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Black Panther (2018)
After avoiding all of the spoilers, I finally got to watch this movie, which I quite enjoyed but I did think that Infinity War was better. I liked the fact that most of the cast was black, as it is based in Africa, and the way that the director had a lot of powerful women, which you don't see in a majority of superhero movies. The action scenes were also impressive and the cinematography was truly amazing but I did find the Black Panther quite moody and miserable through most of the movie. That's not to say that Chadwick Boseman didn't play the main character well, it's just that it lacked wit, and the storyline could have been a bit more interesting. Anyway, if you have seen Captain America: Civil War, you would have seen T'Challa/Black Panther, sadly losing his father, so in this movie you see him return to Wakanda, to assume the throne. His hometown is isolated from the world, mainly because of its advanced technology, powered by vibranium, During the ceremony, T'Challa is challenged by the Jabari Tribe leader, M'Baku (Winston Duke), who he successfully defeats and becomes king. Meanwhile Erik Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan) and Ulysses Klaue (Andy Serkis) steal a Wakandan artefact from a London museum, and Klaue tries to sell it in South Korea but the deal is interrupted by the Black Panther and 2 of his close companions. During the battle, Everett K. Ross (Martin Freeman) is badly hurt whilst saving T'Challa's friend, so they take him back to Wakanda, so they can use there technology to save him, even though they don't want to expose there abilities to the outside world. T'Challa then finds out that his father killed his brother to save Wakanda, and he left his nephew in America at a young age. As Klaue knows the secret about the power of vibranium, the Wakanda's have tried to get there hands on him for years but he always seems to slip through there fingers. Erik, who turns out to be the young kid who was left in America, knows that the Wakanda's want Klaue, so he kills him and he uses his dead body to get into Wakanda. After exposing his true identity, he challenges T'Challa to a battle for the throne, which he successfully wins, thinking that he has killed the Black Panther. With Erik in power, he attempts to distribute Wakandan weapons to operatives around the world, not knowing that T'Challa was picked up by fishermen after being thrown into a waterfall. His mother, sister and girlfriend decide to leave Wakanda when Erik took power, and they make there way to the Jabari Tribe to take cover. They then see a badly beaten T'Challa in a coma, so they use some herbs to bring him back to life. Now fully revived, the Black Panther decides to take back Wakanda from Erik, before he distributes the weapons but the tribe are forced to fight for the king, which means that he has to battle against his close friends. Will he claim back his beloved Wakanda or will Erik use his new powers to defeat him! I know that I might have made the plot sound really confusing but it will make sense when you watch it. I did find the leader of the Jabari Tribe, M'Baku, quite funny, and the Black Panthers sister, Shuri, and Nakia were brilliant. Martin Freeman seemed a bit out of place but I understand why he was put into the movie. For a third world country, there technology was unbelievable, and it put Tony Stark to shame, but I honestly don't think that we have seen it's full power yet. Anyway, it's definitely worth a watch and I can understand why there was so much hype surrounding the movie but I personally preferred Ragnarok. Enjoyable!
Round-Up: This movie was directed by Ryan Coogler, 32, who also brought you Fruitvale Station and Creed. For his third movie, he has certainly smashed the box office, and he has established his name in Hollywood. With only one project in development, which is a drama called Wrong Answer, he's decided to put Michael B. Jordan in the lead again, like he did in Creed and Fruitvale Station. At such a young age, he was lucky to be chosen to direct and write this movie, and I'm sure that Marvel is happy with the outcome, as it is the 9th biggest film of all time. It is the highest grossing film from a black director and the second highest grossing film in 2018, being beat by Infinity War, so DC really do have a hard act to follow. It would have been a totally different movie if Wesley Snipes took the lead, which was planned in 1992 but it never materialised due to disagreements over the script.
Budget: $210million Worldwide Gross: $1.346billion (WOW!)
Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi Cast: Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong'o, Danai Gurira, Martin Freeman, Daniel Kaluuya, Winston Duke, Sterling K. Brown, Angela Bassett, Forest Whitaker, Andy Serkis, Isaach De Bankole and Letitia Wright. 7/10
The Post (2017)
Decent watch, but not a Spielberg classic!
With such a great cast, and one of the best directors in the world, I had high hopes for this movie but it turned out to be extremely average. Don't get me wrong, the performances from Streep and Hanks are top class but I did find the storyline quite boring after a while. I know that it is an important part of American history and that it changed the way that the newspapers reported the news, so I respect the fact that everyone who worked on this project, wanted to stay true to the real story but from an entertainment point of view, it is very one toned. With that aside, it's still worth a watch, mainly because of the chemistry between Streep and Hanks but don't expect a movie spectacular. Anyway, the movie is about the Pentagon Papers, that got leaked to the New York Times by an American analyst, Daniel Ellsberg (Matthew Rhys). Meanwhile, Katharine Graham (Meryl Streep), owner and publisher of the Washington Post, after her husband's suicide and the death of her father, is troubled over the preparations for the newspapers stock-market launch. With the paper under threat, because of there lack of resources, compared to the New York Times, Ben Bradlee (Tom Hanks), editor-in-chief, seeks to get his hands on the original Pentagon Papers, to leak the truth about the Vietnam war. When the papers mysteriously arrive at the Washington Post, a hand-picked team of reporters go through the pages of material, searching for the headline stories but their lawyers advise against publishing the story because the Nixon administration can bring charges against them, as the New York Times has used the same source. The final decision to publish, is up to Katharine, who could totally destroy the paper or establish itself as an important journalistic institution, so with everyone saying that she should back down because she could go to jail, she decides to publish the story, which leads to a monumental court case which would change journalism forever. There are some emotional moments, especially as the head of the Post is a woman, living in a man's world, and I did feel the intensity during the decision to publish but I still was expecting more from this unique collaboration, which might not happen again anytime soon. The period was captured extremely well, and the attention to detail was great but I can't see myself watching again, once you know the outcome. In this day and age of "fake news" it is an important story to bring to light but I doubt that it will make a massive impact like it did back in the 60's. The film only took 3 months to make, 9 months from script to final cut, so it's a decent achievement from the director, especially with such an A-list cast. Anyway, it's definitely worth a watch but it's a bit too straight-laced for me. Watchable!
Round-Up: This movie was directed by one of the best directors of all time, Steven Spielberg, 71, who kicked off his movie career with the Sugarland Express in 1974. In 1975 he came out with the great Jaws, and two years later he made the all-time classic, Close Encounters of the Third Kind. 1941 came in 1979, and then Raiders of the Lost Ark was born in 1981. E.T. shocked moviegoers in 1982, and Twilight Zone: The Movie was released in 1983. In 1984, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom went down extremely well with audiences, and then came the Color Purple in 1985, which shook the world. Empire of the Sun saw a young Christian Bale showing off his acting skills in 1987, then Spielberg returned to the Indiana franchise with Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade in 1989. Always came later that year, and then Hook was born in 1991, starring the late, great Robin Williams. Jurassic Park shocked moviegoers in 1993, along with Schindler's List, which got many awards. After a few years out, The Lost World, the Jurassic Park sequel, was released in 1997, along with Amistad in the same year. Saving Private Ryan came in 1998 and 3 years later A.I. Artificial Intelligence, saw a young Haley Joel Osment warming audiences hearts. In 2002 Catch Me If You Can and Minority Report were released, and in 2004 he worked alongside Hanks again in The Terminal. Munich told the true story of the Black September aftermath in 2005, and he returned with Tom Cruise in War of the World in the same year. After much debates, he returned to the Indiana franchise with Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull in 2008, and in 2011 he released the Adventures of Tintin and War Horse, which I didn't really enjoy. One year later he directed Lincoln, which went down well with audiences, and 3 years later he returned with Hanks in the Bridge of Spies. The BFG came in 2016, and he released Ready Player One this year, which I haven't actually seen yet. What a Filmography! Spielberg has also produced nearly 200 projects, and he has 7 projects in the pipeline, which include another Indiana movie and West Side Story, which is in production. I can honestly say that he is definitely one of the biggest players in Hollywood at the moment, and I have personally been entertained by movies since a small age. This movie doesn't really come close to some of his all-time classics but I will always rate him as a director, mainly because of his unique vision and remarkable storytelling.
Budget: $50million Worldwide Gross: $175million
Genre: Biography, Drama, History Cast: Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks, Sarah Paulson, Bob Odenkirk, Tracy Letts, Bradley Whitford, Bruce Greenwood, Matthew Rhys, Alison Brie, Jesse Plemons and David Cross. 6/10
Maze Runner: The Death Cure (2018)
Watchable movie but not an all time classic!
