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QUICK REVIEW: Fantastic Mr. Fox

Howdy ladies and gents, time for a new film review and today I get to talk about a film I’ve wanted to review on here since I think 2013, and that is Fantastic Mr. Fox! So yeah I know this film is not new, it is from 2009 and I saw it in the cinema and I really liked it at the time and said to myself that I’d rewatch it again at some point. And yet even after buying the DVD around 5 or 6 years ago while at university I never got around to it just because of timing and being in the right mood. That being said, since 2014 I’ve really gotten into Wes Anderson’s films and with Isle of Dogs coming out tomorrow here in the UK I thought I’d rewatch my first Wes Anderson film and see if it still holds up.

The story for the film can be summed up as the following:

“The film is about a fox who steals food each night from three mean and wealthy farmers. They are fed up with Mr. Fox’s theft and try to kill him, so they dig their way into the foxes’ home, but the animals are able to outwit the farmers and live underground.”

I like the story because it has a lot of layers, there is the main narrative that goes on throughout the film, but there are also a number subplots introduced that eventually come to a head as the film progresses and what I like is that all of these plot elements are character-driven, have significance and the payoff feeds back into the main plot. And for a film about animals dealing with dangerous humans, it introduces some interesting themes dealing with breaking habits, doing what you’re good at, living up to expectations, being different and a number of other elements that are easy to relate to. And it is presented in a story that has a strange, quirky and fast-paced nature to it, and it very funny on numerous occasions and comes at just the right point with incredible timing, however, it also has brilliant moments of seriousness, darker moments and slows down just enough to have these special moments between the main characters.

As for the characters they are all very fun, interesting and feel like well-rounded individuals even if they’re secondary characters. George Clooney is fabulous as Mr. Fox, Clooney brings his natural charm to this character who is charismatic, daring yet selfish and not fully aware of his actions. Meryl Streep as Felicity Fox is a strong, smart and caring woman, but is also very stern and doesn’t take any shit from anyone. Jason Schwartzman stands out as Ash Fox, I guessed Schwartzman in this role just because Ash reminded me of Max from Rushmore in the sense that Ash is another young man with personal issues that lead to awkward relationships with others, but here Ash is a lot younger and immature and his journey through the film is quite engaging despite his rude and insensitive nature. Bill Murray was delightful as Clive Badger and had some great moments with Mr. Fox, Willem Dafoe’s role as Rat was unexpected, funny and strange and Wallace Wolodarsky as Kylie was one of the most memorable characters due to his subdued yet hilarious nature. And finally, Michael Gambon as Franklin Bean made for a strong and memorable protagonist, Gambon has such a presence with his voice and puts it to good use in humourous and intimidating scenarios.

From a presentation point of view, the film’s incredible. Visually the film’s use of stop motion animation is fluid, stylish and unique. While stop motion has a certain type of movement due to the way it is created, this film goes a step further by presenting movement in a number of ways that looks like frames are missing, but the movement is dynamic, exaggerated and elastic giving them a great sense of charisma and realism at the same time. The choice of camera angles and the general cinematography looks like a mixture of a stage play, a normal film and old film techniques used during driving sequences. I also want to talk about the character models and set design, the models have such an intricate level of detail for the fur and clothing and the sets vary from being large or very small, but they are all well-crafted with a lot of attention to detail from the foreground to background material looking realistic but also stylised. It is elaborate, grand in scale and has such incredible scene transitions. The film score by Alexandre Desplat is wonderful and works very well in each scene it’s used in and the soundtrack is filled with a great variety of songs that really enhance the scenes they’re used in the way that only Anderson can pull off.

In conclusion, Fantastic Mr. Fox is still a wonderful film and perhaps foolishly I was surprised how well it held up after so many years. I may be biased as I really LOVE Wes Anderson’s approach to filmmaking, but even if I was to take that element out of the equation, the film is not a conventional animated kids film, but that’s why I love it. The film, it is fun, exciting, engaging, quirky and hilarious, and yet it also has an engaging story, with fully formed characters that you can understand and relate to. If you haven’t seen this film I highly recommend it especially if you like Wes Anderson films.

