Friday, July 29, 2016

Film Review - Jason Bourne (2016)

Jason Bourne sees the return of Matt Damon as Jason Bourne and Paul Greengrass in the director's chair and Bourne is now tracking down the mystery regarding his father that could well tie into his mysterious past.

I was very much looking forward to this film as it looked like a proper action film and it has been a fair while since we have had one of those (The Nice Guys was probably the last one we got and that was back in May) but could Damon and Greengrass's return to the series put things back on track or were they right to leave things after the 2002-2007 trilogy of films.

Well I have to say that I did enjoy this film but the more that I began to think about it the more it kinda shrank in my mind now that does not in any way make this a bad film as its very far from one but it also kinda became one that fell into the grey area a little bit.

The good however is very good Greengrass makes the film clip along at a really nice pace, there are some very exciting action sequences (ones set in Vegas and Greece were real highlights) and Vincent Cassel and Tommy Lee Jones are terrific in the film.

The bad however is pretty bad and there are three key components to this:

- The first is the films story, all throughout the film I kept thinking to myself "This is the Weapon X Program from X-Men" and that program was where Wolverine got his Metal Claws and had his memory wiped ("He will have no memory" says a voice from the past in X-Men 2) and that comparison became harder and harder to shake for me.

One positive side of that is that Tommy Lee Jones would've been a fantastic William Stryker although Brian Cox was simply brilliant in that role.

- Secondly Damon just didn't cut through for me this time around, he stood around a lot, walked really fast and scowled a lot and after a while I got a bit bored with it and his performance overall.

- And lastly Alicia Vikander who is a wonderful young actress is pretty much wasted in this film, she was so good in Ex Machina and the Man from UNCLE last year and she won an Academy Award but here she just plays the generic CIA officer that frankly any actress could've played, hopefully the Light Between Oceans and Tomb Raider will remind us all of how good she can be.

And so that was Jason Bourne, not a bad film at all but just not a great one either I suspect that I might have enjoyed this a lot more if I had seen the earlier films, 2 and a half out of 5.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Thoughts on the Extended Version of Batman V Superman

So Batman V Superman Dawn of Justice has now been released in its original 3 hour version before director Zack Snyder had to cut it down to the 151 minute version we all saw in cinemas back in March.

I will avoid in this review talking about my overall feelings on the film itself as I covered all that back in March both on here and on my Radio show but what was this cut the one that if Snyder had had his way we would've seen back in March like?

Well this is easily the best cut of the film and it is also the cut we should've gotten back in March but Warner Brothers panicked at the last minute and most likely ordered Snyder to cut it down to 2 and a half hours in case they could get the maximum impact in terms of sessions in a day (which are most often taken up with nearly 20 minutes worth of ads, now I love previews but that is ca-razy) and well if you go even a sliver beyond 150 minutes its considered a huge gamble and given the huge amount of story this film has now in this 3 hour version something has to give.

And sadly something that did give was the use of Clark Kent in the release version he barely did anything and had little to no screen time whereas here he actually gets a really good story arc of his own where he actually goes to Gotham and does research on the Batman and the effect he leaves on the city ("He is Angry and he's Hunting" says one man.)

The other is the fully realised Africa sequence which should NEVER!!! have been cut to shreds in the release version and this time it actually plays out like a fun Superman action scene in the beginning of the film (though he really didn't need to save Lois for the 9 BILLIONTH TIME I mean seriously the handling of her has been farcial since Superman II) and sets up the rest of the film very well.

Sadly however this version is not the night and day difference I thought it would be and what also became the case with James Cameron's the Abyss back in 1989 where he had a 3 hour cut (a 3 hour cut) that he then had to cut down to get the maximum session times in a day and the Special Edition he released in 1993 pretty much rendered the release version unwatchable.

Where this film and this version goes so very wrong is sadly where I feared very genuinely where the film would end up when I saw the now infamous 2nd preview for it back in December of last year and that is instead of the film culminating in the titanic fight between 2 iconic superheroes instead it's with a CGI Monster that looks like they cast the Cave Troll from Lord of the Rings.

