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Monthly Archives: April 2016

QUICK REVIEW: The Jungle Book (2016)

Howdy people, FINALLY after being stuck at work for the last week I’m back to my blog to write some stuff, yay! 😛 Anyway everyone has gone on about how great The Jungle Book is, but I haven’t, mainly because I hadn’t seen it…  Until yesterday. Now that I’ve seen it I can gush about how great it is too because the film is awesome and I’ll tell you why in this review. 🙂

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Straight to the point, Disney’s live-action The Jungle Book, much like last year’s Cinderella is an updated version of the classic animated film. So if you’re familiar with the story of the original then this is almost beat-for-beat exactly the same as you remember, however, there have been a good few alterations/modifications to compensate for the transition into live-action but also for the changes in the story. What I really appreciated was how the writers took the foundation of the original film, but modified it so that the story got a little darker, layered and had a greater sense of scale, realism and threat which not only encompassed Mowgli but everyone else in the jungle as well. There was a lovely sense of cohesion and community, and I several of the updates to the story really improve the overall experience much more than the original.

I really liked the cast as well starting with Neel Sethi who was great as Mowgli, for a child actor who essentially had to ask like he was surrounded by talking animals he did a bloody good job. I actually LOVED Mowgli in this film. In the original he was such a whiny little brat who had one or two moments of being likeable, but overall wasn’t one of Disney’s better protagonists, but here he’s young, brash and a little hard-headed, but he’s also resourceful, charming and applies logic to a lot of his situations. As for the voice cast they were awesome across the board. Bill Murray was delightful as Baloo, you can tell that Murray was just having a good time with this material and much of his dialogue felt very much like him more so than Baloo, but for me that was a good thing. Ben Kingsley was spot on as Bagheera, Kingsley was able to be strict, relaxed and hilarious without trying too hard was impressive. Lupita Nyong’o as Raksha had a fierce yet calm and caring demeanour, while Scarlett Johansson was creepy, mysterious and a seductive as Kaa, Giancarlo Esposito brought the right levels of confidence and sincerity to Akela and Christopher Walken as King Louie was simply delightful with Walken really adding something special to all of the scenes he was in whether he was lighthearted or aggressive. But as much as I loved the other voice actors it is Idris Elba who stole the show as Shere Khan. Elba just has one of the best voices ever especially for villainous roles and he commits 100% so when he makes threats or shouts you fear him and I loved it!

Oh and let’s talk about that presentation. Do I even have to say it? It was amazing. Visually the film was fantastic, from the time the film opens with the Disney logo you are treated to a visual treat for the eyes with some of the most impression CGI to date. The fact that like 90% maybe 95% of the film was made up of visual effects in mental when you consider all of the landscapes, animals, weather effects and so on that had to be done, but was incredibly realistic, sharp and the attention to detail was insane. I also loved the realism applied to the animals, even though they talked, the facial movements were relatable and had great subtle movements with ears or blinking eyes. Though if I can fault the visual effects in any way I found say that there are sequences at night where things got a little too dark, but that’s about it. And I also really liked the film score by John Debney who captured the spirit of the original music with the pieces he included, but also added a sense of drama and tension not found in the original too.

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In conclusion The Jungle Book was just awesome. There was just the right balance of nostalgia and freshness to justify this film’s existence and with it being executed so well I can’t help but be excited for where Disney and their talented filmmakers go next with their live-action material. 🙂

Rating: 8.5/10 (It was almost a 9!)

So have you seen The Jungle Book and if so what did you think of it? And if you’ve seen the original as well which do you prefer? Please leave your comments below and I’ll see ya on the next review, laters! 😀

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Posted by on April 25, 2016 in Film Reviews, Films, Media, Reviews

 

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QUICK REVIEW: Doctor Strange Trailer #1

Howdy ladies and gents, it’s time for another trailer review yo! There’s been a lot of trailers dropped recently with the third for Suicide Squad, and the second for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows and Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them. And while I could talk about the other trailers, the one I’ve really been waiting for is Doctor Strange. I’ve made it very apparent on this blog that I’ve been hyped for this film for AGES and now that we finally have some footage its time to talk about it.