So have you seen Fantastic Mr. Fox and if so what did you think of it? Drop me your thoughts in the comment section below and I’ll see you in the next review, so until the next time, laters! 😀

 
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Posted by on March 29, 2018 in Film Reviews, Reviews

 

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Month of Superhero Film Reviews 2: Batman & Robin

Howdy people of the north, south, east and west, and welcome to Day #16 of Month of Superhero Film Reviews 2! During this month I’ll be reviewing of some of the best, average and worst comic book adapted films. Today I’m reviewing a film I was hoping to never have to actively go out and watch again, but for the sake of this blog series I am once again having to step back into the danger zone with one of the most hated superhero films in the history of the genre; Batman & Robin.

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So yeah, this film, yuck. Every once in a while you get reminded of its terrible existence on a top ten worst list somewhere or when you talk about the history of comic book adaptations, but otherwise most times we try to forget that this films happened. If you remember my Month of Superhero Film Reviews from 2013 you may recall that I reviewed Batman 89, Returns and Forever, but skipped this one in favour of Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, but something told me that if I decided to do a second month of these reviews then this film would be waiting and unfortunately today is the day.

The story can be summed up as the following:

“The Dynamic Duo attempt to prevent Mr. Freeze and Poison Ivy from freezing all mankind to death and repopulating the earth with mutant plants, while at the same time struggling to keep their partnership together.”

Let’s get this straight, this story is terrible. Straight from the beginning the film offends and confuses the eyes with the Batman and Robin suit-up scene with the shots of suit nipples, cod pieces and ass shots. Why? And then the rest of the film happens and you realise that the first scene in the film is just the start of the painful rollercoaster. This film is filled to the brim with cheesy puns, bad one-liners and cliché dialogue that feels like it was written in a very short space of time. Nothing in this film feels realistic or impressive, instead it is quite bizarre, strange and completely illogical. There’s also a lot going on from Mr. Freeze and Poison Ivy both wanting to take over the city to trust issues going on with Batman and Robin, add on top of that the subplot with Alfred’s illness, Mr. Freeze’s wife and the addition of Batgirl and here’s just too much to follow and it doesn’t help that everything unfolds in a generic and cartoonish manner, so much so that when the film tries to inject scenes that try to add some dramatic heft to the film it fails because of the over saturation of foolishness that’s taken place beforehand. It goes on for far too long, THIS FILM DID NOT NEED TO BE TWO HOURS LONG! It is absurd how long the film goes on for and a lot of the story could have been streamlined so easily had it been written better. And speaking of the writer, I never knew until now that Akira Goldsman, one of the awesome writers from Fringe is responsible for this terrible script. While his work has never been good all of the time, at the same time it is hard to believe that he is part of the reason why comic book films went to shit before their revival in the early 2000’s.

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Now let’s talk about the cast. Firstly there’s George Clooney as Bruce Wayne/Batman and yeah it’s not a very good performance. Clooney is a good actor for sure, but he was definitely the wrong choice for Batman. He doesn’t have the right look, physicality or charm of Bruce Wayne or Batman and he just doesn’t seem that convincing when he’s trying to be serious and the one-liners he has just makes me cringe. Chris O’Donnell as Dick Grayson/Robin, OH GOD! O’Donnell was at least tolerable in Forever for me, but here is just a whiny little bitch who has the worst one-liners and acts like a child when he’s a fully grown man. There is nothing cool or engaging about this version of Robin and O’Donnell should be ashamed (no offence to him because I do like the guy now, but this is something that I will never forgive). Oh and we can’t talk about this film without mentioning Arnold Schwarzenegger as Dr. Victor Fries/Mr. Freeze, well, this is pretty much as bad as it gets. Schwarzenegger is super cheesy and hams up the role to the highest degree and it makes all of his ice/cold puns that much more painful, that being said the one-liners he comes out with are so bad that they’re funny at times. Uma Thurman as Dr. Pamela Isley/Poison Ivy, oh bloody hell. Thurman does her best to give us one of the most over the top performances in recent film history, her character is very lame, unbearable and non threatening.

