The conjuring 2

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The Conjuring is one of the best horror films of recent years, it’s brilliant cast and well crafted scares outdid the cliché plot on the surface. After an abysmal spinoff which ruined everything good about the original, a sequel was very risky in my books. Was it going to be the same as Annabelle? or the original? Bearing in mind Annabelle made a similar amount of money as the conjuring did, it could have gone either way. Well thankfully the conjuring 2 decided to lean in the way of its predecessor, and not Annabelle, the result? one of the best films of the year so far and one of the most well made horror films of the last 15 years.

I’ve spoken a lot about Modern horror (anything past the year 2000) in my reviews and how much I usually dislike it. But every so often you get a gem, a “It follows” or a “Saw” will pop up in the midst of crap like “Paranormal Activity 5” or more recently “The Darkness”. There are probably a handful of truly great Modern Horror films that can be compared to the levels of classics like say “The shining”. I admit it’s a hard level to reach but the majority of attempts don’t even come close to it. For me I can’t speak highly enough of “The conjuring 2” everything about this film is near flawless. James Wan has managed to create an intense thrill ride that not only doesn’t cop out in scares, but is brilliantly made.

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The Conjuring 2, as I just said, is directed by James Wan and stars Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga again as Ed and Lorraine Warren. This time the film is tackling the infamous Enfield case, in which a young girl is possibly being possessed by a poltergeist. The film follows a very similar format to the original with it opening with a previous case and then switching back an forth between Ed and Lorraine, building up the horror in the Enfield house, only for the second half of the film to bring both parties together. My issue with the first film is primarily about clichés, 80% of the plot and scares could be predicted very easily which ruined some of the fun that it was bringing. However even when predictable the film managed to entertain me and surprise me by how well done each scare was. This film completly fixed that issue, both the plot and the majority of scares are completely devoid of clichés, with only 1 or 2 odd scares being predictable. Even the predictable ones were still fun though, they were mostly big scares so they’re satisfying enough for you to still enjoy them. The main joy for me though came from the fact that I thought I knew the scares. I thought I had a scare figured out but then as if from nowhere the scare would completely change. Because of all this the film is genuinely scary and unique. At no point are terrible sound cue jump scares used and James Wans signature use of practical effects is truly at its best here.

The cast is again fantastic, from the children’s genuine fear being evident too Ed and Lorraine’s insanely good chemistry in screen the cast is somehow better than its predecessor. I’m glad to say that the conjuring 2 had brought back my trend of amazing child actors and I’m hoping that in the future this continues. These kids can show terror, most adult actors struggle to show as realistic terror thpse kids some of which are around 11 years old. My only issue with the cast is the young boy with the stutter, although not in it very often when he is it can get slightly annoying and feels a bit forced. It doesn’t however at any point deter from the scares on screen. There is a man in this film (I’m avoiding spoilers as much as possible) called bill, saying as little as possible this was amazingly cast and he does his jo

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b very well.

This film has some of the best directing and cinematography I’ve seen in not only a mainstream Horror film but indie horror as well. The use of certain uncut tracking shots is brilliant especially when introducing the family this film is about. The shots and use of Dutch angles to me seems perfect and is exactly how i would have done it had me been in James Wans shoes. I never felt like any type of shot got over used and I really liked the quick crane shots.The editing is fantastic, a perfect example of this would be the opening case (amytiville). The long tracking shot and the amazing cuts when the air shotgun is fired is highly intense. Every second of this scene is drowning in excellence, it’s easily my favourite scene in the film and it sets you up for the tension that follows. The only technical aspect is wasn’t a fan of was the CGI, it’s not a lot but every so often there was a CGI window pane, or something similar, and this slightly took me out of the moment. This was so minimal that it again rarely effected my experience. The script was amazing however I have one slight issue that I will elaborate on later. The directing is brilliant, the way this film comes together shows how good James Wan is, no aspect of the film feels like it’s let down by another.

As I mentioned the script has one slight issue, while for 95% of the script is sublime there are a couple of times where I feel like the “British slang” is very forced and cliche. The perfect example would be the first screen of the children in the school yard in which in a 2 minute scene we hear “wanker”, ” Bloody hell” and I’m pretty sure I hear the word “governor” at some point. It’s the worst scene in the film and thankfully this very rarely makes it past this short scene. I don’t know what Americans think we talk like, but it’s not this at all.

From start to finish this film is near perfect. I love the cast, directing style, scares, plot and cinematography which is rare for a film like this. If the first one was good this blows it completely out of the water. My favourite films this year are all films that have completly surprised me; Hardcore Henry, Everybody wants some (both of which will be reviewed soon) and now the conjuring 2 it’s been a great year for films so far I just hope we get more gems like this.

