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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 ÃŽmwe 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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QUICK REVIEW: Doctor Strange

Howdy ladies and gents, its been a while right? I was meant to review Jack Reacher: Never Go Back last week, but since Doctor Strange just came out I thought I’d skip ahead and review the latest Marvel film instead because it’s one of my most anticipated films of 2016.

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So the story can be described as the following:

Steven Strange is a brilliant yet arrogant neurosurgeon, but after his hands get horribly damaged in a car accident he seeks out help and on his journey he gets drawn into world of the mystic arts. And so Strange has to put aside his ego and open his mind to become a hero and save the world from dark forces.

Firstly I think everyone who worked on this film deserve a pat on the back, they took what is arguably the hardest sell yet from Marvel Studios and made a solid, fun and entertaining film. Now this film isn’t without its flaws, but for what it was able to do with adapting its source material while also keeping in line with Marvel’s current style of comic book films is impressive. Doctor Strange‘s story is an origin story and certainly has familiar elements that we’ve seen in other superhero films, however, it has its own presence, sense of style and unique elements which make it feel completely different from what’s come in the genre before. This adventure was filled with excitement, mystery, drama and humour with some really interesting themes about life and death, the corruption of power, trust and betrayal, and changing for the better. This film did well to incorporate magic into the real world by diving in early in on, explaining how it worked and then dug even deeper as the film progressed and for the most part it worked. The only nitpicks I had with the film was that I thought the humour was a little hit or miss sometimes, and even though this film introduced magic in the MCU in an effective way, I feel like there were a few points where a bit more an explanation about the way magic works wouldn’t have gone a miss.

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When it comes to the cast they were all really solid. Firstly there’s Benedict Cumberbatch who killed it as Doctor Stephen Strange, this man was smart and great at his craft yet arrogant, self-centered and not very likeable, however his transformation was quite significant and he later became someone you could root for. This film continues to show the brilliance of Cumberbatch’s acting skills as he showed a great deal of range and committed 100% to this character so you could understand him, love him, hate him and love him again over the course of the film. The next strongest performance came from Tilda Swinton as The Ancient One, I knew she’d be good in this role but I didn’t expect to love as much as I did. The Ancient One was wise, calm and collected, but was also tough, badass and quite witty too and I really liked what Swinton brought to the role. I also loved Chiwetel Ejiofor as Baron Mordo, Mondo was clearly a strong-willed individual with charm, wisdom but also some minor issues of his own and Ejiofor added such a good level of energy, charisma and intensity to this character. Rachel McAdams as Christine Palmer was also quite good, while I would have liked more screen time and information about her beyond her interactions with Strange, she worked well in the film as she had good chemistry with Strange and had some pretty humourous moments too. As for Mads Mikkelsen as Kaecilius I thought he was good, his villain character went the way of Nero from Star Trek (2009) as he was relevant but took a backseat to Strange’s hero-based journey, so overall I thought Mikkelsen brought a great screen presence and charisma to the character, but he wasn’t a MCU villain to write home about. Also Benedict Wong as Wong was quite good, he was a no-nonsense, stern and knowledgeable character and I liked Wong’s performance. And finally Michael Stuhlbarg, Benjamin Bratt and Scott Adkins had minor yet notable roles to play in this film and did well too.

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Ad then there’s the presentation which was lovely. Visually the film was amazing and beyond what I could have imagined, before this film came out there was a lot of talk from Kevin Feige and Scott Derrickson about the use of visual effects and how they’d not only honour the Steve Ditko artwork but also expand upon the crazy visual material in last year’s Ant-Man, and boy do they deliver. Visually the film’s very colourful and has some good cinematography, but it was the use of GCI that was truly impressive. Whether it was other dimensions, magical symbols, shape-shifting buildings or astral forms, there were some really cool and unexplainable imagery, and some super trippy sequences in particular were just insane, plus the action scenes were really cool with an “Inception times 1000, on drugs” kind of vibe and a fair amount of it was incredibly inventive, fun, frantic and made good use of hand-to-hand combat and magic. And the film score by Michael Giacchino is really good, I’ve made it no secret on this blog that Giacchino is one of my favourite film composers and his work in this film was familiar yet quirky, beautiful, harrowing and heroic and while it’s not overly memorable when compared to some of Marvel’s other films, it certainly has some standout moments especially with the two songs playing in credits, they were gorgeous and should have been incorporated into the main film.

