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Thursday, 24 July 2014

Review - Guardians of the Galaxy

I am Groot... That means i love this film.

Guardians of the Galaxy is Marvel latest film in its cinematic universe which is currently in Phase 2, this film is the next Marvel film since Captain America: The Winter Soldier, which was great and i'm happy to say this film is even better.

When Guardians of the Galaxy was announced a few years, i was one of the many that had no idea who these characters were and i was very surprised at Marvel for taking such a gamble on a film, but it definitely payed off.
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The film is about Peter Quill (A.K.A Starlord) a human who is a child when he gets abducted by a spaceship, the film then cuts to 26 years later and Quill grows up into a egotistical, playboy, outlaw, who is only in it for himself and would betray anyone for a certain price. Quill founds an orb after a great first scene of Quill dancing around listening to his Walkman (which is a highlight of the film), Quill realizes everyone wants this orb he has required and tries to use it for his own self. On his journey he meets his eventual teammates; Gamora, a famous assassin and daughter to one of the deadliest people in the universe, Drax the Destroyer, a warrior who is set on vengeance to the one who  killed his family, Rocket Raccoon, a loud mouthed Raccoon who is also a bounty hunter and his friend Groot, a humanoid tree, who can only say the words "I Am Groot"
The explanation of these characters sounds ridiculous and they are, i think that's why they work so great as a team of screen, they are all rejects put together make a strong team.

Guardians of the Galaxy is interesting because its tone is everywhere, but it works, from one laugh out loud moment to a quiet sincere moment and it all works which is a real testament to the actors on screen and the director, James Gunn.

James Gunn does a great job at establishing these brand new worlds we have never been to before, from the wasteland planets to the beautiful Xandar.

The film has a interesting story, full of galactic conquests, betrayal and villains, but James Gunn chose to focus on The Guardians in this first film and i think that was the right idea, i was worried going in that all 5 Guardians wouldn't be full developed by the end of the film, but i was wrong all 5 come out at the end of the film as fully fledged characters thankfully that's with help of course from the actors portraying the characters; Chris Pratt plays Peter Quill and plays the cocky playboy very well, and was very well cast, Pratt being a comedic actor worked perfectly because this film is really funny and he is a big reason why. Gamora is played by Zoe Saldana, who seems to always played primary colored characters! She plays the sexy assassins very well, having to act serious and dead-eyed for a lot of the film but can also be cute when least expected. Rocket Raccoon is voiced by Bradley Cooper and when cast i thought that was a strange pairing but it worked well in the film, Cooper played the Raccoon very cocky and funny and in interviews so he was trying to do a homage to Joe Pesci, which is apparent when seeing the film. Vin Diesel voices the humanoid Tree, Groot, and was the perfect casting, Groot can only say three words yet can put so much emotion in those three words that you always know what he is really saying when he says the words, they must of thought of Vin Diesel because of the film The Iron Giant in which he does the same kind of performance. Rounding out the main characters is, Drax the Destroyer, who is played by Dave Bautista, i was worried that he was going be the weak link in the cast but i was totally wrong, Bautista plays Drax very well, acting deadpan and having great comedic delivery which i really didn't expect.

Because the film was so focused they didn't spend too much time with the villains of the piece which i think worked in their favor, Ronan the Accusor played by Lee Pace, is a very cool and meanacing looking character but he is very deep aswell as his sidekick Nebula played by Karen Gillan, Ronan wants to get revenge, that is all, but that is all that is needed, for the film to have a baddie that the Guardians can defeat and i think it worked very well.
The supporting cast also did their thing featuring such actors as Glenn Close, Michael Rooker and John C. Reilly but the standout to me was Benicio del Toro, who plays the Collector, a Liberace type character who as his name says collects interesting things.

Another interesting film about the film is that it hardly is connected to the other Marvel films except for two small things, the infinity gems and Thanos and they are not big parts of the film, it is really focusing on the Guardians and the universe and doesn't feel like a sequel to The Avengers and doesn't feel like an advert for the second Avengers film.

The soundtrack for the film is one of the best soundtracks i have heard in film, through the plot device of Quill's Walkman it allows the film to have 80's songs playing all throughout this futuristic film which is such a juxtaposition and shouldn't fit the film yet it does perfectly.

But the reason i think the film really excels is because of James Gunn, the film still has Gunn's eccentrics that are in all his films and this is his best film yet.

4.5/5

What did you think of the film? Comment and let me know!

Friday, 18 July 2014

Review - Dawn of the Planet of the Apes


Sequels seem to be improving on the original this summer! First 22 Jump Street, then How to Train Your Dragon 2 and now The Dawn of The Planet of The Apes.
The film is directed by Matt Reeves (Cloverfield, Let Me In) and stars Andy Serkis, Jason Clarke, Keri Russel and Gary Oldman.

DotPotA picks up a decade after its predecessor, the "simian flu" virus has spread across the world and has killed off a lot of the population of humans and are only a few groups left, while Caesar and his apes are living a peaceful lives in the forests. Until a group of survivors shoots an ape and tension rises between the apes and the humans just trying to survive.
The story is great and stronger than its predecessor, The focus is mostly on the apes, which is shown in the silent opening 15 minutes which is so interesting with no speaking at all. In the film, Caesar is struggling with having to decide to trust humans or not, while his second in command, Koba, doesn't trust humans because of the cruelty they have inflicted on him. The film is quite formulaic yet enjoyable but does stray off of the beaten tracks at some points which makes the film that much better.

