Saturday, July 4, 2015

Film Review - Ex Machina (2015)

Ex Machina is written and directed by Alex Garland and stars Dominic Gleeson as Caleb, a young computer coder working for a company headed by the reclusive Nathan (Oscar Isaac) and Nathan invites him to his mountain hideaway to show him something that could change the world.

Hmmmm the more I begin to think about this movie I really start to feel mixed by it and this feeling I just cannot escape but before I delve into what misfired for me I want to talk about what I did like and that is the look and feel Garland creates for this film, it has that very old fashioned Sci-Fi feel to it where the ideas were the strongest and not everyone going BANG! CRASH! BOOM! every 5 seconds and the performance by Alicia Vikander as Ava the creation at the heart of this film is really very good, hopefully she isn't wasted in the upcoming Man from UNCLE film later this year.

But outside of that again I just didn't find myself all that engaged with it emotionally and I can't help but feel that it's because both Nathan and Caleb aren't that interesting as characters, they sit around, drink booze, talk about computer stuff but they also feel like very straight laced white bread caricatures who could probably have done with some intimacy with the opposite sex as the way they talk about the women of this film is kinda problematic for me.

And the reason I feel this is so is because to them women can easily be dismissed as some sort of rogue computer program that if it goes wrong then they can use their intelligence to create one that obeys their commands which is probably why I found the climax pretty interesting and to cast Gleeson and Isaac in these roles made me feel somewhat that they were pretty much wasted in this film and when it comes to Isaac that feels disappointing to say.

And so that was Ex Machina, Garland's look and feel is great but his male characters really sunk it for me, 2 and a half out of 5.

Film Review - Shaun the Sheep (2015)

Shaun the Sheep is based off of the Aardman series and sees Shaun on the farm going through his daily schedule until one day he sees a Bus ad saying "Have a Day Off" so he decides to plan a Day Off but it all goes wrong and his owner finds himself in the Big City which leaves Shaun with the task of having to rescue him.

I'm gonna cut to the chase here and say that I was not a huge fan of this film personally speaking but before I delve into that I want to talk about what I did like and that is the stop motion animation which is very good to look at here and some of the gags of the film which were funny though probably not in the same way that Minions just made me laugh out loud.

But besides that personally speaking I wasn't all that engaged with it and I think the main reason is that to my mind I felt like it was primarily enjoyed by very young children (I had a similar reaction to Pitch Perfect 2 when that opened in terms of not enjoying it though that films target audience would) and as a result well as I said above I wasn't all that engaged with it.

And so that was my review of Shaun the Sheep, those familiar with the TV series or with young kids will enjoy it but I personally didn't, 2 out of 5.

On the Air Season 2 Episode 6 - Aloha Sir

Alright folks here we go again:

Here is the audio from my latest Radio episode where I talked about the following:

- Aloha
- Jurassic World
- Minions
- Inside Out

And the show wraps up with Selina and I paying tribute to the late great Sir Christopher Lee.

As always to listen to the audio either click on the streaming option in your browser or right click and "save target as" to save it to your computer.

And as always the link is here: http://blogs.abc.net.au/sa/2015/06/friday-flicks-aloha-jurassic-world-minions-inside-out.html?site=southeastsa&program=south_east_mornings

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Film Review - Terminator Genisys (2015)

Terminator Genisys is the newest entry of the Terminator franchise and again sees The Terminator (Arnold Schwarzenegger) and Sarah Connor (Emilia Clarke) continue their fight against SkyNet along with John Connor (Jason Clarke) and Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney) but this time an app called Genisys promises to bring about the famed Judgment Day.

Look this movie is not a terrible one but it is also not very good either for these three reasons:

- The first is that the storyline feels very convoluted and at times the film is tying itself up in knots in terms of how it tries to make sense with the first 2 films from James Cameron as well as trying to reboot the series (and it was this point where I was reminded very much of X-Men Days of Future Past from last year but that film had Bryan Singer holding a very firm hand on the whip whereas here Alan Taylor doesn't really seem to have any idea as to what he wants to do with this film.)

- The second is that the film feels very bland to sit through and again I come back to Taylor's direction, it has no life in it and when you compare it to the dark and grimy LA nights that Cameron brought in the first Terminator as well as the high tech gloss that he brought to the 2nd film everything here feels very very bland and forgettable and not to mention very noisy with its endless BWAMMM DOOOOOP COOOOOOMMMM sounds that feel more at home in the Transformers series.

- And lastly the film is just an overall boring movie to sit through in the cinema, the action scenes are forgettable, the performances for the most part don't resonate save for Clarke and Arnold (I would've much rathered watch them together as their story was kinda nice) and the musical score (a real highlight of the first 2) feels very by the notes (then again Hans Zimmer helped produce it so you can't be totally surprised.)