Written By Dawson Roberts

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Release Date- 17th of June 2016

Directed by- James Wan

Produced by- Peter Safran, Rob Cowan, James Wan

Screenplay by- James Wan, Chad Hayes, Carey Hayes, David Leslie Johnson

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The Boss

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The boss is the latest film starring everybody’s favourite fat friend Melissa McCarthy. Melissa McCarthy has a issue of being very type cast, every single film she’s been in she plays the same character, from “Identity theif” to “Tammy” she always seems to play this fat character that’s always a bitch to everyone around her. The boss as expected puts Melissa McCarthy in the exact same role as every other film she’s been in and makes her a unlikeable character who with the help of a likeable character becomes likeable herself. It’s generic and unimaginative which unfortunately is now what you expect when you see a Melissa McCarthy film.

The film is directed by Ben Falcone and surprisingly is written and produced by will Ferrell, Adam McKay and Melissa herself. You’d think with a group of talented comedians such as that this film would have a lot of potential however it really doesn’t. The plot follows Michelle Darnell a very rich and successful entrepreneur who after a fight with her ex samurai boyfriend (Peter dinklage) gets arrested and loses all her money. This means she now has to deal with normal people and right her wrongs,so to do that she destroys an entire girl scout group, forms “a brownie empire” and tries to make her fortune back. While that to some may sound funny to some, to me it didn’t work very well. Much alike everything in this film it’s a very generic story with little to no imagination. The story never goes anywhere substantial, we get a very cliche sub plot about what it means to have a family and a bit of a “fight scene” at the end. Of course not every comedy needs a amazing story to be a great comedy (Deadpool is a good example of this) if the film consistently makes you laugh then it does it’s job. Admittedly it doesn’t take a lot to make me laugh and on a couple of occasions the film did make me chuckle, the rest of the cinema however (which I’ll add was quite full) were not laughing at all. When I saw 22 jump Street the entire cinema was in hysterics and the same goes for most comedies I’ve seen in the cinemas, but this film could not elicit a single laugh from the audience. The key to making a good comedy is simple, make people laugh. When your film fails to do that for the majoirty of its runtime it’s a sign this film isn’t very good. As I said at times it did make me laugh and so in some respect it did it’s job, but none of the jokes were very imaginative or clever.

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Were never not told that Melisa McCarthy is a rich self centred fat cat

The cast were all round very average, none of the child actors were any good and it’s ruined my recent trend of great child actors (ignoring “The darkness”). Mellisa McCarthy did nothing different to any other role she’s ever played and it just led to more dull moments. She’s been so typecast now that just seeing do anything remotely different would be a welcome surprise. Kristen Bell plays the friend and ex colleague of Melissa, Michelle, and is truly awful. She comes across as awkward and the least motherly a person can be. It’s surprising how bad she actually is considering her track record is relatively okay. There’s simply no life or emotion in her character, I never felt any connection to her and it just seemed like she was doing the bare minimum in ever scene. Peter dinklage has been shown to pretty awful in almost everything except game of thrones and while in this he’s the best actor it certainly doesn’t mean he’s good. He always seems awkward on screen and I don’t think this role worked particularly well for him, it would have been better if it had been someone like will ferrel and he had more screen time. Peter is funny but i still think its not really the right role for him. The fact we see very little of his character is the reason I don’t think he’s very good in this, he’s underdeveloped and when on screen he’s really funny so it confuses me why he’s in it so little.

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Peter Dinklage is the best part of the whole film and he's not even that good

The directing is pretty dull and uninspired along with pretty much every other technical aspect. A highlight could be the slow motion fight scene between the girls but even that has been done plenty of times before. The Soundtrack is very generic and boring and cinematography is not at all impressive like the majority of things, it’s the bare minimum. It’s hard for me to talk about any of the technical aspects because none of them are at all interesting, they’re not particularly bad but they’re not good either, just average.

Now obviously I’m not going into this film expecting a masterpiece but I would have liked more than what I got. Mellisa McCarthy needs to try something different which is probably what ghostbusters will be, however I’m not speaking about the sin that is the ghostbusters reboot just yet, it’s become boring to see her in this role where she’s just everyone’s worst nightmare. Every aspect of this film is boring, yes there’s a couple of laughs but this is not something I recommend to anyone. Go and see the conjuring 2 because this is not worth your time.

Written By Dawson Roberts

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Release date- 10th June 2016

Directed by- Ben Falcone

Produced by- Ben Falcone, Melissa McCarthy, Will Ferrell, Adam McKay, Chris Henchy

Written by- Ben Falcone, Melissa McCarthy, Steve Mallory

The conjuring

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The conjuring is a genuinely scary, well made horror film, something that is so rare to see in modern horror and if it wasn’t so cliche then it could have been one of the best horrors of recent years.

