Category Archives: Movies

Jurassic W2

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is a 2018 American science fiction adventure film and the sequel to Jurassic World (2015).

Directed by J. A. Bayona, it is the fifth installment of the Jurassic Park film series, as well as the second installment of a planned Jurassic World trilogy.

Starring:
Chris Pratt as Owen Grady, A Navy veteran and former dinosaur trainer for Jurassic World.
Bryce Dallas Howard as Claire Dearing.
Toby Jones as Gunnar Everso (An auctioneer)


A PG13 Monster movie. You can see where the editors cut back the gore to keep within the classification. So while there is a lot of action, it isn’t scary, or horror. There are a lot of generic bad guy minions getting killed and eaten. There is some science fiction themes, but by the third act, it’s just evil industrialist vs the good guys.

Enjoyable while it lasted, but ultimately forgettable.

Star Wars: Solo

Solo: A Star Wars Story, or simply Solo, is a 2018 American epic space Western film directed by Ron Howard and based on the Star Wars character, Han Solo.

It is the second of the Star Wars anthology films, following 2016’s Rogue One. A stand-alone installment set between the events of Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope, it explores the early adventures of Han Solo and Chewbacca, who also meet a young Lando Calrissian, as they are involved in a heist within the criminal underworld.

The film stars Alden Ehrenreich as Solo, alongside Woody Harrelson, Emilia Clarke, Donald Glover, Thandie Newton, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Joonas Suotamo, and Paul Bettany.


This is a big budget space adventure. Where the first trilogy was about mythic tropes (the hero’s journey), this is just a big adventure.

It is surprisingly dark in colour. Where the second trilogy has lots of day-glo colours, this is darker than any previous films. There is a lot of characters in shadows, dark halls and underground. A bit more light would have helped.

Deadpool 2

Deadpool 2 is a 2018 American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics character Deadpool, distributed by 20th Century Fox. It is the eleventh installment in the X-Men film series, and a sequel to the 2016 film Deadpool.

The film is directed by David Leitch from a script by Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick, and Ryan Reynolds, with Reynolds starring in the title role alongside Josh Brolin, Morena Baccarin, Julian Dennison, Zazie Beetz, T.J. Miller, Brianna Hildebrand, and Jack Kesy.

In the film, Deadpool forms the team X-Force to protect a young mutant from Cable.


The sequel to the 2016 original is bigger, longer has more bad language and action appropriate to the larger budget ($58m vs $110m)

It’s good to see a young kiwi actor Julian Dennison in a big film, but by the end he just gets annoying and you wish he was added to the death count.

The film suffers a bit from the excessive script, often stopping for conversations, jokes and meta-analysis of the genre. Better to keep the action going and the jokes and references flying by.

Unfortunately, by the third act when things should be reaching a climax and a quick wrap up, things just go on and on. This could have been edited from 2hrs to slightly shorter first film (1:48). It gets just too melodramatic and lacks the satire and bite of the first film.

 

Breakups

Two women cynical in love, set up an agency to break couples up as a way to avoid letting go and moving on with their lives.


At last, a kiwi comedy I liked. Sure, it’s from a women’s point of view and not laugh-out-load funny. But it is observant and quirky.

A lot of the actors are recognizable NZ talent:

Madeleine Sami & Jackine van Beel are on the comedy sketch TV show’Funny Girls’.

Jaquie Brown has had her own show. Rima Te Wiata is a well known actor. Executive Producer is Taika Waititi.

 

 

 

Avenger’s War

Avengers – Infinity War

Avengers: Infinity War is a superhero film based on the Marvel Comics superhero team. It is the sequel to 2012’s The Avengers and 2015’s Avengers: Age of Ultron, and the nineteenth film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Starring: Everyone (in the Marvel Universe)


One big $300m+ mess of a film.

Firstly, because absolutely every superhero is in this film, it takes its time. After each action set piece, we skip to another set of characters and Dr/Capt Explain-o  turns up to tell us what is happening and who to blame. It’s not until the final act that things come together to a cohesive narrative that moves along unimpeded by info-dumps.

The plot: Big bad Thanos wants to obtain all six infinity stones (created as the start of the universe) so he can destroy half of all life. This is because there just isn’t enough resources for everyone. So removing half will allow the other half to survive. But wait, I just read this justification in Drastic Measures where a contagion is ravaging the food supplies of the remote Federation colony Tarsus IV. The main villain Kodos has the same justification as Thanos (could they be related).

Problem Two: It is quickly established that hitting Thanos (even very hard) will not destroy or stop him. So why do the superheroes persist in this method. They must be really dumb. The only one possibly with a plan is Dr Strange who could be trying to trap Thanos in an alternative time-line.

Problem Three: Everyone gloats. Traditionally, the villain gets to yammer on about himself before being thumped by the hero. But here, the Heroes perform soliloquies before combat. There is only one unexpected attack I can recall.

And who knew that this was part two of a series. Are the writers trying to out-do the original Star Wars trilogy ?

 

Minions

Minions is a 2015 American 3D computer-animated comedy film, serving as a spin-off/prequel to the Despicable Me franchise.
Directed by Pierre Coffin and Kyle Balda, written by Brian Lynch, and produced by Chris Meledandri and Janet Healy.
It was first foreshadowed in the end credits of Despicable Me 2 (2013), where Kevin, Stuart, and Bob, three of the Minions and the film’s main characters, are seen auditioning for the film. A sequel is planned for release in 2020.

