The Expendables 3 – Review

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Four years ago, Sylvester Stallone assembled the three greatest movie stars of all time in one ground-breaking action film that took the world by storm and made men everywhere shriek with overwhelming excitement (me included) with the famous church scene that saw Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bruce Willis, and Sylvester Stallone appear on the big screen together for the first time in movie history.

Fast-forward four years and the list of action heroes continues to grow as the franchise shows no sign of slowing down.

This time Barney (Stallone), Christmas (Statham), Caesar (Crews), Gunnar (Lundgren), Toll Road (Couture), and Trench (Schwarzenegger) return to face off against Conrad Stonebanks (Mel Gibson), an ex-founder of theExpendables who’s become one of the most wanted war criminals in the world.

For years Barney lived under the knowledge that Stonebanks, a traitor to the Expendables brotherhood, was dead, but when a chance encounter between the two sends them on a collision course, Barney sets out to correct his mistake and kill Stonebanks once and for all. But when chaos and bloodshed quickly ensues, and a member of The Expendables pays the price, Barney realises that it’ll take a younger, quicker, and more modern-age generation of mercenaries to prevail.

So with new generation recruits; Smilee (Kellan Lutz), Luna (Ronda Rousey), Thorn (Glen Powell), and Mars (Victor Ortiz), as well as a few old-school recruits in the form of Doc (Wesley Snipes), Galgo (Antonio Banderas), and Drummer (Harrison Ford), Barney launches his suicidal assault on Stonebanks and his criminal empire.

The Expendables 3 is chocked full of action, larger-than-life explosions, and more movie stars then the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Of course it’s important to remember that these films are designed to entertain, so don’t go in expecting an Oscars worthy storyline, instead just sit back, relax, and enjoy the incredible action sequences that prove why these actors are the best in the business.

Bates Motel (Season 1) – Review

It’s one of the most iconic horror films in history, with the famous shower scene that made men and women the world over lock their bathroom doors when showering, specially in motels. Now Alfred Hitchcock‘s horror masterpiece, Psycho, has been adapted into a hit television show, centering on the young life of Norman Bates before Marion Crane ever checked in.

Vera Farmiga and Freddie Highmore star in A&E’s new horror series, Bates Motel.

The first series of Bates Motel, which is currently available on Netflix in the UK, follows mother and son, Norma and Norman Bates (played by Vera Farmiga and Freddie Highmore), who, reeling from the loss of Norman’s father, move to a sleepy Oregon town to start a new life, and purchase what soon becomes the infamous Bates Motel.

Set in the present day, Bates Motel follows Norman in his teenage years as his fragile psychological state soon begins to unravel in a series of murders as the young teenager battles the desire to live a normal life with a mother hellbent on keeping to herself forever. One of the key back stories of Hitchcock‘s 1960’s Oscar-winning film is the relationship between Norman Bates and his mother Norma, and how they became the infamous serial killing partnership we see in Psycho.

Bates Motel Episode 1 sees Norma and Norman move to the infamous Bates Motel.

It’s certainly a tall order to take one of the most loved horror classics and turn it into a hit television series, but it seems NBC Universal and A&E has managed exactly that, with reviews of the 10 episode series praising the remake for it’s gritty, eye-opening look at the well known characters.

Vera Farmiga (Source Code [2011], The Departed [2006]) and Freddie Highmore (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory [2005], August Rush [2007]) are truly a formidable partnership who really bring the intricate and unnerving relationship of this murderous mother and son to life in a whole new way. Supported by an outstanding cast, including Max Thieriot (House at the End of the Street [2012]), Nicola Peltz (Transformers: Age of Extinction [2014]), and Nestor Carbonell (The Dark Knight[2008]), Bates Motel sets out to show us the dark, sinister, and murderous side of America’s most famous motel.

Vera Farmiga and Freddie Highmore star in Bates Motel (TV, 2013- ).

The first series of Bates Motel can be seen in the UK on Blu-Ray, DVD, and Netflix, while series two, which has just finished it’s run in the US on A&E will be available on Netflix in the coming months. For those who can’t wait that long, Season 2 is released on Blu-Ray and DVD on October 13th 2014, you can pre-order it now via Amazon.

Who’s in it?

Vera Farmiga as Norma Bates

INTO THE STORM (2014)

The latest climate-based blockbuster to hit movie screens, Into the Storm, is a special-effects bonanza that is designed to have you on the edge of your seat the entire time.

Starring The Hobbit‘s, Richard Armitage, Into the Storm is the explosive summer blockbuster that follows two groups of people as what can only be described as, the storm of the century, bears down on the small unsuspecting US town of Silverton.

Hollywood’s latest extreme weather blockbuster, Into the Storm (2014).

