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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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QUICK REVIEW: Spotlight

Howdy people of the internet, time for another review and today I’m going to be talking about Spotlight. I first heard about this film during a live Q&A with Mark Ruffalo on Facebook a few months back and once I saw the trailer I was interested, and then when all the Oscar buzz started floating around I really got hyped. So I saw it last night and now I’m ready to pass judgement.

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The story can be described as the following:

“The true story of how the Boston Globe uncovered the massive scandal of child molestation and cover-up within the local Catholic Archdiocese, shaking the entire Catholic Church to its core.”

I thought this was a fascinating tale of conspiracy, corruption, and the search for the truth, and it was handled with a great deal of detail and care. I will admit that at first the story was interesting but not all that engaging when the news team began their investigation into the questionable priests and victims, however, there was a point when a major revelation gets dropped and then the film had my attention. And from there the level of damage and cover ups done by the church and legal system just got larger and larger, and the depths of the moral and ethical corruption went so deep that it becomes emotionally engaging and heartbreaking to know that this actually happened. Watching this film made me feel dirty and it wasn’t just because priests had their way with children, but it was because of the system they were part of and how they allowed it to happen and went to great lengths to keep it from going public. While some of the details were a little hard to follow because there’s a lot of history and individual stories to take into consideration, it was balanced very well.

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The cast was fabulous and this was certainly a case where you could say that this was a team effort as there wasn’t a single bad  performance. When it comes to the Spotlight team Michael Keaton was great as Walter “Robby” Robinson, I really enjoyed seeing Rachel McAdams who was wonderful as Sacha Pfeiffer, and Brian d’Arcy James was really good as Matt Carroll, but Mark Ruffalo as Michael Rezendes stood out the most, Michael was very passionate about this issue and to see him get so worked up and emotionally invested made me root for him. Liev Schreiber’s calm yet stern demeanour worked well as Marty Baron, also John Slattery did a great job as Ben Bradlee Jr. and Stanley Tucci was fantastic as Mitchell Garabedian, an attorney who had a lot of knowledge of the corruption of church activity but a fair amount of issues to deal with professionally and personally.

So while Spotlight wasn’t the mind-blowing, amazing film that some critics made it out to be, it was an incredibly dramatic, intriguing and unnerving and it’s a film that I believe everyone should watch because it has a story that needs to be seen.

Rating: 8/10

So have you seen Spotlight and if so what did you think of it? Be sure to comment below and I’ll see you on the next review, laters!

 
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Posted by on February 9, 2016 in Film Reviews, Films, Media, Reviews

 

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QUICK LATE REVIEW: Southpaw

Howdy people of the internet, time for another film review and today I’ll finally be talking about Southpaw. I’ve been interested in this film for a while but have only recently got around to seeing it. I’d heard it was good but not amazing, so that did hamper my excitement for the film, but I knew I had to at least give it a chance before it left the cinema. So was the film good or bad? Well read on and find out!

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The story can be described as the following:

“Boxer Billy Hope turns to trainer Tick Willis to help him get his life back on track after losing his wife in a tragic accident and his daughter to child protection services.”

The story was a really engaging and dramatic tale of tragedy and redemption. For the first half hour I liked the film but it was heading down a really dark path and I wasn’t really down with the depressing nature of story. However things started to pick up around half way through and by the end I was feeling good. I will say that the film felt a little long and some of the plot points you can see coming, that being said this film was entertaining and dramatic on the emotional level.

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Now let’s talk about the performances. Jake Gyllenhaal just kills it as Billy Hope, at first I wasn’t too keen on his character because while he was charismatic and funny, he’s a bit of douche, self-centered and makes questionable decisions that make him a bit unlikable. That being said when he went do his downward spiral and then had to had to change his life around you really get behind him and relate to his motivations. Gyllenhaal continues to impress as an actor as he goes from strength to strength to change himself physically and mentally for his roles, and here he’s just a beast, so crazy and intense, but also very isolated and emotional too. I also loved Forest Whitaker as Titus “Tick” Wills. I like how he was more than just a mentor to Billy but he also had his own history and issues, and he wasn’t just tough with his personality but could also be tough physically too. The other standout performance came from Oona Laurence as Leila Hope, at first I thought he character may be a little annoying because while I understand the nature of situation would lead her to feel very emotional and aggressive, I can’t stand grumpy/whiny children. However Laurence did the opposite, I bought into her character, loved the dynamic she had with her dad and really liked the realism and emotional levels of her performance. Rachel McAdams was good as Maureen Hope while Naomie Harris added some great elements as Angela Rivera and Victor Ortiz as Ramone was a douche for sure, but he was a very cool, smug and badass douche which was played well by Ortiz. Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson as Jordan Mains was also pretty good, he was an interesting character who appears to be Billy’s friend, but is mainly in the business for the money and has some really shady motives. And finally Rita Ora surprised me as she was totally unrecognisable as Maria Escobar and while her role was short I thought he kind rather well.

