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A Room for Romeo Brass

Textbook Shane Meadows - Not as strong as some of his other movies.
I am currently working through Shane Meadows filmography and looking at some of his earlier work I decided to give a Room for Romeo Brass a watch. Having watched Dead Man's Shoes a couple of weeks ago and enjoyed it, I was quite looking forward to this movie.

As with all Shane Meadows films that I have seen, A room for Romeo Brass is a depressing, gritty, raw, working class look at life in England. It follows two teenage boys who are divided when a man (10 years older than them) enters their life.

The acting in this movie is an extreme mix of fantastic and awful. The two lead boys deliver decent enough performances, with Romeo being the stronger of the two, but many of the supporting family characters are not great. Vicky McClure, who plays one of the sisters, is pretty awful here with very wooden delivery and poor emotion. Paddy Considine who plays the older man is fantastic. He is extremely convincing, adding humour, tension and aggression brilliantly. I imagine that trying to deliver a convincing script in a movie like this is quite a challenge as there are many filler scenes and slow scenes used to build characters which use heavy dialogue. Much of this dialogue is quite basic and I feel the actors don't have too much to work with this results in some wooden delivery and awkward pacing of conversations. I found myself very involved in the story as the tension was built very well and it certainly felt edgy and uncomfortable as I got more into it. However, once a certain act happens about halfway into the movie, it became quite predictable how it was going to progress.

A Room for Romeo Brass does a strong job of bringing a mix of genres to one movie. There are several scenes which are funny and light-hearted and scenes which build tension effectively.

Overall, A Room for Romeo Brass was a little underwhelming for me. I still enjoyed the movie and would recommend viewing it once, however it wasn't as good as some of Shane Meadows other movies that I have seen. It was a little predictable and missed some emotional connections which would have made it more powerful.


Mary Poppins Returns

Lack of story is the ultimate let down here.
The original Mary Poppins was a film of my childhood which I would watch regularly. With this in mind, I wouldn't say it is one of my favourite films, however even though I haven't seen it for 15-20 years, I still remember it fondly. There is much of the original that I cannot remember so I will avoid making direct comparisons to the 2018 movie.

Mary Poppins Returns starts off promising, the initial song fits well, is choreographed nicely and the movie looks very clean and crisp. We are then introduced to the Banks family and then Mary Poppins shortly after that. Despite reading many reviews which claimed Emily Blunt was a bad fit, I thought that she was very good as Mary Poppins and was by far the best aspect of the movie.

My main gripe with the film, despite it looking great and having some decent scenes, is that there is a very weak story-line. In-fact, there is barely any story at all for Mary Poppins. There is a weak plot which is based around Michael Banks but considering Mary Poppins takes up most of the screen time, this plot feels more like a subplot. All we get from Mary Poppins is song after song, all of which are quite poor and have random messages that don't really correlate with each other. We also meet some other characters which have small amounts of screen time, which again, don't add anything to the story.

Mary Poppins Returns is again, another example of Hollywood dragging out the big-name movies with another longer than necessary run time. At just under 2 hours 10 minutes, this movie dragged a little and could easily have been trimmed down by 30 minutes or so. With a U rating certificate, this movie would attract young children and I can imagine that many would get bored watching this.

To end on a positive, Mary Poppins Returns looks great, has some likeable characters and has a nice feel good vibe to it. The casting of Mary Poppins was great and the movie looked and sounded great on my 4K TV!

I wasn't expecting too much from the movie, so I wouldn't say I was disappointed when watching, if anything, it was all too predictable, which is a shame. Another hollow remake/spin- off for the new generation, which feels quite unnecessary.


Ralph Breaks the Internet

All these 1/10 ratings are quite simply, completely ridiculous.
I watched the first movie several years ago and can't remember too much about it, so I went into the sequel with no prior expectations, aside from the fact it is a Pixar movie, which rarely disappoint.

Firstly, this movie is nowhere near as bad as many reviews on here would have you believe. IF this movie is a 1/10, then I would love to know how these people view their movies.

There is plenty of product placement in this movie which is glaringly obvious and very 'in your face'. As well as this, there is much social commentary and social media references and plot lines, however this is all done in a relative way to the story of the movie. It isn't just there for the sake of being there, none of it felt shoe-horned in. The eBay storyline was perfectly fine for me.

The movie feels a little long, the run time isn't excessive as it is only 1hr 45minutes in total, but it feels much, much longer. The pacing is off and when you think the story is coming to an end, there is another twist and another section of story. This happens 3 or 4 times and does start to get repetitive and tedious.

The movie is funny, its heart-warming and its incredibly creative. They integrate the internet aspect into the film very well and some of the scenes in the internet world are very clever and inspiring. The relationship between to two lead characters is pleasant, with a few predictable clichés thrown in along the way.

The movie looks stunning, with great colour and animation - Pixar just keep getting better and better in this department.

Overall, I enjoyed this movie. It is flawed in parts but is nowhere near the level that the top IMDB reviews would have you believe. Pacing wasn't great and it was a little predictable, but I still had a good time. 7/10

The Lego Ninjago Movie

Nowhere near as bad as other reviews had me expecting. I was actually quite pleasantly surprised.
The Lego Movie was fantastic. Lego Batman wasn't as good but was still pretty solid. The Lego Ninjago Movie is the worst of the three, but it's really not that bad.

The film looks fantastic, I watched it in 4k and the colours and animation look magnificent. The animation in the action scenes can contain a little too much judder but other than that I have no complaints on the look of this movie. The characters are fun enough. The villain has some good moments with humour that was to my taste.

One of its main problems is that it now feels a little repetitive and stale after the previous 2 movies. The studio really should be aiming to make them bigger and better with easy passing movie otherwise the franchise will run out of steam. Following Lego Batman with Lego Ninjago was always going to have an anti-climax feel to it.

I think Younger fans will enjoy this more than the adults. The dialogue is a little cheesy and slapstick which I found tiring after a while but that's not to say it isn't funny. Some of the jokes land, some of them don't. The morales of the story are a little cliched a familiar also, with its classic son and father broken relationship plot.

Overall, I found the movie flawed in parts and it was more geared towards children, but ultimately it was still entertaining. It gets far too much stick from reviewers/critics and because of this I went into the movie expecting to be disappointed, which I wasn't. Worst of the three movies so far but still worth a look.


The Sinner: Part VIII
Episode 8, Season 2

Season 2 review
I loved the first season of the Sinner, so naturally, when I saw that season 2 was being realised, I was both excited and apprehensive. I won't explain the plot as it would be hard to not give anything away and I want to keep this review spoiler free.

Season 2 stands completely on its own, the only thing linking the two seasons is the main detective (Harry Ambrose, played by Bill Pullman). I binge watched all 8 episodes in 1 day and overall I found it to be a very gripping season.

Positives: 1) It is shot beautifully. The cinematography is gorgeous with well-crafted scenes. 2) The acting is solid from pretty much everybody. Bill Pullman and Carrie Coon are particular standouts. 3) The story is intriguing, and the pacing is very good, meaning that after every episode you just have to watch another. The 8 episodes flew by.

Negative: 1) The last couple of episodes got a little 'too much'. There were a few too many twists for my liking, with a couple of them leaving me with the 'really?' feeling. Some of the twists took it from being a really realistic drama to the point of being a little too unbelievable.

