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QUICK REVIEW: Kong: Skull Island

Howdy ladies and gents, its review time once again and today I’m talking about another one of the big blockbuster films of 2017 in the form of Kong: Skull Island. Now this was a film I was hyped for especially with the cast and after watching the first trailer, but with the subsequent trailers my interest waned due to the use of humour and the reveal of King Kong (which I wasn’t overly keen on), and with the mixed reviews that recently came out I was bracing myself for disappointment, but after watching the film last night I now have my thoughts on the film ready to share.

The plot can be described as the following:

“When a scientific expedition to an uncharted island awakens titanic forces of nature, a mission of discovery becomes an explosive war between monster and man.”

I thought the story was good, it had a little more depth than I expected being set during the 70’s with the ties war and intriguing mythology about Skull Island and King Kong’s origins too. But the best things about this film was that it was straightforward and fun. The pacing felt good and didn’t drag and when the action was going down it was very entertaining. That being said I do feel like the film had some tonal inconsistencies and some of the humour felt a little forced at times, plus it didn’t help that some of the funny lines had been shown in the trailers already. I also wish that there had been a better sense of fear, dread and stakes in the film, not that the film didn’t have those elements, it just wasn’t to a high enough degree considering the situation these human characters got into. Oh and finally there are some cool ties and references to other notable monsters throughout the film and in the post credits scene too which was great if you like your classic kaiju films! 😀

Now when it comes to the cast it is stacked to the maximum with a lot of notable faces including Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L. Jackson, John Goodman, Brie Larson, Corey Hawkins, Jason Mitchell, Shea Whigham, Toby Kebbell, John Ortiz and John C. Reilly among others. And here’s the thing, everyone is fine, but it really is the actors that elevate the characters as the dialogue doesn’t do well to give the characters depth or character arcs, though some people fare better than others.

Firstly you have Tom Hiddleston as Captain James Conrad and he was pretty good, he was a smart, tenacious and tactical badass and while I was surprised by how good he was at almost any situation he was put into, overall he was good. Brie Larson as Weaver was fine, Weaver was clearly the most kind and caring of the characters, she was fine but it was Larson that made her more engaging. John Goodman was really good as Randa, he’s a part of the government organisation who gets everyone on Skull Island and I like how his stern yet humourous demeanour and how he was determined to see his mission through. Next up is Samuel L. Jackson as Lieutenant Colonel Packard, and here he had an interesting character who was deeply effected by the Vietnam War and had some interesting and personal stuff that he dealt with once on the island. Sam Jackson was great and added a lot of personality and flair to the character. And then you have John C. Reilly as Marlow, of all the characters he had the most substantial depth and character arc, when I saw Marlow in the trailer I thought he’d be very annoying and at first he was a little too zany, but by the end of the film he ended up being my favourite character. Corey Hawkins as geologist Houston Brooks was good, he had good screen presence and charisma. Also Shea Whigham and Jason Mitchell as Earl Cole and Glenn Mills were two of my favourites, but that was more the actors than the characters. Toby Kebbell as Maj. Chapman was fine though I wish he’d had more screen time, oh and his accent was a little wobbly. And finally John Ortiz, Thomas Mann, Jing Tian and Terry Notary were fine.

Visually the film is pretty good, the cinematography was solid and there’s some absolutely beautiful shots of scenery and action, the use of colour is very rich and striking during the day and night scenes, and the action sequences when they’re on-point they are ferocious, aggressive and brutal. I will admit that while that some of the action wasn’t as creatively choreographed as I would have liked, and though the CGI was really good, at the same time some of it wasn’t always as sharp or consistent as it should be. The film score for Henry Jackman was decent and did well to add to the action and subtle moments too.

In conclusion Kong: Skull Island was pretty good, not great, but better than I expected considering some of the early reviews. While I had some issues with the characters, some of the humour and visual effects, overall the film was solid fun and I’d recommend it. 🙂

So have you seen Kong: Skull Island and if so what did you think of it? Be sure to share your thoughts in the comments below and I’ll see ya on the next review, laters! 😀

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Posted by on March 11, 2017 in Film Reviews, Reviews

 

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A Quick Look Back At Agent Carter Season 1

Howdy ladies and gentlemen, how’s it going with y’all? As you can see I’ve not really wrote that much in recent times because I’m taking things easy around here. With that in mind I thought since Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is back in action, I thought it’d be nice to have a quick look back at Agent Carter and do a recap/review of sorts just to give you my impressions on the show as a whole. I’ll try to be brief I promise haha. 😛

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The series features focuses on Peggy Carter, a former field agent who is now relegated to doing administrative work for the Strategic Scientific Reserve (S.S.R), however when Howard Stark’s inventions get stolen and he’s labelled an enemy of the USA, he turns to Peggy to help clear his name. So the series follows Peggy as she goes on secret missions for Howard while trying to navigate life as a single woman in 1940s America.

