Monday, 28 March 2016

My thoughts on Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

It's finally here! The greatest gladiator match in the history of the world! God versus Man! Night versus Day! Son of Krypton versus Bat of Gotham! One of the most anticipated films of all time has finally reached the big screen and it has certainly divided opinions. So would 'Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice' be everything we had ever hoped for? Or would it be a colossal disappointment? This will be and in depth review and may give away plot lines or character motivations in the film.  This will also be a pretty long review so you have been warned.

Nearly two years after the events in Metropolis that caused huge damage to the city and introduced the world to Superman (Henry Cavill). Many people are left angry at what the Man of Steel has done and have fears about the alien. One of them being billionaire Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck). Due to this he will don his Batman suit to take down the thought to be god for what he thinks is for the greater good. Meanwhile Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) is secretly planning something big to take Superman down as well.

So the film has really divided people recently. When the critics reviews came out, they were terrible. And then they got worse. Currently on Rotten Tomatoes the film sits at 29% and has scored 2/5 from the likes of The Guardian. This followed a backlash from fans claiming everything from conspiracy theories and critics being biased against DC. Once the film came out, as expected there were a lot of fans clamouring for it and saying it was phenomenal. I'm not going to lie to you. Some of the reviews from critics for this film have been very very harsh. It doesn't deserve to be as low as it is right now. However, there is so many people blindly raving about this. This film is most definitely not great, it's not good either. I can't see at all how anyone can claim that this is anything more than average.

The Good

I'm going to start by going through what I liked about the film as an attempt to get those who I've annoyed by saying it's average at best to stick around. The best thing about this film by far is Batman. Ben Affleck proved everybody who doubted him- including me- wrong with his great performance. He even could possibly be the best Bruce Wayne/Batman combo we've ever had. He was a great blend of the two characters which I wouldn't say either Keaton or Bale accomplished nearly as well as Affleck did in Dawn of Justice.
Other than the fantastic performance, I thoroughly enjoyed seeing Batman use all kinds of different gadgets in this film. We seen what Batman really has in his locker and what he can call upon in terms of his gadgets. Also as someone who has played the 'Arkham' series of games, it was great to see Batman use tactics such as bursting though the ceiling to take down enemies. Also the use of making enemies obsolete by hanging them upside down or disabling their weapons was fantastic.
Another thing that I enjoyed a lot about the new Batman was the fear that he brought. The use of fear and intimidation to his targets was fantastic in this film. Batman is most certainly not to be messed with in this film and will even leave you branded to let you know that he won't be letting you get away with your crimes. This Batman really is to be feared, much more than the Batman set by Christopher Nolan in the 'Dark Knight' trilogy. Overall it was great from the "Batfleck". I am 100% on board for a solo film with Ben Affleck as Batman and even possibly directing it.

Jeremy Irons continued the great run of their being brilliant Alfred's in the Batman series. He was very wise as his predecessors have all been before. What I particularly liked about the character of Alfred in this film was that he was a lot more hands on in this film. It was great seeing Alfred really helping Batman in his attempts by guiding him through everything and even taking over from the aircraft the Bat was using. A much more involved Alfred was very good and I look forward to seeing more of it in hopefully a solo Batman film.

The film had an abundance of other decent performances as well. Henry Cavill was fine as Superman, much like in Man of Steel. He wasn't outstanding but he was far from bad. Amy Adams again was good as Lois Lane and showed some good range throughout the film. I also enjoyed the performance of Holly Hunter as Senator Finch and liked her interactions with Lex Luthor. Laurence Fishburne was back again from 'Man of Steel' and again he was fine.

There were two people I was most concerned about in this film. One I felt I was right about and was proved right to feel concerned about. We'll look at that character later on. The other I feel like with Affleck, I was surprised with. That being Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman. Now she didn't really have a massive role in most of the film and due to this at first I wasn't totally convinced by her just yet. However when she finally appeared as Wonder Woman in the finale, I was sold. Her entrance into the finale was really good and was really one of the few moments that made my hair stand up. A combination of her interfering and revealing herself alongside the 'Is she with you?' music from Hans Zimmer and Junkie XL's score was magnificent. Seeing Wonder Woman in action was fantastic and I feel Gadot did really well with the time that she got.

We all knew that this film was going to be visually pleasing and it does not disappoint. The cities are incredibly impressive as does the new Batcave. The film succeeded very well in making the settings look truly incredible. The action also looks fantastic in this film, much like it did in Man of Steel. It is well known with director Zack Snyder that he is more than capable of making a visually stunning film and this film has followed in the footsteps of the likes of '300' and 'Man of Steel'. The fight scenes in this film all look fantastic and the CGI works very well.

The Bad

Ok so now is when I dig into the negatives. Just for the record, I wasn't paid to write bad things about this movie. I am not a DC "hater". I wanted this movie to be great like everybody else. It hurts that this movie had so many problems and they cannot be ignored.

