Saturday, 31 December 2016

'Why Him?' Review

2016 has been a very mixed year for comedy movies. There have been some great ones this year with some really clever humour. However, there has been a whole bunch of terrible comedies, mainly in the Rated R range. Unfortunately for viewers, 2016 has powered one last terrible comedy before the year finishes.

On his birthday Ned Fleming (Bryan Cranston) finds out that his darling daughter Stephanie (Zoey Deutch) has a boyfriend. Stephanie invites her family to her boyfriend's home for the holidays in order to meet him. Once the Fleming's arrive, they realise that Stephanie's boyfriend is vulgar, unfiltered, mega-rich Laird Mayhew (James Franco). Ned immediately dislikes Laird who wants to propose on Christmas but won't do so until he has Ned's blessing. Laird has 5 days to win him over whilst Ned tries his best to get his daughter to separate from Laird.

'Why Him?' features the likes of Bryan Cranston, who is an experienced actor in comedies and has done great work in the genre. Alongside him is James Franco, an actor who also has done some good work within the genre. Megan Mullally is also in this movie who has also done great work, receiving multiple award nominations for her role in 'Will & Grace'. One of the best comedic minds in film right now Keegan Michael-Key is also in this movie. With this amount of talent surely this film would be pretty funny right? Sadly, no. Well, surely it'd be fairly entertaining right?......

This is the latest Rated R 'comedy' this year that has completely missed the mark. Instead of coming up with clever jokes that can be crude, the film just resorts to random cussing, terrible pop culture references and characters saying things very loudly. The film relies heavily on these types of jokes which really hurts the film as if you are not a 12-year-old boy, you probably won't find it funny. Director John Hamburg wrote this film in what was his second dud of the year after 'Zoolander 2'. Much like that film, 'Why Him?' seems to lack a lot of creativity as it relies on the characters saying the F word a hundred times in a sentence. This film also looks to rely on cameo appearances throughout the film as well for cheap laughs. If this is the standard of comedy we are getting now then we truly are in dark times. If you like this immature kind of comedy then you will probably love this film but in the end, the film is simply moronic.

Cranston is alway enjoyable to watch and is the least guilty culprit out of the main characters when it comes to the comedy. He can only do so much and his natural likeability also helps but it cannot help the poor writing. The funniest person in this film was easily Keegan Michael-Key who goes all out in his role as a German estate manager. Michael-Key completely transforms into his character and has the best moments of the film, showing why he is one of the best in comedy right now. Unfortunately, it ends just about there. All James Franco does in this film is speak like a 12-year old who think he's cool because he can swear. It gets pretty old very quickly and you are really unsure as to why Stephanie is with him and changing her life for him. The younger brother in this film was pretty insufferable as he looks to follow in Laird's footsteps with the way he acts.

The story looks to contrast Ned and Laird at first and then show them to actually be quite similar at the end. The only thing, though, that the two are similar with is that they are both honest. Ned doesn't hold back in telling people what he thinks but only in private. Laird just says whatever he wants with no filter. This is the basis that the film tries to create a similarity with but it just isn't the same. Due to this, the ending seems very force as Ned seems to just forget about everything and accepts Laird, who hasn't changed at all. This was very lazy as it forced the ending rather than actually building the story to make a visible arc from the characters. 

'Why Him?' really isn't anything spectacular. If you've seen any of the other poor crude comedies this year, then you've pretty much already seen this film. It is the same run of the mill rubbish with no creativity within whatsoever. Some decent performances can't save this terrible comedy, that ends the year of 2016 horribly.

Final Verdict = 

So have you seen 'Why Him?'? If so, what did you think of the film? I hope that this review was useful for if you were planning on seeing this film or not. Once again, thank you for taking the time to read my review, it is much appreciated!

By Angus McGregor

'Collateral Beauty' Review

Will Smith is still on the hunt for an Oscar and with his latest film 'Collateral Beauty' looks to help him do so. But would this finally be the film that earn Smith that illustrious award? To be blunt, the answer is no.

When succesful advertising excecutive Howard (Will Smith) suffers a great tragedy, he becomes disconnected with life. To help cope, he writes letters, not to people but the entities of Love, Death and Time. It comes as a shock to Howard when the entities come to visit him in real life.

