Detective Pikachu ★★★☆☆

A video game movie that isn’t absolute trash! Detective Pikachu satisfies both nostalgic and new fans alike. Click above and check out what we think!

Directed by : Rob Letterman

Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Justice Smith, Kathryn Newton

If you enjoyed the clip, do check out our other reviews and make sure to subscribe!

 

Advertisements

Aladdin ★★★★☆

It gave us some dank Will Smith memes, but can Aladdin deliver on the big screen again? Here’s our lowdown on the latest Disney live action adaptation.

Directed by : Guy Ritchie

Starring : Will Smith, Naomi Scott, Mena Massoud

If you enjoyed the clip, do check out our other reviews and make sure to subscribe!

 

Review / Aquaman ★★★★☆

The DC Extended Universe is in such a state, that following on from their latest bust (2017’s Justice League), it’s literally last chance saloon. Apart from Wonder Woman, the franchise is seriously in need of another strong hero to carry some of the pressure. It’s not much of a shared universe if Diana Price is the only one who fans really care about.

Aquaman burst onto the scene in the much lambasted Justice League, although Jason Mamoa brought a level of gravitas not seen before from our Atlantean hero, the character always felt like an afterthought. A literal fish out of water. But will his solo outing finally give DC a much needed reprieve?

Directed by James Won, who is widely regarded as one of the best Horror directors currently around, does a stellar job, and even manages to throw in some horror elements, such as the wonderfully shot trench dive scene. The film sees our aquatic hero, Arthur Curry (Mamoa) go back to his home of Atlantis, in order to reclaim the throne from his half brother Orm (Wilson), who intends to wage war on the land above.

Visually, Aquaman is by far the most impressive and stunning addition to the DC universe. Wonder Woman did a great job in bringing in some much needed color to the world,  but Aquaman really steps it up another notch,  Aquaman really makes the most out its various kingdoms it has, each with its own tone. The film definitely has a Guardians of the Galaxy vibe,  when it comes to all the locations they visit. The CGI is also a massive improvement over some of the dire work seen in Justice League, the film is loaded with action scenes, so there’s always something happening.

Though visuals can only take a film so far, and it’s good to see a hero that actually has some charisma and charm. Jason Mamoa is clearly having a blast in this role, and is far more warming to fans, as opposed to the grim, brooding Bruce Wayne and Clarke Kent. The rest of the supporting cast also fit in rather well. Amber Heard as Mera is more than just a sidekick, with powers of her own, she more than manages to stick up for herself and proves to be a worthy ally. Patrick Wilson is surprisingly great in the role of the bitter resentful brother, with a backstory that really explains why he is doing what he thinks is right.  There are also pleasant appearances by Willem Defoe & a surprising Dolph Lungdren!

As mentioned, the villainous Orm does feel like an empathetic antagonists, from his perspective, you can see why he has his views.  Unlike Steppenwolf, who was evil…..for reasons. This is also supported by the presence of Black Manta, one of Aquaman’s adversary’s from the comics. His story is also one that is done very well, with his motives made very clear from the start.

But at a run time of nearly 2.5 hours, the film can really drag on at times, as they jump from quest to quest. The treasure hunt segments could really have been trimmed up a lot more. The story is rather basic, so such a prolonged movie can feel tiring at spots. The action scenes are also all too frequent, when its done well, it’s excellent, such as the rooftop chases in Sicily, otherwise after the 10th set piece, it does feel like filler.  The film does appear to separate itself from the wider DCEU, with very little references to the other movies. The romance between our leading duo did feel very forced, they could have laid the foundations of a relationship that could blossom in any future movies, they do jump the gun here, a strange decision as Mera is involved in with Orm.

Wonder Woman is still the benchmark for the DCEU, but thankfully, Aquaman is closer to that gold standard than the underwhelming releases they are usually involved with.  A wonderfully fun and vibrant movie, the only real issue bringing it down is the slow pacing and extended duration.

