Tag Archives: Karl Urban

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003) Review

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Lord of the Rings The Return of the King

Time: 201 minutes (theatrical), 252 minutes (extended)
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence & fantasy horror
Cast:
Elijah Wood as Frodo Baggins
Sean Astin as Samwise Gamgee
Andy Serkis as Sméagol Trahald/Gollum
Ian McKellen as Gandalf the White
Viggo Mortensen as Aragorn Elessar
Cate Blanchett as Galadriel
John Rhys-Davies as Gimli
Bernard Hill as Théoden
Billy Boyd as Peregrin Took
Dominic Monaghan as Meriadoc Brandybuck
Orlando Bloom as Legolas Greenleaf
Hugo Weaving as Elrond
Liv Tyler as Arwen
Miranda Otto as Éowyn
David Wenham as Faramir
Karl Urban as Éomer
John Noble as Denethor
Ian Holm as Bilbo Baggins
Sean Bean as Boromir
Director: Peter Jackson

The Fellowship divides to conquer as Frodo (Elijah Wood) and Sam (Sean Astin), with the help and hindrance of Gollum (Andy Serkis), continue their way to Mount Doom. The members of the fellowship in Rohan are warned of the impending attack when Pippin (Billy Boyd) cannot resist looking into Saruman’s palantir and is briefly contacted by the dark lord. Gandalf (Ian McKellan) and Pippin ride to Minas Tirith to help defend Gondor when the dark lord Sauron sets his sights on Minas Tirith, the capital of Gondor, while Merry (Dominic Monaghan) remains with Eowyn (Miranda Otto) and the other Rohan fighters. The fate of every living creature in Middle Earth will be decided once and for all as the Quest of the Ringbearer reaches its climax.

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The first two entries of Lord of the Rings trilogy were really great, but it’s the conclusion with The Return of the King that’s truly outstanding, grandiose, epic and emotionally satisfying. With the performances, the writing, the direction, and some awe inspiring action, it’s a remarkable cinematic achievement and an excellent film over 17 years later.

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Like with the other Lord of the Rings movies, it’s very hard to review, they’re so ingrained in pop culture, it’s like trying to review the original Star Wars trilogy. This film successfully continues the story from the first two movies, and this one is the most engaging of the series. The first half is pretty good, but it’s the second half where it really shines, particularly the final act. I don’t have many problems with the movie, I guess it occasionally has its silly moments like the other movies, and there are some minor plot points that aren’t so clear and don’t work so well. However it doesn’t even come close to bringing down the experience. One thing that is made fun of a lot is the fact that the film has a lot of endings – the screen fades to black and continues on before fading to black again, etc. While I don’t like the fake outs, the actual endings themselves I do like, it ties up pretty much all the storylines and loose ends. The film is quite strong as its theatrical cut. However the extended cut is quite simply the definitive version of the movie, and provides so many great scenes that add a lot to the movie. An example is a certain scene with Christopher Lee’s Saruman, removing it leaves a pretty big loose end especially considering he was one of the main antagonists of the last film. While I’m not sure the movie feels butchered with the theatrical cut (I haven’t watched that version for a long time), once you see the added scenes from the extended cut, it’s hard to think of the film without it. I understand that it can be quite intimidating, instead of watching the 3 hour and 20 minute long version, watching a version that’s over 4 hours long. However, I do implore you to see the extended cuts of all 3 of the trilogies if you haven’t already, especially for Return of the King.

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The acting from its very large good cast is great as always. They’ve only improved further as the movies have progressed. The only character who got worse as the films progressed was John Rhys Davis’s Gimli. He started off alright in The Fellowship of the Rings, but unfortunately across the movies he just became goofier and goofier, and he’s worst of all in this movie. The rest of the cast on the whole with the likes of Elijah Wood, Sean Astin, Andy Serkis, Viggo Mortensen, Ian McKellan, Bernard Hill, Dominic Monaghan, Billy Boyd, Miranda Otto, David Wenham, Karl Urban, Hugo Weaving, and Cate Blanchett and others also brought it to their respective roles, giving some really great performances.

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Peter Jackson’s direction was excellent as usual, but The Return of the King really is his magnum opus. Everything from the production design, makeup, sound effects, cinematography, all outstanding on a technical level. There are a number of great action sequences in this trilogy, but The Return of the King has some of the most spectacular action in the series. They are all filmed greatly but it’s of course the big battle scenes which stand out, and they work really well. The visual effects are really good, some parts aren’t so great and are a little dated, but for a movie released in 2003, they mostly hold up well. The score by Howard Shore also works excellently, and is very memorable.

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While all 3 films are top notch, I’m pretty sure that The Return of the King is my favourite movie of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Peter Jackson and the cast and crew have improved over the course of the series, culminating in a fantastic final film. The Lord of the Rings trilogy are some of my favourite movies, particularly the third film, and they’ll continue to stand the test of time for sure.

