31 Oct 2016

The promise gets political.

The Promise is a new film starring Christian Bale, Oscar Isaac and Charlotte Le Bon about the Armenian genocide that occurred between 1915 and  1918.

 Based on the trailer it seems to a story of love and survival amongst a terrible tragedy. Oscar bait.
Now I know little about the film or it's story or the historical event that this film is set in, however, this film is interesting as according to The Independent  as of 25 October 2016, there had been only three public screenings of this film, but IMDB had 55,126 1-star ratings? Now that seems a bit skew-wif to me.

I checked IMDB today and noted that as of today there were 89,450 ratings for this film. Of which, 62% (56,061)  were a rating of 1. That seems pretty off base to me.  I checked the reviews and found this gem:

"You are currently falling for the Jewish trickery into believing these kind of propeganda movies. I didn't watch the Movie nor the Trailer, call me patriotic or an idiot, i do not care.

What i do care about is the History lessons from my very own Great Grandfather telling me about the Armenian Tricks trying to backstab us with Russian support in order to expand there clay in the end of the Ottoman Empire. We Turks did not fall for this meme and WILL NOT FALL for heathen tricerkys just as these."

That review was titled "Sh#tty zionist tricks".

Now, IMDB has had criticism in the past for their rating system to be skewed by fake reviews from the studios, but I have never seen anything like this.  There really does seem to be some sort of political agenda here to discredit this film. Unfortunately for those who are trying to discredit this film they are only drawing attention to it and giving it more publicity.


I do not know much about the history of these events but I do object to some sort of clumsy overt attempt to discredit it for political reasons. If it is a bad film then that will come out in due course. The audience should, and will decide!

Personally, and I know this will seem ironic, but I rarely read reviews before seeing a film. I like to go in with an open mind and see the film with no preconceptions. If you want good sites to look at whether a film is tracking I recommend  Rotten Tomatoes  and Metacritic . These two sites can give you a good indication of how a film is faring. But, don't discount IMDB, it is a great site, and you can find marvellous reviews and information there.  I love IMDB, and this won't stop me using it.

Here is a link to the trailer so you can make your own mind up.

6 Apr 2016

Batman v Superman, Dawn of Justice

There are few Superheroes as iconic as Superman and Batman. To their fans, and the wider community, the combination of these characters not only sharing the big screen but in conflict is (or was) both exciting and terrifying.  Exciting as a premise, and terrifying that it will all go horribly wrong.

But did it?

A few gentle spoilers follow.

The film starts during the epic (and exhaustingly gratuitous) battle between Zod and Superman from Man of Steel.  However, the perspective is that of Bruce Wayne as he desperately attempts to evacuate his employees from a burning Metropolis.   I imagine that a few New Yorkers might find this sequence unsettling as they draw parallels to events fifteen years ago.  Wayne’s opinion of Superman is set as he kneels in the wreckage of Metropolis while two entities battle blithely on in the heavens. I liked this and it gave a degree of redemption to the first film.

This sets the scene for a build-up of conflict between the two. Superman, who through trying to help people is learning that for every positive action there are negative consequences, believes that the ‘Bat’ is a vigilante who acts as if he is above the law and the consequences of his actions.  Batman is cynically assessing this new arrival’s potential to turn the world into ash.

The Superman plotline was interesting. Holly Hunter played a senator who was part of a committee to investigate the collateral damage caused by Superman’s heroics.  Now that he is here does he help, or does he, in fact, make things worse through his intervention? People were killed and maimed in the battle in Metropolis, and the people demand answers. Henry Cavill is a very good Superman, and a worthy successor to Christopher Reeve. He has the compassion, the strength and by god is he a beautiful man. Seriously, he is beautiful.  There was a nice focus on Clark Kent the man and the journalist, and a wonderful reference to the origin of Superman as well which I liked. Clark Kent also gets his own dream sequence (with a nice cameo from Kevin Costner), and it contained all the pathos and emotion that they tried to reach with Bruce Wayne’s dreams but failed.  Cavill also had a nice chemistry with Adams, although the women in this film do steal the scenes a lot. I am more than ok with that.  I did feel that Cavill was a little constrained, though.

Holly Hunter, like the rest of the female cast, did very well in my opinion.  Lois Lane (Amy Adams) was actually an investigative reporter for once, and while she was rescued more than once by her boyfriend, it did not detract from her character or depict her as some sort of damsel in distress. Could we have seen even more depth to the female characters, sure but then we would be heading towards bloat of Hobbit-like proportions?

