Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Review Of 2013

It's that time again when we embrace a new year and take a look at the past. After the monster year that was 2012, I didn't know what to expect in 2013. At the beginning it was looking a bit dreary but by the end it was a brilliant year for cinema. If 2012 was for the blockbusters then 2013 was for the more independent films, as most of the big films disappointed this year whereas the smaller films did anything but. Keep reading to find out my top 10 of the year, and although in the UK we didn't get Her or The Wolf of Wall Street in December, my list is made of what I think are still some pretty impressive pieces of work. In fact, some of my favourite films of all time are on this list.

10. Thor: The Dark World
I see thee yay! Thor: The Dark World was the least disappointing of the blockbusters and Marvel films this year. What we got was a great action, adventure film that was packed full of punches, hammer time and Tom Hiddleston. The end result was great and the film was one of the most enjoyable of the year! You can read my full review here.

9. Don Jon
Joseph Gordon-Levitt wasn't messing around when he made his directorial debut. He's no fool when it came to casting himself as the porn addicted John who gets to date Scarlett Johansen. He's also no fool as a director and writer as he proved by making a fast paced, very funny film about a subject that has been rarely touched upon in cinema. A great piece of work, I look forward to what he comes up with next!

8.  Catching Fire
This film surprised me as I was very negative towards it in the build up to it's release. But what came was a great sequel that was on par with its excellent predecessor and even made me question as to whether I enjoyed it more than the book. Katniss Everdeen and Jennifer Lawrence herself are great role models and I can't wait to see what's in store for the character and the actress next! Read my full review here.

7.The Dirties
After hearing about the film through one of Kevin Smith's podcasts, I made sure to check it out. The found footage film genre may be getting a bit tedious but this film goes and reinvents it all over again! A great story about young filmmakers and a subject that could cause a lot of controversy, but is handled in such a great way. If you haven't seen it yet then check it out! It's a very well made, touching and funny film. Read my full review here.

6. Blackfish
This is a documentary that made me very angry but thankfully in a good way. It's one the best documentaries I have seen and came as a bit of a shock to me. If you haven't seen it then you must do so straight away. You will never go to Sea World again. A well made portrayal of a scary and shocking subject. A must see.

5. Prisoners
Prisoner is one of the best made thrillers I have seen in a long while and it contains two of the best performances of the year from Jake Gyllenhaal and Hugh Jackman. A brilliant film that will have you on the edge of your seat for the whole viewing. You can read my full review here.

4. Gravity
Every now and then a film comes along that pushes the boundaries of filmmaking further than ever before. This year Gravity was that film. An absolute masterpiece of a film of the likes that I have never seen before on the big screen. Cinema at its best. Gravity was truly exceptional. Read my full review here.

3. Mud
Mud is a great example of brilliant storytelling within a film. I am a sucker for a good story and this one feels straight away like an untold american classic. Matthew McConaughey puts on a brilliant performance as Mud, the fugitive who needs the help of two young local boys to reunite him with his love. It's a heartbreaking tale of love and innocence that really struck a chord with me. You can read my full review here.

2. Rush
Ron Howard may have made his finest piece of work in Rush, the true tale of two Formula 1 drivers and their competitive rivalry. The film itself is a high speed spectacle that truly does justice to the men and their stories as well as giving us a racing film for fans and non-fans of the motorsport a like. The story is almost too good to be true, but it is! And it is one that must be seen to be believed. A superbly brilliant film. You can read my full review here.

1. Before Midnight
Although I came in late to the Before trilogy it still saddened me deeply when we finally started to see some cracks in the what seemed perfect relationship of Jesse and Celine. After falling in love with both of the characters from the previous two films, it was easy to love this film straight away but, also like the first two, it feels honest and real. Richard Linklater is a brilliant writer and director but he would be nothing without his perfect leads who truly bring the film to life with a film that made me laugh and cry. I hope we see the couple again in film 9 years from now or, if we're lucky, maybe sooner. I haven't reviewed Before Midnight on my blog fully yet but I will probably soon do a piece on the whole trilogy as they are some of the best films I have ever seen.

Now onto my favourite TV shows of the year, this definitely could be one of the biggest years for TV yet.

5. Arrow Season 2
Arrow season 1 was a bit hit and miss, with a lot more misses than hits! However after its explosive finale it seems as if the show has embraced its comic book mythology and superhero genre with every episode of season 2 being solid. Black Canary, Deathstroke and The Flash are just a few of the exciting things already being pushed in the season. I cannot wait to see how the rest of it turns out!

