Wednesday, 31 August 2016

'Bad Moms' Review

From the writers of 'The Hangover' comes 'Bad Moms' with a stacked cast featuring some of Hollywood's best comedy actresses like Christina Applegate and Kathryn Hahn as well as being led by the wonderful Mila Kunis. It looked as if the magic from the first 'Hangover' would be channeled with a female twist to create comedy gold. Unfortunately, 'Bad Moms' is very much so a missed opportunity.

Amy (Mila Kunis) is overworked due to her career and making sure everything is fine for her kids. Her husband is no help at all and it is becoming too much for Amy as a PTA meeting for a bake sale finally sends her over the line and she cracks. Two other moms, Kiki (Kristen Bell) and Carla (Kathryn Hahn) join Amy as the ditch their duties and do whatever they please. Their reckless antics lead them to clash with the PTA and its president Gwendolyn (Christina Applegate) and her followings of perfect moms.

'Bad Moms' most definitely had the potential to be a great female comedy. Recently, female led comedies such as 'Bridesmaids', 'Pitch Perfect' and dare I say it, 'Ghostbusters' have been movies that I have really enjoyed. Quite a succesful trend in my book and when you take into consideration the talent involved, you have to say this had potential. Unfortunately, the comedy is not great at all. There are a few moments sure that will get a genuine laugh but it really is only a few. The jokes aren't great and really fall flat a lot of the time. 

Kathryn Hahn is one of my favourite comedy actresses having impressed me in the likes of 'We're The Millers' and her appearances in 'Parks and Recreation'. I can't add 'Bad Moms' to the list as I really did not like her in this movie. Her character's comedy just consisted of her being as loud as possible whilst saying any random thing that comes to her head. For me, this didn't work and got old really fast which hurt my viewing as she was hard to bear whilst on screen.

Other than Amy, there aren't really any likeable characters in this movie. They are all horrible people to begin with and if not they soon progress to be which doesn't help. The PTA committee which includes Christina Applegate and Jada Pinkett Smith's characters are a huge pain in the ass but they are meant to be so doing this to their characters makes perfect sense. However, when the three leads become reckless, they aren't really that fun and are just irresponsible. They are letting loose but putting their children at risk by just leaving them to fulfill their needs. I probably wouldn't mind as much if the comedy was actually good but I can't say that it was. 

The film will also plead for you to suspend your disbelief throughout the whole movie. Everything seems so way out of hand from Amy's work to the PTA to her relationship with her husband. For one, nobody is buying that Amy and her husband ever had something as they are terrible together and you don't see why she would be with him at all. Amy's schedule is also ridiculous to the point where it is far from believable. You get this feeling throughout the movie that everything that is happening in their lives is unrealistic but is needed for the story to work.

By the end of the film, the moms accept that they can't be perfect moms in one of the films better parts. It makes it clear that they should strive to try their best regardless and look to fix overhanging problems. The only problem with the ending is despite them accepting that not everything will be prefect, everything falls into place and is perfect. Amy's kids can suddenly do anything and her son especially has transformed from the start. Her job just conveniently works out for her as well so her life has turned out perfectly. This feels as if it is going against its message that it had spent time setting up and actually told fairly well. 

Overall, 'Bad Moms' seems to follow a trend and a huge problem with recent comedies, it's just not that funny. For a comedy, of course this means that it has failed at its main aim. Horrible characters really hurt this film. The cast does seem to try but it just doesn't work out which is a real shame for this disappointing movie.

Final Verdict = 

So have you seen 'Bad Moms'? If so what did you think of it? I hope that this review was useful for if you were planning on seeing the movie. I hope that you enjoy this movie more than I did if you do choose to see it. Once again, thank you for taking the time to read my review, it is much appreciated!

By Angus McGregor

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

'The Purge: Election Year'

Back in 2013, Hollywood was introduced to a unique premise for a horror/thriller. 'The Purge' was a chance for people to be able to break the law for 12 hours with no consequence. One year later, it gained a sequel after making a huge profit at the box office, showing interest in the franchise. Unfortunately, I feel it's safe to say that the movies haven't quite hit the mark just yet with the first two not fully delivering. 'Election Year' looks to get the franchise back on track as another spell of the annual purge begins.

18 years ago, now Senator Charlie Roan (Elizabeth Mitchell) survived a purge attack but unfortunately, her family did not. Now running for president, she looks to end the purge if she gains power which angers a lot of people including her main presidential rivals. Despite Leo Barnes (Frank Grillo) doing his best to secure her home, Roan is betrayed forcing herself and Leo to flee her home and roam the streets of Washington DC. It's now going to be a long night as Barnes looks to protect Roan throughout the night of the purge.