The characters were the standout pieces of the film, the apes all have a distinct look to them, like scars or different types of ape to distinguish the characters, which is very helpful in a film with at least a hundred apes!
The standout apes in the film though is of course Caesar and also Koba, Andy Serkis plays Caesar via performance capture, the impressive thing about it is that you can see Serkis' face in Caesar's and it really feels like someone acting instead of just a computerized image. Koba is Caesar second in command and is played by Toby Kebbell who capture the craziness of Koba in his eyes and facial performance, Koba is a great character and steals most of the scenes in the film and plays a great antagonist.
On the human side, the stand out characters are, Malcolm, the main human protagonist played by Jason Clarke, he is the leader of a group of survivors who befriend Caesar and his apes, he is quite a simple character, but it is nice to have a positive character in such a run downed world, the other stand out is Dreyfus played by Gary Oldman, he is also the leader of the same group of survivors as Malcolm, he is a lot more negative than Malcolm and is also a lot more hot headed, yet he is a complex character that i couldn't read until the film was over.

The camera shots in the film were fantastic, from extreme close up of Caesar's eyes to the standout scene, Koba is in a  tank which the camera is on, and it pans around a battle, this was the best shot in the film and was at awe when watching.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is a great summer film, unlike the others, it doesn't follow the generic summer narrative and there are plenty of great and surprising moments throughout the film.

4/5

What were your thoughts on the film? Comment and let me know.

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Review - How to Train Your Dragon 2

Mega Sized Movie Poster Image for How to Train Your Dragon 2How to Train Your Dragon 2 is DreamWorks Animation's latest film, and it is great.
I'm always worried going into a sequel because usually they aren't as good as the first film, but in my opinion HTTYD2 is better than the first film.
In the Dean DeBlois' directed film we pick up with our hero Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) and Toothless 5 years later, as they are exploring the world, discovering new islands and territories, which can only be done now that the Vikings are riding dragons, Hiccup is also being pressured by his father Stoick the Vast (Gerald Butler) to become the next chieftain of Berk.  Hiccup and Astrid (America Ferrera) come across a dragontrapper named Eret (Kit Harrington) and learns of other dragon riders out in the world, and also about a man named Drago Bludvist, someone from Stoick's past that is trying to conquer all dragons, which Hiccup tries to stop.

The film's made theme is of leadership, Hiccup having to consider becoming the next chieftain, among other more spoilery details, but I thought the theme was very strong and helped the film considerably.
Of course the dragons are awesome in the film, Toothless being the standout always doing something cute in the background of every scene he is in, the dragons are also very cool because everyone in Berk now has their own, and the new dragons in the film are very cool, especially the Alphas which are the leaders of the pack.

The film does very well juggling all of the characters they introduced in the first film while also introducing a few new ones, the side characters have a lot to do,  Astrid has a lot to do, being Hiccup's girlfriend and being in the action and is part of the main side plot of the film, the romance between Hiccup and Astrid is done very well, they seem like a couple, teasing each other with the odd kiss and cuddle thrown in. The rest of Hiccup and Astrid's classmates are back and have a good amount to do, Snotlout (Jonah Hill), Fishlegs (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) and Ruffnut (Kristen Wiig) get wrapped up in a funny little love plot, while Ruffnut's brother Tuffnut (T.J. Miller) doesn't have much to do and just says a few jokes throughout the film.
The new characters are great and bring a new life to the film series, Drago Bludvist (Djimon Hounsou) is the villain of the piece, a dragon hunter who wants to take over the world with a dragon army, he was a threatening and scary looking villain, my only problem with the character was that his reasoning for being evils were iffy, but it is easy to look-over, Eret (Kit Harrington) is a dragontrapper who sells captured dragons to Drago, the character has a nice arc and is a macho while goofy character. Valka (Cate Blanchett) is the best new character in the film (her character is spoiled heavily in the trailers) but all i say is that she is someone from Hiccup's past, the character is very interesting because of how much of a recluse she is, and has a tad of crazy in her for being without people for so many years.

The film works well on so many levels and is a great sequel to the original, i recommend everyone to see this film.

4/5

What did you think of the film? Comment and let me know!

Sunday, 29 June 2014

Review - Cold in July

cold_in_july_ver2_xlgCold In July

This film surprised me immensely thanks to the promotion for the film, which tells you hardly anything about the film.
Cold in July is a American crime drama, directed by Jim Mickle and starring Michael C. Hall, Sam Shepard and Don Johnson, based on a novel of the same name by Joe R. Lansdale.
The film is about Richard Dane (Michael C. Hall) who kills an intruder in his house, and has to reap the vengeance of the killer's father, Ben Russel (Sam Shepard)  who wants revenge on Richard's family, this is all I knew about the film going into it, but that is only the start of the film, the set-up for the real plot of the film, which follows Richard suspecting the cops hiding something from him which leads into something much more complicated. The film feels like a few different genres in one, it starts as a thriller goes into a detective story and then finishes on an slasher/action feel,  but it doesn't feel messy going from genre to genre it feels very organic and works perfectly. The standout performance in the film was the character Jim Bob Luke (Don Johnson) who is a detective who helps Ben and Richard solve the conspiracy around them, the character comes in at the start of the second act and brings a fresh new life into the film, a new positive, witty character that changes the film we are watching.

The music used in the film is very effective and emphasizes the emotion going into the film at that point, especially during Don Johnson's introduction, in which country music is playing out of his Cherry red car and you already know something about the character before he has even spoken.
I've talked a lot about Don Johnson's performance but the other two leads are very good also, Michael C. Hall's acting in the film is something completely different then his Dexter character and shows a different range of acting from Hall. Sam Shepard play a very threatening character and does so very well, and while scary you can also sympathize with him.

Cold in July is a great, thriller film that just keeps on changing genre and while doing that, becomes more interesting, my only problem with the film is that there are a few plot threads left dangling at the end of the film that needed to conclude.

4/5

What are your thoughts on the film? Please comment on tell me!