Friday, 30 August 2013

Quick Update

Where I've been. 

Hey guys, sorry for the lack of reviews and stuff lately but I've been on holiday and still will be for a few more days. I've been in Florida and have now moved onto Atlanta where I am attending Dragon Con. When I return I will have tons of articles, I will weigh in on the Affleck situation, I will bring you reviews for numerous films that I have seen while in America and I will bring you all the cool news I will have learnt from Dragon Con. 
Here's the first little bit, Rob Paulsen, John DiMaggio and Noel Ckarke are absolute legends. It was a real honour of mine to meet them. 

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

'Red 2' film review.

'RED 2'

Director- Dean Parisot
Starring- Bruce Willis
John Malkovich
Mary-Louise Parker
Helen Mirren
Anthony Hopkins

They're waiting for the bus.
'RED', a complete and utter surprise, like 'Expendables' and 'Black Dynamite' this film came out of  nowhere and charmed audiences around the  world and became a cult hit. With witty dialogue, a stellar cast and ridiculous action set pieces which harked back to the glory days of the 80's. It was a film which didn't take itself too seriously and it was highly respected for that, in my opinion. I'm not here however to talk about 'RED', I'm here to watch delightful animated shorts and  review 'RED 2', and I just finished my last animated short.

Some time after the events of 'RED' we find ourselves with  ex CIA agent Frank Moses and his girlfriend Sarah Ross. Both of them are in a rut, mundane pedestrian life is slowly killing Sarah while Frank is adjusting quite nicely. Until of course Marvin shows up, and ruins the tranquil life they have built, which is okay because, and this  is my  honest opinion I don't think Frank and Sarah would have lasted much longer.
As the story  moves forward, Frank and Marv realise they are the targets of every contract killer in the world, which unfortunately includes the always dapper and sexy Helen Mirren aka Victoria Winslow. Marv explains to Frank that the only way to save themselves is to find the source of  their mutual problem and so plot unfolds.

Helen Mirren...say  what  you will but she is looking fine.
Anthony Hopkins is  an absolute standout, his performance was above and beyond everyone else's. His character is seemingly simple but then he does a complete 180 and you feel absolutely bewildered by him. He could  have been easily cast away as the kooky mad scientist but instead he gave the role much more depth than I think the director even planned. The opening credit scene was fantastic, clearly trying to show that the franchise 'Red' was originally a comic book, the opening is a superb motion comic which ends all too abruptly. Byung Hun Lee also gives another note worthy performance in the shape of ultimate Korean contract killer Han Cho-Bai. He has one of the most unique introductions to a character I have ever seen. There is also an excellent beginning to the third act of the film but it doesn't ever feel fully realised and I was disappointed not to see more of that element of  the film.

A lot of the novelty has worn off since the last 'RED' film. I find Bruce Willis to be incredibly grating, his utterly calm demeanour completely bored me, he couldn't seem to emote anything other than mild ambivalence toward the events and people around him. Then there is Helen Mirren, all novelty of having this Oscar winning actor has completely worn off for me. With this role I saw no surprises coming,  everything she did was completely utterly predictable. Finally there was the action scenes, like most of  the characters in this film the action scenes were showing their age. When you have someone like Hyung Bun Lee in a film, ensure you utilize his vast array of skills and by that I mean his ridiculous methods of beating up someone. When Bruce Willis and Byung have their unavoidable show down it is over far too fast and there is no real pay-off.
Oh John Malkovich you crazy.....thing.

This film lacked a lot of the charm of the original, with most of the characters coming off as annoying and/or jaded, looking at you Bruce Willis.
Rating; 5/10

You may have noticed I didn't mention Catherine Zeta Jones, that is all.

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

'Kick Ass 2' film review

'Kick Ass 2'

Director- Jeff Wadlow
Starring- Aaron Taylor-Jonhson
Christopher Mintz-Plasse
Chloe  Grace Moretz
Jim Carrey

The usual suspects.....and a scary Russian lady.

Dave Lizewski is back, and he's doing what he does best, dressing up as the whitest pimp in the world and getting his ass kicked. That  is  just  one  part of his training in becoming a superior crime fighter. All under the harsh tutelage of Mindy Macready aka Hit Girl. Each hero is  trying to  find his or her place in the world, granted Mindy tries far more aggressively than Dave,but  that is just a matter of fact, especially since at the start of the film Dave is still a huge wimp. When we see Chris again, we find him at the end of his tether, he wants to avenge his father after what Kick Ass did to him so he becomes the first super villain, pretty much becoming the anti-thesis to Kick  Ass. All manner of ridiculous events begin from this point on, read on if you are interested in frightening Russian women, a S.I.C stick and Jim Carrey at his funniest/weirdest.

All jokes aside, this guys is fantastic.
Right, as with all  films  of the superhero genre, this film comes with all the positives of a comic  book. Well fleshed out characters which are all given time to showcase why they are in this film. From Mother Russia to Colonel Stars and Stripes, each character is kooky and over the top fun. There are some notable differences in this film from the source material. The majority of the differences are welcome changes, such as the film censoring itself at times. You will immediately know these scenes as they all involve the Mother Fucker. Every time you think he is about to go over the top and do something unforgivable, he pulls himself back from the brink and points out he is not that evil. In the comic it is an all out uncensored mess which at times brought the comic from bad ass heavy hitter to oddly disturbing freak  show. I appreciated these changes as they gave a new, lighter dimension to the film. The more I  see Aaron Taylor Johnson the more I respect this guy as an actor. The scenes with real heart are few and far between but Aaron pulls them off fantastically and genuinely. Even though he is clearly built like a tank he still manages to pull off a convincing wimp and outsider, which makes it slightly more realistic when he comes face to  face with Christopher Mintz-Plasses utterly inferior Mother Fucker. Once again Chloe Grace Moretz shines as Hit Girl, but neither of them hold a candle to the outright weirdness that is Colonel Stars and Stripes, the born again Christian superhero played with passion by Jim Carrey.

