25 March, 2015

Interstellar review

Genre: Sci-Fi, Epic, Science Fiction, Adventure.
Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hatheway, David Gyasi, Wes Bentley, Bill Irwin, Josh Stewart, Jessica Chastain, Michael Caine, Casey Affleck, John Lithgow, Leah Cains, Topher Grace, Matt Damon.
Year Of Release: 2014
Certificate: 12 (UK)
Runtime: 169 Minutes
Director: Christopher Nolan
Synopsis: "A team of explorers travel through a wormhole in an attempt to ensure humanity's survival." IMDB

Christopher Nolan does it again, it is like Nolan was destined from his early days to go down in history as one of the greats, not only is the man creating history making films he is also partially responsible for the revival of the comic world we know and love today. Interstellar isn't Nolan's first Science Fiction film, that was Inception in 2010, however this is his first full fledged Science Fiction in my opinion, no disrespect to Inception.

If you have been a fan of Nolan's previous work, which if you are not, then Interstellar is the one that will make you fall in love with this genius' work. The film is a complex story driven film that will leave you in awe of not just the complexity of the story, but the sheer beauty of what Nolan and his crew have created. I do not want to give too much of the story away, however, I will say that the film is full of twists and turns in typical Nolan fashion, but he doesn't rely on them to keep the film moving forward. The pacing of the film was incredible, while you will know you are being pulled in by twists, you tend to forget that is happening by Nolan's use of action, drama and visuals you can not even begin to imagine. 

I have said previously I was not one for soundtracks or scores, however, after watching this film I truly understand why many people are in love with that aspect of films. Hans Zimmer delivers a score that does itself what Nolan does with his script, the music is so beautifully pace that you are drawn in deep by it even though it did kind of remind me of a 70/80's Horror film. It wasn't just Zimmer's score that was a beautiful addition to the film, the use of sound while in space, well the lack there of was incredible. Outside of the spaceship Nolan went with the use of no sound at all, which really was a terrifying choice, any scene outside the ship really makes you feel insignificant as a creature. The Alien tagline "In space no one can hear you scream" will play on your mind every time the camera switches to the exterior. I could continue to talk about the sound, but I can guarantee I would run out of superlatives in no time.

This is my first time experiencing Matthew McConaughey in his new lease on acting, I was personally more used to his acting from Two For The Money, How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days and Contact not exactly roles that he shone in. So talk of his revived and seemingly meteoric increase in acting ability was something I was apprehensive about, I am to happy to say my apprehensions were extremely wrong about Mr McConaughey's acting ability, he was completely stellar (yes I did just say that, deal with it) I was pleasantly surprised with how far he has came, the emotions he went through in the film were completely believable and felt relatable. On the other hand I have never been a lover of Anne Hatheway's acting, I have always found her to be boring and this film was no different, she was very monotone and annoying and just not good in my opinion. The rest of the cast a collective were pretty good as well, I mean can you really go wrong with Michael Caine, Jessica Chastain, John Lithgow and Matt Damon? I for one can not see how you can. Plus CASE and TARS, two robots you will absolutely love and that I can say with 100% certainty, they were hilarious and great additions to the film.

Now onto what makes Interstellar an instant classic, the visual effects, I say visual effects they are more art than an addition to the film. They are not like the visual effects you will see in your every day film, these are truly a spectacle to behold, they will go down in history as some of the greatest visual effects in any film. There was scenes I will not divulge details as to not take away from their beauty, that you will just sit back in your chair and exhale in just awe and amazement. Some of the scenes were so beautiful I would even go as far as to say they would rival Geoffrey Unsworth's cinematography we seen in "2001: A Space Odyssey" that may seem like a bold statement to make but if you have seen both films I hope you can see where I am coming from. 

Overall, the film was a truly a thrill ride, from the ultimate heights of landing on new planets looking for a new home for the human race, to the complete lows of losing the last hope for humanity. While the visual effects are truly out of this world, you do not forget throughout the entire film that is at heart a story about a father and daughter. The film should not only appeal to Science Fiction fans, it should be appealing to all films alike. A mixture of a beautiful story, great acting and unfathomable special effects that leave you craving more science fiction in your life. This film is truly a modern masterpiece and it pains me to say I missed it in the cinema, because this on the big screen would have been one of the best cinematic experiences in anybodies lives.

