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MV5BODcxMzY3ODY1NF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNzg1NDY4MTE@._V1_UX182_CR0,0,182,268_AL_What’s Lucy all about?

A woman, accidentally caught in a dark deal, turn the table on her captors and transforms into a merciless warrior evolved beyond human logic.

Why did I want to see it?

I like Scarlett Johansson. I (almost always) like Luc Besson. The trailer looked cool. It was a Saturday night and there was nothing else catching my fancy.

What did I think about it?

I actually quite enjoyed what is actually a deeply silly film because it was delivered with a bit of panache. But it is still silly. The 10% theory of brain usage has been debunked elsewhere but Morgan Freeman still makes it sound plausible, though his voice is so smooth that if I was present at him giving a lecture I would probably slip into a deep and comforting sleep.

So Lucy is meant to deliver a briefcase but it all goes horribly wrong as per, and she is captured and forced to become a drug mule for the bad guys, and when I say forced I mean knocked out an operated on, none of this swallowing packets stuff. And then she is mistreated and the bags burst and she is flooded with a substance which ends up making her only the most intelligent post-human you can imagine, although what you mostly notice is that she stares unblinkingly and speaks in a  very deliberate monotone to show that she is, you know, not one of us. Cue time-travel, metamorphosis and other wacky stuff.

It’s a film that takes itself a bit too seriously but I would be happy to watch it again, once I’ve checked my own brain at the door.

MV5BMjM1OTMxNzUyM15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNjYzMTIzOTE@._V1_UX182_CR0,0,182,268_AL_Which I keep on wanting to refer to as THE Suicide Squad because there can be only one, right?

What’s it all about?

A secret government agency recruits some of the most dangerous incarcerated criminals to form a defensive task force, with their first case leading to a potential apocalypse.

“Their first case” – that’s really sweet.

Why did I want to see it?

I love, love, love the character of Harley Quinn. Viola Davis being badass as Amanda Waller. “We’re the bad guys. It’s what we do.”

What did I think of it?

Suicide Squad was one of my most anticipated movies of the year, and if I’d written this closer to when I actually saw the film I probably would have had more to say, but to be honest it was pretty much a mess. I’m not going to say that it’s bad, because there was a lot in it to enjoy, but it could have been great. Mark Kermode (amongst others) has suggested that it was edited into oblivion and not in a good way. I just thought that the story didn’t hold up; the best bots were all about Amanda Waller introducing each of the Squad members at the beginning of the film.

The good stuff:

  • Viola – wonderfully nasty. Wish she was on Arrow.
  • Margot Robbie as Harley – gleeful with a manic edge
  • Will Smith reminding me why I used to like watching his films
  • reminding us all that Ballroom Blitz is a great song

The rest was meh. Didn’t like Jared Leto’s version of the Joker, but not sure it’s entirely his fault.

So a disappointment more than anything else. Wonder if they’ll ever have a second case…..

MV5BNjExODg3MDUzNl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNjExMjE3NzE@._V1_UX182_CR0,0,182,268_AL_This is the last of my catch-up reviews. It’s entirely possible that I have saved the “best” for last…….

Watched: 19 June 2016

What’s it all about?

Mortal hero Bek teams with the god Horus in an alliance against Set, the merciless god of darkness, who has usurped Egypt’s throne, plunging the once peaceful and prosperous empire into chaos and conflict.

Why did I want to see it?

Like Dragon Blade, this was one of those mad-sounding films that my husband cannot allow himself to ignore, and I promised, despite anything that might transpire, that I would go with him. This was before the film disappeared from its original release date in the early spring. I should have known then…..

What did I think of it?

I started off by thinking that I had no words, but would have to find some otherwise this would be the shortest review I’ve ever written.

I think my initial reaction (shared on Twitter) was along the lines of “Oh. Dear. God.” Because this was bad, and I don’t mean the bad in a good way type of bad, but genuinely bad. And let’s remember that I have seen 10,000 BC where they used mammoths to build the pyramids. Anyway…..

