Saturday, 30 April 2016

'Green Room' Review

Have you ever wondered about what goes on backstage at a concert when a rock band is preparing or have just finished their set? You can imagine things such as large amounts of alcohol consumption, drug taking and even sex. Its safe to say you would think of all kinds of shenanigans going on with mainly good intentions. For musicians sake, I hope their experiences are not the same as the unfortunate characters in 'Green Room'.

If you are looking for a film that might put you off going to venues in secluded areas, then this is the film for you. 'Green Room' is pretty terrifying when you come to think about it and is probably a fear for a lot of people that you wouldn't always think of. Four youths led by Pat (Anton Yelchin) look to play their punk rock music in venues as they live the life they always dreamed of. However things turn south when they finish their set at a venue filled with white supremacists. The band alongside  the already trapped Amber (Imogen Poots) are in the wrong place at the wrong time and due to no fault of their own, they are held captive as they have seen too much.

'Green Room' really is quite frightening when things go wrong and creates a situation that would make anyone feel worried and most definitely uncomfortable. The scenes when they are being held captive create so much tension and as we know one thing has happened, we don't know yet just how sinister these skinheads could be. And being perfectly honest, I never expected the film to be as brutal as it ended up being.

On a few occasions you will find yourself squirming due to some of the gruesome acts on screen. This makes the film most definitely not for the faint hearted. The acts of violence within this film can be very hard to watch but at least it has a point to its brutality. For both parties, this is the last chance with Pat and co to escape and for the supremacists, to stop these young adults from undercovering what has went on on this unfortunate night. This isn't overdone and does well not to just become unbearable. There is a shock factor to it but it does well to not make you sick of it by completely overdoing and heavily focussing on the brutality over the story.

Patrick Stewart is the owner of the venue where these atrocities happen and I didn't think I could've ever be quite scared of the man and have quite a hatred for him. He plays a villain who will go to any cost to stop his prisoners from leaving. However some of the other villains within this aren't as great and do make some awfully questionable decisions. It even takes notice of this in the film which makes you question why they continued to do stupid things. Stewart also can't be called a fantastic villain. He only ever takes control of negotiations and leaves a lot of his work to his cronies. Stewart doesn't have a moment in 'Green Room' where you are really taken back by him due to him not doing most of the dirty work. Stewart had the potential to be a great villain but unfortunately, it does not pan out that way.

The film does a good job of combining its tones. At times there are parts that are quite funny and that you will get some laughs from. The film does feature quite a bit of dark humour and this is carried quite a lot by Poots' performance. This is mainly at the start of the film with their punk rock attitudes being a driving point for this. You definitely feel that disappear as it shifts into the next gear and the gritty parts of the film really take over. After that it is filled to the brim with tension and you really can't guess where this movie is going to go. Unpredictability is what you would associate with this film however there are a few things that are quite repetitive. Due to it mainly being set in a small location, I guess it gets a little leeway with this.

'Green Room' really is a film just about being able to survive. A great credit to the film is that it doesn't try to fill the movie with deeper and hidden messages. It is fairly straight forward but that allows the film to fully focus on the story without being distracted by unneeded sub plots. It sticks to it job and doesn't over complicate things.

Final Verdict = 

Most definitely not one for all viewers but if you don't mind a bit of brutality and want a tension filled and scary thriller then 'Green Room' is the film for you!

So will you be seeing 'Green Room' when it comes out? I hope this review was useful and maybe convinced you to see it but you have been warned about certain aspects. Once again thank you for reading, it is much appreciated!

By Angus McGregor

Friday, 29 April 2016

'Captain America: Civil War' Review

If it wasn't clear that Marvel were the kings right now in the superhero genre, it most certainly is now as they extend their lead over their competitors.  It comes at no surprise that the successful Marvel franchise has only been elevated with its latest incarnation. 

The damage and lives that have been lost in the events in New York, Washington, Sokovia and now Nigeria have finally caught up with the Avengers and the government are now pressuring for the superheroes- or vigilantes- to be put in check and not have free will. A clash of opinions splits our heroes and tensions only build from there with Captain America Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) and Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr) having very different views. The latest movements of Cap's old friend Bucky- also known as The Winter Soldier- have made things very tough for Rogers and Stark and has also created a new enemy in the form of the Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman). A combination of the two makes the rest of the heroes make a crucial decision: who's side are you on?

From the synopsis and even the poster alone, the film does seem quite overcrowded and there is a lot to get through. This has been a problem for many superhero films in the past with the characters being rushed or the film just becoming a total mess due to it- see The Amazing Spider-Man 2 as an example. The tittle having Captain America may also be an attempt to make it seem not as filled to the brim but the film features all but two of the heroes we have seen, also adding more to the mix. In saying this though, The Russo brothers were able to create a jam packed film in a very good way. With there being so many mouths to feed within the film, each hero is given a moment to stand out and fills the movie with memorable moments. This is extremely impressive as you see each side as 5 or more heroes and for each of them to have equally great moments that all have great effect is something that movies with only a few heroes struggle to do. 

