movie review

Deadpool – movie review


Another highly anticipated Marvel offering, the Deadpool hype began long before we got to see the actual film. I won’t pretend to be a Marvel expert, nor even much of a fan but I like superhero movies so I decided to give this one a go when it came out on DVD.

Ryan Reynolds is the strawberry clad hero in this action packed epic and he does a good enough job in the role. To be truthful, there’s no way of knowing how much of the character we see is actually Ryan Reynolds, since he wears a full face mask for 90% of the movie. It’s probably a stunt double most of the time. Whoever it is, he has a nice ass, but I digress.

Deadpool is standard Marvel fare. Action, fighting, love interest, fighting, car chases, fighting, a bad guy who holds the key to the character’s redemption, fighting, and death defying stunts. Did I mention fighting? There’s lot of it, and plenty of blood and gore. Although not overtly gratuitous, it’s borderline. I’m tempted to believe that this is an attempt to cover up for the lack of any real plot or depth.

Where this movie differs from the rest is the humour. The character is meant to be funny, but a warning here to all non-Americans, it isn’t that funny. American humour is a unique being and as an English woman, it failed to touch me. I laughed three times in total. The opening and closing credits are funny, and the bit where he chops off his own hand but that was it for me as far as laughs go. It seems to me that a group of old men locked inside a dusty office decided to try and put some funny bits into an action movie, but failed. Maybe I’ve just got a weird sense of humour. That’s always possible.

As usual, the effects and stunts are awesome and the costumes are cool. It would be nice though, to see one superhero who doesn’t wear brightly coloured spandex. What is it with that? Why is that a thing?

I don’t think the character has enough depth for a sequel, so I feel it best that Ryan Reynolds backs out of the room slowly.

The Revenant – movie review



Winner of 3 Oscars, this movie stars Leonardo DeCaprio and Tom Hardy in a tale allegedly inspired by true events. DiCaprio plays legendary explorer Hugh Glass as he struggles for survival and revenge against unbelievable odds.

Visually, this movie is spectacular, with breathtaking scenery of a very wintery American wilderness. There are a few ‘yuck’ moments which add a visceral, edgy quality that prevents the movie from becoming a schmaltzy ‘survival against the odds’ yawn. The special effects are awesome and fit seamlessly with the context, avoiding any hint of the magical or fantastic.

Advertised as, ‘inspired by’ true events, I personally found it a little over the top and suspect that a rather large dollop of artistic licence has been added to the actual historical facts on which the movie is apparently based. I am left wondering just how much ‘inspiration’ they took from the facts. This is one of two things that disappoint me about it, because the dialogue is decidedly dull. The characters spend much of the movie grunting their way through fight scenes, screaming in pain, and growling revenge. The only relationship dynamic is between the two lead characters, and that is flat at best.

The ‘survival’ aspect of the story has, I feel, been taken too far, making DiCaprio’s character and his experiences, unbelievable. We all know movies build things up a little but this one is too much. The native Indians in the movie come across as simpletons, little better than grunting savages without any basic ability to reason or make sound judgements. I feel this does them an enormous disservice.

I am left wishing I had seen it before buying the DVD, as I feel I have wasted my money on a movie I doubt I’ll watch again. Not Leonardo DiCaprio’s best career moment.

I give this movie 2 stars for stunning visuals.

Movie Review – Interstellar

interstellar poster


Like many science fiction fans, I’ve been waiting for this movie with much anticipation. It has been hyped as the best space opera movie in years, with every superlative you can think of attached to the write ups and trailers. It came out on DVD and Blue Ray here a couple of days ago, and I watched it yesterday with my mother. We were both very excited to finally be getting to see this much hyped phenomenon, and settled down with our coffee and Belgian Buns with broad grins on our faces.

There are three distinct ‘acts’ in the movie. The first act lays out the back story and sets the scene for our hero, Cooper, to leave Earth in search of a new home on which to settle. I felt this first act to be far too long for the movie. Whilst interesting and pertinent to the story, it makes the whole movie drag a little. There was one point where I was suddenly afraid the movie’s makers had fallen victim to the, “little kid stows away to be with her dad and then wreaks havoc,” trope but to my complete relief, they didn’t.

The second act is Cooper’s flight from Earth and the team’s experiences in space. They navigate the wormhole and arrive at the new galaxy, whereupon they have to find three planets previously identified as possible alternative Earths, and investigate them. A single astronaut was sent to each of the three planets some time previously, and Cooper and the team must rendezvous with each one. Of course their carefully laid plans go quickly awry when the female member of the team takes it upon herself to disobey orders. This causes the loss of a team member, and the loss of twenty three years equivalent Earth time, but she doesn’t seem concerned and Cooper quickly forgives her. This is my biggest complaint about the movie.

