Saturday, 18 July 2015

Jurassic World

It's been 20 years since Steven Spielberg's dinosaur epic, Jurassic Park hit our screens, causing some to hide behind their sofas.

Jurassic World has ditched the puppetry for CGI, a common trend now in Hollywood, although it is something I am not a huge fan of, simply because I believe in the 'real' thing. Take Jaws for example, we all know it is an animatronic prop, but it looks so much real than any CGI shark from such films as Deep Blue Sea. The same too with The Hobbit films, I believe the overuse of computer generated animation made for a saturated visual layout compared to the Lord of the Ring trilogy.

In terms of credibility, Jurassic World is a worthy addition to the 'Jurassic Park' universe, although there is very little mention of the previous sequels, but there is a lot of mention about the the first film. 

This film has been in development for roughly 10 years, with various writers, directors and actors attached to the project; and it shows. In places, the plot is a mess with parts that are not needed.

Overall, it is fun and surprisingly decent watch. But I can't help that feel that it is a huge metaphor regarding cinema of today and of yesterday. Just because it is a sequel of hit film, and it includes bigger action sequences, it does not equal a better film.

Saturday, 20 June 2015

Mad Max

For those that love actions films, you will not be disappointed. Mad Max: Fury Road is blood curdling, adrenaline pumping, gasoline intoxicating film with a stellar front cast.
Tom Hardy is Mad Max, and boy, is he mad. A slightly deranged and lonely character, Max joins up with Charlize Theron as the strong female lead, Imperator Furiosa . Theron really holds her on in this film, and it is truly amazing to watch two strong actors join forces.

There have been some controversy over whether it is a sexist film, but I have to disagree as I feel the story and the characters are a reflection on the current state of affairs in what is a derelict post-apocalyptic world.

For those that love the Raid  2, and enjoy The Fast and the Furious films, as well as the Motorstom games on PS3, then you are in for a treat.

Saturday, 31 January 2015


Matthew Vaughn directs and is reunited with Jane Goldman on writing duties.
Previously these two had co-written Kick-Ass, and this film is definitely within the same direction.

The film is a spy-spoof comedy that stars Taron Egerton and Colin Firth. Colin Firth is gentleman spy and one day introduces a young, mischievous youth, 'Eggsy' to the world of gentlemen spies, based within a tailors.

The film is mostly humorous, although there are sections that do not generate laughter, and then there are jokes that are very much part of the 'lad culture' and are somewhat derogative, especially the last scene, which has caused quite a stir (no Martinis in-sight).

Vaughn has created a brash and superbly choreographed film, that has some masterful sequences, dialogue and effects, but overall it lacking a certain spark; but as spy-spoofs go, this is definitely up at the top.

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Top Ten Films of 2014

The end of 2014 is soon upon us and at this time of year it is most common for reviewers to list their top ten. This is no different. Please comment if you agree or disagree.

Also note that films nominated for the 2014 OSCARS do not count, this includes:
- 12 Years a Slave
- The Wolf of Wall Street
- American Hustle
- The Dallas Buyer's Club

10. Frank
The British/Irish film loosely based upon Frank Sidebottom, a comedic musician that wore a large papier-mache head. Michael Fassbender stars as the lonely and mysterious musician with Domhnall Gleeson playing Jon Burroughs, a man that finally gets his break into music after a new, weird techno-pop band perform invite him to play with them. The film is funny, yet also dark and moving at the same time and throughout the film we discover the many oddities of Frank and why he wears his mask...
Not your typical musical comedy, but it's originality, the characters and the bizarreness makes it a must-see. 

9. Nightcrawler
Starring Jake Gyllenhaal as a driven, yet desperate man whom finds an opening in recording footage of disasters and accidents. The film is gripping and tense and Gyllenhaal's performance is creepy and haunting, perhaps his best to date yet.

8. Gone Girl
David Fincher is back on form with this adaptation of Gillian Flynn's novel. Rosamund Pike plays Amy Dunne, the wife of Ben Affleck's character. One day she goes missing with the press and police finger-pointing at the husband for murder. 
The story has many twist and turns and are executed very well in this film with Rosamund Pike providing a star performance.

7. Fury 
Norman Ellison (Logan Lerman) joins Brad Pitt's platoon in search of victory against the Nazis in war-time Europe. The Nazis know defeat is only around the corner, with the Allied forces continuing to push forward. Norman is a rookie and must learn the ropes quickly including participating in cold-blooded action in the heart of battle with very few tanks left. Its kill or be killed. Although the message is perhaps not as clear as it is within Full Metal Jacket, it is still a heart-wrenching film with some terrific performances and amazing cinematography. 

6. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Andy Serkis reprises his CGI role as Caesar, the leader of the ape rebellion. 
Although some may consider these Ape prequels to be nothing more than a cash-cow, they are actually really good films, with well-written stories. The film is gripping and leaves me wanting more from the next instalment.