I'm not a fan of the first two movies in this franchise. The premise is fantastic but the first two films have really failed to capitalise on it with terrible characters and making the premise obsolete. With the previous instalments not delivering, I went into this expecting it to be much of the same. Bizarrely, 'Election Year' for me is by far the best and most enjoyable of the franchise.

'Election Year' doesn't take itself too serious throughout most of the movie. The premise is supposed to induce chaos and that exactly is what happens in this film. As the purge begins, the nation transforms into a cauldron of madness as the lunatics roam the streets to capitalise on the freedom they have been granted. The movie finally capatalises on this and goes all out as we truly see how insane the people who participate in the purge are. With giant guillotine's in alleyways and huge swinging blades in the streets as well as the abundance of idiotic people dressing up in anything that will light up. It doesn't take itself too serious which allows you to really just have fun with the movie which is exactly what should happen with these movies as it has been missing so far in the series.

Senator Roan and her head of security Leo Barnes are forced to leave their home for good reason after being betrayed. There is actually a good reason to why they have had to go outside which I feel has been a problem throughout the purge movies. Characters do incredibly stupid things close to the deadline or throughout the night which lead to them making decisions that may harm them. It was refreshing to see something that made sense in one of these movies. It seems as if director and writer James DeMonaco listened to criticisms of the past films and has amended them in this film which is very pleasing to see.

In saying that, there are a lot of things that happen that are very convenient. Whenever the main protagonists seem to be in trouble, they just happen to be next to and are saved by purgers with 'good intentions'. Whoever is trying to cleanse themselves waste far too much time, giving new characters the opportunity to swoop and save the senator. This happens a lot in the movie and it leads the story to become quite predictable.

Frank Grillo was one of the highlights in 'Purge: Anarchy' and he continues that as being the best character in this movie. Grillo is great as Leo Barnes and is a believable badass as he looks to protect the senator. Barnes takes no nonsense from anyone and is right to not fully trust anyone in the situation that he is in. Elizabeth Mitchell plays Senator Roan and also does very well. She comes off as an ideal candidate showing compassion and is reasonable with the points that she is trying to get across. You root for her and as she isn't a terrible character or human being, you want her to stay alive. She constantly looks for the peaceful way to handle things but also is forced to help out which is understandable.

At the start, we see Roan's opposition plan to take her down and to do so, they bring in a special ops team. The design for how this team looks must have been decided by how threatening they could make the uniform look without having them actually do anything. The uniforms are covered in swastikas and confederate flags and it doesn't stop there. The leader is a skinhead covered in tattoos leading us to believe he is tough or just an idiot. Unfortunately, all the effort into them went into the look and we never really see anything from the special ops team that makes them feared or that you know that they are tough opposition. This leads to there not really being a strong villain in the film as you don't see the senators competition again until near the end of the film. The most deadly and threatening was actually the sadistic priest who was hardly in the film as well.

I really like the fact that the movie looked at the purge as something of an attraction. We got to see that people were coming from all over the world to participate in the purge which was interesting and actually seems realistic. However, the film doesn't use this to its full potential and it becomes a small part of the film which could have been cut. That would have been a good opportunity to create better threats to our protagonists but they failed to do so.

Overall, 'The Purge: Election Year' is the best in the franchise so far. Better but still not great unfortunately as there are still some problems within it. 'Election Year' is more fun than the others with some decent action. Frank Grillo shines with Elizabeth Mitchell also doing well. If you want an insane, easy to watch film then 'Election Year' is the film for you.

Final Verdict = 

So have you seen 'The Purge: Election Year'? If so what did you think of it? I hope that this review was useful for if you were planning on seeing the movie. Once again, thank you for taking the time to read my review, it is much appreciated!

By Angus McGregor

Sunday, 28 August 2016

'Swallows and Amazons' Review

In a time where movies are being remade, you may not have spotted this one. The first book in Arthur Ransome's series, 'Swallows and Amazons' originally got the movie treatment back in 1974. So 42 years later, the classic tale is being brought to life once again, to share the story with a new generation.

Whilst on a family vacation, the Walker children are given permission to sail out to an island in the middle of the lake and set up camp. After giving themselves the moniker 'Swallows' after their boat, they soon realise that there are another group on the island known as 'Amazons'. The two will come against each other to gain control of the island. Meanwhile the mysterious Captain Flint (Rafe Spall) is being pursued two gentlemen as the look for secret information from him.