So here’s the trailer below:

After seeing this trailer I’m definitely more interested in this film than before at least from a story and presentation standpoint.

What this trailer tells me and fans of the MCU is that Doctor Strange will be the most unique/different adventure that Marvel Studios have produced so far. I mean you’ve got another origin story, but with this trailer it is painted in the most non-superhero fashion similar to Iron Man with Tony Stark. I think how we get glimpses into the life of Steven Strange when it comes to his car crash, him being a sergeant and then going coming into contact with the Ancient One (Tilda Swinton). Now if that sounded a little like a mouthful of nonsense to you then fear not, I just know a fair bit about the mythology of Doctor Strange from what remember in Spider-Man: The Animated Series, Marvel Ultimate Alliance and my research online, and since I know about what happens to Strange before, during and after he gains his powers, so when I see this footage I’m seeing how closely their sticking to the source material and I love it.

Benedict Cumberbatch’s Steven Strange looks like he goes through a lot from being all suave and sophisticated, to being in hospital and on a global trek for knowledge looking all rough and homeless-like haha. Oh and seeing Tilda Swinton bald as a female version of the Ancient One is so odd and yet intriguing as she’s very calm, yet firm and otherworldly too. I liked getting the glimpses of Rachel McAdams and Chiwetel Ejiofor, and I’m curious about Mads Mikklelsen’s villain role as he’s not looking like anyone I’m familiar with in the comics, but I’m liking what I’m seeing so far with his magic reality-shifting abilities.

But what really excited me about this trailer was the teaser was the tone and visual presentation. I’ve been hyped for Doctor Strange since I saw the concept art came out and found out about Scott Derrickson’s involvement coming from a horror film background. In this trailer things felt dark, a little horror-like and definitely had shades of the supernatural in there as well. I also love the use of visual effects, things look so trippy and beyond the realm of realism with all the unfolding buildings and astral projection stuff, holy crap it looks so cool. And some of the visual material reminds me of the acid trip sequence in Ant-Man so I can’t wait to see full-on magic, other dimensions and stuff that can’t be explained with science or basic logic.

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To conclude the first trailer for Doctor Strange looks very promising. It’s still kind of weird to think that this film is actually coming out in 2016 but this trailer certainly has my attention, and while the trailer doesn’t blow my mind, it’s still got me excited for the latter ide of this year. Bring it on yo! 😀

So have you seen the first trailer for Doctor Strange and if so what do you think of it? Are you more or less excited than before? Be sure to drop me a comment and I’ll see ya on the next review! 🙂

 
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Posted by on April 13, 2016 in Films, Media, Reviews

 

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QUICK REVIEW: Hardcore Henry

Howdy ladies and gents, it feels like ages since I’ve been to the cinema, I swear being in full-time work has ruined my availability for watching films in the cinema. But since I was still partly awake after work I decided to check out Hardcore Henry. Now besides some rumblings I’d heard about the film online, I’d mainly known about this film via the coverage of it on Collider Movie Talk and knew especially after that I’d have to give the film a shot. So now that I’ve seen it it’s time to pass judgement! 😀

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I’m gonna call it now, this film is the best video game film ever. Period. While it has a lot to do with the way the film’s presented, the story also felt very rooted in the real of gaming with the way the certain characters were introduced, the character progression, certain story revelations and a final confrontation and everything. For people familiar with action/adventure games based in the first-person perspective they should feel right at home and will get the most enjoyment of this story. Beyond feeling like a video game story, Hardcore Henry‘s plot is just bananas. It starts out simply enough, but once the antagonist shows up and the action takes place, things just go from one to one hundred, and as the plot continued things just got stranger and more bizarre. This is a fictional tale with some interesting character-focused material at the center of things, but there’s certain major plot points towards the latter side of the film that I wasn’t too keen on and part of me felt like the film was a little longer than it needed to be, and the film could have worked better as a short film instead.