Our beloved cast once again deliver with Robert Downey Jr standing out as this portrayal of Tony Stark takes a much more serious look at situations than before. A good progression of the character as he looks to put in place what he believes in, no matter who disagrees with him, not even some of his closest companions. Evans again delivers as Steve Rogers and plays the character incredibly well at this point with his brave and courageous ways. Elizabeth Olsen was fantastic as the all powerful and mysterious Scarlet Witch, just as she was when she was the most underrated part of Avengers: Age of Ultron. Paul Rudd made his first appearance with the rest of the impressive cast and he really showed his comedic talents as he hit every joke he made out of the park. Although he might of been a questionable casting at first, he has only proved himself furthermore within this film. The casting for the Marvel Cinematic Universe has proved to be very good and quite importantly consistent with all members including the likes of  Sebastian Stan, Paul Bettany and Scarlett Johansson really delivering in their roles.

The old cast aren't the ones taking the full limelight. Chadwick Boseman looks to be perfect as the Wakandan Prince and is awesome as Black Panther. One of the best looking suits we've ever seen in a superhero movie and Boseman makes sure it isn't just an impressive looking character. His boldness and fighting for what he believes in can be quite similar to the traits of Steve Rogers. We can certainly look forward to seeing more of this character with an solo film already been announced.

For me, the thing I was most looking forward to was seeing the newest addition of my most favourite superhero, Spider-Man. With there being two previous attempts, I was looking forward to the new and fresh look at Peter Parker with Tom Holland on board. It was made clear that Spidey would be younger which would be something different to both Maguire and Garfield's portrayals. What's even better is that Holland was able to be a combination of the two bringing us the best Spider-Man we've ever seen. He has the awkwardness of Peter Parker that Maguire brought us and improves on the attitude shown by Garfield where he is quick witted and has a change of attitude when in the suit. This new Spider-Man is incredibly fun to watch as he trash talks his opponents whilst dealing with them. Due to this, a solo Spider-Man movie led by Tom Holland cannot come quick enough!

As you would expect in such a high budget superhero movie, the action in this is phenomenal. From the first piece of action in Nigeria with Captain America, Falcon, Scarlet Witch and Black Widow all coming against a familiar foe, the standards are set early on. A very positive thing from this is that the action always looks to impress with a fantastic chase scene to eventually the greatest action scene in comic book movie history. I won't go into too much detail but the airport scene is one that we are going to be talking about for many decades to come. A truly fantastic scene with lots of great action, allowing the heroes to fully show their strengths, it is one that will be referenced to death.  The Russo's have brought the great action from 'The Winter Soldier' into Civil War and most importantly improves on it. The Russo's also bring some nice ways to film a lot of their action with the chase scene showcasing many different angles to get some rather impressive shots with. 

The Marvel movies have all been created with good senses of humour within them. This is carried on in Civil War and boy does it deliver. With the likes of Ant-Man being introduced with the comedy shown in his solo film and the original cast members, the humour flows easily throughout the film. Arguably two of the funniest members of the film are an unlikely pairing but bounce off each other very well but you will have to see that for yourself. Although Tony Stark is more serious this time, he simply cannot help himself at times with his one liners or by making some sort of remark. The cast have great chemistry together and this shows in the comedy as they can bounce off each other with ease.

A criticism that can be given to the film does come within its storytelling. At first there is a lot of government driven policies to put the Avengers into check. The film seems to distance itself from that as the film goes on and becomes much more about personal agendas. It builds up the government looking to do this but after an event in Vienna, it kind of loses track of this. There is also a villain on the side of the film, that does feature quite a bit. However I do feel that the story surrounding him does fall flat a little. In saying this, it does leave it up for the character to potentially return and have an even bigger effect in the future. 

Final Verdict = 

A very good inclusion to the MCU, one that will be great for multiple viewings. Great performances once again, great humour and even better action. One of the best from the MCU and most definitely worth seeing! P.S: There are 2 scenes within the credits for those wondering.

So have you seen 'Captain America: Civil War'? If so what did you think of it? I hope this review was helpful and if you do go to see it, I hope you have as good a time as I did! Once again, thank you so much for reading, it is much appreciated!

Thursday, 28 April 2016

'Miles Ahead' Review

'Miles Ahead' brings us yet another biographical drama however one we have never seen before. Also how many people in their directorial debut will also be the lead and portraying an iconic figure in music? Well that's exactly what Don Cheadle did which is a very brave move. Fortunately for him, he was able to pull both off.

Cheadle brings great character and commands the film, stealing the limelight in every scene with his unpredictable and reckless ways. In his directing debut, Cheadle does a great job at combining responsibilities whilst creating an interesting lead who demands your attention in every scene. Well every scene in the storyline surrounding Miles Davis (Cheadle) and journalist Dave Brill (Ewan McGregor).

