Monday, 9 November 2015

Review : Spectre

I have to start off by saying that this movie is a real credit to the franchise. I have had just under 24 hours to think upon the spectacle I saw last night, and the more I think about it, the more I love it. (This is the first time I've ever felt this with a Bond movie).

From the return of the gun-barrel at the beginning of the movie, to the opening sequence that see's more action sequences and stunts than a few Bond films in the franchise can talk about in the entire movie. The beginning is exhilarating and breath-taking. Quite literally. The title sequence of the movie is gorgeous. Pristine and sharp in quality, it almost tells a story in amongst itself. That accompanied by Sam Smith's contribution into the Bond theme catalogue 'Writing's on the Wall'. A song which I don't like but its works along with the context of the film.

The stand-out characters of the film are definitely Bond, Oberhauser (Blofeld) and Hinx, with Q also standing a smidgen above the rest. The acting in general is astounding. Craig gives his most confident and experimental performance as Bond, an amalgamation of the Bond's past with his own version of the character filling in the gaps of his psychology. Christoph Waltz is a villain specialist when it comes to his acting talents, and he gives a dark, menacing performance as the returning arch nemesis of Bond, Ernst Stavro Blofeld, under the guise of Franz Oberhauser. Cat and scar also included. The story surrounding him killing his father out of jealousy of him treating Bond better than he treated his own son and then faking his death was great, albeit the reasoning of jealousy being a little weak.

Hinx is a henchmen in the same vein as Jaws and Oddjob, so it is hard to see how anything in his performance, particularly his many fight scenes could go wrong, that and how much like Jaws and Oddjob, he doesn't have to speak a word to expose his true menace. The entire Mi6, Whitehall brigade are on form in this film, far more involved than before. Fiennes has asserted himself into the role as the new M, while Ben Whishaw gives an effortlessly hilarious performance as Q (he even gets the chance to go out onto the field to locate Bond). Moneypenny and Tanner are also prominent, with great performances, albeit nothing extremely unexpected from Naomie Harris and Rory Kenner.

Lea Seydoux and Monica Bellucci provide interesting takes on the traditional Bond girl as Madeleine Swann and Lucia Sciarra. Both are completely different in their personalities, but both riveting characters. Bellucci is severely underused, however Seydoux will surely rank highly in the list of best Bond girls for a number of fans.

And finally, we come to the action. The action is superb and on point in this film, the helicopter fight and entire pre-titles sequence at the beginning is incredible as already mentioned. The car chase through Rome is comedic and great to watch, especially in IMAX with the sound of the Jaguar and DB10 engines ripping through the cinema. The plane/car chase in Austria is also great to watch and very different from the car chase in Rome, the train fight was a severe From Russia With Love fangasm and the escape from Blofeld's lair in Tangier, along with the rest of the scenes there was the best part of the film. The final climax was also incredible, with Bond having to save Madeleine from the old Mi6 building before it is demolished and to make sure Blofeld is brought to justice by shooting down his helicopter on Westminster Bridge.

I give this film: 8/10

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

REVIEW : The Man from Uncle


Synopsis : Action, Adventure Comedy set in the early 1960s, CIA agent Napoleon Solo and KGB operative Illya Kuryakin participate in a joint mission against a mysterious criminal organization, which is working to proliferate nuclear weapons. 

Would we consider The Man from UNCLE to be good cinema? I just want to throw that one out there because I think if you would consider this film to be good cinema then the chances are that you are going to enjoy this film in some way. 

The Man from UNCLE was a popular TV series which has now been made into a film. Like "The Avengers," "The Man From U.N.C.L.E." borrows from James Bond stories. The good guys, suave U.S. operative Napoleon Solo and sexy Russian Illya Kuryakin, work for U.N.C.L.E. (United Network Command for Law and Enforcement) and battle evil international syndicate THRUSH.

I felt it had good atmospheric set up in terms of setting the scene that we when we are, it's important to get that part right because once you got that set up, your main concentration is on the actual content of the plot itself. I didn't mind this film so much, I enjoyed it but I didn't love it. It's certainly one of Guy Ritchie's better films. Guy Ritchie is a good director but he's gone down hill a bit and Man from UNCLE probably is attempt to pick himself up. 