4. Eastbound & Down Season 4
Eastbound & Down never fails to make me laugh, like really laugh, and that is why I love it! I'm not going to lie, the finale of the show was a bit of a letdown for me but the rest of it was comedy gold. The great thing about the show is that it also has these great heartfelt moments that really make it something special. It also proved to me that TV wasn't dead after the finale of Breaking Bad. Surely this isn't the last we've seen of Kenny Powers is it? I demand a film!

3. Girls Season 2
There is something about Girls that really gets me. Although I am male, I seem to find something in all the characters that I can relate to that really makes this show close to my heart. I feel Girls is doing for my generation what Kevin Smith did with Clerks for his. It truly captures the emotions and heart of the moment in my life that I am going through right now. I cannot wait for the third series to start!

2. Game of Thrones Season 3
The Red Wedding. I think that's all I need to say. One moment that truly captured the spirit of the show. Nobody's safe and unfortunately now in its third season I am starting to connect more and more with characters, making me worry as to who is going to make an exit next. The show looks incredible and boasts one of the most well rounded series around at the moment.

1. Breaking Bad Season 5
I'm not going to lie. I love Breaking Bad  more than any film I've seen. Blasphemy from a film student I know but it truly is a gem. We will not be seeing a show like this for a while. The story, the characters, the cinematography, I fell head over heels for it all. I'm still getting over the final episode but one thing is for sure, Breaking Bad will always have a special place in my heart. It's TV at its very best, the Citizen Kane of the small screen if you will. You can read my farewell post to the show here.

That concludes my review of the year. It's been a good one hasn't it! Next we have 2014, the passing year whilst we wait for the big daddy that is 2015. However we still have some crackers to come. If you want to check out what I am most looking forward to next year then you can do so here.

What were your favourite films and TV shows of the year? Let me know in the comments below.

Thanks for reading.

Sunday, 22 December 2013

My Most Anticipated Films of 2014

It's that time of the year where we can look to the future of films in 2014 and see which ones will be on our 'must watch' list. So before I go back and review this year, take a look at the films I am anticipating the most in 2014. And to make this list more approachable for American audiences I have not included films that came out this month in the states. If I had, Her and The Wolf of Wall Street would be at the top of my list! 

10. The Hobbit: There and Back Again (December)
Although I disliked the second outing in Peter Jackson's The Hobbit trilogy, I am still cautiously optomistic about the third and final outing. It's going to be an epic spectacle with the showdown with Smaug and The Battle of Five Armies about to commence. I look forward to seeing a trailer for this one but I am still not going to get my hopes too high.
9. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 (November)
I was pleasantly surprised at how good Catching Fire was, which has made Mockingjay, the first part of a two part finale of The Hunger Games, go up on my list. It will be interesting to see what the first film contains after the studio have split the book into two films. As a reader of the books I know there are a lot more twists and turns in place that I cannot wait to see on the big screen. 
8. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (May)
Spider-Man is my favourite superhero but after 2012's disappointing first film I am being cautious about how excited I get for this one. The trailer looks awesome but they seem to have gotten rid of a lot of ideas and themes of the first film making this look like it could be just another Raimi esque film instead of taking a completely new direction. Sony have faith in the franchise now as they have just announced they are opening up the universe with spin off films for Venom and The Sinister Six, I won't know how I feel about this news until I see the latest instalment in May. Fingers crossed it doesn't disappoint. 
7. Muppets Most Wanted (March)
The Muppets reboot with Jason Segal turned out to be one of my favourite films, it was fun to watch and very, very funny. Although we are missing our human lead in the sequel I have no doubt that it will be great. I only need to leave the cinema half as happy as I did last time for this one to be great! 
6. Godzilla (May)
Any film starring Bryan Cranston and Elizabeth Olsen will have my money but if that film also happens to star Godzilla well then thats just a bonus. Wait, the film is also directed by Monsters director, Gareth Edwards? I want. I want now. This film has the potential blow your mind, just check out the trailer. This is definitely one to watch!
5. Captain America: The Winter Soldier (April)
The Avengers made Captain America cool and now he just seems to be in his element after the new trailer for his second film came out earlier this year. It looks to be a lot of fun and no trailer has got me so excited for a new film like this one. I can't wait to see where they take Cap next!
4. Tusk (TBD)
Anything coming out of the weird and wonderful mind that is Kevin Smith's will put my bum in a cinema seat, unless of course it's a sequel to Cop Out. His latest film is based on an idea he had from one of his podcasts when he saw an advert on GumTree from a man asking for somebody to be his human walrus. Smith then turned this advert into an idea for a creepy messed up horror film that will see him re-teaming up with Micheal Parks to create a human walrus hybrid suit thing. It's going to weird but no doubt awesome.
3. Interstellar (November)
Any film from Christopher Nolan has my money. Any film starring Mathew Mcconaughey has my money. Well then Interstellar is a no brainer then because it has both! I think it's about space and black holes but who cares, it will no doubt be exceptional. 
2. X-Men: Days of Future Past (May)
With Bryan Singer back at the helm tackling the X-Mens biggest story yet, we will no doubt get excellence. Crossing over between the future and the past this could be an epic adventure that nothing can top. Oh wait, they just announced X-Men: Apocalypse for 2016!? The X-Men franchise is going to big places, I for one cannot wait!
1. Guardians of the Galaxy (August)
I want to see how Marvel handle this film because it's something a bit different to what we've seen before. It has a walking, talking, gun holding Raccoon. It could be awful but I have faith, especially with the leaked Comic Con footage from earlier this year looking very, very good. It tops my list because I can't picture how its going to look in my head but I have no doubt that Marvel wouldn't have invested in this risky project if it wasn't going to be amazing. I can't wait to see how Guardians of the Galaxy turns out!

