Saturday, 29 June 2013

Film Review: BEFORE SUNRISE (1995)

Before Sunrise - poster Director: Richard Linklater
Writers: Richard Linklater, Kim Krizan
Running time: 105 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 15

Genre: Drama/Romance
UK Release date: 20th April 1995

Watched on Sky+ Saturday 29th June 2013.

PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE UNINTENTIONAL SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.

With the recent release of Richard Linklater’s third instalment in this series, ‘Before Midnight’, there has been a lot of talk about what a great trilogy it is. In fact the praise has reached such heights that even I decided I would take the plunge and see exactly what all the fuss was about. To that end I will watch all three films, (although it may take me some time), and give you my verdict as I see them. Given that romantic dramas are not exactly my cup of tea, I didn’t find this one too bad. I’ll tell you more after this very brief summary.

Before Sunrise - 3 An American boy, Jesse (Ethan Hawke), meets a French girl, Celine (Julie Delpy), on a train in Europe. The pair get talking and almost immediately hit it off. Jesse is getting off the train in Vienna and he persuades Celine to get off with him so they can spend more time together before he has to catch a plane back home the next morning. We follow the couple as they wander around the city and listen in on their conversations. They meet a variety of folk along the way; a palm reader, a poet, two guys who are in a play and a few others. But all good things must come to an end and when it comes time to say goodbye… You really don’t want me to spoil the ending now do you?

Before Sunrise - 4 I have to admit that, on the face of it, this film really didn’t have much going for it from my point of view. But, as usual, I went into it with a very open mind and found I was quite pleasantly surprised. I don’t know it was because the film touched those parts of the human psyche that relate to the interaction of the sexes; but I did find their conversations quite enthralling at times whilst at the same time quite entertaining. I guess it’s like eavesdropping on a conversation, you know it’s wrong but you just can’t help it. I thought it was well made, using Vienna very well without becoming a kind of travelogue. I guess it did its job because I’m keen to know what happens next!

SteelMonster’s verdict: RECOMMENDED

My score: 7.7/10.

IMDb Score: 8.0/10 (based on 87,390 votes when this review was written).
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0112471/

MetaScore: 77/100: (Based on 18 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com at the time of going to press).

Before Sunrise - 5 Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 100/100 (based on 40 reviews counted at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 91/100 (based on 65,672 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/before_sunrise/

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Before Sunrise - 6 LINKS:
(Note: All were working at the time of going to press)
Trailer:

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Film Review: LOOPER (2012)

Looper - poster Writer/Director: Rian Johnson
Running time: 119 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 15

Genre: Action/Sci-Fi/Drama
UK Release date: 28th September 2012

Watched on Sky+ Sunday 23rd June 2013.

PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE UNINTENTIONAL SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.

I must admit I do like a decent science fiction movie; sadly, filmmakers seem to think that an action movie set in the future will suffice; sadly, for me, no. What I want is something that will make me think; I don’t want it all explained to me throughout; let me work some of it out for myself. And so we come to ‘Looper’. You’ll be glad to know it does tick many of the right boxes, although not quite all. Still, it does do many of the things I’d want from a science fiction movie. Here’s a very brief summary (the set-up really) before I give you my thoughts.

Looper - 3 Set thirty years in the future where a group of men called ‘loopers’ exist to clean up for the mob 30 years further into the future. In that era, time travel has been invented and immediately banned but the crime bosses use it illegally to deal with people they want out of the way. They send them back where a looper will wait for them and kill them as soon as they appear. The body, which has the looper’s payment attached to it, is disposed of and so it goes on. When a looper is to be ‘retired’, his future self is sent back, he kills his future self and is allowed to live peacefully for the next thirty years with a fat bonus. That is, until he’s sent back to be killed by his younger self, hence closing the loop. With me so far? Well our story involves a looper, Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) who, when confronted with his future self, Old Joe (Bruce Willis), is thrown into a web of intrigue. Old Joe overpowers him and escapes. Young Joe has seen the consequences of not killing your older self; he has plans for his future and so sets of after him. When they finally meet, Old Joe tells him of a future boss called ‘The Rainmaker’, who has taken over and is closing all the loops. Old Joe had a wife and he wants that life back so he plans to kill the Rainmaker before he can grow up. He has a clue to his identity; he could be one of three children living in the area. Young Joe wants nothing to do with it, but you know that’s not the end of it.

