My Top 10 Movies of 2014

I have seen exactly 11 movies this year (released in 2014, according to the Wikipedia list film 2014). What a perfect number to do a top 10!

What Missed out? Inbetweeners 2

I loved The Inbetweeners, and the first film, but this one… it didn’t quite hit the same mark. Perhaps I went into the cinema with high expectations, but It just didn’t get me laughing as much as the first. In this sequal, the friends from the series go to visit Jay, who has been taking a gap year in Australia. He fills their heads with all the ‘pussay’ he has been getting and how his days are party-filled. However, when the guys decide to visit him they find out he wasn’t exactly telling the truth. I enjoyed it, it was alright. If you are a fan of the series give it a shot, but I had heard so much praise and seen so many adverts saying how much funnier it was and it just felt forced. The cast and producers only made the movie in the first place because the fans demanded more, perhaps they should have been more resilient.

Number #10

Godzilla

I was excited for this movie. The trailer had that awesome tense music over views of planes falling from the sky. And not just Godzilla featured in this trailer, but some other mysterious mega-creature! When I finally saw it, I was quite disappointed. I appreciated that they were trying to keep a documentary style and only show what the humans would see of the creatures, but what do you go to a Godzilla movie to see? Cause I go to see GODZILLA. Not flashes of Godzilla, or Godzilla’s leg. Godzilla. Or other creatures. Whatever, just give me a decent plot and some massive omg-impressive creature smashing city action! The constant glimpse of creatures, then suddenly rushing off is good for build-up, but the few scenes we did get some monster action just wasn’t enough. Which is why Godzilla was at the bottom of my list. Which is a shame, because Brian Cranston was great!

Number #9

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

Don’t think just cause this is near the bottom that makes this a bad movie. 2014 was a strong year for blockbuster film and it just happens this (while being pretty awesome) couldn’t climb any higher. In this last film of the Hobbit trilogy, we see Bilbo and the dwarves on their adventures, leading them from the fury of a dragon, to the midst of a (as the title suggests) battle of five different armies. Everyone was worried about this one. It pretty much takes three chapters of the book and stretches it into a film, but I was pleasantly surprised. While the placement of the movie swaps were a little odd (perhaps they should have had Smaug’s attack on the city at the end of the second, or more build up towards it) the scenes of the battle were paced incredibly well. Not at one moment was I bored of battle scenes, which is a big feat as this is ¾ of the film. Bilbo, and Gandalf and all the recognisable characters were pleasant as usual. It was all a solid end to an iffy Trilogy idea.

Number #8

How to Train Your Dragon 2

This was another one I was nervous about: could it be better than the first film? And what would the plot be? Would it keep the characters? So many questions! And it satisfied all of them. Yes it was as good as the first. Some say better, but I’m going to say on par (though that’s great with me). The plot as hinted in the trailer begins that on Hiccup’s journeys he sees a team of dragon capturers and fears that soon they will head to his home island and steal their dragons. So he follows them to solve the mystery of why they are capturing dragons. While this sounds simple, it soon weaves and winds to different avenues and keeps the action lively. The best part, besides the usual dragon-action, has to be the beautiful song about half way. It’s great that children’s movies can capture both the exciting action, and also keep in touch with the emotional scenes. This series is amazing, and we need more like it!

Number #7

Captain America: Winter Soldier

This is the sequel to the Captain America film released in 2011, and also touching on The Avengers in 2012. Marvel’s surge in popularity has allowed them to ensure interweaving films and endless sequels. However, that doesn’t mean the sequels are losing quality: something seen in this. We follow the famous Captain as he deals with a new enemy, known as the Winter Soldier.  Not only this but Nick Fury suspects that S.H.I.E.L.D has been compromised and there are threats on both his and the Captain’s life. As usual, the film is action-packed (with very nicely performed fight scenes) and lots of big impressive CGI. Enough to get him to a fighting position of 7, but unfortunately behind the second marvel film of the list…

Number #6

Guardians of the Galaxy

What a success this was for Marvel. At first people were a bit speculative, as the characters aren’t as well known as the big ones of Thor, Captain America, Iron Man and Hulk… but they soon proved they should be. This origin story shows the team known as Guardians of the Galaxy meet, including Chris Pratt (as Peter Quill), Zoe Saldana (as Gamora), Dave Bautista (as Drax), Vin Diesel (voicing Groot) and Bradley Cooper (voicing Rocket). The team have to save the galaxy from villain Ronan the Accuser with his plot to use an infinity stone. The best parts of this film are it’s humour, it’s action, and of course it’s soundtrack. The film uses a large selection of 70s and 80s music that adds a certain charm. It seems Marvel fans love new as well as old and I’m sure they will keep them coming.

Number #5

The Lego Movie

At an unfortunately low number, we have this beautiful children’s movie. The Lego Movie showed children’s films what they should be doing: with great action scenes, just as great humour and a finale that touched the hearts of anyone that played with Lego. While past Lego films have been accused of being a marketing ploy, this time they actually tried and created a masterpiece in terms of children’s entertainment. But it doesn’t just appeal to the children, as adults can get a lot of fun from it too. The plot follows regular-guy Emmet as he is drawn into a prophesy to save the world. Lord Business is planning on freezing everyone in place to make the world perfect and Emmet and his master-builder friends must work to create new designs to try and stop him. A simple plot that takes us through many beautiful sets, all made of Lego pieces. Not only that but it has hilarious writing, and a stupendously catchy song none of us can get out of our heads. Remember, everything is awesome.

 Number #4

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Yet another sequal, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is the sequel to Rise of the Planet of the Apes released in 2011. Set further in the future, the human race has been reduced drastically by a virus formed from genetical testing in the first film. This one follows both a human survivor’s camp and the home of the apes as they struggle to live alongside each other. This fiery film doesn’t pull punches with some exciting fight scenes and a slow build-up of character development. A must see for fans of the Planet of the Apes films, and a must see for anyone who thinks an ape firing two machine guns from the top of a tank is the most awesome thing ever.

Number #3

X-Men: Days of Future Past

This sequel to X-Men: First Class hit all the right notes early this year as people flocked to the cinema to see it. The X-Men send Wolverine (played by the amazing Hugh Jackman) back to the past to try and prevent the sentinels from destroying both humans and mutants. A great cast and a beautiful plot help this popular series reach new heights as we get the thrills of seeing big names like James McAvoy (Young Xavier), Michael Fassbender (young Magneto) and Jennifer Lawrence (Mistique) doing what they do. Lots of exciting mutant fun takes this to number 3.

Number #2

Interstellar

One of two amazing films this year was Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar. It explored new areas of theoretical science and weaved an exciting, heart-breaking and intelligent story. Matthew McConaughey was fantastic as usual, as a father who joins a space exploration mission hoping to find a planet the human race can re-locate and re-populate when the earth is dying. Go see this one, you can’t miss it!