The film has some serious pacing problems. The first half of this movie was so drab with a sprinkle of action thrown into it. The first hour to me was really quite boring and they tried to make it a bit more lively by throwing some nightmare scenes into the film. These felt really out of place and seemed just as attempts to try keep the audience satisfied whilst nothing was really happening. The first half really didn't deliver for me. To be fair maybe this was due to wanting it to move on quicker and get to the real confrontations. At 2 hours and 30 minutes, the film is very long and due to the lack of life in the film, especially in the first half, you really feel it. I have no problem with movies being this long but if it is not interesting enough to last it, it is a problem.  

As a lot of the first half was building up to the big fight, the notions of the characters really aren't that good. Despite Alfred telling him, Batman is 100% certain that Batman has to be taken out. Superman stops Batman from pursuing some enemies for some bizarre reason rather than helping and showing the good in him. Instead he makes relations worse when it easily could've been solved there and then. You'd think that these two highly intelligent men would be able to see this out through this especially with Batman seeing Luthors shady dealings. And lets get started on Lex Luthor. What does he want? Superman dead. Why? Who knows. It;s never made clear to why he wants the Man of Steel gone forever. His motives altogether are questionable. With the introduction of Doomsday to try kill Superman, what does he expect to happen in the aftermath of it? Doomsday can't be controlled. The city is going to be completely destroyed regardless. It's going to be made clear that Luthor was behind all of this. What did he really expect to happen in this? A very flawed motive that doesn't really make any sense at all.

Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor was what I expected from him. The stuttering, awkward performance that Eisenberg is known for combined with a twitch of sorts didn't make for a good Lex Luthor. He was ridiculous in this and not to good effect at all. If you were worried about Eisenberg's performance beforehand you will see it pan out in this film. Eisenberg was much more like The Riddler or even The Joker in this film but that;s not a good thing. He isn't remotely intimidating nor is his power. For the main villain in such a huge film like this, he was very poor when a true unstoppable, powerful maniac was desperately needed. A combination of the bad writing of the character and the way they took him with Eisenbergs usual performance made for a ridiculous character.

The film also has so many plot holes in it. They continue the story with many actions that don't make sense other than solely for the story to continue. For example, Lex has to use Zod's fingerprints to get in the left over ship that nobody in the past two years has decided to do anything about. Instead of just taking the body to the recognition point or even just cutting his hand off to use, he closely and precisely slices small strands around his fingers and uses them. Once he gets in there is this fully intelligent robot there to serve. Why didn't this recognise that it wasn't Zod and then shut down? Only to progress the story is why. Also how in a dream, Batman is given vital information by the Flash on how to get to Superman. This was very bizarre and wasn't really followed up or anything. Also the incident in Africa that gets Superman into trouble doesn't make sense either. You really think Superman would use bullets to take out enemies when he clearly wouldn't need to due to his abilities. The use of bullets should of saw the case closed. Also Bruce Wayne has a problem with Superman due to the destruction he caused. I guess its fine when he does it himself though as we see many times throughout the movie. Far too much happens in this film just to continue the film without it making much sense. The reason in the main fight for it concluding is absolutely laughable. Once you see it, it won't even make sense to why this happens. Obviously I won't give anything away in this review so you have a chance to see it unspoiled. Many parts of the story don't make sense at all and is really baffling at times.

The use of Lois Lane in this film was very baffling too. They kept on throwing her into the last act just to keep her relevant when her actions were really odd. At the end she spends a lot of time with a Kryptonite spear with at least three different scenarios involving it. 1; Throwing it away. 2; Trying to retrieve it. 3: Getting rescued whilst getting the spear. She wouldn't even know that it was needed either so that adds to the list of things that don't make sense. The film didn't know what to do with Lois and it was clear to see that. Thankfully, Amy Adams performance was good enough or it would have been a total disaster.

There is literally no progression from Superman in this film since Man of Steel. He;s just the exact same as before and doesn't allow Cavill to show anything new or show more range in the film. Due to this, we don't really get that emotional feeling to Superman. Most likely, unless you're a comic book fan you won't have that attachment to the character. The movie doesn't do its job in making you feel for him in the moments that look to draw emotion. When he's in need, you don't care because they haven't bothered to make the character more interesting or even make you like him more.

I have one criticism about Batman despite him being the focal point at most things that I liked. Throughout the 'Dark Knight' trilogy, it is made clear that Batman goes out of his way to not kill people. Batman won't even kill the Joker in the 'Dark Knight' trilogy and he even states "no killing". Now I know that it is not the same as it was under Christopher Nolan. However it should of at least been acknowledged or explained to why Batman is a remorseless killer in this film. He kills so many people using explosives, the batmobile and even shooting his batclaw right through an enemy. The Batman in this film would run the Joker over until he made sure he was dead. To many people they know of the Batman having this moral but it was just thrown out of the window for this film. An explanation to this would have done fine but we were deprived of it.

The big fight was disappointing. The clash that we looked so forward to me really didn't deliver. It was fine but not great. I was really looking forward to Batman and Superman trading blows one after another to each other but that's not what happened. Somebody always had the upper hand rather than it being 50/50 throughout the brawl. It would've been so much better seeing the pair continuously brawling with each other and not knowing who would come out on top at the end of the scrap. Due to someone always being on top, it slowed the fight right down and drawed it out for longer.