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Alicia Silverstone as Barbara Wilson / Batgirl. Silverstone, I’m sure she’s a good actress elsewhere but here she is just so unrealistic as a teenager or young person and I couldn’t take her seriously as a cool/badass motorbike racer or as Batgirl. Michael Gough as Alfred Pennyworth is okay, but his character felt a little overly charismatic and silly and while most of his standard character traits are intact, I feel like Gough wasn’t as engaging as before. Pat Hingle is kind of pointless as Commissioner James Gordon, his character feels like window dressing at this point and he was poorly used here. John Glover was SO cheesy and over the top as Dr. Jason Woodrue, could not take him seriously at all. I was surprised to see Elle Macphersonin this film as Julie Madison, didn’t notice her before, she was fine but unnecessary in this film and the same could be said about Vivica A. Fox as Ms. B. Haven. And finally Robert “Jeep” Swenson as Bane, what a waste! Fool. Whoever told Swenson to act the way that he did needs to be fired, Bane in this film is a mentally inept child with super strength but acts only when told by Poison Ivy and that just sucked. He is pretty much as bad as Sabertooth from X-Men 1.

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Now let’s talk about the presentation. Visually the film is a bit crazy, the colour scheme is so vivid and bright and while it does create a unique world for Gotham City, it really takes away from the interesting identity of the city that I’ve known and the versions of the city that’s been presented in previous films. The GCI is alright, but is not nearly as impressive as some other films at that point in time, also the action scenes are ridiculous with lazy choreography, too much wire work and sequences that felt like they replicated straight from the essence of the Adam West Batman TV series, but not in a good way. As for the soundtrack, Elliot Goldenthal returns to craft this film score and besides the themes that return from Forever which is fine for the most part, the new music is composed for this film is so silly, bombastic, sassy and larger than life, but in the worst possible way. It only helps make whatever you see on-screen worse especially when Poison Ivy is around.

And lastly how does it compare to the comics? Well my Batman knowledge isn’t that dense but from what I can see they totally messed a lot of things up. Firstly Batgirl, who is meant to be Barbra Gordon and daughter of Commissioner James Gordon is instead the niece of Alfred for some strange reason and has this whole different persona and character history. Besides the look of her costume, Poison Ivy’s powers and personality was butchered, the same can be said for Bane who was dumbed down to a mindless thug with strength and Mr. Freeze, while they got the backstory with his wife sort of right, everything from the costume to his level of intelligence and demeanour, they done fucked it up. And the less said about those awful Bat costumes the better, suffice to say that they are terrible and should have never been conceived.

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So to conclude Batman & Robin was and still is one of the worst films not only of the comic book superhero genre but in the whole of film in general. This film should only ever be watched if you’re drunk and want to something to laugh at or get angry at depending on your mood, otherwise this film should never be seen by anyone with a shred of logic, it sucks, nuff said!

Rating: 2/10 (only gets points for the ice puns)

That’s 16 reviews done, only 14 more to go. So have you seen Bartman & Robin and if so what are your thoughts on it? Drop me a comment and let me know your thoughts yo! Come back tomorrow and I’ll have a new film review online, until then peace out!

 
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Posted by on June 16, 2015 in Film Reviews, Films, Media, Reviews

 

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Tomorrowland Review

Good day to you ladies and gents, time for my review  of the latest Brad Bird film, Tomorrowland (or Tomorrowland: A World Beyond as it’s called here in the UK). Now I’ve heard a lot about this film for a good year or so, but never knew much about it, but because Brad Bird was attached to it, I knew I had to watch it. After the slightly mixed reception I actually pushed my viewing of this film back a few days, but yesterday I decided to stop messing around and see it for myself. So is it good or bad? Well read on and find out!