The conjuring is directed by James wan, famous for directing what seems like every single horror film of the past 15 years. From saw to insidious James Wan has directed so many infamous horror films and has proven himself to know the genre inside and out. This film stars Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson as Ed and Lorraine Warren “paranormal” investigators who’ve solved thousands of haunting s and ghost sightings. They have been tasked with cleansing a family’s house with what the family believe to be a ghost. The film for its first half is just setting up what’s actually going on in the haunting and who Ed and Lorraine Warren are. The second half is all about the Warrens trying to remove this paranormal entity. The plot never gets dull, however it’s so cliche that at times it makes the plot very predictable. For example there’s a dog at the very start of the film and it’s acting strange around the house (if you’ve seen any horror films you should know that dog is as good as dead already) and surely enough within the next ten minutes that dog is dead. The film is full of horror clichés like that and it’s disappointing considering how well done every other aspect of this film is. This could be partly due to the fact this film is based off a “true” Ed and Lorraine story. But if that’s the case surely, as the beginning said, they have solved thousands of cases, a more interesting and obscure one would be better. To be fair they tried this with Annabelle and while this made over 250 million dollars profit it was awful and ruined everything that was good about the conjuring, relying too heavily on jump scares and even more clichés. I think if there’s so many interesting cases then maybe a TV show would be a better outlet for this.  Every week could be a different case,but keeping the same cast and James Wan directing, this way we see all the same things that were great but for an hour each week (which this could have easily been condensed into). While the story is very cliché it’s still well crafted, the structure and way the scares come work very well and you are definitely never bored.

The first appearance of the Annabelle doll

Moving on the cast in this film is amazing, every actor and actress really stands out as someone different and even the child actors are good at what they’re doing. As I’ve said before if it wasn’t for the cliches then this would stand out even more, but it says a lot that even with these clichés the cast are still brilliant. The family manage to portray the fear of being possessed very well with only the husband sometimes dropping in standard. Vera Farmiga stands out to me as the best actor, with Patrick Wilson a close second. Vera plays her character with a sense of insecurity that works really well for her skeptical role in this film. She really convinces you of the supernatural presence and when she’s on screen you genuinely feel safe like she and Patrick Wilson will protect you from what’s hiding around the corner. That to me is a sign the film is doing a good job, when the characters in the film are getting comfort from Ed and Lorraine Warren being there, because they will hopefully save them if it goes horribly wrong, and when I am equally getting that same comfort then it’s testament to the great script and cast. Patrick Wilson does a very similar thing to Vera and it works tremendously well, however the aspect that to me worked the best was that the cast are all very likable and you can easily attach to any of them. Both Vera and Patrick have amazing chemistry between them and it really feels like they are a real couple which only adds to the atmosphere.

Now for quite a bit of this review I’ve mentioned the word cliché, however the use of actual scare clichés is very minimal. James Wan knows exactly how to scare someone and that’s via tension building. I’m heavily against jump scares (the silence and then loud noise with no actual fear), their a cheap cop out excuse for a scare and I’m very happy that this film uses none of them. If a “jump scare” is used its done properly. The scares in this are all very well crafted scares, James Wan makes sure tension building is the only real scare and that  the tension normally leads to something truly horrible.Its the perfect example of how horror films should scare people. It takes a hell of lot to scare me and very few films manage it (oculus, it follows and now this are the only films i can think that have scared me) so i’m very impressed that James Wan could genuinely instill fear in me and make me very uneasy when watching this film. This film does its job of being a horror film and through its masterfully crafted scares and tension building it can become something that is surprisingly scary.

 

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Id turn around mate

The directing in this film is exactly what you expect from James Wan, I’ve raved about him a lot during this review and that’s because hes brilliant. He knows what hes doing and manages to create something that blows every other Ed and Lorraine warren film out of the water.The cinematography in this film is beautiful and there are some amazing shots which have stuck with me (Something that very rarely happens), at times there is the odd poorly executed shot but for the most its really good.  The film has an amazing soundtrack and it really helps build the tension, I particularly like the more orchestral like songs which are really creepy. The film is very big on practical effects, something that James wan is a big advocate of, its definitely something that helps make the film more believable and scary. The use of no ghosts for the most part of the film (no physical appearance of a ghost just word of mouth) is also something that works tremendously well, for example there is a scene in which one of the girls is pointing towards a door and saying theirs something in the shadows. There’s nothing actually there, but as you are yet to see whats haunting them your imagination does perfect job of imagining something horrible.Its  a great tactic that makes the audience create there own fears and become more scared than ever anticipated by James Wan.

To conclude, the conjuring is one of the bet modern horror films of recent times. While its very cliche story could be heavily improved upon it really pushes the boundary’s in every other aspect of the film.The acting,cinematography and soundtrack are all great an genuine scares and practical effects come together to create something that is genuinely scary. Its a rare occurrence a film this good gets made and i’m very excited by the prospect of a sequel.

Written By Dawson Roberts

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Release Date- July 19th 2013

Directed By- James Wan 

Produced By- Tony DeRosa-Grund, Peter Safran, Rob Cowan

Written By- Chad HayesCarey Hayes

The nice guys

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For a film that started off quite slow and seemed to be going nowhere this film had one of the best third acts I’ve seen in a very long time.

