Iron Man 3 – Review

Following on from the Alien attacks on New York in the Avengers Assemble (2012), Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr) is not the man he once was as he battles the memories of that day and the insomnia that has gripped his mind. And as if that wasn’t enough, he now faces his most formidable enemy to date, the Mandarin (Sir Ben Kingsley), who is looking to exact revenge on the US and it’s President.

As Tony’s obsession with the Iron Man suits borders the obsessive, it’s repercussions begin to take their tole on his relationship with Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow), and he’s left pondering the question ‘Does the suit makes the man? Or does the man makes the suit?’.

With Iron Man 1 & 2 director Jon Favreau stepping back into just a producing and acting role this time round, top screenwriter Shane Black (the Lethal Weapon franchise) takes over the directing helm, delivering an unforgettable action-packed, blockbuster-thriller that brings to a close this ground-breaking trilogy.

With twists that keep us guessing all the way and finally a detailed look at the Iron Patriot suit, controlled by Colonel James Rhodes (Don Cheadle) and made famous by the original comics, you’ll be glued to the edge of your seat.

Iron Man 3 delivers on every level and promises fans a truly epic finale to this stunning trilogy, that leaves us begging the question ‘Will Robert Downey Jr don the iconic red and gold suit again’? – I for one surely hope so.

Man of Steel – Review

The screen adaption of the oldest and most loved superhero franchise in history has always been a feat that many world-class filmmakers have struggled to overcome – so when news first broke that the mastermind behind The Dark Knight trilogy would write and produce a Superman reboot, many believed salvation had arrived.

With Christopher Nolan (The Dark Knight trilogy) penning the script and Zach Snyder (300) taking control of the directors helm, fans around the world started to believe that their beloved Supermanwould finally receive the big screen justice he so rightly deserved – especially after the fiasco that was Superman Returns back in 2006.

Man of Steel (2013) wastes no time delving into the core roots of Superman and the planet Krypton, the doomed world he once called home. For first time we finally uncover the real reason behind Krypton’s demise, which came about due to the planet being stripped bare of all its natural resources.

Jor-El (Russell Crowe), aware that his planet is dying, sacrifices his own life to ensure the survival of his infant son, Kal-El, by sending him to Earth, far away from the clutches of General Zod (Michael Shannon). Raised by Jonathon and Martha Kent (Kevin Costner and Diane Lane), Kal-El, known now as Clark Kent (Henry Cavill), begins to develop his powers and over time realize the true purpose of his life on Earth.

His true test of his strength comes after a chance meeting with ruthless reporter, Lois Lane (Amy Adams), in the remote snow plains of Northern Canada, which enevitably leads to the invasion of Earth by General Zod. With the prospect of re-building Krypton on Earth, but at a grave cost to humanity, Superman must decide with what species his allegiance lies, and accept his true destiny.

Man of Steel is to Superman, what The Dark Knight trilogy is to Batman – this film is a spectacle that cannot be missed. With an all-star cast that bring the characters alive like never before, and a world-class team at the controls, delivering a sensational story and out of this world special effects, Man of Steel

Oblivion – Review

Tom Cruise once again cements himself as Hollywood’s leading action hero.

Simply mind-blowing – words that are not often expressed after emerging from my local cinema after experiencing another big-budget sci-fi spectacle.

This however was the case for Tom Cruise’s new futuristic thriller, Oblivion – based in a post-apocalyptic Earth, after a war with an alien race has left the planet uninhabitable due to nuclear fallout, Jack Harper (Cruise) and his partner Victoria (Andrea Riseborough) have been assigned the dangerous task of protecting Earth’s remaining water supply, which is being harvested for the remaining human population now located on Saturn’s moon, Titan.

Having had their memories wiped before undertaking the mission, to protect the human race’s most valuable secrets in case they are are captured by the remaining alien stragglers still hiding on Earth, Harper’s memories begin to return, and soon discovers things are not what they seem.