In a summer that featured strong family movies coming from Disney and Pixar, I didn't think that I would be saying these words. 'Swallows and Amazon's' is the best family movie of the summer. This is one of the few films this summer that I feel is very well suited for all viewers. There are most definitely parts that children will enjoy as it is more aimed towards them but I was very impressed with how much of this film targeted adults too. The spy part of the film is very much so the main part that is geared towards the rest of the family with its dark tone and mystery surrounding it.

The adventure is truly what this film is about and is one of the most entertaining aspects of the film. Seeing the four Walker children battling the elements, seeing them fail and succeed on their journey is a very enjoyable and most importantly an entertaining viewing. Seeing these kids act in a world where mobile phones and the internet are not in existence yet was very enjoyable as they are genuinely excited by being outdoors and create their own fun within the elements. The film captures this perfectly as they are constantly outside, something that certainly seems to have been lost in recent generations. 

Personally, I thought that one of the best parts within this movie had to do with the children and their relationship with each other. As the youngest of 3 children, I could relate to the youngest child Roger throughout the movie as I remember things happening to me that happen in the movie. Through not being allowed to go somewhere because of age to just being a general nuisance, I strangely related to the character. I can see traits of my older sisters in the older siblings as well such as being more bossy but also very protective at the same time. I feel that they captured this aspect incredibly well and the film deserves huge credit for creating the most relatable and realistic family aspect in a film this summer. 

In saying that, the cast deserve huge credit as they were as much involved in creating this family feeling. Dane Hughe and Orla Hill play the eldest children John and Susan and the pair do very well bouncing off each other as they bicker and disagree with each other despite having the best interests in mind. I really enjoyed Teddie-Rose Malleson-Allen as Tatty, the second youngest child. She had great wit at times and was delightful in her role as the very intelligent for her age Tatty. Last of all is Bobby McCulloch as Roger who did very well considering his age as well. He was what seems like the typical younger brother which I feel a lot of people will be able to see in their youngest children and siblings. Sometimes with child actors, a film may not be as impactful. However with 'Swallows and Amazons', they are very much a huge strength in the film.

'The Amazons' consist of the Blackett children played by Seren Hawkes and Hannah Jayne Thorp who were also fantastic. Hawkes played the elder sister Nancy who is ruthless and quick thinking which leads to some very funny moments of dialogue from her as she has to deal with her sister. It was great British humour and her delivery was always on point. Thorp as the younger sister did very well as the more kindhearted of the two who doesn't quite take everything as serious as her sister. The pair work very well together and bounce off each other fantastically. The rest of the cast are also very good with Rafe Spall doing a great job as the mysterious 'Captain Flint'. You don't know what to expect from him and are unsure throughout to whether he is a good guy or a bad guy. The character was very intriguing which was helped very much so by Spall's performance.

Overall, 'Swallows and Amazons' is the best family movie I have seen this summer. Entertaining throughout the whole film with a relatable story created one of the more enjoyable cinema trips this summer. I'm so glad I caught this one and you should go out to see it now!

Final Verdict = 

So have you seen 'Swallows and Amazons'? If so what did you think of it? I hope that this review was useful for if you were planning on seeing the movie and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did! Once again, thank you for taking the time to read my review, it is much appreciated!

By Angus McGregor

Saturday, 27 August 2016

'Nerve' Review

In the modern day, the internet and social media are such pivotal parts of our lives as we spend many hours on sites like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Quite frankly, we do see quite a lot of stupid things that truly baffle and can even amaze us. But what if there was a game that encouraged these people to complete dares in return for large sums of money and the prospect of internet fame? 'Nerve' is here to show us what can happen in a scarily realistic telling of how this 'game' could quickly turn into a horror show.

Artsy Vee Delmonico (Emma Roberts) is a student who isn't content with her life in Staten Island. Her friends feel she doesn't take many risks and it leads to best friend Sydney (Emily Meade) embarassing her. Due to this, Vee signs up for 'Nerve', a popular 24 hour long game that challenges players to make money through a series of challenging dares. Viewers pay to watch and players play to win cash prizes. The stakes are raised higher and higher as the night goes on and Vee realises that the game is far more sinister than she first thought. Paired with Ian (Dave Franco) the two look to bring the game to an end.

Despite being set in the year 2020, 'Nerve' depicts a scarily realistic version of the way the internet works. The game 'Nerve' is set up anonomously and is powered by the large amount of watchers who pay to watch and even take it further for their favourite players. That alone is quite realisitc as it shows how internet personalities can become famous through people taking interest in what they are doing. Now that is the realistic part that isn't too bad. 'Nerve' shows brilliantly how many people will hide behind a username to carry out acts that are pretty despicable, none more evident than in the finale. These people may think that they don't have an effect on what happens but they are oh so wrong. The film also shows perfectly how that if you say something on the internet, it may very well be used against you and that you can't control it once it is out there. 'Nerve' showcases this incredibly well and speaks volumes about reckless use on the web.

