Showing posts with label Action. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Action. Show all posts

Saturday, 5 April 2014

Equilibrium Movie Review

Movie revirew of Equilibrium

Director: Kurt Wimmer

Release Year: 2002

Running Time: 107 minutes 

Starring: Christian Bale, Sean Bean, Dominic Purcell, Sean Pertwee, William Fichtner, Taye Diggs

"Equilibrium" is a sci-fi film that has more truth in it than viewers would think.  In a fascist world of the future, after a Third World War, a totalitarian government controls whats left of mankind - a not so farfetched idea.  The film stars Christian Bale, in the lead role, and combines a deeply embedded and thought out storyline with entertaining kung-fu styled gun fighting. 

In "Equilibrium", the world is not as we know it. A totalitarian government has taken control after a huge war and they nearly have control of everything. In an effort to keep peace and society obedient, they use an injection to stop people feeling.  Out of the city, rebels lurk, trying to survive and storing relics of what is now the old world; photos, ornaments, paintings and anything that is culturally relevant.  The government sends out teams of Clerics who are ordered to destroy any art form and bring to justice those who can still feel. John Preston (Bale) is one of the best clerics and soon realises what has happened, as he regains his feelings he fights against the whole system to try and overthrow the government. 

Review, rating, trailer and photos of Equilibirum

"Equilibrium" is a great sci-fi film which many viewers can enjoy.  First of all the story line is great.  It is well developed and then pushed to the depths of the movie.  Not much reference or information is needed as the storyline floods through each layer of the movie from the way it has been created. This enables the movie to show different aspects  like the incredibly fast paced shooting scenes.  A cross between "The Matrix" (1999) and "Enter the Dragon" (1973), the movie comes alive anytime character John Preston has to kill someone or even a large group of people. A very well choreographed fight plan throughout the film keeps the excitement high and the viewer engaged for longer.  

Equilibrium movie review

Bale's class shines above anyone else in the film and it is a great demonstration of the skills that would have played a part in him being chosen to play Christopher Nolan's Bruce Wayne/Batman in The Dark Knight Trilogy. Slick and professional, Bale is able to portray the traits and mannerisms of someone who is gradually gaining their feelings and emotions back in what is very nearly an emotionless world.  Sean Bean, as he often does, has a small part in the film but his character sets in motion John Preston's emotional rediscovery.  Taye Diggs plays one of the films adversaries and is very accomplished in the role. 

"Equilibrium" provides an action packed movie, set against a dark backdrop. Its storyline is well thought out but is left unexplored by the characters themselves.  The questioning of who controls our world and the inner questioning of who we are and want to be feature in the film - leading to interesting discussion and thoughts.  "Equilibrium" combines both a clever plot with good action to culminate in to a great film.

M+F Rating: 7/10

Reviewed by M+F Reviews.

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Swordfish Movie Review

Swordfish Movie Review

Director: Dominic Sena

First Release Date: 8th June 2001 (US)

Running Time: 99 minutes 

Starring: John Travolta, Halle Berry, Hugh Jackman, Vinnie Jones, Don Cheadle

"Swordfish" is a film that has a well known cast but upon its release the film garnered more press than usual due to the fact that it was the first film to feature Halle Berry nude.  A forced scene in what turns out to be a very disappointing and mediocre movie despite the lead roles of John Travolta and Hugh Jackman - both failing to add anything great to the film .

Stanley Jobson (Jackman) living in the Texan desert is visited by Ginger Knowles (Berry).  She asks him to meet her employer and ultimately wants Stan to use a computer - something he is unable to after being banned as one of the worlds most notorious hackers.  Persuaded by the desire to see his daughter again Stan goes to meet Gabriel Shear (Travolta) who is a wanted criminal by the FBI.  Stuck in the middle, Stan must do what he can to keep Gabriel from killing him and his daughter while trying to save the lives of others as the FBI closes in. 

Movie review, rating, trailer and photos of Swordfish

"Swordfish", even with its well known and acclaimed cast is a let down.  The story line is okay at best and despite some good twists at the end, they fail to improve the film in the slightest.  The twists do not have the desired effect that directer, Dominic Sena, would have wanted and imagined when making the movie.  The cast is also ineffective in making the film any better despite the success they have had in other films.

Jackman, looking very young and less muscular than how he is now - due to films like "The Wolverine" (2013), is very average in this thriller.  His character does not give him the opportunity to give a performance that is positive or impressive.  This goes for all of the cast.  Characters are not developed enough for them to make an impression on the audience.  Travolta's performance is below average and his character does not have enough dimensions that the viewers can explore.  Not enough story or context is provided on Travolta's character.  Whether they hold background information back to make the movie more mysterious or whether they wanted to focus on other aspects of the film, it really does limit the effect the film has.  