What are you're most anticipated films for 2014? Let me know in the comments below.

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, 14 December 2013

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

Same as last year, I didn't really get excited for the new Hobbit film until it was just about to come out. We've been to Middle Earth plenty of times before and you kind of know what to expect in terms of the tone and style of the film. So it was unfortunate that The Desolation of Smaug did nothing for me in terms of bringing me back to a world that I love to watch on screen. At least An Unexpected Journey brought me back into the world that I loved in way that gave me goosebumps as soon as I saw The Shire and heard the heartwarming music. This film however, feels more like a tribute to the world of The Lord of the Rings rather than being an extension of the mythology. It's the middle of the trilogy and that is exactly what the film feels like, a middle, it doesn't really have a beginning or an end. It's just a bit boring. Apart from the dragon, the dragon is awesome!

The second film in The Hobbit trilogy picks up with Bilbo and the Dwarfs as they travel to Erebor to reclaim their homeland from the dragon Smaug. A few things happen along the way, all action packed, but everything is sorted out pretty quickly, that's about it really. Directed again by Peter Jackson, who obviously has a love for the book his films are based on, so much so he is the first person we see in the film, but he also has to learn when to let go of something and stop dragging it out... into three films. Lets just say he is suffering from something I would like to call George Lucas syndrome. Lets see why.

Although the film is still titled The Hobbit, Bilbo isn't really the main character of the film. Actually there isn't really a main character of the film, Bilbo feels more like 'just one of the dwarfs' and we see a little bit of everybody else like Thorin, Gandalf and Kili and those other dwarfs, like the fat one and the stupid one and the old one. We get a little bit of Legolas as well, he wasn't in the books but his part is pretty cool although by the end it feels like he's outstayed his welcome. A new character is introduced, Tauriel, a female Elf who has been chucked in to the very male dominated sequel. Evangeline Lilly plays her well but like most women in film at the moment, her character is more of a half hearted love interest that sets up a love triangle between her, Legolas and Kili. Yes that's right, Kili. She does kick a lot of ass though. Another new addition to the cast is Luke Evans as Bard. Acting wise though everybody is just as good as the last outing, but none of the characters are ever given enough time to shine.

The first act of the film is the worse though, we are chucked back into the story pretty much straight away in an uneven and sometimes poorly edited opening. Everything feels a bit rushed, which is weird for a film that lasts for 2 and a half hours! It does get better though, but not by much. The middle part still feels oddly dragged out and boring until the final act where things get a lot better but then it just ends. It ends in a way that would be great for penultimate episode of a TV show, but Game of Thrones this is not. We are not waiting a week to see the finale, we are waiting a whole year! I have read the book and I can see many better places to end the film, especially with The Battle of Five Armies that is going to make up most of the third film. Don't get me wrong, There and Back Again is going to epic in spectacle but I cannot see it being anymore then a war film, I hope I'm wrong.