Bruce Willis and Joseph Gordon-Levitt as "Joe" in TriStar Pictures, Film District, and End Game Entertainment's action thriller LOOPER. A very well made film with many practical effects used instead of relying on CGI all the time; hats off to the filmmakers for taking that route. Performance-wise, everyone did a great job with Joseph Gordon-Lovett and Bruce Willis getting that majority of the screen time. I also liked Emily Blunt as Sara, Jeff Daniels as Abe and the young Pierce Gagnon as Cid. Although it did many things right I did feel it was a little unevenly paced in places. It seemed to get a little bogged down in the dialogue which slowed it down a little too much a couple of times. Other than that I found it quite enthralling and one I’d happily watch again sometime.

SteelMonster’s verdict: RECOMMENDED

My score: 7.6/10.

IMDb Score: 7.6/10 (based on 232,707 votes when this review was written).
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1276104/

MetaScore: 84/100: (Based on 44 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com at the time of going to press).

Jeff Daniels as "Abe" in TriStar Pictures, Film District, and End Game Entertainment's action thriller LOOPER. Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 93/100 (based on 246 reviews counted at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 87/100 (based on 104,336 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/looper/

If you’re crazy enough… You can find me on Facebook at:
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Looper - 6 LINKS:
(Note: All were working at the time of going to press)
Official Site: http://www.loopermovie.com/
Trailer:

Saturday, 22 June 2013

Film Review: YOU, THE LIVING (2007)

You, the Living - poster [Original Title: DU LEVANDE]

Writer/Director: Roy Andersson
Running time: 95 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 15

Genre: Comedy/Drama/Music
Sweden Release date: 27th September 2007

Watched on Sky+ Saturday 22nd June 2013.

PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE UNINTENTIONAL SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.

(Apologies for the brief review – I’m a bit pushed for time today)

This film consists of a series of vignettes with one common theme; that fact that the protagonists have life harder than everyone else. It’s very interesting and very darkly humorous in places. It’s one of those films I would like to watch again at some point because I’m sure I’d get much more out of it a second time around. There are many and varied characters including a woman who just wants everyone to ‘go away’ because nobody understands her… but will probably be round later for tea. A girl who is a fan of a guitarist in a rock band; she is depressed because she wants to marry him, but she can’t see how that could happen. A depressed psychiatrist who has given up and just prescribes pills now. There are many more and they all seem interconnected. The music was very interesting; mostly traditional or rag-time jazz but with a little bit of rock thrown in every now and again. All the performances were excellent throughout and I love the, almost comic book, look and feel of the film. I have to admit I probably enjoyed this one a tad more than my score might suggest. Definitely one that will get a second viewing sometime.

You, the Living - 8 SteelMonster’s verdict: RECOMMENDED

My score: 6.4/10.

IMDb Score: 7.3/10 (based on 6,756 votes when this review was written).
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0445336/

MetaScore: No data: (Based on 0 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com at the time of going to press).

You, the Living - 1 Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 97/100 (based on 37 reviews counted at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 79/100 (based on 5,204 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/du_levande/

If you’re crazy enough… You can find me on Facebook at:
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You, the Living - 7 LINKS:
(Note: All were working at the time of going to press)
Trailer:

Film Review: VALHALLA RISING (2009)

Valhalla Rising - poster Director: Nicolas Winding Refn
Writers: Roy Jacobsen, Nicolas Winding Refn & Matthew Read (additional writing)
Running time: 89 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 15

Genre: Action/Adventure/Drama
UK Release date: 30th April 2010 (limited)

Watched on Sky+ Saturday 22nd June 2013.

PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE UNINTENTIONAL SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.

In a time where the Vikings had discovered Christianity, the non-believers are marginalised and pushed into the wilderness. A fighter who we later come to know as One Eye (Mads Mikkelsen) is kept prisoner by one of these pagan clans. They use him for prize fighting where he has won many fights and gained much notoriety. He escapes and wreaks revenge on those that had held him; all except the boy (Maarten Stevenson), the boy had looked after him. They travel and inevitably come into contact with some Christian Vikings. They take the pair of them with them on a journey to what they think is the holy land; but thing are not what they seem.