Although I wasn't a big fan of the first 2 movies in this franchise, I actually didn't think that this film was too bad. It's full of intensity from the beginning to the end, and the action scenes were pretty impressive but the acting was awful, especially from the lead character Thomas (Dylan O'Brien). I was also not impressed with the predictable storyline but the whole "race against time" element made it a watchable film, especially as it was the last movie in the trilogy. Anyway, this movie see's an older Thomas, fighting against the WCKD to try and rescue his close friend, Minho (Ki Hong Lee), with his fellow Gladers. After failing the first mission, he still manages to rescue other Immunes from a train but Thomas is still determined to go back for Minho, who is being tortured in the "Last City" by the WCKD, who are looking for a cure for the deadly virus. During the night, Thomas decides to leave the camp, against the orders of Vince (Barry Pepper), who is the leader of the Right Arm, and he makes his way to the "Last City" to try and save Minho. 2 of his close friends, Newt (Thomas Brodie-Sangster) and Frypan (Dexter Darden) decide to follow Thomas on his rescue mission but they get attacked by Cranks, who are humans infected with the Flare. They soon realise that they are ambushed, and with no ammunition they have no way to turn, until they are saved by 2 other Gladers, Jorge (Giancario Esposito) and Brenda (Rosa Salazar), who also join them on there mission. When they finally get to the wall of the Last City, which protects the city from the Cranks, they come across a group of protesters who are fighting to get let into the city, so they use them to try and get inside. The WCKD start to fire at the protesters, so the Gladers have to run for cover, with many of the protesters losing there life's. They are then captured by a group of hooded men, who are led by Gally (Will Poulter), who is also fighting against the WCKD. He then takes the Gladers to his leader, Lawrence (Walton Goggins), who helps them enter the Last City through a secret entrance. Gally then tells Thomas that he can get them into the WCKD headquarters with the help of Teresa (Kaye Scodelario), who is a former Glader but is now helping the WCKD to produce a cure, using the Immune for experiments. They then kidnap Teresa, who gives them ways to get through the security in the Last City but they have to battle against the ruthless Jason (Aidan Gillen), and his henchmen to get to Minho. When Lawrence realises that the Last City's security system has been compromised, he forms an attack against the WCKD, which makes it difficult for the Gladers to plan an escape. Will the Gladers make it out on time, before the whole of the Last City is destroyed! I know that it sounds a bit confusing but believe me, it is pretty straight forward, especially if you have watched the previous movies. To be honest, I couldn't remember who was who from the previous movies but I still found it easy to follow. Aidan Gillen played the villain well but the Gladers really needed a stand-alone hero, who actually had some skills. I didn't have high expectations for this film, especially when I saw that the whole cast was returning from the previous movies but the action scenes really saved the day. I think I have to watch all 3 movies together to actually get a true feel for the Maze Runner franchise. You can watch this film without watching the other 2 movies but I personally think that I would have enjoyed it more if I knew who was who, and what was what. Anyway, this film is worth a watch for it's action and CGI but from a storyline and acting point of view, it could have been much better. Watchable!
Round-Up: This movie was directed by Wes Ball, who also brought you the Maze Runner and Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials. As the Maze Runner franchise was his first projects for the big screen, I can honestly say that he achieved a lot, especially as all 3 movies made a profit at the box office but I can't help thinking that it could have been much better if an experienced director and an experienced actor took the lead. With that aside, it certainly went out with a bang, with the number of explosions and battle scenes throughout but I still can't see it going down as an all-time classic.
Budget: $62million Worldwide Gross: $285million
Genre: Action, Sci-Fi, Thriller Cast: Dylan O'Brien, Ki Hong Lee, Kaye Scodelario, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Dexter Darden, Will Poulter, Giancarlo Esposito, Patricia Clarkson, Aiken Gillen, Barry Pepper, Nathalie Emmanuel, Katherine McNamara and Walton Goggins. 6/10
Fifty Shades Freed (2018)
Quite a bad adaptation!
After listening to all of the hype surrounding the books, I thought that the movies would be half decent but I really wasn't that impressed with the whole franchise. This movie was the worst of the trilogy, mainly because storyline was weak and the script was extremely corny but the stalker background story made it slightly interesting. The sex scenes became tedious after a while, because we have seen the couple do every position possible in the previous movies, and the acting wasn't that great. Anyway, in this last chapter of the Fifty Shades trilogy, Christian Grey (Jamie Dorian) and Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson) have finally tied the knot but Anastasia is finding it hard living the Billion dollar lifestyle, which is totally controlled by Christian. With a new threat on the horizon, the couples life is in danger, so Christian hires bodyguards to watch over them 24/7. Anastasia then finds out that she is pregnant, which puts a strain on there relationship because Christian doesn't want to be a father, so the newlyweds new life together doesn't have the best of starts. The stalker then demands $5million from Anastasia, because he has kidnapped Christian's sister but Christian manages to take control of that situation, even though Anastasia went behind his back to make the transaction. With Anastasia getting hurt during the dramatic confrontation with the stalker, Christian comes to terms with the pregnancy, and they live happily ever after. Awful storyline! I was expecting the franchise to end with a bang but every aspect of the storyline was boring and uninteresting. It seemed to be a battle for control between the couple, and with all of the money in the world at there fingertips, they really needed to put a twist in the plot to make It relatable and interesting. Anyway, I think you can tell that I really didn't like this film but I'm sure the readers of the books would have enjoyed it. Disappointing!
Round-Up: This movie was directed by James Foley, 64, who also brought you At Close Range, various Madonna projects, the great Glengarry Glen Ross, Fear, The Chamber, The Corrupter, Confidence, Perfect Stranger, 12 episodes of House of Cards, 2 episodes of Billions and Fifty Shades Darker. He's obviously not new to the movie making game, and I'm quite a fan of some of his work but this movie wasn't adapted for the big screen that well. With the writer of the books, E.L. James, in the producers chair, I can't totally blame the director for the end result and judging by the profit I can't really see them complaining. With the high popularity of the books, I'm not surprised that audiences flocked to the cinema to watch the trilogy but I haven't heard a good word said about the franchise. That's just proof that hype really does sell!
Budget: $55million Worldwide Gross: $369million
Genre: Drama, Romance, Thriller Cast: Dakota Johnson, Jamie Dornan, Eric Johnson, Eloise Mumford, Rita Ora, Luke Grimes, Victor Rasuk, Max Martini, Jennifer Ehle, Marcia Gay Harden, Callum Keith Rennie and Bruce Altman. 2/10
An enjoyable, unique movie!
Every now and again, a low budget movie comes along that exceeds expectation, which this movie certainly did. I personally found it entertaining throughout, and the performances from McDormand, Rockwell and Harrelson were brilliant. The storyline was also well put together but I was slightly disappointed with the ending. Although the subject matter was quite serious, the witty script made it a joy to watch, in a black comedy type of way, and it really does prove that you don't have to have a huge budget to make an entertaining movie. Anyway, the movie is about a mother, Mildred (Frances McDormand) who has become a recluse after her daughter is brutally murdered. After waiting 7 months for the police to come up with some results, she decides to take matters into her own hands by putting "RAPED WHILE DYING", "STILL NO ARRESTS" and "HOW COME, CHIEF WILLOUGHBY?" on three billboards, hence the title. The billboards upset a lot of people in her small town, including Chief Bill Willoughby (Woody Harrelson), and officer Jason Dixon who is a racist and a violent alcoholic. As Bill was unable to solve the case, he is pushed to investigate the murder again, after the billboards cause a huge impact in the town. Whilst suffering with pancreatic cancer, Bill decides to take his own life after finding out that the cancer has progressed, which leaves Mildred with no answers about her daughter. After another violent event, Jason is sacked from the police but he decides to look into the murder after reading a note that Bill left him before he committed suicide. Out of frustration, Mildred decides to burn down the police station, not knowing that Jason is inside but he manages to escape with severe burns around his body. Whilst in a bar, Jason hears a man bragging to his friend about being with a girl around the time Mildred's daughter was killed, so he gets into a fight with him to try and get his DNA. After finding out that the DNA didn't match, Mildred is left with no leads but she is still determined to find out what happened to her daughter, even though everyone is telling her to drop it. Frances McDormand was perfect for her role, along with Sam Rockwell who was funny throughout. The cinematography was also perfect for the movie and the various cameos were great additions to this unique movie. It could have easily been a depressing, downbeat film because of it's emotional backdrop, which is why I was surprised with the outcome. Because of the amount of awards that this movie received, I hope that other directors follow suit, especially in this day and age of loads of sequels and remakes. A great watch!
Round-Up: This movie was written and directed by Martin McDonagh, who also brought you In Bruges and Seven Psychopaths. Judging by his previous movies, Martin is definitely one for dark comedies but I doubt that he was expecting such a success with this movie. With Frances McDormand and Sam Rockwell winning Academy awards for there roles in this film, which they thoroughly deserved, I can't wait to see what this director will come up with next.
