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PODCAST: Film Focus Episode 14 – The 2016 Summer Movie Season – Has It Been A Disappointment?

Howdy ladies and gents of the internet, as some of you may have seen, back in April I started a film podcast entitled Film Focus and on this podcast I talk about various topics in film and reviews as well. I was actually meant to make this post available last week but was super busy with work, but hey better late then never right?

Anyway here’s the 14th episode:

Even though the summer movie session is not completely over, but most if not all of the heavy-hitters have come out and since there’s been some discussion online about the quality of this year’s summer of films I thought it’d make for a good episode on the podcast. So in this episode I cover all of the film’s I’ve seen and talk about whether this year has been a disappointment for summer films.

As I said before in each episode I’ll cover a different topic and since I don’t have much in the way of listeners or promotion, I’m here to spread the word about my podcast. ๐Ÿ™‚

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! ๐Ÿ˜€

 
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Posted by on August 26, 2016 in Films, Media

 

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QUICK REVIEW: Warcraft

Howdy people, it is review time again and today I’m going to be talking about Warcraft! Now I have to say my excitement for this film has been in the ‘cautiously optimistic’ department as the trailers were decent, but did not get me super hyped like other 2016 films that have come out so far, and with the mixed reception it’s gotten recently I really was worried. But since I saw it a few hours ago I can share my thoughts here with you lovely people. ๐Ÿ™‚

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So the story can be described as the following:

“The peaceful realm of Azeroth stands on the brink of war as its civilization faces a fearsome race of invaders: orc warriors fleeing their dying home to colonize another. As a portal opens to connect the two worlds, one army faces destruction and the other faces extinction. From opposing sides, two heroes are set on a collision course that will decide the fate of their family, their people, and their home”

The story of Warcraft, when you strip away the spectacle and law, is a simple one. It is about two worlds colliding and two strong individuals on both sides trying to do their best to sort out the larger problem without too much chaos and bloodshed. This is a familiar tale, and for the most part it worked, but there were some issues. Firstly, Warcraft has the same issue that John Carter and Green Lantern had in the sense that this film has a lot of law and mythology to set up, and a lot of the time feeds you tons of information but there isn’t enough time to digest and understand it. And for me this lead to me forgetting certain character names and locations, and even though there was narration to explain some details, I felt like just a bit more exposition would have helped the narrative. Secondly the pacing was a little off, like I said before there’s a lot of info to take in, and it didn’t help that the film moved from scene to scene so quickly and didn’t give you enough time to settle into the world especially in the beginning, but then later on some moments went on a little too long. And finally some of the character motivations and arcs felt lacking in depth and needed a bit more meat to them in order for us to connect them. That being said, when the story worked there was a lot of interesting moments full of drama, tension and good world-building.

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In terms of the cast they were good, but there were some that stood out more than others. Travis Fimmel did well as Sir Anduin Lothar, even though he didn’t differentiate himself much from what I’ve seen in Vikings. He was charming and very chilled out and was one of the most engaging human characters. Ben Schnetzer as Khadgar was initially kind of annoying and silly, but he eventually grew on me. Ben Foster played one of the more intriguing characters as Medivh and it was interesting to see how his arc played out in the film, while Dominic Cooper was valiant and strong as King Llane Wrynn, and Ruth Negga was good but underutilized as Lady Taria Wrynn. Paula Patton was fine as Garona, but I felt like she needed a bit more personality and development. Toby Kebbell did really well as Durotan, he had the strongest and most engaging arc in the film being courageous yet conflicted. Robert Kazinsky was also pretty good as Orgrim Doomhammer and Daniel Wu was pretty solid as Gul’dan.

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When it comes to the presentation the film was solid. Visually it was nice, the CGI was handled well especially with the cinematic shots of theย  landscape and the detail in the shots orc models as well. Otherwise the visual effects varied between looking good to not bad with some dips in detail during some of the action sequences. And the film score by Ramin Djawadi certainly had its moments where it elevated the action on-screen, however it wasn’t as impactful as some of Djawadi’s previous material.

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In conclusion Warcraft wasn’t bad, it was an interesting film with a great fantasy world, nice mythology and cool action sequences. However the characters and story weren’t nearly as engaging as I had hoped. I would have liked something in the vain of The Lord of the Rings Trilogy for this film, and I know that LOTR was based on a very strong book series as opposed to the Warcraft game series, but with the right creative team you can make anything work, and this film was handled as well as it could have been with Duncan Jones at the helm, but the story material wasn’t strong enough.

Rating: 6.5/10

So have you seen Warcraft and if so what did you think of it? Please leave your comments below and I’ll see ya on the next review, laters! ๐Ÿ˜€

 
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Posted by on May 30, 2016 in Film Reviews, Films, Media, Reviews

 

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QUICK REVIEW: The Nice Guys

Howdy people, got a new review for ya and last night I finally get to talk about The Nice Guys, woo! ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m not sure if I’d mentioned this in a previous blog post, but this film was/should have been in my top 11 most anticipated films of 2016 and after seeing all the trailers my hype levels were super high. So how’d the film turn out? Well read on and find out! ๐Ÿ˜€

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So the story can be described as the following:

“A mismatched pair of private eyes investigate the apparent suicide of a fading porn star in 1970s Los Angeles.”