Swordfish movie review, trailer, rating and photos.

The one scene that attracted much media attention when this film was released was Berry's topless scene.  However, the scene does not fit into the film at all.  It is forced, pointless and really interrupts the flow of the movie. This scene could have covered other aspects of the story and provided more context.  Another disappointing aspect of "Swordfish" are the action sequences.  There are few of them in this action film and the ones that exist are very mundane.  

"Swordfish" is a below average film. The storyline is something that feels familiar and despite a few twists it is nothing special.  The acting is mediocre and definitely not what you expect from such a well known cast.  The topic of the film is the only saving grace as it is relatively interesting yet the storyline does not take advantage of this and focuses instead on different aspects.  Come the end of the film, frustration is at its highest as the opportunity is missed to make a really great film.

M+F Rating: 4/10

Reviewed by M+F Reviews.

Monday, 31 March 2014

Divergent Movie Review

Divergent movie review, trailer, photos and rating.

Director: Neil Burger

First Release Date: 20th March 2014 (Hong Kong)

Running Time: 139 minutes 

Starring: Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Kate Winslet, Jai Courtney, Zoe Kravitz, Miles Teller, Tony Goldwyn

"Divergent" has been billed as one of the biggest films of the year.  Starring Shailene Woodley, Theo James and Kate Winslet, the movie is based on the novel by author Veronica Roth, with the same name.  A highly entertaining and original movie despite its comparison to "The Hunger Games" (2012), "Divergent" provides action, thrill and it will certainly have your hear rate up a few notches throughout. 

Set in the future where much of the world has been ravaged by war, a city stands surrounded by 'the fence' to protect it from what lies beyond.  The city's population is divided into five factions based on personality traits; Selfless = Abnegation, Peaceful = Amity, Honest = Candor, Brave = Dauntless, Intelligent = Erudite. Each faction has their own role and job to fulfill for society.  As people grow up they take a test to determine what faction they are best suited for, although ultimately they can choose the faction they wish.  For Beatrice (Woodley) the decision is harder, her test is inconclusive, she is... divergent. 

Divergent movie review

"Divergent" is a thoroughly entertaining and action packed film. The storyline (for those who have not read the books) is gripping and will keep you engaged for the whole two hours nineteen minutes run time.  A large majority of the film is background information; setting the scene and contextual work.  This is not a complaint, the film needed it for certain aspects to make sense and fortunately the context setting itself is very interesting.  Once the film gets going it flies into full speed. The story twisting and maneuvering as much as the characters do. The increased injection of pace pushes the film to the next level with only short sections of scenes allowing you to catch your breath. 

The cast performances are very good - in particular Woodley and James.  The film also features Winslet in a villainous role, yet her screen time is short.  She does not appear much in the film and even though the short glimpses of her character, Jeanine,  prove to be evil and conniving,  it is a shame more of the character and Winslet are not shown.  Woodley steals the show, giving a magnificent performance displaying a range of skills that prove she is going to be a star of the future. James is also very good in the movie.  He gives a reassuring performance and is assertive in his portrayal of his character named Four. Both of them go well together on the big screen and that chemistry is vital in making the character interactions and relationships authentic.

Movie review of Divergent directed by Neil Burger

One interesting aspect of the film are the 'fear' sequences.  These are very integral to the movies plot and are good at keeping the film interesting and non-linear.  This is important, enabling the film to be tension filled to even those who have read the books.  "Divergent" is successful in creating a world that is intriguing and discoverable.  The film plays on emotional ties and the usual 'right vs wrong' idea.  The sense of wrong and evil taking over the good of humanity draw the audience in scene by scene.

The film is great and the sequels will now be hotly anticipated. Using unusual action packed scenes, "Divergent" offers an alternative action adventure film that can be enjoyed by young and older audiences from all over.  Woodley and James create an on screen presence which out rivals any other young actor combination at this present time in cinema.  A must watch for what is going to be another large and successful film franchise.

M+F Rating: 8/10

Reviewed by M+F Reviews.

Friday, 21 March 2014

Captain America: The Winter Soldier Movie Review

Movie review, trailer, rating and photos of Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Directors: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo

UK Release Date: 26th March 2014

Running Time: 136 minutes 

Starring: Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Samuel L. Jackson, Anthony Mackie, Cobie Smulders, Sebastian Stan, Robert Redford

It has been one of the biggest billed movies of the year and "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" certainly does not disappoint.  Marvel once again demonstrates that its Cinematic Universe is a big hitter and that they can make films that are action packed, contain light humour and are centered around a storyline that is both honest and serious.  Chris Evans returns as Captain America as again Marvel do not let the fans down by producing a film with a super stellar cast. 