Number #1

Gone Girl

It was difficult to choose between Interstellar and Gone Girl, but in the end Gone Girl won out. Based on the novel by Gillian Flynn, it follows desperate husband Nick Dune whose wife goes missing on their fifth wedding anniversary. What follows is a beautifully written tale full of twists and turns. The writing sells this three hour flick, as well as the great direction from David Fincher. This movie keeps you guessing and never lets you down and is a definite must-see.

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My Top 20 Musical Songs

#20 Send in the Clowns – A Little Night Music


I haven’t seen this musical, which is possibly why this song is so low down. I feel that the context really adds a certain umph to musical numbers, as obviously they’re meant to be part of the telling of a story. However I chose Send in the Clowns mainly down to Judi Dench’s performance at the BBC Proms (see above). I think she sings it brilliantly, and the emotions shine through, even with lack of context.

#19 In my Life – Les Miserables

I feel a connection to the song In My Life. I guess it speaks to the girl in me touching on the feelings of falling in love, and wanting to know more about your life. I also like it in terms of story, as we see Epinene, Cosette and Marius’ thoughts and feelings. It didn’t climb any higher in my list because it does miss that grandness that some of the later songs have. It’s quite simple and quaint, telling it’s frame of story and moving without a fuss to the next part.

#18 Cell Block Tango – Chicago

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KA6R1DMb-Z8

Chicago is a very loud, proud musical. The songs are strong and very stylised. This is true especially for Cell Block Tango. The majority of the song comprises of spoken-sung parts with a sung chorus. You’d expect a spoken song to not be as effective, but the stories are just perfect in setting the theme. I have chosen the film representation because I haven’t seen this musical on stage. I feel the directing of this scene in the film is beautiful, and I’d imagine reflective on the movements on stage. The lighting and editing has kept the song lively and full of energy.

#17 Angel of Music – Phantom of the Opera

I have a particular liking for this song. I like how it introduces the idea of the Phantom. The interaction between Christine and Meg is also nice, with a pretty little duet. Similarly to In My Life, It’s not as grand as other songs later on and so doesn’t have as much emotional impact. But it has its charm for it’s simplicity and sweetness.

#16 A Heart Full of Love – Les Miserables

A Heart Full of Love follows In my Life in Les Miserables’ song order. This song is higher in the listing because of the last 40 seconds. The part where Marius, Epenine and Cosette sing their different parts over each other is just so beautiful. Les Miserables is known for its duets and this is a short example of what I like this musical for.

#15 Memory (Reprise) – Cats

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DPcf67Vyri0

I have grown up with Cats The Musical, 1998 video recording then I finally saw it in theatres last year. Elaine Paige is fantastic as Grizabella and I’m unsure if she can be topped. Everything is perfect from her costume, to her performance. I have chosen the Reprise because of the part of Jemima, played by Veerle Casteelyn. Both work together very well and the song is beautiful.

#14 I Dreamed a Dream – Les Miserables

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qFcq2fcr_qY

This is probably the most famous song from the musical Les Miserables, but it’s not my favourite. It is however a very emotion-filled and powerful. I have chosen the version by Anne Hathaway from the film, mainly because I prefer the slower and more intimate approach the film had to the songs. While I didn’t like the film, I appreciate the live singing in a musical film.

#13 Defying Gravity – Wicked

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3g4ekwTd6Ig

This was the song that Wicked were selling themselves on; and are you surprised? I remember being so excited to see this when I saw this on talk shows. While I feel the song lacks something when you don’t have context, the song in itself is very powerful and wonderfully sung by Idina Menzel. Staging for this song is also pretty sweet as we see Elphaba flying in the air on zipwires. It’s grand, it’s in your face and it knows it’s good.

#12 The Wizard and I – Wicked

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WL7FlC1m92c

While not the big show-stopper song of Wicked, I feel The Wizard and I beats it.. I guess cause it touches home. It shows Elphaba and her dreams, starting as a nobody and dreaming of being accepted. The emotion is this song is great and acts as a fun start to the musical.

#11 All That Jazz – Chicago

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pNFryicvxeE

Keeping with the strong theme of Chicago, comes All that Jazz. It’s the opening song of the musical and starts us off with the sexiness and suave feel that runs all the way through. Again I’ve chosen the film version, as that’s the one I’ve seen, but the direction is just so good. Director Rob Marshall knows just what to do to keep the songs lively, and show the story. I can only presume the stage show does the same.

#10 Good Morning Baltimore – Hairspray

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wLaM1d383eg

Again this is another one where I’ve not seen it on stage but I’ve seen the film. I find this film enjoyable, yet very difficult to watch. It’s very in your face and full on all the time, you hardly get a point to rest. However, look at an individual song and you can get a real appreciation for the musical. It’s liveliness is just so catchy and you can’t help singing along.

#9 There’s a fine fine line – Avenue Q

I’ve seen Avenue Q twice now and I think it’s amazing. I feel Avenue Q is accessible for people about my age, and even people who aren’t that keen on musicals can enjoy it. It’s funny, spunky and hits the right notes for me. That being said, I have chosen the most serious of songs to be part of my list because I’m a sucker for ballads and powerful songs. There’s a fine, fine line is fuelled with emotion as Kate Monster sings about love and loss. I find it quite amazing that the emotion can be carried across by the puppets and their puppeteers, even though you sort of forget the puppeteers are there.

#8 Somewhere that’s Green – Little Shop of Horrors

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iMXVSBcfIio

Ellen Greene is amazing as Audrey, both on stage and in the movie in 1986. Alike Elaine Paige as Grizabella in cats I’ve gotten very attached to the link of actress and character. Ellen puts a great performance into all her songs of Little Shop of Horrors. I especially like Somewhere that’s Green as again it touches the idea of dreams and the future. It’s a sweet song and I love it. And… of course, who could forget the Family Guy version…

#7 You Can’t Stop the Beat

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K54VMAmjNSk

My god this is catchy.

#6 You’re the One that I want – Grease

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T9udY1qGsSo

“Tell me about it, stud”…. This song is so fun. And Travolta! I didn’t think I’d put this song so high up, but I put it on and I couldn’t not sing along. It beat Summer Nights mainly because it’s so overplayed. Ok, so this one is pretty popular too… but It’s more lively than summer nights and just… ooh ooh ooh honey!

#5 The Point of No Return – Phantom of the Opera

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lk6djcAPGvo

This was another I wasn’t sure would get this high, but I listened to it again and I just have a particular love for its suspense and it’s tension. I guess lack of context might lose some power for this song, but we see the Phantom’s Opera he has demanded be put on, starring his love Christine. Christine was so scared of seeing him again and there he is, playing a part in his own opera. Their mixtures of hate and passion come through so well in this song. Lines in this song are so cleverly written and it is performed so masterfully I just couldn’t let it slide any lower. I have chosen the film version, as I personally prefer the less operatic style the film chose.

