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

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

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

 

Blog: Grosse Point Geek – The Huntsman: Winters War (2016)

Blog: Grosse Point Geek – The Huntsman: Winters War (2016)

Grosse Point Geek Uncategorized

Acting as a prequel/sequel to 2012’s Snow White and The Huntsman, Winter’s War tells the story of how Chris Hemsworth’s Eric became the Huntsman of the title, and gives further back-story to the Evil Sorceress Ravenna (Theron) by introducing her sister The Ice Queen (Emily Blunt).

 

The plot surrounds something to do with the Ice Queen banning all forms of love in her kingdom and training a bunch of stolen kids who will one day become an elite band of warriors called – you guessed it – The Huntsman.   Fast forward seven years and we catch up with Hemsworth who is living peacefully in a land far far away until he’s given a  a mission to retrieve a magic mirror before the beloved Snow White croaks it.

 

Snow White and The Huntsman was a perfectly acceptable film, full of inventive sfx, fairly exciting action scenes and some good performances. It was also a big film with lots of scale, and a large cast. However the same cannot be said of this sequel, which seems to do the complete opposite by merely bringing back Hemsworth and Theron and adding in one or two new actors in a vain attempt to be a bit different. Its also hideously uninspired in the action stakes,  which fail on every level to be even remotely interesting and never once give off a palpable sense of originality or danger. I also had a huge issue with Jessica Chastain  – a normally very good actress, who is criminally miscast in a role that completely wastes her talents and has her putting on one of the worst Scottish  accents since Christopher Lambert in Highlander. Emily Blunt fairs no better given little to do except ham it up something rotten by throwing the odd tantrum and looking evil.

 

On the more positive side Robb Brydon and Nick Frost provide very welcome comic relief that actually proves to be really funny in parts. Hemsworth in the title role is also very good and once again manages to successfully produce the same effortless charisma that he uses to such great effect as Thor in the Marvel Universe. I cant really say much about Theron  – yes she is good as the Sorceress, but really isn’t in the film that much so as to make alot of a difference.

 

Finally I have a right problem with the films title- (Winters War) – which proves to be only half true as there is a lot of snow and ice – but sadly not a great deal of actual war – perhaps a better title would have been some thing along the lines of “The Huntsman: A Chilly Skirmish”

 

So in summary i have to say that if you have kids they will probably like it – after all it is a fairy tale  – however all proper film fans would be wise to spend their ticket money on something else.

 

Rating:

 
Author: Will Strong 

 

Blog: Blackhat – A Quick Capsule Review

Blog: Blackhat – A Quick Capsule Review

Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
Back in January in our preview of 2015 I picked BLACKHAT to be one of my most anticipated films of the year.  I was rather wrong. It’s terrible. Yes terrible.  Which is somewhat of a strong statement to make about a Michael Mann film.  Why – well mostly it’s just boring, add in a terrible script, some stilted acting and some oddly distant direction it turns out to be such a misfire from what is one of my favourite directors, who now hasn’t officially made a great film since the 90’s (Heat) or a good film since Miami Vice (yes I know I’m in a crowd of one or two here).  There’s next to nothing to recommend here.

Best Bit: The shoot outs. 

Buy, Stream, Avoid: Avoid, sadly

If You Liked this Try: Heat, Miami Vice, Sneakers 

 

Author: Phil Hobden

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 

Review: Thor The Dark World (DVD/BR)

Review: Thor The Dark World (DVD/BR)

Grosse Point Geek Uncategorized

The Review:  Following on from the battle of New York, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is now back on Asgard, pining for Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) and fighting to  bring peace to the Nine Realms, which are slowly descending  into all out war,  Loki (Tom Hiddleston) is firmly  banged up in the dungeons for – well -previously trying to take over the Earth and causing whole sale destruction in the Avengers (2012) , meanwhile a new enemy appears on the scene in the form of the Dark Elves, lead by the evil Malekith (Christopher Eccleston) who is hell-bent on possessing  the deadly Aether – a powerful energy that can destroy Asgard and the entire universe along with it.

By now everyone has their favourite Marvel movie character – be it Robert Downey JR’s Iron Man, Chris Evans’ Captain America or Sam Jackson as Nick Fury – all of them very good,  but mine has always been Thor.

A sort of cross between Gladiator’s Maximus and Henry V, we first met him in Ken Branagh’s superb 2011 blockbuster, as an immature, insufferably arrogant oaf, then wonderfully (and at times hilariously) transformed into a rock solid, charismatic hero, better still he was expertly played by Chris Hemsworth – who seems to have been born for the role.