The tone at the start of the film seems to be quite light hearted as the dares are seemingly harmless with the likes of kissing a stranger and performing a song in a restaurant. The start of the film shows these challenges to be fun and we see the characters having a good time. The film becomes quite fun as the stakes don't seem too high and the challenges haven't quite placed them in too much danger. However the tone shifts drastically as the film progresses and the dares become more challenging and death defying rather than the harmless fun that people sign up to complete. As the true horrors of the game unfold, the more dramatic and tense it becomes as the dares become more challenging to the extent where lives are risked. From what started for Vee as something to let loose with, now becomes something that could harm her drastically.

Emma Roberts stars as Vee, the seemingly boring to her friends, art student who looks to play Nerve after falling out with her best friend Sydney. The film could've done a lot better with Vee's reasoning for playing the game. Rather than her signing up after being embarrassed, they could have played more into the money aspect of the game as she looked to move for university. She lives at home with only her mother which they could have played into a whole lot more to make it much more impactful.

Emma Roberts and Dave Franco work tremendously well together in this film. Roberts does very well combining the different aspects of Vee's personality like the awkward side but also the artistic side. She seems very normal and down to earth and the character seems like your average person, allowing the average viewer to relate to her. Franco's character 'Ian' is a lot more mysterious but he plays off the cool character incredibly well with his charisma. The pair have great chemistry together and this is shown on many occasions as the pair work together to complete the challenges set for them. Both are believable in their roles and work very well and you can see both in and out of the film, that they really enjoyed working together. Emily Meade plays Vee's best friend Sydney and does very well as well. Sydney isn't the greatest person and I'm sure we all know someone like her. It's not made entirely clear to why they are such good friends but you cannot fault Meade's performance at all.

One of the strongest parts of the film is with its soundtrack which fits the film nearly perfectly. The soundtrack accompanies our protagonists to each destination as we see some fantastic sights of New York City. The film does use the landscape a lot throughout the film to move the film to the next scene which does seem repetitive at times although still being done to a very high standard. The film is beautifully created and has a wide range of shots showcasing the talents of co-directors Ariel Schulman and Henry Joost.

Overall, 'Nerve' is an incredibly fun film which takes a dark twist that fills the movie with tension and unpredictability. One of the more enjoyable movies of the summer for me, I thoroughly enjoyed this one and would recommend it for if you're looking for a fun summer movie. Some minor problems and they could have made the reasoning a bit more powerful but all in all I don't have too much to moan about. Good performances all around and a great premise which was capitalised on. 

Final Verdict = 

So have you seen 'Nerve'? If so what did you think of it? I hope that this review was useful for if you were planning on seeing the movie. Also, I hope that you enjoy it as much as I did! Once again, thank you for taking the time to read my review, it is much appreciated!

By Angus McGregor

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

'Nine Lives' Review

Do you ever see a film on Rotten Tomatoes that has such a low score and you think to yourself, "Hey, surely it can't be that bad". Rather foolishly, that was me last week and I made one of my worst decisions by deciding to go out and see 'Nine Lives'. 

Tom Brand (Kevin Spacey) is a billionaire whose workaholic lifestyle has led to him drifting apart from his wife (Jennifer Garner) and his daughter Rebecca (Malina Weissman). As Rebecca's birthday draws near, Tom looks to make up for not being there by buying a seemingly harmless cat and a strange event puts Tom into the body of the cat. He now has one week to reconnect with his family or he will be forced to live the rest of his life as a cat.

Kevin Spacey is one of my favourite actors of all time, He is two of my favourite villains in 'Se7en' as John Doe and in 'The Usual Suspects' as Keyser Soze. He is one of our finest actors working today. He has recently been doing fantastic work in 'House of Cards' for which he has won a Golden Globe and a SAG award for. He's also a two time Academy Award winner for his work in 'The Usual Suspects' and 'American Beauty'. Now how on earth has someone so immensly talented ended up in such a travesty of a movie like this? I don't believe that this is a project that Spacey would be taking completely serious and is surely- and hopefully- just a payday for Spacey. 

I feel sorry for everybody involved in this. There is some serious talent in this movie. I mean Kevin Spacey and Christopher Walken being in a movie together should be very exciting but this film does not allow you to get much if any joy from the pair working together. Jennifer Garner is also in this and also could do much better. It's hard with a film so ridiculous and awful as this to really criticise the actors as there isn't really anything that they could do that would be able to save this movie. In saying that none of them are good in the film and you struggle to get enjoyment from seeing any of them in the film. You just feel really sorry for them.