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In a nutshell the story for this season was pretty good. Now I have to say after the two-part premiere of this series I did feel like the momentum slowed down and wasn’t as interesting, and while episodes were decent, they weren’t overly engaging for me and didn’t have that ‘wow’ factor that makes shows must watch TV. However after episode five things really started to pick up and by the finale I was left wanting more. The thing about Agent Carter is that there are a lot of similarities to Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. like:

  • Both shows were born from a single character (Peggy Carter here and Phil Coulson for AoS)
  • Both shows were coming off of pretty big films in the MCU (Captain America 1 & 2 for AC and The Avengers for AoS)
  • Both shows started out kind of slow and decided to do a lot of set up and build foundations so that the pay-off at the end of the season was worth the wait
  • Both shows had connections to the MCU films and dug deeper into the comic book source material

Besides what I’ve displayed above, I believe that’s where the connections stop. While this show and AoS had a slow start and had a lot of set up which resulted in some dull or uninteresting episodes that had nothing to do with the main plot. Thankfully AC had an 8-episode season, which meant the story had to be told fairly quickly and that was good decision. Even though I would like to have had more episodes, all of the 8 episodes felt relevant and didn’t deviate from the main plot. There was good deal of mystery, action, spy-based stuff and drama too. What I appreciated about AC is that the danger was always present, there was always something new to learn and that there was a focus on not only Peggy, but her connections with others whether they be allies or villains. Plus the nods to the comics and other MCU films and characters was very welcome especially when it comes to the Black Widow program.

When it comes to the cast, they were really good and what appreciated was the fact that there is some character building for new people, while already established members of the MCU got more depth to them. Hayley Atwell as Peggy Carter was brilliant, she continues to show why she is one of the best women of the MCU with a strong will, a good heart and a badass set of combat skills. She can be witty and uncompromising, but also melancholy and remorseful, she is just the perfect person you’d want on your team and you want to see her succeed through her endeavours because she’s such a great woman. Then there’s James D’Arcy as Edwin Jarvis, as I’ve said before this man is awesome. He’s the butler of Howard Stark and tends to Stark’s every need, besides that he is full of secrets and skills that we discover of the course of the show which makes him pretty interesting to watch. He assists Peggy’s assistant in her mission to help Howard and he is just as witty as Peggy, however he can be a bit careless and not quite as sharp. Carter and Jarvis have some great chemistry whether it is moments of humour or moments of drama.

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Shea Whigham is pretty good as Roger Dooley, at first his character came across as another typical mean-spirited boss with no personality, but eventually he does develop and become someone pretty interesting. Enver Gjokaj as Daniel Sousa was nice, he was probably the nicest of the males working at the S.S.R., however he was still a bit bland at first and it wasn’t until the latter part of the season when I got to like him.Chad Michael Murray as Jack Thompson is another character I didn’t care about at first because his initial impressions were less than welcoming, however he too was a character who I grew to respect because we got to learn about his backstory and saw him interact with Peggy a lot too. Dominic Cooper again does a really good job as Howard Stark, continuously Cooper’s performance really mirrors that of Robert Downey Jr. as Howard continually shows more and more parrells to Tony, showcasing where most of Tony’s best and worst attributes stem from in the first place. Also Bridget Regan as Dottie Underwood, what a lady! She was a great antagonist for the series and he double act was really fun to watch, though what was even more impressive was Dottie’s backstory and her demeanour when in attack mode, she was cold, vicious and aggressive. And finally Ralph Brown did a goo job as Johann Fennhoff while Lyndsy Fonseca was really fun and charismatic as Angie Martinelli.

As for the presentation it is pretty good. The visual style is nice and the cinematography is good, but the best thing is about the show is the action. The action sequences are well-shot and wonderfully choreographed especially when Peggy and/or Dottie are involved.

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In conclusion Agent Carter‘s first season was pretty good. It was off to a rocky start in the early episodes, however, once we got around half way in, things got a little more interesting and some of the early set up really started to pay off with the revelations in the later episodes. The short number of episodes are good, the performance from Hayley Atwell and the rest of the cast were great and the action was very nicely done. I do hope this series gets a second season, it would be a shame for these stories to end so soon.