With twist after twist ensuing, Oblivion promises to leave you speechless with its non-stop action and special effects, mixed with an incredible story and top performances, that has you praying for a sequel.

Now You See Me – Review

Come in close…because the more you think you see, the easier it’ll be to fool you!”

The art of magic and illusion has captivated audiences for centuries, opening our eyes to another world full of limitless possibilities – perhaps this is why it translates to the silver screen with such ease.

Directed by: Louis Leterrier
Written by: Ed Solomon, Boaz Yakin, Edward Ricourt
Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo, Isla Fischer, Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, Woody Harrelson
Studio: Twentieth Century Fox
Run time: 115 mins

When four of the world’s most gifted illusionists team together to showcase the greatest magic show on the planet, it’s not long before their presence and motives come to the attention of the FBI special agent Dylan Rhodes (Mark Ruffalo), who launches a full-scale operation to outsmart and capture the ‘Four Horseman’, as they have now come to be known, after they mysteriously pull off a series of public bank heists.

(L-R) Michael Caine, Isla Fischer, Dave Franco, and Woody Harrelson star in Now You See Me (2013).

Guided by an unknown fifth horseman, J. Daniel Atlas (Jesse Eisenberg), Henley Reeves (Isla Fischer), Merritt McKinney (Woody Harrelson), and Jack Wilder (Dave Franco) take their gifts to the limit of what we perceive is reality.

Sleek, stylish, and utterly entertaining from start to finish, Now You See Me has quickly become a box-office smash worldwide, gripping audiences with its mind-blowing illusions and special effects, that bring the art of magic alive like never before – and with twists and turns that will keep you guessing all the way to the end, this is a front row seat you cannot afford to miss.

Star Trek: Into Darkness – Review

The cultural TV phenomenon that is Star Trek has been gracing our screens for the past six decades – making it one of the most successful and loved franchises on the planet – or universe.

In 2009, visionary director and producer, J.J. Abrams, undertook the formidable task of relaunching the Star Trek franchise for the big screen, and by doing so breath new life into one of the most successful shows of all time and capture a new generation of ‘Trekies’ – well needless to say his hard work paid off and a new blockbuster franchise was born.

It’s now a few years on from their first outing and the new crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise are about to come up against their most formidable foe yet, the War Criminal known only as Kahn (Benedict Cumberbatch).

It’s up to Captain James T. Kirk (Chris Pine) and the crew of the Enterprise to hunt down this one man weapon before it’s too late – but all is not as it seems, and Captain Kirk must trust in his fellow crew members Spock (Zachary Quinto), Bones (Karl Urban), Uhura (Zoe Saldana), and Scotty (Simon Pegg), if he is to overcome this threat.

With an incredible cast, gripping story, and out of this world CGI, Star Trek: Into Darkness is a stunningly-crafted, mind-blowing spectacle that will take you on an adrenaline fueled journey to the edges of space – and leave you asking for more.

Django Unchained – Review

Tarantino breaths new life into the classic Western.

As an Academy Award-winning director, Quentin Tarantino is notorious for his gritty, violent, and blood-thirsty films that make him one of the most recognizable auteurs of the modern era – and his latest spectacle offers no doubt that he is truly one of Hollywood’s greatest filmmakers.

Tarantino is no stranger when it comes to exploring difficult and, in the case of Django Unchained, sensitive subjects that may be avoided entirely by the vast majority of filmmakers.

Set during the slave era in the United States, bounty hunter Dr. King Schultz (Christoph Waltz) tracks down and subsequently sets free a slave known as Django (Jamie Foxx), who knows the identity and location of Dr. Schultz next bounty.

After feeling some responsibility for Django’s post-slavery future, Dr. Schultz offers to take him on as his deputy and sets about training him and passing on his wisdom and experience. As the unlikely duo’s path unravels, Django finds himself presented with the opportunity to free his wife, who is being held in slavery by the ruthless and unforgiving plantation owner, Calvin Candle (Leonardo DiCaprio).