For a film being made in 2016 where animals can be created via CGI to look almost perfect, the film could have least bothered to achieve this. Yes the use a real cat a lot but for the scenes when they want the cat to do something, you can see the poor effects as it transcends from reality to an awful effect. The film couldn't even succeed with this which is a real shame as it could've been the one positive of the film.

The film is listed as a comedy and it really is far from it. The film uses a good couple of minutes showing cat videos from YouTube which will get laughs from children and cat fanatics and that's about it. The film has a continous gag of the cat falling off of anything and it really beats you over the head with it. When a joke isn't funny the first time and then they use it to death, it creates a painful viewing experience. The rest of the comedy is of an equal standard so I guess they felt that it worked and put all of their eggs into one basket. 

Overall, 'Nine Lives' is one of the worst movies of the year. There aren't any aspects that are good and please stay away from this movie. It is not worth your time, money or effort. Don't even see it on Netflix. Don't even watch it illegally it's a waste of a search. I hope everyone involved makes better decisions in the future. I just feel sorry for the cat who didn't have a choice.

Final Verdict = 

So are you one of the unfortunate soles who has seen 'Nine Lives'? If so what did you think of it? I hope that this review was useful for if you were planning on seeing this movie but please don't see it, I can't stress that enough. Once again, thank you for taking the time to read my review, it is much appreciated!

By Angus McGregor

Monday, 22 August 2016

'Lights Out' Review

'Lights Out' started off as a short film created by David Sandberg as a short film for a competition. Despite not winning, the short film soon went viral and Sandberg's property was one of the most sought after for many studios and agencies. One of those contacts was Lawrence Gray who looked to get horror guru James Wan involved with the project. A full length feature film was now to be created with Sandberg making his major directorial debut, which hoped the replicate the success of his 2013 short film.

When Rebecca (Teresa Palmer) left home, she thought that her childhood fears were behind her. As a young girl growing up, she was never really sure of what was real when the lights went out. Now, her little brother Martin (Gabriel Bateman) is experiencing the same unexplained and terrifying events that jeopardized her safety and sanity. Holding a mysterious attachment to their mother (Maria Bello), a supernatural entity has returned with a vengeance to torment the entire family.

Recently I've became a whole lot more into the genre of horror with films like 'The Witch' and 'The Conjuring 2' really impressing me this year. I'm starting to become quite a fan of modern horror and two other films that really impressed me in recent years have been 2014's 'The Babadook' and 'It Follows'. Two clever horror films and I feel that 'Lights Out' took some of the best aspects of each film, and brought them together to create something great. 

The resemblence to 'It Follows' is very clear as a supernatural force will not leave you alone only this time with it happening only when the lights are out or if it's dark. That alone is quite a terrifying premise and for some would be a complete nightmare. A common fear is being in the dark so when you add a ruthless threat into that situation, you create genuine terror in the mind of the viewer. The aspect of not being able to go to sleep due to this creature leaves our protagonists very vulnerable and only adds to their struggle. The premise works phenomenally well and is used to great effect to the point where you may want to sleep with a night light on after seeing it.

Due to the premise of the dark being feared, the film creates some very creepy atmospheres that will bring your fears to life. From the first scene where we first encounter the creature in a warehouse filled with mannequins, you instantly feel tension as it is instantly eery. It creates situations where you really wouldn't want to be which makes you think of the worst before anything really happens. It really plays with your mind and this continues throughout the whole film.

Not only does the film feature a premise that is terrifying, the explanation and reasoning to how it's happening has the same effect but in a completely different way. This is where I feel that the film connects to 'The Babadook'. The mother played by Maria Bello is clearly unstable and she claims to have a 'friend' called Diana. The film looks at how the mother is struggling to cope with a divorce, her daughter leaving home and also the death of her new beau. The film looks at how she is being effected mentally which leads to some tragic moments where you really feel for the character and just want her to get better. It had quite a realistic feel to it despite the supernatural entity as you see this woman really crumbling as she desperately needs help to get better. A different kind of horror from the main draw but an equally as scary one.

A criticism of the film that I have seen has to do with the body count which has apparently made the creature seem not that threatening or as deadly. However the story does create a deeper meaning that clearly associates the creature do this family so it makes sense to why she is causing harm to those close to the family. It makes complete sense in regard to the story and in my opinion, makes it even more effective.

