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The Lego Movie: A Review

I think pretty much everyone who’s seen this is agreeing. It’s awesome, so awesome, that ‘everything is awesome! Everything is cool when you’re part of a team’ (yes that’s the song lyrics and yes it is stuck in my head and has been since I started watching it).

So you’ve probably gathered that I really enjoyed this film, and I have to admit part of my enjoyement was the awesome comments the kids in the row behind me were making. They were some well informed kids. The recognised the millenium falcon and got excited when they saw it. How could you not be impressed by that!

In terms of the film itself, it was obviously one of those films that wasn’t taking itself too seriously, but like a lot of great kids films, it had a really great message. So many people these days are asked to fit in and just go with the norm, don’t ask questions and allow the person in control to shape your world and feed you propaganda, but this was all about being creative, challenging the norm and believing in yourself. It also made a point of us all having a role to play, even if we don’t think we do. We all have a unique talent and the world needs that talent.

All in all I think the message could have been easy to miss, wrapped up in the light hearted humour but I’m really glad they made it and told the story they told. Also Will Ferrell and Liam Neeson were awesome!

12 Years a Slave: A Review and a Thought on the Ripple Effect

I know it’s been a while since I’ve reviewed a film as I chose to give the books I read a slightly higher priority, but this film is one I want people to know about.

This is based on a true story of a man who was free, sold into slavery, and then spent 12 years working for different slave owners of varying tempers and opinions. The original man the story was about wrote his account and the film is based on that book, something I’d also really like to read.

With all films like this you expect to shed a few tears and I can say I definitely did, although not until the end. I also found several points hard to watch. The makers didn’t always hold back on the horrific things the slave owners did to their slaves.

Acting wise I was very impressed. Michael Fassbender did a fantastic job in what must have been a tough role to play as the worst of the slave owners, and Chiwetel Ejiofor who played Solomon himself had me very moved by his performance (I knew him best as Peter in Love Actually before this). I knew Brad Pitt was going to be in it from the trailor and wasn’t impressed but equally not dissapointed with his performance. The surprise actor was Benedict Cumberbatch and his character presented one of the most interesting points of the plot for me.

While most slave owners really seemed to believe black people were something inferior and needed owning or it was their God given right etc. Cumberbatch played the part of an owner who evidently knew the slave trade was cruel and on a couple of occasions acts to try and make it less cruel. He still kept silent and bought slaves, as well as using them for work, but he was relatively kind to them and listened when they spoke. I think this is the hardest ground to stand on with something so controversial.

The people who genuinly believed they were better, while totally deluded, they were at least acting in line with their beliefs. But knowing it’s wrong and not doing much about it but the odd act of kindness here and there, is that actually going along with the wrong, because your actions don’t speak out otherwise. I find myself wondering if these people are actually the ones to be blamed for not stopping the slave trade sooner. Because if all of them had fought their fears and spoken up, who knows how much sooner people like Solomon would have been freed?

In the end it is one of these, in between, sort of men who saves Solomon. Just one voice spoke up and it saved him, which meant he could go home to his family, and then write his book, and then let others know about it all, and then help build momentum to stop the slave trade for good. One single voice started a ripple of events that helped change so many more lives. I want to write that again for emphasis. One Single Voice started a ripple of events that helped change the lives of so many more.

The next time I find myself faced with something and I’m afraid to speak up, I hope I remember this true story and I say what should be said, because one voice can sometimes turn an entire tide.

Wolverine: A Review

I know this isn’t going to be out at the cinema much longer but I’ve not reviewed a film in ages despite seeing quite a few (they’re on their way, honest)

So the trailor for this film implied that wolverine was headed to Japan cause he was restless and didn’t quite know what he was going to do with himself and some dude decided to teach him how to be a samurai on top of his already awesome adamantine claws.

This had me quite excited but what I didn’t realise is that this was an after x-men film not a pre x-men film. so for the first bit I was confused. Thankfully I soon worked it out.

Wolverine starts the film doing what he does best. Loner in the middle of no where despensing justice on local idiots when he sees fit in the manner he sees fit.

There’s plenty of awesome Wolverine moments and they are set to continue. We also get shown a flashback of some guy he saved in what I think was a nuclear bomb blast in Japan, who turns out to be a samurai.

So Wolverine gets summoned to Japan when this guy is on his death bed as a sort of thank you, but soon gets caught up in family politics. Let’s face it, it’s Wolverine, and there’s a damsel in distress.

