Thursday, September 15, 2016

Film Review - Pete's Dragon (2016)

Pete's Dragon is based off of the 1977 Disney production and this one concerns Pete (Oakes Fegley) who lives in the woods with his dragon Elliott until he is discovered by a local park ranger named Grace (Bryce Dallas Howard) but her discovery may bring with it some unwelcome guests.

I have to say that I quite enjoyed this new version of Pete's Dragon which is surprising as I have no real memory of the original film and there are 3 key reasons:

- The first is the amount of fun that I have had watching the film, for most of it I had a big smile on my face while watching it and it is nice to have a really fun family film.

- The second is it is utterly charming to watch and again when I was watching it I was swept along with the sweet and innocent story and lovely characters who you could really get behind and it also had a pretty good villain which has always been a bit of a strong point for Disney over the years.

- And lastly the film is just lovely with many emotional moments that did tug at my heartstrings and one scene nearly had me in tears and a lot of this comes down to the performances, Fegley is very good here and he reminded me somewhat of the feral kid from Mad Max 2, Robert Redford, Karl Urban and Wes Bentley are also pretty good here but the showstealer here I thought was Howard, she was great here and you really begin to feel the connection she develops to Pete and it has a very nice payoff.

And so that was Pete's Dragon a very nice and charming family film, 3 and a half out of 5.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Film Review - Midnight Special (2016)

Midnight Special is written and directed by Jeff Nichols who made Mud and stars Michael Shannon as Roy a man who is escorting his son Alton (Jaeden Lieberher) to a mysterious place at all costs meanwhile a religious cult led by Sam Shepherd and an FBI agent played by Adam Driver are also taking great interest in this special young boy.

Midnight Special is another well made film from Nichols and his leading man Shannon gives another reliable performance but I do not think it is as good as Mud mainly because Mud had more of a story to it whereas this has great ideas Sci-Fi and solid production values but it leaves its chief storytelling too sparse for my liking especially as I wanted to learn a little bit more about the cult which is sadly overlooked somewhat.

And also the end of the film feels like someone stole the set of Tomorrowland and plonked it in this film and given this mysterious nature the rest of the film built up towards to see that kind of ending does bother me a little bit as for the rest of the performances Joel Edgerton, Kirsten Dunst, Shepherd and Driver are all totally fine but it is young Mr Lieberher that steals the show as every moment he has on screen is completely compelling and you get caught up in his journey more than you do the adult actors.

And so that was Midnight Special and it's not as good as Mud and is an okay Sci-Fi flick, 2 out of 5.

Film Review - Sully (2016)

Sully is based off of the true story of Captain Sullenberger (Tom Hanks) who miracously landed his crashing plane on the Hudson River in January 2009 with all lives counted for but the National Transport Safety Board just can't help but think because the plane crashed that a wrong decision was made something Captain Sully is determined to prove wrong in the hearings.

Sully is a great story, a story of heroism, quick thinking in a crisis and a city coming together to rescue its own but as a film I do not think it is one of director Clint Eastwood's finest efforts, don't get me wrong it is not one of his turkeys but it is also a very watchable film.

And the main reason for that is due to Hanks's performance, he is simply terrific here and you are on his side the entire time he is on screen and you want him to get through all of this okay as what he shows so well is very much a haunted man someone who has gone through a near death experience and come out the other side not knowing who or what to do with himself and I didn't blame him one little bit, Aaron Eckhart is fine but this is Hanks's film lock stock and barrel.

And so that was Sully, a fine enough film that I enjoyed but it's not one of Clint's finest and that is something I would say of American Sniper from last year, 2 and a half out of 5.

Film Review - Sausage Party (2016)

Sausage Party is an animated film from Seth Rogen and concerns a Sausage at the Shopwells Supermarket where all of the goods on the shelves dream of being chosen by consumers for what they call "The Great Beyond" but one foods version of heaven could be another drinks version of Hell.

Sausage Party is a great idea as much for a film as well as a comedy unfortunately I just did not really laugh all that much and the more the film went on I just got more and more agitated with it.

The main reason I feel this way is because every single line in the film (well it felt like every single line) is littered with every ounce of profanity I can think of now I know that this is part of Rogen's shtick and it comes with the territory I get that but surely someone has to say to him "No Seth this is too much."

