Sunday, 5 February 2017

Four Reviews From Letterboxd

Well thanks to a favourite YouTuber of mine, I stumbled upon a review site which has quickly become one of the few pages I visit daily.
Letterboxd is the name, and reviewing films is the game.
I've written four so far, and I thought instead of simply linking the reviews, I'd do something that takes just a smidgen more of effort: Copy 'n' paste them.
So, I might make this a weekly/monthly thing, I'm not sure yet, but there they are...

Birdman (2014)

5 out of 5 stars.
This film is a masterpiece.
There's certain films that you start watching and you almost instantly recognise them as a masterpiece (i.e. The Godfather, Reservoir Dogs, The Deer Hunter, Heat, etc..) and this is DEFINITELY one of them.
What can I say about this film that hasn't been said by every damn critic ever?
...

It's flawless. It's bloody flawless. I don't even want to go into specifics, really.
Just watch it, that's all. 

Just watch it.

Aliens (1986)

3½ out of 5 stars.

I still don't get the massive amount of love this movie gets.
I mean, it's fine on its own, but really..when compared to Alien.. it just pails in comparison.
The writing is nowhere near as sharp, the characters nowhere near as memorable or likeable, the acting is nowhere near as impressive, the pacing is either too slow or too fast in places and the entire concept of Alien (a haunted house in space) is thrown out the window, resulting in almost no subtlety and jumpscares galore.
Now, the movie definitely has its redeeming qualities: the action, when paced correctly, can be VERY entertaining, Sigourney Weaver, the effects still hold up amazingly well, and.....that's about it.
It's fine, really, but Alien 3 needs much more attention, in my opinion.


The Raid (2011)

4½ out of 5 stars.

Jesus christ, this film just doesn't stop moving.
And I mean that in a good way.
Seriously, its pacing is amazing and damn brutal.
This has some of the best action I have EVER SEEN IN FILM, full stop.
The choreography in this film is just ridiculous, beating Captain America: The Winter Soldier (which I couldn't see happening at the time) by miles.
The story is.. well, it's ok. Its story really is the downfall of this one.
And to be perfectly honest, it doesn't bother me that it is; I'm only mentioning it for the sake of the review.
But really, you get what you get, and in this case, you get a masterpiece of action choreography and brutal violence.


(Sigh) Dougal and the Blue Cat (1970)

4 out of 5 stars.

I wasn't sure if to rate this film as the critic within me would, or as the two year old seeing this for the first time would.
In the end I settled for the two year old.
This film has made a massive impact on my life, and I can't even specify how.
This film is pure emotion, happy, sad, scary, relieved, funny, bizarre.
It covers all of these emotions, and it does so with its funny, witty and hugely memorable characters.
This really is an experience, be it weird and disturbing, or light and charming, you'll definitely get an experience with this film.
(May I just add that the scary things in this film still scare me to no end, even today? The blue voice, the soldiers made from whips, the scary faces room and the treacle factory in general, the weird knife throwing machine thing, all still haunt me. 

And I don't mind one jot.)


Saturday, 19 November 2016

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice review.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, or Man of Steel 2, or Batman Begins Again, or Justice League (The Before Years) is a modern spectacle of film making.
This is the most criminally underrated film I've ever seen!
What in the Sam Hell where the critics thinking when the reviews came pouring out of IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes (both sites known for being the very the best in their field)?
This is one of those films where every single iota of the production works, and is more than clearly visible even to the less inclined in intelligent cinema (Marvel fans).

This highly polished, insanely competent, intriguingly well written film left me beyond staggered and gaping in awe at what I had just witnessed when the credits began to roll. 
What a delight, to see a film and think to oneself 'I didn't once question anyone's motivations or actions, didn't hate a single line of dialogue or sequence and didn't once scratch my head at terrible editing and pacing'; and I've seen Birdman!
Now I know what cinema is at its rawest.

When it comes to the acting in this film...what can I say (This is a rhetorical question. Actually, I know exactly what to say, hence why I'm writing it down)?
Every single actor's performance rivals any I've ever seen. Each actor is so engaged, so well informed of their exceptionally written characters and so unbelievably fluid in their nuances and body language that they feel less like characters and more like very close friends, who you'd rather die than never see again (or at least until the next year).
Jesse Eisenberg is easily the star that shines the brightest amongst its brethren in this film.
He portrays Lex Luthor, but not as we once knew him, no no, his is now a far more sophisticated villain; he plays basketball and stutters all the time.
Only someone with the capacity of Eisenburg could pull of such an inspired performance without making it the least bit hammy. The world of film is so much better off now that we have a truly prestigious performance to learn and reflect from.