The first season was better and overall season 2 is strong and should be viewed on its own merit as it has next to no links to the first season. Personally, I think the negative reviews that this season is getting are a little harsh. This show is much better than many TV shows. It has good acting, cinematography, pacing, storytelling, characters and tension. All episodes are around 40 minutes, taking the entire runtime just over 5 and a half hours - Very easy to binge watch in a day!

Season 2 rating: 8/10

Bobby Robson: More Than a Manager

Beautifully crafted documentary about one of English footballs true greats.
This documentary highlights more than anything, how much of a true gent Sir Bobby was and how sad it is that in todays game these characters are now non-existent.

I watched this documentary with very little knowledge of this great man. I was born in 1990 and by the time I was fully following football, Bobby's greatest days were behind him. I knew him as an Engkand manager and as a Newcastle manager, and unfortunately not much else. This documentary takes you through his career, with dialogue from Bobby himself, and other characters of the game such as Pep, Mourinho, Sir Alex Ferguson and Paul Gasgoine.

It is shot beautifully and is put together very well. It is easy to follow and gives a very good insight into his career. It is light-hearted and funny in places and then completely heart-breaking in others. The emotion (from Paul Gasgoine in particular) is very moving and the respect shown for Sir Bobby is beautiful to see.

Sir Bobby loved the game. A real old fashioned, football man. I would recommend this to any football fan. If you aren't holding back the tears by the end then I would be very surprised.

Excellent: 9/10

London Town

Rather amateur
I like low-budget British films, I like films based around the working-class, I like movies based around the British music scene and I like era based movies such as the 60s, 70s and 80s. London Town ticks all the above boxes, but does it deliver? Not so much.

London Town is based in 1970s London, its a sort of coming of age movie which follows a teenage boy trying to find himself in a world which is moving fast and he simply has to grow up quick in order to keep up. His mother has left to pursue her own music career and he is left with his younger sister and father, when he father is injured and hospitalised, he is forced to become the man of the house and provide for the family. He meets a girl on a trip into London and along with some help from his Mother, he is introduced to The Clash and the lifestyle that goes along with following such a band. The Clash are a plot and marketing point, they aren't a primary focus. They aren't all that important in the end, similar to the Spike Island movie in which The Stone Roses are used in a similar way.

A big problem I had with London Town is that it really fails to deliver on any level of realism and in failing to do so you feel very detached from the characters and story lines. We are introduced to many different characters from many different backgrounds and everyone seems to be the ultimate stereotype of their character. Every character is portrayed as the extreme. It tries for emotion, really hard at times but ultimately doesn't reach the levels it tries to and feels quite poorly finished in the end. The main actor does a pretty decent job but the supporting cast don't offer too much in terms of quality, everything just feels a little wooden and the script is lacking, resulting in no real stand out scenes.

It isn't all doom and gloom though, some of the settings are very nicely done and you do feel transported back to 1970's England. The story, while clichéd, watered down and predictable, is a feel good, coming of age drama and there were moments which I enjoyed, it's just a shame they were few and far between.

I won't be watching London Town again and I wouldn't necessarily recommend it as it is quite a forgettable movie. IT has a decent run-time though which helps keep the pacing solid and there will be people out there who will appreciate it more than myself.


Beauty and the Beast

It's not the worst movie but when compared to the original its not even in the same league
As a fan of the original Walt Disney Beauty and the Beast I was quite looking forward to seeing the live action adaption of the story. The trailers looked interesting and following on from Jungle Book last year, I was hoping for a similarly impressive remake.

Beauty and the Beast is a story many of us will know, A poor farm girl gets taken hostage by a Beast, who is under a spell to stop him from returning the his human form as a Prince. The only way the Beast can return to his previous form is if he learns to love another and is loved in return. 'Only true love can break the spell', as it were.

One of my biggest gripes about this movie was that the auto tune is simply horrific. If an actress cannot sing then an actress cannot sing, simple as that. You could try singing and editing it slightly to make do, or you could simply recast the actress and get someone in who can actually sing, to star in a musical, a Disney musical. What you shouldn't do it auto tune the life out of someone's voice to the point that it sounds as far away from lifelike as possible. However, saying that, all the original songs are there, and even if they are sang badly, they still gave me some nice nostalgia.

Following on from the recent Jungle Book adaptation which delivered some of the most impressive CGI that I have ever seen so I was expecting much of the same here. Some of the shots and sequences looked very sharp and beautiful with vibrant colour. Some of the scenes with the live household goods looked impressive and the shots of the castle generally looked very good - especially the library scene and the dancing scenes. However some of the backdrops and landscapes looked quite poor at times, the scene in which Belle runs to the top of the hill near the start of the movie singing and we get a panoramic shot, it simply screams 'green-screen'. The Beast looks cheap at times and not what he should look like, his movements are often not too lifelike and rather wooden. They used motion capture for The Beast to make him as lifelike as possible but when you compare that to movies such as The Planet of the Apes franchise and how they move, you can really see the difference in quality. The scenes in the villages look like something out of a stage play, with lots of close up shots and choppy camera work.

My motto is 'if it isn't broke, don't fix it'. Beauty and the Beast stayed true to the original story with only a couple of subplots and changes, but even with that in mind, it really was missing the magic of the original. The great thing about the animation Beauty and the Beast was the way it connected with us on an emotional, really heartfelt level. A cartoon story between a girl and a Beast, crammed into a runtime of under 90 minutes could still deliver heart and emotion, something which the new adaptation completely missed. The scenes between Belle and The Beast feel awkward. The characters were all very bland and not once did I feel invested or rooting for any of them. Something was definitely missing here. In the original the Beast was a beast for much more of his life and was more out of touch of human interaction however in this version he was transformed into a beast much later on in his life and subsequently is more intellectual, meaning that the relationship he has with Belle is more on a human level.   

The movie felt 30 minutes too long, at just over a 2 hour runtime I felt it dragging around the middle period. The pacing was a little off and I did find it boring as time went on.

Overall, I have very mixed opinions on Beauty and the Beast. Part of me liked it and part of me didn't. It seemed to do an OK job of retelling the story but ultimately felt flat and emotionless. It's a beautiful story which is completely driven on emotion however we really didn't see much emotion and that was disappointing. It isn't as impressive as Jungle Book and it is leagues behind the original Beauty and the Beast animated movie.


The Lego Movie

A refreshing animation which does practically everything right. An instant classic.
I wasn't sure what to expect as I sat down to watch this movie, was it to be too childish, or will it be geared towards impressing adults also? Too heavy on the Lego promotion? Was it to have a solid story or be a weak mish-mash of brainless money spinning tripe? As the credits rolled at the end of the movie I can honestly say I have not been so pleasantly surprised by a movie in a long, long time. Hands down, it is fantastic.

