Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015) – 7/10 science fiction fantasy action adventure movie review

Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015)

Luke Skywalker has disappeared. No-one knows why. In his and all Jedi’s absence, the evil First Order has risen to be within a hair’s breadth of taking control of the galaxy. No-one knows why. At this critical stage, both the Resistance and First Order are after one thing: a map containing the location of Luke Skywalker. No-one knows why.

7/10

J.J. Abrams treads accurately in the sandy footprints of George Lucas with this fan service-packed remake of Star Wars. While it’s action is immediately forgettable due to Abrams choosing not to give it a shape or story of it’s own and suffers badly in comparison with the Death Star attack from the original (which remains one of the greatest action sequences of all time; it’s always clear what they’re trying to do and why this piece of action on screen now is helping to accomplish that while naturally building and focusing on the one critical path), Abrams has come up trumps with Daisy Ridley and John Boyega and gone the extra mile with the three lead characters (the aforementioned and Harrison Ford) and villain Kylo Ren. He also oversaw a perfect trailer campaign with no story spoilers or even hints. While he doesn’t keep temporal or spatial control of his story (people can do anything in any amount of time and appear wherever they need to) and fumbles the codas, Abrams has otherwise made an efficient, furiously-paced, fun adventure. (As a side note, I don’t know why it’s 12A, PG would have been fine)

Content Summary

This movie contains violence, violent interrogation scenes

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

Cast / crew

Director, Producer and Writer: J.J. Abrams
Writer: Lawrence Kasdan
Writer: Michael Arndt
Characters Creator: George Lucas
Producer: Kathleen Kennedy
Producer: Bryan Burk
Music: John Williams
Han Solo: Harrison Ford
Luke Skywalker: Mark Hamill
Princess Leia Organa: Carrie Fisher
Kylo Ren: Adam Driver
Rey: Daisy Ridley
Finn (Star Wars): John Boyega
Poe Dameron: Oscar Isaac
Lupita Nyong’o: Maz Kanata
Supreme Leader Snoke: Andy Serkis
Domhnall Gleeson: General Hux
C-3PO: Anthony Daniels
Max von Sydow: Lor San Tekka

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

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 striking, if dumb. 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 Superman 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. The Ultimate Edition is just similarly dumb for an imperceptible extra half-hour.

Content Summary

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.

Cast / crew


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

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

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.

Content Summary

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.

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

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

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.

Snow White and The Huntsman (2012) – 7/10 fantasy action adventure movie review

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Cast / crew
Director: Rupert Sanders
Screen Story and Screenplay Writer: Evan Daugherty
Screenplay Writer: John Lee Hancock
Screenplay Writer: Hossein Amini
Producer: Joe Roth
Producer: Sam Mercer
Snow White: Kristen Stewart
Charlize Theron: Ravenna
Chris Hemsworth: The Huntsman
Sam Claflin: William
Ian McShane: Beith
Bob Hoskins: Muir
Ray Winstone: Gort
Nick Frost: Nion
Sam Spruell: Finn

Snow White and The Huntsman (2012)

A wicked Queen usurps a kingdom’s power and rules it with an iron unfeeling fist. Her only objective is to remain ‘the fairest of them all’ and considering this is Charlize Theron we’re talking about, she does; no-one gets close. The end.

7/10

This is an engrossing, enjoyable, great-looking adventure movie that is thrilling despite badly edited action sequences typical of contemporary Hollywood. You could easily argue about faults and some incoherence but, for me, the movie captured my attention and more than kept it. The technical achievements of the production are also eye-catching with the dwarves unbelievably convincing and impressively unnecessary (dwarves exist and they will appear in your movie for a fee). I suspect one of the most glaring problems is also the film’s best actor: Charlize Theron. She is in a different class of beauty and charisma than Kristen Stewart. Theron goes full hernia-inducing insane but at no point is she not "the fairest of them all" and by some distance, too. She is photographed magnificently throughout (it is a superb-looking film overall) and, well, if you had to be stabbed during sex with anyone, Charlize Theron in full charisma and hotness mode would be at the top of the list.

This movie contains strong violence

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

The Bourne Legacy (2012) – 6/10 action thriller movie review

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Cast / crew
Director and Writer: Tony Gilroy
Screenplay Writer: Dan Gilroy
Producer: Frank Marshall
Producer: Patrick Crowley
Producer: Jeffrey M. Weiner
Producer: Ben Smith
Creator The Bourne Series: Robert Ludlum
Jeremy Renner: Aaron Cross
Rachel Weisz: Dr. Marta Shearing
Edward Norton: Col. Eric Byer, USAF, Ret.
Stacy Keach: Adm. Mark Turos, USN, Ret.
Dennis Boutsikaris: Terrence Ward
Oscar Isaac: Outcome #3
Joan Allen: Pamela Landy
Albert Finney: Dr. Albert Hirsch
David Strathairn: Noah Vosen
Scott Glenn: Ezra Kramer

The Bourne Legacy (2012)

The ramifications of Jason Bourne’s action are rippling through sister super-soldier programs, the most closely linked of which are being shut down so as to avoid exposure. Shut down meaning killing everyone involved in a way that involves all the police, all the fire service, all the ambulances and all the media in all of the USA. Super-soldier Aaron Cross survives but has run out of his medication and sets about using his skills to procure some more.

6/10

Competent thriller that keeps your attention and provides reasonable, if mechanical, excitement but suffers from Jeremy Renner lacking charisma. He is perfunctory, convincing even, and performs fine but you’re just not invested in his story. Not even when he hilariously appears in a kitchen cupboard (which he must have been hiding in for ages and are apparently man-sized in America). While Rachel Weisz does have charisma, she isn’t the focus of the film and doesn’t have a character or story; she could just as easily be a key. Or a flower; she’s so lovely.

This movie contains graphic violence

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