#4 Circle of Life – The Lion King

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bv802bpA-iw

The style of the stage version of Circle of Life is majestic. Everything about it, from the staging, the costumes, the African chanting, the music: It’s all so grand. I also chose it because of the various things the cast has done out in the public. They look like they enjoy what they’re doing; whether that’s because of clever advertising or because the cast adore it so much. I thought it’d be hard to beat the Disney’s animated feature version of this song, but I think this does that.

#3 A Little Fall of Rain – Les Miserables

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=no4B8YWhdFg

This song isn’t grand and it isn’t the star of the show… but it’s my favourite song in Les Miserables. It’s so touching and beautiful duet between Epinene and Marius. I really feel for this character as she has finally gotten what she wants: to be in Marius’ arms, yet it is when she is dying. It’s so poetic and sad; enough to send chills down your spine!

#2 Skid Row – Little Shop of Horrors

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z0kSBiu1IGk

I love this song. It’s a great intro to Little Shop of Horrors and it’s great for setting the scene and introducing our main characters. I couldn’t think of a better way to start this musical. The films version (see above) is also full of humour and beautiful sets.

#1 – Masquerade – Phantom of the Opera

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8PxEvj_tvGQ

I LOVE this song. It’s just so beautifully staged. Look at those costumes and the choreography. It has a quick steady pace and just makes you want to join in with the ball. It incorporates the duets and character stuff I love… Its music is powerful… this is what I love about the theatre.

My Cinema List of 2013

 

As a student it can take some convincing to take a trip to the nearest city to spend money on the most expensive cinema chain. As a student in a small town with nothing much else to do, it can take even less convincing. But even so, it takes either good advertising, prior love of a franchise or sheer begging from friends to decide to see a movie on the big screen. So, I’d like to pay homage to the movies that lured me to the cinema in 2013: saying why I went and whether my hopes and expectations were met. A lot of these, I’ve mentioned in previous reviews, so I’ll keep them brief.  Here’s my cinema list of 2013!

Mama

Original review: https://artzonbooks.wordpress.com/2013/03/08/film-review-mama/

I love horror. Well, I used to. Now I’ve just gotten a little bored with them. The modern horror films are all jump scares with no atmosphere. What backstory they try to include sucks. But I was tempted to see Mama when my friends and I were bored and decided a trip to Liverpool would be nice. We looked at what was on at the cinema, checked out the trailers and this was the best one. I went in hoping for scares and what did I get? Whimsical scenes?! Yes, whimsical scenes. I mean, there was some tension there  but it ended with a real fantasy feel at the end. Which was so strange. I know you get gritty fantasy: like with Pan’s Labyrinth but the movie didn’t sell itself like that at all. It followed two children who had been left alone in a forest and grown feral. But some ghostly force had been taking care of them and killing anything that wanted to harm them. They were found by their Uncle and girlfriend and tried to get them back into family life; but bringing the ghost with them. This is a classic ghost story. So why oh why did they change it right at the end?  I guess Guillermo del Toro presented it, but that means nothing other than a glorified recommendation.

Generally, I guess it’s a good film if you already know about the mix of genres. The story is interesting, it’s scary at times, and some of the jump shots were done quite well. I just was really let down as I wanted to be scared witless… and I wasn’t.

Les Miserables

Wasn’t bothered about seeing this movie; I had no interest. I’d not seen the musical, didn’t know the songs and wasn’t aware any of my friends knew it either. Turns out one did and he really, really wanted someone to go see it with him. So, we rounded up everyone and as a group we all agreed to go together. So what day did he want to see it? VALENTINE’S DAY. *sigh*…Fine.
So off we went and what “fun”. To be fair,  I liked the story, and since watching the 25th anniversary edition of the musical I now like the songs. But this movie? Its directed so badly! I’ve done a review on it already (https://artzonbooks.wordpress.com/2013/02/28/film-review-les-miserables-directed-by-tom-hooper/), so I won’t linger on this too long, but really. I’m still surprised we were the only people to laugh at Jevert’s suicide after that comedy side effect. And the sudden jaunty angle in the middle of a serious scene. A disappointment, but one we still talk about today.
Oblivion

This was our second ‘we’re bored, what’s on at Odeon?’ session. We watched the trailers, thought it looked pretty neat, got fair reviews… why not? And I’m glad I did. It was a nice sci-fi flick and it was entertaining. Not…. Much more I can say about it. It had a good twist, which was helped by the story. I guess it lost a lot of the attention that it should have gotten. Go see it, it’s pretty decent.
Iron Man 3

This was the first big one: the one we’d looked forward to. I’ve enjoyed the Marvel films and as popularity is rising more are coming out. After seeing the first two films, I knew what I wanted out of this movie and I was surprised as to what I got. The tone was much more comedic than the prior films; but not to say this was a bad thing. I thoroughly enjoyed it! Though.. I knew I’d enjoy it before Robert Downy Jr even came on screen. You know, the bit where they played Eiffel 45? Blue (Da Ba Dee) over your title credits…? Movie gold!  But seriously, it was a great film with good humour, great acting and an enjoyable story. I liked the change in tone, and I also liked how they wrapped everything up – as it’s possible for no Iron man 4 (http://www.themarysue.com/robert-downey-jr-avengers-2-3/). The character arcs feel a whole lot sweeter when we know there is still more of our beloved philanthropist in the Avengers movies.
Star Trek Into Darkness

I’ve heard a lot of hate for this film, from critics and teachers alike… but I still can’t bring myself to hate it. I was never a star trek fan, so these movies were my first venture into this world. Its what got me interested in the universe. I’ve since gone back and looked at a couple of the original series. And it’s all cool. I know a lot of people say the plot holes ruin Star Trek Into Darkness for them, but I see it as an entertaining movie that’s great for JJ-fans (like myself), or people new to the series. I’m still looking forward to the next film: despite JJ not directing this time, and I’m hoping for more fun!
Pacific Rim

This was my summer flick. My partner came to visit, and as there’s not much to do in my home-town either, cinema was again the best bet for a night out. Plus the cinema there is awesomely cheap! This movie looked pretty awesome from the trailers. I think I might have built myself up a bit too much for it, though. I came out the cinema with a ‘just satisfied’ feel, whereas my partner loved it. Maybe it’s a guy thing: as its leaning towards the macho-fighting-robots thing… but I thought it was alright. I did like the monsters, and the robots were pretty cool. The plot was ok, the acting was good as far as I remember. It was at least better than transformers. I think the main problem for me was the plot twist was a bit… guessable. I tend to have a habit for guessing the twists in movies anyway: but anyone who knows anything about the animal kingdom should pick up on the hints and figure it out.
Gravity

