Friday, 30 May 2014



Starring Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt and Bill Paxton.
Directed by Doug Liman

113 minutes.

Going to keep this as brief as possible so as not to spoil it or give too much away.

The world has been invaded by a mysterious alien threat and is slowly losing the war. In a last ditch fight back, Earth launches a huge counterstrike on the beaches of France and American PR expert, Major John Cage (played by Tom Cruise) is an ex-ad man and professional coward gets press-ganged into the big assault, only to die minutes after getting to the beach before awakening to relive the same day over and over again - each time he dies - every time until he can solve the mystery of what's happened to him and how to defeat the aliens.

The most interesting and original summer blockbuster so far. And also the most satisfying and entertaining summer blockbuster movie I've seen all year.

With a superb cast, a terrific performance from Cruise, great direction, script and excellent effects, Edge of Tomorrow is a hell of a movie.

Sure, it's a mash up of Groundhog Day meets Starship Troopers meets Saving Private Ryan but it's one of those rare films that once it gets its claws into you doesn't let up. I completely forgot I was in a cinema so engrossed did I become. The opening battle scene on the beach is visceral, noisy, chaotic and exhilarating and forms the backbone of the film. Doug Liman also manages to seed the film with some much needed gallow humours, something that was sadly lacking from X-Men Days of Future Past.

Despite the fact the film deals with a character reliving the same day over and over again, it never becomes repetitive and Liman does a superb job keeping this engrossing and involving throughout its entire running time.

Blunt and Cruise work extremely well together and their unique relationship is what lies at the centre of this film, Cruise excels in his role and give one of his strongest performances in ages.

This is Cruise's fourth science fiction film and arguably his best so far.


Went back and saw this the next day with my kids. Have to say it easily holds up to a second viewing, so soon after the first. It still remains a satisfying and original science fiction film. Very enjoyable.

Wednesday, 28 May 2014


#35 MALEFICENTStarring Angelina Jolie, Elle Fanning, Sharlto Copley, Imelda Staunton and Juno Temple.

Written by Paul Dini, Linda Wolverton and directed by Robert Stromberg. 96 minutes long.

It's Sleeping Beauty told from the point of view of the wicked witch, although in this outing she's not really that wicked, more like, understandably ticked off.

Jolie plays Maleficent, the most powerful of all the faerie folk who one day meets a young boy who grows up to be a king, but not before betraying and crippling her. If you've seen the classic Sleeping Beauty animated movie you know what happens next, but what you don't know is what happens during those 16 years Aurora spends shacked up with a trio of mentally-challenged pixies in a house in the forest and that's what this Maleficent is all about, as she watches over the baby she cursed and waiting for the day she turns 16 and pricks her finger.

Angelina Jolie brings a pitch-perfect English accent and a graceful, steely, almost silent power to the role but doesn't really do a great deal. That said, this is her film all the way and even though she occasionally shares the screen with other characters it's she you watch. Her relationship with Elle Fanning's Aurora is lovely and genuinely touching and the film plays out its story turning it entirely on its head, right down to 'Loves True Kiss' conceit. But at the end of the day, this is a film that's a little flat, nothing very much really happens, there's a big fight at the beginning and one at the end and that's about it.

Wolverton takes the original animated story and reworks it, turning it on its head so the dragon is there, the forest of thornes, Prince Charming and the white horse but all revised and reshaped, the main difference is that in this version, Maleficent isn't the supremely black and evil witch she is in the superb animated classic, rather she's the hero.

Still, viewed as a film about the burden of child rearing, regret and parenthood this is a very warm and touching film, but as an exciting action filled romp it leaves a lot to the imagination. This is no Lord of the Rings, nor Alice in Wonderland (which Wolverton also wrote). Watching the relationship develop between the princess and the witch is the true heart and soul of this film but it's just that the rest of it feels a little flat and empty, for a large portion of the film Jolie romps the countryside along or talking to CGI creatures, and it's a good long while before she finally has another human to talk to.

And talking of CGI, it's ok but by no means, perfect. The creatures look far too cute - big eyes and all too cute and fake and the change between CGI humans to their real-life contemporaries is, at times quite jarring.

With a mercifully short running-time, by modern day standards and bereft, of the obligatory third act mighty battle in an open field between hordes of monsters and a vast army of soldiers, which takes place at the beginning of the film this was a slight but still enjoyable take on the classic fairy tale, just not that memorable.  And sadly not destined to be a classic like it's animated counterpart.

