Thursday, 23 July 2015

OJ's Movie Review - Ant-Man

Not bad, not bad at all.

So the final film of Phase 2 in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is Ant-Man; as some of you may know this film has been in production a long time and has had various troubles behind the scenes but how did it end up? Well for starters, the cast is brilliant; Paul Rudd is perfect as this everyman kinda guy who also is a bit of cat burgler, he has some great comedic lines and has good chemistry with the rest of the cast. Michael Douglas is an awesome Hank Pym, he does the dramatic moments excellently and even pulls off a few jokes too. All the other cast were great as well but I do have to mention Michael Peña, he delivers some of the best lines in the movie and is an all-round entertaining character.
  Next I'll come to the story. Much like the superhero himself, this plot is scaled down tremendously compared to the other films of the MCU. He's not unearthing a huge government conspiracy, he's not guarding the galaxy and he doesn't have to deal with an apocalyptic A.I. robot; Ant-Man is a heist movie which takes almost a civilian view of the rest of the world, and that's what makes this movie stand out I think. Of course you get references to the Avengers but this really does feel like a small event we're looking into, like a side mission in a game, and I enjoyed that.
   Being a Marvel movie the special effects would of course be top notch but Ant-Man goes beyond and has some really breathtaking visuals, the shrinking/growing effect is awesome and the shots of Ant-Man when he's small are so photo-realistic because they blur out all the background and it really does look you've entered this tiny world. The action sequences were pretty impressive as well, some of the best in the franchise, because of his powers they used some very clever ideas to make it very entertaining.
  Now for some of the negatives of the film. Mostly the first half; there were some clunky exposition scenes and it just seemed to go really slow in parts; of course they need to explain a lot to new audiences but for some, if you're not that interested or you already know it all then I've heard people call it boring. I for one wasn't bored at all but I did feel the need for the pace to get going a bit. Another negative was the villain; Yellowjacket was fine, he was awesome, menacing and cool to watch but the character controlling it, Darren Cross came across as bit ciche at times and just wasn't generally threatening as a person.
  In the end Ant-Man was very funny, very clever and one of the most unique films of the franchise. Be sure to smile at the obligatory Stan Lee cameo and stay through the credits all the way to the end. I give it...

9/10

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

OJ's Movie Review - Terminator Genisys

Terminator!....You know...again!

So one of the most referenced things in pop culture returns for it's fifth movie in the form of Terminator Genisys (with a Y). Schwarzenegger is back and joins a load of new cast in a new timeline doing old stuff in new ways. Basically, plot-wise, a Terminator was sent back in time to protect child Sarah Connor before the events of The Terminator and so when Kyle Reese is sent back in time to protect adult Sarah Connor it's all changed, and then of course - as you see in every piece of promotion for this film - John Connor goes back in time but is a Terminator-like being now. If you think that's confusing then....yeah, you're right, it is. As a whole this film does not feel like a Termiantor film, a lot of the opening does but for the majority it's just a fun, action-packed, sci-fi movie that in some places feels a little jumbled. It doesn't run smooth all the time, it goes from a giant action piece to a weird comedy skit with ironic music and then a suspenseful part and individually they're all really entertaining but it just doesn't fit a lot of the time.
   All the actors are great in it, Arnie does the famous killer robot brilliantly for a fourth time and Emilia Clarke does well not only acting but is some eye candy if you get bored of the plot; Jai Courtney is pretty good too but doesn't have the widest acting range of all time and Jason Clarke plays a good villain. Two people who were also in it I felt odd with, the first being J.K. Simmons who is a fantastic actor is misused as an almost bumbling old guy who is a third-party observer to all the events; and then Matt(hew) Smith is actually really good but his American accent kept taking me out of the film somewhat, can't see why they couldn't have kept him British.
   Special effects were all top-noch too, especially the opening scenes and the climactic battle. All-in-all although it was fun, entertaining and set up one or two points in case there is a sequel, it did have a few fan-fiction vibes and if you haven't seen the other films then... you really are gonna be stuck for at least half the movie. I give it...

6/10

Thursday, 18 June 2015

OJ's Movie Review - Jurassic World

I've been waiting for 14 years, some people have been waiting for 22, well...now its here.