This was epic. Masterpiece of cinema. I already covered it in my favourite movie moments review (https://artzonbooks.wordpress.com/2013/12/30/my-favourite-movies-or-movie-moments/), but this was really something. Never before have I been that impacted by a film at the cinema. It, for me, encompassed all that those ‘don’t let cinema die’ adverts are trying to invoke. We went to see this because of the great reviews it was getting and boy was it worth it. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again I really do hope it keeps its impact on small screen.
Thor: The Dark World

Another Marvel film yay! I hadn’t looked forward to this one quite as much as Iron Man 3, but I was still pretty hyped. I thought this was a great sci-fi superhero movie. It had the action, the mystery, and the fantastical new worlds. I enjoyed the humour and acting. It wasn’t the most perfect of films, but it was definitely one of the better ones for 2013. One scene I loved in particular (as noted in my best movie moments review: https://artzonbooks.wordpress.com/2013/12/30/my-favourite-movies-or-movie-moments/) had me right on the edge of my seat as we try to decide whether Loki has betrayed his brother or not. Beautiful.
The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug

Went to see this as part of the Universities’ Sci-fi and fantasy Society. A lot of people there were so hyped for it. I didn’t like the first one and so went in with low expectations for this one. I’ll say, it was a lot better than the first… but that doesn’t make it great. It had a shitty romance for starters. The dragon was actually quite good… as I’d been led to believe they’d made him all one colour by the trailer. I enjoyed it on the whole, but I’m still unsure about the third instalment. I got mixed reviews from the society members too. Some adored it, some hated it ‘cause it doesn’t stick to the book. I can see why it ventured away from the book, though… as you can’t have this kind of movie with no action scenes. Tell you what, though, I did like that spider scene!

Frozen

I sort of saw this in January 2014… but I’ll count it anyway. As I mentioned in my previous review (https://artzonbooks.wordpress.com/2014/01/02/film-review-disneys-frozen-directed-by-chris-buck-and-jennifer-lee/) I wasn’t interested in seeing this movie either: hence why it took me so long to see it. I heard so much about how good it was from everybody that I decided to watch it: despite the slap-stick trailer. I was very pleasantly surprised. It had its oddities… like the first third of the movie being almost completely song… but it’s since caught on me like a plague. I love the main song and I want to get the film on dvd when it comes out. I guess you might have to be a Disney fan, or tolerater, to like it. But I like the way it challenges the generic princess story, I like how it pokes at my inner child and makes it stare at wonder… and I’ve even come to like that really weird song about ‘fixing up the imperfect guy’. It’s just a nice movie.  Though I still hate the snowman.

Film Review: Disney’s Frozen, Directed by Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee

I went in to see this movie with high hopes, but low expectations. I mean, I was first introduced to this movie by this piece of shit of a trailer.

Ok, so that’s all well and good for small kids, but I was expecting the whole movie to be about the stupid snowman. I thought ‘no way am I seeing that’. Then I started to hear about it. Everyone was saying how good it was. High Metacritic score, high IMDB score. Then my friends started singing the song Disney released. It was built up so much that I thought it might be something worth giving a shot. And I was glad I did.

The movie plot (get ready) focuses around two princesses: sisters Anna (Kristen Bell) and Elsa (Idina Menzel). Elsa was born with magic powers that make ice form but after accidentally hurting her sister, they got magical rock-trolls to wipe her memories and heal her. From then on, their parents split up the sisters. As in most Disney movies years later the parents die, and Elsa as the eldest is now queen. But in the ceremony, Elsa’s powers are shown to the public when she argues with her sister, as her sister falls instantly in love and wishes to marry Prince Hans (Santino Fontana). Following so far? … Good cause there’s more. So, the public chase away Elsa and she makes a castle on a mountain and lets her magic free: which has negative effects on the local town. So, Anna goes after her sister to try and get her to stop this never ending winter and is helped by Kristoff (Jonathan Groff) and his trusty reindeer. Oh and there’s a snowman in there somewhere.

First off, wow what a backstory. Second, this is mostly told in song. That set-up covers about a third of the movie and it’s almost completely made up of songs. A song about the scenary, a song about them playing, a song about them not playing now they’re split up, a song about Anna’s excitement about the coronation ball, a song about the coronation, a song about falling in love, a song about how reindeer are better than people and the pre-released song about Elsa going to live on her own. Oh and… a song by the snowman. So many songs SO LITTLE TIME. Saying, that they’re quite nice. Except the snowman’s. The main one (the pre-released one) was the most… song-like, whereas the others are mostly film-dependant plot songs, but they’re all quite pleasant to listen to. They’re sung extremely well and they help capture what each character is about. You’ve got the happy-go-lucky excited classical princess Anna with her songs reflecting that, and Elsa’s songs a little more moody and worry-some until she can finally let her powers free.

And then… the snowman gets a song. Ok, I’ll come clean. I’m not all that keen on the snowman. Actually, for a comedy relief character he isn’t all that bad. As much as I can complain about him (and that’s a lot) he isn’t as bad as he could have been. And at least the damned movie isn’t about him. But for me, the only thing that makes his song bearable is the fact he’s so stupid. Which… I guess is the joke. See, the snowman really wants for it to be summer, so he can lie in the grass and get a tan. He’s also pretty naïve in everything he says. This makes him bearable. The film could have gotten along just dandy without him, but… ah well. I can live with the ugly idiot.

Anyway, I digress. I like how this movie both captures and goes against the typical princess thing. Anna wants to instantly get married to Prince Hans, yet the characters around her (Kristoff and Elsa) note how stupid this is. There is also quite a bizarre song, sung by the rock trolls,  trying to teach kids that you can’t go looking for a prince, so just ‘fix up’ an average guy. I guess this is a nice change. It’s at least funny to me to see the changes in Disney’s morals. In fact, this happened in Princess and the Frog, too. Instead of teaching Disney’s ‘wish upon a star and your dreams will come to you’, it taught us to work hard for what we want. But whether for me to chuckle at, or whether it’s actually trying to change kid’s attitudes: it made for a fun scene.

And really, that’s what this film is: fun. It doesn’t have too many scenes centralised on the comedy characters, like Tangled does a little, yet it includes just the right amount for kids. It has a wonderful web of developed characters that have great links. The songs are… numerous, but good. And it has an interesting ending that leaves you satisfied. I hope Disney keep bringing out the, what I like to call, “New-age princesses” and keep challenging the stereotypes. I hope they keep upping their game with movies like this. Just stop it with the comedy trailers…. I know you’re for kids but kids don’t need this. Kids can sit through a film and care about the characters if they’re strong enough without the need for some funny looking thing on screen. Make it kick ass, action with strong character links and you’re set to go. But this film is definitely a step in the right direction.

