Sunday, 31 March 2013

Doctor Who: The Bells of St John Review

As all of us now know, anything with a mid season finale is a massive show with a lot of fans (I'm looking at you, The Walking Dead). With this, it brings much anticipation for the show to start again. Doctor Who, up until now, has delivered with it's returning episode. That is up until now though, I'm afraid to say. The Bells of St John is just a bit of a mess.

The story, or lack of, just doesn't deliver. This is very disappointing considering the subject of Wi-Fi - which had a lot of potential. It's all very one dimensional. I can tell that Moffat himself is very naive about the subject matter and frankly didn't do his homework, which is very disappointing.

There's no real villain either, which is a real kick in the teeth because the 'villain' is played by the wonderful Celia Imrie who could have pulled off a fantastic Doctor Who villain, but she just wasn't given a strong enough character to build on or any character development.

There are positives, though. Jenna-Louise Coleman added to her wonderful new companion with a very good performance here. Her chemistry with Matt Smith can clearly be seen here as well, which is fantastic after how good Karen Gillan was with him.

And MATT SMITH IS ON A MOTORBIKE RIDING UP THE SHARD. That made my Saturday on it's own.

So a pretty poor returning episode, but I'm sure it will get better and it was good to see Jenna-Louise Coleman in her first proper episode as an excellent companion.

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Trance Review

I've only ever really loved one of Danny Boyle's films. That being Slumdog Millionaire. All of his other films are give or take for me. Don't get me wrong some of his films are good, they're just not great. Off  the back of his Olympic success and his national treasure status, enter Trance. 

Starring Vincent Cassel, James McAvoy and Rosario Dawson, Trance undertakes a card shuffling roll call of sympathy and understanding. Early on, McAvoy's Simon misplaces a valuable painting. Under the persuasive encouragement of Cassel's band of criminals, he ends up seeking the counsel and help of hypnotist, Elizabeth (Dawson), to retrace his steps. This happens in the first twenty minutes of the film. It's a very fast paced film and that's my first negative. It shouldn't be so fast paced, it doesn't fit with the themes of the film at all. Luckily, after it's quick start, it slows down and bit and let's us, the audience, bite a chunk out of the narrative. 

Trance has clearly taken a lot of inspiration from Nolan's brilliant Memento. This film glides along a bumpy path. It takes pleasure in scrutinising the tricks and tics of memory. Boyle plays chess with the players and moves them around with the devilish glee of a ringmaster induced with the cruel egomaniacal urge. You can tell he's taking a lot of pleasure as he plots each skittish twist and turn. This is aided, helpfully, by Joe Aherne's source material and the screenplay's joyfully itchy nature.

What I enjoyed most about this film, though, is that Boyle takes a lot of risks. It's a lot more adult than his previous films, but it still has that typical Boyle style that is synonymous with all good directors. Like all of his films, Trance has Boyle's stylistic stamp of authorship.

One critique I would have, is that Boyle tries too hard to trick the audience that he actually overplays it and drops clues that are far too big. However, this may just be the brilliance of Boyle because once you think you've figured out one thing another twist punches you right in the face. It really does make for some tense viewing.

This comes down to Rick Smith's soundtrack. His soundtrack is truly brilliant. There is no movie without this soundtrack. It adds to the tension, it has you holding your breath and it goes hand in hand with the piece just brilliantly.

From Olympic success to Trance. They couldn't be any more different, but they're both brilliant in their own way.


Monday, 25 March 2013

Kick-Ass Review

Kick-Ass is a beautiful mesh of comedy and action. To be fair to those people just saying it looked funny, on the surface it does look like a typical comedy. Especially due to the casting of Christopher Mintz-Plasse and Clark Duke, both known for Superbad and Hot Tub Time Machine, respectively. 

Delve a little deeper, though, and you'll see that it's much, much more than that. Of course it's a superhero film at heart, with all the little references that comic book geeks (like myself) will get, but it also has some very heavy aspects of Crime/Thriller films like Heat. This is mostly down to the absolutely amazing casting of Mark Strong. He's heartless, he's bad ass, but most importantly he's a very good superhero villain. 

On top of all of this, it's also a terrific action film. The last thirty minutes can honestly compete with some of the best action films around. Die Hard, Lethal Weapon, Predator - you name it and I honestly think it could compete with it. This comes down to the fantastic directing by Matthew Vaughn. I couldn't have come up with a better person to direct this. He's done action before, he's done funny before and he loves the source material and it shows! 

