Thursday, 24 July 2014

OJ's Movie Review - Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

This movie is actually the definition of intense.

I've been looking forward to this film for while, back when I watched Rise of the Planet of the Apes I thought that it was such a well made movie and looked forward to where it was going. Now I finally get to see what has become of Ceaser and his tribe, and boy did I.  Dawn starts off showing us an average day in this society the apes have built up in the last 10 years; and that just to start off was fascinating, the shots you see, the feel of it all is just unlike anything you've ever seen. Soon after you start getting the plot, the humans need to get to a big dam to restore power but the forest of the apes blocks their way. Now through the various interactions between apes and humans you are holding your breath just hoping for both their sakes every single meeting between them goes well, you can feel the power of such a sight of these apes and how scary they must be; even within the ape tribe itself you see trust issues start with one of the apes - the incredibly freaky-looking Koba. You can also see from the humans apocalyptic camp how they're getting so desperate you know that the climax isn't going to be nice. Now with this story you may start predicting certain events but after jut a few more scenes you realise the plot is going a completely different way, there were most definitely a few surprises in there for me, so as whole, the storyline was fantastic. The actors themselves, well, who can fault Andy Serkis, the king of motion-capture does an excellent job, I love how realistic this apes moved and look, just great; the humans although weren't bad actors I just wasn't as involved in their lives as I was the apes, I had been with Ceaser longer so these new people we had to like just were OK, not bad but nothing special.  Of course I have to touch on the special effects, the CGI in this movie was out of this world, some of the things you see I probably couldn't distinguish between physical prosthetics. The feel and tone of this film is so unique you come out the cinema thinking 'wow'. The only critique I have is probably that there are one or two cliché events or lines of dialogue but in the end Dawn of the Planet of the Apes was AWESOMENESS.

Thursday, 10 July 2014

OJ's Movie Review - Transformers: Age of Extinction

I think I may be watching this franchise just out of habit now.

So after the first three Transformer films we were told that was it, end of a trilogy but nope, here is yet another Transformers. Now I really didn't like the last one, Dark of the Moon I thought was just a bad movie in general and didn't really want to see any more, but then like many others I hear of the cast change and I like Mark Wahlberg so I decided to give this a try. First off, this movie goes to some very different places than what we've seen, not only does it feel different because of the cast but the concepts and ideas that they touch on or imply change this franchise drastically; although I still think the first movie is the best out of them all this movie has elements that seem to be headed on the right track, there aren't really any generic giant robots that are used as cannon fodder, this movie, like the first, gives you defined recognisable characters, both heroes and villains. The new Autobots had their own personalities and the main villain had an interesting character; then there's the humans, Wahlberg was great in his role and his family were an enjoyable group to watch, Stanley Tucci was awesome and even Kelsey Grammer was a good government baddie. The comedy has improved too, like the first movie I genuinely laughed at some of the jokes, I mean you still get some Michael Bay unrealistic humour which is a bit awkward but what do you expect. Now that brings me to some negative points, it is after all a Michael Bay Transformers movie, the explosions are over-the-top I mean to the point where you think every battle is the climax, way to much. And then there's that thing that the third movie started doing and that was giving the robots saliva and blood. I mean so it's supposed to be oil or alien liquid but what robots vomit or spit? It's a problem I find annoying anyway. By the way there are two plots in this film, the main one about this alien bounty hunter/pirate, I didn't mind, the second one about some secret science project I wasn't a fan of, it seemed a bit unnecessary and then they did a twist near the end which I was not a fan of so yeah, Transformers: Age of Extinction is still very much like the others and even 20 minutes of Dinobots didn't help; the first act was brilliant and then it started to go downhill but in the end it left open some intriguing plot points and IT WAS OK-.

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

OJ Movie Reviews - Transformers 1, 2, & 3

Well Michael Bay's fourth installment of his robotic franchise comes out this month so I've decided to review the previous three.

To start off we'll go straight to 2007's Transformers, I went to see this at the cinema with my dad and a few others and basically we loved it. The dialogue was funny, the action was awesome to watch, the story was nice and solid, characters seemed real, it was just a really fun movie, I enjoyed everything about it from start to end; so there are a few mistakes, but what movie doesn't? I bought it straight on DVD when it came out and I still have it now. Two years later and I watch a trailer to it's sequel...
  Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen arrived in 2009 and I once again saw it at the cinema and came away feeling slightly disappointed, although it was not as good as the first it was still an enjoyable watch; the humor varied to weather it was funny or not, the villain was evilly cool looking but was weak character-wise, and the action was more exaggerated which took away from the movie somewhat - so apart from some annoying side-characters (I'm looking at you Skids and Mudflap) the movie wasn't as terrible as some critics make it out to be. The third movie however...
  Finally in 2011 we got Transformers: Dark of the Moon. It was supposed to be the epic finale of it all, ending a trilogy so of course you had to up the stakes and they did that by basically getting hundreds more Decepticons and tech, trying to destroy Earth and giving Shia LaBeouf a new girlfriend. This film was really a mess, the first half was bit rocky, didn't quite know what it was doing with mixing some dark Apollo 11 plot and awkward, bland jokes that just didn't work, the second half of the film you struggled to keep an eye on what was going on, so much destruction, special effects, death, explosions, it was mess, and although it does have an Avengers/Dark Knight Rises kind of vibe and visuals it's nothing compared to those. And for some reason getting Leonard Nemoy to voice one of the baddies means you have to stick as many Star Trek references and quotes as you can into it.  Poor, poor film-making.
  In the end it went from good to average, to dire. I hope Transformers: Age of Extinction will be better with the new cast as the trailers make it look quite new and interesting.

