Guardians Of The Galaxy -Volume 2

Now I know that I may be in the minority here, but for me – the first Guardians Of The Galaxy, while okay did not really do it for me. It was comic book thin and the two stand out characters Groot (Vin Diesel) and Rocket (Bradley Cooper) were what made me hope for more from the sequel Guardians Of The Galaxy Volume 2. It is what made me return for a second viewing.

Well as before these are the two stand out performances in this movie too. The signs at the start were good, Kurt Russell is now on board – so I hoped that his appearance would mean that this movie might surpass the previous one.

This movie centres around trying to keep this new team/family call it what you will together, while still on the personal search for Peter Quill at least (Chris Pratt) for his missing father.

Now this plot point was given away in the trailer, so it can’t really be classed as a spoiler- it turns out that Ego The Planet (Kurt Russell) is his long lost father.
Mmmh, this is not the first time that reveal has happened in a sci – fi movie has it!! It turns out while Peter and Ego are trying to make up for lost time, that Ego – well Ego by name – Ego by nature!!
Again this happened before in another sci – fi franchise.
Dad is bad, very bad.

This movie as before has a pretty good soundtrack – Volume 2 – Mix Tape. For me at least as before this was one of the highlights of an otherwise just okay movie. For me the movie felt like the audio tape was running at too slow a speed. So please Marvel when you return, do better on number 3 as mentioned to in the closing credits, because based on this – on Volume 3, I may be turning the volume down.

The sci – fi genre deserves better.

Their Finest

This one for those who like their movies set in a particular time period and this movie does it pretty well too.

I heard another reviewer comment about the lead actress in this movie – Gemma Arterton, that she should be celebrated a lot more. I have to say that I agree, she is a much under appreciated actress. She was one of the best things about a movie from a while ago The Girl With All The Gifts, very different in storyline to this one. But she is on top form here too.

Now to the story at hand, we find ourselves in blitz – ravaged London during the Second World War. a married woman (Gemma Arterton) decides to go for a job for what she thinks a secretarial position at The Ministry Of Information film division. Someone has read something she wrote once in a newspaper and feels that she would quite good at writing from a female point of view and injecting this insight into some of the ministry’s propaganda film output. Quite a lot women go to the cinema, she is told and they feel that they have yet to appeal to this part of the audience based on their current form.

Although she is ” married “to a struggling artist, during her time working on an a movie about the Dunkirk evacuation, she finds herself more and more attracted to screenwriter (Sam Claflin).

This movie deftly mixes the lighthearted with the tragic. While what happens on the film set illicits laughter, we are at war and every so often it rears its ugly head and reminds of that strange juxtaposition of comedy and tragedy that can happen during wartime.

So if this mix of period drama, comedy and tragedy appeals to you, then it’s  “One in the eye to Adolf” and “Jolly good show, what!!”

 

Fast and Furious 8

What sort of movies do you like to go and see at the cinema? Deep and meaningful or just purely popcorn and chocolate munching?

Why am I asking this question? Well this movie fits very surely into that category, know that going in and you will have a high – octane, speedy fun ride. Just occasionally when we go to the cinema we just want to sit back and be visually entertained . This is like watching a movie version of a video driving game and this movie knows that this is the primary audience that will be going to see it and it delivers this to them.

I think that this is part of the reason why we have now reached number eight in the franchise, we know what we are going to get and don’t seem to mind anyway. “Entertain me ” is what we are saying to the movie maker. Is it the best of the bunch, well I think the fact that we are sitting in the cinema seat for number 8 means that we don’t mind too much.

This movie runs for about 130 minutes which actually sounds like too long for this type of movie, but surprisingly that time passes quickly so they must be doing something right. The throttle pedal is pushed down at the start and is pretty much kept down for most of its running time.

What is the storyline? Do you actually care? Well just in case you do here’s a summary.

Dom (Vin Diesel) & Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) have got hitched and the rest of the crew are trying to settle into a normal life, yeah that’s going to happen,not!!
Dom receives a phone call from a nefarious and mysterious woman called Cipher
(Charlize Theron) and Dom has to betray the rest of his crew. Why? That’s the extent of it.

So sit back, strap on your seatbelt and enjoy the ride!! I certainly did.

Just a little word, this movie is a 12A cert, so if you are bringing the smaller people along maybe just bring the older ones. The younger ones – I hear there is a new Peppa Pig movie out.

Free Fire

There is not much new at the cinema this week, so I thought that I would share my mid week movie choice. Free Fire or as I have dubbed it ‘ Do You Really Trust Me? ‘, which pretty much explains the plot such as it is. Most action movies work up to this point but Free Fire sustains it for most of it’s 90 minutes run time.

If you are looking for more than that then maybe you maybe you should look elsewhere.

So here goes with review, Justine (Brie Larson) sets up a meeting in a warehouse in Boston between some Irish guys and a gang led by Vernon (Sharlto Copley) and Ord , Armie Hammer. Vernon and Ord plan to sell some guns to them, but it quickly becomes clear that the trust between all of them gathered in the warehouse is not high.

