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Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Review

Good day to you ladies and gents, it is review time once again and today I am bringing you my review of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, my last most anticipated film of the year. With 2016 nearly over and most of the films of interest having come out already, I wasn’t expecting to be wowed by any more films. And that’s not to say that I wouldn’t be impressed with Rogue One, but I assumed it’d be good but not mind-blowing… Oh how wrong I was. I’m gonna tell you right now, Rogue One was frigging awesome and you should watch it immediately. But in case you need more convincing read on and check out my thoughts in this spoiler-free review! 😀

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The story can be summed up as the following:

“Jyn Erso, a Rebellion soldier and criminal, sets out on a life-changing journey with her Rebel allies to find her father and obtain the schematics the Galactic Empire’s superweapon, the Death Star.”

I thought that Rogue One‘s story was really good. As a fan of the film series, I knew how this film would end, but that did not make the journey any less exciting. This is a tale hope and bravery in times of darkness and uncertainty, and while the story has enough familiar elements that allows it to coexist with the main series films, it allows presents a lot that we haven’t seen in a Star Wars film. One of the things I admired early on was how different this film was from the other Star Wars films, especially when it came to the direction, atmosphere and tone. Those key elements felt fresh and unique, and at several points this film felt a lot grittier, dirtier, realistic, dark and dramatic, and there to be honest I got a little emotional during certain sequences. This film certainly adheres to the war genre in really impressive ways, and I won’t ruin anything, but I will say that if you’ve watched any war film, then you’ll notice how well this film handles sense of danger and dread, overwhelming odds, tone and casualties. And there’s also some lovely ties to other SW films and the way it tied into A New Hope was just delightful.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story(Felicity Jones)Ph: Film Frame©Lucasfilm LFL

The cast was all so very, very good. What I appreciated about this cast was the fact that they all felt relevant, had moments to shine and were engaging. Firstly there’s Felicity Jones who was just wonderful as Jyn Erso, this lady was strong, courageous, but also relatable and Jones really did well in the role. Diego Luna as Cassian Andor was someone I ended up liking more than I expected, Andor had a fair amount of depth and intelligence to him. Alan Tudyk as K-2SO was awesome, he was a droid who had so many notable/funny moments because of his blunt and unapologetic nature, and Tudyk was just perfect with the timing of his speech. Riz Ahmed as Bodhi Rook, was a really interesting character who had plenty of interesting, fun and important moments with Ahmed really working well. And then you have Donnie Yen and Wen Jiang as Chirrut Îmwe and Baze Malbus, these two worked well both as individuals and together because of their personality traits and combat capabilities, but also because they were so likable and charming, both Yen and Jiang did really well, but Yen really stood out because of his charisma and martial arts abilities. Mads Mikkelsen as Galen Erso was really good and so was Forest Whitaker as Saw Gerrera, and you also have Ben Mendelsohn as Orson Krennic, a man who was strong-willed and cunning, and even though his type of villain has been done before I loved the way Mendelsohn handled the character. There were also some really nice and surprising cameos from certain SW characters and actors which you’ll have to see for yourselves.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story(Donnie Yen)Ph: Film Frame©Lucasfilm LFL

When it comes to the presentation it was fantastic! Visually this film is probably the best in the franchise so far, the art direction and use of colour, along with the cinematography and the blending of practical and digital visual effects was on another level. I especially loved the practical effects for the aliens which were really cool, and cinematography which was used to great effect with the sense of scale, tracking shots, and various angles. I adored the action sequences as they varied from firefights to hand-to-hand combat to aerial/space dogfights, all of these sequences are so intense and well-choreographed, and again so different from what we’ve seen in previous SW films. As for the film score from Michael Giacchino, the man worked magic again. Giacchino’s score for Rogue One was epic, whimsical, heartbreaking and full of wonder, and the music captured the spirit of John Williams’ sound while also creating something new as well.

In conclusion Rogue One: A Star Wars Story was just a good time at the cinema and exceeded my expectations in a lot of ways. I had some very, very minor issues with the use of CGI is some places and some pacing nitpicks in the earlier half of the story, but they pale in comparison to how much I enjoyed this film. This film has the right amount of nostalgia as a prequel to A New Hope, but presents so many new elements to this universe at the same time. Rogue One was beautiful, funny, emotional, action-packed, surprising and downright fun especially for fans. I highly recommend the film and can’t wait to see it again in IMAX.

So have you seen Rogue One: A Star Wars Story or are you going to watch it soon? Whatever your thoughts are be sure to drop them in the comments below and I’ll see ya on the review, laters! 😀

 
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Posted by on December 16, 2016 in Film Reviews, Reviews

 

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Moana Review – Beautiful, Familiar & Different

Good day to you ladies and gents and welcome to the first of three new film reviews, today I had a lovely three film session at the cinema and now I’m going to talk about one of my most-anticipated films of 2016; Moana. I thought after Zootopia, I wouldn’t be expecting anymore animated Disney films this year but then I remembered this was coming out towards the end of the year. The trailers definitely had my interest and the positive word of mouth coming out of the US recently got me really giddy for its UK release. So is it good or not? Well read on and find out!