The film has plenty of action and plenty of fights as you’d expect with Logan around and most of these do feature samurai swords. However, I was very dissapointed to find that, despite the picture of him holding one (right), he never actually gets to do any samurai fighting. There’s a hot red hed chick that gets to and a few others but he himself only touched a samurai sword, once, and that seems to have been back when he saved the guys life.

The closest Wolverine gets to a sword fight is this (left). But I guess it is a pretty epic fight so we can allow him that.

In terms of plot, it’s not great and not that original but it’s a Marvel action film so it can be forgiven for some of that lack.

It’s also way better than the Wolvering origins film, better than x-men 3 and possibly better than x-men 2.

If you do go see it you should also wait until part way through the credits. Some very cool stuff happens and is very much worth a minute or two’s wait to see.

A-Team: A Review

I’ve been reviewing rather a lot of Liam Neeson films lately so I thought I’d dig out some of his older films and re-watch those with the intention to review so here’s the film based on the 80’s TV series.

This is one of those films where you expect a lot of explosions and stuff like that and it really didn’t disappoint. The action starts pretty soon in and continues from there with rarely a dull moment.

The group make a hilarious combo with the institutionalised Murdock pretty much stealing the show for me. He was the perfect combination between genius and insanity and I’ve always had a soft spot for the intelligently crazy variety of character.

This was one of those films that they casted perfectly and it makes me really rather sad that there’s no sequel in the works. Apparently it just didn’t make enough money. I really think it should have done but I guess there might not have been enough of us who remembered how awesome the a-team was originally.

But, as I mentioned earlier I watched this film more for the Liam Neeson than anything else. He’s really taken to his newer action based roles and being slightly older this particular role just totally worked. His voice worked, his facial expressions worked and I could even believe the cigar smoking.

The whole thing just felt so naturally right it had me soothed into the possible reality of this film. I also loved hating our bad guy, especially when I realised it was the same actor as raoul in the film version of phantom of the opera. Something about his snide smile and little chuckle made it so easy to want to wipe the smarmy… well you know what I mean.

I really really want a sequel, with the same bad guy, if I get the choice.

Unstoppable: A Review

I saw the trailor for this and noticed it had the actor who played Kirk in the rebooted Star Trek series and Denzel Washington and thought it might be worth watching.

As you can see from the picture here this is all about stopping a runaway train. This was actually based on a true story, although the film is made a little more dramatic in that the train has a few more of the highly flammable containers and the population of the place it’s predicted to come off at and explode is a lot more and also is inhabited by the partner of at least one of our two heroes.

Other than that, and one death, the film only rearranges the events of the film rather than making it completely crazy and hardly the truth, and for that I’ve actually really got to commend this film.

The film is fairly linnear and doesn’t have a huge amount of scope but I really did find it riveting. I think knowing it had been a true story helped though. I found it very oddly compelling to watch and the tension really kept me on the edge of my seat.

There was quite a lot of this sort of thing going on, with people trying to travel between all the different trains and parts. and some other hairy moments when they tried to do things like de-rail it. There was even a corporate boss type person you could love to hate.

Over all I’m quite glad I watched it. The acting wasn’t anything stellar but it was convincing enough that this was something I’m glad I’ve seen.

A Good Day to Die Hard: A Review

I went to see this one at the cinema as part of this years massive run of films but forgot to review it until now. Yes that does actually say a lot about this film already.

Unfortunately it was rather forgettable. Let’s face it, none of the die hard films have been amazing (except for maybe the first and that was mostly Alan Rickman) so I wasn’t expecting this to be the best film of the year or anything like that, but it is probably the worst of the five.

For the most part the film featured these three – McClane, McClane Jr and Russian guy who seems to be politically marginalised and on trial for something he may, or may not, have done.

Now as usual with action films these days there were some comedic moments to break up the in your face action and I did laugh a fair bit. A few of the jokes fell flat and I was really really glad I had my friends there to laugh along with me at a few points, because the six of us really were the only people in a packed cinema even close to laughing, and a few times I think we were laughing when we weren’t meant to have been (I’ll come back to this). McClane’s few reminders about being on vacation were genuinly funny though and very well timed and said so I really don’t think it was Bruce Willis’ fault the comedy wasn’t so great.

I also would like to add how amused I am at the release date of this film. Being the very non-girly girl that I am I almost persuaded my fella to take me to see this the day it came out, just for giggles. Yeah, this is my kind of a good date with my guy!