Rating: 8/10

So did you see the first season of Agent Carter and if so what did you think? Do you think it lived up to expectations or not and if there is a second season what would you like to see? Whatever your thoughts are be sure to drop them below and I’ll see you on the next review, laters! 😀

 
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Posted by on March 10, 2015 in Media, Reviews, Television, TV Reviews

 

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Agent Carter Episode 1 & 2 Quick Review

Howdy ladies and gentlemen, hope you all are doing well and what not. Time for a look back into the realm of television and today I’m going to give you my quick impressions of the season premiere of Marvel’s Agent Carter. Now I’ve been looking forward to this for a long time, ever since the Agent Carter One-Shot, I knew I wanted to see more of Hayley Atwell in this role and now we have this series, an eight episode show that will continue the adventures of Peggy Carter and will expand the MCU. So how does the first two episodes fare? Well read on and find out!

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The first two episodes entitled “Now is Not the End” and “Bridge and Tunnel” deals with Peggy Carter now being recruited by Howard Stark when the country believes that he is selling deadly weapons to their enemies. And since Stark’s most dangerous weapon falls into enemy hands, it’s down to Peggy to recover it, however, her undercover mission is threaten when her superiors at the Strategic Scientific Reserve, Chief Dooley and Agent Thompson are after the same weapon.

Story-wise the episodes was pretty good as it basically shows us Peggy Carter’s status in life, why she gets back into the field of action and what her main goal is. What I liked was that there was a solid balance between the story and action. I loved seeing how Peggy was still grieving over Steve and how she felt like she didn’t have a purpose, that is until Howard comes back into play and offers her a mission. But even after she gets back into action, there are still drama and losses in her life that can’t be avoided. This mission presents new dangers and adventures for Peggy now along with her companion Edwin Jarvis and all this needs to be done while Peggy does her usual job at the S.S.R. It seems like Stark has people who wants his technology and have found a way to weaponize it, we don’t know who yet, but it does make you wonder who it is. Some of the best moments in the episodes are the small character moments either with Peggy on her own or when she’s undercover or talking to Jarvis or Daniel. There are also some connections to the first Captain America film, not over-the-top, but just enough to be relevant.

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As for the cast, they were great. Hayley Atwell was on fire as Peggy Carter. Besides still being one of the most gorgeous women to grace film and TV screens in recent times, she is a fine actress and adds a lot of fun, style and drama to a character that many fan have come to love already. This Peggy is more vulnerable than before, however she is still just as badass as ever, kicking men’s asses, using witty remarks and using her incredible undercover skills to get what she wants. I appreciate how these episodes show how smart and resourceful Peggy can be and how missions require her to become a different person altogether which was fun to watch. Then there’s James D’Arcy as Edwin Jarvis, this guy is awesome. He is the butler of Howard Stark, left to be Peggy’s assistant in her endeavours. He is just as sharp and witty as Peggy, however he has a wife and a life he must maintain beyond his responsibilities with Peggy. Together with Peggy he has some great banter and some wonderful intimate moments too.

Enver Gjokaj as Daniel Sousa was also cool, he’s an agent also working at the S.S.R. and a war veteran. The guy gets an abuse from his co-workers, but doesn’t let it get him down and at times he defends Peggy when possible (even though she doesn’t require it). Gjokaj was one of my favourite parts of Dollhouse, so to see him again in another TV in a substantial role, he’s a good actor and his chemistry with Atwell is lovely. Shea Whigham is good as Roger Dooley, he’s the chief of the S.S.R. and he’s a gruff and serious kind of guy. Whigham is a great actor and I love seeing him in action and his character in this film is very similar in personality and style to Eli Thompson in Boardwalk Empire which was fun considering the time period. Dominic Cooper returning as Howard Stark was kick ass, Cooper has always been a joy to watch in this role and he once again does a fine job. I also liked Costa Ronin’s appearance as Anton Vanko, Chad Michael Murray did a good as Jack Thompson and Lyndsy Fonseca was a charming lady as Angie Martinelli.

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When it comes to the presentation is it nice. Visually the show is consistent with Captain America: The First Avenger and the Agent Carter Short with the muted colours, great lighting and good use of visual effects (I assume) to imitate the old 1940’s look. The action is nicely done with thrilling action scenes whether it involves hand-to-hand combat, car rides, chase sequences or explosions, it is very good, realistic and restrained considering the crazy amounts of items that the MCU have at their disposal. And the soundtrack by Christopher Lennertz is decent, it doesn’t have the same amount of charisma and style as the One-Shot, however it does have its moments.

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In conclusion Agent Carter is off to a very good start, the new adventures in the 1940’s are thrilling, mysterious and leave you wanting to know more. There is a great deal action and wonderful performances from Hayley Atwell and the rest of the cast. While some of the mysteries surrounding Howard Stark’s technology is a bit hard to follow and there’s nothing in this show that’s blown me away, again, the show has started off very strong and has potential to grow and become even better.

