Monthly Archives: July 2013

Pacific Rim (2013)

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Synopsis

War rages on between humans and vile beings from another dimension, hell bent on destroying everything we hold dear. Ex pilot, Raleigh, and enthusiastic trainee, Mako, have to forge an unlikely partnership when it matters most.

First Half Review

A movie about giant robots beating the shit out of each other. What could go wrong…. Now, now, now, this isn’t going to be a Michael Bay vs. Del Toro. Unfortunately. 

But if it’s not where’s the fun people are already and have been debating how can people like Del Toros over Bays. Easy. It’s not a fucking mess of a cluster-fuck there is differentiation between the robots and the humans don’t get in the way of the fighting.

This is what the transformers movies should have been like. Granted it’s not without it’s faults the story is threadbare. The acting hammy at best. The dialogue rivals anything by George Lucas. But it’s a film about giant robots beating the shit out of giant aliens, what were you expecting, Oscar worthy speeches? Dramatic life realisations. It knows what it has to do and that’s entertain and it does. The plot may fall apart as soon as you look at it but again it’s just meant to be fun and a lot of people are on there high horses and forget that this is what movies are about. That for 2 hours of your life you can escape from all that shit going on and lose yourself in a movie. Whether it be an epic about a historical figure, a movie about a kid who gets 3 wishes. They all have there jobs and this one does it.

The main difference between this and transformers is that as i said Transformers focuses too much on the humans and not enough on the Autobots/Decepticons. The explosions are big and bombastic but there’s no urgency about them. And lastly, you can’t tell the difference between the damn things.

Second Half Review

When I saw the trailers for this movie first, I was kinda intrigued. The first trailer didn’t really divulge too much and the whole mystery of the movie whetted my appetite. The second trailer, however, did not. It proved that this movie was exactly what i was hoping it wouldn’t be; big, brash and full of explosions.

In saying that though, this movie honestly wasn’t as bad as I was expecting. It’s plot is almost invivisble and its dialogue is downright cringey at times, but the movie itself is interesting. It’s original content. No “source material” to stray from, no legions of fans to bear witness to. It’s not a movie being churned out for the sole purpose of providing a sequel.

Our story starts with our hero, Raleigh, giving a brief history of the war with the Kaiju. The Kaiju are inter dimensional beings that wreck untold havoc on coastal cities. They spawn from the Rift, a place deep within the Pacific Ocean. Mankind’s only hope, we are told, is in the colossal Jaeger robots, who do battle with the Kaiju where ever they emerge.

Sometimes this can feel a little like a Power Rangers movie, but the effects are spectacular in this movie. There is no point watching it in which I recall noting “That is such a lame/cheap-ass effect”. The battles are stunning and the city-scapes are exactly how I imagine a black market Hong Kong to look like.

As I have mentioned, the dialogue is a little off at times. It’s stilted and sometimes feels as if the actors are purposefully engaging in the tropes that surround action movies. The tight arse general with a tainted past, the young woman  who desperately wants to prove herself, and a hero with a tragic back story. All of these, and more, are to be found within this movie.

The shoe horned in “love story” has absolutely no merit at all for the overall story, which is pretty threadbare to begin with. The characters have no depth to them and so it is hard to feel happy or sad for them at the appropriate times.

In saying all of this though, I would still see it if you can. It’s a brainless action movie with a story that is slightly different to others this summer. At least you can be impressed with the absolutely awesome special effects.

First Half TL;DR – Gipsy Danger is GO!

Second Half TL; DR – War. War never changes. Except for Ron Perlman. Digging those shoes.

 

 

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The Heat (2013)

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Synopsis

Sarah Ashburn is a good FBI agent. Smart, quick and very intelligent,  she should be a dead cert for the upcoming promotion in her field office. However,  her social skills leave a lot to be desired. She gets teamed up with mad cap, ballsy and brave,  Boston Police Detective Shannon Mullins. Together they form an unlikely duo as they take down a ruthless drug lord.

Review

I wasn’t expecting much from this movie,  if I’m honest. It looks vacant and messy and just… meh from the trailer. The kind of movie I wouldn’t go near with a barge pole.

I was wrong.

This movie is just brilliant. Funny,  touching and a little bit more violent than you’d expect. The script is clever and the characters have dimension. They’re are one or two “chick jokes” but they aren’t what you expect.

Sandra Bullock is just great as tightly wound FBI Sarah Ashburn. Her motivations and drives are explained and we get a little glimpse to the woman behind the gun.

Melissa McCarthy as sloppy and heartfelt Shannon is a wickedly funny woman who just wears get heart on her sleeve. Her life is her work

Of course,  this is a buddy cop movie. Expect the tag teaming and crying into drinks. But it’s so well done. You don’t feel the tropes and clichés. You just let these two take you along on the mad ride.

Excellent movie. I think possibly one of the best buddy cop movies I’ve seen.

TL; DR – ALBINO!

At World’s End (2013)

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Synopsis

Few pints. Be grand.