The Lego Movie has heart, it has substance and great energy. It's clever, really clever and I appreciate the level of effort and thinking that has gone into making this movie. It is laugh out loud funny, not only in a slapstick way but also through witty dialogue and intelligent, sharp humour. The universe created for The Lego Movie is one of the greatest aspects, the attention to detail is fantastic and nothing ever looks out of place with some brilliantly witty props and surroundings. With spot on casting the Lego characters are brought to life, Liam Neeson, Will Ferrell and Morgan Freeman all play their part especially well in their supporting roles.  The story is a simple one, easy to follow but is told in an imaginative and well paced with a good array of characters, clichéd but pleasant. It's the classic unassuming hero story, good vs potential evil with friendship and loyalty the driving points being the mission. There are plenty of funny moments, some surprisingly downbeat scenes and some well choreographed action sequences.

My only real negative is that I feel it was geared a little too heavily towards 3d viewing and when viewing in standard 2d it can feel a little over the top and choppy at times. It's clear which parts would look great in 3d but when viewed standard some scenes can look like quite poor animation.

Towards the end, the movie makes a bold move, a move which could quite easily have backfired and undone all the greatness. Thankfully it was pulled off extremely well, delivering just how they wanted it to and didn't feel remotely wrong in any way.

The creators got it spot on. Promote Lego to the hills, kids will love so many aspects of it, adults will love it too and the money will come rolling in for sequels, this is a new Universe for the animation genre and I can see it continuing for many years to come. The Batman Lego Movie was released this year and with such an array of characters at their disposal, I expect to see plenty more movies in the future.

A very solid 9/10

Inglourious Basterds

Tarantino takes on Hitler, no wonder so many people chose to hate this movie.
Tarantino takes on Hitler, no wonder so many people chose to hate this movie. Baffling however, why they chose to watch it in the first place as it's likely very certain that they knew they were not going to enjoy it.

A quick scan through user reviews here on IMDb will show you an unbeieveble amount of reviews with 1/10 ratings claiming it's 'one of the worst films I have ever seen' or 'complete waste of time and money'.

Why watch a movie from a director you don't like, complain about violence, long drawn out dialogue scenes and unorthodox story- telling of a controversial historical topic? Why complain about plot holes and rate is as 1/10 because of this? People don't like Tarantino yet they still pay their hard earned money and spend their precious time watching his movies at the cinema simply to go home and give their two cents worth of how awful it was and how unintelligent you have to be to be entertained by such garbage.

Inglorious Basterds may not be perfect but it is exactly what I expected from a Tarantino film. It's violent yet not as violent as some of his other works, some of the scenes are graphic but nothing that I would class as morbidly excessive. The dialogue is impressive in stops and starts with a couple of the scenes in the movie being among his best work in terms of dialogue, the opening scene in particular was so tense and perfectly constructed that it truly did showcase Tarantino's skill at creating such great film. Setting the bar so high in the opening scene had a slight negative impact on the rest of the movie though as the remainder of the film couldn't live up to that first scene on the milk farm.

Split into 5 chapters which is essentially 5 long scenes, Tarantino tells the story of a Nazi-occupied France during World War 2, following the harrowing journey of 'The Jew Killer', the backlash of the 'Inglorious Basterds' and the story of a Jew with cold revenge on her mind. There is no sole focus on any one character as the story isn't told through anyone's perspective, the story simply moves through the different characters scene by scene.

We are lead to believe from the movie title and trailer that the movie will focus completely around The Inglorious Basterds. This isn't the case and they act as a cog in a big wheel of different characters, they never really feel like the main people, we are given little back story to them and develop no emotional attachment to them. Brad Pitt was the poster boy for this movie yet he didn't feature half as much as I thought he would and sadly the screen time he did get was quite disappointing. His character wasn't very interesting and contained far too many clichés, often looking out of place and struggling to adapt completely to his role. Some of his script did however add some humor to the movie but the better scenes in the movie were ones which he wasn't a part of. Christoph Waltz was fascinating as 'The Jew Hunter', his calm and somewhat friendly persona makes him so edgy giving you the feeling that he could do anything at any moment. His performance was completely faultless which was by far the strongest aspect of Inglorious Basterds and the best scenes of this movie are ones which he was in.

There are some big plot holes in this movie, which i will not go into as they would contain big spoilers. The plot holes didn't stop me enjoying this movie though as it isn't a movie of realism, you would be a fool to believe that Inglorious Basterds was trying to even attempt that. I don't necessarily think it is down to lazy writing either, I personally think that some of the plot conveniences were purely to move the movie along. Tarantino may have stuggled to fit all of the story he wanted to tell into the two and a half hour run-time and in doing so, possibly in the trimming down process to keep it a respectable length, some of the the plot lines got a little choppy and dysfunctional.

Overall, Inglorious Basterds is a movie made for my tastes so my rating will be high. I can see it isn't a perfect movie and I can acknowledge these flaws however I wouldn't be telling the truth if I said that I didn't enjoy it. The time flew by and i found myself completely captivated in the story, the tense scenes made me tense, the humor hit the spot, the violence was graphic and uncut and the climax to the movie felt fitting and powerful.

Tarantino creates a unique movie experience on a topic which was never going to please anyone. He made complete fiction out of one of the most notoriously disgusting people in the history of the world and did it completely on his terms. I have no issues with that whatsoever.


Stranger Things: Chapter Eight: The Upside Down
Episode 8, Season 1

Season One Review: Exhilarating, absorbing and addictive, Stranger Things is a real TV gem.
TV shows now are becoming bigger and better than ever, budgets have grown, casting has improved and the demand for good Television is more intense than ever. Netflix has played a huge part in this, within its own Netflix Originals series it has produced some fantastic TV and Stranger Things is a fantastic addition to its growing collection. Television has changed massively over recent years, it is competing with Hollywood Movies in terms of popularity and demand and this allows them to be created with much more quality.

Not only is Stranger Things set during the 1980's it also goes the extra mile to really pay homage to this era and to the movies that were produced around that time. It doesn't simply create sets and props to fit in with that era but It makes reference to things that were relevant at that time such as films, books, games and music and this detail is something which makes this show so special. The 80's score is utterly fantastic and it really goes a long way to adding to the nostalgic 80s vibe.

The cast is quite large and varied but it ultimately centres around four young children who well and truly, completely steal the show. Their acting is superb and believable from them; they are convincing in all aspects of the role whether it's portraying comedy, sadness or fear. It has a corny feel to it at times, like many 80s shows did, the dialogue can be cheesy with some childish scripting. The rest of the cast are also good with David Harbour and Winona Ryder giving superb performances as the Detective and the troubled Mother.

I have seen many negative reviews slating this for not being original and adding nothing new to the genre. 80s Sci-Fi/Horror isn't a genre that I am very experienced in so I cannot say that I found it unoriginal. It did however contain some very cliché moments and was very predictable at times.

Filmed over 8 episodes with various runtimes between 45minutes to 1 hour in length, the pacing is done quite well. The main story moves along at a well-structured pace and the mystery isn't revealed early on in the show. Tension and the unknown are what makes this show so great and the creators do a fantastic job of not ruining this, keeping our attention throughout the duration of the series. The scene in which Wills Mother sets up all the Christmas lights in their home was a fantastic scene. However I did feel that there was plenty of filler stories which weren't completely necessary to the telling of the story. I wouldn't say that these scenes dragged as such but I did find myself questioning their importance as they sometimes felt out of place.