'Collateral Beauty' is perhaps the most Oscar-baity film of recent times that has completely fallen flat. The cast within this film most definitely has the capability to be an Oscar winning ensemble cast as it features past nominees Will Smith, Keira Knightley and Ed Norton as well as winners Kate Winslet and Helen Mirren. The cast is incredible to say the least and in all honesty, they aren't the problem. The film's biggest problem is due to how terrible the story is. 

The trailer for this film doesn't show the real story so let me fill that in for you. The trailer shows Smith's character Howard write letters to Love, Death and Time who seemingly visit him in real life, much to his disbelief. The film would like you to think that it is actually Love, Death and Time that come and visit Howard. However, in the film the three entities are played by three theatre actors. The actors are hired in order for Winslet, Norton and Michael Pena's characters to prove that Howard is incapable of making decisions for the advertising company. Basically, this sets up that all 6 of these people are awful humans who are exploiting a mans depression for their own gain. This would be fine if the film was setting them up to be characters who you were to dislike but instead, they make side stories for them where you are made to feel sorry for them. How do you possibly expect that to happen when the main story is about them conspiring against someone who is mentally ill? Astonishing.

The character of Howard is a very strange one too. We've all tragically lost people and of course it is very hard to deal with that. The film however jumps years after the tragedy where you'd expect Howard to have became a bit better, definitely not in the state he is in the film. Howard refuses to do absolutely anything but yet still goes into work everyday. It's set up very weirdly as if someone was struggling that badly, they wouldn't even bother at all. All it's added for is to make more drama but it just doesn't really help. If they had made these events happen soon after the tragedy, then you could understand why he's struggling so badly but his work commitment that the film is based around is very odd.

The film is painfully obvious at times with its symbolism and not clear enough when trying to be deep. The opening of the film showcases how Howard's life is going well at work then cuts to a couple of years later where Howard knocks down a whole table full of dominoes. This signals how his life as came crashing down, just a bit too obviously as it tries to be deep. It backs this up though by showing how messed up Howard is as he cycles directly into oncoming traffic. It was melodrama at its finest as the film strives to be something deep but it really isn't. The film's title 'Collateral Beauty' comes from a line used in the film. At time a character will be talking to another, helping them out when they are down and will try to explain to them that there is 'Collateral Beauty'. The problem is, the film treats this as if it is a common phrase that everyone knows and doesn't explain it at all. There are a few moments where they say the term and you expect them to continue by explaining it. However, it is used as the main point of the advice and isn't continued at all that leaves you a bit puzzled. The film also pulls a twist at the end that is even more ridiculous than everything previous. I won't spoil it but it involves one of the awful 'Collateral Beauty' moments.

For what it is worth, the film's cast does have some OK moments. Helen Mirren is entertaining to watch throughout the film as she brings some charm to the film. Naomie Harris also does well as Madeleine as well who seems to be the only decent person in the film besides Howard. Smith does do fairly well in his role but he won't be up for that Oscar yet again. The rest of the cast is fairly disposable with Ed Norton trying to pursue an awkward love angle with Keira Knightley that just seems creepy rather than endeering. Nobody is particularly bad in the film, it's just that they don't have much to actually work with.

There is so much talent within this movie which is a real shame as this is a truly awful movie. The story is so ridiculously stupid as this film tries to be an Oscar type movie, whilst failing miserably at doing so. This is a truly awful film that you should avoid at all costs.

Final Verdict = 

So have you seen 'Collateral Beauty'? If so, what did you think of it? I hope that this review was helpful for if you were planning on seeing the film or not. I urge you to stay away from this one. Once again, thank you for taking the time to read my review, it is much appreciated!

By Angus McGregor

Friday, 30 December 2016

'Passengers' Review

'Passengers' is a sci-fi disaster film starring two of Hollywood's biggest stars Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt. This has all the potential to be one of the years best with great star power and an interesting story but would it actually deliver?

5000 passengers are on board the 'Avalon', a spacecraft that will travel over 100 years to reach its destination where they will start a new life away from Earth. A malfunction happens and disturbs the hibernation pod of Jim Preston (Chris Pratt) waking him up 90 years too early. After a year of loneliness, he wakes up a woman, Aurora Lane (Jennifer Lawrence) to solve that. As the two grow closer, secrets are spilt as the ship comes close to great danger with Jim and Aurora the only ones who can save it and the passengers on board.

