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Thursday, 1 November 2012

Skyfall


 
2012 was always going to be an interesting year in cinema. The summer boasted comic book thrills with both The Avengers and The Dark Knight Rises establishing that the superhero genre is still alive and thriving, while fantasy fanatics are still eagerly anticipating the release of the The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey – could the year get any better? Well, it just so happens that it does, with the release of a relatively small film called Skyfall. I say relatively small, as I feel the twenty-third Bond film has been somewhat overshadowed by the earlier successes of 2012. It is no surprise following the dismal display that was Quantum of Solace, a mad cocktail of a film that was big on thrills – as seen in The Avengers - but lacking the emotional backbone and narrative – as seen in The Dark Knight Rises - that the film desperately needed. To add to the problems of Bond 23, the complications with studio funding made the project seem like an almost impossible task. However, after four long years of waiting, Bond is back – but the question is this: is it better than ever?

After the electrifying opening title sequence, which involves, car chases, bike chases, train chases, diggers on train chases – and all the other madness that are associated with Bond – I knew we were in safe hands. The title song by Adele began, and I breathed a deep sigh of relief. Skyfall focuses heavily on M and her past, as her previous and guilt-ridden actions have caught up with her in the form on Raoul Silva, played with a smirk of wickedness by Javier Bardem. Having been presumed dead, Bond must come back to service to combat this new threat.

As I write this, I can’t help but draw similarities with The Dark Knight Rises. In the same what that Bruce Wayne has to come out of retirement to combat the diabolical foe that was Bane, Bond must return to service to prevent Silva destroying that which is most dear to him. Both show broken men having to come up against a seemingly indestructible adversary and suffering greatly as a consequence. This element is a rare thing in the Bond series, or certainly a rarity in the more recent films. We see a man who is questioning his purpose and whether he is capable of overcoming the burden that he has willingly accepted. Daniel Craig presents a vulnerable Bond, a man who can bleed and questions his own abilities. This is what makes Skyfall stand head and shoulders above the rest of the films in the series. Many people have said it is the best Bond film, others have criticised the low levels of action. Here we have a film that does provide beautifully choreographed sequences and intense thrills, but has a solid narrative that triggers an emotional response with the audience.

Being the 50th anniversary of the series, there are several wonderful nods to the past that would make any die-hard Bond fan go weak at the knees. The women are stunning, the jokes are witty, and the Aston Martin DB5 driven by Sean Connery – complete with ejector seat and headlight machine guns – looks as beautiful as ever. You couldn’t ask more from a Bond film. This is the addition to the series that we as a loyal audience have been waiting for; now we finally get out reward. I can only sum up by saying that Skyfall is a mixture of thrills, laughs and tears that not only make it one of the best Bond films, but one of the best films of 2012. I can safety say that Bond IS back and it IS better than ever. Roll on Number 24

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Asylum of the Daleks


Rating - 8/10


Finally, after a long eight months of waiting, Doctor Who is finally back where it belongs, and I have been getting twitchy for time travel since Christmas Day of last year (has it really been that long?). Excitement for the new series has been building for a long time, with the news that the Ponds (Karen Gillian and Arthur Darvill) are leaving in the first five episodes and the introduction of a new companion at ‘Christmas’ (you know what I mean). Regardless of the news of coming and going companions, the main reason we watch the show is to see Matt Smith return on fine form as the bowtie wearing elegant-shambles portrayal of the Doctor. It has been a long wait to see the show on our screens, let’s just hope it was worth the wait.

The first episode kicks off Series Seven with the return of the Doctor’s most notorious enemies: the Daleks. Apart from a few brief cameos in The Wedding of River Song, The Big Bang and The Pandorica opens, the pepper pots have been off the screen since Victory of the Daleks back in 2010. In this episode we were introduced to the new multicoloured ‘Power Ranger’ Daleks, which replaced the familiar golden bling Daleks that had become a familiar sight on the show since its revival in 2005. Since their last appearance, I started to realise that the Daleks have lost their original fear-factor and have become a pantomime like enemy that never really imparts a sense of terror. Steven Moffat, head writer of the show, argued that they are probably one of the most easily defeated enemies in the universe, and as s a result they have lost their ‘scariness’ and importance within the show. He said: "There's a problem with the Daleks. They are the most famous of the Doctor's adversaries and the most frequent, which means they are the most reliably defeatable enemies in the universe". Asylum of the Daleks attempts to establish the Doctor’s greatest enemy as a foe that sends a chill down your spine rather than a colourful dustbin with attitude. But did it work?

For the majority of the show, Asylum presents the Daleks in the callous and vindictive manner that we have not seen in recent years. We are presented with a dumping ground full of insane and uncontrollable Daleks that are feared even by their own species – now that is creepy. That answers the question: how do you make the Daleks scarier? Present the one thing that terrifies them – which just happens to be their own species. I thought the idea of the Asylum was genius, and was able to provide a real treat for fans of the classic series We got to see not only the bling and Power Ranger Daleks back on our screens, but every Daleks throughout the history of the show including the Special Weapons Dalek, Necros Daleks, Imperial Daleks to name but a few. This was undoubtedly one of the most elaborate and bold Daleks episodes that we have seen in recent years, or perhaps have ever seen.

With regards to Series Seven, this episode throws the Ponds back into the Doctor’s life at a point when their marriage is at an end and they can barely talk to each other. It is clear that the cosy, lovey-dovey relationships that we saw in the last two series, along with the happiness of travelling with the Doctor as a couple have been shaken and may never be the same again. How their relationship changes before their departure in The Angels Take Manhattan is unknown, but I am sure that we as an audience are in for a rollercoaster ride of terrors, laughs and tears.

So what did you think of Asylum of the Daleks? Are the Daleks back to their old ways of terrifying people? Comment below, let me know or contact me on twitter @Rohanseal221B

Sunday, 22 July 2012

The Dark Knight Rises


Director: Christopher Nolan

Certificate: 12A

Rating: 8/10

Cast: Christian Bale, Tom Hardy, Anne Hathaway, Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine

Following the final seconds of Christopher Nolan’s hugely successful film The Dark Knight, people have been eagerly anticipating another caped crusader film to hit cinemas. On the July 20th 2012, four years after the Joker unleashed anarchy onto the streets of Gotham, the dreams of many were fulfilled in the concluding chapter of the trilogy, The Dark Knight Rises. The speculation and hype surrounding the final Batman film has been unlike any other, with fans creating their own teaser trailers on YouTube and mocking up posters to tease fellow enthusiasts about possible plot threads or villains that may or may not be playing a part in the conclusion to the Dark Knight trilogy. The question therefore is this: did it pay off?