I'm not an 80s child so I hold little affection to that era, however that didn't discourage my enjoyment for Stranger Things. It's a very well made show which is only made better by the 80s nostalgia. I binged on this in two sittings and the time completely flew by, every minute was fulfilling and I'm very glad that I jumped onto the hype. Series 2 has been confirmed and I can only hope that they do series 1 justice and keep true to their roots, please don't ruin such a great show with a shallow, rushed, money-spinning sequel.


The Jungle Book

A visually breath-taking movie but is let down by a below-par script with lack of character and emotional development.
I haven't seen the 1967 animated story of the Jungle book since I was a child so I am basing this review on the 2016 adaptation alone. I have never read the novel so comparisons to that will be left well alone also. As a standalone movie, The Jungle Book was very entertaining but not without its flaws.

Visually, this movie is absolutely the stunning. Filmed using 100% CGI (Apart from Neel Sethi who plays Mowgli), the world which is created is one of colour, intricate detail and breath-taking landscapes. The details of the environment are stunning, from the sky to the lakes and to the fields and trees, everything is created perfectly. The animals are brought to life with stunning realism; Shere Khan is especially impressive to look with Bagheera, Baloo and King Louie all imposing in their own regard. The only non-CGI character is Mowgli, whilst the actor was far from perfect the effect of having a real life actor in a completely CGI world was handled impressively and I can only recall one or two instances where he looked out of place.

I was very impressed with the casting, the voice overs were all pretty much spot on. Idris Elba was great at Shere Khan bringing great intimidation, power and aggression to his character. Baloo was voiced brilliantly by Bill Murray, witty and charming with his own personal take on the 'bare necessities' classic. Another notable mention was Ben Kingsley as Bagheera and Scarlett Johansson with her small part as Kaa. One voice over which I thought felt slightly out of place was Christopher Walken as King Louie the ape, the head of all the other smaller monkeys, they tried to portray some sort of mafia/Godfather type character which felt a little strange.

I felt that the lack of character and relationship development left The Jungle Book feeling quite hollow and when the climax to the movie arrived I felt it was missing a real, much needed emotional element. Some real character development would benefit the story massively and it was a big negative in my opinion. I was expecting some great on screen chemistry between Mowgli and Baloo, I wanted to see a special friendship form with some special friendship dialogue and emotional scenes. Instead we had none of this, it felt more like they bumped into each other, spent some time together and then we are force fed the message that they have a strong friendship and bond, why not show us some of this then when the opportunity was there? I bought into the friendship between Mowgli and Bagheera much more though, which was nice.

There were a few plot holes along the way, nothing too glaringly offensive but certainly some conveniences which were a little irritating. The pacing was spot on however with a refreshing run- time of around 105 minutes, it is a polite reminder that not all Hollywood Blockbusters require dragged out film lengths with boring, unnecessary filler scenes.

Overall I enjoyed the movie experience of The Jungle Book and it was visually beautiful. The run-time helped keep my attention throughout but I was left feeling a little disappointed with the lack of character development. I would recommend checking this movie out and viewing it as a stand alone film, it's not a bad movie but it is far from perfect also.


About a Boy

Fantastic Hugh Grant and Nicholas Hoult performances take this movie from good to excellent.
It's a rom-com but not like your usual, it's between a man and a boy. Two different lives, two different sets of problems but ultimately one thing in common: depression, loneliness and unhappiness. Hugh Grant plays Will, a thirty-something bachelor who lives off family royalties and lives his life responsibility free.. Always on the lookout for women he makes up that he has a son and joins a single parents group. Here he meets a woman and on their first date to the park she brings along her friends son Marcus (played by Nicholas Hoult). Marcus is a socially awkward, bullied teenager who sees Will as a perfect match for his depressed Mother. The relationship that Will and Marcus develop is something special and takes them on a real coming of age journey together.

Nicholas Hoult was only 12 when filming About a Boy and it was his first major role so the pressure was on for him to give a convincing performance when he was the co-lead actor in the movie. He had the support of Hugh Grant so it wasn't on his shoulders to carry the movie on his own but he had a significant amount of screen time and was as an important character as Hugh Grant. His performance was incredibly good, he played the anti-social, shy and nerdy kid extremely well, he didn't just get by, he excelled and really made the character his own. If you've seen Hugh Grant movies before then you will know what to expect from his performance. He complimented Hoult very well, having what seems at first as polar opposite personalities but as the film progresses we see that their differences aren't all that significant. The supporting cast all give solid performances also, adding the depth required convincingly.

The story on paper seems a little far-fetched as it doesn't appear to be a story that would likely be presented in real life or even widely accepted in modern society. The message behind the story is one of desperation, loneliness, depression and companionship. It's touching and emotional at times but then hilariously heart-warming at others. It's a very charming movie that will leave you feeling very satisfied as the credits roll.



Deadpool is a violent comic-book flick with bad language, nudity and plenty of gore to boot.
Comic-book/Superhero movies are not my ideal genre, I rarely watch them and baring the odd exception I find them relatively uninteresting. I had heard positive things about Deadpool, I was told it wasn't your average superhero movie and despite my reservations I decided to give it a go. Starting with a beautifully constructed intro scene, it was clear from the get-go that this wasn't what I have come to expect from previous superhero movies. It was violent with graphic gore, had bad language and had a unique spoof comic-book style; from the first few minutes I was laughing at the one-liners and enjoying the violence, I was hooked.

I was expecting the humour to be forced and awkward, the trailers made it look this way and I honestly didn't expect to find it all that funny. At the start it did feel slightly off to me but once I adjusted to the style everything clicked and it worked, completely. From the timing of the one-liners to the witty narrative, it's simply a well humoured movie which had me laughing to myself on many occasions. Some jokes did miss the target with me but this is to be expected and isn't something which I can put the movie down for. The choreography in the action scenes along with the graphic violence was very refreshing and when it was mixed with a little dry humour it made for some impressive sequences. There's some slapstick in the action scenes with immature humour which isn't really to my taste. Thankfully this was relatively minimal and was balanced out enough to not bog the movie down. Whilst the movie is violent and graphic, it's not quite at Game of Thrones levels of gore so don't let this put you off too much if you're one of the squeamish types.

The run-time is perfect, at 105 minutes the movie doesn't drag for a single second, and other directors should take note that not all anticipated, big screen movies need to be 2+ hours just for the sake of it. We are thrown into the action straight away before being shown detailed backstory through the use of flashbacks. This happens throughout the movie as the story unravels revealing how Deadpool was created. It's very well done and although a little predictable it doesn't give everything away too early and I was kept intrigued, wanting to know what was going to happen next.

Despite being completely ridiculous and not taking itself seriously, Deadpool manages to achieve a sense of emotion; the love relationship is kept sharp and works with the plot. Love stories are a given in practically every single genre of movie nowadays, even more so in superhero flicks and Deadpool does a good enough job of not making it too overpowering or distracting. Paying homage to other comic books and other movies is a nice touch and although some I could appreciate I feel that many went over my head due to my lack of superhero/comic book knowledge or interest. The score was fantastic with a fantastic soundtrack, this is another thing which worked perfectly with the movie and was one of the things I really appreciated. Getting the music right is a tough ask for movies and an even tougher one for a movie like this. It has a great mix of music which all compliments the movie well.

