I'll keep this short. Basically a martial arts lite copy of Taken, but unlike Taken this is just poor. Taken was hardly Oscar worthy but had a strange fun aspect to it. This film on the other hand is just poorly made.
This is like Die Hard 4 compared to Die Hard, if you want to compare this to Taken.
The neo noir tag showed best be ignored, all it is really is a poor story filled in with some not very exciting martial arts moments which in fairness were well choreographed.
Tries to be edgy but isn't, tries to be broad, but isn't. It's just not engaging.
Tony Jaa has a brief spell in the film (not a spoiler as the credits make it clear he's only in it for a short spell) and his scene is suprisingly dull.
Here we go again for the another round of the unorthodox Deadpool. Loveable but brutal he may be, but it's a refreshing change from the usual god fearing hero that is the Marvel norm.
The story kinds of carries on from before but our hero is under the weight of guilt and loss of his partner in a freak attack. The rest of it all sees him try to seek some kind of redemption, but the stories are too disjointed together to work as a whole. Individually they're fine, and enjoyable.
The actions and humour are great and biting, and very bloody. The movie runs at a fine pace but never knows where it is going which is a shame.
I enjoyed it, but still felt it was missing items and needed a relook. Fine sequel and sets us up for more.
P..S. Loved the digs at DC too, especially the one in the final credits. That is worth watching all this for that alone.
Yesterday is a film that with this title could so easily have written its own obituaries, but with Danny Boyle at the helm this film has sailed thru what could have been troubled waters.
We have a cookie premise of one man who finds after an accident he's the only one in his new reality to have ever heard of the Beatles. Taking advantage of this, he climbs up the ladder of fame but really the real prize that he must Kearny is to win the heart of his childhood sweetheart.
It generally avoids cliché, its fun and sassy, but most importantly pays genuine homage to The Beatles and the roots of the songs. You love the humour, the colour and relatable characters. It doesn't add anything new but isn't trying to.
It's a fun ride on this yellow submarine, and doesn't need any Help! One to Twist and Shout to. Enjoyable homage.
Inevitably, with Game of Thrones having ended, many people will be looking elsewhere for a dose of historical politics & war, but few if any will match up.
The Fortress will be an interesting one for anyone interested who falls into that area, but it's a true story, telling of The Last Stand by a King holed up in a mountain fortress in what is now Korea, in a futile bid.
There's no fantasy here, just the political realpolitik and the bloodshed, but it's more measured.
This is quite refreshening turn when it comes to large scale historical military movies, as it's about survival and not victory. The competing advisors are judging weather war or conciliation with the far greater powerful Qing dynasty is the best course of action.
The settings are beautiful as is the choreography, and it also helps that the viewpoints of the foot soldiers is taken as seriously as that of those at the top.
It's a long movie and it's fascinating to watch, not all medieval movies have to be European! The Far East has done many good films in this way too which can be recommended.
Back to this one, it's far better than you expect. It's the story & acting that will capture you, and as you watch the advisors & king mentally battle to just keep their heads afloat in a merciless environment you will have your heart wrenched.
I've been as addicted to this show as many others over the past 8 years or so since I was first directed to watch it by a friend, and I was hooked.
It's been dark, funny, enlightening, frightening and surprising.
BUT everything must come to an end, and such a sprawling show with young characters no longer very young anymore, they have had to rush the end. IMO, in this season 8, there it was often spectacle above all dialogue. You just have to rewatch a few episodes to contrast the dialogue & quotes from season 1 to this one, and it's like chalk & cheese. The fact the show this season had to hark back to old lines and even jokes kind of proves my point.
Don't get me wrong, on a big screen this season has looked marvellous, but I'm still left cold. Many will have felt unhappy as their forecasts were all wrong, but really one problem was that the ending seemed to satisfy Fan Servicing rather than the GoT narrative.
Granted the storyline will have followed GRRM's main line, but I can't believe he would have followed the way the show has ended. He wanted a bittersweet ending, I thought it seemed mostly happy to me, and not in line with the general theme of the underlying show from over the years.
I don't want to end watching this fine season on a sour note, as there has been so much good to say about it all. I loved the characters, even many we just loved to hate, but maybe I just wanted more. Rushed ending, but thankfully doesn't ruin the whole experience.
