Film Reviews

Hey everybody and welcome to the film review area on this blog! Have a read and comment below! :)



Film Review: Deadpool

I waited a good couple of years for this movie to come out, the one superhero movie that would be different to all other superhero movies out there. Deadpool was definitely worth the wait and promising almost everything that Ryan Reynolds said would be in the movie. Notice I said 'almost' I found the lack of Chimichangas quite disappointing and also the fairly conventional storyline, but that almost doesn't matter as the film is just as hilarious and weird as one expected!

Now let's look at the main reason why this film works, that happens to be Ryan Reynolds who is perfect for the role. He doesn't overdo it, nor does he underdo it, he manages to find the perfect
balance that makes the character so charismatic, witty and humorous. Straight away we are given a taste of his character and what to expect with possibly the best opening title sequence I have ever seen for a movie. Ryan spends the majority of the movie in the costume which looks just like the well known merc outfit from the comics. But conveying the characters attributes must have been difficult to do in the tight spandex outfit, nonetheless it is done well. Even elements of CGI were used to give the mask more expression and it was not overdone in any sense. Ryan Reynolds probably had his own separate script for the movie, because he doesn't stop talking the entire time. Then again if he did it would be full of one liners and monologues as he talks to the audience on more than one occasion!





There's plenty in this film to enjoy, especially the humour element which seems to do well in small and unexpected bursts. It's also the only film that could get away with a Ryan Reynolds lying on the floor of his house whilst his blind elderly flatmate builds a set of drawers from IKEA. But for me the most enjoyable scene had to be his first meeting with Colossus and, well let's just say there was an influence from Monty Python and the Holy Grail's black knight in there. It is definitely an action comedy and at times like a sitcom which is a strange mix but balanced out well!

I will say that the movie doesn't take much sussing out when it comes to the plot. Basically a story about revenge as Wade Wilson gets himself a girl, is diagnosed with cancer, comes across a research program that does cure him but is tortured and disfigured in the process, then spends the rest of the
film hunting down Ajax, the man behind this terrible program. We are given the sense immediately that he is not the kind of hero everyone wants to be. Instead of saving people he is hurting and killing others to find out the whereabouts of Ajax. It does work for Deadpool as it gives him the excuse he needs to be an anti-hero and we get to see some great and bloody fight scenes. Although this is a great plot, it is the very predictable and the outcome is not as surprising or thrilling as I thought it would be, I was a little disappointed in that sense!

Ed Skrein as Ajax was quite disappointing as he fails to become a threatening or good villain. I've only seen Skrein from that brief moment in Game of Thrones but he seems to be a good actor and I
feel he was a bit wasted in this movie. He spends most of the film being hunted and trying to stay away from Deadpool and we also don't quite understand the job he's doing either. Selling super slaves to rich people no doubt but there's no deeper meaning to it and making it the least important issue of the movie. I also think he recognises the threat of Deadpool a little too late in the movie and doesn't do anything about his presence. This doesn't make him much of a threat and quite a lacklustre villain as he sits back and waits for his ultimate demise. Gina Carano's Angel Dust is more of a meat-head than colossus and do what Ajax tells her to do, not making her much of an adversary overall!

I do like the addition of Colossus and Negasonic Teenage Warhead, seeing more of Colossus is great and taking on more of a comedic role separates him from his previous outings and making him more enjoyable to watch. I only wish they were used more as I would have loved to see what more they have to offer, particularly Colossus!

The choreography is brilliant, the action sequences couldn't have been better and it's great to see Deadpool using both Katanas and pistols!

All round a very good movie and enjoyable to watch. But I do feel it was restricted in some ways and could be opened up a bit more. Although I don't find this much of a problem for Deadpool's first outing as it is full of masterful comedy and action sequences that almost make the weaknesses of the movie not matter!

I Salute you for reading! :)

Here's a Chimichanga to celebrate this great movie! ;)




Under 500 Word - Star Wars: The Force Awakens


32 years have passed since 'The Return of the Jedi'. Between then and now I was born, the Star Wars prequels were made which have rarely been talked about in good fashion, comic book spin off's and the Clone Wars series shown on TV. Not to mention the fact that Star Wars has sold over $950,000,000 in merchandise over the past 40 years.

