Tag Archives: Simon Pegg

Hot Fuzz (2007) Review

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Hot Fuzz

Time: 121 Minutes
Age Rating: 2773-o[1] contains violence, horror scenes & offensive language
Cast:
Simon Pegg as Nicholas Angel
Nick Frost as Police Constable Danny Butterman
Jim Broadbent as Inspector Frank Butterman
Director: Edgar Wright

Police officer Nicholas Angel (Simon Pegg) is known to be the best across London. His seniors, who are jealous of his achievements, transfer him to a remote village where he encounters various challenges.

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I always remembered really liking Edgar Wright’s Hot Fuzz, it was funny, smart, and really fun to watch. After rewatching it after a long time though, it actually holds up far better than I thought it did.

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Hot Fuzz is written by Edgar Wright, the great script is an improvement over Wright’s previous movie Shaun of the Dead, definitely feeling much tighter, and had me entertained from beginning to end. Once again, like the rest of Wright’s Cornetto trilogy (also consisting of Shaun of the Dead and The World’s End), it really works much better on repeat viewings. You really notice things that you missed the first time around including little details, plot points and even jokes. It really shows how smartly written this movie is, that it is packed with so much. Hot Fuzz is very much a satire on action and buddy cop films, in the same way that Shaun of the Dead was a satire on zombie movies. Like with Shaun of the Dead though, Wright clearly has a love for those genres and is very knowledgeable about them. It would be one thing to just feature a cliché from the action genre and then point and laugh at it, it is actually put together very well and done with love for the genre. Along with that, Wright adds in elements of horror and suspense that spice the movie up a little more. The humour is endless hilarious, it was very effective and just about every joke hit well for me. There are so many quotable lines and running jokes that are so well written and implemented into the movie. The third act is a full on take on the over the top action in an action movie, and it was very fun to watch. As much as I liked that third act, I will say that the previous two acts worked a little better for me.

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The cast were all great in their parts. Simon Pegg and Nick Frost are once again in the lead roles here, and they share some perfect chemistry. It’s not just them though, supporting cast members like Jim Broadbent, Timothy Dalton and plenty more do add quite a bit with their performances and make themselves stand out.

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Edgar Wright directs Hot Fuzz, and he has done a fantastic job. Like with the script, the direction here feels a lot tighter compared to Shaun of the Dead. Something about all of Wright’s films is that you can really feel the energy throughout and that goes a long way towards making the movies work as well as they do. A big part of that has to be the editing, which has really escalated from Shaun of the Dead. It feels like a constant presence throughout, the transitions are sharp, it works perfectly for comedic effect, and is just fantastic overall. Even the mundane things like filling out paperwork are made very flashy. The visual gags too are so well handled, plenty of things you can miss if you’re not paying attention for a split second. As previously said, there’s a lot of action in the third act, with every over the top trope in an action film imaginable making an appearance. It’s also genuinely entertaining.

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Hot Fuzz is a hilarious and entertaining action comedy satire, with Edgar Wright’s strong and sharp writing and direction making this a must see. It is a strong contender for Edgar Wright’s best film to date, it’s either this or The World’s End, and this is definitely one of my favourite comedies of all time.

Shaun of the Dead (2004) Review

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Shaun of the Dead

Time: 99 Minutes
Age Rating: 2773-o[1]
Cast:
Simon Pegg as Shaun
Nick Frost as Ed
Kate Ashfield as Liz
Lucy Davis as Dianne
Dylan Moran as David
Penelope Wilton as Barbara
Bill Nighy as Philip
Director: Edgar Wright

Shaun (Simon Pegg) is a salesman whose life has no direction. However, his uneventful life takes a sudden turn when he has to singlehandedly deal with an entire community of zombies.

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The zombie genre isn’t one of my favourite sub-genres, even among the horror genre. However within that subgenre, Shaun of the Dead remains one of my favourite movies from it. I rewatched it recently and I think it’s quite good. It’s funny, it’s entertaining, and it’s very well written and directed by Edgar Wright.

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The script by Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg was really good and smart, blending horror and comedy effectively. They clearly have a lot of love for the genre, with a lot of the subversions and references that they have added. The comedy is pretty strong, with a lot of recurring jokes and certain details that you pick up on with repeat viewings. I wouldn’t say that movie is constantly hilarious or anything, maybe it’s just that it hasn’t held up that well for me the more I watched it. However, there are definitely moments that still work and remain to this day really great. The dialogue is great too, with some really memorable and quotable lines. One of the biggest surprises was the drama that was in place in the movie, especially in the third act. Shaun of the Dead is still mostly a comedy, but those dramatic and character moments actually work quite well. The movie really not scary at all, so if you’re not a big fan of horror you can still like the movie (as long as you can deal with the gore). Like I said with the jokes, you really notice more things upon further rewatches, and on my third viewing, I still noticed things that I hadn’t discovered before. The movie is an hour and 40 minutes long and overall I’d say that this was the right length for the movie.