Budget: $12million Worldwide Gross: $158.6million
Genre: Crime, Drama Cast: Frances McDormand, Sam Rockwell, Woody Harrelson, Abbie Cornish, Caleb Landry Jones, Kerry Condon, Alejandro Barrios, Zeljko Ivanek, Peter Dinklage, Amanda Warren, Sandy Martin, John Hawkes, Clarke Peters and Samara Weaving. 8/10
The Commuter (2018)
Typical Neeson action!
This is yet another movie from Liam Neeson, which sees him playing the hero with the odds stacked against him. It does have some decent action and intensity throughout, and you have this "Whodunnit" element which keeps you glued the screen but it's not that different to the rest of the movies that Neeson has made lately. In this film Liam Neeson plays a Insurance salesman, Michael MacCauley, who loses his job after working for his company for 10 years. With 2 mortgages to pay, and his sons college fees due, he doesn't know how to break the news to his wife, who is worried about how they are going to afford there sons fees. On his usual route back home on the train, Michael is approached by a woman, Joanna (Vera Farmiga) who offers him $25,000, and a further $75,000 if he can find Prynne, an unknown passenger, and plants a GPS on them. Out of curiosity, he goes to the location of the money, and he is surprised to find it hidden in the toilet. Michael then looks around the train for a person with a bag but with the train being so busy, he finds it hard to track the person down. After trying different methods to plant the tracker on the correct person, he decides to turn down the mission but when he finds out that his family are in danger, and the mysterious person on the phone kills another passenger, he soon realises how serious the whole situation is. As he has to find the correct person before the train gets to the end of the line, time is against him so he tries to get help from his old partner, Alex Murphy (Patrick Wilson), whose in the NYPD. When Michael finally comes face to face with the culprit, he realises that all is not what it seems, and with the police thinking that he has hijacked the train and taken the passengers hostage, he fights to prove his innocence whilst keeping the victim safe. It's not the most original storyline for this genre but the situation does become extremely intense towards the end. The action scenes, especially the train crashing scene, were well put together and Neeson plays his role well but it's nothing that we haven't seen before. With that aside, it's still worth a watch, if your in the mood to watch Neeson kickass once again but don't expect a movie spectacular. Watchable!
Round-Up: This movie was directed by Jaume Collet-Serra, who brought you House of Wax, Goal II: Living The Dream, Orphan and the Shallows. He also directed Run All Night, Non-Stop and Unknown, which all starred Liam Neeson, so they have obviously built a close relationship over the years. Although there partnership has produced some decent movies, they have all been same ol' same ol' from Neeson, which is a shame because he is a great actor in all different genres. At 65, Neeson hasn't showed any sign of slowing down in the action department and with 12 projects in the pipeline there's no stopping this money making machine.
Budget: $40million Worldwide Gross: $120million
Genre: Action, Crime, Drama Cast: Liam Neeson, Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Jonathan Banks, Sam Neill, Elizabeth McGovern, Killian Scott, Shazad Latif, Andy Nyman and Clara Lago. 5/10
A great watch but it could have been funnier!
I quite enjoyed this emotional animation movie, which really does have something for everyone but I must admit, I didn't really find it that funny. I know that it wasn't supposed to be that amusing but I missed the usual Pixar humour, which I have grown to love over the years. Don't get me wrong, the movie is certainly entertaining and the animation is truly remarkable but it's not the type of film that you can watch time and time again, like the earlier Pixar movies. With that aside, the attention to detail was great and the storyline was well written but I was still expecting more from this reputable company. Anyway, the movie is about a little boy, Miguel, who has a secret love of music, even though his family has banned it from there home. When he sees that there is going to be a local music competition, he escapes from home to show off his talents, but he is caught by another family member, who destroys his guitar. Failing to find another guitar to enter the competition, he decides to steal the guitar from the famous Ernesto de la Cruz mausoleum, who turns out to be his great-great-grandfather. Whilst stealing the guitar, Miguel becomes invisible to everyone in the village plaza, and he enters the mysterious world of the Land of the Dead, were he meets his skeletal dead relatives. Miguel soon realises that he is cursed for trying to steal the guitar, and he can only return to the Land of the Living, if he is blessed by one of his relatives before sunrise. One of his relatives, Imelda, offers to give him a blessing but on the condition that he abandons his musical pursuits, which Miguel refuses and attempts to seek Ernesto's blessings instead. Miguel then escapes from his family, to seek his great-great-grandfather but he's unable to get far because of his human looks. He then gets the help from Hector, who needs Miguels help to get his picture back to his daughter, so she doesn't forget him, so they go on there mysterious journey to find Ernesto, before Hector disappears, and Miguel gets banished to the Land of the Dead. It's quite an unusual but original storyline, which took 6 years to bring to the big screen, due to the importance of getting the authenticity of the project completely correct, and I'm sure that the animation took ages to perfect as well. I appreciate the work behind the scenes, that it takes to make a Pixar movie but I personally think that they have lost there touch since they have gone to Disney. That's not to say that this movie wasn't a great watch but there is too much competition out there at the moment. With movies like Ferdinand to compete with, Pixar need to up there game to claim back the top spot that they have owned for many years. Anyway, this movie is definitely worth a watch, and I'm sure that people will shed a tear, and jump for joy whilst watching it but I personally was hoping for more in the humour department. Enjoyable!
Round-Up: This movie was directed by Lee Unkrich, who brought you Toy Story 3, and co-directed Toy Story 2, Monsters Inc. and Finding Nemo. He also produced The Good Dinosaur and Monsters University, so he has certainly earned his stripes with Pixar. After watching hours of bonus material, Unkrich and his team spent a lot of time in Mexico, with various families, to get the whole look and feel of this film spot on, and he done a terrific job in that department. The vibrant colours throughout the movie, along with the close family element, really did work well but I did find Ferdinand slightly more funny. It didn't actually hit the billion dollar mark but it was still a hit with filmgoers around the world, and I haven't heard a bad word said about it. With Incredibles 2 and Toy Story 4 in the pipeline, I'm sure that Pixar will be smashing the box office this year but I personally think that Toy Story should have been left alone.
Budget: $200million Worldwide Gross: $805million
Genre: Animation, Adventure, Comedy Cast: Anthony Gonzalez, Gael Garcia Bernal, Benjamin Bratt, Alanna Ubach, Renee Victor, Jaime Camil, Alfonso Arau, Edward James Olmos, Carla Medina, Cheech Marin, John Ratzenberger and Herbert Siguenza. 7/10
The Greatest Showman (2017)
Looked spectacular but the music was annoying!
Just like the remake of the Great Gatsby, the music in this movie really doesn't suit the time period, which is set during the late 1800's but they are catchy tunes. Personally the music did get on my nerves after a while, because I just wanted them to get on with the story but it is a musical so I should have known what I was getting myself into. Anyway at the beginning of the movie, you see a young, penniless Phineas Taylor Barnum (Hugh Jackman), who has a wild imagination and sadly loses his father at an early age. Whilst living with is foster parents, he falls in love with his childhood sweetheart, even though her father thinks that he is not right for her but after writing many letters to each other, they end up getting married. At an older age, he ends up in a dead end job, and when he gets laid off, he decides to open a wax museum to make ends meet. Due to bad ticket sales from the museum, he changes the attraction to a circus, with "never seen before" live acts, full of a collection of oddities and music. After a while, Barnum gambles everything on a opera singer Jenny Lind (Rebecca Ferguson), which takes him away from the family home and puts a strain on his family life. Jenny expects more from there relationship, which Barnum declines and soon realises that he misses his family. On Jenny's last performance, she is pictured giving Barnum a kiss, which gets in the papers and makes his wife Charity (Michelle Williams) leave him, even though it was an innocent kiss. Meanwhile, his circus gets burnt down by the locals who think that it's a travelling freak show, so his partner, Phillip Carlyle agrees to help him to build the circus again, even though they don't have any money. Barnum then concentrates on sorting out his family life, and once that's back on track, he gathers the troops and they put on the best performance of there lives. It's quite a touching story which does have some emotional moments but I really couldn't take the singing. The costumes and the cinematography did make it unique and pretty spectacular but there wasn't much depth to the various characters, who all had strange oddities. I appreciate the amount of work that went into making the final product, and the fact that it had taken nearly 10 years to make but it just wasn't my cup of tea. I'm sure there are many people who will disagree with my point of view, especially after seeing the amount of money that it made at the box office but I've never been a big lover of musicals, so let's just put it down to personal choice. Average!
Round-Up: This is the first movie directed by Michael Gracey but he has made music videos for Natasha Bedingfield, the Sugababes and Will Young. For his first movie, he really took on a big task, and judging by the reviews, he certainly done a good job. With movies like The Muppet Man, Daughter of Smoke and Bone and Naruto in development, I'm sure that people will be anxious to see what he will be coming up with next but I personally doubt that he will smash the box office like he did with this movie. Although this wasn't my type of film, all of the actors put in a top performance, especially as most of them sung the numbers themselves. I can't see them making a sequel but I'm sure this film will be remembered for some time, especially as the soundtrack has become a best seller.