The soundtrack is obviously just as good as the last but certain pieces play at the most obvious of times and that makes you wonder if Jackson thinks we're stupid, as if we can't tell that this bit is supposed to be happy or this is bit is supposed to be sad. I know this is what soundtracks are for but in this case it feels forced and cheesy. And while we are on the subject of cheesy, you know those cliche moments in films where it looks like your heroes are about to lose then all of a sudden somebody comes and saves them? Well this happens in the film, a lot. So much so that it gets really annoying after you've seen it for the tenth time. 

Then there's the CGI. There is loads of it and it most of the time it looks out of place. The barrel sequence you see in the trailer is one of the best examples as it is so obvious when real footage is being used and when CGI takes its place, everything just looks a bit out of place. And whenever the big white Orc turns up he looks like something out of a video game. When the Orcs are real people with make-up and prosthetics it really looks good, they come across as a lot more menacing because they look real! There is also a lot of violence against the Orcs that really do push the boundaries of the 12A certificate. I have no problem with it but it is sure to be controversial, especially with the latest study that found more gun violence in 12A's than in any other film certificate.

The best thing about this film was the dragon Smaug. He looked incredible, now he was a CGI creation that truly looked magnificent. In fact I would go as far as saying that he is probably the best dragon ever to grace our screens. Benedict Cumberbatch is perfect in the role and he not only voiced the creation but did motion capture for some of the screens. As soon as we get to Smaug in the film it is awesome. If the whole film had been as good as the scenes with Smaug it would have been an easy 5/5 film. But unfortunately, this film won't be getting that score from me and it is unfortunate because I loved the previous film and The Lord of the Rings trilogy.

The Desolation of Smaug  was a CGI overloaded film, with bad pacing and direction. The film felt like a dragged out middle chapter with no beginning or end. I'm surprised at the critics reception to this film, with many heralding it as better then the first film, for me it is not, in any way. But that's just my opinion. I am giving the film a rating of 2.5/5. The .5 was added because Smaug was so awesome. The final film better be good!

Judging from first reactions I am obviously in the minority when it comes to my opinion on the film, so let me know what you thought of it in the comments below. Do you agree or completely disagree with me?

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Quick Reviews #5

I have been very busy as of late, and haven't found time until now to review the latest instalment of The Hunger Games franchise; Catching Fire. But during the time since seeing the film I also watched Prisoners so instead of doing one big review of each, I thought I would do another post of quick reviews for the two films. So please read on and enjoy.

Catching Fire
I have been quite negative in the year heading up to Catching Fire. I loved the first film but thought they might be rushing the second one, even previous director Gary Ross left the franchise for he did not think he could make the film he wanted in the time before the release date! The first couple trailers came out and looked pretty cool but quite CGI heavy and didn't have the 'shaky cam' style of the first film, which I loved. The 'shaky cam' may have been toned down a lot but I was pleasantly surprised at how good the second film was, especially as it was based on what I consider to be the weakest book of the trilogy. In fact I would go as far as saying that this may be the first film I have seen that I believe to be better than its book as it expands upon it and I was more emotionally attached to the characters. Catching Fire picks up where the first film left off with Katniss and Peeta returned champions of the Hunger Games. But their actions in the arena have sparked riots in many of the districts that the Capitol is worried could turn into a full blown rebellion. As with the first film Jennifer Lawrence is outstanding as Katniss Everdeen, a role model for a generation, not just within the story of the films. We have some other great new additions to the cast such as Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Sam Clafin and Jeffrey Wright who really stand out in their roles. The characterisation is great and has been improved upon from the first film, as has the dodgy CGI which no longer looks out of place. The story feels as if it has been made for the big screen, with many twists and turns that lead to what some are calling an abrupt ending, but one I knew was coming and had been looking forward to seeing how the filmmakers handled it. Director Francis Lawrence has fitted in perfectly and really added to the expansion of the world. I cannot wait to see how the next book turns out which is being split into two films. Only time will tell for me whether this film was better then first but it sure was great. It's main flaw is a average first act but I am still giving Catching Fire a solid 4/5.