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Simon Pegg is in one of his best roles as the titular character. Nick Frost plays Shaun’s best friend, he was also great. Pegg and Frost share some great on-screen chemistry together and they really feel like friends. The rest of the cast are good too.

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Edgar Wright directs Shaun of the Dead and his direction was one of the key aspects of making the movie work as well as it did. It is his first film and it really does feel like a debut film, but I don’t mean that in necessarily a bad way. You can really feel a lot of energy from this movie and that carries a lot of it. The editing and style are very fast paced so that helps too, though it hasn’t reached its fullest potential just yet (at least compared much as Wright’s later movies). There is a lot of attention to detail too, with visual gags that can be missed and reoccurring jokes. For a comedy horror movie, the makeup effects on the zombies and the gore are genuinely great. The movie really isn’t scary at all (unless you have a massive fear of zombies), it’s more gory than anything. The actual action is not all that great, not that I was expecting much of that from this movie. However let’s just say that you definitely notice a big difference in the quality of action from this movie compared to say The World’s End released 9 years later. The soundtrack was also great and was utilised in the movie well, perfect song choices for scenes is something that Wright does very well. It has quite possibly the best use of Queen in a movie.

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Shaun of the Dead is a fun zombie comedy, Edgar Wright’s script and direction carried it, and the cast also did well, especially Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. I will say that I didn’t like the movies as much as the other movies in the Cornetto trilogy (Hot Fuzz and The World’s End), but it’s still really good and worth watching for sure if you haven’t seen it already.

Mission Impossible: Fallout (2018) Review

Time: 148 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence
Cast:
Tom Cruise as Ethan Hunt
Henry Cavill as August Walker
Ving Rhames as Luther Stickell
Simon Pegg as Benjamin “Benji” Dunn
Rebecca Ferguson as Ilsa Faust
Sean Harris as Solomon Lane
Angela Bassett as Erica Sloane
Alec Baldwin as Alan Hunley
Vanessa Kirby as White Widow
Frederick Schmidt as Zola
Michelle Monaghan as Julia Meade
Director: Christopher McQuarrie

Two years after Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) had successfully captured Solomon Lane (Sean Harris), the remnants of the Syndicate have reformed into another organization called the Apostles. Under the leadership of a mysterious fundamentalist known only as John Lark, the organization is planning on acquiring three plutonium cores. Ethan and his team are sent to Berlin to intercept them, but the mission fails when Ethan saves Luther (Ving Rhames) and the Apostles escape with the plutonium. With CIA agent August Walker (Henry Cavill) joining the team, Ethan and his allies must now find the plutonium cores before it’s too late.

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Mission Impossible: Fallout was one of my most anticipated films of 2018. This action franchise has been running for over 2 decades, and since the 3rd instalment, every film was better than the last. Along with Rogue Nation (originally the best film of the series) director Christopher McQuarrie returning, we have the additions of Henry Cavill, Angela Bassett and Vanessa Kirby. At the very least I was expecting a solid action flick with Tom Cruise doing great stunts and some entertaining action. It certainly was that but it was much more than I thought it would be. Greatly directed, acted and executed, Fallout is not only by far the best instalment in the franchise, but also one of the best action movies in recent years.

One criticism that Fallout might get from some people is that it’s not really not the most unpredictable of stories. If you’re familiar with the Mission Impossible movies or any similar movies, you’re very familiar with these kind of spy plots and it doesn’t really do anything vastly different. You’ll be able to pick up most of what’s going on before it happens. There’s particularly one twist that was being built up throughout the story that audiences will be able to figure out within the first 10/20 minutes. With that said, there was a handling of a repetitive Mission Impossible plot point that I’m very happy was subverted here. Outside some of the predictability of the movie, the story really works for the movie. This is the longest Mission Impossible movie yet, at just under 2 hours and 30 minutes and yet from start to finish I was engrossed. This movie is tonally dark and the stakes are really high, both in terms of scale and on an emotional level. I feel like this movie really utilises the characters really well, at least the main team. Something that separates Ethan Hunt and his team from other action movie characters (particularly in Fallout) is that they are only just pulling off what they set out to do, barely scraping by and making it up as they go along. I lost track of the amount of times I heard phrases like “I’ll figure it out”, “I’m working on it”, and “We’ll make it work”. The plot also challenges the characters, not just Hunt, but also Benji, Luther and Ilsa, putting them in seemingly impossible situations. At the same time it does have a lot of well timed and utilised humour. Fallout does tie back to all the previous Mission Impossible movies (except for the second film, unless I missed anything). However, you don’t have to watch all the previous movies to understand Fallout. As it’s a direct sequel to Rogue Nation however, I think it’s a good idea to watch the 5th movie beforehand at the very least. And if you’re a Mission Impossible fan, I think you’ll be very satisfied with some of the things that happens in this movie. As for the way that the movie ends, it doesn’t necessarily end it on a cliffhanger or do any sequel baiting, but there’s room for future movies and some loose ends that have yet to be tied up, and I’m completely on board for more Mission Impossible movies.