An essential part of the film is its eclectic soundtrack. Usually I would be concerned at such a prospect but the Kick-Ass soundtrack adapts the tracks brilliantly, making them feel like its own, alongside great songs from The Prodigy and Sparks to name a few. The choice of music fits perfectly with the high-octane action sequences and even adds emotional depth to key scenes - not bad for a superhero comedy movie! 

Kick-Ass is the rarest of films, a successful hybrid of two genres that delivers an almost perfect cinematic experience. This is an essential film for all cinema-goers, catch it on the big screen and I guarantee you will be completely immersed in the explosive yet entertaining world of Kick-Ass. It really is one of the best superhero films out there right now. 

Lastly, it would be silly not to mention that great performances from Nicolas Cage (I really never thought I would say that) and Chloe Grace Moretz (Is she old enough for me to fancy her yet?) who ultimately steals the show as the pint sized assassin Hit-Girl.


Friday, 22 March 2013

Doctor Who: Is Matt Smith Leaving?

I have a confession. I never really loved David Tennant's Doctor. He was just a little bit meh to me, especially when compared to the Doctor before him, the brilliant and barmy Christopher Eccleston. So when Tennant eventually left it was a welcome change for me and it turned out brilliant. Matt Smith is a wonderful doctor and a fantastic actor who is sure to go on to bigger things.

If rumour is to be believed than the Doctor Who 2013 Christmas Special will be the last time Smith dons the bow tie, flies the tardis and prances around in his wonderful eccentric manner. If this is true than it will be a great loss for Doctor Who - especially as Smith's Doctor is the first Doctor to really make it big over in America.

However, I believe that Doctor Who is huge juggernaut. Much like many franchises like Batman and Spiderman, it's not all about the star it's about the character. It's about the nostalgia. It's about seeing the tardis, it's about humming along with the theme tune and it's about the fantastic writing that we've come to love from Moffat.

So who should get the role? I would love to see Benedict Cumberbatch in the role. As we all know, he turned down the role before Smith took it which is a great shame, but he would be a wonderful acquisition for the show. We've seen all the characteristics from his amazing character in Sherlock that would translate to Who wonderfully.

And finally, a long shot from me - Russell Brand. I'm not even going to say anything. Just think about it.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Is Robert Downey JR going to step away from Tony Stark?

With the release of Iron Man 3 just around the corner, the cast and director have been plugging it around the world. One question that has propped up more than once is whether this is the last time Robert Downey JR will be reprising the role of Tony Stark/Iron Man. Now that he's completed three Iron Man films and an Avengers movie his contract is up, so will he sign a new one?

In my opinion, he'd be silly not to do so. Since his return from god knows what he's established himself as one of Hollywood's most unique leading man, but you have to say, most of that is down to Tony Stark. I don't know about you, but I certainly see Tony Stark when I see Downey JR over anything else he's played in the past eight years since his return in the marvelous Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. He basically is Tony Stark. Everything about him is similar to the "genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist" that we have grown to love.

However, Downey JR is a big household name now. He could walk onto any film he wanted to right now. He's just that good. And who knows? Maybe he wants to try new things. Who would blame him? Iron Man has taken up five years of his life already.

I certainly hope he doesn't though. Let's be honest, who could replace him? I can't think of anyone who could fit the mold of Tony Stark let alone better RDJ. If he doesn't stay the Iron Man franchise is in big trouble, not forgetting that The Avengers films would then be missing a key ingredient - Downey JR was one of the best parts of The Avengers.

So, my opinion? Robert Downey JR should keep playing Tony Stark until we invent clones, then he can do what he wants. In all seriousness, he IS Tony Stark, why not get paid for it?

Who should direct Bond 24?

In the recent news that Sam Mendes - the director of the fantastic Skyfall - has rejected the chance to direct Bond 24 my mind has been running through all the possible directors that I think could do well in the role. So what do we look for in a director for Bond? Does he have to be British? Does he have to have a track record?

Obviously the main one is Christopher Nolan. He's used to the pressure of directing a massive franchise and if we delve deeper into his Batman trilogy we can see a fair few similarities to Bond. Firstly, Bruce Wayne and James Bond have always been quite similar characters. They're both suave when they want to be with a mean streak to boot. Then you've got the heavy use of gadgets in Nolan's universe which is synonymous with classic Bond. I'm sure Nolan would have a field day with the introduction of Ben Whishaw as Q. However, Nolan has now signed onto Interstellar which is set for release in 2014 so it's highly unlikely that he'll have the time to direct, sadly.

