Movies: Skyscraper Review

July 15, 2018

There’s a lot about Skyscraper that is ridiculous.

Examples include

  • The cheesy dialogue.
  • The incredibly obvious villains who we’re not supposed to realise are villains.
  • Main character Will Sawyer’s continuous super-human physical fitness in spite of only having one leg and picking up numerous serious injuries on his arms and torso as events unfold.
  • The fact he has one leg for no other reason than so at one point he can rip off and throw it at a door to stop it from closing.
  • The bit where he doesn’t bother to save his daughter at the same time as the rest of his family just so that the film can be dragged out longer.
  • The way the villains tried to steal Will’s tablet at the harbour when they must have known they’d need his facial print to unlock it.
  • The hall of mirrors on the roof that appears to have no functioning purpose to the skyscraper other than setting up the confrontation at the end.
  • The way that the entire film is a set-up for a ‘did you turn it off and on again’ punchline.

I mean…if you really look deeply at it, Skyscraper doesn’t hold up to scrutiny.

But I think to come away from it unhappy with its ridiculous elements is mean-spirited.

If you take it for what it is – a daft action movie that combined elements of The Towering Inferno and Die Hard – then it’s perfectly enjoyable. It’s my type of ‘popcorn’ movie.

And it’s an easy watch as well; you won’t get bored, and you’ll have a few laughs.

So this is one that I would recommend.

 

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Movies – Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom Review

June 16, 2018

Sometimes its nice to have another person’s insight into the merits of a movie.

Left to me, I was a little bit short on things to say about Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom; I just thought it was a pretty generic Hollywood blockbuster where the only significant aspect was that it wasn’t just the same old same old in terms of the Jurassic Park franchise. This one wasn’t about a theme park experience gone wrong again – I mean, how many times can they make the mistake of thinking free-roaming, man-eating dinosaurs make  for a fun tourist attraction – but rather about illegal dinosaur trafficking and the ethics of saving them from extinction again when they had no natural right to exist.

It was different – which I liked – but still unremarkable. The ethical dilemma is hardly one we can relate to in our own daily lives.

That’s not enough for a review though, so I asked my Jurassic Park aficionado girlfriend Mhairi what she thought, and she had plenty to say.

She was disappointed by it, pointing out that it didn’t deliver what a fan of the franchise wanted to see (i.e. people in a theme park being attacked by dinosaurs). She thought that there were many elements that were copied from other Jurassic Park films – elements I might add that I didn’t spot myself, which shows the difference between the casual viewer and the fan – which made it seem repetitive, and in general she didn’t think there was enough action. She wanted to be excited more than she was, and so she left a bit deflated that it wasn’t what she expected.

To be fair, she has a point there. The first time I looked at the movie poster was when I was getting it for use in this review, and it’s fair to say that it offers a false representation of what Fallen Kingdom is about. They must spent about 15 minutes in peril on the island, and the rest is set in a mansion somewhere in the USA. It’s a misleading poster.

So to sum up, while on the one hand we were at odds – what I thought was a worthwhile change, she saw as a negative – where we both agree was that it wasn’t that good.

Though it wasn’t boring, it did feel lethargic and lacking in excitement, and certainly it wasn’t as good as Jurassic World.

I get the feeling six months down the line we’ll both have forgotten we even went.

 


Movies – Solo: A Star Wars Story (or “Enjoyable, But The Genre Might Be Getting Stale”)

May 26, 2018

If you are familiar with the franchise the you’re not going to be too surprised by the plot of Solo: A Star Wars Story.

Being that this is about the early days of the eponymous star of the movie, it obviously features key moments from his backstory, including…

  • How he met Chewbacca
  • How he won the Millenium Falcon in a game of cards from Lando Calrissian
  • How he made the Kessel Run in 12 parsecs

And just like Revenge of the Sith and Rogue One, finding out how things we already knew about actually happened is part of the fun.

I certainly enjoyed it, although at the same time I thought it wasn’t without its faults.

On the plus side, it filled in the blanks, it had a mostly very good cast – with special mention to Alden Ehrenreich who I thought played Han Solo without me thinking it was just some guy doing an impression – and it had a that familiar Star Wars vibe to it.

