic example) and The Lord Of The Rings trilogy, I prefer to watch the extended versions as I always think they add a lot more to the film.
This movie though is without a doubt a 10/10. Beautifully shot, beautifully acted and definitely beautifully scored by the late great John Barry providing the best score of his entire career. The film deserved its success and it is without a doubt Kevin Costners best film to date after Field Of Dreams. A superb supporting cast too where you actually care about every single character.
This film should be watched by everybody at least once and now that we have IMAX cinemas, I really hope that one day, the film is remastered for the format and has a re-release in IMAX in its extended form as it would be just incredible to see it on a screen of that size.
Best Television I have watched all year!!!!
Watched this last night and although I really wanted to watch it, I had no idea it would be this good!!!
It is mesmerising from start to finish. The cast is just superb and although everyone is giving special mention to David Bradley, I thought it was Jessica Raine who stole the show as Verity Lambert.
Some amazing recreations of sets, props and characters from the first three series of Doctor Who means that the film makers obviously have a real passion for the show and the making of this film. It is the ending though that is extremely sad and without giving away spoilers, a perfect cameo at the end just makes it even more special.
Even if you are not into Doctor Who you should really enjoy this. I cant believe how much I enjoyed this and I have ordered the DVD already. By the way, the scene with the Cyberman with the fag on is just hilarious :) :) :)
Without a doubt the best television I have seen all year. 10/10!!!!