Overall my expectations for Deadpool were very low due to my own personal movie taste and also the trailers which didn't look overly appealing. As the credits rolled to yet another strangely perfect song from the fantastic soundtrack, I was filled with a huge sense of enjoyment. I had just watched a movie which I thoroughly enjoyed even though all the signs were pointing towards it being a film I was going to dislike. Its witty, violent, cool, excellently choreographed and downright adrenaline pumped. Go see it as soon as you can and don't forget the popcorn.


The Guvnors

An above average neighbourhood drama which has some good acting and an interesting enough plot.
More often than not, UK urban dramas are far from perfect movies with their search for realism completely backfiring and the finished product can seem over the top. The Guvnors is a story of two South East London gangs, one young and one old who both have their issues and roots to violence and crime.

Mitch, played by Doug Allen is an old school criminal, from a generation past, he no longer takes part in football violence or crime and has settled down in the suburbs with his wife and child. He has lost contact with his old friends from back in his younger days and would rather forget his past. Adam is played by Harley Sylvester (one part of music duo Rizzle Kicks), he is of the current generation of thugs, he lacks the respect that his seniors once had and is very much a street thug who's search to be feared and gain power holds no limits. As Adam and his gang hear of the infamous Guvnors (Mitch and his gang from years ago) they go on a rampage to become the new Guvnors of South East London, something which will bring Mitch out of his comfortable past and back into the violent streets that he left all those years ago.

The plot is pretty standard and there are no major surprises, it's relatively predictable and contains some of the classic clichés you would expect if you're a fan of this genre. That's not to say that I didn't enjoy this movie though, the acting was well above average, especially from Harley Sylvester – seeing him talk behind the scenes after watching the movie was surreal as he couldn't have spoken any different than he did for his role! He plays a detestable character with no redeeming qualities and he does it very well. To portray somebody like that you have to be convincing, they have to convince you to hate them and he did a very good job at this. Doug Allen did an OK job also, his character wasn't as strong or extreme but there were a few scenes in which he excelled and that was good to see.

I have read some negative things surrounding the ending of the movie, as this is a spoiler free review I won't comment on it too much but I will still give my opinion. Personally, I found it to be acceptable, maybe it didn't contain the amount of drama people were hoping for or maybe the outcome wasn't what people wanted but I didn't have any issue with it. The very final scene however was a little disappointing and not necessary at all as it did feel a little awkward.

In a story of Last Generations Old vs The Modern Youth, there needed to be a balancing act to keep the realism. The film is based mainly around the youth gang with snippets of the old gang being filtered into the story. It would have been nice to have seen some more shots of the elder gang together but that's just my personal opinion.

Overall, The Guvnors is a solid, low budget, UK Urban movie which is well worth a watch if you are a fan of this genre. Solid acting and decent pacing make it an above average movie for me and I would certainly recommend checking this out if you have a free couple of hours. 7/10

Hardcore Henry

Impressive stunts, effects and a unique idea but ultimately failed to keep me interested, or even awake for that matter.
I fell asleep twice, on two separate occasions trying to make it through this movie. I won't be too critical of it as it may simply just not be my bag, but I did expect more.

The concept is fantastic, all filmed on GoPro cameras with several different stunt men, it really does contain some impressive stunts. The effects are also very good and the overall finish is very crisp and professional looking. I wasn't too excited about it being filmed like a video game, by this I mean the dialogue scenes. The script and interactions between the people is very video game esc.

Before too long though the uniqueness wore off and I became bored. The way in which it is filmed genuinely gave me motion sickness and I had to look away on several occasions. Some of the action scenes were far too shaky to watch and I think they could have smoothed it out and still kept the realistic first person viewing. The villain was mediocre at best and was of little interest.

Due to my lack of being able to stay awake I cannot comment on the plot as I don't remember it at all; however it obviously wasn't gripping enough to keep me awake.

As I said earlier, it was an interesting concept, well created and I imagine if FPS video games are your passion then you would appreciate this movie more than I did. Ultimately though I found it repetitive, nauseating and boring and I personally wouldn't recommend it.


Hotel Transylvania 2

A respectable sequel that provides a fun time, but ultimately lacks anything too special or memorable.
I am never usually too excited for sequels, especially children's animated sequels and Hotel Transylvania was no exception to this. I enjoyed the first movie enough to warrant trying the sequel and ultimately, I'm glad I gave it a go.

This movie picks up several years on from the first movie, Dracula's Grandson has been born and as time progresses Dracula's anxiety increases as he fears his Grandson may have human genes as oppose to vampire ones. The world has progressed significantly since the first movie and monsters now live peacefully alongside humans, the fear factor has gone and the divide between the two has largely vanished.

The animation is spot on with vibrant colours and crystal clear, beautiful shots. The world that was created in the first movie is just as good second time around and the creativity is just as impressive. All the main characters fit the scene very well and all the supporting extras that fill our screens are designed with great detail and uniqueness. Overall, the visuals are very good, appealing to children as you would expect but I also feel that adults will also appreciate it for how well it is created.

A large issue I had with this movie was that the pacing during the first half of the movie was all over the place. We were rushed through his growing up years where I believe much good storytelling could have been provided to add some depth to the movie. Another negative for me was the lower quality of writing/comedy. The first movie had 5 writers on board while the sequel only had 2, with the biggest problem being that one of them was Adam Sandler. Along with Adam Sandler comes the Adam Sandler aspect that I have grown to hate over the past few years: The potty, slapstick humour. Now, it's a kid film, I can appreciate that but some of the potty humour is a little meh as far as I'm concerned. My last real negative was the final scene, the climax scene felt a little lacking as I found the 'villains' to be not that interesting and the overall scene felt very childish and even video game like.

I have a feeling that a third movie will be added to this franchise and I fear that will be one too many. The first movie was great, second did a pleasant job of continuing the story but a third isn't necessary. Overall, it's a solid sequel which is worth a viewing if you liked the first movie but expect some more childish scenes and a story-line which doesn't hold up too strongly.


Early Doors

A hidden gem that is vastly overlooked and underrated.
Set solely in a Northern Boozer in Manchester, Early Doors is a sitcom with a small selection of witty characters. It is a fly on the wall type show which is packed full with realism, witty dialogue and lovable, complete characters who all add something special to the show. It is one of the most relaxing shows I have ever seen and at 3 hours per season, time will fly by without you noticing whatsoever.

The assemble of characters is what makes this show so memorable as they are all perfectly created and the actors/actresses are selected with faultless precision. You have the barman Ken with his adopted daughter Mel and his Mother, his Mothers cleaner and friend, the old miserable man who doesn't like conversation or to be involved in anything and who is angry at the world. The best friend men in dead end jobs who have marriage problems, the table of gossiping women, out for free drinks, looking to cop off and the oddball couple who have a heart of gold but are ultimately social outcasts, although they are still loved by everybody! There are also a couple of on- duty bent coppers who regularly appear for free drinks in return for 'law enforcement'. Other characters come and go but that is your main group and it works perfectly!

Early Doors taps in to the concept that the average person who is working class, visits the boozer night after night to drink the cheapest beer they can find and smoke their nights away, is more than happy to see the same people every night and talk about unimportant things, often repeated daily. Runnings jokes are common in this show and they make it all the funnier, it doesn't get boring or repetitive, it's simply realistic and hilarious. The temporary traffic light joke is a prime example of this!

