Alien: Covenant review

Synopsis

The crew of a colony ship, bound for a remote planet, discover an uncharted paradise with a threat beyond their imagination, and must attempt a harrowing escape.
— imdb

As one of those people who grew up watching - and enjoying - the first two of the Alien movies (The third I really enjoyed visually with its grimy, grungy atmosphere but it lacked some aspects in story which where somewhat fixed by the release of the 'assembly cut' which made it a better iteration but still not perfect. The fourth movie lets just say it was very 'meh'.) I could appreciate the opening title sequence for what it was. A resetting of tone back to the traditional roots of the 'Alien' movies with its riff on Jerry Goldsmiths opening title score for 'Alien'.

However, after this brief interlude we appear back into 'Prometheus' territory with its sterile white backgrounds and talk of 'god' and 'creation' with a very appealing turn by Michael Fassbender as the android with aspirations of being a type of 'creationist' himself as he talks with his 'Father' played with intensity by Guy Pearce. It is the 'setting up' of David as a villain if we didn't already gleam that from the first movie 'Prometheus'.

I seem to be in a minority of those that quite enjoyed 'Prometheus' upon its release. While far from a perfect film it did, however, offer a visual feast for the eyes that carries on into 'Alien: Covenent'. Even though the story was lacking it did at least offer a somewhat different approach to the material.

We are firmly back in 'Alien' territory with bulkheads and long corridors, moody lighting and an ensemble cast of characters. It is these characters - mostly one dimensional - that join us on our journey to Origae-6 a habitable planet that has been ear marked for a settlement of colonists aboard the ship. A tragedy strikes aboard the ship and 'mother' is forced to wake the weary crew seven years before arriving to Origae-6. In a blink and you miss it cameo James Franco's character dies horribly in stasis setting forth the angst that Karen Waterston's character portrays for most of the running time.

The crew intercepts a transmission from another habitable planet which is closer to them so the newly appointed captain - played by Billy crudup, not relishing seven more years in stasis - sends a landing party to take surface samples and to survey it as an alternative colonising site for their mission.

foreign land.jpg

From here the atmosphere builds with a terrific looking setting as a back drop. The inevitable infection happens which sets in motion a tense sequence involving small alien hybrids that are menacing in their intensity and blood letting. The culmination of which sees the crew stranded from the mother ship with only the android 'David' for company who may have sinister intentions for them.

It is here that the movie will either lose momentum for you or have you intrigued. We spend a long time in cinematic terms visiting with 'David' as he proceeds to teach 'Walter' the new upgraded version of himself to play the flute - played admiringly with menace by Fassbender - who makes playing both roles seem effortless.

When the inevevitable set up happens and David's plan is revealed (Spoiled bizarrely by the teaser prologue released a week before the film opened) there is a race against time to abandon the planet and regroup with the mother ship.

The tension rises again when the full 'Alien' finally reveals itself and tries with all of its prowess and skill to thwart the escape. It is a skilled sequence that was somewhat sullied by showing a portion of it in the official trailer. I don't quite understand the necessity to do that. It seems to be a current trend in the marketing departments for big tent pole movies.

In essence Alien: Covenant is a hybrid movie not quite a full 'Alien' movie nor 'Prometheus'. It is a bastard child that tries to mesh the best of both movies and doesn't quite succeed. However, where it does succeed it does so quite well. In other areas you may feel slightly aggrieved as it plays as a 'best of' compilation from other 'Alien' movies without adding enough new things to the mix to make it truly great. For instants, I would say that the movie isn't scary. Gone are the long lingering build up of tension scenes. Instead there is fast cuts and quick kills purely for shock value. Ultimately, you need to build tension in order for these shock kills to really hit home. Without that its just some quick blood letting without context.

There seemed to be a few odd editing choices, ending scenes abruptly either for rating or time - the shower scene immediately springs to mind as one scene which does this - to the detriment of the movie for me. I will be interested to see if a directors cut of the movie improves on some of these scenes. 

There is hope for the franchise as the end coda does potentially set in motion an interesting story for the next installment. I am hopeful that Ridley Scott may build on this and hopefully try to create tension aswell as spectacle as I don't believe they are mutually exclusive.  

Ultimately like Prometheus before it Alien: Covenant is not perfect but it is very worthy of viewing on the big screen and does offer some interesting sequences. Good but had potential to be great.