Two years after the events of "The Avengers" (2012) Steve Rogers aka Captain America (Evans) is coming to terms with his modern day life. Working with S.H.I.E.L.D. and teaming up with Natasha Romanov aka Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), Captain America finds out that all does not seem right with the world.  World agencies seem to have a more watchful eye on the public than ever before and The Captain is  not comfortable with this.  Can he make a difference or will he struggle against an old soviet soldier known as The Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan)?

S.H.I.E.L.D. and Captain America movie review

With a film of this proportions it is often difficult on where to start. The storyline for "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" is very good.  In typical Marvel style it has everything you come to expect and much more.  The central plot is fresh, modern and unexpected which is great for any viewer.  One area where the film does disappoint is in terms of the emotional effect it does not have with the audience.  It is unable to connect as well as other Marvel films to the audience and is one let down from the film.

The movie is action packed with the wide array of characters which keep it fresh and exciting.  Fighting scenes are excellent and the imagination that has gone into these scenes is second to none. The movie also looks good.  It is clear and the graphics look great on the big screen.  There are no exceptional shots like that of Asgard in "Thor: The Dark World" (2013) but other aspects of the film make up for this. 

"Captain America: The Winter Soldier" embraces the use of other characters to full effect unlike other recent Marvel films, specifically "The Wolverine" (2013).  It is pleasing to see The Captain team up with Black Widow and Falcon (Anthony Mackie).  It gives the film the width it needed to cover all angles of the storyline.  What's even more pleasing is the more predominant role given to Nick Fury - rarely is he involved in the action as much as he is in "Captain America: The Winter Soldier". 

Movie review, rating, trailer and photos of Captain America: The Winter Soldier

The soundtrack is typical but only adds to the effect of the film and the viewers experience. It helps build up scenes and increases the tensions that occur in the plot.  As is common with films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe there is a mid-credits scene and an end-credits scene.  Both of these are very intriguing and viewers should wait till the end to watch both of these. 

"Captain America: The Winter Soldier" is an excellent movie all around with only one area where it does disappoint.  Immediately after watching the film you will be asking when the next Marvel film is out.  Good acting performances from all of those involved and a great storyline, "Captain America: The Winter Solider" is certainly going to be one of the bigger blockbuster movies of the year.  It questions peoples morals and is very relateable to the world we live in today.  It is more than just a comic book movie.  It is enjoyable, exciting and has something that every viewer will be able to enjoy.

M+F Rating: 9/10

Reviewed by M+F Reviews.

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

The Incredible Hulk Movie Review

Movie review of The Incredible Hulk starring Edward Norton and Liv Tyler

Director: Louis Letterier

UK Release Date: 13th June 2008

Running Time: 112 minutes 

Starring: Edward Norton, Live Tyler, Tim Roth, William Hurt, Ty Burrell

"The Incredible Hulk" is the second film in Phase One of Marvel's Cinematic Universe having begun with "Iron Man" (2008) a month earlier and culminating with "The Avengers" (2012).  In spite of this, "The Incredible Hulk" is the one film in the whole franchise that is yet to feature an individual sequel and also is the one film out of the franchise that does not feel the same as the others.  

Review of The Incredible Hulk directed by Louis Letterier

Having taken part in a failed experiment that exposes himself to huge amounts of gamma radiation Bruce Banner (Edward Norton) becomes The Hulk.  5 Years later he is in hiding and is hunted by the American government, headed by General Ross (William Hurt), who wants to weaponise the Hulk process.  While as the Hulk, Bruce can only be soothed by his love interest, General Ross's daughter, Betty Ross (Liv Tyler), and must try and keep his pulse rate below 200bpm while he is chased by General Ross and his henchman Emil Blonsky (Tim Roth).  

In short, "The Incredible Hulk" is okay. It no way matches up to the other films in the Marvel franchise but is an improvement on "Hulk" (2003).  The movie jumps around a lot and it can be quite hard to follow the story.  The storyline is not explained in the best way and this is disappointing considering the success of the other films.  Hulk as a character could inspire better stories than the one outlined in "The Incredible Hulk".

The Incredible Hulk Movie Review, Rating, Trailer and Photos

One big failing of the film is the cast.  Norton, is good as Bruce Banner/Hulk but is not great especially compared to the perfect match Robert Downey Jr. is as Iron Man.  This is unfortunate.  Norton is a good actor but does not fit the character well for Marvel.  The films they produce are successful due to their casting and the versatility of the role the actors can offer. Norton struggles to portray different aspects of one character - being very serious for pretty much the whole of the movie.  There is no release from the film, there is no humour or comedy that can be found in other Marvel films, a balance that needs to be struck in these sorts of films. 