'Passengers' works fairly well early on as it establishes that the ship isn't indestructible and malfunctions, waking up only Chris Pratt's character Jim Preston. We see Pratt shine here as he has to amuse himself for the time being which does show some of his comedy talents. But as expected, he becomes bored of this lifestyle, even to the extent of becoming depressed. Pratt does well again, this time showing more of a dramatic side. The situation he is in leads him to some dark moments which is fairly understandable. This leads him to wake up a fellow passenger, a decision that brings up a great discussion.

Preston becomes overwhelmed at first of the beauty of one Aurora Lane. The film really wants to get the message that Jennifer Lawrence is beautiful in this film. Apart from the obvious naming her after 'Sleeping Beauty', the film wants to show Aurora as touched up as possible when exercising, eating or doing anything really. Aurora is completely oblivious to what has happened to her and believes that she was accidentally woken up like Jim was a year prior. This does bring a very interesting premise to the film as you know that the truth will end up coming out. This brings a great deal of tension to the film as you await this truth being found out. Once Jennifer Lawrence is introduced, we see great chemistry between herself and Pratt is fantastic and it is enjoyable seeing two of Hollywood's biggest stars on screen. The romance seems realistic as the two bond over everything they do and take comfort within each other's company. The two are likeable actors which does help the film, but only for so long.

The main talking point that has caused some controversy with this film comes once Aurora finds out that it was Jim who woke her up. For me, I didn't like how this revelation was brought up simply out of the blue by Michael Sheen's robot bartender character. This seemed to be forced entirely to create some drama which ultimately did not work. At this point, the film does lose a lot of its quality. We see the fallout of the decision as Aurora completely loses it and cannot stand Jim at all. This part was actually handled fairly well but the film then throws in Laurence Fishburne. Fishburne is a great actor but his character is thrown in for one reason, to solve a problem with the story and disappear. He is brought in so that Aurora and Jim have access to parts of the ship that are restricted to passengers before he is quickly killed off. This was a very poor part of the film as it seemed to be thrown in for that reason alone which was incredibly obvious. 

Once Fishburne's character is gone, the ship's troubles become worse, leading Jim and Aurora having to work together in order to save everyone on board.The film should have capitalised on this aspect, having the two work together with Aurora still unhappy about the situation. This would've shown the human spirit a lot better than it did the film with the ending being much more engaging and emotional. Aurora looks back at a video message sent from her friends back on earth where one friend says that she hopes Aurora finds someone to be with. This is apparently enough for Aurora to completely forgive Jim for what he did and fall straight back into love. This is what has caused most controversy about this film and I'd be lying if I said that this doesn't effect the film heavily. At this moment, you lose faith as you can't behind the motives of Aurora in this situation. Maybe they could've crafted something to get them back on decent terms but the film jut lazily throws her back into love with Jim. After this, you don't really care about what happens to either character.

The finale for this is quite the space spectacle as Jim and Aurora work together to save the ship. This involves Jim having to go outside of the ship and deal with many dangers. This full scene looks incredible - as does the rest of the movie- but there is one glaring problem, you've lost all interest in caring for these characters. The decisions that have been made lose the audience in a finale which really needs you to care. This goes to show, you can have a beautiful and well-shot action scene but if you don't care about the stakes, it is ultimately worthless. That is the main problem as 'Passengers' rounds up.

'Passengers' most definitely isn't as bad as everyone has been saying it is. The film for the first half works fairly well and works around Jim's action delicately as you anticipate the payoff. The payoff, however, is ultimately the downfall of the film. Pratt and Lawrence do well together and the film is shot beautifully with great looking sets but the film loses you towards the end. Disappointing as this film could have been so much more.

Final Verdict = 

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

By Angus McGregor

'Monster Trucks' Review

The premise of this film is that there is a monster inside of a truck. If you have seen the trailer for this film, you wouldn't be expecting too much from this film. Was I right to not have any hope when going to see this film? Absolutely 

Tripp (Lucas Till) is unsatisfied with his life and only finds joy when working in a car scrapyard. Tripp looks to build a truck so he can leave the town but an accident at a nearby oil drilling area displaces a strange creature that has a taste for oil. The creature makes its way to the scrapyard where it befriends Tripp. Tripp finds a way to get Creech into his truck as the main driving force, giving him a chance to finish his truck. Meanwhile, the creature is being hunted down by the oil company to make sure they don't get shut down.

