Thursday, 21 September 2017

The Emoji Movie: Film Review

The Emoji Movie: Film Review

Voice cast: TJ Miller, James Corden, Anna Faris, Steven Wright, Maya Rudolph
Director: Tony Leondis

In theory, it's easy to understand why The Emoji Movie has been hailed as the second cimematic coming of the Anti-Christ.
The Emoji Movie: Film Review

Set inside a smart phone and with a plethora of product placement (Spotify, Katy Perry, Instagram) it's fair to say that perhaps the film's vision is more on the merchandise than the execution of the story.

Talking of which, The Emoji Movie centres on Meh emoji Gene (voiced with usual laconic deadpan by former Silicon Valley star TJ Miller) who's eager to impress on the first day on the job.

Gene is one of those who lives in Textopolis, a digital city inside their user Alex's phone. Despite being pigeonholed as a Meh, he can make plenty of other faces and frequently does so.

But by breaking out his panicked faces when Alex chooses to send his crush an emoji, Gene threatens the future of Textopolis as Alex plans to wipe his phone.

Facing persecution as a malfunction by the ruthless smiler icon (Rudolph), Gene begins a journey of discovery across the phone to ensure his future survival.
The Emoji Movie: Film Review

It's easy to be cynical about The Emoji Movie, a corporate by-the-numbers animation that reeks more of potential downloads than sizzling script or witty moments.

In fairness, it's actually a solid animation that squanders both its Inside Out bastardisation and its chance to mock and meta-comment on its premise.

However, there are a few moments which garner laughs.

From the mocking the elderly emoticons to ripping in to Facebook's popularity algorithm, there are some moments which really engender you to the film, but ultimately leave you wishing it could have been much more subversive than it actually is.

But that's the problem with The Emoji Movie - its tone is so bland that despite the solid animated work and the great voice cast (James Corden as the formerly popular Hi-5 emoji brings much energy and chutzpah to the digital table and it's a thrill to hear Steven Wright's weary tones on the screen as Gene's father), nothing ever really soars as it should and many scenes end in flatness.
The Emoji Movie: Film Review

Piling on product placement like Candy Crush and Just Dance does nothing to endear the film too - and while youngsters may get a sugar rush from the overload of products and apps that they force their parents to buy, it's hard to justify any reaction other than that of Gene's stock and trade to the Emoji Movie.


Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Kingsman: The Golden Circle: Film Review

Kingsman: The Golden Circle: Film Review

Cast: Taron Egerton, Colin Firth, Channing Tatum, Julianne Moore, Pedro Pascal, Mark Strong, Halle Berry, Jeff Bridges
Director: Matthew Vaughn

If the first Kingsman movie was a scrappy, yet amiable, wish fulfillment piece about a working class oik who's inducted into the spy world and saves the day, then the sequel Kingsman: The Golden Circle is a bloated, blustering bombastic pastiche spy movie that almost squanders the love you had for the first.
Kingsman: The Golden Circle: Film Review

This time around, Eggsy (a charming yet still ruffian round the edges Taron Egerton) is back and facing more peril after the secret Kingsman organisation he works for is blown off the face of the earth by a Martha Stewart 50s-loving drug lord Poppy (a strong turn from Julianne Moore, who pitches the film more on welcome eccentric villainy than ham).

Forced to team up with the US branch, the Statesman, and with a surprise face back from the past, Eggsy and Merlin (the ever reliable and impressive Mark Strong) look to tackle the threat.

Over-long and with a midway lag that very nearly derails proceedings, Kingsman: The Golden Circle feels more like a mix of elements rather than the rip-roaring narrative success the first film was.

While Egerton's rougher edges and charm add elements of charisma, the decision to pair them up with American counterparts leaves a little to be desired, given the film's refusal to do much more with it than initially flirt with the idea.

It's a shame, because Channing Tatum's cowboy Agent Tequila has some real comedic and dramatic potential for the movie - but he's sidelined early on in a move which makes you wonder if someone didn't add the budget up correctly and couldn't cover his fee. (Mind you, all the American counterparts barely register longer than a few moments of screen time.)
Kingsman: The Golden Circle: Film Review

Thankfully Pedro Pascal (Narcos) steps in nicely as Agent Whiskey and adds a frisson of charisma that's needed - but bizarrely, the US UK relations side of Kingsman: The Golden Circle feels like a goldmine sadly left undiscovered.

As the film kicks off with its bloodless CGI-charged chase antics, it's clear bluster is the order of the day, and while the overly frenetic and quick blitz editing in the fight sequences impress, they're barely a patch away from what was rolled out during the Kingsman: The Secret Service film.

In truth, parts of Kingsman: The Golden Circle feel like a go-around and do over of the first, so if you enjoyed the puerile hyper-violent edges of the first one, it's more than likely there's plenty to enjoy here.

It's very much a case of more-is-more with Vaughn piling on the pedal and focussing less on the character more on the action.

A mountain sequence is redolent of The Spy Who Loved Me and the globe-trotting antics feel piled on, and while the overload is threatening at times, there are moments and characters within that work extremely well.