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002) Review

Time: 259 Minutes (theatrical cut) or 235 minutes (extended cut)
Age Rating: 860940[1] Medium level violence
Cast:
Elijah Wood as Frodo Baggins
Sean Astin as Samwise Gamgee
Viggo Mortensen as Aragorn
Ian McKellen as Gandalf
Billy Boyd as Peregrin Took
Dominic Monaghan as Meriadoc Brandybuck
John Rhys-Davies as Gimli
Orlando Bloom as Legolas Greenleaf
Andy Serkis as Gollum/Sméagol
Bernard Hill as Théoden
Miranda Otto as Éowyn
Christopher Lee as Saruman
Liv Tyler as Arwen Undómiel
Hugo Weaving as Elrond
David Wenham as Faramir
Cate Blanchett as Galadriel
Brad Dourif as Gríma Wormtongue
Karl Urban as Éomer
Craig Parker as Haldir
John Leigh as Háma
Bruce Hopkins as Gamling
John Bach as Madril
Director: Peter Jackson

The Fellowship has been broken. Boromir is dead, Frodo Baggins (Elijah Wood) and Samwise Gamgee (Sean Astin) have gone to Mordor alone to destroy the One Ring, Merry (Dominic Monaghan) and Pippin (Billy Boyd) have been captured by the Uruk-hai, and Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen), Legolas (Orlando Bloom), and Gimli (John Rhys-Davs) have made friends of the Rohan, a race of humans that are in the path of the upcoming war, led by its aging king, Théoden. The two towers between Mordor and Isengard, Barad-dúr and Orthanc, have united in their lust for destruction. The corrupt wizard Saruman (Christopher Lee), under the power of the Dark Lord Sauron, and his assistant, Gríma Wormtongue (Brad Dourif), have created a grand Uruk-hai army bent on the destruction of Man and Middle-earth. One of the Ring’s original bearers, the creature Gollum (Andy Serkis), has tracked Frodo and Sam down in search of the ring, but is captured by the Hobbits and used as a way to lead them to Mt. Doom.

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The Lord of the Rings movies are among my favourite movies of all time but reviewing them isn’t that easy. Talking about the Lord of the Rings movies is very difficult, it is so famous and well known that so much of it feels redundant talking about, and plus there is just so much that can be said about it. That can be clearly seen in my review of The Fellowship of the Ring from years ago, which is easily one of the worst reviews I ever written. Years later and after watching the Lord of the Rings movies more recently, I decided to review the rest of them the best I can. If you haven’t watched any of the Lord of the Rings movies, long story short just go and watch them. The Two Towers continues on the greatness of the previous film of The Fellowship of the Ring, and it even does a lot of things better than the first film.

The film jumps between characters’ perspectives and it does it well. It mostly jumps from Frodo, Sam and Gollum to Aragon, Legolas and Gimli as well as to Merry and Pippin. Some characters and storylines are more interesting than others but all of them are done rather well. It goes even darker than the first movie and you really feel the higher stakes throughout. I generally think that the Lord of the Rings trilogy is better with the extended editions, but that’s especially the case with The Two Towers and Return of the King. The extended cut is almost an hour longer but it is worth the extra footage. Sometimes I think about the scenes that were cut from the cut and I can’t imagine the movie without them. For example, one of the scenes only in the extended cut included a flashback from Faramir (David Wenham) to his brother Boromir (Sean Bean) and his father Denethor (John Noble) and it added so much his character and what is driving him to make the decisions he made. There’s much more examples like this but that’s just one of them. The third acts of each of the Lord of the Rings movies are usually the standout of each of them, and The Two Towers is no exception, with two great battles happening at the same time. As for how it adapted the original book, I haven’t read it so I don’t have much to say regarding that.

All of the surviving characters from Fellowship of the Ring are back. Elijah Wood and Sean Astin are great as Frodo and Sam, they really do feel like best friends going on this journey. Wood also does a really good job at showing the conflict Frodo is experiencing having to bear the One Ring and with it changing him while they’re on their journey. Viggo Mortensen as Aragon, Orlando Bloom as Legolas and John Rhys-Davis as Gimli in their plotline are great, Mortensen particularly is perfectly cast as Aragon and brings a lot to his role. The only thing about Gimli that kind of got annoying was that after Fellowship of the Ring he gets cartoonishly silly and buffoonish. The same happens in reverse with Legolas, who is cartoonishly great at everything, to the point where he’s literally sliding down stairs on a shield while shooting orcs with arrows. It’s not movie breaking but it’s just a bit too much at times. There’s also a plotline focussing on Billy Boyd’s Pippin and Dominic Monaghan as Merry, and while it’s less interesting than the other plotlines, it is still done well enough. Both characters are seen as being comic relief, so it’s good that they get to have their part in what happened in the movie (though I guess it’s more of a credit to the book more than anything else). Ian McKellan is always great as Gandalf (even though instead of returning as Gandalf the Grey, he’s now Gandalf the White), flat out perfect in the role.