As soon as the "A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away" came on screen, I knew we were in for a
treat! 'The Force Awakens' is a terrific film that revives the damaged series from the prequels era, covering over the dents that the last three films had left and continuing with the original story. It doesn't feel too different from 'A New Hope' yet oozes as much excitement and offers more to the franchise.

The Director, JJ Abrams, who was lured into directing this film (probably tempted with cookies) did not only add to the hype of the film, but he has also proved to us that he was the right man for the job, after initially being nervous about the release. With his resurrection of one of the most hyped TV franchises of all time, Star Trek, and bringing it to cinemas in spectacular style, showed that he had already had experience in reviving great franchises.

Daisy Ridley playing the part of Rey in spectacular fashion! Bringing the strong female character to life, supported by John Boyega's Finn and some of our old heroes Harrison Ford's Han Solo and Peter Mayhew's Chewbacca. These two really welcome Rey and Finn to the franchise who have made a good impression on the fans. You could say they are ageing but in no doubt the appearance of two of the most loved characters the franchise has ever seen, brought a smile to the faces of viewers all around. "Chewie, we're home." not only speaks for their return to the millennium falcon but speaks for all the old cast members returning and bringing back the originality of Star Wars.

The return of old heroes serves as a bridge between the original trilogy and now, even connecting with one of the most highly anticipated characters of the film, Kylo Ren. Portrayed by Adam Driver, I think it's fair to say he isn't quite Darth Vader but those are big shoes to fill. Also being a student of the dark side, Kylo Ren brings the evil and temper needed as an aspiring Darth Vader. He may not have been as great as we thought in this one but I'm sure in 18 months time when episode 8 comes out he'll be a new and improved Kylo Ren.

In truth, this sequel was not the perfect reboot everyone had imagined, but then again with all the weight and expectation placed on this film, it was what I expected and a little more! It made me fall in love with Star Wars all over again and I have never been so satisfied to see such a widely anticipated film!




Under 500 (Almost) - American Sniper

This film follows the story of one of the USA's most respected soldiers in their history, focusing on aspects of his family and work life as he leaves them to fight in the Iraqi war. A dedicated and proud member of the NAVY seals, Chris Kyle played by Bradley Cooper, in his first tour of Iraq earns himself 'Legend' status by becoming the most deadly sniper out there. Over all four tours he accumulated 160 confirmed kills. If you haven't heard of the outcome to Chris' story, he definitely deserved to be immortalised on screen and celebrated as great soldier.

Clint Eastwood's decision to make this film was one of his best decisions yet! The film is full of action and story, instead of glamorising combat and going all out military it focuses on Chris' family life and how the services of war can effect other commitments. Although earning the title 'Legend' from his colleagues who respect and idolise him, his wife Taya, played by Sienna miller, feels distant from him and as quoted "I feel like I'm creating memories by myself" she says holding their baby son. Clint Eastwood shows Chris' frustration as he tries to find balance for the sake of his Country and family.

Bradley Cooper (if that's even him) is totally different to other parts he has played, he usually has a 
bit of class to his look and quite a lanky build. In this he has bulked up and become a tough Texan soldier, the accent takes a little while to get going but is barely noticed as Bradley establishes the characteristics of Chris. A protector and a romancer, he lives the first few scenes standing up for what he thinks is right and winning the heart of Taya. Little did he know it would be so difficult to commit to two things at once, being deployed almost immediately after his wedding. A protector as his father lectures him and his brother when they were children about protecting their own, and Chris finishing a fight for his brother. Almost foreshadowing the well renowned moment of his career when he makes a 2,100 yard sniper shot.

The first 20 minutes are slightly rushed but you pick out the key points you need to know for the rest of the film, he's a protector, he joins the SEALS, he gets married, he gets deployed, that's all you need to know. Their is a certain sense of realism about it by not glamorising any moments bringing in the atmosphere of contemporary war time and even alienating the audience from peaceful life when Chris returns from tours. It puts you in his place and you join him as he finds a healthy balance.


A story I didn't know much of before I watched this film, but after reading up on Chris' story, I have a lot more respect for this man and any man or woman who fights to protect their country. This was a story that had to be told, a story of a man who fought and died for his friends and family.