21 March, 2015

Wes Craven to adapt The Disciples for TV

Before the first issue of The Disciples has even hit the shelves, the comic is being adapted into a Television Show with Wes Craven set to be executive producer on the show according to Hollywood Reporter. The new comic is being released by Black Mask Studios and is the work of Steve Niles known for 30 Days Of Night and Christopher Mitten known for the Wasteland comic. The book with debut this May, here is a synopsis of what to expect;
"Dagmar, Rick, and Jules, intrepid private eyes/bounty hunters, have been hired by a high ranking Senator to retrieve his teenage daughter who’s run off to join a mysterious religious cult. This is no ordinary cult though. In the near future of The Disciples, the ultra-wealthy have become true Masters of the Universe by colonizing moons throughout the solar system. Billionaire industrialist McCauley Richmond is one such colonist: he’s built a new society on Ganymede, a moon of Jupiter, where his flock of cultists can have the religious freedom to worship him. But when the team reaches Ganymede in their Starship Venture, they discover something has gone horribly wrong!"
Source: THR

Downton Abbey coming to an end

After 5 hugely successful series, ITV's Period Drama "Downton Abbey" will come to an end after their sixth series according to TV Line. I personally have no interest in the show, however, it is hugely successful and I can imagine a lot of people will be upset the show is coming to an end, I mean it has won countless awards since its start in 2010.

“At its heart, television is about storytelling, and ‘Downton Abbey’ is certainly storytelling at its finest,” said Paula Kerger, PBS president and CEO when a sixth season was first announced (but not confirmed to be the last). “Along with our member stations, PBS can’t wait to share the next season of Downton drama with our audiences.”

Source: ComingSoon

18 March, 2015

Edge Of Tomorrow review

Genre: Action, Thriller, Military, Science Fiction.
Starring: Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt, Bill Paxton, Brendan Gleeson, Kick Gurry, Dragomir Mrsic, Charlotte Riley, Jonas Armstrong, Franz Drameh, Masayoshi Haneda, Tony Way, Noah Tyler,
Year Of Release: 2014
Certificate: 12 (UK)
Runtime: 113 Minutes
Director: Doug Liman
Synopsis: "A military officer is brought into an alien war against an extraterrestrial enemy who can reset the day and know the future. When this officer is enabled with the same power, he teams up with a Special Forces warrior to try and end the war." IMDB

I will start off by saying, in my personal opinion I think Tom Cruise is one of the most overrated and overhyped actors I have ever known. There is very few times I actually enjoy a film he is in, and when I do enjoy that film it is usually story orientated or his supporting cast around him.

Doug Liman is a very hit and miss director, well at least for me, he has had some success in "Swingers", "Mr & Mrs Smith" and "The Bourne Identity", then some less than enjoy work with the likes of "Jumper" and "Getting In". Anyway, back to what matters, Liman's jump back into the world of Science Fiction, this time around he truly got it right. He really brought on his experience of character driven story like in Bourne and comedic repartee as seen in Mr & Mrs Smith, using past elements really helped him make a thoroughly enjoyable film.

The film really made Cruise take a less than leading role we have seen in previous films, he shared the screen time pretty equally with the wonderfully talented Emily Blunt, Cruise plays Major William Cage a high ranking American military pen pusher essentially, on the other hand Emily Blunt plays Sergeant Rita Rose Vrataski a highly decorated soldier who the humans believe is their secret weapon to take down the alien invasion. 

The special effects in this film were phenomenally good, the great thing about them too was they were not used as a crux to keep a boring film alive. They were an integral part of the film, however, they were not over used, they were used to tell the story along with the brilliant story. The quality of the special effects were of that much of a high standard, if felt like playing a video game, they were a beautiful spectacle. Liman uses amazing effects to really sell this as a world ravaged by alien invasion and destruction of major cities, the battlefield landscape they used conveys the pure and utter destruction these "mimics" can unleash on humanity. The battle scenes are beautifully executed unlike some of the Sci-Fi blockbusters in recent years *cough* Transformers *cough*, they are masterfully done and not a muddle together in some sort of blur in which you can not make out characters.