The way the film squeezes the remaining members of the Justice League in is embarrassingly bad. I can't believe that the writers- who will be on huge pay-cheques- couldn't come up with a better way to introduce these characters. They used a f*****g email to fit the Flash, Cyborg and Aquaman cameos in. I'm baffled that this is what the writers came up with. It is incredibly lazy and is so rushed. By this alone, it shows how much DC are wanting to be like Marvel as they try to fit all these characters in as quickly as possible and with little to no explanation. 

Final verdict: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice = C
Some impressive visuals and a fantastic Batman doesn't defeat the fact that the story is so flawed. The pacing is a huge problem and it is clear that DC have tried to catch up with their competitors as quick as possible and it fails. It's not as bad as some will say but it is most definitely not anything more than average. This should've been a historical moment for cinema as two beloved characters came together. However it will just be a what could of been.

Well that was a long one. So if you have seen Batman v Superman what did you think? Once again thank you for taking the time to read this rather lengthy review, it is much appreciated!

By Angus McGregor

Zootropolis Review

'Zootropolis' or 'Zootopia' depending where you are in the world is the latest movie to come from animation juggernauts Disney. 'Zootropolis' is set in a world completely inhabited by animals and more precisely a large city with the tittle name. This concept has worked for Disney in the past but would 'Zootropolis' continue that run of form?

The city of Zootropolis is home to mammals of all sizes from enormous elephants to the smallest shrews. Predators and prey now live together in perfect harmony. The city has a new police officer in Judy Hopps (Ginnifer Goodwin), the first ever rabbit to be a cop. Instantly she isn't given any help from her new colleagues and nobody believes in her true ability. However, when some predators start to go missing, it is questioned if the predators can be trusted. Judy offers her services to look for a missing otter but she has a time limit. If she fails, she loses her job. To do this she will require the help of Nick Wilde (Jason Bateman), a cunning and sly fox. An odd pairing will need to leave their differences a side in order to crack the case for Zootropolis' sake. 

Now most of the time when a Disney film or any animated film comes out, a lot of people will dismiss it claiming it to be only for children. To be fair there are a lot that will come out solely for children's entertainment. However you also have the films like Inside Out that albeit animated are arguably just as suited for adults due to the story lines and key messages throughout. Zootropolis most definitely stands in the latter category. There's no doubt that kid will be entertained by this but adults will also appreciate it's humour and it's maturity in its story. The film tackles an issue that is very clear to see in today's society. That issue being discrimination. The predators are discriminated in this due to actions of a small selection of predators. Now with the recent attacks in Paris and Brussels, how similar does this seem to real life right now? With a lot of innocent people being blamed for actions of certain lunatics all due to ones race, nationality or beliefs. The film reflects the real world pretty perfectly and is brave to tackle this issue. It is also very important to be teaching kids from a young age that this is not ok and shouldn't be done. By teaching them this at a young age is vital as in essence, it will be creating a better world for tomorrow.

That's not the only message within the film. Judy Hopps is shown to have wanted to have been a police officer since she was a little girl and from day one was always told that she wouldn't make it. However she never once gave up on her dreams and continued to work her way to reach her goals. Another great message for the audience both young and older: you can do anything you want and don't let anybody tell you otherwise. What a great message for children especially as they may look at the character Judy as being much smaller but won't let anything stand in the way of her dreams. The will and determination from Judy when everyone was against her shows that anything is possible if you really want it.
The inspirational Judy Hopps (Ginnifer Goodwin)

Now what Disney have done phenomenally well is combining these deeper messages with fantastic humour. The movie is laugh out loud funny which is something a lot of comedies this year have actually struggled to do. There are many times where both children and adults will find hilarious showing a brilliant mix of humour for all ages to enjoy. There are some surprises throughout the movie that really hit and will make you laugh out loud. Particularly funny moments for myself involved the Fennec fox looking animal as well as the incredibly funny sloths I cannot fault the comedy at all in 'Zootropolis', some truly great work from the writers.
The incredibly funny sloths were a highlight in 'Zootropolis'

The film is thoroughly entertaining throughout the run time and I can't see why anybody would get bored from watching this film. This is mainly down to how well the two leads play off one another in 'Zootropolis'. The unusual pairing are great to watch as they bicker constantly at the start of their partnership. As the duo grow closer and learn more about each other, they become a very efficient and entertaining team. Credit has to go to both of the voice actors Ginnifer Goodwin and Jason Bateman. Goodwin was perfect as the sweet innocent little bunny who just wanted to make a difference. She was fantastic as Judy and worked perfectly alongside Bateman's Nick Wilde. Speaking of Bateman, the casting for him to be the clever fox really is one of the best choices for an animated character. He provided the wit that was vital for the character and was magnificent throughout. The chemistry between the two worked perfectly to delight of all the viewers.
Great work from both Bateman and Goodwin for the main characters

It was also fantastic to see a world completely inhabited by animals as if they were humans. It was great seeing all the different aspects of the worlds due to the specific regions such as Tundra Town or in the Rainforest District. Some regions were more exploited than the others which may of been done to leave other areas to explore further in potential sequels. I would've liked to have seen more of the different areas but I can see why possibly they have limited it for now. It was still great seeing how many different animals would go around day to day life such as how transport would work for many different creatures. This lead to some highly entertaining short scenes that worked to great effect.