What seems to be a classic, 'who done it' turns out to be much more of an emotional rollercoaster ride that delves deep into our own humanity in Prisoners. Following Hugh Jackman's father character as he and another family both have a child abducted, we get to see what lengths this man will go to, to bring his daughter back. He is not without help as Jake Gyllenhaal's Detective Loki also tries to find the girls and the person who took them. This film is pretty crazy from the get go, with lots of twist and turns that will never let you fully guess the mystery behind everything. You will be on edge for most of the film but your patience will be rewarded. Jackman and Gyllenhaal give off what could be their best performances yet as both their characters get a hefty amount of characterisation that sees them as changed men for better or worse by the end of the film. I really loved this film, the camera stays still for most scenes, letting you take everything in from the great backdrop to this heart racing story. The two leads are incredible but the supporting cast get thrown to the side a bit, especially Terrence Howard's character who I believe was severely underused. The film feels a lot like Zodiac, and like that film it brings a lot to a genre which could be very by the books, creating a generic crime thriller, but Prisoners is a lot more than that. I am rating the film a 4/5.

Do you agree with my reviews? Let me know in the comments below.

Thanks for reading! 

Monday, 25 November 2013

Teacher & My New Project

Tomorrow I start shooting for my new short film so I thought it was about time that I finally released my last short film Teacher on the Internet for all you lovely people to watch. I had written about this short that I was making in a couple of production posts earlier this year so if you want to check them out before viewing you can read them here and here. After you have watched the short you can find out about my new project below.

On to my next project now, which I am very excited to film tomorrow! Now this project is quite different in tone and I have taken a lot of influence from the films of Richard Linklater and Kevin Smith whilst producing this one. This is a solo project that started off unrelated to my film course until I saw how I could tie it into my philosophy module. I have written the script and will be directing and editing it as well. The film follows two 'slacker' esque characters who are smoking a cigarette against a wall. They are both strangers but spark up conversation after one of them has just witnessed a suicide. The film looks at the contradiction of morality and the two opposing views of the characters on the suicide and taking a life in general. I've always loved 'Generation X' films from American independent cinema in the 90's and have tried to incorporate this into the pre-production process as well as trying to modernise it for present day England. I haven't really got anything to show you guys just yet but when I got in touch with my brilliant casting director Ashton Snow I sent her a mood board of the piece so she could help find my two awesome actors. So I thought I could show you that to give you a kind of idea of where I'm going with this short.
There will be more updates to come on this film but this is all I've got so far! Anyway I hope this has caught your interest so make sure you keep updated with my blog and twitter for all the latest news on this project.

So what do you think of Teacher and my new project? Let me know in the comments below.

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Gravity 3D

So the day I am posting this is actually the second anniversary of my blog! I just want to thank everyone once again new and old who read my blog, you guys are the best and I hope you continue reading! Thank you! Now please enjoy my latest review.

After seeing the first trailer for Gravity I thought that the film looked interesting but I could not see A-list actors Sandra Bullock and George Clooney as astronauts. I wasn't overly excited for this film until all the gushing reviews came in from overseas, critics, bloggers and filmmakers all raving about the space survival epic. Then critic Mark Kermode said it had to be seen in 3D, and that's when I knew I had to see it because he hates 3D with a passion! It was about halfway through the cinema experience that I thought to myself 'I am watching something quite special here'.

Gravity is about a space engineer and an astronaut who have to work together after an accident leaves them adrift in space. And that's about as in depth as I want to go about the plot because this is a survival story and the less you know going in the more thrilling and tense your experience will be.

This film is mind blowing and really shows off the new technology that can be used to enhance cinema in the future. This film is a stepping stone into a new way of filmmaking. Director Alfonso Cuarón spent 4 years perfecting this film which is very effects heavy, but still uses a lot of wire work for its actors Bullock and Clooney to give a very realistic looking movement to zero gravity effect of space. This really pays off but so does the use of CGI because there was not one moment in this film that felt of place or unbelievable, it was one of the most gorgeous looking films I have ever seen, and it had a similar effect on me as when I first saw the incredible looking Pandora in Avatar for the first time.

The film is made of some very long and beautiful shots. the camera will float around a scene and rarely cuts. For the first twenty minutes of the film I was wondering if it was ever going to cut at all! This makes for a very impressive view but also allows you to really follow the characters. This can be bad thing however if you suffer from motion sickness as there is sequence at the start where you spin with Sandra Bullock for 5 minutes and it can start to get a bit dizzy.

Because this film is set in space we get some very stunning looks at the universe and our planet itself. A lot of themes of life and death are played out throughout the duration of the film and can cause some deep and heavy thinking. Everything you see will leave you breathless whether it be the view or the constant threat of danger following our characters.

Acting wise I was wrong to doubt the talents of Sandra Bullock and George Clooney who both give off great performances and are believable as astronauts. Bullock in particular is in one of the roles of her life and really is brilliant in the film as a new modern day Ripley like character.