Valhalla Rising - 1 This film put me much in mind of Terrence Malick’s ‘The New World’ (2005) but nothing like as long and drawn out. I found it very atmospheric with the sound of the wind putting an edge on the, already bleak, visuals. There are moments of extreme violence but these are quite brief and I didn’t find them over the top or overly explicit. For a character that has no dialogue at all, I thought Mads Mikkelsen did a great job in conveying the emotions his character was going through. He’s quite stoic but you can see the rage underneath; really well done. I also very much liked the music by Peter Kyed and Peter Peter, there’s not much, but it really helps things move along, particularly towards the end. Over all, I found it quite a compelling watch but very atmospheric. Maybe too much atmosphere for some maybe, but worth sticking with until the end.

SteelMonster’s verdict: RECOMMENDED

My score: 6.7/10.

Valhalla Rising - 8 IMDb Score: 5.9/10 (based on 25,014 votes when this review was written).
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0862467/

MetaScore: 61/100: (Based on 15 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com at the time of going to press).

Valhalla Rising - 7 Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 71/100 (based on 55 reviews counted at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 46/100 (based on 16,202 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/valhalla_rising/

If you’re crazy enough… You can find me on Facebook at:
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Valhalla Rising - 5 LINKS:
(Note: All were working at the time of going to press)
Official Site: http://www.ipsofactofilms.com/films/valhalla_rising.html
Trailer:

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Film Review: MADAGASCAR 3: EUROPE’S MOST WANTED (2012)

Madagascar 3 - Europe's Most Wanted - poster Directors: Eric Darnell, Tom McGrath & Conrad Vernon
Writers: Eric Darnell & Noah Baumbach (screenplay)
Running time: 93 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): PG

Genre: Animation/Adventure/Comedy
UK Release date: 19th October 2012

Watched on Sky+ Sunday 16th June 2013.

PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE UNINTENTIONAL SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.

Those of you that read my stuff regularly will know I have a liking for all animated films, and not just those Disney ones. I have, over the years, enjoyed the adventures of Alex the lion, Marty the zebra, Melman the giraffe and Gloria the hippo as they try to find their way back to their home at the Central Park Zoo in New York City. As usual we have a mix of comedy and morality as this unlikely band have to find their way across Europe this time. Here’s a very brief summary before I give you my thoughts.

Madagascar 3 - Europe's Most Wanted - 4 At the end of part 2 we left the gang in Africa as the penguin’s, led by Skipper (Tom McGrath), take off for Monte Carlo with the monkeys to make a fortune at the casino. Fearing they will never come back, Alex (Ben Stiller) persuades Marty (Chris Rock), Melman (David Schwimmer) and Gloria (Jada Pinkett Smith) to come with him to Monte Carlo. Also along for the ride are King Julian (Sacha Baron Cohen) and his servants Maurice (Cedric the Entertainer) and Mort (Andy Richter). Things don’t go according to plan and they find themselves in the run with Animal Control Officer, Captain Chantel DuBois (Frances McDormand), hot on their trail. They hook up with a travelling circus with a leopard, Gia (Jessica Chastain), a grumpy tiger, Vitaly (Bryan Cranston) and a crazy Italian sea lion Stefano (Martin Short), amongst others, and head to Rome. There is a chance the circus could be making a tour of the United States but they have to impress an agent in London. The trouble is, there is not much time, they’re quite terrible and DuBois is closing in!

Madagascar 3 - Europe's Most Wanted - 8 I seldom laugh out loud whilst watching a film, but this one easily passed the ‘6 laugh test’. There are some delightfully funny sight gags and some really subtle dialogue that, I’m guessing, was deliberately put in for the adults. All of the performances were great, as far as voice-only performances can be. The stand-out for me was Francis McDormand; she really got into the part! It’s a film that was never going to win any awards, but, you know, it did exactly what it was meant to do, and that’s entertain. Aside from a couple of annoying musical numbers (which are probably featured in the trailer) I found it quite a surprising delight. Definitely recommended for both young and old alike.

SteelMonster’s verdict: RECOMMENDED

My score: 7.9/10.

