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.

The Evil Within 2 | Race Against Time

The Evil Within 2 | Race Against Time

Time is not on your side in The Evil Within 2.
As Sebastian Castellanos, you will face unimaginable terrors as you fight to find your daughter within the nightmare of STEM and get her out safely before the entire system crumbles around you. On top of the hideous creatures that roam the streets, you’ll also have to contend with the likes of Stefano and Theodore – twisted individuals who have made their horrific homes inside of STEM and are warping the weakened world to suit their wills. Should the world be completely destroyed, there won’t be any escape for Sebastian or Lily.

The Evil Within 2 releases worldwide Friday the 13th, October 2017 on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.


The Dewbauchee Rapid GT Classic has matured like a fine vintage wine, each passing year adding something mysterious to its allure. Step inside this deeply customizable Sports Classic today and experience the kind of technique and self-assurance only time (or a supercharged engine blower) can bestow – now available from Legendary Motorsport.
Now through September 18th, you have an assortment of ways to score more GTA$ and rep. Double GTA$ & RP in the popular new Motor Wars mode is being extended, plus you can take to the track and earn twice the regular payouts on all Rockstar-created Stunt Races.
When he's not busy broadcasting harebrained conspiracy theories on Blane County Radio, Ron's refining his business acumen - having finagled buyers across the state into paying out Double GTA$ & RP for Cargo in Smuggler's Run Sell Missions through September 18th. Plus, it is SecuroServ Employee Appreciation Week, with Bodyguards and Associates receiving Double GTA$ salaries.
Fight in flight with 25% off Countermeasures in your Hangar Workshop to evade incoming missiles and disorient attacking aircraft, as well as a handy 25% off Aircraft Engine and Armour Upgrades
Whether you're looking to benefit from this week's bonus Stunt Race payouts or just looking to add a couple of crown jewels to your collection, grab 25% off the Truffade Nero (base price and upgrade) and the Pegassi Tempesta. Then, beef up your shiny new purchases (or any other car in your garage) with 25% off Engine and Armor Upgrades on all cars.
Go big, and go home with nice payouts in this week’s Premium Race & Time Trial events, live now through September 18th:
·         Premium Stunt Race - "Big M" (Locked to Motorbikes)
·         Time Trial - "LSIA"
Launch Premium Races through the Quick Job App on your in-game phone or via the yellow corona at Legion Square. The top three finishers will earn GTA$ and you'll get Triple RP regardless of where you finish. To take a stab at the Time Trial, set a waypoint to the marker on your in-game map and enter via the purple corona. Beat par time and you'll be duly rewarded with GTA$ & RP payouts.

Dishonored: Death of the Outsider - Available Now!

Dishonored: Death of the Outsider - Available Now! Dishonored: Death of the Outsider is now available in Australia and New Zealand on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC

Take on the role of Billie Lurk, once one of Dunwall's most notorious killers-for-hire. Reunited with your old mentor, the legendary assassin Daud, you undertake the greatest assassination ever conceived: killing the Outsider, a god-like figure whom Daud sees as instrumental in some of the Empire's most dishonourable moments. As you venture deep into the grimiest corners of Karnaca to uncover the mystery of the Outsider and his origins, face deadly opposition, dark ancient powers, and difficult decisions that will forever change the world around you.

Death of the Outsider brings players back to the Empire of the Isles, with breathtaking visuals, intricately designed levels, and brutal combat systems that are a hallmark of the Dishonored series. With a new character comes a unique new set of supernatural abilities, deadly weapons and powerful gear, empowering players to become the ultimate assassin.

Call of Duty: WWII PC Open Beta Launch Details

Call of Duty: WWII PC Open Beta Launch Details

Please see below for information on the Call of Duty: WWII PC Open Beta, available to play 29th September – 2nd October PST on Steam. Read the full blog post from Sledgehammer Games here.

The PC Open Beta is just a small part of the full Call of Duty: WWII Multiplayer experience coming to Steam in November. This test is a critical step on our road to delivering the best possible online experience, with the following key goals:

  • Stress test core gameplay systems and online backend infrastructure at scale
  • Provide PC fans with their first hands-on experience of the boots-on-the-ground combat coming in Call of Duty: WWII Multiplayer
  • Engage with the PC community to fine-tune and optimize the PC experience for November

Here are the minimum PC specs you’ll need to play in the Beta test. Please note that these specs are for the Beta only. In our next update, we’ll share the recommended PC specs for the Beta, since we’re finalizing this part of our testing as we speak.

