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REVISITED: Doubt

Good day to you ladies and gents, and welcome to another review in the REVISITED series where I’ll be reviewing films I haven’t seen for a while and see if they still hold up since or not. And today’s review will be of a film I haven’t seen for a few years, Doubt.

Now I remember renting this film from Blockbuster back in 2010 during my film discovery phase in college doing media production, and I remember once it was over I was really impressed with the film overall but was deeply unsettled. And that is a feeling I have never forgotten. So after getting into films a heck of a lot more since I was 20, I wanted to rewatch this film and see how it was, and in all honesty, I feel about the same, both impressed and disturbed. Even as I type this review, there’s a feeling in my heart and a bit of tremble in my movements because this film affected me so. Straight from the beginning you know something is off, there’s a smell in the air, but you don’t know what it is just yet, however, once certain plot points and character motivations and suspicions come to light, then things get intriguing. What we have is a very horrible situation with the priest and a child, and the head nun trying to ascertain whether something indecent has happened or not. The situation is shrouded in mystery, allegations and hearsay and because there’s no clear evidence it makes it makes for some awkward and intense moments throughout. As the film progressed, I felt more and more troubled and just goes to show well this film was crafted, there is a lot of attention to detail when it comes to the tone, dialogue, pacing and ambivalence of this situation, and it felt very realistic in the way certain situations were set up and the complicated battles that followed between the priest and head nun. I liked how not only the cinematography helped accentuate the uneasy nature of the plot (especially with Dutch angles), but also how the weather played a big part in elevating the mood from being calm to being quite ferocious. The performances in the film were fantastic, this was the first serious film I’d seen both Philip Seymour Hoffman and Meryl Streep in and both of them impressed me greatly. Meryl Streep as Sister Aloysius is this very strict and scary principal who doesn’t seem too likeable at times, but because she’s so mean it does lead to some funny moments, but beyond her surface level, she does care about the kids and does not let unjust things happen under her watch which makes her very crafty, tenacious and more aggressive. Streep is magnetic and acts with style and finesse, but also a great level of intensity, and it was this film that made me understand why Streep is talked about so much in the film community. Not to be outdone, Philip Seymour Hoffman as Father Flynn is a kind and warm, and yet at times he seems off and untrustworthy, and there are times when he shows a darker side which is very creepy and unexpected. Hoffman’s performance is very captivating as he handles every situation with subtly and dangerous levels of realism, and along with Streep, they have some powerful scenes together. Amy Adams is also really great as Sister James, she’s a cute and kind-hearted soul who wants to believe in the best of people but has reason to doubt the priest. And finally, there’s Viola Davis who plays a significant role as Mrs. Miller and good gravy that woman can sell anything because her acting is that good, such power and sincerity. Overall Doubt is an incredible film with great direction performances and a solid and haunting film score from Howard Shore.

So have you seen Doubt and if so what do you think? Also if you’ve seen it more than once does it hold up better, worse or the same as before? Be sure to leave your thoughts in the comments section below and I’ll see ya on the next review, laters! 😀

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Posted by on October 14, 2017 in Film Reviews, Reviews

 

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REVISITED: The Incredibles & Super 8

Good day to you ladies and gents, time for some film reviews and today I’m going to start a new series of reviews under the title REVISITED, and what that means is that I’ll be reviewing films I haven’t seen for a while and checking out how they hold up since my last watch. And today’s reviews will be of films I’ve been meaning to rewatch for a while and they are The Incredibles and Super 8.