Thx to GRRM for such a wonderful series, and I do look forward for any spinoffs to appear in time.
Not sure on which level this plays to... but it's worth watching for the humour...
I'm really trying to like this more than I did.
You just can't deny that in the whole roster of films released by Marvel etc, this is a bit of fresh air. The leads are not heroic in the traditional sense of muscle-bound or geniuses etc, but are good fun with a great sense of humour. You go alone with this for the fun & gags.
The story builds on the first story, and I enjoyed the first film but this time the story just lost steam for me towards the last third. We have a long lost mother lost in some sub-atomic world from long back, yet they now think they can get her back (don't worry if you're confused by what I have just written, much of what they say is confusing science-speak).
Watch it for the laughs, the myriad of likeable characters and the break from the comic book norm.
It's a fine enough film, but I just think they could have easily done so much better with the script, and then we would have so much more to write home about.
I have to hold my hands up here and concede that this film has very much surprised me. Taking Zac Efron who is better known by the teenie mobs of the past generation or so, this was a gamble as a gruesome lead, the true life Ted Bundy. Yet it all works and Zac Efron is excellent in the lead.
This could easily have been another crude exploitation move under a guise taking a moral high ground. Yet instead we have a gruesome themed movie that actually avoids (in general) any gruesome aspects and themes.
This film centres around one women who falls in love with Bundy, and her experiences round that, following also the capture and indictment of Bundy. Also it creepily follows those women who just simply fall head over heels for Bundy, and are unapologetic for him, in the same way some were over Charles Manson.
The real scare factor is the reality of it all. It falls down in part in that possibly it could have been more ambitious, but possibly needed more budget and some stronger names for this. However, it doesn't fail in what it tries to achieve.
I found it mostly disturbingly fascinatingly despite being disgusted by many in it, but that's the point. Reality can be more frightening than fiction.
I can't seem myself reading up more on it all, as I don't want to get into anything that builds up a legend status for what Bundy has narcissistically already achieved.
It's a fine move, which will make you feel awkward, but there many good points of interest in it, and that's what makes it a mostly curious watch.
Jodie Foster reminds us just why she is such a special actress...
Away from the constant fair of comic book movies, we have this major diversion. A sci-fi dystopian LA, in the not so distant future to come, we have Jodie Foster playing an aging Nurse who is wokring in a 'dark room' which caters to treating & serving wealthy crooks who are injured.
This 'Hotel' has a number of rules, and as you can guess, one day they just all get broken and all goes out the window. Killings, thefts and revenge etc to come.
This film runs on two items: strong actors and some great cinematography. The settings are wonderful, grim and claustrophobic, but it's Jodie Foster with the always surprisingly good Dave Bautista who are the real heart of the film playing very well as you follow their story. Great emotion and pacing by them.
The rest of the roster are very good, although seem to play it by numbers with for example Jeff Goldblum in particular playing, well, Jeff Goldblum again. The story is intriguing but maybe needed further fleshed out, filling in by adding action in which is fine but I wanted more.
This film given more time and more attention could have created something greater, but it's still very good, better than some of the responses I've seen to it so far. Given time by viewers you will appreciate it, and it is worth it for the wonderful Jodie Foster alone.
It's another slice of communist Berlin in its final days.
Bungling East German politicos and frustrated spies, once more.
More German spy action, as the East Germans continue to bungle their way through what will be their final days. Martin Rauch is the young man who brought back into the melting pot of the disintegrating Berlin political entity who are scrapping around for money.
The real interest is the stories behind the scenes, from gun running to Africa, corrupt West German company collusions, the rising Aids crisis and a 'spy who loved me' storyline too.
What escalates is the literary convenience of Martin Rauch having so much family involved at the top end of the East German political world (his dad, wife and aunt), which is corny but you can live with it here. Storylines are generally good (with some black humour too) but there are some hard watches too especially with respect to that of family attempting to escape East Berlin for the freedom of the west.
As before, it's entertaining, engaging but also educational. A reminder of a world which was really on our door.
It just misses the cut for me, but I still enjoyed it and was engrossed, although the ultimate ending was predicatable enough. Give a go, I'm looking forward to season three which I assume will concentrate on the important fall of the wall.