Review / Crimes of Grindelwald ★★½

MV5BMjQ0MDMzNjY2M15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNDU1OTE3NjM@._V1_SX1777_CR0,0,1777,744_AL_


Directed by: David Yates
Starring : Johnny Depp,  Eddie Redmayne, Jude Law, Zoe Kravitz, Ezra Miller

Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them was a perfectly enjoyable movie, while it did have the charm & development of the Harry Potter franchise, it still worked well enough to provide a solid foundation to the adventures of our magical animal keeper, Newt Scamander. With the news that the Fantastic Beasts series will now span 5 movies, did concern some. Having to span the entire narrative over five films could dilute the end product, and unfortunately, it seems the sequel, Crimes of Grindelwald, is already feeling that influence.

The story picks up following the arrest of our villain from the last film, Grindelwald (Depp), as his transfer to the UK from the States is inevitably botched, and manages to escape to Europe, to start his own uprising. Credence, the estranged yet powerful orphan, managed to survive the events in New York, is the vital pawn in tipping the balance of power towards our villain. It’s down to Scamander (Goodmayne) to track down Credence before it’s too late.

What made the first film such a joy were the vibrant scenes , escapades of Newt, and all the various magical beasts that he interacts with. How he uses the animals to further help his own objectives was a nice change from simply using magic. The hidden world within his suitcase opened us up to a world outside of the iconic Hogwarts. Unfortunately, in this chapter, Newt is pretty much on the bench, and probably down in 4th in order of importance to the plot.  There are far too many subplots all going on in the film, Grindlewald, Credence and Leta (Kravitz) all have far more significance to the grant story. There’s also the Dumbledore, Queenie and Nagiri arcs, which simply creates a convoluted tangle of tales.

Even with all these story lines occurring, and a run time of over 2 hours to fit it all, it all still feels so dull! This has the feel of a political drama, rather than a magical escape. The finale of the film revolves around a political rally, thrilling! The entire Lestrange story really goes nowhere, and it could have been entirely removed, and would make no difference to the overall story. Which raises huge concerns, considering it was a vast chuck on the plot. To cap it all off, the final at the end, raises some serious inconsistencies, which will leave hard core Potter fans dumbfounded.

The interactions between Newt and Jacob (Fogler) are still as great as the first film, their chemistry really gives their characters a likability that a large majority of the cast simply don’t. Their journey and confrontations with the beasts are by far the strongest parts of the film. Sadly, Newt feels like an after thought, playing a support role to the grander scheme. Jude Law as a young Dumbledore is also rather good, and brings some charisma to a role mostly associated with an old respected scholar. The Hogwarts scenes also bring some nostalgic charm to the movie, and reminds us why the franchise is seen so fondly by many.

There is still lot’s of potential left in the series,  the magic and fantasy aspects are still there, and as part 2 of 5, things will drag on in some the films. Now that the ground works are well and truly set, hopefully the next release sees more of the fantasy, and less of the politics!

Downs of 2018

With half the year done and dusted, it’s an opportune time to look back at some of the low lights of the silver screen. What was awful, what simply just let us down? Let’s have a look!


Pacific-Rim-Uprising-Movie-2018-Pacific-Rim-The-Sequel

Pacific Rim Uprising

As a standalone movie, Uprising is not all that bad a film, but when you associate it with the surprisingly popular Pacific Rim, is where things collapse. By removing the creative & dark Del Toro elements, and removing a magnetic lead such as Idris Elba, you are left with a very underwhelming film.  Gone is the sombre and intense feel of the first, replaced by brightly coloured robots that can now be effortlessly controlled by teens, a la Power Rangers. Gone is the vast scale of grandeur and size, in comes the numerous product placements before the title card even shows up.


5accdffffacba8ab0b8b4600-1136-568

Truth or Dare

Considering this was created from the critically acclaimed Blumhouse Productions, whose previous works include Get Out, Happy Death Day and Split. Truth of Dare is a step back to the cheesy horror flick full of jump scares and idiotic characters. The plot is horribly convoluted for a by the numbers horror film, the cast is clichéd, and an ending so shambolic you will leave you astounded by what just happened! And let’s not forget the laughable ‘possessed’ demon faces…….