Final verdict: Zootropolis = A
A fantastic animated movie from Disney that is both hilarious and tackles some serious issues in the world today. A must see for everybody. 

So have you seen Zootropolis? If so what did you think of it? If you plan on going to see it, I hope this review has helped you choose to see it and hope that you enjoy this movie as much as I did! Once again thank you for reading my review, it is much appreciated!

By Angus McGregor

Friday, 25 March 2016

10 Cloverfield Lane Review

'10 Cloverfield Lane' according to executive producer J.J Abrams is the 'blood relative' to the orginal 'Cloverfield' in which he directed. It is set in the same universe as the found footage, monster film that received positive feedback from both fans and critics alike. But would '10 Cloverfield Lane' be able to follow in the footsteps set by the original?

'10 Cloverfield Lane' stars Mary Elizabeth Winstead, John Goodman and John Gallagher Jr during the aftermath of the events in 'Cloverfield'. After her leaving her fiancée, Michelle (Winstead) is in a car accident and when she wakes up, she is locked up in a prison like cell. She is then confronted by Howard (Goodman) who claims that he has brought her here for her own safety. Michelle then meets Emmett, a man who witnessed the attack who fled to the bunker for safety. Unsure whether or not something big has actually gone down or if she is really safe inside Howard's bunker, Michelle is conflicted to staying or trying to escape the bunker. Many twists and turns throughout as Michelle looks to find the truth both inside and outside of the bunker.

The best way to start this is to address how it fits in with 'Cloverfield'. The film only has a few things in it that really connect with 'Cloverfield'. Don't go into this film expecting a direct sequel to 'Colverfield' because you will be disappointed and it won't be what you expected at all. The nuclear fallout from the end of 'Cloverfield' is only one of a few things that are really relevant to the first film. As the film goes on it is clear that they are in the same universe but isn't directly linked at all. Go in with an open mind to this film and you'll have a great time. You'll also find a film superior to the original.

The start of this film is absolutely fantastic. It starts with Michelle driving through and suffering her crash. Through doing this, it creates a fast paced sequence that stops every couple of seconds showcasing the companies behind this project such as 'Bad Robot'. It was a really unique start and was doing phenomenally well. The start adds a lot of mystery as you are unsure to if this was planned due to a previous interaction of some sorts. It sets up the film brilliantly and also does not give anything away. From the start you are hooked and are drawn into the film, already wondering what has happened. A fantastic opening. 

The film has a whole bunch of mystery surrounding it and to great effect. There are so many twists throughout the film which always keep you guessing. It toys with you so that you are unsure if it is safe inside the bunker or if the events that Michelle has been old about outside are true. Also there is a great mystery surrounding John Goodmans character Howard. With all the events that happen in the film, you are unsure to whether or not he is helping these people or not. Also his sanity and whether or not he is stable is questioned a lot throughout the film. The film will keep you guessing at all times through its great twists that all work fantastically. They all work great and add to the mystery incredibly well.

The film only really has three characters and they are all fantastic. John Goodman is probably the standout in which he is phenomenal. Throughout the film the audience is always conflicted to if he is genuinely just a good Samaritan who has taken these people into his bunker or if he is unhinged and is capable of horrible things. Goodman's performance as Howard is brilliant and at times will make you feel quite uncomfortable. A brilliant performance from Goodman, that statement really isn't a surprise though is it?
John Goodman was fantastic as Howard

Mary Elizabeth Winstead is also very good in the film as Michelle who is being held against her own will inside this bunker. Due to not knowing about what happened outside she finds it hard to believe and isn't convinced by Howard that she is here for her own good. Throughout the whole film she is looking for more answers for both inside and out of the shelter which leaves her in tough predicaments and not knowing what to believe. As the main protagonist, you really felt for her during this time in which would be a terrifying situation to find yourself in. There is also quite a large character arc for her character which works very well. John Gallagher Jr is more of the comic relief in this film and he is also very good. He is funny when he needs to be and brings a character that isn't always serious despite what has happened to the world. A great addition and a good contrast against Goodman and Winstead's characters.

There is one huge problem with the film and that is the ending. Compared to the rest of the film, the ending is awful. I won't spoil it but the ending is so out of place and is overall just really bad. There is a point in the film where it really should have just ended. It definitely seemed like they needed to extend the ending to make for a longer run time. In saying that though, it did at the dying moments manage to make up for it a little bit and made me leave feeling very excited. That doesn't take away from the fact that the last 15 minutes or so of this film is nowhere near the standard set by the rest of the film.

Final verdict: 10 Cloverfield Lane = B+
A fantastic movie that you should definitely see. One of my favourite movies of the year so far but the ending isn't up to standard. Because of this, the overall score does take a hit.

So have you seen 10 Cloverfield Lane? If so what did you think? If you plan on going to see it, I hope you enjoy it just as much as I did. Once again thank you so much for reading, it is much appreciated!

By Angus McGregor

Thursday, 24 March 2016

High Rise Review

'High Rise' stars Tom Hiddleston and is the adaptation of the novel with the same name by J G Ballard. It follows Dr Robert Laing who moves into a London high rise tower block. The high rise is a community in its own created by the architect Anthony Royal (Jeremy Irons).However soon after he moves in, class warfare becomes a problem and anarchy then ensues.