Now onto the 3D of this film which really is the most effective use of the technology I've so far. The 3D really adds to the depth and openness of space and creates a very immerse experience that sucks you in and doesn't let go until the credits roll where you can finally breathe again. It seems as if 3D is finally being used in an effective way by the right minds and isn't just used as a gimmick anymore. We may be seeing 3D advertised less but nowadays but when it is being used its being used to its full potential. The only way is up for the technology.

In conclusion then this film is insanely good and very special. It marks the way forward for the future of filmmaking and I for one and am very excited to see where the next big creative mind takes us. Gravity is one of the best films of the year and was a sleeper hit for myself. I am giving it a rating of 5/5.

Did you enjoy Gravity or do you completely disagree with my praise? Let me know in the comments below.

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, 31 October 2013

Thor: The Dark World

When the Captain America: The Winter Soldier trailer came out the other day I thought that the film would easily top the solo outing films of Marvel phase 2. However I may have been wrong, because Thor: The Dark World just raised the bar pretty damn high! After feeling a bit let down from Iron Man 3 and Marvel's TV show Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D I went into the cinema with average hopes and a critical mind, I came out having just had a blast of a time! Read on to find out why and as always my review is spoiler free!

Thor: The Dark World picks up after the events of The Avengers. Loki is in jail, Thor is back on Asgard with the Bifrost Bridge rebuilt, whilst love interest Jane Foster is down on Earth still doing science experiments and attempting to get over her fling with the demigod. All this gets shaken up when Jane discovers the Aether, a dark force that wakes up Malekith, a dark elve that wishes to bring revenge to Asgard for killing his people a long time ago. Like the first Thor, the plot is quite simple making for a fun and easy watching film, something I really loved about the first film. There's obviously a bit more going down in this second instalment but the heart of the first film is still there even with new Game of Thrones director Alan Taylor on board.

Let's start with the acting, as with all Marvel casting so far, everybody is perfect in their roles. Especially Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston who you couldn't imagine anyone else in their roles as Thor and Loki, their chemistry on screen is even better again and every scene with two becomes the highlights of the film. In villain duties is Christopher Eccleston as Malekith who does a decent job but his performance lacks being memorable, not by fault of his own but my fault of yet another underwritten villain who's plan is essentially to destroy everything, again. One of my favourite characters though is Heimdall played by Idris Elba who gets even more kick ass action in this film. 

That's one of the best things about Thor 2, the really cool moments that see your favourite character do something so cool it makes you nerd out. Early in you know you are in for a good ride when Thor jumps off a balcony twists grabs his hammer and flies away. There are loads of moments like this which make for a really enjoyable watch. This is something Iron Man 3 failed to deliver on apart from the end scene with all the suits but that was unfortunately mostly spoiled in the trailers. Like Iron Man 3 though Thor 2 is very funny but it never feels like a comedy. Unfortunately a few of the joke do fall a bit flat. 

We also get to see the continuation of Marvel writing some stronger roles for it's female characters. They're not fully there yet but I sure would soon like to see a film with female superhero lead soon. Thor's mum Frigga is one of these strong characters and even gets her own fight scene that turns out to be one of the best of the film. Natalie Portman's Jane Foster is still a bit of a damsel in distress but has no fear of standing up to the likes of Loki and even Odin. A love triangle between Thor, Sif and Jane is also hinted at but never really goes anywhere.

The film itself looks great! The use of real sets and locations really makes a difference and something I imagine Alan Taylor had some doing with. The fights are more epic and everything is dirtied up a bit. Saying that Thor is not going down a Nolan esque route with being dark and gritty, far from it actually, in fact it's a very fun and moving adventure film. The visual effects were also great and the whole film looked awesome!

A few dodgy lines and acting aside, Thor: The Dark World is a great ride and really delivered a lot higher than what I expected it to. The story is great and has some great unexpected twists and a lot of fan service. There is a lot of teasing of the future of phase 2 and beyond, so much so that you will hope they announce a Thor 3 soon! Remember to stay for the mid credits and post credits sequence! I really, really loved this film and I can see it becoming one of my favourites of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It’s not without its flaws but you sure do get one hell of a Thor film that leaves you wanting more, therefore I am giving it a rating of 4/5.

I think Alan Taylor really brought something special to the Marvel universe and it is unfortunate that due to rumoured disagreements with the studio and few suspicious answers to questions during the junket for this film that he most likely won't be back. However the bar has been raised for Captain America: The Winter Soldier and The Guardians of the Galaxy.