Dr. No Part 4:

We then cut to the next scene where we see a beaten Bond in a cell and Honey nowhere to be seen.











He then discovers a conveniently placed vent large enough for him to escape through. The whole scene in the vent is quite mysterious and strange as the only sounds you hear are of unusual high pitched humming echoing through the different passages, and a very strange alien noise that I don't quite understand.

Poor Bond also burns his hand on the hot metal as well!

But not to worry...

He then gets cooled down by splash of water! :)







Bond then escapes the vent and steals a Hazmat suit off of one of the scientists, before entering the control room where Dr. No is located.

I think it's safe to say that this set is a result of the films low budget, its not really what we've become accustomed to with glamorous Bond villain hideouts. In some cases an open space like this would work in creating a cold effect around an antagonist, but as the area of the final confrontation it is very linear and quite bland.




Bond makes his way over to the controls and begins raising the temperature of the reactor, causing quite a stir. 

By setting it into meltdown, all of the scientists panic and run around, whilst Dr. No heads over to confront Bond.



I have to say it was quite a disappointing confrontation,
it barely lasts a minute before James Bond forces Dr. No
down into the radioactive water.

Although one interesting thing is that Dr. No's metal hands are what turn out to be his downfall as he struggles to grip the metal bar and sinks down into the water.







After escaping the control room, Bond then finds Honey and rescues her, although I'd like to point out how easily he removed the cuffs she was trapped in, which probably means that Honey could have easily got up and walked away at any point.

 After Bond and Honey escape on a boat the hideout blows up and the two protagonists then become stranded at sea, with nothing to do, how would they pass the time?
Soon Felix arrives with a rescue boat and finds Bond in his stranded boat, but despite throwing a rope to bond as the boat begins to be dragged away, Bond lets go and the film finishes with Bond kissing Honey to the tune of some unbelievably cheesy music, thus ending Dr. No.





Conclusion:

All in all not the best of the Bond films, the low budget had a lot to play in that. But to be honest it really was the 'Pilot' of the Bond series as it obviously shows that it has the potential to start the Bond franchise as they have all the right characters in place to really kick off the series. 
Sean Connery shows a lot of potential to evolve into a terrific James Bond, the film gives a lot of insight into Bond as a character and what he's really like, as we see how ruthless he is when he doesn't even hesitate to shoot Professor Dent and how he's great with the ladies. This is quite interesting with all the different styles that different actors have adopted for Bond, but Sean Connery nails the character almost off the block with establishing characteristics that we even see in Daniel Craig's Bond today.
As for Dr. No, we could have seen more of him in this film, as a character he could have added something more to the film. If he was introduced earlier then we could have seen more of how Joseph Wiseman portrayed him, instead we only see what we expected and nothing more, and with more time on screen we could have seen the development of a great Bond villain. His 'Master plan' is quite small in scale compared to what we expect from Bond villain master plans, you have to watch the film a few times to really grasp what Dr. No's grand scheme actually is.
Some characters were pretty pointless, one being Taro. Although she does sleep with Bond it seems like that is the only reason why they included her, but in terms of the narrative she doesn't add anything to it as one minute she's sleeping with Bond the next she's being arrested. The whole build up to killing Professor Dent could have been done without her. As for Ursula Andress' Honey Ryder, she too doesn't add a lot of depth to the narrative but 'Dr. No' would not be complete without her.
Quarrel is a useful sidekick for James Bond but again the way in which he is written in doesn't make him seem like a very useful sidekick. Again I don't think he was used right and believe that he could have been seen doing a little bit more to help Bond; because of this he's quite an underrated character. But then again, Quarrel lacking in some places allows more focus for the character of Bond to come through.
The Three Blind Mice as well just seem to disappear half way through the film, what is the point in them if they aren't even going to stay?

The music for this film is strange and loud in places and will be improved upon in future films, although we were given a masterful piece of music with the 'Bond Theme Tune' that has been rarely changed to this day. This film also includes some great scenes and shots like Dr. No meeting Bond, Bond killing Dent and Honey Ryder walking out of the water.