Budget: $84million Worldwide Gross: $431million
Genre: Biography, Drama, Musical Cast: Hugh Jackman, Michelle Williams, Zac Efron, Zendaya, Rebecca Ferguson, Keala Settle, Eric Anderson, Will Swenson, Paul Sparks, Austyn Johnson and Cameron Seely. 5/10
A heartwarming story!
Although this movie was extremely emotional, and the acting was top form from the whole cast, I was expecting something major to happen. The tempo that is set right from the beginning, doesn't really change but I still found it entertaining, and well written. It's based on a young boy called Auggie (Jacob Tremblay) who is born with a facial difference, which has prevented him to go to school. His loving mother Isabel (Julia Roberts) teaches him at home but she decides to enter him into the local school in the 5th grade. His father, Nate (Owen Wilson) doesn't think that it's a good idea, because he hasn't been around other kids, and he doesn't have any friends but he knows deep down that it would make or break him. At first, Auggie struggles at school with the other kids, and he feels that everyone is talking about him behind his back but he soon befriends his classmate, Jack (Noah Jupe), who helps him tackle the class bully, Julian (Bryce Gheisar). While Auggie is struggling with school life, his sister, Via (Izabela Vidovic), is also having problems at college but when she joins the drama class, she becomes close friends with another student, who eventually becomes her boyfriend. After a while, the students get used to Auggie's facial difference, and after a couple of episodes, he becomes close friends with the kids who used to bully him. It's a touching story, which proves that it's really what's inside a person, that really matters, and the fact that it's about a little kid who has a heart of gold, really does pull at the heart strings. Julia Roberts was great as the doting mum, and the chemistry between her and Owen Wilson was realistic. With that aside, it's not the type of film that you can watch time and time again, and you do have to be in the right mood to watch it but it's still worth a watch and I'm sure that audiences will feel entertained. Watchable!
Round-Up: This movie was directed by Stephen Chbosky, who also brought you the Perks of Being a Wallflower. He certainly got the best out of the cast, especially Jacob Tremblay who also starred in Room, alongside Brie Larson. For such a young age, 11 to be precise, he certainly put a lot of adults to shame but the storyline felt like there was something missing. As it was made from a book, I can understand that the director was trying to stay true to the original story but it would have been good to see a twist at some point. Anyway, I enjoyed the film and I would highly recommend it to people who like there emotional movies but don't expect the tempo to change.
Budget: $20million Worldwide Gross: $300.5million
Genre: Drama, Family Cast: Owen Wilson, Julia Roberts, Jacob Tremblay, Izabela Vidovic, Mark Dozlaw, Rukiya Bernard and Mandy Patinkin. 6/10
Enjoyable but it could have been much better!
I was in two minds about this remake, mainly because I really enjoyed the original but I must admit, I liked what they done with the storyline. Some of the slapstick comedy wasn't that great, and I personally think that they could have done much more with the concept but I still enjoyed the movie, and the chemistry between the various characters was amusing. The CGI was also quite impressive, and I liked the twist when they went into the game but once the shock element went out the window, it seemed to go downhill. Anyway, the movie is based on 4 characters, Spencer (Dwayne Johnson, Martha (Karen Gillan), Fridge (Kevin Hart) and Bethany (Jack Black), who have all been given detention at school. Whilst on detention in the basement of the school, they come across an old video game, which turns out to be Jumanji, so they connect it to a TV and they decide to play it. After picking there various characters, the 4 teenagers get transported into the game, and they change into the characters that they have picked. Once they work out what has happened, Nigel (Rhys Darby), explains to them that they have to retrieve the Jaguar's Eye from a corrupt archaeologist, Russell Van Pelt (Bobby Cannavale), which they have to return to a Jaguar statue to leave the game. Whilst on there mission, they come across another teenager, Alex (Nick Jonas), who has been stuck in the game for 20 years, so they join forces to get the priceless relic, so they can return it to it's rightful place. The various characters all bring something different to the movie, and I liked the fact that Jack Black was actually a girl. The Rock just had to be the brave one, which wasn't surprising but Kevin Hart was quite funny as the Fridge. Although I found the movie entertaining, the humour was a bit too safe for me and a lot of the scenes were pretty far fetched. With that aside, I would watch the movie again, and I can appreciate that the director tried something different with a great concept but I still think that it could have been much better. Watchable!
Round-Up: This movie was directed by Jake Kasdan, who also brought you Sex Tape starring Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel, Bad Teacher, which also starred Cameron Diaz, Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, The TV Set, Orange County and Zero Effect. Judging by his previous movies, he's obviously come from a comedy background, so this project was slightly out of his comfort zone. He's also worked on various TV series, like Freaks & Geeks, Grosse Pointe, Undeclared, Cracking Up, New Girl and the Grinder, and he is due to make another Bad Teacher movie, which is in development. For a remake, this movie certainly blew up at the box office, and it's made the Rock one of the most bankable stars in Hollywood today but for it's time, the original is still better in my eyes, even though it only made $263million at the box office, with a $65million budget.
Budget: $90million Worldwide Gross: $957million
Genre: Action, Adventure, Comedy Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Jack Black, Karen Gillan, Rhys Darby, Bobby Cannavale, Nick Jones, Alex Wolff, Missi Pyle and Colin Hanks. 6/10
The Lego Ninjago Movie (2017)
Hilarious in parts!
Although the plot of this movie was completely ridiculous, I found it pretty funny in parts, and the action scenes were well put together, even though the cast was made of Lego. The main character, Lloyd (voiced by Dave Franco), did get on my nerves after a while but the rest of the cast were hilarious, especially the evil Garmadon. The animation wasn't that great and it did seem to drag in parts but the witty script made it watchable. Anyway, the movie is based in a city called Ninjago, were the main character, Lloyd, is struggling to deal with day to day life, because his dad, the evil Garmadon, keeps on attacking the city. Although everybody in the city dislike Lloyd, he has 5 close friends in school, who he teams up with to fight against his father in disguise. On Lloyd's 10th birthday, Garmadon attacks the city once again but the secret Ninja force, lead by Lloyd, manage to defeat him. Garmadon retreats to his cave to build a new suit to defeat the ninja warriors, while they try to perfect there individual specialities, with the help from there master, Master Wu (Jackie Chan). When Garmadon returns to the city with in his new suit, Lloyd decides to use the ultimate weapon against him but Garmadon manages to retrieve the weapon from Lloyd, which causes mass destruction to the city. When Lloyd reveals his true identity to Garmadon, he tells him that he wished that he wasn't his father, which leaves Garmadon confused. Master Wu then tells the ninja warriors that Garmadon could be defeated if they get the Ultimate Ultimate weapon, so they set out on there journey to retrieve it. On the way there, they come across Garmadon, who has been following them for some time, and he battles with his brother, Master Wu, who he manages to defeat him but he's put in a cage and becomes the ninja warriors prisoner. On there journey, Lloyd bonds with his dad but when they finally come face to face with the Ultimate Ultimate weapon, Garmadon betrays his son, and he goes back to Ninjago to try and kill Meowthra, who is a cat that was a woken by the first Ultimate weapon. Will the ninja warriors save the day or will Garmadon become the ruler of the city....... I know that the plot sounds confusing but it's straight forward when you watch it. I must admit, for an animation movie, the storyline was pretty intense, and there are some emotional scenes between father and son, so I'm not sure if the kids will totally get it. From an adults point of view, you can't help but chuckle at some of the outrageous scenes, just like the previous Lego movies but I can't see it becoming an all time classic. It's definitely worth a watch, especially if your in a bad mood but don't expect a cinematic extravaganza. Average!
Round-Up: This movie was directed by Charlie Bean, Paul Fisher and Bob Logan. Although they haven't made any full animation movies before, they certainly gave this movie there all, and it fits perfectly into the Lego Movie franchise. Jackie Chan was a great addition to the project, because he used his Kung Fu choreographers to perfect the action scenes. I personally can't see there being a sequel, mainly because it didn't really blow up at the box office, and the buzz around the film was short-lived but I'm sure that were going to be seeing new projects from the Lego Movie franchise.
Budget: $70million Worldwide Gross: $123.1million
Genre: Animation, Action, Adventure Cast: Jackie Chan, Dave Franco, Fred Armisen, Michael Pena, Kumail, Nanjiani, Abbi Jacobson, Zach Woods, David Burrows, Justin Theroux, Ali Wong and Randall Park. 5/10
Great fun for the whole family!
