Monthly Archives: July 2016

The Forest


Why would anyone choose to go into some creepy woods? Obviously people who don’t realise they are in a horror movie.

When American Sara (Natalie Dormer) is told her twin sister Jess (also Dormer) is missing persumed dead while she was in Japan, Sara sets off to Japan to find her. When her search leads her to the Aokigahara forest, a notorious suicide site, Sara enters the forest hoping to find Jess. However she soons starts seeing disturbing things, is it something supernatural in the forest?

The Aokigahara forest is a real place and a well known suicide spot. I read about the forest in Sarah Lotz novel The Three and it sounded like a really creepy and distrubing place. Unfortunately The Forest fails to make anything scary out of a naturally creepy area. All the  jump scares fall flat and as they are the main source of attempted scares in this movie it’s not a great move. Then there is the bad CGI and lack of good ideas in the script.

If there’s one thing in the film’s favour it’s lead actress Natalie Dormer who tries to elevate the material she’s given, but it’s an uphill struggle and she can’t save the film.

If you want some real scares then do some reading on the Aokigahara forest or read Sarah Lotz’s The Three (where I first heard about this forest) which fetaures Aokigahara forest as a subplot to her story.

Rating 1.5/5 – perfectly watchable but devoid of actual scares


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Star Trek Beyond

Star Trek Beyond

It’s been 7 years since Star Trek was rebooted with an alternate timeline, now with the third of the new Trek films around does the films still boldly go where no one else has gone before?

The crew of the Enterprise are three years into their five year mission where they are sent to rescue a ship is stranded on an abandoned planet. However when the Enterprise fall under attack, the splintered crew must find each other and battle against an enemy with a personal vengeance against StarFleet.

I really enjoyed Star Trek and Star Trek Into Darkness (although not so much on repeated viewings in the case of Into Darkness) so it was a relief that I completly enjoyed watching Star Trek Beyond. Some people had doubts when JJ Abrams left and was replaced by Fast & Furious director Justin Lin but Lin is also a big Star Trek fan so it turns out the film was in good hands.

Beyond has some fantastic action scenes, with the destruction of the Enterprise being a highlight. The script by Simon Pegg and Doug Jung also gives some humour and nice one liners (and surprisingly Pegg doesn’t give them all to himself) while also splits the crew to give us some different dynamics then the other films gave us. I was glad to see “Bones” McCoy (Keith Urban) given more to do this time around and it was nice to see a more mature version of Kirk (Chris Pine), pondering his future and wondering who is the man he wants to be. Newcomer Jaylah (Sofia Boutella)also makes a nice addition to the team.

I must have been living under a rock because I did not hear about Sulu (John Cho) being gay until I saw the film. While there has been lots of controversy and opinions flying about over this, I personally think it’s great that in it’s 50th year Star Trek finally has an LGBT character, and giving Sulu a family gives him more of an emotional depth.

Anton Yelchin

Watching the film at times was quite sad though whenever Chekov (Anton Yelchin) appeared on screen. The 27 year old actor died earlier this year and the film is dedicated to him and Leonard Nimoy who passed away pre-production. It’s been confirmed that Chekov will not be recasted in any further films so this is the last will see of sweet, lovely, Checkov.

So it may not be boldly giving us somehting extreamly new, but Star Trek Beyond is an exciting popcorn movie.

Rating 4/5 – exciting and action packed as well as a loving tribute to Yelchin and Nimoy


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Ghostbusters (2016)


Like a lot of people I’m not a huge fan of Hollywood remakes of classic movies. Why not just create something original? However the onslaught of abuse director Paul Feig and the cast of the new Ghostbusters movies got when the remake was announced was insane. I, however didn’t have a problem with an all female cast taking the reigns of this reboot and as the trailer looked quite funny (the opposite of the opinion of Youtube) I decided to give it a shot.

When New York City starts experiencing supernatural ghostly attacks, it’s up to Abby (Melissa McCarthy), Erin (Kristen Wiig), Jillian (Kate McKinnon) and Patty (Leslie Jones)-aka the Ghostbusters- to catch the ghosts.

