Category Archives: Movies

eHoyts

The Hoyts Experience

 

After going to the Hoyts counter to order a ticket, and finding the Cinema full, I decided to try something different and possibly change a habit.  I knew that Hoyts has a promo suggesting you could join them for benefits, so I joined.

First I installed the app on my phone. Seems to work OK.
It looks like you can scan a voucher to pay for the ticket.

The site is very graphics heavy but seems to work.
Finding a currently screening movie and a time was easy enough. I selected a seat and moved on. It’s not so easy to find screening times for movies yet to release. The web site is better.

I used the web site to complete the transaction. Now comes the interesting part – payment First, there is a $1.50 Booking Fee – Why, I don’t know. If you want people to use your service, why pay more ?

Then there is the payment method. It’s Visa, Masterpass or Gift Card. No PayPal ! Thinking the ‘Gift Card’ was the same as the voucher, I entered the details. That didn’t work. You have to go back and redeem a voucher (!)

So the ticket cost $12.50 – $11 (normal cost) and $1.50 booking fee.
At least I knew there was a seat and where it was.

They sent me an email with confirmation. This included a PDF that was obviously designed to be printed. I don’t have a printer, so opened the email on my smartphone and with some scrolling could display the booking info.

Then I read the attached –

– Please collect your tickets at least 15 minutes prior to the start of your movie.

– Bring a copy of this confirmation email or the confirmation number;
AND The credit card you made your purchase with;
OR Photo ID so you can claim concession, senior and student tickets or restricted films.

– Please note that your cinema allocation could change. Please check with a team member on entry.

1. So this isn’t a ticket after all. You still have to go to the counter
(isn’t this what this whole process was designed to avoid ?)

2. Why the Credit Card ? (I’m taking it just in case). I have made bookings through Ticketek and all you need is the ticket.
So the way this is written, take either a) Credit Card or b) Photo ID
But if you don’t need a concession, do you need the Photo ID ?
Bit confusing

3. What ! I just chose the seat I want. Why would it change ?

Going back to the Phone App, when I tried to login the thing crashed. I had to uninstall it then reinstall. Finally managed to login. Under ‘My Tickets’ – nothing. Going back to the online site, managed to find my transaction statement.

Looking at the reviews of the product on Google Play,
124 5 star reviews
100 1 Star reviews

The latest reviews indicate that a recent upgrade was not an improvement.


Break for Movie


At the Hoyts counter, all that was needed was to show the receipt to get the movie pass.

Conclusion:
It will work. Just avoid the phone app and use the web site. You do pay a bit more, but it does mean that you can leave later and be sure of a good seat (at a price).

But the web site and phone app need a good clean-out  of the extraneous junk and streamlining. It’s clear that everything is designed to get you to the counter where they can sell you food.

and BTW at the theatre I sat next to a large guy with the proportions of Kim dotcom. He had a large bucket of popcorn, but it didn’t interrupt the movie as he polished it off in the first 20 minutes.

Films 2017

The Year in Movies – Review 2017

I saw 27 movies in the Cinema this year. A few were officially released in 2016, but these I viewed in 2017.

Here they are in the order I saw them…. (with a quick review)

Moana
Singing, dancing adventure in the pacific. Everyone (including me) enjoyed this one

Hunt for the Wilderpeople
After all the hype, I found this rather ordinary

Independence Day: Resurgence
Forgotten already

Hidden Figures
Great story of women serving in NASA

La La Land
What was all the adoration about ?

The Great Wall
Matt Damon helps China defeat CGI monsters

Kong: Skull Island
Tom Hiddleston & Samuel L Jackson take on the great Ape

Lego Batman
Not as good as the first one

Ghost in the Shell
Style over substance

Fast & Furious 8
Dwayne Johnson dominates

Denial
‘Worthy’ story of a Holocaust denier

Alien: Covenant
Massively hyped, but will not be the classic the first two are

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword
Guy Ritchie’s story of the King in a dull grey.

Wonder Woman
Gal Gadot reigns supreme

Despicable Me 3
Loved the 1980’s references

War for the Planet of the Apes
Concludes the series

Dunkirk
Loud, long and mainly on a beach

Baby Driver
Music, driving, music, driving, violence (repeat)

Atomic Blonde
Charlize Theron takes back the 1980’s thriller genre.

Valerian
Massive CGI, pity about the story

Blade Runner 2
Long, Long, Long

Geostorm
Gerard Butler defies physics.