When it comes to the cast they did a good job in their roles. I really liked Sharlto Copley as Jimmy, he was crazy, magnetic and funny in this role and for me this the best performance he’s given since District 9 where he was able to act but also have fun with his role in the film too. Danila Kozlovsky was also really great as Akan, the film’s villain. I really enjoyed how eccentric, threatening and charismatic he was, and while I liked him a lot I would have liked to have seen more from him, and was it just me or did Akan remind anyone of the bad guy from Far Cry 4? Haley Bennett was beautiful and engaging as Estelle and finally Tim Roth’s appearance in this film was also awesome as well.

The presentation was pretty hardcore, for lack of better word. Visually the film was pretty intense and it was mainly because of the first-person point of view camera technique. The whole film is shot in first-person, like Henry had a GoPro camera on his head over the course of the entire film and depending on your views on found footage/first-person shooter video games you’ll either embrace it or get very sick. This film’s camera movements go from being calm to chaotic as hell with your view of events moving at crazy speeds all over the place. That being said the first-person camera movements were some of the most realistic I’ve seen in any film so far. Plus the use of action and violence just adds to the madness and fun nature of the film, and the CGI while it varied in its levels of realism, it was used very well where it was apparent. And the film score by definitely felt right, the adrenaline-fueled music definitely worked well in the film and the use of a certain famous song (which I won’t spoil) really added to this one really sweet action sequence as well.

In conclusion Hardcore Henry was a very interesting experience and while I had certain nitpicks with the story and some of the crazy camera movements, overall it is a film that I think everyone should see once. The action and ridiculous nature of the film is worth the price of admission for sure. 😀

Rating: 7.5/10 (Not perfect, but a bloody cool experience!)

So have you seen or are you going to see Hardcore Henry and if so what did you think of it? Whatever your thoughts be sure to drop them in the comment section below and I’ll see ya on the next review, laters! 😀

 
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Posted by on April 12, 2016 in Film Reviews, Films, Media, Reviews

 

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QUICK REVIEW: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Trailer #1

Howdy ladies and gents, time for another trailer review and today I’m talking about one really exciting trailer because it is the first footage of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. For the longest time I’ve wanted to see some footage from this film since it was announced because of the director at the helm and wanted to see how this film would be different from the main series of the films tonally. And in the week when we got the announcement that there’d be a Doctor Strange trailer next week Tuesday, this new trailer just comes out of nowhere and blows up the internet for the fans. So now I just wanted to share my thoughts.on the new trailer, oh and by the way I’m referring to this film as just Rogue One from now on as I currently hate the title for this film.

So here’s the trailer below:

Well this was certainly unexpected, I mean wow, I really liked this trailer. It had the right balance of nostalgia, freshness, mystery, intrigue and action. I really want to see this film even more than before.

It has been said by director Gareth Edwards that this film would be a war film, which would be a first for the Star Wars films series as there hasn’t been a film that’s had a heavy focus on the war side of things, and this trailer certainly looks like it’ll be looking living up war style of film. The funny thing is there was no sign of the Jedi or Sith (more specifically Darth Vader) and yet I was still hooked, and that is impressive to me considering that the Jedi and Sith are my favourite elements of the Star Wars. Visually the film looked like Star Wars but with a gritty/dirty look, sleeker/cleaner visual effects and an intriguing/diverse cast.