2016 is almost over and everyone looks to be making up their lists of their best and worst films of the year. Amongst new releases like 'Passengers', 'Collateral Beauty' and even 'Rogue One', Paramount have tried to sneak out their newest film 'Monster Trucks'. As I was thinking about my own worst of the year list, I have held off due to waiting for this - and the other Boxing Day releases - to see if any would sneak in. Spoiler alert, this film will be on the list.

First of all, the story for this movie is absolutely terrible. A monster in a truck is the basic premise for this and what is even more baffling is that it took three people to come up with the story for this film. In saying that, it takes the best part of an hour for the monster to actually become a part of the truck as it builds up uninteresting, unentertaining characters in the process. Films like this amaze me as I really can't understand why a company would waste money on something like this. Even worse when you realise that the budget for this film was $125 million! That's over $75 million more than the budget for Paramount's best film this year 'Arrival' which is astonishing. Paramount must have a lot of money to spare if they can fork out that much for an idea that is quite frankly terrible. Don't get me wrong, the film does have its moments where it is actually pretty funny. But in a so bad it's funny kind of way. A lot of this comes from the lines from some of the actors or inconsistencies within actions of characters which really wasn't the intention.

Lucas Till plays Tripp, a high school senior who sulks all day except for when crushing cars at the scrapyard and working on his truck. To Till's credit, he is probably the best part of this film as he does seem to try- unlike some of the other performances in this film. What lets Till down in the poor script that gives his character some unintentionally hilarious moments and terrible lines of dialogue. There were so many moments during this film where I looked across to my friend who I saw this with and sighed due to how bad the writing in this film was. Jane Levy was fantastic in the disturbing and effective horror 'Don't Breathe' but oh my, she was terrible in this movie. The writing again doesn't help but her delivery was even worse as it was comically bad a lot of the time. Maybe this was just a payday for her - as well as for the likes of Rob Lowe, Danny Glover and Barry Pepper - as the performance was not up to standard at all. The film lacks good characters and the performances are just as bad. When your film is focused on people around a beast that cannot speak, that is a huge problem. 

The film uses both practical and CGI effects to bring the monster's to life in this film and they look awful. The designs are very bland and really aren't that impressive. There are practical effects from the 70's and 80' that look better than what is in this film. What doesn't help the creatures is that there really isn't anything about them. We know that they like oil and that is about it. There is no development with the creatures to make us interested or even care about them. Again, this poses a problem as the film focuses on our protagonists protecting these creatures but there is simply no emotion or attachment to them. Younger ones may enjoy this one a bit more but not a lot due to these creatures not being nearly as fun as intended.

'Monster Trucks' is simply one of the worst films of 2016. The film is filled with poor performances, writing and effects and doesn't deliver on the fun aspect like they intended. There aren't many redeeming qualities with this one and it really isn't worth your time. A very poor film.

Final Verdict = 

So have you seen 'Monster Trucks'? If so, what did you think of the film? I hope that this review was helpful for if you were planning on seeing the film or not. Once again, thank you for taking the time to read my review, it is much appreciated!

By Angus McGregor

Tuesday, 27 December 2016

My Top 10 Scenes Of The Year!

2016 was quite a mixed year in film. There were many great hits but many huge flops within 2016. Before I get into my Best and Worst of the year lists, I feel it would be a good time to recognise some of the year's best scenes. This allows me to talk about some of the year's best or coolest moments despite what the rest of the film was like. We often overshadow great individual moments in a film so this list will have a look at some of the year's best individual scenes. The only rule for this is that there can only be one scene from a movie to make the list more varied. These scenes either amused me, heavily entertained me, emotionally effected me or even did all of them. So in saying that, here are my 10 favourite scenes of 2016.