Christopher Lee as Saruman also gets more focus this time round as one of the main antagonists of the movie, ending up being more often than not the source of conflict in much of the plotlines here. Lee as usual is scene chewingly great as Saruman, having such a presence about him when he’s on screen. Other returning characters like Liv Tyler as Arwen, Hugo Weaving as Elrond and Cate Blanchett as Galadriel are good as always. The newer additions were also great, namely Bernard Hill as Theoden, Miranda Otto as Eowyn, David Wenham as Faramir, Karl Urban as Eomer and Brad Dourif as Grima Wormtongue. All of them did really good jobs of making themselves stand out amongst the cast. The stand out new character/performance though is from Andy Serkis as Gollum. Although it is motion capture and largely done through special effects, the way he moves, emotes and speaks all come from Serkis. They did such a fantastic job at making him one of the more complex characters in these movies, sympathetic in one scene and then treacherous in the next.

Its no surprise that Peter Jackson’s direction was great but I think he’s improved even more with his second film. The landscapes, locations and sets just feel all great, it all helps that almost all of it feels real. All the special effects are good as usual, what makes it so effective is that it mixes both practical and digital effects. Now given that its over 16 years old, some of the CGI don’t look completely fantastic and aren’t at the level of today’s CGI but most of it still holds up very well. Like Fellowship, everything feels like it’s on such a huge scale, and it feels somewhat authentic. As I said earlier when I was talking about Andy Serkis, I especially like what they did with Gollum with motion capture, it still looks seamless and real today. The action scenes are also well filmed and even better than those in The Fellowship of the Ring. The standout is the third act which consists of and cuts between the battle at Helm’s Deep and the Ents fighting against Isengard. Its just such a spectacle to watch and are amongst some of the best sequences of the whole trilogy. Directionwise, The Two Towers really was just a little better than The Fellowship of the Ring. Even little aspects are slightly improved, like I know it’s a minor thing to note but there aren’t as many awkward close up shots as in the first movie. Howard Shore’s score once again is just iconic and adds so much to the movie, I can’t imagine the Lord of the Rings movies without them.

The Two Towers is for me even better than The Fellowship of the Ring. Some of it as to do with preference with regard to the story and all that, not to mention the large scale sequences, especially the Helm’s Deep battle, are among some of the stand out moments in the movie series. However I also think that Peter Jackson’s direction has even improved, and would only continue to improve with Return of the King. Each Lord of the Rings movie is better than the last one, but all 3 of them are excellent.

Thor: Ragnarok (2017) Review

Time: 130 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence
Cast
Chris Hemsworth as Thor Odinson
Tom Hiddleston as Loki
Cate Blanchett as Hela
Idris Elba as Heimdall
Jeff Goldblum as Grandmaster
Tessa Thompson as Scrapper 142/Valkyrie
Karl Urban as Skurge
Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner/Hulk
Anthony Hopkins as Odin
Taika Waititi as Korg
Director: Taika Waititi

Imprisoned on the other side of the universe, the mighty Thor (Chris Hemsworth) finds himself in a deadly gladiatorial contest that pits him against the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), his former ally and fellow Avenger. Thor’s quest for survival leads him in a race against time to prevent the all-powerful Hela (Cate Blanchett) from destroying his home world and the Asgardian civilization.

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Thor Ragnarok was one of my most anticipated films of 2017, it seemed to be a very unique entry into the MCU. The addition of actors like Cate Blanchett, Karl Urban, Jeff Goldblum had me interested. But the aspect that intrigued me most of all was that Taika Waititi of Hunt for the Wilderpeople and What We do in the Shadows fame was directing, it was certainly an odd choice for presumably the final Thor movie. Ragnarok from everything that we’ve been seeing looked like a weird 80s action sci-fi comedy, it looked so bizarre and off from whatever we were expecting that I just had to know what it was like. Overall, Thor Ragnarok is a fun time, Taika’s direction and writing definitely made this a very unique film that is undoubtedly entertaining.

The first act has some pacing issues, it moves quite slow until Hela shows up for the first time, then the pacing starts sorting itself out. Most of the film is focussing on Thor on Sakaar, then occasionally it will cut back to Asgard with Hela (the main villain), almost out of obligation to show that she is still in this movie. The second half however was more consistently solid. Yes there is a lot of comedy but don’t just mistake it as being just Guardians of the Galaxy with Thor in it. If you’ve seen Taika’s other movies, you can tell that is definitely a Taika Watiti film. The comedy here is not the same as the comedy in the other Marvel movies, its self deprecating, it’s not afraid to make fun of itself, it goes full bonkers at times, so its not just something you usually see. This is actually the most funny of the MCU film, some of the jokes were quite simply hysterical. The question is, does Taika’s tone and direction work for the movie? For the most part.