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So for those not aware here’s a brief synopsis:

“This film tells the story of Moana, the strong-willed daughter of the chief of a Polynesian tribe, who is chosen by the ocean itself to reunite a mystical relic with a goddess. When a blight strikes her island, Moana sets sail in search of Maui, a legendary demigod, in hopes to save her people.”

The story is definitely not anything new if you’re familiar with Disney animated films, this means that the story beats and overall doesn’t offer too much new and plot’s easy to predict, that being said, Moana has so much more to offer with its culture, characters and life lessons. The film’s just so different with its spirituality, mythology and magic, and deals with themes of self discovery, family, destiny and having courage in the darkest of times. One of the key aspects that I loved was Disney’s approach to the Polynesian culture and mythology, it felt like the behind the film did the research and were able to create a world with its own sense of identity. If I had any nitpicks I’d say the film was quite humourous too though not nearly as funny as I’d hoped, and it definitely felt more child-friendly than it was for adults and I kind of wanted something a little darker.

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As for the cast they were great. Let’s start with the stand out star, Auli’i Cravalho as Moana Waialik. Here we have a character’s who is headstrong, athletic, kind and charismatic and from a young age she’s likeable and destined for better things, and over the course of the film she grows and becomes so much more, and I loved Cravalho’s performance especially with her singing. And then there’s Dwayne Johnson as Maui who is fun yet self-centered. Just when I thought I couldn’t love Johnson any more than I do now, he voices a shape-shifting demigod and the dude’s on fire in this role. Johnson brings all of the charisma from his life-action roles to Maui who is fun, charming and larger-than-life, he kind of reminded me a lot of Genie from Aladdin. I also loved the chemistry between Cravalho and Johnson, it clearly showed through the character back and forth which was delightful and hilarious. Jemaine Clement was a surprise favourite as Tamatoa, this character was quirky, strange and funny. Rachel House did well as Gramma Tala offering some great moments between her and Moana, and Temuera Morrison I was just about able to recognise by voice as Chief Tui Waialiki, he was really good. Nicole Scherzinger was fine as Sina Waialiki, and no offense to Alan Tudyk because I love his work both in live-action and voice acting, but I thought he was wasted as Heihei; a character I didn’t even know had a voice until the credits rolled.

When it comes to the presentation it was incredible. Visually Moana is one of the best animated films I’ve seen in recent years, there was a great deal of care given to the 3D CGI and even after seeing incredible visual spectacles like Toy Story 3, How To Train Your Dragon 2 and Big Hero 6, Disney are still finding ways to create these insanely detailed and realistic films but still retain the charm and familiarity of their traditionally animated films especially with the character design. The art direction is fabulous, the colour palette is vibrant and varied and the mixture of 2D and 3D animation is inventive and pretty. Oh and that soundtrack by Mark Mancina, Lin-Manuel Miranda and Opetaia Foa’i is gorgeous, I was pleasantly surprised by how many of the songs I got into and it was also impressive how they incorporated both english and the Tokelauan language. Straight from the beginning I was into “Where You Are” and then enjoyed “How Far I’ll Go”  (though maybe it’s because it appears more than once), “You’re Welcome” was one of my favourites, but I think the stand out was “Shiny” damn that song was catchy and a pure delight. 😀

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In conclusion Moana was a lovely film that continues Disney’s streak of impressive animated films, and while it is a little familiar in its story structure, the cultural elements, amazing visuals, strong characters and catchy soundtrack make it worth a watch.

So have you seen Moana and if so what did you think of it? Be sure to drop your thoughts in the comment section below and I’ll see ya on the next review! 😀

 
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Posted by on December 3, 2016 in Film Reviews, Reviews

 

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LATE REVIEW: Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials

Good day to you ladies and gentlemen, time for another film review and today I’m finally gonna be talking about Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials, I was meant to see this opening weekend at the latest, but working and timing with my sister had prevented me from seeing it sooner. I really liked The Maze Runner last year, it was a much better film than I expected and even though a sequel was laid out for us at the end of that film, I was curious to see where the next chapter in this series would go. So fast forward a year and now we have The Scorch Trials, so is the film good or bad, well read on and find out!

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The story can be described as the following:

“After having escaped the Maze, the Gladers now face a new set of challenges on the open roads of a desolate landscape filled with unimaginable obstacles.”

I thought the story was good. Scorch Trials isn’t a rehash of the last film, instead it expands into the larger world with these special facilities and remnants of former cities where society have chosen to live. This film expands the mythology of the world, gives more context on the Flare virus and what’s needed to cure it and explores the history of Thomas and his involvement with WCKD. There was a lot of drama, tension and trust issues between not only the Glade people, but also amongst themselves. That being said there wasn’t too much that was significant or amazing about this story, and those who weren’t into the first film probably won’t care for this entry in the series either.