The cast all do very well here. Tom Cruise once again plays Ethan Hunt and as usual he’s great. While Hunt doesn’t have the greatest depth in terms of character, he is effective enough in the movies. Also this is the first time since Mission Impossible 3 that there’s been a movie that has personal stakes involving him. This movie allows Hunt to show his age a little, and really acknowledges that he’s been doing this for a long time. It really does give the character much more depth. Cruise’s commitment, charisma and everything is on display. That’s not even mentioning all the stunts that he takes part in, the running, the driving, the fighting, the flying, every time Ethan Hunt is doing something on screen, it really is Tom Cruise doing all of that. Hopefully future MI films will continue to have stories more personal to Hunt because it really makes the movie stand out, and Cruise is great at it. The rest of the returning cast is great as well. Ving Rhames and Simon Pegg again are good, with Ving as Luther getting to do the most out of the whole franchise, and Simon as Benji doing more field agent work than before. You do feel the lack of Jeremy Renner here (who’s not here because of Avengers 4 filming) but he’ll not doubt be back for Mission Impossible 7. Rebecca Fergusson like in Rogue Nation, stole the show as Ilsa Faust. She’s great in her action scenes and makes a very strong impression as her character. Alec Baldwin is good in his role as the new IMF director and also returning is Sean Harris as Solomon Lane, who’s now the only Mission Impossible villain to appear in more than one movie. Once again he’s great and truly sinister, one of the best villains in the Mission Impossible series (however that’s not saying a lot). We’ve also got some new additions to the Mission Impossible cast. Angela Bassett gets to have some solid moments (although being rather underutilized), and Vanessa Kirby is fantastic in her role, even though she’s very much a supporting actor in the movie. The stand out new actor however is Henry Cavill, as a CIA agent that Ethan Hunt and the IMF are forced to work with. I do wish that his character had a little more depth than what we got but he was really good. His character of August Walker really stands out as being distinctly different from Ethan Hunt, he’s much more intense and ruthless, and he really was a force of nature. As Angela Bassett puts it, Hunt is a scalpel, whereas Walker is a hammer, with him being younger and physically more imposing and stronger. This role really showed a different side to Cavill as an actor, yes he’s great as Superman and as Napoleon Solo in The Man from UNCLE, but he’s proved here that he’s also solid with darker characters, and I do hope he gets more roles like this as well.

The Mission Impossible series usually have the tradition of having different directors for every film to feel distinctly different, Fallout breaks this tradition with Rogue Nation director Christopher McQuarrie returning for the sixth instalment. Despite him directing the previous film, Fallout feels like it was done by a completely different director, McQuarrie really upped his game here. In a lot of good action movies, there are usually a few great action scenes and the rest of the action scenes are decent enough. Here though, pretty much all the action sequences are absolutely fantastic, and had any of them been placed in most other action movies, it would be the best action scene of that film. Whether it involve motorcycles, running, helicopters, cars, you name it, McQuarrie, Cruise and co. perform them wonderfully well. A big part of why they work so well is the cinematography. Along with the movie just generally looking great, during the action sequences there are no unnecessary close ups and no jarring cuts during fight scenes, instead we have wide shots, tracking shots, the cinematography really helped showcase the action and we can see all of it unfold. All the Mad Max Fury Road comparisons that Fallout has been receiving make sense when you watch the movie. I’d say that 90-95% of the movie is practical, and as we know, 100% of Tom Cruise’s stunts was done by Tom Cruise. I wouldn’t know how to really talk about the stand outs action sequences because I’d just end up listing all of them, but some highlights include a brutal and excellently well done fight which takes place in a bathroom, a HALO jump performed by Tom Cruise and a helicopter flying scene. Lorne Balfe does the score and it really adds something to the movie. The constant feeling of uneasiness in the movie comes mostly from the score, giving the film a heightened sense of tension. It does feel like a Hans Zimmer score but that really worked for the movie.