The film is split into two sections that take turns in telling their stories. One follows Davis and Brill coming together to talk about Davis' potential comeback, leading to a stolen tape which leads to the unlikely duo becoming partners trying to get the stolen record back whilst in the face of danger. The other follows Davis' love life with Frances Taylor (Emayatzy Corinealdi). Clearly one of these has much more excitement and with that comes the more interesting part of the story. The problem with having quite a difference in tone, with one being high octane and the other not so much, it makes you want to go back to the more entertaining aspect whenever it switches.

It is safe to say that the aspect of Davis' life after his fame and leading to a return is the more interesting part and will keep your eyes glued to the screen. There is a lot of fast paced action throughout the film which wasn't really what I expected from this. However it adds to the craziness of Davis and shows how reckless he was in order to get his tape back. He will do anything to get it back, even threatening death to those who stand in his way. This leads to some very entertaining scenes where Cheadle and McGregor play off each other very well.

However the film suffers as it switches as the aspect of Davis' love life doesn't grab the audiences attention. We get a look at Davis' controlling ways and due to this, it is hard to think why they should be together which in the end makes the audience lack sympathy towards Davis. Along with this, it really isn't as interesting and the audience isn't as invested as before. This most definitely slows the film down and doesn't really improve the story. It adds to Davis' life for those who didn't know of him but that's it really.

The switches being the two stories is done very fluently and also very creatively. The film uses some very cool looking switches where something will happen in one aspect in the story and the result will end up being in the second part allowing thee film to move on instantly. Quite impressive and a bold risk for Cheadle to take in his directorial debut but fortunately for him, it worked.

In a movie based on one of the great musicians, you would expect the film to contain some great music. That is most definitely the case within 'Miles Ahead' and this is more than evident in the finale where Davis is back playing and you don't want it to ever end. A great end to the film where we see one of the greats being brought back to life one last time.

Final Verdict = 

A fairly good attempt from Don Cheadle as he combines directing and acting. However the split of the two stories does make the film suffer at times. Worth checking out though!

So have you seen 'Miles Ahead'? If so what did you think of it? Once again thank you for reading this review, it is much appreciated! 

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

'Jane Got A Gun' Review

'Jane Got A Gun' was one of the films that looked to be stuck in developmental hell when it was first reported to be made into a feature length film based on screenwriter Brian Duffield's screenplay. The film had many names reported to have been attached to the project with big names like Jude Law and Michael Fassbender apparently being set to star. Finally though, it was one of the films that was lucky enough to finally escape from the clutches of only being considered to actually be brought to life.

The title alone leads to a lot of interest as it teases the possibility of a strong female character who can cut it with the men within a western. It sets up a story that could be truly brilliant and create another strong female character that has had a resurgence in recent years. However within 'Jane Got A Gun', it is not what you would want from this character especially. Jane (Natalie Portman) has a gun but she doesn't really do much with it in all honesty. In a film where the creation of a strong female character and also into a western was huge possibility, they instead went on the route to make her over reliant on the help from men in her life.
Jane (Portman) together with her ex husband (Edgerton)

This is even more so the truth in the abundance of flashbacks that we see throughout the film. In these flashbacks we see events within Jane's life and in particular moments when she is in trouble. Now these opportunities could've been useful to make Jane a feared outlaw, however she is mainly the damsel in distress who requires saving rather than being able to do so herself. There's only a handful of moments where she has the opportunity herself to strike but that is only due to distraction or that her target was powerless and couldn't defend himself. It does show that she has some sort of ruthless streak but we don't get enough of it for our satisfaction.

Back to speaking about the flashbacks and the film really is carried by them. You don't have to wait long for one of these flashbacks that are filled with exposition. The majority of information we find out about our characters comes from these exposition filled flashbacks. At times, these feel drawn out and could take up much less time.

However that may be true, there are some interesting points in the stories as we learn about Jane and her now ex husband Dan Frost (Joel Edgerton). We see the complicated tale of their relationship and now they were taken apart as well as both of their journeys to find each other once again. Through this, Edgerton really shines and shows his acting capabilities more so than anyone else in the film. His toughness and calmness when in the face of danger but also showed emotion in one of the films biggest revelations. Ewan McGregor does alright as the main villain but the film doesn't really give his character that much to do. Due to this, we do not see his sinister ways or see a reason to really fear him. The story doesn't give his character the opportunity to show his ruthless ways, all we get really is some wanted posters.

This Western also does a great job with many of its standoffs which have great dialogue within them. Although the outcomes are pretty predictable, the scenes do have tension and do well to keep your attention. As a iconic feature within the Western genre, the scenes within JGAG do it justice and keeps it fresh. The finale of the film is pretty fun but also equally ridiculous as an inferno consumes many victims in the first stage of the final showdown. This in the setup looked to be pretty clever and looked forward to it coming into play. However when it comes into tuition, there's no doubting it is pretty ridiculous. The finale is also underwhelming as we expect the cavalry to really come in and have all guns blazing. However it is just every one hiding from each other and guessing where to shoot and hoping it hits a target.

