Having raved these last few years to anyone and everyone over James Wan and his ability to scare one half to death with his sublime horror movies The Conjuring, Insidious and Saw it’s actually quite satisfying to see him take on a huge comicbook adapation and completely and utterly destroy it – So I’ve just come out of AQUAMAN on Imax 3D and the first thing I have to say is what an incredible ride the movie is, it’s 143mins of mouth watering, adrenaline fueled action that’s looks totally insane on the big screen – If you take splashes of Pirates of the Caribbean, little drops of Phantom Menace and a tidle wave of Raiders of the Lost Ark then you get a comicbook adaption unlike anything you will have ever seen. I really dug the casting too from Amber Heard’s kickass warrior Mera who has an absolute ball alongside Jason Momoa’s hero, Nicole Kidman is great in everything and her role as the Queen of Atlantis was sublime, Patrick Wilson reuniting once more with Wan for a villanous turn as Orm the half-brother of Aquaman and I really enjoyed watching Yahya Abdul get his teeth into the role of Black Manta and boy doesn’t he do a great job. It never ceases to amaze me what they can produce in movies these days and James Wan’s Aquaman has so many WOW HOLY SHIT how on EARTH did they do THAT moments so do yourself a favour and grab a ticket as this movie REQUIRES some serious BIG SCREEN viewing….. ★★★★½
THE GRINCH: Scott Mosier & Yarrow Cheney
Benedict Cumberbatch, Rashida Jones, Cameron Seely
Don’t you just love Christmas? the feeling of love & happiness, the sounds of jingle bells and smell of winter in the air, it’s that time of year that most of us are happy and for me watching Christmas Movies only adds to this special time – well across the world Christmas has come early in the form of Cheney & Mosier’s THE GRINCH a modernised, animated version of Dr Seuss’s 1957 book How the Grinch Stole Christmas! Now I knew going in it would take a Chrismas Miracle for this movie to even compete with Ron Howard’s classic and I was right but nevertheless I had a blast – the film is sooooo funny, the animation is beautiful, the writing sharp as a holly branch and the vocal talents of Cumberbatch, Jones and Seely are quite brilliant – I found Danny Elfman’s score magical and even The Grinch’s snowy home on Mount Crumpit had a cool looking update and don’t even get me started on how adorable Fred the Reindeer and Max the Dog come across !! – If you need some cheering up and love the story then take yourself to Whoville for 90mins where I’m pretty sure your face a beam like a child at…….. you got it CHRISTMAS ★★★★
A team of scientists led by John Goodman’s Bill Randa team up with a bunch of soldiers, a tracker and an anti-war photographer to explore an uncharted island in the Pacific. What starts off as a mission of discovery quickly becomes a mission of survival….
Kong: Skull Island is directed by Jordan Vogt-Roberts (The Kings of Summer) and stars Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L. Jackson, John Goodman, Brie Larson, Jing Tian, Toby Kebbell, Shea Whigham and John C. Reilly
Jordan Vogt-Roberts ballsy entry into the world of Kong is unlike any previous picture featuring our giant monster ape – for starters Skull Island is set back in the 70’s not modern day mostly taking place on the island, there’s no climbing the Empire State Building, no naval war planes to swat or be shot at and certainly no love story to be emotionally attached to, this is one gutsy move and one that works so well for the film giving Skull Island it’s own originality and place in the genre. Unlike Peter Jackson’s 2005 entry that was over long and dragged at times Kong: Skull Island runs at a much quicker pace getting straight into the nitty grittty within the films opening 20 minutes, in previous movies the big reveal of Kong was left until the film’s latter half but in this version we dive straight in getting introduced to this big, scary and downright impressive beast from the get go….
With obvious nods to movies such as Jurassic Park & Apocalypse Now and similarities to films such as Predator the latest in the so called MonsterVerse Kong: Skull Island was everything I hoped for and more – yeah of course like any film it will have it’s minor criticism and maybe more could have been done with it’s character development & back story but when all is said & done this is a movie that’s about monsters, big nasty rip your arms from your socket type of monsters and at this level Kong: Skull Island succeeds – along with the almighty Kong you get to witness some real nasty mother huggers that include Skull Crushers, Giant Spiders, Stick Insects and Buffalo style dinos all wildly entertaining, visually stunning & barrels of fun….
Overall: Kong: Skull Island ENTERTAINS – it’s jam packed full of thrills spills and lots of kills, dramatic & vibrant photography, thunderous soundtrack and a movie that dazzles with it’s beautiful backdrops and CGI (Jordan Vogt-Roberts & Larry Fong shot loads of this movie in Vietnam and WOW what incredible, beautiful scenery) – Skull Island is now my 2nd favorite King Kong movie behind the 1933 original and one that I can highly recommend & look forward to revisiting very soon ★★★★
ps…. don’t forget to wait till after the credits for a post credit scene
I am in complete and utter denial and refuse to listen to those who say that RESIDENT EVIL: The Final Chapter is Milla Jovovich’s final outing as Alice – I mean come on! the greatest female action star hanging up her guns? I simply can’t and won’t believe a word of it – In preparation for this the latest in the Resident Evil franchise I decided to watch the previous five installments over two days and I’m so pleased I did – not only was my weekend full of zombie mayhem, complete world meltdown & some of the most kick ass action in any film franchise it was also a timely reminder of how much I adore these movies, they’re all completely bonkers, non-stop escapism and re-watching the series was a great lead-in to finally seeing Number Six….