I thought that this was going to be a typical "kiddie" animation movie but it actually turned out to be quite joyful. I found the storyline quite amusing, and the animation looked great. The attention to detail was also impressive and the various characters all brought something fresh to the film. It is pretty far-fetched, from an adults point of view but with that aside, it was a enjoyable movie, with some heart warming moments. Anyway, the movie is about a bull, Ferdinand (voiced by John Cena), who is destined to become a fearless fighting bull but he escapes the Spanish bull-training camp, because he doesn't want to become a fighter. The flower loving bull hasn't got a bad bone in his body, and the whole thought of fighting is against his morals, so he becomes friends with a young girl, Nina, who finds him while he's on the run. Years later, Ferdinand has grown to an immense size, and when he goes to the local flower show, a bee stings him, which makes him go wild in the village. He is then captured and taken back to his old camp, were he is forced to train with his old friends, to become a bull fighter again, against his will. When he finds out that the bulls never win against the matadors, he tries to leave the camp again but this time he refuses to go anywhere without is friends. He manages to help his friends to escape from the camp but he is captured and forced to fight the matador, who what's to go out with a bang in his last bullfight. It's quite an emotional film, which really does have something for everybody, so it's worth a watch if you looking for a family day out. The dancing scenes cracked me up, especially the twerking bull, and you can tell that much thought was behind the scenery and the characters expressions. In all, I surprisingly enjoyed the film and I recommend it to people who want to watch a light-hearted comedy. Enjoyable!
Round-Up: This movie was directed by Carlos Saldanha, who also co-directed Ice Age, Robots, Ice Age 2, Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, and he directed Rio & Rio 2. Although there isn't plans for a sequel, I hope they bring back these funny characters because I would like to see how they progress in there new surroundings.
Budget: $111million Worldwide Gross: $295million
Genre: Animation, Adventure, Comedy Cast: John Cena, Anthony Anderson, David Tennant, Peyton Manning, Sally Phillips, Carlos Saldanha, Jeremy Sisto, Bobby Cannavale, Raul, Esparza, Luis Carlos de la Lombana, Juanes, Jerrod Carmichael, Maria Peyramaure, Jordi Caballero and Nazanin Homa. 7/10
Not for me!
I've never really understood what was so amazing about these Pokémon movies, because I personally found them quite awful. In this movie the graphics looked cheap and the storyline was extremely poor but I'm sure that people who follow the franchise would love it. I'm also not a big fan of anime movies, so I'm not the best person to review this film. Anyway, the film is about a 10 year old boy, Ash, who is now old enough to become a Pokémon trainer but he wakes up late and ends up with Pikachu, who he originally didn't want. He strives to become the best Pokémon trainer but it takes some time to come close to Pikachu, who is stubborn and disobedient. He soon works out the secrets behind Pikachu, and he challenges other Pokémon on his travels, and he soon realises that becoming the best isn't all what it seems. That was the only bit of the movie that I really understood, because I didn't really pay that much attention to it. I lost interest earlier on in the movie, maybe because I didn't really know that much about the back story of the Pokémon, and I also wasn't that impressed with the action scenes, which seemed quite amateur to me. I know that there will be a lot of people who disagree with this review, mostly from the Pokémon followers but I really couldn't get into this movie and the weak storyline. Poor!
Round-Up: This movie was directed by Kunihiko Yuyama, who also brought you various other Pokémon movies, which I totally haven't heard of. Judging by the popularity of this franchise, and the various merchandise on the market, the Pokémon craze has certainly taken off around the world, and the movies have made quite a profit so it obviously has a big following. I've come into the whole Pokémon thing pretty late, and I can't see myself going back to the beginning, as I wasn't that impressed with this film. That's not to say that it was a bad movie but it just wasn't for me.
Budget: N/A Worldwide Gross: $37.5million
Genre: Animation, Action, Adventure Cast: Unsho Ishizuka, Rica Matsumoto, Sarah Natochenny, Megumi Hayashibara, Inuko Inuyama, Shin'ichiro Miki and Ikue Otani. 1/10
Too many unanswered questions!
I was really looking forward to this movie, especially as I heard that Luke Skywalker was making a comeback but I was quite disappointed with the outcome. I found the storyline quite messy, and there was way too many unanswered questions, which I found annoying. I also found it hard to get used to the moody Skywalker, who has completely lost faith in the Jedi realm, and it lacked wit, which I loved from the earlier movies. On the plus side, there are some amazing scenes, like the casino and the epic battles throughout the movie but there wasn't much character building, and Adam Driver (Kylo Ren), wasn't in the same league as Darth Vader. I was hoping to see loads of Jedi skills, which seemed to be missing in the film, and the surprising death was also a big let down. Anyway, with the First Order still battling against the Resistance, with Princess Leia in the commanding seat, Rey (Daisy Ridley) is trying to convince Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) that the Resistance can takedown the First Order if he helps them. As Skywalker has turned his back on the force, and believes that no good will come out of igniting his powers, he tries to show Rey some of his skills, and he soon realises that she also has surprising abilities. With the Resistance coming under heavy attack from the First Order, Rey returns to help them to fight against there new leader, Kylo Ren, who she has a special connection with. She believes that he still has good in him but he is possessed by the darkside, even though they both took down the evil Supreme Leader together. There are other storylines happening at the same time but it's really the Kylo & Rey plot that interested me. I have to commend the director for making the movie look fantastic but it didn't have the same spark that the original did. A lot of the scenes seemed way too long, especially the Rey and Luke scenes at the beginning but it's a must watch, if you are a die hard Star Wars fan. I'm looking forward to the next movie in this franchise but I was still was expecting more from this one. I have finally come to the conclusion that we are never going to get the magic from the first 3 movies but it's good to see some of the old faces, even though they didn't make a big impact on this film. Nice try but no cigar!
Round-Up: This movie was directed by Rian Johnson, who brought you Looper, The Brother's Bloom and Brick starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt. He's due to direct the next Star Wars movie, so I hope that he listens to the critics, and answers some of the important questions. He also directed 3 episodes of Breaking Bad, which is always great to put on you portfolio but this movie has to be his greatest achievement to date, especially after making such a hefty profit at the box office. Although Mark Hamill wasn't happy with the script, he certainly put in an emotional performance but I still wasn't happy with the way he parted from the franchise. After watching over 2 hours of the bonus material, I can see that there was a lot of thought behind this project but I really don't think that were going to be able to appreciate it until we see the rest of the movies in this franchise. I also think that it's the type of movie that you have to watch a few times before you really get it but I still miss the original characters, who seem to be dropping like flies at the moment.
Budget: $200million Worldwide Gross: $1.35billion
Genre: Adventure, Action, Fantasy Cast: Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, Kelly Marie Tran, Laura Dern, Anthony Daniels, Gwendoline Christie and Benicio Del Toro. 6/10
Watchable but the original was better!
I was in two minds when I saw that they remaking Flatliners, after enjoying the original when I was young but I must admit they didn't do a bad job. The actors were not in the same class as the original movie but the storyline wasn't too bad, even though there wasn't much flatlining going on. It does go a bit dark towards the end, and a couple of the characters were quite annoying but I enjoyed the intensity throughout the film, especially after they played with death. Anyway, the film is about 5 ambitious medical students, Courtney (Ellen Page), Ray (Diego Luna), Marlo (Nina Dobrev), Jamie (James Norton) and Sophia (Kiersey Clemons), who are fighting to become the next big thing in the medical world. Courtney comes up with an idea, to stop her heart for a short period, which will trigger a near-death experience, so she asks her friends, Sophia and Jamie, to help her with the experiment in a old part of the hospital. Towards the end of the experiment, they have problems bringing her back to life, so they call on Ray to help them. Marlo follows Ray to the bottom of the hospital, and they manage to bring Courtney back to life, which bonds them close together. The near-death experience enhances Courtney's brain, which makes them all want to Flatline, but there past soon catches up with them, and they have to face the sins that they committed earlier on in life. I liked the fact that the director spent some time introducing each of the characters, and that they all had their own reasons to do the experiment but Ray didn't get a back story. Personally, I wasn't that impressed with the whole horror aspect of the film but it's still worth a watch, especially if you was a fan of the original. Watchable!
Round-Up: This movie was directed by Niels Arden Oplev, who brought you Dead Man Down starring Colin Farrell, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo in 2009 and a few movies made for the Danish market. Michael Douglas, who produced the first Flatliners, returned to produce this movie, and Kiefer Sutherland, who was the star of the original film, also returned to play the head doctor, but it still didn't make an impact like the 1990 classic. The original only made $61.3million, with a $26million budget, and it was the third blockbuster from Joel Schumacher with the modern day Brat Pack, before Julia Roberts became one of the highest paid women in Hollywood. Personally I think that this movie needed an established director, and a bigger budget to touch the original, and some of the actors weren't that great.
Budget: $19million Worldwide Gross: $44.2million
Genre: Drama, Sci-Fi, Thriller Cast: Ellen Page, Diego Luna, Nina Dobrev, James Norton, Kiersey Clemons, Kiefer Sutherland, Jenny Raven, Beau Mirchoff and Charlotte McKinney. 5/10
Great CGI with a messy concept!