The roots are there for Bond, but I wouldn't recommend any 'Bond Virgins' to start with this film as it isn't the most enticing of Bond films. It is fairly difficult to talk about it in this way because it was the first Bond film and there weren't any to compare it to so you could understand it being lacklustre in some aspects. But we will see these improvements built upon in the form of 'From Russia With Love' which we will be looking at next time!


Dr. No Part 3:


After his confrontation with Professor Dent, Bond heads down to the dock where he meets Felix and Quarrel who are setting up the boat to head to Crab Key.


















Bond and Quarrel then spend the night on the beach of Crab Key, come morning Bond is woken by the sound of singing.




We are then introduced to Honey Ryder played by Ursula Andress, the first actual Bond girl.

Obviously raising a few eyebrows as she comes out of the water, we will see this image recreated later in the franchise which cements its position as an Iconic Bond moment.







After they introduce themselves to each other, we finally see Quarrel who alerts them of a patrol boat heading towards them.




Lets be honest, they aren't exactly blending in with the surroundings, I'm surprised they didn't spot Quarrel earlier with his bright red top that he never seems to change.







The boat drives by and shoots at the beach despite Bond and the others hiding, they then leave to 'Get the dogs' as they put it which leaves little choice but for Bond and Quarrel to head further into the Island.



After finding Honey's boat damaged by the gunshots, she heads off with them too after saying she knows a place to hide.







One of the reoccurring mentions in this film is of a legend, apparently a Dragon lives on the Island and these are its tracks (according to Honey).




They don't look much like dragon tracks to me, I don't know what kind of dragons she seen in her time.







We then delve into a bit of Honey's past, as she mentions her father being killed by Dr. No. If more was made of this it would make this part more interesting, as it adds more depth to the mystery of Dr. No and makes you wonder why he would murder her father. It could also add an exterior motive for Honey being on the Island rather than to just collect shells.


























Bond and the others move on and are caught up by 'The Dragon' which is in fact just a tractor with a flame thrower, but is quite an imposing vehicle.












We then witness the sad death of Quarrel who unfortunately is burnt by the flames. Leaving Bond and Honey to be captured by the crew of the Dragon and taken to Dr. No's base.














They are then decontaminated as the swamp they were in was covered in radiation, and apparently a nice shower and some soap rids them of that radiation. Never knew washing radiation away was so easy!










After their shower they are then given rather lovely rooms to stay in the night. For the next morning they will be dining with Dr. No. For prisoners they are given rather nice rooms.

























The next morning Bond and Honey are lead to the dining area, where we finally meet Dr. No played by Joseph Wiseman, only and hour twenty minutes into the film. Who finally offers Bond his first actual Shaken not stirred drink of the series.



But also presents us almost immediately with his metal hands, being the first ever Bond villain to have a deformity of some kind. This makes Dr. No's character all the more imposing. The fact that it implies that he has no actual hands makes you question what happened to them and what can he do, in my opinion the characters most interesting feature as it is a result of his work and shows how determined he is to complete his mission.


To make us feel just that little bit more uneasy, he then reveals at the dinner table that he lost them during his work with radioactive substances. Bet that's enough to put you off you're dinner.





Dr. No reveals himself to be a member of SPECTRE (SPecial Executive for Counter-intelligence Terrorism Revenge Extortion) which is a hell of a mouthful, but shows more depth to the World of James Bond, revealing a mysterious criminal organisation capable of world domination. I do enjoy this conversation as both exchange some great lines, creating some memorable moments like, "World domination, same old dream" - Bond. If anything it is one of my favourite moments and almost makes up for the fact that Dr. No has been absent for most of the film.


But eventually Dr. No has enough of Bond and orders his guards to 'soften him up' for when they talk again.













Sorry if this part seemed a bit jumpy in places but not a lot interesting happens between them, but the final part will conclude this Dr. No review, allowing to us move on with the series!







Dr. No PART 2:

Bond continues to investigate Strangways' murder and heads down to the docks to try and extract more information on him. But before that he checks into his hotel and receives his first 'shaken... I mean mixed not stirred' Vodka Martini at this point.








He also proceeds to put some sort of powder on his suitcase and a hair on the door of his wardrobe, which I presume is so he knows if someone has been in his room. I do find these methods rather creative in terms of the limited budget set for this film as they are fairly simple and interesting to watch. It also says a lot about Bonds character by being cautious about his surroundings.





