The Amazing Spider-Man 2

I’ve just got back from watching The Amazing Spider-Man 2.

Wow, that is one seriously long film! At 2 hours and 22 minutes, it’s a good 1 hour and 22 minutes too long…

I guess there are two sides to this film:

  1. Action Scenes: During the action this films it is brilliant. Really over the top stuff. Bright, flashy and really cool.
  2. Everything Else : I don’t give a crap about character development in an action film. This re-imagining of the franchise is turning out to be even more whiny than the Toby Maguire version.

The film really could have been edited down massively and I would have come out agreeing with the film title. As it was, it’s “The Amazingly Long and Whiny Spider-Man Too!”



300 : Rise of an Empire

I went to see 300 : Rise of an Empire yesterday.

My feelings on this were a bit of a mixed bag. I was not the biggest fan of the original 300 movie at the cinema, but I have subsequently warmed to it. This film adds a bit more story about the lead up to the first film and fills in more details about what happened after, so it is kind-of like a combined prequel-sequel. Visually it was quite similar to 300, but it felt a little more low budget to me, like a longer, high budget episode of the Spartacus TV series…

The action sequences tended to follow a similar pattern of,

  • Fast shaky camera with no focus.
  • Slow motion slash.
  • Ultra-slow motion blood splash.
  • Repeat.

I did like the back story of how Xerxes became a God King. During that sequence I got really into the film, but after that the film started to meander and drag on a bit. By the end I was starting to nod off, so too was my pregnant friend, but her husband thought it was brilliant.

As is often the case, if you like the first you will probably like this. Just don’t hold out any hope that it will push the envelope, because it won’t.



PS. While Spartan’s had Scottish accents (see first film), it appears Athenian’s  had Australian accents! You learn something new every day… 🙂

Thor: The Dark World

I’ve just got back from watching Thor: The Dark World.

Unlike lots of people, I actually liked the first Thor film. I also liked the character in The Avengers, so I went into the movie with high hopes. Some parts of this film are totally awesome. Some parts are a little bit boring. Some parts are like a low budget DR Who episode.

The dark elves were really cool, a bit spooky and dead tough when they were on every other planet, but put them in London and they just run around looking like dodgy extras in a Power Rangers episode. A few minutes earlier they were shooting everyone with super laser stick things and killing Gods. Now all they can do is chase people? Seriously?

 did the bad guy really well. I’m a bit bored of Loki now. He’s too predictable. I still think Thor is cool.  as Heimdall is a great character. Pity they can’t make more of his part. Everyone else is pretty well disposable from my position. I find ‘s character pretty annoying. Apart from a couple of scenes where she looked completely evil, she was a bit of a non-entity.

I think I’m going to like this film a lot more when I’m watching it on TV, so I can check my emails during the dull bits. I couldn’t get a signal in the cinema, so I was forced to watch them. 🙁







Pitch Black was an awesome film. It kind of came out of nowhere and delivered a Terminator meets Alien vibe. The sequel, Chronicles of Riddick, was a completely different style of film. I liked it, but I it wasn’t what I expected. Riddick is the third film in the franchise and it tries to revert to the Pitch Black formula.

Let’s be real about this. You go to a Vin Diesel film to see him be a total bad-ass with swagger. Riddick is the ultimate embodiment of that. He’s a psycho killer anti-hero. If he breaks his leg, he’s gonna reset it himself and pin it together with nails. If he gets stabbed, he’s gonna burn the surface of that wound and carry on fighting like he’s not been touched, regardless of the internal injuries! That’s what he is. That’s what he does. If you can check your brain in at the ticket desk, then you are going to enjoy it. 🙂

If I were looking for fault, I would the pacing of this film was a little off at times and it tried to hard to be Pitch Black, but who cares? Did I happen to mention it’s got Vin Diesel in it and he plays a bad-ass. Nuff said! 🙂

So if you are a fan of Vin Diesel and the whole Riddick thing, you are probably going to like it. If not, then back away slowly and don’t make eye contact!




I’ve just seen Elysium at the cinema…

The Good: Let’s start by saying it is visually stunning! Earth is now a sprawling shanty town with people living hand to mouth. In contrast Elysium is futuristic, high-tech, clean and inhabited by the ultra-rich. The shots of Elysium in space are great. That’s what sci-fi films should be all about. The scenes on earth have a very real quality about the special effects and are very reminiscent of District 9, which is hardly surprising as it’s the same writer/director. The contrast between Earth and Elysium is very striking and works well. There are some robots that remind me of the old units in I Robot, except these ones have a serious attitude problem. All this makes for some very nice stuff I would like to see again.