On the negative side, I thought the direction was a little bit hit and miss (it was so darkly shot for the first half hour that it was difficult to make out anyone’s face), Donald Glover’s take on Lando was the exact opposite of Ehrenreich’s of Solo (it just felt like Troy from Community – as Troy from Community – doing a Lando impression) and the movie had that familiar Star Wars vibe to it.

And yes, you’ve probably read that last line and thought “Wait…what?”.

So hear me out…

I understand why Star Wars movies are the way they are; people like them…I like them. I can also see why other franchises try to leach off them, like Guardians of the Galaxy.

But with the increased regularity of these movies, how long before we get fatigued by them?

How many times can we see the same type of ragtag group of rebels with the same type of wise-cracking sidekicks, talking robots and corny romance without thinking “Let’s have something new”?

Like I say, I enjoyed it but I was becoming conscious of the fact that we’ve now seen this same thing so many times that I’m not too keen on seeing a replica of it again in the near future.

With any luck they’ll know that for the next Star Wars spin-off, there needs to be a change in vibe.

Otherwise it’ll get stale, and fast.


Movies: Avengers Infinity War Review (Contains Spoilers)

May 1, 2018

Note: This Review Contains Spoilers

So I suppose I’d better stall for a bit just in case any introductory text appears in the Facebook or Twitter links to this review.

Cos, you know, I’d be annoyed if I read spoilers without actually opening up the link, wouldn’t you?

…Pauses….

…whistles…

Engages in small talk…

What about that weather, eh?

Right, I think we’re clear.

So let’s get straight to it; the ending of Marvel’s blockbuster to end all blockbusters (until the next one), Avengers: Infinity War, certainly caught me by surprise.

To end with pretty much all the superheroes being wiped from existence and to have the villain of the piece win – for now at least – was a shock, but it was an enjoyable one.

But then it had shocks running through the movie from the very start. And not just shocks for the sake of it; ones that made sense for the story, even though they’d have lasting repercussions in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

That’s no bad thing though;  to constantly hit the reset switch and never have any of the main characters die despite the constant danger they find themselves in can be frustrating. I mean…how many times have we seen Loki defeated only to come back again.

So the significance of what happens throughout Infinity War felt like a reward for the long term viewers of the movies. Yes, of course the ones who were wiped from existence at the end will come back and save the day in the next instalment, but you’ve got to think we’ve seen the last of the likes of Gomora and the aforementioned God of Mischief.

Infinity War wasn’t just about random shocks though; it was an enjoyable movie.

Sure, if you look closely at it, it’s probably not got the best script or plot in the world, but the amount of characters in it from all the different ends of the MCU – characters, by the way, who all seemed to be given enough to do to justify their inclusion, which was no mean feat – meant that they got away with that as far as I’m concerned.

I really liked it.

But if I was going to be critical of anything it would be that the tone wasn’t consistent. The stuff with Thor and the characters from Guardians of the Galaxy was genuinely funny, but scenes with Captain America and his team of po-faced heroes were played mostly in a very serious way. It meant that from one scene to the next the mood changed.

Also, why was the Red Skull even in it?

But those are minor complaints. Having suffered from Marvel fatigue for a while, I feel they’ve got themselves back on track.

 


Movies: Death Wish (2018) Review

April 9, 2018

I’m the sort of person who falls asleep watching TV if it’s after 8pm, so to go to the cinema for a 9pm showing of Death Wish seemed like a bad idea.

Unfortunately that was the only chance there was to see it, as it’s only shown at that time, but I love the original, so needs must.

So one can of Red Bull later and I was in my seat for a movie that realistically wasn’t going to start until near enough 9.30pm. I crossed my fingers and hoped I stayed awake.

And I did. Yay!

Now when you consider that I’ve fallen asleep in quite a few movies shown at much earlier times, like Rogue One, Doctor Strange and others, then that’s no mean feat, and a credit to Death Wish.

Don’t get me wrong though, I’m not going to tell you this is the greatest movie of our time, because it’s not. In fact, it’s a pretty ordinary remake of the original, and a plot we’ve seen rehashed many times over the years in other movies. Essentially it’s about a man who becomes a vigilante following personal loss, and a perceived sense of injustice in how the police have dealt with that loss.

