Sharknado Week: Sharknado – A Quick Capsule Review

Sharknado Week: Sharknado – A Quick Capsule Review

Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
Sharknado. Yes. Shark-bloody-nado. Hell I have ZERO idea what I can say about this film other than if you think the title sounds silly then this is a film you will hate with an extreme passion.  If like me the title sounds all manor of awesome, then there’s a lot to love in this knowingly cheesy, cheap as chips, barking mad Sharks in a tornado movie. For everyone else, I’d probably recommend avoiding this. Genius.  Mad genius.

Best Bit: Chainsaw + Shark = Fun

Rent, Borrow, Buy, Stream: Buy

If you liked this try: Ghost Shark (UR); Sand Shark  (UR); MegaShark vs Crockosaurus (UR)

Rating: 

Author: Phil Hobden

 

 

 

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Avengers Week: Thor The Dark World : A (Not So) Quick Capsule Review

Avengers Week: Thor The Dark World : 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!

The Review: For me the original Thor film was my second , least favourite Marvel adaptation after Captain America (sorry Capt.).  It wasn’t bad but it always felt like it was missing something special.  Now, two years later and bolstered by an appearance alongside his Avengers buddies, the Blonde, buff god returns in what is a far more well rounded and successful movie.

The Story: Faced with an enemy that even Odin and Asgard cannot withstand, Thor must embark on his most perilous and personal journey yet, one that will reunite him with Jane Foster and force him to sacrifice everything to save us all.

Firstly let’s get this out the way.  Thor 2 is actually really good.  Excellent in fact.  Of all the Avengers films, it’s probably the most ‘together ‘ .  It has a simple story, which moves at pace, with action and drama but keeping it tight enough to come in at under 2 hours.  It even manages to get around (at least MOSTLY get around) the standard CGI monster fighting CGI good guy trope that has hobbled the end of every Avengers film since Iron Man.

A large reason why the film works so well is the sublime decision to once again sit an unlikely candidate in the director’s chair.   Be it Jon Favreau for Iron Man or James Gunn for the upcoming Guardians Of The Galaxy, Marvel have a knack of picking the right man for the job.  This time out respected TV and Game Of Thrones director Alan Taylor brings a more even vision to the film, much more suited to the material than Kenneth Branagh, and obviously revels in having a larger that his usual budget to play with.   The action is clean and well shot, and best of all you can see every punch, every explosion and every insane flying spaceship moment.

Oh and talking of flying Spaceship moments… director Taylor is obviously a fan of 80’s cheese fest Flash Gordon, being that he borrows a considerable part of the films finale for the attack on Asgard.  Not that I’m complaining as the mix of sci-fi, Norse legend, super hero and action make for a pleasant change form the usual Earth bound Marvel world.

Hemsworth once again proves he is a man of considerable talent, delivering action alongside comedy and the occasional pathos.  Naturally Natalie Portman has little to do (as is the female role generally in a Marvel film) but she remains a welcome addition, as does the returning Idris Elba, Tom Hiddleston (once again a stand out as Loki) and Anthony Hopkins (as his most gravelly).  Rene Russo even gets to kick arse, which is nice.  As for former Dr Who and professional grump Christopher Eccleston he does good with his limited bad guy role, but in reality with the added make up and FX it could have been anyone as Dark Elf leader Malekif.

In truth the film has little against it, other than maybe an element of familiarity, and ends up being one of the best blockbusters of the year.  Maybe not as good overall as Iron Man 3, but certainly more fun. For the most part.

So overall a good script, great characters and some snappy dialogue alongside standout action sequences and a fast pace mean that deservedly Thor The Dark World will be another hit for Marvel.  Truly a studio that cant seem to get it wrong.

Rating:

 

 

Blog: All Things Film – Headrush (2003) Reviewed

Blog: All Things Film – Headrush (2003) Reviewed

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Sometimes just sometimes you have one of those days where NOTHING goes right. This day was one of those.  Cannes.  It was hot (properly hot in the mid 30’s), I’d dressed in jeans and not shorts meaning I was sweating like innocent man on death row.  Every person we’d spoken to had given us the bums rush and punting our current film around buyers we’d been rejected more than the pork pie at a Bar Mitzvah I’d already watched two films, neither of which I remembered a day later let alone a year or so down the line.  Then again I did sleep through one and half of them.

Tired, annoyed I was dragged to one final film of the day… a Irish comedy that had a small role by some bloke from some band I liked. Begrudgingly I went, grumpy and hot .  I sat down in the cinema preparing myself for two hours of time passing or maybe, just maybe a quick kip. So to say I wasn’t in the mood for another film was a mild  understatement, let alone a comedy.

With all that in mind, it’s even more a credit to this film then that within minutes of the opening titles I was laughing myself to tears. Headrush hit the spot… a well observed, humours and funny stoner comedy.

The film follows Charlie a down on his luck pothead – kicked off the dole and dumped by his girlfriend convinced by his best friend T-Bag, with help from their dealer Blowback that they should be crime lord The Uncle new drug mules.  Conceiving an elaborate scam to smuggle a consignment of Cocaine back from Amsterdam they meet The Uncle’s nephew Razor Rupert and convince him that they’re up for the job. As they lay  their plans, each one egging the other on, each one refusing to admit to any fear, a series of events begin to unravel their carefully laid plans.

HEADRUSH is a stoner comedy and, if that ‘s your bag, it certainly is one of the better of the sub-genre… although considering recent  additions have been the un-memorable DUDE WHERE’S MY CAR and HAROLD & KUMAR GET THE MUNCHES it isn’t saying much.  Writer/Director Shimmy Marcus, making his feature film debut, delivers an assured film showing a talent for comic timing and really coaxing some impressive performances from it’s relatively inexperienced cast.

Leads Wuzza Conlon and BP Fallon, as stoners Charlie and T-Bag, play their roles well but  the real gem in this movie is the acting debut of New Yorker, Fun Loving Criminal and all around legend Huey Morgan.  Morgan is hysterical as the comfortable in woman’s shoes-drug dealer ‘The Yank’.  For a hard as nails former marine, Morgan happily sends up his tough image and in doing so provides the real stand out moments of this comedy.

It’s not ALL good.  Director Marcus needed to rain in guest star Berkof who is stupidly over the top and never quiet seemed to know what accent he was trying to do.  A more experienced director may have pulled him back, allowing a measured rather than needlessly showy performance to come through. But the faults aren’t all Berkof as once again that ugly demon of money raises it’s head on occasion, no less in the hysterical van sequence which is just calling out for seemingly budget busting exterior shots.  Instead we get some pretty badly staged studio based shots and van wobbling.  I also noticed the film does loose it’s charm a little on repeat viewing but only a little and these small issues are just that small issues in a film that otherwise is brimming with well observed comedy.

But alas so far this film hasn’t made it to the UK – one of the many quality films that for whatever reason hasn’t found a release.  To be honest the films sales agent, Park Entertainment, should be shot for not being able to bring this movie to a UK buyer.  They have a real gem here, funnier than most Brit comedies of recent times the film, accompanied by rave reviews where ever it has played, has a charm and style that allow it to more than stand out from the crowd and heralds Shimmy Marcus as a name for the future.

In short: A gem of a comedy… funny, surreal and totally enjoyable from start to finish.

 

Author: Phil Hobden

Blog: All Things Film – Non Stop Reviewed

Grosse Point Geek Uncategorized

During a routine Transatlantic flight, Air Marshall Bill Marks (Liam Neeson), receives a series of text messages from an unknown person, threatening to kill a passenger every 20 minutes unless a $150 million ransom is paid by the airline. Thinking he is being wound up, he dismisses the texts as a sick joke, however things start taking a turn for the worst when the bodies start piling up and Marks finds himself being framed as the chief suspect.

Its then down to the beleaguered air marshal and a plucky passenger (Julianne Moore) to find out which of the passengers is the villain and stop the air force from shooting down the plane.

It had to happen, I knew it couldn’t last. 2014 was going so well –  just about every film id seen so far this year had been superb. The Wolf of Wall Street, 12 Years a Slave, Dallas Buyers Club – all brilliant, even the Robocop remake wasn’t bad.  So, being the total  sucker for an action film that I am, I merrily  toddled off to my local Cineworld to watch this stinking  pile of pants.

Now Non Stop should have worked – Liam Neeson and Julianne Moore are always good value, its produced by the legendary Joel Silver (Predator, Lethal Weapon, Die Hard etc.), the plot seemed interesting, the trailer screamed “top action movie”  – hell even the poster looked great. Not only that, when it was released in the US, it flew straight to the top of the box office with a $30 million opening weekend!

So what went wrong I hear you cry? Well friends, just about bloody everything.

For a start the script is woefully awful,  with characters that are cliché’ to a fault. Marks is a grieving alcoholic, one of the stewardesses is having a fling with the co pilot, everyone on the plane is made to look suspicious and of course there’s the obligatory  vomit inducing, teddy bear wielding 9 year old, who (predictably) is on her  1st flight by herself   – laugh? I nearly asked for a sick bucket.

As far as the performances go, the normally superb Neeson seems to have just shown up for the money and  is by turns cheesy, and ineffective in the lead role. Julianne Moore fares no better,  her bland  character given no depth or backstory – quite what an actress of her ability and range is doing in this nonsense is beyond me.  Jaume Collett Serra’s direction is uninspiring , boringly by the numbers and criminally fails on every level to crank up any tension or deliver one half way decent action scene. Even the shootout at the films climax lacks any and all excitement – I mean how hell does a director screw up a scene showing the mighty Liam Neeson flying through the air firing a handgun??! Answer – you just don’t – it aint the done thing old son.

Dammit there’s no place  for films like this anymore, you could get away with it in the 80’s and 90’s but not now. The next two years are going to be some of the most exciting times the cinema has ever seen.  Talented directors like JJ Abrams, Chris Nolan and Joss Whedon, are out there right now, taking their time developing sharp scripts and good stories,  –basically making damn sure that we, the punters get our money’s worth.

OK, yes I’ll admit that Non Stop isn’t the worst film I’ve ever seen and it passed the time well enough, but If I wanted to see a rehash of the likes of Executive Decision or Air Force One – id simply just watch them again.

All I would say is that, if studios are going to recycle and redo old films , then at the very least write a good script, throw in a few decent characters, and for God’s sake don’t bore me! It was done brilliantly last year with the fantastic Olympus Has Fallen and there is no reason it shouldn’t have been done here.

Liam you are better than this, and to producer Joel Silver – a word to the wise, the glory days of the 80’s are over mate, get some inspiration and stop living on the past.

Epic Fail

 

Author: Will Strong

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Blog: All Things Film – RoboCop (2014) Reviewed

Grosse Point Geek Uncategorized

In the not too distant future, Detective Alex Murphy (Joel Kinnaman-TV’s The Killing), is mortally wounded in the line of duty, desperate to save him, his wife (Abbie Cornish) agrees to let Michael Keaton’s sinister Omnicorp and Gary Oldman’s brilliant scientist rebuild him as – you guessed it – Robocop – a part man, part machine, indestructible law enforcer who soon has the criminals of Detroit on the run. Until that is, Murphy’s human side starts to take over and, defying his corporate masters, sets out to solve his own murder.

In 1987 the now defunct Orion Pictures made the potentially crazy decision to give the then unknown Paul Verhoeven several million dollars to direct a futuristic sci fi film, about a cyborg cop, featuring a cast of virtual unknowns.

What could have been a bog standard Judge Dredd/Bionic man, direct to video, B movie, turned out to be anything but.

Blood soaked, peppered with quotable one liners (“id buy that for a dollar!”, “Guns, Guns, Guns!”) a brilliant score by Basil Poledouris, outstanding action sequences, one of the most evil bad guy’s ever committed to celluloid and a wry intelligent humour that slyly thumbed its nose at corporate America –the original Robocop deservedly remains one of the greatest sci fi action movies ever made.

When it was announced that a remake was in the works, legions of naysayers and fan boys where naturally up in arms crying sacrilege, which was further compounded, months later, when said geeks were up in arms after photos of a new sleek black Robo Suit were put on the net along with rumors of studio interference and meddling.

So it was to most peoples surprise that when Robocop 2014 was released last week, it turned out to be pretty decent – sort of.

So whats good? – Well for a start the cast is excellent – Kinnaman, as Murphy/Robo is superb and a future leading man in the making, Oldman is effortlessly brilliant as usual and Michael Keaton is fantastic as the head of OmniCorp. The action is well staged, Jose Padilla’s direction is very inventive, the visual and make up effects are impressive and the film is never less than very entertaining.

However….

There are quite a few things wrong – first and foremost, it simply isnt as good as the original, out goes all the blood, gore, one liners, swearing and complete lack of political correctness that made the 1987 film such a joy and in comes a bloodless PG 13 version that seems to want to appeal to a more sensitive mass market. The baddies – whilst enjoyable- cant touch the 1987 version’s motley crew of psychos, and Samuel L Jackson’s shouty TV host is completely pointless and ineffective.

I have nothing against remakes – Oceans 11, 3:10 to Yuma and The Departed were all brilliant – but they were remakes of films that were ether foreign, not very good in the first place or were so old that no one had seen them for decades. This is not the case with Robocop – and whilst Jose Padilla’s film is never less than enjoyable – one cant help feeling that the cast, director and budget could have been put to use on something more original – this of course is the fault of the studio – remake a well known film with a built in fan base, do a PG-13 version so as to appeal to a wider audience and –hey presto – a box office friendly franchise is reborn with minimal effort put in.

The trouble with Robocop 2014 and many others like it, is that it’s a remake of a very well known, well loved movie that (along with its sequels) is still available on dvd, and is shown on TV and Netflix on a regular basis. Therefore its still very much in the public consciousness – the result is that the filmmakers are set up for a fall before even one person watches the finished product – produce something original and different and you are accused of ruining an already good movie, or just do a straight remake and get told that you are rubbish because you have no new fresh ideas – basically dammed if you do and dammed if you don’t – and whatever anyone says – people will always compare it with the original movie.

In summary I would cautiously recommend Robocop, as it’s good solid entertainment, well made and very well acted – and I’d be interested to see a sequel – as Robocop 2 and 3 –(released in the 1990’s) were appalling.

However Hollywood needs to start being brave, move away from making easy money movies, and concentrate on producing fresh stories -now id buy that for a dollar.
Author: Will Strong

Blog: All Things Film – Warrioress Review

All Things Film Blog Other Cr*p Uncategorized

In a world where two forces come together and do battle, only the honest true survivor will win. No, I am not referring to the warring factions in writer/director Ross Boyask’s latest fight fest but, rather, my close friendship to him versus what I think of his film.

I know Mr. Boyask (who frequents these here reviews) is known to us all, but I have nothing but extreme bodily fluids and appreciation for what he manages to do on an extremely limited budget. I know he doesn’t care for friendly hyperbole in the face of genuine honesty, and sycophancy is not something I am known for. He has assured me that he does not mind me going public with my opinion.

So it is with this delicate preamble that I lay my cards on the table; Warrioress is, quite frankly, a mixed bag.

Warrioress (spell check be damned) stars stuntwoman/actress/weapons master/writer/songwriter/singer Cecily Fay as Boudiccu – a rather feisty badass who is sent on a quest ostensibly to rescue some female slaves from a cave, and then eventually fight another supreme warrioress for the title of warrioress. I think. Bloody spell check. Double-click Warrioress, right click, “ignore”.

There, that seems to have solved the red underline.

Much of the first half of the film deals with a lot of exposition in the form of an old woman foretelling of two swords – or something to that effect. Shades of Baz Lurhmann’s Romeo + Juliet permeate the entire script – in particular, the dialogue. It’s not suggested when the story is set, and so we are led to believe that it’s possibly a long, long time ago. I’ll come back to this later in the review.

I’ll be honest, I was quite confused with the set-up and decided to roll with the beats. And beats are what the film has a multitude of. It’s obviously a case of scenery defining the narrative, and on this count the film delivers.

The production value of Warrioress is astounding – and better still, for any wannabe filmmakers out there, demonstrates with relative ease just how relatively easy and worthwhile it is to attain. I gather a lot of the film was shot in Epsom, Surrey – and the scenery there is utilised very well.

Coastlines make an appearance as well as a derelict Nazi-themed building (dressed up, naturally) and what seems to be the remains of a castle. I have no idea what the location was, but caught on a fortunate sunny day, really adds to the feel of the film. The costume design, and some of the set design, is inspired and well crafted.

The action sequences are really where the film shines. This is now Ross’ third feature film, and a lot has been learned from the previous two. The shooting and cutting of the frenetic action scenes are genuinely rewarding and, in particular spots – notably about twenty minutes in with a girl wielding a spiky ball and chain – the action scenes are most impressive.

Boyask wisely packs the picture with many of them, ranging from one-on-one style “come hither for an ass kicking” face offs, to gangs of black-dressed guard-types diving into an onslaught. If you’ve seen Ten Dead Men, you’d note the ambitious backflips, stunt work and associated physical mayhem. Here, it’s dialed up further and slowed down where necessary. The action scenes are terrific.

Sadly, the same cannot be said for the script. Swathes of dialogue could easily have been excised to reduce the running time from its current 92 minutes down to an ultra accessible 80. But more than that, the running time isn’t the issue – it would tighten the lulls between the fights. And when the film lulls away from the action, it’s almost a near-parody of itself. Certain cast members, who will forever remain unnamed, are flat-out bad performers. They do look the part, for the most part, but some of the delivery is not on target.

It’s been shot on video, and a lot of blood, sweat and tears – particularly the latter – have obviously been employed to create this terribly ambitious movie. The latter of which has apparently fogged up the lens for the occasional out-of-focus shot. Obviously shot on a zero budget, this is precisely what has made it ambitious; Warrioress proves it is virtually impossible to craft something altogether near-perfect with a minimal budget. But that’s not to say it’s not a success. It is. I know I couldn’t pull this off; sticking to my middle-of-the-road dramas (one of which features Mr. Boyask in an extra capacity) is difficult enough, without having scantily clad Essex girls bouncing around and walloping each other in the nuts.

My last criticism are the accents of the characters. By turns awful and reasonably convincing – I said I’d return to the time this film was set – there is a none-too-subtle reminder that perhaps these characters, due to the nature of their accents, are possibly from 2009. Which unfortunately begs the question; when are the police going to get wind of them acting as medieval superstars and come and carry them away Monty Python and the Holy Grail style? Alas, ‘tis not the case. Warrioress is taking itself far too seriously for that. So seriously in fact, that around the midway point the movie employs its own musical song and dance segment courtesy of Ms. Fay. I acknowledge the intent of including this sequence but… sorry mate, that part flat-out doesn’t work for me.

If you’re an action junkie, and enjoy combat movies, I guarantee you will find a lot to enjoy here. On this kind of budget, and with this kind of determination, Boyask fancifully reveals that one can get REAL close to the real action article – and on that level, I enjoyed it.

Now, someone PLEASE give Ross a decent budget and take his pen away.

WARRIORESS is released on the 26th May 2014

 

Author: Andrew MacKay

Review: The Motel Life (Cinema)

Review: The Motel Life (Cinema)

Other Cr*p Uncategorized

The Review: I love it when the title of a film aptly sums up precisely how thrilling and entertaining the experience of sitting through it is like. Take The terminator, for examples, or perhaps even Twelve Angry Men (and RoboCop) – those two titles tell you what’s going to happen; gear you up for a giddy ride.
Then there’s shite like The Motel Life starring Emile Hirsch and Stephen Dorff, which does precisely the same. Only don’t be fooled by the title this time around; The Motel Life is much, much more boring.

The aforementioned superstars play brothers – in childhood they’re approximately the same age, and now in adulthood, it seems Dorff has gained about fifteen years on his sibling. A quick trip to the iMDB informs us that Dorff is a clear decade older than Hirsch. But it gets better – Hirsch is a clear decade older than his love interest played by Dakota Fanning, who for all intents and purposes (and especially in the America) is not quite at the requisite age yet for having been dumped a while ago by this loser and considering taking him back.

But anyway, I digress. The Mote Life is directionless twadlle. Dorff hits and kills a youngster with his dumpster truck – or something – and dumps the body on a frozen river and legs it. He tells his brother, and they decide to flee. But dickhead Dorff throws his toys out of his pram, feels sorry for himself, and shoots himself in the leg. His amputee leg. Oh dear.

In the hospital, and the cops are getting wise. Dorff now needs Hirsch to rescue him. I know, this all sounds like a Fargo-ish crime thriller, right?

WRONG.

This is dreary, slow-paced utter buffoonery which brings about memories of films far richer, certainly better written and infinitely more enjoyable than this pretentious piece of twattery. I rarely use the word “pretentious” around these here parts because it’s often misused. But here, I mean it sincerely. All this ‘action’ is punctuated by fatal halts in the ‘narrative’ flow to include animations of stories being told by Hirsch to…. well, whichever character will listen. This is a slam dunk deadbolt in the gears of a movie that has real trouble gargling its engine to roll past the 80 minute run time.

Dakota Fanning is haphazardly miscast as the love interest – but fair dos, she’s so underused anyway, it barely seems to matter. Hirsch on numerous occasions has eye drops bled into his tear ducts just before the directors shout action to ensure the tears are real. Dorff is… God knows what he is, but he is ‘it’ and then some. Annoying, I think is the word. It’d be quite fair to align The Motel Life to Of Mice and Men in more than a number of ways. My God this film is mind-numbingly tedious.

And this narcoleptic hogwash needed TWO directors? Ha. Yeah – one to read the newspaper, and the other to hold it up for him, no doubt. Yawn.

 

Reviewed By: Andrew MacKay

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Review: How To Make Money Selling Drugs (DVD/BR)

Review: How To Make Money Selling Drugs (DVD/BR)

Other Cr*p Uncategorized

The Review: Matthew Cooke, editor of Amy Berg’s incredible Deliver Us From Evil writes and directs this “does exactly what it says on the tin” expose that explores how any ordinary civilian can make it in the drug game.

At first – and for the majority of the run time – the film dresses itself up as levels of a video game, starting at “Level 1: Getting Started” all the way through to “Becoming a Cartel Lord”. Its slapdash nihilism in the treatment of customers and how to run your game is almost satirical. What it actually is, as we learn through the stages, is that it’s sarcasm dressed as propaganda. By the time we realise the driver of this vehicle is a staunch proponent of the legalisation of marijuana and, heck, any currently illegal drug, it’s all too late.

Frequently peppered by genuine former drug bods (including LAs Freeway Ricky Ross) and Florida’s multimillionaire Brian O’Dea, and with surprisingly frank revelations from Eminem, Susan Sarandon and 50 Cent – to name a mere handful – the film seems about as legit as you’d ever which for; a sort of Guerrilla Drug Dealer’s handbook. It comes as no surprise that each level also comes with its warnings; you will probably end up murdered or in jail, or become an informant – and the stakes invariably rise with each level.

It’s a cute, fascinating approach to the topic at hand, though: I can envisage some less fortunate members of society stumbling across this online or on television and treating it without even the slightest hint of satire or sarcasm.

How to make Money Selling Drugs is a fascinating watch, punctuated by some superb animation/text replete with statistics and charts, showing just how screwed we are in the Western world because of illegal narcotics. It zips along at a brisk pace. It may not come as a surprise, also, to know that Big Pharma in the States is among the final “levels”; that alcohol, tobacco and now all these virtually unpronounceable pharmaceuticals peddled to the great unwashed are the real enemy; that the “War on Drugs” is a self-facilitating licence to print money, and that the former DEA Agents and Uncle Sam raid-mongers have now left the game to set up opposition rallies to overthrow the real kingpins in charge: the government. It’s an argument put forth by the movie rather expertly – not least, the crowning achievement here is Cooke’s success in making all this information palatable for any cretin that may have sat down in front of this expecting it to be an extended YouTube tutorial for a fast buck.

The moral of the story? Stay away from drugs. Chase the cash, not the suitcase of white powder. Above all else, don’t get high on your own – or anyone else’s – supply. The risks aren’t worth it. Your chances of getting hit by shrapnel as a purely innocent civilian and surviving are far higher than if you enter the game at all. How to make Money Selling Drugs is a tale as old as the hills, telling us nothing new, effectively serving as a stark reminder of what is patently obvious to us already.

What it is, also, is an expertly handled and a real spotlight on Matthew Cooke’s expertise. I look forward to his next topic

 

Reviewed By: Andrew MacKay

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Review: Escape Plan (DVD/BR)

Review: Escape Plan (DVD/BR)

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The Review:  Former prosecutor Ray Breslin (Stallone) makes a living breaking out of maximum-security prisons and exposing any weaknesses in the buildings and operations. The CIA offers him a lucrative, hush-hush assignment to break out of a top-secret government prison, and Breslin takes the job against his better judgment. Breslin stages a mock arrest that veers off the rails when his captors destroy a hidden communications link to Breslin’s associates (Ryan and Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson). He awakens in a glass cell inside a windowless super-max prison, where warden Willard Hobbes (Caviezel) informs him that he will stay for the rest of his life. As planned, Breslin stages a fight and ends up in solitary, where he studies the prison structure. He befriends fellow inmates Javed (Faran Tahir) and Emil Rottmayer (Schwarzenegger) and begins planning his escape.

I can’t say I was particularly surprised by the narrative’s twists and turns, as the film practically labels its characters “Villain” or “Hero” in neon lights. Nevertheless, there is plenty of entertainment to be had watching Stallone, who has the most screen time, work his magic inside the prison. Breslin has done this for years and is quite infamous for breaking down procedures and seemingly inescapable security systems, much to the chagrin of those who paid big bucks to put them in place. He quickly notices seams around his mysterious cage, but must rely on Javed and Emil to move his jailbreak plans forward. The interior of the prison is nicely realized, and is a combination of sleek glass lines and futuristic S.W.A.T. gear.
The big action pieces are fairly generic, but Stallone and Schwarzenegger sell the man-to-man combat. Schwarzenegger’s character is used as comic relief, and the actor clearly enjoys hamming it up to scam his captors. The supporting cast does thankless work, but it’s always nice to see familiar faces in modest roles. Escape Plan never threatens to recreate Stallone and Schwarzenegger’s glory days, but it’s a definite improvement over their recent films.
In summary if you like a good action movie, with a 80s feel this is for you. For me this is worth a watch and Stallone and Schwarzenegger will have at worst al least entertained for the two hour duration.

 

Reviewed By: Julian Connelly

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Review: Fantastic Man (DVD/BR/Digital)

Review: Fantastic Man (DVD/BR/Digital)

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The Review:   You Need To Hear This is proud to present ‘Fantastic Man’ a documentary investigating Nigerian musician William Onyeabor, a man shrouded in mystery and myth. Directed by Jake Sumner (Alldayeveryday) the film tells the story of a label’s attempt to track William down, speaking to fans such as Damon Albarn, Caribou and Femi Kuti and travelling to Nigeria to meet those who’ve worked with him in a bid to uncover the truth about his story.

What is evident from the start is that William was a highly regarded musician, ahead of his time in every way.  There are a lot of questions asked in this documentary and a lot are left unanswered! A good example being where and how did he fund the purchase of the equipment he had and where would he have sourced this from, when you consider the time he was making records in. In the main as well he self funded his album releases.

I guess that in a large part the mystery that surrounds William is that he’s not wanting to be found, not wanting to be in the public spotlight. You get the feeling that the music was a small part of his life and he now does not want to walk this road again. He refuses interviews on more than one occasion, as do others in Nigeria. This is a well thought out and put together documentary, I believe it’s worth half an hour of everyone’s time, and covers the life and works of William Onyeabor in a good level of depth.

Reviewed By: Julian Connelly

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