I think Danny Boyle would be a good shout to direct Bond.I think everyone knows what a fantastic and diverse director he is. He's made some of the greatest British films in recent years and Bond seems perfect, doesn't it? I think the only problem with Boyle is that he doesn't have a good track record when he's given a budget. He's even said himself that he doesn't trust himself with a budget, so it's unlikely he'd take it on.

Matthew Vaughn is another person I'd like to see tackle Bond. He ticks all the right boxes for me. He's British, he's directed Daniel Craig in Layer Cake - which was very good and had a Bond feel to it, he uses a high budget to great effect and he basically made a classic Bond in the form of X-Men: First Class. It all looks good to me. However, he too has a very big slate at the moment, but he has said he'd love to do it. Here's hoping.

Whoever gets the directors chair for Bond 24 has a big task on their hand. How does one top Skyfall?

Friday, 1 March 2013

The Spectacular Spiderman.

Spiderman: The Animated Series was probably the only thing I watched as a kid. It introduce me to the world of Spiderman and I learnt some of the most important storylines from it.

Since then, I've been hankering for another Spiderman series of that calibre with no success. I stumbled across The Spectacular Spiderman by accident really. I had a couple of hours to spare so I was searching on LoveFilm for something to take up that time. It's here that I found The Spectacular Spiderman - and I'm glad I did.

Now it doesn't compare to Spiderman: The Animated Series in terms of story because it is fairly simple. Every episode a different supervillain or a group of supervillains (The Sinister Six for example) try and stop Spidey - with limited success. What it does bring to the table, though, is terrific representation of characters - heroes and villains alike and superb humour. Spectacular Spiderman rivals The Animated Series in humour. Spidey's quips are classic Spiderman.

Of course, this being a new generation of Spiderman the animation and voice acting is much better than The Animated Series, but I don't think this quite matches it.

It's very good and very entertaining viewing, but I think The Animated Series just pips it.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Thoughts

I really liked The Amazing Spider-Man. It was everything that I wanted from a Spiderman film. Good cast, good villain and an pretty good story. The only negative was that it was held back by the origin story. But now that's out of the way I am eagerly anticipating the sequel.

The first bit of news we got on this film, was that Shailene Woodley had be signed to play the role of Mary Jane 'MJ' Watson. As soon as I saw this news I thought this was great. I then looked at other people's views and was completely baffled. Some people had the audacity to say that she wasn't pretty enough for the role. Way out of line either way, but the fact that she is very attractive just makes them people look even stupider. I think she'll make a fantastic MJ. She's got the 'girl next door' good looks and she's a terrific up and coming actress.

We then found out that Jamie Foxx would play Electro. I'm a massive fan of Jamie Foxx. Mainly because of his fantastic work in 'Ray'. This news, however, made me a little wary. I know that Jamie Foxx is a very talented actor, but I don't think he'll be able to pull of that villainous side that is needed from Electro and any superhero villain. We will see.

Dane DeHaan of Chronicle fame was then cast to play Harry Osborn. Once again, terrific news. Much like Shailene Woodley he is a great, new talent. He also showed that 'evil' streak in Chronicle which is a much needed aspect to the character of Harry Osborn. Let's just hope, if he get's the chance, he'll pull off a better Hob Goblin than James Franco did.

The great Paul Giamatti was then confirmed to play the Rhino. Very odd news if you ask me. Giamatti certainly has the maniac in him to play a villain, but I'm not so sure about his size to play the juggernaut that is The Rhino. Whether they'll be going down the CGI route to make him look bigger or they'll be keeping his size will be interesting to find out. There's no judging Giamatti's villainous skills though.

The final piece of casting news was that Chris Cooper would play Norman Osborn. Willem Dafoe was one of the shining lights of the atrocious previous trilogy, so whether Chris Cooper lives up to that we will have to wait to see. Chris Cooper is a very good actor though and has shown he can play tyrants in films such as American Beauty and a more comedic role in last years The Muppets.

All of this as well as Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Martin Sheen and Sally Field returning means this could turn out to be a very good Spiderman film. Let's hope!