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The story for this film can be described as the following:

“Bound by a shared destiny, former boy-genius Frank (Clooney), jaded by disillusionment, and Casey (Brittany Robertson), a bright, optimistic teen bursting with scientific curiosity, embark on a danger-filled mission to unearth the secrets of an enigmatic place somewhere in time and space known only as “Tomorrowland.” What they must do there changes the world-and them-forever.”

I thought the story was an interesting one for sure as we got to go on this adventure of discovery and deal with themes of fate and destiny, cause and effect and love and friendship. There are some really cool, awe-inspiring moments, there are also a good amount of humour spread throughout as well, but I believe the best moments are the dramatic and quieter ones between the main characters as they have the most amount of emotional weight and are really sweet/heartbreaking. I think the problems with this film start before you actually watch the film, I think the marketing did a pretty poor job at telling you what the film was about, I thought it was going to be some special journey into another world and while that is definitely a part of the film there is a lot more going on in this film and once the main mystery behind Tomorrowland is discovered you realise that this wasn’t he film you were expecting. This film deals with a lot of real world issues and is a little closer to reality then the trailers suggested, and while I found it interesting and smart the way it was handled, at the same time there is a slot of set up beforehand and I feel some of the story could have been streamlined just to get to its main point.

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Now let’s talk about the cast. George Clooney as Frank Walker. This guy is a bit of a recluse and sure he was a bit whiny and angry, but when you see why his character turned out the way that he did, you really do feel for him and understand his pain. I liked Clooney in this role, this was a different kind of role than most of the other stuff I’ve seen him in. Brittany Robertson does well as Casey Newton, she was a little annoying at times because she wouldn’t listen to reason or was scream a lot, however she was witty, bright and quite nice. Hugh Laurie does well as David Nix, I’ve never seen Laurie in a villainous role before so it was interesting to see how he handled it. He was pretty funny and mean in this role, though at times he did come across as a bit of a generic bad guy. I would say the real star of this film is Raffey Cassidy as Athena, this character is pretty important to the plot and has some really awesome moments in the action sequences, but more so than that she has some great moments with Frank and Casey. Her emotional scenes are the best and I feel like she’s the heart of the film. In addition to that Kathryn Hahn and Keegan-Michael Key are good as Ursula and Hugo Gernsback and it was great to see Pierce Gagnon again as Nate Newton, Casey’s brother he’s grown up a little since Looper but he’s still adorable and such a great child actor.

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When it comes to the presentation it is pretty good. On the visual side of things the film looked very nice with some good cinematography and the CGI used to craft the world of Tomorrowland, the futuristic weapons and action set pieces were really detailed, colourful and realistic. As for the soundtrack, once again Brad Bird teams up with the awesome Michael Giacchino and Mr. Giacchino creates a very vivid, adventurous and epic score that feels just as epic and bombastic in style like some of his previous work on The Incredibles and Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol.

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In conclusion Tomorrowland was a pretty good film. I will admit that the film didn’t blow me away, but it had a really interesting story, great performances from the cast and some impressive visual effects. This is definitely one of those films you have to see for yourself if the mixed reception on the film is anything to go by, I honestly thought after the film’s reception that it would be a bad cinema viewing but I ended up liking it a lot.

Rating: 7.5/10

So have you seen Tomorrowland and if so what did you think of it? And for those who were looking forward to it, was it better or was than you expected? Whatever your thoughts are be sure to comment below and I’ll see ya on the next review, laters! 😀

 
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Posted by on June 5, 2015 in Film Reviews, Films, Media, Reviews

 

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Tomorrowland Trailer #1 Review

Good day to you ladies and gents, time for my first trailer review in a while and this one is on a film I’ve been interested in for a while. I am of course talking about the new Brad Bird film, Tomorrowland. Now I’ve heard a lot about this film for a good year or so, but never knew much about it, but because Brad Bird was attached to it, I knew I had to watch it.

Anyways, check out the trailer below:

So my immediate thoughts after seeing this teaser trailer? Interesting, very interesting. I want more.

