Tag Archives: movie reviews

Kubo and the Two Strings (2016) Review

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Kubo and the Two Strings

Time: 101 minutes
Age Rating: 120px-OFLCN_-_PG.svg[1] Contains violence & scary scenes
Cast:
Art Parkinson as Kubo
Charlize Theron as Monkey
Matthew McConaughey as Beetle
Ralph Fiennes as Raiden the Moon King
Rooney Mara as the Sisters
George Takei as Hosato
Director: Travis Knight

Young Kubo’s (Art Parkinson) peaceful existence comes crashing down when he accidentally summons a vengeful spirit from the past. Now on the run, Kubo joins forces with Monkey (Charlize Theron) and Beetle (Matthew McConaughey) to unlock a secret legacy. Armed with a magical instrument, Kubo must battle the Moon King (Ralph Fiennes) and other gods and monsters to save his family and solve the mystery of his fallen father, the greatest samurai warrior the world has ever known.

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This is a movie that interested me ever since I heard about it, mostly because of the voice acting cast with Charlize Theron, Matthew McConaughey, Rooney Mara and Ralph Fiennes involved. Also this film is made by Laika Entertainment, a stopmotion animation studio who’s made quite a few animated movies. Admittedly before this movie the only other film by Laika that I’ve seen was The Box Trolls, which I liked quite a bit. But I know that they are generally well liked with films like Coraline. After seeing Kubo and The Two Strings, I have to say that this is not only my favourite animated movie of the year so far, it is also one of my favourite movies of the whole year. Everything from the story to the animation is so well done. I hope we get more animated films like these.

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I found myself invested in the story from start to finish. All things considered, this film is darker and more mature than most animated movies, both in regards to visuals and some of the things that happen during the story. The film is also willing to slow down for some great character and story moments. This is something that I wished more animated films did, be more willing to be a little more different and challenging for children. I do think that children will enjoy Kubo (even if the film might be a little too scary or slow for them) but adults will enjoy it much more.

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The characters for the most part were also written well and were quite memorable. Kubo was a likable and relatable protagonist. The show stealers for me though, were Monkey (Charlize Theron), Beetle (Matthew McConaughey). I guess if we are talking about weak links in regards to characters, it’s the Moon King (Ralph Fiennes), the main villain of the film. He’s not written badly but he doesn’t have enough screentime and felt a little weak. He’s fine overall though. I thought the other villain(s), The Sisters (Rooney Mara), Kubo’s aunts who are sent after Kubo were much more effective and memorable, they were also showstealers in the film and I loved watching them when they were on screen.

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If you know Laika, you know that they use a lot of stopmotion animation. I don’t know how it compares to most of their other films as I’ve only seen The Box Trolls but I thought the animation for this movie was absolutely fantastic. This movie is beautiful from start to finish, the environment and locations were great, they really blended CGI and practical work well. The costume designs and actually the designs for everything was fantastic. It’s a very well designed movie overall.

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Kubo and the Two Strings is absolutely fantastic and is one of the best films of the year. From the beautiful animation, to the well written and memorable characters (which is helped by the brilliant voice actors) to a great story, this movie was great at pretty much every level. It also goes further than most children’s animated films, both tonally and structurally. Go out and see this movie as soon as possible. You will not be disappointed.

Gods of Egypt (2016) Review

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Gods of Egypt

Time: 126 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence
Cast:
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as Horus
Brenton Thwaites as Bek
Gerard Butler as Set
Chadwick Boseman as Thoth
Élodie Yung as Hathor
Courtney Eaton as Zaya
Rufus Sewell as Urshu
Geoffrey Rush as Ra
Director: Alex Proyas

The survival of mankind hangs in the balance when Set (Gerard Butler), the merciless god of darkness, usurps Egypt’s throne and plunges the prosperous empire into chaos and conflict. Hoping to save the world and rescue his true love, a defiant mortal named Bek (Brenton Thwaites) forms an unlikely alliance with the powerful god Horus (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau). Their battle against Set and his henchmen takes them into the afterlife and across the heavens for an epic confrontation.

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Since its release, Gods of Egypt has been panned, absolutely everyone has been trashing it and calling it one of the worst films of 2016. So naturally I was curious and wanted to check it out. While others despised the movie, I personally enjoyed it, but for all the wrong reasons. It really will surprise you how bad it this movie gets, from terrible green screen and CGI, to an uninteresting and familiar story. This film doesn’t work at all. Aside from the unintentionally hilarious aspects and two of the performances, Gods of Egypt pretty much fails on every level. I almost recommend seeing it.