My Favourite Movies or Movie Moments

Here are my top 20 film or film moments. Thats not to say they’re the best films. Just my personal favorites. Enjoy!

 

Gravity

Image from: http://www.digitaltrends.com/gaming/gravity-talking-to-the-nasa-astronauts-who-have-lived-what-sandra-bullock-performs/

Wow, I mean wow. I went to the cinema to see this in IMAX because I was told there was no other way to see it and my god. We needed time after the film to recover it was that intense. It features astronauts Ryan Stone (played by Sandra Bullock) and Matt Kowalski (played by George Clooney) and their efforts to return to earth after some debris crashes into their station. But, the debris is coming round again, limiting the time they have before they’re again bombarded. What a thrilling ride! I’ve never been as impacted by a film in the cinema before and it really uses the full potential of modern cinema. Not only does it have great visuals, but its writing is good, including one or two touching moments of character backstory that got a tear or two out of me. I’m hoping it can be as impactful on small screen as it was on the big screen so it can hold up.

That Scene in Up

Image from: http://www.forafewmoviesmore.com/lists/top-5-saddest-movie-scenes/

I’m a sucker for sadness, and the first part of Up sure tugs at the heartstrings. This part of the film shows character Carl Fredricksen and his wife growing old together. And that’s just it: life. It shows normal things that happen to normal people: marriage, getting a house, picnics in the park, working life, planning for a child. But it also has a gritty reality to it. The wife finds out she can’t have children, the couple get tied down with the finances of life and don’t follow their dream and the wife dies at the end leaving the guy alone. It’s so beautiful and down to earth and it is all told in five minutes. In FIVE MINUTES you feel more for this character than you do for others which have had whole movies of development. This film, as all Disney, is aimed at children but it treats them like adults. It doesn’t hide away; it doesn’t cover it in rainbows. It tells it like it is and captures our attention. It’s a shame the rest of the film wasn’t as powerful and it makes me dislike the film for how gimmicky the rest of it is. There are a couple good bits, but the film started out so powerfully the other hour just can’t beat it.

The Road

Image from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Road_(2009_film)

As I said, I’m a sucker for sadness, and post-apocalyptic scenarios are in my opinion one of the best for storytelling. This film shows a father and son (played by Viggo Mortensen and Kodi Smit-McPhee) literally just named ‘man’ and ‘boy’. While we never find out these characters names, we easily get attached to them: which is a difficult thing to do. This film doesn’t hold the punches as we’re introduced the ideas of cannibalism, looting, suicide and the general struggle for survival. The happiest moment is when the pair find themselves some food, which brings the viewer into the post-apocalyptic experience. It would be horrible, and the movie wants us to know it. The father desperately wants to teach his son how to survive because he knows that one day he’ll die and leave the kid to survive alone. Beautiful, powerful and depressing as hell.

Some scenes from Wall-E

Image from: http://pixartimes.com/2010/12/10/wall-e-named-best-movie-of-the-decade-by-time/

This film was a slight disappointment. It wasn’t bad particularly; I just wasn’t amazed by it. But I was amazed by certain scenes and aspects. Firstly, the use of the songs ‘Put on your Sunday Clothes’ and ‘It only takes a moment’, originally from the film ‘Hello, Dolly!’. The first not only sets the tone and slides us into the period of the backstory, but it also makes the first scene of the desolated planet very eerie. It assists the visuals in making an impact and brings home the message of taking care of the environment. We know the morale and it’s not even shown us anything: just played a song over images of a dusty planet. The second piece of music is how Wall-E learns how to show his affections towards EVA and it’s just so cute. The whole ‘courting’ scene where Wall-E looks after Eva is both sad and funny at the same time. It’s just all so… sweet. Adding to this pile of sweetness is the later scene ‘Define Dancing’. It begins as Wall-E being in danger as he flies out into space with a fire extinguisher as his only hope of steerage. It then turns into a slightly whimsical scene of what can be described as two robots dancing in space. It’s so cute, it’s sickening. And that’s why they’re on my top 20.

Blindness

Image from: http://pingmag.jp/2008/11/04/blindness/

Yet another depressing post-apocalyptic film in which the whole world goes blind from the effects of a virus. It stars Julianne Moore, who just happens to not be effected, and a group of the first sufferers as they are shipped off to a quarantine serve-yourself facility. Here they are forced to adapt to their sudden blindness with no help from the outside. This is a brutal film, featuring the ideas of the power-hungry aspect of human nature, rape and the struggle of survival. My only problem with it is it kind of puts blind people in a bad light, while also showing their struggle. The only person in the film to have originally been blind is a dick, who joins the ‘bad guys’ who are essentially raping women. It actually got some bad press from the National Federation of the Blind, and they have a point. But, the movie wasn’t aiming to say blind people were bad, just that if the whole world was blind some people would obviously try and get out on top in times of disorganisation. While depressing, it has a good ending, a great cast and takes you for a good ride.

Bolt

Image from: http://theprincessandthecake.blogspot.co.uk/2011_07_01_archive.html

I love dogs, so that may have leverage over my judgement, but I love Bolt. It shows a dog with the entitled name (voiced by John Travolta) that is owned by a TV company. The dog believes he is really in the world of the spy movie they make and never sees real life. As implausible this is… run with it! One day he escapes and is suddenly landed in the real world. Stripped of his powers, he must try and get back to his owner, and co-star, Penny (voiced by Miley Cyrus). On the way he meets a cat called Mittens (voiced by Susie Essmen), who is great, and a gerbil (Mark Walton), who is less so. The dog and cat of this movie are wonderful and the interactions between these two characters travel us through. It’s amusing and we feel like we are journeying with Bolt, as he learns what the life is a real dog is. As well as touching scenes, it has nice action and humour. I’m not too keen on the TV show scenes at the start, but they’re not the focus of the movie. While enjoyable for a scene, I was very glad when it broke away. Overall, just a nice movie that reminds us of the good part of Miley Cyrus’ career.

Yes Man

Image from: http://www.aceshowbiz.com/still/00004363/yes_man08.html

I loved the Jim Carrey films of the nineties and early two thousands, such as The Mask, Liar Liar, and Bruce Almighty. So I was so glad to have another great movie in 2008, Yes Man. Based on the book by Danny Wallace, Yes Man shows Carl (Jim Carrey) who is challenged to say ‘yes’ to everything. And I mean everything. He gives all his money to the homeless, sits through a Harry Potter marathon and even has sexual favours from an old woman. Why would anyone ever do this? Well it seems the so-called ‘positive attitude to life brings good things Carl’s way, encouraging him to keep doing it. This might be a little bit silly in its premise, but the combination of a clever story and Jim Carrey’s acting style makes it work. It’s my kind of comedy, and really grounds the out-there humour to the character’s reality. Its more or less a romance-comedy, but not in the ways of a chick-flick. Its witty, colourful and makes you think about life.