Now this is a good teaser trailer, gives you something, not a lot, but just enough to peak your interest. Interstellar and this film are the only two films to have teaser trailers that really don’t give out any information about the film, but give you just enough to make you intrigued about what comes next, you know like proper teasers should. The difference is that unlike Interstellar, this film’s teaser is more interesting and gives us more than vague and is getting her stuff back from the security man. However, she gets something back, which she didn’t expect, a badge that when she touches it and gets teleported to a field with a big castle in the background. Oh, and for some reason George Clooney is in some sort of control room with loads of monitors, like here’s a television VT operator. And then there’s that little clip at the end with the girl looking over the bridge and a man with a jetpack flies up and over. So one can assume that this place must take place in the future right?

The main reason I’ve always been remotely in this film is because of the director involved, Brad Bird. To me, he is a man who is a very talented man who has helmed two of my all-time favourite films, The Incredibles and Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol which are on the teaser poster (pictured below). The man knows his stuff and has helmed some very good material and deserves way more attention than he has gotten so far. If this film is another success for him, which I hope that it is, then hopefully it will open more doors for more directorial stuff in the future.

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In conclusion Tomorrowland looks pretty interesting, I don’t really have a clue as to what the film is about, but from what I’ve seen so far, it looks very mysterious and futuristic and I’m down with that. This film wasn’t really on my radar before, but now it definitely has my attention as another film to look out for in 2015. Bring on the next trailer! 😀

So what did you think of the teaser trailer for Tomorrowland? Whatever your thoughts are be sure to comment below and I’ll see ya on the next review, laters! 😀

 
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Posted by on October 9, 2014 in Films, Media, Reviews

 

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The Monuments Men Review

Howdy ladies and gents, I have returned again for another film review, yay! 😀 So after watching Her I checked out The Monuments Men, a film that had really caught my attention thanks to a good trailer and cool cast. The reviews for it after its release were pretty mixed, but I just had to have a look for myself. So how did it fare? Read on and find out!

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So the story of the film follows an allied group, the Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives program, tasked with finding and saving pieces of art and other culturally important items before their destruction by Hitler during World War II.

The premise for the film sounded great and I was hoping for something insightful, fun and dramatic, however what I got was a film set during war times with an unbalanced tone and a lack of engaging elements for around 60% of the film’s duration. I guess it also didn’t help that I nodded off a few times during the film, now to be fair to the film I went to be really late this morning. However the does take a while for it to get engaging as I found myself really irritable during the film wondering when something more interesting would happen. It wasn’t until the actual physical hut for the stolen art was in full-swing when the film got interesting.

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When it comes to the cast they were fine for the most part, but no one really did anything overly amazing, having said that there were a few people that stood out. Bill Murray as Sgt. Richard Campbell and John Goodman as Sgt. Walter Garfield were clearly the best people in this film. Their performances were good, funny and charismatic and they were the center of attention when they acted. Also I really liked Bob Balaban as Pvt. Preston Savitz, he was pretty funny. Everyone else was okay and not really bad or great, but I do want to highlight that Cate Blanchett as Claire Simone was beautiful, I mean Blanchett is beautiful all of the time, but in this film there is one point when she gets dolled up and she look INCREDIBLE. Nuff said. One thing I did love was the soundtrack by Alexandre Desplat, this man has scored some of my favourite films in recent years so it is no surprise that I actually liked this music in this film.

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In conclusion The Monuments Men was okay film, I had hope for so much more given the source material that was being used. The film just isn’t that interesting and suffers from an uneven tone of humour and drama. It is only thanks to the cast that the film isn’t a total failure. I do apologize if this review seems a little lacklustre however I don’t really have much to say about this film. I’m not actually gonna give this film a rating just because I don’t think I can in this case due to my indecisiveness and my lack of consciousness during a fair amount of the film too.

