17 November, 2014

Dracula Untold review

Genre: Dark Fantasy, Fantasy, Epic, Adventure, Action, Epic, Horror.
Starring: Luke Evans, Sarah Gadon, Dominic Cooper, Art Parkinson, Charles Dance, William Houston, Ferdinand Kingsley, Noah Huntley, Paul Kaye, Zach McGowan, Ronan Vibert, Diarmaid Murtagh, Thor Kristjansson, Joseph Long.
Year Of Release: 2014
Certificate: 15 (UK)
Runtime: 92 Minutes
Director: Gary Shore
Synopsis: "As his kingdom is being threatened by the Turks, young prince Vlad Tepes must become a monster feared by his own kingdom in order to obtain the power needed to protect his own family, and the families of his kingdom." IMDB


The reboot in the Universal Monsters franchise we all (well at least me) have been waiting for, and they decided to start with THE ultimate movie monster Dracula. This franchise comes at the right time, just when cinematic universes are on the up and up, and the Universal Monsters was and still is one of the most enjoyable franchises to date. 

Luke Evans truly carried this film from start to end, that is not to say that everybody else was poor, just that Evans was a complete and utter standout in his role as Vlad Tepes. He truly came across as an emotionally driven man willing to do absolutely anything for his family and people, even if that meant the ultimate sacrifice of himself. The progression that Vlad has throughout the film was great, he went from Prince of a calm and quiet land to the head of his own domineering army.

With that all being said about Evans, doesn't mean I didn't enjoy other performances, Charles Dance for one was brilliant as Master Vampire, a truly terrifying performance I'm hoping will continue for more instalments in the franchise. I will say Cooper's character of Mehmed was a little bland in the way that there wasn't much progression on his behalf, however a bit bland he was played well by Cooper.

I'm a huge fan of the vampiric subgenre of Horror, but found it be getting a little diluted with boring modern relationship driven stories and forgetting about the true nature of the greatest movie monster of all time. This film is a brilliant mixture of both, while we get to see the emotional struggle of becoming such a creature, we also get to see how a man striving to protect his world can use his now animalistic attributes to fight many men especially in that scene when he defeats an army and casually walks back to his people like he done nothing. "Men don't fear swords. They fear monsters".

The cinematography was brilliant, it was a beautiful film to watch, it had a very artistic feel to it all the scenes made sense like they themselves were part of the story. There is a fair amount of computer generated scenes, but that's a given for the type of film it is, I usually advocate for practical over computer effects when possible. However, within this film the CG if the right approach it adds so much to the story, when Vlad flicks into bat mode to move quicker is phenomenal to watch.

Overall, a great watch, I personally enjoy every second of the film, I will say it was not what I expected but in a good way I really enjoyed more than I ever imagined. I'm surprised this film only has a 6.3 (at time of writing) on IMDB, I understand this isn't a complete game changer in the genres it covers, however, I feel the low rating is unwarranted.

In recent years there has been countless attempts to reboot classic fairytales into modernised Horror's, Gary Shore on his directorial debut, yes this is his debut film, what a way to kick it off, has done a great job. I was extremely apprehensive and equally excited about the prospect of the reboot, if this film is just the introduction to this world I can not wait to see where it goes. Seriously hope Luke Evans and Charles Dance sign on for further instalments after that ending!


Guardians Of The Galaxy review

Genre: Action, Adventure, Comedy, Science Fiction, Comic, Superhero.
Starring: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel, Lee Pace, Karen Gillan, Michael Rooker, Djimon Hounsou, John C Reilly, Glenn Close, Benicio Del Toro.
Year Of Release: 2014
Certificate: 12A (UK)
Runtime: 122 Minutes
Director: James Gunn
Synopsis: "A group of space criminals must work together to stop the fanatical villain Ronan the Accuser from destroying the galaxy." IMDB

So here we are, Marvel's riskiest project? Or was it? In my honest opinion "Iron Man" will forever be their riskiest taking their own money and creating a film based on a character that wasn't their most successful in comic form. However, Guardians is a close second in the risky business category, I'm a pretty big Marvel fan myself (self proclaimed) and I had never heard of the Guardians until the time it was announced their was a film being made, since then I began to read up a bit and my excitement exploded.