First thing I want to get out of the way is that this is not a Thor movie, even Thor: The Dark World, arguably the worst Thor movie (as well as the worst MCU film) felt more like a Thor movie than Ragnarok. It feels like Taika Waititi doing this bizarre sci-fi action comedy, that just so happens to be starring Thor and featuring the potential threat of Asgard. To be honest, I’m not really sure those two aspects work well together, especially as the cutting back to Hela in Asgard felt out of place seemed (like I said) out of obligation to briefly show what was going on there. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that the tone was misplaced. One thing I can praise Ragnarok for doing is that it separates the dramatic scenes from the comedic scenes, it doesn’t ruin an emotional scene with some misplaced joke (which has become a problem with many of the MCU films as of late). So its not that the comedy ruined the emotional scenes, its that I just didn’t feel that personally connected to the story. I just feel like I should really be caring much more about what’s going on than I actually end up doing, even most scenes that were meant to be emotional didn’t really hit. Aside from that, there’s nothing really here storywise that I have a major issue with. For what Taika was going for, he did a great job with it.

Chris Hemsworth looks like he’s having a blast playing Thor and Tom Hiddleston is once again great as Loki, they work off each other great. Mark Ruffalo was also good, we see the Hulk more than we see Bruce Banner, we actually have The Hulk speaking and interacting and it was an interesting angle to take on him. The supporting cast was also good with actors like Karl Urban and Anthony Hopkins. Idris Elba gets the most to do as Heimdall in any of the Thor movies. Jeff Goldblum is in this movie and this is the most Jeff Goldblum that Jeff Goldblum has ever been. It felt like Taika just wanted Jeff Goldblum to be all Jeff Goldblumy, he doesn’t play a very significant or threatening character. I didn’t mind that, he was undoubtedly fun to watch. Taika Waititi himself plays (motion captures/voices) a character named Korg, who was definitely one of the stand out characters. He was so hilarious and Taika’s voice performance played a big part in that. But the stand out character to me was Tessa Thompson’s Valkyrie, such a welcome addition to the MCU. I can’t wait to see more of her in future MCU films. Cate Blanchett is Hela, the main villain here. Is she great? Yes and no. She is undoubtedly one of the better MCU villains, and Blanchett’s performance is fantastic, making the character even better. However, to put it simply, we didn’t get enough of her. As I said, the first half of the movie mostly takes place where Thor is and every so often we get a brief scene with Hela. By the second half we start getting the appropriate number of scenes with her but we really didn’t get to see Hela doing a lot. She is great in the scenes that she’s in however, she feels like a threat, was acted very well and wasn’t as one dimensional as I thought she may end up being. She was also better than most MCU villains, so that’s always nice to see. There are also some hilarious cameos.

The action was generally well filmed. Most of the CGI looks fantastic and some of the shots are absolutely beautiful. Other times it looks really fake looking. When the film is set in practical locations it is great, a loft of the time the production design, costumes, makeup all work to give a unique look. It really does embrace the world of Sakaar and make it something truly different. However Asgard just looks okay, really Kenneth Branagh is the only director who has managed to make Asgard look like something special. The score by Mark Mothersbaugh is pretty good, slightly more memorable than most of the other MCU scores.

I had a fun time with Thor Ragnarok and it’s probably the best MCU film this year. With entertaining characters and most of all Taika’s writing, Thor Ragnarok was a very unique comic book movie. I’m not really sure if Thor was the best character or series for Taika to use for his crazy ideas, and some of the emotional scenes don’t hit as hard as they should’ve but for the most part Ragnarok gets it right. So I do recommend watching it, its at the very least entertaining.

Dredd (2012) Review

Time: 95 Minutes
Age Rating: 79a0443c-3460-4500-922d-308b655c1350[1] Graphic violence and offensive language
Cast
Karl Urban as Judge Dredd
Olivia Thirlby as Judge Cassandra Anderson
Lena Headey as Ma-Ma (Madeline Madrigal)
Wood Harris as Kay
Director: Pete Travis

Mega City One is a vast, violent metropolis where felons rule the streets. The only law lies with cops called “judges,” who act as judge, jury and executioner, and Dredd (Karl Urban) is one of the city’s most feared. One day, Dredd is partnered with Cassandra (Olivia Thirlby), a rookie with powerful psychic abilities. A report of a terrible crime sends Dredd and Cassandra to a dangerous area controlled by Ma-Ma (Lena Headey), a drug lord who will stop at nothing to protect her empire.

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Dredd had a lot of potential to fail. There had been a Judge Dredd movie with Sylvester Stallone in the mid 90s, which while enjoyable as a guilty pleasure, isn’t very good. Dredd was a surprise to many including myself, it had all the elements of a very solid action flick fun time, and from what I can tell its an accurate representation of Judge Dredd. One of the most underrated action movies in recent years.