Rating: 8.5/10 (or 8/10 for both episodes)

So did you see the first two episodes of Agent Carter and if so what did you think? And how would you compare it to the Agent Carter One-Shot and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.? Whatever your thoughts are be sure to drop them below and I’ll see you on the next review, laters! 😀

 
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Posted by on January 9, 2015 in Media, Reviews, Television, TV Reviews

 

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American Hustle Review

Yo yo ladies and gents, time to FINALLY review American Hustle! I know this review is a lot later than I anticipated, but for the longest time I put off watching this film even though I really wanted to see it as soon as it came out. But after all the faffing around I saw it at the cinema and I’m ready yo give my thoughts.

The story is loosely based on the FBI ABSCAM operation of the late 1970s and early ’80s, where two con artists who are forced by an FBI agent to set up an elaborate sting operation on corrupt politicians, including the mayor of Camden, New Jersey.

I thought the story was decent but not as good as I thought it’d be. It started out well and had a non-linear style of storytelling (a form of storytelling that I think loads of films are taking on these days) and from there we’re introduced to characters and plot elements and see how some of these individual stories eventually tie into each other. At its core the films about people conning each other. Lies and deceit is the name of the game. Normally I’m really into this kind of story in film stories, but in this film into gets a bit to convoluted for my liking and takes a bit too long for actions to play out. I actually looked at the time on my phone and that RARELY happens. by the time the film ended I just felt average and that’s massive difference from the joyful feeling I felt when I left Silver Linings Playbook.

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It’s really the cast that make the film for me as they bring these characters to life and make them worth caring about. Let’s start with Christian Bale as Irving Rosenfeld. I’ve heard people talk shit about Bale and some say he can’t act, well to them I say bullshit! I swear he’s like a frigging chameleon and goes to highest efforts to fit into his roles and that is clearly apparent here as he’s fat, corrupt, in love, but also got emotional issues to deal with involving is former and current love interests and his connect to the mayor. I thought Bale’s performance was great. Bradley Cooper as FBI Agent Richard “Richie” DiMaso was pretty great too, I’ve definitely become more a Bradley Cooper fan over the last 2 years and in this film he’s great as this FBI guy who strives for success and loves to be control and freaks out when he isn’t. Seeing Cooper lose his cool and go mental was wonderful and he does aggression very well. Amy Adams as Sydney Prosser / Lady Edith Greensly was pretty good. There was something incredibly alluring about her (it was probably those revealing outfits), I liked her backstory and her chemistry with Bale was great. The only thing iffy about her was the accent which was sometimes good and at other points very questionable. While not Adams’ best role, she was still really good.

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Jeremy Renner as Mayor Carmine Polito was actually my favourite character purely because he was practically the most innocent member of the main cast, he was just a nice guy, loved by all, trying to do right by the people of his city but got caught up this world of lies and corruption. Renner is an actor who is always up and down for me in films, he’s a good actor, no doubt about it, but sometimes his roles can make him come across as a bit flat. In this film I loved him, just his charisma, the accent his hair, everything was just nice and I think this is my favourite role I’ve seen him in. And then there’s Jennifer Lawrence as Rosalyn Rosenfeld, I’m gonna get this out there first, I really disliked her character. So annoying, unbearable and it doesn’t that I’ve known people like that so when people get annoyed in the film by her actions I can sympathise. That being said Lawrence turned in another good performance with some funny scenes and she continues to do no wrong in the world of film.

Other people I feel I should mention is my two men from Boardwalk Empire; Jack Huston (Richard Harrow) as Pete Musane and Shea Whigham (Eli Thompson) as Carl Elway. Huston was great and had a really interesting, subtle and yet aggressive part to play and Whigham’s character was really funky-looking and definitely a different kind of role for him but was really enjoyable.

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In conclusion American Hustle is a good film but nowhere near as good as some critics and other people are making it out to be. The amazing performances from the cast is what really sells the film and makes it worth watching. The word that comes to mind is “disappointed” and while I can still recommend this film, I can’t say that I walked out of the film loving it the way I wanted to.

Rating: 7/10 (A good film only elevated by the incredible of the cast)

So what did you think of American Hustle? Were you in love with it or did you think like me that it wasn’t as amazing as some have made it out to be? Whatever your thoughts drop them below and let me know. Until the next time, I’ll catch ya later! 😀

 
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Posted by on January 14, 2014 in Film Reviews, Films, Media, Reviews

 

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