Django Unchained is a visually stunning, modern classic, that breaths new life into the Western genre – accompanied by an academy-award winning script and an all-star cast, including Samuel L. Jacksonand Kerry WashingtonDjango Unchained delivers on every level and promises to be a movie event that is an absolute must-see!

Flight – Review

Flight (2013) takes action-thrillers to new heights!

Denzel Washington (Training DayUnstoppable) explodes back onto the big screen in a non-stop, adrenaline fueled ride that has you on the edge of your seat from start to finish. Flight marks director Robert Zemeckis’s (Back to the Future) return to live-action movie-making for the first time in over 13 years – since Cast Away back in 2000.

Whip Whitaker (Denzel Washington) is an airline pilot with years of experience behind him – but is also scrapping the bottom of the barrel as an alcoholic and drug user.

He then experiences every pilots worst nightmare when his aircraft, full of passengers, begins to break apart in mid-air. Hailed a hero after pulling off a landing unlike any other, his world starts to unravel around him when the investigation into the crash takes an unexpected turn, taking him to the edge of despair.

With a stellar cast that takes you on an emotional roller-coaster not-to-be-missed, Flight delivers on every level and promises an unforgettable journey that leaves you wanting more.

Ted – Review

Thanks to Ted every man around the world is now talking to teddy bears!

When I first heard that Family Guy creator, Seth MacFarlane, was masterminding his first feature film involving a talking teddy bear that swears a lot, I honestly thought it would result in an instant comedy classic – and I was not disappointed.

Ted tells the story of John Bennett (Mark Wahlberg) who, as a young boy, wishes his teddy bear would come alive so that he could have a friend. Well in true fairy tale fashion, his wish comes true, and a friendship forms unlike any other.

Twenty-five years pass and still the two are inseparable, despite Ted (Seth MacFarlane) having found worldwide fame and then lost it, and John, now in a loving relationship with Lori Collins (Mila Kunis), unsure of his life’s direction. But when there’s a talking teddy bear, carnage is not far behind, and these two end up on a journey that neither had expected.

Ted promises to send you on an hysterical, whirl-wind adventure full of sex, drugs, and bad language that will have you crying with laughter from start to finish, as well as show you the true value of love and friendship that will have you watching it again and again.

Ted is a comedy classic that must be seen to be believed.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire – Review

The first installment of the critically-acclaimed franchise saw the birth of a new action hero in the form of Academy Award-winning actress, Jennifer Lawrence, and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire has officially cemented the young actress as a box-office phenomenon.

After the events of the 74th Hunger Games, that saw Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) and Peeta Mallark (Josh Hutcherson) survive a mass fight to the death, the new lovers are thrust into a world unlike anything they’ve faced yet – and the prying eyes of the Capital are following their every move.

It’s been a year, the 75th Hunger Games are fast approaching, and Katniss has become a symbol to the people against the tyranny of the Capital and President Snow (Donald Sutherland). With no time to heal from the trauma they’ve faced, Katniss and Peeta are quickly shipped off on the Victor’s Tour, a publicity journey around all 12 districts, where they soon discover a rebellion gaining momentum.

The promise of a free life, granted to all victors of the Hunger Games, is soon destroyed when President Snow plots to destroy the uprising by evoking the quarter quell, an epic battle of survival that pits all victors against one another until only one survives.

It soon becomes apparent to Katniss that these games are different, something is not quite right this time, and that to survive she will have to learn to adapt and trust those she never imagined she would.

With a phenomenal cast including Elizabeth BanksStanley Tucci, and Lenny KravitzThe Hunger Games: Catching Fire is a breath-taking spectacle of epic proportions that throws twist after twist, leaving you glued to the edge of your seat the entire time.

The Expendables 3 – Review

Cinematography6.5
Reader Rating: ( 0 vote ) 0

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.