Moore makes for a good villainess, Strong is debonair any time he appears oozing charm with ease, Pascal's lasso-wielding cowboy contrasts nicely with the stiff British upper lip and Firth's dialled down turn adds an edge but strangely feels narratively robbed of any kind of need for inclusion.
Kingsman: The Golden Circle: Film Review

(Not so for Elton John, whose appearance initially is an amusing punchline to a gag no-one expected, but whose foul-mouthed tirades irritate the more screen time he's given.)

At times, it feels like the kind of Bond film that Alan Partridge would make - stuffed full of elements, smut and action, a no-place-for-women other than as objects vibe and with less judicious editing than is necessary to guarantee a tight lean experience.

Ultimately, Kingsman: The Golden Circle has moments of exhiliration, but feels a little too in love with itself to remain objective enough to know when to stop.

Doctor Who Series 10 Part 2: DVD Review

Doctor Who Series 10 Part 2: DVD Review

Released by Roadshow Home Ent and BBC

Doctor Who Series 10 Part 2: DVD ReviewThe Doctor is back in one last time with the second half of this final series for Peter Capaldi.

In the second batch of adventures, Capaldi's Doctor and companion Bill face a new enemy and the Doctor's blighted by the loss of sight. In the last two full episodes, old enemies return for deadly consequences all round.

It's in the final episodes that this season finds its feet, wrapping back to the menace of the past and also cleverly segueing into the very first regeneration. Delivering one hell of a personal cliffhanger in episode 11 ups the ante and while writer Moffat falls back on his usual retcon lazy ways, there's a real feeling of danger that's been lacking through the season.

It helps that both Capaldi and Pearl Mackie as companion Bill have brought their A game to this series - the acting's been sensational even when the scripts have been as wobbly as the sets from back in the 1970s of the show.

Ultimately, what Doctor Who Series 10 Part 2 does is remind you why it's such a shame that Peter Capaldi leaves the TARDIS at Christmas - though it does prove to be a powerful tonic for the show's dramatic edges.

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Cube: Blu Ray Review

Cube: Blu Ray Review

Released by Madman Home Ent

Cube is one of the iconic sci-fi films.
Cube: Blu Ray Review
A 1997 Canadian film which spawned 3 further films, its premise is simple - a group of people are stranded within a nondescript cube and have to escape. But each room contains a series of traps that threaten their chances of survival.

A Cult favourite, this Blu Ray release of the film looks as good as the print will allow, but it's the pre-Saw setting that entraps you into enjoying the release, with its clever twists and smart return to the premise.

Devilish and fiendish the game may be, but Cube has a paranoia setting that makes for compelling viewing as the film goes on.

Still worth a look some 20 years after its initial release and stronger than any of the other films that it spawned, Cube is one film to get trapped in.

Monday, 18 September 2017

The Kettering Incident: DVD Review

The Kettering Incident: DVD Review

Rating: M
Released by Madman Home Ent

The Kettering Incident: DVD ReviewA slow-burning eight part series starring Guardians of the Galaxy's Elizabeth Debicki, Aussie drama The Kettering Incident is not for those looking for a quick story to be told.

Debicki is Dr Anna Macy, drawn to the case of 2 missing girls back in her hometown. But as is usual with these kinds of shows, her return back to the homestead causes all manner of problems and tensions to resurface.

Add in the fact there are environmental protests at a logging site nearby and lights in the sky, and it's a potent mix for fans of the slow-burning genre.

Nicely put together and strongly acted but with a punishingly sedate pace, The Kettering Incident is a drama to watch, but not to binge. Its pace puts you off the "I have to see what happens next" approach and it's mainly one to stagger over a few nights.

Ultimately, The Kettering Incident promises a little more than it delivers. But given its prestige, it's worth bearing with.

Sunday, 17 September 2017

Shivers: Blu Ray Review

Shivers: Blu Ray Review

Released by Madman Home Entertainment

David Cronenberg strikes again with this 1975 body sci-fi horror piece that's become a bit of a cult phenomenon.
Shivers: Blu Ray Review

After a parasite is unleashed in an apartment block, everyone's infected and starts behaving badly. And it's all downhill from there.

Trashy and slightly sordid in many ways, Shivers is Cronenberg at his basest, ensuring the mix of body horror and shocks work best. It's still an exploitation film but it channels much of the horror genre that would follow and taps into the 70s paranoia quite well.

Saturday, 16 September 2017

FINAL FANTASY XII The Zodiac Age - Accolades Trailer revealed

FINAL FANTASY XII The Zodiac Age - Accolades Trailer revealed

FINAL FANTASY XII The Zodiac Age - Accolades Trailer revealed

With the introduction of a multitude of modern advancements, including not only remastered HD graphics and soundtrack, but also a revamped battle system and more, newcomers and fans alike are invited to dive into the magnificent world of Ivalice in FINAL FANTASY® XII THE ZODIAC AGE™.

Hailed as a “modern classic”, FINAL FANTASY XII THE ZODIAC AGE is available now for the PlayStation®4 and this brand new trailer celebrates the amazing collection of review scores and accolades from across the world.