This one crosses various genres. It's a thriller but also is a dark comedy & a horror movie, and in fairness it steps across each line fine enough.
We have the ever watchable David Tennant as an extrovert rich man being stalked by a young thief (played by Robert Sheehan) when the young man finds out that he has a gruesome hobby.
It's not a stellar production, but on a moderate budget, it hits enough of the right buttons to leave the viewer satisfied (despite the gruesome subject matter), as we follows our young protagonist on his road to redemption.
It's fun, it's very modern and unlike many other current movies, you can see young viewers relate to some social media aspects of what goes on.
Not actually very gruesome either, it's more the acting of the lead two that carries the movies. The story is fine and entertaining, but the problem is that it's nothing major, more just pulp fiction. Feels like a Twilight Zone episode maxed out into a film.
For me it was a fine viewing for what it was, I think most with find it satisfactory viewing. Bodes well for all involved in future projects.
There's lots of cliches that you can use for this film, involving extinction etc. The last movie was mostly met lukewarm by many, but I enjoyed, yet really it's the same thing over again. This film had to try to be different, and does it succeed? Yes & No.
What we have is again a similar enough background, with heroes and comic book villains, thrust into chaos with dinosaurs on the loose. The difference? Well not too much, but it's more low key as most of the action is not on the dinosaur island with large crowds etc, but still it's bish bosh dino v dino action.
The story is fine, and it's enjoyable, and as ever the CGI is amongst the best anywhere. However, they really are stuck for ideas. You can see that have made some changes to move it all in another direction, but really they end up falling back into the old school.
It's a fine film, deserved better reviews from many, but sit back and have fair expectations and you'll enjoy the ride. It will bring the inner kid in you, and some of you may still want to jump behind the sofa!
The Punisher punishes but evolves in this improving season
Marvel films etc have been mostly quite stale for a long while, despite remaining to be entertaining. The Punisher has always been a character that has been best seen from the outside: Violent, gloomy and angry.
This season 2 follows on from the introductory first season, but thankfully doesn't retread the old arc. Frank Castle is back in the action, as the enemies find themselves over their heads in dealing with this unstoppable one man army out to protect a young lady in his care. Added to this is the Billy Russo/Jigsaw arc, where that character is trying to figure out what happened to him and seems to seek revenge.
As usual Jon Bernthal is terrific, and all else do a fine job too. I've got to be honest and say that Jon Bernthal is perfect as the Punisher, he captures the character very well. Some supporting actors are also doing a great job, others could be better (but it is TV and not high budget films).
Anyhow, as for the story, I found it intriguing, and the lead villain is a dark brooding villain, maybe a foil to The Punisher. It's intriguing and violent. Both are out for redemption it seems but can their battles allow both to survive?
Really for a TV series, it's very good. Okay, has some bits you can point to for this & that, but really you get all you want. You love the characters, you love it all.
Hopefully not the final run for this show, and if so (boo hoo!) then I hope they give this a chance at a full film with Jon Bernthal still in the lead.
This is beautifully filmed with a cross section of well known actors.
All set in the wild west, the Coen Brothers use their style to bring out the dark comedy that underlies life in these stories, that more often than not subvert your expectations. Often nasty, always humorous, yet I was often bored. You can pick & choose from what is given and there are good points, but it wasn't for me.
This is one you'll either love or be bored by, sadly I was in the latter but that wouldn't stop me recommending this to others to maybe give it a try.
This was quite an interesting idea. Take a US icon and give it a manga dress up and see how the transformation goes. Sounds great. Problem is that they forgot to get good script writers in.
Design wise it's exceptionally good; the colours, the designs and the animation is flawless. There's a segment in the story dedicated to The Joker turned farmer done in a traditional Japanese style and it's beautiful with probably the only intriguing bit of script writing. That's about all I can say good about the whole film.
Supposedly this is about Batman, his team and his enemies somehow having been transported back in time to feudal Japan and it's all out samurai clan war. Yet for much of the film it feels more like Transformers than Batman, and really I hadn't a clue what was often going on. What was the need for the Transformers stuff?
Also what was the point with adding the Penguin and Two Face in this movie when they were hardly used if really at all.
The action starts from the word go, which is fine but comes at the expense of story of which you just don't find any interest in.