Not to mention shoving in a pointless Wonder Woman cameo which Gal Gadot gives all she can to do with and becomes memorable for sure but all it does for me is serve to undermine her solo film which is coming next year as well as the other "Here's the Justice League" scene that really made me cringe even if one of them has Myles Dyson in it.

The third problem I have and this is really disappointing for me is the scenes with Jena Malone, now I LOVED her as Johanna Mason in the Hunger Games series she was awesome in those films and when it broke that she had been cast in this film many suspected she might be either Barbara Gordon or Carrie Kelly the female Robin instead it was just a really small role and it felt like a waste of her talent.

And so that was my thoughts on the extended version of Batman V Superman it's a big improvement but it does not sadly fix the fundamental problems the film has overall regarding its final act and shoving in characters for no real reason apart from "Here they are ready to go for next time" and so this cut gets a 2 and a half out of 5.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

On the Air Season 3 Episode 9: Happy Anniversary You Bitch

Well folks here is my latest Radio episode which I did in the studio:

- Finding Dory revisit
- The BFG
- Ghostbusters
- The Legend of Tarzan
- Aliens 30th Anniversary

As always you can listen here: https://soundcloud.com/abclocalradio_sa/friday-flicks-on-abc-south-east-sa-july-22

Film Review - Star Trek Beyond (2016)

Star Trek Beyond continues the adventures of Captain Kirk and Mr Spock on the Starship Enterprise who after taking some Shore Leave come under attack and crash land on a nearby planet led by the villainous Krall (Idris Elba) who may have a sinister plan against the Federation.

I thought this was pretty eh all around, don't get me wrong the crew of the good ship Enterprise are as good as ever and watching Anton Yelchin in this film made me realise how much I'll miss him but overall I thought the film was pretty hollow for these reasons:

- First the story for the film didn't really grab me all that much it just felt more like a Fast and Furious film than it did Trek which shouldn't be a surprise given Justin Lin directed some of those films as he did this one and I didn't really care all that much about whether the crew survived.

- Secondly both Elba and Soufia Boutella were wasted in their roles, Elba's Krall wasn't that great of a villain in the same way that Ricardo Montalban and Christopher Plummer were in Nicholas Meyer's 2 Trek films and Boutella who I loved as Gazelle in Kingsman last year didn't really make much of an impression on me as all she seemed to do was what she did in Kingsman a lot better and frankly anyone else could've played either of those roles.

- And lastly the film is too long it gets to a point where it could come to a natural end but instead it tacks on one action sequence too many that I kinda got bored watching and just kept waiting for the film to end.

And so that was Star Trek Beyond a film I thought was pretty meh overall, rent the Wrath of Khan, the Undiscovered Country and JJ Abram's 2 films instead as those were pretty good I thought, 2 out of 5.

Film Review - Legend of Tarzan (2016)

The Legend of Tarzan tells the tale of Tarzan (Alexander Skarsgard) and his lady Jane (Margot Robbie) returning to Africa to prevent the envoy of his Majesty of Belgium Elon Rom (Christoph Waltz) from finding the diamond mine and wiping out the natives in the process but they're not going alone as they'll have an American doctor (Samuel L Jackson) to help them.

I hated this movie there I said it for three key reasons:

- Firstly the storyline for this film is just a mess and the more I watched of the film the more I thought that I'm watching a sequel to a film that really doesn't exist save for in the flashback scenes and those scenes when they came on I thought to myself "Why isn't that the movie I'm watching right now" as that would've been about Tarzan King of the Jungle Lord of the Apes swinging through the Jungle, meeting the lady Jane and learning about his past before his parents were killed instead the story we get is boring and I didn't care for any of it.

- Secondly the cast is almost completely wasted, Skarsgard sounds a lot like his father Stellan (Captain Tupolov of the SS Konavalov) but all he does is stare a lot and run around with his shirt off, Jackson plays a very poor comic relief and Robbie is wasted as Jane and like seeing Rebecca Hall wasted in a film it is not a sight I enjoy one bit and as for Djimon Hounsou as one of the tribal kings well he may as well have not bothered to show up as he barely does anything for fucks sake.