Gal Gadot as Wonder woman was exceptional, and they set up her movie really well.  She is certainly not second fiddle to either male lead, and I am genuinely excited to see her own film. For all those who were disappointed that the Black Widow did not get her own movie, then this is one to watch out for, and it is well overdue.

The Batman plotline follows Bruce Wayne’s investigation into a mysterious new crime lord and his growing paranoia over Superman. This was more of a slow grind, interposed with several dream sequences playing on Wayne’s fears and neurosis. I didn’t mind these sequences as much and enjoyed their place in the narrative. Zack Snyder, the director, enjoys utilising dream sequences as plot devices, and they worked well for me.
I was one of those that were wary of Affleck as Batman/Bruce Wayne. I always thought it was a weird argument that he must be a good Batman as he has two academy awards. However, as neither of these were for acting, I never saw the justification for this argument. Although I went into this film trying to be as open-minded as possible, I thought he would be the weak link in this movie. I was wrong. 

While Affleck was an average Batman, he certainly wasn’t the worst I have seen (not as good as Lego Batman, but not as bad as Clooney).  His portrayal was of an older, wearier Batman, cynical that after 20 years fighting crime, his world is as grim as it always has been.

I think one element that was missing was a depiction of Batman’s genius, Batman is many things but his brain is his greatest weapon.  He also was missing a degree of humanity. For me, Batman is a dark, even brutal hero. However, he has a strong personal code, and despite being a physically superior, billionaire, genius, he is also very human.  His strength comes from his pain, and his humanity.  From Bruce Wayne’s sense of loss comes Batman’s unrelenting fight against evil, so that no one else has to suffer has he does.  There was only one sincere moment when this came through in the movie, and I thought it was a very clever piece of storytelling. Another criticism of Affleck was that I just didn’t buy into his paranoia about Superman. It seemed forced to me.
One thing really missing from both Cavil’s and Affleck’s performances was a drop of humour. Jeremy Irons, as Alfred, did insert a couple of quips but not enough. He was a very good Alfred as well, easily on par with Michael Caine’s.

There is an overt deific theme running through them, which continues from Man of Steel.  Not only through the way Superman’s scenes were shot but the constant references to Superman as God. 

This leads me to Jessie Eisenberg as the Riddler(Joke attributed to J. Hopgood the man is a genius), His depiction of the Riddler was excellent and helped me understand the distinction between the concept of the Riddler and the Joker.  His frenetic and irrational psychosis was right on-par for what I understood the Riddler to be. Which is a shame as Eisenberg was actually playing Lex Luther. Eisenberg’s performance starts out rational enough as the young genius who has inherited a large multinational corporation.  He quickly descends into a weird lunatic characterisation which pretty much ruined any scene he was in.  He was atrocious.

The plot was good, but a little drawn out and poorly executed as an actual story. Luther’s evil plan once revealed could have been recognition of his genius, but ended up seeming like a plot hole.  The action sequences were epic, tighter than Man of Steel, and better paced.  Batman is portrayed as a tactical and intelligent fighter and his fight scene in the warehouse is one of the best in the movie.

The very end of the film is drawn out, unnecessary and tiresome.  I can see how it could detract from the rest of the movie as any enjoyment is sucked out of you.  Batman v Superman is an overly ambitious epic which needed a more charm and an injection of well-placed humour, but not the abomination that the critics portray.
For fans of the DC comic universe, this movie will probably cause a lot of dialogue, in a good way.  For everyone else I suspect that is you go in with an open mind a bit of patience you might enjoy it, but if you go in expecting The Avengers you will probably hate it. Batman v Superman is not what I would call ‘fun’, it is a film that will divide audiences into liking it, or hating it.