While being said to be a part of the MCU Phase 2, you would also be able to watch this film as a stand alone and enjoy it just as much. The film doesn't get itself stuck into the intermingling movie crossovers like the rest of the MCU has done, actually unlike 95% of the MCU taking place on earth, after minutes into Guardians we are thrown deep, deep into space to not return to earth. The Avengers had hours and hours of pre story to the characters when the film was being made, Gunn had to create back stories and bring a team together in one film, an incredible feat which he seemed to do with ease while it took the MCU 5 films at roughly 10 hours, Gunn done that within 2.

The cast does and absolutely (inter)stellar job, yes I said interstellar, I used that pun deal with it ha. The entire cast is on their A games though, Pratt as Quill is one of the best castings in any MCU film since the franchise started his charismatic, funny, relate-able in a way portrayal of Peter Quill was incredible. Zoe Saldana as Gamora may seem like a bit more of a simple task, however her femme fatale badassery is second to none in recent years, however it is the rest of the Guardians who truly shine. Bradley Cooper absolutely steals the show as Rocket, his quick witted retorts and emotional completely really bring more than the gag of "oh a talking Racoon" to the screen and really create a character you care about. Dave Bautista really comes into his own, his performance is far superior to his previous straight-to-DVD displays, he really made Drax his own as for Vin Diesel as Groot there is not much you can really do with "I am Groot" however he still gives the characters a charm of his own. 

The film is easily Marvel's most beautifully stunning film, I can imagine George Lucas watching it thinking "if I made Star Wars today, I would win ALL the awards". I truly think, Gunn has changed the game completely when it comes to comedic based Comic adaptations, the tone of the film jumps between truly emotional to laugh your socks off to science fiction insanity, truly making Gunn a blockbuster director to keep an eye on. The soundtrack is another success by Gunn, it is by far the best I have ever personally heard blending incredibly with the gritty and beautiful cinematography.

Overall, the film was an incredibly fun watch filled with laughter, action, good acting and a solid story to boot. Which in the comic world you rarely get the whole collection, usually get a two out of four, however Gunn delivers potentially the best comic film of all time, some will argue the best. For me it's easily up there with the best, Chris Pratt gets to put his comical side on show and he delivers a great performance. You will laugh your ass off throughout while enjoy the beautiful visuals and great character development from the start, has a very Star Wars feel about it. Okay, I'll say, it is the modern Star Wars, it's more than just a comic film it's a space operatic, and Gunn should be insanely proud. I would LOVE him to board all the main Marvel based films that use space and give the Russo Brothers the earthly based films, this would result in the greatest film franchise ever in my opinion.


16 November, 2014

Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes review

Genre: Drama, Science Fiction, Action.
Starring: Andy Serkis, Toby Kebbell, Nick Thurston, Karin Konoval, Terry Notary, Doc Shaw, Judy Greer, Lee Ross, Jason Clarke, Gary Oldman, Keri Russell, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Kirk Acevedo, Jon Eyez, Enrique Murciano, Jocko Sims, Keir O'Donnell, Kevin Rankin, Lombardo Boyar.
Year Of Release: 2014
Certificate: 12A (UK)
Runtime: 131 Minutes
Director: Matt Reeves
Synopsis: "Ten years after a pandemic disease, apes who have survived it are drawn into battle with a group of human survivors." IMDB

After 2001's horrible attempt at a revival in the franchise, they saved it in 2011 with Rupert Wyatt's "Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes" brining in WETA Digital in order to create a more realistic look than actors wearing suits. WETA also returned to make the apes in the Dawn even better than Rise. 