Straight from the beginning the tone for this film is fairly serious with the music, and the brief moments of action and chaos, and that’s what I loved so much, the atmosphere in this film feels very different to The Force Awakens or any of the other previous Star Wars films. Things felt tense, dangerous and bleak and I loved it. That’s not to say that I don’t enjoy the more light-hearted/family friendly adventures, but considering that this film is being described as war film, it feels appropriate. I’m liking Felicity Jones as Jyn Erso, she looks cool and interesting, I also like what I saw/heard from Forest Whitaker and Ben Mendelsohn looks as an Imperial admiral, but it’s the small glimpse of Donnie Yen that got me hyped. Just seeing him with some quick action with a staff got me giddy. 🙂

I also really loved the throwbacks to A New Hope with the use of the AT-AT walkers, construction of the Death Star, old Stormtroopers and many other visual easter eggs/references. What these elements established was that we’re clearly still in the same universe as the other films, but that things would be unfolding in a more mature and serious manner than before which excites me because I believe Star Wars as a franchise has reached a point where it needs to evolve/change and do new and interesting things with the mythology, and I believe Rogue One is a step in the right direction.

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To conclude the first trailer for Rogue One got me excited in all the right ways. It just enough to tease me about the tone of this film and give me some insight into who some of the key players will be. I believe that this film will surprise people and that Gareth Edwards will do the fans justice with this spin-off film.

So have you seen the first trailer for Rogue One and if so what do you think of it? Are you hyped, underwhelmed or confused by what you’ve seen?  Whatever your thoughts are be sure to drop me a comment and I’ll see ya on the next review! 🙂

 
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Posted by on April 8, 2016 in Films, Media, Reviews

 

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EPIC REVIEW: Star Wars Rebels “Twilight of the Apprentice”

Howdy people of the internet, hope y’all are doing well and all that jazz, well today I finally got around to watching the season finale of Star Wars Rebels entitled “Twilight of the Apprentice” and man, I’m still just trying to process what I watched. This doubled length episode pretty much had the meat of what us fans had been waiting for since the “The Siege of Lothal” and the awesome trailer that was shown a little while ago for the latter half of this season. Now normally I’d do a condensed review as part of my “What I’m Currently Watching” posts, but this two-part episode was just too good to not make a specific post on. Oh and before I begin SPOILERS AHEAD!! Okay? Cool let’s rock.

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So “Twilight of the Apprentice” what a damn good finish to this season of Rebels. I know the quality of the in stories season 2 has been a bit up and down because of it’s expanded length when compared to season 1 and the numerous episodes that didn’t really add to the main plot involving Vader, Ahsoka, the Inquisitors and Ezra’s path to the dark side, however, when Rebels commits to its story, characters, tone and action, it goes hard and kills it and this was certainly the case with this finale. And while there were certain things that I may nitpick about or played out a little differently than I had anticipated, I can say that this was one of the most satisfying season finales I’ve watched for a while.

I mean where do you start? This episode had drama, suspense, brutality, action and death, and as the episode ended there was foreshadowing for the future that just makes things even more intriguing and exciting going into season 3.

Okay so the premise for this episode can be described as the following:

“Ahsoka, Kanan, and Ezra head to Malachor to find a Sith temple. While there they battle inquisitors, Darth Vader and the old master.”

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Straight from the time Kanan, Ahsoka and Ezra arrive on Malachor things felt tense. The atmosphere was great with use of ambience and the muted colours used for the planets clouds and surface, and after that things only got more interesting. Learning about what happened to the Jedi below Malachor’s surface was fascinating and a little depressing at the same time, and then when that Inquisitor showed I was like “Damn, things escalated quickly.” But once Ezra got separated from Kana and Ahsoka and started his journey with Maul (aka Darth Maul) that’s when thing truly got interesting. Just hearing these two talk, relate to each other, but also see Maul teach/manipulate Ezra to tap into the Dark Side and use his emotions to get into the Sith Temple and obtain the holocron, that material was so thought-provoking, unsettling and yet so cool at the same time. Their pairing just had me constantly engaged and I could just watch a whole episode or two just listening to these two learn about each other, their different ideologies and how they could change once Ezra became his apprentice.