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The story itself isn’t really interesting at all. We’ve all seen this story and types of characters many times over, there’s nothing to really comment on. I’m finding it difficult to remember much about the plot itself. The only reason this film works in a bad way is the way they try to execute this movie. They make the film so over the top, it’s kind of a glorious trainwreck to watch. The dialogue is really bad, awkward and clunky, the romance in the movie you don’t buy at all and there is also some humour which seems really off (which is funny but not because it’s done well, it’s funny because it was so horribly and awkwardly done). Pretty much almost nothing about this film works at all.

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Hands down the best part of the movie is Gerald Butler and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau. Gerald chews up the scenery as the villain and looks like he’s enjoying every second he’s on screen. Nikolaj at times looks like he’s genuinely trying to give a good performance, despite the bad material he’s given. Everyone else is forgettable, granted they didn’t have a whole lot to work with. Even some of the really good actors like Chadwick Boseman and Geoffrey Rush don’t really come away with anything. I think it is worth noting that there aren’t any Egyptian actors in this film, Gods of Egypt didn’t have any Egyptians. Not really a flaw with the performances, just thought it was worth pointing out.

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The green screen and action scenes were done absolutely horribly. Think of how out of place the green screen was in the Star Wars prequels. Only it’s 5 times worse. You can clearly see where the green/blue screen is around the actors, its kind of embarrassing. Same with the CGI, nothing feels natural. And as for the action scenes, there is so much slow mo and camera rotations used, it’s crazy. It tries to make it look epic but it ends up looking ridiculous, over the top and amateur. It’s weird because the director of Gods of Egypt made The Crow, which didn’t use a lot of CGI but still I don’t see how he could’ve made both films.

Undated Film Still Handout from Gods of Egypt. See PA Feature FILM Reviews. Picture credit should read: PA Photo/Entertainment One. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature FILM Reviews.

I didn’t give it my lowest score as I enjoyed this movie as a so-bad-it’s-good movie and Gerald Butler and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau were actually good in the movie. But it’s still so far the worst movie I’ve seen this year, with the awful CGI, greenscreen and action scenes, the mostly mediocre performances and a cliché story. Gods of Egypt really is the Jupiter Ascending of 2016. However, if you like so bad it’s good movies, you should definitely check this out when you can. This film is definitely one to remember, for all the wrong reasons.

X-Men Apocalypse (2016) Review

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X-Men Apocalypse

Time: 144 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence, Offensive Language and Content that May Disturb
Cast:
James McAvoy as Professor Charles Xavier/Professor X
Michael Fassbender as Erik Lehnsherr/Magneto
Jennifer Lawrence as Raven Darkhölme/Mystique
Nicholas Hoult as Hank McCoy/Beast
Rose Byrne as Moira MacTaggert
Tye Sheridan as Scott Summers/Cyclops
Sophie Turner as Jean Grey/Phoenix
Olivia Munn as Elizabeth Braddock/Psylocke
Lucas Till as Alex Summers/Havok
Director: Bryan Singer

Worshiped as a god since the dawn of civilization, the immortal Apocalypse (Oscar Isaac) becomes the first and most powerful mutant. Awakening after thousands of years, he recruits the disheartened Magneto (Michael Fassbender) and other mutants to create a new world order. As the fate of the Earth hangs in the balance, Professor X (James McAvoy) and Raven (Jennifer Lawrence) lead a team of young X-Men to stop their seemingly invincible nemesis from destroying mankind.

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X-Men Apocalypse has been one of my most anticipated films of the year, with director Bryan Singer returning from Days of Future Past along with his very talented cast. So does it deliver on its promises? Absolutely. This is so far one of my favourite films of the year and it’s in at least my top 3 in the X-Men series. There are some minor flaws in regards to the treatment of some of the characters, but for the most part, X-Men Apocalypse gets almost everything right.

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This is definitely the darkest X-Men movie yet with what happens to Magneto in the beginning, some of the deaths and not to mention that it’s the end of the world (obviously), there are some moments which were surprisingly dark and violent and I like the guts that the film had to go there. To offset the seriousness and grimness was the humour, which is also integrated very well, at no point does it feel forced in at all like it sometimes does with other comic book movies. One problem I have is some of the characters don’t get to be developed fully, a key example is Apocalypse’s ‘horsemen’ aside from Magneto. Storm, Archangel and Psylocke join him on his quest to take over Earth… just because. What’s worse is that the decisions that Storm makes doesn’t make much sense, especially when you factor in the fact that she’d eventually join the X-Men. However it’s easy to see why some characters are better developed than others, seeing as Singer had to handle so many characters at once.

