Archive for April, 2015

Age of Ultron is the second Marvel offering from Joss Whedon. This time out The Avengers must come together to face a dangerous A.I. called Ultron who is determined to wipe out humanity. The plot is real simple and in some ways I felt like the movie could have been a lot stronger and tighter had it skimmed back on some stuff and been more streamlined.

To be clear, Age of Ultron is a solid Marvel offering but it’s not the best. Expectations that it would be are unfair anyway. Of course some of the magic is gone, I didn’t feel the same jaw dropping sense of joy I had of seeing all of these great icons on screen together for the first time like I did with Avengers. That’s just natural. The interplay between Iron Man, Thor, Cap America, Black Widow, Hawkeye and the Hulk is still there. The fun hasn’t left the building. Nor has the creative ways in which the team work together to take out threats.

The new additions to the series – the twins Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver and the villain Ultron are welcome. Scarlet Witch in particular is a stand out. You get the impression she could pretty much take out ANYONE if she felt like it. As a comic reader I liked how Whedon brought the twins to life and both Olsen and Johnson do great work. James Spader (80’s ICON) is great, what’s not so great is how the script pretty much becomes its own worse enemy. The chilling introduction to Ultron in that teaser trailer somehow transforms into a quip machine in the actual movie. I love Whedon’s style but not every line of dialogue has to be a one liner. In some scenes it back fires and ruins the tone.

Hawkeye fans will be glad to know he gets a lot more to do this time out. Sadly though, one of these segments brings the film to a halt. The pacing is just off. All the stuff we learn about the character is valid but in a two-hour and twenty-minute movie you don’t half feel like things have screeched to a halt and what’s happening just isn’t very engaging. I felt the same about the reliance on the ‘visions’ a certain character implants into our heroes. The idea behind it is sound but it came out a bit messy in the fallout. Age of Ultron isn’t subtle about setting up future installments either and again…these segments just feel really out of place and it just doesn’t sit well.

Action wise the film delivers. In fact the last act is pretty much a case of if the team don’t win EVERYONE looses. haha. Everyone get’s their moment. Some cool cameos – no one earth shattering, all by characters we have already met and I think Marvel has pretty much revealed them all anyway. We also get to go all over the world, which was pretty cool. Showdowns in Korea, Africa, America, Eastern Europe the film has a great sense of global scale/stakes.

By no means a disappointment. It’s not like “Marvel has finally dropped the ball”, if you like Marvel you’ll have a good time.

Maniac Cop

Posted: April 25, 2015 in Movies
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Directed by William Lustig and written by Larry Cohen, Maniac Cop is a wicked little slasher movie from the late 1980’s. It takes the idea of a cop – a beacon of safety and trust – and turns it into the ultimate horror; a homicidal slasher who will read the final rights to whomever crosses his path whether they be innoncent or not.

Shot on location in New York City and all the stronger for it. The film has a gritty feel. Perfectly capturing the size of the city; it’s sheer mass terrifying in of itself. Screams for help which go ignored, the media running with the Maniac Cop headline and New Yorkers out of their minds with worry that they’ll become the next target of the killer cop. The violence is quick and brutal but in places oddly comic which helps to lessen the horror.

Genre legends Tom Atkins and Bruce Campbell lead the film. Atkins is great as jaded Detective Frank McCrae. MaCrae the only cop willing to dig deeper into the mystery of this killer cop and his motives. Campbell, in a straight ‘hero’ like role doesn’t quite have the pro-active arc you’d imagine, haha. Proving much more capable is Laurene Landon’s Theresa Mallor, a fellow officer who holds her own when the carnage spirals out of control. Strong support comes in the form of Sheree North who’se character may know more about what is happening than it would seem. Robert Z’Dar makes for a imposing figure too as the films crazed killer.

I used to watch this film (and it’s solid sequel) a ton when I was younger. It’s always cool to see an original take on the slasher formula. Due in large part to a well thought out and executed back story (motive) the film gains quite a bit of depth as the reasons behind the killings are quite tragic. Add to this a unpredictable bodycount in which ANYONE is fair game haha, you have a thriller/slasher that stands out. If you’re a fan of either genre I’d say give this one a whirl (and it’s sequel if you enjoy this one).

Here is our first look at Jared Leto in character as DC’s clown prince of crime the Joker. I don’t dislike it. It’s certainly different and I think that is what is needed whenever someone new steps into such an iconic role. It is way too early to form an opinion on Jared Leto’s take on the character just yet seeing as the film won’t be out until next year but it’s great to get a glimpse of what is in store. Expect more character reveals in the coming weeks!

Now Jurassic World didn’t really show off all that much with its first teaser trailer and production stills but with its release now only a few short months away the film makers are ready to lift the lid on all the mayhem! This trailer certainly delivers on any wish fulfilment fans may have had while watching the original movie and thinking “I wonder what would have happened if the park had have been open to the public?” Well be careful what you wish for folks!