Unfortunately, the rest of the cast do not seem to fit their characters very well either.  It is by no means unwatchable but it could be a lot better.  Tyler is okay in the lead female role but her character is not great itself.  Likewise with the nemesis to the Hulk, Abomination (Tim Roth).  This is meant to be the main battle for the Hulk but this is not a great match.  The film does not have the usual Marvel feel to it that you recognise and associate with the other films.

Film review of The Incredible Hulk (2008)

"The Incredible Hulk" is a watchable film.  It is filled with action and adventure and is worth watching especially as it is part of the Marvel franchise.  There may be more to the decision not to cast Norton as Bruce Banner/The Hulk in "The Avengers" but instead Mark Ruffalo was chosen and was met with better reviews.  That being said, Norton is not a bad Hulk, but unfortunately does not fit Marvel's own successful character selection.  The storyline for "The Incredible Hulk" is patchy but can still be followed and concludes in an okay way.  This film fits in above Ang Lee's "Hulk" but is far from the heights of the other films in Phase One of Marvel's Cinematic Universe.

M+F Rating: 6/10

Reviewed by M+F Reviews.

Monday, 24 February 2014

Rush Movie Review

Rush Movie Review

Director: Ron Howard

UK Release Date: 13th September 2013
Running Time: 123 minutes

Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Daniel Brühl, Olivia Wilde, Alexandra Maria Lara

"Rush" is an exhilarating film from start to finish - don't worry we will try to keep the puns to a minimum. Based on the real life rivalry, friendship and battles of Formula One drivers James Hunt and Nikki Lauder, the film begins with the start of their  racing careers going head to head in Formula Three.  The film portrays the playboy lifestyle of Hunt and the more reserved character of Lauder.

Chris Hemsworth celebrates as James Hunt in Rush

The film is very good and thoroughly enjoyable.  A large part of this is down to the acting. Chris Hemsworth is James Hunt and Daniel Brühl is Nikki Lauder.  These two really deliver top performances in the movie but they are not the only ones.  Even though the main characters are Hunt and Lauder the other minor characters help shape the film and are fundamental to the story.  In some films, these characters are not considered as important but they definitely are here and "Rush" proves this.  There are many smaller characters in the film and each one adds to the overall feel to the movie. This helps the film feel more rounded and not just a portrayal of the life of the two main characters but an opportunity to understand this time period.

Hemsworth performance as James Hunt is really spectacular.  His acting feels true and having watched real footage of Hunt, you can really see how good Hemsworth's delivery is. He easily displays the brash, overly-confident persona of Hunt perfectly.  The character is similar in ways to the confidence of Thor in the first film of the Thor franchise - "Thor" (2011).

Hemsworth was not the only standout in the film -  Brühl was just as good if not better.  For us, the character Brühl plays is the harder to portray of the two.  Convincing and serious,  Brühl really demonstrates how well he can perform and Lauder is a great character for him to be able to show his talent.  

Chri Hemsworth and Daniel Bruhl in Rush

What we found great about "Rush" is that anyone can watch it - you do not have to be a racing car or Formula One fanatic to enjoy the film. Ron Howard has directed the film in a way that it can appeal to all and this really makes this film stand out against other car racing films.  For instance, we are not huge Formula One fans but the film's content focused on the personalities of these two great Formula One racers rather than the cars.  Even the racing scenes themselves are appealing and convey well to the screen. 

Both Hemsworth and  Brühl do great justice in portraying these real life characters.The direction of the film is great and it is really enjoyable and thrilling to watch.  A really solid film and account of two greats, this film is a good watch.

M+F Rating: 8/10

Reviewed by M+F Reviews.

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Oldboy Movie Review

Movie review of Oldboy

Director: Spike Lee

UK Release Date: 6th December 2013

Running Time: 104 minutes

Starring: Josh Brolin, Elizabeth Olsen, Samuel L. Jackson, Sharlto Copley

"Oldboy" directed by Spike Lee is a action mystery film that is a remake of the South Korean film of the same name.  The original was released in 2003 and had strong reviews and ratings from critics, however the same cannot be said for the 2013 American remake version. The film stars Josh Brolin, in the main role with support from Elizabeth Olsen, Samuel L. Jackson and Sharlto Copley - yet even a good cast can not turn this grim film into a huge hit like the original. 

Now, we have to admit, that at this moment in time we have not seen the original so can not and will not compare them.  That being said, we are not that keen on the storyline having finished the film. We will not give any of the plot away but lets just say, you will need a strong stomach by the end. An unexpected but twisted ending is not for the lighthearted. 

Josh Brolin stars in the American remake of Oldboy

The film is based around the kidnap and imprisonment of main character Joe Doucett (Brolin) for 20 years before he is, for no apparent reason, released.  He then goes onto to find out why and exact revenge on whoever held him captive for so long.  With help from Marie Sebastian (Olsen) Joe hunts and fights but is against the clock as the twist and plot unravel into a disturbing and shocking finale. The antagonist (Copley) plays an interesting, mysterious character who bears a huge resemblance to magician Derren Brown.