Over the last few weeks the advert for 'High Rise' has constantly been playing. I thoroughly enjoyed the trailers which made me very excited to see the finished article. If you haven't seen the trailer, I highly recommend you do, it is highly fascinating and will surely draw you to wanting to see it.

However it's safe to say that I was quite disappointed by 'High Rise'. The movie came nowhere near to my expectations. I felt that this movie was a mess. So much was going on all at once at some points and it was difficult to keep up with everything all at once. The film moves onto so many different things and you just can't keep up with everything all at once. It is also hard to tell what happening is in reality or if its fantasy. The film certainly is very surreal but maybe a bit too surreal for its own good.

As there is a lot of different things going on in the film, there really isn't a lot of explanation to many things. There's a lot of times where actions happen and you're like "Huh?" and then there really isn't a follow up at all. There isn't even really an explanation to why everyone is so confined to doing mainly  everything inside this high rise. They leave for work but that's it. Everything else they do within the tower block away from the rest of society. A lot of things that go on are most certainly odd and would really of been more effective had their been more context to them.

The visuals in 'High Rise' are phenomenal to say the least. The visuals are sure to catch your attention and will make sure that you continue to pay attention although it may be hard for you to keep up with what is actually going on. The editing in this film is also pretty fantastic. Keep an eye out for the scene where someone falls from the high rise. A beautifully edited and very effective piece of film making.

Tom Hiddleston is also fantastic in this film. At first, he is just settling in and isn't really aware of the total bizarreness that he will soon become a part of. You can slowly see his character Dr Robert Laing become more and more a part of the madness until he just lets loose entirely. He only sees the strangeness at first but as he soon grows to become friends to the tenants such as Richard Wilder (Luke Evans) and even closer with the likes of Charlotte Melville (Sienna Miller), he only gets drawn further into the chaos. At times he is kind of a bridge between the two classes that are within the high rise. Due to being close with the likes of Wilder, he interacts a lot with the more common people or the riff raff. However he is always invited to socialise with the others in the upper floors as well as being a guest of the architect many times. Hiddleston excels in this role and shows the great talents that he has.
Laing and Wilder outside the High Rise

I also thoroughly enjoyed the performance of Luke Evans in this film as documentary film maker Richard Wilder. He kind of leads the brigade from the lower floors demanding change from the top floors. I won't ever get sick of hearing him shout 'Where's the sirens?' which I've heard so many times in the last month. His character was particularly interesting. Elizabeth Moss was also great as a bored and what seemed like a single mother a lot of the time. She did very well to draw sympathy as you see her not fully enjoying herself or is really happy at all with life in the high rise. A good contrast to Hiddlestons character who is sort of obsessed with the life in the high rise.
Richard Wilder played by Luke Evans

However due to their being a lot of different characters in this film, there wasn't really enough time to completely dive into the characters and learn more about them. Jeremy Irons was also pretty good as the architect Anthony Royal but I feel his character is one of many who could've done with a bit more focus on. Same goes for Melville's son. I feel he was definitely underused and could've been an interesting character to experience all that was going on especially since he really is the pinnacle of innocence. You'll also find yourself forgetting about several characters until they reappear again. As there are so many, there isn't really an equal amount of screen time. A combination of this and the characters not being overly interesting or memorable make some characters very forgettable.
Many forgettable faces throughout the film

The film does show how if you force people to live their lives a certain way with little opportunity to progress, it will not work out. The lower levels are expected to be content with life in the high rise with no opportunity or a fair share of the power. The film does show a good job of how many people wouldn't just settle for what they are being forced to live under. The tension between the classes is shown very well throughout the film as you can see them becoming more and more irritated with each other. This is mainly led by Richard Wilder who takes most of the issues into his own hands and is kind of the main focal point for the lower levels in the high rise.

Final verdict: High Rise = C+
I went into this movie really wanting to love it but the film is a big mess at times. Strong performances from the cast and some very nice scenes indeed. However overall, the chaos got in the way of a cohesive and understandable movie. Maybe after another watch the film will become clearer.

So have you seen High Rise? If so what did you think of it? Once again thank you for reading, it is much appreciated!

By Angus McGregor

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Rock The Kasbah Review

'Rock The Kasbah' is the latest 'comedy' to hit the screens in the UK. It stars the legendary Bill Murray so you'd expect there to be some potential within the film. But would this film rock as the tittle would lead you to believe, or would it be a disappointment?

'Rock The Kasbah' follows Richie Lanz (Bill Murray) a has been rock manager who has handled many a tour during his time. He attempts to take one of his few clients to Afghanistan for a tour. After being deserted, he discovers the talent of a young Afghan woman who is forbidden by her family and faith to perform. Despite this, Lanz will work to turn her into a star.