What did you think of the film? Do you agree with me or disagree completely? Let me know in the comments below.

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Captain America: The Winter Soldier Trailer

Ok so it just came out and I thought I would give you my views on the trailer for Captain America: The Winter Soldier. So first of all, here it is:

I just want to start by saying that since The Avengers trailer, no trailer has really gotten me super pumped for a film... until now. That's not saying I didn't enjoy the ones for Iron Man 3 and Thor: The Dark World, but they didn't make nerd out like I just did.

Now this trailer is awesome, for a teaser it's a got a little bit of everything and even hints that The Winter Soldier may not be the only trouble for Cap. Nope, looks like S.H.I.E.L.D is militarising itself as we saw multiple helicarriers in the trailer and Cap beating up some of the agents in an elevator. Could Robert Redford be the big bad of the whole piece?

We got our first look at Cap's new suit and although it wasn't in this trailer, the teaser for this trailer also had him in his WW2 costume. Why could that be? We also got our first look at Falcon who looks awesome and also seems to be in some trouble with S.H.I.E.L.D as one of the Quinjets was firing at him.

Though S.H.I.E.L.D look to be antagonists of this piece I've got a feeling it will be Redford's character that's corrupt rather then Nick Fury who I reckon will stick at Cap's side along with Black Widow and Falcon.

Anyway i'm going to go watch it again because my god is it cool!

What did you guys think of the trailer? Let me know in the comments below.

Thanks for reading!

Check back soon for my review of Thor: The Dark World. I'm so hoping it will be good because with average Iron Man 3 and pretty awful Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D Marvel need to pull something out of the bag quickly!

Saturday, 19 October 2013

The Dirties

Odds are you haven't heard of this film, but you really should watch it! If you are fan of Kevin Smith and his podcasting association Smodco then you might have heard him talking about The Dirties, the first film he picked up with his new company 'The Kevin Smith Movie Club'. It is how I heard about the film and now after watching it I feel that I should let you guys know about it as well, not just because it's a small independent film made by students but also because it is awesome!

The Dirties is a found footage film about some friends making a film together that involves them taking down a gang of bullies in their school called The Dirties. One of the friends however takes the idea to far and starts to actually plan a real life shooting of their school bullies on camera.

The school shooter concept is something that is quite real and topical right now, but the film is very good at not hitting any nerves or being offencive at any point. It humanises the school shooter and creates a very interesting character piece. The style of the film is a 'found footage' film and although we have had a lot of these recently, this one again is original by making the camera one that the friends are using to make a film. The reason they have wireless mics on them most of the time is for the same reason. This choice makes the whole film a bit more believable and adds to some of the scenes that already feel scarily real. Not that this film is a horror, it's more of a comedy drama about people who love film. And you can really tell they love film, because there are a bunch of references to many different films and pop culture scattered throughout.

For me as a film student, watching this group of friends on screen make a film is familiar but also inspiring as some of the filmmakers themselves are students. This film just makes we want to go out and make more films! They are a great success story of independent cinema and prove that if you try hard enough you can make it. This really is such a great film but I'm making this less of a review and more of a 'please watch this', because small films like this need to be supported, so if you're not convinced by me yet check out the trailer here:

Or again if you're not convinced you can check out an interview with the director Matt Johnson and Kevin Smith here:

Surely you're convinced now right? Well you should be because I thought it was brilliant. I'm giving it a solid 4/5. Look out for The Dirties to feature on my top 10 list of year later this year! Go check it out on VOD services now!

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Goodbye Breaking Bad

SPOILER ALERT! Do not read unless you have seen Breaking Bad Season 5 Episode 15 'Granite Slate'.

Still reading? Good. As you probably know Breaking Bad is coming to an end this Sunday and I wanted to write a post on it. This may be a movie blog but with TV as good as it is at the moment how could I not talk about the best show there is? In fact Breaking Bad is better then anything I have ever seen. It is one giant movie that has the most interesting storylines and brilliantly complex characters that every filmmaker can only dream of making.

I haven't been a viewer since day 1 and like a lot of people I started the show pretty late in. Actually it was about a year ago I was recommended the show and started watching and I have not turned back since. 3 T-shirts and 1 poster later we come to the finale, the episode we have all been waiting for and dreading at the same time. So what makes Breaking Bad so good?