Thor Ragnarok
NZ Director makes the best super-hero movie

Murder on the Orient Express
Kenneth Brannagh and his mustache solve a crime

Star Wars – The Last Jedi
Just what we were waiting for

Paddington 2
A good hard stare will solve anything.

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle
Dwayne (The Smoldering Rock) Johnson, Jack (I’m a girl) Black, Karen (Dr Who) Gillian and Kevin (Complaining) Hart all get to strut their stuff.


And the winners are…………..

I have grouped the films by my ratings..

First, in the ‘well that was a waste of time’ group.
King Arthur: Legend of the Sword
La La Land

Second, the ‘Very Average’ group…
Blade Runner 2
Dunkirk
Fast & Furious 8
Ghost in the Shell
Hunt for the Wilderpeople
Independence Day: Resurgence
Lego Batman
The Great Wall 

Third, it’s ‘Well Done, but here are a few problems’ group…
Alien: Covenant
Atomic Blonde
Denial
Geostorm
Hidden Figures
Kong: Skull Island
Murder on the Orient Express
Valerian
War for the Planet of the Apes
Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle

And finally, in the ‘Don’t change a thing’ group.

<drum roll>

Baby Driver
Despicable Me 3
Moana
Paddington 2
Star Wars – The Last Jedi
Thor Ragnarok
Wonder Woman

 

Jumanji 2

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle

is a 2017 American action adventure comedy film directed by Jake Kasdan and written by Kasdan, Chris McKenna, Erik Sommers, Scott Rosenberg, and Jeff Pinkner, from a story by McKenna.
It serves as a standalone sequel to Jumanji (1995), the film stars Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, Kevin Hart, Karen Gillan, Nick Jonas, and Bobby Cannavale. Set twenty-one years after the first film, the film follows four teenagers who are transported into the video game world of Jumanji, and playing as the characters they chose, must beat the game in order to return home. The film is also a tribute to Robin Williams, star of the original.


This gets extra points for featuring Kiwi actor Rhys Darby as Nigel Billingsley, a guide in the game.

The trailer sums up what you get… an action adventure movie with humour from the avatar bodies. It does have a feel of being episodic (games levels?) with rather long sections of character interaction for the purpose of humour, then action and repeat. It does ramp up to a good ending where the gang achieves the objectives of the game.

It ends with an appropriate ending back in the read world. (4/5)

 

Paddington 2

Paddington 2 is a 2017 live-action/CGI animated comedy film directed by Paul King and written by King and Simon Farnaby. Based on the stories of the character Paddington Bear created by Michael Bond, it is the sequel to the 2014 film Paddington and is produced by Heyday Films and StudioCanal.

Cast


Perfectly pitched sequel that hits all the right notes of comedy, drama, action and adventure. One of the best films of the year.

 

Nimh’s Secret

The Secret of NIMH (1982)

The Secret of NIMH is a 1982 American animated science fantasy adventure film directed by Don Bluth in his directorial debut. It is an adaptation of Robert C. O’Brien’s 1971 children’s novel Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH.

Voice cast


Despite the top notch painted backgrounds and animation I found this  not engaging.  It put it down to the flat voice acting. All the characters sounded similar in tone. The soundtrack (by Jerry Goldsmith) was generic and didn’t match the action very well.  The environmental sounds were under-done (or non-existent) .

And the story, while simple was dark and grim. Not what you would consider a story for children.

 

Last Jedi

Star Wars – The Last Jedi

Star Wars: The Last Jedi (also known as Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi[4]) is a 2017 American epic space opera film written and directed by Rian Johnson. It is the second film in the Star Wars sequel trilogy, following Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015). The film is produced by Lucasfilm and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. It stars Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Lupita Nyong’o, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, and Gwendoline Christie in returning roles, with Kelly Marie Tran, Laura Dern, and Benicio del Toro joining the cast.


The big question fans will be asking in the future is – which is better, “The Empire Strikes Back” or “The Last Jedi”.

Two minutes into the film and it’s into the action, exciting and intense.  The movie is 2.5 hrs long, bit it feels more like 3 hours. There is just so much plot crammed into it. The best thing is the plot, it’s unexpected and ultimately satisfying. Just when you think the final objectives for our heroes has been laid down and we will proceed to a big conclusion, it changes. That’s what I like in a story.

It does answer questions about Rey and Kylo. And being the second in the trilogy sets things up nicely for the sequel.