So what did you think of The Monuments Men? Have you seen or are you going to see it? Whatever your thoughts are drop them in the comments below and I’ll see ya on the next review yo. 🙂

 
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Posted by on February 22, 2014 in Film Reviews, Films, Media, Reviews

 

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Space is scary in this Gravity Review

Okay ladies and gents, it is time for me to review a film I have been waiting to see for AGES, I am of course talking about Gravity. Now I’ve been wanting to see this film since I saw the first trailer, but then I saw it in the cinema like 20 MORE TIMES! Bloody hell that got annoying. Then the film came out in the US a whole month ago and while critics loved it, the audience response was spilt into love and hate from what I read online. So I finally checked it out today and now I’m ready to talk about it in this review yo.

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The story for the film simply put involves a medical engineer and an astronaut who survive the mid-orbit destruction of a Space Shuttle, they then have to work together to survive and attempt to return to Earth.

I thought that the story in this film was very good, not at any point did I feel cheated by what I was watching or thought that anything came across as cheap or forced. Things progressed in a natural way for not only the characters involved, but also the action that took place too. Everything came across in a very realistic manner displaying the slow-paced nature of zero gravity and movement through space and then demonstrating the more chaotic actions that happens when moving objects collided. Now obviously one can question the legitimacy of the realism in the film, but in terms of science fiction films I have seen, this is one of the most/if not the most realistic deceptions I’ve ever come across. I got a lot of nostalgic references to Alien and Sunshine because of the loneliness and fight for survival aspects of the film and those were the points that really freaked me out. As a person who fears death by space I was cringing throughout the film witnessing all of my worst fears come to life in this film and the fact that it felt so engaging and real is a great thing.

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In terms of the cast we have just Sandra Bullock and George Clooney to talk about, but they are fabulous and really do great job considering the location and situations their characters are put in. Sandra Bullock is incredible as Dr. Ryan Stone, Bullock displays some truly deep levels of emotion and her acting is so real that I felt as scared as she did because I was emotionally invested in her character. As for George Clooney he was wonderful as Lieutenant Matt Kowalski, Clooney has been a very hit and miss guy for me, but luckily he was this strong-willed, humorous, calm and collected man who worked with Ryan and I enjoyed his character a lot.

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When it comes to the presentation it is virtually flawless in its execution. Visually the film is just breathtaking. Now there has been some brilliant special effects in films this year including Oblivion, Iron Man 3, Man of Steel and Elysium to name a few, but this film just beats those all on a whole new dimension. The CGI in this film is frigging INSANE! Everything is so crisp, sharp, vivid, colourful and looks beautiful. The cinematography is also some of the best I’ve ever seen with some incredible tracking shots, long and wide shots space and Earth in the background and just the way the camera moves and displays the action in the film is gorgeous. As for the soundtrack by Steven Price it was amazing, the score was very varied and really amplified every scene it was used it. There moments of soft, beautiful music and then it’d  switch to a very hard-hitting sound and it was all handled with such style and care, one of the best soundtracks I’ve heard for a while. And seeing it all in IMAX 3D was just beastly, the massive screen and absurdly awesome surround sound made everything so much more intimidating and for the first time in ages, I actually enjoyed the 3D in a film. The 3D made Gravity feel so interactive and while it wasn’t overly noticeable after a while it worked well for this film.

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In conclusion Gravity is awesome, it is one of the most terrifying and gripping films I have seen in the cinema in a while. The story, characters and presentation was all top quality and just the way it depicted the cold, merciless and unexpected nature of space was unlike anything I’ve seen before. Now obviously film is subjective and I assume there will be people who won’t like the film, but if you’re patient, have a brain or is a fan of sci-fi films then you’ll have a good time with Gravity. While I can’t decide at the moment whether I liked this more than Captain Philips remains to be seen, but I say go check this film out, it is an experience that all people should check out.

Rating: 9/10 (A terrifyingly awesome sci-fi thriller with incredible production values and two great lead performances)

So what did you think of Gravity. were you one of the people who loved it or were you on the opposite side of the fence and hated it? Whatever your thoughts drop them below and I’ll see ya on the next review yo! 😀

 
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Posted by on November 6, 2013 in Film Reviews, Films, Media, Reviews

 

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