IMDb Score: 6.9/10 (based on 61,322 votes when this review was written).
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1277953/

MetaScore: 60/100: (Based on 26 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com at the time of going to press).

Madagascar 3 - Europe's Most Wanted - 10 Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 79/100 (based on 129 reviews counted at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 74/100 (based on 223,655 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/madagascar_3_europes_most_wanted_2012/

Madagascar 3 - Europe's Most Wanted - 1 If you’re crazy enough… You can find me on Facebook at:
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Madagascar 3 - Europe's Most Wanted - 3 LINKS:
(Note: All were working at the time of going to press)
Official Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MadagascarUK?brand_redir=1
Official Site: http://www.madagascarmovie.com/
Trailer:

Saturday, 15 June 2013

Film Review: MAN OF STEEL (2013)

Man of Steel - poster Director: Zack Snyder
Writers: David S. Goyer (screenplay/story), Christopher Nolan (story), Jerry Siegel & Joe Shuster (Superman created by)
Running time: 143 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 12A

Genre: Action/Adventure/Fantasy
UK Release date: 14th June 2013

Watched at the cinema on Friday 14th June 2013.

PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE UNINTENTIONAL SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.

With a surname like mine I really couldn’t miss out on a film that is, after all, named after my family (at least the male members of it). It’s a film with plenty of pedigree with David S. Goyer and Christopher Nolan involved and I have no problem with Zack Snyder directing (so long as he doesn’t give us another ‘Sucker Punch’). It covers well trodden ground with the origins of Superman having been portrayed many times before whether in comic book, film or in prose. I was interested to see how it would be dealt with this time around. I have to say I wasn’t disappointed. Here’s a very brief summary before I give you my thoughts.

Man of Steel - 9 We begin on the dying world of Krypton, Superman’s home planet, where his father, Jor-El (Russell Crowe) is at odds with General Zod (Michael Shannon) over how to preserve their civilisation. To this end Jor-El steals the codex which holds the genetic codes of the entire race and sends it to earth, along with Cal-El, his baby son. Zod, having failed to topple the ruling council is condemned to be frozen and exiled, along with his followers. Flash forward and Clark Kent (Henry Cavill) has caught the attention of reporter Lois Lane (Amy Adams) when she follows him and discovers some of his powers. She digs deeper and finds that he was brought up on a farm in Kansas by his adoptive parents; Jonathan (Kevin Costner) and Martha Kent (Diane Lane). Jonathan had always taught the young Clark to do the right thing; he knew he was special due to the circumstances that brought him to them. When General Zod comes to the earth looking for the Codex, and Cal-El, Clark decides it was time he made himself known to the world and Superman makes his entrance.

Man of Steel - 2 The opening sequence on Krypton is quite spectacular with some truly stunning CGI and some great dialogue. It sets the scene for the entire story and I think it was just about as perfect a beginning we could possibly have had. We then come down to earth (literally) where we find Clark Kent discovering who he is and coming to terms with his powers and what a responsibility that places on his shoulders. Much of this is told in flashback with some great fatherly advice from Kevin Costner. It’s a section of the film that may have lost some (probably due to the lack of explosions) but I really enjoyed it as it gives us a chance to get to know what motivates Clark/Superman, and just what makes him a superhero. The third act, however, is where I had the most trouble. The plot wasn’t hard to follow and the acting was great, particularly Michael Shannon, no, all that was great. The problem was with the fight scenes; why is it necessary to topple skyscrapers and destroy entire city blocks. It put me in mind of climactic battle in ‘The Avengers’ movie; I had the distinct impression I had seen it all before. Yes, it was quite a spectacle but I would have liked something a little more original. But don’t let that distract from the fact it is still a very good film and one I would happily watch again. Top performances, well everybody really but Michael Shannon really does stand out; definitely worth a look.

SteelMonster’s verdict: RECOMMENDED

My score: 8.3/10.

IMDb Score: 8.4/10 (based on 27,531 votes when this review was written).
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0770828/

MetaScore: 55/100: (Based on 45 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com at the time of going to press).