First Half Review

The long awaited finale of the cornetto trilogy is here. I had seen the first back in 2003 “Shaun of the Dead” and while a rewatch has yet to materialise of both Shaun and Hot Fuzz they are both still fresh in my mind.  Going into “The World’s End”, I was apprehensive. these where films I enjoyed while I was a teenager and in my early twenties would it translate for a older me?

Yes and no is the answer.  While there was nothing wrong with it, it did seem the weakest of the three. It wasn’t bad, it just didn’t live up to my expectations. 

The premise is group of friends go back to do a pub crawl they attempted when they were teenagers.

Simon Pegg’s character is unlikable and he was developed too late into the movie but when he is, it’s dark as fuck.  The line “They tell me when to go to sleep at night” is one of the most haunting lines in recent times. I feel personally that the other characters are slightly underdeveloped. There are some laughs but it feels like it’s already been done. Nick Frost is teetotal and this built up from the start and is glazed over quite quickly as to why. The explanation of the blanks being there isnt great either. It gets extremely dark and I wonder if that was written out or changed late in a draft. I mentioned near the end it gets heavy and I do have to commend Pegg there, the acting is top notch and he channels a person with his particular affliction with aplomb but it is brief and fleeting.

Shaun was a zom-rom-com. Hot Fuzz was the right amount of slapstick and absurdity.  World’s End just seems flat when compared and doesnt know what it wants to be.

Good movie but the most forgettable of the lot.

Second Half Review

I like Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. I like their characters and stories. I like how normal the characters are, and yet I love the little supernatural twists that may happen in their movies.

I was dead excited to see this movie. The final installation in the “cornetto trilogy” was always going to win big in cinemas.  Simon Pegg really can’t do wrong!

The story of this movie is simple in premise. Aging burnout Gary King decides to get his old school friends back together for one last hurrah, and complete the fabled golden mile of pubs. However, all of Gary’s mates are much more successful now and can they ever find common ground? Plus, their home town is perhaps a little off..

Surprisingly endearing and somewhat unsettling at times,  this movie is definitely one to see. Not my favourite of this “triology” but a nice way to end it.

First Half TL; DR – Creepy robots everywhere!

Second Half TL; DR – not sure I could stomach 12 pints of Fosters….

Daughter of the Empire by Raymond Feist and Janny Wurts (1996)

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Synopsis

Mara is 17. She is bound for a safe, religious life, deep within the walls of the convent of Lashima, but fate does not always run smoothly. In an instant, her life changes and she is fighting to just stay alive, and to honour her family name.

Review

Oh yes. I love this book. This and its two sequels form some of the best fantasy writing I’ve ever read. Seriously. I reread this series at least once a year. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Mara is a marked girl. Being the Ruling Lady of a great family is enough of an oddity in Kelewan, but Mara’s enemies are many and lurk behind every door. The delicate and complicated system of honour prevents her from doing much, but also allows her to bend her will in many interesting and often slightly blasphemous.

This book really has everything.  Its got political intrigue coming out of every orifice and every victory Mara earns, you feel her sense of relief and truimph. Every painful thing you feel too.

It’s masterfully written and the descriptions of the foreign world make it come to life. The richness of the world is almost meaty in their details.

If you are a fan of fantasy and haven’t read this series, do yourself a favour and check it out. You won’t regret it.

TL; DR – ACOMA!!

Absolution by Murder by Peter Tremayne (1997)


Absolution by Murder

 

Synopsis

Sister Fidelma is on her way to a meeting of influential religious people, in an abbey in present day Whitby. Two equally passionate and opposing sides will meet to debate the correct points within the Christian faith. The year is 664 A.D. and something awful befalls those that reside within the abbey walls.

Second Half Review

Right. I know, I know. I haven’t lost the plot completely, but stay with me on this one.

I visited my parents this week in small town Ireland. Whilst there, I ventured with my mam to the local library as she is a big fan of crime novels and murder mysteries. Jokingly, I suggested the titular book as it ticks all of the boxes.

Historical? Check.
Fiesty female lead with a slightly inept partner? Check.
Bloody, bloody murder? Check.

And its a 7th century nun who SOLVES CRIMES. whats not to like?

So, I guffawed as mam checked the book out, and I teased her the entire way home. I even giggled about it to my sister. Then I realised that I had left my book at home. In Dublin.

Sigh.

I picked up this one, preparing to have a little laugh at the expense of this rather unusual crime novel, and I was hooked! Sure, the writing can be a little cringey at times, and the copious amount of old Irish and Saxon names can be a tad confusnig, but overall, its a neat little book. It’s definitely a filler novel but a pretty unusual one for what it is. I would definitely recommend the series anyway!

TL:DR – Murder She Wrote, Christ Edition

The Bling Ring (2013)

 

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Synopsis
Marc is a troubled kid who moves to a new school. There he meets his soon to be best friend, Rebecca, and her gang of associates. Rebecca introduces Marc to per easy and rather lucrative way of earning money and clothes; by breaking into celebrities houses. Based on true life events, we follow Marc and Rebecca through ever increasingly risky break ins, and wonder when will they slip up?