Eight years have passed since the events of the previous film, where we saw Batman taking the blame for the murders and chaos caused by Harvey Dent – this lead to Dent being regarded as a hero throughout Gotham, while Batman was labelled as a murderer and forced into hiding. Now, Gotham faces a new threat in the form of the formidable mercenary Bane (Tom Hardy). Unlike the Joker – a man you revelled in chaos – Bane is a figure who is methodical and precise in his actions, plotting to hit Gotham where it hurts the most and raise it to the ground. Along with Bane, the gorgeous Selina Kyle, played by Anne Hathaway, is the sexy femme fatale figure who flirts her way through difficult situations and comes out looking just as good as ever. Her relationship with Batman and Bruce Wayne is intriguing, with their love/hate relationship becoming one of the key elements of the film’s success. Whereas Bane if the brute force that seeks to destroy the city, Selina Kyle is the female antithesis and parallel of Batman: she could be good, but she chooses not to. Her selfishness separates her from the side of good, but her vulnerability is brought into focus by Batman. However, more importantly: Hathaway is so, so sexy. Along with the leading villains, the familiar characters all play their parts perfectly. It was nice to see more of Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox; however, the absence of Michael Caine as Alfred in the majority of the second half of the film was noticeable. Gary Oldman remains an excellent Commissioner Gordon, while Christian Bale is still brilliant as the enigmatic and damaged Bruce Wayne.

Overall, the film felt like a conclusion, an epic finale that finished the Bruce Wayne story perfectly. For me, the film did not have the same impact as when I saw The Dark Knight, but the story is very different to anything we have seen before. I know for a fact that there will be people out there who if asked what their favourite film in the trilogy was, all three instalments would receive high reviews. What you get at the end is three brilliant films that tell very different stories – a trilogy that is greater than the sum of its parts. The other question is this: Is it as good as The Avengers? In terms the story, then yes The Dark Knight Rises has far more depth to it. With regards to effects and spectacle, then The Avengers may slightly top it. The Avengers is a superb popcorn flick, a summer blockbuster, a film that generated a level of excitement that hasn’t been seen in cinemas for a long time, whereas The Dark Knight Rises becomes the better film the longer you have time to think about it. You will be leaving the cinema unsure whether it was better than The Dark Knight, but then when you get home you with say to yourself: ‘actually that was pretty amazing’. Yea, it is a bit over serious in comparison to The Avengers and even The Amazing Spider-Man, but a fun and epic adventure nonetheless.

As I finished writing this review on a film that I have looked forward to for many years, I feel excited and content I have seen it and was pleased with the result. However, I also feel somewhat upset that it is all over, and that I will never see the film again for the first time or experience another Batman film from Christopher Nolan. But in the words of Dr Seuss: I must not cry because it is over, I must smile because it happened.

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Doctor who: Asylum of the Daleks




So the new series of Doctor Who is fast approaching, with rumours circulating concerning what is in store for the Doctor, Amy and Rory in 2012. It has been announced that Karen Gillian and Arthur Darvill will be leaving the TARDIS after the first half of series 7, making way for the new, unnamed companion played by Jenna Louise Coleman. There final battle will see them tackling the Weeping Angels, a fan favourite monster that has captured the imagination of the most recent generation of Whovians. However, another foe is set to reappear in the first episode of the series. I am of course referring to the Doctor’s ultimate enemies: the Daleks.

The last time we saw the pepper-pots on our screen was back in Victory of the Daleks, when we saw them posing as the creation of Edwin Bracewell’s, the “Ironsides” in World War II London with Winston Churchill. Head writer Steven Moffat decided to rest the Daleks, with the demonic dustbins making sideline appearances in The Pandorica opens and The Big Bang, along with a very brief cameo in The Wedding of River Song. Moffat expressed his attitude towards the Daleks before series 6 was released. He said: "There's a problem with the Daleks. They are the most famous of the Doctor's adversaries and the most frequent, which means they are the most reliably defeatable enemies in the universe."

Their return is scheduled to be in the opening episode of series seven, with the title 
Asylum of the Daleks. It has been reported that not only the newly designed and 2005 style Daleks will make an appearance, but every single Dalek throughout the history of the show, including iconic designs such as the Special Weapons Dalek! As you can guess, this is exciting news, but will it pay off? If it works, this is billed to be the most elaborate and boldest Dalek episode ever, but if it doesn’t, it may appear to be just an idea that was thrown together for the sake of trying to bring back the Doctor’s greatest adversaries after a long hiatus. However, I personally cannot wait, and think that the fan concerns and criticisms regarding the Daleks recent incarnation – such as the Power Ranger style designs – will be put to bed forever. Moffat has rarely (well, never thinking about it) let us down, and I don’t think he will do any time soon!

So what do you think about the Daleks returning? Is there another foe of the Doctor that you would like to see return at some point? Let me know below or via twitter!
@Rohanseal221B

Friday, 25 May 2012

Skyfall - Teaser Trailer


The Bond franchise is one of the most successful and scrutinised in the film industry, with nearly 23 films that have told the adventures and victories of one of Britain’s most beloved spies: James Bond. The first teaser trailer for the latest Bond film Skyfall was released last week, revealing very little of what we can expect from Daniel Craig’s third adventure as 007. Even from this trailer, I believe Skyfall will surpass Quantum of Solace in terms of plot, as I am sure many of you will agree that the last film was – to put it nicely I suppose – terrible. Although it was intended as a follow on from Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace felt like an added hour and forty minutes that was unnecessary and weighed the film down. Craig was still brilliant as Bonds, but the film was high on thrill, with some of the best actions scenes I have ever seen in a Bond film, but lacked any emotional depth.
However, from the one minute twenty-four second trailer I feel that the story has engaged me far more than the previous film ever did. Taking part in a word association exercise (I assume – if anyone knows please let me know), Bond confidently responds to the words thrown at him. Then upon hearing the word ‘Skyfall’, Bond freezes for a moment, then utters a single word: ‘done’. It raises numerous questions: What is ‘Skyfall’? How does Bond Know about it? How has Voldermort suddenly grown his hair back?  (That’s not really a question because we all know that smug guy next to M is in fact Ralph Fiennes, but you can see what I mean). We know that the film is based upon MI6 and certain secrets involving M, so whether or not she is initiating ‘Skyfall’ as a code name for a operation or if it is a title for a pre-planned attack on MI6 is yet to be clearly established. I guess we will have to wait to find out.

 So what do you all think of the trailer? Has it whet your appetite for more espionage thrills following a four year gap since the last Bond film? Do you have any opinions on the word ‘Skyfall’?

What the trailer yourself at the link, comment below, let me know, or contact me via Twitter.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

The Dark Knight Rises - Final Trailer review




So The Dark Knight Rises final trailer was released about a week ago, and I have finally had some time to let it sink in that this is the final Batman trailer by Christopher Nolan that we are ever likely to see – a sad moment for cinema I think you’d agree. So there has been an immense amount of hype regarding The Avengers, which is sitting comfortably and the Number 1 spot of the box office, and will be for some time I think. However, despite the talk that the Avengers will surpass TDKR in regards for earnings, the question is: Will the plot of The Dark Knight Rises be its saving grace?

So what has been spread on the net about Nolan’s last film with Batman is that the film takes places about eight years following the anarchy and turmoil that the Joker spread in The Dark Knight and Gotham is at peace. Batman has vanished following the death of Harvey Dent, and is now hunted by Gotham police who believe he is responsible for the carnage at the end of the last film. However, Gotham is about to face another stage of disaster, one that could burn it to the ground. This terror comes in the form of the juggernaut Bane, who intends to destroy the city and all that is left of Bruce Wayne and Batman's legacy.