Film Title: Breaking In

Breaking In

This really could be filed under ‘So bad, it’s good’, while it was nice to see Gabrielle Union play a role she really isn’t associated with, Breaking In starts off reasonable well, but as soon as the action begins, it loses all its tension and delves almost into parody. Where Union’s character got this military like experience, we don’t know.  Guy gets run over twice by an SUV, then just randomly appears later without any sign of damage, sure why not. The entire audience was laughing as the final credits rolled! Which I guess makes it………. a good movie?!


cloverfield.0

The Cloverfield Paradox

‘’Stop trying to make Cloverfield happen……….It’s not going to happen’’

There was a reason why this convoluted mess was released on the sly on Netflix, at first, this was slated as an original movie, before studio intervention, The Cloverfield Paradox seems to be all over the place, floating between space horror, comedy and mystery, while never really sticking to one path. A shame considering the sheer talent of the cast involved in the project.


red_sparrow_trailer_still

Red Sparrow

At over 140 minutes, Red Sparrow is one drawn out, turgid spy thriller. The premise of this movie were spies that were trained to seduce. But her character is frankly useless as a spy, wondering why she was even releases to go on field duty!  The entire plot revolves around a mole in the KGB, which comes out of nowhere at the end with literally zero work leading up to it. It’s just……….boring.


So what movies this year let you down? let us know! 😀

Ocean’s 8 – A Villain Short….

Ocean’s Eleven is probably of the most loved Heist movies of recent times, the Soderberg directed thriller was effortlessly cool, with a charismatic ensemble cast, spearheaded by the superstar duo of Clooney & Pitt. Though the following sequels did not reach the acclaim of the first, it’s been over 10 years since Ocean’s Thirteen. Now the franchise is being revived, with an all-female ensemble, will it prove to be a hit, or an ill-advised spin-off?

Ocean’s 8 picks up following the release of Debbie Ocean (Sandra Bullock) on parole, following several years behind bars. The younger sister of the now deceased(?) Danny Ocean, Debbie concocts a plan to gain not only a large jackpot, but revenge on the person that lead to her incarceration. The target, the Toussaint, a lavish $150m Cartier necklace, which will be present at the extravagantly exclusive Met Gala party. She enlists the help of her former partner in crime, Lou (Cate Blanchett), hacker Nine Ball (Rihanna), street hustler Constance (Awkwafina) and jeweller Amita (Mindy Kaling) amongst others.

Some fans feared that Ocean’s 8 was just a sceptical cash grab, and would be an unnecessary addition. But O8 proves to be a thoroughly entertaining, charming and funny ride. Bullock & Blanchett may not be as magnetic as the original Ocean/Rusty dynamic from the first trilogy, but then again, it’s rare to find a combination that good. Both ladies here do a great job in carrying their roles, with Blanchett being particularly enjoyable in her role as the snarky Lou. The rest of the cast are also enjoyable, Kaling is known for her comedic work, and shines here. Anne Hathaway is having a blast playing the ditzy actress/socialite Daphne Kluger. Sarah Paulson & Helena Bonham Carter, who are also part of plan, fit into the team comfortably too. Rihanna is usually can be divisive in her roles, but her lines are kept to a minimum here.

The heist is of course the centre piece to the film, and that is where the film starts to break up. The heist concludes at the end of the 2nd act. As the 3rd act decides to look into what happens after the crime has taken place. Logan Lucky fell for a similar trap, following the heist with an investigation sequence. It really does slow the film down to a halt, and appears to be just an excuse to get James Corden to do his comic routine and get some cheap laughs. Everything building up to their plan at the gala, and the heist itself is very well done. Fast paces and captivating to watch, the film could have quickly wrapped it all up but decided to go on for just a bit too long.

The film also lacks a true antagonist, Andy Garcia’s Terry Benedict was a foreboding villain in the original film, someone the audience would love to see get his just desserts. But here, there really isn’t a stand out villain, sure, Debbie’s Ex could be seen as the foil, but his character is so generic, no one really cares about him or his fate. Our squad also never seem to face any challenges or danger. None of the team really show any nerves or rookie behaviour, considering only Debbie and Lou seem to be the real big time criminals. Any danger the team faces is almost immediately dealt with, taking away any suspense.