On paper it must have sounded brilliant; let’s get Jaime Lannister to fight King Leonidas for control of a version of Ancient Egypt that must have been dreamed up while the writers were on drugs of some kind (surely that must be the reason?). They also clearly like gold, for there are lots and lots of shiny gold. And the Egyptian Gods are taller than the humans they are ruling, but exactly how tall is a bit of a mystery because their height does seem to change – full disclosure – someone (probably Mark Kermode) said that before I saw the film so perhaps I was hyper-aware, but it’s true – and possibly alien rather than actual gods though to be honest that is a minor point. Everyone speaks the same way except Gerard Butler, bless him, who sounds exactly like he grew up on the same council estate in Paisley that I did, and is clearly playing no-one other than Gerard Butler all the way through. There is a sappy human romance between a drippy girl and a charisma-free hero who delivers his lines like he’s in a pantomime (and I thought Brenton Thwaites was pretty good in Oculus, so this was disappointing) and should have an ‘r’ inserted strategically in his name.

And then Rufus Sewell turned up. I love Rufus Sewell but what on earth was he doing in this, apart from most of the acting and smouldering as per usual. Perhaps he needed to pay for school fees or a loft extension or something. Ditto Geoffrey Rush. And Chadwick Boseman, whom I simply loved as Black Panther in Captain America: Civil War, was camp in the extreme.

And if that wasn’t bad enough, they criminally wasted a (poorly designed) Sphinx.

The female characters had nice frocks though.

This was fabulously stupid. Really. And this from a person who loved both Jupiter Ascending and John Carter in defiance of almost everyone else, so I know whereof I speak.

No redeeming features whatsoever. Totally charmless. Ugh.

MV5BMTk0MjgxOTQ5MF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwODA3NTUwNjE@._V1_UX182_CR0,0,182,268_AL_I’m (still catching up on reviews of films seen over the past couple of months, so these may be a little shorter than normal, basically just being based on what I can remember.

Watched: 12 June 2016

What’s it all about?

When corrupt Roman leader Tiberius arrives with a giant army to claim the Silk Road, Huo An teams up his army with an elite Legion of defected Roman soldiers led by General Lucius to protect his country and his new friends.

Why did I want to see it?

Well, that’s a good question. I watched it because I had bought it as a birthday present for my husband who loves this sort of thing, and it was his choice for a Sunday night movie.

What did I think of it?

This is slightly potty (but not the maddest film I’ve seen recently; that delight is yet to come!) and not entirely because of the Chinese narrative structure which is pretty different from what we are used to here, being not entirely chronological and going off at tangents occasionally (mostly to allow the star to do the thing he is best known for). So we have Jackie Chan as our hero, doing his very best Chan-ing. We have Adrien Brody chewing the scenery as Chief Evil Roman (and being very entertaining while doing it). We have John Cusack as the Good Roman, looking completely dazed throughout; I couldn’t decide whether he had been drinking or just couldn’t quite believe he had got mixed up in this. And there is a really irritating child. I think I understood what was going on but don’t ask me to explain it any further.

Having said all that it was actually very entertaining, but distinctly odd.

MV5BNjI4MTgyOTAxOV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMjQwOTA4NTE@._V1_SX214_AL_What’s it all about?

In the aftermath of a massive earthquake in California, a rescue-chopper pilot makes a dangerous journey with his ex-wife across the state in order to rescue his daughter.

Why did I want to watch it?

I have a bit of a soft spot for The Rock and I love disaster movies, there’s something cathartic about seeing all that destruction as long as you don’t think too hard about the body count. We meant to see it in the cinema but weren’t able to for some reason now lost in the mists of time.

What did I think of it?

San Andreas was a very enjoyable Saturday night popcorn movie. I watched it curled up on the sofa under a blanket recovering from a tummy bug and it was exactly what I needed, not at all mentally challenging and a great opportunity to play spot the plot development and predict the dialogue because this film could have been made at any time in the 1970s (apart from the quality of the special effects, obviously).