Trailer below:

 

 

Pray for Death movie review

After a peace loving Japanese immigrant and his family become victims of a crime syndicate, a master ninja emerges.
— imdb

Recently I've been on an 80s nostagia trip re-watching movies from the era. Some bad and some good and some just weird. Its funny how your memories can colour what you thought of a movie. When I was a kid I was fascinated by ninjitsu, the martial art. I think I watched every movie ever made involving ninjas - yes even that one where all the ninjas wore neon coloured camouflage outfits. So in my mind Pray for death was a good movie. But what did I know I was only a kid and excited because I was allowed watch something violent. Cut to thirty odd years later and the movie has lost a bit of its luster but still somewhat enjoyable if not silly.

Akira Saito (Sho Kosugi) emigrates with his wife and children to America after he was pushed back for a promotion in his job. Wanting to be in control of his own destiny he plans to open a Japanese restaurant to feed the masses and heal his tortured dark soul after the death of his brother.

Upon arriving in America he visits his new home to find that he has moved into a demilitarized zone full of crack heads, drunks and drug dealers - the ideal place for a restaurant, Obviously.

Shit hole central

Shit hole central

Unbetknownst to Akira, a bunch of crooked cops store stolen goods in the abandoned restaurant - and one rogue cop decides to steel a priceless necklace names the 'Van atta necklace' (Named after the producer of the movie Don Van Atta) and a syndicate comes calling to get their property back headed by their cheif thug and sociopath called Limehouse Willie (Great Character name) played with great intensity by James Booth who also wrote the screenplay for the movie.

Limehouse Willie

Limehouse Willie

Cue all manner of Torture inflicted on Akira's Family. Kidnapping of his son, Running his wife over with a Car - Still Akira refuses to fight fire with fire instead he buries it, pushing the dark shadow away until Limehouse Willie Rapes and Murders his wife while she is in the hospital bed recovering.

Its a pretty nasty little scene and I believe that it was cut or at least trimmed from the DVD release in the USA and UK when it first came out. In fact I believe there was at least 7 minutes of cuts from the original movie which showed blood letting from attacks which were missing also. This would have made a viewing experience quite maddening - the editing is quite choppy in points to begin with so having frames lifted from the end of shots would have made it worse.

preparing for battle

preparing for battle

Akira vows to make the perpetrators 'Pray for death' and he unleashes his dark shadow and becomes a ninja once again. I actually quite enjoyed the title song 'Back to the shadow' by Peggy Abernathy It's really catchy and the entire song plays over a montage of Akira making weapons. It's one of my favourite scenes in the movie.

Although not a traditional head piece of a Ninja, a more hollywoodised interpretation but still it is quite iconic looking and when Akira adorns it he is going to battle and bring all that has crossed him to justice in a bloody singular fight of skill versus modern weaponry set in a mansion.

There is fun to be had watching Akira take down the bad guys with Arrows and shurikens. Although the choreography plays a little stilted at times, its still enjoyable for the most part. During the melee Limehouse Willie escapes and the chase is on culminating in a final battle to the death in an abandoned factory full of Maniquins.

I found this to be quite unbelievable as a ninja is essentially a highly trained and skilled assassin they wouldn't be caught by surprise - considering Limehouse Willie looked old and a little ragged it didn't play entirely real for me. But then again this is only a movie and you have to take certain artistic licence and dispel your beliefs.    

The end is nigh

The end is nigh

When the finale does arrive it is a suitably fitting end to Limehouse Willie when he is skewered to piece of lumber sliding head first into a mill saw as he begs Akira to 'Kill him' repeatedly. But there is no salvation.

Pray for death isn't a very well made movie for the most part. It was a part of cannon films trilogy of Ninja movies - which incidentally never followed a continuous story line - from Golan and Globus so they were made on the cheap and rushed out the door for profit.

There's an interesting Documentary about Cannon Films called Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films which is worth checking out as it gives you an interesting backstory to the creative forces behind some of these movies in the 80s and 90s. 

Whether 'Pray for death' is for you rests entirely on how far you can suspend your disbelief and if you expect everything to be perfect from the acting to the production on a movie - Sho Kosugi struggled with English and the more dramatic scenes so they tended to be flat and sometimes silly. But hey, you're not watching this type of movie for the thespian like acting. 