I personally was a little apprehensive I thought the 2011 revival was less than desirable, I found the apes to be a below the standard expected in the modern blockbuster. However this time around in Dawn, the apes were incredible, if you were to watch not knowing they were CG, you would believe easily that these were real apes. Which really helps buy into the story, you feel like these apes truly are apes that have started evolving to rival humans, given they have been evolving rapidly over the 10 years since the ape revolution.

Some of the motion capture performances in Dawn were incredible, stand outs in that bracket well, obviously one had to be Andy Serkis, we all know he is the go to man for mocap and this film is no different for others. The other stand out was Toby Kebbell who is a newbie to the franchise playing the returning Koba (played by Christopher Gordon in Rise), Kebbell was phenomenal as Koba this time around, Koba is physically and mentally broken and Kebbell shows that in his performance it oozes intimidation and fear in equal measure, up there with some of the great performances by Serkis himself in my opinion.

The complete contrast of Serkis' Ceaser an ape of compassion, love and understanding to Kebbel's Koba was an incredible watch on the big screen. Their performances really help you feel like you're watching apes, something Rise was lacking I found. The technical heights (even literally) that Dawn reaches are incredible, some of the CG in the film will rival the best you have seen.

Not to say that wasn't a few parts of the film that were a let, one scene that comes to mind included two light machine guns, you have to see to believe the mediocrity of it. It is something you expect to see in a B movie or a spoof film, didn't really feel right in this blockbuster master-class. Plus the complete under usage of Gary Oldman, in my opinion by far the greatest actor in the film, I mean nobody even comes close to his ability to me, and to under use him was a travesty. Second time this year a huge blockbuster has underused their best actor, "Godzilla" did the same with Cranston.

Overall, the film was a great watch, packed to the rafters with action and drama with a nice splicing of character development. Director Matt Reeves makes the most of all things at his disposal (Oldman excluded) and uses them beautifully making one of those rare occurrences in which a sequel is superior than is predecessor. Highly advise this film, making my excitement for the third more than I ever expected after the first, Matt Reeves has brought a new lease of life to the apes franchise which I'm hoping is a long lasting franchise. If you didn't like the first I will say Kebbell and Serkis' performances will blow you away in this film along with the CG and the story.


15 November, 2014

Daniel Bruhl joins Captain America: Civil War

Before I get started on this small piece, I just have to say, EVERY time I see that ^^^ banner my heart skips a beat. I still can't believe we are getting Civil War! Anyway, back to why we are here, according to reports Daniel Bruhl has taken a mysterious role in the upcoming "Captain America: Civil War", Kevin Feige spoke about the casting;

"With Daniel's ability to deliver intense, nuanced performances, we knew we had found yet another great actor to share the screen with some of our biggest heroes," he had to say.

Other reports are also suggesting that he has signed on to not just feature in "Captain America: Civil War" he has also signed on to feature in "Doctor Strange". The main name being tossed around is he could play Red Skull, how? I do not know, however, I do kind of like the idea of it. That is if Hugo Weaving will not return, if he will then I'm sorry Mr. Bruhl no Red Skull for you!

James Gunn talks Guardians Of The Galaxy 2 and Infinity War!

In a recent interview with MTV, James Gunn spoke about how "Guardians Of The Galaxy 2" will NOT pave the way for the upcoming "Avenger: Infinity War Part I & II". Check out what he had to say;
"I don’t feel beholden to that stuff at all," Gunn said. "I think it's really about the Guardians and what they are doing. We're not subservient to the Avengers. 'Guardians 2' is not a movie that's made to move toward 'Infinity War.' It's something that's made to move toward future cosmic movies, so I don't feel that that is something that affects me that much."

Gunn told Sky Movies that he and Marvel had "talked about all sorts of possibilities for a crossover," and that he knew "what the basic plan is... it could always change at any minute."

"That could or could not include a couple of Avengers and a couple of Guardians meeting up, or all of the Avengers and all of the Guardians,"
he added during the July interview. "But, we do inhabit the same universe and they're pretty big personalities that are likely to, at some point or another, run into each other."