The nice guys is directed by Shane Black and stars Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling as two “investigators” who are searching for a girl named Amelia. After an initial misunderstanding the two partner together to help solve the case of missing Amelia and why, seemingly, everyone is looking for her. Now I’ll straight away point out that I’m not the biggest advocate of Ryan Gosling. I feel he’s quite overrated and I, before 2016, had yet to see a film starring him that I enjoyed. However this year “The big short” and now this are starting to turn me around a little bit. Gosling took this role by storm, he was consistently entertaining to watch and never failed to put a smile on my face (even if a joke didn’t hit right). Russell Crowe on the other hand initially felt a bit out of place, as the film went on though he definitely seemed more comfortable in the role. He came across as awkward and nervous, which is not what I should have been feeling considering he plays a badass hitman with years of experience. As I said, he does seem a lot more comfortable towards the end of the film but when he’s supposed to be a highly experienced “Investigator” (for lack of better word) you’d think he’d seem less awkward in his role. The rest of the cast was all relatively good, the goons did there job and were funny when on screen and the other small supporting characters were all funny and well cast (especially people like the bicycle boy near the start). A special mention goes to Angourie Rice who plays Holly, Ryan Gosling’s daughter, she proves that child actors can be just as competent as adults and that she can be just as funny as the huge stars she’s around. She’s one of the best child actors I’ve seen since “Room” and really stood out to me, I feel like we’ll see more of her in the future.

The plot for me took a while to kick in, avoiding spoilers, the first act was good.I liked the initial setup and the development of the mystery was intriguing and while the majority of this act was shown in trailers it still entertained me (that’s less an issue with the film but an issue with marketing). The second act is where I feel the film lost steam, it dragged on a bit and besides the party scene the jokes didn’t land as well as they did  the first act. There is a haphazard attempt at character development between Ryan and russell that I felt was completely unnecessary in this act (I’ll refer to this as the pool scene). It had tone issues and while it set up one good joke it’s idea of trying to develop the relationship between Ryan and russell wasn’t at all needed because we got enough of that through their scenes anyway. Maybe if there had been more attempts at developing this relationship then this scene wouldn’t have felt so out of place and unneeded.

Now while I don’t mention anything in particular here, the rest of this paragraph could be deemed as spoiler territory.

The second act also brought the reveal of why people are looking for Amelia and considering how much the film had built up to this moment I felt really underwhelmed. This was supposed to be the big elaborate reveal but yet it felt quite predictable and uninspired. It wasn’t until in the third act, in which much more is revealed, that I started to get back on board with this film. In fact the entire 3rd act saved this film from becoming a disaster. Compared to the rest of the film this last act is more exhilarating, funny and interesting than all of the rest of the film combined. The set piece of the hotel/showroom is the most interesting of the film and the action is also really well done. The plot continues to surprise even at such a late stage and the bee scene shown in trailers is a highlight of how insane the end gets. The jokes take new extremes and the actual ending to the film was satisfying.

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"Wanna see my dick?"

The film is directed really well, Shane Black continues to prove himself as a great director and this film has a very distinctive style. I liked what he did with a lot of the shots and I have nothing but praises for that side of things. The script, while consistently entertaining isn’t always hilarious. Not every joke hits the way I think they hoped it too, the laughs in the quite full cinema also backed this up, yes some pay off well but there was too many times I wasn’t laughing when I knew I was supposed to be.

Now what seems to have become a thing in these reviews is me picking a technical aspect that stood out to me and discussing it in depth, usually this is negative however sometimes it can be positive. I’ve decided that I’m gonna do this for all my reviews now and if you’re not interested in the paragraph you can always skip to the verdict.

For the first time in a long while the soundtrack in this film stood out to me. Normally I won’t notice it unless it’s really striking and well done (I.e “It follows” and “Pan’s labyrinth”) however this film stood out to me for a completely different reason. It was completely bland, dull and not fitting to the plot at all. This film has probably one of the weakest soundtracks I’ve heard in a long time. If you ignore the use of two or three actual songs from the 70’s, which I will say fit well in their scenes, then the rest of the soundtrack was really poor. All of the music was dark and monotone and there was no up beat 70’s style beats like there should have been. There are films set in this timezone that have Amazing soundtracks and really take advantage of the disco setting and the colourful music of the 70’s, this however stuck to generic music that took away from some of the exciting action on scene. It honestly seemed like they’d got all their music off a “ambient music” or “intense music” video off youtube or some other generic genre defining music. The soundtrack is also the main reason as to why I disliked the pool scene so much. The joke of the pool scene was the highly contrasting conversation and tone with it being overall funny but in a serious way. So I have no idea why Shane Black decided to use this dark, mysterious music as if they were about to uncover some huge mystery. It added a third tone to the situation which didn’t work at all and threw off what could have been an interesting set piece. I actually feel like that scene and a few others would have faired better without any music at all. There is a distinct lack of scenes without some form of generic music in them and while not vital it could have helped the tone in places. Why Shane couldn’t have made the music a bit funkier I don’t know, but this bland and dull soundtrack stood out as being particularly awful.

