Films

Ant Man – A Review


ant man

Marvel have reached the point, now, where they can basically do anything and it’s presumed it will be a hit. This ability to print gold is a fairly recent development, likely stemming from the surprise hit that was Guardians of the Galaxy.

Part of it is the formula that Marvel (Read: Disney -Ed) have hit upon, combining quirky characters, a script which doesn’t take itself too seriously, and an ever changing cast of actors and actresses you know from that thing. This time we get the bloke from Basic Instinct, Phoebe’s husband from Friends, and the woman from Lost. Oh, and the alcoholic from the first season of House of Cards.

Ant-Man, I suspect, alongside the expected Doctor Strange film of next year, is Marvel reaching the stage of trolling DC that it can make the lesser known, frankly more absurd, properties into successful films before DC can get a Justice League film together.

So the pertinent question is, can they?

Read on…

Terminator Genisys – A Review [SPOILERS]


terminator genisys

The Terminator series is up there with Star Wars, as one of those film series in which the second film is pretty much the pinnacle of the series (Which, actually, applies to the original Star Wars trilogy and the prequel trilogy both, if only because The Phantom Menace remains one of the most awful pieces of cinema ever put on film -Ed).

With the perplexingly named Terminator Genisys being the fifth of the time travelling murder robot films, I don’t see a great deal of danger that the crown of Terminator 2: Judgement Day will be under significant threat.

That said, it does leave a rather wide scale on which Genisys could still fall. The Terminator was good, but not as good as Judgement Day. Rise of the Machines was off the chart awful, whilst Terminator Salvation was not as bad, or okay, depending on whether you mentally sub the ending for what it was originally going to be before US test audiences got a hold of it.

Read on…(and mind the spoilers!)

Jurassic World – A Review


jurassic world

I’m of about the age that means the original Jurassic Park film was formative of my affection for films and dinosaurs. It is a pretty key piece of my cinematic education and psyche.

I’m also a bit odd, in that I don’t regard the sequel, The Lost Word as a complete catastrophe as everyone else thinks it was. Yes, it could definitely have done without the gymnastics, and it was weird that the back end of a Godzilla film got caught up at the end. But there was still a good film in there somewhere.

Jurassic Park III, mind, was an unadulterated disaster, start to finish.

So that’s the pantheon of Jurassic Park films. That is the scale on which Jurassic World be judged, but this blogger at least.

Read on…

It Follows – A Review


it follows

There was a bit of a stir about It Follows when it came out a little while back.

It happens occasionally. Horror is, by and large, a looked-down-upon genre amongst many film critic circles, but occasionally some of the magic gets through. As in the case of It Follows, from the look of it; something which gets the mechanics right on the one level, and the deeper meaning on another.

Of course, there’s always a danger. The “meaningful” can easily become dull, and lose any sort of actual relevance. Walking the tightrope is a difficult task. Is It Follows up to it?

Read on…

Interstellar – A Review


interstellar

So it’s taken me rather a while to get around to seeing Interstellar.

I missed it when it was in the cinemas, mainly due to it being a stonking (Unnecessary? -Ed) 170 minutes long and simply being unable to find the time to spare to go and see it. But thanks to the wonders of home DVD, that has now been rectified.

When it came out I recall competing voices branding it either the triumph of modern science fiction cinema, or a waste of time. In my experience, the truth is usually somewhere in the middle.

But who knows? Maybe it is the best thing since 2001

Read on…

Avengers: Age of Ultron – A Review


avengers age of ultron

I didn’t see the first Avengers film until it came out on DVD. Or it might even have been Netflix, actually.

It wasn’t a conscious avoidance, and I still hold up the lead-in — Captain America: The First Avenger — as one of my favourite of Marvel’s phase one films. I think, on some level, I just struggle with the tentpole, beauty parade idea of the Avengers films.

I get the idea. It’s nice to bring all the heroes together, and not have the inevitable “What the hell is everyone else doing whilst Christopher Ecclestone mullers London?” questions arise. But there’s something conceited about them, something like playing to the gallery. It doesn’t feel like it’s challenging anything or pushing any boundaries. It’s simply giving the fans what they want.

Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But I’m not going to pretend that I’m not looking forward to Captain America: Civil War a lot more than Avengers: Age of Ultron.

Read on…

The Man in the High Castle – A Review


the man in the high castle

I read Philip K. Dick’s alternate history novel “The Man in the High Castle” whilst I was at university. Truthfully, I went through a bit of a PKD phase, and to this day I still think he was a magnificently talented writer. Though I’m never quite sure if I prefer Robert Heinlein, Dick’s politics at least align more closely with my own.

Anyway, “The Man in the High Castle” was probably my favourite of his novels. I’ve been hearing rumours of attempts to make a TV or film adaptation for a while, and truthfully when I heard that it was going to be one of Amazon’s gimmicky Prime pilots, I was a little disappointed. I would have preferred Netflix, really. They made a fantastic job of House of Cards, and I’m sure they would with this.

But hey, you work with what you have. So this is an hour-long pilot episode for a potential new series to be produced by Amazon Prime (formerly LoveFilm), if the good people of the world vote for it enough for Jeff Bezos to think he can make money off it (Well it can hardly be worse than the Fire Phone, can it? -Ed).

So is it worth investing (your) time and (Amazon’s) money in?

Read on…

Edge of Tomorrow – A Review


edge of tomorrow

I’m not much of a fan when it comes to Tom Cruise. It’s not just the Scientology, but for a long while he has been doing the sort of mindless glossy action films which don’t much appeal to me. So my expectations for another Tom Cruise SF action film weren’t actually that high.

It was, though, sold to me as a cross between two films that I love: Groundhog Day and Starship Troopers. The latter I’ve always liked as a send-up of over-the-top military SF — and, indeed, of its own source material. Groundhog Day is just a simple idea, effectively executed.

So can Edge of Tomorrow change my mind on Tom Cruise films?

Read on…

The Babadook – A Review


the babadook

I first became aware of The Babadook a fair while ago, at about the time that film festival audiences were raving about it. A low-budget, Australian, independent horror film, centring on a small cast, it seemed exactly my sort of thing. It also seemed like exactly the sort of thing which would get an all-too-brief release in a few small independent cinemas, before disappearing.

Fortunately (for me) not so! I am surprised and a little confused at the amount of coverage it has received, and more so to be able to see it in my local purveyor of cinema.

So the stakes are raised. In a pretty weak field of horror films out for Halloween (Note: Horns is not a horror film), this looked like the stand out offering. Which is a tough burden for any film to carry.

Read on…

Horns – A Review


horns

I read Joe Hill’s novel “Horns” when it first came out — purely on the basis of having read his chillingly fantastic debut “Heart-Shaped Box” — and despite it not being precisely what I had expected, I loved it. I went in expecting another horror story, and got…well, I’m not sure exactly. But it was a brilliant novel.

I’ve already put on record that I think that Daniel Radcliffe is indeed capable of carrying the leading role, but I do worry that the very unplaceable genre of the film might cause it problems. Its release, in the run up to Halloween, will have only reinforced in the minds of audiences that it is a horror film, whereas if they have adapted it anything true to form, it really isn’t.

From my perspective, there is always a danger of going into a film having read the book it is based on/adapted from. Can I separate the one from t’other, or will I only be able to judge it based on how well it visualises my own imagining of the novel? Let’s find out.

Read on…