The Mist: Especially the Ending to the Mist

Image from: http://billsmovieemporium.wordpress.com/2010/10/19/review-the-mist-2007/

I love the Mist. Based on a Stephen King short, The Mist is about a collection of people that get stuck in a super market when the town is suddenly shrouded in a mist full of monsters. Stephen King movies tend to be quite bad, but this is one of my favourites. The monsters have a presence, but the story is largely about the breakdown of human society, as the townsfolk get more and more absorbed by the teachings of Mrs Carmody (played by Marcia Gay Harden). She is fantastic. You really learn to hate her. In fact, this film is full of amazing actors that just aren’t in enough movies. Or always have small parts. You’ve got Thomas Jane, Laurie Holden (from The Walking Dead), Andre Braugher, the classic Toby Jones, William Sadler and plenty more. I mean how much better can you get? I’m so glad they didn’t go for big names or we would have been landed with Johnny Depp.  After a story of suspense, scares and action we get to the ending. I’ve heard many responses to this ending and most seem to be just “no way”. In the book, they just kind of drive off into the mist, but the film version just blows you away.

Cars

Image from: http://www.fanpop.com/clubs/disney-pixar-cars/images/772510/title/lightning-mcqueen-photo

The fourth Disney on my list probably tells you I’m a fan of animation, and in a way that’s true. But I don’t like Disney for the playful parts. I like it for the powerful moving scenes and themes. I know kids films have to have some kiddy moments, but I usually prefer without. That being said, I love every bit about Cars. It shows a world where… well, Cars are people. I know, I know, I know, I know, I know, It’s completely ridiculous but this is one movie where I don’t think about the science. Anyhow, it follows the story of Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson) and his journey to Radiator Springs. We hear the story about how the town used to be high flying, but since a highway was built passing the town no-one drove through anymore. With the lack of trade, businesses went down and now the town can barely survive.  This part is done so beautifully and the whole film has this feel about it. I suppose the target market of little boys weren’t too impressed with the heart, which led to an awful spy-film sequal in Cars 2. But it’s the heart and soul of the first movie that caught and captured my attention. I loved the atmosphere and the life of these town characters. It connected me to my home: and I live far from route 66 in America.

Happy Feet

Image from: http://daveymorrison.blogspot.co.uk/2011/12/happy-feet-expansion-of-moral-and.html

It’s true; when I first watched this movie I hated it. It was confusing and hard to get back into if you weren’t paying attention. I had to re-watch it and accept the style of the film before I could enjoy it. Once you accept that these penguins’ lives are centralised through singing to each other: the film becomes quite beautiful. The visuals of this film are amazing. The animators have really captured the scenery of the Antarctic. The whole look of the film truly takes my breath away, and mixed with some of the music makes for an experience. Like Wall-E, it has a pollution message which is pretty in your face, and the story is quite simple. I guess it’s more the impact of the visuals and the unique direction that gets this movie to my top 20.

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl

Image from: http://www.fanpop.com/clubs/pirates-of-the-caribbean/images/7785089/title/pirates-wallpaper

Disney really grabbed the pirate genre and brought it to the modern market. This was such a good film. It was action packed, creepy and everything you’d want in a kid-friendly adventure film. Though he is now over-used, Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow was fresh and exciting when it first came out. Orlando Bloom, Keira Knightly and Geoffrey Rush also made a great top-cast. The super-natural aspects really added a buzz to this film and it was brilliantly built up to. Even the humour was funny and the comedy relief characters were not too over the top.  I can’t really think of any faults to it. It was great to be a kid and grow up with these movies and they still hold up today.

Love Actually

Image from: http://www.theguardian.com/film/2013/dec/16/how-we-made-love-actually

This was a great movie with a great cast. It’s a romantic comedy type film that covers the lives of a large collection of people in a montage of the effects of love in our lives. This ranges from a cheating husband, to newly found love, to the nerves of asking someone out, to learning to move on from a lost love. This film has an unbelievable cast. Seriously, it’s got: Bill Nighy, Gregor Fisher, Colin Firth, Liam Neeson, Emma Thompson, Kris Marshall, Martin Freeman, Keira Knightly, Hugh Grant, Alan Rickman, Rowan Atkinson and even presenters Ant and Dec. And for the massive cast, the plot doesn’t suffer. Each story is wonderful and some even tie in together in a nice way. Its sweet, it’s cutesy and its quite funny too. I think it’s a film for everyone as quite a few guys I know like it too. It’s different from the general chick flick and the many-story approach keeps the plot fresh. To quote the film: It shows us that love, really is, all around.

Scenes from Lilo and Stitch

Image from: http://disneyforprincesses.tumblr.com/post/69845379526/reverseracism-anuvia-cinnamonfart-oh-my

I love parts of this film. The bits with the aliens are ok, and the sub-plot about the aliens re-capturing Stitch is enjoyable, but it’s the development parts with characters Lilo and Stitch that get this into my top 20. Firstly, I love the opening: the part where we see Lilo. The song He Mele No Lilo plays over Lilo as she swims through the Hawaiian sea and as she rushes to class. This whole scene is the perfect introduction to the Hawaiian setting and it really makes me fall in love with Lilo. The other two scenes I like are less upbeat. One part where Stitch leaves the family to go find his parents is heart-breaking and the part when Lilo and her sister are sitting on the hammock singing Aloha-Oe Is so touching. These are the parts of Disney films I adore.

The Truman Show

Image from: http://toptenfilms.net/top-10-feel-good-movies/

The Truman show shows another more serious side of Jim Carrey’s acting. It’s an amazing film that makes you think. It follows Truman (played by Jim Carrey) who is stuck in a world he thinks is real, but it’s actually a TV show. Huh… reminds me of Bolt (this came first…). Anyway, Truman slowly finds out about his world as he notices inconsistencies and eventually has to face his fears in order to find the truth. It’s an impressive story, with great acting and its amusing when it needs to be.

Jurassic Park

Image from: http://sciencefiction.com/2013/10/24/throwback-thursday-jurassic-park/

Jurassic Park is wonderful. It has a few flaws, I guess… but it’s still brilliant. Its effects are better than some new films due to the use of puppets rather than pure animation. It still holds up despite being ten years old. The plot is simple, but enjoyable. The kids are a little annoying, but the other characters are fun. You’ve got to love Jeff Goldblum , Richard Attenborough,  Sam Neil and Laura Dern in this. It used to scare the shit out of me: I would fear there would be velociraptors in my cupboard and it’s still scary now. It’s full of suspense, action, has wonderful visuals. It was also good on a director’s level. Jurassic Park is definitely a classic of cinema.