Mission Impossible Fallout takes all the great elements from the previous movies in the series to create a fantastic, thrilling and intense movie, that had me gripped from start to finish. This is definitely the best film in the series and one of the best action movies of recent years. Although I’m not even sure how they would top Fallout, I’m completely on board for future Mission Impossible films. Even if you’re not a big fan of the series, I strongly recommend checking Fallout out, you won’t regret it.

Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol (2011) Review

Time: 133 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence
Cast:
Tom Cruise as Ethan Hunt
Jeremy Renner as William Brandt
Simon Pegg as Benjamin “Benji” Dunn
Paula Patton as Jane Carter
Michael Nyqvist as Kurt Hendricks
Anil Kapoor as Brij Nath
Léa Seydoux as Sabine Moreau
Director: Brad Bird

Blamed for a terrorist attack on the Kremlin, Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) and the entire IMF agency are disavowed by the U.S. government, while the president initiates the Ghost Protocol. Forced to go “off the grid” — left without resources or backup — Hunt must somehow clear the agency’s name and prevent another attack. Complicating matters even more, Ethan must undertake the impossible mission with a group of fellow IMF fugitives whose actual motives are suspect.

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Recently I’ve been watching the Mission Impossible movies (in reverse order) in preparation for the latest instalment (Fallout) to be released. From what I can tell, before 2011, Mission Impossible wasn’t doing so great as a series. JJ Abrams salvaged the series from extinction with 3 but it wasn’t a huge success. Despite that, Paramount Pictures were keen on developing a fourth film. It’s in 2011 when the next instalment would be created by director Brad Bird of The Incredibles fame. Ghost Protocol was a huge success when it came out and for good reason, it’s a fresh spy movie with Brad Bird’s direction playing a large part in its success. While I don’t consider it to be the best movie in the series, it’s still rather solid and memorable as both an action movie and as a Mission Impossible.

On top of being thrilling, Ghost Protocol is also really funny, you really feel the tonal difference from the other Mission Impossible movies and it really works here. The previous movies in the Mission Impossible series seemed to be mostly the Tom Cruise show, 1 and 3 had some of that but here they really work as a team throughout the entire movie. Outside of the first 30 or so minutes, the film is split in two parts, one is the Dubai segment, and the other is the climax in India. The Dubai segment is great, filled with great tension, action and suspense. What works so well is that you really feel like these characters are on their own and vulnerable. It seems that pretty much every Mission Impossible movie consists of the main characters (or Ethan Hunt at least) being hunted down, on the run and vulnerable. However Ghost Protocol really shows them as being a little vulnerable and in difficult situations. This movie goes all out with some of the gadgets, but despite how impressive some of the gadgets are, many of them don’t work perfectly, some of them don’t work at all. Even the mission reader that Ethan Hunt gets with the message starting with “Your message, should you choose to accept it” and ends with “This message will self destruct in 5 seconds” fails to successfully self destruct. Even though you know that by the end of the movie everything will be alright, Ghost Protocol is very effective with its tension. Ghost Protocol does have a slight issue, the movie really peaks at the Dubai segment. While the rest of the movie is still pretty good, it doesn’t live up to the previous act and is relatively decent but lesser in comparison. The plot can be a little convoluted at times but not enough to bring down the movie. I’m not really sure that it’s a problem but despite the movie being over 2 hours and 10 minutes long, it feels much shorter. However I feel a large part of that is due to the structure. There seems to be a location each for the last two acts, which feels very jarring compared to other movies where it takes place in multiple places.

The cast are all good, as I previously said, there wasn’t as much emphasise focussing on a team in previous movies. Now however they are developed adequately enough and get a lot to do. Tom Cruise as usual is effortlessly good as Ethan Hunt, delivering on playing the character as well as the physical stunts, absolutely fearless in the things that he does such as the Burj Khalifa tower climbing scene. Simon Pegg was introduced in Mission Impossible 3 in a smaller role, here he gets to do quite a lot more. Paula Patton and Jeremy Renner also do their parts rather well. The team all worked together very well. The villain is played by the late Michael Nyqvist, who is a really good actor. However his character wasn’t that great. His performance is good and the character does have a good setup but the problem is that aside from two scenes in the first act, he’s really just in the climax, and we aren’t given enough time with him. So by the end he ends up feeling rather flat. A supporting villain played by Lea Seydoux does much better in her role.

Until Mission Impossible: Fallout, the tradition was for each film in the series to be directed by a different person. With each Mission Impossible film you can really see each director lend their style to the film, Bird is no exception, who made his live action film debut here. His direction is a big reason why you are constantly interested and entertained throughout. The famous Burj Khalifa climbing sequence still holds up very well today, absolutely tense throughout. However Bird is also good at creating tension during the non action scenes as well. The action scenes themselves are pretty good themselves, from the fight scenes to the chase scenes. The movie does have a really good look to it. There was some explosions in the first act of the movie that looked a little fake but outside of that there wasn’t anything really distracting about the effects.