Look Terminator Genisys when I look at it is not the worst film in the world but to be very very honest I would much rather recommend the first 2 Terminator films and X-Men Days of Future Past to you instead as those are much more worth your time because this movie is not, 1.5 out of 5.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Film Review - Ted 2 (2015)

Ted 2 continues on from the first Ted film and again stars Seth McFarlane as the talking teddy bear (he also wrote and directed the film) but this time his wish to marry and start a family with Tami-Lynn hit a snag when he is declared property by the Government so he and John (Mark Wahlberg) hire a young lawyer Samuel (Amanda Seyfried) to sue the Government and get his civil rights back.

Ted 2 is not a terrible film in any way at all (there are some very fun gags and cameos, one in particular made me smile big time) but it is also a typical Ted adventure in that he has a fun adventure, he pals around with Wahlberg and smokes a lot of hemp and there are a lot of references to pop culture (and this really comes to the fore in the films climax.)

As for the performances well Seth as Ted gets much more screen time than in the first film and it is a fun character to watch but I also feel that it's become sort of old hat now and that we know what to expect from Ted, Wahlberg plays off him nicely but the show stealer I thought was Seyfried who does a really nice job with her character and her chemistry with the guys is great, I really did enjoy seeing her let her hair down in this role and after a run of misfires she's earnt a new chance from me.

And so that was Ted 2 which is not terrible but very stale as a sequel and just more of the same frankly, if you can see it at a matinee price then do so but if not then wait for the DVD before seeing it, 2 out of 5.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Film Review - Jurassic World (2015)

Jurassic World is the newest film in the Jurassic Park series and this Dr Hammond's (the late Richard Attenborough) vision of a fully realized Dinosaur theme park from the 1993 original film has come to fruition but the attendance is starting to shrink so the Park engineers create Indominous Rex to boost ticket sales but Owen (Chris Pratt) isn't comfortable with this idea fearing it will go on the loose.

Jurassic World is merely okay and a lot of this is due to Pratt himself (he is the glue that really holds this film together) he is extremely likeable here and I was reminded of a young Harrison Ford and Tom Hanks rolled into one plus his character is pretty much the only character in this film with any level of intelligence or practical thinking (he actually feels like a real person) whereas the other humans are just knockoffs of the human characters from the original film.

Oh and Vincent D'Onofrio is good here even though he looks a lot like Joe Hockey.

But my principal problem here is that the film in just about every 2nd or 3rd scene shoves in a reference to Jurassic Park and this film pales very very heavily in comparison with Steven Spielberg's film as the story here is not that interesting (it's basically the same plot as the first film.)

And the endless references to the first film really started make me think after a while "Why am I not watching the original film" because at least that film did something neat with the Dinosaurs whereas here they feel like soulless CGI creations that you don't find interesting, I kept wishing Grimlock from Fall of Cyberton would show up in the climax and basically destroy everything, kill everyone and end the film.

But you know the more I've thought about this movie the more I begin to feel just how much it exemplifies this current era of films we live in right now, it has a fanboy for a hero, its loaded with nostalgia for the past and it tries to go for bigger and better Dino battles at the expense of any human emotional connection (not to mention the fact that the middle range budget films like Wall Street or When Harry Met Sally have been pretty much made extinct save for the arthouse and independent markets.)

And that is Jurassic World which is only worth seeing for Pratt, 2 out of 5.

Film Review - Inside Out (2015)

Inside Out is the newest Pixar production and concerns 11 year old Riley who moves with her family from Minnesota to San Francisco and inside her head are 5 emotions: Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear and Disgust but when Joy and Sadness go missing Riley starts getting moodier.

Inside Out has been getting great reviews but mine will not be one of them but before I go into those reasons I want to talk about what I did like:

- The first is the ideas on display here and they are very good regarding the 5 key emotions and how they influence the mental and emotional health of the person they're inside of, it's a very strong idea especially if it regards a young person heading into adult years and the turbulent feelings they develop.

- The second is the voice acting, Amy Poehler is infectious as Joy and she really gets you invested in Joy's plight though my favourite has to be Lewis Black as Anger who has a lot of fun moments in the film.

But despite these strong elements on an emotional level I was never engaged with it and I feel that the problem lies within the script itself, the focus of the story never feels cohesive and what I wish had happened was being more about Riley being on the verge of adolescence and the more child like qualities in her mind trying to stop that but as it is I didn't really care about Riley as a character and her family just kept going on and on about the moving van for most of the film and as a result while the climax is well done I just wasn't all that interested.

And here is where I have to say that I'm not really a big fan of Pixar's work despite loving their Toy Story films, I just find a lot of their work sentimental and emotionally manipulative bordering on blackmail now I love their Toy Story films and some of their emotional points are well done (the opening of Up is wonderful) but most of the time I feel manipulated and not in a good way, it's hard to explain I know but this is how I feel.

And lastly there is a short called Lava before the film but it's not very good and can easily be skipped.

And so that was Inside Out, it has some good ideas and voice work but comes across for me as the Dreams of Ordinary Men to quote the Dragon song, 1.5 out of 5.