Should appeal to boys as well as girls.


Tuesday, 27 May 2014



A week has passed since I saw this fantastic film at the Imax and gave it a 10/10, a week which has seen me bicker and argue with several people who all felt I was deluded in my opinion and too in love with the Big G to give an unbiased opinion.

Well, on Saturday I went back to see it again, this time as a 2D experience.

And what are my thoughts?

Well, I will admit the following, it is too long, its characters are annoyingly pointless and there's not nearly enough Godzilla action.



So, I'm sticking with my score.




Starring Jennifer Lawrence, Hugh Jackman, Michael Fassbender, James McAvoy, Nicholas Hoult, Ian McKellen, Peter Dinklage and every other actor whose played a mutant in the last seven films, except for the original Toad, Sabretooth (both) and all the crappy mutants from the first awful Wolverine movie.

Directed by Bryan Singer and 131 minutes long.

Good films are much harder to review than bad ones.

In the future what's left of mutant-kind stands on the edge of extinction thanks to war with shape-shifting Sentinels - robot constructs programmed to hunt down and kill mutants. In a desperate attempt to win the war, Prof Xavier and best brah, Magneto decide to send, everyone's favourite mutant, Wolverine back in time to 1973 to prevent Mystique from triggering a series of events that will ignite the war in the first place; but first he's got to convince a skeptical Xavier he's from the future and break the Master of Magnetism out of a federal jail and still get home in time for his tea! So, in a nutshell it's Terminator meets Back to the Future meets the Enid Bylton's Secret Seven.

What follows is a rollicking romp with plenty of action, superb effects, terrific performances and excellent special effects, all of which is only marginally let down by a sense of poe-faced seriousness that seeps into the proceedings where perhaps a whiff more humour could have worked wonders.

There's a fantastic sequence where new mutant, Quicksilver frankly powns the entire film and in fact it could quite easily be called the film's stand out sequence, he's brings a much needed lightness to the film. In fact, such a good character is he that you find yourself wishing the film just followed him, Wolverine and Hank around on a road trip.

Luckily we still have Jennifer Lawrence to keep us interested in the rest of the film and yet again she is just fantastic. Every film she's in benefits from her performance and she easily takes centre-stage in this one.

Actually, an aside. At several times during this film and the last X-Men film: First Class, certain characters act as if they're replused by the sight of the blue-skinned Mystique, I for one want to state here and now that I find the idea of a blue-skinned, insanely flexible and fantastic beautiful mutant anything but repulsive! And she can wrap those awesome legs around my face any time she likes.

Once again, Singer creates a great super-hero movie and can finally be forgiven for the desperately dull miss-fire, Superman Returns. With a complicated plot and story that zips back and forth through time and a football teams' worth of characters to keep juggling between, including old and young versions of the same, X-Men Days of Future Past isn't a film you can snooze through, even if you could block out the sound effects, it's also not a super hero film for kids younger than 10 who are going to get bored and confused by this.

Great stuff! But I do suggest you rewatch X-Men 1 & 2 and First Class before you start. You can safety ignore Last Stand and the first Wolverine film. NO one should have to suffer those again.

An entirely satisfactory experience marred only by a certain seriousness and the need for certain characters to revert to type and ignore all their spy training by grandstanding and frankly acting the goat.



Finally, answer me this, if you can.

Why does Magneto insist on talking to the iron-laced sentinals as they are, hmm sentient, despite the fact he's controlling them like puppets? Also, the amount of mental control it must take to do the following at the same time is truly extraordinary.

1. Fly.
2. Hold thousand of tons worth of sports stadium aloft.
3. Remote control six 30ft tall Sentinals.
4. Target and control their complicated weapon systems.
5. Have them act as his eyes and ears as patrol guards.
6. Have an involved conversation about ethics with several people at the same time.
7. Tap dance and keep spinning a row of plates.

8. Keep aloft and perfectly aim over a dozen revolvers at a variety of targets without sighting down their barrels.

And yet people go on about the fact that just because Prof. X can throw his voice he has the world's most powerful mind. I'd much rather be magneto than Prof X.

Sunday, 18 May 2014



Starring Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Brian Cranston, Elizabeth Olsen, Ken Watanabe and Juliette Bionche

Directed by Gareth Edwards

123 minutes short.

Still find it hard to talk, still unbelievably emotional, still quite dazzled.

