Saturday 25 April 2015

Fast & Furious 7 (2015) - Movie Review

I have to admit, as much as my last review may have given the impression that I’ve always loved this series and I’ve been there from the beginning, this is not so. After seeing Fast & Furious in cinemas, and not really being that into it, I didn’t give the series any more mind aside from the triple pack DVD of the first three films at home. However, two big things came through the grape vine about this film in the lead-up to its release that not only got me interested again but made me a bit compelled to revisit the series as I did. The first was the announcement that Jason friggin’ Statham was going to be playing the bad guy, and if you need me to clarify on why this is an awesome casting decision then you’ve probably never seen a good action film in your life. The second was that Justin Lin, who has been in the director’s chair with this franchise since Tokyo Drift, was stepping down and the direction was going to be handled by James Wan, an Australian director better known for horror films like Dead Silence, The Conjuring and most (in)famously Saw and a man who has become one of the new figureheads of the genre in my opinion. How does this all equal up?

Friday 24 April 2015

Fast & Furious 6 (2013) - Movie Review

It’s catch-up time again on this blog, this time as part of the lead-up to Fast & Furious 7. I remember getting a triple DVD pack of the first three films in the franchise for Christmas one year and getting a tad obsessed with them for a time, to the point where they got me interested in racing games like the Need For Speed series just to further feed that hunger for high-octane ridiculousness. Honestly, it’s kind of spellbinding that what started out as a loose adaptation of a Vibe magazine article about an anonymous street racer has since turned into the primary action franchise of the 2000’s. The fact that this evolved out of a Rob Cohen film only makes this more confounding. So, before we get into the seventh instalment, time to check out the one that came.

Thursday 23 April 2015

The Gunman (2015) - Movie Review

Sean Penn is one of those legendary Hollywood actors that even if you’ve somehow managed to never see anything that they’ve been in, you most certainly know the name at least in passing. As someone whose knowledge of cinema mostly consists of what came after the year 2000, it should come as no surprise that I’m not as familiar with Penn’s work as I should be. Outside of some surface knowledge about his relationship with Madonna and how badly that ended up, I’ve only seen him in one other film to my knowledge: 2013’s Gangster Squad, where he was exceptionally awesome as the enemy gangster Mickey Cohen. In fact, that performance was just that good that I’m actively excited about this based on that alone. So, how does Penn turn out in what looks like an attempt to Takenise him, what with this being directed by the same guy who made Neeson a modern day action fixture?

Tuesday 21 April 2015

The Age Of Adaline (2015) - Movie Review

When it comes to speculative fiction, there are a number of narrative ideas that are fairly universal across that rather nebulous umbrella: Totalitarian regimes that are only slight exaggerations of the governments of today, using intergalactic aliens as an analogy for illegal aliens, taking the idea of those who don’t learn the past are doomed to repeat it to its logical extreme, fashion in the future will only continue to get more ridiculous, etc. One of the ideas that is surprisingly common is that of the immortal lover: A romantic interest that has far less or far more of a lifespan than your own and the consequences of having a relationship with them. Anyone who has experienced the now-faded scourge of the vampire romance, or watched Doctor Who since the 2005 reboot, will be more than familiar with this idea so telling it in a way that won’t just be digging up old narratives is difficult. Hell, it’s been used that many times that even I’ve written about it before (Shameless plug, I know, but check it out here; it was as part of a crowd-sourced book on the idea of Immortality).

Saturday 18 April 2015

Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 (2015) - Movie Review

I’ve made fun of Jai Courtney serving as a human signpost that what he’s involved in will most likely be crap, but that’s small potatoes compared to some production companies out there that say the same thing. Namely, the production studio behind today’s outing: Happy Madison Productions, also known as Adam Sandler’s production company. Now, as much as many parts of me want to jump onto the anti-Sandler bandwagon, given how little regard I hold for films like That’s My Boy, the fact remains that his films took up a rather large portion of my childhood: Happy Gilmore, Billy Madison, 50 First Dates, even Little Nicky are all on good standings with me. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll happily call them out when they screw up, and they do so with surprising relish and on a colossal scale, but if my defence of Blended proves nothing else than it at least shows that I have some mercy in my heart for the man and his stable of friends after all this time. So, where does their latest offering land with me?