That said though I did enjoy the world of the grocery store and the various aisles that each have their own different feel to them and some of the gags in the climax did make me smile a little bit but by that point I just became bored with the film.

And so that was Sausage Party a film I did not very funny at all, 1 out of 5.

Film Review - The Shallows (2016)

The Shallows stars Blake Lively as a Medical Student who is visiting the Mexican beach her mother went to when she was pregnant with her from their she sees a mysterious island but she also ends wandering into the feeding area of a Shark and it now becomes a fight for survival.

I did not like this movie at all for these reasons of 2:

- Firstly not once did I think that this film was scary in any way shape or form sure some JUMP SCARES OOOOOOOOOO!!!!! would come at you like that and the sound would perk up and the editing become rapid but after about 2 seconds I didn't care about it and also a lot of is just the same old CGI blood and gore that we get too much of these days and I don't find it scary just dirt cheap.

- And secondly Blake Lively just did not compel me in her role, I never really bought her as a medical student and also I never felt that she was in any genuine danger which is not helped by the endless shots of both her bottom and her bikini line I mean for fucks sake she's meant to be in mortal danger from a Shark even if it is a CGI one that you should never ever show me as it looks fake but instead she's shot as if she was doing a Swimwear magazine cover I mean come on guys.

But lastly this whole film just kept making me want to rewatch Jaws again which was genuinely scary and had compelling characters hell I even thought of Robert Shaw's character Quint whilst watching this film and Roy Scheider's last line to the Shark in that film.

And so that was the Shallows not a very good horror film I'm afraid, watch Jaws instead, 1 out of 5.

Film Review - The Secret Life of Pets (2016)

The Secret Life of Pets is the newest film from Illumination Entertainment and concerns a dog named Max who just adores his owner Katie but one night she brings home a rescue dog named Duke and the two don't get along and whilst out being walked end up lost in New York City.

I was very excited for this film mainly because of my love of Cats and having had one for most of my life and also I loved the preview I saw for the film it looked like a lot of fun but could it deliver the goods?

Yes it most certainly could as for a lot of this film I just had a big goofy smile on my face that was very hard to take off for these reasons:

- First of all I love the group of Pets that serve as the main characters in the film all of them were lovingly animated and thinking about that makes me want to pet some of them though my favourite has to be Chloe the Cat I loved every moment she was on screen the same with Leonard the Poodle and Tiberius the Hawk.

- Secondly there is some great voice talent here and first is Albert Brooks as Tiberius who steals every scene he's in and provides some great laughs, Lake Bell voices Chloe and does a really good job with the Cat and Jenny Slate is also good fun as Gidget.

- And lastly the film remembers to have fun as so often these days animated films feel they have to cram in a special message to try and make it mean something and more to the point give it a resonance for the adults going along with the kids to see the film here there is one about tolerating others you don't like at first and a pets need to have an owner that loves it but it's not as in your face as the message in Zootopia and Finding Dory was and I liked both of those films but the message in both of those films does overshadow both of them for good with Dory and for bad with Zootopia.

But before I end things here there is a Minions short film before the main feature where they try to mow a lawn to earn money for a Banana Blender and it was a lot of fun for me BANANA!!!!

And so that was the Secret Life of Pets, a very enjoyable animated film and if you've had a Pet you will really get behind it I think, 3 and a half out of 5.

Film Review - Nerve (2016)

Nerve tells the tale of Venus (Emma Roberts) a young girl in high school who decides to play the popular game Nerve that asks you to do dares for money others more dangerous and some fatal.

Nerve is an interesting premise for sure and whilst watching it I thought of the currently popular game Pokemon Go and I thought Emma Roberts (niece of Julia) was pretty good here she does have a little bit of her aunt's charisma and she also has nice chemistry with Dave Franco who is also pretty good here as Ian another player with a mysterious past.

What does hold this back for me is the endlessly stupid things people do in this film, they're climbing onto cranes, running around department stores in their underwear and even walking along a ladder from high on up and risk falling to their death and after a while I thought to myself "I hate these people and I don't care if they live or die" though the film does redeem itself quite a bit in the last act to reverse a lot of that feeling.

And so that was Nerve which has an interesting premise but stupid characters doing stupid things, 2 out of 5.