Enjoy!

 

Suicide Squad movie review

 
 
A secret government agency recruits a group of imprisoned supervillains to execute dangerous black ops missions in exchange for clemency, which inevitably leads to chaos.
— Imdb synopsis

REVIEW

Initially, as I watched the trailer for Suicide Squad with it's vibrant graphics and edgy, dark tone, I thought that DC had finally taken a chance and decided to deliver a comic book movie that was, at least, a little different. If the marketing was to be believed you were being treated to a humorous dirty dozen movie where the bad guys take on even badder guys in a battle to save mankind.

In reality that's only partially correct. When the movie is set up we think its going to be like the dirty dozen as it follows a similar setup but with one vital difference. And this is crucial: the setup is very disjointed, showing a series of flashbacks which introduce characters, some interesting, others not so. While trying to set up the plot, such as it is, featuring a round table of big wigs discussing the 'Suicide Squad' and the 'plot'.

Admitedly, the first forty minutes had me interested and hoping when we finally get to the main thrust of the plot that it builds on the beginning. Sadly, that was not the case. The rest of the movie is incoherent, with disjointed poorly edited scenes that look like they have been twisted and turned inside out hoping to find a movie in the process.

I did read that the director was 'Locked out' of the edit by Warner Brothers which may or may not have contributed to the scenes being delivered so poorly. This movie is a pale shadow to the enjoyable 'Fury' movie the director did last. Roumers where floating around the internet that there was 30 million dollars worth of reshoots. Now wheter or not this was forced reshoots by the studio trying to salvage a very expensive summer blockbuster or a director trying desparately to fix holes remains to be seen. Nevertheless, it still remains somewhat of a mess. But was it an enjoyable mess at least?

 
 

Well yes and no. I quite enjoyed whenever the Joker appeared on screen. He added a much needed lift to proceedings and Jared Leto's performances was suitably menacing and intense. But the biggest problem was that he was hardly in the movie at all. He merely drifts in and out of the picture and when he isn't in it, the movie begins to travel in a downward spiral. Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn adds a quirky, comic touch to proceedings and outshines everyone else around her.

 
 

The segmented editing style meant that the characters ended up being uninteresting, trading one liners over character. The biggest loser of this was Jai Courtney as boomerang, given nothing to do except try to be an Australian who says stupid things and robs banks. Its a nothing role for him and you wouldn't have lost anything plot wise if he wasn't in the movie at all. They didn't even bother giving Slingshot a proper introduction scene as one of the squad because less than ten minutes later he gets his head blown off in a scene that plays comically rather than serious.

As an ensamble piece it doesn't quite work. Some of the Suicide squad characters are interesting, others are just there for filler and serve no purpose at all. Arguably, it would have been a better movie without so many characters there to fill screen time and to have their 'bit'. If they are not contributing to the plot or building tension or obstacles then they shouldn't really be there in the first place. But therein lies the problem with ensemble pieces. Trying to give the requisite amount of time to each character. This is where suicide squad fails biggest, becoming a choppily edited piece trying to fit every scene together, rushing to the next to the detriment of story and continuity.

 
 

Finally, we have the main villain of the piece Enchantress. It would be fair to say that her scenes where misjudged, playing silly, at times, and others unintentionally comical. As a driving force for getting the suicide squad together she fails to elicit real interest and is quite incoherent. We get snippets of her ranting about building a 'machine' but we really get to know nothing else. And as a result the ending fails. Whether this is down to editing choices or a poorly written script is anyone's guess. This just adds to a series of choices that unfortunately didn't work out.

The movie did have potential which is the biggest loss. I can see where they were headed with it but through whatever reason it just didn't come together and no amount of pretty graphics or special effects or clever marketing will gloss over that fact. (Having said that I can easily see a special edition of the movie being released that is much longer in run time which may or may not help filling in plot points.)

In the end we were left with a movie that wasn't finished and didn't quite work. 