Man of Steel - 7 Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 57/100 (based on 207 reviews counted at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 82/100 (based on 81,641 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/superman_man_of_steel/

Man of Steel - 5 If you’re crazy enough… You can find me on Facebook at:
http://facebook.com/andy.steel3

Man of Steel - 1 LINKS:
(Note: All were working at the time of going to press)
Official Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ManOfSteelUK?brand_redir=1
Official Site: http://manofsteel.warnerbros.com/index.html?home
Trailer:

Sunday, 9 June 2013

Film Review: BUFFALO ‘66 (1998)

Buffalo '66 - poster Director: Vincent Gallo
Writer: Vincent Gallo (story/screenplay), Alison Bagnall (screenplay)
Running time: 110 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 15

Genre: Comedy/Crime/Drama
UK Release date: 2nd October 1998

Watched on Sky+ Sunday 9th June 2013.

PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE UNINTENTIONAL SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.

In most of the listings I’ve seen for this film on the internet, it comes under the genre ‘comedy’, usually with a couple of other things thrown in. Now, having just watched it I feel either I must have totally missed something or my idea of what ‘comedy’ is doesn’t match any known thought process. There were maybe two occasions it raised a flicker of a smirk on my face; certainly no laughs whatsoever and certainly nothing remotely humorous. But I digress, it’s a film that kept coming up over the years but one I never really found the time to watch. Well we’ve finally fixed that now and here’s a very brief summary before I give you my thoughts.

Buffalo '66 - 8 Billy Brown (Vincent Gallo) has just been released from prison after five years inside. He has managed to keep the fact secret from his parents, Jimmy (Ben Gazzara) and Jan (Anjelica Huston), by getting a friend, Rocky the Goon (Kevin Corrigan) to post letters to them periodically. He’s a bit of a hot head and appears to lose his temper quite easily. His parents believe him married and to this end he manages to kidnap Layla (Christina Ricci) and persuade her to pose as his wife when he goes to visit them. I know it all sounds a bit far fetched, but (I guess) that’s the comic element. We learn, through flashback, just how Billy ended up in prison and just who he deems responsible. It all has to do with a bet he made and what he had to do to pay off the bookie (Mickey Rourke). Over the next few hours this odd couple form a kind of bond but Billy has sworn revenge and he’s not one to go back on his word… or is he?

Buffalo '66 - 6 Clearly made on a budget, there is no fancy CGI, no big car chases and no big fight scenes. It’s a piece that relies very much on performance to keep it together and on that front I can’t fault it. Both Vincent Gallo and Christina Ricci did a fine job, as did Ben Gazzara and Anjelica Houston. I guess it’s one of those films that’s more about the inner workings of the mind; you find yourself asking what is the motivation behind Billy’s actions and what exactly does Layla see in him? I have to admit at first I really didn’t like the character of Billy, but he grew on me as I came to understand him more. It’s a film that took some time to get going but I found it a worthy watch eventually.

SteelMonster’s verdict: RECOMMENDED

My score: 6.6/10.

IMDb Score: 7.3/10 (based on 26,623 votes when this review was written).
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0118789/

MetaScore: 68/100: (Based on 19 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com at the time of going to press).

Buffalo '66 - 1 Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 78/100 (based on 41 reviews counted at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 86/100 (based on 33,138 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/buffalo_66/

If you’re crazy enough… You can find me on Facebook at:
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Buffalo '66 - 9 LINKS:
(Note: All were working at the time of going to press)
Trailer: (I couldn’t find a proper trailer, but here’s a scene.. Enjoy)

Saturday, 8 June 2013

Film Review: ABRAHAM LINCOLN: VAMPIRE HUNTER (2012)

Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter - poster Director: Timur Bekmambetov
Writer: Seth Grahame-Smith (novel/screenplay)
Running time: 105 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 15

Genre: Action/Fantasy/Horror
UK Release date: 20th June 2012

Watched on Sky+ Saturday 8th June 2013.

PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE UNINTENTIONAL SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.

I must admit when the book came out I initially loved the premise of this story. As time passed and it very quickly got snapped up and made into a movie, I began to wonder if my initial hope was misplaced. You see, I’m always wary of Hollywood; they never play the long game when it comes to movies. It’s quick bucks right now and hang any artistic integrity... But that’s another story; we’re here to talk about Abe Lincoln and his vampire hunting hobby. So here’s a very brief summary before I tell you just what I thought.

Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter - 5 As a child Abraham Lincoln (Benjamin Walker) had already come into contact with vampires when his own mother, Nancy (Robin McLeavy) was killed by one of them, Jack Barts (Marton Csokas). Now older, and after his father had passed, he was now free to exact his revenge and to this end he sought some courage in a bar. Here he meets Henry Sturges (Dominic Cooper), who will have a profound effect on his life. Sturges teaches Lincoln all about vampires, and most importantly, how to kill them. Lincoln proves very adept at using his preferred weapon, a modified axe. And so he goes on with his life, killing vampires whenever he comes across them; but still studying law. His friends old and new join him, including Will Johnson (Anthony Mackie) and Joshua Speed (Jimmi Simpson). And of course he meets his future wife, Mary Todd (Mary Elizabeth Winstead). But the vampire leader, Adam (Rufus Sewell) has plans for Lincoln; plans that will throw the whole country into civil war.

Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter - 1 Now, Timur Bekmambetov is well known for the effects he uses in his movies and this is no exception. There is blood and gore all over the screen as death is meated out in many and varied ways, all in glorious slow motion. The trouble is we’ve already seen that kind of stuff before; there’s nothing new or particularly innovative here. Yes, it’s very well done; the effects guys did an excellent job; but I would have liked to have seen something different. The plot; again disappointing, it just followed well documented events in Lincoln’s life and added a narrative that meant he had to do this or that to thwart the vampire hordes. Not exactly groundbreaking either. The performances were all pretty good although nobody really stood out and nobody looked like they were really stretched either. Over all I found it pretty disappointing; not quite as bad as ‘Jonah Hex’ (2010), but heading that way.

SteelMonster’s verdict: NOT RECOMMENDED (Unless you’re a die-hard vampire fan…)

My score: 4.8/10.

IMDb Score: 5.9/10 (based on 70,080 votes when this review was written).
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1611224/

MetaScore: 42/100: (Based on 35 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com at the time of going to press).

Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter - 8 Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 35/100 (based on 180 reviews counted at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 52/100 (based on 215,748 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/abraham_lincoln_vampire_hunter/

Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter - 4 If you’re crazy enough… You can find me on Facebook at:
http://facebook.com/andy.steel3

Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter - 9 LINKS:
(Note: All were working at the time of going to press)
Official Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/abrahamlincolnvampirehuntermovie
Trailer:

Monday, 3 June 2013

Film Review: THE GREAT GATSBY (2013)

The Great Gatsby (2013) - poster Director: Baz Luhrmann
Writers: Baz Luhrmann, Craig Pearce (screenplay), F. Scott Fitzgerald (novel)
Running time: 142 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 12A

Genre: Drama/Romance
UK Release date: 16th May 2013

Watched at the cinema on Sunday 2nd June 2013.

PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE UNINTENTIONAL SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.

I first have to say I have never read the book and so I can only judge the film as a on its own merits. I have, however seen the 1974 version of this film starring Robert Redford and Mia Farrow. Fortunately it was a very long time ago and I really can’t remember too much about it other than it didn’t exactly enthral me. I will have been in my early teens when I saw it so that’s not entirely surprising. But I digress; here’s a very brief summary before I give you my thoughts.

The Great Gatsby (2013) - 2 We are told the story is told through the eyes of Gatsby’ neighbour, Nick Carraway (Tobey Maguire). He had gone into selling bonds having decided he didn’t really want to be a writer. He was still close to his cousin, Daisy Buchanan (Carey Mulligan), who had married old money in the form of Tom Buchanan (Joel Edgerton). Now Jay Gatsby (Leonardo DiCaprio) was a very enigmatic character and there were wild rumours about him; none of which were true of course. He threw elaborate parties to which everyone who was anyone (and some who weren’t) turned up. One day, out of the blue, Carraway is sent an invitation to one of these soirées. Of course he goes, but never having met Gatsby before; found it hard to track him down so he could thank him. Eventually Gatsby makes himself known, but there’s an ulterior motive behind the invitation; something from the past and Nick Carraway is the key to unlocking it.