Cast:
Geoffrey Rush as The Narrator

Pierre Coffin as Kevin, Stuart, Bob and The Minions
Sandra Bullock as Scarlet Overkill
Jon Hamm as Herb Overkill

Michael Keaton as Walter Nelson
Allison Janney as Madge Nelson
Katy Mixon as Tina Nelson

Steve Coogan as Professor Flux and The Tower Guard
Jennifer Saunders as Queen Elizabeth II

Michael Beattie as a VNC Announcer and Walter Nelson Jr.
Hiroyuki Sanada as Dumo, the Sumo Villain
Dave Rosenbaum as Fabrice
Alex Dowding as The Royal Advisor
Paul Thornley as a News Reporter
Andy Nyman as Frankie Fishlips, a Gill-man-like creature super-villain

Steve Carell as Young Gru


The minions were always the best part of Despicable Me. Here they get to play to their strengths of causing mirth and mayhem. The basic plot is that they want to work for the biggest, baddest villain of the time. We get to see them working for everyone from the Egyptians to Napoleon. This is set in 1968 (although it feels very modern). Three minions leave their home in the Arctic and journey to America where they find Scarlet Overkill. She takes them to England where they are instructed to steal the Queens crown….

Sandra Bullock gets the right amount of villiany to be fun without
menacing. Jon Hamm is surprisingly good as a really thin husband to Scarlet. And Jennifer Saunders really nails a young Queen Liz, who would have been 42 at the time.

This is a movie that survives repeated viewings. Each time you get
something new from it.

Megamind

Megamind is a 2010 American 3D computer-animated superhero comedy film directed by Tom McGrath. The film was released on November 5, 2010.

The film tells the story of a super-intelligent alien super-villain, Megamind, who after a long-lasting battle one day actually destroys his foe, the much-loved superhero Metro Man. Having Metro City for himself, Megamind finds out that his villainy has no purpose and thus creates a new superhero to serve as his nemesis.

His plan backfires, as he ends up creating instead a new super-villain. With Metro City spiraling out of control, Megamind attempts to set things right and discovers his newfound purpose—as a superhero.

Cast:
Will Ferrell as Megamind, an extraterrestrial mastermind.
Tina Fey as Roxanne “Roxie” Ritchi, a TV news reporter.
Jonah Hill as Hal Stewart/Titan
David Cross as Minion, Megamind’s sidekick
Brad Pitt as Metro Man, Megamind’s former nemesis.
J. K. Simmons as the Warden, the head of Metro City Prison.
Ben Stiller as Bernard, a museum curator.
Christopher Knights as a prison guard.
Tom McGrath as Lord Scott and a prison guard.
Jack Blessing as Newscaster.
Justin Theroux as Megamind’s father.
Jessica Schulte as Megamind’s mother.

Rampage

 

Rampage is a 2018 American science fiction monster film directed by Brad Peyton, loosely based on the video game series of the same name by Midway Games.

The film stars Dwayne Johnson, Naomie Harris, Malin Åkerman, Jake Lacy, Joe Manganiello, and Jeffrey Dean Morgan. It follows a primatologist named Davis Okoye (Johnson) and George, an albino gorilla who turns into a raging creature of enormous size following a rogue experiment.


This film embraces its B-movie origins. It’s a very derivative plot, simple characters but a rather weak villian. However knowing all that, it pulls it off with competence. Technically there is little to fault. The CGI effects are well done, the monsters have the feeling of weight and inertia lots of other movies lack.

There is a surprising  about of humour, however most of it comes from the gorilla.

 

Early Man

Early Man is a 2018 British stop-motion animated historical sports comedy film directed by Nick Park, written by Mark Burton and James Higginson, and starring the voices of Eddie Redmayne, Tom Hiddleston, Maisie Williams, and Timothy Spall.

The film follows a tribe of primitive Stone Age valley dwellers who have to defend their land from bronze-using invaders in an association football match.


Not quite as good as ‘Chicken Run’ or ‘Curse of the Were-Rabbit’, this still a funny and enjoyable romp through pre-history.

There are a lot of things that are historically inaccurate. But it doesn’t really matter as the characters resonate and are engaging.


The history of ball sports extends across countless cultures throughout recorded history. Solid archaeological records of ball sports extend back as early as 1600 BC – for example, discoveries of rubber balls used in the ancient sports like the Mesoamerican ball game. However, with the phrase “ball sports” being so broad and inclusive, games that could fall under this category have undoubtedly been played for millennia even before that time.

Annihilation

 

Annihilation is a 2018 US/UK psychological science fiction horror film, written and directed by Alex Garland, and based on the novel of the same name by Jeff VanderMeer.

The film stars Natalie Portman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Gina Rodriguez, Tessa Thompson, Tuva Novotny, and Oscar Isaac, and follows a group of military scientists who enter “The Shimmer”, a mysterious quarantined zone full of mutating landscapes and creatures.


I had a go at reading the book as it was a Sword & Laser pick in  January 2015. I didn’t get far and gave up.

The movie is notable as being one of the first Netflix movies and the first streaming movie review by  Mark Kermode on his film review show.

The movie is a slow moving and dream-like. It’s more horror than science fiction. While there is a sense of realism in the science, it does descent into strangeness at the end.

Initially I saw it on TV, but gave up halfway through. As netflix saves the last position, I could come back the next day and finish it on my PC.

Not a genre I like, so I’m not as enthusiastic about it as Mark Kermode was. (3/5).