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The cast from the previous two movies return and are usual great. James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender are unsurprisingly incredible in their roles. Evan Peters returns in the role of Quicksilver and like last time, he stole the show, he is just so enjoyable to watch. He gets a much bigger role than in DOFP and is again great, I can’t wait to see more of him as the films progress. Before going into this movie I was a little concerned about Jennifer Lawrence, because it looked like they were taking her character in a different direction, part of the cases made I agree with. She’s fine in the movie, though I don’t think that this was the best direction for the character and I wouldn’t lose any sleep if she left the franchise. There are also some recasting of previous X-Men movies, as well as some new characters. Sophie Turner as Jean Grey, Tye Sheridan as Cyclops and Kodi Smit-McPhee as Nightcrawler were perfectly cast, I can’t wait to see what the future holds for them. Oscar Isaac was so incredibly great as Apocalypse. The trailers did him a disservice and made him look like a generic ‘end the world’ villain but there is so much more to him. This character is so larger than life but Isaac manages to balance out the ‘bigger’ moments with the more subtle moments, he was definitely one of the highlights of the movie. While I felt that they didn’t get their chance to show off more due to not much being written for them, Alexander Shipp and Olivia Munn did great work with what they were given, and acted well enough for me to say that I’m looking forward to seeing them in the sequels.

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Bryan Singer directs X-Men movies excellently and he does it once again with Apocalypse. All of the action is so entertaining and many are amongst the best scenes in the series. I think a special scene that should get a shout out is the opening scene, which is a flashback which takes place at Egypt, everything in that sequence was done incredibly. I have to say, before seeing this movie I didn’t think it was possible for there to be a Quicksilver scene that tops the one in Days of Future Past. With Apocalypse, I’ve been proven wrong, all I’ll say is that it is excellently done and was one of the most memorable parts of the film. This film has the most destruction out of any of the X-Men movies, sometimes that’s shown off well, but there are times where the CGI and greenscreen looked a little fake, most of the time it really works though.

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I am so glad to say that X-Men Apocalypse is one of the best films in the series. With the entertaining action scenes and excellent portrayals of these characters (for the most part), X-Men Apocalypse is a movie that you absolutely must see. Don’t let the critics’ mixed reviews sway you, go out and see it for yourself. If you love the X-Men films, I have a feeling that you’ll enjoy this film as well.

X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014) Review

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X-Men Days of Future Past

Time: 132 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence
Cast:
Hugh Jackman as Logan/Wolverine
James McAvoy as Charles Xavier/Professor X (Past)
Michael Fassbender as Erik Lehnsherr/Magneto (Past)
Jennifer Lawrence as Raven Darkhölme / Mystique
Halle Berry as Ororo Munroe/Storm
Nicholas Hoult as Hank McCoy/Beast
Ellen Page as Kitty Pryde/Shadowcat
Shawn Ashmore as Bobby Drake/Iceman
Peter Dinklage as Bolivar Trask
Ian McKellen as Erik Lehnsherr/Magneto
Patrick Stewart as Charles Xavier/Professor X
Director: Bryan Singer

Convinced that mutants pose a threat to humanity, Dr. Bolivar Trask (Peter Dinklage) develops the Sentinels, enormous robotic weapons that can detect a mutant gene and zero in on that person. In the 21st century, the Sentinels have evolved into highly efficient killing machines. With mutants now facing extinction, Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) volunteers to go back in time and rally the X-Men of the past to help change a pivotal moment in history and thereby save their future.

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Dabbling into time travel is a huge risk but Days of Future Past is one of those rare movies which actually managed to apply it quite well. In fact for me, this is the best X Men movie made yet. Everything from the acting, the story and action is so greatly done by Bryan Singer. This movie showed that First Class wasn’t just a fluke, the X Men series is great again, and it looks like it will be great for a long time.

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The problem with time travelling movies is that it can be confusing and contradictive but the film offers up logical explanations that helped explain everything well. This film also blended the old and the new characters quite well, all of them are portrayed quite well. There is a good balance between action and story, and it’s quite easy to care about what was going on, which was something that I felt was sometimes lacking in the previous movies. There definitely is more past than future, but it’s quite balanced out, the time jumps never feel jarring. I will also say without spoilers that the result of the time travelling actually fixes a lot of the mistakes in the previous movies.