The action is manga style full speed which is the point, but really it didn't engage me (but probably will some 12 year old). That the action is well designed but there is little ninja here, as I thought ninjas were meant to be stealthy (not here).
This is a wasted opportunity and an over blown mess. Probably they realised that the storyline was poor and so went overboard on the action.
Best left on the shelf. There's far better Batman animation out there to watch which may not have the design quality this has but are far more faithful to the story lines which have always been their strength.
Surprisingly faithful hard edged comic transfer to TV.
Well done to Netflix et al.
After a bunch of botched job interpretations on screen in the film world, Netflix have taken The Punisher and given the whole story a welcome retelling. It worked.
Really worked! I read a bunch of The Punisher comics when I was much younger and always liked the dark take on the character, something different for a hero.
Our lead is perfect, and despite having a lower effects budget to work on, both our lead et al are given long story arcs in which to develop with great storyline.
It's violent and unapologetic for it, which is fine as that is what The Punisher is all about. In the comics he's a tortured soul and violence to execute justice is is way, whether you agree with his philosophy or not.
There was some obvious points, and some of the surprises were easily predicted before they happened, but really they could be passed over. Enjoyable and engrossing story, which really even the most stone hearted person could find something in.
Give it a try, and hopefully the second season will live up to the first. This has been my first series I've watched on Netflix, and with this good standard it won't be the last.
Put down the controls and just go outside instead...
I saw some reviews for this film, and I'm left thinking if I'm watching the same film as the general viewer or the critics. Seems to have put people into extreme camps of love or hate, and I tend to be in the latter.
I'm from the generation whom this film will likely relate to most as it spreads on very thickly the cultural references from the generations most notably from 70s, 80s & 90s etc. You can see Back to the Future, Terminator 2, Pac Man Space Invaders, Atari and so on. Actually one of the good parts of the film is its homage to 'The Shining' movie, but as you can tell that's the problem but then again it is reflecting modern media life (so much nowadays is just retro homages).
The story is something derivative, and really the actors just can't grab your attention to invest any interest, and it doesn't help that it's a long movie. Speilberg directing it does a good job as ever with special effects, but it doesn't help that the story is something you've seen enough times. Really if you've seen The Maze Runner or Hunger Games, you've got the gist already of this movie (i.e. maverick youngsters against the big nasty corporate). Then again maybe that's just another retro reference to Tron.
Anyhow, best leave it at that, you may find this cod computer game on screen of interest to you, but it wasn't for me. I expect this as a regular daytime filler on TV in time in the Xmas schedule in years to come.
Bird Box - Blindness is the crux of the story, and I can't see the good points in this....
With the change in consumption of media over the past generation or two, there is an inevitability and need for Netflix etc to make a good stab at making films. I've seen a couple of Sky own movie productions, and they were both best left to the sidelines. This is the first Netflix movie I've seen, and in reflection it's a mixed bag.
We have basically a film that is really riding on the back of the success of A Quiet Place, this film follows a similar underlying story and really you will love it or it will all pass you by. For me, it was the latter, it didn't work on me despite very much liking A Quiet Place. The film swaps sound for blindness, and reminded me a little bit of an old film with Julianne Moore called Blindness but it's not as grim, although this is still grim. Your colleagues are as big a danger as the enemies.
The acting is what keeps this going, with Sandra Bullock and John Malkovich doing the bulk of the work but ably assisted by most others. However, they can't keep afloat a storyline that doesn't grab you.
Shame really, as it is well filmed and does show that Netflix when they get their hands on a good script may unsettle the major players one day.
It's not the worst of movies but it's nothing great either. Some will find it worthwhile, but it wasn't for me.
Any Given Sunday? Well misses the posts for me....
Sports films rarely come off on screen. Hollywood seems to struggle with sports films, boxing is the rare exception in the genre.
Most Sports films follow a standard set-up, and this one mostly fits that bill. The main aspect to this film is that really, its a warts and all look at the American Football setup focussing on one club, the fictitious Miami Sharks. However, really it follows the same pattern: begins with a loss, a dysfunctional team with star player at loggerhead with the coach, but they get it all together to win at the end.