Her

Her is a 2013 American romantic science-fiction drama film written, directed, and produced by Spike Jonze. It marks Jonze’s solo screenwriting debut. The film follows Theodore Twombly (Joaquin Phoenix), a man who develops a relationship with Samantha (Scarlett Johansson), an intelligent computer operating system personified through a female voice. The film also stars Amy Adams, Rooney Mara, and Olivia Wilde.


This got a bunch of awards and it’s easy to see why.

Joaquin is really good as a very ordinary guy. It’s a good thing they didn’t make him some kind of stereotype. The works writing letter for other people and has been recently divorced. The film traces  his relationship with an AI assistant that is embedded in an operating system. While the story is concentrated on the two main characters, it did remind me of Robert J Sawyer’s Wake Trilogy.

At times it has a very dreamy quality, sometimes humorous and often very sweary. While it may seem to be a romantic comedy, the main theme that comes through is how we change when we interact with technology, and how technology evolves.

 

Lion King

The Lion King is a 1994 American animated musical film created by Walt Disney Pictures. It is the 32nd Disney animated feature film, and the fifth animated film produced during a period known as the Disney Renaissance. The Lion King was directed by Roger Allers and Rob Minkoff, produced by Don Hahn, and has a screenplay credited to Irene Mecchi, Jonathan Roberts, and Linda Woolverton. Its original songs were written by composer Elton John and lyricist Tim Rice, and original scores were written by Hans Zimmer.

The film features an ensemble voice cast that includes Matthew Broderick, James Earl Jones, Jeremy Irons, Jonathan Taylor Thomas, Moira Kelly, Nathan Lane, Ernie Sabella, Rowan Atkinson, Robert Guillaume, Madge Sinclair, Whoopi Goldberg, Cheech Marin, and Jim Cummings. The story takes place in a kingdom of lions in Africa and was influenced by William Shakespeare’s Hamlet.

 


Having never seen this film, it’s broadcast on free to air TV was an opportunity  to see this classic. It’s easy to see why it’s popular, the graphic design is bright and colourful. The anthropomorphic design of the characters is extreme. Sometimes the movement is almost human. As with most children’s stories, it takes a dark turn in the middle before Simba asserts himself and returns to his tribe.

Well worth the viewing.

 

Orient Express

Murder on the Orient Express is a 2017 American mystery drama film directed by Kenneth Branagh with a screenplay by Michael Green, based on the 1934 novel of the same name by Agatha Christie.

The film stars Branagh as Hercule Poirot, with Penélope Cruz, Willem Dafoe, Judi Dench, Johnny Depp, Josh Gad, Derek Jacobi, Leslie Odom Jr., Michelle Pfeiffer, and Daisy Ridley in supporting roles. The film is the fourth adaptation of Christie’s novel, following a 1974 film, a 2001 TV film, and a 2010 episode of Agatha Christie’s Poirot.[6] The plot follows Poirot, a world-renowned detective, who seeks to solve a murder on the famous European train in the 1930s.


The phrase ‘well done’ and ‘good work’ spring to mind. It’s not an outrageous big budget film with stunts, effects and explosions. But Brannagh manages to wind up the tension to the end and the traditional scene where he explains how a murder is committed.

Good watch, although probably better seen when it gets to TV.

Thor Rag

Thor: Ragnarok

Thor: Ragnarok is a 2017 American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics character Thor, produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures.

This is the sequel to 2011’s Thor and 2013’s Thor: The Dark World and the seventeenth film of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).

Directed by Taika Waititi with a screenplay by Eric Pearson and the writing team of Craig Kyle and Christopher Yost.

 

Starring

Taila Waititi gets superhero movies: They need to be big and operatic. Not serious but witty and funny. With imaginative graphics and a sweeping score. The heroes need to look like they stepped out of a Frank Frazetti poster…..

Chris Hemsworth & Tom Hiddleston as Thor and Loki are just as we expect them. Thor the white knight and Loki the trickster and liar.

Cate  Blanchett is OK as Hela, the brothers evil sister.

 

However Jeff Goldblum as the Grandmaster turns more the movie more to campy than witty. The seems to be phoning in his performance.

 

The best characters are Mark Ruffalo as the Hulk and Karl Urban as Skurge. These characters are tormented and have a character arc through the film. Idris Alba is just wasted.

This is the best Marvel Movie since Guardians of the Galaxy, it’s witty and exciting but mostly fun.