So the story for this film was very interesting. This is a tale of humour, death and conspiracy and it comes together in a very Shane Black manner. While anyone can watch this film, it definitely works better for fans of Black’s work, and for those not satisfied with Iron Man 3 and wanted a little more Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, this film was certainly more in line with the latter with a tone, script and a type of humour that was swift, mature, blunt and continuous. I am not going to lie, it took a little while to get into this story, and that’s not to say that it wasn’t engaging but I thought the story would hook me in a different way. Also some of the humour wasn’t as funny as I’d hoped, maybe it was the timing or the fact that a lot of the best gags were in the trailers, but that’s just from what I observed. However there’s a point when the story shifts gears and got even crazier and more ridiculous than before, and the final act literally just had me laughing and enjoying myself so much!

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In terms of the cast they were really good. This kind of film successes of fails on the performance of the leads and luckily Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling do well as enforcer Jackson Healy and private detective Holland March. These two were an unlikely pairing with Crowe being the no-nonsense tough guy and the Gosling being the humourous, silly and hyperactive guy. Individually they were cool and well-rounded, but it was when they got together when the magic happened with Healy and March having the best comedic pairing I’ve seen in a while due to their different personalities and approaches to work. A nice surprise came in the form of Angourie Rice as Holly March who was so delightful, smart and resource, Rice had a great screen presence and held her own well against the other main actors. Matt Bomer was great as John Boy, I also liked Margaret Qualley as Amelia Kutner, Keith David’s appearance as Older Guy was very welcome and memorable and finally Kim Basinger had a very interesting role as Judith Kutner. Oh and I also really enjoyed the visual style of the film and the 70’s influenced soundtrack crafted by David Buckley and John Ottman.

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In conclusion The Nice Guys was a good film. It was a lot of fun to watch as the story unfolded and the madness escalated, and while the humour and story was a little uneven for my liking, when this film hits, it hits hard and I would recommend it especially for those who are fans of Shane Black’s style of films.

Rating: 7.5/10

So have you seen The Nice Guys and if so what did you think of it? Please leave your comments below and I’ll see ya on the next review, laters! ๐Ÿ˜€

 
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Posted by on May 27, 2016 in Film Reviews, Films, Media, Reviews

 

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Films To Look Out For In 2016 Part 2

Howdy people of the interweb and welcome to Films to look out for in 2016! This is my preview of upcoming films that I believe deserve your attention. In PART 1 I covered films from January to March, and in this post I’ll be covering April to July.

Now before we begin I have two main things I need yo point out:

  1. Obviously a lot films come out, so if theyโ€™re not on my list itโ€™s either because I donโ€™t know about them or I donโ€™t careโ€ฆ
  2. 2015 films getting their UK releases this year donโ€™t count! So there. ๐Ÿ˜›

Okay then, letโ€™s start ๐Ÿ˜€

Elvis & Nixon

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Release Date: April 15th (USA), April 29th (UK)

Trailer:

I only found out about this film around a month or so ago, but after reading about it and seeing this trailer I’m very intrigued to see more. This whole story sounds absurd and it is made even stranger by the fact that Kevin Spacey and Michael Shannon are playing Nixon and Elvis, but I love those actors and want to see more of this madness when it’s eventually released.

The Jungle Book

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Release Date: April 15th (USA & UK)

Trailer:

So here we are again with another live-action adaptation of Disney classic animated film, but I’m down for this one. So far not all of these adaptations have worked (Alice in Wonderland and Maleficent come to mind) however, last year’s Cinderella was the first film to really demonstrate how a live-action adaptation could be done in new ways while preserving the original material. And now I’m very interested in seeing what Jon Favreau does with this version of Jungle Book because it’s live-action, but only has one human character, the rest are CGI talking animals and I want to see how this turns out. The voice talent is impressive and this film looks a lot more dramatic and action-heavy than the old cartoon and from a visual standpoint the film looks damn good and I can’t to see how it turns out in the cinema.

The Huntsman: Winter’s War

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Release Date: April 22nd (USA), April 8th (UK)

Trailer:

I didn’t mind Snow White and the Huntsman, but it wasn’t that memorable beside Chris Hemsworth and Charlize Theron as the Huntsman and the Queen. So I guess they removed the weakest element from the picture (Kristen Stewart as Snow White) and decided to focus on a new story and it actually looks better than I expected. Adding Emily Blunt and Jessica Chastain to the mix is never bad thing and while it could end up being an average film with standard plot elements and decent action sequences, I’m still curious.