Final Verdict = 

The film most definitely had a lot of promise but unfortunately misfires in a lot of ways. Some fine performances and visually appealing but doesn't hit the mark like it could of done.

So have you seen 'Jane Got A Gun' and if so, what did you think of the film? I hope this review was helpful to you. Once again thank you so much for reading my review, it is much appreciated!

By Angus McGregor

Monday, 25 April 2016

'Friend Request' Review

'Friend Request' is a supernatural horror film that's events take place due to the suicide of a teenage girl. To exact her revenge in a demon form, she will ruin the reputation of one of the most popular girls and looks to cause havoc on the lives of her friends. The social networking sites these people use may just be the demise for them as she uses them against her victims. Wait a minute..... didn't this already come out last year?

Not only does the plot carry a lot of similarities to last years 'Unfriended' but the original name was almost identical. In Germany the film is still called 'Unfriend' but was changed elsewhere to avoid confusion with Blumhouse Productions internet horror. It has even been considered to just simply be the German version of 'Unfriended' although taking different routes in the story and different techniques in the filming. Although there are comparisons between the two, 'Friend Request' overall is the superior film. 

One of the strongest points of this film comes at the start as we see what goes on to cause the death of 'Marina' (Liesl Ahlers). We get introduced to our protagonist Laura Woodson (Alycia Debnam-Carey) who is one of the prettiest and most popular girls and has over 800 friends across her social networking sites. Marina wants to have that feeling due to being lonely ever since she was a child. We see some good character in Laura as she is kind and welcomes Marina to being her friend and even takes an interest in her creative- but very creepy and odd- videos and pictures. Due to this, you grow a liking to Laura and then you have an interest in the main character. To me, that's quite refreshing. How many horrors do you watch and you just cannot stand the main character. It's good to have someone who you'd actually like to see still alive by the end of the run time.
Marina (Ahlers) looking to become friends with Laura (Debnam-Carey)

The way that Marina acts towards Laura continues the creepiness and really is stalker like which makes Laura very uncomfortable. She tries to deal with this as nicely as possible without trying to hurt her new friends feelings but Marina doesn't see it this way and confronts her. These parts have some sort of realism within them as Laura doesn't necessarily do anything wrong and acts how I feel most people would be in order to not hurt someone's feelings. Again this adds to our character as she isn't just some sort of ruthless bully in this situation and does try to defuse this confrontation. The realism is added with the real effects used on social networks whether it is from text alerts to Skype calls that was also apparent in 'Unfriended'. The drama that has unfolded then makes Laura to cut connections with Marina and gets on with her life. Unfortunately this isn't the case for Marina who takes her own life.

Now this is when the horror fans get to dive into what they paid to see. Marina had recorded her brutal suicide and back in demonic form, is here to cause great devastation to Laura and aims to make her feel as alone as she was. Everyone close to Laura is in danger and Laura herself is not safe but in a different way. Each time something happens, the recorded footage winds up appearing on her timeline which she cannot do anything about. Now this part of the film drew mixed reactions from me. The horror elements of this film did bring out some very creepy scenes and there was a lot of tension building up waiting for scares to deliver. However like a lot of horror films, there are some moments that are pretty ridiculous that might make it hard for the viewer to not laugh at. For instance there is a scene in which one of Laura's friends is in a hospital bed and she sits up like 'The Undertaker' which seems to be a near perfect imitation. 
Laura soon realises that she is no longer in control of her social network sites

'Friend Request' really had the potential to be more than just a fairly good horror movie. The reasoning to why these things were happening and how Marina was able to do this was quite clever and in depth relating it way to back to old folklore about witches. This was a great way of telling a story about demonic presences but in a modern way that will appeal to the youth in countries that use the forms of communication. It wasn't just 'oh no the computer is haunted and now bad things are happening'. Credit to the writers for taking the time to look through old rituals to add to the story which was much a better reasoning rather than just 'evil'.

There is also a pretty surprising twist within the film that came fairly unexpected. This is especially so when you consider the two characters involved and the suggested history between the two and what is shown on screen. Most definitely something I didn't expect and it worked to good effect.

However that may be the case, the film does let it's self down at points. As I mentioned before, the film really created some creepy atmospheres and settings that are the stuff from nightmares- which is literally true in this film. Although they do this, the end product is mainly just a loud noise going off or something jumping out at you. Two of the cheapest tactics that can be used in the horror genre and unfortunately, they were deployed more often than I would have liked.

I also mentioned that I had a particular liking for the main character throughout the film. The feeling wasn't mutual for a handful of her friends who straight from the start carried the trope of having annoying characters in a horror film. There stupidity isn't more clear than when Laura alerts them that she is not the one posting these messages. She is even in the company of her friends when these posts are being published and has them watch as she tries to not only delete the posts but also her entire page. However this doesn't stop them from questioning her and accusing her of doing these terrible things. As we've seen Laura and co desperately try to stop this, the scene in which they seem to turn against her do seem quite dumb.