The plot is good in keeping the audience guessing. As we had not seen the original we had no idea what was to come and it was a shock.. This is great for any person watching the film however this twist is not pleasant and not one that we enjoyed to watch.

Throughout the film Joe encounters many situations where he is confronted by dozens of opponents who he is to fight for one reason or another and for the majority of these fights he wins with ease.  It is probably a testament to the original film as to why these fighting scenes are included - however, in this version of Oldboy, it does not portray well.  The fighting scenes look fake and tacky and this is a real disappointment.  

Overall, "Oldboy" is an intense film that is ultimately a disappointment considering it is a Spike Lee movie and stars actors such as Samuel L. Jackson.  Whether a remake of the original needed to be made is altogether a different question but it certainly is not a film that we will want to see or feel we should watch again.  We will however watch the original to see for ourselves which is better. 

M+F Rating: 5/10

Reviewed by M+f Reviews.

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Gamer Review: More Than Just A Game

Gamer Film Review

Directors: Mark Neveldine, Brian Taylor

UK Release Date: 16th September 2009 

Running Time: 95 minutes

Starring: Gerard Butler, Michael C. Hall, Ludacris, Terry Crews, Logan Lerman

Set in the distant future, "Gamer" follows Kable (Gerard Butler), in a world where people can be controlled by others in games. Ken Castle (Michael C. Hall) is the creator of the games; one is called Society and the newer game is titled Slayers.  It is Slayers that Kable is controlled in and it uses death row convicts as the controllable real life characters within the game, however if they can survive 30 sessions they are allowed to go free.  "Gamer" is an okay film filled with tonnes of action scenes that coincide with an interesting idea for a storyline which unfortunately does not fulfil its potential.

Gerard Butler as Kable and Logan Lerman as Simon in Gamer
Simon (Lerman) controls Kable (Butler) in "Gamer" (2009)

Butler plays his typical action hero role as we have seen time and time before in films such as "Law Abiding Citizen" (2009) and "Olympus Has Fallen" (2013) with both of these being much better movies.  However, there is nothing wrong with Butler's performance, it is just very similar to what we have seen before. The character is perfect for him, innocent but caught up on the wrong side but eventually does his best to do the right thing. 

We were more impressed by Hall's performance as Ken Castle.  You will probably know Hall from his title role in the hit TV series "Dexter" (2006-2013) where he plays a Miami Metro forensic officer who is also a serial killer. "Gamer" was released in the middle of the run-time of "Dexter".  We watched the whole 8 season of "Dexter" in the last year (that's a lot, we know) and surprisingly when we saw Hall we did not associate him with Dexter Morgan.  Sometimes, it is difficult for TV series characters to come out of their roles for the big screen but Hall does this very well. He actually plays the villain in this movie impressively. He is very creepy, insane and he really does show that he can hold a spot in a movie as well as a TV series. 

Michael C. Hall in Gamer
Michael C. Hall as Ken Castle in "Gamer" (2009)

The film itself is okay.  It is full of actions scenes both 'in-game' and in the usual world.  However we did find the camera shots not great, especially during Slayers.  It was difficult to grasp what was going on as it was moving so fast with plenty of explosions and gun fire.  If you like any of the shooting video games then you will most probably like this film.  What we did like was some of the technology it showed.  Simon (Logan Lerman), is Kable's controller and the computer he has is very impressive. It is very similar to Tony Stark's in Marvel's Iron Man film franchise and it is always interesting to see technology like this.

Overall "Gamer" is a standard action film that really only offers action scenes.  The storyline is okay but could be better. It could be developed further to make it flow easier as the original concept is good.  The film's characters are okay, although they are quite one-dimensional and you cannot really create an emotional link with them. If you love action then is a great film for you and if you liked "Dexter" then you will enjoy seeing Michael C. Hall in a different role and it will be interesting to see him on the big screen again, whenever that me be.

M+F Rating: 6/10

Reviewed by M+F Reviews

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

2 Guns Review: Never Rob a Bank Across From a Diner With the Best Donuts in Three Counties

Movie review, rating and trailer of 2 Guns

Director: Baltasar Kormakur

UK Release Date: 16th August 2014

Running Time: 109 minutes

Starring: Denzel Washington, Mark Wahlberg, Paula Patton, Bill Paxton, Edward James Olmos

"2 Guns" is a thoroughly enjoyable action film that is filled with easy action comedy that flows throughout.  Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg star as Bobby and Stig respectively.  Director Baltasar Kormakur previously known for "Contraband" (2012) among others, does a good job in keeping the film lighthearted and entertaining for all to watch.