The plot was, well odd. I kinda expected something a bit more modern, especially from the way the film started with the whole court trial, political intrigue stuff. I was expecting some modern info war on terrorism stuff so the Russian Nuclear threat stuff with the complete cold war feel kinda came out of nowhere like a clown in a karate film.

I also appreciated that there was plenty of action in this film. Lots and lots of explosions and shooting etc and some pretty spectacular stunts. Fairly typical ott die hard stuff really. The good guys got attacked a lot, had to do some pretty impressive, and painful looking, stuff to get out of trouble, yet always seemed to be able to get up and walk away afterwards with only a few scratches to show for it. Yeah, that kind of not quite believable action. I had suspended my sense of reality before going into the film (it’s a given with msot action films these days) but even with that I found it happened one too many times.

On top of that there was plenty of the stereotypical, cool guys walk slowly away from stuff exploding, just like this – see! They really did do this kind of thing a lot. Walk slowly away from crashed hellicopter, walk slowly away from scaffolding and rubbish shoot you’ve just fallen all the way through. Walk slowly away from building where you’ve just totally shot the place up!

Yes, this was some of what I meant by the laughter in the not meant to laugh in places. I laughed quite a few times when these unbelievable things happened but the bit that had me in stitches when I really wasn’t meant to be was this line ‘I’m talking terrorism, WMDs, nukes…’ Ummm, yeah, did no one tell McClane Jr that nukes were WMDs? I guess not, because he really did rattle this list off as if nukes were not WMDs, but something entirely unrelated. But I guess not, I guess those pesky terrorists are going to use those WMDs first and then when there’s nothing left they’re going to nuke us too!

All in all, an okay mindless action film, but just doesn’t have a great plot and probably one of the weakest action films that’s out this year.

Star Trek, Into Darkness: A Review

This is one of the many films on my list to see at the cinema this year. It’s the second of the new sort of rebooted star trek films and I loved the first so here’s what I thought.

It started right in the mdidle of some action which is always a good sign for an action film and the action just kept coming. There was the odd thought provoking moment or funny comical snippet but for the most part this was action sequence after action sequence. The only annoying thing is the funniest part of the action was totally in the trailor and I didn’t laugh because I’d seen that bit already, several times.

Plot wise I think this one was weaker than the previous. It was still an all right plot but I think it focused a bit too much on the one single thing and didn’t have the complication of the previous one.

Despite the lesser plot it was still funny and definitely still hilarious to see the growing and changing relationship between new Kirk and new Spock. It’s so easy to get gags with the whole Vulcan logic stuff but they also managed to have some really heartfelt moments thanks to it as well. Vulcans sure are complicated and this film presented them well.

In terms of characterisation it was also great. The interaction between everyone was perfect and I really really liked Bones and Sulu in this one. I also totally loved when Kirk said revenge wasn’t right and there was a lot of moral thought provoking stuff.

On top of that there were also some great throwbacks to the original set of films and yet again, our gorgeous older Spock appeared. I won’t say when, why or how and plot spoil but they included him and it made me squee in delight.

Finally this brings me to one of my favourite actors, Benedict Cumberbatch. Now you may have twigged already that he’s my favourite actor in this film because of the three photos I’ve included which all feature him but I’d like to say this is not my fault. The Star Trek advertisers seem to have decided that they don’t need to let you know about anyone else in tha cast and almost every single poster, picture, ad etc. features our evil genius & nemesis, Benedict Cumberbatch.

I still can’t decide what I think of his character. He came across as really rather cold and while I normally love the roles this actor plays I really didn’t like this one. This isn’t a bad boy you can love or even love to hate, this is a bad guy who’s a real bad guy. As such I didn’t like him, at all.

He was super bad-ass, don’t get me wrong, there was a certain amount of coolness about some of the stuff he did, but boy was he cold! It’s either really really good acting and deliberate or bad acting and unintentional and I can’t decide which, but it did leave me a little dissapointed.

So to sum it up. It was a good action film and amusing enough but the plot and Cumberbatch left me wanting more.

Iron Man 3: A Review

I was very excited about this film coming out as I loved the Avengers and mostly thanks to Iron Man, so here’s what I thought of this latest Marvel epic.

The trailor made out that this was going to be quite a dark film, with no way near as much one liners and lots of explosions and action sequences. And while this was sort of true as it was about inner demons it still had a much more light-hearted feel than I expected.