In 2012 Joss Whedon  did the impossible  and managed to pull off the Avengers  -further expanding the character of Thor and blending him in expertly with Tony Stark, Cap, The Hulk et al – the result was one of the greatest super hero movies ever made.

Our favourite Asgardian returns with Thor: The Dark World –  the 2nd in Marvels “Phase 2” series of comic book adaptations  concentrating on Stan lee’s titular Avengers characters (the other being 2013’s Iron Man 3).

Directed by Game Of Thrones Alan Taylor, and featuring nearly all of the original films cast, I am very pleased to say that it is extremely good indeed.

Featuring a fantastic opening battle, a decent plot , exciting action sequences (the Dark Elves assault on Asgard is a standout) plus some very good performances from Hemsworth, Hiddleston and the returning Anthony Hopkins as Odin –  it doesn’t quite reach the heights of Joss Whedon’s super hero mash up – but it comes pretty close.

Of course, no film is perfect  – Natalie Portman is a bit weedy as Jane Foster, the final London set showdown between Thor and Malekith seems clumsily handled,   it certainly isn’t as funny as Ken Branagh’s 2011 original and, despite the much publicised rewrites to boost his character’s screen time, there simply isn’t enough of the quite brilliant Tom Hiddleston as Loki – who certainly deserves his own standalone movie by now.

With the massive success of this film, plus the billion dollar grossing Avengers and Iron Man 3, Marvel is certainly on a very good run – indeed DC Comics must be pulling their hair out by now  -they seemed to peak with the Dark Knight Trilogy and all they seem to be able to do now is produce mediocre fare like The Green Lantern and last years (admittedly pretty good) Man Of Steel. Even the planned and oft delayed Justice League movie now seems like its going to be just a poor second to 2015’s Avengers: Age of Ultron and this years Guardians Of The Galaxy – one can only hope that Messrs’ Snyder and  Nolan can pull it out of the bag with Superman vs Batman – due for release in 2016 – but I have my doubts.

Thor 2 is released on DVD and Blu Ray on 24th February, I would highly recommend it.

 

Reviewed By: Will Strong

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Review: Rush (DVD/BR)

Review: Rush (DVD/BR)

Other Cr*p Uncategorized

The Review: I’m not a fan of Formula One; I’ve never watched it and none of my friends watch it, either. The extent of my knowledge of the whole thing was hearing about Ayrton Senna being killed in a race in my youth listening to the radio at bath time. I know it’s dangerous and I can definitely see the appeal.

Fortunately for Ron Howard’s “Rush” it seems the director and writer Peter Morgan quite possibly fall into the same category as me; they too haven’t been associated with F1, but they at least can see the appeal. This time around, the focus is largely not on the driving, but the competitive element. Sure, this has been done to death in quasi-biopics a zillion times, but when it’s done well it makes for superior entertainment.

Wisely circumventing the need for breadth of the entire lives of James Hunt and Niki Lauda, Morgan writes a honed piece deftly concentrating on the 1976 season during a number of hair-raising near-misses and collisions, all culminating in a showdown at Mt. Fuji in Japan where everything hangs in the balance. It’s almost as if the forces were looking down on them that rainy, dark day with a view to making a non-fiction race thriller three decades later.

Who’d have thought that Chris “Thor” Hemsworth would make such a convincing and excellent James Hunt, anyway. A recent trip to YouTube to dig out interviews with the late madman of racing confirms that Hemsworth’s nailed the performance, right down to the height. Sure, on the odd occasion, the Aussie accents seeps out – but you can’t have everything. Rush, however, in terms of performances is dominated by Austrian Daniel Bruhl as Niki Lauda; a serious, nerdy, logic-obsessed scientist determined to win at any cost (in this case, personal and financial – and, sadly, facial). Bruhl steals the show and drives off with it. It’s one of the year’s best performances.

At a neat 110 minutes, “Rush” is slightly melodramatic as you’d expect – and the Howard/Morgan stable take a curious pit-stop with some of the races and instead flash up title cards explaining who won the race. This gives them time to focus on the races that actually mattered, but to me, it felt a bit of a cheap trick. This is a minor niggle, however, in an otherwise solidly entertaining and message-thumping movie. Stephen Mangan, Julian Rhind-Tutt, Olivia Wilde and Colin Stinton turn up as welcome bit-part players for the Hunt team.

Is it the film of the year? Not remotely. It might make the top five… maybe. But is it fun, pacey, racy and full-on entertainment? Absolutely.

Reviewed By: Andrew MacKay

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