** out of 5

GhostBusters 2016 review

GHOSTBUSTERS 2016 REVIEW

 
Ghostbusters 2016 teaser logo

Ghostbusters 2016 teaser logo

I ain’t afraid of no ghost
— Ray Parker Jr
‘Following a ghost invasion of Manhattan, paranormal enthusiasts Erin Gilbert and Abby Yates, nuclear engineer Jillian Holtzmann, and subway worker Patty Tolan band together to stop the otherworldly threat.’  
— imdb
 

 

                                   

When I first read about the 'Reboot' to the 1980s movie 'Ghostbusters' I was more than a little apprehensive. To say that I'd had my fill of uninspired reboots would be an understatement.

When they released the first pictures for the main cast of the all female lead ghost busters, I at least thought maybe it might be funny. With the talent assembled here there was at least potential for comedy.

 
 

Then I watched the movie. Very few laughs were to be had. It felt more like 'throw as many jokes at the screen as possible and see what sticks' formula. And unfortunately not many did.

The movie follows a very similar set up of the original 'Ghostbusters', only deviating very slightly in story and set up. It should work. There should be moments of laugh out loud comedy but there isn't. There's a strain of comedy on display that, to me at least, isn't very funny. It seems the magic improvising potion got lost in translation resulting in a flat rendition of one liners that just don't really hit.

The actors themselves didn't seem to really know how to play with the characters and instead clutch at comedy straws that aren't really based upon character, instead wholly on props. A recurring 'joke' about wantons falls flat every time its used and its used a lot.

I'm not saying the original Ghostbusters movie was perfect, its not. But what it did get right was character. I engaged with them. I found them annoyingly like-able. And for the most part the comedy worked. 

So apart from the comedy was it an interesting movie to watch? Well, yes and no. I thought visually the hyper colourful images were very nice and the renders of the ghosts were nicely captured. At times, though, the actors seemed to be slightly confused in the CGI environment especially in the beginning of the movie at the haunted house.

Chris Hemsworth was probably the funniest actor in the movie, he plays an engagingly stupid receptionist called Kevin. You could tell he had fun with the role and the other actors bounced off him including Wiig who unashamedly undresses him with her eyes at every opportunity.

 
 

Kate Mc kinnon plays scientist Jillian Holtzman as an Egon lite character with a crazy edge. Her brand of humour didn't hit for me. Her one-liners falling flat and missing nearly every time. The expectation was clearly high as they cut to her character repeatedly for a one line zinger that doesn't quite work for the scene.

Which brings us nicely onto the movies Cameos featuring some of the original cast members. This and the constant call backs to the original movie were one of the movies biggest weaknesses. For me, they felt lazy, shoe horned into the movie without thought or conviction. Bill Murray sleep walks through his cameo seemingly uninterested in what's happening. And how he ends.. ahem spoiler alert is quite badly put together almost like the editor ran out of usable footage to complete the scene properly. One of a number of strange edit decisions in the movie. This admittedly, could be the result of scenes which were ad-libbed for comedy. 

When the finale rolls around, it becomes a CGI rampage with Ghouls and ghosts circulating downtown Manhattan. There is a big call back of sorts to the stay puff marsh mellow man from the original which did get a chuckle but ultimately the ending just came and went. It was a forgettable piece that wasn't really satisfying and deserved better. You could say that for most of the action scenes in the movie. They were nothing memorable and just ok. This seems to be the calling card of this movie and its lasting impression: nothing memorable.

1 and 1/2 * out of 5*

 

'Phage' book review

Disclaimer:The auther sent me his book to read in exchange for a review* I have tried to review the book without giving away plot spoilers as best I could. However if you like to know very little of the plot of books then stop reading*

Phage is a techno-thriller by author and microbiologist Dr Mark Tamplin. Phage tells the story of Doctor Sam Townsend a microbiologist who is caught in the midst of a conspiracy to frame him for criminal acts against the state and the impending release of a biological weapon engineered by a sociopathic USDA microbiologist called Owen designed to strike at the heart of the food chain releasing a deadly mutant bacterium engineered to kill the unsuspecting American public. Set in modern day, it poses an intriguing question: what if someone where to target our food source for a weaponised biological attack?

Indeed this question is what I found the most intriguing in Tamplin's book. It is the heart of the story and what drives the narrative. In a world ravaged by war and uncertainty the one constant, to a certain degree, is the fact that we can put uncontaminated food on our plates. However, if this did happen what would we do to protect ourselves? Or could we even stop it if this actually happened?