As Gary (Armitage), Principle of Silverton high school, prepares for the schools annual graduation ceremony along with his two sons, a team of filmmakers and meteorologists chase a powerful storm system towards the town, and when their paths cross, as the town around them is ripped apart, they must quickly learn to rely on one another if they’re to survive.

Richard Armitage leads the cast of Into the Storm (2014).

Into The Storm is an entertaining film with powerful special effects that throw you straight into the action. Unfortunately though, the film lacks almost any significant story and we the audience only get the opportunity to scratch the surface of these characters backgrounds, making it almost impossible to connect with them on any emotional level.

Perhaps when creating a film about twisters, screenwriter John Swetnam should have studied the work of Jan De Bont, the visionary writer and director behind Twister(1997), in order to really bring his characters to life.

The movie is still worth a watch for the mind-blowing special effects, and if don’t go in expecting any concrete story arch or emotional connection to the characters, you should come out with little, if any, disappointment.

The Inbetweeners 2 – Review

Where to begin… I went in to this film with such high expectations considering how incredible the first Inbetweeners film had been, and so part of me guessed that with these writers at the helm, only good would come of it…but sadly I was so wrong.

I know that to follow a high successful and critically acclaimed TV series and record-breaking box-office film is a tall order, even for the most talented to comic writers, but isn’t that why we have the saying ‘quite while you’re ahead’?

And they really should have. The story picks up a year or two after their epic, life-changing trip to Malia, one of the many party capitals to the world, and with Simon (Joe Thomas) and Will (Simon Bird) away at university, and Neil (Blake Harrison) working in a bank of all places, Jay (James Buckley) has jetted off to Australia for his version of a gap year.

Now life will never go smoothly for this trouble-magnet foursome because let’s face it, it would be pretty boring if it did, so of course Uni life for Will is pretty much exactly the same as it was at school. Friends seem to repel him and his only salvation from it all is the weekend visit from Simon and Neil, yet not even that goes according to plan.

So after receiving a long-distance email from Jay over in Oz, an email that promises girls, booze, nightclubs, and a whole lot of other Jay related perks, the trio decide to a trip to Australia is just what they need, especially Simon, who’s girlfriend, Lucy, who you’ll remember from Malia, has turned out to be somewhat psychotic.

And so the adventure down-under begins, but of course there’s no way it’s going to run smoothly, especially when these four are involved.

For all intensive purposes this film has it’s moments, but there’s no point writing a sequel to a British Classic unless it’s going to be even better then the original, which sadly The Inbetweeners 2 was not…not even close.

Now I would never recommend not seeing a film, especially as it’s important to support British cinema in an age where digital piracy runs rife, but if like me you’re a massive fan of The Inbetweeners, go in with no expectations of an even better outing than the last, and perhaps the disappointment will be less heart-breaking.

22 JUMP STREET (2014)

It’s been two years since they graduated high school for the second time, and to say the careers of Metro City officers Schmidt (Jonah Hill) and Jenko (Channing Tatum) have blossomed after the unexpected success of their last case, would be a lie.

There was a silver-lining however – the ‘Jump Street’ program was such a success that it’s budget has been drastically increased, meaning these two are going back undercover. Once again under the prying eye of Captain Dickson (Ice Cube) and having had to relocate across the road to 22 Jump Street, Schmidt and Jenko are heading to college to bust a drug-ring.

But after Jenko infiltrates the Football team and unexpectedly strikes up a ‘bromance’ with star Quarterback Zook, he and Schmidt’s partnership undergoes it’s biggest test to-date, as they struggle to remain focused on the case while battling all the trials and tribulations that come with being a college freshman.

22 Jump Street brings all the qualities that made the first outing of this 80′s remake a box-office hit, and yet it manages to bring something extra special in the comedy factor, with some genuine laugh-out-loud moments that make this an instant hit.

Edge of Tomorrow – Review

Arguably the world’s biggest movie star, Tom Cruise, seems to be making a name for himself of late with a series of critically-acclaimed sci-fi blockbusters – and his latest movie, Edge of Tomorrow (2014), looks set to cement him as a science-fiction icon.

Hot off the back of 2013′s box-office success, Oblivion, Cruise teams up this time with Doug Liman, director of The Bourne Identity and Mr and Mrs Smith, for the explosive new blockbuster, Edge of Tomorrow.

After Earth is invaded by an organic alien race, capable of controlling time to predict Mankind’s every move on the battlefield, Major Cage (Cruise) finds himself repeating the same day of battle over and over again after killing one of the aliens.

Unsure of what’s happening and why, Cage soon finds an ally in Rita (Emily Blunt), a renowned Special Forces soldier and poster-child for the war, who knows more about what’s happening to Cage then first meets the eye.