The third trailer kicks off really eerily, with creepy music that you would expect in a psychological horror film. Then we see Bruce Wayne with a beard, an indication I imagine that suggests he has been out of action for a long time – either that or he ran out of Gillette shavers. Then for those of you who have been lucky enough to see the prologue we get a few shots of the planes that were used in the capturing of Dr Pavel – ‘who is doctor Pavel?’ I hear you ask. Honestly, I am not sure.

Then we hear some sexy vocal tones warning Bruce Wayne that ‘A storm is coming. Who could this be, other than the femme fatale of the DC universe,  Selina Kyle aka Cat-woman (In fact I hope they do just call her Selina, similar to how Harvey Dent wasn’t called Two-Face after the accident). Then after a shot of her looking like Audrey Hepburn and her saying that she is adaptable (I bet she is), we see the monster that is Bane – again is you had seen the prologue the shot isn’t much of a surprise. However the next shot is the shot we have been waiting for, which is with Bane speaking, all of us wondering whether they fixed the audio from the prologue that everyone complained about. He is holding some guy who looks haggard and near death and states that he is ‘Gotham’s Reckoning’. And Hooray! His voice is perfect. It still has the same muffled elements to it, but it is so much easier to understand.

Then we see the same stuff we say in the last trailer, namely the football pitch exploding, people getting removed from their homes and police officers being bombarded with debris, elements symbolising the inevitable destruction that Bane is going to release onto Gotham’s streets. Then we see Joseph Gordon Levitt, and everyone is asking: who the hell is this guy? Well apparently he is a Gotham cop and – well that’s it to be honest. Many have speculated that he will take up the Batman guise following Bruce Wayne’s possible broken back or death at the hands of Bane, but who knows.

After that is just shows one of the city’s bridges and nothing else. Then suddenly it explodes and collapses, like the one in the backdrop that you don’t notice initially. I think it is safe to say that Gotham is in a little bit of trouble to say the least. So already from the trailer it is clear that this is a level of destruction similar to the past batman films, so at least the plot appears as strong as its predecessors. After Joseph Gordon Levitt and Selina discuss whether he (presumably Bruce Wayne) is dead or not, we see the batter hero with Bane looking over his (broken?) body, stating that he didn’t kill Wayne because ‘his punishment must be more severe’. From the two lines in this trailer, Bane is definitely up there with the Joker for sheer menace and terror. However, unlike the Joker he isn’t an agent of chaos, just its muscle.

Now from here the intensity of the trailer builds and builds, firing numerous questions at you as to what the future will be for the caped crusader. Will he return (He obviously will)? If Bane is as bad as Cat-woman says, where is Nolan going to take this character? Judging by the final section of the trailer, this is a battle that Bruce Wayne may not live through, or come out the other side unscathed. With Alfred refusing to ‘Bury him’ and Wayne admitting that he has yet to give the people of Gotham everything, it is possible that he will die in his attempt to save the city that loathes him.

From now up to the conclusion the chant of Deshay! Deshay! Basara! Basara! from past trailers grows and grows, as we see Bane and Batman fighting, Cat-woman taking out a load of goons and a few exploding Tumblers. The title comes up and the chanting continues in a chilling yet satisfying manner. Then the money shot. I won’t say anything in case there is a human being alive who hasn’t seen it yet – but trust me, it is worth the wait.

Here is what I want you to think about. The scene towards the end when Bane and Batman are fighting in the sewers (I think), is it me or does Batman’s fighting look a little clunky? Is that because he has had the living snot beaten out of him, or is it an inexperienced replacement? What do you think?

So the trailer looks amazing, what do you think is going to happen to Batman or Bruce Wayne? Is Bruce Wayne going to die? Will Batman be replaced? Will Bane go out and buy some cough medicine? Comment below, let me know, or contact me via twitter ‘Rohanseal221B’.

Monday, 30 April 2012

The Avengers


Certificate: 12A

Dir: Joss Whedon


Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Jeremy Renner, Scarlett Johansson, Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L Jackson

Rating: 5/5

It is finally here. Five brilliant Marvel films and plenty of fan speculation have finally come together and culminated in the ultimate comic book film: The Avengers (or Avengers Assemble if you are in the United Kingdom – we have to be different). If you don’t know about The Avengers then where have you been – I mean serious, where?  So the basic premise of the story is that when Earth’s safety is threatened, Nick Fury, the leader of S.H.E.I.L.D, rallies together a group of superheroes – namely Ironman, Captain America, Thor, Hulk, Black Widow and Hawkeye – to save the planet from destruction brought about by Thor’s brother, Loki. If you are a fan of comic books and comic book films, then this is the ultimate cinematic nerdgasm that you have longed to see on screen, but have never had the pleasure of witnessing – until now.

The Avengers lives up to, surpasses and smashes (Hulk style!) any expectations that people had for the film. Joss Whedon has produced probably one of the best superhero film ever made, a film that is right up there with The Dark Knight for sheer spectacle and marvel. Admittedly I was concerned that the hype for the film, which has been building ever since Nick Fury (Samuel L Jackson) proposed the Avenger initiative to Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) in the post-credit sequence in Ironman, would ultimately make the film feel as though it had been just thrown together for the sake of it. However, the plot ties in all the elements from The Incredible Hulk, Thor, Captain America: The First Avenger and the two Ironman films brilliantly, allowing each character’s journey to continue right from where they left off.  The film allows each character to have their specific role rather than making it feel as though they are just there for the sake of being there, with no character being overlooked nor their screen time depleted.

Although all the characters are portrayed brilliantly, I feel come credit needs to be given to Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner and his green, powerhouse, bone-crunching alter ego that is the Hulk. There were concerns after Edward Norton was replaced that the character wouldn’t be as effective or as welcomed as he would have been before the re-cast. However, Ruffalo pulls it out the bag and delivers my favourite performance as the damaged and awkward Bruce Banner. Yet the Hulk, without a doubt, supplies as much comedy as Tony Stark, with some hilarious, unexpected moments of rage that had the audience in hysterics - HULK FUNNY as he would probably say.

All I can say is that the film was unbelievably good, with an ensemble cast that hopefully will be returning in another few years time for The Avengers 2 – that is after Captain America 2, Thor 2, Ironman 3 and others (potentially a Hawkeye spinoff). As with all the other Marvel films, there is a post credit sequence, but this actually occurs a few minutes after rather than right at the end. For all you Marvel fan boys out there, there is a little hint and the possible plot of any future Avenger films.

So have you seen The Avengers? What did you think of the film? If you could be any of the heroes, who would it be? Comment below, follow or contact me via Twitter

@Rohanseal221B

Friday, 27 April 2012

The Cabin in the Woods


Dir: Drew Goddard

Cast: Kirsten Connelly, Chris Hemsworth, Anna Hutchinson, Fran Kranz

Certificate: 15

Rating: 5/5

If you go down to the woods today, you’re in for a big surprise – literally. There have been so many generic horror films that fail to be unique or completely revitalize the genre. As I mentioned in my review for The Woman in Black, they tend to be gratuitously gory with actors that make Eastenders look like Chekov – I am not a fan of horror. However, due to the hype of the ‘game-changing’ film by Drew Goddard’s The Cabin in the Woods, I thought I would see what all the fuss is about. Youtube film, game and television critic Jeremy Jahns said in his review that the film reminded him of a Stephen King novel. Now when he said this I wasn’t too sure – there are a lot of good Stephen King novels such as ‘It’ and ‘The Mist’, and personally I thought Jeremy was building my anticipation up too much and that I would be disappointed and somewhat unfulfilled by the film – but he hit the nail on the head. This film, like the works of King, plays on your mind for a long time after you have left the cinema. It is not because it is overly creepy or scary, but because it is clear that the film has one objective: create a horror film unlike anything seen before.