Now we've had 'Unfriended' and 'Friend Request', what's next? Blocked? DM'd? Poked? Hopefully not the last one actually. Anyway who knows what will be the next in what seems like a new trend for the horror genre. In fairness if it can follow and improve from 'Friend Request', I am all for it.

Final Verdict = 
The film most definitely surprised me and has some great moments within it. However there are some negatives that hold the film back for me.

So have you seen 'Friend Request'? If so what did you think of it? I hope this review was useful and maybe convinced you to go and check it out sometime. Once again thank you for reading, it is much appreciated!

By Angus McGregor

Saturday, 23 April 2016

'Bastille Day' Review

'Bastille Day' stars Idris Elba as a badass cop who takes no nonsense from anyone and isn't afraid to get tough with his suspects. That alone is probably enough to get a lot of butts into the seats for this film. But would 'Bastille Day' actually be worth your time? Or would it wind up being a generic and forgettable action-thriller movie?

When a skilful pick pocketer (Richard Madden) accidentally causes what seems like a terrorist attack in Paris, he is then hunted down by Sean Briar (Idris Elba) a CIA agent who looks to bring justice. When the mess that has happened is explained, it is undercovered that there is something much more deadly to worry about as more terror attacks are planned to be carried out. They must now work together in an anti terror mission before it is too late on France's national day.
Mason (Madden) and Briar (Elba) being forced to work as a team.

It would be very easy to say that 'Bastille Day' was simply Idris Elba's audition tape for him to be the next James Bond. If he hadn't done so already, Elba has cemented himself amongst the contenders to take over from Daniel Craig. His performance in the action of this film, could easily fit into a Bond film with him pursuing enemies as well as using weapons and hand to hand combat. His ruthless attitude towards his work adds to the similarities and to why we could possibly have Elba as the next 007.
Our next James Bond possibly?

Elba also shows fantastic chemistry with his co-star Richard Madden throughout the film with the two characters being quite the opposites of each other. Not only looks wise but also with Elba being a part of law enforcement and Madden's character Michael Mason being a thief who looks to make his money through selling others belongings. The two interact and play off each other very well and the pairing also bring a lot of laughs to the film. Due to this, the film is much more funnier than you probably would of expected.

As an action film, there are most definitely some impressive scenes. One of the first action scenes involves Briar having to chase Mason down going through buildings and rooftops. At times this chase was a little slow paced but I actually think that this added quite a bit of realism to the scene as they were actually performing the scene on a rooftop rather than just in front of a green screen. A problem that I did have though was the film at times kept changing how they were filming the action. There were times when the action was being filmed very well and it was clear to see everything that was going and it looked fluid. However the film at times did resort to some cheap tactics such as shaky cam which makes it pretty unbearable and incredibly hard to watch.
Albeit this, there is a scene that has a little feature within the trailer which has the action taking place in the back of a van. This scene in particular was my favourite and involves some great chaotic action. All within the constraints of the back of a van made it more impressive for me which appeared to be quite a fresh piece of action.

The film is allowed to progress a lot in this film due to some of the characters being quite clumsy. A lot of times throughout the film, people will blow their covers or place things and lose sight of them to progress the story. This happened far too much throughout the film for my liking. Also the insinuation of hashtags being a main drive for a lot of the films events was a way of keeping it youthful but mainly pretty silly. It also leaves one quite important thing up in the air by the end of the runtime. There is quite a lot of convenient and silly things that go on throughout the film but if you can look past that and just see it as adding to the fun, then you will get enjoyment from it.

Final Verdict: Bastille Day = B-
A very fun action movie and Elba and Mason are great together. However the film at times is quite a dumb action movie and nothing more really. There is definitely enjoyment to get from this film though and would be worth your time!

So have you seen Bastille Day? If so what did you think of the film? I hope this review has possibly even convinced you to maybe check this film out. Once again, thank you for reading, it is much appreciated!

By Angus McGregor

Friday, 22 April 2016

'The Jungle Book' Review

The latest Disney animated film from your childhood to be brought into live action is 'The Jungle Book'. Directed by Jon Favreau, this adaptation promises to be a visual masterpiece with all but one character being made up entirely by CGI effects. But would this be the only pleasing aspect of the film and would it be able to bring the life that the Disney animated version was able to do successfully? 

Raised by wolves since losing his father at a very young age, Mowgli (Neel Sethi) must leave the pack after he is threatened by the fearsome Shere Khan (Idris Elba) and is putting those close to him in grave danger. Mowgli is lead away by the wise panther Bagheera (Ben Kingsley) whom he becomes separated from. Due to this he encounters many creatures including deceiving snake Kaa (Scarlett Johansson) and then his protector and friend Baloo (Bill Murray). Mowgli will learn valuable life skills from his journey leading to him deciding to go back and face Shere Khan and end his reign of terror.

