Archive for the ‘Movie reviews’ Category

Whilst I saw a lot of good movies this year I also saw some bad ones. Just to clarify not all of these movies are horrible, some just carry more missed potential or didn’t deliver on my expectations. As I couldn’t find 10 movies that fit this criteria (I refuse to waste my time with Fifty Shades of Grey) I decided to just do a top 5. Starting with:

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So it’s that time of year again where I look back on all the films I saw then make a top 10 of my favourites from that year. Same rules as before apply, this list is entirely my opinion and these are only movies I’ve seen. So if I miss out popular ones chances are I haven’t seen it or I felt differently about it. So without further ado:JW Banner

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Jurassic World was possibly my most anticipated movie of the year, so when it got released in the UK you didn’t have to tell me twice about seeing it. By now you’ve probably seen the reviews I’ve done for the previous movies in preparation for this one. Now I’ve seen Jurassic World how was it and how does it measure to the other entries?

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Whilst The Lost World: Jurassic Park was another financial hit, critically it was met with a much more mixed reception. Four years later another sequel was made, this time just titled Jurassic Park III. This one was different as it was the first one not to be based off a Michael Crichton book and the first one not directed by Steven Spielberg, instead Joe Johnston takes the helm. The ultimate question though, is this movie any good?

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The original Jurassic Park would go on to become one of the highest grossing movies of all time. Following the movie’s success the author Michael Crichton then wrote a follow-up book called The Lost World: Jurassic Park. Then in 1997 a film adaptation was made. How does this one hold up when compared to the original?

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Next month Jurassic World hits cinemas in the UK and I can’t wait to see it. So in preparation I’m taking a look back at the Jurassic Park trilogy and will review all three movies, starting with the first. This movie was a very big deal when it first came out, but how does it hold up today? Well let’s find out.

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Well as another year ends I can look back on all the movies I saw this year and rank my 10 favourites. Now keep in mind that this year I haven’t been able to go the cinemas as much since I went to Uni, so I may not have seen every movie worthy for this list. Also these are just my opinions, the type of movies that I like. Got a problem with that? Well I suggest going to another list as it will be different. So now let’s get to my top 10 favourite movies of 2014.

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Hey everyone. I just got back from seeing the latest superhero film from Marvel studios, ‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2’. The sequel to the 2011 reboot of Spider-man. Here’s my review:

‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2’ follows Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) as he continues to fight crime as the Spider-Man all around New York City. Whilst this is going on, he is also trying to dig deeper into the conspiracy of his late parents, which leads him to the mysterious company Oscorp. This journey ends up with Oscorp sending up a slew of super-villains against him, including Electro (Jamie Foxx) and the Green Goblin A.K.A. Harry Osbourne (Dane DeHaan) which impact on his superhero life as Spider-Man and his ordinary life as Peter Parker.

First off, I’d like to mention that I was not a fan of the original ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’ (2011). I felt that it was a poorly executed reboot that was hardly ‘Amazing’. Sure there were elements of the film that were good, for example, Gwen Stacey (Emma Stone) was incredible. But the film seemed to be revisiting the same plot points from the original 2002 Spider-Man film directed by Sam Raimi. So going in to this film, I didn’t know what to expect, and overall whilst it’s certainly not as good as the original ‘Spider-Man 2’ sequel (2004) and it has lot of flaws, it’s a lot better than it’s predecessor.

The film is a real mixed bag, because there were elements of the film I really liked, and elements that I didn’t like.

Okay, so what’s good about this film? Well firstly the effects and action are a lot better this time round. The fight scenes between Electro and Spider-Man are handled very well and are a joy to watch. True the action isn’t always as good as it could be as some action scenes don’t last as long as they should, but still they are handled a lot better than before. The acting was also great, Andrew Garfield was great as Spider-Man, he has so much enthusiasm and energy when he’s on screen. Emma Stone was of course wonderful as Gwen Stacey and I was also really impressed by Dane DeHaan as Harry Osbourne. When I first saw the trailer for this film, I didn’t know what to think of his performance, but now that I’ve seen the final film, I can tell you that he does a great job at portraying the villainous (But also fairly sympathetic) Harry.

There was also some good humour in this film, with Spider-Man spurting out numerous funny catchphrases and references to the original comic book (His mobile phone ring tone is the original Spider-Man theme song. How awesome is that?). Director Mark Webb has done a great job mixing humour and drama in this film, at one moment the film was making me chuckle repeatedly and the other it was making me a little teary eyed.