Craig Cash writes and stars in this and he does it in complete comedy gold. Not much happens in each episode, nothing needs to happen really. All you need is good dialogue, witty sarcastic banter and a sense of working class realism to make it feel authentic and special. Craig Cash masters this perfectly. You could say it's the Royle Family in a pub, or Phoenix Nights without Peter Kay. I would say it's neither as it has its own style and is strong enough to stand on its own as a British Classic, an overlooked gem which sadly doesn't get the recognition that it truly deserves.


10 Cloverfield Lane

Brilliant movie until the final 15 minutes where it takes a massive nose dive.
Now, I knew going into this that it wasn't in the same ball park as the 2008 movie Cloverfield. I was aware of the basic plot but I had stayed clear of trailers and reviews before viewing it as I didn't want to ruin my viewing experience. It was painfully obvious that before I watched the movie it was going to have an alien/monster aspect. The fact that is is named Cloverfield and that I saw a movie poster of the house glowing like a spaceship pretty much confirmed to me, before viewing that there was to be some form of sci-fi element outside of the bunker. And when a movie spends most of its energy keeping you guessing to whether the outside world is infected, when its glaringly obvious (off my two previous points alone) that it actually will be, is a whopping plot hole in my personal opinion.

The lead character Michelle is in a car crash, she awakes in a cell, chained to the wall by a mysterious man, Howard (played perfectly by John Goodman). He tells her that he found her and rescued her by taking her down into a bunker under his farmhouse as the outside world above ground level is toxic and it could take years to become safe for them to leave. It is obvious now that the vat majority of this movie is to be played out in the confined space of the underground bunker, filmed over 4 or 5 rooms, it has a dark, claustrophobic, tense feel to it. Bottled-up environments require good acting to make them work, if you are restricted to 3 characters for 90 minutes in a dialogue driven movie then the acting has to be top notch and convincing. And in 10 Cloverfield Lane, it was just that. The acting was very, very good, especially from John Goodman. He portrayed his character effortlessly, portraying a man who wasn't black or white, he was mysterious, compelling and awkward. He could take you from thinking he was an honest man, to thinking he is a psycho murderer within a matter of seconds. Without his presence, 10 Cloverfield Lane wouldn't have been half as effective.

Throughout the movie we are kept guessing if Howard is a good guy or a bad guy. The plot shifts several times, one minute making you think that he is a genuine, honest man to then making you feel as if he is a psychopath, hiding a haunting past. This was interesting and I was very emerged into this aspect of the movie. He swore by the theory that the outside air was contaminated and he kept his prisoners there for their own safety and you were guessing whether this was genuine or if he was simply brainwashing them with fear tactics.

In the end we aren't given the full backstory to Howards life, but enough evidence is there to point to the fact he was deranged. My theory is that his Wife/Daughter left him, he kidnapped the missing school girl and likely resulted in killing her through his depressed psychotic personality. He killed the other main character in the show, having a barrel of acid already prepared to dispose of the body and he had spent years building a bunker below his house for the possibility of an 'alien invasion' (or was it just a chamber where he kept and tortured people?). Either way, all the facts point at Howard being a unhinged, murdering mad man.

Making a safety suit out of a shower curtain, half a Coca Cola bottle and some duct tape, in order to try and escape is simply ridiculous. Surely attack Howard first, then proceed to make your homemade suit would have been a more conventional way of doing things? Rather than trying to hide it from him? Bizarre storytelling to say the least.

Ultimately, 10 Cloverfield Lane was a claustrophobic, well-acted, dialogue driven thriller which was played out very well until the final 15 minutes or so.

Now, where to begin, trying to summarise this abomination of an ending?

1 – The film was well paced and constructed perfectly, offering a really tense viewing with some scenes having an uneasy feel. This was ruined the second she was out of the bunker as it took a complete U-Turn going from 0 - Hollywood in a matter of seconds.

2- As I said earlier, I was expecting some Alien element outside of the bunker, with it being something I was expecting, I wouldn't have been completely against it, however the way in which it was executed was so poor that it just ruined the entire movie. If the aliens had been subtle and attacked with some better directing it could have been saved slightly.

3 – Killing the 'alien' with a conveniently accessible cocktail Molotov, made of a magazine and a wine bottle, by being perfectly able to throw it into its open mouth whilst being dragged up towards it whilst in the seat of a car is just too much for me, I'm sorry.

4 – To finally escape and hear on the radio that survivors must head to Chicago, conveniently as she is driving past a road sign (in the middle of nowhere) that points towards Chicago, is again downright laughable and lazy.

Ultimately it is a shame that the movie fell apart so quickly in the last 15 minutes, prior to the end scene I would have given it an 8/10 or even a 9/10 for the great scenes, acting and storytelling in the bunker. However due to the horrifically poor ending I will give it a 7/10 and I think that may be a little generous.


Now, I'm not naïve, I didn't go into this movie expecting a masterpiece. In fact, I didn't really expect it to be very good at all. I did however; expect it to have at least one or two positive aspects and to not insult my intelligence for the duration of the entire 'movie'.

It was late, I was tired and I saw the runtime was 75 minutes. That was enough for me to put it on. I didn't look into it before viewing and was going into this movie blind, not really knowing what to expect, other than it was a low budget horror/thriller movie about 3 girls.

When films are that bad I usually do spoiler reviews so I can rant and rave about the movie in full, taking digs at the plot holes and ending. This movie doesn't even deserve that. There is practically no plot to ruin. The 'story' revolves around 3 girls who I imagine are supposed to be teenagers yet look about 30 years old.. They are having fun on Christmas Eve, Eve, smoking and drinking when they decide they want to do something wild. They drive to one of the girls Uncles mansions as he is on holiday and the house is empty. Before long things go wrong and the girls find themselves in a situation which is insultingly easy to resolve yet they don't seem to have a brain cell between them and drag out their indecisiveness and stupidity for the rest of the movie.

You have all the cliché characters here: The leader of the pack who simply has to raise her voice to get the other girls to do what she wants. She's not intimidating or scary, just purely annoying. Then you have the wimp of the group who is easily lead and scared of everything, she spends the entirety shivering and having anxiety attacks. Then you have the middle girl, the Plain Jane, no real character traits and is seemingly only there to make up the numbers. The acting is abysmal, its wooden, predictable and simply laughable. The harder they try to be scared or serious the funnier it is. The script they are given to work with is even worse with its awful run of the mill conversations and clichéd punchlines.

It's described as a 'psychological thriller' which is a complete lie. That implies that it's thought provoking and intelligent, that it requires the viewer to get immersed into the characters minds. I have no problem with low budget movies; I can see past poor acting and to some extents a poor script. But when they are all put together, with a weak plot with humungous plot holes, I really cannot pick out any positives. Actually, I do have one: The runtime of 75 minutes, or maybe even that's too long.


Scary Movie

Scary Movie, the first and best horror spoof movie in the franchise which has slowly died a death.
It all started so strongly, back in 2000, a comedy film which shone light on the very popular horror film 'Scream' was released and it became an instant hit, a cult classic in fact. The latest movies are unrecognisable when compared to the original, so re-watching it last week really brought back some memories from my teenage years. The movie is downright stupid and it knows it. Following the scream storyline very closely and re-enacting the scenes with a slapstick comedy twist was original and brilliant at the time. It is so absurd and silly but it completely works.