Mission impossible Ghost Protocol 7 years later is still a really good movie. Brad Bird has made a very entertaining and thrilling movie which still holds up very well. There maybe some minor issues but its not enough to really take away from the overall enjoyment of the movie. I still think that Rogue Nation is the best movie to date (Fallout could change that), but Ghost Protocol still holds up as being one of the highlights of the series.

Mission Impossible 3 (2006) Review

Time: 126 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Medium level violence
Cast:
Tom Cruise as Ethan Hunt
Philip Seymour Hoffman as Owen Davian
Ving Rhames as Luther Stickell
Billy Crudup as John Musgrave
Michelle Monaghan as Julia Meade
Jonathan Rhys Meyers as Declan Gormley
Keri Russell as Lindsey Farris
Maggie Q as Zhen Lei
Simon Pegg as Benjamin “Benji” Dunn
Eddie Marsan as Brownway
Laurence Fishburne as Theodore Brassel
Director: J.J. Abrams

Retired from active duty, and training recruits for the Impossible Mission Force, agent Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) faces the toughest foe of his career: Owen Davian (Philip Seymour Hoffman), an international broker of arms and information, who is as cunning as he is ruthless. Davian emerges to threaten Hunt and all that he holds dear — including the woman Hunt loves.

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JJ Abrams brought back the Mission Impossible series after the… rather questionable Mission Impossible 2. Mission Impossible 3 is a really good movie, and benefits from the direction by JJ Abrams. It’s a stand out in the Mission Impossible series. There are parts that don’t work as well but none of it is enough to significantly bring down the quality or enjoyment over the movie.

This movie never lets up, its like a never ending chase. It’s very difficult to be bored as the movie barely gives you a moment to breathe, and the moments that serve as breaks are the right length and don’t take away from the tension and thrills. It is apparent pretty early on that Mission Impossible 3 has an emphasis on action over espionage, but unlike Mission Impossible 2 it is actually executed well. One thing that stands out about this movie is that there are some personal stakes, which is mostly due to Ethan Hunt’s connection to his wife and how she becomes involved with the plot. That is immediately established by a very tense and effective opening scene. It also feels a lot darker compared to all the other Mission Impossible movies. The movie is about 2 hours long and it feels like the right length, the pacing is solid and allows you to stay engaged throughout the entire runtime.

Tom Cruise is as usual good in his role here. This is his best performance as Ethan Hunt to date, along with performing the action scenes and stunts excellently, he gets to show an emotional range and gets a lot of moments to shine. From this point, Ethan Hunt improved dramatically as a character in the series. Michelle Monaghan plays Ethan’s wife, and the two share some solid enough chemistry. We have Ving Rhames returning from the prior films as Luther Stickell, and is one of the stand out characters. We also get Simon Pegg’s introduction into the series as Benji, who would go on to feature more prominently in the next Mission Impossible movies. Other additions like Billy Crudup, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Keri Russell, Maggie Q and Laurence Fishburne were also good, they played their parts well. Phillip Seymour Hoffman here plays one of the stand out villains in the Mission Impossible series. He is truly menacing and threatening in his scenes, making himself one of the highlights of the film. If there’s an issue with him, it’s that his character Owen Davian doesn’t really have any backstory, he really is just an evil arms dealer. The simplicity of his character and how matter of fact he is was part of why he’s so effective but it would’ve been nice to have learned some of the character. Also we really don’t get enough screentime with him, they way they conclude his character was also underwhelming. It’s Hoffman’s performance that makes this character really work.

This is the first live action film that JJ Abrams has directed, and it’s very solid for a film debut. There is a more of a handheld direction apparent here which works most of the time in MI3. Dan Mindel’s cinematography is actually rather beautiful here, the colour tones are quite different for a Mission Impossible movie and somehow something about it works. If there’s an issue with the direction, is that there are too many close ups used. Part of the reason why it’s so prominent in this movie is because Abrams likely used a lot of them in tv shows like Lost, which would typically use a lot of close ups. As seen in the Star Trek movies and The Force Awakens, he’s sort of moved away from that and improved his style so now everything is more balanced. The movie is heavily focussed on action and the action scenes themselves are really good and entertaining. A stand out is a bridge sequence about halfway into the movie.

Mission Impossible 3 is a very solid dark, gritty and intensely personal action thriller. The highlights were the personal stakes, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, the darker story and JJ Abrams’s direction. From start to finish you are on board with what’s going on and it never lets up, it’s one thrilling ride. There aren’t really a huge amount of flaws to bring the movie down, and is actually rather underrated as a movie.