Action, Spy thrillers tend to engage my interests anyway I always keep a look out for some spy film or tv series and if I see something new that's out I'm more than likely going to say 'yes' to it. I watched this in an empty cinema on a Sunday afternoon in August, it was a cold and rainy day as you get in Britain. I remember watching it and thinking it was good, but it wasn't what I was drawn into seeing. I don't know if that was my fault necessarily in expecting too much from due to the major hype this film got in the publicity or whether or not I felt that I was indecisive due to not knowing what I was meant to be expecting from it. 

It certainly has that sleekness to it, a good strand of care in continuity and keeping the pace going thats the thing I felt this did the best out of everything else. I think what Ritchie was trying to do was recapture an element of that spark the original series had that got everyone excited in the first place. It has a stellar cast of classy actors who have that sort of spy-ish look about them. It's partly there and also has something new and original to it. 

Its all about whether or not you spot a gap in the market for it and whether its a matter of judgement of are an audience ready for this sort of thing? Who knows. 

It's a 6/10 for me. 

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

REVIEW : Legend

Legend: Biography, Crime Thriller which stars Tom Hardy as the identical twin gangsters Ronnie and Reggie Kray. two of the most notorious criminals in British History, and their crime empire in the East End of London during the 1960's.

Directed by Brian Helgeland, the idea of this was to go into an insight of the twins crime history, not the whole story but just finding that controvert middle ground and it does that very well. The problem is for me nothing really much happens in this. Although the high tense moments that do happen in this are intense and are very edgy, horrifically violent and volatile its just a shame that we don't get as much of the fist cuffs that we deserve.

Tom Hardy is brilliant at differentiating between the two Kray twins, its very clear which is which and though they lookalike they both have very separate ideas and personalities which are portrayed very convincingly.

It terms of the story, the film is lacklustre. Not much happens to drive your interest through its more of a matter of you watching and observing and gaining information from it, so the film isn't quite the thrill ride entertainer that the trailers or the advertisement suppose it to be.

I enjoyed it to an extent of the fact that I do like Gangster films, I like not knowing who's going to get brutally killed just for putting a foot wrong and the film does contain those scenes, it has everything which sums up a classic gangster movie. Which is why I'm confused as to why it chooses to be slow, pretentious, lacklustre and having things such as relationships take over it needed more getting back to the action I felt.

It is a very clean cut film, I liked how it was edited and put together. Especially Tom's interaction, it just a case of green screening and clever double crossing between takes and very clever co-ordination to get it right. The success of the films sleekness is down to both director and editor or editors who combine to make a clean cut, on the line product. I just wish it was all the more enjoyable to watch, it felt like watching a documentary above everything else. It didn't help having annoying narration in front explaining exactly what was happening in the film, to me that was unnecessary.

It's one of those mish mash films for me. I think it was good to a certain extent and it could have down without certain bits for the better. It needed to be grittier and have more punch and be more in your face because I didn't feel intimidated or understand half the things that went on within what the story was trying to portray. Seeing as I've come to a mid way conclusion I'm going to give this a 5/10!

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

REVIEW : Titanic

Titanic : A seventeen-year-old aristocrat falls in love with a kind, but poor artist aboard the luxurious, ill-fated R.M.S. Titanic.

I'll be honest, I've always chosen not to watch this film. The reason being is that to me, the essential story of the Titanic is so interesting in itself that I really am not interested in a fictional romance over the top of it. I'd rather watch 'A night to remember'. 

No rating.

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

REVIEW : Kingsman - The Secret Service

Kingsman : The Secret Service - A spy organisation recruits an unrefined yet promising youngster into their highly competitive training programme. In the mean time the world is under threat from a demented tech genius.

From Matthew Vaughn, (The Director of Kick Ass) Kingsman Secret Service captivates all the thrill and excitement that the audience expects in the fast paced action, quick slick dialogue and a to the point plot.

It has everything and more and having seen Kick Ass you get an enjoyable foundations into Vaughn's directing techniques. When going into Kingsman, you get that and more, the script is a very dynamic and diverse, quick paced and easy to work with but also a lot of hard work because the dynamics all come down to getting the action right and not having a slow moment, it has to be on edge.

I think what I liked about the film the most was the sheer sleekness of it, its almost effortless. It has a mix of a verity of things I like:  I like spy dramas, I like action thrillers, I take pleasure in watching people get beaten up in a malicious way because its a film. It's a fantasy and a fantasy is not real life. The violence in it has to exaggerated to an extent to communicate to viewers that this is clearly make believe but with a realistic feel to it, without the sleekness of it and quick clean cuts, it would be a very different film entirely.