This movie is very straightforward, it’s just our main characters going from room to room while hoards of enemies hunt for them. Now I’m not a Judge Dredd comics fan but I could tell that the original Judge Dredd was more of a Sylvester Stallone action flick than an actual Judge Dredd movie. Dredd is truly a Judge Dredd film. The world is really nicely realised, it is a grim and dark world, the R rating really helped the movie go deeper into it. I was entertained throughout, from the set up at the beginning to when the film actually kicks off, which is when our protagonists are actually facing endless amounts of people trying to kill them and it doesn’t let up. There isn’t anything wrong about the film that I could pinpoint, it has great protagonists, a threatening antagonist and an interesting world, everything that Dredd needed.

Karl Urban is Judge Dredd, that’s all I can really say. He is ruthless, badass and unrelenting, and no, at no point do you see him without his mask. This movie really isn’t a character study or anything like that, so don’t expect a lot of character depth with his version of Judge Dredd, but it worked very well for the movie as it was a straightforward action movie. Olivia Thirlby is also really good as a rookie judge with Dredd, who does have psychic powers, those two worked together well as our main characters. Lena Headey makes for a great villain, ruthless, sinister and brutal, she stole every scene she was in. Also the way she plays the role and reacted to certain situations made her have such a strong screen presence.

Dredd surprisingly only has a 30-45 million dollar budget, making it a much smaller film than you’d expect. However that budget was used well because this film is directly greatly. The action is great, it is very violent and pretty much how I would imagine a Judge Dredd film would be. This film also involves slow-mo, and they find a way to make slow-mo actually make sense, as there is a drug literally called slow-mo that slows down the brain of whoever takes it and it was portrayed so well on screen. The R-rating is not always necessary but sometimes it is really needed to fully make the movie they want. This is one of those cases. The film is brutal and dark, definitely far from the Stallone cheesefest from the 90s, and I loved it.

I thoroughly enjoyed Dredd, the actors were great in their roles, the action is good. This film isn’t revolutionary, I don’t think I’d consider it one of the best action films of the 2010s, but for what it was trying to be it succeeded very well. I have no idea if they are making a Dredd sequel but I’d love to see one, I wanna see more of the world that they portrayed.

Star Trek Beyond (2016) Review

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Star Trek Beyond

Time: 122 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence
Cast:
Chris Pine as Captain James T. Kirk
Zachary Quinto as Commander Spock
Karl Urban as Lieutenant Commander Leonard McCoy
Zoe Saldana as Lieutenant Nyota Uhura
Simon Pegg as Lieutenant Commander Montgomery Scott
John Cho as Lieutenant Hikaru Sulu
Anton Yelchin as Ensign Pavel Chekov
Idris Elba as Krall
Director: Justin Lin

A surprise attack in outer space forces the Enterprise to crash-land on a mysterious world. The assault came from Krall (Idris Elba), a lizard-like dictator who derives his energy by sucking the life out of his victims. Krall needs an ancient and valuable artifact that’s aboard the badly damaged starship. Left stranded in a rugged wilderness, Kirk (Chris Pine), Spock (Zachary Quinto) and the rest of the crew must now battle a deadly alien race while trying to find a way off their hostile planet.

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I really liked the more recent Star Trek films but I had some doubts about Star Trek Beyond, director Justin Lin was known for the Fast and Furious movies which were enjoyable but not really what you would expect to direct a Star Trek movie. Also the first trailer really didn’t impress me. However, I can say now after seeing it, Star Trek Beyond was a ton of fun. The acting and story were just as good, and the action was quite entertaining. Definitely check it out when you get a chance.

Left to right: Simon Pegg plays Scotty, Sofia Boutella plays Jaylah and Chris Pine plays Kirk in Star Trek Beyond from Paramount Pictures, Skydance, Bad Robot, Sneaky Shark and Perfect Storm Entertainment

This film is quite different from the previous 2 films, at least in terms of their setting. This time they are stranded on a planet. The beginning of the film is a little slow, not bad but could’ve been paced better. After that though, the film is better paced. This movie really does get better and better as it goes along. You might think that as this is done by the person who did the Fast and Furious movies, that there wouldn’t be any character development or anything. Not true though. The characters are just as well written as in the previous movies, and they really do have great moments of interactions, all of them are done excellently.

Chris Pine plays Kirk in Star Trek Beyond from Paramount Pictures, Skydance, Bad Robot, Sneaky Shark and Perfect Storm Entertainment

The previous cast returns once again, they play off each other so well, especially Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto and Karl Urban. The previous movie had a lot of Kirk interacting with Spock, here though it’s Spock and Bones, and they are absolutely fantastic. I really liked Sofia Boutella in this movie, she is great in the action scenes and definitely a memorable part of the movie. Idris Elba plays the villain in this movie. At first Krall wasn’t that interesting. He wasn’t bad, he worked for the film and Idris Elba is by no means wasted in this role. However he gets a lot better as you find out why he was doing what he was doing in the final act. I wished that he was given development much earlier in the movie however. Overall, he was on the same level as Nero in Star Trek 09, fine villain, nothing that spectacular, especially where you compare him to Khan in Into Darkness. However Krall is still a solid villain.