After being informed by Strangways' friends in the beginning that he took up fishing as a hobby, Bond heads to the docks to meet with Quarrel played by John Kitzmiller. At first Quarrel seems  reluctant to give Bond much information, making him seem like a bad guy.















Quarrel then retreats to a bar with Bond following and Bond agrees to talk with Quarrel in private, so they head into one of the storerooms.








Even though a guy named Puss-feller grabs Bond from behind he manages to break free and have them both at gun point.








This is before yet another key character in the Bond franchise pops up, Felix Leiter played by Jack Lord, not as much of an influential character as some Bond allies but in my opinion one of the better ones that Bond encounters over the films. But in this film he seems wasted as he doesn't make as much of an impact as one would expect.




Either way it is revealed that they all have the same intentions and want to find who killed Strangways, they all decide to head to Puss-fellers night club to share information.






So now at Puss-feller's night club and this guy is clearly on acid or something. In the actual scene he is manically dancing! I just wanted to point him out as the most enthusiastic person in this scene! XD



The woman at the airport returns to take more pictures of Bond as they discuss the mysterious Dr. No. James orders Quarrel to bring her to the table.








Having her in an arm lock she smashes a rock of some sort and slashes it across Quarrel's face.









I'd like to point out at this part Quarrel simply does not care about his half bleeding face and replies simply by wiping the blood away and with "Shall I break her arm?"

But we do find out that not all is right on an Island called Crab Key which is where Dr. No is located, although little information is given about him still.





Later the next day Bond pays Professor Dent a visit (one of Strangways' bridge crew) who seems a little suspicious when Bond asks him some questions about Crab key.


Then our suspicions are answered in the next scene as we see Professor Dent hurrying to Crab key and entering Dr. No's hideout.


Although his character may seem a bit useless it is nice to label someone as an enemy of Bond as we are still without the appearance of Dr. No.

Here we hear a voice over of Dr. No addressing Professor Dent and ordering him to kill Bond with a Tarantula... which I'm sure can't kill humans? It may cause Bond some serious discomfort but to actually kill him? I suppose a big hairy spider touches on the fears of the audience, but it seems pretty desperate.





What a lovely scene this is, when Bond lives the nightmare that many of us dread, witnessing a big hairy spider crawl up the covers.

  Accompanied by discomforting music


He waits for it to climb onto his pillow before he flips it onto the floor, grabs his shoe and beats it to death. I have to say surely Dr. No should know that an MI6 agent wouldn't be killed by something as simple as this. He'll have to get creative, like investing in a tank or two.






The next morning Bond heads back to the Embassy in search of all the available information on Dr. No, but the files went missing.



Then we are introduced to Miss Taro played by Zena Marshall, and is suspected by Bond to be a double agent.





Perhaps its because of her masterful spy work as she looks through the keyhole before bond opens the door on her. But in a plea to get more information Bond invites her to dinner, heading to her place.









Which inveritably leads to the first ever Bond car chase and, well it's nothing special, nor is it that exciting.









Lets just say that advancements in CGI and special effects have been kind to scenes like this, allowing them to be more thrilling and exciting. Instead of having actors sit in front of a screen holding a steering wheel.


Eventually Bond loses them by forcing them to drive off a cliff where the car suddenly blows up, allowing Bond to arrive at Miss Taro's place.


Despite not even saying more than 5 words to her he immediately goes in for a kiss. The least he could do is buy her a drink first or let her get dressed. But as we see later in this scene that won't be necessary as she then becomes the second woman to sleep with Bond.



Then becomes the first woman to be arrested by Bond, setting up the next scene that features Bonds first kill with his new Walther PPK (New Gun).



You could say this is one of the most memorable scenes from the film, as we witness Bond cleverly set up a trap for Professor Dent before mercilessly finishing him off.








It's slightly different to what you expect in this scene, extracting the information he needs before killing Dent, but it's really the brutality of this scene. Bond senselessly kills him which is what we come to expect from him in all the films.






Dr. No: Part 1







The film opens by showing the audience the point of view of an enemy spy looking down the barrel of a gun. This imagery is used a lot throughout the Bond series, showing that the first film in the series is very important as it is there to start trends and themes that will be used in future films. This can also be said about the use of the perfect rendition of the well-known 'Bond Theme Tune', which is first used here.