Min Spec:
OS: Windows 7 64-Bit or later
CPU: Intel® Core™ i3 3225 or equivalent
HDD: 25 GB HD space
Video: NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 660 @ 2 GB / AMD Radeon™ HD 7850 @ 2GB or better
DirectX: Version 11.0 compatible video card or equivalent
Network: Broadband Internet connection
Sound Card: DirectX Compatible

These specs could change following the PC Open Beta, so we’ll share the final specs closer to launch.

We’re just getting started here, so in the days ahead, stay tuned for pre-load information as well as a rundown of planned content and features coming to the PC Open Beta. We’ll share the list of resources for information and troubleshooting, as well as any updates you’ll need before the Beta goes live.

Be sure to follow us on Twitter at @SHGames, and @CallofDuty, and when the PC Open Beta gets going, we’ll be looking for your feedback in our upcoming Reddit thread and Beta Web Survey. If you missed our updates from the console Private Beta and would like to get up to speed on what we learned, please visit the previous Reddit feedback threads:

Fallout Shelter Crosses 100 Million Users, Celebrates Milestone With Special Five-Day Giveaway

Fallout Shelter Crosses 100 Million Users, Celebrates Milestone With Special Five-Day Giveaway

Fallout Shelter infographicThe biggest Fallout game ever just keeps getting bigger. Bethesda Softworks has revealed that Fallout Shelter, the award-winning game by Bethesda Game Studios that thrusts players into the role of an Overseer managing their own Vault and an army of Dwellers, has surpassed 100 million users across phones, tablets, PC, and Xbox One.

That’s more than a BILLION Dwellers sent out to explore the Wasteland, scavenging for materials and battling Raiders, Radscorpions, and Ghouls! More than 7.5 billion game sessions have been played for more than 385 million hours.

Celebrate with Shelter for Amazing In-Game Rewards
Bethesda Game Studios is celebrating this incredible milestone with a special five-day giveaway that begins tomorrow, 15thSeptember. Overseers can login each day of the celebration to receive significant daily rewards that will provide in-game loot, including Lunchboxes, Nuke Cola Quantum, and special items to help survive the Wasteland.

About Fallout Shelter
Fallout Shelter thrusts players into the role of Overseer to build their own Vault, manage dwellers, and adventure throughFallout’s iconic wasteland. Since the game’s original launch in 2015, the game has continued to expand and add features, including Crafting, Scrapping, Pets, additional rooms, iconic Fallout 4 characters, and special Dweller customization options. The game’s constantly growing Quest system allows Overseers to send Dwellers out into the Wasteland to abandoned buildings, decrepit Vaults, and mysterious caves to uncover legendary loot and face off against enemies like Radscorpions, Ghouls, and powerful bosses.

Fallout Shelter is currently available for free on Android and iOS phones and tablets; Xbox One and Windows 10 via Play Anywhere; and on PC through Bethesda’s launcher or through Steam.

Assassin’s Creed Origins Order of the Ancients Trailer

Assassin’s Creed Origins Order of the Ancients Trailer


Click the image below to view the Masks of Conspiracy teaser.

Click the image below to view the Order Of The Ancients Gameplay Trailer.

Minecraft: Story Mode - Season Two Returns September 19, See the Trailer for Episode Three Now

Minecraft: Story Mode - Season Two Returns September 19, See the Trailer for Episode Three Now

September 19

Catch the official trailer for episode three, 'Jailhouse Block,' and prepare for good ol' fashion prison break.

-- Award-winning developer and publisher of digital entertainment Telltale Games and world-renowned game developer Mojang today shared a new trailer for the third episode of Minecraft: Story Mode - Season Two. Episode three, entitled Jailhouse Block, will be available for download starting September 19, 2017 on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC, Mac, iOS, and Android-based devices.

Having bested The Admin's icy obstacles, Jesse and the gang are rewarded with a one-way trip to The Sunshine Institute, a nigh inescapable prison buried at the bottom of the world and filled with all manner of miscreants. In order to make it back home, Jesse has to find a way to break out, even if that means employing a few desperate measures...

Minecraft: Story Mode - Season Two continues Jesse's saga in a five-part, narrative-driven, episodic game series developed by Telltale in collaboration with Mojang and members of the Minecraft community. Though players' choices from the first season optionally carry over into season two, this new season will be accessible to both returning fans and newcomers alike. This second season will also include Telltale's unique multiplayer 'Crowd Play' feature, which allows friends and family to engage with the adventure together by helping to decide the direction of the story from any mobile device with an online connection.