It is written by and stars the Wayans Brothers so that should give you a good idea as what to expect from the film. The cast is well complied, perfect for a teen horror/slasher movie so when put into a spoof spin off film; they really fit the part and make it all the funnier.

You honestly have to take this movie for what it is, It really won't be to everybody's taste and there will be many, many people who find it crude, distasteful, offensive or simply not to their humour all together. For me though it is brilliant, the strongest Scary Movie out of them all, it didn't complicate things and stuck to mocking 1 movie (with a couple of others thrown in here and there), something which changes drastically over the later films.

It's a popcorn flick, have a few beers, sit back and enjoy it for 90 minutes. It still holds up after all these years.


Chicken Run

A pen of chickens, desperate for escape and running out of options are given a new hope when a flying American rooster lands in their coup.
Filmed entirely using Claymation technology (the same style used for the Wallace and Gromit animations), gave Chicken Run a different feel to your usual animated movie. The animation certainly isn't to everybody's taste, it doesn't look as impressive or as polished as standard animation but for me it wasn't a problem, within a few minutes I was completely used to it and barely noticed it to be different from then on.

An almost all English cast worked well for the movie with the only American being Mel Gibson, playing Rocky the Rooster. This created the opportunity for the chickens to look up to the Rooster as some sort of celebrity, a foreigner who was like something they had never seen before.

There are many references to great British movies through the film, some of which I picked up on and others which I have read of since watching it. Chicken Run does have a strong British feel to it, however I can't help but feel that just the inclusion of one American character made it feel a little too American. Mel Gibson stood out like a sore thumb, now I'm not saying he didn't fit the part and play a vital role, I just think that some of the jokes and amateur dramatics would have been better suited to the movie if they were a little less Americanized.

On the most part the comedy is fresh and I found myself laughing on several occasions. It's a feel good flick; it's as simple as that. Its relatively predictable and plays out containing all the clichés you would expect from a movie of this genre.

Overall, It isn't a perfect movie and I don't feel it contains any real wow factor and it misses the mark on any real emotion in my opinion. However the casting is done well enough, the jokes hit the mark on the most part, the animation is impressive when you consider the effort it must have taken to produce it and it is a decent way to pass the time on a rainy Sunday Afternoon, as I did.


Fast & Furious 7

Adrenaline fuelled roller-coaster of a movie with an emotional element, which needs to be viewed without any logical thinking or hopes of realistic storytelling.
Furious 7, the seventh instalment in the Fast and Furious franchise is bigger than ever; The action scenes are longer, more spectacular, more ridiculous and more adrenaline pumped! It's best for you if you just ignore the plot of the movie and enjoy it for what it is; a fun popcorn flick with some brilliant throwbacks to 90's action movies with its cheesy dialogue and cliché moments.

The action: No matter how you look at it or what overall opinion you have of this movie or indeed the franchise as a whole; the action is breathtakingly good. Of course many scenes are cliché Hollywood with choppy editing and shaky cam, especially is the one on one combat scenes but that is something you should expect when it's a cast of Hollywood actors and not martial arts experts. The car scenes are superb, it has a real heist movie theme and the scene in the base when they drive out of the plane and the tower block scene is ludicrous, practically hilarious but very well made all the same. Instalment upon instalment these movies get bigger and bigger and if you were to rate Furious 7 on the execution and creativity of the action sequences alone, It would be a very strong movie.

The Plot: The plot really is very week and all over the place, it lacks any real cohesion by being far too jumbled, contradicting and fails to maintain basic common sense. Jason Statham plays Shaw, brother to the villain who is defeated in the previous movie, who is after revenge against Vin Diesel and his crew. However Vin Diesel, in order to try and get to Statham first, works with the government to try and obtain a worldwide super tracker which is a very intelligent item which hacks into CCTV all around the world and can locate somebody in a matter of minutes. So while they are chasing the people who have stolen this piece of kit, Statham is also chasing them. No matter where Vin Diesel & co go in the world, Statham crops up trying to kill them while they run away again. Essentially they are chasing a team which have this tracking kit, in order to use the tracker to locate the man who is constantly following them. Yeah, as I said, the plot is stupid and offensive to anybody who has an IQ of 25 and upwards, so it is much better if you simply switch off from that and enjoy the action. It's almost as if they created the action scenes they wanted to use and then struggled to link them together so they came up with pointless reasons for the actors to go to completely different locations for the action sequence to play out, and then for them to move on completely from that location to somewhere new for another blockbuster action scene. Now, I'm not naïve, I didn't go into Furious 7 expecting the Shawshank Redemption in terms of story-telling, but at least try and come up with a cohesive , interconnected storyline that we can get immersed into in-between all the action.

Paul Walker: Having watched all 6 previous movies, I was sad to hear of the sudden death of Paul Walker part way through the filming of Furious 7. I was intrigued to know how they would complete the filming of the movie after they announced, against a lot of speculation, that they wouldn't scrap what they had already filmed and they would be completing it. I take my hat off to the whole team and director for what they did, it must have been such a hard task to do it so convincingly but they worked with what they had and pulled it off as best as they could. They apparently used body doubles, CGI and Paul Walkers brother for the scenes filmed after his death. I noticed the body double scenes during the fighting scenes, a couple of one on one scenes we don't see Paul Walkers face, just strategically timed shots of the back/side of his head and lots of body shots. The CGI is a little awkward to see and I can imagine it was upsetting for his family and friends, it isn't used too heavily and looks like a video game character but for certain scenes we really needed to see his face. You can tell the storyline is a little jumbled up due to his death but the final moments were emotional and gave a fitting, heartfelt goodbye to Paul Walker, it wasn't too sloppy and kept within the feel of the franchise. It was in context of the movie but was also felt on a personal level from Vin Diesel.

A big gripe for me was the lack of involvement from the Rock. Whether it was his choice to have a small part due to other commitments or the creators deciding to give him less screen time, whichever it was I thought it was a shame that he didn't have a bigger part. Some of the best scenes come from his presence being in them and to not have him for the majority of this movie was a negative move.

Overall, Fast 7 is a decent action movie with some simply incredible scenes. It's a popcorn flick, and that's it. The plot is a mess and the storytelling is probably the worst of the lot (beside Tokyo Drift, obviously). The send-off to Paul Walker was emotional and fitting, adding something special to the seventh instalment of this franchise. There will be an eight movie, which has been confirmed, I also wouldn't be surprised if there was a ninth, tenth and so on. It's a cash cow, it's not everybody's cup of tea and it's far from perfect but it did entertain me, and that's what it tries to do.



A wasted opportunity to show us what we really wanted to see from a Documentary on one of the most successful Footballers of all time.
Being a lifelong United fan, I had always had a soft spot for Ronaldo even if he did leave us and go on to be even more successful for that Spanish circus. He did remarkable things for us and it was always clear he was to leave us for Madrid, it wasn't a question of if, it was a question of when. Over recent years my soft spot for him has dwindled, of course you cannot question his ability and professionalism, he is a fantastic player who can do fantastic things. Of late though he seems to have become a parody of himself, he's always had that arrogance and it is warranted, he's that good he can carry that trait and pulls it off. Over the past few years though it has gone to new extremes, when he celebrated over the top when scored the 4th goal in a 4-1 Champions League win a few years back yet hardly joined in the celebrations of the much more important equalizing goal or the second goal, simply because he has no part in them. That is just one example of how he has gone too far with his arrogance, this 'documentary' is on another level yet again though.