Who shoots firsts matters not, but faster than you can say ” My gun accidently fired” it pretty turns out into a shootout for survival. Now I would like to say that there is more to it than that, but that is pretty much it along with a bit of nervous giggly humour thrown in and mixed liberally through with over the top cartoonish violence.

If you liked a certain Quentin Tarantino from some years ago then you are sure to enjoy this movie, otherwise maybe your movie choice for this week should be A Quiet Passion – it’s a nice quiet thoughtful tale about some of the life of American poet Emily Dickinson and her poetry. No danger of a shootout there!!

Ghost In The Shell 2017

Apologies first for not supplying you with your normal movie review last week, but all is right with the world again as we now resume where we left off.

This movie is based on a Japanese Manga comic which was then turned into a Japanese Anime animation all the way back in 1995, still with me are you? This movie has taken it’s time being turned into a live action movie, in fact nearly 10 years as it turns out. Has the wait been worth it? Make that a partial yes.

Ghost In The Shell is kind of an apt title. There is no doubt that kudos should go for how this movie looks but is there anything beneath all that shiny visual magic. I certainly felt at times that I was in a video game or that the filmmakers just couldn’t get the movie Blade Runner out of their head. It is no doubt is sure to have inspired its look in some way.

So now to the actual story at hand in case you have not read the comic or seen the Anime movie. The part cyber, part human Major (Scarlett Johansson) has been created to be the ultimate soldier whose task is to thwart the nefarious activity of the criminal underworld.
Never mind your computer being hacked, in this future people have become so used to being upgraded with digital enhancements that humans themselves are falling prey to be targeted for the data that exists within their brains. Brain drain indeed!!

Finally I think the concept and the visuals are what stand out about this movie, but like Major’s character now that she is no longer human, it lacks a soul. Its like a visual realisation of a comic in that it is paper thin and ultimately disposable. Visual eye candy but nothing more sad to say. I was hoping for more.

Beauty And The Beast

A tale as old as….., well you know the rest I am sure and I am pretty sure you are singing the tune as I speak. There in lies an issue – with a such a well known and loved animation, how do you update it and bring it from the drawn page to something more akin to the real world. Some stories that work so well when animated as the audience go with you a lot easier can struggle when the leap is made.

Thankfully the basics were good from the start, a story that everyone knows and has grown up with and some really good sing-a-long songs. Also the fact Disney are quite adept now at bringing their animation classics to life helps greatly, they didn’t muck up The Jungle Book so the signs were good.

Let’s be honest here, I could lay out the storyline for this movie, but I am sure a much younger you fell asleep while either reading or was read this story  by an adult. From a young age these fairytales stories are quite literally the ones we grew up on and was probably the first experience of you learning what the difference between good and bad was.

There is a good reason why these stories are classics and thankfully Disney knows that well used term – if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. Whether you are 5 or 50 this movie transports you into this sort of fantasy land and you are absorbed by the magic of it all.

The term family film has been used many times but this movie sits perfectly happily alongside it’s animated predecessor without taking from why we liked that one to begin with. A family film that is truly for everyone in the family and sure to be a classic and watched over and over again and is there anything wrong with that!!

 

Kong – Skull Island

Before the opening credits start we hear the sound of buzzing planes and the sound of an ape’s roar, have we just stepped back more than a number of decades. Well we have just not as far as we initially think. The first scene finds us on a deserted island where an American and a Japanese World War Two pilot are continuing their version of the larger battle. But quicker than you can say there is a really large monkey on the horizon, we are fast forwarded to Vietnam War in the early 70’s just prior to the American withdrawl from that country.

John Goodman’s explorer character Bill Randa says needs to get back to this hidden island, so despite themselves his backers allow him one more roll of the dice.
Along with him he is accompanied by Brie Larson as Mason Weaver  – a Pulitzer Prize seeking photographer, Tom Hiddleston as Captain James Conrad, former SAS soldier, Samuel.L.Jackson as Lt.Col.Preston Packard with his band of U.S soldiers and finally some scientists along for good measure.

After reaching the island the soldiers and the scientists start to drop seismic charges from the army helicopters, to flush something from the dark green undergrowth. Well, nothing can go wrong there!! In the greatest understatement, one of the soldiers blurts out ” Was that a monkey”, yes it was and then some and he is none to happy about being disturbed.

This movie knows that this is not a movie that has a deep story to it, we just want to be entertained. It borrows from quite a few movies that came before and quite well as it turns out. Well, it appears that the giant ape is not the only thing that has been supersized on this island, you really do not want to holiday on this island. In fact for your own personal safety the quicker you can get off it the better, but this island does let people who land on it off that easily. This is a monster island for sure!!

You may be tempted to hop up as the credits roll at the end but linger a little while longer. Kong is a very big ape, but to paraphrase what someone said in another movie ” There’s always a bigger fish!!” or something like that. Roaaarh !!