Minecraft: Story Mode - Season Two is a standalone product separate from both the core Minecraft game and season one of Minecraft: Story Mode. Season two is available for download on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC, Mac, iOS, and Android-based devices. A retail version on disc will become available this fall. Episode three has been rated 'Everyone 10+' by the ESRB.

Win Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

Win Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales - Release Date: September 13 (Blu-Ray & DVD)
The final instalment of the Pirates of the Caribbean brings together and all-star cast in Disney's latest swashbuckling adventure. 

Oscar-winner Javier Bardem (Skyfall) co-stars at the terrifying Captain Salazar, the leader of deadly ghost sailors from the Devil's Triangle out to end every pirate at sea, with Johnny Depp returning as bumbling pirate Captain Jack Sparrow
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

Jack's only hope of survival lies in the legendary Trident of Poseidon, but to find it he must forge an uneasy alliance with Carina Smyth and Henry.  

To win a copy thanks to Sony Home Entertainment, all you have to do is email  your details to this  address: or CLICK HERE NOW!

Include your name and address and title your email PIRATES!

Competition closes Sept 28th

Good luck!

Win Rough Night

Win Rough Night

Rough Night- Release Date: September 13 (Blu-Ray & DVD)
Rough Night, out now on DVD and Blu Ray
Five best friends from college (Johansson, McKinnon, Bell, Glazer and Kravitz) reunite 10 years later for a wild weekend getaway in Miami. Their outrageous antics and hard partying result in hilariously unexpected consequences, which land them in a seemingly impossible situation to escape.

To win a copy thanks to Sony Home Entertainment Pictures, all you have to do is email  your details to this  address: or CLICK HERE NOW!

Include your name and address and title your email ROUGH!

Competition closes Sept 28th

Good luck!

American Assassin: Film Review

American Assassin: Film Review

Cast: Dylan O'Brien, Michael Keaton, Taylor Kitsch, Sanaa Lathan
Director: Michael Cuesta
American Assassin: Film Review

Some time ago, in the late 80s to the early 90s, a thriller like American Assassin would have been all the rage.

Thanks to the pulpy page-turners of John Grisham et al, and Harrison Ford in the likes of Patriot Games, the action-thriller was de rigeur.

In American Assassin, the Maze Runner star Dylan O'Brien is Mitch Rapp, a man whose fiancee is murdered on an Ibiza beach when terrorists strike just moments after he's got engaged.
Understandably angered, Rapp trains himself to infiltrate the terrorist cell to wreak revenge.

But when his quest goes awry, he finds himself sucked into a secret counter terrorist group run by CIA Head Irene Kennedy (Sanaa Lathan) and headed up in the field by Hurley (Michael Keaton).

With a nuclear football in play and a rogue agent at the centre of it, the race against time is on.

American Assassin is a solid enough, if generic, thriller.
American Assassin: Film Review

Anchored by a fairly emotionless O'Brien as Rapp, and a suitably over the top Keaton in the final stretches, the film's pace is solid, if never spectacular and is predictable as they come in terms of twists and turns.

Based on Vince O'Flynn's novel series, the faux 24 vibe complete with punkish emo arrogance translates to set pieces that seem lost in 2017, where sophistication is jettisoned in favour of by-the-numbers formula aimed at hitting the expected beats of the genre, but never exceeding them.

Whilst its initial Americans-beating-the-terrorists vibe feels like an answer to the current global ills, the film soon settles for your average cliched dialogue and macho bon mots as it hits its unchallenging straps.

O'Brien's a little too bland as the lead and his hirsute haunted earlier incarnation in the film offers the most dramatic meat, which he does reasonably well with. But post the initial burst, the film turns him into a spiky arrogant know-it-all, a Johnny come lately whose rogueish sensibilities rarely backfire.
American Assassin: Film Review

It's all so familiar and so predictable, that unfortunately American Assassin ends up being plodding and TV movie like in its execution. A truly laughable Battleship CGI finale wraps things up but leaves you feeling that this is more a missed opportunity than a geo-political thriller with some potential.

The titular American Assassin may never miss his target - but the adaptation of the first novel sadly does.

24 Legacy: Season 1 Blu Ray Review

24 Legacy: Season 1 Blu Ray Review

Released by 20th Century Fox Home Ent

24 was an iconic series.