It does seem quite odd that this is the first of two live action 'Jungle Book' movies to come in the next few years with Andy Serkis bringing the tale to life once again in 2018. However if it is as good as Jon Favreau's creation, I'm all for it. Favreau has brought us an adaptation of a film that has been made numerous times but never to this calibre.

This film is one of the most impressive in the history of cinema when it comes to the special effects. It is hard to believe that this film wasn't shot in these locations and that it is all special effects to create this very realistic version of the jungle. Everything in the jungle looks incredible from the trees to the rivers that flow through the jungle. It's so visually impressive that you don't even think its visual effects- it leaves you adamant that you are actually in the depths of the jungle.
Another part of the visuals that is so impressive is the details of the animals within it. Again, everything looked incredibly realistic with some standing out more than the others. Strangely I was particularly blown away by how great the porcupine looked and was sure that it was the real thing. The detail on the wolves as well were especially outstanding and true credit is deserved to all who worked on bringing these creatures to life. A visual masterpiece.

'The Jungle Book' also features some very well done action scenes. Everything was clearly visible and you didn't miss out due to loads of quick cuts and I feel it was done very well. If you have seen the trailer for the film, you will see Baloo and Shere Khan running towards one another looking at a potential square off. That scene in particular is pretty epic and one to look forward to seeing.

Luckily the film wasn't just down to great visual effects. The voice castings for this film did not disappoint at all with all members doing a great job. Ben Kingsley was phenomenal as the wise panther Bagheera and was a great mentor and protector to Mowgli throughout the whole film. His calm portrayal and excellent delivery was perfect for Bagheera as he kept Mowgli safe and out of the clutches of Shere Khan. Speaking of Khan, Idris Elba was menacing as the vicious tiger who wants to get rid of Mowgli so desperately. He was the perfect voice to bring to this fearful creature and the combination was a great match.

 Bill Murray was great as Baloo and brought a whole load of fun to the film in what was a great reincarnation of the film. Murray's comedic delivery and timing was on show throughout the run time and truly proved to why he was the correct casting. It would of been a tough job to take over as one of Disney's most beloved characters and if it had gone wrong, Murray would've most likely of been crucified by many fans. Fortunately that wasn't the case.

 Scarlett Johansson was also good as Kaa the python. She did a great job as the seductive snake who draws Mowgli in with her hypnotising eyes and charm. Christopher Walken played King Louie which was highly entertaining to listen to whenever he was on screen. Albeit I wasn't a huge fan of the look of King Louie in this adaptation, I do feel that Walken made the character better.

Although the voice acting in the film was pretty great, I can't say that I overly enjoyed the new versions of the classic songs. The Bare Necessities was fine but I don't feel it was nearly as fun as the one in the animated film. I wasn't a big fan of Christopher Walken's version of 'I want to be like you' and feel it was vastly inferior to past renditions.

As a whole the live adaptation probably isn't as fun as the animated classic. However it doesn't try to be and is much more intense. There were many times when I could physically feel people in my row jumping in their seats due to what was happening on screen. If you are expecting this film to be all happy, you won't get that throughout the whole run time. I'm not saying its devoid of this but there are certainly some very intense scenes. Intense to the extent that I'm unsure that this would be perfectly suited for little kids as it may be too much for them at certain points.

Neel Sethi definitely does deserve credit for his role as Mowgli in the film. For your film debut to be in a film that is entirely CGI must of been really challenging. The fact that he would of had nothing to really act against for most of the shooting really makes this an impressive performance especially from an actor of such a young age.
Impressive work from Neel Sethi

Final Verdict: The Jungle Book = B
A very good adaptation of 'The Jungle Book' following mainly the same tale. A visual masterpiece with great voice acting that is most definitely worth seeing!

So have you seen 'The Jungle Book? If so what did you think of it? If you haven't seen it, I hope this review has maybe influenced your decision to go see it! Once again thank you for reading, it is much appreciated!

By Angus McGregor

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

'Eye In The Sky' Review

'Eye In The Sky' is a thriller that takes a close look at what goes through when planning to use an air strike against most wanted suspects. It is set up to be a thriller filled with dilemmas as the military and major powers look to carry out this attack legally and as safely as possible. But in a film like this it needs to get you really engaged and make you question what you would do if stuck in this tricky situation. So would 'Eye In The Sky' be able to create the tension needed to tell such a morally complex story or would it be a bigger disaster than one of their missiles would cause?

'Eye In The Sky' follows the plans to carry out a drone strike in Nairobi, Kenya to take out some of their most wanted targets. It gets a lot more complicated as Lieutenant Genreal Frank Benson (Alan Rickman) and Colonel Katherine Powell (Helen Mirren) struggle to get clearance to carry out this mission from those who would authorize the attacks. The biggest roadblock of all comes when a young Kenyan girl is in the blast zone and it takes a lot of debate from those involved to whether or not they should carry out their plan.