There may be minor spoilers here but honestly you could work most of this out for yourself.

We have a hero who still loves his estranged wife – note IMDb that he hasn’t signed the divorce papers yet – and they are only separated because he can’t talk about his Feelings that have resulted from a family tragedy. Estranged wife is moving in with not wholly sleazy wealthy architect but you just know he’s going to turn out to be unreliable at the very least, and is on the hit list for not making it to the end. You have the bright and likeable daughter who actually does a lot of saving herself along with the two comedy English boys who are actually quite sweet. And there is of course a happy ending where everyone hugs and plans to rebuild as the music swells and the Stars and Stripes unfurls.

It is remarkably traditional, and works because everyone plays it straight. The Rock is lovely and solid and believable though I’m not sure his bosses will thank him for focussing on his own family rather than saving strangers which is his job, but technically he’s on vacation so that’s probably OK. I really liked the daughter who was by no means a damsel in distress and had clearly listened to everything her dad had taught her. The subplot with Paul Giamatti as the scientist who knows what’s coming and warns people but of course not quite in time could have come from any similar film in the past 40 years but he did it very well.

And despite my initial misgivings the Golden Gate gets it, as is only right and proper for any California based disaster movie.

What can I say, I liked it 😀

MV5BOTQyODc5MTAwM15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNjMwMjA1MjE@._V1_SX214_AL_What’s it all about?

A soldier introduces himself to the Peterson family, claiming to be a friend of their son who died in action. After the young man is welcomed into their home, a series of accidental deaths seem to be connected to his presence.

I beg to differ. Anyone who thinks those deaths were accidental simply wasn’t paying attention. The other characters may not have twigged who the killer was but being shot int he head from a distance in a wide-open space while you are running is NOT an accident.

That may be a spoiler. Sorry (not sorry).

Why did I want to watch it?

I must have read something somewhere that suggested this might be of interest. I certainly had nothing to do with wanting to catch up what Cousin Matthew (I think) did after he died on Downton Abbey (which I have never watched so this may all be wrong. Also may be a spoiler, again sorry).

What did I think of it?

I really enjoyed The Guest. It doesn’t take long to twig that “David” is not what he appears, and the way he insinuates himself into a grieving family is really quite implausible but whoever said this sort of thing had to be realistic?

His gleeful use of violence to help out the younger brother who is plagued by bullies was much more enjoyable than it probably should have been (seriously fit soldier beating up young teenagers not a suitable lesson for us all) and the ridiculous back story, enhanced by the presence of the wonderful Lance Reddick (I adored him on Fringe) is just so much nonsense, but I liked the way they didn’t try and explain too much and just went with it all.

Dan Stevens is great in the lead role, and when it veers into horror-lite territory at the end, and anyone with half a brain can see where it’s going to end, it doesn’t really matter because it’s all such a hoot. I will definitely watch this one again 🙂

FINAL-launch-1-sheet-600x886What’s it all about?

The Fantastic Four are apparently

Four young outsiders [who] teleport to an alternate and dangerous universe which alters their physical form in shocking ways. The four must learn to harness their new abilities and work together to save Earth from a former friend turned enemy.

Oh c’mon IMDb, they’re not outsiders, they’re very much insiders it just happens to be mega-geeky technoworld that they are inside. But they have all the resources to build the teleporter thingy, which is no less than cool. Conceptually. Not my definition of someone on the outside.

Why did I want to see it?

Superheroes.

What did I think about it?

Oh dear. I was really disappointed, not to the level of hate there seems to be in certain parts of the interwebs, but I genuinely thought it was a missed opportunity. Although I saw some of the star ratings I have deliberately avoided detailed reviews because I wanted to make up my own mind (after all, I loved John Carter *of Mars* when almost everyone else didn’t) so thoughts expressed here are my own and if they do indeed repeat what others are saying then that kind of tells you something.

First the good stuff.