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"Tell us all you know and he'll stop doing it"

Now while a lot of what I’ve said has been negative, I actually really enjoyed this film. In most comedies it’s rare for every single joke to hit the audience (unless you’re anchorman 2) in the way it’s expected and in some mystery films you may not always like the reveal but that’s just how it is. Some things,like jokes, are all down to personal preference and in my case they don’t all work. That doesn’t mean to say this film isn’t brilliantly casted, funny and interesting. The story may have dragged a bit in the middle but the amazing last act alone would give this film 4 stars. I came out of this film with a big smile on my face, which with the amount of crap I’ve seen recently, is a welcome change and if it wasn’t for a couple of hitches this would have probably scored a lot higher

Written by Dawson Roberts

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Directed By- Shane Black

Produced By- Joel Silver

Written by- Shane Black, Anthony Bagarozzi

Forrest Gump

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Forrest gump is a cult classic, it’s rare you find someone who hasn’t seen Forrest gump. So it surprised lots of people when I said that I’d never seen it, and now at 17 I’ve finally gotten round to it and can see exactly why everyone loves it.

(Now obviously this film came out 22 years ago so SPOILERS are gonna be present in this review and all my classic reviews)

Forrest Gump is directed by the brillaint Robert Zemeckis (who recently directed the nauseating “the walk”) and stars Tom Hanks, Robin Wright and Gary Sinise. It’s about Forrest gumps life, we see his ups and downs and how he impacted the world as much as he did. From starting the Watergate scandal to inventing the quote “Shit happens” Forrest changed the world and showed that anyone, no matter what people tell them, can do anything. That’s what I took from this film, it’s inspirational and heartwarming but at the same time Forrest’s niave outlook on the world can lead to some dark and meaningful statements on society as a whole. This leads to the films best moments when the really dark and horrible times in Forrest’s life are turned around by his consistent positive outlook and it can truly bring a smile to your face. There’s obviously a lot of hidden meanings in this film, it’s a lot more than just a tale of a mans extraordinary life, and I liked that. The use of the feather (which could be interpreted as freedom and how it’s not until he moves on from Jenny that Forrest is free again) or the symbolism of Forrest being able to run. It’s all more than meets the eye and I imagine that the more I watch this film the more I’ll notice things and enjoy it.  That is a quality that every film should have, you should be able to watch a film multiple times and still discover completly new things about it (The main reason I like fight club so much is because of its rewatch capabilities).

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"Run Forrest, run!"

Tom Hanks won the Oscar for best Leading Actor in 1994 for his role as Forrest Gump and I now see why. He has never been this comfortable in a role in his entire career. As someone who has seen quite a few Tom Hanks films (not all, but a lot) I can happily say this is my favourite and in my opinion his best role. He plays his character with such charisma and charm that’s impossible for you to not fall in love with his character, from start to finish Tom Hanks really convices you that he is Forrest Gump and it’s one of the most deserved Oscar wins of the past 30 years. I cannot fault any of the cast as they all did a superb job from the child actors to the random Bench visitors they all played there roles brilliantly and every role seemed very well cast. A special mention goes to Gary sinise who shows exactly how to play a role that changes so much. He hit evey note perfectly, from the severly depressed cripple to the over the moon sailer Gary never managed to lose the charm he had. It’s a role that’s so difficult to play considering how much his character changes in the film, but he does it so well. I’m shocked that his only big role after this was CSI: New York.

The directing in this film is near perfect along with the cinematography. It fits the film perfectly and every single shot seems like so much thought is placed into it. It’s reminescent to that of “American Beauty” and how so much thought is put into what the audience sees and how the story progresses. I imagine a film that’s so obscure and disjointed is very difficult to direct but Robert Zemeckis does a brilliant job of keeping it together. The set design is something that also shocked me, its so well done and theres so much of it. Im surprised that a film with so many varying locations has a set design so perfect. It never feels like just a set and all the 60-70’s american towns feel like the time they are supposed to. Whether its just the way it was filmed or it was solely down to the brilliant set design, i never felt like i was in the 1990’s it was like being transported back to the 60’s. Along with the soundtrack, which is really well put together as it shows the passage of time very well, (Something I imagine Richard Linklater took inspiration from for Boyhood) this film creates a brilliant all round technical marvel. Films like this are hard to come about and only a few manage to master every aspect and if it wasn’t for a couple of story elements that I wasn’t keen on then it would have been a full 5 star review.