So first we have The Incredibles, a film that is not only in my top 3 Pixar films but also one of my favourite animated films ever. Funnily enough, I never watched this film in a conventional way, I missed it in the cinema and saw at least the first half of it on a pirated DVD and then saw it properly on TV a few years later. I’m pretty sure this film was made for me, it is a superhero film with elements of the spy genre and family drama mixed in too. I loved being introduced to this world of superheroes learning about how they operate, how they were phased out and how it affects the main characters down the line. For all of the fantastical elements, this film has a lot of realistic material at its core. This film deals with a lot of issues relating to death, revenge, missing the simplicity/glory days of youth, having marital issues, being able to truly express yourself and sacrificing your wants and needs for those you love. This film does a good job of balancing between the humour, drama and action, and there’s a lot to enjoy for audience members of all ages. The characters are all great, they all have wonderful quirks, strengths and weaknesses, confidence issues and specific personality traits that make them shine, like Dash for example. Also, the voice work is really good especially from Craig T. Nelson and Holly Hunter as Mr Incredible and Elastigirl, Jason Lee as Syndrome, Samuel L. Jackson as Frozone and of course director Brad Bird as Edna Mode. Visually the film is so very beautiful, artistically the film is very distinct and colourful, the animation is super smooth and the camera work used during the action sequences is very kinetic and has some amazing tracking shots. Oh, and the creativity in the use of the abilities of all the superpowered individuals was so creative and badass. Equally as good is the film score from the brilliant Michael Giacchino, besides Star Trek (2009)The Incredibles has my favourite Giacchino score overall as it is some of the sassiest, upbeat and bombastic material of all his compositions. The score has a varied sound that works in all situations, besides having a deliciously jazz-inspired soundtrack that harkens back to the days of old spy films, there are also lovely dramatic and emotional moments that stick out a lot too. My favourite pieces were during the action scenes with Dash and Mr Incredible training montage. In the end, this film is still as fun as the day I first saw it.

Ah Super 8, I remember this film well, the hype behind this film was quite notable because of the mystery surrounding the film and the well-crafted yet intriguing trailers that had a lot of interesting shots but no major plot details revealed. I recall upon this film being released that the reception was quite mixed, a good few people liked it, but a lot of people found it boring and unengaging especially given the lack of information about the film beforehand. I remember enjoying the film for the most part but thought it the reveal of monster and main story towards the end lost some steam. Either way, I haven’t seen this film since it was in cinemas 2011 and I’ve wanted to check it out again for ages. So how was my experience 6 years later? Pretty good actually. I feel like Super 8 is one of those films that benefit from a second viewing, once you understand how the story works in terms of the style, pacing, mystery and character arcs I believe it is a more enjoyable experience. I found it interesting how this film combined a coming of age story with a sci-fi plot and I feel like it works for the most part. You have a story dealing with friendship, growing up, dealing with traumatic events of the past, mysterious events that have dangerous ramifications and the search for truth. I enjoyed the adventure, while there were some issues with the hit and miss humour and some less than interesting story stuff when the kids weren’t involved, I thought it had some really cute, funny and dramatic material that worked well. I thought the cast of kids were good, they acted well and had good chemistry, bouncing off of each other in a natural way, Joel Courtney and Elle Fanning, were really good, and I also liked Riley Griffiths and Ryan Lee too. As for the adults, they were fine, but Kyle Chandler was the most memorable even those his character wasn’t very likeable. Visually the film looks nice, the lens flare is less than usual, and while it was a little too dark during the night scenes, there were some really cool-looking action sequences including one of the most impressive train crashes I’ve ever seen put to film, it is a beautiful massacre, so much crashing, smashing, flying debris and explosions. It is truly a wonderful spectacle. Also the film score from Michael Giacchino is really nice, Super 8‘s score feels like it has elements of Jurassic Park and Star Wars, but most notably has shades of Lost in the sense that there are subtle/emotional vibe moments mixed in with these uplifting and hopeful sounds that swell and engulf the scenes they’re used in. Overall I was glad I saw this film again and if you’re interested to give it a watch.

So have you seen these films and if so what do you think? Also if you’ve seen them more than once do they hold up better, worse or the same as before? Be sure to leave your thoughts in the comments section below and I’ll see ya on the next review, laters! 😀

 
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Posted by on October 12, 2017 in Film Reviews, Reviews

 

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AUDIO REVIEW: Blade Runner 2049

Howdy ladies and gents of the internet, how’s it going? Anyway today I am here to bring you my thoughts on Blade Runner 2049, however, unlike most of my reviews that are written on this blog, I decided to do an audio via my podcast, Film Focus on Soundcloud as it felt better and easier to do. Anyway check out the review below:

So that’s my review people, hopefully, you found it informative and interesting to listen, and I hope my voice wasn’t too grating on your ears haha. While I don’t think I will be phasing out the written reviews altogether, at the same time there are certain times when doing a recorded review allows me to creatively get my thoughts about a film across better than when I’m sat in front of my laptop trying to form sentences and paragraphs. But we’ll see, hopefully, you’ll be around to check out later reviews via my podcast.

