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.



Star Trek Into Darkness

After yesterday’s visit to see Fast & Furious 6, I went this morning to see Star Trek Into Darkness.

The reviews I read about this pretty much slated it as being extremely self indulgent. Being only an observer of the franchise, rather than a rabid fan, I only noticed a few of the main back references and I didn’t really see them as a bad thing. Instead, I thought they added a little extra dimension to the story.

It’s a full-on action flick more than a sci-fi film really, but worth going to see in my opinion. If they do more of them I will probably go to see them. If they don’t I won’t cry myself to sleep. :)

Accent Alert: Will all Scottish people please cover their ears whenever Simon Pegg speaks. I used to go out with a Scottish girl and she would punch the living crap out of me if I did a Scottish accent that bad! Every time he spoke I felt myself twitch as if ducking for cover!



Fast & Furious 6…

Similar to the Resident Evil franchise, you know exactly what you are going to get when you go to see one of the Fast & Furious franchise. Fast & Furious 6 does not disappoint. It contains a liberal mix of car porn, car chase porn and disaster porn, with the odd bit of comedy thrown in for good measure. It is totally ridiculous, but totally fantastic at the same time.

Probably the thing that has grated on me the most in this series is Paul Walker. It’s not that I have something against him. I’m sure one of my colleagues would describe him as “very scenic”. It’s just he doesn’t do the whole “bad boy from da street thang!” very well IMHO. It’s about as believable as me trying to claim I’m posh. :)

That minor gripe aside, it’s great. I think this is the best of the lot so far. I can’t wait for No. 7 due out next summer. Hang around at the end to see who the new villain is. :)

Random thoughts:

  • The Rock (you will forever be The Rock, because you real name reminds me of Dwayne Dibbley) is MASSIVE! You could feed a family for a week on one of his arms. He’s built like a barn door now. I know he’s done some film about bodybuilding with Mark Wahlberg. I think he may have taken that role a bit too seriously. :)
  • Vin Diesel is looking a lot smaller and a lot chubbier than before. I guess things look more exaggerated because of The Rock looking so massive.
  • Michelle Rodrigues is hot. I love it when female characters look like they could kick your ass.



Iron Man 3…

Iron Man blew me away when I first saw it. Iron Man 2 was good, but not as good as the first. Iron Man 3 was better than Iron Man 2, but not as good as Iron Man or The Avengers movie, in my opinion. Don’t take this as a major criticism, because all of these films are very cool. It’s a relative thing…

The tech didn’t take so much of the center stage during this movie. Don’t get me wrong, there is a lot, but it seemed much more about Tony than the suite. That’s not a bad thing, but the suit is the cool bit for me. There were a few suit-related scenes I would have developed a bit more. Also, it needed some AC/DC during a kick-ass action scene. If they were there I didn’t notice them. :(

The end was a bit weak, but stay until right at the end credits to see the extra scene and a little message before you leave…

I’m being extra picky here. It’s definitely cool and worth going to see!





Just got back from watching Oblivion

I was a little bit reluctant about going to see it because the trailer looked awesome, which these days tends to mean the film is terrible. Fortunately that wasn’t the case here. The film was great. Visually fantastic, with a pretty good story. Why can’t we have a few more Sci-Fi films like this?

As far as the trailers go, Iron Man 3 looks cool and the new Star Trek film looks very interesting. Maybe I’ll get my cinema mojo back after all…



Django Unchained…

I’ve delayed watching Django Unchained for a few weeks, mostly because it is 3 hours long and I struggle to sit for that long in the cinema, no matter what film I’m watching!

Let me start by saying I’m a big fan of . He’s obviously a smart guy. I like the dialog in his films. He always does interesting things with his characters. I think he’s got a good eye as a director. I kinda like the extreme nature of many of his films. Having said all that I really don’t know what I think about Django Unchained.

So the bullet points that should make me love this film are:

  • The dialog is what you would expect from QT.
  • The characters are interesting, as you would expect from QT.
  • It looks great. Or to put it another way, it looks bad when it is meant to look bad and great when it is meant to look great.
  • It is extremely violent at times.
  • It has some genuinely funny scenes.

Where I struggle is the racism in the film. Now as I’ve said before, Quentin Tarantino is a smart guy, so I think my reaction to this is what he intended. As well as the obviously funny scenes, there are some “comedy” scenes that I think will draw differing reactions depending your attitudes in this area, kinda like the following:

  • If you are a racist you will find them hilarious and be falling off your seat laughing, before renewing your subscription to the British National Party, or the equivalent right-wing racist organization in your country!
  • If you are kind-of oblivious to race issues you may find them mildly amusing, or maybe not even notice them.
  • If you are sensitive to racism, in whatever form it is presented, you will find them very hard work.

I think this may well be the genius of this film, but ultimately it is what makes me uncomfortable about this film.

It’s a great piece of work. Do I think you need to see it? Yes. Do I think you will enjoy it? I hope you don’t “enjoy” it, but I hope you see its value. Will I ever watch it again? I don’t think so.



Bullet to the Head…

After boring myself to tears watching The Hobbit, I lost my cinema mojo for a while. I’ve struggled to motivate myself to get involved. Tonight I decided to give Bullet to the Head a shot ( ouch :) ) at revitalizing my cinema spirit and you know something? It did it!

Stallone is a low grade hitman. His partner gets killed, so he accidentally teams up with a cop and goes on an ultra-violent killing spree of revenge.

The film plays to all Stallone’s strengths. He is doesn’t get involved in lengthy dialog. His lines are simple and direct, with a lot of attitude and a reasonable amount of humour. It’s a very basic action flick, but I think it delivers very well. If Stallone can keep delivering stuff like this, I’ll keep going to the cinema to see it.

On a mildly related note, I watched Dredd (2012) last night on cable at a mates house. It was pretty good. I should have seen it on the big screen.