I love Godzilla, have always loved Godzilla, even the name seemed to evoke something mighty, something powerful. For many years, all I knew about him was pictures I'd seen in books, then I saw my first Godzilla film one afternoon and was hooked. Later, Channel Four ran a season and finally in 1985 when i was 21 I saw Godzilla 1985 and my love affair with the giant scaly beast was sealed forever. Since then, I've watched and collected all the films, brought comics and books about him and even drawn comic strips about him, infact, my most recent cartoon character was based on him, Gordon-Zilla it's about a stunt-man stuck in a Godzilla suit.

Back in the 90's I suffered as did so many of us through the dreadful Hollywood film Godzilla and a little part of me died, how was it, I thought, that Toho could get it so right so often, but Hollywood couldn't? I resigned myself to the fact I'd never see another US version of the Big G and just continued to enjoy Toho's fantastic series. Then last year, I heard a horrible rumour that the man who made the frankly boring and plodding Monsters, Gareth Edwards was going to direct a new Hollywood version and I was sorely vexed and alarmed. The sad thing is that in this day and age, so many summer blockbusters disappoint, hugely. For every Captain America: The Winter Solider we get a Amazing Spider Man 2, and that was at least better than the likes of Battleshits, Trannie-formers, Star Bleck into Shit, Oz, Man of Steel, etc, etc and I knew that once again all we'd get was a huge empty spectacle filled with cgi monsters destroying cities and nothing else.

Not so Godzilla 2014.

Quite simply, this is the best Godzilla film ever made and i mean even better than the likes of Godzilla 1985, Godzilla vs Space Destroyah and even Destroy all Monsters, or any one of the supremely glorious other Godzilla films to which this owes a huge debt, because without those seminal, ground-breaking films of the great Japanese studio Toho, we wouldn't have, quite simply the best summer film of the year so far.

This is a film of true scope and impact, a film that builds slowly developing a story and ratching up the tension, not revealing the hero of this film until well beyond the 40 minute point.

From then on it's a fantastic battle that is always seen from the POV of the tiny human survivors of these walking natural disasters.

For once the CGI works superbly and despite the fact it's not a man in a rubber suit (sadly) this Godzilla still lumbers as if he is. The effects are perfect and the whole film was a fantastic and exhausting experience, one that not only I but the whole family loved.

I thought last year's Pacific Rim was pretty spectacular but this just took it to a whole new level.

I absolutely loved every single second of this wonderful, wonderful film and never felt even remotely cheated, in fact I left wanting more but at the same time utterly satisfied.

I cannot wait to see this film again and again, it's a film that deserves, nay screams to be seen on the biggest screen possible and the IMAX was perfection personified.

Sorry, cannot fault this film.


Sunday, 11 May 2014



Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sam Worthington, Josh Holloway, Joe Manganiello, Terrence Howard and Olivia Williams

Written by Skip Wood and David Ayer and directed by David Ayer. 109 Minutes long.

Before the credits have rolled, Arnie's wife has been brutally tortured to death and his crack team of undercover DEA agents have stormed a drug house and stolen $10 million of the cartel's money before it is turn is stolen from them and they're all suspended and investigated by the Government.

After the credits, Arnie, who as a nod to Commando is called John and who lives in the same beautiful wooden lodge in the forest, and his crack team of undercover DEA agents are being systematically hunted down and killed, seemingly by a crack team of Columbian/Mexican/South American drug killers, but what if it isn't them, what if it's someone closer to home..?

How do we know they, the crack team of undercover DEA agents are 'crack', because when they're not working hard -Hoooo-Haar! They're playing hard and dying even harder! Plus they hang out in a clubhouse that has, as a sign that reads: Crack Undercover Agents Who Work Hard and Die Even Harder! Hooo-Haar!!

A sort of half-arsed, twisted Agatha Christie dunnit story, where just when you think you've sorted out who the killer is you're left scratching your head and wondering what the hell has just happened and what does that mean about all that stuff earlier on?

Violent, ugly, vicious, brutal and stupid. When the squad finally comes apart, turning on each other with a rapidity that is frankly ludicrous. There's a lazy attitude towards collateral damage and the civilian body count is uncomfortably high as is members of the criminal fraternity who are just executed and naturally the authorities don't seem to give a toss.

Arnie, whose film this is, never really engages, apart from physically and you can see that he's going to have a future making 21st Century John Wayne-esque films till he dies.