This is quite a dark look at the underbelly of the sport (Oliver Stone is directing it). Every character is unlikeable really. Cameron Diaz is the owner of the franchise and is greedy and unsympathetic. All the other female characters are treated cheaply in this, which is a little uncomfortable. Jamie Foxx is the vain star player and Al Pacino is the head coach. Their acting is good but really I couldn't empathise with them. All the other characters are really just, well, horrid and self-serving even to the extent it is not in the personal interest of those they are to serve!
I love sport, but this doesn't work for me. Couldn't like anybody in this film, and despite what this film says, there are plenty of good people throughout sport who deserve to be seen in a better sight than this film is giving. This film discredits too many, but I can't deny how low things can be in sport. With so much money in certain games it's no wonder.
Anyhow, back to this film. Nothing great, but some good dialogue and thumping speeches. Doesn't tell you anything you didn't already know. I'd just go for the drinks whilst this conversion is looking to be taken. Not for me.
Compelling but dark tale, fighting every corner going including your own....
For those aware of the name Getty, you know that wealth seeps off of it. This true tale of the kidnapping and prolonged set of attempts to free the kidnapped Getty grandson is one uncomfortable watch.
The basis is that we have two people, the mother and a security manager, who are banging their heads against the wall trying to help the victim whilst the grandfather with all the money is more concerned about his pennies. Granted he has some points but appears to be cold hearted. The father is simply stoned out of his head and sidelined.
Not all as it seems, as all come out of this poor, and there are complications and difficulties. The Italian mafia clan who have kidnapped the grandson are frustrated but committed. That doesn't help. There are some gruesome moments but not too much.
This is a study and investigation into the corruption of wealth on the mindset. John Paul Getty is wonderfully played by Christopher Plummer as the cold hearted oligarch with the dysfunctional family, but really he does love his kidnapped grandson, maybe the only one person he does love.
The film can feel a bit long but at least it tries to be honest. It's a tough viewing but very good. As it's a true story you can't argue with it, and with some good hands directing it you will find it intriguing.
Only real complaint is that the Italians are portrayed too poorly across the board, that is a bit of a cliche.
Probably Wahlberg's best performance to date, but also Michelle Williams as the mother is excellent too. Worth a good viewing.
Darkly comedic and serious tale about redemption and justice....
This is no Erin Brokovic. Our lead, played by Frances McDormand is seaking justice for her dead daughter, and rents out three billboards that are posting in big letters an unequivocal aggressive callout to cops asking them on the case. However, is she being fair? Are the police the real enemy? Or is there more to it?
Into this mix we have a dysfunctional family, led by the said mother Mildred (played by Frances McDormand) and the police lead by Woody Harrelson with an assistant (Sam Rockwell) who is following a cliched southern bigot routine character (at first). As with everything, this flows out and there's more to meet the eye. It's not a mystery case on the murder, but becomes an investigation by the viewer on the character and their morality.
I like it. It's beautifully filmed and brilliantly acted by our three lead acts in the movie. The film surprises and we begin to empathise across the characters for various reasons. They are all human, with failings as much as all else.
It's a nice change to have a serious interesting film like this to watch of late that isn't a big budget action movie. It's a change, and really is worth a viewing. It's like a good novel read. Worth a viewing.
Like tears in rain: Deep and impacting homage to the original
I have to concede that I was wrong on this movie. I have just watched it for the second time and now am conceding that it is an exceptional film, having at first been disappointed. I guess like the first film you need to watch this more than once to fully enjoy it, but I'm sure there will also be plenty of people who enjoyed it from the first watch.
I'm a devotee to the original movie, and a sequel filled me with some dread. Concerned of what they were to do with the sequel, the storyline is admittedly quite heavy. The idea of replicant reproduction and its existential impact on the world is not exactly something I'd ever thought of before. Again as with the original, we are at the coalface of a future world, which in 2049 has destroyed its environment and is held together by technology. The world has progressed, but mankind hasn't.
Our lead (Ryan Gosling) is excellent as the lonely man with only his avatar girlfriend for company who as a Blade Runner has stumbled upon a mystery that he has to investigate for himself as much as the authorities.
The film is very long, it's very beautiful but give it a chance and you'll be engrossed. Just make sure you make a lot of time for it, as unlike its predecessor it's a long viewing with a lot to try to understand. A myriad of characters in this mostly amoral world who despite having power are emotionally unsatisfied. That's one crux of the film, but you'll find various other themes.