Oh boy. This film was just not good at all. What a massive waste of time. When you're sat watching a comedy you expect there to at least be a few moments that are actually funny. If it fails that you hope that it is at least entertaining. 'Rock The Kasbah' was neither of these two. When nobody at all in your screening laughs at least once through the entire film, you know there's a problem. The case for it not being interesting at all had me continuously looking at the time, just hoping that it would finally all be over. The funniest thing about the film happened once it had finished. Once the credits started to roll and the lights came on, whilst talking to my friend, I noticed that a fellow member of the audience was sleeping. This only confirmed that the film was a total borefest.

The film is just so bleak and drab also. Every setting and scene is so lacking of life or spirit and it just makes it even worse to watch. Nothing will ever grab your attention or add more like to the film which it oh so desperately needs. Everything is just so boring and soulless. There really isn't anything in Rock The Kasbah that will excite you or get you eagarly anticipating the next step in the film. I guess this also helped put the member of the audience to sleep as well.

The feeling of the film having no life also comes from the characters. Let's just hope Bill Murray is a lot better in his upcoming projects such as Ghostbusters and The Jungle Book. It was sad seeing him in this monstrosity. Bruce Willis was again not very good which seems to have become common for him to do nowadays. Zooey Deschanel was awful in this and I'm so glad she wasn't apparent throughout the entire film. There really isn't any notable performances in the film. I guess some aren't completely terrible like Kate Hudson but that's really how far it goes. The characters never really progress and just overall aren't interesting at all.

I guess one redeeming factor of the film is how it shows the struggle of the young Afghan girl. All she wants to do is to be able to sing but is constantly put down by her family and the public. It is pretty shocking to see the lack of support Salima gets all due to just being a woman. The way she is forced to be hidden away from the world after performing and how she even could of faced death due to it. The film does deserve some credit for this as it did do a good job at showing the very tough and harsh situation she was a part of.

There's also a lot of parts in this film that are just puzzling. Like why does every single shop in Afghanistan have a fully functioning TV facing the street? Where did Bill Murray get to print off hundreds of thousands of coloured leaflets to hand out and also drop from a helicopter? How come Salima gets better TV service in a secluded cave- which I don't know how it has electricity- than I do in suburban Scotland?  At lot of things just don't make sense and really hurts the film even more. Not that it needed it really.

Final verdict = Rock The Kasbah = F
A forgettable, unfunny and not entertaining comedy. You really don't need to see this film which seems like not a lot of people have. In its US release it grossed under $3,000,000 making a fifth of its overall budget. Yikes.

So have you seen Rock The Kasbah? If so what did you think? Although I don't recommened you see it, if you do go I hope you enjoy it more than me and the fellow audience members did. Once again thank you for reading, it is much appreciated!

By Angus McGregor

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

The Witch Review

'The Witch' is one of the latest horror films in cinemas today and follows a family in the 1600s. I'm not usually drawn to see these kind of films in the cinema as they aren't really my cup of tea. Amid rave reviews though I was convinced to go and check it out. So would I be right to have caught this one or would my hunch for most scary movies be correct again?

'The Witch' tells the story of a devoted Christian family who are banished from their settlement and forced to live alone and separated from everyone else. Away from all other people, some mysterious things start to happen to the film. Thomasin (Anya Taylor Joy) is accused of witchcraft as this families loyalty is truly tested. Witchcraft, black magic and possession wreak havoc on the family as they struggle through a tough harvest.

Now this film actually took me two attempts to go through. I was hyped and all ready to see 'The Witch' last week and was sat in the screening when there was a problem. The audio for the dialogue was very quiet compared to everything else due to a broken speaker. We were allowed to stay and watch if we wanted to as there was nothing they could do due to needing an engineer to fix it. Credit to the folk at Cineworld Edinburgh though for handing the situation very well, offering everybody some sort of reparation. I stayed and watched it but wanted to see it with the proper sound before I did my review. With the dialogue being so quiet, I didn't quite catch everything so it'd be best to have the full experience before giving my thoughts on the film.

'The Witch' really is full of mystery and always keeps you guessing to what is happening to this family. You are made unsure whether or not a member or members of the family are apart or the cause of the terrible things happening. You also aren't entirely sure if there is a power outside of the family that causes these events. The constant appearances of certain animals also adds to the mystery. The film certainly doesn't does stand by its tagline of 'Evil takes many forms'.

The film really has it all for making a very creepy and eery environment. The fact of them being all alone to some can seem bad enough. This is then made worse due to the scary, deep dark woods that they neighbour. The fears of being in these woods then come to life within the film also causing you to feel paranoia throughout .The film, albeit made on a small budget of $1 million, looks incredibly good. It doesn't look cheaply done or half arsed to save a quick buck. It's budget is used to it's full capability and looks fantastic. It is vital for this as the setting has to be creepy and make it somewhere you wouldn't want to be alone like many of the characters ended up being in this film. The score also does a fantastic job at increasing your stress levels as it really builds up and makes your hair on your arms stand up high. At times the build up can lead to nothing making it feel anti climatic. However the score does its job in creating a tense atmosphere where you are unsure what is going to happen. A great job done by first time director Robert Eggers to create this.