When you go and see this film, be prepared for one of the most morally complex films you will ever see. The film is filled with scenarios that really makes you question what you would do if you were stuck in this tricky predicament. A real dilemma that shows how tough it can be for the people in these jobs to carry out. The film has many twists and turns that makes every decision debatable and quite a struggle to determine what would be the morally correct thing to do. 'Eye in the Sky' will most definitely cause debates afterwards when talking about what your choices in these scenarios would be.

EITS is filled to the brim with brilliant performances. This is even more impressive when considering a lot of the time, the main characters are contacting each other via telephone, video chat and also just sending messages to each other. The main characters are never really in the same room as each other with all dotted about in different locations such as bunkers, head intelligence offices and even to on the streets of Nairobi. Helen Mirren is magnificent as a quick decision maker and thinker whilst the plans for this attack is being planned. Her no nonsense attitude is highly entertaining and provides us with a great character who does pull out some funny moments with her reactions.
Helen Mirren was great once again!

Alan Rickman most definitely deserves praise in what was unfortunately one of his last roles. He provided a fantastic performance as a calm but eagar Lieutenant who knew that something had to be done and quick. Fully aware of the dangers, he is great to watch as he debates the points to strike as soon as possible. This leads to fantastic performances from the whole cast who are watching the events unfold from a secure office in London. Amongst the Lieutenant are members of the legal counsel and of the UK government. There are great scenes within this room as they debate the legal and political views surrounding the aftermath and it really grips you when it so easily could lose you.
A fantastic performance from the late Alan Rickman

A performance from Aaron Paul should most definitely not go unrecognised. His part in this mission is actually setting up the drone and launching the attack. There are many times that he is debating with himself whether or not it is the right thing to do. His character is the one who recognises the young girl and immediately feels a lot of grief about being a part of this attack. Paul does fantastically here to show how unsettled by this and his actions show so as well as he looks to give the girl as much time as possible to allow her to be clear of the danger. We talked about moral complexity earlier but it is perhaps most true for Paul's character Steve Watts in many scenes of the film.

Another great thing about the film is how emotional it can be. The ending ends up with you panicking and so desperately wanting everything to wind up being ok. It really plays to your emotions and is so filled with tension. The movie in fact may effect you in quite a sad way which was most definitely the case in my screening of the film. Once the credits started rolling and I was about to leave, I noticed a woman sitting a couple of seats from me was sitting with her head between her legs. It stayed this way for a long amount of time as her partner consoled her and it was clear to see that she was distressed by this film. Some powerful stuff throughout this film with the credits not helping the emotions either.

The film is filled with many roadblocks throughout the film. The actors do a great job of acting frustrated at these constant setbacks. Being perfectly honest, it does have an effect on the audience as well. A couple of times, there were groans of disbelief as frustration started to affect the audience. It can be like this at times but nothing too bad to take you out of thee film or be fed up at all with it.

Final Verdict: Eye In The Sky = A-
A tense filled and morally complex film, Eye In The Sky is most definitely worth checking out!

So have you seen 'Eye In The Sky'? If so what did you think of it? I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did! If you haven't seen it yet, I hope this review maybe convinced you to go see it. Once again thank you so much for reading, it is much appreciated!

By Angus McGregor

Friday, 15 April 2016

Ranking the Marvel Cinematic Universe Movies!

The 29th of April brings us 'Captain America: Civil War' and with that is the introduction of phase 3 for juggernauts Marvel. The film is my most anticipated for the whole of 2016 and I couldn't be more excited! The studio have already powered out 12 films in the first two phases that have reached critical fame and have been a huge success at the box office. There is a huge demand for the superhero genre and due to this, a schedule with 11 films set to come out by 2019. I feel that this is a good time to have a look back at the current films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and see just how good they were. So here's my list ranking the films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe from best to worst!

The films excluding the TV show 'Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D' in the MCU

To clarify, the Marvel Cinematic Universe is centred on a series of comic book films that share a fictional universe. This has been done by interacting plot points, settings, cast and characters. Although a film may feature characters from Marvel comics, it does not mean that it is a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Several different studios own the rights to certain franchises that keep them away from the MCU. Due to this, the likes of the X-Men, Fantastic Four and Spider-Man movies will not appear on this list.  This is also just a list for the movies so TV shows such as 'Daredevil', 'Agents of Shield' and 'Agent Carter' won't appear on this list. This list is in my personal opinion and if you disagree that is more than fine. I'd like to hear how you would rank it differently!

12. Thor: The Dark World

For me, 'Thor: The Dark World' is the worst of the movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The film has some nice action scenes and Tom Hiddleston is wonderful as Loki but the film just has nothing to it really. The film has possibly the most forgettable story in the MCU and also in my opinion the weakest villain. The movie as a whole isn't really that memorable and doesn't stand up with the rest of the MCU. The beautiful looking set pieces doesn't cover up for the fact that 'The Dark World' is the most boring and least entertaining of the MCU.