The Nightmare Before Christmas

Image from: http://www.bleedingcool.com/2013/10/09/nightmare-before-christmas-to-get-a-second-screen-live-release-just-in-time-for-halloween/

My only problem with this film is I never know when to watch it. It’s too Christmassy for Halloween and it’s too scary for the spirit of Christmas. But beside that, I adore it. Tim Burton’s style is wonderful for this world and the stop motion animation is beautiful. Everything in this film is beautifully stylised and you love every kooky, haunting and strange creature. The story is about Jack (voiced by Danny Elfman), king of Halloween land, as he discovers who he is by attempting to take over Christmas. The story is simple, but effective. I just love everything about this movie and I can’t find a fault. I guess some may not enjoy the songs, but I even love those and they really add to the story.

Thor 2: The Loki Trick sequence

Image from: http://screencrush.com/thor-2-poster-the-dark-world/

This film in general was great, but I chose the trick sequence in particular because it literally had me on the edge of my seat. I’m talking about the scene where Thor and Loki are on that dusty planet Svartalfheim and Loki does several tricks where you’re completely confused as to whether he has betrayed Thor or not. I won’t ruin the scene, but it was amazing. I was sitting forward thinking he’d betrayed him, and then relaxed realising he hadn’t, and then I was leaning back forward, then relax. I was like a yoyo! I rarely have reactions like that in the cinema. And that’s why it makes my top 20.

Charlottes Web

Image from: http://www.filmclub.org/films/seasons-listing/id/3737/page/2

Screw the new ones; I’m talking about the 1972 version. It’s a beautiful tale, based on the book by E. B. White. The animation probably doesn’t hold up, but I adore it. It’s a real nostalgia fuel-fest for me, from the character voice to the songs. It’s a fun tale for kids and it follows the life of Wilbur as he learns that pigs are killed for meat. He desperately turns to a spider, Charlotte, who tries to help him save his life. This film has a classic story, cute animation and good old fashioned storytelling.

District 9

Image from: http://filmexperience.blogspot.co.uk/2010/12/distant-relatives-metropolis-and.html

I’m still waiting for a sequel or prequel to this film. It had a unique style, comparison to other films of that time, as it started with a documentary-effect. We saw alien-slum in the middle of Johannesberg, with aliens nick-named ‘prawns’. The people wanted the aliens to leave and our main character Wikus is part of the government branch that aims to move the alien residents to a different area.  Until he comes into contact with an alien chemical that have life-changing effects. This was something fresh that had a great story, filled with action and cool aliens. My only problem is it left on a cliff-hanger… and I’m still waiting for them to do something about it. Still, it’s an entertaining adventure.

Avatar

Image from: http://www.avatarnation.net/

This gets on the list, less for its story but for its experience.  Avatar really showed us what cinema, at the time, could do. It was brilliantly coloured and dazzled us with its effects. So what if the plot was a re-hash of Pocahontas? So what if the ecosystem didn’t make any sense. It was beautiful and impressive. And it was an enjoyable story, even if it got a lot of negative feedback. With Avatar 2 and 3 coming soon, can they improve  and keep up to date with modern cinema technology? We’ll see.

Brief Film Reviews 1-5

9


Image from: http://www.hdwallpapers.in/9_movie-wallpapers.html

A post apocalyptic children’s tale about some rag dolls that have been created to come to life. I remember the animation being impressive and the plot being fairly simple. Some of the animation for this film is seriously cool though: like the scary skeleton-like dogs that hunt down the main characters. It’s a shame the main characters are so… freaky looking. I remember not caring too much for the plot but whisked away by the cool world. For a kid’s story it is quite dark and gritty which is exactly what it needs. Quite a nice tale.

300

Image From: http://comicbooks.about.com/od/comicmovies/ig/300-Gallery/Ephialtes-.htm

I’m not one for historically based dramas or for army films, so I was impressed that this kept my attention. It was about the Spartan army of 300 men going to war with the Persians: who have a much larger army. I don’t think it was that historically accurate… but it has some nice battle scenes I guess. Pretty and good looking for the time. I enjoyed what plot was memorable and Ephialtes: the hunchback who just wants to help, was pretty cool.

1408

Image from: http://www.cinemablend.com/new/John-Cusack-Stephen-King-Teaming-Up-Cell-Adaptation-33859.html

I quite like this film but don’t expect a scary horror. It’s more a suspenseful ‘let’s appreciate this story’ kind of thriller, based on the Steven King story. It perhaps goes on a little too long and doesn’t give too big a payoff but it’s a nice story. The best part hands down are the two main stars: John Cusack, and as a minor role Samuel L Jackson. Really, John Cusack is amazing in this film. He plays writer Mike Enslin who goes through hell while staying in the Dolphin hotel. Good for the creep factor, but don’t expect to be hiding under the covers.

2012

Image From: http://www.examiner.com/article/2012-the-date-the-world-unites

Dumb apocalyptic move about the suspected ‘end of the world’ in 2012. John Cusack again, flying in a helicopter with his family trying to find a safe part of the world to survive in. It has nice visuals, but pretty much only sold on that. Fills you with questions, such as ‘why do the disasters always happen when John Cusack is around’? Or ‘why doesn’t this movie think about what it’s doing?’ As far as science is concerned, it seems the directors were trying… and in fact got a few things right, but then on the other hand got some things very wrong.

10’000 BC


Image From: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/07/movies/07ten.html?_r=0

I remember hardly anything about this movie, besides the fact I’ve seen it and it was long and boring. I got caught in by the trailers at the time of its release which showed some impressive visuals. I guess they were ok. But a lot of the plot was drawn out. The main actor looks awful. I don’t know how accurate it was trying to be, but I think it lost out there too. Just… unmemorable. I can remember episodes of shows I’ve not seen for 10 years better than I can this movie. Take from that what you will.

Film Review: The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Directed by John Madden

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is a mix-match of a film that I’m a bit unsure about. It has a fantastic cast, with the likes of Maggie Smith (Downton Abbey, Harry Potter), Bill Nighy (Love Actually, Pirates of the Caribbean) and Judi Dench (Skyfall, Jane Eyre), but the wishy washy plot just doesn’t keep up the standard. We flick back and forth between the lives of seven travellers that all decide to visit the Marigold Hotel in India. A brief introductory shows the characters deciding on the trip and going to the airport. This time is also used to establish a loose blogging aspect, that’s only use is a half-arsed monologue to show the progress of time. The only real benefit, however, is we get to hear more of Judi Dench’s voice to steam us through the slow events.

