Archive for December, 2017

Hella Movies 2017 Film of the year!

Posted: December 29, 2017 in Movies
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Each year I struggle to make a ‘Best of’ list. That’s due to the fact I rarely get to see all of the films I want to in time. That said I managed to see a TON of new movies this year. So much that I find myself struggling to compose a Top 5. Instead, this is way easier, I’m presenting the movie that had the most impact on me in 2017 as a movie-going experience. That film is…..

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How much I loved Dunkirk surprised me. I can take or leave Chris Nolan. Without outright disliking any of his films, there’s only a few I’d go as far as to say I love. Dunkirk is a powerhouse of a movie, one that I initially wasn’t even in that much of a rush to see. I’m glad I made the effort.

The way the movie is shot, edited, acted, plotted and it’s use of sound is brilliant. The film asks you to make your own way through it. The movie as a puzzle method seldom works for me but it did here. Any emotion you feel as a result of what’s happening on screen is honest and not due to glossy Hollywood manipulation. Honestly, that lack of guidance on how to feel was beyond refreshing.

I can’t stress how much of an impact this movie had on me. It did not take a long time to realise it is my favourite movie of 2017. Of course we’ve gotten a lot of great movies during the year so I would feel bad if I didn’t give shout outs to It: Chapter One, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Okja, The Last Jedi, La La Land, Alien: Covenant and Cult of Chucky.

2017 has been boss. I hope 2018 proves to be just as good in the realm of movies and from Hella Movies I just want to wish you all a great 2018. All the best for the New Year!

 

Hacksaw Ridge

Posted: December 27, 2017 in Movies
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Mel Gibson’s latest movie, Hacksaw Ridge, is a brutal and hard look at the reality of war. The film is based on the true story of Desmond Doss, a conscientious objector, who joins up to train and practice as a battlefield medic. Since Doss doesn’t want to kill he becomes a target and his fellow troops single him out for ridicule and beatings during training. If this guy won’t kill they sure as hell do not want him watching their backs on the battlefield. The film takes a good look at Doss and his refusal to back down from his beliefs. Good thing he never gave up because during the Battle of Okinawa, which the film chronicles, Doss would go on to save many, many lives.

Andrew Garfield is good as Doss. You can’t dislike Garfield. The lad is a talented actor, no doubt.  Yet, at times, I thought his acting was a bit over the top but never during the moments when his skills as an actor counted the most.  Personally I found the supporting actors more natural throughout. Vince Vaughn, Luke Bracey and Sam Worthington are great as Doss’s fellow soldiers. Each coming to the understanding they are lucky to have Doss as part of the squad despite earlier being resentful towards him. Rachel Griffiths, Hugo Weaving and Teresa Palmer are all very good too in supporting roles. Palmer especially had me scratching my head in confusion as to why she’s not a big star.

Hacksaw Ridge is up there next to Saving Private Ryan in terms of quality and horror. When I say horror, sadly, I mean the horror humanity is more than capable of inflicting upon one another. Gibson doesn’t shy away from presenting the outright horror and violence of war. Nor should he as a filmmaker. In no way does Hacksaw Ridge glamorise war or heroics. It presents what happened and lets the audience come to their own conclusions. My own was having no doubt at all about Doss and his conviction. His actions during the Battle of Okinawa speak for themselves.

I can not stress enough how violent the film can be at times. If you are turned off by graphic gore then maybe don’t see this movie. Saying that, this is an important movie and has a good message at it’s centre. Not to mention a great cast and exceptional direction from Gibson.

 

 

 

 

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Happy Christmas everyone. I hope you all have a save, great Christmas and an excellent 2018.

The New Year is shaping up great movie wise, so here’s to looking forwards to a ton of great new movies. Personally I’m looking forward to Shane Black’s The Predator, New Mutants, Avengers: Infinity War, X-Men: Dark Phoenix, Deadpool 2 and Isle of Dogs. And hopefully ton’s of other great flicks I have no idea about just yet.

It means a lot to me that ANYONE takes the time to read what I post. I just want to say a big thank you. It looks like people are actually coming back now from time to time. It was always a dream to write about what I love and to think people (probably all TWO of you! Hahaha) seem to like it is the best gift. So cheers.

Going forwards my hope is to keep Hella Movies focused on what I always wanted it to be. A celebration of movies and pop culture with a leaning more towards the 90’s. That means a bit of scale back in covering newer movies. Don’t get me wrong, I’m looking forwards always but a current news/review blog was not what I set out to do and the content going ahead will be more focused.