Terminal (2018) Review

Time: 90 Minutes
Cast:
Margot Robbie as Annie/Bonnie
Simon Pegg as Bill
Dexter Fletcher as Vince
Mike Myers as Clinton/Mr. Franklyn
Max Irons as Alfred
Director: Vaughn Stein

In the dark heart of a sprawling and anonymous city, two assassins carry out a sinister mission, a teacher battles a fatal illness, an enigmatic janitor and a curious waitress lead a dangerous double life. Murderous consequences unravel in the dead of night as their lives all intertwine at the hands of a mysterious criminal mastermind who is hell-bent on revenge.

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Terminal looked like it could be something good, with people like Margot Robbie and Simon Pegg involved, and from the trailer it looked like it was interesting with a very stylish look. However, from what I heard from many people, the movie really doesn’t live up to any of its potential and was just plain bad. Nonetheless I was curious about it and still wanted to check it out, and having seeing it now, I can confirm that it doesn’t live up to the hype. It feels like the filmmakers tried to utilize a combinations of directors/writers to create a stylish thriller with twists and turns just for the sake of twists and turns. However, none of it comes together to work at all. Not all of it is bad, some of the actors are good, and is has a nice aesthetic and cinematography but unfortunately it’s not enough to save this movie.

As I said earlier, you can really see this movie trying to imitate so many other filmmakers’ styles’ but it doesn’t work. I’m not quite sure how this script got greenlit, it feels unfinished and even experimental, like the writer was trying out some ideas in a script and this was the first draft. First of all, this movie is needlessly convoluted. This movie is supposed to be very mysterious and have twists and turns with a noire feel to it but it doesn’t execute it correctly. It jumps between so many places and locations. It’s like they are trying to pull off a Pulp Fiction/Tarantino-esque script, without it being particularly smart and not jarring. Very early on it’s extremely confusing what’s going on and at a point you just stop caring about what’s going on and just accept that you’re not going to understand a lot of what’s going on. Granted once you see all the twists happen and the payoff, it makes the movie slightly better but at that point you’ve stopped caring about what was happening. None of the twists are satisfying outside of the fact that you can finally know what is going on. Not even the end is satisfying, you just want the movie to feel over because you feel underwhelmed by it all. Second of all, this movie tries so hard to be witty and smart with the dialogue and comedy and like 90% of it doesn’t work. It’s like they are trying to do a Guy Ritchie script but without it being good (which unfortunately happens way too often with some movies than it should). You can see this particularly with two assassins played by Dexter Fletcher and Max Irons with so much forced banter between them and it just becomes annoying. The movie however seems to think that its funny and entertaining because they just won’t stop with it. However the dialogue has more issues than just that, there is so much exposition dumps in most of the dialogue scenes, it’s really quite astounding, to the point where you just get bored. Also, some of the dialogue is really quite bad.

Third of all, the characters aren’t likable or interesting at all, so there’s no reason to really care about what happens to any of them. They are also very one note and don’t display a range of personalities. I’m fine with movies having just reprehensible characters but they need to have something to them that’s interesting, likeable or entertaining, otherwise the audience won’t be willing to care about what happens to them. Last of all, it’s just not interesting. With characters that are 2 dimensional at best, dialogue that’s exposition heavy and fails at its heavy handed attempts to be witty and a story that is just jarring and partially incomprehensible for no reason, it’s hard to get into. Most of all though, it doesn’t feel like they are trying to tell a story, it feels like they’re just having twists for the sake of twists. It doesn’t help that the plot meanders a whole lot and doesn’t seem to be leading to anything (with the exception of one twist). This movie is 90 minutes long and honestly, I’m glad that it’s that length. Because I can’t imagine having to watch any more of Terminal than the average movie runtime, even with that short runtime it felt pretty long.

One thing that the trailer did get right was Margot Robbie would be one of the best parts of the movie, and that’s definitely apparent here. In Terminal she uses a lot of her Harley Quinn craziness and charm here to great effect, the movie gives her lots of opportunities to chew the scenery. With that said, it’s not like one of her best performances, but she is having fun in the role and is giving it her all. Simon Pegg was also pretty good in his role here, he and Robbie have the closest thing to an interesting dynamic pairing of characters when it came to dialogue heavy moments (much more than the previously mentioned assassins played by Dexter Fletcher and Max Irons anyway). The rest of the cast don’t fare as well. I’m not exactly sure why Mike Myers is in this movie but for most of the movie he felt quite out of place, and really doesn’t get to show off or do much until like the last moments of the film. All the actors here are trying but only some of them come out giving okay performances. However like I said, none of the characters are particularly interesting and are very one note, so there’s only so much that these actors can do in their roles.