5. Interstellar 
It's no secret that Christopher Nolan is a huge Stanley Kubrick fan, and this film is a massive smack in the homage to the legendary director. Nolan has always taken his audiences to extreme and interesting places and this time, outer space. Although this film does have plots larger than black holes, the dialogue is clunky, and the story reaching the levels of absurd, it is still an extremely well-made film. The cinematography is exquisite, and the father-daughter relationship is what holds this film together, almost literally. 

4. The Imitation Game
Benedict Cumberbatch portrays mathematician, Alan Turing, as helps to break the Enigma code during the second world war. Based upon a true story, the film is about a group of code-breakers on a mission to decipher the toughest code known imaginable; the prize, a huge advantage over the Germans in winning the war. 

3. The Grand Budapest Hotel
The latest Wes Anderson film, set in 1930's Europe and with an huge array of acting talent including, Ralph Fiennes and Williem Dafoe. The narrative is non-linear and the aspect ratio differs throughout the various time periods. I also love the nod to Hitchcock's Torn Curtain, although the ending is slightly more gruesome. Wacky and extremely witty, it is definitely worth the watch.

2. The Raid 2
An Indonesian film directed by Welsh director, Gareth Evans. This sequel is action-packed, it is gory, the cinematography and choreography is breath-taking and gut-wrenching. This is by the far best the best action film I have watched. If the first film drew comparisons to Dredd, the second is more akin to The Departed, mixed with a Bruce Lee film. If you love action films, including the array of super-hero films, then you won't be disappointed.

1. Guardians of the Galaxy
At the beginning of the year I was expecting to enjoy to this film, especially with other more favourable comic book films being released this year including, X-Men DOFP, Captain America: The Winter Solider and TA Spider-Man 2; and with the trailers leaving very little for my consideration I can truly admit that this is the biggest surprise of 2014. This film has action, amazing cinematography, special-effects and humour that makes a perfect cocktail of a film.
All the main protagonists are likeable, although the the main antagonist is somewhat lame and unoriginal, but stay tuned for the end of credits special feature; you'd be quackers not to.

Saturday, 20 December 2014


For some, this is a long and much overdue sequel to the 1994 cult-comedy classic. For myself I loved the first film, and anything Jim Carrey starred in during the nighties and despite my original lack of enthusiasm for remakes or long-awaited sequels, this I actually looked forward to.

For starters, I knew it wasn't going to be a great film, and I wasn't expecting it to be as good as the original, and although my hypothesis proved to be correct, it still is a laugh-out loud film, filled with goofy behaviour and ridiculous antics.

Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels are re-united, with the Farrelly brothers back at the helm, with the mix slapstick and lampoonery comedy, this film is definitely what it says on the box. The film starts-off rather slow and it takes both Carrey and Daniels a while to get back into the goofy, dim-witted theme, with the beginning of the film manifesting more as a sketch or stage show with it's unconvincing dialogue and exchanges.

The plot of the film is somewhat similar to the original, as Harry and Lloyd must travel across America in-search of Harry's long-lost daughter. The story includes foiled assassination ploys, the same old-tired gags and a sort-of love interest which doesn't materialise into anything.

Good fun, and worth a watch if you love this type of comedy.

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Mockingjay (Part 1)

Part 1 of a two-part store from a trilogy of films. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay: Part 1.

Often depicted as the weakest book in Suzanne Collins' trilogy; Mockingjay is very much different from the previous two, it is a more political film with the antagonistic element of the games being replaced with propaganda and uprising.

The central theme of the film is the aspect of propaganda with the film's heroin, Katniss Everdeeen  being the poster girl for the rebellion. If the two previous films were considered 'too similar' to some, then this film is a complete turn in direction. Although it is not as entertaining, mainly because the film does not focus of the Hunger Games, instead upon the politics, the imprisonment of the other Hunger Game survivors and the weak love triangle.

Jennifer Lawerence is amazing as ever, and in this film we again see her amazing acting range.

Overall, the film is good and enjoyable, but it does miss the action from the previous two.

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Mr Turner

Timothy Spall stars as the eccentric artist, J. M. W. Turner, in his later life in the 19th Century. 

For those unfamilar with the artist's work, the painting James Bond and Q are looking at in Skyfall is The Fighting Temeraire. A painting about a bloody big ship; in the words of the secret agent himself.

Spall grunts, and snarls his way through this film, portraying the great painter as both a well educated and intriguing character.

The supporting cast are formidable and in times in offer comic relieve and comfort to the estranged soul of Turner. 

The main issue of this film is that there is no clear narrative, and I had no idea of where this film could end, except for his death. 

The cinematography was stunning, but after all this is arty film, about an artist. I would not be surpirsed if Dick Pope were to be nominated for another Oscar, his first and previous was from the 2006 film, The Illusionist.

Overall, an interesting and some-what humerus film for which I admired, but ultimately I was left confused bewildered at what and why things were happening.