In the setup we are given a brief introduction to the protagonist of the story Dr Sam Townsend, a man living with a past who is focused on a world of microbes when the outer world - the world of his own existence - is microscopic like the microbes he spends so much time investigating. One of the problems I have with the story is the fact that we never really get to know Sam and at times I felt his dialogue exchanges with certain Characters were a little contrived and unrealistic. As the hero of the piece I felt we really needed to know him in order to root for him, otherwise we are following a somewhat slender character that we cannot totally engage with. Perhaps that was the authors intention that he be as cold as the microbes he investigates and is holding back some more detail for what, I understand, is a planned trilogy of books involving the same character. To me its important that im along with the character for the ride and not a passive viewer. I want to know something of him and 'intuit' the rest as we go along. Character is king and informs the plot in my view.

Some Other small niggles were some subplot turns that took me out of the main storyline mostly involving the FBI and the search for Sam and his students that didn't play out realistically for me and took away from the main drive of the plot. The students dialogue exchanges, at times, felt unrealistic and didn't quite serve the plot for me. It seemed like one less character in these situations would make for a tighter, more streamlined plot and reading experience overall.

The Antagonist, professor Owen Potter was much more complex character, more deeply drawn and I could tell that Tamplin enjoyed writing his pieces. For me he was the most interesting character in the book. He was somewhat unpredictable with sociopathic tendencies and a bitter self aggrandizing attitude which combined spells disaster for anyone who crosses his path. His delusions about his mother where very reminiscent of Norman Bates, their relationship seemingly on a similar plane. His plot to contaminate food was frightening with potentially catastrophic effects on a world scale.

I Really enjoyed the opening of the book and found the build up, contamination and subsequent clean up explaining the technical scientific aspects of a 'phage' intriguing. It is very crichtonesque. I felt it got the balance right without overwhelming the reader. *On a personal note, I would probably have wanted more technical information as the subject matter itself fascinates me.

Overall, it is a fast paced thriller with a very interesting plot. If you enjoy science-based technical thrillers then I think you might enjoy reading 'Phage'. Putting aside certain plot and dialogue niggles overall it was an enjoyable read and I thank Mark Tamplin for reaching out and asking me to read his book.

Rating: ***1/2 out of 5

Below are a link to buy his book on Amazon.  

https://www.amazon.com/Phage-Mark-Tamplin-ebook/dp/B015AUR1YM/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1468344720&sr=1-1&keywords=phage

 

 

Batman v Superman Dawn of Justice Review

BvS logo

BvS logo

'Fearing that the actions of Superman are left unchecked, Batman takes on the Man of Steel, while the world wrestles with what kind of a hero it really needs.'

Synopsis: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016) taken from Imdb.
— http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2975590/

A direct sequel of sorts to 'Man of steel', Zack Snyder is once again in the directors chair of this dark sober tale of fear, demi gods and angst.

In the current run of high profile comic book movies this venture from DC studios and Zack Snyder is a curious mix, often muddled, with both good and bad points.

It is a sober, dark and brooding affair where we once again witness the murder of Batman's Parents in a stylish opening introduction to his character. The titular role of Batman is given to Ben Affleck who plays the role in a very understated fashion. Hard boiled, brooding and angst ridden. One of the more interesting aspects of this incarnation of the character is the fact that he brands the perpetrators he brings to justice. It's strangely dark and nice touch but it is only very briefly touched on in the movie and never really spoken about. It had more potential to add layers to his character.

you can quite evidently see Christopher Nolans influence on the film. Some of the editing choices are clearly from the Nolan playbook. The skips in narration, slightly off kilter, abrupt style in the action sequences are undoubtedly Nolanesque. Its just a question wheter this hinders or helps the storyline.

I felt at times, it made the narrative a bit muddled, trying to add depth to the story that wasn't really there to begin with. If the story beats are broken down you can see the plot is really rather simple. Admittedly, I can see why you would want the epic approach given that its a tent pole summer blockbuster but at the same time I do wish that there was more substance. We never really crawl under the surface. So it feels very scant while attempting depth.