But for me the highlight of the film was Gwen Stacey. She is just an AMAZING character. She’s not a damsel in distress, she has more brains than Spider-Man, she’s not afraid to admit how she feels, and she has real ambition. It is revealed that she has the opportunity to pursue a scholarship to Oxford University, and therefore she decides to leave New York City and move to England to pursue her dream. I really like how strong she is, she’s not going to wait for Peter to make the next move in their relationship, she decides what she wants to do. She’s also a very likeable and supportive character, in fact I’d go as far to say that she is probably the best supporting female character I’ve seen in any superhero film.

Speaking of which, Gwen and Peter also share some great scenes together. The chemistry between these two is wonderful and you do believe that they are truly in love and trying to fix their on and off again relationship. Although I must admit, when Peter admits that he’s been following Gwen every day just so he can feel close to her… it’s kind of creepy. I know it’s meant to be seen as charming and heartfelt, but I certainly didn’t feel that. The idea of a Spider-Man following Gwen around everywhere she goes…. Creepy!

Okay, now it’s time to talk about what I didn’t like about this film. Firstly the villains, while well acted, are badly written and very cliched. Electro in particular really annoyed me. He is first seen as Max Dillon, a very stereotypical nerd who is super obsessive over Spider-Man. While Electro certainly looked impressive, his personality and back story was anything but. I know we were meant to feel sorry for him, but I just found him to be an irritating pest. True the scene were he declares vengeance on Spider-Man is done very well, but overall I just felt that he needed to be less annoying and more complex. The Green Goblin, while handled a lot better than Electro is given far too little screen time, he appears in the third act for about 5 minutes. Maybe if he was the main villain, this film could have been better. Osbourne is dying, and he thinks that blood from Spider-Man is the only thing the can save him. That alone could have been reason for him to be the main villain of this film. But instead we are left with the annoying Electro.

One of the many things I hated about ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’ (2011) was the sub-plot about Peter’s parents. It didn’t add anything to the story and it seemed that the writers didn’t really know what to do with it. In this film, we return to that sub-plot as we spend a bit of time discovering a big conspiracy between Peter’s parents and Oscorp… Too long! I felt so bored watching this mystery unfold. I didn’t enjoy watching it before and I didn’t enjoy watching it now. It was an element of the story that I’m not really sure anyone really wanted to see. When seeing a Spider-Man movie, I don’t think we expect to watch a boring, underwhelming conspiracy about two uninteresting characters unfold. I’d have rather spent time dealing with Peter’s struggle to balance his life between Spider-Man and Peter Parker, but that never happens. For example Peter mentions that he goes to college, but we never seem him attend. He briefly mentions that he has a job at the Daily Bugle, but we never see him enter the building or meet with his employer J. Jonah Jameson. I’d have rather watched these sub-plots rather than focus on this uninteresting conspiracy.

Sadly my biggest problem with the film is quite a big one… The story. Not to say that some parts aren’t done well, they are, it’s just that I feel that this film’s story lacked a clear structure and narrative. If someone had to ask me what the main plot of this film was, I’m not sure what I’d say. At times the film lacked focus, there were one too many villains and one too many sub-plots. Some scenes really dragged and added no purpose and some scenes were not as fleshed out as they could have been. I feel that the whole film was building to the heartbreaking climax, which I can’t talk about without spoiling the film, so all I’ll say is that it was very emotional and very well done. But aside from that, I’m not sure the film knew what direction it wanted to take. There is also a lot of sequel baiting in this film which leads to a cool, but annoying ending. Again, I can’t talk about it without spoiling the story, but all I’ll say is that you may feel a touch let down when the credits roll.

So overall, while there were a lot of good things about this film, I feel that the issues of the film do really let it down. True when the film is good, it’s really good, but I just think that the story needed more focus. Still, I do recommend this film as there is a lot to admire and enjoy.

It’s a lot better than it’s 2011 predecessor, and while it certainly isn’t as ‘Amazing’ as it could have been, it’s still a fun, enjoyable web-slinging ride.

Overall rating: 3.5/5

Reviewed and written by Nick Zabierek

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‘Manamana’ I just got back from seeing the latest Muppet movie: Muppets Most Wanted. Here’s my review:

Muppets Most Wanted sees the loveable and engaging Muppets go a world tour, hosted by their new manager Dominic Badguy (Ricky Gervais). During which, they unwillingly get involved in an international crime caper after the evil Constantine (The most dangerous frog in the world)  escapes prison, and secretly replaces Kermit The Frog so he can hatch an evil plan to steal the crown jewels of London.

First off, I would like to mention that I am a HUGE Muppets fan. I love the TV show, I love the characters, I love their songs, I love their comedy, I just love them. This is the eight movie from The Muppets and I have watched and enjoyed all of then (Except Muppets In Space). I was also a massive fan of the recent 2011 film ‘The Muppets’ which saw the characters make a triumphant return to the big screen after a few years of being gone. It was charming and heartfelt. Muppets Most Wanted starts off literally where ‘The Muppets’ ended and while it’s not as heartfelt as ‘The Muppets’, it’s still a heck of a lot of fun.