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The movie combines the cast of the old and new films and all of them as usual was great. So actors of the old trilogy like Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellan and others as well as actors from the new series like Nicholas Hoult were great. A particular standout for me was James McAvoy as Charles Xavier. Whereas X Men First Class was Magneto’s journey, Days of Future Past was Xavier’s journey. Jennifer Lawrence’s Mystique is also pretty good and also gets a good balance of action and character in this film. A scene stealer was Evan Peters as Quicksilver, he’s not in the movie a whole lot but he’s great in every scene he’s in. His scene where he demonstrates his power is one of the best scenes in a superhero movie I’ve ever seen. I also thought that Peter Dinklage did a pretty good job as the villain.

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Bryan Singer always directs X Men movies well. The action as to be expected was great and it showcased the powers of the mutants well. But it was not just the action that impressed me. The visuals in the future time looked beautifully dark and bleak, the past time looked straight out of the 70s. Days of Future Past is easily the most visually beautiful of the X Men movies. The special effects again are excellent, everything is on such a big scale, whether it be the Sentinels in the future or a scene involving Magneto and a stadium. I also love the score by John Ottoman, who returned from X Men 2.

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X Men Days of Future Past succeeded on pretty much every level, it had fantastic acting and portrayals of these characters, it had great action and it has a pretty engaging story. X Men Days of Future Past is for me the best X Men movie at the moment. We’ll have to see what happens with X Men Apocalypse and whether it can gain that title, but even if it’s close to the level of greatness of this movie, I’ll be happy.

X-Men: First Class (2011) Review

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X-Men First Class

Time: 132 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence
Cast:
James McAvoy as Charles Xavier/Professor X
Michael Fassbender as Erik Lensherr/Magneto
Rose Byrne as Moira MacTaggert
Jennifer Lawrence as Raven Darkhölme/Mystique
January Jones as Emma Frost
Nicholas Hoult as Dr. Hank McCoy/Beast
Oliver Platt as Man In Black Suit
Kevin Bacon as Dr. Klaus Schmidt/Sebastian Shaw
Director: Matthew Vaughn

In the early 1960s, during the height of the Cold War, a mutant named Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) meets a fellow mutant named Erik Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender). Despite their vastly different backgrounds — Charles grew up with a wealthy family, while Erik lost his parents at Auschwitz — the two become close friends. As the world teeters on the brink of a nuclear war, Charles and Erik with other mutants join forces to save humanity. However, a situation soon tears the friends apart.

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Superhero prequels are often doomed to fail, which is why some people were a little sceptical of this movie actually being good. The fact that it had an entirely new cast and look (not to mention that it came after X Men 3 and X Men Origins Wolverine which were the lowest points of the series), didn’t help. However with Matthew Vaughn as director, he actually ended up creating one of the best X Men movies. The talented cast (many of which played already established characters) did a fantastic job and the story ties into the X Men franchise very well.

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One problem I had with the original X Men trilogy is the lack of proper characterisation, aside from a few characters like Wolverine and Rogue, there were many characters that weren’t that developed. First Class was the first X Men film that fixed that issue, sure there are characters that don’t get fully explored but most of the main characters are established well, and that’s a huge step forward when compared to the previous movies. There definitely are some inconsistencies with the plot when compared to some of the other movies (such as with the flashback in X Men 3) but I was able to overlook that.

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The casting was excellent. James McAvoy as Xavier and Michael Fassbender as Magneto are really in the forefront of the movie and they are terrific. You can really buy their friendship and you can tell how this would carry over into the original trilogy. Jennifer Lawrence was also great as Mystique, I know a lot of people prefer Rebecca Romjin’s Mystique but while she looked the part she wasn’t given any depth whatsoever. Lawrence gets to actually explore the character, and she did a great job. Kevin Bacon actually was good as the main villain, the way his character tied into Magneto’s past was so great. The only casting I had a little bit of a problem with was January Jones as Emma Frost, she didn’t feel very believable and felt a little fake. That was the only miscast of the movie, everyone else was great.

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The action scenes are great (no surprise there) but something felt different, Vaughn’s directed action scenes added something special. This film had some very memorable moments, the last act features many mutant battles and it is glorious to watch. The soundtrack by Henry Jackman was also really good, it feels big, grand and epic.

