Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016) – 5/10 superhero action movie review

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Cast / crew
Director: Zack Snyder
Superman / Clark Kent / Kal-El: Henry Cavill
Batman / Bruce Wayne: Ben Affleck
Wonder Woman: Gal Gadot

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)

When the Superman / Zod battle causes his Metropolis tower to collapse, Bruce Wayne knows that, even though Superman is clearly benevolent, Batman needs to kill him because Superman might go bad one day. Meanwhile, the US Government give Lex Luthor the keys to the crashed Kryptonian spaceship in return for him crafting a silver bullet to keep Superman in check but then they don’t let him import the kryptonite to make the bullet but continue to let him play on the spaceship even though that was payment for something they won’t let him do.

5/10

We should seriously consider the possibility that Zack Snyder is incapable of telling a story via the medium of film which, for a film director, might be expected to be a problem. Instead of conversations, he has people speaking words in close proximity to other people and occasionally changes the background if you squint and look over people’s shoulders. Ben Affleck’s Batman is good. Henry Cavill is fine as Superman and gets a couple of useful super-moments when the Batmobile bounces off him and when he catches a giant bullet. This movie had potential and Snyder does allocate enough time to story and character and motivation but doesn’t make any of it stick. Why does Batman want to kill Superman? Why does Lex Luthor want Batman dead? I suspect Snyder has shot enough footage to make a really good movie but he hasn’t guided it successfully through the editing process. And, to be honest, I don’t think he can.

This movie contains bad language, extreme violence, non-sexual nudity

Classified 12A by BBFC. Persons under the age of 12 must be accompanied by an adult.

Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014) – 2/10 action movie review

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Cast / crew
Director and Executive Producer: Michael Bay
Writer: Ehren Kruger
Producer: Lorenzo di Bonaventura
Producer: Tom DeSanto
Producer: Don Murphy
Producer: Ian Bryce
Mark Wahlberg: Cade Yeager
Stanley Tucci: Joshua Joyce
Kelsey Grammer: Harold Attinger
Nicola Peltz: Tessa Yeager
Jack Reynor: Shane Dyson
Sophia Myles: Darcy Tirrel
Li Bing Bing: Su Yueming
Titus Welliver: James Savoy
T.J. Miller: Lucas Flannery
Peter Cullen: Optimus Prime
Frank Welker: Galvatron
John Goodman: Hound
Ken Watanabe: Drift
Robert Foxworth: Ratchet
John DiMaggio: Crosshairs
Mark Ryan: Lockdown
Reno Wilson: Brains

Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014)

A Texas inventor buys a fully busted truck that was inside a derelict cinema and pulls a missile out of it that allows it to turn back into Optimus Prime but an inter-galactic bounty hunter, Lockdown, is working with the CIA to capture Optimus Prime and so the glistening, muscular inventor / robotics engineer / elite hacker and his good-looking daughter / really, really good-looking daughter / rally co-driver go on the run with Prime and end up saving the world. And there will be robot dinosaurs. The end.

2/10

This is an atrocious film on almost every level except visual effects and Mark Wahlberg. It would be a challenge to find more than a few subsequent lines that are coherent let alone compelling characters, involving storylines or comprehensible action sequences. Somehow, Wahlberg rises above all that and remains a quality, likable presence despite what the movie bafflingly puts him through. I don’t know what kind of secret sauce ILM keep back for Michael Bay but however Bay photographs his plates and however ILM’s artists up their game for him results in some utterly remarkable visuals: convincing, photo-realistic and extremely good-looking. Between them they produce the best visual effects explosions in the business; you cannot tell which explosions are real and which are not. Now, it would be accurate to state that the movie didn’t need to be good in order to fulfil it’s purpose – make money – but there was also no need for it to be this derisory.

This movie contains a single sexual swear word, bad language, strong violence, sensuality

Classified 12A by BBFC. Persons under the age of 12 must be accompanied by an adult.

