Movie Review: The Hobbit – The Desolation of Smaug

Desolation of Smaug

I’d wandered out of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey last Christmas being slightly disappointed. I’d struggled to articulate why to my mates but in the weeks that followed I’d got to understand that I’d expected more of the LOTR feel. With Peter Jackson returning in place of Guillermo del Toro it was clear that we weren’t going to get a new vision of Middle Earth but more of what we’d come to expect. The first film, in what eventually has become a trilogy, had to lay a good bit of groundwork but in the Desolation of Smaug, things really get going. We know that the group comprising of Gandalf, Bilbo (“the burglar”) and our 14 dwarves are headed for the lonely mountain to reclaim the lost kingdom of Erebor from the titular dragon. I don’t really want to get into how the story plays out as it’ll contain spoilers but … There’s more

Movie Review: Pacific Rim

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I was sold on the idea of Pacific Rim from the first minute of the trailer. Kaiju, giant aliens intent on the instinction of humanity, verus giant robots called Jaegars, powered by two pilots sharing the cognitive load. The kaiju have turned up through an inter-dimensional rift at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean and begin to lay waste to any city they come across. Humanity band together and begin to manufacture massive robots, called Jaegers, to engage the Kaiju in combat and ultimately kill them. The balance of power is swinging back to the Kaiju though and they are appearing more frequently. Idris Elba, as main military man in charge, is disillusioned at the stance his bosses are taking and rallies the remaining Jaegar pilots and hardware to up the ante. Pilots must commence a “neural handshake” so compatibility between the two pilots is essential. We’re introduced to a … There’s more

Star Trek: Into Darkness

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This is basically a stream of consciousness seen as I saw it this morning. It doesn’t contain spoilers. Star Trek: Into Darkness is the follow up to J.J. Abram’s 2009 film which introduced a time travelling element, skilfully avoiding pissing off the fanbase and setting a clean slate. As the name suggests, things get a bit darker in this one with Benedict Cumberbatch’s John Harrison the baddie that is out to get Star Fleet. Cumberbatch’s performance is gripping and he provides a menacing presence whenever he shares a scene. Chris Pine’s Kirk is the man in pursuit of Harrison and Pine gets the opportunity to really add some meat to the character’s bones this time around. Speaking of “Bones” McCoy, I really liked Karl Urban’s portrayal of the Doc in the first movie and he gets some brilliant lines this time around too. The rest of the Enterprise crew are … There’s more

A Good Day to avoid Die Hard

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This will be short. The film was so poor, it doesn’t deserve many words. However, I do feel the need to warn you off it. Bruce Willis’s latest visit to John McClane’s insane life is A Good Day to Die Hard. Presumably they couldn’t fit Sam Jackson or Justin Long into the budget, so this time McClane is joined by his son, poorly acted by Jai Courtney. There is no plot. No really, I looked and couldn’t find one. I did however find plenty of explosions and car chases and explosions and fire and jumping through CG windows and explosions. There was also a shed load of awful dialogue. If McClane said “I’m on vacation” one more time, I was going to hurl my overpriced Maltesers at the oversized IMAX screen. Life of Pi belongs in IMAX, The Dark Knight Rises belongs in IMAX, Prometheus, The Hobbit, Ghost Protocol, they … There’s more

New Dr Who Trailer! New Dr Who Trailer! New Dr Who Trailer! :)

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The seventh series (of the revived Doctor Who) begins in the autumn, but the first episode, Asylum of the Daleks, is due to premiere at the BFI London later this month, (I’d love to go over for it). What do you think of the new trailer? I CANNOT WAIT!!! Also, check out this cool new desktop background:

Late to the game – My first week on Netflix

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There was a big interwebby brouhaha when Netflix launched in Ireland in January. I’ll be honest, I wasn’t particularly interested at the time. No one was raving about it. Many people said that the price was great (at just €6.99 a month, that seems a fair comment), but that the content was seriously lacking. The range of movies was very limited and the TV shows that were available were far from up-to-date. I gave it a miss. Six months later There’s more

Soundtrack Review: Ted is Easy Listening Cheese

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In complete contrast to the edgy, outrageous, controversial fare we experience in the movie itself, Ted‘s soundtrack is a mix of a gentle (and sometimes amusing) score from Composer Walter Murphy and a selection of easy listening tunes and cheesy classics. In the live action/CG-animated comedy, Seth MacFarlane tells the story of John Bennett (Mark Wahlberg), a grown man who must deal with the cherished teddy bear who came to life as the result of a childhood wish…and has refused to leave his side ever since. I’m not going to let this become a review of the movie itself (I’ll pop that post up closer to the release date), but I’ll openly admit that Seth MacFarlane has made possibly the funniest film I’ve ever seen. So, I was understandably looking forward to the soundtrack. In fairness, I was looking forward to the iPhone app, the t-shirt, the poster, the mug, … There’s more