Produced by Joss ‘The Avengers’ Whedon, the plot of the film sounds very conventional for teen horror film, where a group of high school teenagers travel to a heavily wooded and ominous part of the country and aim to let loose and party hard. Now in true horror style there is a killer or a virus or a Bigfoot-like Gremlin that picks them off slowly until the best actor among them is still standing – but this isn’t your normal horror film.  It would be a crime for me to spoil the true surprise of the film, but all I will say is that there were moments in this film and in the narrative as a whole that I did not see coming. It is a rarity to be surprised by a horror film – in fact the last time I was surprised in a horror film was ... er... okay I can’t remember, but my point is that this film not only pulls the carpet from out under your feet, it pulls the carpet from out under your feet wraps you in it and throws you off a bridge.

There were so many moments in this film when I reflected on Jeremy’s comment about Stephen King, and if this was a novel I would recommend it as a good read. It takes you by the throat, slaps you round the face and shakes off all the generic aspects of horror that we have become accustom to and thrown them back in to make a cocktail that will please, confuse and astound all fans of horror and even cinema in general. Even if you are not a fan of horror or this genre of film, I would advise you, as I did, to forget about every terrible horror ‘film’ you have ever seen and go and see this – it will not disappoint.

So have you seen The Cabin in the Woods? What did you think of the film? Feel free to comment below or contact me via twitter
@Rohanseal221B


Saturday, 7 April 2012

The Hunger Games - Review

Director: Gary Ross

Certificate: 12A

Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Stanley Tucci

Rating: 4/5

Most people would find it difficult to kill someone, but what if you were thrown into a survival of the fittest, fight to the death game of extreme slaughter in the wilderness that was used as a means of entertaining the masses in the future? I imagine you’d probably be ok with it. Suzanne Collin’s The Hunger Games has been adapted by director Gary Ross, which tells the story of such a world where twenty-four children from across the twelve districts of a dystopian America are placed into a last-man-standing fight to the death competition. The twenty-three losers die; the winner obtains their life – very simple. The story follows Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence), who enters the Hunger Games as a volunteer in order to save her younger sister from the brutality of the competition and almost certain death. She, along with the male contender from District 12, Peeta (Josh Hutcherson), leaves their impoverished district to head for the wealthy Capitol where they are to be trained by former Hunger Games champion Haymitch Abernathy (Woody Harrelson). Attempting to gain popularity from the audience prior to the games, the cold and emotionless Katniss must learn to get the public to like her and obtain sponsorship and be provided with assistance during the games if she is to ever survive.

As a viewer who has never read Collin’s novels, I can honestly say that I really enjoyed the film. The exhausting action sequences combined with the isolation felt by the competitors was brilliantly depicted on screen. I didn’t initially warm to Katniss as a character, which I suppose is intentional, as she is meant to seem distant and independent, however, as the game progressed and we saw her true character, I thought that Jennifer Lawrence was brilliant in the role. Woody Harrelson was hilarious and powerful as the former champion come mentor who has become an alcoholic mess due to his retirement – similar to many sports celebrities when you think about it. Other that the cast, the energy of the film was brilliant: despite a few long drawn out sequences of romances between Peeta and Katniss which allowed the viewer to breath, the action sequences and combat scenes of sword play and archery were very impressive. With reported increases in the sales of toy bows and arrows, along with an interest in archery schools and shooting range visits the film obviously triggers the adventurer and the Legolas gene within each audience member.

My only criticism of the film is that despite being a 12A, I actually found The Hunger Games a big too violent for the certificate. I mean it is not bloody violence, but breaking a child’s neck and watching other young adults get killed in imaginative and brutal ways is potentially off putting for some viewers. It doesn’t personally bother me, I still thought the death scenes were creative and well executed, but I just feel that caution should be advised when showing this film to children. Saying that, I loved the film and for the first time after seeing novel adapted to the screen, I am actually eager to read the original material. With a sequel planned for the near future, I will be raiding my nearest book store to purchase Collin’s Hunger Games series to be able to enjoy the future films as a viewer who is a true fan boy of the series.

So have you seen the Hunger Games? Are you looking forward to the sequels? Has the film made you want to become a real life warrior? Comment below or contact me via twitter
@Rohanseal221B

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

21 Jump Street

Director: Phil Lord and Chris Miller

Certificate: 15

Cast: Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill, Brie Larson, Dave Franco, Ice Cube

Rating: 4/5

Cop Comedies are great aren't they? One of the few styles of comedy that are almost certain to get big laughs. Hot Fuzz, Rush Hour, Blue Streak and Bad Boys: these are all films that I can still genuinely enjoy. So with the release of 21 Jump Street, I was looking forward to seeing yet another brilliant comedy in the long line of excellent buddy cop comedies, full of over the top explosions, cheesy lines and through the air gunfire, all topped off with some cliché cop movie references thrown in just for laughs.

21 Jump Street, for those of you born in Britain and in the 90’s, is based upon a TV drama series with the pre-Captain Jack Sparrow Johnny Depp and Dustin Nguyen as undercover police officers posing as high-school teens. However, the film adaptation, starring Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill, turns the serious (and frankly unrealistic drama) into a comedy, identifying the absurdity of the original series and playing with that idea. Schmidt and Jenko (Hill and Tatum respectively), two high-school teens at opposite ends of the popularity spectrum become unlikely friends when both join the police force, who are then instructed to work undercover in a high-school to uncover a drug ring, exposing the dealers and identifying the supplier.

During their time back in high-school, the once popular Jenko is alienated by how times have changed, becoming an ostracized individual and scorned by his fellow classmates. However, Schmidt, who was once shy and incapable of talking to girls, falls in with the popular kids in school, much to Jenko’s disapproval. Many fans of the original series would probably feel uncertain towards the change from a drama to a comedy; however, the change works perfectly. Hill and Tatum are perfect together; both actors deliver their lines sharply and with great timing. This surprised me, as I wasn’t sure whether I would buy into the pair of their being friends having been a different ends of the social spectrum becoming best-friends-forever. Yet their timing and the way they played off each other’s lines was fun and entertaining to watch, allowing a true friendship to blossom on screen.

Overall I will say that 21 Jump Street was another brilliant cop comedy. The film is slightly predictable, but as this wasn’t directed by Christopher Nolan, I did not expect to have my mind muscle exercised. Despite his predictability, the film had me in stitches, with the humour being the surprising element that kept the pacing of the film at a high level. If you are looking for a laugh with mates or need a film to take the girlfriend or boyfriend to see, this is a film that everyone can appreciate and laugh at in equal measure.