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X Men First Class was a lot better than what we initially thought it would be. With a very talented cast, a pretty good story and Matthew Vaughn’s direction, this movie was a solid entry in the X Men franchise. I honestly think that it’s better than any of the original trilogy, though not quite better than X-Men Days of Future Past, which I’ll review soon. I’ll just say this though, people claim that it’s X-Men Days of Future Past which brought the X-Men franchise back for good but for me it was First Class that achieved that.

BloodRayne 2: Deliverance (2007)

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Bloodrayne 2

Time: 99 Minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1]
Cast:
Natassia Malthe as Rayne
Zack Ward as Billy the Kid
Michael Pare as Pat Garrett
Chris Coppola as Newton Piles
Michael Teigen as Slime Bag Franson
Michael Eklund as The Preacher
Director: Uwe Boll

A hundred years later, the dhampir Rayne (Natassia Malthe) has arrived in the town of Deliverance where a group of vampire cowboys led by Billy the Kid (Zack Ward) have emerged, who is hell-bent on creating his own kingdom. Rayne aligns herself with Pat Garret (Michael Pare), a member of the long-thought-dead Brimstone society, a dishonest preacher (Michael Eklund), and a lowlife named Franson (Michael Teigen) to stop him.

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Uwe Boll’s Bloodrayne was a terrible movie and I knew that before watching it. Still, nothing could prepare me for how awful its sequel could be. Bloodrayne 2 has bad acting, awful camera work and a plot easily summarised in 3 sentences drawn out to 90 minutes. Although the first movie had some entertaining moments (intentional or not), this movie has none at all.

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The story is very drawn out; whereas the first Bloodrayne’s plot flew by really fast, this movie has a straight forward plot that is drawn out to incredible lengths. The dialogue is even worse here than in the previous movie, I swear it’s like a 12 year old tried to write an episode of Deadwood and he threw in some vampires. It also contains probably the worst final lines to a movie I’ve seen so far. After a while I actually figured out that Uwe Boll didn’t really want a Bloodrayne movie, he just wanted a vampire movie set in the wild west; I don’t think that using it as an excuse was the best idea, for example, it doesn’t make much sense for Rayne to have her blades when most of the time she uses guns.

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Natassia Malthe replaces Kristanna Loken as Rayne and she did as well as the original actress, which is to say, not very good; however to be fair, none of these actors are given anything to work with. Zack Ward plays Billy the Kid, who’s a vampire and he’s not good either and he may be worse as a villain than Ben Kingsley in the first movie, topping it off with a strange unidentifiable accent. Chris Coppola plays a reporter and he was very annoying, he just made me wish that his character would be killed off. The acting was pretty much the same from everyone. The only over the top acting was in the first scene of Michael Eklund playing a preacher, that scene was hilarious, if only for how over the top he went, it makes Meat Loaf from the first movie look subtle. Unfortunately that’s the only hilarious acting moment; none of these actors leave an impression on you.

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The cinematography is very clunky; it looks like the camera man forgot to use a tripod as the camera was shaky, even in steady shots. Whereas the previous movie had buckets of blood that were very over the top, the blood has been reduced; although it at first sounds like Uwe Boll made the right call in reducing it, the first movie’s gore at least entertained. The action scenes aren’t good, and there are even less of them than in the first movie; it’s a shame because even if this was a bad movie, it could’ve been a bit entertaining, like the first movie from time to time. Even the locations were bad, throughout the movie; the weather keeps also kept changing, one moment it’s desert, next moment it’s snowy, you can clearly see that this was shot in Canada.

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This movie makes Bloodrayne actually look good, at least it had entertaining moments. This movie was just completely dull, with no redeeming qualities. In retrospect of my Bloodrayne review, there are actually some ‘so bad it’s good’ moments and if you look at the movie at a certain way, it can be entertaining. It’s not the same here, it’s just a bore.