Considering all the negatives vibes directed towards this movie, Ghostbusters is much better than the naysayers would have you believe. It’s four female leads all work well together and are an instantly likeable and funny bunch. They all have their distinct personalities and the script seems to play to their strengths. If I had to single out one for priase then Wig’s uptight but increasingly badass Erin was the one I enjoyed the most, but all of the cast get their moments to shine. Also a revalation is Chris Hemsworth in a supporting role as dim receptionist Kevin. Turns out as well as being ridiculously good looking he’s also hilarious too.

While Ghostbusters is a great movie it’s not the classic that it so wants to be. For one thing it is a bit too concerned with cameos from the surviving actors of the first movie. A tighter plot and a better villian would also help.

Hopefully the film will soon be remembered for being better than your normal remake and not for the controversy and insults directed to it’s director and it’s actresses. Come on people, it’s 2016 we should be above hurling sexist and racist abuse at each other!

Rating 3.5/5 – if you’re looking for an amusing supernatural comedy you’d do worse then calling on the new Ghostbusters


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Rapid Review: Absolutely Fabulous – The Movie


Eddy and Patsy are back in their own movie! When a failed attempt to get Kate Moss signed to her PR company ends up in the model’s death, Eddy (Jennifer Saunders) finds herself on the run with her best friend Patsy (Joanne Lumley). Can they escape all their trouble in the South of France?

I love the tv show Absolutely Fabulous and Eddy and Patsy are iconic comedy creations. The move to the big screen is mostly successful with the Eddy and Patsy’s antics still creating lots of laughs. Sometimes the film feels a bit too stretched for a full length feature and might have been better if it was edited down to an extended episode.  Also at times the film is a bit too obssessed with it’s celebrity cameos.

Rating 3/5 – not quite fabulous but absolutely fun

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Rapid Review: Central Intelligence


Back at high school Calvin (Kevin Hart) was the popular jock voted most likely to succeed, whereas Bobby Weirdicht (Dwayne Johnson) was an overwieght, lonely kids who was constantly bullied by the other kids. The only one who was nice to him was Calvin, who once helped him out after their classmates pranked Booby in front of the whole school. Twenty years later Calvin meets Bobby again-now going by the name Bob Stone. But this freindly reunion is more than it seems, as Bobby is a CIA agent and needs Calvin’s help to clear his name.

There are probably going to be a lot of people who think this film is really stupid but I found it really funny. The movie’s strength is casting Dwayne Johnson and allowing him to really go for it as the physically tough but otherwise sensative and overly caring Bob. Whether it’s his love of Unicorns or his ongoing admiration of his ‘best bud’ Calvin, Bob is an instantly loveable character and Johnson is hilarious. The action scenes are quite fun, whether it’s Bob fighting Bourne style with unusual weapons such as a banana or Calvin unwittingly fighting against CIA agents.

Perhaps at times Hart can be a bit overshadowed-performance wise- compared to Johnson’s insanely fun character. Towards the end the film also starts to feel like it’s dragging out it’s running time too much with it’s plot around finding the film’s baddie-the Black Badger.

Rating 3.5/5 – a side-splitting turn from Johnson helps makes Central Intelligence an enjoyable and undemanding summer comedy


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Independance Day: Resurgence


The first Independance Day is a classic distaster movie with great turns from the likes of Will Smith, Jeff Goldblum and Bill Pullman. After the world has been waiting forever for a sequel we finally get one. But can it be anywhere near as good as the original?

Set twenty years after the events of the first movie, Earth has used the alien technology left from the last attack to prepare themselves for any future event. When the aliens return (surprise, surprise on Independance Day-again) Earth (or America) has to fight back against an emeny that is more deadly and more prepared than ever before.

Independance Day was huge box office hit back in 1996 and is looked on quite fondly by audiences. Yes it’s cheesy as hell and can be quite silly but it is also huge fun and visually very good. It also had some great actors working their asses off to make the film as good as possible. Resurgence is a huge disapointment in comparison.

Ok so it was probably never going to live up to the original movie, but I had hopes that maybe Resurgence would be an enjoyable sequel. Unfortunately returning director Roland Emmerich has sucked out all the fun from this film, instead trying to go for a tonally darker movie and added new, younger characters that are barely fleshed out beyond their sterotypes. Now I know sterotypes and cliches are practically synonymous with disaster movies but if you don’t have a sense or humour or charisma with it then it becomes a bit of a chore to watch. Actors need the charm of someone like, say Will Smith (such a pity he didn’t return-or perhaps very smart of him) to make characters like this work.