So what is your favourite cop comedy? Do you agree with what I say about 21 Jump Street? Let me know below or contact me via twitter @Rohanseal221B

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Project X - Review

Director:Nima Nourizadeh

Cast Thomas Mann, Oliver Cooper, Jonathan Daniel Brown, Kirby Bliss Blanton, Alexis Knapp

Certificate: 18

Rating: 3/5

We all love a party don’t we? Each and every one of us has in our minds an image of ‘the ultimate party’: whether it includes bouncy castles, piñatas, and ice-cream, or alcohol, strippers and drugs (or all of them), we all have a dream of one day that party becoming a reality. The latest film produced by Todd Philips and directed by Nima Nourizadeh fulfils this dream, putting all of your twisted party ideas into one ninety minute film: Project X. The film tells of Thomas (Thomas Mann), a just turned seventeen year old boy who, with severe persuasion from his friends Costa and J.B. (played by Oliver Cooper and Jonathan Daniel Brown respectively), holds the party that will change them from the unpopular nobodies, into household college Gods overnight. Through social networking sites and word of mouth, the party grows and grows, becoming everything that the boys dreamed it would be. However, as you can expect, more and more people arrive, and things do not go according to plan.

Now, I was hoping that this film would be, as the trailer suggested,’ Superbad on crack’, and the best party movie I have ever seen. I imagined it to be what you didn’t see in The Hangover, and everything you saw in American Pie. However, the film was lacking something, I am not sure what it was but it just didn’t live up to the hype. Don’t get me wrong it was hilarious in parts, but being produced by Todd Philips I couldn’t help comparing it to The Hangover. Maybe I am wrong to do that, as the films are both completely contrasting, The Hangover is laugh-out-loud hilarious, Project X is just funny; The Hangover is memorable, Project X isn’t.

I am not taking away anything from the fun of the film though, as I would be queuing down the street to get into a party like that. It is, as the poster says, ‘The Party you’ve Only Dreamed about’. The sheer level of chaos at just one party is incomprehensible, with midgets in the oven, smashing windows, cars crashing, motorbike races and flame throwers; the madness ascends from a good time, to chaos, from chaos to stupidity. It brilliant idiotic behaviour, but does that mean it is funny? I was watching this film and realised I had not laughed in about twenty minutes, and for a comedy, that is bad – really bad. However, there are some genuinely hilarious moments, but not funny enough to make you burst out laughing in the middle of the cinema and choke on your popcorn. Maybe I just need to chill and be in the mood for partying when I watch this film.

Overall the film wasn’t terrible, but I will not lie and say it’s the funniest film I have ever seen, because it most definitely isn’t. I would say this is the best comedy of 2012 – that said there haven’t exactly been many comedy films released since January – but I can be certain there will be funnier films to come out this year than Project X. This is a film to see when you are drunk or if you are just about to go for a night out, but in terms of a date movie or a film for watching alone, Project X is not that kind of film.

So have you seen Project X? What did you think of the film? Am I being too harsh? Let me know below or contact me via Twitter.

@Rohanseal221B

Monday, 5 March 2012

This Means War - Review

Director: McG

Certificate: 12A

Cast: Reese Witherspoon, Tom Hardy, Chris Pine

Rating: 3/5

I am not a big fan of rom-coms: to me they are far too slushy and cringe-worthy, with self-pitying characters that make you want to take a pin and stab both your eyes out like Oedipus – not because of the incest, but the shame of momentarily enjoying something that you know deep down you shouldn’t. However I had high hopes for This Means War as it has the brilliant Tom Hardy in it, who happens to be one of my favourite actors, who is accompanied by Captain Kirk himself, Chris Pine. Both Hardy and Pine play secret agents and best friends who happen to fall for the same woman, Lauren Scott, played by the gorgeous – and seemingly eternally young – Reese Witherspoon. Unsure which of the two she should date, Lauren decides to take the advice of her overtly sexually promiscuous friend and date both men at the same time in a hope to decide which one is right for her.

I wouldn’t exactly call this film a rom-com, as it isn’t especially romantic – not that I am a Casanova or anything (although I have had my moments). It’s just that you know that one of the guys is going to win the woman over at the end, the other will lose, or she will walk away and let them get on with it. Basically, no one will win in a love triangle. The only way that this would work is if Lauren was hit by a bus or taken out with some elaborate espionage technology to punish her for playing two guys for a fool, thus removing the problem and allowing the friends to continue killing terrorists and watching American Football with beer as friends should do. Yet there are some funny moments in this film: admittedly they are not amazing jokes, but what more do you expect from a rom-com. Both Hardy and Pine have good chemistry together, and that is evident from the way in which they bounce lines off each another. The linguistic jousting between them and the one-upmanship attitude they both have is quite enjoyable to watch, which combined with their physicality makes them two very likeable characters.

However I did think to myself while watching the film: would I watch this if the cast was full of unknown stars? The truth is I probably wouldn’t bother. For starters we have Bane and Captain Kirk fighting over Elle Woods, which I think most people would be slightly intrigued to see played out on the big screen – although the linguistic jousting that I praised would be along the lines of: ‘Who was that pointy-eared bastard?’ and ‘zsxdiue slfj dj  ejd askie  djdjs’. So maybe not everyone’s cup of tea, but with a cast this good, anyone could have predicted this film would do well at cinemas. One of the main saving graces of the film is the actions sequences, which I thought would be dwarfed by the central love triangle plot. However there as some great shootouts, car chases and hand to hand combat that is choreographed well and executed brilliantly by the two lead characters. I only wished there had been more of it.

So overall I found the film endurable but not amazing. The acting was good but the story line was weak and tiresome. If you are going to go and see this film go with a member of the opposite sex, as this is the perfect date movie: it is not too serious, it has good looking actors and actress for both of you to fantasise over, and it is something that you will enjoy talking about after – even if you loved or hated it.

So what did you think of This Means War? Do you think I am being harsh? Comment below or contact me via twitter.

@Rohanseal221B

Friday, 2 March 2012

Taken - Review


I will look for you, I will find you, and I will kill you: The words that turned Liam Neeson from the cuddly lion Aslan into an absolute bad-ass dad. Taken tells of estranged father Bryan Mills, an ex-CIA agent whose daughter Kim, played by Maggie Grace, is living with his ex-wife and richer new husband. Feeling as though his daughter is growing apart from him, Bryan allows Kim to go travelling around Europe with one of her friends, despite being worried about her safety. However, trouble begins when Kim is kidnapped by a group of sex traffickers in France, forcing Bryan to take matters into his own hands, find the people who took her, and get her home to safety at whatever costs.

The film is a non-stop action extravaganza: from the moment Kim is taken, Neeson steps into action as the heroic father, killing whoever is connected with her kidnapping in a variety of stylish, painful, and – let’s face it – brutal ways. However, the only criticism I would have is the sheer amount of carnage that Bryan causes. I know the film is very tongue-in-cheek, but by the end of the film he has amassed a body count that would make Michael Myers feel guilty – I mean the Michael Myers from Halloween, not the Michael Myers from Austin Powers (Yea Baby!). But you just lap it up, as this level of brutality in any other film would feel out of place. However, in this film the destruction becomes second nature, almost to the point where he is killing the twelfth-million person in the most savage way and you’re just like: ‘yea, ok, I would have done it differently, but no, that’s good’. You just become immune to the sheer madness of the film – which is not a bad thing I suppose.