I liked Ben Affleck as Batman/Bruce Wayne, given the limited material he had to play with he gave the tortured soul of Batman life for the most part. However, I wasn't a fan of the batman voice which to me came across a little silly and unconvincing. Henry Cavill is once again short changed as Superman, left looking stern with no sense of humanity, humility or humour, the type of stoic hallmarks of superman in the original Richard Donner movies and it was sorely lacking. The biggest surprise was the casting of Jessie Eisenberg as Lex Luthar which was wholly misjudged seemingly acting in an entirely different movie to everyone else. At times his acting style was cringe worthy eliciting a snigger rather than intrigue or interest.

But was the movie any good? That's a good question. To be honest I'm torn. I have to admit that usually I'm not the biggest fan of Zack Snyder's approach to super hero movies generally. They tend to be too over the top for me. Taking 'Man of steel' as a point of reference, I felt the ending was just forty minutes of buildings getting blown apart and needless destruction. It felt more like a video game than a movie. This approach very quickly became boring and I began looking at the clock to see how much time was left to run - something I never do during a movie. Sometimes less is more.

With BVS the premise seemed very silly because ultimately where could you go? An indestructible Alien facing a human with a bat suit fetish seemed like a non-starter for interest. At times it does feel exactly like that. There is quite a lot of build up for a showdown that lasts for maybe five minutes of screen time. And how it concludes is rather abrupt and unintentionally silly. Its the kind of moment where you do a double take.

its not all bad though as the movie had some potential which was squandered under the weight of trying 'to fit it all in' including the obligatory intro to the upcoming Justice league movie. As a result the movie just feels too focused on plot and not on Character. Which is, admittedly, a dichotomy as the plot itself is simplistic. It is filled to the brim with subplots and bit players that don't really add much to the movie. Visually it is quite nicely shot in a hazy sepia tone colour palette and the effects are colourful and overblown, as you'd expect from a Superhero movie. The action for the most part is well done especially involving Batman and hand to hand combat.

 

upload.jpg

Ultimately though the movie felt muddled plotwise and I found it hard to keep my attention for the entirety of its running time. 

** out of 5

 

Fractional goes live on Amazon.co.uk!

Now available to rent of buy on Amazon.co.uk or free to watch with a Prime account! Click the link below to be taken directly to Amazon.co.uk

 

Death wish 3 review

For the last little while I've been taking a trip back down 80s nostalgia filmwise watching a few classics and not so classics and ones that are so bad they're almost entertaining. Almost. I think death wish 3 falls into this category.

As with the other death wish movies Charles Bronson plays Paul Kersey architect cum vigilante who says very little and let's his gun do the talking for him.

Death wish 3 poster

Death wish 3 poster

As with with the other death wish movies the setup is similar. Kersey comes to town to visit an old buddy but low and behold there is a gang who controls the streets and promptly does away with kersey's buddy just before he arrives. Less than two seconds later (literally) he is arrested by a detective 'dude' ( we never get to know his name as far as I remember ) and despatched to jail for his friends murder. Huh? With that type of service the cops would have the streets cleaned up in no time. But I digress. After being jailed and having an impromptu fight with a gang member in the jail cell where he pushes his head through the jail cell bars, he is set loose by detective 'dude' to do his vigilante thing.

Cue kersey's revenge Replete with bazookas through the mail and a Hand cannon dirty Harry would be proud of. In fact they make a joke about that one. The film is a funny mix of dark material and tongue in cheek action. Bronson was reportedly not impressed with the movie at the time and vowed never to work with the director again.

But the question remains is this movie any good? Even as I type this I can't quite decide whether it's nostalgia or plain lunacy but in a twisted way the movie is strangely entertaining. Now I'm not saying its good, it's not its really bad, but it's entertaining as in entertaining to see how badly constructed it is and how much the film maker doesn't seem to care. They seemingly make no effort to mask it. It's like saying 'in for a penny in for a pound'. 

Right on!

Right on!

The film is funny in a not intentional way. The scenes are played completely serious and earnest which makes it that much more fun. The acting is really bad at times but it moves quickly, shifting from one stilted 'acting' scene to the next eager to get to the action which is the real heart of the movie anyway. These small filler scenes seem to be there just to fill a cinematic convention that there must be a 'story' to break the action. I may be wrong but I think this is the least amount of dialogue that Charles Bronson speaks in any movie. It's somehow awkward when he does, however, so maybe that was a wise choice.