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The style definitely feels different from Abrams’s Star Trek and it definitely feels it. It works well but I will admit that personally, it felt like it was missing Abrams’s flare and style, which is sorely missed. The action is good but occasionally especially in the fight scenes, a lot of close up shaky cam is used. The CGI for the most part works, though there was a few parts where it looked a little off, that’s mostly in one scene involving one city, the rest of it looked great. The soundtrack is once again done by Michael Giacchino, and it’s also well suited for the movie and works quite well.

Star Trek: Sin Límites

If you liked the previous Star Trek films, you’ll probably like this film as well. Star Trek Beyond has great performances from its talented cast, the action is enjoyable, and the story was written quite well. I personally like the other Star Trek movies more, probably for the most part due to Abrams’s direction but I think that this is still quite a good movie, and definitely worth checking out some time.

The Bourne Supremacy (2004) Review

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The Bourne Supremacy

Time: 109 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence and Offensive Language
Cast:
Matt Damon as Jason Bourne
Franka Potente as Marie Helena Kreutz
Brian Cox as Ward Abbott
Julia Stiles as Nicolette “Nicky” Parsons
Karl Urban as Kirill
Gabriel Mann as Danny Zorn
Joan Allen as Pamela Landy
Director: Paul Greengrass

Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) is living in India when he is framed by Russian agent Kirill (Karl Urban) for the theft of millions from the CIA. Kirill begins to pursue Bourne, intending to assassinate him — but while Bourne and his girlfriend, Marie (Franka Potente), are on the run, a shot meant for him kills her instead. Vowing revenge, Bourne sets out to prove his innocence and bring the culprits to justice, but he has to evade CIA head Pamela Landry (Joan Allen), who is convinced he is guilty.

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The Bourne Identity was a big hit when it came out, and made Matt Damon a star. With The Bourne Supremacy, Liman is replaced by Greengrass. While some see Supremacy as an unnecessary sequel, I like it quite a bit, in fact I enjoy it slightly more than the previous film. The Bourne Supremacy is pretty much more of the same in Bourne Identity. The acting, writing and action is still quite great. It’s the direction and type of story that’s different.

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Again like with The Bourne Identity, you have to really pay attention to what is going on. There is a piece of Bourne’s past which he’s trying to remember, making it a little similar to the previous movie. However that’s only a small aspect in the story, the main part is that he’s being chased down, while he’s trying to find answers. Whereas Bourne Identity was a mystery movie, the Bourne Supremacy is a straight up thriller. As a result in some ways, this movie is easier to follow in comparison. I guess it depends which type of Bourne film you prefer, the mystery or the thriller.

Film Title: The Bourne Supremacy

Matt Damon returns and is just as great as he was in the previous film. There isn’t as much characterisation as in the previous film, but that wasn’t his purpose for this film, here he’s now the deadly assassin and really became Jason Bourne. Again like with the previous movie, most of the supporting actors like Brian Cox don’t particularly stand out but they are still good in their roles. They feel quite grounded in reality. The antagonising forces include Brian Cox and now Joan Allen. Both of their interactions and reasons for trying to hunt them down is much more interesting than in the previous film, as they have conflicting motivations. One supporting actor which does stand out, at least to me, is Karl Urban who plays a henchman, though I’m wondering whether that’s just because he’s Karl Urban. And Karl Urban is awesome.

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While the main level of quality of everything is at the same as in the previous movie, the movie is visually more interesting, in regards to the colour at least (I don’t know if that’s just me or what). The action is again like in the previous movie a bit shaky but is still well filmed. There are two times where it gets too shaky for its own good, one of them is early on in the first car chase, it kept cutting rapidly and the camerawork was really off. However after a while the action in that scene was filmed better. The second moment is a fight scene in the first half, it was done, quite frankly poorly but the rest of the action is done great by Greengrass. The stunts like in the previous film were done great as well, you feel like these people are actually there and in these action scenes.

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Having seen this movie, I think it’s about the same level of quality as The Bourne Identity. The action, acting, writing and all the elements are just as good. However I do still slightly prefer this movie over the previous film, certain elements of the direction I like a little more (personal preference). I do not think that this film should be dismissed, even if you consider it the lesser film in the trilogy, its’ still a very solid film, and should definitely be seen as soon as possible.