In conclusion Doctor Strange was a lot of fun and continues to show the diversity of Marvel Studios’ work with their comic book properties. This was film was a pretty big risk which for the most part paid off with a solid origin story, solid performances from the cast, awesome visuals and a lovely soundtrack. Now while this film doesn’t correct a lot of the issues that the MCU films have accumulated over the last few years and some might not understand or like what this film has to offer, overall I do believe it is worth a watch. Oh and if you get the chance to see it in IMAX do it! 😀

So are you going to see Doctor Strange or if you have seen it what do you think of the film? Whatever your thoughts are be sure to drop them in the comments section and I’ll see ya on the next review! Laters!:)

 
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Posted by on October 31, 2016 in Film Reviews, 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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Hannibal Season 1 Review

Howdy ladies and gents, I return to the internet with my first live-action TV review in a while (the last one being Buffy season 2). Today’s review will be on the first season of Hannibal, a show I’ve only watched recently, but have really gotten into just in time for the start of season 2. So what do I think of this first season? Read on and find out!

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So the story in this show in a nutshell goes something like this:

“Explores the early relationship between the renowned psychiatrist Hannibal Lecter and his patient Will Graham, a young FBI criminal profiler, who is haunted by his ability to empathize with serial killers.”

This season was full of interesting individual episodes, but it is when all the small aspects from those episodes are brought together for the larger narrative when things become so much more fascinating and entertaining. Like any good psychological thriller, the show was suspenseful, full of tension and did a lot to mess with your head and blur the line between reality and fiction, the writing is very clever and on numerous occasions I was either very confused, disgusted by what I was watching or feeling the crazy tension going on. I like how for the most part each episode felt relevant with a new case for the FBI to check that had a means of hooking you. While it took the show a bit before I really got into it properly, once a good few episodes had gone by I found myself getting intrigued and constantly curious about the nature of the main killer’s motives, Graham’s abilities and the number of murders. I don’t want to give anything away, but let’s just say things get deeper, more complex, dangerous and it all leads up to a very engaging finish.

Favourite episodes:

  • Coquilles
  • Entrée
  • Fromage
  • Rôti
  • Relevés
  • Savoureux

Hannibal-cast

When it comes to the cast they’re all very good. Hugh Dancy as Special Agent Will Graham is really good, Will has a very interesting set of skills and it is great to see things from his perspective and get inside his mind. Sometimes however I wish I couldn’t see some of the stuff in there because it is right creepy. Dancy does so well in this role as he plays a character so isolated, mentally strange and different from everyone else. For me the main star is Mads Mikkelsen as Dr. Hannibal Lecter. Mikkelsen I mainly know from Casino Royale and he was really awesome in that film, but here he is on a new level of awesomeness. Here he plays such a straight man, always willing to help, well-versed food, drink and people, and yet he is danger. Hannibal is the bad guy hiding in plain sight and Mikkelsen does such a great job in his role as he is so subtle with his emotions, body language and able to portray a complicated character so well.

Laurence Fishburne as Special Agent-in-Charge Jack Crawford is another strong performance in this show, Jack is one tough guy, he like things done his way, likes to get results and doesn’t really care about how some people are affected by the cases he involves them in. Though for all his bravado he does have a heart and some of his own issues too and Fishburne does a wonderful job with a firm and commanding screen presence. Caroline Dhavernas is also good as Dr. Alana Bloom, a psychiatry professor and consultant profiler for the FBI, who has a professional relationship with both Graham and Lecter. I also really liked Hettienne Park as Special Agent Beverly Katz, Scott Thompson as Dr. Jimmy and Aaron Abrams as Brian Zeller were pretty good, but I don’t have much to say about them. The only other person I wanted to mention was Eddie Izzard as Dr. Abel Gideon, seeing Izzard in something so serious completely through me off the first time, it was so random, but he was very good all the same.

Hannibal - Season 1

As for the presentation it is gorgeous. Firstly this is one of the most visually impressive TV shows I have seen, the show looks very cinematic and has a great level of detail and impressive camera work that makes everything stand out. The lighting is another thing that is very well done and really helps amplify the moody atmosphere. In addition to the great filming work, the use of CGI for the psychological and fictional-based aspects of the show is awesome and realistic. And obviously one can’t talk about the show without highlighting the violence, bloody hell this show has so much nasty and filthy things to show off with the killing and dead bodies, all of which comes in many shapes and forms which gets more and more ridiculous and grotesque. It all looks very gruesome and amazing, the make-up team should be commended too for some of this crazy work they pulled off here. Overall visually Hannibal it is right up there with HBO standard of TV like Game of Thrones and Boardwalk Empire in my opinion.

In conclusion the first season of Hannibal is a damn good show, while I wouldn’t put it in my TV show favourites of all-time, it definitely has the potential to get there. The slow pacing and lack of engaging plotlines in some episodes definitely knocks a few points off. That being said Hannibal is entertaining, complex and thought-provoking as hell. I can’t wait to see what goes down in season 2.

Rating: 8.5/10 (A great and creepy show full of blood, death and thought-provoking stories)

 
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Posted by on March 2, 2014 in Media, Reviews, Television, TV Reviews

 

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