Also, what did you think of Blade Runner 2049? Was it the sequel that you hoped for or was it a disappointment? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below, until next time peeps, laters! 😀

 
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Posted by on October 10, 2017 in Film Reviews, Reviews

 

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PODCAST: Film Focus Episodes 38 & 39 – It & Kingsman 2

Howdy ladies and gents of the internet, as some of you may have seen, last year I started a film podcast entitled Film Focus and on this podcast, I talk about various topics in film and reviews as well on a biweekly basis. And since I didn’t do an immediate post for the last episode I’ll be showing off episodes 38 and 39 which feature reviews for It and Kingsman: The Golden Circle.

Anyway here’s the It review in episode 38:

And here’s the Kingsman 2 review in episode 39:

Now I already did a written review for It not too long ago, but with Kingsman 2, I just decided that doing an audio review would be best so if you want to hear my thoughts on Kingsman 2 then be sure to check out the episode as it is spoiler-free and then there is a spoiler section around 23:29. 😛 Anyway, I hope you all enjoy the episode. 🙂

As I mentioned before in each episode I’ll cover a different topic or review and since I don’t have much in the way of listeners or promotion, I’m here to spread the word about my podcast. 🙂

You can find my main site on Soundcloud here: https://soundcloud.com/film_focus

Or if you’re on iTunes subscribe and rate me on there: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/film-focus/id1114233892?mt=2

So if you have some spare time on your hands and would like to listen to the ramblings of a passionate/strange man then please check it out, and share it with your friends if you can. Also, you have any feedback or if you’d be interested in joining on future episodes be sure to let me know, until next time, laters! 😀

 
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Posted by on September 25, 2017 in Film Reviews, Films, Media, Reviews

 

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ONE PARAGRAPH REVIEW: It

Howdy ladies and gents, time for my first review from the cinema since I saw The Hitman’s Bodyguard and today I’ll be talking about It. Now while I never needed another adaptation of this story, I was always curious to see how It would work with modern horror filmmaking. And with the awesome trailers and good worth of mouth coming out early on I was hyped. So now I’m ready to give you a mini review for It.

The plot can be summed up as the following: “In the town of Derry where a number of children have disappeared, a group of children band together to discover  the mysteries behind their town, but also try to figure out how to destroy the evil Clown that has been terrorising them.

Now I am going to try and be as vague as possible. As someone who doesn’t really like horror films I really liked this film, while not perfect, it gave me almost everything I wanted to see in a horror film and then some. This is also not a conventional horror film as it is half horror and half coming of age story. I enjoyed seeing all of the main kids come together and form a bond as the film perfectly captured the joys and struggles of growing up in school and dealing with issues like being a social outcast, bullying, abuse and more. They all felt like relatable, young and awkward individuals, but had a great sense of chemistry, naivety and come together in a natural way. One of the things that really impressed me was how freaky the film was from the beginning, the sense of dread, unsettling atmosphere, suspense and tension was present and set you up for what follows. On top of that, the film definitely used its 15/R rating as it got pretty dark, and violent for certain situations, but that also allowed fed into the film’s humour which was bloody hilarious and creative with the use of certain language. The performances from all of the cast was great especially from the main kids with main shout-outs going to Jaeden Lieberher as Bill, Jeremy Ray Taylor as Ben, Sophia Lillis as Bev, Jack Dylan Grazer as Eddie and my man Finn Wolfhard (from Stranger Things) as Richie, the latter of which was my favourite because he was so funny and little obnoxious. But you cannot forget to mention Bill Skarsgård as It/Pennywise, his performance was really good, very engaging and magnetic, so disturbing, a little funny, odd and unnerving. Visually the film was great with its muted coloured, use of low lighting and interesting camera work which framed the action in a close, intimate and sometimes claustrophobic manner. So of the deaths in the film was pretty brutal and violent, and the scares were solid for the most part. I feel like the trailers did show a little too much because some of the scares I knew were coming, and overall while I certainly felt fear and tension, t\but he film could have been much scarier and some of the horror sequences felt unintentionally funny as there were a good few people laughing during certain sequences. The film score from Benjamin Wallfisch was really good as it helped elevate the film with music that felt dramatic, emotional and disturbing. In conclusion, It was a pretty good film and in a lot of ways it was everything I had hoped for from the trailers, besides having a stellar cast and characters you care about, but the atmosphere, tension and scares come together it’s REALLY GOOD. That being said I feel like the film could have been scarier and at points it was unintentionally funny which undercut the fear factor. But with all that being said, It is a film you should see in the cinema, everyone seems to love it and if you’re a horror fan you probably will too.