With James Wan being a part of this film, it comes to no surprise that the quality of this film is very high. What impressed me most was the visuals with Diana appearing in the dark and then the figure suddenly disappearing in the light. There are some impressive uses of this, quite like in the short film but with more resources allows Sandberg to go all out with it. To see that Sandberg really took advantage of the opportunity to improve on his idea was good to see as the filmmaker took full advantage of the chance he had been given. In his directorial debut, Sandberg has taken the right steps and hopefully we'll be seeing more of him in the future.

One gripe about the film and it is something that I feel is a common theme within horror. At times the characters make decisions that really aren't clever at all. Palmer's character Rebecca is supposed to be protecting her brother but at times wanders off, leaving him vulnerable if the lights go out. There are moments like this throughout the film that do frustrate you as you wouldn't want to leave anyone in that situation, especially a younger brother. It is baffling and unfortunatley hurts the film to an extent.

Overall, 'Lights Out' will more than satisfy you horror fans out there. A great story behind the origin of Diana as well as a terrifying premise really creates a great horror film. The atmosphere in the film is eery throughout and Sandberg can be proud of his major directorial debut. Well worth seeing.

Final Verdict = 

So have you seen 'Lights Out'? If so what did you think of it? I hope that this review was useful if you were planning on seeing the movie and I hope that if you choose to see the movie, that you enjoy it as much as I did. Once again, thank you for taking the time to read my review, it is much appreciated!

By Angus McGregor

Saturday, 20 August 2016

'Pete's Dragon' Review

'Pete's Dragon' is the latest film to recieve a reboot in the form of a live action movie. The original was sort of live action with a cartoon dragon but now, Disney are going all an extent. Comparing this to Disney's other live action project this year 'The Jungle Book', 'Pete's Dragon' has had nowhere near as much attention put on it. Maybe this is due to it not being as beloved but still, you'd expect a Disney project like this to be a lot more in the public eye. Due to this, I didn't expect a masterpiece. I wish it did gain more recognition as 'Pete's Dragon' is very much so an entertaining movie.

When he was very young, Pete (Oakes Fegley) was in a car accident that took the lives of his parents. Orphaned, he was saved by a green dragon who took care of him and they became each others family. Mr Meacham (Robert Redford) told stories of how he encountered the dragon to which many believed were not true, including his own daughter Grace (Bryce Dallas Howard). Grace soon discovers Pete who claims to have lived with the dragon in the woods. Grace will now see for herself if what she has been told has been the truth all along.

I have no memory of seeing the original 'Pete's Dragon' and if I have seen it, it would have been when I was very little. Some may have a problem with this remake but for me, it was a lesser known story that could do with being brought back to the big screen for a new generation to know of the story. And I feel that it more than succeeded as a reboot/remake. This retelling of the story created a fun, family adventure which it set out to do.

The main part of the film obviously has to do with the relationship between Pete and his dragon, Elliott. With minimal dialogue, you can see a true love between the two which is impressive considering the relationship consists of a child actor and a completely CGI character. The film handles the relationship between the two very well as we see that they really rely on each other. They hate being apart for any period of time and you can see a true bond between the pair. Strangely, the film cannot do this at all with the relationship of Bryce Dallas Howard's character Grace and her husband played by Wes Beentley. We are told that they are a unit but it never really shows in the film. The pair don't have great chemistry together and they don't seem to be in a relationship at all. Just an observation that seemed strange considering how well the film handled the relationship between boy and creature.

Oakes Fegley does very well as Pete, the orphaned child who was taken care of by Elliott. He was impressive in his role as were thee supporting characters. Oona Laurence is Grace's daughter Natalie which brings in another child actor but again she is great. She develops a friendship with Pete that helps draw his personality out as he grows to trust people more as he gains his first human friend. Laurence shined last year in 'Southpaw' and she impressed me yet again and most definitely is one for the future. 

Karl Urban does a tremendous job as Grace's brother in law Gavin who after discovering Elliott, seeks to hunt him down. After playing one of the most likeable characters 'Bones' in Star Trek Beyond, Urban plays a terrific bad guy who you just dislike as soon as he finishes his first scene. The character was well written and equally well portrayed by Urban who shines again. Him and his group of cronies get the film to become more exciting as the pursue the beast, giving us comedy as well as moments where we see our protagonists struggle and even plays with your emotions.

Robert Redford appears in this film and for what the scenes he's in, he's great. However he appears quite early on in the film for not a long period of time and then completely disappears from the story. With his character having already encountered the dragon already, I feel they could have done a lot more with him. He was underutilised to an extent as he doesn't show up for a good 40 minutes after his first appearance and you sort of forget about him. In saying that though, he does play a big part in the finale which is very fun with Redford leading from the front.