24 Legacy: Season 1 Blu Ray ReviewA smart real-time thriller in its first outing, it made a star once again of Kiefer Sutherland as Jack Bauer and made a star of a ticking clock as well. While subsequent series became increasingly sillier (who remembers a nuclear bomb going off in the premiere of one season?) the commitment to real-time story telling and thrills was exciting.

24 Legacy: Season 1 leaves Jack out of the equation and focuses on former Army Ranger Eric Carter, played by Walking Dead star Corey Hawkins. Finding himself trapped in a terrorist cell's strike back, the series concentrates on the adrenaline fuelled fall out of what happens next and a widening conspiracy.

As ever, the good and the bad of 24 are on display here - from silly plot developments thrown in simply to fuel the story's shorter run (it takes place over only 12 episodes and still manages to feel padded in parts) to the stronger edges and action sequences, 24 Legacy: Season 1 has its moments.

And it just about manages to grow out of the shadow of Jack Bauer. But it never quite convinces and ends more with a whimper than an absolute bang. It's no surprise that renewal's not been forthcoming, but this is no reflection on Hawkins who gives his all when the story ever so slightly deserts him.

Friday, 15 September 2017

David Lynch: The Art Life: DVD Review

David Lynch: The Art Life: DVD Review

Released by Madman Home Ent

David Lynch is an enigma in many ways.
David Lynch: The Art Life: DVD Review

He refuses to discuss interpretations of his work and refuses to tie things up, preferring to let speculation and observation be his weapons of choice once he's delivered his content.

So it is in many ways with David Lynch: The Art Life, although it's actually the closest Lynch has really come to delivering an interview and look back at his life.

Beautifully shot, this doco with its 85 mins run time is solely likely to appeal to Lynch's fan base which is a real shame. In it, Lynch reflects on his art both from the film point of view and also from his actual art. It's an intriguing insight into the man who shuns conventional narrative and delivers a tender look at America's enigma.

It's a shame that it doesn't have a wider appeal, but simply put, Lynch talking about his life won't appeal to everyone.

Intriguing and eclectic, yet tenderly straight, David Lynch: The Art Life is a must for Lynch fans. For others, it just about offers an insight into why so many adore him.

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Baywatch: Blu Ray Review

Baywatch: Blu Ray Review

First CHIPS, now Baywatch.
Baywatch: Film Review

The Hollywood drive to remake cult TV favourites that are more fondly remembered in the haze of nostalgia than for plots, acting and storylines depressingly continues to be a Hollywood trend.

After the utterly irredeemable CHIPS earlier this year, and with the success of the smartly funny 21 Jump Street seeming a long way in the past, Baywatch, with its boobs, bros, boners and beaches ethos tries to inject a bit of fun into the US Summer blockbuster season.

But it fails utterly and miserably, doling out a laugh-free film that drags in its 2 hour run time.

Baywatch: Film Review

Whereas the TV series was purely a combination of cheesy guilty pleasure and slow-mo running / bouncing boobs, this update centres around a bro-comedy that's lacking in laughs.
Man mountain Dwayne Johnson stars as Mitch Buchannon, the head lifeguard of Baywatch. When he discovers drugs washing up on his shore, he suspects local property magnate (and not Bond villain yet) Victoria Leeds (Bollywood star Priyanka Chopra) is behind it.

With a new batch of recruits, including Zac Efron's disgraced selfish former Gold athlete Matt Brody, Mitch and the team try to save the Bay.

So far, so generic rip-off of 21 Jump Street.

But whereas 21 Jump Street had a meta-touch and some solid comedy scripting, all Baywatch has going for it is bronzed bodies and a barrage of insults fired at Brody from Johnson's alpha-bro.
Women exist either to be ogled at (step forward Rohrbach) or provide wide-eyed reaction shots (hello, Daddario) to the antics and squabbling of Brody and Buchannon.

Baywatch: Film Review

Largely, Johnson's charisma and easy-going lighter touch has saved fare such as this in the past, but this time, with a muddled script that doesn't know if it's crime caper or comedy to negotiate, not even his mega-watt smile and muscled up physique can save the day.
Chopra chews the scenery as a villainess, but her blander character lacks the claws to take the guys on, though that's squarely the fault of the writers, rather than of Chopra's work.

It doesn't help that the obvious arc of the self-loathing pity-fest Brody (courtesy of a buffed-up to the max Efron) that manifests itself as a spoiled brat who secretly does want to be part of a team or Bass' tubby tech guy all feel incredibly familiar and underwritten, lending a feeling to Baywatch that it really has nothing to say for its audience - unless they're liquored up to the max.
There's no edginess in Baywatch and some lines feel mean-spirited rather than pushing the envelope.