I'm not entirely sure if your average horror viewer will really appreciate this film though. There isn't an abundance of scares, instead the creepiness and fear factor are what are used at great effect. The film doesn't use the cheap tactics such as poor jump scares when it turns out to only be a noise which is a great credit to the film. The film is very well paced and does have it's more quiet moments. However it is always brewing and building something else up that works very effectively. If you are quite an impatient viewer, this may not suit you as much as other films. I overheard someone in my screening was complaining that the film wasn't really a horror. 'The Witch' has a whole bunch of horror elements such as possession, witchcraft as well as the dark woods. I'm not sure what else this film really could be classed as.

The film is also very well acted which also separates it from a lot of the lower budget horror films. Considering that most of the main characters are children as well, it shows that there was some great talent on this project. The twins who were in 'The Witch' do very well reacting and acting terrified to all that is happening around them considering their age. Anya Taylor Joy is the star of the movie as Thomasin. She is fantastic as Thomasin who has to put up with constant accusations and not getting the same amount of love as her siblings. She is great in this role and certainly has a big future ahead of her.
Anya Taylor Joy as Thomasin

As the film is set during the 1600s, the use of English language has its differences. Words such as 'yee', 'thy' and 'wouldst thou' are only a couple that are used throughout the film. Sometimes this can be a problem as these phrases and words can seem really forced and takes you out of the viewing experience. However in 'The Witch' it feels as if these characters are from this time. The words flow fluently and don't feel forced at all. This was done very well and the actors all deserve huge credit for this.

Final verdict: The Witch = A-
One of the better horror films I've seen in recent times which I feel you can get a lot of enjoyment from. Not only a good horror but overall a very good film. Worth checking out for sure.

So if you have seen 'The Witch' what did you think of it? I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. Once again thank you for reading, it is much appreciated!

By Angus McGregor

Sunday, 20 March 2016

Eddie The Eagle Review

'Eddie The Eagle' soars onto the big screen on the 28th of March. I was fortunate enough to see a pre screening for the newest attempt at an uplifting sports movie. Based on the true events of Michael 'Eddie The Eagle' Edwards, would the film fly high or would it be a crash landing?

'Eddie The Eagle' follows the life of Michael- also known as Eddie- Edwards (Taron Egerton) who has always dreamed about being an Olympian from whenever he was young and struggled to walk. After being cut from the British Olympic Ski team, Eddie travels to Germany to try his luck as a Ski jumper. After being rejected help from the coaches, his courage wins him the opportunity to be trained by former ski jumper Bronson Peary (Hugh Jackman). Despite not having the backing of his country and not being believed by many, Eddie's never die attitude will look to carry him to the 1988 Winter Olympics, fulfilling his dream.

Much like many sports movies, 'Eddie The Eagle' is most definitely inspiring and very uplifting. To Eddie and Bronson, it isn't about winning. The dream is to be at the Olympics and the story is really chasing the dream that seemed so unrealistic. The determination on show when everything is against the characters is most definitely inspiring. The triumphs along the way do a great job at making you feel great and will leave you feeling awfully giddy at times. You will feel yourself wanting to cheer at times when Eddie succeeds just as some people in my screening did.

Edwards (Egerton) and Peary (Jackman) celebrating together.

The film is very much so a comedy and will give you a great amount of laughs. Quite a lot of this has to do with Taron Egerton as the awkward but high spirited Eddie who lacks main social skills. From the first scene where we meet the grown up Eddie, it shows perfectly what the character is like and it only progresses and gets funnier as the movie goes on. Hugh Jackman was also fantastic as he played a ex pro with a great love for alcohol. Seeing this grumpy, wise cracking drunk was great and worked perfectly against Eddie as the more brash and brutally honest character. Bronson does grow to show more respect and have more banter with Eddie rather than ridiculing him which comically works to the same standard. Also make sure you listen out for a certain announcement about a certain team in a different event.

The chemistry between Egerton and Jackman is fantastic. The two work very well together and bounce off one another with ease. The strong chemistry added to their strong performances and only made them better. Taron Egerton is a star and we should hopefully see him leading many more films and hopefully franchises in the upcoming years. He is fantastic in this role and shows great charisma. And to stand out in a film featuring Hugh Jackman and Christopher Walken is a great compliment. He was definitely able to capture the magic that made Eddie a cult hero for many around the world.

Egerton was great portraying ' Eddie The Eagle'

Jackman himself was also fantastic. It was great seeing Wolverine smoking a cigarette whilst performing the ski jump. Unlike his most famous role, Jackman takes more of a mentor role and really helps and looks out for Eddie's best interests rather than just doing what he pleases. The pairing was a great match and worked incredibly well together.

Bronson Peary played by Hugh Jackman

The film also- maybe unintentionally- does reflect British sport today. At the start we see Eddie be scrutinised due to him not being from a certain private school when he is equally talented. Oddly enough, this reflects current situations in British sport particularly in football. Both the English and Scottish national teams can be accused of not choosing players due to who they play for although being equally talented or in some cases better. Now this is set in the 80's and that this is still going on today is pretty bad. It most definitely is an issue within sport and really shouldn't be a factor. If intentional, it was done fairly well.

The film also delivers a fantastic message to anyone who sees this. It shows that winning isn't the worst important thing and is a great message for those who play or are wanting to get into sport. Eddie was never motivated by winning, just to reach his dream and make people proud of him. And if you try your hardest, regardless of the result you can hold your head up high and the film shows this fantastically. Through the heroes reception he gets to eventual winner Matti Nykanen encouraging him the film shows how you trying your best is really all that matters.