The first half of the film is pretty cool. I liked the way they set up Reed Richards as a boy, I liked his friendship with Ben Grimm (even though that means he isn’t a super-cool test pilot like he is in the comics). I liked the four main cast members, all very likeable. I liked that Victor von Doom still comes from Latveria. I liked the action on the planet they end up on, though clearly someone should have told them that if you see green pulsating stuff and feel the need to point out that it’s almost alive it’s probably not a good idea to stick your hand in it (Victor, I am of course looking at you).

And then they come back.

I didn’t buy how Sue Storm gets her powers, though I liked the fact that she was so smart and no-one felt the need to comment on it. I didn’t like What Reed Does, especially as not very much later everyone seems willing to totally forget it. I didn’t like the stock minor villain. They didn’t make enough use of Doctor Doom. It was dark and relentless and without humour (the Book God’s one word review was “bleak”) and although I can see what they were trying to achieve I just don’t think of the Fantastic Four as being that dark, and the execution of the film did nothing to convince me that I was wrong.

And “There is no Victor. Only Doom” could have been a killer line if delivered with even a touch of knowingness but it just came out as flat.

And the end is so cheesy.

And it’s all such a shame; for whatever reason a good director (I loved Josh Trank’s Chronicle), a strong and engaging young cast and high production values just didn’t work at all. And the relatively short running time just made it look like they had hurried to finish it or cut it from a much longer version.

If you want to see a different perspective then have a look at this article on Live for Films which explains why the Fantastic Four haters are wrong.

I’m not a hater. Just sad about what might have been.

mission_impossible__rogue_nation_cruise-600x937Or Where to Put the Colon in the Title. I copied what they did on IMDb but it doesn’t look right; shouldn’t there be two colons? *head explodes from thinking too hard about grammar*

What’s it all about?

Ethan and team take on their most impossible mission yet, eradicating the Syndicate – an International rogue organisation as highly skilled as they are, committed to destroying the IMF.

Oh, so we all know who Ethan is, do we? OK, yes we do, but that’s not the point, they shouldn’t presume. Also I don’t think the Syndicate was set up to destroy the IMF (in fact I think they make that pretty clear in the movie), it just turned out that way.

Why did I want to see it?

Tom Cruise, of course. And a long-standing affection for the original TV series (which I totally loved).

What did I think of it?

Huge fun but absolute nonsense. It’s The Cruiser so my normal critical faculties were suspended, because (and I may have mentioned this before) despite all the Stuff I do think he’s fabulous. Particularly in IMAX.

So standard IMF plot i.e. they are in trouble with their own side and so are off the grid taking down the bad guys that nobody else believes exist, but Tom knows they’re out there and he will not stop until he gets the Big Bad because of the thing they did in the only record shop in London that has that sort of listening booth. Cue hopping all over the world using spycraft to remain undetected even though Alec Baldwin (for it is he) is intent in bringing Tom to justice.

But what it’s really about is giving Tom the opportunity to do things that a man of his age (which, full disclosure, is the same age as me) really should not be doing, namely:

  • hanging off planes
  • jumping from a great height
  • holding his breath underwater for an unfeasibly long time
  • climbing things
  • driving dangerously
  • riding very fast motorbikes without a helmet
  • running; lots of running

But on the other hand he does make fun of himself, looks his age and doesn’t end up snogging the lead female character who is significantly younger than him.

I really liked Rebecca Ferguson, she was reasonably complex, just as good as the IMF guys and took charge at some key moments. Simon Pegg was great as Benjy but I’m still not sure about Jeremy Renner. And good to see Ving Rhames again though he was definitely underused.

So great fun, a good couple of hours’ entertainment and there will almost certainly be another film in the franchise. But whatever you do please don’t base getting around London on what you see here; there is no way you can get on foot from the Tower of London to Temple that quickly 😀

20140724-141503-51303400A bit of a scrappy review because I almost forgot about writing this, even though it was a great movie. My memory is terrible, must get better at writing reviews closer to screenings 🙂

Or at least Take Better Notes.

But enough about that because you are asking:

What’s it all about?