It was also great to see Ahsoka and Kanan take on the new Inquisitor and apprehend him only for the Fifth Brother and Seventh Sister to arrive and mess things up. I also really enjoyed how Kanan and Ahsoka had to unwillingly team up with Maul to take out the Inquisitors, and how Maul tried to get Ezra to outright kill Seventh Sister but ultimately refused leaving Maul to do it. And then for Maul to send Ezra off and unlock the secret of the holocron and then show his true colours by blinded Kanan and trying to take out Ahsoka? That was some crazy shit! Something I didn’t expect to enjoy as much as I did was the mythology and history, learning about the Sith Temple and the holocron, hearing about Maul’s history and how he wanted to take revenge on all who wronged him, and seeing the green cross saber, all of that material was great world-building and it also made for good references to The Clone Wars and main film saga too which was really cool as well.

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And then of course we had the appearance of Vader who just descended from the sky on top of his ship in such a badass manner, took down Ezra and destroyed his lightsaber, but before killing him got to take on Ahsoka. Their confrontation was beautiful, adrenaline-fueled and I really enjoyed their interactions and how even in the midst of the fight Ahsoka still sensed Anakin’s presence and how she ultimately saved Kanan and Ezra by stopping Vader and allowing the others to escape. If I had any complaints it was that there was no definitive end to Ahsoka, I know she’s a character loved within certain circles of the SW community but I would have liked to have gotten an on-screen death because towards the end of the episode it looked like Vader was victorious, but who was that figure stepping into the shadows? I certainly looked like Ahsoka and I was prepared for death, but alas I guess we’ll have to wait.

Oh and the fights, holy moly! I LOVED the action in this episode. The lightsaber fights were some of the best so far, and while I still prefer the more realistic/heavier movements of the live-action fights, this is a pretty close second. The fights they were hard, fast, vicious, aggressive, and wonderfully choreographed with each person having a particular style being shown off especially when it came to Maul, Ahsoka, Kanan and Vader. Oh I adored how much more dark and edgier this episode was with two of the Inquisitors being killed by Maul in such a brutal way, and that other Inquisitor falling to his doom, nice. I also have to mention how fantastic this show looked, from the design of the Sith Temple to the upper and lower surfaces of Malachor, and the use of colour, lighting and animation, everything felt so right with the visual presentation. And the music was excellent with some lovely call backs to themes from the live-action films.

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The end of this episode felt very Empire Strikes Back with everyone in a dark/melancholy place; Kanan’s now blind, Ahsoka’s no longer part of the Ghost team, Ezra looked to be channeling the Dark Side, Maul escaped into space and Vader’s still alive, but there were a lot of questions going forward now like:

  1. Was that Ahsoka going into the remains of that Sith Temple? And what will the future hold for her? Because she can’t last forever.
  2. Will Ezra turn? Maul had planted the seeds of Dark Side knowledge into him, but he hasn’t committed to it yet, but if that aggressive expression was anything to go by then Ezra may still develop feelings towards that dark path in season 3.
  3. How will Kanan function now? It was a pretty gutsy move to blind one of the main characters, I thought it got slashed in one eye, but to know that it was two? Damn, I will be curious to see if he can gain his sight back or if it’s permanent and he’ll have to become the Daredevil of the Jedi.
  4. What will happen with Maul? I was so glad that the dude got away because he’s too good of a character to kill off after this awesome return.
  5. How will the end of this season effect the show tonally going forward? There was certainly a feeling of loss, pain and a  bit of hopelessness for several of the characters involved. So will the next season still have room for fun or will the storylines and characters be more serious and dark? I am so curious.

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In conclusion “Twilight of the Apprentice” was a great way to finish this season of Rebels. Dear god, I can’t sing the praises of this show enough, it is pure Star Wars in an animated format and I never thought I would be so invested in this show, but it truly is fantastic. There was some fantastic emotional material, tension, darkness, great mythology and intriguing foreshadowing for story material going into season 3. I can’t wait.

So have you seen the season finale of Star Wars Rebels and if so what did you think of it? Did it met your expectations or fall below them? Be sure to comment below and I’ll see ya on the next review, laters! 😀

 
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Posted by on April 1, 2016 in Media, Reviews, Television, TV Reviews

 

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