The Bad: The characters are really weak and lack consistency. They just don’t have a proper identity and it is hard to really give a crap about them. They throw in a sick child for a sympathy vote, but it lacks anything that really makes me attach with the characters. Admittedly, the “rich verses poor”, “them verses us” thing does get to a working class boy like me, so I naturally wanted all the rich people to die. 🙂

The Ugly: At times it really goes overboard on the shaky camera crap, which just bores me. There are a few very odd scenes where they quickly cut between long distance clean shots and shaky close-up crap, which is really quite strange. I would have expected someone at the studio to notice it looks really stupid, but apparently they didn’t. Perhaps it’s art, or something like that. A few of the fight scenes degenerated into Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots, which did nothing for me.

So believe it or not, I actually did enjoy the film, but there were lots of flaws that could have been fixed quite easily to make it amazing. Such a pity! Of course, I’m probably wrong because I heard the guy sitting next to me tell his girlfriend/wife, “That’s the best film I’ve ever seen!”  🙂



Pacific Rim…

I just got back from watching  The Power Rangers Pacific Rim. What a complete pile of crap! How on earth did that get a 7.9 rating on IMDB? How did it get 71% on Rotten Tomatoes? Am I really that disconnected from the rest of humanity?

I know I’m not target audience, having not had a lobotomy recently, but here are a few quotes I overheard from other people leaving as I did:

  • “Don’t ever invite me to a film like that again”
  • “How cheesy was that?”
  • “That’s two hours of my life I can never get back!”

I went in with such low expectations. I knew it was going to be crap, but I didn’t realise how crap. Here are some random thoughts:

  • Acting : Reviews are saying the acting was magnificent. Really? I though it was pretty lame. Just a non-event.
  • Plot : You know the last scene in every episode of The Power Rangers, where the monster grows massive and the Power Rangers shout, “It’s morphin’ time!” and group together to make Super Hemorrhoid Zoid? They kind-of made that one scene into a 2 hour film. At least the reviews agree it is devoid of plot. What story it did have felt like a total Independent Day rip-off, and boy did I hate that film!
  • Disaster Porn : Yes, there is lots of it, but I don’t really feel it worked well. It was all a bit soulless. It’s not like Cloverfield, where I actually cared about what was happening. This was just dirge. Just standard Michael Bay style crap.

Thank heavens I only paid £3.00 to see it!



PS. Losing my cinema mojo fast…

World War Z…

I saw World War Z at the cinema last night.

I enjoyed watching this film, but it doesn’t really bring anything new to the table. Let’s break it down:

  • It has zombies. Well that’s not new.
  • These zombies are fast. OK, but that’s been done before, like in 20 Days Later.
  • These zombies scream really loud. Yep. See my previous point.
  • It is gritty, rather than having an overly-Hollywood feel. See previous 2 points.
  • It’s got a bit of disaster porn in it. Yes, but most zombie films do. This one probably had a higher budget though, which is why it looks less cartoon-like.
  • It has Brad Pitt in it. Yes, but it doesn’t have Milla Yovovich in it, or zombie dogs.
  • It doesn’t have much blood in it. Well, depending on your stomach, this is either a good thing or a bad thing. It is certainly not a gorefest. The zombies want to bite non-infected humans, but it’s more about making more zombies than ripping humans apart and eating them. I don’t remember any of them saying, “Braaaaiiinsss”, or anything like that.
  • It’s a little “sciencey”. Well yeah, but it doesn’t really explore that. It’s handled in much the same lame-ass way I Am Legend did it.

So now I’ve lowered your expectations, I think you are in a position to go and enjoy it.

There are some genuinely tense moments. I found myself clenching my fists on numerous occasions. The swarming zombie scenes are really cool. You’ve seen pretty much all of them in the trailer, but they look great on the big screen. Like all disaster movies, it’s a little depressing at times, but overall I thought it was worth the price of admission*.



* Watching it on a Friday night cost me £6.75. I should probably have waited for Tuesday night and watched it for £3, then it would have been really good value for money. 🙂


Man of Steel

I’ve just got back from watching Man of Steel at the cinema.