Friday 17 April 2015

Cinderella (2015) - Movie Review

Choosing to remake one of the classic Disney Princess films was a risky decision, bordering on suicidal considering how poorly the last attempt at this was taken. Sure, I may not have disliked Maleficent as much as other people, in fact I honestly think it was pretty decent, but in terms of the bottom line that is the almighty dollar, this is kind of lopsided. It is also completely understandable: Cinderella is one of the most recognisable fairy tales of all time, to the point where Cinderella as a term is fully ingrained in the human lexicon, and releasing a new version of the tale is always going to draw attention. But just because they are able to convince a lot of people to see their movie doesn’t necessarily mean that they will be fulfilled upon leaving the cinema. So, time to see what a person in the completely wrong demographic for this film has to say about it to help you make your mind about it, because that makes all kinds of sense.

Tuesday 14 April 2015

Home (2015) - Movie Review

Comedies and kid's films are the two genres with the highest probability of failure, as the former can't bank on ironic enjoyment as well as others and the latter typically has less thought put into them because filmmakers tend to think that all children are idiots that will watch anything. Now, whether or not that statement rings true in any respect is not for me to say, but with the rather high quality of family and children's films we've been getting lately, I'd say that that probability factor isn't as crucial as it once was. Of course, get the actor who played Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory, or The Geeky Minstrel Show as I call it, to be your lead and any optimism I have will go straight down the crapper. But is this kind of cynicism warranted? I mean, Dreamworks have more than proved that they can hold their own against their competition; maybe this won't be so bad... but somehow, I really fucking doubt it.

Monday 13 April 2015

The Longest Ride (2015) - Movie Review

On the list of red-flag genre listings, at least as I see them, romantic dramas are a few rungs above romantic comedies. The reason for this is the irony factor: Romantic comedies are already trying to make the audience laugh, so any hopes of getting laughs out of how bad it is are slim at best; romantic dramas, on the other hand, are perfectly viable in that regard. I bring this up because, since this film is adapted from a Nicholas Sparks book much like The Best Of Me was, I suspect that the only way I can possibly enjoy this movie is for less than genuine reasons. The best I can realistically hope for is that this doesn’t aggravate me as much as that film did, which shouldn’t be too hard but I’ve been proven wrong before.

Sunday 12 April 2015

The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out Of Water (2015) - Movie Review

Ah, SpongeBob SquarePants, that irritatingly cute, yellow and porous friend of children, stoners and meme creators worldwide. While I freely admit to having watched The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie a lot as a kid and played the hell out of its video game tie-in on PS2, I’ve only watched a handful of episodes of the show proper and none of them are all that recent. Chalk it up to mostly sticking to the classic Cartoon Cartoons when I was a kid, but I never really got into them as much as I probably should have. That said, the show has its appeal… through being completely bonkers, even for a kid’s show, and having a more adult edge to its sense of humour on occasion much like the other show creator Stephen Hillenburg worked on: Rocko’s Modern Life. So, a little over a decade after the first film hit cinemas, the promotional campaign behind this latest offering reached our ears and even with my pretty surface interest in the show, I was hyped to see this thing.

Saturday 11 April 2015

Insurgent (2015) - Movie Review

With the severe case of sequelitis Hollywood has been suffering from, getting to sequels/remakes of films I’ve already reviewed is inevitable. Of course, there’s two sides to that coin and I’ll end up seeing follow-ups to both the good and the bad. This time around, we are very much in the latter with the sequel to what I listed as the worst movie of 2014: Divergent. Now, this is a listing that I question from time to time, considering it beat out utter trash like the Annie remake and God’s Not Dead for that coveted placement, but out of sheer incompetence in creating a world for the story to exist in, I feel it more than deserves that spot. I usually go back to older films for a refresher in cases like this… but screw that noise, let’s just get into this thing already.

Friday 10 April 2015

The Book Of Life (2015) - Movie Review

Guillermo del Toro will always have a spot on my list of favourite filmmakers: Between his equal mastery over artistic ventures like Pan’s Labyrinth and Cronos as well as more popular works like the Hellboy movies and Pacific Rim and his flexibility past the world of cinema with his Strain trilogy of novels and his upcoming team-up with Hideo Kojima on the latest Silent Hill game [2018 Update: Thanks for screwing that one up, Konami], I’d classify him as one of the few creative minds out there that legitimately has something for everyone. It may seem odd that I start this review out like this, since del Toro only produced this, but the man’s influence is such that it can be felt when he’s attached to films in less than obvious roles: Serving as a consultant on Kung Fu Panda 2, Cowboys & Aliens as well as the great cinematic roadblock that is Edge Of Tomorrow, and even though he isn’t directly credited for consultation on films like Puss In Boots and Rise Of The Guardians, there’s definitely some traces of his sense of imagination to be found in all of it. So, with his name pretty much synonymous with quality regardless of his role (Unless we’re talking While She Was Out or last year’s dismal Battle Of The Five Armies), how does this film pan out?