Once again, cheers to everyone who has ever taken the time to check out Hella Movies and I hope you continue to do so. Also, if you ever thought about starting a blog or YouTube channel about something you love DO IT! It’s one of the best things I ever did and there’s NO trick to it except stick with it. Be consistent, if someone takes the time to comment then reply (it’s only polite) and the rest will take care of itself.

What are you guys and gals looking forward to in 2018? Don’t be shy! Let me know in the comments.

All the best!

Die Hard

Posted: December 20, 2017 in Movies
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Die Hard. What can I say about this classic that hasn’t been said countless times before? Released in 1988, directed by John McTiernan (Predator) and marking the debut of Bruce Willis the action star. Up until this point Willis was known more for his work on television than on the big screen. Die Hard would make Willis a star, thanks to his easy charm, kick ass attitude, a great story and excellent direction from McTiernan. Die Hard is often marked as one of the best action movies of all time. It’s hard to argue with that.

The plot is simple. Christmas Eve. Terrorists, led by Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman) crash a party at the Nakatomi Plaza. Their aim is to steal millions in bonds from the company. Unfortunatley for them they don’t count on John McClane (Willis) and his resourcefullness in life and death situations.

The execution of the plot is perfect. By the time the opening credits finish the audience knows exactly what it needs to about New York cop John McClane. Estranged from his wife Holly (Bonnie Bedelia), he’s a man’s man, married to his job back in New York and a total fish out of water as he finds himself in L.A. at Holly’s workplace. With the backstory out of the way the rest of the film is just one escalation of action and excitment after another. The pace never slowing and the gunshots and explosions rolling out to a fantastic finish. McClane’s goal simple. Stay alive, save his wife and kill whoever gets in his way. The template of Die Hard has been copied many times but never matched.

McTiernan’s direction is excellent. The movie does have some of the best action set pieces put to film. Even now almost thiry years after it’s release. Die Hard is full of iconic moments. From the barefoot glass walk, the countless close calls, clueless authority figures, one liners and the ease of which the audience gets behind the hero and cheers him on. That’s down to McTiernan’s direction, the excellent script and Willis’ ability to make McClane likeable despite his faults.

Another big plus the film has is the cast and characters. Willis deserved to be a star after Die Hard and Alan Rickman’s Hans Gruber is one the best villain’s ever to grace the screen. He’s like a snake but oh so charming. Bedelia does good with what she’s given and has great chemistry with Willis. Shout outs to Hart Bochner as Holly’s work collegue Ellis who has one of the best scnes in the movie and Reginald VelJohnson as Sgt Al Powell, a fellow cop and arguably the films true hero!

Without a shadow of a doubt though the true breakout of Die Hard is Willis as McLane. Die Hard showed audiences the making of a film star. The appeal of John McLane being that he could be ANY guy who found himself in the wrong place at the wrong time. Today you’d probably get some GQ cover star of the month playing McClane, looking like he’d just stepped out of the gym instead of getting off a cross country flight. They sure don’t make them like this any more. Die Hard is easily one of the best action movies EVER made and a true Christmas classic.

 

 

The Muppet Christmas Carol

Posted: December 18, 2017 in Movies
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When I was a kid I did not go see The Muppet Christmas Carol. Each year I said I’d watch it come Christmas. As the years rolled by (really quickly looking back!) I never did. Well not this year. I saw it was on and jumped at the chance to finally check out this 1992 Muppet version of the Charle’s Dickens novel. Boasting a whole host of Muppet faves such as Gonzo, Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy and Fozzie Bear. Also, a fun performance from none other than Michael Caine as Scrooge!

The story of Christmas Carol is timeless but just in case you live outside of time (!) I’ll recap. Scrooge hates Christmas and ain’t too fond of his fellow man. He’s a money lender who thinks nothing of feeding off the misfortune of others, over working his staff and tossing people out onto the streets. Whether it’s Christmas or not. In steps fate and three Christmas ghosts visit Scrooge on Christmas Eve. The ghost’s of Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Come. Each taking Scrooge on a journey through his life and presenting him with snapshots of questionable roads taken and those he may yet have the chance to change.

The film is a lot of fun. It’s done well with good direction from Brian Henson and game performances from all involved. The true stars of the film are the Muppets and the work on display is fantastic. The skill level that went into bringing this version of Christmas Carol to life is excellent. The songs are a good addition and memorable, I didn’t even realize this was a musical until everyone started singing! I should have known with the Muppets!