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And when it comes to the visual side of things it’s incredible. I have seen a good few films depict the art of boxing with some that do it well and some not so well. This film is definitely the former. I think this may be the best one so far, the fights are choreographed so well. The way the cinematography is handled is gorgeous, everything is so clear and sharp, and I liked how there was a combination of point of view, close-ups and slow motion and tracking shots to show the action in varied and exciting ways, and thanks to the sound editors you feel every punch, there’s weight and impact. The soundtrack by the late James Horner was haunting and pretty dramatic and while it had its moments it’s not one of my favourite score from Horner.

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In conclusion Southpaw was a gripping and intense drama with really awesome acting, an interesting story and some really kick ass boxing scenes. The film was better than I expected and I’m glad I got to see it.

So what do you think of the teaser trailer for Southpaw? Are interested in this film and do you feel like the trailer has given away too much? Whatever your thoughts are be sure to leave them in the comments below, until the next time, laters! 😀

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

 

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QUICK REVIEW: Southpaw Trailer #1

Howdy people of the internet, time for another trailer review and today we’ll be talking Southpaw. I have been interested in seeing this film for a good few months now and to finally see some footage makes me super happy. So how’s the trailer looking? Well read on and find out.

Check out the trailer below:

Looks very good, but I’m worried that I’ve seen too much.

So what do we have here? Looks like Jake Gyllenhaal is a boxer, things go wrong, he loses his wife, is deemed unfit to take care of his child, and does some less than legal stuff and becomes estranged from his daughter, etc. If it sounds like I’ve highlighted a fair amount of information that is a little more revealing than most trailers it is because I have. I was already sold this film when it had no trailer last year and there was just the image Gyllenhaal looking ripped as hell. But after the success of Nightcrawler I was definitely more hyped to see this film. However, this trailer has committed the worst sin a trailer can; it shows you the whole of the film in the trailer. I mean sure there’s probably a good few elements that won’t be seen until the film comes out, but when you watch this trailer you’re pretty much getting the gist of the entire film and that’s never a good thing. Trailers are meant to tease you with what’s to come and the rest of the experience is meant to be discovered in the cinema. I’m going to have to avoid most promotion for this film from now until it’s release because I don’t want to be spoiled any more.

Outside of my mini rant about the content shown in the trailer, overall I like what I’m seeing. It looks like Gyllenhaal is gonna kill it again giving us all of the emotional material necessary for this kind of role, but now with a more physical element with the boxing. It also looks like the relationship between Billy and his daughter will be a key component of this film and I love strong family ties in dramatic films. I also like seeing a bit of Forest Whitaker and I’m curious to see how Rachel McAdams fares in this film as I haven’t seen her in anything since Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows.

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In conclusion the first trailer for Southpaw looks pretty good, while the story has very familiar territory written all over it at the same time there are some unique elements and the performances look very solid. If you’re looking forward to this film avoid the trailers if you can because it pretty much gives away the important details of the story which would be better left unseen and experienced freshly.

So what do you think of the teaser trailer for Southpaw? Are interested in this film and do you feel like the trailer has given away too much? Whatever your thoughts are be sure to leave them in the comments below, until the next time, laters! 😀

 
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Posted by on April 2, 2015 in Films, Media, Reviews

 

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Sherlock Holmes 2: A Game of Shadows Review

 

Howdy ladies and gentlemen, in this blog post I’m going to give you my review of the second Sherlock Holmes film from Guy Richie; Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows.