I’m not saying it’s a bad movie, I mean it has its moments. Some of the characters you can feel for at times, it just seems that the writers were making the story too character based, yet giving the characters one trait each to work with. Evelyn lost her husband, Graham wants to find his lost love, Douglas… I don’t quite know what he wants but his wife Jean is unhappy, Muriel is racist, and Norman and Madge just want to get lucky. Not one of the characters has time to branch out and show deeper levels, despite the good acting. Interlinked with all of these ‘character explorations’ is yet another story of the hotel owner Sonny (Played by Dev Patel known from Slumdog Millionaire) trying to be with his girlfriend. It’s all just a jumble that doesn’t click well together. There was one good moment was between Evelyn and an office where she finds a job. She is speaking to them about how call centres speak to elderly people on the phone and how unsentimental they are. This small story was touching and meaningful: and more of what this movie needed. It shows the writers can write, they just need to focus more.

The movie on the whole was sweet and some topics to do with aging were covered. But the plot and tone just needed that extra push. It rather had that thing your mum or nan might like, rather than living up to its full potential.

Rating: 5/10

Film Review: Hollow Man, Directed by Paul Verhoeven

Paul Verhoeven… the director of classics such as Total Recall, Starship Troopers, Robocop and…. Hollow Man? Heard of it? No… me neither. But hey, watching it at the universities’ sci-fi and fantasy society, I was sure it’d be just as good. A tale of scientists who discover how to make living things invisible! Which presents the movies first problem: ‘why’. What possible reasons would scientists have to spend so much money on making living creatures (with their main goal of humans) invisible? I pondered this for a while and thought, ‘maybe military?’, where my friend Sam mentioned how their equipment would still be showing. Well… how about… … … yeah, I’ve got nothing. I guess it’s pretty… cool? The scientists scripted reasons don’t seem to be ever mentioned, but let’s pretend they have one.

So, the movie opens with a test subject (an invisible gorilla) that the team want to revert back to being visible again. This sets the movie up in a strange way. We have to realise pretty quickly that the team have already achieved their great feat and actually are working to reverse the process. I’ll put that ‘why’ question under the ‘I’m sure they have a reason’. Anyway, this plot point leads to a pretty awesome scene where the gorilla is shown to gradually start converting. While this is done in quite old CGI, it still looks pretty awesome. The gorilla builds back from its veins, to its organs, muscles and skeleton, to finally its fur. However, I like being picky. So, the process makes a living thing invisible… meaning it effects their cells. But, what about foreign objects in the body? Why are they effected? The most obvious flaw is food… had the gorilla not eaten for days? If it had eaten, where is its digested food? Or are we to presume it, too, is effected by the miraculous science. If you’re making a serious sci-fi horror, you’re going to get asked these questions… so think about it.

So, not really a spoiler as the film is called ‘Hollow Man’ but the scientists decide to try out their stuff on one of their own. From there, the whole thing sort of goes downhill. It could be classed as a slasher film with sexual tension, where the villain constantly complains that he’s not doing anything wrong, just sneaking out invisibly to ‘fetch some stuff from his apartment’. If the invisible guy wasn’t Kevin Bacon, I think I’d have lost interest more quickly. Also, there’s an under-used thing going on with the infra-red, animals they could have done more with (though the invisible dog scene was fun). It was all just a bit… bland.

This movie works for the visuals, but that seems to be all it was made for. “Hey, this guy turning invisible would look cool with all the bones and muscles melting away… let’s make it into a movie!” There’s some plot threads floating about and they try to include character interaction but its lacking a certain completeness. It’s quite fun if you just want a dumb sci-fi movie… but for Paul Verhoeven films, stick to total recall.

Rating: 5/10

TV Review – Dr Who (Cold War) series 7 part 2 episode 3, Aired BBC1 Saturday 13th April

New episode to the season and we see the classic space traveller landing the Tardis on a sinking Russian submarine. The episode is set sometime in the cold war and we see a sudden problem when a random soldier suddenly decides to defrost an Ice Warrior that’s stored in the sub’s hold. Wait… lets slow down. So, the marine, part of the team the captain says are ‘so trustworthy’, simply decides to defrost a ‘precious find’ because he ‘couldn’t wait’? I would hope these trained men would follow orders a little more strictly.

Ah well, so the doctor appears and he rushes around trying to save the day. It’s all very plain. Not many jokes, a little bit of fear, an old monster from the past. Not that it’s a bad episode, but it’s very ‘seen that’. The monster was… ok. The puppet used for the creature’s claws were awfully fake and looked stupid when it was clasping onto the marine’s heads. The rest of the creature looked good though, especially a shot where you see it part in shadow later on in the episode. It’s a bit of a mixed batch. The actions of the creature were pretty cool, I guess. He went on a bit of a rebel streak and the doctor was a little scared. There were just a few unanswered questions, such as: why was he so vengeful? Sure he might be a bit upset he’s been sitting down there for a few thousand years… but you’d get over it. You surely wouldn’t care about some random planet’s problems and decide to destroy the world.

I don’t know, it was an average episode: fairly entertaining but nothing spectacular.

Rating: 4/10

Film Review: Contagion, Directed by Steven Soderbergh

Every so often these apocalyptic films pop up, sometimes being good (The Road, War of the Worlds and Children of Men) and some less so (The Happening and Skyline). Few of these are films following the progression of viruses (unless you go the way of the Virus-aftermath such as in I am Legend). Perhaps this film can show us why there aren’t many. Contagion was directed by Steven Soderbergh (Ocean’s Eleven) and stars people such as Matt Damon (Saving Private Ryan), Judge Law (Sherlock Holmes) and Kate Winslet (Titanic).  While this movie sounds promising, something must have slipped it up.

The first main issue is that it’s so boring. It tries to show a true depiction of responses of the U.S Centres for Disease Management. By staying true to government reactions it takes the entire scare out of the prospect. It takes you through all of the painstaking details of finding where the disease comes from, stopping the spread, finding a cure and dealing with the dead almost like it’s a government ‘how to’ video. I feel like I should get paid for watching this film; like it expects me to sit with pen and paper taking notes. Not only does it go all official on you, it also spits out medical jargon and chemistry at you. Maybe you can make a film for intellects, but I’m sure even they like to have fun in their movies too.

If the slow paced action wasn’t enough, some of the scenes and camera angles were a bit off, too. You’d be watching one plot thread and it’d flick to a flashback with no real warning. This was perhaps meant to be clever (making the audience work it all out and all that) but it wasn’t clever, just annoying. These flashbacks were linking to one character thread of the several we had to try and follow. The personal character stories weren’t even that good because you never found out much about any one character. The two most likeable characters were, perhaps: Mitch Emhoff (Matt Damon) and Dr. Ellis Cheever (Laurence Fishburne). However, neither of these stories were interesting… I guess Mitch’s was a little touching as an ending note.

Overall, it wasn’t a great movie. Where was the action? Where was the screaming? The plot threads were there, but they were badly written in. Everything tied together to create a bland soup of realism. Bring on the fantasy. A good star cast, but very disappointing.

Rating: 1/10