The plot is so expertly realised that it even harks back to the (now inferior because of this film) Greek legends; Gods locking horns in an intense and suspenseful fight to the death over the very earth they both grew up on.
Each scene melts into each other, feeling less like a film and more like a live event (but a little more rainy), filling the cinema with a bold, but needed, dark atmosphere.

The tone of this film I cannot praise highly enough. It is almost impossibly original, forming a new genre in of itself: "Brooding".

I feel as if I cannot give this film Justice just by writing about it. The best way to understand how ingenious this stellar film is to experience it yourself.
I must give this film a 6/5, I know I shouldn't but once you see it, you'll understand why I did it.

Saturday, 5 November 2016

Doctor Strange review

Doctor Strange is my third favourite Marvel Studios movie.
The sheer eloquence and ingenuity displayed before you in the cinema is enough to make you want to give this film five stars.
Add an all- star cast all giving good to excellent performances, subtle subversion of well known  Marvel movie tropes, an overly generous helping of clever comedy, well choreographed action that could possibly rival The Winter Soldier and many likeable and (a few) complex characters, and you have a contender for favourite action movie of 2016.

Can we start with the villain?
Please!
Screw you, I'll do it anyway:
Mads Mikkelson as the devious Kaecilius was genuinely surprising to me.
What? A Marvel Studios villain that came away being interesting and, dare I say it, memorable?!
Yes, surprisingly this villain has a certain degree of character, intrigue and a genuine motivation for once. Perhaps Mads adds a layer of depth not shown in the script and has tainted the character with his talent and charm, but this seems to me, to be Marvel's best villain by far.
Now, that's really not that difficult as a cliched 90's Bully, complete with the whole "gimme your lunch money" spiel, is more complex than the large majority of the MCU's villains, but this one seemed on par with Krall from Star Trek Beyond, which I also found to be a pretty decent villain.
Mads was, most likely, the most surprising part of the film for me, and as ever his acting and  delivery is top notch!
Now, let's move on to the meatier stuff; Dr. Stephen Strange himself.
Let's be honest here, Benedict was born to play this role. His resemblance to the original Steve Ditko drawings of the hand- deprived magician was damn uncanny!
And Strangely enough, he pulls it off expertly.
Benedict Cumberbatch may be the best part of this film, he definitely gives the best performance.
His character, without giving too much away, is very true to the original comic book version, with him being materialistic and arrogant and  trying to be in control of everything all the time.
He goes on a spiritual journey, and alongside Cumberbatch's equally eccentric and intriguing hero, we follow.

The story may be a tad unoriginal and similar to perhaps some other Marvel Studios movies (I am sick of this argument, so I'm not gonna make it), but it has elements that are completely its own.
It has my favourite end battle, with a neat subversion of some comic book movie tropes that I won't spoil as it made me so happy to witness, and I hope it'll do the same for you.
It has some of the most imaginative visuals I've seen since Interstellar, even if the action isn't all that impressive when compared to The Winter Soldier or Civil War, but like I said, it is well choreographed.
This is another stellar introduction movie that seems to be the least Marvel- referencing film since Iron Man; the world, although it acknowledges the Avengers and their Headquarters a few times, is very much its own.
And I advise waiting until the end of the first and second end credits have gone as both have surprises to share.

So in conclusion, I relished the ideas and creativity in this film, even if some other parts were slightly lacking.
I rate it a magically solid 4/5

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

DVD/Blu-Ray List 2016

DVD/Blu-Ray List 2016
DVD:


  • It’s Magic, Charlie Brown [U] (1981)
  • Toy Story 3 [U] (2010)
  • The Incredibles [U] (2004)
  • Tron [PG] (1982)
  • Tron Legacy [PG] (2010)
  • The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie [U] (2004)
  • Who Framed Roger Rabbit? [PG] (1988)
  • Bolt [PG] (2008)
  • A Town Called Panic [PG] (2009)
  • Transformers The Movie [U] (1986)
  • The Transformers [PG] (1984)
  • Wallace & Gromit The Complete Collection [PG] (1989, 1993, 1995, 2005, 2008)
  • Bugs Bunny Collection [U] (1950)
  • Trap Door Complete Collection [U] (1984)
  • Ultimate Children’s Favourites [U] (2005)
  • Danger Mouse The Complete Collection [U] (1981)
  • Dougal and the Blue Cat [U] (1970)
  • The Simpsons Movie [PG] (2007)
  • The Simpsons Against the World (1991, 1993, 1995)
  • The Simpsons 3 DVD Disc Gift Set [12] (1992, 1994, 1995,1996, 1997, 1998, 1999)
  • Futurama Season One [12] (1999)
  • Futurama Season Two [12] (2000)
  • Futurama Season Three [12] (2001)
  • Futurama Season Four [12] (2003)
  • Futurama: Bender’s Big Score [12] (2007)
  • Futurama: Into the Wild Green Yonder [12] (2008)
  • Futurama: Bender’s Game [12] (2008)
  • Batman: The Animated Series Volume One [PG] (1992)
  • Batman: The Animated Series Volume Two [PG] (1994)
  • The Complete Adventures of Indiana Jones [PG] (1981, 1984, 1989)
  • Ghost Detectives Complete Collection [E- Exempt from classification] (2001)
  • Red Dwarf Series I [12] (1988)
  • Red Dwarf Series II [12] (1988)
  • Red Dwarf Series III [12] (1989)
  • Red Dwarf Series IV [12] (1991)
  • Red Dwarf Series V [12] (1992)
  • Red Dwarf Series VI [12] (1993)
  • Red Dwarf Series VII [12] (1997)
  • Red Dwarf Series VIII [12] (1999)
  • Red Dwarf Series X [12] (2012)
  • Doctor Who [PG]:
  • Planet of Giants (1964)
  • The Web Planet (1965)
  • The Tomb of the Cybermen (1967)
  • The Web of Fear (1968)
  • The Mind Robber (1968)
  • The Invasion (1968)
  • The Silurians (1970)
  • The Sea Devils (1972)
  • The Time Warrior (1973/1974)
  • Destiny of the Daleks (1979)
  • Warriors of the Deep (1984)
  • Attack of the Cybermen (1985)
  • Revelation of the Daleks (1985)
  • Paradise Towers (1987)
  • Dragonfire (1987)
  • The Happiness Patrol (1988)
  • The Curse of Fenric (1989)
  • The Sarah Jane Adventures The complete Second Series [PG] (2008)
  • Bill Bailey The Classic Collection [15] (1997, 2001, 2004)
  • Bill Bailey Tinselworm [12] (2008)
  • Bill Bailey Dandelion Mind [12] (2010)
  • Bill Bailey Qualmpeddler [12] (2012)
  • The IT Crowd Version 5.0 The Internet is Coming [12] (2013)
  • The Ricky Gervais Show The complete First Series [15] (2010)
  • The Ricky Gervais Show The complete Second Series [15] (2011)
  • Ricky Gervais Live: Animals [18] (2003)
  • Dylan Moran Live: Like, Totally… [15] (2006)

  • South Park The Complete Fifth Season [15] (2001)
  • The Wrong Mans Complete Series [15] (2013)
  • Toast of London Series One [15] (2012/2013)
  • Toast of London Series Two [15] (2014)
  • Hannibal Season The Complete Season Three [18] (2015)
  • Breaking Bad The Complete First Season [18] (2008)
  • Breaking Bad The Complete Second Season [15] (2009)
  • Breaking Bad The Complete Third Season [15] (2010)
  • Twin Peaks The Second Season [15] (1990/1991)
  • Dynamo Magician Impossible Series One [12] (2011)
  • Tropic Thunder [15] (2008)
  • Step Brothers [15] (2008)
  • Kick-Ass 2 [15] (2013)
  • Liar Liar [12] (1997)
  • The 40 Year Old Virgin [15] (2005)
  • South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut [15] (1999)
  • In the Loop [15] (2009)
  • Team America: World Police [15] (2005)
  • Zombieland [15] (2009)
  • Super 8 [12] (2011)
  • Jaws 2, 3 & The Revenge [12] (1978, 1983, 1987)
  • The Dalek Collection [U] (1965, 1966)
  • Armageddon [15] (1998)
  • There Will Be Blood [15] (2007)
  • Professor Layton and the Eternal Diva [U] (2009)
  • Howl’s Moving Castle [U] (2004)
  • Princess Mononoke [PG] (1997)
  • My Neighbour Totoro [PG] (1988)
  • Spirited Away [PG] (2001)
  • Origin: Spirits of the Past [12] (2007)
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica The Complete Series [15] (2012)
  • The World God Only Knows Complete Series One [12] (2010)
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann Vol.1 [15] (2008)
  • Dragon Ball GT [PG] (1996)
  • Bleach Complete Series 4 [12] (2006)
  • Bleach Series 05 Part 01 [12] (2007)
  • Bleach Series 06 Part 01 [12] (2009)
  • Bleach Series 06 Part 02 [12] (2009)
  • Bleach Series 07 Part 01 [12] (2011)


Blu-Rays:

  • The Lego Movie [U] (2014)
  • Adventure Time The Complete First Season [PG] (2010)
  • Scott Pilgrim vs. the World [12] (2010)
  • Fantastic Mr. Fox [PG] (2009)
  • Ant-Man [12] (2015)
  • Hannibal The Complete First and Second Seasons [18] (2013, 2014)
  • Fargo The Complete First Season [15] (2014)
  • Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) [15] (2014)
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel [15] (2014)
  • Kick-Ass [15] (2010)
  • The Raid/The Raid 2 [18] (2011, 2014)
  • The Social Network [12] (2010)
  • Interstellar [12] (2014)
  • Avengers: Age of Ultron [12] (2012)
  • The Martian [12] (2015)
  • The Dark Knight Rises [12] (2012)
  • X-Men: Days of Future Past [12] (2014)
  • Terminator Salvation [12] (2009)
  • Doctor Who: Spearhead from Space [PG] (1970)

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Suicide Squad Review (Late-to-the-party edition)

Suicide Squad is the recent fuck- up from our dear friends over at the DCEU, and was released on the 5th of August and is directed by David Ayer.