In real life, a highly trained astronaut would never disobey orders to such a degree with such losses as the result, but it is one of the most widely used tropes in movies. Seriously guys, can’t you think of anything original when you make these films? This was a huge black spot upon my enjoyment, and one that as an author I find unforgiveable. This second act ends with Cooper apparently lost to the black hole.

The third act brings the whole story to a nice close and ties up all loose ends quite well. Without spoiling it for anyone, the scene inside the black hole with the ‘physical time’ environment is rather a stretch for anyone’s belief and smacked of what I have come to recognise as that typical American shmaltzy aspect movie makers find so necessary these days. Even my mother, who has a degree in physics, raised her eyebrows at that series of scenes. Never mind, I understand the need for poetic licence just as much as the next person.

The ending sets us up nicely for a sequel, which I feel confident will be forthcoming. That one, if indeed it is made, should be even better than this one.

Interstellar would have been far better made as a trilogy. Each of the three acts could have been gone into in far more detail if they each had a movie of their own, and suitable cliffhangers on which to end are there aplenty. The cutting necessary to cram such a lot of stuff into one movie means that details have been lost that would have smoothed edges and added a level of sophistication that is missing from the hodge-podge that is the single movie. The whole thing feels busy and crammed and is far too long at two hours and forty nine minutes.

I give Interstellar four stars. It was a tad over hyped, too crammed, and far too long.

Star Trek Into Darkness – review

star trek

I grew up with the original Star Trek series and regard it as one of my all time favourite science fiction space opera sagas.  Nothing can compare with the original series, but I do like Next Generation and I sort of enjoyed the first 3 movies.  With this history as a trekkie, I was looking forward to getting Into Darkness on DVD, as I quite enjoyed the first of the new ST movies, even though they totally screwed around with the historical facts, ie New Vulcan.  I watched every single episode of the original series and not once did Leonard Nimoy mention “New Vulcan,” but still, I digress.  Back to Into Darkness.

My uneasiness at this new crop of ST movies has grown as a result of watching Into Darkness.  This is due to two things.  The first is the constant stealing of original plot lines and I was, quite frankly, shocked and distressed as I sat through the ‘radiation room’ scene.  How dare they steal such a poignant scene from Wrath of Khan.  The only thing that was missing was the “the needs of the one,” speech.  That shows me that the movie makers lacked enough creative ability to come up with something new and original and I can do nothing but condemn them for it.

The second thing is the casting of Benedict Cumberbatch as Kahn.  This has to be the worst casting in movie history.  All trekkies know there can only ever be one kahn, Ricardo Montalban.  Not only did they cast an English speaking actor in the role, but he’s also white and thin.  They could at least of got an actor with a mediterranean complexion, an accent and some pecs.  They even had Spock yelling “KAAAAAHHHHHHHN.”  Oh please, just shoot me now.  The characterisation of Kahn was way off too.  This new one was totally cold and calculating, whereas the real Kahn had wit and charm, as well as being sexy.  Benedict’s Kahn was more of a robot than a humanoid.

I saw a few reviews for this movie when it first hit the cinemas, but I wanted to wait until it came out on DVD and give it a chance, being a trekkie myself, but I have to say, I’m totally disappointed in it.

I give Star Trek Into Darkness, 2 out of 5 stars, and that’s just for the special effects and the pleasure of seeing Karl Urban again.

Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter – Movie Review

abe lincoln


I’ve been wanting this DVD for a while and finally found it in Tesco the other day.  Starring Benjamin Walker as good old Abe, this movie charts his life, from his earliest years as a young kid, to the day he dies.  What this movie centres upon however, is his ‘other’ job, that of vampire hunter.

There is another character, Henry Sturges, played by Dominic Cooper and I like this character more than Abe.  Sturges gives Abe his ‘jobs’ which means he tells him which vampires to hunt down and kill, and he taught Abe how to be a vampire hunter/killer.  You get the distinct impression that he is Abe’s mentor and teacher. Halfway through the film, you find out Sturges is himself a vampire who wants to kill others like himself in revenge for his girlfriend being killed by them.  As vampires can’t kill other vampires (that’s a totally new bit of vamp lore), he recruits others to hunt for him.

Now, I’m not into vampires much, apart from Blade, who is so gorgeous it should be illegal, but I digress.  Even though vamps aren’t my thing, I really enjoyed this movie.  It’s quite gory so anyone who has a weak stomach may not be able to cope, but the gore is in context all the time, which is a rarity in movies today.

There is a sequence towards the end of the film, which takes place on a train and the special effects have been done very well.  It is very atmospheric without being spooky, although the vampire make up has been done with a slightly heavy handed approach.  They look a little cartoon-ish when in full vamp mode and not like real people with fangs.  They also behave like crazed beasts, which spoils it for me.  Personally I prefer vampires to be more real and more sinister.