There was the usual Tony stark responses that showed the speed and slight instability of his mind but it showed some characters improvement above and beyond the first two films. In short, it was a great sequel, because the characterisation was spot on.

For me there’s nothing worse than a sequel that feels like it’s been written by someone else who doesn’t have the same opinion of the character. Tony was spot on, so much so there were a few things he said that made me suck in my breath and wince, but that’s what he’d have said so I can’t really fault it.

In terms of action there was plenty, lots of iron man style stunts and generally saving the day from the evil badguy stuffs. And the final action sequence at the end was fantastic. Iron Man showed up, with extras and boy was that whole section amazing. sometimes obsessions make for awesome viewing.

On top of that I think the supporting cast really need some honourable mentiones because they’ve really grown while doing this series. Pepper was fantastic and actually almost stole the show for me. She had some fantastic lines and that lady can seriously act! I also loved Jarvis but I always love Jarvis so there’s nothing new there, but he was extra special in this one.

This does mean there are a lot of great quotes from this film, way more than I expected, which is one of the best things to take home from this one.

Despite all these good points I do have a few issues. I didn’t actually like the ending few minutes (not including the after credits bit, that was hilarious) and wish Marvel hadn’t felt the need to make the film series feel so wrapped up, done and dusted kind of thing. Whether Downey Jr wants to do more Iron Man or not it didn’t need to feel so final. I want hope!

So to finish. Definitely better than Iron Man 2, jury is still out on whether it’s better than the first. I did enjoy it though and now I’m really looking forward to the next Avengers film.

The Tourist: A Review

I finally succumbed and checked out what was meant to be one of the worst Johnny Depp movies of all time.

I wasn’t totally thrilled when I heard the news Depp and Jolie were going to be working together. They’re both pretty amazing in the sorts of films they normally do together and I just wasn’t quite sure their special own brands of magic would work that well together.

Also I remember there being sum hoo-ha over a shower scene between the two of them (which was cut from the TV version I saw, if it ever made it into the cinema release) and Mrs Depp not liking the combination much either, probably due to the way Jolie picked up her last two partners, although she does seem pretty settled with her current fella so that may have just been an unfortunate coincidence.

But back to the film. The plot was so-so. Fairly standard action/spy plot with no way near enough explosions. Jolie did pretty much no action sequences at all and I think that’s some of the issue. Her action’s usually fantastic. The whole time in this she was pretty much aloof and uninvolved. I know to some degree the character is meant to be this way but I just didn’t buy it.

In terms of Depp I could also see what he was trying to do. He mostly came across as this gorgeously sweet, bumbling math teacher who was out of his league and paunfully aware of it. And sometimes this was brilliant. He seemed shocked in all the right places and uncomfortable in all the right places, but he also seemed uncomfortable in all the wrong places. It was like he was on his guard all the time and the infatuation between him and Jolie just never came through when it was meant to. Even in the few  times they kissed.

I actually found myself a little sad at the end of this film. I really wanted to love it. I even got quite excited when Paul Bettany appeared and I could enjoy the gorgeous Jarvis voice (Iron Man’s software), and then I got excited again when Rufus Sewell appeared, but it just didn’t quite have me convinced enough to love it. I was entertained well enough for the evening but not swept away. Oh, and I totally saw that ending coming!

The Invention of Lying: A Review

This was one of those films I wasn’t sure about watching when I saw the trailors. I’m just not sure they quite sold what the film really was, but when I noticed it was being shown on TV I thought it would be worth a viewing.

This was a funny film, as to be expected but even this little slogan didn’t entirely summarise what the film was like. You see, not only were people only able to be truthfull, they said, whatever they were thinking. They had to tell you exactly what they had just done and no one seemed that embarrased by finding out.

So this actually leads to some really deep suggestions on the idea that lying sometimes might actually be a good things. Over emphasising the good qualities of something can actually be very good for building hope. Sometimes not saying the exact things we are thinking but saying something else in order to be positive and encouraging can acually be a benefit to society.

I actually found this film, both making me laugh, and making me think, and was pleasantly surprised how much I liked it. Ricky Gervais did a really good job and although there was a little bit of rudeness, here and there, for him it was pretty clean and it’s given me a new sense of respect for the guy as an artist.

The whole thing really was quite clever and observational humour is one of my favourite types so definitely worth my time to watch it.