Godzilla (2015) – 2/10 monster movie review

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Cast / crew
Director: Gareth Edwards
Aaron Taylor-Johnson: Ford Brody
Ken Watanabe: Dr. Ishiro Serizawa
Elizabeth Olsen: Elle Brody
Juliette Binoche: Sandra Brody
Sally Hawkins: Vivienne Graham
David Strathairn: Admiral William Stenz
Bryan Cranston: Joe Brody
Producer: Thomas Tull
Producer: Jon Jashni
Producer: Mary Parent
Producer: Brian Rogers
Story Writer: David Callaham
Screenplay Writer: Max Borenstein

Godzilla (2014)

15 years after an incident at his nuclear power plant in Japan, not-at-all Japanese engineer Joe Brody insists that this was caused by something other than the official earthquake. Nobody ever noticed the bright lights or hundreds of workers at the accident site, so Joe is stunned when he breaks in to the danger area to retrieve some floppy disks and is taken to the top secret installation that has been built instead of the police station like he was the day before yesterday. Fortunately, everybody working at the super-secret base is as stupid as he is and they join forces to ride a tsunami of stupidity all the way back to San Francisco.

2/10

Relentlessly stupid monster movie which, for some baffling reason, thinks we didn’t really want to see a Godzilla fight (perhaps because they were misled by the success of Cloverfield, whose monster turns up here as the antagonists). Instead of a story we get to watch charisma vacuum Aaron Taylor-Johnson keep falling over and looking at things, usually while welling up. Ken Watanabe also looks terribly upset to be in this movie so he’s probably here as some kind of ransom demand. Godzilla’s closing move is good (I’ll give you a star for that) but there’s no shape or story to the non-battle preceding it and the visual effects have no impact; nobody cares when your 50th skyscraper gets smashed to pieces. What’s surprising is how closely this echoes Roland Emmerich’s widely, easily and deservedly criticised 1998 film. It has the same title sequence, same Godzilla underwater city approach and similarly-themed monster babies climax but it doesn’t have the fun, entertaining, spectacular Godzilla action sequences nor the expert build-up.

This movie contains mild unpleasant scenes

Classified 12A by BBFC. Persons under the age of 12 must be accompanied by an adult.

Bang Bang! (2014) – 7/10 action musical romance movie review

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Cast / crew
Writer (Original Film) Knight and Day: Patrick O’Neill
Hrithik Roshan: Rajveer Nanda
Katrina Kaif: Harleen Sahani
Pavan Raj Malhotra: Zorawar Kalwa
Danny Denzongpa: Omar Zafar
Javed Jaffrey: Hamid Gul
Screenplay Writer: Sujoy Ghosh
Screenplay Writer: Suresh Nair
Writer (Dialogue): Abbas Tyrewala
Director: Siddarth Anand

Bang Bang! (2014)

A bank receptionist winds up on the most thrilling blind date ever with an international thief who is wanted dead by both sides of the law.

7/10

Tremendously entertaining, energetic and almost ridiculously good-looking action thriller that suffers from the same problem as Tom Cruise original Knight and Day in that the romance simply doesn’t work when the hero kills scores of dudes in the action scenes (at least they’re all baddies here). While women may like excitement and Hrithik Roshan with his shirt off (blimey), they probably aren’t amazingly thrilled when people are being shot and beaten to death right in their face or with being drugged and kidnapped. Repeatedly. (It’s also rather more violent than you might expect a 12A to be.) However, this is a film that works despite incoherence and ridiculousness. The action is fantastically cool, there’s a flyboarding action sequence which is a first, a GP2 car makes a surprise appearance, the songs are fine and look amazing and the wonderfully supple and charismatic Roshan keeps taking his shirt off and dancing to endlessly astonishing effect.

This movie contains extreme violence, bad language, sensuality

Classified 12A by BBFC. Persons under the age of 12 must be accompanied by an adult.

Links

Police Story 2013 | Police Story: Lockdown (2013,2015) – 6/10 Jackie Chan hostage crime thriller movie review

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Cast / crew
Producer: Jerry Ye
Producer: Lu Zheng
Director, Editor and Screenplay Writer: Ding Sheng
Jackie Chan: Zhong Wen
Liu Ye: Wu Jiang
Jing Tian: Miao Miao
Liu Hai Long: Pi Song
Zhou Xiao Ou: Wei Xiao Fu
Yu Rong Guang: Captain Wu
Wu Yue: A Yue
Liu Pei Qi: Chief Zhang

Police Story 2013 | Police Story: Lockdown (2013)

Policeman Zhong Wen is invited by his estranged daughter, Miao Miao, to meet at a nightclub as she wants to tell him something important but a hostage situation unexpectedly explodes and Wen will be required to go above and beyond his professional duty.