10. Tanner's Last Stand - Hell Or High Water

'Hell Or High Water' was one a very morally complex film as you know you shouldn't root for Tanner and Toby, but they are just so charismatic that you can't help but do so. At the same time, you want Jeff Bridge's character Sherriff Marcus to come out on top. Tension is at its highest in this scene as you know death is awaiting Tanner but he keeps going on to allow his brother Toby to escape. An incredible scene from one of 2016's best films. 

9. Church Resistance - Anthropoid

I didn't think 'Anthropoid' was the best of films but the church scene was magnificent. The resistance seemed to have been found out by the Nazi's as the small group held them off for as long as possible. The scene is gripping and action packed as the group put up a great fight. There are powerful moments within the scene as the sacrifice's from these men is showcased in great fashion.

8. Not The Bees! - Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping

The funniest scene this year came from 'The Lonely Island's' musical mockumentary 'Popstar'. The scene features Andy Samberg's character Connor4Real and his agent having a chat when they are attacked by bees. This scene is comedy genius despite not actually showing you what happens. This scene will have you in stitches and is the best comedy moment this year in film.

7. Bear Attack - The Revenant

Going back to early 2016 with one of the most impressive scenes of the year. Leonardo Di Caprio won his first Oscar for this film and seems like this may be why. With some incredible special effects, Leo is ripped apart in a gruelling battle with a vicious bear. It's incredible how they were able to make this scene happen. The scene is brutal but it is wonderful filmmaking nonetheless.

6. Car Trouble - Nocturnal Animals

One of the year's best scenes came from 'Nocturnal Animals' as this nightmarish scenario brought an abundance of tension. Aaron Taylor-Johnson completely transforms into his character Ray who is the worst of the worst in one of the performances of the year. The scene is filled with tension as you do not know what Ray and his cronies are going to do to this helpless family. It sets up the rest of the film so perfectly well as 'Nocturnal Animals' became one of my favourite movies of 2016.

5. Arkham Style - Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice

It's safe to say that I wasn't a fan of 'Batman V Superman' but I most certainly loved this scene. As a fan of Batman and the 'Arkham' game series, this scene delivered in so many ways. The action featuring Batman in this scene was astonishing and looked as if it was straight from the games. It was perfectly executed and was a real pleasure to watch. It's a shame the rest of the film wasn't up to the same standard.


4. Escape - Room

There is not a scene this year that has made me come as close to crying as much as this scene from 'Room' did. Building up to this, we had seen the conditions that Ma and Jack had been staying in and learned their tragic fate. As the scene plays out, we see the attempt to escape which is packed with emotion and tension as you hope that these characters get away from their captor. The final moments of the scene show  Jack waiting for his mother in a police car as the camera then turns to her running towards the car to be reunited with her child. One of the most powerful moments I have experienced in a cinema which I was fully immersed within.

3. The Strike - Eye In The Sky

'Eye In The Sky' focuses on the decision to make an airstrike onto terrorists in Nairobi, Kenya. There is an innocent little girl within the area who the team try to get out of the way. As the strike is called to happen, you do not know whether or not she will be saved. The tension is so high and you feel all kind of emotions with this one. Such a morally complex film that is rounded off incredibly well with this final scene. There were people in tears when I saw this film and I can't really blame them. Very powerful stuff.

2. Airport Battle - Captain America: Civil War

The amalgamation of Marvel's hard work over the past decade paid off oh so well in 'Captain America: Civil War'. The build up of the story and growth of tension amongst the ranks finally culminated in this scenes as Team Cap and Team Iron Man collided. There are so many great moments in this scene such as the staredown, the one on one battles, Giant Man and of course, the introduction of Spider-Man to the MCU. The action in this scene is phenomenal and I personally think that this is the best scene in comic book movie history.

1. Vader's Vengence - Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Nothing in film this year put a bigger smile on my face than the end scene of 'Rogue One'. It was only a couple of minutes long but I sat there grinning like a child the whole time as one of film's most iconic characters appeared in terrifying fashion. Everything about this was so satisfying, as this scene rounded up 'Rogue One'. I've seen this film three times now and I still get goosebumps when Vader appears on the screen. Nothing gave me a better feeling this year and I hope Episode VIII can deliver something equally as powerful next year.

So that rounds up my 10 favourite scenes of the year. Of course, there are much more that could have fit into this list as there were so many great moments so I'd like to know what your favourite moments of 2016 were. Once again, thank you for taking the time to read my blog post, it is much appreciated!