So have you seen It and if so what did you think of it? Leave your thoughts in the comments below and I’ll see ya on the next review, laters! 😀

 
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Posted by on September 9, 2017 in Film Reviews, Reviews

 

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ONE PARAGRAPH REVIEW: The Hitman’s Bodyguard

Howdy ladies and gents, it’s time for my second review of a recent film in the form of The Hitman’s Bodyguard, a film I wasn’t too interested in watching until recently when certain reviewers convinced me to give it a go.

The plot can be summed up as the following: “The world’s top bodyguard gets a new client, a hit man who must testify at the International Court of Justice. They must put their differences aside and work together to make it to the trial on time.” The plot wasn’t bad but felt incredibly familiar to other comedy films I’ve seen. The plot tries to be a little more serious with the emotional material relating to the two main characters but also with the political material, it doesn’t quite work because the film’s largely focused on humour and the tone is fairly silly and over-the-top, some of the more heartfelt or realistic moments don’t resonate because it doesn’t gel with the rest of the film. That being said the film’s silly nature is what makes it fun to watch, and while I could predict how certain events played out, it was still a decent time. The cast was good. Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson were really good as Michael Bryce and Darius Kincaid, both of these characters have different personalities, styles and ways the take out their enemies and seeing their worlds collide was fun. Reynolds and Jackson were essentially playing themselves or at least versions of characters they’ve played in other comedy films, but luckily their chemistry and screen presence elevates their characters. Elodie Yung was good as Amelia Roussel, she had a key part to play and I enjoyed how much screen time she had and anytime Salma Hayek is involved I am there, I love that woman and she was very fun as Sonia Kincaid. Hayek is so aggressive, sassy and crazy in this role and its fun to watch her rant and rave. The only person that didn’t leave an impression was Gary Oldman as Vladislav Dukhovich, this character barely did anything and could have been played by anyone and Oldman was wasted in this role. The action in the film was pretty good, there was some really fun and creative material that went into the hand-to-hand combat, gunfights and the car chases, the latter being my favourite with the chase sequences being shot very well. In conclusion, The Hitman’s Bodyguard was a basic yet decent film, it does nothing new but the chemistry between Reynolds and Jackson, along with some ridiculous humour and good action scenes keep it from being completely forgettable.

So have you seen The Hitman’s Bodyguard and if so what did you think of it? Leave your thoughts in the comments below and I’ll see ya on the next review, laters! 😀

 
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Posted by on August 24, 2017 in Film Reviews, Reviews

 

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ONE PARAGRAPH REVIEW: Atomic Blonde

Howdy ladies and gents, so today I went to the cinema for the first time in like 2-3 weeks and I’m finally getting around to playing catch up with certain films. And with that out of the way, I’m ready to give you a mini review for Atomic Blonde.

