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

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The Hitman’s Bodyguard:Forgettable Fun

The Hitman’s Bodyguard is one of those summer movies that you can watch, enjoy, and then simply forget about afterwards! Ryan Reynolds teams up with Samuel L Jackson team up as a pair of polar opposite personas, and travel across Europe leaving a trail of destruction!

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Michael Bryce (Reynolds) is a private bodyguard for all the world’s top notorious criminal overlords. Or as he would put it, a ‘Triple A Executive Protection Agent’! His glamorous lifestyle is torn to pieces after losing a premium client to an assassination. Having to go back to low key jobs, and losing his ‘Triple A’ rating, he is forced to escort Darius Kincaid (Samuel L Jackson), a convicted hit man, to the Hague. Kincaid will testify against brutal dictator Dukhovich (Gary Oldman), in return for the release of his wife, Sonia (Salma Hayek) from prison. It’s not all smooth sailing from the UK to the Netherlands, as Dukhovich’s thugs will stop at nothing to prevent Kincaid from his testimony!

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By far, the best part of the movie is the constant bickering between Reynolds & Jackson. It saves the movie from being utterly ordinary. On one side, you have Bryce, someone who lives by his rules, planning every mission to the very step, considering every possibility of failure. Then you have Kincaid, who lets his heart rule his actions, his devil-may-care attitude to life being a stark contrast.  It’s the standard formula for any onscreen partnership, and both actors do a hilarious job with their roles. Salma Hayek is also a blast, though she is pretty much the generic fiery Latino character here, seen in several movies before.

VLADISLAV DUKHOVICH (Gary Oldman) in THE HITMAN'S BODYGUARD.
VLADISLAV DUKHOVICH (Gary Oldman) in THE HITMAN’S BODYGUARD.

The rest of the film is a play by the books number, with uninspiring characters and troupes. You have the brutal eastern European tyrant, the hot ex-girlfriend, an elite task force that get taken out within 10 minutes with only the rookie surviving, characters managing to miraculously find each other in sprawling cities! The dictator storyline could have been entirely removed, and replaced with a mafia/gang boss, and it really wouldn’t make a difference!

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Kincaid’s character is obviously given a background, in order for us to support him as the film approaches its finale, and it does work well. After all he is a serial killer, and they film does need to justify his actions. His actions may be twisted, but you can see why he is the way he is. Whereas Bryce, you never really care for his arch, and his love interest, Roussel (Elodie Yung)is just….there. Another character that could have been removed entirely to be honest!

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The film also had a habit of using a very strange filter effect, where the image would be blurred. The budget clearly wasn’t high, but the strange smudgy filter to hide some of the effects were very shoddy, You start to wonder if its the fault of the movie, or the projector!

If you enjoy a film with the buddy cop mechanic, and the wit of Reynolds & Jackson, then it won’t hurt to go check it out, but you probably won’t remember much about it after a weekend!

 

 

Life Thrills!

Life, follows a star studded cast, as a group of astronauts on the International Space Station. who happen to bring on a surprise visitor, who happens to be a lot more sinister than first presumed!

The crew on the ISS manage to recover a capsule, containing various samples from a recent Martian mission. Amongst all the specimen of rocks is one curious sample, it turns out that the crew have managed to successfully find life on Mars! With the news relayed back to Earth, they honour the new organism with the name Calvin, which seems innocent enough, before Calvin wakes up from his slumber!

 

On board, we have Dr Miranda North (Ferguson) & Dr David Jordan (Gyllenhaal) as the medical officers of the station, and also the main  characters the movie follows. Also on the team is Adams (Reynolds) the ISS pilot, Derry (Bakare) the stations British biologist. Murakami, the teams Japanese engineer and Golovkina, the Russian commander. It’s only fair the International Space Station has an International cast!

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It’s our biologist that develops a close affinity with Calvin, and it’s his curiosity that ultimately leads our Martian friend on its warpath! After some mild experiments to monitor the growth of Calvin, it’s the electrical stimulation that sets off its survival instincts, and from that point on, the movie becomes an intense thriller!

Calvin is most certainly the highlight of this well-made space chiller, as the film progresses, it gets more and more advanced, not just physically, but also its intelligence. Our astronauts have to get more tactical against its threat, as the crew gradually starts to get taken out. Speaking of the deaths, the film is pretty graphic at times, as our alien fiend starts absorbing its prey in various gory methods. It does feel a bit over the top at times, but it does well in showing how weak our crew is, up against this relentless threat. Could there be a greater fear than drowning…in Space?!

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As with most recent films set in Space, such as Interstellar, Gravity & The Martian, Life is incredibly beautiful,  the shots of Earth, the Sun, and various other scene out of the station are gorgeous, and makes the whole movie look so much more polished. If the CGI looks bad in a Space movie, it would have a hugely negative effect on the whole project.

It’s clear that the film takes a lot of inspiration from Alien, which is no way a bad thing! Daniel Espinosa directs a wonderfully eerie set piece. Where the movie excels, is in the stalking aspects of the film. As Calvin slips away, all our crew can hear is the various thuds as our predator crawls around the metallic interiors of the station. This is extremely well executed when Calvin is in its earlier phases, as its smaller body allows it to sneak around in all manner of places, and jumping out from the smallest of gaps! As it grows, it does get a bit more comical, as it grows a face and limbs, along with a cheesy ‘monster vision’ scene.

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So how do our crew preform here? Reynolds is obviously the most charismatic, with his jovial nature and comic relief. Upcoming British actor Ariyon Bakare is great as the Scientist who develops an almost family like affinity to his new discovery, his character also has a disability which plays well into the story-line.  Our two medical officers don’t’ really have much to shout about. Gyllenhaal’s character hates life back on Earth, and prefers the solitude of Space, though they don’t really go into too much detail on why this really is. His pretty much grumpy throughout the movie, where a bit more emotion would have been better, considering the situation they found themselves in. Rebecca Ferguson character is fairly bland, and probably shouldn’t have been the main focus of the film, her role in Rogue Nation was far superior.

As a whole, the movie succeeds in what it attempts to do, Calvin steals the show wherever it appears, the sheer terror the crew faces every time they are confronted with it is well captured. The nature of the deaths also makes the audience feel nervous and uncomfortable, which only helps build the suspense. The dull nature of of main protagonists does hold back the movie from being a truly memorable, and the utterly predictable twist at the end is so expectant, it’s almost funny when it happens! Life isn’t the perfect space thriller,  but it’s definitely worth checking out if you love Space movies, especially ones containing savage aliens on board!

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