Now as a I said I didn’t like all of the plot, and this is my only issue with the film. Robin Wright played her role really well, much alike the rest of the cast, but her story didn’t really go in the way I felt it should or really worked for her character. As a child we saw her damaged from her father’s abuse, we then see her grow apart from Forrest and try to live her own life however at every hurdle she constantly seems drawn to abuse. The last time we see her before she gets together with Forrest is as what I think is her being a prostitute (or just waking up somewhere random) with a black eye. The next scene she’s completely turned her life around and is perfect again (if a bit quiet) obviously this leads to her and Forrest getting together and having the baby Forrest Gump (whose played by Hayley Joel Osmont from tusk! (and the sixth sense)). But her old life is just forgotten about and I don’t like that. She’s constantly given the chance to choose the right options in life but always chooses the wrong ones. I know this is a bit harsh but I feel like we never see the consequences of that. She missed all her chances by her own accord and I think that the film could have still had the same impact and story (minus the wedding) as the actual film if she’d have died much earlier on. She could have still had a kid, Forrest could have still looked after him and the graveyard scene would have still had the same impact.

Here’s how I think if should have ended:

“Jenny had finally sent Forrest a letter back telling him that she got all his letters and she appreciates them and that she loved him, but not in the way Forrest loves her. This letter tells Forrest how she always appreciated everything he did and kept a scrapbook of all his achievements. The letter then has an address on it which forrest reads out to the person currently sat on the bench with him. They say “that’s only 6 blocks away” and he looks shocked and runs off From there everyone around him, the person on the bench and the entire town chants “Run Forrest run” (emphasing the surrealism of the film) but when he finally makes it she’s not there but her sister is and she has baby Forrest Gump. She tells Forrest that she died and instead of a wedding scene were Forrest sees the luteinant it’s a funeral and that way we still get the dramatic end gravestone monologue. It could have even ended with him putting the feather from the book on the headstone only for it to fly away and end with a shot of the gravestone next to the tree they grew up on”

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An emotional end to a brilliant story

Now obviously thats just a suggestion and not every film goes the way you want it too. But it just didn’t feel right that she made all the wrong choices and then in a way kind of got away with it all (it could be argued that the virus was the same as what I said). I also don’t like the fact that the leaving of the bench was so underwhelming and the whole of Jennys character development was thrown out the window. There are a couple of other random plot points that to me didnt seem necessary but it’s nothing big enough for me to rant about.

Besides that small point the rest of the film is near flawless. The consistent use of putting Forrest in famous incidents in time was very clever and always put a smile on my face. In fact nearly all of the film put a smile on my face and when there wasn’t a smile there was tears or shock or any emotion Robert Zemeckis could elecit out of me. I can finally see why the film is so popular and I will now be joining that group of people who are shocked when someone says they haven’t seen Forrest Gump.

Written by Dawson Roberts

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Release date – July 6th 1994

Directed By- Robert Zemeckis

Produced By- Wendy Finerman, Steve Tisch, Steve Starkey

Written By- Eric Roth

Warcraft

 

Warcraft is one of 2016’s biggest blockbusters however it’s less blockbuster and more lacklustre (been saving that one for a while). Brilliant CGI and character models can’t outweigh how dull this film actually is, from start to finish I just wanted this film to end and this is from someone who was excited for Warcraft.

The film is directed by Duncan Jones, David Bowie’s son, famous for directing things such as “Moon” and “Source code”. It stars Travis Fimmel, Dominic cooper and Paula Patton along with a whole host of other B/C list actors. This film before I say anything else is purely aimed at Warcraft fans, it does little to nothing to help newcomers into the already incredibly lengthy universe Blizzard have created. For the uninitiated this film will be a long slog and it’s not even something that you could quickly read up on before seeing. It’s obvious the film was aiming at the people who are already interested in the universe or it would have tried a lot harder to get people to come and see it.

The film is about Orcs and Humans fighting each other. The Orcs are annoyed because there world got destroyed and the humans are just trying to get  there world back after the Orcs travel through a portal to get to “Stormwind”,  a human populated land. Mixed in with this is some poor Orc characterisation, a boring sub-plot about a “guardian” and a bit of family troubles for a couple of Orcs and Humans. The film is basically just all building up to a big battle at the end. As a whole the plot was just dull, I never cared about any of the characters and there was never a moment that I was on the edge of my seat. At one point (slight spoiler but I won’t mention names) there’s a relatively big character that dies and I didn’t care at all that they had died, it had little to no impact on me. For me I just wanted the film to end and there was not really any plot point that I was particularly fussed about. I couldn’t even pick a bit in the plot that stood out to me, it all just blends into one big boring mess. Admittedly I’m not a huge Warcraft fan, I’ve played my fair share of the game and I know bits and pieces about the lore but I’m no expert. But what I do know is the varying different races and characters there are in the Warcraft universe. This film neglects that massively, yes we see a couple of dwarves and one dark elf, but there’s so many other races and creatures that could have been included in this first film. I imagine the variation would have come in a sequel, however due to the money it took in over the weekend I doubt that will happen. The same goes for locations, we don’t really visit any locations you see in the game, there’s a couple but if there had been more game locations and less empty fields and caverns there may have been more weight to the film. There is very little substance to the films plot which makes it hard for you to like or dislike any of the characters that are there, if the film was more than just a battle sequence or two then maybe there could have been some interesting character development, or just some form of development. The plot just ends up disappointing you, there is a huge battle sequence (Which because I cared about none of the characters at all, meant nothing to me) and at the end one final showdown. These like the rest of the film are just a huge disappointment and the resolution just seemed forced. Maybe had the film created an interesting world or interesting characters then at least some of the scenes may have impacted me and that last battle sequence could have felt as epic as it should have been.