The plot follows Bobby and Stig, who are both undercover agents working for different agencies who are unaware that the other is also undercover.  They happen to get caught up and involved in the robbery of over $40,000,000 and the film follows the actions they take to survive and get the money back.  CIA coverups, drug cartels and bank robberies all feature providing plenty of action and events to follow during the film.

Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg in 2 Guns

The film is good generally but is not a film you would consider one of the best.  The on screen presence and chemistry of both Wahlberg and Washington works very well and is enjoyable to watch especially for the more comical parts of the film.  Washington is solid as always.

We do find ourselves becoming bigger and bigger Wahlberg fans and this role suits him very well as he combines his action side from films like "Shooter" (2007) with his comedy side displayed in films like "The Other Guys" (2010).  In a sense, "2 Guns" can be seen to be a more serious version of "The Other Guys". There is comedy in the film, which is encouraging as otherwise it would be very bland.  It adds an extra element to the film which is heavily based on action scenes. 

The film is definitely a good watch and is no where near a disappointment.  Easy, fun and enjoyable but it does lack a really penetrating storyline that stops this movie becoming one of the classics.  It won't be one that you will remember for a long time but it does not stop this film being one that you could watch over and over again.  A solid film. 

M+F Rating: 7/10

Reviewed by M+F Reviews.

Sunday, 9 February 2014

District 9 Review: Surprisingly Good Science-Fiction

District 9 Movie Logo, Review, Trailer and Rating
Director: Neill Blomkamp
UK Release Date: 4th September 2009
Running Time: 112 minutes
Starring: Sharlto Copley, Jason Cope, Nathalie Boltt

What would you expect from a pretty much unheard of cast and a storyline that at first glance is quite 'out there?' Lets be honest, you would not expect much.  That's where "District 9" wins. You do not expect much when watching the film for the first time but it actually is a very good science-fiction film that can be enjoyed multiple times. It is quite different from others and filmed in an interesting yet entertaining way. 
Neill Blomkamp is the director responsible for "District 9". The film itself is shot in a way that it is almost like a documentary. It is a cross between a usual film and a documentary with the latter part talking about the life of Wikus van de Merwe (Sharlto Copley) in a way that makes the audience question what is going on.  Alongside this, the film part of "District 9" shows what is going on with Wikus and eventually the two meet at the end and the documentary part makes sense.  It really does work for this film and the storyline is spot on.
Sharlto Copley as Wikus van de Merwe in District 9
This shows the documentary side of the film
The film, albeit science-fiction, does show some sort of truth. The conditions that the alien race are left to live in are disgusting and are similar to the slums that can be found in Africa. It is a representation of how bad some people live and how they are viewed because of this.  It also has a link to what governments are doing that people do not know about. This is easily observed in the trailer below.
If you like alien films this really is for you.  Alien weaponry, genetic testing and plenty of action "District 9" really is a true science-fiction movie. Copley really does deliver a great performance and stands out.  Surprisingly the film delivers great emotion throughout.  It really is a shock as you will find yourself feeling sorry for Wikus and the situation that he has unfortunately found himself in come the end of the film. 
Photo from Neill Blomkamp's District 9

"District 9" is quite the surprise and is a great movie.  There have been rumours of a sequel which we would definitely watch but with the bar set so high it would be interesting to see how it would compare, especially considering the disappointment that "Elysium" (2013) brought which saw the repairing of Blomkamp and Copley.  However, that takes nothing away from this film which is intelligent, clever and exciting to watch with a fresh cast and exciting storyline.
M+F Rating: 8/10

Reviewed by M+F Reviews.

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Elysium Review: Refocus Needed

Elysium Movie Review
Director: Neill Blomkamp
UK Release Date: 21st August 2013
Running Time: 109 minutes
Starring: Matt Damon, Jodie Foster, Sharlto Copley, Alice Braga

Neill Blomkamp directs "Elysium" and you can certainly see some similarities between this and his previous work, most notably "District 9" (2009). Firstly the use of actor Sharlto Copley who plays Kruger, a sleeper agent tasked with hunting down Max, played by Matt Damon, who has got hold of information that means that everyone on earth can be saved by the medical machines (known as Med Banks) they have stored on Elysium, the floating habitat currently in Earths Orbit.  "What?" You ask.  Did we forget to mention that this science fiction film is set in the year 2154 and the wealthiest people have fled ruined planet Earth to live on Elysium.

The film starts well and you soon realise what is going to happen - although in some films this can be quite annoying, it was okay in the film as we were always wondering how they were going portray it. The problem though, was that as you realise what is going on - it seems to take a while for this to take place. However,  as the film progressed we were left rather disappointed and frustrated at the storyline.  We were hoping that the film would focus on more of the science fiction elements. For example, the suit that Max has connected to his nervous system, how Elysium came to be and more information on the central core server that ran it. The film though seemed to focus solely on Max; with his relationship with his childhood friend and getting into a 'Med Bank' himself the priority issues.