Final Verdict = C-

11. The Incredible Hulk

'The Incredible Hulk' was the second film in the MCU but unfortunately comes in at second last in my list. The only film to have its main character have a change of actor later on in the MCU with star of 'The Incredible Hulk' Edward Norton being replaced by Mark Ruffalo later in the MCU. This incarnation of the Hulk does feature some good moments that are better than previous attempts of making a film about the big green rage machine. However some of the CGI isn't up to standard including villain The Abomination not looking that great.

Final verdict = C-

10. Thor

To me, Thor is the least interesting character in the MCU and I found that to be very clear in the solo movies that he was the main character in. I never really developed an interest in the character despite the creators best attempts. The film really is quite beautiful and Chris Hemsworth does produce a good performance as Thor. Tom Hiddleston as Loki though is fantastic and does make 'Thor' worth watching as he is magnificent. I was just unable to really feel connected or be overly intrigued about the character in the solo film.

Final Verdict = C

9. Iron Man 2

Possibly the most disappointing sequel of recent years was Iron Man 2 that really failed to live up to the standard set by the original. The combination of having Justin Hammer, as a rival weapons supplier and Whiplash as the villains was nowhere near strong or built up enough to succeed as well as the first. Robert Downey Jr again is phenomenal as Tony Stark and the introduction of Black Widow was fantastic as we finally got a great and powerful feminine hero.

Final Verdict = C

8. Iron Man 3

A slightly better addition to the Iron Man trilogy which needed picking up after the second addition. There are some great action scenes in this film and we see Stark really struggling to cope with anxiety as he becomes much more humane in this film. However there are some let downs, none bigger than the introduction of the famous Iron Man villain 'The Mandarin' which was a terrible decision to make. Iron Man 3 if done right could have been great but it really doesn't deliver to what many people expected. Still more than entertaining enough for casual viewing and worth watching if you're a fan of Downey Jr's performance as Iron Man.

Final Verdict = C+

7. Captain America: The First Avenger

I really enjoyed watching a young Steve Rogers who was always full of courage transform from a weedy and hopeful brave volunteer to become the fantastic leader during the war. Seeing the courage and smarts that he had led to one of my favourite origin stories in the MCU and brought us a character we could really root for. The villain 'Red Skull' could of been done better for sure and is probably the biggest criticism of the film. Again a great villain with the talented Hugo Weaving portraying him, the film could've been elevated to being a bigger success. I feel that this is up there as quite an underrated superhero movie.

Final Verdict = B

6. Avengers: Age of Ultron

The follow up to the smash hit that was the Avengers brought us some fantastic action and visuals. The introduction of characters such as Scarlet Witch, Vision and Ultron were very good and added to the film when others thought it would only overcrowd it. It kept the tone set by Marvel very well and was entertaining from start to finish. However a lot of the film was used to set up future films that definitely hindered the film. Also some confusing scenes in it didn't allow the film to be quite the critical success that its predecessor was.

Final Verdict = B+

5. Ant Man

At number 5 and narrowly beating AOU is the film that came out in the same year, Ant Man. Nobody thought that we would get an Ant Man film which wouldn't be completely ridiculous or that would work. However Marvel pulled it out of the bag and brought us one of the funniest films of recent years. Paul Rudd killed it as Scott Lang along with a great performance from Michael Douglas as Dr Hank Pym. Michael Pena was hilarious in this visually stunning, hilarious movie from Marvel. Ant Man showed that size doesn't matter when it comes to making an impact.

Final Verdict = B+

4. Iron Man

For many years Iron Man was the best Marvel film and it would be hard to beat. However that may not be the case now but it can't be denied that without the huge success of Iron Man, it would not of opened the door for the rest of the MCU. Perhaps the most important film on this list. One of the best origin story along with Jeff Bridges as a solid villain and great action made Iron Man a hit. The introduction of Robert Downey Jr as Tony Stark would become one of the greatest castings of all time and will go down as arguably the best superhero portrayal of all time.

Final Verdict = A

3. Guardians of the Galaxy

The only film on this list that is yet to interact with any of the characters in the other MCU movies is Guardians of the Galaxy. Nobody expected this unheard of crew led by Chris Pratt to become the summer highlight of 2014. Perhaps the biggest gamble from Marvel as they took an obscure comic book and decided to put it onto the big screen. Its wonderful action and great humour made it one of the main talking points for movie fans as it was a worthwhile gamble. The funniest movie in the MCU which also has by far the best soundtrack.

Final Verdict = A

2. Captain America: The Winter Soldier

As a fan of the first Captain America, I was more than pleases with 'The Winter Soldier' as it surpassed the original in every way which not many sequels can say they did. This film took a new look into the superhero world with more of a spy, thriller, action movie that did change it up a little. 'The Winter Soldier' is the best standalone MCU film with its great storyline as well as once again, incredible action. The story between Captain America Steve Rogers and long lost friend and newly become 'Winter Soldier' Bucky Barnes is one of the best in the MCU and makes it a must see!

Final Verdict = A