It hasn't to date and will not have the impact of its predecessor, but it doesn't appear to attempt to do so. For cerebral viewing, truly it is up there with some of the best in many a year, and that is the best compliment you can give it. Another truly special movie.
If you don't enjoy it first time, then please like me give it time to watch it again and you'll soon find that you will change your mind.
54 Hours condensed into 2 hours of pure tension....
This is a German TV 2-part movie, and really is far better in almost every department than even the many higher profile & higher budget fare you get in the crime & heist genre you get in the English speaking world.
We have a curious case of a prolonged bank robbery led by a dangerous and frightening lead, who is able to take advantage of the bureaucratic and hand-tied authorities to string out his crime to try in a vain attempt to escape.
This film is brutal in its honesty about the different elements involved: the criminals, the police and the abducted. It's brilliantly paced and filmed, and you can't help but feel sucked.
A great experience, and really wouldn't be surprised if this is copied or influenced to others abroad in their efforts in years to come.
Just finished watching the first season, and despite the underlying premise, I really was engrossed in this series. It helps that it has the experience behind The Wire behind it to build upon, and does very well. If anything, The Wirespotting (i.e. finding actors from that season popping up in this one) is a big interest.
Concentrating on this, we have a sewer level look at the dawn of the modern porn age, and it's creepy. Yet we love & loath the myriad of characters, all with complicated personalities.
Maggie Gyllehaal and James Franco are the stars pushing this through all the way, but I'm not convinced the James Franco dual roles works (can be confusing). The myriad cast are wonderful, and you have to accept the gratuitous nudity & porn, it was never going to be Boogie Nights (and didn't want to be).
It's dark, nasty but sheds a light on the underbelly of society in the XXX world. I was engrossed, and am already looking forward to the next season. It's not one series that will have you talking about it in the office, due to the XXX aspect, but I'm sure if you recommend it to colleagues when out for drinks, then they'll be happy you recommended it.
As much as it doesn't reference it early on, it's quite obvious this is a retelling of the Sharon Tate murders from the 1960s by the Manson family. The fuller details can be left to somewhere else, and this story has been infamous but influential.
This film takes the story but sadly it's a torture porn lite retelling pandering to those who shouldn't be pandered to. It really only focuses on the murder and nothing else, which leaves it all to be vacuous. Bankrupt in a moral sense, and it's in poor tastes as it's based using real people.
I'm no prude but there is pure fiction and reality, and this abuses that line. Texas Chainsaw Massacre is just fiction and well made at that, with some nods to the Manson murders. Wolves at the Door is a gratuitous take on the whole thing but exploits for gain by focussing really on the deaths alone of real people without anything to add to it all.
In fairness, the acting is good, the settings are fine and I enjoyed the soundtrack. Maybe if they avoided the Sharon Tate element and pushed it to another period with other characters and fattened out the story a bit more, we'd have had a more acceptable film. Yet they didn't do that, so we have to take it as it is.
It's one I'd say avoid, despite admitting that it is well made. Just not for me, but more for those we should not be encouraging.
I've had a big thing for Korean horror films from the 2000s in particular, but of late have lost touch. I was recommended this movie to sit down and watch, and what a pleasant surprise it turned out to be.
Zombie films have been done to the death (no pun intended) over the past decade or two, and there have been some very interesting and enjoyable movies over a number of genres. However, this one sidesteps the problems some others have by having a good director, budget and good cast of actors with a fine script. Avoiding the slapstick, comedy or torture porn route, this is a story about redemption for a father out to protect his daughter and discover the human within. Okay, that's not exactly wholly original (e.g. War of the Worlds etc) but it does have heart and keeps you engrossed.
As per the name of the film, the travellers are stuck on a train to Busan from Seoul along with the zombies, and we have action without too much gore/violence, but really tension and emotion as we watch our protagonists try to survive this catastrophe. There are some cliched characters, for example the older selfish rich businessman and the old couple etc, but really you can't change everything. It still works.
Granted this doesn't have any social commentary like some that made the zombie genre famous, e.g. the Night of the Living Dead, but in its own way it is a refreshing change on the low budget or comedy-centric comedies that have abounded of late in the field. I really enjoyed it. Bit concerned if they make a sequel, but that will be inevitable. Worth a try.