Armed with a super-suit with the astonishing ability to shrink in scale but increase in strength, cat burglar Scott Lang must embrace his inner hero and help his mentor, Dr. Hank Pym, plan and pull off a heist that will save the world.

Why did I want to see it?

I knew very little about Ant-Man as a character in the comics so I was interested in this new (to me) addition to the ever-expanding MCU. And the trailer looked cool.

What did I think of it?

Loved it. Much more like Guardians of the Galaxy than the other MCU movies in tone, it worked for me as a newbie to the character though having followed up with a wee bit of research on the interwebs I can see that there were loads of in-jokes and references for the die-hard fans, something I really appreciate in a  film – it works for the general audience (well at least the general audience that likes comic book movies) but has lots of stuff to reward those in the know.

But thoughts:

  • I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Paul Rudd film but I thought he totally worked as Scott Lang – charming and roguish and funny
  • I also really loved Evangeline Lilley, in some respects she was the best thing in the film for me and I wished they’d used her a bit more
  • Michael Douglas – respect, loved the thing they did to de-age him in the prologue
  • the villain was a wee bit obviously villainous in a not-quite-cackling sort of way but hey, he was going insane because of Stuff so I’m prepared to let him off
  • Michael Pena was delightful and stole every scene he was in
  • Cameos – all cool and I’ll say no more than that because spoilers

I was very entertained, a great Sunday evening out, lots to talk about afterwards and glad I stayed for the mid- and end-credit scenes because oooh, that all looks intense. Will be interested to see how Ant-Man fits in with the Avengers.

avengers-age-of-ultron-poster-600x888I refuse to call it Marvel’s Avengers: AoU because anyone who thinks that over here we can’t tell the difference between The Avengers and The Avengers is an idiot. Or in marketing.

Anyway…..

What’s it all about?

So Tony Stark attempts to come up with a global protection system based on AI captured during an attack by the Avengers on a Hydra base as a means of bringing to fruition his dream of a global defence system, which would mean the people of the world won’t have to rely on the Avengers. Because he has Doubts. But of course it doesn’t go according to plan and the resulting Ultron decides to sort everyone out. Cue planned global annihilation which only our heroes can stop. Probably stop. Yes, of source they can stop it. Of course.

Why did I want to see it?

Are you seriously asking me that question?

What did I think of it?

Oh this was just the coolest thing ever, I loved it and could quite happily have sat through the whole thing again, quite a feat considering that it is not a short film by any means, though not Hobbit-length either. It’s actually pointless reviewing something like the Age of Ultron in many ways because you either get it or you don’t, and if you don’t you are probably never going to be persuaded otherwise, and if you do any discussion is probably going to descend into abstruse technicalities about who was left out, who got what screen time and most importantly, what stories from the comic books were used to build the plot. You know you’re in the latter category when you find yourself in quite a serious discussion about which Infinity Gem is in which film and hunting out references to Thanos, the Gray (sic) Hulk and Vision.

Ah Vision. The glorious Paul Bettany, just wonderful in the part, what a voice, absolutely perfect. And James Spader as Ultron, exactly right with that lovely sneering quality he can bring to any part even when, as here, we don’t see him at all so we just have to rely on his dulcet tones. Sadly no Loki, but we did get a shirtless Thor, not that that is any in way important. At all.

All the regulars were absolutely cool and the newcomers were really good, Scarlet Witch in particular, and it all made as much sense as any superhero movie ever does but the scale of it was just brilliant, and I was really pleased to see that most of the stuff in the trailer actually took place at the beginning of the movie with some real surprises to follow, at least for someone like me who isn’t absolutely steeped in the stuff but knows enough to get most of the references (and knows where to go to find out more  – you really should try Emergency Awesome’s channel on YouTube, he Knows Stuff).

So this is not an intimate low-budget think piece but there is a surprising amount of character development, especially for The Hulk and Hawkeye, and I did laugh a lot at the quipping before the mayhem started.

A very enjoyable addition to the MCU and I’m looking forward to Ant Man which is the next one up. Such fun!