Star Trek: Into Darkness (2013) Review

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Star Trek Into Darkness

Time: 132 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence
Cast:
Chris Pine as Captain James T. Kirk
Zachary Quinto as Commander Spock
Benedict Cumberbatch as Khan
Simon Pegg as Lieutenant Commander Montgomery “Scotty” Scott
Karl Urban as Lieutenant Commander Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy
Zoe Saldana as Lieutenant Nyota Uhura
Alice Eve as Lieutenant Dr. Carol Marcus
John Cho as Lieutenant Hikaru Sulu
Peter Weller as Fleet Admiral Alexander Marcus
Anton Yelchin as Ensign Pavel Chekov
Bruce Greenwood as Admiral Christopher Pike
Director: J.J. Abrams

The crew of the Starship Enterprise returns home after an act of terrorism within its own organization destroys most of Starfleet and what it represents, leaving Earth in a state of crisis. With a personal score to settle, Capt. James T. Kirk (Chris Pine) leads his people (Zachary Quinto, Karl Urban, Zoë Saldana) on a mission to capture a one-man weapon of mass destruction (Benedict Cumberbatch), thereby propelling all of them into an epic game of life and death.

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JJ Abrams’s Star Trek was loved upon its 2009 release by regular audience members and Star Trek fans alike. Yet for some reason some people really didn’t like its 2013 sequel, Star Trek: Into Darkness. I personally liked it slightly more than the previous movie, in regards to its villain and some of the action. But for the most part it is pretty similar to the original movie, same great actors and characters, similar action, it’s overall a pretty good sequel to the original film.

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Now unlike a lot of Star Trek movies where it goes to many different planets and sites “Going where no man has gone before”, it doesn’t happen that much here, aside from a couple of brief scenes, it mostly takes place upon ships, which I guess doesn’t make it that much of a Star Trek movie. The plot (or dark tone for that matter) isn’t something that you’d expect from a Star Trek movie. However I’m still fine with this, then again I’m not that huge of a Star Trek fan. It does have plenty of callbacks to previous Star Trek films, especially Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Khan, almost to the point of parody but I still liked them, even for as cheesy or ridiculous they may seem looking back. After seeing this movie a few times, I did notice that there were some plot holes and conveniences in the story, but nothing major to take away from the overall experience.

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The cast from the previous film returns and once again were great here, particularly Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto, who really own their roles. Both of these actors share great chemistry and you can easily see their friendship. All the other returning cast members did a great job as well, which consists of Zoe Saldana, Simon Pegg and many others. I also really liked Benedict Cumberbatch as the main villain. Eric Bana did a fine job in the previous movie as a villain but he was sort of restricted and just wasn’t as memorable. Cumberbatch has much more to work with however and was a lot more memorable, every time he’s on screen he conveys such a presence. It helps that his character was presented as being such an unstoppable force, and really had a lot more focus on him.

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JJ Abrams always makes a great looking movie and Star Trek: Into Darkness is no exception. The visuals and effects are on point and are truly done great, it’s so easy to get pulled into this movie. Yes, there is plenty of lens flares once again but I didn’t really mind them, that’s part of Abrams’s style. The action was once again great and even better than the previous film. The music by Michael Giacchino was once again really good and it helped elevate the scenes. On the technical side at least, Star Trek: Into Darkness is directed perfectly.

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Star Trek: Into Darkness is in my opinion another great addition to the Star Trek series. It has the action, performances and story that the previous movie had. It may have a couple of plot holes and conveniences in the script at times but it’s not enough to lessen the enjoyment that I had watching this movie. With Star Trek Beyond, it’s hard to see how Justin Lin can make it as good as or better than Abrams’s two Star Trek movies but we’ll just have to wait and see.

The Loft (2015) Review

The Loft

The Loft

Time: 108 Minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1] Violence, Sexual Violence, Drug Use, Offensive Language and Sex Scenes
Cast:
Karl Urban as Vincent Stevens
James Marsden as Chris Vanowen
Wentworth Miller as Luke Seacord
Eric Stonestreet as Marty Landry
Matthias Schoenaerts as Philip Williams
Rhona Mitra as Allison Vanowen
Rachael Taylor as Ann Morris
Isabel Lucas as Sarah Deakins
Director: Erik Van Looy

For five men (Karl Urban, James Marsden, Wentworth Miller, Eric Stonestreet, Matthias Schoenaerts), the opportunity to share a penthouse in the city — in which to carry on extramarital affairs — is a dream come true, until the dead body of an unknown woman turns up. Realizing that her killer must be one of their group, the men are gripped by paranoia as each one suspects another. Friendships are tested, loyalties are questioned, and marriages crumble while fear and suspicion run rampant.

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The Loft had a good Hitchcockian premise and great cast with actors like Karl Urban and James Marsden being a part of the movie. The cast couldn’t however rise above the terrible material that they had to work with. The plot holes, the uninteresting story and just the overall script let every aspect of the film down. There are glimpses of a potentially good film at times but for the most part this movie fails on every level. The Loft isn’t one of the worst films I’ve ever seen but it is definitely a bad movie.