Here's a trailer.

I really like the choice of casting for this, you got some great names on the cover of this : Colin Firth, Samuel L Jackson and Michael Caine. All fantastic actors with great reputation behind them to sell to their fans and the general public to sell the film well. All of which give top performances for the consumet of professionals that they are.

In terms of story, one could argue that it is a bit lack lustre. I tend to think not. I like the script a lot, it shows interesting potential as it is interpreted on screen and its kept to what it is a clever script, with witty comedy and I think the film really stands up and would be acceptable today as a good piece of action drama, shot by a very good, experienced director.   8/10.

Thursday, 23 July 2015

REVIEW : Frozen

FROZEN : A kingdom emerged in ice and two sisters locked in a conflicted battle... the mission is on to bring back summer and restore peace to the land.

And so it's come to this... I'm reviewing Frozen. Based off the children's tale "The Snow Queen". I'll start this review by commenting on the enormous impact this film has made in the public eye.  Not even the people who made it believed that the film would make such an impact as it did. But never the less it did and for good reasons, the story is really strong, it's beautifully animated, the characters are brilliant and rememberable - characters like Olaf stick out in a childs mind and in a way creates an icon for the film for people to relate to.

I don't think anyone knew how popular this film was going to become, I didn't get round to seeing it for quite a while after it's DVD release, but having finally seen I fail to see how this films stands up as being as good as the old classics like Snow White, Aladdin and The Little Mermaid.

Going into detail a little bit about the story, two sisters Elsa and Ana. Elsa has a magical power which she can't control and she fears that her powers will make her harm the ones she loves so to prevent that from happening she is left locked in her room and doesn't come out - feelings of neglect and rejection are imposed towards Ana from Elsa because Ana thinks Elsa doesn't want to be around her but when the truth comes out about Elsa's powers all hell breaks loose and Elsa turns the whole kingdom into an ice world and its up to Ana and friends she meets on her journey to bring back Summer and put a right to Elsa's wrong and Ana can get her sister back.

It's the typical Disney musical type thing we are used to, and when watching this you do feel like you got a piece of those classics back with all the singing and dancing in-between parts of drama and there is a lot of drama in this, there's adventure and there's comedy which adds to the whole family friendly target it was aiming at.

My issue with Frozen is that it's too cliche and fake for me. I feel that as a story I have seen all this stuff before and it's typical fairy tale stuff of everything being all happy and lovely and then you got the proper peril, fear not a handsome prince will save the day etc. It's all very predictable as you watch it and your never really overly surprised, there's no shock factor for me with this because I've seen done before many many times over and in so many ways that you can't make it any more different than it could potentially be.

Also and Island kingdom, a long unseen princess locked away, horse/reindeer playfulness, wild scoundrel love interest, you do realise that this film has the exact premise of Tangled?

6/10 for me.

That's it from me guys. I'm off on Summer Holiday and I'll be back with more reviews in September!

Friday, 17 July 2015

REVIEW : A Walk Among the Tombstones

A Walk Among the Tombstones : private investigator Matthew Scudder is hired by a drug kingpin to discover who kidnapped and murdered his wife.

I think since "Taken" came out Liam Neeson keeps falling into the role of the heavy, nitty gritty, hard hitting action hero which really packs a lot of punch. He plays private investigator Matthew Scudder who is hired by a drug kingpin who's wife was kidnapped and murdered, he is paid to search for the person or people who committed the crime.

I'll be honest there really isn't much in the story at all to be honest, the plot is very bland and the pacing of it is very bleak and slow, everything is very greyscale. So the background to this film isn't exactly the most appealing, its not meant to give off a positive vibe quite the opposite a negative vibe, taken too literally in terms of the way it is portrayed on screen than how it should be interpreted in small doses.

Liam Neeson's performance is very good in this film, but at the end of the day it's Liam Neeson - he's an amazing actor who's good in everything. My problem with Liam's performance in this particular film is that its the same Taken routine just interpreted in a different way. Not that I'm saying Liam Neeson will forever be in the shadow of Taken and Taken will never leave him, but it is such a well known film with high popularity figures Taken did cement him in the gritty, action role with the fist coughs and the fighting and no matter what character he's playing in a film with a crime genre such as this, it will remind the viewers of Taken. It's unavoidable.

There really isn't much to go upon with this really, its a very bland and stale film it certainly isn't one of Liam Neeson's greatest films, but at the same time not one of his worst. 6/10.