This train wreck, as far as I can make out, is the equivalent of the 2002 Scooby- Doo movie; they both have awful casting, huge issues with direction and a visual style that appears to be nothing but miles behind the source material.


..I'll get back on track.


Suicide Squad was one of the most cringiest movies I've seen in a very long time, this is mainly down, like I mentioned before, to the direction.
David Ayer, most known for his 2014 Brad Pitt war movie "Fury", doesn't seem to understand how to shoot or stage action scenes. Every single fight scene in the movie consists of the main group of (main) boring characters slowly engaging in combat with unexplained eye- monster- human thingies that attack them in pitch black scenery.
Yes, that does sound bloody terrible, doesn't it?
Ayer seems to think that shooting in the dark with no proper lighting is cinematic genius, as he does this so many times that it eventually becomes laughable whenever you realise another fight scene is being set up.


Now, let's move on to the performances, shall we?


Let's start, as ever, with the main characters: Margot Robbie as Dr. Harleen Quinzel/ Harley Quinn is easily the most irritating performance in the entire movie.
Her dialogue mainly consists of some of the worst one- liners and quips that I've ever heard in any film. And any joke that is made by her always falls flat, no matter how she delivers it, and in whatever context.
Pure annoyance.


Will Smith as Deadshot is easily one of the best performances in the entire movie. While Smith isn't excellent, but he does portray a decently well- rounded character, even if the script doesn't do any of the rounding itself.
This is another example of Will's roles where the script is so embarrassingly shoddy, the movie forces the audience to focus simply on his performance. But like I said, he's still not giving an oscar- worthy performance, but I get the impression he's trying to, which is all we can really ask for in a movie like this.


Viola Davis as Amanda Waller is most likely the most boring performance out of the bunch.
I got the impression that Waller is meant to be intimidating without any external ways of showing this but dialogue and characterisation. She's not.
Instead all we see is a tired, unoriginal and bland "Big cheese" roll that brings nothing new to the, now thanks to the other DCEU movies, very small table.
There really isn't much else to say about her, so let's move on.


Jared Leto as the Joker was by far my favourite part of the entire movie.
Leto, who's predecessor was the impeccable Heath Ledger and which Leto clearly modelled his performance after, was just about the funniest character I've seen on screen in years. The Oscar- winning actor seems to confuse clinically insane with eccentric and moderately quirky. Thus resulting in the most unbelievably hammy delivery of lines and an all around awkward character.
It's very clear Leto wanted to do something different with the classic character which is understandable. But either he didn't know how to do it, or was given some of the worst direction known to man, and ended up somehow channelling Eddie Redmayne's bug-eyed and shoutyingly over the top villain from Jupiter Ascending.
Every time he was on screen I was having an absolute blast, watching him purring while stroking a man's face and laughing his strangely slow and over the top/under the bottom laugh got huge laughs out of me and I thank Leto whole- heartedly for this.


Now then, let's look at something else. Let's look at 'the bar scene'.
A lot of people don't like this scene along with the rest of the movie, but I disagree.
It goes like this:
The main characters are all in an abandoned bar after being released due to the previous events in the movie (not gonna spoil everything) and have just lost a member of the group.
They are all fairly certain they've lost the battle. They all sit around the bar and share drinks. The atmosphere is tense, but melancholy. Everyone is doing exactly what their characters should be doing, and communicate through eye contact and only one or two words to each other.
The first few minutes of the scene is just left up to their acting.
In short: I like this scene.
I don't love it soley because it's still fairly shit in comparison with any other 'bar scene'.
But this is what we needed more of; relatively subtle characterisation while staying true to their personas and a consistent atmosphere and tone.
The scene showcases some genuinely decent performances from the main characters, slips in some better-than cringy jokes, offers up some interesting backstories and gives the characters and the audience time to calm down.


What a shame the next scene is the climax.
The climax is just Ghostbusters: big special effects- heavy monster that the group has to stop before it destroys the city.
The ending is annoying and riddled with plot holes, the resolution to the climax is stupid and boring, and the whole thing just leaves a rather sour taste.


So in conclusion; this movie sucks.
I rate it an awkward 1.5/5