It's safe to say that the start of the film isn't as interesting or as fun a the rest of the film. That's mainly due to the story not really kicking in until later on and even then it is quite thin and the events happen rather quickly. The film certainly takes its time at first to set everything up which may not be as entertaining the whole way through. However they do make sure to throw in some nice scenes involving Pete and Elliott playing together, showcasing the relationship and showing off some dazzling CGI effects at the same time.

Speaking of the CGI in this film, it is of a very high standard. The dragon looks decent and there is a consistency in quality throughout the whole film. It's not your usual dragon which resembles a dog a lot of the time but nonetheless, it is still very impressive. The CGI is utilised incredibly well when creating other creatures in the film as well. I'm not entirely sure if they were CGI but the wolves in this film looked so lifelike that I'm really unsure if they were generated rather than actually being there. I hope that it was CGI as it would go down as one of the best uses this year, matching that from 'The Jungle Book' earlier this year.

Overall, Pete's Dragon is a family, fun and heartwarming film that will bring entertainment across the board. A good example of what a remake should do and it seems to have introduced a tale to a new generation with a nice modern look at it. Worth seeing if you already enjoy the tale or if you are completely new to the story, like myself.

Final Verdict = 

So have you seen 'Pete's Dragon'? If so what did you think of the film? I hope that this review was useful for if you were planning on seeing the movie! Once again, thank you for taking the time to read my review, it is much appreciated!

By Angus McGregor

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

'The Shallows' Review

It's safe to say that films featuring sharks are either a hit or a miss. There is a humongous gap in quality when it comes to movies featuring the ferocious predator. You have one of Steven Spielberg's greatest films and a classic in 'Jaws' sitting high at the top of the pile. However, it may be safe to say that 'Jaws' is the only example of a true great shark movie. You have films like 'Deep Blue Sea' which are enjoyable but more of a guilty pleasure and the likes of 'The Reef' and 'Open Water' that are just OK. Then there is a huge crop of completely terrible movies. The list of bad movies in this sub genre goes on and on with the likes of 'Jaws 4', The 'Sharknado' franchise and all of your monster combination films like 'Jurassic Shark' and 'Sharktopus'. With 'The Shallows' coming out, we can only hope it can join the few good quality movies and hopefully stay as far away from the bottom.

Still dealing with the loss of her mother, medical student Nancy Adams (Blake Lively) travels to a hidden beach where her mother had previously gone to for some much needed alone time. She takes the time to surf and as she goes to catch one last wave, she is attacked by a deadly Great White Shark that leaves her to swim for her life which leaves her stranded on a rock. Injured and alone, she must use her intelligence to stay alive and also make it to the shore to safety as the shark circles her, waiting to attack.

Now in a film like this, you have to suspend your disbelief as there are things that happen that may not play out the same in real life. With the injuries recieved to Lively's character Nancy this is most definitely the case as she uses basic resources to do her best to heal the wound. However what she is doing does seem to make sense and in reality is all she can do. What I liked about what the film did was it would go back to her injuries showing the effect they were taking on Nancy as the film didn't just try to forget about them. It's a small thing but they did well to not just act as if she was completely fine after suffering a heavy attack.

Blake Lively does do a good job in this film considering the thing that she has to play off the most is a seagull. She does very well at selling her injuries and shows the struggle as she is hurt, alone and desperate. It's safe to say that she is a very attractice woman and that the creators take every chance to show this early on as it takes every opportunity to focus on her assets. This is really obvious a lot of the time and may just be a way to attract more people to see the film. However something that I did like with how they handled the character was how they didn't keep her looking as if she had makeup all the time whilst stranded. You could clearly see that she had becom sunburnt and it was small things like that which made the film more enjoyable as it seemed much more realistic because of it. Lively acted against everything very well, showed great fear as well as intelligence as she planned to survive.

One of the negatives that comes with the film for me is the CGI. At times it really isn't great and doesn't do the film justice as it seems noticeably fake when it comes to some of the creatures. With the likes of 'The Jungle Book' this year showing how realistic they can make things look, I hope they'd be able to do the same in a film like this. This is surely down to the budget of the film which was $17 million so you can't moan about it too much. If there had been a bigger budget it would have looked better but hopefully with this film being a success, we may see more investment in similar type movies to create realistic creatures.