There are lots of moments of nihilistic action. It's completely over the top. The traps that kersey uses to lure the gang members out so that he can gun them down mercilessly are unintentionally hilarious. He buys a new car (wtf?), gang member tries to rob it, one badly scripted and stilted dialogue exchange and the gang members are blown away. Kersey goes back to his dinner. Kersey goes to buy ice cream with a brand new camera only to be robbed by 'the Giggler' (seriously!) a gang member with a permanent laughing disorder. Mr giggles eats pavement with a big hole in his chest. The whole neighbourhood celebrates. The gang members stew crying awkward crocodile tears 'they killed the Giggler!'.

The Giggler in action

The Giggler in action

A women we have only briefly met for one or two short scenes is brutally attacked by some gang members and ends up in hospital. The ending to this is a phone call to say that this unfortunate women has suffered a broken arm and will be fine. Cut to: visiting her in the hospital and kersey is informed by the medical team that she has 'expired'. Huh? A moment ago she had a broken arm? Yes, but apparently there was a complication with trying to fix her arm and she died. Don't cut your finger in this town you might just keel over and die from 'complications'. It's a device if one was needed for full on revenge and carnage on the streets.

Gatling gun carnage

Gatling gun carnage

The final twenty minutes or so is summed up simply by stating that kersey becomes a one man army, taking on an endless supply of gang members who die theatrical deaths at the business end of a gatling gun. The perpetrators die doing somersaults through the air that Spider-Man would be proud of. No one just simply dies. Its even more comic book than the avengers. Add to the fact that 'the neighbourhood people' join in on the killing spree randomly gunning down anyone they see, gleefully celebrating like they'd won the euro millions and you have the nihilistic, generally funny picture. You can't take this movie seriously. At all. Ever. 

No weapon props left? No problem! A plunger will do!

No weapon props left? No problem! A plunger will do!

Without doubt it is in the category of 'so bad its almost entertaining' with the emphasis heavily on 'Bad'. Enjoy!

 

Leterboxd review of Mad Max: Fury Road

 

★★★★ Watched 16 May, 2015

A tour de force of action with some spectacular practical effects enhanced by some digital trickery at times.

I would say though that Tom Hardy plays second fiddle to Charlize Theron, in fact she often has more 'presence' on screen. For a mad max themed film I felt a little cheated. But this is a minor quibble, when the action kicks in full tilt you can't help but be drawn into it for the spectacle and the sheer mayhem on camera. What makes it even more impressive is the fact that its mostly all practical. There are moments of 'how exactly did they film that?' about it which only adds to the intrigue for me.

The plot itself is quite simplistic so if you are looking for deep characters and existential pondering then this film is most definitely not for you. If, on the other hand, you enjoy a well shot action movie you should check it out. Setting aside the fact that there are some holes in the plot and questionable logic of characters there is still nihilistic fun to be had. Although it must be said that this film isn't quite as violent as the others in the series, even though it borrows heavily from The Road Warrior and Thunderdome. I did feel that the very first action set piece set inside a violent sand storm would have been a more thrilling conclusion to the movie as it was hard to up the ante in subsequent action scenes. In fact you could say that they fell a little short of hitting that high again.

Having seen it in 3D I can only assume that the movie would be even better in 2d. For me it suffered from horrible 'Double vision' on screen at times to a level that was very distracting and the only true 3d (Ie object coming out of screen rather than purely depth) seemingly on display was an explosion near the end of the movie where a steering wheel and other items fly into your face. I may be biased but I find 3D mostly a waste of viewing time and try to avoid it if I can as it darkens the picture quite a bit for me it's rather like watching tv at home wearing a pair of Ray Bans. Cool they may be but watching a movie through them doesn't aid with pleasure. And if the 3D is lost in the mix and suffering with the awful 'double vision' phenomenon then you have a recipe for disaster. Ok maybe not disaster but limited enjoyment. The only saving grace with this movie is the fact that practically all the scenes are brightly lit even the night scenes.

So a conclusion, if a conclusion where to be drawn from this, is avoid 3D and go with 2D. But having said that that's a personal preference and up to the individual viewer.

The film is well worth a view. Kick back relax and enjoy a colourful scorched palette and great action set pieces.

LETTERBOXD REVIEW OF NIGHTCRAWLER

LETTERBOXD REVIEW OF NIGHTCRAWLER

short review of Nightcrawler on letterboxd. Checkit out and like it if you like it.. or else ;-)