I like that basic plot. It’s fun. It’s what my girlfriend describes as a ‘Boys Film’ (note: this is the first movie I’ve seen at the cinema without her in over two years because she had no intention of coming). It has a man killing bad guys in darkly humorous ways and it doesn’t last too long; what’s not to like?

Bruce Willis – while no Charles Bronson – is good, and Dean Norris essentially plays Hank from Breaking Bad again, which is cool.

If you like that sort of thing too, then you’ll also enjoy it.

Just don’t expect a masterpiece…

Or anything quite as hammy as when Charles Bronson killed The Giggler.


Movies: When We First Met Review

March 26, 2018

Remember my review of Happy Death Day? The one where I said I loved the Groundhog Day concept?

Well When We First Met is based on the same idea.

It’s about a man who goes back in time to relive a day three years earlier where he first meets the girl of his dreams at a party, in the hope of waking up again in the present to find himself in a loving relationship with her, rather than in the dreaded ‘Friend Zone’.

As far as I can see, it’s been panned by most critics for a number of reasons unrelated to the quality of the movie. One said it was about a man who got to relive a day over and over in the hope of sleeping with a girl he was infatuated with – which isn’t what it’s about – while another slated it for not being in the spirit of the modern cultural movement of empowerment.

Well, just like when I was asked to review a book that analysed Doctor Who from a homosexual point of view (apparently the sexual tension between the Doctor and the Brigadier was off the scale, which is something I personally never noticed) I don’t really grasp the mindset there. Call me shallow, but when I watch a TV show or a movie, I just like to take it on face value rather than holding it to any sort moral code or looking for subtext to fit in with how I wanted to view it. If I didn’t, I’d be the sort of person who couldn’t enjoy Big because it’s about an adult woman falling in love with a child, or I would say that Death Wish is unacceptable because Charles Bronson should rely upon the criminal justice system rather than take matters into his own hands.

I just didn’t see anything particularly untoward with the ‘morals’ of When We First Met.

If anything, the only problem is that Adam DeVine is an unlikeable arsehole.

But once I got past that, I enjoyed it. The plot appealed to me, it flowed well enough and it didn’t end as predictably as you might expect.

At times I chuckled, and at no point was I bored.

So it served its purpose.

No, it won’t win any Oscars, and no, I don’t think ‘serious’ people would enjoy it, but I did.

And I’d recommend if you have an evening free, you should watch it too.

Just don’t try to search for any inner truth when you do.


Movies: The Cloverfield Paradox Review (or “Pish”)

February 6, 2018

This should have been a review of I, Tonya, but I’ve come to accept that I just can’t go to the cinema after 8pm anymore without falling asleep.

So instead, we decided to stay in and watch The Cloverfield Paradox; that way if I fell asleep on the couch at least I could rewind bits.

And that’s exactly what happened because despite taking a couple of caffeine pills to keep me going, I did fall asleep. The pills did nothing…nothing!!

The thing is though, part of the reason I fell asleep was because this movie was pish. If it had been exciting, it would have kept my attention, but alas it didn’t.

So what was wrong with it?

Well, think of it like this…

Imagine a really good episode of Doctor Who. No matter what way you swing it, part of what makes it a good episode is because of The Doctor. There are other things going on, but the writing and performance of the lead character will add something to it. Without him, it wouldn’t be as entertaining.

Now imagine a poor episode of Doctor Who. Even in this example at least you’d have the acting and performance of someone like David Tennant or Peter Capaldi to provide a little chink of light,

Finally, imagine a poor episode of Doctor Who without The Doctor, and then imagine that episode running for three times the length.

It gives you a cold shudder doesn’t it?

Well that’s what The Cloverfield Paradox was like. A poorly thought out, lazily written yawn fest on a space station that tried to be clever but failed to capture my imagination, and based on other reviews I just skimmed, everyone else’s too.

It took me about half an hour to even realise what was going on, and then once I did get up to speed, I just wasn’t impressed. It was dull ‘And Then There Were None’ stuff that seemed to exist solely to build to a ‘shocking’ twist that unnecessarily tied it in to the other Cloverfield films.

And that’s in spite of it having a stellar cast and what looked like a decent budget.

That all counts for nothing if the story doesn’t cut the mustard.

And this story did not.

You should avoid it, because like I say, it’s pish.