With her guidance and training, and the ability to restart the day every time he dies, Cage must learn to develop and hone his knowledge and skills into the perfect killing machine, if he and Rita are going to find a way of killing the alien species before they can destroy Mankind.

Edge of Tomorrow is an almost perfect infusion of character-driven drama, edge of your seat action, and a fresh new storyline that keeps you guessing throughout, and with a fantastic supporting cast, including Bill Paxton and Brendan Gleeson, audiences will almost definitely be flocking back to cinemas to see this one!

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014)

Review of The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014), starring Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Jamie Foxx and Sally Field.

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For the past couple of years we’ve seen a steady increase in superhero franchise re-boots and none-more-so poignant than our favourite web-slinger Spider-Man. Having taken over the helm from Tobey Maguire two years ago, Andrew Garfield once again dons the tight red and blue spandex for the sequel to The Amazing Spider-Man.

Still reeling in guilt over the death of Gwen Stacy’s (Emma Stone) father and wrestling with the promise he made to leave her out of his dangerous life, Peter Parker is torn between his word and his heart.

Of course being Spider-Man leaves little time to dwell as he’s soon faced with his most dangerous and formidable foes yet, Electro (Jamie Foxx) and The Green Goblin (Dane DeHann).

After suffering a freak accident at work, and discovering that his company Oscorp covered it up, Max Dillion (Jamie Foxx) finds himself transformed into Electro, a man who’s entire essence has been turned into electricity that hungers for more power. With revenge seared into his mind, and a new deep-seeded hatred for Spider-Man, it soon becomes apparent that the city of New York has become is hunting ground.

With his relationship with Gwen (Emma Stone) on the ropes, a re-discovered childhood friendship with Harry Osbourne (Dane DeHann) cut-short, and the real truth behind his parents death surfacing, Peter Parker must find a way to truly embrace his inner Spider-Man if he and his loved ones are to survive.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 really gives us an in-depth and powerful look at the true man behind the mask, and with a strong supporting cast including Sally Field, Felicity Jones, and Paul Giamatti, as well as mind-blowing special effects and an Oscars worthy sound score, this superhero outing is one that must be experienced on the big-screen!

Godzilla (2014) – Review

In 1999, scientists accidentally awaken an ancient nest in the Philippines, which after closer inspection, reveals a troubling sight – two large cocoons, but one of them is empty, and a path of destruction, reveals something gigantic has awoken.

Fast-forward to current day San Fransisco and Lt. Ford Brody (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), who’s families back-story we see in the opening part of the film, is forced to travel to Japan to bail out his conspiracy-obsessed father, Joe Brody (Bryan Cranston), out of jail.

Bryan Cranston and Aaron Taylor-Johnson star in Godzilla (2014).

While there however, Ford’s painful past re-surfaces when the two giant parasites awaken from their slumber, threatening mankind’s very existence. Yet could Earth’s hope of salvation come from the most unlikely of foes?

After the catastrophe of the 1998 Godzilla remake, you could forgive people’s reservations towards another big-budget Hollywood blockbuster. However, from the moment the first trailer hit our screens, excitement and buzz quickly ensued as anticipation began to grow – and now having been released, critics and movie goers alike have been quick to praise this re-telling.

With special effects that make the previous Godzilla remake look prehistoric, a new story interpretation of this world-renowned Japanese classic, and characters that drive the story forward thanks to a superb supporting cast including Elizabeth OlsenKen Watanabe, and Juliette Binoche, unknown British director Gareth Edwards has breathed new life into the world’s most famous monster – and in the process shown us that sometimes Earth’s mightiest foe can in fact be our greatest savior.

Bad Neighbours – Review

Mac and Kelly Radner (Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne) are adjusting to life a new parents and, despite the lack of social life, things seem to be going well – that is until a frat house, who give meaning to the term ‘Bad Neighbours’, move in next door.

Concerned about the ensuing noise waking up their newborn daughter, Mac and Kelly try and make a pact with their new neighbours, promising to refrain from calling the cops if the noise levels get too much.

Of course, the pact is quickly decimated one night when, fearful their baby will wake up to the noise of the party next door, and unable to reach fraternity President Teddy Sanders (Zac Efron), decide to break the pact and call the cops.

With Teddy feeling betrayed, Mac and Kelly quickly find themselves in an all-out-war of survival with the frat brothers from Delta Psi and their devious and unrelenting President who’s out for revenge.

Bad Neighbours is the perfect contrast of people coming to terms with growing up and people trying their hardest to avoid growing up. With a fantastic cast including Dave Franco and Christopher Mintz-Plasse (known to a generation as McLovin’), an abundance of laugh-out-loud comedy, and twists that will have you hooked until the end, Bad Neighbours is a genuine triumph that will surely be added to the DVD collection.