Disappointing battles are littered throughout the 2 hour run time

This film didn’t really have any big stars in it which is something that I felt could have possibly helped the film do better at the box office. If say Chris Evans was in it or some other popular star, it may have attracted at least some viewers that weren’t already Warcraft fans. It’s also hard for me to critique actors that I’ve never seen act before, Dominic cooper is really the only actor I’ve seen do anything. The cast as a whole were okay, they were wooden at times (Dominic cooper especially was a large culprit of being wooden) but none of them stood out as being particularly either good or awful. Some of the smaller characters lines came across as cheesy and out of place, especially some battle shouts but they were so inconsequential that it was just annoying rather than a big issue. To summarise none of the actors played there parts particularly well, id not expect any Oscar nominations anytime soon, however none of them stood out as being particularly abysmal.

I’ve said before that ill only pick on technical aspects if necessary and this time is no different, and while not actually a technical aspect, costume design/prop design is an issue in this film. Now obviously this wont make or break the film and its not something huge  but its something that really bugged me. This is supposed to be taking place during a large scale all out war, there’s going to be blood, dirt, scratches and all sorts of things on the Humans armour. So why is it throughout the entire film that everyone’s armour is completely clean without a single smudge of dirt or blood on it. Even in the final huge battle, in which at time blood is literally sprayed on the screen, everyone’s armour is shiny clean. It’s so random and it means that your taken out of the film because there’s no feeling like this war is actually causing any damage or injuring anyone. As well as that all the props look fake, the swords look like they have no weight to them, the crowns clearly look like painted plastic and the armour looks cheap and nasty not the superior metal its supposed to be.The designers have clearly tried to get them as realistic to their game counterparts but in doing so they’ve made them look cartoony and out of place with the dark themes present in the film.

The worlds cleanest armour

There is one technical aspect that this film excels in, much alike Jungle book the CGI in this film is superb. The world created and the models for the Orcs look brilliant with each little hair being animated in close ups, the Orcs genuinely look real. There’s no awkward interaction between Humans and Orcs either you cant tell that there not actually speaking to anything in the studio (something that was blatantly obvious in Alice through the looking glass) this is something I praise Duncan Jones for and his use of CGI in his films is always excellent. The backdrops for the most part also look great with an insane level of detail being used for nearly every bit of CGI in the film, its a quality I wasn’t really expecting from a film that for the most part Isn’t very good. The magic was very smooth and seamless and there were times when say a mage was using a spell and it looked really realistic, its just a shame that the majority of the reasons magic was being used was incredibly dull.

For some reason I decided too see in this film in 3D, (it was more of a time issue than a choice) I will make sure not to do this again. The only 3D films I’ve seen in the past couple of years have been Force Awakens and now this, Force Awakens was obviously a great film and while the 3D did little it didn’t really affect my viewing experience (although it was my 3rd time seeing it at that point).With Warcraft it really got on my nerves, it made the pretty backdrops look blurry when they weren’t, it created double images on few occasions and made the entire film for much more dark and gloomy than it should have been. Now I understand that these are common issues with 3D but this film had no benefits to it at all, yes on the odd occasion there was a bit of depth to the film, but unless your really going all out with 3D then it just ruins what was good about the film.

Warcraft had potential however this film was nothing but a boring slog for 2 hours of meaningless plot and uninteresting character development. If it wasn’t for the CGI being very impressive this would have got 1 star if a sequel to this is made it would need to improve in many areas. As it stands this continues to be another terrible video game movie adding to a already very long list.

Written by Dawson Roberts

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Release Date- 30th May 2016

Written By- Charles Leavitt, Duncan Jones

Directed By-Duncan Jones

Produced By- Thomas Tull, Jon Jashni, Charles Roven, Alex Gartner, Stuart Fenegan

 

Alice through the looking glass

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Alice in wonderland ( original animation) is by far my favourite Disney film by far, it’s weird, dark and overall just entertaining to watch. I always loved it and still do till this day. So when the the reboot got announced I was excited and the first time i saw it i loved it. It had it’s issues like most Disney reboots but despite the extremely negative critical response I really enjoyed it. So again when “Through the looking glass” got announced and the first trailer was shown my hype was real, I fell in love with the posters and I became slightly obsessed with it for a few weeks. So when I finally saw through the looking glass my initial hype suddenly became disappointment.