I do have some small criticisms of the film but not really anything major. The movie like most sports films is definitely clichéd. It does use a lot of the same plot lines as other sports movies. However in saying this, I don't have a problem with it being clichéd if it is done well which it was done so. Also I really didn't like the father in this film. I find it very hard to believe that a father wouldn't be happy or supportive at all of his son reaching the Olympics. An unbelievable feat and the fact that he doesn't come around until after the events was not believable to me.

I also thought the way they had the last event play out took away from the moment. I think that if they had made it a lot smoother with some triumphant music, it would have had a much more powerful effect on the viewer. Instead it took a lot longer and didn't really create as great a moment as it could.

Final verdict: Eddie The Eagle: B+
A fantastic and funny sports film that is both uplifting and inspiring. Egerton and Jackman are phenomenal in the tale of sports unsung heroes. Definitely worth seeing when it is out in the UK.

So if you are lucky enough to have seen Eddie The Eagle, what did you think? If you were debating whether or not to see it, I hope this review has convinced you to go see it. Once again thanks for reading, it is much appreciated!

By Angus McGregor

Thursday, 17 March 2016

Anomalisa Review

'Anomalisa' is a new animation film using stop motion similar to thee likes of Wallace and Gromit. It was also nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Film and became the first animated film to win the Grand Jury Prize at the 72nd Venice International Film Festival. However not much had been said about the film which is odd for an Academy Award nominee. So would 'Anomalisa' be more than a simply charming stop motion production?

'Anomalisa' follows the life of Michael Stone (David Thewlis) an inspirational speaker who is finding life rather boring. This is soon changed as he meets Lisa (Jennifer Jason Leigh) who to Michael is different to everybody else around him and soon brings back the spark in Michael's life.

Going into this film, I had no idea what to expect. All I knew was that it was a stop motion film and had only briefly saw the poster. Nothing else. I was expecting a nice family friendly feature due to it's style. So I was sure surprised when the film started and in the first few lines it contained a lot of swearing. I was taken back by this and soon realised that my expectations were way off. This was then confirmed when I realised on my ticket that it was rated as a 15.

This film is very much so a dark humoured adult comedy. Most definitely not a family friendly film. From the dialogue in this using a lot of swearing and innuendos to when the story goes on and it shows things not suitable for younger viewers. The humour works fantastically in this film and really is funny. Better than most of the comedies so far this year. Not quite as out there as 'Team America' however at one point, it looked like it was going that way. The humour really was unexpected to me which may have made it seem funnier but it does work very well.

The film really is quite humane. It shows the deep fear that people have of being alone and also how people can be sick of their day to day lives. It shows this clearly as everyone who Michael interacts with all look and sound the exact same. That's why when he meets Lisa he is taken away by her as her appearance and voice is different. This also shows how people will react to something that is particularly different in their lives and that brings excitement to them. It shows how people will be willing to leave all behind to follow this new excitement showing discontent with their own lives. It's a good blend within his animation of having it's dark humour but also having a very realistic meaning in the story. It works perfectly and produces a very realistic and quite tragic tale.

Of course the animation in this has to be credited. Using stop motion for a feature film will be no easy task and is a real credit to those who can pull it off. The patience that would be needed to do this is incredible. It would really be great to see how they were able to do this and look at how they put it all together to make it seem so fluent. Really interesting process and it was done fantastically.

The film only requires three voices throughout the film due to the illusion to Michael that everybody is the exact same other than Lisa. That being said the voice acting for this was done very well. Jennifer Jason Leigh was great at Lisa and really did a great job. David Thewlis was also great as Michael and showed perfectly how fed up he was a lot of the time. The other voice used was from Tom Noonan who literally voiced everybody else in the film. You may get sick of hearing him throughout thee film as he does a lot as many different characters but that really is the point of him doing it.

Apart from Michael and Lisa, everybody looks and sounds the same
The film most definitely does turn very strange. At the point of Michael and Lisa interacting it takes a turn and becomes very strange. It continues to do this afterwards which involves a scene where Michael is in a nightmare. These two scenes certainly did take me off guard. Some parts of the scenes do work very well such as the trust building between Michael and Lisa and how Michael is so captivated by her simply speaking. However it doesn't take away the fact that there will be some routes you didn't expect the film to take.

I didn't particularly like the ending to the film however. It just seemed very odd and abrupt to me. It is also very odd especially with the 'toy' Michael brings back for his son and what appears to come out of it. I also didn't catch onto the points in the film surrounding thee government. The photo of George W Bush in the nightmare scene puzzled me and then Michael's tirade during his speech was odd as well. Maybe I missed something but I didn't get the purpose of using this.

Final Verdict: Anomalisa = B+
'Anomalisa' is a fantastic dark humoured stop motion film with a very realistic story within it. One to definitely go out and see, you will no doubt get great entertainment from this film.

So if you have seen 'Anomalisa' what did you think of it? Once again thank you for reading, it is much appreciated!

By Angus McGregor