I went into this film with extremely low expectations. For people of my age, this is the third time round for this story, so I expected to be pretty bored from a plot perspective.

I’m going to split the film into three parts.

  1. The first part of the story concerned the birth of Kal-El and him getting sent to earth. I expected this to be really dull and a bit annoying because of Russell Crowe’s presence. Actually is turned out to be completely brilliant. If the whole film had been similar to this first section it would probably have been the greatest Sci-Fi movie I had ever seen. If all you do is go in, watch this first sequence then leave, you will have had your money’s worth, especially since it was only £3 to get in on Tuesday night. 🙂
  2. The second part involved Kal-El growing up and becoming Superman. I also expected this to be a little dull, but actually is was really neat. They approached this part of the story in a different way to the previous films. It worked really well and I actually felt myself starting to care about the lead character.
  3. The third part of the film was just disaster porn. I found it really dull and generic. In parts it felt like a rip-off of the last fight scene in The Matrix Revolutions, mixed in with anything Michael Bay has ever done. I found myself hoping everyone would just hurry up and die so I could go home. Sometimes I find this stuff mildly amusing, but most of the time I just zone out and wonder what I am going to get to eat on the way home…

On my way out I was listening to a few conversations. One woman said, “The acting was terrible and I am so bored with seeing buildings get blown up!” I heard a group of guys talking in the car park and their conversation distilled down to, “He just didn’t do anything for the last half of the film!”

As it stands, I enjoyed it a lot more than I expected, but after a fantastic start it degenerated into mediocrity.



After Earth…

Just got back from watching After Earth. The cinema was packed. Quite a surprise for a Tuesday evening.

You know pretty much know what to expect once you’ve watched the trailer, although there are a couple of scenes in there that are taken out of context. The premise is, a father and son are brought closer together by adversity. That adversity happens to be crash landing on Earth, the planet they left because we screwed it up.

I’m not really sure what accent Will Smith was trying to do in parts of the film. There were a couple of times when I though he was doing a bad British accent. Then others when it sounded almost like southern USA. Certainly nothing like I’ve heard before and certainly not consistent, unless that’s how they talk on the planet he comes from. Jaden was equally weak in that respect, but if Russell Crowe can’t tell the difference between an Irish and Nottingham accent, what hope does a kid have of getting it right?

It’s a family affair. Staring Jaden Smith and Will Smith. Story by Will Smith. Produced by Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith. Willow and Trey Smith must feel well left out. 🙂

If I hadn’t read the credits, I wouldn’t have realised M. Night Shyamalan was involved. It didn’t really feel like one of his films. None of the angles he tends to go for. I guess he had his Stuart Little and The Last Airbender hat on when doing this film. OK, there were a few grisly things that would shock younger kids, but nothing too intense.

At 100 minutes, it’s a pretty short film by today’s standards, but I think it would have been a mistake to stretch it out. It’s a bit cheesey in parts, but on the whole I thought it was OK. I wouldn’t demand you go and see it, but provided you can ignore bad accents, it’s not the worst thing you will ever see. I heard a couple of girls talking on the way out and they said the first 30 minutes was boring, but then is was “all right”. I think that’s a little unfair, but that’s life!



PS. If you are reading this Mr Crowe, when I watched your Robin Hood remake, the first thing I said was, why the XXXX have they made Robin Hood Irish? Being a Midlander, I can tell you now, the only people who talk like that in the Midlands are Irish people. 🙂


I’ve just got back from watching Byzantium at the cinema.

I had never heard of this film until about 20 minutes before the film started. In this age of watered down and twinkly vampires it’s good to see them portrayed with a gritty and raw edge. There are fairly obvious similarities between this story and Interview with the Vampire, though Byzantium is not so epic. It was a rather slow paced film, but I don’t mean that in a bad way. It wasn’t trying to be horror or action, but a story about the characters, told at a steady pace.

Saoirse Ronan is intense and beautiful. I knew I recognized her from somewhere, but it was not until I checked on IMDB that I saw she was the kid from Hanna. I think she was perfect casting to play a 16 year old that has been “alive” for 200 years. I think this was a good role for Gemma Arterton too. I like her in the less-Hollywood stuff.  was so odd, in a good way, in this film. He looked so thin and awkward, compared to his role as Banshee in the X-Men: First Class.

Overall I would have to say I liked it. If you are a fan of the vampire genre and are sick of the current “My Little Pony” vampires on film and TV, you might want to give it a try.