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Hands down the worst thing about this movie is the script. First of all: the characters, not only is there a lack of likable characters, the main characters are so despicable, and to make it worse, we’re supposed to care about what’s happening to them and it’s so hard to when we not only don’t care about them, we want bad things to happen to them. They aren’t even written that interestingly. Another problem is the pacing, it was so slow in many scenes of the movie. This film has a non-linear way of telling its story, flashing back to relevant parts that happened in the past, however these flashbacks are so long and the relevant information takes up only small parts of those flashbacks, so it just gets boring in these scenes. Also the film shoves so many plot twists, to the point where the film becomes so convoluted and doesn’t make sense. It’s one of those mystery stories that after watching it, you begin to notice plenty of plot holes and inconsistencies.

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This movie had a great cast with Karl Urban, James Marsden, Wentworth Miller and many others. I can tell that they are trying to give good performances and they have moments where they could show off their talent but they have horrible characterisation, dialogue and are playing completely unlikable characters, so they aren’t given much to work with. The blame shouldn’t really fall upon them.

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The direction is fine for the most part but there are times when the director makes it overly stylistic. Sometimes out of nowhere he uses awkward close ups, tilted camera angles and pans, for no reason at all. It felt really awkward and distracting but this only happened a few times and for the most part this film looked fine.

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The Loft had so much potential to be a great film with its premise and its talented cast but for whatever reason, that didn’t come across on screen. The script had so many plot holes, the pacing was off, just everything was let down by the script. The funny thing is that this movie is a remake of a Belgian film called Loft (2008) which was apparently great. Guess what both films had? The same director, Erik Van Looy. He did an American remake of his own film. It’s strange that A. he would remake his own movie, and B. he didn’t get it right. The Loft wasn’t an unbearable movie but I don’t think it’s worth watching.

Star Trek (2009)

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Star Trek

Time: 127 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence
Cast:
Chris Pine as Kirk
Zachary Quinto as Spock
Zoe Saldana as Uhura
Karl Urban as Bones
John Cho as Sulu
Anton Yelchin as Chekov
Bruce Greenwood as Pike
Eric Bana as Nero
Director: J.J. Abrams

On the day of James Kirk’s birth, his father dies on his ship in a last stand against a mysterious alien time-travelling vessel. Twenty-five years later, Kirk (Chris Pine) has grown into a young troublemaker. Challenged by Captain Christopher Pike (Bruce Greenwood) to realize his potential in Starfleet, he comes to annoy instructors like young Commander Spock (Zachary Quinto). Suddenly, there is an emergency at Vulcan and the newly commissioned USS Enterprise is crewed with promising cadets like Nyota Uhura (Zoe Saldana), Hikaru Sulu (John Cho), Pavel Chekov (Anton Yelchin) and even Kirk himself, thanks to Leonard McCoy’s (Karl Urban) medical trickery. Together, this crew will have an adventure in the final frontier where the old legend is altered forever as a new version of it begins.

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Making reboots and remakes are often quite risky, they may be great or they may fail in incredible degrees; to sum up whether it succeeded or not, I’ll say that whenever I think of good reboots I think of Batman Begins and Star Trek. With an engrossing world, great performances and entertaining action scenes, it is one of my favourite Sci-Fi action movies.

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Star Trek is always entertaining from the opening credits to end credits. I’ll be honest, before watching this movie I never watched any form of Star Trek media, this was my first Star Trek movie; a good thing about this movie is that you don’t have to be a fan of Star Trek to enjoy it; you can quickly pick up what the world is like and doesn’t rely on prior knowledge to understand what’s going on. The dialogue between the characters is written incredibly well and is well suited to the characters that the actors played.

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The actors do a really good and respectable job portraying these famous and beloved characters. Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto are particularly great in their roles. After seeing Chris Pine play Kirk, I can’t imagine anyone else playing that role; he was like a good new generation version of William Shatner. Zachary Quinto was as great as Spock in all of his scenes and I could really buy him as being a half human and half Vulcan. I also particularly like the contrast between the Kirk and Spock and these two actors did great jobs at showing their differing personalites. Karl Urban, Zoe Saldana, John Cho, Anton Yelchin, Simon Pegg and Bruce Greenwood were also really good in their roles. Eric Bana played the villain and I thought did a pretty good job, he wasn’t anything special but I thought that he managed it quite well. There is also an appearance from a (Original) Star Trek cast member that I won’t spoil, should you be one of the few who hasn’t watched this movie yet. The actors are all very aware of the characters that they are playing and they delivered the well written dialogue well.

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I loved the special effects in this movie; everything is on such a large scale. One thing that is often talked about with this movie is the lens flares; Abrams often uses it in his movies but I felt like it worked for Star Trek. The action scenes are filmed spectacularly, particularly when it involved the Enterprise. The soundtrack by Michael Giacchino also added a lot to the movie.

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Star Trek is a great movie for fans of Star Trek and people new to that universe. J.J. Abrams did a great job with this movie as well as its sequel (Star Trek Into Darkness) and hopefully more sequels. These two movies give me great hope for Star Wars Episode 7 to be a great movie. Check out Star Trek when you can if you haven’t seen it already, it is a fun and exciting experience.