Captain America: Civil War

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Release Date: May 6th (USA), April 29th (UK)

Trailer:

Ah man, this film, this film has me all giddy at the moment, but also has me SO concerned. On one hand you have the Russo brothers returning to direct after their great work on The Winter Soldier, we’re also seeing the introduction of Black Panther and Spider-Man into the MCU, but most importantly we’re seeing Cap go against Iron Man in an adaptation of the popular Civil War comic. My only fears about the film is that it won’t be serious enough, certain characters won’t get enough screen time and there won’t be any major ramifications. However I have faith in the Russos and the trailer makes me believe like this will be the next chapter in the MCU that will affect us fans to the core.

Free State of Jones

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Release Date: April 16th (USA), May 27th (UK)

Trailer:

This film looks really good. I like the story about people banding together and fighting for survival but also for justice and freedom, and this film looks very intense and dramatic in the ways that I like to be engaged when watching films. I only saw the trailer today and now I can’t wait to see how it turns out.

Bad Neighbours 2 (Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising)

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Release Date: May 20th (USA), May 6th (UK)

Neighbors (or Bad Neighbours as it was known here in the UK) was a decent comedy and probably one of the few I’ve liked in a while (I’m a hard man to please haha) and while I didn’t need a sequel, at the same time I am curious to see these character reunite for another crazy adventure and see what kind of foolish fun they’ll get up to.

The Nice Guys

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Release Date: May 20th (USA & UK)

Trailer:

I have a lot of hope for this film. It is another film from Shane Black, the wonderful man behind the brilliant Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and the divisive Iron Man 3, and I am just liking the sound of the story and the pairing of Russell Crowe with Ryan Gosling, but more so than that is the style of humour, it is so Shane Black it is insane and I love it.

X-Men: Apocalypse

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Release Date: May 27th (USA), May 19th (UK)

Trailer:

X-Men: Apocalypse, man I want to love this film but I’m unsure about it. On one hand I like the fact that we’ll get to see younger incarnations of Jean, Cyclops, Storm and Nightcrawler, and the concept of Apocalypse as the main villain and his powers and history seems so engaging. However, the first trailer didn’t blow me away and I’m concerned about the fact that some of the main characters will be mind-controlled slaves for a good chuck of the film which means that we won’t see them as themselves and that would be unfortunate.

Now You See Me 2

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Release Date: June 10th (USA & UK)

Trailer:

This first film was surprisingly good and I really enjoyed it, and while I didn’t want a sequel I am interested in seeing where things go for the returning characters. The tricks and stunts look crazier, larger in scope and more impossible than before and I can’t wait.

Warcraft

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Release Date: June 10th (USA), June 3rd (UK)

Trailer:

I don’t think many people realise how important this film is, if Warcraft works then it’ll open the floodgates to other video games adaptations in the future. Most video game films have failed both as adaptations and singular films as well due to the lack of care for the source material, but also due to bad writing, direction, visual effects and so on. I hope Duncan Jones has crafted something worth watching, I mean I like a lot of the cast and the visual effects and story seems engaging, however, I’m not sure about the CGI, it looks a little too fake like the Hobbit films but that could probably change closer to the film’s release.

Independence Day: Resurgence

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Release Date: June 24th (USA & UK)

Trailer:

I never wanted this sequel, I thought it was a stupid idea, but hell it’s coming and I’m actually interested in this sequel. The trailer was the main thing that sold me on this film, I just like the sense of scope, new technology and destruction that has come with the return of the aliens and I’m down to see Jeff Goldblum again in this franchise.

The BFG

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Release Date: July 1st (USA), July 22nd (UK)

Trailer:

I really enjoyed the animated BFG film as a kid back int school, but I’ve never been entirely in love with it or the orignal book, but I have to say the teaser trailer looks interesting. Whenever something is being done in live-action there is some hesitation, but since Steven Spielberg is behind it I’m gonna give this film a shot.

Star Trek Beyond

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Release Date: July 22nd (USA & UK)

Trailer:

I’ve already make it apparent how I didn’t care for this trailer, but I am still interested in seeing how Star Trek Beyond turns out. This film certainly hast he action side of things down, but I’m very concerned that it will be the only element this film gets right. From the look of things so far there won’t be any of the older/conventional sci-fi elements that Star Trek has been known for and I’m not seeing any deep character-driven moments, but I hope that I’m wrong and that this film can be fun, adventurous, but also dramatic and rooted in the realm of sci-fi.

Bourne 5

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Release Date: July 29th (USA), July 28th (UK)

Ah the return of the Bourne series with Matt Damon, just the concept of this film makes me smile. While I wanted to leave Jason Bourne’s adventures back in 2007 with Ultimatum, after the disappointing adventure with Legacy in 2012, I need my Bourne fix with Damon and Paul Greengrass together again. This film could end up being a mistake, but considering the track record of Greengrass and the story details revealed so far it sound like it’ll be great.

Alrighty then, that’s PART 2 done. Thanks a lot for reading. Are any of the films listed on your personal list of films to watch? Whatever your thoughts are be sure to drop them below and I’ll see you for PART 3! Laters ๐Ÿ˜€

 
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Posted by on January 13, 2016 in Films, Media

 

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