“Through the looking glass” is directed by James Bobin (not Tim Burton like the original, however he does produce) and stars Johnny Depp, Mia Wasikowska, Anne Hathaway and Helena Bonham carter along with newcomer Sacha Baron Cohen. It again follows Alice as her disappointing life leads her to discover wonderland, for a second time, only to find that when she arrives wonderland is not how she left it. The mad hatter has fallen ill, he misses his dead family and it’s up to Alice to find Time himself and change history. An interesting proposition but one that just leads to character development that really wasn’t needed. Did I need to see how the Red queen got a big head, or what the Cheshire cat looked like as a kitten? In the end it ruins your perception of certain characters, for me the Cheshire cat was a mysterious villainous type creature that was quite scary in the original but once you’ve seen him as a kitten playing with other kids you lose that perception of him and now this eerie image of the Cheshire cat is tainted by the image of him being a kitten. Some aspects of the time travel were quite different and quirky especially the tea time incident you see in the trailer but the majority just seemed to be unnecessary back story. There are some hints to the fact that Alice is actually mentally unstable and this is all a figment of her imagination and to me that’s the most interesting part of Alice in wonderland. Is it all real? Is it just a drug induced hallucination? I hoped (as the trailers seemed to hint) we’d get more of that especially with the whole hospital scene explicitly being shown in the trailers. If I was to make a Alice in wonderland film (which would be a dream project if I ever got the chance)  I’d spend  more time on the real world and how wonderland is actually just a form of escapism for Alice which is what I feel like this film attempted to touch on. The only other big issue with the plot was actually the setting. We were shown around 3 locations in wonderland (the Town, the Grand clock and the Red Queen’s castle) and never shown any of wonderland. Having a sequel like this opened up so much potential to discover the weirder and creepy aspects of wonderland. If it had taken inside outs approach of exploring all of the mind and varying parts, each with distinct qualities and quirks, then maybe it would have been more engaging. But the lack of exploration or any location variation left me wanting to see more of wonderland. I’d have thought a time travel story could have taken the film to completely new or interesting locations (for example I think visiting a growing maze would be interesting)  but instead it sticks to what it knows “best” and limits itself on locationst

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The cast in this film on paper should be great, in my opinion in the original they were, but now there flaws seem to be all the more obvious with only Helena Bonham carters character retaining her charm. Sacha Baron Cohen is witty but for the first time ever I’ve seen him struggle to retain an accent, on multiple occasions he slipped from his accent into his regular English voice something that clearly wasn’t intentional. Anne Hathaway had an obsession with waving her arms around which got very annoying, very quickly and Johnny Depp also seemed to consistently drop his accent (especially when changing between his two different voices). Mia Wasikowska was okay but again her accent dropped a few times and even when it didn’t drop it just eventually came across as irritating. Only Helena Bonham Carter managed to retain what she had originally, with her insane take on the Red queen. Her shouting did get a bit on the annoying side but I feel like that’s what the Red queen does and I like how they kept that. Other actors were okay and the voice cast I have no issue with. It just felt like none of the characters were portraying them the same as they were before and I blame that on the change of director. Had this been made by Tim Burton I feel as though the actors would have retained the quality they had in the original.

My final issue with the film is quite a big one, as I have said before I only nit pick technical issues if I feel like they deter from the experience and in this case, much alike X-Men apocalypse, the CGI is a big issue. There a plenty of films that use a green screen as their primary element and for the majority of the time it’s not an issue, it normally blends in to the film and if it’s done well then you won’t even pick up on it. However in this film the green screen is incredibly noticeable, johnny Depp consistently looks likes he’s prancing around a empty room with little to no knowledge of his actual surroundings. The actors also seem out of place and there’s sometimes hints of an outline where the green screen is overlaying and overall it just comes across as sloppy. I understand that a film like this will require a lot of green screen but I also feel like a film with a budget this big should probably have more physical sets (the forest for example could have been a physical set and it would have looked a lot better). The actual CGI models of characters look okay but there is no improvement over the previous Alice film. The time travelling scenes and the actual time machine also don’t look that good, it’s not a make or break issue and i don’t believe that had the CGI been better the film would have been any better, but it couldn’t have hurt to make it look a bit more polished. As I said before the directing is pretty poor and it’s very clear this film isn’t directed by Tim Burton. The soundtrack also isn’t that good especially the tone changing P!NK song at the credits which really did not fit at all, I even heard multiple people around me comment on how random the song at the end was. Considering there have been 2 Alice in wonderland songs by P!NK I have no idea why they used “Just like fire” instead of “White rabbit”.

Through the looking glass really wasn’t a film that needed to be made, yes something’s in it worked and eventually paid off well, but the majority of the film was actually ruining some things that worked well in the original. In the end I came out disappointed because a sequel like this had potential. However I can’t deny that some parts I did enjoy, there were some nods to the original that I really liked and the actual through the looking glass room is very faithful to the original room, which is something I appreciated. The film is funny and enjoyable but it’s not that good as a film. I was genuinely really excited for this when i went in came out disappointed, it could have been a lot worse but it’s cons definitely outweigh it’s pros.

Written By Dawson Roberts

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Release Date – 27th of may 2016

Directed By- James Bobin

Produced By- Tim Burton, Joe Roth, Suzanne Todd, Jennifer Todd

Written by- Linda Woolverton