Neeson is great in the role as Bryan, as his portrayal as the ex-secret was very much a departure from roles we have seen him in before, reinventing him as an action hero for a new generation of cinemagoers. Yea his lines are cheesy, and at times you role your eyes due to the stupidity of some of the things he does, but Neeson just oozes charisma and testosterone that you just do not care. The array of imaginative ways in which he takes people out switches between genius and repetitive, however, after he’s killed more people than the Black Death, you just don’t care and even register that he is causing that much destruction. Let’s face it when it comes to beating the living snot out of a bunch of sex traffickers, Neeson is your man.

Shortly after the success of Taken it was announced that there would be a sequel, with filing beginning in September 2011. I am not sure where they can take the sequel, as the first was simple, but felt concluded and finished with when the credits rolled up. I can’t see how they can carry on the story without making a carbon copy of the original. So this may be like The Hangover Part II of the Hangover series, with the second film being exactly the same with only a few minor changes: instead of Europe, it is in Asia; instead of his daughter, it is his ex-wife; instead of killing people, Bryan gives them all Chinese burns – ok maybe not, but you see my point.

Well what do you think will happen in the next taken film? Do you think it will live up to the original? Will they give it some awful punned title like ‘Taken 2 Asia’? Let me know what you think below, or contact be via twitter.

@Rohanseal221B

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Inception - Review

Rating: 5/5
Director: Christopher Nolan
Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Tom Hardy, Cillian Murphy, Ellen Page, Ken Watanabe, Micheal Caine

It occurred to me a few days ago that I only write about recently released films or upcoming trailers that are circulating on the internet, and not once have I written a review on a film that was released nearly a year ago and which most people own on DVD or Blu-Ray. However, that is all about to change.  I thought I would start off writing about what was one of the most highly anticipated and successful films of the summer in 2010: the film that made many of us excited about going to sleep, and kept most of us awake with its intricate and layered narrative that made us question what is real and what is our imagination. Of course, I am talking about Christopher Nolan’s Inception. For those of you who haven’t seen Inception – in fact who hasn’t seen this film? If you haven’t then where had you been the last few years, seriously? Well for those of you who haven’t seen Inception (apart from me telling you to go and see it), the film’s premise involves the concept of dreaming, and the idea of stealing ideas from people’s minds when they are in the dream state - or what you and I would call sleep. Dominic Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) leads an illegal espionage team whose job it is to extract ideas from a subjects mind in dream scenarios, which have specifically constructed by the team in order to obtain whatever information they desire in the safest and simplest way possible: this process is called ‘Extraction’. However, Cobb and his team are approach by Mr Saito (Ken Watanabe) who questions the possibility of ‘Inception’, which involves planting an idea in a subject’s mind rather than stealing one. Their job is to convince Robert Fischer, the business opponent of Saito played by Cillian Murphy, to break up his father’s empire, thus removing the competition from Saito.

From the opening five minutes, this film does not stop. It jumps straight into the action and plot before you even have time to comprehend what is happening.  It is only by perseverance and patients that your questions become answered about halfway through the film – well sort of. There is so much detail in this film that you really have to pay attention, with more and more elements of the plot being added every few minutes, Inception is a film you need your thinking-cap on for. This is a film I have been waiting to see for years, the sort that just says to you:  ‘this film is confusing, so shut up, listen and pay attention.’ In my opinion this is what cinema should be about: making you think and not just letting you sit there waiting to leave the theatre until you can go home and get into your date's knickers. Whether this was an intention of Nolan’s is unsure, but I think it is just because he is such an extraordinary human being that he considers this normal, which I love. I would be intrigued to know how he came up with this film, as there are so many levels to his film that you begin to believe that there really is a team of extractors diving into people’s subconscious’ and scrambling around with their secrets and memories.
Like I said this film is so dense that it requires a considerable amount of brain work to keep up with. However it’s not a film for the intellectual, and can be appreciated by anyone who dreams - which is basically everyone. So anyone and everyone who dreams can be attracted to this film, and the way in which the dreams states are depicted are simply incredible. The way in which Nolan presents the concepts of a dream within a dream, and they way that your dreams can be influenced by your surroundings when you are asleep is brilliantly portrayed on screen. Some of the scenes when Cobb and his men are fighting with Fisher’s subconscious – particularly in the hotel and the rotating corridor – are some of the best actions scenes that do not rely on CGI that I have seen in a long time. The film just oozed perfection on so many levels. The action sequences in the mountains, in the van and in the hotel each contributed to a staggering third act, one make you almost physically exhausted while watching it - I can’t remember the last time a film did that to me.

Now most of us in the past have been asked the obvious question: ‘what’s the best film you have ever seen?’ Now when people ask this I usually can’t answer, because there are so many films that every time I see them I fall in love with them - I am very fickle in my approach to films. However Inception is one of those films that I adore, and could quite happily watch it over and over again until my eyes bled out of my ears. The way the film gets you thinking, it’s pacing, and the fact that you are confused for about half the time you are watching it are all the elements that make Inception a film that you need to watch again and again, and the more you watch it, the more you appreciate it’s creativity and it’s boldness. Of course I have to mention the ending, which got all of us arguing as to whether the ending of the film was real or whether Cobb finally got to go back and see his family again. The beauty of the concluding scene is that you don’t find out, because as soon as you do the secret or mystery dissipates. It is far better to be left unresolved and leave it to the audience’s imagination, rather than tie it up and disappoint people.

So what was your opinion of Inception? How do you think the film really ended? Do you want to see a sequel in a few years? Feel free to comment below or contact me via twitter.
(Rohanseal221B)

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Doctor Who 50th Anniversary

In 2013 we have celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the most successful science fiction franchises ever, the one and only Doctor Who. Now there are numerous rumours circulating about what 2013 has in store for us, and Steven Moffat is keeping his cards close to his chest so as not to spoil anything. Now for the 20th Anniversary there was the episode ‘The Five Doctors’, which surprising featured only four Doctors’ with some old footage of Tom Baker thrown in so as not so upset any fans. Now this episode featured the Master, Cybermen, and Daleks and introduced the character Borusa, along with a short appearance of the floating head of Rassilon. For the time of transmission this episode was considered an absolute dream for every Doctor Who fan, so now there is heavy expectation on the 50th Anniversary episode or series, but who knows what is in store for us fans.

So what do you want there to be in the 50th Anniversary episode? Do you want to see the Master again, or maybe even an overdue appearance of Omega? Do you want to see an appearance from David Tennant or John Barrowman? Or would you like Paul McGann as the Eight Doctor stepping back into the Tardis? It has been reported that both McGann and Ecclestone have declined returning, but who knows what will happen in the next twelve months!  With Matt Smith currently doing fantastic in the role it can already be assumed that the anniversary will be one to remember. However if you want to voice your opinion feel free to comment below and let me know or contact me directly via Twitter (@RohanSeal221B).

The Woman in Black - Review

Rating: 4/5
Director: James Watkins
Cast: Daniel Radcliffe, Ciaran Hinds, Janet McTeer, Sophie Stuckey, Liz White 


I have finally plucked up the courage to go and see The Woman in Black which everyone has been calling one of the creepiest films in a long time. Now I am not a big fan of horror films: for me they tend to be gratuitously gory or have an array of actors that would make an episode of Eastenders look like Chekov. However, after all of the hype and people claiming how intense it was seeing this film, I had high hopes it would leave a mark on me that I would remember, a possibly change my perception of horror films. So here we go. Are you sitting comfortably?