I love the very end of the film, where Sturges offers Abe the chance to become immortal, so they can fight vampires for eternity.  Abe turns  him down and goes off with his wife to the theatre and you’re left realising that this was the night he was murdered.

Great fun, good effects (apart from the vamp make up) and I give it 4 stars.

GI Joe Retaliation – Review



This film finally came out on DVD and Blue Ray last week.  Starring Dwayne The Rock Johnson, Bruce Willis and all the usual characters, I’d been waiting for this ever since Dwayne announced he was to be in it.

The Joe’s as they are called in the movie, find themselves being hunted down by an imposter posing as the President.  All but three of them are killed, the character Snake Eyes having been away at the time, on another mission, escapes too.  Snake Eyes and Jinx are sent on a mission to capture Storm Shadow, which involves some fantastic action that takes places in the mountains.  Loads of abseiling and other impossible feats while dangling from a wire, ensure this sequence is a white knuckle ride.

Dwayne Johnson’s character, Roadblock, is a very typical Dwayne Johnson character.  Always the guy in charge, a permanent sour expression on his face and the usual Johnson-esque attempt to be humerous which just always seems to fail to be actually funny.  C’mon Dwayne, have you no more depth to your acting?  Can you not play a character that has any real depth?  These roles are getting seriously old buddy.

This movie delivers all the fighting, explosions and action that you would expect from such a tale and it is fun and exciting.  There is a great twist involving Storm Shadow, which I sincerely hope they build on, should there be further sequals.  There is the ever present and rather shmaltzy ‘proud to be a Murican’ theme that tends to run through most American made films these days, but if you can ignore that, this film does provide some fun entertainment.

Loads of action sequences, guys in cool costumes, big guns to give the guys a hard on, and, the best thing of all, no sex or love interest.  That fact alone, encourages me to give this movie 4 stars.

Movie Review – Sunshine

sunshine (3)


This 2007 movie, directed by Danny Boyle, was on tv last night and with nothing else worthy of my attention, I decided to watch it.  I’d never heard of it before but the very brief blurb on the tv guide website intrigued me.  It sounded just sci fi enough to interest me.

It stars Cillian Murphy, Rose Byrne, Cliff Curtis and Chris Evans, amongst others and centres around our own sun, which is dying.  The powers that be, decide to send a nuclear bomb (why do American movie makers think nuclear bombs solve everything?) strapped to a spaceship in the hopes of re-igniting our life giving star.

Also relevant to the story is the fact that a previous mission failed to release the bomb and also failed to return to Earth.

I was delighted to find the action begins right at the start of the film, without any of the boring scene setting.  The inter personal dynamic between the characters is pretty good, if a little dramatic and I was very pleasantly surprised to listen to dialogue that I found believable and natural.

The character of Searle, played by the gorgeous Cliff Curtis, from the tv series Missing,  seems a little suspicious as the movie unfolds and I found myself believing that he would turn out to be a bad guy.  I was wrong and he gives his life to save the others.  They find the original lost spaceship and plan to use it to help them re-ignite the sun but soon discover it has been sabotaged and is unusable.  A video recording made by one of the crew of the original craft seems to indicate that he went nuts and killed his crew members and sabotaged the ship.

The cast also includes Michelle Yeoh, of Babylon AD fame, who plays a character named Corazon.  Her character is a little weak and I feel she had little to bring to the table in this movie.  Another thing that disappointed me was that each character was the only one who could fulfill his/her particular role.  I’d have thought in a real life situation, NASA would ensure many crew members could fulfill different roles, in case of accidents or death etc.  Still, I know it’s a movie so let’s move on.

I really enjoyed this movie, apart from the end.  I found the introduction of the nutjob from the previous spaceship, and his subsequent behaviour, was too silly.  The movie makers went a bit overboard in making him a fully functioning wacko and it made me cringe.

Everyone dies in the end, which pleased me and made up for the fact that yet again, one lone person saves the day with seconds to spare (groan).  The movie is atmospheric without resorting to ridiculously low light levels which is a very annoying habit movie makers have when they don’t want to bother with effects (or can’t afford them).  The dialogue is good and the story simple but well played.

I’d recommend it.

Movie Review – Prometheus



I watched my dvd of Prometheus for the second time last night.  I purchased it as soon as it became available on dvd and was excited to see it.  After the first viewing I was a bit disappointed and discovered that the general opinion ‘out there’ in cyber space was similar to my own.  I’d been led to believe that Prometheus was a sort of ‘prequel’ to the Alien series but my first viewing didn’t really seem to give me what I’d expected – an explanation of what happened before Alien 1.

So yesterday I was bored and decided to watch it again and I have to say, I enjoyed it much more the second time around and I ‘got’ the clues that link it to Alien.