First off, like any Muppet movie, the jokes are spot on! They’re all really funny and guaranteed to make you chuckle. It seems that this film knew exactly what it wanted to be from the very first scene: A fun sequel. The first of the many songs in this film even poke fun of sequels with the line: ‘Everyone knows that the sequel usually isn’t quite as good‘. If a movie can poke fun of itself and still leave you smiling, then it’s doing something right.

It was great seeing these great characters on screen again, and it was also wonderful to see Kermit and Miss Piggy perform more witty banter and arguments. There’s an especially funny scene which involves the pair arguing about getting married and when Kermit will be able to propose. In fact, it was probably the funniest scene in the film for me.

Of course, it wouldn’t be The Muppets without catchy songs and celebrity cameos, and this film has both. We see Christoph waltz performing the Waltz, Celine Dion singing a duet with Miss Piggy and even Lady Gaga makes an appearance in the opening number. The songs are for the most part really catchy and fun to listen to. But I did however find that there were one too many songs in the film and for me, only two of them were memorable: “We’re doing a sequel‘ and ‘I can give you what you want‘. Both of these songs were great and memorable. The others weren’t bad, they just weren’t as catchy, and some were, well, completely unnecessary.

The human cast were for the most part, a lot of fun too, especially Ty Burrell. He plays a a French inspector, who is forced to join forces with Sam The Eagle as they work together to find the evil Constantine. Ricky Gervais was delightfully quirky as the evil manager, however, Tina Fey (While her accent was amazing) actually did seem a bit out of place in this film and while she occasionally provided few good jokes, she didn’t really need to be in the film at all.

For me though, the star of this film was Constantine. Good God, this frog was hilarious! Seeing him trying to pretend to be Kermit led to a lot of funny jokes and situations. He was a great singer, and was just a joy to watch. His character takes up a majority of the film, and for good reason. I would dearly love to see him return for another Muppet movie.

Sadly, I did feel that this film had a few pacing issues. The scenes with Kermit in the russian prison, while at times entertaining , did seem to go on for a long time, and did eventually become a bit boring. Also, I mentioned earlier that this film was not as heartfelt as ‘The Muppets’, and this is a problem. Part of the charm of ‘The Muppets’ (2011) came from how it was basically a sweet tribute to these characters and a reminder of how the world will always treasure The Muppets. This film (while it had some sweet moments) never really felt that heartfelt.

This film also has a very similar story to the second movie in the franchise ‘The Great Muppet Caper’. Maybe it was intentional, but if not, I’m sure the writers could have come up with a different situation for The Muppets to find themselves in.

Overall, while this film does have its flaws, I can’t deny that it was very fun. I was smiling a lot throughout this film and I was very pleased to see these amazing characters return to the big screen. Any Muppet fan is sure to enjoy this, as will many families, as it has a lot of humour for both Children and adults.

While it may not be the most sensational, inspirational, celebrational, muppetational muppet movie of all time, it’s still a fun one, and you’re almost guarneteed to have a great time at the cinema while viewing this film.

Overall rating: 4/5

Reviewed and written by Nick Zabierek

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Hey everyone, I just got back from seeing the latest film from duo Phil Lord and Chris Miller; The Lego Movie. Here’s my take on it.

The Lego Movie tells the story of An ordinary LEGO mini-figure named Emmet. He lives in the town of ‘Bricksburg’ and is used to always following the instructions. One day he is mistakenly thought to be ‘the special’, an almighty, creative ‘MasterBuilder’ who’s arrival has been foretold by an ancient wizard. Emmet is then took on a huge journey around the LEGO universe, where he must stop the evil ‘Lord Business’ from gluing the LEGO universe together.

Where do I begin with this movie? When the first trailer came out I thought to myself ‘Really? A LEGO movie? This is low, Hollywood‘. It seemed like a stupid, unoriginal, cheesy marketing movie made for the sole intention of selling toys. Man, I was certain this movie was going to suck.

Well thankfully, I can now say I was absolutely 100% wrong…

Not only was this movie hilariously funny, hugely creative and filled with loveable engaging characters with a surprising amount of depth, it was special. That’s right, The Lego Movie is a very special movie. What do I mean by ‘special’? Well, I can’t really say without giving away most of the plot, so for now I’ll just say that the last 20 minutes of this movie turn it into an experience: It brings the film together and gives it a purpose, but more on that later. Let’s start from the beginning.