The runtime of this film is 86 minutes and I feel that this is perfect for this movie. Any longet and it would have seemed as if it was just to prolong the film which may have made it drag. There isn't a whole lot that you can do in a film like this so around an hour and a half is just fine. It is filled with many scenarios that draw tension and keep you guessing to what her next move may be. Some may say that it is predictable but going into a movie like this, you know what exactly you're getting into and I feel that 'The Shallows' did a good job at creating a new film in the survival-horror sub genre.

There is an aspect of the film that showcases Nancy's struggles in her life, mainly regarding her mother's death and her relationship with her father due to that. At the time this felt quite unneccesary but it really does add something to the character of Nancy. With the passing of her fighting mother, it gives her inspiration to keep going and to not give up which of course makes sense. It does fill up a bit of time when she is struggling and felt like a way to progress the story. 

Overall, 'The Shallows' is an entertaining movie that the summer needed, A short but fun movie which shall entertain audiences. Blake Lively does a very good job in her role and you really care about her which is vital in a survival film like this. 'The Shallows' is worth seeing despite some minor problems. Not quite the standard of 'Jaws' but now possibly my second favourite movie surrounding the sea predator.

Final Verdict = 

So have you seen 'The Shallows'? If so what did you think of it? I hope that this review was useful for if you were planning on seeing this movie. Once again, thank you for taking the time to read my review, it is much appreciated!

By Angus McGregor

Sunday, 14 August 2016

'Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates' Review

In recent years, Zac Efron seems to have finally moved away from being just 'the guy from High School Musical' to now becoming a big draw in comedy films. Joining him this time is another big draw in the form of Anna Kendrick with the wickedly talented Aubrey Plaza and Adam Devine accompanying them in this raunchy comedy. A solid cast that has the potential to capture greatness, but would 'Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates' be able to succeed?

Mike (Adam Devine) and Dave (Zac Efron) Stangle are two wild young men who tend to let things get out of hand when it comes to family gatherings. When it is announced that their sister Jeanie (Sugar Lyn Beard) is getting married in Hawaii, the pair are told to bring nice girls as their dates. The pair put an ad on Craigslist and end up being invited on TV to try and find the right girls. Two who notice this are Alice (Anna Kendrick) and Tatiana (Aubrey Plaza), two former waitresses who were fired for their reckless and wild behaviour. The pair see this as a great chance to get free vacations so clean themselves up and pretend to be 'nice girls'. Soon after they win the opportunity to go to Hawaii, it becomes clear to the Stangles that they were not what they were looking for and are potentially more wild than they are.

If you've seen the trailer for this movie, you know exactly what this film is trying to create. The trailer is filled with raunchy jokes and shock humour to try and draw laughs. This carries on into the film but with only one part succeeding. The film continues with it's raunchiness creating some scenes that are really extreme. Unfortunately though, there aren't a whole bunch of them that really are that funny which leads it to becoming quite an awkward experience at times. The film goes all out in some scenes, especially the scene where Jeanie gets a special massage set up for her by Alice. This is one of the many examples that the scene is more weird than actually funny.

Although a lot of the raunchy humour doesn't hit as well as they hope, the movie is saved by its four leads. Zac Efron shows his capabilities as a comedy actor once again as he puts in a strong performance. As Dave Stangle, he seems to be the more ambitious and you can see why he has more of a connection to Anna Kendrick's character Alice. Kendrick also does very well playing the awkward at times Alice who is still getting over being left at the alter. Her natural charm and humour is once again evident in her performance once again. The pair come together very well and are both likeable despite their wild behaviour at times.

I'm a big fan of Aubrey Plaza and enjoyed her performance once again in this movie. Her normal deadpan delivery is succesful yet again but a problem with her character- and most of the characters in fact- is that she is supposed to be fairly stupid. You don't really get this feeling from her character Tatiana, she's just a bit wild. Adam Devine is the weakest of the four leads as he relys to much on silly facial expressions and incomprehensible dialogue that doesn't work all of the time. In saying that though, the rest of his performance is enjoyable as he as well progresses as an actor.

Despite the style of comedy not working entirely in it's favour, the film is still entertaining to an extent. As previously mentioned, this is due to the four leads but there are also some scenes that provide decent levels of entertainment. I've said this a few time with comedies this year, that they have been fairly entertaining to watch however they just lack the parts that make them funny which really doesn't allow them to succeed.

If you like that style of comedy, you may have a great time with this film. Unfortunately for me, I didn't find it great due to this however did still find some entertaining aspects within it. Not the worst comedy of the year but is also far from the best.

Final Verdict = 

So have you seen 'Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates'? If so what did you think of it? I hope that this review was useful for if you were planning on seeing the movie. Once again, thank you for taking the time to read my review, it is much appreciated!

By Angus McGregor