The opening scene shows Messi winning Ballon D'or after Ballon D'or, Ronaldo speaking over this essentially spits his dummy out, traumatised and heartbroken. This sets the tone, Ronaldo doesn't care about team glory if he doesn't have the personal, individual glory to go with it. Winning the Best Player in the World award is all he wants, his success within teams is nowhere near as important as that to him, and in a team sport, that is a really negative, delusional trait to have.

Its labelled a documentary but its hardly that, its essentially a VLOG or Ronaldo's year leading up to his Ballon D'or award, covering the world cup and the Champions League final. Sadly we get to see minimal back story from his child hood, Lisbon or Manchester United years. He touches on these times but we get no depth to it and we are not shown anything new or interesting. Nobody talks directly down the camera, instead we have Ronaldo narrating scenes of himself being vain and obnoxious or filming of his life in his home which gets repetitive from the 1st minute as he doesn't show us anything important at all.

The film seems to advertise his Son just as much as it does himself, the scenes with his Son are somehow all about Ronaldo as well. 'Drink that drink and you will get strong arms like Daddy', he then flexes his biceps. Yawn. Or when he gets his Son to do 5 sit ups, only for Ronaldo to then start working out. His Mother features heavily in this film and she seems much more humble and down to earth. However Jorge Mendes, Ronaldo's agent is also featured often and he is a close runner with Ronaldo for most arrogant man on the planet. What a slime ball he is, and the sucking up to Ronaldo that he does is some of the most cringe worthy things I have ever had to witness.

One scene that completely epitomises Ronaldo Is when he opens his Garage, which is bigger than the average house, to show his Son that one of his cars is missing as it is having some work done. Ronaldo's Son is then forced to guess which one is missing, 'The Rolls, The Porsche, The Ferrari?' his Son guesses as he walks around the garage surrounded by super cars. 'No' says Ronaldo, 'The one that goes even faster than that'. How can you even film that and not feel like a complete and utter narcissistic moron?

Another thing we have to endure is his inability to take any blame for his actions. His never criticises himself once during the whole documentary, he genuinely believes that he is faultless and failures are not down to his ability but rather his team mates, injuries or other irrelevant factors. His unhealthy desire to be the best at everything he does is choreographed perfectly in this movie, everything is done dramatically and with utmost bias towards him and his career.

There are some positives though, I liked to see his house, his lifestyle, private jets and behind the scenes at award shows. His general arrogance often annoyed me, but looking past that and seeing how these multi-millionaires live is quite surreal. The scene where his Son spots Messi and is star struck is a great scene as it shows us how lucky we are to have these two great footballers playing at the same time in the same era.

Overall the movie offers nothing of great interest to the average football fan or even fans of Ronaldo. It will of course be lapped up by the teenage fan boys, making him a ton of money in the process. It would have been nice to see a documentary which shows us his past, gets in touch with his emotions more and provides more depth to his life. Instead it is simply a 90 minute video of Ronaldo telling us how he wants to always be the best and showing us how flash his lifestyle is, he's a man who has everything yet seems incredibly lonely and often unhappy.



A tough watch.
'Hillsborough is an in-depth, moving account of Britain's worst sporting disaster, in which 96 men, women and children were killed, hundreds injured and thousands traumatised. Beginning with that fateful day, 15 April 1989, the film details the horror of the tragedy, told through the experiences of those directly involved: fans, survivors, family members and police officers. Many speak publicly for the first time. It captures the horror of the crush on the terraces, revealing the prejudices held by the police towards football fans. It exposes the police commanders' abject failure in leadership as the tragedy unfolded, and their deceit and determination to deflect responsibility for their failures in crowd management onto those who survived. The documentary exposes the lack of dignity shown to bereaved families as they arrived in Sheffield to identify their loved ones laid out in body bags on a gymnasium floor. It considers the impact of the orchestrated vilification of fans in the media and, as a consequence, their public condemnation. By interviewing those involved, it recounts the 27-year campaign for justice fought on behalf of the 96 who died.' That is the summary already on IMDb, I couldn't have worded it better myself so it made sense to copy and paste it.

I believe that the majority of this TV show was created several years ago and aired in other countries, however it was not licenced to be shown in the UK due to the ongoing Hillsborough inquest. Now that inquest is over and justice has been served, the TV show has had extra footage added to it and was broadcast on the BBC in the UK. I had seen snippets of the show on Youtube so when I heard a full feature length, two hour show was to be broadcast, I ensured that I sat down to watch it in full.

I was quite clued up on Hillsborough before watching this, I had a pretty strong knowledge on the day's events and the cover-up which followed the day for almost 30 years. My girlfriend however has much less of an understanding and watching this documentary certainly educated her and gave her a much stronger idea of the whole story. The show is structured well, it covers a little on pre Hillsborough, previous games with crowd trouble and the appointment of Duckinfield only months earlier. We then see the day unfold told through supporters who were there, Police officers and journalists. After that, we see stories from family members of the victims, they tell us about the day and the weeks after and the atrocious support that was offered by the police. The final quarter which has been added on for the UK broadcast shows us the court trial and the fight for justice, a fitting and rewarding end to such a harrowing programme.

We are shown plenty of footage from the tragic day, from the original broadcast to CCTV footage. Thankfully the very graphic images are shown but are distorted as I fear they would have been too upsetting. A lot of the footage we are shown though is very upsetting and hard-hitting.

The documentary is well put together and is told in a clear, chronological order making it very easy to follow all events easily. The interviews that also narrate the show are harrowing and uneasy to listen to at times. The sense of warranted anger and aggression in these people voices is very upsetting. I'm not a fan of the re-enactment, nothing specifically about this documentary, just in general. I can see the benefit of it I just feel it takes some of the authenticity away from the subject matter with poor acting. From the very start it is clear that this documentary is aimed at the Police and Government for their cover-up attempt. I found myself getting more and more annoyed and gobsmacked the more the show went on. The more we find out about the cover-up attempt the more shocking it is, it really is astonishing that it took this long for the truth to come out and for justice to be served.

I would have liked to have seen more of when the families finally received their justice; this part of the documentary didn't feel long enough to me. After the upset and general horribleness which filled up the majority of the documentary, it would have felt a little nicer to be able to see more of what it actually meant to them to finally get what they have been fighting over 27 years for.

Overall, Hillsborough is a very tough watch and if you are to view it then please be aware of the disturbing and distressing scenes. I have a huge amount of respect for the families and friends of the victims who continually fought and fought for justice all these years. I cannot even comprehend the trauma they went through, it is a sickening thought. Hillsborough changed football forever, it saw an end to the 'dark days of football', sadly it shouldn't have needed something as tragic as this to happen for those days to be left behind. That day was completely preventable, it should never have happened; warning signs were there from years gone past and the handling of the situation on the day lead to the deaths of 96 innocent people. How very, very sad.


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