The trailers really never gave this film the justice it deserves, well not for me anyway, they painted a pretty dull attempt at Science Fiction with Comedy with Action elements. The film is a great Action/Sci-Fi based blockbuster with great elements of Comedy which are used to break up the despair of "the end of days" feel. The on screen relationship between Cruise and Blunt was great, and it's not often I compliment Mr Cruise, however in this event he had a great relationship with Blunt. Blunt's character Rite not surprisingly nicknamed "full metal bitch" is an utter bad ass not to be messed with and she oozes alpha female, while also having an air of vulnerability that makes her a very relatable and believable character. Also Bill Paxton and Brendan Gleeson are usually a great addition to any cast they appear, this is no exception to that, they were great in their roles of Master Sergeant Farell (Paxton) and General Brigham (Gleeson) while they do not exceed the roles and do something we haven't seen before they do make them their own.

Story was something I was worried about with this film going into it, I expected the use of the "time loop" to be played out and become the constant go to, in order to keep a boring story alive. Boy was I wrong, from the get go the story really pulls you and keeps you excited without becoming overly gloomy or depressing in light of the impending doom from an alien invasion. Instead, the story thrives on wit, action and drama, all the makings of a great summer blockbuster which this really turned out to be. The story flows well together without the overused trope of twists and turns, while still leaving you guessing what could happen next, not many obvious occurrences take place in the story. Plus it was good to see a movie with a beginning, middle and end, no messing around setting up potential details for spin-offs or leaving the ending opening for cashing in on sequels, feel good to see a film that actually ends.

A lot of reviews I have read in the past couple of months have made fleeting comments about how it is inspired by video games, and they are not wrong, the entire film feels like you're playing a video game and that is not a bad thing. Especially for my fellow gamers out there, who like may also be a little disappointed in how video game adaptations have been a bit below par as a whole. However, this while not based on a video game really thrives on all the video game elements that make gaming so great. If you look at Empire Magazine's review of the film they said "When Cage (Cruise) awakens into the first day of his enforced demotion (also the second-to-last of his life), he is effectively starting from a save point. When, eventually, a close encounter on that bloody beach with a tentacle-flailing, blast-furnace mouthed “alpha” — the end-of-level boss — causes his health bar to retract to zero, we snap back to that save point, and he must ‘play’ the two days again. With each replay, he must learn how to survive to reach the next ‘level’ (to ultimately meet the end-of-game boss), although, paradoxically, just as we learn from our mistakes in life, he must learn from his deaths. (If you’ve ever sunk days of playtime into a Dark Souls game, you’re guaranteed to sympathise.)" Which is 100% what I would have said, just less professionally written ha.

Overall, the film was a purely entertaining two hour ride of action, drama and laughs (actually funny lines in such a serious story), it was a lot better than I was expecting, I had a feeling I would like it maybe as a passing "yeah, that was okay", I was SO far off on that. This was genuinely one of the better Action/Science Fiction films I have seen in a while, especially a newer released on. Some may consider the film a "popcorn flick", and in some respects they are right, however the film has a bit more substance than your typical popcorn flick, this has a more complete feel about it. As I said I don't enjoy Cruise's acting, however this was more bearable due to Blunt and the pure brilliance of the film, that being said any male action star could have played the role and it would have been a bit better in my opinion not enough to really change anything though.

23 February, 2015

30th Film Independent Spirit Awards winners

Best Feature – Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

Director – Richard Linklater for Boyhood

Lead Male – Michael Keaton for Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

Lead Female – Julianne Moore for Still Alice

Supporting Male – J.K. Simmons for Whiplash

Supporting Female – Patricia Arquette for Boyhood

Screenplay – Dan Gilroy for Nightcrawler

Cinematography – Emmanuel Lubezki for Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

Editing – Tom Cross for Whiplash

Best First Feature – Nightcrawler

First Screenplay – Justin Simien for Dear White People
John Cassavetes Award – Land Ho!
Documentary – Citizenfour
International Film – Ida
Robert Altman Award – Inherent Vice

Special Distinction Award to Foxcatcher

Piaget Producers Award –  Chad Burris, Elisabeth Holm and Chris Ohlson

Kiehl’s Someone to Watch Award – H., directors Rania Attieh & Daniel Garcia

Lenscrafters Truer Than Fiction Award – The Kill Team, director Dan Krauss