The first big clue comes when the crew of the Prometheus enter a large chamber and find this:-



As soon as I saw it, and in fact even when I first watched it I recognised this scene, I realised that this was in the first Alien movie.  See this pic, taken from Alien 1.



As the story in Prometheus unfolds, we find out that the tunnels and chambers the crew have found is actually a spaceship, piloted by giant but surprisingly human-like aliens who go around the galaxy seeding worlds with the building blocks of life.  They discover that these beings were responsible for creating life on Earth.  These being also take it upon themselves to revisit the worlds they’ve previously seeded with life, to destroy their creations.  We are given no explanation as to why they should choose to do this, but it may be so that they can start over with improved ‘life stuff’ or they may have run out of uninhabited worlds to seed, or any number of other reasons.  We are left to presume that the ‘life stuff’ they use to seed worlds is different than the ‘stuff’ they use to destroy life.

Without giving too much away, it seems that the destructive ‘stuff’ sometimes gets out and destroys the beings themselves, hence the mummified remains of what has become known as the ‘space jockey’ from Alien 1 in the shot above.

In Prometheus, we get a similar shot to the iconic scene in Alien 1 with all the alien eggs basking in the mist, only in Prometheus it’s ceramic jars of a black tar-like substance rather than eggs.  Remember that Prometheus pre-dates Alien and the creature we all know and love from the Alien series, hasn’t evolved from this original black substance yet.

The crew of the Prometheus discover that this particular alien spaceship was intending to revisit Earth with the intention of wiping out life and when they find one of the original beings still alive in cryo sleep and wake him up, he tries to continue with his plan.  It is then up to the remaining crew members to prevent this from happening.

We are also treated to another ‘evil android’ in Prometheus like the one in Alien.  This time he’s called David and seems a bit more human in his understanding of emotions but still there’s always something creepy about him that screams “I’m a bad guy, don’t for fuck’s sake trust me,” only the crew do trust him, of course.

Charlize Theron’s character Meredith Vickers is, in my own personal view, totally unnecessary to the movie.  Whenever the character appeared I found myself groaning with irritation and twice used the opportunity to go and make a cup of coffee.  I was so glad her character died, thereby ensuring she doesn’t return in any future prequel sequels.

Another tie to Alien is the sole surviving female at the end of the movie who, carrying the severed head of David, the android who has informed her that this planet has other alien spacecraft waiting to be discovered, decides to take off in one of them and head for wherever it is the giant humanoid beings originated from, which leaves the way nicely open for a sequel to the prequel.

The dynamic between the crew members is a bit hammy and we have the stereotypical testosterone fuelled arguments between the males and the secret evil doings of  David the android and Meredith Vickers, all of which are completely predictable.  There are two crew members who are supposed to be highly educated scientists but both behave like 15 year old chavs on cannabis.  I would expect more of Ridley Scott.  This seems to be a recurring thing in today’s high budget American made movies – little attention to plausible dynamic between characters and dependence upon expensive effects.

If you watched Prometheus when it came out and didn’t like it.  Give it another go and watch a bit more closely.  You might very well enjoy it much more, I did.

One more thing – if this wasn’t connected to the Alien series, I would very probably still hate it.  As a movie in its own right, it sucks cock but as a prequel to Alien with answers to some of the questions we all have about the origins, it’s not bad.

Movie Review – Skyfall



My mother came to stay with me for three weeks in early February to make it up to me for not spending Christmas with me and to help me celebrate my birthday.  Whilst she was here, she bought me a copy of Skyfall, the latest James Bond movie, on dvd.

My parents were always Bond fans and used to go to the local cinema every time a new Bond movie came out and I remember suffering the boredom of having to tag along.  I grew up hating Bond and all that he stood for and have always said that there’s only one Bond film I like – On Her Majesty’s Secret Service with George Lazenby.

Despite this fact, and largely due to the fact that I love the title song by Adele, Skyfall caught my attention and I decided that when it became available on dvd, I would buy it and give it a go.  I approved of Daniel Craig’s appointment as Bond and that helped my decision too.  Well, mother pre empted this by purchasing it for me and I watched it a few days ago.

I loved it.

For the first time ever, we see Bond as more of a ‘person’ than a robot killing machine without emotion.  He’s flawed in this movie, he suffers emotionally, he’s human.  Daniel Craig is not bad looking (although I’m not into white men, he isn’t bad) and he has a great body and fabulous arse, which always helps.  We learn about his life before he became 007, his troubled childhood and that helped me connect with him in a way I’ve never been able to before.  Characters who are troubled, who struggle with emotional baggage and still win through, always turn me on and if they’re nice lookers too, all the better.

The only bit that lets it down is Naomie Harris’s character, Eve Moneypenny.  Her acting in this role sucked cock and her character was weak.

I’d give this 8 out of 10.