Terminal is absolutely stunning looking, with the colours, the lighting, use of neon, production design, it is a beautiful movie to look at. With that said, I can’t really say that the direction overall is great. The movie is incredibly stylish but at times the movie is trying way too hard to be stylish, especially with the scene transitions, that by the hour mark you just feel completely over it. It’s like its trying to be a Nicolas Winding Refn but only with the stunning cinematography. Some of the editing also is quite jarring and is made all the more worse by the constant time and location jumps in the story itself.

Aside from Margot Robbie, Simon Pegg and some nice cinematography, Terminal was a very underwhelming movie, with a messy and unfocussed script that feels like a lot of ideas and “cool things” thrown together. It’s not interesting, the characters are one note and you don’t care about them, the story is obnoxiously overconvoluted and throughout the whole thing, you really get the feeling that Terminal thinks it’s way better, smarter and funnier than it really is. The neon aesthetic and style is not enough to carry the movie, nor is the dozen twists and dialogue heavy and exposition dump scenes. I don’t think it’s terrible, I have seen way worse but this still isn’t a good movie at all. It is only 90 minutes long, so I guess you aren’t wasting too much time if you choose to check Terminal out, but I don’t think it’s really worth it.

Ready Player One (2018) Review

Time: 140 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence
Cast:
Tye Sheridan as Wade Watts/Parzival
Olivia Cooke as Samantha Cook/Art3mis
Ben Mendelsohn as Nolan Sorrento
Lena Waithe as Helen/Aech
T.J. Miller as i-R0k
Simon Pegg as Ogden Morrow/the Curator
Mark Rylance as James Halliday/Anorak
Director: Steven Spielberg

In the year 2044, on his death bed James Halliday (Mark Rylance), the creator of a wildly popular virtual reality utopia known as the OASIS, begins a hunt for his fortune and ownership of the whole VRMMO world with puzzles and riddles based on Halliday’s obsession with pop culture of decades past. After years of searching for Haliday’s “Easter Egg,” one average teenager named Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan) solves the first clue, he sparks excitement and hope back to the hunt, and throwing him into a world of people willing to kill for the information he has, changing his life forever.

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Ready Player One was a movie I was cautiously optimistic about. It had a lot going for it, it was based upon a book with a very creative premise with a lot of potential, a great cast including Tye Sheridan, Olivia Cooke and Ben Mendelsohn and it’s directed by Steven Spielberg. But at the same time I had some reservations. Steven Spielberg, while a great director, has been putting out some mostly fine movies but nothing that I found really great. Also from the trailers and premise, it seems that RPO would rely only on nostalgia and just end up being okay. Still, I knew I was going to see it, and I was just hoping that it would be better than I thought it would be. I have to say, Ready Player One really surprised me. Steven Spielberg has created his best film in many years and it’s honestly one of the biggest surprises of 2018 so far.

Ready Player One is quite a long movie, at 2 hours and 20 minutes. However, when I was watching it, it didn’t actually feel very long to me. Honestly the only thing that kind of was out of place and didn’t work all that great was the first 10 minutes which had a whole lot of exposition dumping, looking back it’s hard to picture how else Spielberg could’ve integrated all that information into the film but there was probably a way. Aside from that and some at times cliché dialogue, I didn’t find myself having many issues with Ready Player One, at least after my first viewing. It is a very entertaining movie and had my interest from start to finish, I was really wrapped up in the story that was being told. One of my favourite sequences involved ‘the second key’, I won’t spoil it at all because it really was a surprise. Once you watched the movie you’ll probably know why I liked it so much. It is worth noting that the stuff that happens in The Oasis was more entertaining and interesting than whatever happens in the real world but that’s to be expected. The film really shows you why so many people are obsessed with The Oasis. There is a lot of pop culture references, and that was one of my biggest worries about the movie, because it could easily fall into the trap of just relying on the audience to like the nostalgia. However, a lot of the pop culture references are for the most part brief or in the background. Like there might be characters in the background and we might see characters from franchises like DC, Halo, or whatever. This is because one of the key parts of Ready Player One is nostalgia and it is appropriately used here for the story. It’s not like the movie is shoving The Iron Giant in front of the screen and expecting you to love the movie because you recognise it. Honestly if you don’t recognise any of these franchises or references, I don’t think it’ll really matter.

The talented cast involved does quite well. Tye Sheridan is quite good and likable as the protagonist and Olivia Cooke is particularly good here, the two of them share great chemistry. Ben Mendelsohn is quite an effective antagonist, the role is a little generic all things considered but Mendelsohn elevates the role and does some different things with it. Other supporting actors like Mark Rylance and Simon Pegg also play their roles quite well.