By Angus McGregor

Monday, 26 December 2016

My Top 10 Most Anticipated Movies for 2017!

As 2016 draws to a close, its time to look forward into 2017. Like in 2016, the new year will see the box office being dominated yet again by superhero movies and also, Star Wars. Hopefully, the quality of these films and blockbusters as a whole will improve after a lacklustre year. 2017 also brings some fresh, smaller film especially as award season flourishes. In saying that, here are the 10 films that I am looking forward to most in 2017.

Of course there are more movies I am looking forward to than jut these ten so here are some honourable mentions:
  • Justice League
  • Wonder Woman
  • Alien: Covenant
  • Logan
  • Kong: Skull Island
  • Hacksaw Ridge
  • War For The Planet Of The Apes
  • T2: Trainspotting

Now lets get onto the list!

10. John Wick: Chapter 2

Starting off the list is the sequel to the hit 2015 action film 'John Wick'. Keanu Reeves is back as the master assassin as directors Chad Stahelski and David Leitch look to create another hit action film. Sequels are a hard thing to do but with a very promising trailer being released recently has made critics and fans look forward to this one. If this is anything like the first then we are in for a treat as the 'Gun-Fu' style action movie was one of 2015's biggest surprises. After a year where the likes of 'Jason Bourne' disappointed, 2017 needs a strong action movie to get things started and 'John Wick: Chapter 2' looks set to deliver.

UK Release Date: 17th February

9. Beauty and the Beast

After the successes of 'Cinderella' and 'The Jungle Book', it seems as if live action remakes of Disney classics are going to be a yearly thing. If they are all at that same quality then there is no problem and I fully expect 'Beauty and the Beast' to follow in their footsteps. The tale is already magical and it will be amazing to see these characters brought to life, with a brilliant cast playing them. Luke Evans seems to have been a great choice as Gaston with Emma Watson looking like a dream casting as Belle. If the film can do the animated classic justice then it will be a marvellous film with great visuals and music. Definitely one to look forward to considering Disney's recent record.

UK Release Date: 17th March

8. Blade Runner 2049

1982's 'Blade Runner' is now getting a sequel after 35 years. This may make many groan but you just have to look at the talent involved in this film to make you have faith in it. For one, Harrison Ford is returning to the 'Blade Runner' series, as he reprises his role as Rick Deckard. Taking over from Ridley Scott is Denis Villeneuve who has been one of Hollywood' best directors of recent years with 'Prisoners', 'Sicario' and of course, 2016's hit movie 'Arrival'. The rest of the cast is also very impressive with the likes of Ryan Gosling, Jared Leto and Dave Bautista joining Ford. This continuation has all the chance to fail but also has all the tools to make a hit.

UK Release Date: 6th October

7. La La Land

The film that is being tipped to dominate during award season i yet to come out in the UK unfortunately. Good news is that the film is out in early January so there is not long to wait for this one. 'La La Land' looks to be one of the most lively films of the year as critics have been praising this film very highly. Ryan Gosling again stars in this movie and is joined by Emma Stone with both being tipped for Oscar nominations. There is a lot of buzz around this film and with a great trailer being released, I cannot wait to see this one. 

UK Release Date: 12th January

6. Baby Driver

There has only recently been some information released about this film as it seems to still be in production. However, there is one big reason to why this film is so high up. 'Baby Driver' will be the 5th feature length film of my one of my favourite directors, Edgar Wright. With Wright you are guaranteed quality as he looks to create an action thriller that will have his classic comedy moments. With a cast featuring Lily James, Jamie Foxx, Jon Bernthal and Kevin Spacey, there seems to be a lot to look forward to with this one. I haven't been disappointed with Wright's work yet and I don't expect that to happen come August.

UK Release Date: 18th August

5. Dunkirk

Much like the last addition to this list, the influence of the director has given a film a high spot in my list. Chritopher Nolan is back with the war film 'Dunkirk' and it looks incredible. This story looks powerful with gritty realistic action and who better than Christopher Nolan to direct this? With Tom Hardy, Cillian Murphy and recent Oscar winner Mark Rylance starring in this film, it looks to be a worthy addition to Nolan's filmography. The trailer for this film has already blown many away and the finished article cannot come quick enough.

UK Release Date: 21st July

4. Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2

'Guardians of the Galaxy' surprised us all back in 2014 a the rag tag team of superheroes brought a fresh and fun adventure. The group are back once again with director James Gunn also returning. With the trailer delivering good laughs and action, the film looks certain to be a success. With new cast members such as Kurt Russell and Sylvester Stallone joining the already impressive cast, GOTG2 looks set to be just as fun as the first one. Lets hope for just as good a soundtrack this time too. GOTG2 looks to offer something different to most of the superhero films and with 2016 showing the genre's fatigue, a movie like this is much needed.

UK Release Date: 28th April

3. Thor: Ragnarok

Again, a director being a part of a film has lead to a high placing and it couldn't be any truer for 'Thor: Ragnarok'. I don't really care about the two previous Thor movies but with Taika Waititi on board, I cannot wait for this one. The New Zealander has produced some of the best comedies in recent years. The inclusion of Mark Ruffalo's Hulk and Benedict Cumberbatch's Dr Strange, the film looks to have created a buddy road trip film that certainly has me excited. The movie has the potential to be the bet yet from Marvel as its story looks set to give us something completely different within the genre. Once a trailer drops for this film, it will be the topic of conversation for months to come.

UK Release Date: 27th October

2. Spider-Man Homecoming

In a year that look to be dominated by superhero movies yet again, it only makes sense that the one I'm looking forward to most is from my favourite superhero, Spider-Man. Tom Holland did a great job in Civil War bringing a new look to the Spider-Man character. We will finally get to see Peter Parker as a teenager going through high school as they look to have nailed the wise cracking side of Spider-Man. Michael Keaton will alo be bringing life to the villain 'The Vulture', a character who we haven't seen before on the big screen. Hopefully with the property in Marvel's hands, we will get another great Spider-Man movie.

UK Release Date: 7th July

And my most anticipated movie of 2017 is.............

Saturday, 24 December 2016

'Snowden' Review

Edward Snowden (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) has became disillusionised with his job at the NSA and looks to leave. He has a whole load of information that the government has hidden from the public. He looks to leak this information to inform the citizens of the US turning him into a hero for some and a traitor to others.

Multi-Academy Award winner Oliver Stone is back after 4 years with his latest film 'Snowden'. The task to create a film based on the whistleblower looks to have been a tough task and 'Snowden' appears to have shown that. The biographical drama film has so many aspects within it that ultimately are the demise of the film. The film has to set up the figure that is Snowden, what he can do, what he has created, where he's worked and his relationships with certain people. This is also coinciding with real-time events where he is working with journalists to get the leaked information to the public. There is a whole load of information that the film tries to get across which ultimately it fails in doing so. This is down to the fact that it just isn't interesting enough for general audiences. The film is so unmemorable and isn't intriguing enough for you to be talking about or even thinking about once you've left the cinema. In the effort of fitting a lot of backstory to the film, it forgot to be entertaining or even interesting. 

The film does pick up at the end when we get to see Snowden actually stealing the information to expose the government. This was quite an interesting look at the secret services as you would wonder how someone could escape with something classified in such a protected area. Unfortunately, the film has been on for over an hour and a half already and that section is finished very quickly. For what it was, though, it was a good look at how someone would be able to pull something like this off, especially when he isn't doing anything extravagant.

The best parts of this film come in the performances from Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Shailene Woodley. The relationship of Snowden and girlfriend Lindsay Mills was entertaining due to the chemistry of these two fine actors. The two worked very well with each other, bringing some much-needed life to the film as it was a real relationship and not just constant information being fired at the audience. Gordon-Levitt is solid throughout the whole film, even when using a different voice. Gordon-Levitt's efforts in this film must be applauded as he does his best with the material given. Woodley continues to impress and was a great addition to this movie. The film needed some life and Woodley brings it as she is upbeat and actually has personality. Other than her, the rest of the characters were very disposable and bland allowing Woodley to stand out even more. 

The film is listed as being a thriller which the film mot definitely doesn't deliver on. There aren't many scenes that you feel true tension, this actually comes in most within the relationship of Snowden and Lindsay Mills. This may be due to the film trying to be realistic but the film doesn't add much tension to the scenes where Snowden is escaping with the information or when with the journalists. There are some attempts but if you think a 'Do Not Disturb' sign falling off of a hotel door is tense, then this is for you. There is the potential within this film to create some really tense moments but the film fails to capitalise on it.

If you are fascinated by the character that is Edward Snowden, you may get some enjoyment as the film does go into detail about his life. I would also say that you may be best checking out a documentary instead if doing so. A film that just didn't click unfortunately.

Final Verdict = 

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

By Angus McGregor

Friday, 23 December 2016

'Ballerina' Review

When the trailer for 'Ballerina' came out, it instantly became the target of a lot of jokes between those I go to the cinema with and I. There seemed to be no hope for this film but after seeing it, I was pleasantly surprised.

In 1879, a young orphan named Felicie (Elle Fanning) dreams of becoming a ballerina but she lacks any type of training. Alongside her friend Victor (Dane DeHaan), the pair looks to escape and flee to Paris to make their dreams come true. After gaining tuition at the Paris Opers Ballet, Felicie must now put in the hard work to achieve her goals.

'Ballerina' is a French-Canadian 3D animated movie which brings a different animation style to what we're used to recently. Due to this, the style of some of the characters in this form of animation seemed to lack in quality compared to those in other animated films. This can be said for nearly all of the human characters within the film as they stand out from the settings very poorly. It's possible that it's just a different style to what I'm used to but the characters looked to have been designed for a film in the 90's or early 2000's. In saying that, the film's animators do an incredible job of designing Paris pre the Eiffel Tower being finished. The locations and settings all look magnificent throughout the entirety of the film which is part of the reason to why the characters don't look as good. For the designs of the city and designs of inside the buildings, it will be hard to find animation any better than in 'Ballerina'. 

Amongst this animated tale is actually a fairly well-executed story of a young girl achieving her dreams. We see her motives very clearly and the opening scene shows Felicie's willingness to achieve her goals. The film handles the story as if it were any other sports movie. The story is actually very reminiscent of 'The Karate Kid', with several moments mimicking the 1984 film such as the training seeming to be pointless at first. We see some common tropes within this but the film does execute it and adapts it to ballet very well. We see a progression throughout the film from our protagonist as she is not good at all when first starting. At times, her training and trials did seem slightly rushed as the story looked to progress. With the runtime being shorter than an hour and a half, they could have taken more time on this aspect of the film. However, the message of you training hard and persevering to reach your goals is still evident. The film does its job by showing what to do when training for something but also does a great job in showing how it can be wasted. There are ups and downs along the way within sports and 'Ballerina' does a good job at showing this, whilst keeping it entertaining and amusing enough for small children.

Elle Fanning brings the character of Felicie to life, bringing that sweet side of her character to the film. Fanning interacts very well with Dane DeHaan who plays Victor, a hopeful inventor who is in love with Felicie. DeHaan brings an excitement to the film as he delivers a great performance in this film. His character is indeed a fun one which allows DeHaan to do some great work. Maddie Ziegler also deserves credit as she is the main rival to Felicie, Camille. The character was very well written which again allowed the voice work to come in and do a great job. As the film is a kid's animated film, it is expected for there to be some characters who are over the top. Camille's mother Regine (Julie Khaner) is the perfect example of this. Regine is a classic over the top cartoon villain who does bring some laughs. Whether that was the intent is debatable. There are other characters dotted about who our protagonists interact with who are there for random outbursts that will entertain the little ones but not so much for the adults.

The films clearly targeted for younger viewers and this is most evident during the more dramatic and emotional scenes. There are moments where the film builds up for some powerful moments but the film brushes over this very quickly. This was disappointing as the potential was there to create something powerful but the film just solves it instantly. Maybe I'm expecting too much from a film like this but the tools were there so there was no reason for it to not have been executed. This would've improved the story as a whole and wouldn't have taken up too much extra time which wouldn't have hurt either.

Overall, 'Ballerina' was much better than I expected. An adequate children's animated sports movie with some good animation as well as writing and voice performances. However, there are many inconsistencies within this film including in all of those attributes I have just praised. This is not a bad movie by any way and is entertaining enough for a viewing.

Final Verdict = 

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

By Angus McGregor