Film Maker Paul W S Anderson is one of them small budget visionaries that I admire greatly, yes he’s a made a few duds such as Pompeii and The Three Musketeers but with cult classics Mortal Kombat, the Kurt Russell driven Soldier, the scary as shit Even Horizon, the absolute crazy Alien Vs Predator and that’s before we even mention the Resident Evil movies you can see why he’s such a fan favorite – so minutes after finishing Retribution I was booking my seats for The Final Chapter and was pumped, I know we don’t all have the luxury but re-watching the other 5 made the experience 10 times better, you were in sync with the characters throughout this ravaged world you were about to revisit, the world of Umbrella, Red Queen, Dr Isaacs and that deadly T-virus were already embedded in your mind….
I watched the movie in 2D on the big screen as to be honest I’m never too happy with a movie being converted and 3D didn’t add greatly to the experience of watching Retribution so I thought what the hell – the cinema was only a quarter full when the intro blasted onto the screen, the hairs on the back of my neck stood on end and a huge grin engulfed my face, Alice was back and shit was about to get real – without saying too much about this latest dose of craziness from Paul W S Anderson some of the action scenes are mind blowing, some of my favorites include the horde of zombies racing after the armored vehicles with prisoners attached to chains running behind them, the chase scene involving the mutated guard dogs and that dragon-esque monster tangling with Alice in the early part of the movie are all pretty awesome – my thoughts overall are simple : if your a fan of the series then you will know what’s coming, you will be entertained and make no bones about it you will have an absolute f@cking blast BUT if on the other hand your a boring old fart, loathe video-game spinoff’s, can’t get up for movie make–believe or your just one of these movie goers who are uncomfortable with huge amounts of violence and destruction then please don’t bother watching (spoiler: this movie is not for you)…. ★★★★
Whether it be DC or the Marvel Comics Universe the excitement of a new movie landing on the big screen is an event, it’s something as a film fan I can honestly say I look forward to – yes I won’t deny my favorite genre of film is Horror and the Western but I grew up watching the likes of Christopher Reeve as Superman, Michael Keaton as Batman and Tobey Maguire as Spider-man so my love for this superhero craze is pretty extreme, I feed of it’s excitement and thankfully in recent years we as comic book fans have been spoilt rotten by the countless comic book movie adaptations that have consumed our screens the majority of which have been wonderful to watch….
First things first you must watch this movie in 3D and on the big screen, a big chunk of what gives Doctor Strange it’s uniqueness, it’s originality is it’s trippy Inception style visuals, for me the magic & sorcery of the film’s narrative comes alive during these colorful eye catching moments and praise must go to Sinister director Scott Derrickson and his team for having the bottle to go against the grain and deliver something bravely unique to the Marvel Cinematic Universe – as far as the casting goes Sherlock’s Benedict Cumberbatch handles Doctor Strange with style – the wit, arrogance and complex nature of Strange is brought alive before your eye’s, Cumberbatch looking every bit the Sorcerer Supreme he will undoubtedly become – The Ancient One who is an old wise man in the comics is portrayed by actress Tilda Swinton – her presence and looks remind me of Tripitaka the ancient bald monk from the Japanese show Monkey, she truly is a delight and owns her character bringing a level of mysterious mysticism to Doctor Strange – my own slight negative in the movie is Mads Mikkelsen’s villainous turn as Kaecilius, as a villain this character is nowhere near as evil or dark as I would have written or imagined him to be and having someone like Mads a great actor coming off possibly his darkest role Hannibal Lector it’s seems a slight waste not to have him be insanely bad BUT that being said it does not deter one jot from the pictures overall enjoyment – Derrickson‘s Doctor Strange is not only a totally bonkers, weird at times experience it’s also a film with intelligence and one that’s magically entertaining throughout – the film thou is not a one trick pony, don’t get too bamboozled by it’s effects and stop thinking about it’s story, that first quarter of the movie showing Strange as the gifted neurosurgeon he once was, his relationship with Miss Palmer played by Rachel McAdams are of great importance as the movie moves forward – oh yeah and before I forget hang around for them customary extras after the credits rise, they’re lots of fun and lay the foundations of what’s to follow….