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As for the cast let’s start with Dylan O’Brien who was good as Thomas, in this film Thomas is still the main source of a lot of the drama, mystery and danger that goes on in these films, but he’s also dubious of people trying to help him, wants answers to his past and wants to help people affected by WCKD’s schemes. I also liked Thomas Brodie-Sangster as Newt and Ki Hong Lee as Min Ho, both of them had some good moments to shine and be important, especially when it comes to Min Ho (my boy). I also enjoyed Dexter Darden as Frypan, and Alexander Flores as Winston. Kaya Scodelario did well as Teresa Agnes, her character was a little quiet and insignificant at first but then she became much more interesting later on. Also Jacob Lofland as Aris Jones was my favourite new character to come out of this film because of his resourceful nature and slightly odd interactions with people.

Then there’s Rosa Salazar and Giancarlo Esposito who were great as Brenda and Jorge, these two have a history together and I liked how they factored into the story and their interactions with Thomas were great too. Aidan Gillen as Janson, wow, this guy is charming, relaxed and full of info, but he’s also an undercover douche and you can tell from the beginning that something’s off with him. Gillen is just great at playing the bad guy and he does that very well in this film. Patricia Clarkson returns as Ava Paige and she’s just as cold-hearted and into her work as ever, and I enjoyed Lili Taylor’s performance as Mary Cooper, this character helped give more information about the world and connected more pieces about Thomas’ past. Alan Tudyk makes an appearance as Marcus and his character is pretty strange but very funny and enjoyable, Tudyk is just a guy that makes me smile and I love it when he has a memorable appearance in a film. And when it comes to the presentation, its good. Visually the film is good with some nice scenery, visual effects and action sequences too.

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In conclusion Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials is different kind of film from the last one, however it is different in the right kind of way. The story is interesting, the performances are good and the action is pretty good. While it won’t convert people who were’nt fans beforehand, I believe that this is another solid film in this series and I hope that it’ll get a solid conclusion with the next film.

Rating: 7.5/10

So what did you think of Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials? Whatever your thoughts are be sure to drop them below and let me know. Until the next time, see ya later! 😀

 
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Posted by on September 30, 2015 in Film Reviews, Films, Media, Reviews

 

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SIMPLE REVIEW: Big Hero 6

Alrighty then ladies and gents, time for another simple review where I tell you in under 1000 words whether a film is worth watching or not and today I’m talking about Big Hero 6. I have waited AGES to see since it was released in November in the US and add on top of that the limited early release the film got in the UK around 2-3 weeks ago. But that aside, I saw the film on Friday and I’m ready to pass judgement.

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The premise for the film can be described as the following:

The special bond that develops between plus-sized inflatable robot Baymax, and prodigy Hiro Hamada, who team up with a group of friends to form a band of high-tech heroes.

To put it simply, I really liked this film. What I appreciated about this film is its sense of fun. While watching the film I had a huge grin on my face and huge amount of satisfaction in my heart. The plot is a familiar one, but it has enough unique bells and whistles to stand on its own. This film deals with themes of revenge, family, the pain of loss and knowing when to do the right thing. Make no mistake, this is a superhero film with many nods and references to comic book codes and conventions and I really admired how self-aware the film was, it knew what it was and didn’t hide it. There is something for everyone with humour, heartfelt scenes and jokes that work for not only kids but adults as well.

The cast was also very good adding all the right levels of charisma and humour to their roles. Ryan Potter is very likeable as Hiro Hamada and the rest of his team consisting of Jamie Chung as GoGo Tomago, Damon Wayans, Jr. as Wasabi, GĂ©nesis RodrĂ­guez as Honey Lemon ,and T. J. Miller as Fred provide ample amounts of fun and entertainment. I would say that Fred is my favourite though, he has some of the best moments in the film. But the real star of this film is Scott Adsit as Baymax (my man from 30 Rock). This inflatable healthcare robot is just the best, he is odd, cute, impracticable and even though he can’t emote, he has some of the most humourous and emotional scenes. Also James Cromwell was very good as Professor Robert Callaghan, Maya Rudolph adds her usual amount of charm as Aunt Cass and I really liked Daniel Henney as Tadashi Hamada and Alan Tudyk as Alistair Krei.

And when it comes to the presentation MY GOD is it good. Visually all Disney films tend to be pretty, however this film, this film is on another level. The art design, lighting, colours and animation are all of the highest quality and it is just a beautiful to watch. The animation is slick, swift and really well done especially in the action sequences with all the wide shots, dynamic camera angles and tracking shots. Also can I just add that the world of San Fansokyo is just gorgeous and might be one of the most gorgeous-looking places that Disney have brought to life through animation, I would love just to see more of that world continued in a another film or possibly a TV series. The soundtrack by Henry Jackman is excellent, I’ve always liked his film scores and in this film he brings the appropriate amount of style, epicness, and drama needed to elevate the scenes where music is required.

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Overall Big Hero 6 is a very enjoyable film, the plot was good, the characters were great and the presentation was amazing. It is a film I highly recommend as it another great film from Disney and I would argue that it is their best work of recent times.

Rating: 8.5/10

So have you seen Big Hero 6 and if so what do you think of it? Please be sure to leave your thoughts in the comment section below. Until the next time, laters! 😀

 
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Posted by on February 1, 2015 in Film Reviews, Films, Media, Reviews

 

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