Ocean’s 8 does more than enough to warrant a sequel, the film is full of humour, style and there are tonnes of celebrity cameos to keep your eyes open for! Though the large amount of obvious product placement of several products is Transformer levels of ‘in your face’. If the sequel can bring in a viable foe for our team to go up again in the next instalment, things look promising for the franchise!

Fallen Kingdom / Review

Jurassic World was a triumphant return back to the big screen for the Jurassic Park franchise, after a 14 year hiatus since Jurassic Park 3JW received not only glowing reviews, but took in a staggering $1.6bn at the box office, so no pressure on the sequel….

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, directed by J.A. Bayona, brings back our leading duo Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) & Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard), as they return to Isla Nublar, to coordinate a rescue mission lead by Benjamin Lockwood, the former business partner of John Hammond, o save our reptilian inhabitants from a volcanic fate.

jurassic-world-fallen-kingdom-cover_1528309639072

Essentially, the movie is what you expect from a huge Summer blockbuster, it’s an impressive spectacle, dazzling CGI, hugely thrilling and comedic banter. But it does fail with its story, as the plot regresses back to the usual weaponized dinosaurs arch we have already seen.

The chemistry between our leads is far more cohesive here, their interactions feel less forced than it did in JW, FK gives them far more to do, and they break out of the typecasts they had in the first one. Claire is far more interesting as the head of a Dinosaur conservation group, rather than the dull, cold, career focused executive. The film also makes firm point regarding the boots she now wears, after the heels debacle from the last film!  They are joined on their adventure by fellow conservation staff members’ Zia Rodriguez (Daniella Pineda), a sassy and sharp witted veterinarian, and Franklin Webb (Justice Smith), the systems analyst, his character does grate a lot, as he is pretty much reduced to the petrified screaming comic relief, though he does tone it down over the course of the movie, Zia is far more tolerable as a character.

690359-jurassic-world-2

The dinosaurs are of course the reason why we’re here! Blue, the surviving member of Owen’s raptor squad is back, and has a leading role! The film can be split into 2, the island rescue, and back at the Lockwood mansion. The island scenes are amazing to watch, the CGI is as always stunning, and the inevitable fate of the island does lead to a frankly very emotional scene as our heroes make their escape. The big gun for this film is another hybrid creation, the Indoraptor, the cross between the Indominus Rex from JW, and a raptor. It of course escapes, and stalks our protagonists as they attempt to stop the plans of our villain. In all honestly, the Indoraptor does not feel like anything special, and still gets outshone by the T-Rex. Although Blue is still an enjoyable addition to the Jurassic clan, it has rather subdued the wicked nature of the deadly Velociraptors from movies past, now seeming more like a charming sidekick, than its previous iterations.

MV5BODUzMzNiMTEtNzE3Yi00NDkxLTkxNzctN2ZlOTZhMjY5ZTU2XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMjg3MzQ4ODE@._V1_SY864_SX1776_AL_

The villain of the story is where things start to fall apart, who is simply a generic suit who just wants to get rich quick. It’s pretty obvious from the start who is the underlying antagonist, and it really does hurt the plot. While it is a fresh change to take the adventure away from the island setting, the weaponized dinosaurs storyline still feels ridiculous, in a film containing dinosaurs! The final 3rd of the does’ drag on for a tad too long, as our heroes are stalked through the mansion by the genetic raptor, if could have been concluded far more swiftly. There is also a ridiculous twist regarding the granddaughter of the mansion, which is utterly brushed over by the characters, and feels like a contrived plot device for the films end. The Mosasaurus, the gigantic ocean beast, which featured in the trailers, was seriously underused.

dims

Fallen Kingdom does feel far more unique than its predecessor, JW felt like a simple remake of the original JP, whereas FK stands alone far better, with a far more warming duo and change of scenery. It’s not an outstanding outing, but fans of the last film will have no reason to not enjoy this!

Infinity War:Destiny Arrives

After 10 years of anticipation and endless movies, the big one is finally here,  with so much to talk about, we’ve broken down our *(Spoiler -Free!) review into the key points, enjoy 🙂


Avengers_InfinityWar18-1500x791

The Villain

The MCU has had a horrid track record for villains, barring Loki, the string of antagonists in several movies such as GotG, all 3 Ironman movies, Thor: The Dark World, all suffered from being a lousy foil. Though as of late, things have started to look far better. The Vulture (Spiderman Homecoming) and especially Killmonger (Black Panther) were great bad guys. Thanos has had very little screen time, apart from a few minutes now and again, or an end credit scene. But here, Thanos not only possesses the power to destroy pretty much any one of our heroes at will, he also has a clear plan in his head. As crazy as he may be, he believes what he is doing is for the greater good, and not just doing it for the cliche world combination etc. This is very much a Thanos movie, and Josh Brolin does an immense job bring such gravitas to a CGI villain! He also throws a moon as a weapon……..


1024

The Chemistry

It’s what fans have been waiting for, how awesome it would be to finally see all their favourite heroes from across all the movies finally getting together. The results, are as hilarious as you would expect, from a franchise that delivers fantastic humour. Ironman & Doctor Strange, both sarcastic, and confident of themselves, deliver excellent wit, as they constantly exchange one liners.  Thor meeting the Guardians of the Galaxy, comedy gold! Rocket & Thor have a surprisingly endearing relationship, which you would not have guessed at the start. All out heroes get their moment to shine, but Drax, Mantis & Banner offer the best when it comes to the comic relief.  There are so many memorable lines from various characters, that they will be quoted for a long time!


75b86f0d6bf6c18fca9fa61806bac352_XL

The Action

Without spoiling too much, the action delivers. Considering the sheer number of participants, it could have got very shambolic. The stand out scenes include the showdown on Titan, the surprise late night train station entrance to make the save, and the obvious Wakada battle Basically, anytime the now legendary Avengers music kicks in!  As immense as the Wakada war is, it does get a bit too much at times, with the sheer number of disposable alien fodder being used to overwhelm the heroes.


bthe-black-orderb-brbrstatus-dead-the-children-of-thanos-cor_mqnu

The Black Order

Or the ‘Children of Thanos’, as they are also called, are the henchmen that support the Mad Titan on his quest. They are supposed to act as some sort of viable opponents to the Avengers, as they work in the shadows to help Thanos gather all the stones.  But unfortunately, we don’t really know much of them, and barely even bother to remember all their names (Proxima Midnight sounds cool, but like, that’s about it).  Ebony Maw, out evil sorcerer is actually one of the more interesting of the clan, as worthy rival to Doctor Strange, but the rest? Thoroughly underused, and utterly forgettable.


avengers-infinity-war-1_12342

The Plot

Essentially we have 4 story arcs that are woven together overly this huge run time. Credit has to go to the Russo Brothers for together such an epic tale. You have the ‘Space’ team out on the home planet of Thanos, Titan.  The ‘Wakanda’ team, who hold the battle lines down on Earth. Thanos himself has an intriguing storyline as we follow his journey, and finally Thor head out into the depths of Space, for his own agenda.  It is a lot, but that’s to be expected, it’s also a great way to isolate the gigantic cast into smaller teams, rather than throwing all 40+ cast members onto the screen.  Though this also means some characters don’t have as much screen time as you would think, Captain America is no way near as prominent as you would think here. But the story does deliver, and sure packs a lot of emotional hits. As the plots slowly start to merge towards the end, it all pays off, speaking of…..

The Ending

Well……..didn’t see that coming. And I’ll leave it at just that!


Overall, Infinity War is a tribute to the legacy of the MCU, after 10 years and 18 movies. This is a film that fans will adore, the plus 2hr runtime will breeze by, as you are caught up in all the drama. But the film isn’t for everyone, casual fans may still be able to enjoy it, but it will for sure drag on.

 

 

 

 

Tomb Raider, A Steady Reboot

The Tomb Raider franchise has gone through a rejuvenation of late, following the superbly gritty video game reboots, Tomb Raider (2013) & Rise of the Tomb Raider (2015). These games take place at the start of her adventures, featuring , a younger, more fragile Lara Croft. As opposed to the confident & sexy version many are accustomed too.

https_hk.hypebeast.comfiles201802tomb-raider-tickets-giveaway-t

With her dad going missing, presumed dead, on an expedition, Lara (Alicia Vikander), attempts to carry on with her life without resorting to the vast financial aid that she could access with a simple signature. As this would mean for her to accept her fathers death. But the appearance of a relic provides her with a clue, that things may not have been as they appeared on the surface, and takes her on a voyage out to the Far East.

Video game movies seem to be a cursed project, even away from the cheesy 90s releases that the industry still carries the scars of, recent attempts such as Assassins’ Creed & Warcraft have been critical failures. But I’m glad to say, Tomb Raider is an honest adaptation of it’s source, while going off script enough to not make it a like for like copy.

TombRaiderFeat

The similarities between the game and movie are more cosmetic if anything. Lara is still a young rookie, who is way out of her comfort zone, having to adapt in the face of death. You also have the hidden Japanese island of Yamatai, where the body of the mythical figure of Himiko resides, which is where the plot mainly focuses on. This is pretty much what the movie borrows from the game, the rest are worked around those points. You have Lu Ren (Daniel Wu), a sailor, who joins Lara on her journey in exchange for a hefty wad of cash. Ren is a character the audience can warm too, and thankfully the film does not force a romance between the two. Lara’s father (Dominic West) plays a far bigger role here, than the game, and it does feel very cliched, using the ‘daddy issues’ story. It does grate a bit, but the resolution of that arch plays off surprisingly well. Walton Goggins, our antagonist, is wonderfully menacing as the dastardly Vogel. Every time he shows up, you wish him the worst! A great sign of a well played villain.

MV5BZjZmYTY4YzUtMzg4Ni00YTQ2LWI4ZjMtYzc3OTI4NmJmNWQ5XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNjUwNzk3NDc@._V1_

Where the film shines brightest are the survival scenes & solo combat. This version of Lara takes a physical battering in the games, and Vikander here goes through a lot too, she also looks the part , in fine physical shape, as one must be in such an intense physical role. When she’s not falling off trees, or flying through debris, she’s being impaled by branches. There is a lot of yelling and grunting in pain! It makes the character seem far more vulnerable and endearing. The game has a rather satisfying use of the Bow, and it features a lot here too! The legendary Ice Axe also makes an appearance!

The film still has some big flaws. They have changed a fair part of the Himiko backstory, the game goes down a far more supernatural route, whereas the film plays it far more safe. The film also fails to really show much of Lara’s backstory, apart from her sparring sessions, it’s a huge leap of faith to believe that suddenly, she has the skills to survive out in the wilderness, we don’t see much of her exploration/survival skills beforehand. The moment when she does make her first kill is rather underwhelming here, where in the game, it was a pivotal moment for her as a person, and having to accept what she had done. Here, the moment is all to brief, and suddenly cuts back to the main story. The missing Father story line has been played over many a times, and would have been more intriguing had they used another plot device to drive the story on.

MV5BNmVlMWIzMzMtMDk5ZS00ZTc5LWEyMTYtMjBhYWVjM2QxMDE0XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyODAyMDA1MDk@._V1_

Tomb Raider does play it safe here, and you can tell, with its rather generic and cliched story. But judging it as a video game adaptation, it’s done a perfectly good job. Vikander is excellent as Croft, and Lu Ren is a great partner for her future travels. If you’re a fan of the games, you will enjoy this adaptation, while it’s no where near are deep or immersive as the games, but that’s to be expected, having to cut the massive adventure into a single feature length film. It doesn’t do anything too new, but it should do enough to merit a second outing.

Create a website or blog at WordPress.com

Up ↑