The moving dots in this case fit the music and add some visual effects.













The story starts and we see action almost right from the beginning as we witness British Intelligence Agent John Strangways murdered by 'The Three Blind Mice' in Jamaica.







A common feature early on in the film are fast paced jump cuts, as seen when Strangways' secretary is also murdered.                                                                                                                  
I can understand that it adds pace and builds tension to the action sequence and a lot of people enjoy it for that reason. But I think, particularly this early on in the film, that the focus should be on the narrative - to allow the audience to really question why they were shot, rather than building unnecessary tension.




Despite the out-of-place jump cuts, the scene ends well as Dr No's Henchman pull his file from the cabinet.











 This shot raises a lot of questions about the movies Antagonist and his significance to the movie.


It then cuts to a bunch of people in an office around some really old radios(?) I think... Anyway they are discussing the trouble in Jamaica and then decide that it can only be sorted by one person.

Bet you've guessed already, haven't you? ;)



















It then cuts straight to a 'Les Ambassadeurs' (Posh Casino place) in London where the focus of the shot changes to one of the people around the table (clue: she really isn't that difficult to miss with her red dress and being the only young woman in the shot). But also in this scene we witness an Iconic piece of cinema:
"I admire you're luck, Mr..."
"Bond... James Bond"
You could say it's cheesy.. because it is. But the first shot of James Bond is a powerful one. For me this is one of the best scenes in the movie. It shows detailed and creative camera movements and angles to prevent the audience from actually seeing his face. That is one of the many reasons why it makes this moment so iconic. We are also introduced to Sylvia Trench (red dress lady) played by Eunice Gayson and voiced by Nikki van der Zyl (don't know why). We will see her a lot later on in the film as she becomes the first person to sleep with Bond.




Not long after he leaves we are introduced to another iconic character in the franchise, Miss Moneypenny, played by Lois Maxwell. Throughout the scene we witness Bond and Moneypenny in close proximity with each other about... 95% of the time. Really defining their relationship throughout the Bond franchise.




As the Moneypenny scene ends James enters the room in which 'M' is first witnessed played by Bernard Lee who discusses the mission he is about to give Bond. At this point we can see that Bond obviously has a certain level of respect for him.




In this shot, 'M' is shown in a position of power. - talking down to bond although for most of the scene they are both sitting. But even when Bond is in a position of power he is made to look insecure.








                                                            Bond caught with old gun.

                                                             
                                                  Bond Reluctantly puts old gun on table.

Earlier on in the scene we see Bond being forced to give up his 'Beretta' and switch it for a 'Walther PPK'.

It's hard to show with pictures but by actually watching the scene you can feel how uneasy this moment is, as he is reluctant to let go of his old gun. Although it is obvious he understands that he must obey 'M' no matter how he feels about the situation.





Moving swiftly on we see Bond arrive in Jamaica ahead of his mission, and immediately suspicious people are watching him and taking pictures, but lets focus on the Chauffer - who Bond discovers was not sent by the any of his allies after making a phone call to the embassy...




Yet he decides to go with the mysterious Chauffeur anyway...



It actually says a lot about Bond as a character who plays along with this man in an attempt to get information out of him, and eventually leads to the first fight scene of the franchise.

















Bond arrives at the embassy before he then goes to Strangways' place where his secretary was murdered. Again, I criticize this scene as it gives out pointless information is given through the very brief dialogue and once again jump cuts make it all seem very disjointed and messy.




This is the only useful piece of information in this scene - when we discover a motive for Bond to head down to the docks to further investigate Strangways' death. However he could have found this out at the Embassy! Meaning that this pointless scene could have been cut out completely, which would have had no negative effect on the storyline whatsoever.



5 comments:

  1. Really insightful and interesting review, you went into a lot of detail which shows how well you understand the film and how it's constructed. Good job, looking forward to more :D

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    1. Thanks Greg! the second part will be up soon! :D

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    2. Awesome, look forward to it :)

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  2. It's in this film that Bond first learns of the existence of SPECTRE.

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    Replies
    1. Very true! But that's a while away yet ;)

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