I love the look of the film too. It’s timeless. The effects work on the ghosts is well done, especially the Ghost of Christmas Past and Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come. The later looks scary, haha, not something I’d want to see in my bedroom in the early hours of the morning!

The Muppet Christmas Carol is a fun Christmas movie for the family and I can see why it’s appeal has endured. It’s one of the stronger Muppet movies and I’m happy I finally got around to seeing it this Christmas. The book is really good too. It’s a classic for a reason so do check that out if you never have.

 

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Wow you guys. Seriously. The Last Jedi is SO good. It’s like director Rian Johnson (Looper) just dropped the mic and walked off the stage. Hype is awful. I try to avoid it and I’d hate to be guilty of it. I can’t say The Last Jedi is THE best Star Wars film. That depends on you. I can and will say I thought it was a fantastic addition to the Star Wars saga and the main reasons why are the ways in which it honors the source but is fearless in the way it moves the saga forwards.

Picking up shortly after the events of The Force Awakens the new movie sees the New Order at it’s most powerful and the rebels in a bad situation. Plot wise, as is the case with me and Star Wars reviews, that’s all I am giving you. The best way to see The Last Jedi is to experience the story for yourself, know as little as possible. The trailers give away very little. To wrap up my thoughts on the plot I will simply repeat myself; The Last Jedi pushes the saga ahead in a bold way.

Rian Johnson’s direction is excellent. The Last Jedi is a visual feast. Throughout the course of the film you will discover new lifeforms, planets, crafts and all out spectacle. All of which is presented in a really dynamic way that blows the whole Star Wars universe open in exciting new ways. The action, whether land or space based, is fantastic across the board. There’s obviously a lot of boss action sequences in the movie I’d love to rave about but I don’t want to ruin them for anyone.

The returning core cast – Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, John Boyega, Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher are great. Hamill and Fisher are especially excellent. Both have a lot more to do this time around. Carrie Fisher is dearly missed and her performance in The Last Jedi is a credit to the movie and her legacy. On the newcomer front Kelly Marie Tan as rebel Rose is a great addition, as is the brilliant Laura Dern as Vice Admiral Holdo and the equally good Benicio Del Toro, as the mysterious DJ. BB8 is awesome too AND Chewie is boss.

Star Wars musical mainstay John Williams delivers another amaze and at times bombastic score. The music of Star Wars is as much a part of the experience as what you’re seeing on the screen and it’s great to say that the movie’s score is as great as it is. For me, the music in The Force Awakens was very good but I felt it was just missing that somthing extra. That’s not the case here.

As I am writing this I am trying to think and be reasonable regarding any drawbacks in the film? Honestly I am having a hard time coming up with any. Really. Okay. I have one. One character, not saying who, probably could have done with more development. Arguably. It’s a long film, I normally don’t have the patience for long running times but this flew by. The pace is great. Rian Johnson, his amazing crew and cast have delivered a wonderful addition to the Star Wars universe and I feel privalged to have seen it. With Episode IX set to finish off this trilogy I can only hope J.J. Abrams is able to deliver a closing chapter as strong and as fresh as The Last Jedi.

 

 

 

Over the weekend the trailer dropped for the Sony Pictures animated Spider-Man movie. So did the new Ready Player One trailer so you’d be forgiven if this one went under your radar.

What a trailer. This looks fantastic. The animation on display here is like nothing I have seen before. This looks like a living comic book movie and it has me very excited for the film.

Now that we have a title – Into the Spider-Verse – comic readers will know exactly what the film will be about. “So, how many of us are there?” Miles Morales asks Peter Parker. The answer is…quite a few. I haven’t read the Spider-Verse comic arc but I know about it and it’s a great way to blow open the Spider-Man mythology in a new and exciting way.

This movie comes from the folks who had a hand in The Lego Movie and 21 Jump Street so chances are good it will be good. For those worrying Miles Morales will be co-starring in his own movie fear not! The filmmakers behind Into the Spider-Verse have said this is a Miles Morales movie first and foremost.

Here’s the bad news. This isn’t out till next Christmas!! So watch that trailer again and please be excited.

Haters corner. I didn’t love Ready Player One. I thought it was a book that had some great ideas but the execution, I felt, was a bit lacking. The style wasn’t for me. Now what I will say, I’m sure many others felt the same when reading it, is that the book would make a great movie.

Cut to 2017. Ready Player One is now a movie and it happens to be directed by none other than Steven Spielberg. The plot revolves around a young guy living in a world ran to ruin. For many the only escape from the grim realities of life is the Oasis. A VR world that offers a escape into a virtual world where anything is possible.