Jurassic World opens to the public on June 11th! I’m still not sure about that Raptor Squad but I’m willing to go with it haha.

Rumoured to return since the project was first announced but only now confirmed, Bill Pullman will once again go to war as President Whitmore (former?) against the alien menace!

Judd Hirsch, another familiar face, will also make a welcome return to the series reprising his role as Julius Levinson, the father of Jeff Goldblum’s character David. I have to say I love how the film seems to be bringing back everyone!

Julius Levinson steals a lot of the scenes he’s in from the original flick so I’m delighted he’s back.

Check out what I hope it just a taste of the amazing artwork that will be used to promote The Force Awakens in the lead up to it’s Christmas release date. It’s a Star Wars celebration all weekend so hopefully we may get a look at some other characters from the movie over the next few days. Although they’ve clearly gone above and beyond the call of duty with that latest trailer! So it’s all GOOD if this is all we get 🙂

Are you loving these posters? I am.

Now this is a trailer. No words….it looks stunning. That opening shot alone. Just hit play and start to drool with anticipation for what looks to be something very special.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens hits cinemas this Christmas

Two big trailers already this week. One for Terminator 5 (which I won’t be posting because it spoils a massive twist) and a new look at Ant-Man. I wouldn’t say I’m a fan of the character and I know little of him outside of the Avengers but this was a fun trailer that basically won me over. Check it out and tell me what you think (if you feel like it haha)

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial

Posted: April 13, 2015 in Movies
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1982 was the year in which children were introduced to one of cinemas most enduring icons. E.T. the little alien that could. Directed by Steven Spielberg the film centres around a young alien (I’m guessing he’s young? He could be a billion years old…) who, along with his (again I’m guessing here) family (it could be his wardens on some prison ship) are visiting Earth and gathering samples of our plant life. Sadly, E.T. is left behind (by accident, I think), there are strange men in the woods and the little guy has to move before he’s exposed, left with no options he ventures out of the woods and heads down to the local neighbourhood. Eventually finding help in the form of a young boy called Elliott and his family.

Part sci-fi, part fish out of water E.T. is a classic. Spielberg nails the danger – the ever growing threat of the government figures tracking E.T. driven home by the character Keys, called so because that’s all we get of the guy throughout most of the film, the sound of his keys clinking together – the wonder of the fact E.T. is a stranger on our planter, the fear his feels, the sense of being away from his family, not just in another city but another planet and with no way home. By the time the friendship between Elliott, big bro Michael, little sis Gertie and E.T. is established it’s all the stronger because these kids are now committed to helping E.T. get home.

The look and the feel of E.T. is still really current. One scene that highlights this so well is near the start, Elliott is bugging Michael and his friends, begging them to let him play some Dungeons and Dragons, the kids all act totally natural, like in life, teasing him, swearing. The kitchen is untidy and lived in, Mary, the mother, isn’t Perfect Mom but she is mom. It’s these little touches of realism that give the film a fresh feel because you don’t see stuff like this these days in mainstream family flicks. The casual cussing, the lived in neighbourhoods, the natural performances. Spielberg more often than not just allowing his camera to capture the action instead of resorting to emotion dictating shots.

Henry Thomas, Robert MacNaughton and Drew Barrymore are great as Elliott, Michael and Gertie. Each of the kid actors bring across such a natural performance. None of the emotions ever feeling forced. They seems like a real family, more so when you add the excellent Dee Wallace into the picture as the mom. Mary holds her family together the best she can – Spielberg alludes to the family as being broken in some respects but it’s never rammed down your throat – Wallace’s depth and talent sell the fact that she’s a woman trying her best and through that has her own strength. Then we got E.T. the perfect example of why practical effects leading a movie will always ALWAYS win out over CGI. The special effects work used to bring this little guy to life is outstanding and you’ll laugh and you’ll tear up as he experiences wonder, despair, horror and hope.

John Williams score is fantastic. So much so that without it I don’t think E.T. would have quite the same impact that it does. The film is packed with iconic scenes too. The bike flights still look great and they’re pretty magical scenes. E.T. seemingly dying is still awful to watch. The Halloween walk is great and there is even a unresolved plot point revolving around Keys and his true motivations (I’m surprised no one has attempted to make a prequel out of that exchange).

One of Steven Spielberg’s best films and personally one of my all time favourite movies ever made. If it wasn’t for Jurassic Park this would be THE Spielberg movie for me and maybe it some ways it is neck and neck with Jurassic Park. I love it that much.

Scream the series trailer!

Posted: April 13, 2015 in TV
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Small town? Check. Attractive teenagers? Check. Masked killer? CHECK! Gore? CHECK!!

Yep folks it’s slasher central in this trailer which I have to say makes the show look like it’s turned out a lot better than I would have expected. For a start it’s self aware “You can’t do a slasher movie as a series” claims one character. Very meta. A clear narrative looks to be in place and MTV are not shying away from the gore either. Watch out for that flying head!!

Scream makes it debut this June in America. No word yet on a UK release. Do you like the look of it?