Jurassic World, finally the fourth Jurassic film is in cinemas. It's about a new theme park that finally realized John Hammond's dream of a dinosaur zoo; but because its now been open a while people are starting to get bored and so they create a new dinosaur mixing various DNA.
   Now let's start off with the good stuff. The world building is amazing, you go round this theme park and you believe this could be a real attraction, the way they show off buildings and exhibits its like a Disneyland promotional video so I really liked that. The whole look of Jurassic World was just really nice visually. Another thing I enjoyed was the new dinosaur itself, called Indominus Rex; it looked powerful, creepy and threatening every time you saw it; its abilities were also interesting and so it was great addition to the franchise and it contributes to my most favourite part of the film which was the third act - a real gem of a sequence in there. Of course, Jurassic World is a sequel and it knows it; although there were only a few references to the first film in the dialogue, and something special which I won't spoil, most of it's callbacks were through the music which sounded awesome. The soundtrack fits so well in the franchise its amazing, some of the beats, some of the instruments definitely were inspired to not only Jurassic Park but I think I heard The Lost World in there also which was fun. But the callbacks didn't stop there, which brings me to the negatives...
  Jurassic Park had a lot of iconic scenes and in Jurassic World it recreated one or two which gave you some nostalgia and you smiled at the obvious reference, but then it did it again, and then some more and it started to teeter on the edge of ripping-off; thankfully I don't think it did but I did have quite few moments where I noticed and was like "Wait, that looks just like...". So if you haven't seen the first film or not seen it in a long time, you might feel out of the loop when the shot builds to something you know should be important. Another thing that I wasn't a fan of was that there was too many characters; this film is flooded with various characters who all have their own back-story and B plot that it sometimes drags away from the main thing; the two kids for instance were given a line of back-story which was never touched upon again and the human antagonists were basically there to leave strands for a sequel. There was just a lot of unnecessary story.
   In the end, Jurassic World is a fun film. It's entertaining to watch but it just doesn't have the charm and wit of Jurassic Park, it tends to fall more into monster-movie somewhat which is fine, but just so long as you expect a cliché or two and some very cheesy scenes (such as catching a fly in mid air with your hand). But seriously though, it was great to go back to this franchise!

8/10

Monday, 8 June 2015

OJ's Movie Reviews - Jurassic Park 2 & 3

I already reviewed the first Jurassic Park when it came out in 3D, so now in preparation for Jurassic World I'll look back on the not-so-fan-favourite sequels.

After one of the most popular blockbusters of all time Steven Spielberg adapted the second novel,The Lost World: Jurassic Park. It brings back the character of Ian Malcom played brilliantly by Jeff Goldblum and goes to the Site B of Jurassic Park with a team to study how the dinosaurs have been living since the disaster of '93. Although not as good as the first film, The Lost World isn't actually that bad; the special effects and animatronics still hold up to today creating some convincing dinosaurs both with the old favourite's T-Rex and raptors and a whole bunch of new ones. Also the soundtrack I really enjoyed as well, John Williams is one of the best composers in the business and here he creates some memorable scores again.  As regards to the plot, it can be a bit jumbled at times and some of the pacing is off but it's fun to see the locations they go to on the island and of course who didn't love that Tyrannosaurus rampaging through San Diego? Overall in my opinion it is my least favourite of the franchise but it doesn't deserve a lot of the hate it gets.

Next up we have Jurassic Park III which has original character Alan Grant take a couple of people on what he thinks is a tour of site B; obviously all does not go well and they get stuck on the island. Although the plot has little complexity to it and is basically a slasher-film with dinosaurs, I really enjoy Jurassic Park III. I think it has more of an abandoned facility feel than the second film did with all the over-grown jungle visuals and sets; these work really well when showing the super-intelligent raptors which make for some thrilling and suspenseful scenes. And yes, I love the Spinosaurus! I know people hate the fact it killed a T-Rex but I think the addition of the Spino makes this film more unique and diverse. In the end it's the sort of film you can sit back with some popcorn, turn your brain off and watch dinosaurs eating people.

So those are my thoughts on the two sequels and you can read my review of the first movie by clicking here.

Thursday, 28 May 2015

OJ's TV Review - The Flash season 1

See! Not every DC property has to be dark and gloomy!