Transformers : Age of Extinction (2014) – Movie Review ★★★★
Director: Michael Bay – Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Stanley Tucci, Kelsey Grammer, Nicola Peltz, Jack Reynor, Titus Welliver, T.J. Miller & Sophia Myles – Synopsis: After the battle between the Autobots and Decepticons that caused chaos and pretty much destroyed Chicago, the human race think that all aliens (autobots included) are a threat. So taking matters into his own hands Harold Atinger (Grammer), a CIA agent establishes a unit who track down these threats and eliminate them. Meanwhile a local robot expert Cade Yeager (Wahlberg) discovers an old truck abandoned at a local run down cinema and upon examining it, he discovers it’s a Transformer and none other than the big dude himself Optimus Prime. This discovery puts Yeager and his daughter at risk when Atinger’s death squad find out Prime’s whereabouts – Verdict: Regardless of what you may think of the guy’s movies (and we all have our opinions) Michael Bay knows how to put bums on seats, his style of direction at times is chaotic but in a good way, he entertains us, fills the screen with huge visuals that not even your dreams can conjure up, his movies are always barrels of fun, full of great looking characters and always set to fabulous music that sets the scene beautifully giving you goosebumps & standing the hairs on the back of your neck vertical – his latest Age of Extinction is no exception, it’s the best in the Transformers franchise and delivers a thrill ride from start to finish – the casting of Mark Wahlberg was a masterstroke, it’s his energy, undoubted action chops and screen presence that gives Age of Extinction the edge over the first 3 in the series, with the right material Wahlberg is one of the screens action giants, his experience also allowed the youngsters Peltz and Reynor to knit well into the film giving great chemistry, both I’m sure will be future stars – Grammer & Welliver are reliable villains and Tucci like he does in every movie steals all the scenes he’s part of – it was also exciting to see the leader of the Dinobots the gigantic Grimlock brought to life, his design simply awesome, the film in 3D was spectacular at times even jaw dropping and unlike many in the last few years it was controlled and not over used – Bay’s use of the low camera shot makes everything onscreen look larger than life, the gorgeous sunsets, the pretty girls with low cut skirts and the robots or aliens he projects all look delicious to the eye – Overall: anyone who don’t enjoy this style of escapism at the cinema obviously don’t enjoy action movies – Age of Extinction is one hell of a ride, it’s what the big screen was made for and thankfully filmmakers like Michael Bay don’t listen to those who slam his every move, he just goes about his business making blockbusters that make dollars for the studio and more importantly making film fans like me excited for his next venture – in my view along with Stephen Spielberg and James Cameron he’s one of the most important directors working in the blockbuster arena today….
X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014) – Movie Review ★★★★½
Director: Bryan Singer – Cast: Hugh Jackman, Jennifer Lawrence, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Halle Berry, Ellen Page, Nicholas Hoult, Shawn Ashmore, Peter Dinklage, Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart – Synopsis: Kitty Pryde, Magneto and Professor X hatch a plan to send Wolverine back to 1973 where time can be re-written and the destruction of the Mutants by the evil Sentinels in their future world can be prevented – this plan all hinges on Wolverine persuading a young Professor X to work alongside his nemesis Magneto and stop Mystique assassinating Dr. Bolivar Trask the scientist responsible for the production of the Sentinels – Verdict: finally a superhero movie with the balls for excitement, exhilarating action scenes and an ensemble cast that don’t just talk the talk it walks the walk with strides of greatness and superhero acting masterclass – Days of Future Past is one of them rare cinematic experiences that you just want to re-watch instantly – of course I’d be lying if I said that Bryan Singer’s superhero flick was without it’s flaws (and I counted several) but in the grand scheme of things does that really matter? (sorry fan boys) – Days of Future Past is easily the best in the franchise, from them opening shots of the Sentinels in a future earth ravaged by war (reminiscent of Cameron’s T2) to that mesmerizing scene with Quicksilver as he deploys his mutant energies re-arranging the angle of gun fire, you know instantly that filmmaker Bryan Singer has returned to form and created the best X-Men movie yet! – yes the time travel is slightly confusing, and yep some of the characters are slightly underused but Singer’s method of direction is pretty powerful stuff, there’s a great deal of intensity and you seem to be involved with each character a rarity for this style of movie – I also loved the introduction of new characters Quicksilver and Kitty Pryde who both get some decent screen time, QuickSilver stealing all of his scenes and also being a fan of Game of Thrones it was pretty awesome seeing Peter Dinklage strutt his stuff playing Bolivar Trask – in my opinion along with Nolan’s Batman franchise the X-Men series always tops the comic book film adaptions – why you may ask? well unlike Thor, Iron Man, The Avengers or the Spiderman franchise they don’t rely on comedy to sell it’s product to it’s audience, it’s used sparingly and when done it’s used well and not gimmicky – the X-Men series has consistently delivered a high standard script and without question they have the best set of actors of any superhero franchise – here’s four that stood out from Days of Future Past – Hugh Jackman delivering a muscular, cigar chomping swagger as the Wolverine, Jennifer Lawrence as the confident, beautiful yet deadly Mystique, Michael Fassbender’s terrifying menace as the young Magneto and Patrick Stewart’s wise and intellectual X – when aced the superhero movie on the big screen can be an absolute delight and with Days of Future Past the balance between comedy, drama, action and suspense is delivered perfectly – Overall: after the horrible Jack the Giant Slayer a big welcome back to the talented Bryan Singer who has now directed 3 of my favorite superhero movies and has whet my appetite for Apocalypse….