6/10

There’s enough of dramatic interest to make some stretches of Police Story 2013 tense, interesting and quite good. Sadly, the area where the film falls down is in the action. Poor compositing replaces what would have been done with stuntmen for real in Chan’s heyday (arguably New Police Story (2004) is the last great Jackie Chan action movie though The Myth (2005) contains the last great Jackie Chan action scene – rat glue factory); watching an old man, Jackie Chan, get beaten up is in no way fun and it’s also almost distressing to see his fight scenes have fully degenerated into Hollywood-style editing blurs to disguise the lack of any actual technique or speed.

This movie contains strong violence, gory and unpleasant scenes

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013) – 5/10 adventure romance movie review

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Cast / crew
Producer: Samuel Goldwyn, Jr.
Producer: John Goldwyn
Actor and Producer Greenland Air Passenger: Stuart Cornfeld
Kristen Wiig: Cheryl Melhoff
Shirley MacLaine: Edna Mitty
Adam Scott: Ted Hendricks
Kathryn Hahn: Odessa Mitty
Patton Oswalt: Todd Maher
Adrian Martinez: Hernando
Ólafur Darri Ólafsson: Helicopter Pilot
Sean Penn: Sean O’Connell
Actor, Director and Producer: Ben Stiller
Walter Mitty: Ben Stiller
Screen Story and Screenplay Writer: Steven Conrad
Short Story Writer: James Thurber

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013)

Walter Mitty is prone to zoning out and imagining a more exciting life for himself and his romantic crush, coworker Cheryl Melhoff. When he needs to find a lost photo negative for the cover of Life magazine, instead of looking in the most obvious place, he embarks on a crazy real-life adventure.

5/10

It feels mean to give a virtually non-violent, positive, good-natured movie an average score but it never really engages the viewer beyond the most perfunctory level. Mitty’s flights of fantasy are somewhat bewildering and the real adventure has no impact; it looks less impressive than it should given the scenarios and locations and feels flat. Additionally, the plot and most of the events feel very unconvincing; whether this is by design or not (i.e., if the majority of the movie is a flight of fantasy) isn’t really the point as it is still important to suspend the audience’s disbelief. The best flight of fantasy, and probably strongest moment, is one where Kristen Wiig appears and sings a song and Ben Stiller gets on a real helicopter; no special effects, no explosions, no frenetic action editing.

This movie contains bad language, strong violence

Classified PG by BBFC. Parental Guidance.

Real Steel (2011) – 2/10 robot boxing movie review

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Cast / crew
Director and Producer: Shawn Levy
Hugh Jackman: Charlie Kenton
Dakota Goyo: Max Kenton
Evangeline Lilly: Bailey Tallet
Anthony Mackie: Finn
Kevin Durand: Ricky
Hope Davis: Aunt Debra
Producer: Don Murphy
Producer: Susan Montford
Short Story Writer: Richard Matheson
Actor and Screenplay Writer Kingpin: John Gatins
Story Writer: Dan Gilroy
Story Writer: Jeremy Leven

Real Steel (2011)

Incompetent scumbag robot fighter Charlie Kenton sells custody of his child to replace a smashed robot but is forced to take the boy with him for a couple of months so that the couple that bought him can have a nice holiday. Charlie immediately gets his new robot smashed to pieces and so sets about stealing enough parts to repair him all the while heroically lambasting the boy for even existing then leaving him to get arrested in a scrapyard. Against all the odds, things only become less convincing from here.

2/10

This Rocky with robots overlooked something extremely important: Rocky was an amiable, loving, recognisable human being. Rocky here is split into three characters: Hugh Jackman, a kid and a robot. The robot isn’t anything; he should have become iconic but his design is bland and half-hearted and everyone lazily pronounces his name as Adom instead of Atom. Hugh Jackman and the kid are unpleasant, gigantically unconvincing and incoherently portrayed. It sometimes feels like the kid has the adult’s lines, the tone is all over the place, scenes don’t logically follow each other. This is also the first movie I’ve seen where Hugh Jackman’s performance is bad, partially because his tone, intensity and attitude (like everyone elses) vacillate wildly through what are supposed to be subsequent scenes. The slo-mo teary-eyed climax is audacious in its unearned arrogance. There is, however, a cool scene worth watching in the movie and, fortunately, it’s right at the beginning as Hugh Jackman’s robot fights a bull. Once that’s done, you can go home.

This movie contains extreme robot violence, strong human violence, sensuality

Classified 12A by BBFC. Persons under the age of 12 must be accompanied by an adult.