Star Wars Episode 6: Return of the Jedi (1983) Review

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Star Wars Episode 6- Return of the Jedi

Time: 134 Minutes
Age Rating: 120px-OFLCN_-_PG.svg[1] Violence
Cast:
Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker
Harrison Ford as Han Solo
Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia
Billy Dee Williams as Lando Carlrissian
Anthony Daniels as C-3PO
Kenny Baker as R2-D2
Peter Mayhew as Chewbacca
David Prowse as Darth Vader
James Earl Jones as Darth Vader (Voice)
Ian McDiarmid as The Emperor
Frank Oz as Yoda
Director: Richard Marquand

The Empire is halfway through construction of a new Death Star; when completed, it will spell certain doom for Luke Skywalker and the Rebels. Meanwhile, Han Solo (Harrison Ford) has been imprisoned and Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) has sent R2-D2 and C-3PO to try and free him; Princess Leia (Carrie Fischer) and Chewbacca go along as well. They regroup with the Rebel fleet, which is massing for an attack against the new satellite battle station at Endor. Lando Calrissian (Billy Dee Williams) is leading the Rebel fighter attack, while Han is put in charge of a group of soldiers to take out the shield generator protecting the Death Star.

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The original Star Wars trilogy has some of the best movies ever made and Return of the Jedi is no exception. There are some people who may have been disappointed with this movie, but for me, this was the perfect way to end the Star Wars trilogy. It has everything that the previous two films had: great characters, an epic score, excellent storytelling and well done action scenes. This final chapter brings everything full circle and concludes the trilogy in the best way possible.

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The film has everything good from the previous two films and this includes the writing. The tone of the movie isn’t as dark as its predecessor but doesn’t go overboard either in being light hearted (with maybe the exception of the Ewoks which I’ll get to later). The first act was really good, especially with Jabba the Hutt; it is very interesting to see what’s going on. The second act, while still enjoyable, slowed down a bit as we are introduced to some creatures called Ewoks; these creatures have some of the more negative attention from some people. They didn’t personally bother me, they are a little distracting, however they don’t detract from the experience altogether. The final act however picks up; it is great and is so well cut together, intercutting scenes from three different events and locations. There is also a plot point near the end of the movie which was just perfect and is unexpected as most movies wouldn’t usually go that route.

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The actors play their characters for a third time and we can see how far they have developed and matured. An example is Mark Hamill’s Luke Skywalker, in the first movie he was a naive farm boy, here he is a wise and powerful Jedi. The same goes with Carrie Fischer’s Leia and Harrison Ford’s Han Solo; their relationship from Empire Strikes Back continues here and it’s done as well as it was in that movie. Darth Vader is intimating as always with James Earl Jones’s well suited voice. A stand out performance is by Ian McDiarmid as the Emperor, like Vader, he has such a big screen presence.

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Like in the previous Star Wars movies, the special effects are as good as always. The action scenes, whether it may be in Jabba’s Palace, in space with the fighters or on the forest moon Endor, they are so well shot and are very exciting. John Williams’s score is great as well in adding so many emotions to the film.

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Return of the Jedi really ends on a high note. I still think that The Empire Strikes Back is the best Star Wars movie made but in my opinion it’s on par with Star Wars (Episode 4). After hearing about the next three sequels it’s hard to imagine them getting anywhere close to this trilogy, the prequels certainly didn’t. Whatever your thoughts are about the prequels and unless the new trilogy changes everything, at the moment, the original Star Wars trilogy will remain the best Star Wars movies and overall, some of the greatest movies of all time.

Planet Terror (2007)

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Planet Terror

Time: 105 Minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1] Violence and offensive language
Cast:
Rose McGowan as Cherry Darling
Freddy Rodriguez as Wray
Josh Brolin as Dr William Block
Marley Shelton as Dr Dakota Block
Jett Fahey as J.T.
Michael Biehn as Sheriff Hague
Naveen Andrews as Abby
Bruce Willis as Lieutenant Muldoon
Director: Robert Rodriguez

In Texas, a gang lead by a black market dealer Abby (Naveen Andrews) faces a group of renegade militaries leaded by Captain Muldoon (Bruce Willis). During their shootout, Abby shoots a recipient of biological weapon, which releases an experimental gas that turns humans to flesh-eating zombies. When the outbreak affects most of the local population, a group of people lead by the mechanic Wray (Freddy Rodriguez), Sheriff Hague (Michael Biehn), the stripper Cherry (Rose McGowan) and Dr. Dakota (Marley Shelton) fight to survive and become the last hope to save the world.

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Planet Terror is the first part in the Grindhouse pack, paired with Quentin Tarantino’s Death Proof. As I pointed out in my Death Proof review, Quentin Tarantino’s movie unfortunately failed to entertain or interest me in the slightest and ended up as a bore. Planet Terror however is very entertaining and knows exactly what it is supposed to be. It’s a blood and gore drenched ride that doesn’t have a dull moment that will be entertaining for those who will be able to stomach it.