At least the movie brings back Goldblum and Pullman for the Sequel. However while Goldblum adapts better to the sequel, Pullman feels wasted. His intial scenes as the tormented and unwell former President seem interesting but he soon seems dragged down by the story. Of the new cast Travis Tope stood out-in a good way-as Charlie, the comic relief and sidekick to the dull hero Jake (Liam Hemsworth). Hemsworth normally displays a bit more personality than this in his films but seems rigid as the reckless but obviously still heroic Jake. Maika Monrow as the former President’s daughter Patricia Whitmore also seems to be phoning it in (and I know she can do much better as seen in the horror It Follows). Jessie Usher comes off the worst as Dylan the son of Will Smith character, I’m not sure if it’s the writing or his performance but Usher comes off as the most wooden of all the newbies.

It’s not just the characters that are the issue, the visuals too are not that good. I’m not sure how the movie could possibly live up to the original’s iconic scenes of blowing up the White House but I thought Resurgence would look a lot better than this. Instead so many things look so obviously CGI it’s distracting.

At the climax of the movie we can see them setting up to build a franchise for more Indpendance Day movies. All I can think is, please don’t.


(And is it just me or does the subtitle  Resurgence make anyone else think it should belong to the Divergent/ Insuregnce/Alligence movies?)

Rating 2/5 -They had twenty years to write this. And this is all they could come up with.

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Rapid Review: Love and Friendship

love and friendship

Jane Austen’s 6 novels have all been mined for their movie potential but there’s only so many times you can rework the same novels. So Director Whit Stillman instead adapts Austen’s short novel Lady Susan. But can it bring the same type of success as her established stories?

In the 18th Century the widowed Lady Susan (Kate Beckinsale) tries to find a husband for her daughter (Morfydd Clark) while also setting her sights on the young Reginald DeCourcy (Xavier Samuel).

Manipulative and calculating Lady Susan is quite unlike any other Austen heroine and she’s a pure delight. While she may be more devious than her other protagonists you can hear Austen’s wit and intelligence in Lady Susan’s words. Beckinsale normally leaves me cold in a lot of her movies but Love and Friendship shows that if you give her a meaty role then Beckinsale will knock it out the park. The rest of the cast is great, particularly Chloe Sevigny as Lady Susan’s American friend Alicia but it’s really Beckinsale’s show and you can tell she relishes playing such an unrepenting character.

Rating 4/5 – witty and smart with a deliciously unrepenting lead character


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The Conjuring 2

The Conjuring 2 pic

In 2013 James Wan’s supernatural horror The Conjuring, based on a case by real life paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren, was a box office hit. Now the Warrens return with another real life case they investigated. But can it produce the same spooky success?

In 1977 London, the Hodgson family encounter strange disturbances in their house, particularly centred around the second daughter Janet (Madison Wolfe). When the ghostly happenings become too much they reach out for help which eventually this leads to Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga) travelling to London. But can they save the family before it’s too late and will they put themselves at risk too?

Before I give my review on the movie I have to say that my viewing of the movie was hampered by the most noisiest people ever in the cinema. Coming in late, eating so loudly and constant talking for the first twenty minutes of the movie. It did spoil the tension somewhat. Luckily they did quieten down after a while which allowed me to settle into the scares.

Like the first movie The Conjuring 2 is good at building a suspenseful atmosphere and embodying dread at every turn. There are plenty of jump scares but they are mostly used effectively. Some of the best scares are in the simplest scenes like in Lorraine’s dreams, but they also help advance the plot. The film is also better when using practical effects and the few times that CGI is used it’s is unconvincing.

The series other strengths is Farmiga and Wilson as the Warrens. Its refreshing having a nice, normal (ish), happily married couple as protagonists, and they are a pair that you want to root for. Newcomer Wolfe is also good as the tormented Janet. Its not quite up to the standard of the first movie but the Warrens’ extensive case files are ripe for a movie franchise.

Rating 3.5/5 – a good summer scare, as long as the audience isn’t too distracting!


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