The book is full of pop culture references and the film looks to be just as packed. Keep an eye out for some 80’s horror love, video game icons and classic movie shout outs.

I hope the film plays better than the source was in book form, I seem to be in the minority because the book has a legion of fans. In some ways it should. Just because I didn’t love it I can’t argue the fact it does have some great ideas.

Ready Player One will be hitting screens March 2018 and I hope it’s good.

Jurassic Park. My love for that movie is well know. As a franchise it’s one of my all time favourites. I enjoy all of the Jurassic Park movies. Some more than others but as a whole I adore this series.

I knew this sequel was supposed to be darker than Jurassic World but bloody hell! After finishing this trailer I was thinking “Erm, I don’t think I want to see this. Dino’s in danger? No thanks. Humans. Fine but not the animals.”

Picking up after the events of Jurassic World, Fallen Kingdom sees Jurassic World’s Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) and Owen (Chris Pratt) launching a rescue mission. The island is doomed and someone needs to step up and save the dinosaurs. Even the man eating ones. If one thing is clear it won’t be easy and there will probably be more than a few accidental lunches. Plot wise I must say this was not what I was expecting. For some reason I thought the island would be the least likely place to set the film. Theme wise I can see the sense though. All living things have rights and this movie looks to examine that idea more so than any entry in the series to date.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is directed by When A Monster Calls and The Impossible director J.A. Bayona. Hopefully the films manages to be a whole lot of fun and not a total downer that will have us all sobbing our hearts out when the credits roll! We’ll find out next summer.

 

Justice League

Posted: December 6, 2017 in Comics, Movies
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I finally got to see Justice League. I couldn’t get out to see it upon its release and in some ways I think that distance did me good. A lot went on behind the scenes in the making of this movie. I try to ignore those things because what matters is the finished film. In the case of this film though it was hard. Director Zack Snyder (Man of Steel, Dawn of Justice) and writer Joss Whedon (Avengers, Buffy) had to come together through circumstances neither could have foreseen and finish the film. The result is mixed, overall it’s a decent movie that does it’s classic characters and the talent – from Zack, to Joss and the cast and crew – proud.

The plot follows on from the events of Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice. Superman is gone, Batman feels guilty and there’s a world ending threat looming that’s about to kick off. Batman and Wonder Woman must unite Earth’s greatest warriors – The Flash, Aquaman and Cyborg AKA the Justice League to save the world.

During the first act I was worried. Some scenes felt a bit thrown together for the sake of quickly establishing characters we hadn’t got to know yet and the need to bring everyone together. Thankfully as the film moves into the second and third acts the film begins to really come into it’s own. Feeling clear in tone, confident in it’s execution and by the time the credits rolled delivering a solid big screen debut for DC’s most famous super hero team.

The cast is very good. Affleck is a great Batman and it saddens me to think he could be done with the role after this movie. Gal Gadot shines as Wonder Woman and Henry Cavill does good with what he’s given to do. The big draws for comic fans in this movie are the new additions. Jason Momoa, Ezra Miller and Ray Fisher are all great additions to the DCEU. Don’t forget this is the first proper time we’ve got to spend with Aquaman, Cyborg and The Flash. It’s a credit to each of them they’re alble to leave their marks despite having to share the billing with DC’s most inconic heroes.

Zack Snyder always delivers on action and visuals. The action is great in Justice League. It’s not easy working out big fight scenes and who gets their chance to shine and when but Snyder makes sure each of the League gets their moments to stand out. All of the action is well shot and clear. My favourite action scenes being the last act smackdown, those featuring Connie Nielsen’s Queen Hippolyta (what a character!) and a small but welcome one of Batman being Batman. I love Batman and I love the look of Gotham City so anytime spent on either is a plus.

I was surprised the fim’s score didn’t resonate more with me, one thing the DC movies have done a great job at is the character musical themes. I was under the impression this featured both Batman and Superman’s classic themes but the way they’re used in the movie you have to listen to pick them up.

Justice League is a solid movie. As a cap to Man of Steel and Dawn of Justice it works. It brings light to a series that some have issue with for being too dark. As the begining of a new series of Justice League movies it does it’s job. In a good way. It’s not without flaws but it’s fun and as a debut for DC’s finest it’s a welcome addition to the DCEU.

Roll on Aquaman, Wonder Woman II and hopefully a Affleck led solo Batman movie.