6 Monkeys. 

6 Mar 2016

For fans of Neil Gaiman's Sandman

So I just saw this post from Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

"So, as you might know if you like to follow these sorts of things, a while back, David Goyer and I made a producing deal with Warner Brothers to develop a movie adaptation of Neil Gaiman's SANDMAN. Neil himself came on as an executive producer, we hired the excellent screenwriter, Jack Thorne, and we started in on the ambitious task of adapting one of the most beloved and boundary-pushing titles in the world of comics. I was pleased with the progress we were making, even though we still had quite a ways to go.
Recently, as you also might know if you like to follow these sorts of things, the sorta "ownership" (for lack of a better term) of the Sandman material changed hands when Warner Brothers shifted the entire catalogue of Vertigo comics (an imprint of DC) to their subsidiary, New Line. And a few months ago, I came to realize that the folks at New Line and I just don't see eye to eye on what makes Sandman special, and what a film adaptation could/should be. So unfortunately, I decided to remove myself from the project. I wish nothing but the best for the team moving forward.
I'd like to thank all the great people I've had the opportunity to work with on this one. I've had a blast with and learned a ton from David and Jack. Niija Kuykendall, Greg Silverman, and everyone at Warner Brothers have been fantastic, as have Geoff Johns and everyone at DC. And it's been a particular privilege as well as a rocking good time getting to know Mr. Gaiman, whose generous insights and masterful work have certainly convinced me that the Lord of Dreams and the Prince of Stories are one and the same Endless pattern.

I am not sure what this means going forward, or even if this is a bad thing. I have been excited, and nervous about a Sandman adaptation. Stories like this could be made into fantastic films, however, would they? Consider The recent Hobbit films, or any film about Greek Mythology. Gordon-Levitt was the driving force behind his film Don Jon, which I really liked. He was also a producer on Looper, which I also liked, so I was more excited than worried when I heard that he was behind this project. He was the one that brought on Gaiman, and was very passionate about the Sandman film. 

Admittedly as a brand new father my movie options are very few at the moment. But this is one I would see.  Neil Gaiman is still involved, so we can only bide our time and see. But I for one am a little sad as I would have liked to see Gordon-Levitt remain with the movie. 

Night everybody. 

17 Jan 2016

The problems with pregnancy

I actually started to write this last December, but the end of the year and the impending birth of my first child is a bit of a distraction. But here we are. 

Disney paid $4 Billion dollars for the Star wars Franchise and that is a lot of investment to risk on one film. Yes, it does mean that they get the profits from the toys and marketing and other revenue, but even in today’s money $4,000,000,000 is still a sizeable sum. But unlike other films which may or may not succeed at the box office, Disney has a plan to earn revenue off a series of movies set in the Star Wars universe long after you and I are dead. If The Force Awakens had flopped then that plan was on shaky ground.

One of the films they are working on is the origin story of Han Solo. Yes, one of films greatest pilots and rogues is getting his own film.  But who would play him?  Harrison Ford was 35 when he played Han, so realistically we are looking at someone who is or looks like they are in their 20’s, and who could carry such an iconic role.

Looking around the various film websites, I have found sever contenders, some serious, others which seem ludicrous. According to consequence of sound  Disney has auditioned 2500 actors for the role.  

 Some of the contenders are; Chris Pratt, Chris Pine, James Franco, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ryan Gosling, Zac Effron and Robert Pattinson.  I think you would have to instantly rule out Pine and Pratt because they have their own franchises already, and I just don’t think they would gel.

Franco’s too old and he doesn’t have the right je ne sais quoi for me. The same for Gordan Levitt, who I really like as an actor but I am not sure could fill the role.  Gosling is too smug, Pattinson is too sparkly, and I’m be damned if he sets foot on the Falcon.

Zac Effron. Now bear with me here. Your first thought would be “isn’t he that guy from High School musical?” Yeah he is, but he moved on from that a while ago, and hasn’t played a role in a sparkly vampire movie.  I think out of the list so far he could, but to be honest he is a little too good looking to be Han Solo (no offense Mr Ford).

I have seen some other actor’s names thrown around so I will cover them off quickly:
  • Colton Hyanes (Arrow, Teen Wolf)  too pretty
  • Ansel Elgort (Fault in our Stars) too sensitive
  • Liam Hemsworth (Hunger games) too hungry
  • Scott Eastwood (nothing I have seen) too unknown
Now here is my list of people who might be able to fill the role. Dylan O’Brian, Aaron Taylor Johnson, and Anthony Ingruber. 

Ingruber and Ford

I really like Aaron Taylor-Johnson; he is a good actor with a range that stretches from Kickass to Anna Katarina to Avengers. He certainly has the acting chops to pull it off, but I am not entirely sold on the concept.

It is highly unlikely that you would have ever heard of Anthony Ingruber. But for me he is the best prospect. Here is his impersonation of Han Solo.

I have no idea who they will choose, and given my success at choosing the next Dr Who maybe I am not that skilled at these sorts of pics. But if I had any choice I would choose Mr Inguber.