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The movie can be cheesy but that adds to the style; nothing is played straight. To give you an idea of the level of how unrealistic it can be, Rose McGowan’s character’s character has her leg removed (not spoiling anything) and near the end of the movie has a gun attached to where it should be before shooting a whole lot of zombies without even pulling the trigger. It is also at times self aware, in fact that there is a moment in the film where the screen shows ‘Missing film reel’ in the middle of a scene. The dialogue in exploitation movies are often bad, but here it’s quite good, if a bit cheesy at times. The film isn’t just constant action and violence, it has explosive moments, hilarious moments, disgusting moments and occasionally, shocking moments. There were some scenes which I felt could’ve been cut out (most notably one with a child and a gun) which wouldn’t have really changed the movie but overall the writing is actually better than most exploitation movies.

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Exploitation movies don’t really have great performances (they are in fact bad most of the time) but Planet Terror does have some decent performances. Rose McGowan does a pretty good job as the main character, even better when she’s in the action scenes with her gun-leg. Other actors like Freddy Rodriguez, Michael Biehn, Marley Shelton and Josh Brolin are also good in their roles.

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This is so far the bloodiest movie I’ve seen and I’ve seen Kill Bill and Django Unchained. All of the zombies are really designed with a lot of detail and are made as disgusting as possible. Like Death Proof, this does have a hazy camera filter but this time it stays throughout the whole movie and in my opinion, is used much better. The action scenes are well filmed, though keep in mind a lot of it is intentionally blown out of proportion, though you’ve probably figured that out already; they were never going for any realism (I once again draw attention to the gun for a leg).

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It is a better tribute to exploitation movies than Death Proof. The reason I give this film a higher score than most people would rate it is because of how it managed to entertain me. It’s not a movie that I think everyone should watch; if you hate these types of movies, nothing’s going to change your mind. However, if you are a fan of Grindhouse movies, it’s worth checking out, I haven’t watched any exploitation movies before and I had a great time with it. This movie isn’t great and isn’t going to win awards but it was never meant to; what makes it entertaining is the fact that it knows what it’s supposed to be and it delivers in that regard.

Natural Born Killers (1994)

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Natural Born Killers

Time: 118 Minutes
Age Rating: 79a0443c-3460-4500-922d-308b655c1350[1] Graphic violence
Cast:
Woody Harrelson as Mickey Knox
Juliette Lewis as Mallory Knox
Tom Sizemore as Jack Scagnetti
Robert Downey Jr. as Wayne Gale
Tommy Lee Jones as Dwight McClusky
Director: Oliver Stone

Delivery boy Mickey Knox (Woody Harrelson) falls in love with customer Mallory Wilson (Juliette Lewis). He helps her kill her parents and began their journey down Route 666. Every few miles, they attack everyone within their sight, sparing one person to tell the tale. They are made famous by reporter Wayne Gale (Robert Downey Jr.), while being pursued by the equally sadistic Jack Scagnetti.

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Oliver Stone is known for controversy in his films and Natural Born Killers is no exception. This film is quite polarizing; I don’t think everyone who watches this movie will like it. For me, it is a great showcase of acting, writing from Oliver Stone and satire. The style may be distracting but Natural Born Killers does have some elements that are great that are worth noting.

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This film is a satire of the media, public opinion, and the modern attitude toward violence (you really need to know that before watching it) and I think Oliver Stone did a pretty good job at delivering in that aspect. One of the elements of the satire is the fact that these serial killers are killing a lot of people and are being made famous by the media, so famous in fact, that they seem to be celebrities among some people. These two main characters are Bonnie and Clyde of the 90s if they were serial killers. This film also has an unconventional plot, along with it being about two serial killers; the plot mostly just follows them, whether that is the past or present. The first act of this movie was pretty good; it established these two characters and their relationship well. In the second act though my interest started decreasing, that point was when I started to find the style quite distracting as well, the film also slowed down quite a bit. The third act however picks up greatly, I won’t spoil what happens but it’s quite exciting and is even better than the first act. Another thing to mention is the fact that a lot of the characters aren’t that likable. Along with Mickey and Mallory (obviously) a lot of other characters are often quite despicable. Sometimes even some of the people that Mickey and Mallory aren’t that likable, with an exception to a few people. This isn’t a flaw with the movie; it’s just worth mentioning it.