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

OJ's Game Review - Pause Ahead

So like my last game review this is another indie PC game you can play online. It does come with a warning though: "This game may be quite difficult. Play at your own risk!"

  Pause Ahead is a very clever game designed by Tadakuni Amano which uses clever concepts to complete the game. It's a platform game and has many levels including some secret ones you have to find. It also has a story too it, as the description says: 'You’ve woken up in a strange place with the eerie feeling that you’ve been here before. Conquer the treacherous traps by running, jumping and using your power of pausing to get ahead. Just remember: once you pause, there is nothing you can do to change your path. Let the chips fall where they may. Hopefully not directly onto a spike.' The tone of the game is quite creepy and very well done. The graphics are 8bit so you get an old style visual as well. And as for the gameplay, well sometimes it can be surprisingly easy and other times it can frustrate you to death. Along the way you can unlock up to 20 achievements and find some cool stuff. It's been likened to the game Portal a lot and people have even said they'd buy it if it was on Steam. In the end I thought this little game was a 8/10 - I'D PLAY IT AGAIN.


Thursday, 5 June 2014

OJ's Movie Review - X-Men: Days of Future Past

Do you realize that since the release of the first X-Men film both Spider-Man and Superman have been rebooted, twice?

First it was a trilogy, then there was a prequel, and then a separate prequel, and then a spin-off from the trilogy and now we have... a reboot? X-Men: Days of Future Past is the 7th movie in the X-Men franchise, a franchise that's been on our screens for fourteen years; it's had some ups, it's had some downs, but it has certainly been a unique series. This year we get to see not only the original cast but also the refreshed younger cast. Of course the film involves time travel but this time it's quite different from mainstream sci-fi time travel, the movie doesn't dwell on it too much, if at all; the main focus is definitely the characters, I noticed two or three times that it showed more character interactions and dialogue than previous X-Men films, I mean of course there are the fight sequences and the big special effect scenes but the story definitely drove it a lot. Talking of the story I heard going in that this movie fixed every continuity error of the past films and was like a huge refresh; now after seeing it I was a bit taken back by how they did it; they do in a sense fix all the problems but in quite a big way, that's all I'll say not going into spoilers. One thing that did fascinate me with the movie was the look and feel, the parts set in the future, although not many, were for me the highlight, they were the most action-packed and the most emotional; the past has those things too but not as strong I don't think, although I did enjoy when they made it look like scenes were filmed on an old 70's camera. Obviously it was great seeing all the cast again and each one did a fantastic role, Hugh Jackman will always own Wolverine and although he took a bit more of a backseat in this one he still is entertaining to watch. In the end, I don't think it is the best X-Men film ever but I'D SEE IT AGAIN.

Sunday, 1 June 2014

OJ's Movie Review - Godzilla

Story, visual effects and all-round feel of the movie have improved drastically since the 1998 version, but still fans aren't happy?

When I first heard they were remaking Godzilla I thought to myself that the Roland Emmerich one wasn't too bad and that there were better films to be made. Of course I was using memories from my childhood sitting on the sofa watching a huge dinosaur-thing smashing around New York. Come to 2014 though and through various leaks, posters, announcements etc. I'm starting to get into the Zilla mood, and then one day I saw the teaser trailer. The best trailer I've ever sen in my life. That brought me on board for definite. So after seeing the movie and hearing how divided the fans are I was a tad disappointed, not by the movie, just how many didn't like it. To me this new Godzilla was a very atmospheric movie, the feel of it can sometimes send shivers down your spine, the sounds it creates and the music by far make it what it is. The film also grounds itself into realism too, don't go in expecting Pacific Rim, this is very different regarding execution, it doesn't show Godzilla every five minutes, it focuses a lot on the human story, almost as if the giant destructive forces of nature now appearing were like a back-drop. That I think that is where it lost a lot of its fans; I myself thought it was interesting way to go and didn't mind it. Don't get me wrong you do see full shots of Godzilla and what he does which are some of the best scenes in cinema, the CGI is barley worth mentioning as of course it's going to be fantastic. As a film critic though I do have to share my negative points and that was that one or two times there are instances where unrealistic things happen concerning locating a massive creature (or lack of) which do take you out of the movie. Other than that and what I would say quite an abrupt ending Godzilla 2014 was TIME WELL SPENT.

Monday, 26 May 2014

OJ's TV Review - Arrow season 2

Couldnt work out if Arrow fell into sci-fi? Well now you have your answer.

The first series of Arrow was quite enjoyable, the plot was mysterious enough to keep me interested but didn't drag on enough to annoy me. The same carries on into its second run but much better! Obviously a lot had to have changed since the season 1 finale and it goes into much more depth on a lot of the characters. The individual plots I think have gotten better and its fun to catch all the DC easter eggs it references for you; there are definitly a few episodes which flesh out certain characters which makes you all the more invested into what happens to them. The over all story arc is different from the last one in the way that it involves both present day and the flashbacks to past to create a long backstory. Nearing the finale it kept getting more intense and rested at a satisfying conclusion. In season 2 we got to meet the whole reason I started watching Arrow and that was the Flash; he does indeed appear (not yet with powers) and I loved all of his scenes, I hope more crossovers will be done as his spin-off series does look brilliant. In the end Oliver Queen's second year as the Arrow is TIME WELL SPENT.