For me it's the characters and the writers who have developed them. They are so well written that at times you love them and at times you hate them. Of course the most obvious example is Walter White, the good guy turned bad, the underdog who became a feared criminal in the drug rings of Albuquerque, as the notorious Heisenberg. Walter White is evil and manipulative yet we still find it in our hearts to root for him. Did anyone really want Hank to take him down? He was our underdog, he was the nerd that went out and did something. We've been with him from day one and we can't turn our backs on him just yet because we want him to succeed in a weird and twisted way. Maybe this is just me but I want an ending for Walter White that he is satisfied with, where he can take something from his experience before dying instead of thinking it was all for nothing, which at the moment it is and even more so after the heartbreaking phone call between him and Walter Jr. I must give credit where credits due though, I don't think anyone could pull off the character like Bryan Cranston, who is one of the best actors around at the moment along with the whole cast of Breaking Bad.

The character I most care for however is Jesse Pinkman. If Walter is breaking bad then I want Jesse to break good. Can Jesse be the only kind of happy ending for the show? I don't want him to die and I have spent every episode worrying that he would. I have been on edge ever since Walter gave him that one final hug before Jesse found out some horrifying truths. And last weeks episode even more so, I almost had heart failure when he was caught trying to escape creepy Todd and his neo-nazi buddies, only to find out that they would not kill him but instead make him suffer, with one of the shows most shocking and darkest moments. Unfortunately I've got a feeling the show may have a few of those left for the finale. But please Vince Gilligan, please let Jesse live, hasn't he been through enough?

The next best element about this show is it's filmmaking. Whoever comes on board to direct seems to to do a stellar job of making every episode of the show look and feel amazing. A lot of this may be down to the cinematography which has made some of the most beautiful looking shots on TV that just adds to the professionalism and ultimate cool style of the show.

I truly cannot get enough of Breaking Bad. It is an incredible piece of art that will remembered as the Citizen Kane of Television. I would be surprised if another show could come around soon and be just as good. This is why am dreading the finale, I just don't want it to end but know that it must. The final episode has a lot of plots to tie up but I know that the insanely good writers and filmmakers can create an ending that is entertaining, emotional and satisfying all whilst giving us the usual Breaking Bad charm that nothing will ever be as you expect. I don't want to predict the end, I want the writers to do that themselves and end it the way they believe is best. No doubt I will be an emotional wreck by the time the show is over. Goodbye Breaking Bad.

Thank you Breaking Bad for truly being the best show ever made.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013


You do not need to be a fan of Formula 1 to watch and enjoy Rush. All you need to be a fan of is great stories and tremendous film making. Fortunately for me, I am a fan of all three and absolutely loved Rush and believe it to be the best film of the year so far!

Rush tells the incredible true story of the rivalry/friendship of Formula 1 drivers James Hunt and Niki Lauder. As an F1 fan I am aware of this story but it was great to see it unfold on the big screen that truly captured the narrative in an exciting and emotional form. One of the greatest things about seeing the film is the brilliant casting, the actors were almost identical to that of the real people involved. Chris Hemsworth and Daniel Brühl give off the best performances of their careers whilst looking perfect as Hunt and Lauder. With the Oscars already starting to be a talking subject I could definitely see their names being thrown about as well as the film itself.

The film has a very stylish look and it seems hit and miss director Ron Howard has put a lot more effort into this film compared to his last effort with the disappointing The Dilemma. The film takes you straight back to the 70's with it's excellent cinematography that recreates races perfectly and puts you in the drivers seat getting up close and personal with the drivers themselves. All with a nostalgic aesthetic and an awesome score from Hanz Zimmer that makes this film feel very, very cool.

But it's not really about the racing, although it does play a big part in moving the story forward, it's more about the two maverick drivers. Both different, both with pro's and con's that make you empathise with each driver in different ways. The script by Peter Morgan is very good at not making you root for just one of the driver's but seeing the different points of view of both. 

The dangers of F1 are considerably lower now than they were in the 70's and the film questions what type of men wish to risk their lives racing cars, men who have nothing to lose?. These questions of morality and love make Rush deeper then just your average biopic and Ron Howard succeeds in making one biopic about two men and events that would change both of their lives. The film is a fast paced emotional rollercoaster from start to finish, that packs a punch for audience member whether they be F1 fans or not. Rush is not just the best film of this year, it is also one of the best I have ever seen, a truly inspiring work of film making that I am giving a rating of 5/5.

Did you love Rush as much as I did? Let me know in the comments below.

Thanks for reading!