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So the story of the film is an easy one to follow, basically we have Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson having to join forces again to take down their most calculating adversary, Professor Moriarty. The story in this film for me is a lot interesting than the first film because the characters in this sequel the characters are much more interesting and involved in the plot than before. Even some of the secondary cast lend themselves to the story in a great way. There is also a greater sense of danger and urgency in this film then there was in the last film and that is something I always love in sequels; having greater stakes and a deeper story for the audience to get invested in. It has been argued by some that the story is a lot further from the original source material and because of that the film has faults with the story and its characters. Overall I thought this story was pretty impressive, although I wish the writers had dived a little deeper into the darker areas of the film which would have made the characters and plot a lot better. But for the most part Sherlock Holmes 2 has a great story worth telling.

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When it comes to the characters Robert Downey, Jr. as always is just incredible as Holmes, he is funny, complicated and a very strange man, but he does have a brilliant mind and the way in which he figures things out is nothing short of astounding. Holmes is also very similar to how he was in the first film, but I think this film takes him into deeper emotional territory than the before. At first I thought Holmes was an invincible smart man who couldn’t be touched but this film shows he can be hurt, physically and mentally and even the great Sherlock Holmes can get things wrong sometimes and I really liked that. When it comes to Watson, Jude Law is simply wonderful, he is the stern, yet fair friend of Holmes who brings his own level of smarts, wit and charm to the film. Even as he gets married and his life changes with his new wife we see that he still is the same man he was in the first film and like Holmes he goes though some emotional episodes that makes Watson all the better for it. Together throughout the journey of this film Holmes and Watson find that they need each other, that their bond extends further than just their journeys together, that for all the dysfunctional aspects of their relationship and all the problems that Holmes usually causes Watson in the end they really do need each other and it’s that bond that is one of the most powerful aspects of the film.

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The other powerful character that completes the film is Jared Harris as Moriarty, as the antagonist he gives a much more memorable performance than Mark Strong’s villain in the last film. Unlike Strong’s character, Harris’ actually has a presence. Moriarty is one of those sort of villains that doesn’t act like one out in the open and operates behind the shadows while having a very different persona to the public as a cover. And as charming as he is, when his calculating villainy side comes out and his cruel side becomes apparent you realise he’s a force to be dealt with. He’s definitely not the type of guy you’d want to meet in a back alley at night. And the way in which Moriarty and Holmes interact is just incredible, they’re both incredibly smart and are constantly trying to outwit each other. Also Noomi Rapace is good as Simza, though I believe her character was incredibly underused and wasn’t in the film as much as I thought she’d be which was disappointing, but for what she did contribute to the film it was pretty good. The same can be said for Rachel McAdams and Kelly Reilly who reprise their roles as Irene Adler and Mary Morstan/Watson. And lastly but by no means least a special mention has to be given to Stephen Fry as Mycroft Holmes, he was just incredible in the film, he was witty, funny and just larger than life, he had much more of a role than I thought he would, but every scene he was in he was very memorable. As usual Stephen Fry delivers.

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Now when it comes to the action sequences this film does not disappoint. From the fights, to the chase sequences and everything in-between everything is on a much higher level than before. Everything is on a much bigger and better scale than the last film; Holmes’ fights are even more interestingly choreographed than before, the gun fights are on a better scale and with all of the different locations in the film all of them introduce interesting scenarios and scenes of thrills, tension and adventure. And like the previous film Hans Zimmer returns to compose the soundtrack and it’s just a good as it was in the previous film, possibly better due to the darker nature of this film. Either way Hans Zimmer continues to be invincible and cannot do any wrong.

Conclusion

Overall Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows is a great follow-up to the first film and in a lot of ways is much better than its predecessor. The pacing is a lot better and with a much deeper plot, good character development, a much better villain and incredible action sequences this is definitely a film worth checking out. Director Guy Ritchie and his filmmaking team have taken what has worked in the first film and re-applied it in this film on a much bigger scale and I feel they should be commended for it. A lot of film critics and audience members have given this film bad reviews stating that it’s not as good as the original or stating that the film doesn’t do enough to differentiate itself from the first film. And while some of that may be true and there were issues and elements that this sequel didn’t fully commit to, overall the film isn’t nearly as bad as many people make it out to be. It is a well-made film with action, story and its fairly intelligent too. It’s not perfect but I still enjoyed it immensely and will probably be seeing again very soon.

Rating: 8/10

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on December 28, 2011 in Film Reviews, Films, Media, Reviews

 

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