Rather bland and pointless, the best bit is the opening sequence when Arnie's team do the blag, after that, it's a slow spiral into bland tedium. Not Arnie's best.



Tuesday, 6 May 2014



Starring Zac Efron, Seth Rogen, Rose Bryne, Dave Franco and Christopher Mintz-Plasse. Directed by Nicolas Stroller, 96 minutes.

A comedy that bucks the modern tread by not being insanely loong, by coming in at just over an hour and a half, this is being hailed as the Animal House for the 21st Century, sadly it's not, although that said it is nevertheless funny and entertaining. Rogen and Brynes are new parents, Zac, Franco and Mintz-Plasse are members of a frat house who move in next door. Much hilarity ensues.

I have to admit to not liking the whiny voiced, Seth Rogen I just don't get him, don't like him, can't stand him, the thing is I just don't think he's very funny. Luckily, for him and us, well me, there's the likes of Bryne, Franco and Efron, particularly Bryne who is one bloody funny woman, to carry this along. That said he almost won me over and his titanic fight at the end of the film is jolly funny.

Less a movie than a series of loosely connected sketches as the increasingly exhausted parents try to get the frat house next door to keep the noise down so as not to wake their new baby and that's the plot.

This starts slow and builds to a final showdown, along there way there's some seriously funny laugh out loud moments, a couple of extraordinary funny gross out moments and one truly fantastic party sequence.

I'm hoping an unrated version gets released on disc.


Sunday, 4 May 2014



Directed by Paul W.S Anderson, starring that bloke from 24, that other bloke, the posh one, from that other show and that some other people. 105 minutes long.

The year is 75 AD. Europe is entirely occupied by Romans. Well, not entirely... One small holiday resort of moderately rebellious Pompeiians, who live under the shadow of a mountain who grumbles, holds out against the Roman empire by turning their backs on visiting Rome senators.

Looking and sounding like a sub-standard Asterix the Gaul adventure, Pompeii is a classic movie mash up of two genres - gladiators and disaster movies.

'It's Gladiators meets Dante's Peak!' Said Paul Anderson (no, the other one, the one who did Resident Evil, The 3 Musketeers and Aliens Vs Predators - or AVP if you must) in the pitch meeting one summer ago in Hollywood and not only was the movie instantly green lit but he also won the award for shortest movie pitch E-V-E-R!

So, in a nutshell, a 10-year old Celt watches his family die at the hands of evil baddie, Kev Sutherland and before you can say, Conan The Barbarian (the one with Arnie) 10 years have passed and our scruffy-haired, little nerfherder has grown up to be Kit Harington and become a bad ass in the sword and sandal department as-well-as a horse-whisperer, that is when he's not breaking their necks with his bare-hands. Anyway, quick as a flash, our plucky hero has made friends with a pretty rich girl back from her gap year hols in Rome, and a veteran black Gladiator with only one fight to go before he retires (guess what happens to him?) and together they all find time to run around a lot,  fight in huge arenas, fall in love, get revenge for the death of various loved ones, have chariot races, out-race a tsunami, battle in 300-style slomo clashes AND pout heroically in the rain, and all before the volcano cracks and blows a gasket. Oh crap! I forget to put in a SPOILER ALERT, I hope I haven't spoiled this film for anyone, but seriously the volcano explodes and everyone dies.

Hmm, this isn't the shit sandwich i'd been lead to believe by American reports, true it's not very good but it's certainly a hell of a lot more entertaining that the (Un)Amazing Spider-Sham 2 which I appreciate is like saying that one type of poo is better than another. Incidentally talking of poo have you ever heard of the Bristol Stool Chart? It's a chart used in UK hospitals to gauge a patient's stool movements. Here it is.

 Well, if Pompeii is Type 3 - Like a suasage, but with cracks on the surface, then Spider Man 2 (the Amazing) is a huge steaming pile of 6 - Fluffy pieces with ragged edges, a mushy stool.

So, they're both shit, it's just of the two, Pomepii is a lot more pleasant to pass the time. Perhaps pleasant isn't the right word, perhaps satisfying is better?

If you can ignore the liberties taken with history and plot, the rather clumsy script and the repetition of beats, plot points and action then this film is just about passable.


Incidentally a sequel is already underway, they're going to call it: POMPEIIII which, interestingly enough is the noise the victims of the original volcano said when they died.