Review: The 5-Year Engagement

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The opening of this film is where many other rom-coms would often be finishing things up: at the wonderfully awkward yet heartfelt proposal scene, with a few laughs here and there, but the prime focus being on the romance. This pretty much sets the tone for Nicholas Stoller and Jason Segel’s newest collaboration, after proving themselves a formidable duo with the hilarious Forgetting Sarah Marshall and last year’s glorious Muppets revival.  You may have heard this film described as the movie that turns the whole concept of the romantic-comedy on it’s head. While it’s not exactly a game-changer, it’s an incredibly refreshing take on the genre, and in my opinion definitely the most ‘realistic’ of these type of films I’ve seen since 500 Days of Summer.   The 5 Year Engagement  focuses on the extremely rocky road that couple Tom (Jason Segel) and Violet (Emily Blunt) take on their way … There’s more

Review: The Amazing Spider-Man

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Perhaps the best way to start is to tell you to block the last decade of Spider-Man movies from your mind and treat The Amazing Spider-Man as it is, a complete revamp of the Spider-Man franchise. In 2005, Christopher Nolan started a new wave of films with Batman Begins, where the story is as important, if not more important, than the superhero and his trials. We get strong characterisation, drama and a full story and this theme has run into the reincarnation of Marvel’s most famous superhero, as directed by Marc Webb (And I can’t not say something about how awesomely apt his surname is!). If anyone has heard of Spider-Man, they know the story of his origins. Peter Parker, a high school student who lives with his aunt and uncle, gets bitten by radioactive spider and develops super powers. This awkward teenager gains the ability to crawl up walls, … There’s more

Meh. Oh look, more subpar Tim Burton.

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I just watched the trailer for Tim Burton’s latest movie, continuing his never-ending pursuit to remake, rework, reimagine, rejuventate, revive, rejig and redo every movie ever made. At least this time he’s not tearing down the pillars of my youth (Alice in Wonderland, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory). Instead, this time he’s revisiting (just when I thought I’d run out of ‘re-’ words) one of his own stories. Frankenweenie is a black-and-white stop motion-animated remake of Burton’s 1984 short film of the same name, his take on Mary Shelley’s classic, Frankenstein. In the film, a boy named Victor loses his dog and uses the power of science to bring it back to life. As with all Burton movies in the last decade, it could be fun, it could be a waste of time. He’s just so hit and miss. In the last ten years, the only original tales Burton has … There’s more

Interviews: All in Good Time – Nigel Cole and Cast

When you look at the poster for All in Good Time after viewing the film, you will genuinely feel that this heartwarming tale is being sold short as a comedy in its tagline.  The latest film from director Nigel Cole of Saving Grace and Made in Dagenham fame, a reworking of the play written by Bill Naughton, will charm you far more than you will expect.  And that twist?  Yes, it’s definitely a game changer.  We were lucky enough to catch up with the cast and crew last week in London ahead of their 11th of May release date.   On entering the room Nigel Cole enquires, “are you going to ask me why did I decide to make a film that was a play?” Me: No. Nigel “Ah yes you have ten minutes then”.  Your background was strongly grounded in documentary and current affairs, why the move into feature … There’s more

Mad Men Episode Reviews: A Little Kiss (5; 1)

Mad Men returned to our shores (albeit courtesy of an imported UK channel) this week and I now find myself with a week in between to mull the complexities of the episodes. In the spirit of embracing US TV terminology, the season premiere took a moment to catch on; I felt uneasy reacquainting myself with the characters, worrying for a minute that in Season 4 the sheen might slip. I was always catching-up, courtesy of box sets and had inhaled the episodes at pace and re-watched with anyone willing to road test the series. There were never any suggestions that quality had faded – what if now that I was to watch and discover along with the rest of the baiting TV audience and find the stories were stretched, the characters exhausted. The pace seemed off in early scenes – period details are being observed, civil rights are on queue to … There’s more

Do Over: Big

One of the most confusing things about Big is Josh’s wish. “I wish I were big” Not “I wish I was an adult” or “I wish I looked like that bloke from Splash! – his face is exceptional”. No. He wants to be ‘big’. Of course they had to work the movie title in somewhere but it’s an odd choice of words. “I wish I were big” could easily be interpreted as “I wish my underpants were a little tighter” but one would doubt that would merit a PG rating. Perhaps Josh meant “I wish I was 7ft 11” which makes more sense since Josh was turned away from a theme park ride because he was too short. I digress. Big (1988), if you somehow managed to skip childhood, tells the story of young Josh Baskin. Whilst at a funfair, Josh makes the aforementioned wish at a machine called ‘Zoltar … There’s more

Movie Review: Contraband

Mark Wahlberg, akin to a Ken Doll, comes in two versions; the believable, serious, characterful, film and TV producer giving time to screen roles we know of Fighter and The Departed and also the swaggering, millennial era B-movie star who makes movie choices that are questionable, but fun to rip apart in a cinema post-mortem. In Contrband he travels firmly in the latter territory and hence in this review, he shall be Marky Mark. There isn’t too much of a plot to spoil in this type of fare; we’ve all been here before – a reformed family man slips back into the murky world of his criminal past to help out a relative, he brings together a motley crew of criminals and has to race against time to save his family. As such, things are on extremely shaky ground. Everybody is working very hard to convince us there is some … There’s more