This epic movie certainly looked amazing and the attention to detail was great but from an entertainment point of view, it was a total let down. The storyline was all over the place, and the human characters became extremely annoying after a while, except for Anthony Hopkins (Sir Edmund Burton), and his reliable robot Cogman, voiced by Jim Carter. Mark Wahlberg (Cade Yeager) didn't seem like he wanted to be there most of the time, and Laura Haddock (Vivian Wembley), the Angelina Jolie lookalike, didn't suit her role. Stanley Tucci (Merlin) made me laugh and Josh Duhamel (Colonel William Lennox) played a convincing soldier but I didn't see the point to the little girl Isabela Monet (Isabella), who seemed to get in the way most of the time. Anyway, with the Autobots still at war with the Decepticons, as usual, the humans are out to capture all of the Transformers, and with Optimus Prime gone, they are all in hiding with Cade helping them to survive. Optimus Prime finds his dead home planet, Cybertron, and meets his alleged creator, Quintessa, who tells him that he needs to get Merlin's staff to absorb Earth's energy to restore their home-world. Meanwhile, Cade is given a precious mechanical talisman from a dying Autobot Knight, and while he is battling against the TRF drones, he is approached by Cogman who invites him to the UK to meet his employer, Sir Edmund Burton, who shows him the history of the Transformers and the power of the staff. To get to the staff, he needs the help of Vivian Wembley, who is a English Literature Professor and has the power to control the staff, so they set of on there mission, with Optimus Prime close behind them. Whilst battling against the TRF and Quintessa's soldiers, there is a race to get to the staff before it destroys earth. There was much thought behind the storyline but I personally thought that it was a right mess. It also lacked wit and there wasn't much depth to the various characters. With that aside, the action scenes were half decent and the transformers looked great but it wasn't enough to save the movie. I really think that they need to go back to the drawing board with this franchise, because all of the movies haven't been that great, and they seem to be getting worse. If they do decide to release another Transformers, they really need to think about character building, more than the CGI content, even though it made a decent profit at the box office. Average!
Round-Up: This movie was directed by Michael Bay, who brought you the Bad Boys franchise, The Rock, Armageddon, Pearl Harbour, The Island, The Transformers franchise, the great Pain & Gain and 13 Hours. With so many hit movies behind him, I'm not surprised of the scale of this movie but I still wasn't impressed with the outcome. The corny script and poor acting has been the main problem with the whole franchise but they all seem to make a lot of money, for some unknown reason. With another Transformers movie in the pipeline, due to be released in 2019, I hope that they choose another director for the project, who will give it a fresh concept, and hopefully a decent cast.
Budget: $217million Worldwide Gross: $605.5million
Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Anthony Hopkins, Josh Duhamel, Laura Haddock, Santiago Cabrera, Stanley Tucci, John Turturro, Isabela Moner, Jerrod Carmichael, with the voices from Peter Cullen, John Goodman, Ken Watanabe, Jim Carter, Steve Buscemi and Omar Sy. 4/10
Decent concept, average execution!
This is another mediocre movie from Gerard Butler, who hasn't really made anything that great since 300 but his movies have been watchable and his performances haven't been that bad. This movie had a decent storyline, which touched on subjects that need to be addressed but once the politics got introduced to the plot, it started to go downhill. Gerard Butler (Jake Lawson), plays a engineer, whose head of a International Climate Space Station but his abrupt attitude keeps on getting him in trouble with head officials. They decide to turn the space station over to his brother Max Lawson (Jim Sturgess) but when the powerful network of satellites, which control the climate, start to go haywire and causes tragic deaths around the world, Max is forced to investigate. Max works out that the satellites, named the Dutch Boy Program, have been tampered with, so he calls on his brother, who knows the system inside out. He manages to retrieve some records, which show that the satellites were programmed to destroy various cities around the world, and with his brother connecting the dots on earth, they work out who the culprit is behind the world devastation. To stop the satellites causing more destruction around the world, they are forced to destroy the Dutch Boy Program but with time against them, and President Andrew Palma (Andy Garcia) being threatened by the cause of the whole problem, Leonard Dekkom (Ed Harris), the Lawson brothers go through hell to save earth. Although the CGI was pretty impressive, and the whole "race against time" aspect was intense, it still seemed a bit average, compared to other disaster movies. I liked the fact that they mentioned climate change, and the problems that it can cause around the world but to create a man-made machine that can control the weather, is going a bit too far. I didn't think that the cast was that great, except for Butler, Garcia and Harris and a lot of the movie was corny but it's worth a watch because it is an original idea. Watchable!
Round-Up: This is the first movie directed by Dean Devlin but he did write Universal Soldier, Stargate, Independence Day and Godzilla. For his first big budget movie, I have to commend him for making the disaster scenes look realistic but he could have done a lot more with the concept. I didn't think that Jim Sturgess was a good choice for Gerard Butler's brother, mainly because he had a distant look on his face all the way through the film, and Harris & Garcia could have been used much more. With that aside, it did bring to light what could possibly happen with the climate, if it we don't pay it more attention but the movie did drift off towards the end.
Budget: $120million Worldwide Gross: $222million
Genre: Action, Sci-Fi, Thriller Cast: Gerard Butler, Jim Sturgess, Abbie Cornish, Daniel Wu, Alexandra Maria Lara, Eugenio Derbez, Andy Garcia, Ed Harris, Richard Schiff, Robert Sheehan, Amr Waked, Mare Winningham and Daniella Garcia. 4/10
Justice League (2017)
Worth a watch but nothing special!
If this is DC's attempt to challenge Marvel, they done a very bad job! After the poor Batman vs. Superman, I thought that the DC comics production team would have gone back to the drawing board with this movie but they made another mediocre action flick, without giving any of the superheroes any depth. They really need to take a leaf out of Marvels book, by adding loads of humour, which seemed to work in the latest Thor movie, and Deadpool. With that aside, the action scenes were pretty impressive, and it was good to see the superheroes battling together but I still was expecting more from the first DC Justice League movie. Anyway, this film sees Batman (Ben Affleck), joining forces with Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), to put together a superhero team to takedown the evil Steppenwolf (Ciaran Hinds), who is trying to gather 3 precious artefacts that are hidden on earth. After battling in Amazon, were Wonder Woman was born, Steppenwolf manages to retrieve the first box, so there leader, Queen Hippolyta (Connie Nielsen) sends a message to earth, hoping that Wonder Woman will know how much danger earth is in. After Batman tries to recruit Aquaman (Jason Momoa) to create a new super group, Steppenwolf steals the second artefact from the sea, which forces Aquaman to join forces with the others. Batman then recruits the Flash (Ezra Miller) and Cyborg (Ray Fisher), and they manage to find the 3rd artefact, which helps them to bring Superman back to life. Believe it or not! Anyway, with all of them on board, they put together a plan to kill Steppenwolf, who manages to steal the 3rd artefact from them but his powers are way too much for the Justice League. The storyline wouldn't have been too bad, if the characters had some form of a background, and I really didn't think that Ben Affleck played Batman that well, especially after Christopher Nolan's great interpretation of the superhero. The Flash also wasn't in the same league as Quicksilver, who has the same type of super powers, and the Cyborg and Aquaman could have been much better. Superman did show his true powers, when he was battling against his fellow team mates and Steppenwolf but I still think that the movie could have been much better if they added some decent wit. Anyway, I wasn't that impressed with the movie, and the ending, with Lex Luther and Deadshot, didn't make the next movie that promising. Average!
Round-Up: This movie was directed by Zack Snyder, 52, who also brought you Dawn of the Dead, the great 300, Watchmen, Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole, Sucker Punch, the poor Man Of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. As he was resposinsible for killing of Superman in Batman v Superman, I think that he realised that he made a big mistake, which is why he came up with that ridiculous resurrection in this movie. His poor storytelling methods destroyed the Superman franchise, and I'm surprised to see that he is returning to direct another Justice League movie, after this poor attempt. Audiences usually look forward to seeing a movie about the individual super heroes but I'm not that interested in seeing a film about any of the other Justice League, except for another Wonder Woman movie as the first one was quite entertaining. It will be interesting to see how they are going to introduce the Green Lantern, who was another important superhero in the Justice League but after the terrible job that they done with the movie starring Ryan Reynolds, they really need to give that character a serious reboot. There is rumours about an Aquaman movie later on this year, along with Shazam, with Dwayne Johnson playing the villain Black Adam. Later on next year there should be another Wonder Woman movie and Suicide Squad 2, which should hopefully be better than the first movie. Batman should also be making another stand alone movie, and Justice League Dark, Batgirl, Green Lantern Corps, The Flash: Flashpoint, Justice League 2, Cyborg, Nightwing, Man Of Steel 2, Gotham City Sirens, Deadshot, Black Adam and Sandman are also on the cards to boost the DC comic book movie franchise but as it takes so long for these movies to be produced, I doubt that I'll be alive to see them all.
Budget: $300million Worldwide Gross: $658million
Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy Cast: Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Gal Gadot, Ezra Miller, Jason Momoa, Ray Fisher, Jeremy Irons, Diane Lane, Connie Nielsen, J.K. Simmons, Joe Morton, Amber Heard, Ciaran Hinds, David Thewlis and Michael EcElhatton. 5/10
Murder on the Orient Express (2017)
I'm really in two minds about this movie, because it certainly looked great and the period was portrayed well but the storyline started to get on my nerves after a while. The whole "whodunnit" aspect seemed to go on forever, and all of the suspects had there own reasons to kill Edward Ratchett (Johnny Depp) because of his dodgy past, so Hercule Poirot (Kenneth Branagh) seemed to be going round in circles for most of the movie. You didn't really get to see Poirot's genius, because it was mostly based on interviews with the various suspects, so you didn't get to see him put together various clues like we usually do. On the plus side, the cast was great, and you get to see another side to Johnny Depp, who wasn't in the movie for that long but he did make a big impact. As for the plot, it wasn't anything different to the usual movies that have been adapted from this popular story, so I wasn't left feeling that it was anything amazing. I was also pretty disappointed with the whole outcome of the plot, mainly because it didn't take much detective work to find out that they were all lying, so from that point of view, it seemed like a total waste of time. Another main problem with the film, is that it was a bit too coincidental that every suspect that was in the posh part of the train, had a connection to the suspect, which didn't take a rocket scientist to work out, so that also made the outcome pretty poor. Anyway, I wasn't that impressed with this film, and I also wasn't that impressed with Branagh playing Poirot, so it has to get the thumbs down from me. Not that great!
Round-Up: Although this movie made a decent profit at the box office, which was mostly based on the cast, I personally think that Kenneth Branagh wasn't the best choice to director and star in the lead. His version of Frankenstein was terrible, and I wasn't that impressed with Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit but he did kick off the Thor franchise pretty well and Cinderella was also watchable. He also directed Henry V in 1989, Dead Again, Peter's Friends, the great Much Ado About Nothing, In The Bleak Midwinter, Hamlet, Love's Labour's Lost, As You Like It, The Magic Flute and Sleuth starring Michael Caine and Jude Law. He is rumoured to direct Death on the Nile, which is another Agatha Christie classic, but I personally hope that he doesn't take the lead again, because he lacked wit and the stunning detective work that David Suchet brought to the role. With all of that aside, you do stick with the movie because you want to see who caused the crime but once you know the outcome, I cant see many people watching it again.
Budget: $55million Worldwide Gross: $351million
Genre: Crime, Drama, Mystery Cast: Kenneth Branagh, Penelope Cruz, Josh Gad, Johnny Depp, Derek Jacobi, Adam Garcia, Marwan Kenzari, Lucy Boynton, Michelle Pfeiffer, Judi Dench, Olivia Colman, Willem Defoe, Daisy Ridley, Richard Clifford and Matthew Hawksley. 3/10
Paddington 2 (2017)
I personally wasn't expecting that much from this film but I found it quite entertaining, and the storyline was well put together. I also enjoyed the first movie but I didn't think that they could have done anything interesting with a sequel but now that I've watched it, I have to say that I surprisingly found it refreshing and quite funny in parts. If you have seen the first movie, this film see's Paddington settled with the Brown Family, and he has become a popular member of the community. He picks up odd jobs to try and buy a pop-up book for his Aunt Lucy's 100th birthday present but the book gets stolen, and he gets accused of the crime. All of the evidence points to Paddington, and he ends up serving time, while his family try and find the culprit who stole the book. Whilst in jail, Paddington becomes friends with the scary cook, Knuckles McGinty (Brendan Gleeson), and they soon realise that the only way that Paddington can prove his innocence, is by breaking out of jail. Meanwhile, the Brown family delve deeper into the crime, and they find out that the book is actually a map to priceless treasure but when they workout who is causing the crimes, they have to fight against time to try and stop him. There is definitely something for everyone in this film, and all of the performances were top form, especially from Brendan Gleeson and Hugh Grant. The CGI was also top form, and it really did seem like the little bear was in the room in every scene. The dramatic ending was pretty unrealistic but still enjoyable, if you don't take it seriously, so it's definitely worth a watch if your in the mood for light-hearted fun. Enjoyable!
Round-Up: This movie was written and directed by Paul King, who also brought you the first Paddington movie, along with Bunny and the Bull and many projects with the Mighty Boosh comedians. Judging by the profit of this movie made at the box office, I think that the audience was happy with this sequel, and I personally haven't heard a bad word said about it, so for a director who hasn't worked on many movie projects, he must be happy with this franchise. He is currently working on a movie about a young Willy Wonka and how he met the Oompa-Loompas, which should be interesting but there isn't any talk about a 3rd movie Paddington movie yet.
Budget: $40million Worldwide Gross: $217.8million
Genre: Animation, Adventure, Comedy Cast: Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, Julie Walters, Hugh Grant, Peter Capaldi, Sanjeev Bhaskar, Ben Miller, Robbie Gee, Jim Broadbent, Brendan Gleeson, Joanna Lumley, Tom Conti, Meera Syal, Richard Ayoade, Noah Taylor, Joel Fry and the voices of Michael Gambon, Imelda Staunton and Ben Whishaw. 7/10
Thor: Ragnarok (2017)
Witty and full of action!
What a great movie! I laughed from the beginning to the end, and the action was top form. I did find the humour slightly strange compared to the previous movies, especially the colourful cinematography used in Sakaar but it was very well written and the new characters, were all a great addition to the Thor franchise. Anyway, the movie kicks off with Thor (Chris Hemsworth) imprisoned on the other side of the universe by the fire demon, Surtur in Muspelheim. When Surtur reveals that Thor's father, Odin (Anthony Hopkins), is no longer at Asgard, and that it will soon be destroyed in the prophesied Ragnorak, Thor defeats Surtur, believing that he has prevented Ragnorak. Thor then returns to Asgard, to find his brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) in charge, so he gets him to tell him were there father is. With the help of Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), they meet up with there father, who tells them that his passing will allow there sister Hela (Cate Blanchett), to escape from prison, were she was sealed a long time ago. Odin imprisoned Hela after she became too ambitious while she was the leader of Asgard's armies, forcing Thor to take the realm once Odin became too old to battle. Now with his son's beside him, Odin sadly dies and Hela appears, bringing pure evil with her. During a battle with her brothers, she destroys Thor's hammer, and sends them into outer space to die. Now in Sakaar, a slave trader, Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) saves Thor from evil doers, and takes him to the Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum) who forces Thor to fight for survival in the Contest of Champions. The first contestant that Thor has to fight, turns out to be the mighty Hulk, who is very famous in the land of Sakaar for beating all of the opponents that he comes face to face with. After a tight match, Thor finally manages to convince the Hulk that he is truly Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo), and with the help of Valkyrie and his brother Loki, they fight to get back to Asgard to save the people from the evil Hela. There are many other elements of the storyline that made this movie great, which is why I'm really looking forward to seeing another movie in this franchise. The thing that surprised me the most, was the fact that Thor was just as powerful without his hammer. I also enjoyed watching another side to Hulk, who really made me chuckle when he was in his luxury pad with Thor. Anyway, this is definitely one of my favourite films of last year, close to Wonderwoman, so it is truly a "Must See" from me. Great Film!
Round-Up: Although I really enjoyed this movie, it did seem a bit to comedic in some scenes, when it needed to be serious, which is due to the wacky director, Tamika Waititi, 42, who also played the role of Korg. With only 5 episodes of the Inbetweeners, What We Do In The Shadows and Hunt for the Wilderpeople behind him, I'm surprised that the powerful Marvel bosses gave this young director a chance to direct this movie! In all cases, the gamble paid off, and I personally haven't heard a bad word about it. With the Black Panther smashing the box office at the moment, and Avengers: Infinity War coming out next month, Marvel can't do anything wrong, leaving the Justice League way behind. I was a bit skeptical when I saw that Disney bought the Marvel franchise but I'm actually enjoying what they have done with the comic book heroes.
Budget: $180million Worldwide Gross: $854million
Genre: Action, Adventure, Comedy Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Cate Blanchett, Mark Ruffalo, Anthony Hopkins, Benedict Cumberbatch, Sam Neill, Iris Elba, Jeff Goldblum, Tessa Thompson, Karl Urban and Ray Stevenson. 8/10
Watchable, but nothing amazing!
After watching the first few Saw movies, the franchise become a bit "same ol' same ol", so I decided to give the rest of the movies a miss. I think everyone was shocked to see another movie about John Kramer (Tobin Bell), who died 10 years before, so I was curious to see what direction the plot was going to take. Right from the beginning, it just felt like another Saw movie, with the gruesome and mind bending games, which test the minds of the victims who have to make difficult choices. With the bodies turning up around the city, Detective Halloran (Callum Keith Rennie) and Detective Keith Hunt (Cle Bennett) work closely with the forensic team, Logan Nelson (Matt Passmore) and Eleanor Bonneville (Hannah Emily Anderson), to try and find the culprit who is murdering people, in the most gruesome ways. All of the clues lead to John Kramer, whose supposed to be dead for 10 years, and the trust between the cops and the forensic team starts to run thin. With time against them, and more cryptic messages from the murderer, the investigators split up to try and save the surviving victims but can they get to them on time! Some of the horrific scenes did go a bit far, like the laser scene towards the end but apart from that, it just seemed like a typical Saw movie to me. The acting wasn't that great, and the plot has been done to death but I'm sure the true fans of this genre, which I'm not, will enjoy it. Average!
Round-Up: Although I wasn't a big fan of this movie, this franchise has got a big following, hence the profit at the box office, so I think that a lot of people was happy to see the Tobin Bell legacy back on the big screen. The movie was directed by Michael & Peter Spierig, who also brought you Daybreakers and Predestination, which both had Ethan Hawke in the leading role. They done a decent job, in terms of staying true to the original Saw movies but they didn't bring anything fresh to the table. The intensity throughout the movie was quite good, and the various clues do make you think "whodunnit" but once the culprit is revealed, it ended quite abruptly. Anyway, it's worth a watch but it isn't anything amazing.
Budget: $10million Worldwide Gross: $103million
Genre: Crime, Horror, Mystery Cast: Matt Passmore, Tobin Bell, Callum Keith Rennie, Hannah Emily Anderson, Ole Bennett, Laura Vandervoort and Paul Braunstein. 3/10
The Snowman (2017)
Great cast, Bad movie!
With an impressive cast, my expectations for this movie was pretty high but now that I've watched it, I was terribly disappointed. I've quite enjoyed Michael Fassbenders movies to date but this one was a slow version of a Broadchurch episode. The beginning was promising but once the movie got going, the plot really wasn't that great, and the ending was a proper let down. Anyway, this movie sees Michael Fassbender playing a cop in Oslo, detective Harry Hole, who is an alcoholic, and divorced from his wife Rakel (Charlotte Gainsbourg). During the first snow of winter, a new recruit to the police force, Katrine Bratt (Rebecca Ferguson) investigates the disappearance of a woman whose scarf is found wrapped around a weird looking snowman, with the help of Harry, who suspects that Katrine has deeper connections to the crime. After connecting all of the dots, which lead them down many different avenues, Harry finally comes face to face with the criminal, who was right under his nose all of the time but with his family in danger, he has to risk his life to take down the ruthless murderer. Believe me, it sounds better than it really is! Michael Fassbender is top form throughout the film but the storyline and the script was extremely weak. When the crime is eventually solved, it makes the rest of the film seem pointless, basically because there leads were leading them down the wrong path. The mood that was set from the beginning, made the film feel glum and pretty depressing, especially as there was a lack of interesting characters. Personally, I think that it was a waste of a good cast, and the director could have done much more with the boring plot. At the end of the day, it has to go down as a bad day at the office for Fassbender and the other leading names in the cast, and I very much doubt that were going to see a sequel. Disappointing!
Round-Up: This movie was directed by Tomas Alfredson, 52, who also brought you Let The Right One In, and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy in 2011. The Swedish born director got big praise for Tinker but a lot of the audience that rushed to see this movie, was also thoroughly disappointed. This is definitely one of those films that looked much better during it's advertising campaign, hence why it made a profit but there just wasn't enough material to make this film interesting throughout. From a suspense point of view, I really didn't know who the murderer was, so I have to give the director props for not making it obvious but by the end of the film, I wasn't that bothered. With another X-Men due to be released this year, called Dark Phoenix, I'm sure that Fassbender will bounce back from this movie, and he is also starring alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger and David Hasselhoff in Kung Fury, which should raise a few eyebrows. As for Val Kilmer, I'm sure that questions will arise after his performance in this film, about his health and his weird speech.
Budget: $35million Worldwide Gross: $43million
Genre: Crime, Drama, Mystery Cast: Michael Fassbender, Rebecca Ferguson, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Jonas Karlsson, J.K. Simmons, Val Kilmer, Toby Jones, James D'Arcy, Adrian Dunbar, Chloe Sevigny and Sofia Helen. 3/10
Despicable Me 3 (2017)
Preferred the previous movies!
I was quite a big fan of the first couple of movies in this franchise, and I enjoyed the Minions movie but this 3rd film didn't really do it for me. The jokes were a bit weak and the I wasn't that impressed with the new characters. The storyline also seemed rushed and slightly messy, and I missed the original Gru (Steve Carell), who was witty and much funnier as the master criminal. Anyway, in this film Gru and his girlfriend, Lucy (Kristen Wiig), are fired from the AVL agency, because they failed to takedown Balthazar Bratt (Trey Parker), while he was stealing the largest diamond in the world, even though they managed to save the diamond from the rich super villain. Balthazar used to be a child star, with a hit show on TV but when his show is cancelled, he seeks revenge by destroying Hollywood, with the power of the precious diamond. Now that Gru and Lucy are jobless, and the Minions leave the household because they are bored of living a life away from crime, Lucy tries to get close to the kids, even though she finds it hard playing mummy. Gru then receives a message that he has a brother, so he takes the kids and Lucy to visits his twin. Although Gru and his new found brother, Dru, are complete opposites, they both have an interest in crime, due to there deceased father, so they join forces to take down Balthazar, who manages to steal back the biggest diamond in the world from the agency. While they are dodging all of Balthazar's hidden traps, the brothers bond together, and the Minions come back to help them fight against the dangerous criminal. There are a few touching moments with the kids, and the Minions did make me chuckle but apart from that, I much preferred the previous movies. There wasn't any memorable moments through the whole movie, and the original cast didn't seem to progress from the second film. Anyway, it's worth a watch if your a fan of the previous movies but its not the type of film that I will watch again. That's not to say that it was a total let down, but from an adults point of view, it could have been much better. Watchable!
Round-Up: This movie was directed by Kyle Balda, 46, who also brought you The Lorax and the Minions movie. It was also directed by Pierre Coffin, 50, who brought you the original Despicable Me and he also directed the original Minions, so it's obvious that this project must have been close to there hearts. With a 4th movie on the cards, it will be good to see how the crazy bunch progress, now that Gru has found his long lost brother, and Balthazar is still at large. I just hope that the writers bring back some of the old humour, which made the franchise so popular in the first place. Although I wasn't a massive fan of this film, it has been the biggest earner in the franchise, and its the 25th biggest movie of all time, beating Jurassic Park believe it or not, so it's not surprising that they are working on a 4th movie.
Budget: $80million Worldwide Gross: $1.04billion
Genre: Animation, Action, Adventure Cast: Steve Carell, Kristen Wiig, Trey Parker, Miranda Cosgrove, Steve Coogan, Julie Andrews and Jenny Slate. 4/10
Cars 3 (2017)
What an awful movie! I'm not a big fan of the previous movies, so I was hoping that Pixar would have put some more effort into this one but it was just as bad as the rest. I know that it was made for a young audience but they could have included something content for the adults. The animation was also average, and none of the new characters were that great. Anyway, in this movie Lightning McQueen is finding it tough to challenge the new generation of cars, so he leaves the race track for a while, and he seeks help from an eager young female, Cruz Ramirez, who has a unique, and somewhat brutal method of training. McQueen finds it hard to adapt to her methods, and he shows her the beauty of racing, which was put behind her due to her training. Together they finally build up the courage to challenge the big stars of the race track, and they use some of his old tricks, which made McQueen a star. Boring! Boring! Boring! This is definitely one of those films were the merchandise is much better than the actual movie. With such a top form back catalog, I'm surprised that Pixar spent the time to make a 3rd movie, because there isn't that much that you can do with talking racing cars. Anyway, I'm sure the little one's will love to see these much loved characters back on the big screen but I personally couldn't stand the movie. Rubbish!
Round-Up: This is the first movie written and directed by Brian Fee, and in a lot of ways you can tell it is but he worked in the art department for the Little Mermiad 2, 101 Dalmatians 2, Mulan 2, Tarzan 2, Cars 1 & 2, The Fox and the Hound 2, Ratatouille and Wall-E. It's amazing to see that he has worked on a lot of sequels, and that he hasn't contributed to the originals, which is why he was a bad choice for this film. His storytelling methods wasn't that great and there wasn't anything original. Although the movie made a bit of a profit, I hope they don't spend years making a 4th movie because there is much more interesting projects that they can spend there money, and time on.
Budget: $175million Worldwide Gross: $384million
Genre: Animation, Adventure, Comedy Cast: Owen Wilson, Cristela Alonzo, Chris Cooper, Nathan Fillion, Larry the Cable Guy, Armie Hammer, Tony Shalhoub, Bonnie Hunt, Kerry Washington, Cheech Marin, Margo Martindale, Isiah Whitlock Jr. and Lewis Hamilton. 1/10