Now The Woman in Black is the story of Arthur Kipps, a solicitor from London played by Harry potter – I mean Daniel Radcliffe – who is sent to look after the property of Alice Drablow following her death.  Now while he is staying in the village local to the property, there are several rumours and suspicions regarding the house, with Kipps being made unwelcome by the villagers who advise him not to enter the house for any reason. In cliché horror movie style the hero, or central character, is told the most valuable line in horror movie history: ‘I wouldn’t go in there if I was you’. But what do you know, against all the advice and guidance from the locals Kipps ignores this and continues with his work - which is good because otherwise this film would have been very short! So from here on in, the film plays out as you would expect: Kipps stays at the house, experiences some creepy goings-on and then he meets the Woman in Black.

The film is a collection of jump-scares, creative camera work and periods of long and drawn out tension. Director James Watkins has incorporated some extraordinary shots into this film, each potentially being the point of view of the woman in black or any other possible spirits, adding to the intensity levels. This film is slow at the beginning, but has some very shaky moments later on that range from creepy shots of a blurred reflection right up to throwing something straight in your face that makes you want to cry. There is a period when the intensity does not stop, and I am glad at some moments I had a spare pair of underwear (I didn’t obviously – seriously!). This film is without a doubt a mental workout: In the way Inception gives you mind a workout through its density and complexness, The Woman in Black really over excites your brain, making you anticipate and see things that aren’t there, then when you think you are safe it throws a jump-scare right smack in your face. There are some moments in the film that just burn in your mind and sounds that ring in your ears for minutes after you have seen them. As a film it never lets you feel relaxed or safe for a minute, which I suppose is the purpose of horror films.

Therefore, despite my dislike for the genre, I can safely say that this is one of the best horror films I have seen for many years. It does not rely upon unnecessary gore, nor does it have poor acting. Daniel Radcliffe is superb in the role - providing you can forget his role in Harry Potter. It is obvious that Radcliffe is aiming to establish himself as an even better actor than we have seen him do outside the Harry Potter universe so far, and judging by his recent performances, including this film, he still has a substantial career ahead of him. James Watkin’s style of filmmaking, and the manner in which he sucks his audiences in and makes them a part of the experience, is brilliant, providing some of the tensest moments I have seen on screen. He does not provide any unnecessary action, violence or explanation that slows or complicates a film, instead the film both subtle and overt in its delivery. They often say that ‘less is more’, well this is most certainly the case with The Woman in Black. Although it may not have rekindled my opinion of the horror genre, the film is without a doubt one of the better films I have seen in the last six months.

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Project X - Trailer review



The trailer for the latest film from Todd Philips, the director of Old School and The Hangover films, has been released and it looks as though Phillips is up to his old tricks of laugh-out-loud, toe-curling comedy. The film is Project X, which if you haven’t seen the trailer yet, is of another in the genre of found footage films, normally where everyone at the end if dead and the film basically tracks the series of events that led to them all ending up dead, decapitated by a monster in central park or some other sort of death in the wood that I couldn’t because I was either experiencing nausea due the camera shakes or I was asleep. They tend to be intentionally scary, but ultimately tiresome and not living up to the desired expectation (okay Cloverfield wasn’t terrible, or was it?).


However this film is based upon the events occurring leading up to and during a party planned by a group of American teenagers, intending to make it the ultimate, twisted party that we have all dreamed, but very few have ever actually gone to. People are like that and they will say: ‘Yea I was at this party last week it was amazing, yea, we stayed up until like 5am I had like five beers *snorts* I was completely wasted’. To those people I stick my middle finger up at you and blow a raspberry, because by the looks of this trailer no party could come close to the mayhem and chaos that is going to ensue in this film. We have zip lines, kung fu midgets, sex, drugs, copious amounts of alcohol, car crashes, flame throwers (the next time I am at a house party and the riot police with flame throwers come out, I would take that as a sign to call it a night).  This film seems to me to be the events of The Hangover that you didn’t see, and if there was a video camera capturing the antics that occurred in Las Vegas, this would be it in all its insane and twisted glory.

So hopefully this film will breathe new light into a franchise that is becoming associated with Nurofen, low budgets and bad acting, and that Todd Phillips will make yet another hilarious and insane film, one that is hopefully a lot funnier and unique than the Hangover: Part II. If it is anything like the trailer shows I am sure it will not disappoint,  as there seems to be some great lines and the split second timed humour that I love about Phillip’s films, which potentially could make The Hangover films look like a quiet night in when compared to Project X.

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

The Bourne Legacy Trailer

Today the new trailer for the latest Bourne was released today, titled, as many of you probably know The Bourne Legacy. Now I will admit the trailer doesn't give us much information, but from what it shows the films promises high octane action and the superb stunts synonymous with the Bourne films. The only thing that looks slightly odd in the trailer, and the question for all those who have not read the books by Robert Ludlum and Eric Van Lustbader, is where is Matt Damon? That is the only thing that makes this trailer feels odd, as it is almost as though the series has been rebooted. However it has been said that this film will be more like a 'what you wouldn't have see' film, that while you are looking in one direction, Jeremy Renner (when he wasn't Hawk-eye) was beating the living daylights out of people.

I still want to see it. Do you want to see it? Check the trailer out and see for yourself.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NZbZm-uA0EU&feature=youtu.be

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

The Amazing Spider-man Trailer


Exciting news! The new trailer for The Amazing Spider-man starring Andrew Garfield was released today and already I am buzzing with excitement. The film which is a reboot of the Sam Raimi franchise (and also a re-imagining of the entire series apparently) sees Spidey getting to grips with his new powers in high school, falling for Gwen Stacey and battling against Dr Curt Connor's alter ego that is the Lizard. Now I am really excited for this film, but there is always a danger when you reboot a popular franchise such as Spider-man. Admittedly number three was, let’s face it, a bit of a mess, however I believe the franchise could have continued successfully, and Spider-man 4 was on the cards until script disagreements made the film no more. That was a sad day. However the new trailer looks incredible and I think Andrew Garfield will make us forget about Tobey Maguire in the role before you can say ‘bad new green goblin costume’ (you know exactly what I mean).

So the main villain in this film is the Lizard. I have been waiting for the lizard to be in these films since day one, and finally he is here in all his glory. Well, ok maybe not in all his glory. For those of you who saw the origin concept art form the Lizard (below) you may have heard him being referred to as Voldemort, a green Solomon Grundy or a Super Mario Goomba.




I was hoping that the Lizard would be very different from what we saw originally in the design you see above, which is the case with most concept art as they change the images as the production progresses. However, they seem to have kept it the same, which is a bit, you know, bad. I thought he would have the snout and a long tongue, but by the look of it we have what we see above. I am sure however that when he is on the big screen it will be gorgeous, and judging by the actions sequences I am sure I will be wetting myself with excitement and putting my doubts to shame.