Ultimately, when the cameos come, the film's got nothing to say or do with them.

And despite everything that Johnson throws at it, this Baywatch remake, quite frankly, deserves to be lost at sea. This version of Baywatch is the worst day out at the beach ever. 

mother! Film Review

mother! Film Review

Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Ed Harris, Michelle Pfeiffer
Director: Darren Aronofsky

Is it a film about the art of creation?

Is it a film about subjugation?
Is it a film about the relationship between men and women and the give and take of marriage?

Is it a commentary on how ideas infiltrate and inveigle when least expected?

Is it a film that's completely out there and likely to polarise audiences and provoke debate?
mother! Film Review

Well, in short, Darren Aronofsky's psychological jolter Mother! is all of those and a lot more besides, making this 2 hour descent into madness more than simply the craziest episode of Grand Designs ever seen.

Dripping in symbolism, and open to plenty of interpretation, mother! stars Jennifer Lawrence as a nameless woman, who lives with Javier Bardem's nameless man, who happens to be a poet.
Lawrence's character has been spending time rebuilding the house where they live after a fire gutted it, and her husband has been spending time grappling with writers' block, unable to birth any kind of writing.

While the duo appear happy in their various ways, the world is shattered when Ed Harris's character shows up on their doorstep without warning, believing the house to be a B&B. Invited in by the poet, but most unwelcome by Lawrence's character, Harris' man makes for an odd guest, striking a relationship with the poet that feels exclusive to Lawrence's woman.
Things are further exacerbated when his wife shows up (Michelle Pfeiffer) and her intrusive questions cause Lawrence's suspicions to rise.

And it's there that mother! descends into something both bizarre and insane.

Best viewed without prior indication of what occurs, Aronofsky's mother! will be all things to all manner of people.
mother! Film Review

To creatives, it will be the aforementioned visualisation of the birthing of an idea and as the roles of the cast start to become apparent, that allegory makes for easier understanding than what actually transpires.

Using extreme close ups for Lawrence's character alone and reserving wider shots for everyone else, Aronofsky spends the entire film depriving her of full length shots (save for the beginning) and by doing so, starts to build the deck of paranoia and claustrophobia to manic effect. It helps greatly that there's little incidental music in the film, with the sounds of the house, various other noises and atmospherics helping create a soundscape that's as breathtaking as it is unnerving.

Much like Black Swan, though perhaps through a more opaque prism, Aronofsky loads the dice with mother!

There seems to be a lot going on in mother! though admittedly, it's never much below the surface, which is maybe why the unorthodox journey is provoking so much debate elsewhere.

There will be some that will dismiss the pretensions of mother! and while Aronofsky veers dangerously close to indulging during the 2 hour run time, for those willing to submit to the path taken, it's a richly rewarding ride that sparks as much in the cognition of the viewers as it will spew bile in its haters.

Lawrence is very good in the descent down; with her character gradually becoming unhinged and confused but understandably so thanks to the way she feels and with Lawrence's expressive turn, the mania is universally understandable and curiously universal.

Furthermore, Bardem's egotistical poet starts off sensitively before becoming blinded by his own belief and self-delusion; it's hard to see how this couple could be together initially, but as the pieces fall into as much place as they're ever going to when directed by Aronofsky whose MO is other's mania, there's a lot to unpack.
mother! Film Review

Much like Twin Peaks: The Return refused to pander to narrative conventions and interpretations, Aronofksy's assault on the senses is vehemently original, marginally indulgent and weirdly rewarding.

Ignore the belief that this is a "woman goes mad in house" as that will set you wrong; it may be many viewpoints on societal issues and wildly open to differing theories, but mother! is nothing short of the kind of film that channels both Polanski and Lynch's sensibilities in about as broad a way as is compellingly possible.

You may not see anything like mother! on the big screen this year - and while it looks destined for moderate commercial success at best, Aronsofky's to be saluted for being a wide berth to birth the most bizarre film of the year.

Chicken People: Film Review

Chicken People: Film Review

Director: Nicole Lucas Haimes

Chicken People: Film Review
Chicken People may have been filmed prior to NZ poultry effort Pecking Order, but thanks to them both hatching in NZ cinemas this year, comparisons are inevitable.

Whereas Pecking Order concentrated on the bitter henpecking of the political shenanigans of the Christchurch Poultry Club, Chicken People is a much tamer affair, though one which still proves bird is the word.