Elysium Movie Review
It is by no means Damon's best performance but we can understand why he was chosen for the film.  The film is action packed and at times we felt the action was too thick and fast and the camera could not keep up to clearly show us what was going on. We were however very impressed again by Copley.  Having previously worked with Blomkamp for "District 9," Copley plays a totally different character.  He was unrecognisable until it suddenly clicked who he was.  He really played the 'bad-guy' well and was great to watch.

If you like science-fiction films then you will enjoy "Elysium". It is not the greatest you will ever see but is also not the worst.  The story line has potential and we would not be surprised if they were able to bring out a sequel or prequel.  If a sequel or prequel was made we would definitely watch it but would hope that the film focusses a bit less on the action which there was plenty of. 

Did you like Elysium? We would like to hear your thoughts and views on the film.

M+F Rating: 6/10


Reviewed by M+F Reviews.

Thursday, 30 January 2014

Kick-Ass 2 Review: Does it Kick-Ass?

Kick-Ass 2 Logo

Director: Jeff Wadlow
UK Release Date: 14th August 2013
Running Time: 103 minutes
Starring: Aaron-Taylor Johnson, Chloe Grace Moretz, Jim Carrey, Christopher Mintz-Plasse

So I am sure this question is on your lips 'Does "Kick-Ass 2", kick ass? It is a difficult question to answer and there is a lot more baggage to this film compared to most. The original "Kick-Ass" (2010) was directed by Matthew Vaughn but for the second instalment, Jeff Wadlow was the director.  With Nicholas Cage's character, Big Daddy, having died in the first film, in came movie star Jim Carrey - which I am sure the guys behind the film would hope boost interest and tickets sales for the film.

Kick-Ass and The Motherfucker
Aaron-Taylor Johnson, Chloe Grace Moretz and  Christopher Mintz-Plasse reprise there roles as Dave Lizewski/Kick-Ass, Mindy MaCredy/Hit-Girl and Chris D'Amico/The Motherfucker respectively.  Jim Carrey also features as Colonel Stars and Stripes. The cast makes the film enjoyable to watch.  They seem to git their characters well and generally the characters were good for the story.  Personally, we are not too sue what Carrey adds to the film.  His role was not major and he did not feature that heavily - we think it could have been done without him. That being said, it was still good to see him - although the accent he used for the role is something else totally.

Unfortunately for the film and all those involved, Carrey withdrew his support for the film before it was released. He withdrew his support after news broke about the Sandy Hook massacre. It is understandable from the actor who is an advocate for gun control measures and violence but does make us wonder why he was involved in the first place, an opinion shared by the writer of the comic book, Mark Millar.  As you know from the original "Kick-Ass" - they are slightly different from the usual comic book turned film.  It features a lot more death, blood and swearing which in the first film worked very well, however we feel it did not have the same effect second time round.
Jim Carrey as Colonel Stars and Stripes
There were a few instances where we found the film to be overly 'offensive.' Now we do not mean that we were offended - just that there were times that we felt things were done or said that did not add anything and did not need to be there.  Having said that we still enjoyed the film and there is lots of action, fighting and a good few laughs along the way as well.  We do not think it was as good as the first but would like to see a third instalment some point in the future.
M+F Rating: 7/10
Kick-Ass 2 Movie Trailer:

Reviewed by M+F Reviews.

Monday, 27 January 2014

Riddick Review: There Have Been Worse

Director: David Twohy
UK Release Date: 4th September 2013
Running Time: 119 minutes
Starring: Vin Diesel, Dave Batista, Katee Sackhoff, Karl Urban 

Riddick is the third film based in the Chronicles of Riddick film series. Vin diesel takes his place as Riddick in the titular role. He is joined on screen by  Dave Batista, Katee Sackhoff and Karl Urban who are three of the better known actors that feature in the film. There is also a small role for singer Keri Hilson.

The film takes place on an unknown planet after Riddick is left there alone and is fighting for survival every day. On the horizon he notices a big storm which to him is a sign to leave the planet. He sends out a distress signal and two ships come down but not to save him. They are there to take him out as he is a wanted fugitive. It's then a case of Riddick vs the two teams and whether he can get off the planet before the peculiar storm hits. It reminded us of a reversed horror film. In a horror film the characters the audience usually root for are the ones who are being attacked/hunted/haunted. In this case we are obviously in support of Riddick who is doing the chasing and this is something fresh and different to view. 