So The Flash is a spin-off from Arrow and is about this guy Barry Allen who can run fast and with the help of some scientist friends becomes the superhero the Flash! I really enjoyed when he first showed up in Arrow season 2 and again I enjoyed watching him here.
    Grant Gustin does a great job in his role, his performance was very entertaining during all the comedic, emotional and action scenes; a really good casting choice. Talking of cast, another great role is Tom Cavanagh as Harrison Wells, he was a such an interesting character to watch, I really did love all of his scenes. My favourite character was Cisco though, probably because I related most to him being a geek and I laughed at all his movie references. Joe West was also enjoyable to watch, he was basically the common sense of the show, he gave great advice, he reacted to things the same way any normal person would, he just seemed like a great father-figure and our eyes into this world.
     Plot-wise it was mostly your freak-of-the-week deal where they dealt with a new meta-human every week but I enjoyed it anyway, it worked for this kind of premise and allowed the series to show off Barry's various abilities. The overall arc was really engaging too and came to an epic, emotional, and downright entertaining conclusion; one of the best finale's I've seen in a long time.
    The special-effects weren't too bad either, you had the odd obvious CGI moment but for the most part, the Flash's running effect, the meta-human's abilities and the final scenes of last episode all looked great.
  The Flash really is a fun science-fiction drama; it goes to show that you don't have to make all your heroes depressingly dark and edgy, it can be fun and colourful without crossing over into cheesy (although The Flash did not outrun some cheesy lines). I cannot wait for season 2 and hope the spin-off Legends of Tomorrow will be as good.

9/10

Thursday, 21 May 2015

OJ's TV Review - Arrow season 3

Back for a third run is our hero Batman, I mean Arrow!


As you probably know already, Arrow is about vigilante Oliver Queen and his team of friends tacking down criminals in their city. Now, Arrow is known for it's mystery, season one had a twist in almost every episode, but for some reason this season seemed to loose that. It didn't really have much for you to try and figure out at all. There was sort of an on-going case to begin with where they had to solve a murder but that was resolved before even mid-season. Mostly it was your bad guy-of-the-week format and then a story arc involving new villian Ra's al Ghul, which was OK and entertaining enough, just no mysteries which is what made Arrow so good.
    Of course every season has lengthy flashbacks to five years in the past to see what Oliver was up to while away from Starling City, and this time instead of being on a cool island...he's in Hong Kong. After watching the the full season, I definitely preferred when he was on the island, this just didn't seem as interesting and by the end it only amounted to a weak connection to the present day events of the final episode.
   Other than that, Arrow continued to be action packed, have awesome characters and this time it was fun catching all the references to The Flash and the like.

 6/10



Saturday, 16 May 2015

OJ's TV Review - Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 2

Coulson and his team are back! Well, they added some new people and technically one old member left... also Coulson isn't really feeling himself, so... S.H.I.E.L.D. is back!...oh wait.


As you know, the first season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was not great, only getting better in the final
episodes; thankfully this season continued on it's path of better quality as it is now actually a pretty decent show.
  Since the events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier Coulson has collected a few more team mates and is running special little missions as a secret S.H.I.E.L.D. organization; which is cool to see them as this special task-force in contrast to the big shiny S.H.I.E.L.D. we all used to know. Unlike the first season, this one doesn't do the whole different-case-every-week format, I mean it does have those kinds of episodes but for the most part it's story arcs influence the events which makes it flow nicely and very entertaining as the mystery and revelations make it worth it. It of course had a mid-season break so two different story arcs which are connected but still very different entities, both of which I enjoyed seeing play out.
  Character wise, I loved what they did with them. Fitz & Simmons had a great arc exploring the relationship they have, Skye had a huge role in things and was the main focus of more than a few episodes, we got to see a bit more about what kind of background Melinda May had so the original team were excellent. Three new members joined, one of which was Mac, he was good in his role moving the characters to do certain things when the plot needed; the others were Bobbi and Lance, I enjoyed those two a lot and were very well-defined characters. The only people I weren't as impressed with were Coulson, unfortunately he's quite a bit far from the fan favourite when he showed up in the movies, now because he has so many problems and worries it brings his character to a more serious and sometimes uninteresting personality. Grant Ward as well, although was a really cool character to watch, he had an odd story in the second half of the season which I was not a fan of.
  In the end, the second run of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has vastly improved and look forward to it's future!

7.5/10