The other villain who is in the film who we didn’t get to see (apparently) is Proto-Goblin. Now I am tired of the different incarnations of the Goblin we have seen. Yes he is one of the ultimate archenemies of Spider-man, but it needs a rest, seriously. That was the problem with Raimi’s franchise; the Goblin was too clown like and aimed at a children audience. You want a villain that is going to make them not sleep for a year, but sadly William Defoe’s boogieman didn’t pay off. However having said that I am looking forward to seeing Proto-Goblin, and hoping that they approach it from a whole new perspective, unlike James Franco’s Elton John snowboarder outfit.

The one thing that I will say about the trailer (direct congratulations to Marc Webb) is that I really like the tone of it. It is much darker that what we have seen before, less kid friendly and definitely aimed at an adult audience. Andrew Garfield looks great as Peter Parker and Spidey, Emma stone looks great a Gwen Stacey and Rhys Ifans looks great as Dr. Connors, not so much as green Solomon Grundy. However, despite my moans and criticism of the Lizard, I am so excited to see this film, and with The Dark Knight Rises and The Avengers being released, this summer will be a super one (see what I did?)

So have you seen the trailer? What do you think? Is The Amazing Spider-man going to surpass its predecessors? Or will it be even more of a disappointment than the third? Let me know.

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Star Wars 3D

A long time ago, in a galaxy called the Milky Way, a trilogy of films was released called Star Wars, and quite simply they were one of, if not the, best science fiction franchises ever. Then a few years later another trilogy was released, which as many of you may know were by no way as good, In fact the second trilogy (or first for that matter) was like the side dish in a restaurant you didn’t want to order, but it was complementary so that is great, however it may have spoilt the whole meal, saga, two trilogies (you get what I mean). So the saga wrapped in 2005 with Revenge of the Sith, and many nerds including myself thought that that was it from Lucas, C-3PO and the Ewoks. However George Lucas announced last year some interesting Star Wars news – which I know I have come across later than the rest of the world – however I felt I needed to voice my opinion. He plans to release each of the six films in 3D over the next six consecutive years. Now if I had one question to ask George Lucas this would be it: Why?

What is the point? Why is he doing it over six years? Most people who love Star Wars, the typical Star Wars fan I mean, live in a bin at the bottom of their garden and they won’t be alive in six years time when we finally get Return of the Jedi (1983). So we will have 2012, ok; 2013, dreadful; 2014, better; 2015, at last; 2016, finally; 2017, ultimate nerdgasm!  So the next time the Rugby world Cup is in England, and the San Andreas fault has shifted about another million miles, we will then, and only then, get the decent trilogy, the one minus Jar-Jar ‘pointless’ Binks and iffy CGI. However we still have to wait another three years until they are all done! Which I suppose is not that bad, but by the time they have finished I will be twenty-seven! In Essex years that's is a long time, I could be a Grandad! 

For me releasing the films like this is just a bad idea. Not that the films are coming back, because I love them all: not including Attack of the Clones (2002) though. If I were Lucas I would release them every four months over a two year period and just have the biggest and geekiest twenty four months ever. Whether or not the studio advised him on this, or is he is just being thoughtless, I think there is a far better way of going about re-releasing the film. But that is Lucas for you I think, he hasn't thought it through, or maybe we have mistaken him for a genius. 

Got it wrong George Lucas has I think. 

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

The Reichenbach Fall - Sherlock

5/5 - Minor Spoilers

It is all over. Sherlock has completed his last case, and he and Watson are no more. Or are they? The finale of Sherlock series two was just as exciting and tragic as I had expected it to be, as Sherlock and Moriarty face off in the ultimate conflict that will change, or end both of their lives. The story is based on The Final Problem, where both Holmes and Moriarty fall to their deaths at the falls of Reichenbach in Switzerland, so Holmes fans can guess what the final outcome of the story could potentially cause. There is no escaping from the conclusion of the story, as it is so well known and loved by many, and that is that Holmes faked his death in order to protect Watson from Moriarty’s men. The question on everyone’s lips is how did he do it? A third series has been commissioned, so the handsome hero that is played effortlessly by Benedict Cumberbatch will return with his deep baritone voice and powerful cheek bones once more.

However back to the present, and this finale was simply brilliant, with Moriarty completing his promise from the season one finale by burning the heart out of and destroying Sherlock. Convincing the world that Sherlock is a fraud, Moriarty possesses a new identity and claims that he is just an actor hired by Holmes and a pawn in his, and not Moriarty’s, grand game. With their allies turned against them, John and Sherlock are forced into hiding and on the run from Lestrade and the police, causing to make difficult and tragic decisions. I will not go into the final scenes in too much depth, as it is worth experiencing the episode as it happens, but I would advise you to have tissues and hankies at the ready, as what happens to the pair of them is bitterly saddening.

It is all over for another year, but Cumberbatch and Freeman have satisfied our Sherlock appetites for the foreseeable future. Steve Moffat and Mark Gatiss have promised big things for series three, but whether they can top this amazing series is questionable. Nevertheless I will not be rolling my eyes when Sherlock returns, but I will be eagerly anticipating the return of the series in the following year and keen to see where Holmes and Watson will be taken, and the tragedies they will face together. 

Saturday, 14 January 2012

War Horse

Dir: Steven Spielberg

5/5 - Brilliant

Steven Spielberg’s latest creation War Horse has finally hit U.K. cinemas, and I for one was very excited to see the adaptation brought to the silver screen. Although I had never seen the original stage production, I can see why it generated such a large amount of praise from those who had seen it, as Spielberg’s take is just sublime in every detail. The story tells of the young thoroughbred horse Joey and his life throughout World War one, the journeys that he undergoes from Devon into France and the terror that he comes across during the brutal and terrifying European conflict. It is such a simple story, however placing it within the War makes it all the more dramatic, it’s like Black Beauty meets Saving Private Ryan. The film just oozes brilliance.

Many will say that Jeremy Irvine who plays Albert Narracott is the main character, but the true hero of the story if Joey himself, and for a character who is (let’s face it) a horse that doesn’t speak, he is one of the film’s most endearing characters. The film really displays the genius that is Spielberg, and the way in which he moves the audience and enables them to feel the emotions of a horse is just unbelievable and true cinematic splendour. Spielberg presents the tragedy of war from both perspectives from Joey’s experience, enabling the audience to see the true experience of loss and failure from the allies and the Germans, as well as the shared human emotions of caring and survival. Collaborator John Williams provides a score that is touching, uplifting and heartbreaking all at the same time, providing the film with a real backbone, making it all the more epic and grand in scale. I thought that the film was just beautiful, and the emotive relationship between Joey and Albert, the separation, and the final reunion through the brutal European conflict was just powerful cinema. I would warn you to take tissues as only the coldest of hearts will not be touched in some way, and I am not going to lie but I almost broke down when watching this film.

There are too many brilliant moments in this film for me to begin to describe them all, both showing Joey’s determination to survive as long as he can and the humans attempt to escape the brutality of the war. There are a few great moments where, as I mentioned before, the true nature of humanities caring nature is unveiled, especially the scene in no-man’s-land when Joey is assisted by both a German and a British soldier. The cast including Benedict Cumberbatch, David Thewlis and Tom Hiddleston to name a few is on fine form and, despite each having a brief appearance, really add to the spectacle and wonder that is War Horse. I could go on and on about this film all day for how brilliant it was, yes there were some slushy moments in the film, but they all added to an absolute masterpiece that I can say is one of my favourite Spielberg films to date.