Category Archives: Film: New/Cinema Releases

Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)

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Despite it being 30 years since the release of Beyond Thunderdome – the third, mediocre instalment in the Mad Max saga, George Miller’s franchise remains iconic and still capable in 2015 of generating rabid passion, gigantic anticipation and millions of dollars from film geeks and action junkies alike. It’s ironic that the Tina Turner/Mel Gibson blockbuster was such a misfire because (not surprisingly) Fury Road does borrow a little from its predecessor, though more obviously from the ground breaking and inspiring chapter before that; The Road Warrior. But this is no reboot or remake and you’d be stretching to call it a sequel even.

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Chappie (2015)

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Unfortunately, Chappie will never earn a decent amount of supporters. It is far from a disaster, but it drops the ball too often with brushed over techie plot holes, failed tonal shifts, being too light handed with its social commentary and most unfortunate of all, it kind of fails at moving us and at the end of the day, this is what it wants to achieve the most. It is not totally devoid of emotion or message, but for “serious” film watchers, it will never be embraced because of these short comings. Short comings that seem to plague director Neil Blomkamp with each film. Chappie is simply another version of Robocop, Short Circuit or District 9. It has humour, violence, a trainload of f-bombs and some nice ideas about artificial intelligence, but ultimately it doesn’t really bring anything new to the table besides its superb computer animation.

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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014)

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I’ll just get it out of the way and say that if you grew up as a fan of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, you probably should indulge this film at least once. If you’re a film fan who didn’t, it is pretty average to poor and offers little, even for a summer blockbuster. This has Michael Bay-isms all through it (banal scripting, video-game sheen, blatant sexism and product placement – the movie is basically a Pizza Hut ad at times) and even if he didn’t direct it, he might as well have. And, if you’re a kid (specifically a boy aged 10-15), you should definitely lap this cgi-fest up just as Bay planned. If you fall into neither of those categories, there is no reason what so ever to watch this movie even in the context of a kids/family action film.

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X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)

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With X3 being a total missed opportunity and First Class an ok to mediocre prequel/reboot effort, Days of Future Past is a vast improvement over the last two instalments, but then when Marvel reinstated director Bryan Singer – the man whom instigated quality and respect for the franchise in the first place, that was always going to be the case. It’s not a total celebration though of course.

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Pacific Rim (2013): Review Link

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Once again, the good people at film/TV/literature website, The Artifice, were kind enough to publish my review of Guillermo Del Toro’s blockbuster, Pacific Rim. A highly anticipated (by me) live action Mecha vs. Kaiju epic.

Check the review out over HERE.

Man of Steel (2013)

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In 2006, director Bryan Singer was given the reigns to reboot the DC Comics Superman franchise which, at the time, seemed long overdue. A new Clark Kent was found to replace the iconic Christopher Reeve interpretation from Richard Donner’s original film (and its woeful sequels) and a fresh vision of probably the most well-known comic book character ever was on its way. Singer was a big fan of Superman – a very big fan. His approach was to not make a new origin story and ended up producing what felt like a follow on from the 1978 film. Such was his love and respect for Donner’s movie, everything about Superman Returns felt like homage, right down to the title cards and the original score left untouched. A new love-triangle story was evolved but ultimately it felt like a re-tread. Many didn’t find much to like in Singer’s film, but I actually quite enjoyed it. I felt it had a classic feel, an old-fashioned approach to its direction and a subtle, story-driven plot. Not to mention a great lead in Brandon Routh.

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Django Unchained (2012)

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This is an extra long review than usual, so thanks for your patience if you get through it! Ultimate thanks go to MissNJ! for the edit.

Quentin Tarantino has never been shy about his love for the Spaghetti Western, nor his being influenced by the likes of Sam Peckinpah and Sergio Leone. A lot of that influence has crept into his previous films, including Reservoir Dogs, Kill Bill and Inglorious Basterds. The director has also demonstrated his love for Blaxploitation-era cinema in the past with the likes of Jackie Brown. All these elements and genre styles make their way into his latest epic, Django Unchained. For all its expected whimsical dialogue, quirky visual nuances and clever edits, the film eventually becomes the closest thing to Tarantino (finally) producing his very own literal meld of Blaxploitation and Spaghetti Western; and to view it in any other way would be a mistake, doing one of the most recognizable and popular American directors a disservice. There is no need to be confused, take overly seriously or, god forbid, be offended by Django. A film of two distinct halves, if you do make it through the often brisk but occasionally gruelling 165 minutes to the post credits visual quip, the main thing you should be, is entertained.

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