Thursday 9 April 2015

Tinker Bell And The Legend Of The NeverBeast (2015) - Movie Review

It’s times like this when I’m really glad that the critical bug bit me at such an early age, because seeing these kind of movies on my own is a risky enough prospect as is. If I were to still be watching these movies well into my 30’s or even my 20’s, chances are I’d end up on some sort of government watch list before too long. Then again, as a person who has a form of opinion on the Internet, I’m assuming that I’m on several of those already. I actually saw last year’s entry in the Tinker Bell franchise as well with The Pirate Fairy; despite my understandable apprehension about the thing, I thought it was a nice little movie, if pretty forgettable. Didn’t hurt that it blind-sided me a bit as a prequel to the original Peter Pan, but nevertheless it was an okay watch. I can only hope that this one is on the same level.

Wednesday 8 April 2015

The DUFF (2015) - Movie Review

I’m going to guess that this is because I didn’t go to high school in the U.S., but labels were never really a thing when I was growing up. Sure, there were certain cliques but we only really had three of them in my year: The geeks, the smokers and everyone else. Yeah, I was a definite geek and I had great friends within that circle but I was never completely driven away from everyone else though; I would frequently talk with the others and while I made a few frenemies along the way, I was relatively comfortable with everyone in the year. If I did have a label that I wasn’t aware of, aside from the nickname “Vol-Cain-O” that I earned due to my short temper, it would have probably been "entertainer", "show-off", or maybe "sideshow attraction"; I loved being the center of attention and trying to make people around me laugh. It didn’t always work out that way, and I would occasionally get laughed at but in retrospect I’m at least glad I got some kind of reaction. With this in mind, movies about high school life never really clicked with me aside from the rare outlier like Ben X. Well, we’re already on the subject of hipster-ish choices for movies, so let’s get started.

Tuesday 7 April 2015

Leviathan (2015) - Movie Review

Looks like Oscar season isn’t quite over yet, and not only that but today’s entry also finds me journeying further out of my comfort zone with my first experience of Russian cinema. Add to that the heavy political and religious subtext and this is starting to feel like karma for being happy that these films were behind me for the time being… so much for that. Looks like the idea is paying off too because, not long after the mindfragging experience of Chappie, I find myself once again stuck trying to figure out what exactly I think of the movie. More specifically, whether I think it’s any good or not. So, with no prior knowledge about the Russian socio-political climate and equal lack of insight into the norms of Russian cinema, bear with me as I put my scalpel to this alien of a movie.

Monday 6 April 2015

Get Hard (2015) - Movie Review

For the third time now in as many months, I am once again looking at a film starring the man who I can now rightfully call my nemesis: Kevin Hart. It’s not that I have any real hate for the guy himself, as I really don’t have any reason to; I just don’t like his work on screen and it feels like we’ve been getting more and more of it since I formed that opinion. After the lameality of Ride Along last year and the current frontrunner for worst of 2015 The Wedding Ringer, I have no genuine desire to see anything he’s involved in. The only exception to this is Top Five, but then again he was in all of one scene in that movie and he served his purpose as well as can be expected. I’d call this the film I was looking forward to the least this season, but I’ll be getting to that one later on in the week. So, can the added boost of the occasionally funny Will Ferrell save this in my eyes?

Sunday 5 April 2015

Shaun The Sheep Movie (2015) - Movie Review

When I was a kid, a friend of the family gave me a CD-ROM containing an Aardman showreel with a bunch of their commercials, a couple of Angry Kid shorts and even a scene from Chicken Run. Over the next year or so, I would just watch everything on that CD over and over again; I think I’d still be doing that now, if I hadn’t unfortunately lost it some years back. Along with giving me a better appreciation for the artistry behind animation and a mind state that viewed advertising as a means of entertainment more than anything else, it also cemented in my brain that Aardman was a force to reckoned with.

Between their more family friendly works like Wallace & Gromit and The Pirates: Band Of Misfits, their darker material like Chicken Run and Angry Kid and even their commercials like the classic Chevron talking cars and that one condom PSA 'Nobs In Space' (yeah, check that one out here), Aardman have maintained a consistent track record that very few production companies, animated or otherwise, can lay claim to. The only possible contender for their position at the top is Laika, but they’re still relative newcomers so only time will tell on that front. So, when the trailers hit for Aardman’s new feature film… no question, even if I wasn’t doing reviews, I had to see this thing.