Thursday 28 December 2017

Star Wars Episode VIII The Last Jedi

The movie of course  is a winner but movie and SciFi diehards be prepared to be disappointed. Whilst all the action and CGI was fantastic the storyline was very lame - evil galatic leader tries to eliminate the last Jedi and the last republic rebels, not much changes from previous episodes. Would do better to concentrate on the one off storylines like Rogue One. It achieved one major element need to preserve the franchise from dying, all the main characters are now dead ( sad passing of Carrie Fisher) or killed off ( Hans Solo and now Luke Skywalker ) only Chewbacca and the robots remain. 

For the SciFi fans there were some questionable dialogue and design. During the chase across space it was discovered that the rebels could be tracked at light speed and there was a special device on the lead First Order ship for this. Question 1 If they were only travelling at light speed they could never traverse the galaxy far far away, it would just take too long. They should be using some other type of propulsion like warp drive. Question 2 Most devices now are tiny even big computers are small, why is the device used for tracking at light speed the size of a transit van?

Our enjoyment was slightly impaired along with our hearing as the cinema had the volume on 4 levels above max. Driving home I felt my car had morphed into an electric model - so quiet. The director / writers also seem unable to leave the bar scene with a hundred different aliens at home. It appears to be dragged out every time and reworked until boring.That aside I enjoyed the movie and I think they have left themselves in a reasonable position for another episode which must have a better storyline.

Saturday 12 March 2016

London has Fallen

This is the sequel to Olympus has fallen and although It is predictable what the plot will be, it does deliver on action and excitement. London is under attack from terrorists who force the capital to shut down. It is then the President of USA bodyguards job to get him to safety. 

For me the outstanding actor is Morgan Freeman playing the Vice President, he never fails to deliver a good performance. Gerard Butler as the secret service bodyguard is very good, reprising the same role he has in Olympus has Fallen. Single handed he seems to get it all done just always in the nick of time. Aaron Eckhart is okay however the character of the POTUS is all wrong, you would never see any of recent Presidents be as active or as capable,forgetting what Trump might do.

The production is good and apart from one scene the CGI is superb. It magically allows you to believe London could get blown apart without triggering a reaction of "oh that's fake".  Overall the film was very entertaining but not sure it could run too a third production.

Sunday 17 January 2016

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Having seen all the other Star Wars movies as they were made I thought we should continue and see the latest effort by Disney. It has been breaking all box office records and now I understand why - they impose a surcharge at the cinema to see it £2.00 in this case. Was it worth it? Yes but not good value. 

As you would expect the effects were first rate and an improvement over those gone before, however that for me is where it almost ends. There was a lack of creativity with the storyline as it appeared more like a remake of the original movie with the Death Star destruction, familiar bar scene and a rogue son. The movie was made worthwhile by Rey played by Daisy Ridley, her character and casting was my high spot, adding a dimension beyond that added by the Princess in the original. 

As for the original stars, I am still not sure they helped, it might have been better if they had stuck to cameos like they did with Mark Hamill. Only Chewbacca really made any sense, as being an alien he does not really need to age as life span of a wookie is probably a lot longer than a human.

Overall it was entertaining but not the blockbusting Oscar winner that was being touted. I will probably still go and see the follow on movies but they have to eliminate the surcharge it is ridiculous, the movie is not that good.

Saturday 1 August 2015

Edge of Tomorrow

Sky are currently playing a Tom Cruise season which gave me the opportunity to re watch Edge of Tomorrow a fantastic SciFi movie with a new twist. The earth is invaded by an alien species and a war is ongoing to try and defeat these invincible beings. Maj. Bill Cage is sent on what appears as a suicide mission but gets killed almost straight away - game over? No, he is stuck in a time loop.

Aided by Emily Blunt ( Rita Vrataski ) his comrade in arms they repeat the same brutal fight again and again perfecting their skills, getting further and further into the day to try and defeat the aliens. The special effects employed in this film are outstanding and very fast paced, one of the main attributes of the aliens. As the film progresses and Cage build his skills, they also learn more about the "Mimics" and how they can succeed and where to target.

Perhaps not the best Tom Cruise movie but it is up there, with lots of action and thrilling sequences supported by the great storyline. The replays that Sky organised in special channel or through on demand are an excellent way to catch up with any movies you may have missed. 

Recommend you watch this again as you will see more and understand more than the first time around, excellent.


Sometimes the movie makers try too hard and produce some dismal flops, but sometimes they revert to tried and tested formulas and come up trumps, as is the case with Fury. Brad Pitt is cast as an Amercian tank commander in World War II, a regular war story, but a great one. 

It is always very difficult to portray the realities of war, without indulging in too much graphic violence or blood and guts, yes this film has this, but in moderation and well filmed. Loyalty in war is essential and Brad Pitt's character is not only a leader by example but very loyal to his team and his orders. His team as ever in a good war movie are a bunch of misfits but who are exceptional at the tasks they perform. Losing one of the team early on, the replacement is a very young and inexperienced boy who is given little latitude in learning the skills necessary for survival. Quickly he starts to earn the commanders respect and trust eventual making his first kill when it really counts.

The film does give an insight into the life of the innocent who are caught in the middle of the fight but you are very quickly brought back to reality and the futility of war and moving on to the next mission. The climax is not to be missed. I watched this on TV but in the cinema I believe it would have many times more impressive. It is also important that you don't always need the heavyweights for a succesful casting, Brad Pitt is excellent but his relatively unknown ( to me ) co stars were superb.

Sunday 25 January 2015

American Sniper

War brings glory, tradegy, and injustice with an imperfect outcome in every case. Clint Eastwood has directed an excellent perspective of Chris Kyles story as the highest killing sniper in the Iraq war and all of  US military history. The film tracks Kyle history from signing up as a Navy Seal through his deployment in Iraq and back to civilian life in Texas.

If you are looking for a traditional all action war movie then you have got it, in part only as it covers the effects of war on the individual and their life. Becoming a legend brings all sorts of other responsibilities that was not expected when joining the Seals. In much the same way he is not prepared for handling his home life and the changes that a career at war brings. Bradley Copper has done a good job here under Eastwoods direction which has been outstanding.

There is currently a lot of outrage in the arab/muslim world over how the locals were portrayed but as always I think they have to remember what the war was about. The producers have not gone out to humiliate or belittle the arabs or the muslim faith, they have produced a film showing the horrors of war from a soldier's perspective and done it well. 

Tuesday 16 December 2014

The Book Thief

This is not your normal war movie, as it is the story of a young girl displaced from her family and living with a German couple, in a small village during the war years. Liesel arrives at the house of Hans and Rosa Hubermann and the story starts with the building of relationships and trust. Geoffrey Rush playing Hans is excellent, and quickly shows Liesel how to handle the brash but big hearted Rosa played by Emily Watson. 

Liesel ( Sophie Nelisse ) is intrigued by books and they become integral to the story with Hans teaching her how to read. At school she is befriended by Rudy her football mad neighbour. The story takes a very serious turn when the war starts and they have an unexpected visitor to stay. It then follows the family through the war years with sadness and joy.

I think the production of the movie was excellent with great costumes and realistic scenery, however it had little niggle with the dialogue. It is an English movie set in Germany however, to add atmosphere the script was peppered with unecessary short German words like "nein" or "und". The atmosphere was already very good with the costumes, setting, accents and did not need this script addition. Overall a very classy movie and very thought provoking,well worth the two hour plus investment.