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The acting is superb from everyone. Woody Harrelson and Juliette Lewis are really believable as these two serial killers who are in love and they really shine in their scenes. Robert Downey Jr. isn’t in the movie a lot but when he’s on screen is absolutely fantastic in his role. Tommy Lee Jones is also seen for a small part near the end of the movie and like Downey Jr., he really makes use of every second of screen time that he has.

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The style is very interesting to say the least. Sometimes the camera filters are a different colour, sometimes it is shot on an angle, and sometimes it cuts to some surreal images; it feels like you are on an acid trip. For the first half of the movie I accepted it and I was okay with it as it seemed to fit with the movie. But at the half way point, this style started to be quite distracting to me. I know that a lot of people loved the style: I thought it was good but for me, it got a little tiring after a while, you really need to prepare yourself for this type of movie.

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Natural Born Killers isn’t a movie that everyone will enjoy. Its style may be distracting, the fact that it’s following characters that aren’t likable (even some of the side characters aren’t that good either) or it might be the violence might repel some people. If you feel like you may like this movie, check it out but be ready for what you are going to see. You’ll either love it or hate it.

BloodRayne (2005)

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Bloodrayne

Time: 95 Minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1] Violence and sex scenes
Cast:
Kristanna Loken as Rayne
Michael Madsen as Vladimir
Matthew Davis as Sebastian
Michelle Rodriguez as Katarin
Ben Kingsley as Kagan
Director: Uwe Boll

Rayne (Kristanna Loken) is a half-human half-vampire Dhampir out for revenge for the king of the vampires Kagan (Ben Kingsley) who killed her mother. In her journey she meets Vladimir (Michael Madsen) and Sebastian (Matthew Davis), the leaders of the fortress of vampire hunters Brimstone, and joins their society to face the forces of Kagan.

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Uwe Boll has been called one of the worst filmmakers of all time; because Bloodrayne was on TV I decided to check it out, and I’m now paying the consequences. It has wooden acting, a shallow, uninteresting plot, and poorly done action scenes. I haven’t played the video game it’s based on but I feel sorry for the fans who were subjected to this abysmal adaptation.

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The plot goes so fast it’s hard to understand what’s going on. We also don’t know anything about these characters so we can’t really care for them; they make the characters from The Happening look like the Guardians of the Galaxy. The dialogue is not used well; it is either used for backstories, moving the plot, or exposition. The movie doesn’t even say what time period it’s in or where it is set. The film also has some odd ideas such as having normal water hurt vampires; here they are like the aliens from Signs. The last scene is a montage of whenever blood has been spilt and is nearly 4 minutes long; it comes out of nowhere and doesn’t make any sense in any form of context. Surprisingly, the screenplay was written by Guinevere Turner, who previously wrote the screenplay to American Psycho. It turns out that Uwe Boll demanded that she handed in a rough copy of the script and that he went with that version, so that explains a lot of the problems.

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Kristanna Loken was quite wooden here and barely showed more emotion than the T-X in Terminator 3. Michelle Rodriguez doesn’t give that good of a performance either, however she does seem like she’s trying to give a good performance. A stand out bad performance is from Michael Madsen, who doesn’t show any emotion throughout the movie and looks drunk (which he was) and bored; even when he’s fighting people, he doesn’t change his expression. There is a major thing that happens to him near the end which I won’t spoil (in case some of you actually want to see this movie) but he doesn’t even change his expression for that. He really looks like he doesn’t care, just look at this image down below, he’s not even holding his sword right.

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Billy Zane is only in a few scenes in this movie and doesn’t make any impact on the plot. Ben Kingsley plays the villain and most of his scenes are very short, barely lasting for 30 seconds; his performance is unfortunately phoned in, which is a shame. I won’t even go into the hammy performance from Meat Loaf as he was only in one scene.

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The action scenes are not done that well; there is a fight between Rayne and a big monster; there were so many cuts in that scene that I wonder how much of the footage was cut at just the right moment. The blood in this movie is so exaggerated that Quentin Tarantino would probably roll his eyes at it. There is one moment where a guy is cut in half at the waist but if you slow it down, you can clearly see his real legs behind some fake legs. The costumes are also questionable, particularly Rayne’s, one has to ask what type of person would wear that in any time period.

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Bloodrayne is a terrible movie; it’s not a so-bad-it’s-good sort of bad movie, it’s just boring. I wouldn’t recommend anyone to watch this movie (then again if you already know about Uwe Boll you probably weren’t even thinking about doing that) as there’s nothing enjoyable about it unless you are someone like me who wanted to make fun of it.