Centring on three fanciers and their love of their little cluckers, the American documentary looks perfectly fine and is beautifully shot, but fails to deliver the personality of Slavko Martinov's effort.

Wonderfully shot with some pristine images of the birds in question, along with some eye-catching and well dispatched graphics, Chicken People offers pleasantries over real personality.

There's Brian, the bearded Luke Perry lookalike whose permanent singing to his animals shows his showbiz desires; there's Brian Knox, an older guy whose breeding of the birds is meticulously calculated and there's Shari, a mid-American mom who maybe broods more over the chooks than the kids, but whose heart is in the right place.
Haimes's doco is perfectly pedestrian and well-hatched and dispatched, but in the year Pecking Order exposed a seedy political underbelly, this just doesn't stack up to the standard.

Seeing them all live by the chicken Bible, The Standards of Perfection and their desire to create a bird like it gives good life to the talking heads and provides some insights like: "Instead of reading my novel, I get out my chicken standard."
Chicken People: Film Review

There's a lack of political subterfuge and more of an emphasis on the people, meaning that it's perfect for the uninitiated and isn't too long to overstay its welcome but it is bizarrely tame and lacking anything that truly fowls up its execution.

You won't come away from Chicken People feeling short-changes but you won't leave feeling like your feathers have been ruffled either.

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

FIFA 18 Demo Launches Today for Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC

FIFA 18 Demo Launches Today for Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC

Today, EA SPORTS launched the FIFA 18 demo on Xbox One, PS4 and PC.

 FIFA 18 demo launches

In the demo, fans can choose from 12 world-class clubs including Manchester United, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Manchester City, PSG and more and experience new FIFA 18 gameplay innovations in Kick Off Mode including: 
  • Real Player Motion Technology – a ground breaking animation system that creates a new level of realistic, responsive, and fluid gameplay
  • Player Personalities – gives some of the biggest stars in the world the distinct traits of their real-world counterparts
  • Team Styles – enables players to mimic their favourite clubs’ on-field tactics
Additionally, fans can get a taste of the immersive atmospheres FIFA 18 brings to iconic stadiums like Santiago Bernabeu (Madrid), StubHub Center (LA), La Bombonera (Buenos Aires) and King Fahd Stadium (Saudi Arabia), plus have the chance to preview the highly anticipated The Journey: Hunter Returns.

For more details, check out this article covering everything the demo has to offer and the website to download.

To stay updated on the latest FIFA 18 news, visit the EA SPORTS FIFA website and be sure to follow the official EA SPORTS FIFA social channels (TwitterFBInstagram).

Spookers: Film Review

Spookers: Film Review

Director: Florian Habicht

Kiwi director Florian Habicht is a habitual film fest offender.

His latest doco takes a look at the New Zealand institute of Spookers, a fright fest themed attraction based at the old Kingseat psychiatric hospital.

Andy and Beth Watson run the park and have set about making sure its cast of horrifying workers have a good solid workplace, as well as ensuring that visitors to the place get scared enough to deliver their own Code Browns.

Spookers: NZIFF Review

It's into this world that Habicht and his non-intrusive camera and soft questioning approach head in - and what emerges from Spookers, in its first half, is a film that captures the quirk of Kiwis and the heart and soul of those who live there. Whether it's asking a zombie bride if they go to the supermarket wearing the outfit or revealing a depth to one woman who works in insurance and who channels her frustration into the scares, Habicht has an eye for ensuring there's as much heart as there is offbeat material in the film for us all to latch onto.

But it's in the back half of Spookers that it feels a little like Florian's lost his way.

Relying increasingly on more performance art pieces which feel fresh and enticing early on,  than any kind of ongoing narrative, it feels like Spookers becomes a touch repetitive and lacking in anything new to say, other than to compound its previous speakers who talk of their connection to one another.

That's not to deny the power of those stories - and while Beth and Andy seem grounded, the range of their workforce appear to have a whole heap of issues that they have to contend with. From mental health to actual health issues, the sense of community behind the make up is pervasive in Spookers and deserves to be applauded.

More interestingly the former patient and nurse of the hospital get to deliver their views on how the attraction is now, providing a contrast in perception and an ideological conflict with then and now. Habicht allows his speakers the time and space to breathe thought into these beliefs and is also smart enough to not belittle anyone in his film.

There's no denying that Spookers is an essential piece of Kiwiana and a quirky celebration of the power of family, both adopted and parental, but if the back half's structure were a little tighter and perhaps the journey a little more strongly plotted, Spookers could have risen a bit more strongly to the top.