The plot can be summed up as the following: “The story revolves around a spy who has to find a list of double agents who are being smuggled into the West, on the eve of the collapse of the Berlin Wall in 1989”

So this film was better than I expected considering the reviews that ranged from good to okay. Now I’m not saying I base my film viewing experiences purely based the review of others, but if I’m iffy on a film than a certain amount of reviews can sway me, and Atomic Blonde was a film I was interested in because of the director and the action in the trailers, but after a while the more I saw of the film the less sure I would enjoy it. Firstly the story was pretty interesting considering the setting and its ties to real world events in the 80’s, however, I found that the non-linear style of storytelling wasn’t needed as much as it was and the plot did become a tedious, slow, needlessly complicated and predictable at points. As for the cast, they were strong. Charlize Theron as Lorraine Broughton was so cool, stylish, tough as nails and cold yet human on the inside and Theron sold the role well and looked so good in her many outfits. James McAvoy as David Percival was funny, quirky and charismatic and the role works primarily because of McAvoy’s charm. John Goodman and Toby Jones were good as Emmett Kurzfeld and Eric Gray, I also enjoyed Eddie Marsan as Spyglass, Sofia Boutella got to stretch her acting chops as Delphine Lasalle, and Bill Skarsgård was quite good as Merkel. But the best part of this film by miles is the action, good gravy, director David Letch, the cinematographer, stunt team and fight choreographer did a fabulous job. The action was intense, brutal, violent and hard-hitting with every punch, kick, stab, gunshot, car crash and more having an impact. The fight sequences were creative and badass, with such attention to detail with the use of props, a lot of movement and style, and some of those extended scenes all done in one take were insane. I will say that one of the sequences had the characters fighting longer than humanly possible which made it a little unrealistic, but otherwise, I enjoyed it a lot. With the 1980’s soundtrack, it worked for the most part, however, sometimes it felt like there was one song too many and there were also two songs with two versions which felt unnecessary. In conclusion, Atomic Blonde was a decent time at the cinema, while the story was a little tedious, I had fun with the cast and action scenes. Definitely worth a watch,

So have you seen Atomic Blonde and if so what did you think of it? Leave your thoughts in the comments below and I’ll see ya on the next review, laters! 😀

 
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Posted by on August 24, 2017 in Film Reviews, Reviews

 

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PODCAST: Film Focus Episode 35 – War for the Planet of the Apes Review

Howdy ladies and gents of the internet, as some of you may have seen, last year I started a film podcast entitled Film Focus and on this podcast I talk about various topics in film and reviews as well on a biweekly basis. And the latest episode of the podcast features my review of War for the Planet of the Apes. 🙂

Anyway here’s the episode 35:

Now I already did a written review for this film last week but doing an audio based review allowed me to expand upon my thoughts but also just gush about the film in a way that words can’t fully communicate. 😛 Anyway I hope you all enjoy the episode. 🙂

As I mentioned before in each episode I’ll cover a different topic or review and since I don’t have much in the way of listeners or promotion, I’m here to spread the word about my podcast. 🙂

You can find my main site on Soundcloud here: https://soundcloud.com/film_focus

Or if you’re on iTunes subscribe and rate me on there: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/film-focus/id1114233892?mt=2

So if you have some spare time on your hands and would like to listen to the ramblings of a passionate/strange man then please check it out, and share it with your friends if you can. Also you have any feedback or if you’d be interested in joining on future episodes be sure to let me know, until next time, laters! 😀

 
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Posted by on July 17, 2017 in Film Reviews, Films, Media, Reviews

 

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PODCAST: Film Focus Episode 34 – Spider-Man: Homecoming Review

Howdy ladies and gents of the internet, as some of you may have seen, last year I started a film podcast entitled Film Focus and on this podcast, I talk about various topics in film and reviews as well on a biweekly basis. As for the latest episode of the podcast, it features my review of Spider-Man: Homecoming.

Anyway here’s the episode 34:

Now I already did a written review for this film already but as with a lot of my written reviews there has to be an audio version just so you can understand how I feel about a film on a more personal level, whether it frustrated me or made me happy, podcasting allows me to get my proper thoughts out into the world. Anyway, I hope you all enjoy the episode. 🙂

As I mentioned before I’ll cover a different topic or review in each episode and since I don’t have much in the way of listeners or promotion, I’m here to spread the word about my podcast. 🙂

You can find my main site on Soundcloud here: https://soundcloud.com/film_focus

Or if you’re on iTunes subscribe and rate me on there: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/film-focus/id1114233892?mt=2

So if you have some spare time on your hands and would like to listen to the ramblings of a passionate/strange man then please check it out, and share it with your friends if you can. Also, you have any feedback or if you’d be interested in joining on future episodes be sure to let me know, until next time, laters! 😀