- And thirdly Waltz is a really poor villain as all he does is the usual Christoph Waltz schtick that works when Quentin Tarantino has his hands on him but hasn't worked since but then again this was also the same bozo who took the chief inspiration for Dr. Claw from Inspector Gadget and turned him into a Buffoon but hopefully Waltz can get back on form soon.

I will say however in the films defense that there are some nice moments regarding a Wilderbeest Stampede (it did however make me think of the Lion King) and Tarzan actually being Tarzan and thinking about that last point just makes this whole sorry affair really feel like a missed opportunity.

And so that was Tarzan for me one of the year's worst films along with Warcraft, the 5th Wave, Angry Birds and the Revenant, 1 out of 5.

Film Review - Hunt for the Wilder People (2016)

Hunt for the Wilder People is directed by Taika Waititi and stars Julian Dennison as Ricky a young orphan who is sent to live on a Farm in Remote NZ but after the death of his foster mother runs away to live in the woods which causes his foster father (Sam Neill) and the authorities to go and look for him.

Hunt for the Wilder People is good fun with plenty of great laughs to be had, I have to say that I laughed more in this than I did in Ghostbusters but that is the better film, Dennison and Neill play off each other very well and like in Lord of the Rings the New Zealand countryside looks great.

But apart from that I wasn't all that with this film don't get me wrong I liked it and laughed a lot and think that the Skux Life will eventually choose us all but it wasn't a film that really kinda stuck in the memory for me so consider this one a very short and sweet review and a 2 and a half out of 5.

Film Review - Ghostbusters (2016)

Ghostbusters is a reboot directed by Paul Feig and stars Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones as the new team of Ghostbusters who must stop a paranormal threat to their city of New York.

Part of me was dreading going to see this film primarily because A) The previews for the film were utterly utterly utterly dreadful and B) The Polar Vortex of Bitterness and Hatred that was just so unfairly dumped on not only this film but also Ms Jones who only did what any other actress would've done in her place and that is sign up for a big film like this one.

Well I am so very happy to say that the film is good fun, it's not a great film like the original 1984 film is but it is one you will be glad you went and saw as I certainly am and coming out of it I felt angry frankly that the film copped so much hatred as it's really only just a film but these people don't want change they just want things to be as they remember them as we saw with the Force Awakens last year and if you do do anything different like this or Batman V Superman or X-Men Apocalypse did well you get punished and that I think is just very very unfair.

But back to the film and first off the girls play off each other very well and Feig is happy to let them riff with each other when they get to do so before cracking the whip to keep them on track, McCarthy and Wiig I thought had really great chemistry while McKinnon and Jones weren't as effective, Jones in particular was sadly (very sadly) the weakest of the group, I like the street smart Hustler character she plays but after films like Creed and Straight Outta Compton I'd like to see the loud black person stereotype put on a dusty shelf to gather dust for all eternity.

Secondly the visual effects are great with all the ghosts and proton pack firings it definitely put a smile on my face while watching it especially when the girls lit em up that made me a very happy boy cause it said to me "They're Ghostbusters." and that gives me such joy when I think about that.

Sadly there are 2 big problems with this film:

- First of those is the storyline, frankly it's not that great for while it's a reboot of the series it also wants to have its Hot Dog and eat it too by playing with the iconography of the original film and I felt that it either should've been a clean reboot or a continuation with the 3 remaining original members passing the torch to the new team and had either of those happened I think it would've been a stronger film.

- Secondly the villain was pathetic frankly he was a tiny little Smeghead with delusions of grandeur and not that different than all of the post Loki Marvel villains that Earth's Mightiest Heroes could squash in 2 minutes, a good villain like Dickless in the original film could've been a great asset I mean you can't just cast Charles Dance and then have him do sweet fuck all I mean seriously.

And so that was Ghostbusters and it's good fun but it's not a great film like the original film but still this is worth a watch if you get the chance, 3 out of 5.