Firstly, there’s the comedy; HILARIOUS. I haven’t laughed out loud this much during a film for a long time. Every joke worked, every single scene had a least one humorous element to it. Not once did I roll my eyes thinking that one joke was too silly and childish, no, every joke was great. I mean we have Batman in this film and he has a girlfriend, that alone is already hilarious! And of course, the character of Bad Cop (Liam Neeson) was one of the funniest characters I’ve seen in a animated film since Ken from ‘Toy Story 3‘ (You’ll understand why if you see the film). There’s no question that this film is one of the best comedies I’ve seen for a long time.

Secondly, there’s the characters, I loved all of them. Emmet (Chris Pratt) was extremely loveable and engaging as was the rest of the cast; Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks) was a total Kick-ass, but even she has her sensitive side too, and that was great to see. The two played of each other brilliantly and there share some great dialogue with one another. Will Ferrel was perfectly cast as the villain, President/Lord business, his delivery was so spot on and the character was so delightfully evil, he was such a blast to watch. Vitruvius (Morgan Freeman) was a great supportive lead as was the hilarious Uni-Kitty (Alison Brie) who has a hidden dark side which totally caught me of guard. Of course Batman was awesome (Do I even need to explain why? He’s the goddamn Batman!) Speaking of which, what I also liked was that even if half of this movie is filled with other brands of movie characters like Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Gandalf, Dumbledore and many more, the focus of the story is where it should be; on the original characters, It’s Emmet’s story, not Batman’s, he works fine as a supporting role and that’s fine.

The movie is also extremely creative. All of the LEGO worlds are just a joy to look at, as are the characters, for example, Metal Beard (Nick Offerman) is a pirate built as a massive robot, what an awesome idea! The animation is extremely spectacular, though it may take you a few minutes to get used to this style, once you do, you’ll be in for a visual treat. The animation is all CGI (Computer Generated Imagery) but at times the timing and movement of the characters looks exactly like stop-motion. Some of the sets looked like ones build entirely by hand. Another great trick is that every single object in this world is made of LEGO, for example the water is all LEGO, the explosions are all LEGO, even the water coming out of a shower is made of LEGO studs. Little touches really make this film visually stunning.

The soundtrack is also lovely, and oh my god, that song!  You may have heard the song ‘Everything is awesome‘ playing in all the trailers, and all I can say is that it is irritatingly catchy, I swear the moment you hear that song, it will never leave your head, it’s that catchy.

I also liked the pacing of the film. Not once did I think it was dragging or getting to boring, in fact by the time it ended, I actually wanted more, and that’s always the sign of a great movie, it leaves you wanting more (Thankfully a sequel is already underway). The writing was also spot on, with some very well written dialogue, some great story elements, brilliant character development and awesome turning points, this is a perfect example of a well written screenplay.

So the film is hilarious, witty, charming and creative with wonderful visuals and characters, but as I said earlier, what makes the film truly special and unique is the last 20 minutes. Not to give anything away, but there is a very clever twist that gave the movie a reason for being here. It takes the film to an unbelievably mature situation, and it gives the audience a perfect climax and resolution (I got a little teary eyed during it) What’s also great is that it explains to all of us why we love LEGO: Lego gives all of us the chance to be as creative as you want, you can do whatever you want with it, for many of us, LEGO was the toy that helped start our imagination when we were kids (Because come on, who didn’t play with LEGO as a kid?) and this movie shows how special the toy is and how it always be special. LEGO will never ever be forgotten. The film also delivers a lovely message that we are all special and that you can choose to either follow the instructions of life or forge your own path. Everyone in life is special, you just have to believe in yourself.

So far you’ve heard nothing but positive things about this movie and I bet you’re wondering ‘Is there anything wrong with it?‘ Well, if I really have to nitpick  I suppose that I do have to mildly complain about the ending. Not that it’s bad, far from it, I just feel that it all ended a bit too sudden. I personally would have liked to have a few extra 5 minutes just wrapping the story up and giving us a final epilogue to the characters. Also, sometimes the action scenes are a bit too fast, sometimes you may not see what’s going on because some of the action just appears in front of your eyes and then in a flash – it’s gone. But still, these are only small quibble’s and though I may complain about the quick ending, as I mentioned before. a sequel is already in the works and I for one can’t wait to dive back into this amazing universe.

Overall, I cannot recommend The Lego Movie enough. It’s a beautiful, funny, moving, exciting movie with a lot of heart and for audiences of all ages. I know that we’re only in February, but I can hand on heart say that this is not just one of the best animated films of the year, it’s one of the best films of the year, period.

Thank you Phil Lord and Chris Miller for creating this fantastic movie.

What else is there to say expect… ‘Everything is awesome!

Overall rating 5/5

Reviewed and written by Nick Zabierek