 
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Posted by on July 13, 2017 in Film Reviews, Films, Media, Reviews

 

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QUICK REVIEW: War for the Planet of the Apes

Howdy ladies and gents its review time once again and today I get to talk about another film which was one of my most anticipated films of the year, War for the Planet of the Apes. Now of all the films I was looking forward to this year including Logan, Guardians 2, Spider-Man and the upcoming Thor: Ragnarok and Star Wars Episode VIIIWar for the Planet of the Apes was easily in the top 3. Back in 2011 Rise really blew me away with its interesting story, characters, and action, and then Dawn came out 2014 and completely floored me with the character-driven story, drama, and visual effects. And since the first trailer dropped last year I’ve been beyond hyped to see if this film would deliver the epic third chapter that this trilogy needed and the simple answer is yes. I am telling right now War for the Planet of the Apes is a great film and it deserves your attention.

So the story can be described as the following:

“After the apes suffer unimaginable losses when they are discovered by a military group, Caesar and his apes are forced into a deadly conflict with an army of humans led by a ruthless Colonel.”

What I loved about this story was not only how it was a continuation of the path laid out by the previous films, but also how it presented a darker, more dramatic and personal tale. This was a story about power, emotional conflict, family, leadership and making choices based that could have major ramifications both in the short and long-term. I liked how the film presented both sides of the argument for why both the apes and humans should survive over the other, and something else I loved was how the film made me feel. I felt emotions in the last film, it here it was on a higher level, I felt on edge throughout as the tension and suspense was so well executed, but on top of that the emotional material in this film was so good, so many key moments had me shocked, laughing, happy and very sad. This film is very story and character focused and while they are certainly moments where the action kicks off, it is not an action film as some of the trailers suggested, but more so a drama with action elements incorporated, so anyone expected an action-focused film maybe end up being bored and disappointed in certain moments of downtime.

As for the cast, they were all really good. Firstly let’s start with Andy Serkis as Caesar who since the first film in this series has impressed me with the performance capture and here he does his best work not only with the physical material but also with his voice, with more coherent sentences it has allowed for drama and depth in his performance. Caesar has to deal with a lot when it comes to being a leader and family man, dealing with demons from his past and present and making decisions that not only affect him but his apes too, and it’s fascinating to see how it plays out. Then there’s Woody Harrelson as The Colonel was magnificent, he was frightening, ruthless and had a presence on-screen that made you feel like the air had left the room, Harrelson killed it in the role. Also, Amiah Miller as Nova was really good, she did well to act in this film with no dialogue and having to act through facial expressions and physical movement. And everyone else who played apes in the film was really good especially with Karin Konoval as Maurice, Terry Notary as Rocket, Ty Olsson as Red, but it was Steve Zahn as “Bad Ape” that stole the show. At first, I thought he may piss me off because of his odd and quirky personality, but he ended up being so funny and endearing.

When it comes to the presentation it is fantastic. One the visual side of things the film looks amazing with some great cinematography and action sequences, but also some wonderfully framed shots of interior and exterior locations, I striking use of light and colour considering the state of the planet at that point in time, and of course, the CGI for the apes is insanely impressive. Somehow the filmmakers improved even further than they did in Dawn back in 2014 with the Apes looking more realistic than before where you could almost mistake them for really good animatronics. And the film score from Michael Giacchino is incredible, he not only borrowed some of the key themes he crafted in the previous film but also created new material for this film which was well suited for every scenario, whether a scene called for fear, mystery, tension, drama or anything else, he had all based covered to a tee.

In conclusion, what can I say other than War for the Planet of the Apes is a really great film that I think you should check out. The film gave me everything I wanted and then some and I wasn’t expecting to leave the cinema so filled with emotions, but that is really a credit to the talent of Matt Reeves, Andy Serkis and everyone else who made this film possible. Easily in my top 3 films of 2017.

So have you seen War for the Planet of the Apes and if so what did you think of it? Please be sure to leave your thoughts in the comments section below and I’ll see ya on the next review, laters! 😀

 
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Posted by on July 13, 2017 in Film Reviews, Reviews

 

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