First Half Review

So one of the hottest movies being touted at the moment is “The Bling Ring@, Sofia Coppola’s newest project, based on real life events about a group of spoiled rich kids who want infamy and stuff. Stuff in the sense that they already have stuff but want more. So, logically, they break into rich people’s and celebrities homes. I’m using the term “celebrity” loosely as it’s Paris Hilton and some person from a reality tv show who these kids seem to focus on.

The story is interesting but we spend far too much time on them walking up to a house and breaking in; well, walking in and taking shit and bragging about it. As time goes on, drugs and this lifestyle get the better of them and they end up getting caught. I was waiting to see what has happened to them or how the court case went but that’s brushed aside in the final 10 minutes.

There was so much potential here which I feel was wasted. The characters are underdeveloped and as hollow as the people they’re stealing from.

Second Half Review

I’m always interested in watching movies which star actors that have played a defining role in previous movies or tv series. Heath Ledger (as the Joker), Benedict Cumberbatch (as Sherlock) and now Emma Watson, who’s portrayal of Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter series is pretty much spot on as she is described in the books. Since the end of that franchise, Emma Watson and Daniel Radcliffe have attempted to move away from their roles to other acting jobs, with varying degrees of success. I actually didn’t mind “The Woman in Black”. But I’m getting away from the point.

Emma Watson’s involvement initially drew my interest to this movie, and after seeing and being surprised by “Spring Breakers” earlier this year, I imagined that “The Bling Ring” would do the same. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. I kept waiting for the story to progress, but it never did. The same scene was replayed numerous times but with different houses and different swag gained. The girls are portrayed (mostly) as spoiled brats who took what they wanted because it was there. Rebecca, the instigator, seemed to get off more on the thrill and the idea of the rich and famous lifestyle, rather than the monetary gains or luxury goods stolen. Marc seemed to have absolutely no relevance to the plot beyond simply googling the addresses of out of town celebrities. And he’s gay, apparently. It was just thrown into the mix a couple of times, and there was no need to expand on his sexuality at all. The film didn’t do it for the girls, so why Marc?

Emma Watson’s “Valley Girl” accent wavered once or twice in the movie, but overall, she looked amazing and seemed to be enjoying herself. It is nice to see her breaking away from her “Hermione” role and for that this film definitely plays a part.

Beyond that though? I wouldn’t bother going to see it, it certainly didn’t leave a lasting impression on me.

First Half TL:DR – Robin Hood for the shallow
Second Half TL:DR – I kept thinking this was a movie about a specific ring, and then at the end, realised it was the worst gang name in history.

 

Twilight (2005)

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Synopsis

Book review time!

Bella Swan moves to dreary Forks, where it rains about as often as she mopes. And she mopes a lot. There she meets an interesting boy called Edward, and they do things. Yep. That’s the plot of this book. Oh, also werewolves.

Review

This is one of those books that I always knew was going to be kind of poor. Part of me wanted to read this because I had seen the first movie a couple of years ago and figured that it was the kind of thing that I might have enjoyed as a teenager. I actually picked this book up at my mother’s house. She is a sucker for supernatural stories and told me that “Twilight was the worst thing I have ever read.”

Where to start with this? The main character, Bella, is about as likeable as moss. You don’t dislike it, you don’t like it, it’s just…. there. She cries about 8 times in the first 25 pages, because she has to live somewhere rainy. Inexplicably, everyone in the tiny town of Forks knows who she is and becomes instantly popular overnight. However, she is so indifferent to her “friends” that she genuinely forgets their names at various points. Boys are all lining up to have a shot at asking her out, but Bella is instantly drawn to a complete and utter psycho, Edward Cullen.

In their first encounter, he reacts visibly to her presence and then ignores her completely. Rather than just ignoring this and moving the FUCK on, Bella OBSESSES about this. EVERY SINGLE DAY for months, wondering what she did, and why he had reacted to her so weirdly.Eventually, he rescues her from random rapists, (I’m not joking) and rather than see if she is ok, he berates her for putting herself in danger! Victim blaming much? Edward’s controlling and odd behaviour continues.Forcing Bella to eat, telling her what to eat, watching her sleep(!), taking her to secluded woodlands and essentially telling her that he would kill her in a heartbeat if he wasn’t so intoxicated by her. Oh, and he’s also a vampire.

So, this fact makes Edward seem like he is looking out for Bella, but frankly, reading this book made me uncomfortable. Bella and Edward entered into a “lifelong” relationship after speaking for about (in total) 7 hours. They tell each other that they are in love with each other constantly, and there are pages and pages of descriptions about how Edward’s breath felt on her neck. Icy, if you’re wondering.

The whole time I was reading this, I wondered what sort of relationship kids reading it would envision. Removing the vampiric aspect, it is not normal for a boy in your high school class to break into your room at night to watch you while you sleep. It’s not normal for him to insist on watching you eat and it’s certainly not normal for him to shout at you for putting yourself in danger  when you were almost beaten/raped.

The book has a weird, creepy vibe and left me feeling uneasy the entire time.

Avoid.

TL: DR – Sparkle, sparkle bitches!