Just, so wrong.
There is a message  in this film, be true to yourself, and it will be drilled into your head from the first five minutes of the film until the credits roll on this ultra violent, ultra swearing comic book adaptation. I clocked it and over twenty minutes of this film are given over to a speech about the same subject matter. I am all for accepting yourself and finding peace with who you are but it got to the point where I was getting considerably frustrated with Mindy and then Dave explaining how much they need to be themselves at various points of the film. There was then the absence of Nicholas Cage, I did  not think I would miss Big Daddy but I felt his absence in the film so much. Jim Carrey is great but it felt like they were trying to replace one kooky father figure for another. Finally, I am going to say something which I never thought i'd say, the swearing and ultra violence was too much for me at times. It felt put on at times, Mindy did not  need to swear nearly as often as she did and the violence got so ridiculous at a point I just didn't enjoy it. I simply did not enjoy the violence nearly as much as I did in the first film.

This film has a lot of balls, but not nearly enough heart.
Rating; 7/10

There is an evil Jesus reference, and I loved it.

Sunday, 4 August 2013

'The Wolverine' film review

'The Wolverine'

Director- James Mangold

Starring- Hugh Jackman
Hiroyuki Sanada
Tao Okamoto

It has been four years since 'Wolverine: Origins' left a lot of mutant fans with a bitter taste in their mouths. We had been inundated with mutant after mutant in a film that some how tamed the berserker we had all come to adore, a lot of fans were disappointed to say the least. Then there came news of a sequel, which was going to be based on the famous years of Wolverine's tenure in Japan and then to cap it all off we were given a director, a director of high merit. That director was Darren Aronofsky, from such acclaimed films as 'Requiem for a dream', 'The Wrestler' and 'The Fighter'. Just from the fact that most of his amazing films start with 'The' and were amazing meant that 'The Wolverine' would be in safe hands. Unfortunately talks fell apart and we were then given the news that James Mangold, who has given us such films as 'Girl Interrupted', 'Walk the line' and the superb character drama that was '3:10  to Yuma'. Would he be better? I'll let you know.

This is a  fantastic design, no lie.
It  has been a couple years since the events of  'X-Men: Last Stand' (the horror), and Logan has been in the wilds of Canada reconnecting with his inner hobo. He feels completely lost and without purpose. All he seems to do is have pillow talk with Jean Grey, who looks remarkable for a dead woman, drink copious amounts of Stanley whiskey, which also happens to be the cameo from Stan Lee because he couldn't make it, and befriend a local grizzly, who is just a total dude by the way. He has chosen this path as a way of trying to find peace, especially after the two centuries of loss he has had to suffer. He is then found by Yukio, a tiny little Japanese samurai who has been tasked by her employer to get Logan and bring him to Japan where he can say goodbye to Logan before he dies. As soon as Logan arrives to meet this "old friend" the shit hits the fan and Logan is in the fight of his life, against blonde lady snakes, ninjas who hide in plain sight and a samurai transformer with a glowing sword.

The premise of the story was really exciting to me, especially since I had already read the story it was based on. Taking Wolverine to a place where his berserker rage was a hindrance was a fantastic idea and I found it an amazing read. For the most part this is a successful interpretation of that story and I enjoyed the majority of the character driven scenes of the film. Every scene which has Jean in it is wonderful and well thought out, the intimacy between her and Logan feels genuine and you begin to miss her almost as much Logan does. The fight scenes are spectacular, especially the bullet  train scene, which is just all kinds of bad ass, and Logan's numerous showdowns between samurai businessmen and ninjas - lots of ninjas. The standout element of 'The Wolverine' for me however was Logan losing his healing factor. Seeing Logan vulnerable, yet still fighting furiously is a treat due in no small part to Hugh Jackman's acting his ass off.

It's not a Wolverine film unless Hugh Jackmans abs
are acting as much Hugh himself. I think they're annoyed.

I don't know where to start, I suppose I'll start with the villains, Lady Viper is without a doubt one of the most annoying and uninteresting villains I have ever seen in a film. She is completely two dimensional and has a ridiculous pick and mix of mutant abilities. Not only that, but the specifics of her toxin abilities are never fully explained. This leaves you asking numerous questions about her credibility as a villain and as a character. One of the major problems with 'Origins' was it was crammed with mutants, in this film the sum total of mutants is three, as long as you don't count the dead ones or the mutants who make surprise visits, and I thought this would be a great idea, until I realised the geniuses from 'Fox' had made two characters who were originally humans into mutants. This made these characters less interesting, especially Lady Viper who became a ridiculously frustrating character who seemed to be a cliched 'Bond' villain with terrible dialogue, but worst of all the Silver Samurai was turned from a mutant who rivals Logan in complexity and ferocity, into a baby transformer, that is all I have to say on that, because it upsets me.

So many  problems in this  scene, between an adamantium Transformer who does someting unspeakable to Wolverine.
What he does is unforgivable, I'm saying this about the Silver Samurai and James Mangold.
I explained to you how much I loved the premise of this film, what I left out until now was how I felt about the execution, this was a wasted opportunity, James Mangold could have shown Wolverine go from an animalistic berserker to a refined weapon, a true killing machine. This could have been a visceral wonder which would have given a much beloved character even more depth.
Rating; 5/10

Looking back at my research on James Mangold I should have also put in 'Knight and Day', that would help a lot of people decide on seeing this film or not.