Review: Wonder Woman (2017) (The Best Comic Book Film since The Dark Knight?)

“I used to want to save the world…”

I’ve probably mentioned this before, but I’m always weary when a film is either critically acclaimed or critically mauled. I do try to avoid reviews where possible. But in this day and age, it’s almost impossible. The word on the street was that ‘Wonder Woman’ was a great film. One review even called it the best comic book film since ‘The Dark Knight.’ High acclaim indeed. Fortunately, I had no expectations for ‘Wonder Woman’ whatsoever. Of course, I was piqued a little by the almost universal critical acclaim. What I saw was a good film, but certainly not a great one.

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Review: Baywatch (2017) (Nothing Glistens In Emerald Bay)

“Our team is the elite of the elite”

Sometimes you need to see a bad film to appreciate the good ones. Of course, with cinema prices nowadays, one can only afford to see the good ones. Why waste ten pound (at the least) on a naff film? However, once in a while, a bad film is good for the mind’s equilibrium. And, let there be no doubt about it, ‘Baywatch’ is a bad film. Not even The Rock can save this update of a nostalgic property from sinking. Yes, Dwayne Johnson has been in some terrible films. But he’s shone through, his natural charisma curtailing the gap between the screen and the viewer. Here, however, he’s lost among the flotsam and jetsam of awful jokes, dialogue, plot, direction, editing…I could go on.

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Review: Ghost in the Shell (2017) (Another Dodgy Remake of a Japanese Classic?)

“It’s okay, just breathe”

Within a month or two, we’ve had two live action remakes of classic animations. The first was ‘Beauty and the Beast,’ which recreated the original faithfully but felt wholly unnecessary. Now, we have ‘Ghost in the Shell,’ a remake of the beloved 1995 Japanese anime. Yes, there were concerns about ‘whitewashing.’ Why cast Scarlett Johannsen as the main character? Why not a Japanese actress? But the whitewashing is one of the many problems that one encounters whilst watching ‘Ghost in the Shell.’ A lame script, an irritating Westernisation of the original’s plot and endless shots of the (admittedly impressive) futuristic city are among the other big problems. Continue reading

Mass Effect And The Rebirth of Optimistic Science Fiction Part 2

Click here for Part I

Cinematic Science Fiction In the 1990s

Towards the end of the 1980s there was a trend for science fiction to return to emphasising the present with the aid of futuristic settings. ‘Robocop’ is one example. ‘The Running Man’ is another. A nation controlled by the mass media that has very few morals? Hmmm, familiar. This trend ran into the 1990s, a decade in which science fiction films were smothered with sequels and CGI. The Alien series should have been killed off with ‘Alien: Resurrection.’ The Robocop franchise should have been killed off after the first one. Independence Day was for the destruction fetishist. ‘Star Wars: Episode I’ erased all happy memories of the initial trilogy. ‘Doctor Who,’ that true testament to the future (before it became London-centric), almost died with the terrible 1996 film. Continue reading

Mass Effect And The Rebirth of Optimistic Science Fiction Part 1

Mass Effect: Andromeda is released tomorrow. Unfortunately, due to the lack of an Xbox One, I won’t be able to play it. However, it doesn’t seem like that long ago that I bought ‘Mass Effect,’ the game that started the science fiction franchise. And what a game I picked up. I’ve recently played the original game (for at least the fourth time), and each time reinforces the brilliance of it. Not only is a great game in and of itself, but it’s also a different kind of science fiction that we’re used to today. It’s not post-apocalyptic or a dystopia, but a science fiction universe thriving with enthusiasm and glory. It’s a refreshing change from the grey, dull and depressing science fiction that we see all too often in video games and films of the modern age. Continue reading

Review: Logan (2017) (A Great Comic Book Film? Or Just A Great Film?)

“I’m a fan, by the way”

Since ‘Logan’ was released last week, there’s been a vast amount of praise for it. Some have proclaimed it to be the greatest comic book film ever. Of course, I watched it as soon as it came out, but wanted time for the hype to die down and for my own thoughts to percolate through the critical acclaim. Often, when a film is given endless praise, it sets alarm bells off in my head. I always think: “can it be that good?” The hype train soon runs off course and the critically acclaimed film enters a phase of harsh criticism (the latest example I can think of is ‘La La Land’). However, after a week of thinking long and hard about ‘Logan,’ I can almost agree that it’s one of the greatest comic book films ever (whether or not it’s the greatest one is something I’ll have to think about further). It’s dark, gritty and reaches a level of maturity that few comic book films have done. Continue reading

Review: La La Land (2016) (Worthy of Oscar For Best Picture?)

la-la-land

“How did the audition go?”

Is ‘La La Land’ worthy of the Best Picture award at the Oscars? It’s a heavy favourite to win, that’s for sure. But why is that, exactly? Is it due to the quality of the film itself? Or is it the nostalgic, glossy view of Hollywood it presents? Hollywood loves a good puff piece that promotes its intrinsic values. ‘La La Land’ does just that, showing that dreams do come true in the rolling hills and picture perfect vistas of Hollywood. But does it do more than that? Is it more than just a puff piece? Is it a ‘Best Picture,’ or just Hollywood’s idea of a ‘Best Picture?’ Continue reading

Review: The LEGO Batman Movie (2017) (Is Everything Still Awesome?)

the-lego-movie“Now, let’s start the movie”

‘The LEGO Movie’ was a very pleasant surprise. What could have been a by the numbers feature length commercial for a toy turned out to be a hilarious ride that turned its satirical eye to our own society (“Honey, where are my pants?!?!?”). Of course, like every other movie in our age, it was the beginning of a movie franchise. The second movie of the franchise was revealed to be ‘The LEGO Batman Movie.’ LEGO Batman was one of the great characters in ‘The LEGO Movie,’ but would giving him his own spin off work? Yes, it does, but it doesn’t work as well as it’s predecessor. An undeveloped story hinders what could have been ‘The LEGO Movie’s’ equal…but it’s still a very, very funny film. Continue reading

Review: ‘Split’ (2017) (A Film Divided Against Itself?)

split“I choose you first”

Before ‘Split’, the last M. Night Shyamalan film I saw was ‘The Village.’ Suffice to say, that put me off his films for a long time! ‘The Village’ was a dull film capped off with a silly twist at the end. However, the mere premise of seeing James McAvoy play twenty three characters in one person made me curious about ‘Split.’ He’s someone who’s a very good actor, but has never truly pushed himself to strive greatness. From the preview of ‘Split,’ the few personalities he acted out look convincing. Fortunately, he’s great throughout the film. Unfortunately, the film hanging around him is rather contrived and dull… Continue reading

Review: T2: Trainspotting (2017) (Just Another Nostalgia Stop?)

t2

“You’ve written to The Queen?”

We thrive on nostalgia, don’t we? As we get older, things are never good as they used to be. Chocolate bars were always bigger when we were younger. Everything was so much brighter. It’s something that the film industry exploits insidiously. It sells nostalgia on a platter and we, more often than not, go for all we can eat. Films are rebooted, sequeled, spun off, until the original is a distant, yet comforting memory. Explain to me, for example, why we needed a sequel to Independence Day, twenty years on? That was a tragedy of a film. It added nothing to the original. Continue reading