We found the film quite enjoyable and not necessarily one where you need to have watched the previous two to understand. You are provided with a light recap of the story in the opening scenes. Even though it was a film that we quite liked it did for us have some setbacks that we were not that impressed with. 

We found a few of the fighting scenes to be pointless with odd moves and body parts being chopped off left right and centre. We understand the need for the fight scenes but in ways they were over the top. Having said that Riddick's use of knives as his weapon of choice was entertaining to watch. It made the film quite enjoyable when you knew he was going to fight someone - it was something to keep looking forward to.
"When the chains come off, you go in the first five seconds." - Riddick
We felt that the graphics and set design were poor. The whole film felt strange and the lighting was peculiar. Obviously it was made that way for a purpose but for us it didn't work and made the actual watching of the film slightly frustrating. The film graphics were very unbelievable. Obviously, the film involves creatures from other planets but they looked quite poorly designed. This was probably the biggest issue we had with the film.

There were some more comical parts of the film that we enjoyed. Some of the script was amusing but this was also put along side very cringe-worth scenes, especially at the very end so look out for that.

Even with these small gripes we came away from this film having enjoyed it, whether that's because we didn't have high hopes before hand, we don't know. But something worked in our eyes and this film would not be a bad watch if you are looking for something different or a film to have on in the background. 

M+F Rating: 6/10

Reviewed by M+F Reviews.  

Friday, 24 January 2014

The Wolverine Review: Mutant's Should Stick Together

Director: James Mangold
UK Release Date: 25th July 2013
Running Time: 126 minutes
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Will Yun Lee, Tao Okamoto

First of all, it is important to note for this film to make any real sense it would be worth watching the X-Men films (yes, we do recommend all of them - come on, we do love films!). However if you are not keen on watching all of them, you should at least view X-Men: The Last Stand (2006) as this film picks up where it left off. 
Hugh Jackman returns as our favourite angry motorbike rider, Logan in this action packed movie.  In case you need another introduction for who Jackman plays, here is one of our favourite quotes of the film:
"What kind of monster are you...?
The Wolverine!!" 

That's right Logan is The Wolverine and faces a nemesis in the form of Viper, a skin shredding, venom spitting, snake like female mutant.  But that's not all - he is also up against a very large adamantium (for those who are not X-men fans, adamantium is the metal that Wolverine's claws and skeleton are made out of) built robot, manned by none other than the character he saves at the start of the film.  In true X-men and Wolverine style the film features lots of action, and in this case it happens to take the form of martial arts fighting.  This is down to where the majority of the story takes place - in Japan. 
If you are a Jackman fan then you will certainly want to watch this film.  The actor is pumped up for the majority of the film and this is a testament to how hard he would have had to work to get in to shape for this film. What is disappointing is that the rest of the cast and storyline fail to live up to the standards we should expect from a Marvel X-men related film.  Having said that, the film did rate better in a critical sense compared to its predecessor X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009).  For a film of this billing it was disappointing not to see any other large named actors on the screen. This is not to take away from the rest of the cast - it just felt like the film lacked the usual punch compared to other X-Men films. 
The storyline was somewhat disappointing for us at M+F Reviews but we do think it could have been a hell of a lot worse.  If it was not for Jackman or the typical comic one-liners that often creep into films of similar genre (or other Marvel films) this film would have been a huge let down.  It was quite easy to predict what was going to happen throughout with no real effort and you could quite easily have watched this film without paying too much attention to detail.
We did have very high hopes for The Wolverine and maybe that's why we feel it was not as good because we expected too much - something that any film fanatic would have experienced sometime or another.  The film was not all bad though and had good action scenes and a few graphical scenes that we liked and you should look out for:
  • Wolverine cutting into his own chest with his claws.
  • Viper shredding her skin and hair.
  • Wolverine being brought down by countless (no exaggeration) arrows.
We really enjoyed these scenes and felt they gave the film a bit more kick - which it did generally lack with The Wolverine being the only big name mutant on the screen.  It would have been great to see The Wolverine along side other well known mutants and exploring there relationships - something that could have been done while still diving into the troubled life and mind of the Wolverine himself. We do understand this is a Wolverine spin off and not a full X-Men film but one or two extra mutants would not have gone a miss.
The Wolverine is a film that you should watch as part of the X-Men film series but it is not one of the better movies.  However, it can still be enjoyed especially if you like martial arts and lots of action.  Jackman shows his raw strength as an actor (and his physical fitness) by holding this movie together. With news of a third film in the X-Men: Wolverine franchise it will certainly be interesting to see what direction they take it in and whether they add any other big name mutants to the cast (our recommendation). Do watch The Wolverine if you have not already and make up your own mind up it is still an enjoyable and easy film to watch.
M+F Rating: 5/10 

Reviewed by M+F Reviews.