I have to say that it’s great seeing Steven Spielberg doing a sci-fi movie again, it’s been over a decade since he last did it. It’s no real surprise that his direction is fantastic, nothing new, but his direction here is a big part of why Ready Player One works so well. Visually, this film is stunning and immersive. Yes, in the real world the effects and look were all pretty great, but it’s the visuals in The Oasis that really stands out. Nothing is meant to look real, it’s a virtual gaming world after all, where people can change their avatars to look different and some of the things that happen and are seen are deliberately exaggerated at times. Spielberg has definitely taken a lot of inspiration from video games both old and new and it is very apparent here, he did such a fantastic job. The score by Alan Silvestri also added a lot to the movie.

Ready Player One was much better than I thought it would be and is Steven Spielberg’s best film in years. On top of the pop culture references and the general entertainment factor, I was really wrapped up in the story. Spielberg’s direction really brought the concept to the big screen effectively, with the visuals, the style, everything. It was a lot more than I thought it would be. If you are sceptical about the movie, I’d say give it a go because I myself was doubtful and I was blown away by what I saw.

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.

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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.

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.

Mission Impossible Rogue Nation (2015) Review

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Mission Impossible Rogue Nation

Time: 131 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence
Cast:
Tom Cruise as Ethan Hunt
Jeremy Renner as William Brandt
Simon Pegg as Benji Dunn
Rebecca Ferguson as Ilsa Faust
Ving Rhames as Luther Stickell
Sean Harris as Solomon Lane
Alec Baldwin as Alan Hunley
Director: Christopher McQuarrie

With the IMF disbanded, and Ethan (Tom Cruise) out in the cold, the team now faces off against a network of highly skilled special agents, the Syndicate. These highly trained operatives are hellbent on creating a new world order through an escalating series of terrorist attacks. Ethan gathers his team and joins forces with disavowed British agent Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson), who may or may not be a member of this rogue nation, as the group faces their most impossible mission yet.

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It would be hard to imagine Mission Impossible Rogue Nation getting anywhere close to Ghost Protocol, the previous entry in the Mission Impossible franchise. While I liked Jack Reacher, director Christopher McQuarrie’s previous film, I wasn’t sure if he was the best choice for directing this film, and Ghost Protocol was so great that it would be a pretty tough job to get anywhere close. After seeing it I can say that Mission Impossible Rogue Nation is actually one of the best Mission Impossible movies. It has all the thrills and entertaining factors that a good summer blockbuster needs. I’m not sure if Rogue Nation is better than Ghost Protocol, but it’s up there.

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One of the only flaws of the previous Mission Impossible film (Ghost Protocol) is that the film really peaked at the tower scene halfway through the movie and the rest of the movie never really got to that level of intensity. Rogue Nation however manages to keep the stakes and tensions high all the way. Something great from the previous film that crossed over was the fact that their gadgets didn’t always work all the time. This made the situations much tenser and much more unpredictable. Even when the action is really the main focus, I was able to follow the plot quite easily, it wasn’t unnecessarily convoluted and it was actually well laid out and planned.

Tom Cruise plays Ethan Hunt in Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation from Paramount Pictures and Skydance Productions.

Tom Cruise is effortlessly great in this movie and proves once again that he’s great as an action star. Along with doing his own stunts, he really commits to what is going on at the moment. Simon Pegg, Jeremy Renner and Ving Rhames are also great in their roles. I also liked Alec Baldwin’s addition to the cast. A great addition is Rebecca Ferguson, she made the film even better. From what I can tell, she hasn’t done much in her career aside from the Dwayne Johnson Hercules movie but I have a feeling that we are going to see her in many more movies. Mission Impossible doesn’t have a great record of good villains, the best villain we’ve gotten so far was Phillip Seymour Hoffman in the 3rd film. Fortunately the villain here (played by Sean Harris) is one of the better villains of the franchise. His motivations are developed and you understand why he makes the decisions that he makes.

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The action scenes continue to up the ante as the film progresses. The stunts are great as always and makes these action scenes so much better because unlike a lot of action movies today, you can tell that a lot of what you are seeing actually happened, it wasn’t just green screened or used CGI. There are many stand out scenes, there is a motorbike chase scene (which honestly might be my favourite motorbike action scene), an underwater scene, and so much more including a scene where Tom Cruise is on the side of an airbus mid-air (as advertised many times in promotion of the movie).

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Mission Impossible Rogue Nation is a fun ride and one of the best action movies of the year, and given the action films released this year, that says a lot. I’m not sure if this is my favourite Mission Impossible movie, it’s a toss-up between this and Ghost Protocol but even on its own, it is a great movie and I’m looking forward to seeing more films in this franchise.