The Great Gatsby (2013) - 5 A film with some great set pieces; I found the party scenes particularly spectacular. It’s beautifully shot and I’m quite glad I saw it in 2D as I couldn’t see how 3D would have enhanced it much. I found the music interesting with the big set pieces being handed over to rapper Jay-Z (also an Executive Producer), but it was the original music by Craig Armstrong that I found most enthralling. There are several well known themes subtly placed in the soundtrack and I found both refreshing and interesting. All the performances were great with DiCaprio and Mulligan getting top billing; but I thought Tobey Maguire was equally good. I guess I’ll have to read the book to be able to decide just how good an adaptation this is; but for now I found it quite a satisfying watch with plenty of drama to keep me entertained. If I was to be super critical I would have to say I found the character of Gatsby a little one-dimensional, but having said that it’s still well worth a look if you get the chance.

SteelMonster’s verdict: RECOMMENDED

My score: 7.5/10.

IMDb Score: 7.5/10 (based on 49,082 votes when this review was written).
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1343092/

MetaScore: 54/100: (Based on 44 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com at the time of going to press).

The Great Gatsby (2013) - 3 Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 51/100 (based on 255 reviews counted at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 72/100 (based on 90,311 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/the_great_gatsby_2012/

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The Great Gatsby (2013) - 6 LINKS:
(Note: All were working at the time of going to press)
Official Blog: http://gatsbymovie.tumblr.com/
Official Facebook (UK): https://www.facebook.com/TheGreatGatsbyUK
Official Site: http://thegreatgatsby.warnerbros.com/
Trailer:

Saturday, 1 June 2013

Film Review: RESIDENT EVIL: RETRIBUTION (2012)

Resident Evil - Retribution - poster Writer/Director: Paul W.S. Anderson
Running time: 92 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 15

Genre: Action/Horror/Sci-Fi
UK Release date: 28th September 2012

Watched on Sky+ Saturday 1st June 2013.

PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE UNINTENTIONAL SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.

Most of the time I watch films with a very critical eye; looking for what’s good, bad or even ugly. But just very occasionally I just go with it and see where it takes me. Now, having seen all the previous ‘Resident Evil’ films I knew this one wasn’t going to scale any artistic heights and so decided to just look at it purely from an entertainment perspective. I’ll give you my thoughts after this very brief summary.

1110594 - RESIDENT EVIL:  RETRIBUTION Alice (Milla Jovovich) finds herself back in the hands of the Umbrella Corporation. They are keeping her in a facility in northern Russia; a former cold war submarine base. In charge of her interrogation is Jill Valentine (Sienna Guillory), but someone there is helping Alice escape. The security grid is turned off and she gets out of her cell. She is eventually met by Ada Wong (Bingbing Li), an agent working for the mysterious Albert Wesker (Shawn Roberts). Alice had come across him before. A team has been sent to meet them and take them out but they have to fight their way across several ‘zones’ before they reach their goal.

Resident Evil - Retribution - 8 Very heavy on the CGI, which is all very well done by the way, I’m guessing a lot of green paint was used. I think just about every fight sequence was shot in slow motion; I’m not sure why but for me it didn’t add any excitement. Nobody will win any prizes for the performances, although I thought Michelle Rodriguez as Rain did a pretty good job. Okay, from an entertainment perspective, yes, it did its job; an easy to follow plot that has plenty of action and some very pretty ladies; this red blooded male was not disappointed on that front. On the down side; it does look like you’re watching someone else playing a first person shooter video game. It’s left wide open for another sequel (hopefully the last one), so I guess there will be more… And I will be watching.

SteelMonster’s verdict: RECOMMENDED (Purely for entertainment… If this is your sort of thing that is…)

My score: 5.7/10.

IMDb Score: 5.2/10 (based on 63,772 votes when this review was written).
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1855325/

MetaScore: 39/100: (Based on 17 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com at the time of going to press).

Resident Evil - Retribution - 9 Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 30/100 (based on 63 reviews counted at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 51/100 (based on 234,696 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/resident_evil_retribution/

If you’re crazy enough… You can find me on Facebook at:
http://facebook.com/andy.steel3

Resident Evil - Retribution - 5 LINKS:
(Note: All were working at the time of going to press)
Official Twitter: https://twitter.com/residentevil
Official Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ResidentEvilMovie
Official Site: http://www.residentevil-movie.com/
Trailer: