Podcast: The Smoking Lamb #099 – Avengers: Infinity War (Non-Spoiler + Spoiler)

Podcast: The Smoking Lamb #099 – Avengers: Infinity War (Non-Spoiler + Spoiler)

The Podcasts The Smoking Lamb Podcast

It’s The Smoking Lamb Movie Podcast. A weekly, no-holds-baa-aa-arred, and R-rated look at the world of movies.

On this episode: ITS FINALLY HERE!!! JOIN US FOR A NON-SPOILER REVIEW THEN A SUPER IN DEPTH SPOILER REVIEW OF AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR!

Check it out and BLEAT THE WORLD and don’t forget to follow up on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

#TheSmokingLamb #MoviePodcasts #Podcasts #FilmPodcast

 

Avengers: Age Of Ultron: A (Not So) Quick Capsule Review

Avengers: Age Of Ultron: A (Not So) Quick Capsule Review

Quick Review

With Avengers: Infinity War opening this week, Phil’s Quick Capsule Review will be rerunning the reviews of some of our favourite Marvel Films! 

So the bigger, louder, more action packed sequel arrives in cinemas with a weight of expectation on it’s shoulders, a weight sadly even it’s great cast & solid director just can’t live up to. Even if it’s still likely to smash box office records globally…

Don’t get me wrong this isn’t a bad film BUT even I’m getting a bit bored of this formula now and in an age when Guardians and Winter Solider did it differently enough to stand out from the crowd, Ultron just seems a bit of a backward step delivering us action, humour and character beats we’ve seen countless times before.

Starting with some of the worst CGI I’ve seen in a long time, the film rattles along at a pace with action scene after action scene, adding more and more characters along the way. Problem is, like I noted above, we’ve seen it all before and, except for the Hulk vs Iron man bit, there was little that really got me excited – especially as the film ends in pretty much a repeat of Avengers Assembles impressive last 40 minutes (hordes of faceless bad guy getting pummelled by CGI Avengers). Yes the humour’s here once again, as is the stand out character interactions, but this time it feels more forced and whilst Ultron, the titular foe for this Avengers outing, is solid good creation voiced expertly by Spader, he lacks the charisma of say a Loki, as is always the way when it’s a purely CGI creation.

So for me this is one of the weaker Marvel films, not because it’s badly made, but because familiarity surely now is starting to breed contempt and with another 5 years of Superhero films in the works I just wonder what they can do different now to stop the inevitable decline of this genre of films.

 

Rating:

 

Author: Phil Hobden

 

To hear more on this review (and others like it) make sure you download the Filmsploitation podcast, part of the All Things Film network. 

Podcast: The Smoking Lamb #058 – Gifted, My Cousin Rachel, Churchill

Podcast: The Smoking Lamb #058 – Gifted, My Cousin Rachel, Churchill

The Podcasts The Smoking Lamb Podcast

It’s The Smoking Lamb Movie Podcast. A weekly, no-holds-baa-aa-arred, and R-rated look at the world of movies.

On this episode: The Smoking Lamb has had a facelift! It’s the dawning of a new era here at The Smoking Lamb as we have decided to shake things up with the order of the show as well as introducing two new segments; Educating Josh and Name That Scene! We have three reviews for you this week of Gifted, My Cousin Rachel and Churchill as well as a Top 5 on Teaser Trailers.

Check it out and BLEAT THE WORLD and don’t forget to follow up on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

#TheSmokingLamb #MoviePodcasts #Podcasts #FilmPodcast

 

Blog: Grosse Point Geek – Avengers: Age Of Ultron Reviewed

Blog: Grosse Point Geek – Avengers: Age Of Ultron Reviewed

Grosse Point Geek Uncategorized

Grosse Point Geek casts his geeky eye on the latest Marvel Release, Age Of Ultron. 
Director: Joss Whedon
Actors: Robert Downey Jr, Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Scarlett Johanssen, Jeremy Renner, Paul Bettany, James Spader

After the Avengers successfully retrieve Loki’s missing sceptre from the evil clutches of H.Y.D.R.A. Tony Stark (Downey Jr) and Bruce Banner (Ruffalo) secretly use its powers to create the Ultron program – an advanced AI defence system that, once operational, will  protect Earth from another Chitauri style hostile attack. Naturally the plan all goes pear shaped when the supposedly benign  Ultron (Spader) wakes up, gets himself a host robot body and decides that the only true path to peace is the wholesale destruction of humanity and our heroes along with it.

When the Avengers was released in 2012 no one (including me) could quite believe how utterly brilliant it turned out to be.  Well written, superbly directed , action packed, very funny in all the right places – so to say the least it did just about everything right.

So one would expect that any sequel featuring the original cast (plus a few additions) and a returning Joss Whedon to the directors chair would pretty much guarantee more of the same. Well – sort of.

Lets start with the positives. All of the cast are universally excellent  (in particular Hemsworth’s Thor and Bettany’s Vision) all making good use of a sharp script and obligatory snappy one liners. The action scenes are also very well handled  – specifically a cracking opening sequence that sees the entire team lay waste to a heavily guarded H.Y.D.R.A fortress and an awesome mid section dust up between Iron Man and a rampaging out of control Hulk. Finally Whedon’s direction is pretty much faultless and once again proves that he is one of the most exciting film makers working today.

However despite these good points and the fact that its head and shoulders above most films of its type – there were a number of issues that i had that cannot be ignored.

To begin with it simply isn’t as good or as fresh as the 2012 original  – which is a surprise considering the pedigree behind the camera and the fact that 2014’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Guardians Of The Galaxy were so damned awesome.  Not only that but even though Spader does very well as Ultron – he’s no Tom Hiddleston and as a result we have a gaping Loki sized hole in proceedings that is sorely missed throughout. The story is also achingly unoriginal (another kill all humans/destroy our heroes plot) that does little to further the universe that Marvel has flawlessly created thus far. There are also too many supporting characters and a couple of  shoehorned in nods to future films in the MCU  – most notably the upcoming Captain America: Civil War and 2017’s Thor: Ragnarok  -seemed very tacked on and somewhat unnecessary.

My biggest complaint however was with the final climactic battle that sees the team going tooth and nail with Ultron and his robot army.

Now i love to see a good old fashioned scrap but disappointingly what we got here was way too similar to the original’s Battle of New York   – only very overblown, not as exciting and disappointingly showed that once again Marvel and Kevin Feige cant seem to end any of their recent films without a huge fight over a big city with thousands of innocents in peril –  (check out the finales of The Winter Soldier, Thor: Dark World and Guardians Of The Galaxy for further proof).

Now upon reading the above review you could get the impression that i didn’t care much for this film – which isn’t true -as despite numerous faults i did enjoy a great deal of it and will definitely be purchasing the Blu Ray. Without doubt Marvel still firmly rules the roost and with an upcoming slate that features Black Panther, Dr Strange and a two part 3rd Avengers film, the future is still looking very bright indeed. I just hope that they go back to focusing more on originality and better story telling than just merrily throwing in the kitchen sink and blowing things up – time will tell.

 


Rating:

Author: Will Strong 

Blog: All Things Film – Avengers Age Of Ultron Reviewed

Blog: All Things Film – Avengers Age Of Ultron Reviewed

Uncategorized

So the bigger, louder, more action packed sequel arrives in cinemas with a weight of expectation on it’s shoulders, a weight sadly even it’s great cast & solid director just can’t live up to. Even if it’s still likely to smash box office records globally…

Don’t get me wrong this isn’t a bad film BUT even I’m getting a bit bored of this formula now and in an age when Guardians and Winter Solider did it differently enough to stand out from the crowd, Ultron just seems a bit of a backward step delivering us action, humour and character beats we’ve seen countless times before.

Starting with some of the worst CGI I’ve seen in a long time, the film rattles along at a pace with action scene after action scene, adding more and more characters along the way. Problem is, like I noted above, we’ve seen it all before and, except for the Hulk vs Iron man bit, there was little that really got me excited – especially as the film ends in pretty much a repeat of Avengers Assembles impressive last 40 minutes (hordes of faceless bad guy getting pummelled by CGI Avengers). Yes the humour’s here once again, as is the stand out character interactions, but this time it feels more forced and whilst Ultron, the titular foe for this Avengers outing, is solid good creation voiced expertly by Spader, he lacks the charisma of say a Loki, as is always the way when it’s a purely CGI creation.

So for me this is one of the weaker Marvel films, not because it’s badly made, but because familiarity surely now is starting to breed contempt and with another 5 years of Superhero films in the works I just wonder what they can do different now to stop the inevitable decline of this genre of films.

 

Rating:

Author: Phil Hobden

 

To hear more on this review (and others like it) make sure you download the Filmsploitation podcast, part of the All Things Film network. 

Blog: Captain America The Winter Soldier – A Quick Capsule Review

Blog: Captain America The Winter Soldier – A Quick Capsule Review

Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
I’m a massive fan of modern Marvel’s films to date.  And whilst there haven’t exactly been bad films, probably Captain America was my least favourite in the post Iron Man wave.  So way to knock it out of the park with the sequel guys – a tense, political thriller set against the back drop of superheroes doing what they do best… kicking arse.   Everyone delivers here – from Chris Evans as Capt to Robert Redford (Yes Robert Redford in a Marvel movie!) as the films big bad.  It even manages to fit in the always awesome Frank Grillo as a future Marvel villain.  It’s not perfect – The Winter Soldier part is a bit lost behind the much more interesting Hydra story – but rarely do blockbusters come this polish, intelligent and fun.

Best Bit: Lift Fight

Buy, Rent, Stream, Borrow: Buy

If You Liked this Try: Captain America, All the Presidents Men, The Avengers

 

Author: Phil Hobden

Blog: Grosse Point Geek – Rapid Fire Reviews (Godzilla, 47 Ronin, Xmen and more!)

Grosse Point Geek Uncategorized

See below quick reviews of 11 films I have seen in the past couple of months… it’s Grosse Point Geek’s quick reviews!

* * * * * *

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47 Ronin

Director: Carl Rinsch

Actors: Keanu Reeves

Dear God where to start with this one?? Delayed for ages, cost up to $225 million dollars to make, total flop on release. Combines SFX heavy fantasy with an (apparently) true story,  tries very hard to be Lord Of The Rings meets the Last Samurai – and fails miserably.  For a start Reeves is too old for the lead role and as a result  is massively out of his depth. The direction and production values are completely average with a story that drags on and on, there’s the occasional fight but they are so bloodless and standard that you just don’t care. A total  and utter waste of time and money.

* * * * * *

 

The Monuments Men

Director: George Clooney

Actors: George Clooney, Matt Damon,  Bill Murray

What should have been an action packed  cross between Oceans’ 11 and The Dirty Dozen turns out to be a right limp affair, that wastes a superb cast and an interesting story.

Well directed and acted but if Clooney had just gone for a straight out boys own adventure film, this would have been so much better. A wasted opportunity and very disappointing to boot.

Next time George, do better.

* * * * * *
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X Men: Days Of Future Past

Director: Bryan Singer

Actors: Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellan, Halle Berry, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender

This one left me in a right pickle. On the positive side the story, direction, performances and writing are all excellent. However for long periods its just all talk and exposition. Fair enough  -the action sequences are great but there isn’t enough of them, the apocalyptic future setting is well staged – but again – there isn’t enough of it, the Quicksilver character is brilliant  – but maddeningly again  – there bloody well isn’t enough of him!

This had the potential to be as good if not better that X2 – but sadly wasnt  – overall the 4th best of the X franchise – worth seeing but prepare to be a bit bored in parts.

* * * * * *

The Mortal Instruments: City Of Bones

Director: Harold Zwart

Actors: Lily Collins, Jamie Campbell-Bower, Lena Heady

If I see another one of these sodding Young Adult film adaptations again I think I’ll scream! You know the drill –drippy teenage girl finds out something supernatural about herself, meets equally drippy, moody teenage boy who just so happens to be a warrior of some nature – blah! Blah! Blah!

Not completely boring, and granted there are a couple of good fight scenes but its 2 hours I’ll never get back  – recommended for rabid fans of the Twilight series only  – and if that’s you then don’t bother visiting this site ever again!

* * * * * *

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Snowpiercer

Director: Boon Jong-Ho

Actors: Chris Evans, John Hurt, Jamie Bell, Tilda Swinton.

Apocalyptic actioner – very well directed with some great performances from Bell,  Evans and especially Swinton. However, when it should be hitting 1st gear, it frustratingly slows down and gets all weird and talky.

Shame really, as up until it slammed the brakes on, it was damn good.

* * * * * *

Warm Bodies

Director: Jonathan Levine

Actors: Nicholas Hoult, John Malkovich, Teresa Palmer

Cracking film, great fun, lots of heart and two smashing turns from both Hoult and Palmer. A must see for all fans of Shaun of The Dead and The Walking Dead. Highly recommended.

* * * * * *

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A lonely Place To Die

Director: Julian Gilbey

Actors: Karel Roden, Sean Harris, Melissa George.

God-awful thriller – What I mistakenly assumed  would be a cross between The Descent, Cliffhanger and Wrong Turn  turned out to be an utterly pants film with zero tension and a preposterous plot……………..and will someone please tell Sean Harris that the persistently intense and moody acting he does every time, in every part I’ve ever seen him play  is wearing painfully bloody thin!

* * * * * *

Transcendence

Director: Wally Pfister

Actors: Johnny Depp, Rebecca Hall, Paul Bettany.

Flopped on release with both audiences and critics. Personally I thought it was ok  – nothing special though. Bettany and Hall are both excellent but Depp is miscast. Good SFX and Pfister’s direction shows flair but to be honest the story is nothing we haven’t seen before in the likes of Tron and Lawnmower Man.

* * * * * *

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The Amazing Spiderman 2

Director: Marc Webb

Actors: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Jamie Foxx

This one annoyed the hell out of me. The first ASM was ok and had two great central performances  – however the sequel is nothing more than an overblown,  SFX heavy, bloated monstrosity. Garfield is annoyingly smug, Foxx is pointless and pantomime, there’s zero plot and the action is generic and boring. Safe to say I absolutely hated this film with a vengeance – avoid at all costs.

* * * * * *

The Good, The Bad, The Weird

Director: Kim Jee Woon

Actors: Song Kang-ho, Lee Byung-hun, Jung Woo-Sung

Top film this. Korean action adventure from the director of The Last Stand. Packed with inventive set pieces, great production design and a mind blowing last 20 minutes  –  just about does everything right. Well worth a look

* * * * * *

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Godzilla

Director: Gareth Evans

Actors: Bryan Cranston, Aaron Taylor-Johnson.

What this lacks in human characterisation, it makes up for in astounding SFX, incredible monster v monster action and stunning set pieces.

All memories of Emmerich’s 1998 disaster are mercifully banished by the genius that is Britain’s own Gareth Evans who brilliantly directs this cracking summer blockbuster.

Destined to be a classic and an absolute must see.

 

 
Author: Will Strong 

 

The Iceman: A Quick Capsule Review

The Iceman: A Quick Capsule Review

Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
A true life crime story almost more fanciful that something Hollywood could create allows the always scary Michael Shannon to once again deliver the kind of performance that will one day see him Oscar bound.  A capable supporting cast (not least Chris Evans) and some striking visuals, the only thing that stops this being a modern classic is a sense of familiarity that comes with the crime genre.  The iceman may be real but everything he does we’ve seen before. Well worth a watch.

Best Bit: Shannon is superb.

Rent, Borrow, Buy, Stream: Buy

IMDB Rating: 

If you liked this try: Goodfellas (10/10) Carlitos Way (10/10); Scarface (9/10)