X-Men: Apocalypse

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I like the x-men franchise, yes it has its blips and there are a few poor films but the core 3 and future past are really good superhero films. Apocalypse sits nicely in the middle of the Awful orgins wolverine and first class and the brilliant X-2. The convulted story is the only real let down besides some over ambitious  CGI because most of the action and character interactions are great.

This is the 5th X-Men film directed by Bryan Singer and follows the very well received “Days of future past”. The story is about Apocalypse, an old Egyptian god some called the first mutant, he and his four horseman consistently let his legacy live on by transferring his body into new mutants who he then absorbd the power of. He is now back in the 1980’s to wreak havoc on earth and it requires Charles xavier’s mutants to reunite, defeat him and his new four horsemen. Now that may sound pretty basic and not very complicated but I’m not talking about Singer introducing around 7 new characters that aren’t actually new characters but new interpretations of characters from the first trilogy, along with trying to develop the cast from the previous 2 “prequels” and set up future films as well as the films that have already happened that are canon. Not only that but they are introducing an entire new Egyptian god plot and developing a huge supposedly unstoppable villain in the process, it all becomes one big mess of convoluting storylines. Characters that haven’t been in the series for 3 films appear and you’re expected to instantly know who they are and if you don’t, your left confused without any explanation. The occasional flashback to the the previous films attempt to fill you in but generally just end up confusing you more. This film expects you to have expert knowledge on the previous 7 films, of which they started back in 2001,  as it is throwing in references to films that came out 15 years ago.  I was lucky I’m quite into the X- Men films and most of the references I got,  but even some of it went over my head. Also I found out some things about characters that I swear had never been brought up in previous X-Men films that were made out to be continuing plot. For example everyone seemed to be in some Russian town but there’s no explanation to it. There’s also a lot of plot holes from future past, magneto just seemed to disappear and hide for around 10 years without anyone recognising him after nearly killing the president of the united states. The very confusing plot is a huge shame because every character is really well played and as separate stories I enjoyed were some went, Jean Grey and Cyclops had a very interesting story together and it was a nice throwback,  but again it really played on the fact that you had to know that in the original trilogy Cyclops and Jean grey were a item.This is sophie turner’s best role yet. Gone is the wooden sansa stark from early game of thrones and now is an actress who can really hold the camera and seems relaxed on it, I can only imagine she will get better with each film she’s in. Quicksilver’s scene was again the highlight of the film he’s the best on screen interpretation of quicksilver I’ve seen (animations included). James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender also played there roles well and they have brought their own interpretation to the rolets originally played by Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen they now stand different from their predecessors (which if you think about it should be a bad thing because they are supposed to be the same characters, but I like the new interpretations). Oscar isaac was okay, normally he’s great and in my opinion is one of our generation’s biggest/best upcoming stars but he didn’t really have anything to do besides consistently babble on about building “new” things.

Direction was okay and the soundtrack was pretty good all round, highlight again being quicksilver’s scene and it’s song of choice. But like green rooms poor editing this had another big technical flaw, CGI. It was too ambitious in my opinion and this is a film that’s supposed to look great. There’s so many different and colourful powers,  every superpower should look real but they don’t seem to have developed since 2001. If you look at marvel films and there CGI it’s nearly flawless I don’t think I’ve ever sat through a marvel film and thought “that CGI is awful” it’s always really immersive and well done, that’s probably down to budget admittedly but still this film looks terribly outdated. In fact at multiple occasions it took me completely out of the action, the film is at times too ambitious for the CGI and if it doesn’t hold up now the CGI will look even worse in the future. Everyones powers look fake with the exception of Psylocke and Quicksilver (where I can only assume all the budget went) Cyclops looks especially rough and some laser scenes looked terrible. Some of the large scale destruction looks alright but it’s nothing special.

The only other issue this film had wasn’t actually anything in the film itself it was the trailers. I thought the trailers weren’t very spoilery, yes I took a bit too much information from them but still didn’t think they were gonna ruin the film. If you’re lucky enough to have not seen the last trailer then avoid it at all costs it spoils so much, the majority of scenes are from the last 3rd of the film and for no good reason. There’s not really any big plot points that aren’t spoiled in the trailer. It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t watch it if you have seen it but it will certainly ruin some big moments that probably would have had more impact.

This is probably the most confusing superhero film you’ll ever watch, i recommend watching all 7 films before watching this maybe even more than once then maybe you’ll have a chance at understanding what’s going on. The CGI is definitely an issue and could do with being rectified fast if these films are going to continue and they should because they are great films. This film is by no means a bad film the story is confusing but it’s still interesting each character gets their moment to shine and no one really feels overlooked. It’s very well acted and the dialogue is witty and well written. It’s just the overall arc of this film is so mixed in with other films that it confuses casual viewers, if I were an expert on the franchise this film would probably be so much better. Avoid all the trailers, watch all the previous films and this film will be great. Better than Batman vs. Superman, worse than Civil war.

 By Dawson Roberts3.5 stars

Directed By- Bryan Singer

Written By-  Bryan Singer, Simon Kinberg, Michael Dougherty, Dan Harris

Produced By- Lauren Shuler Donner , Simon Kinberg , Bryan Singer

 

Green Room

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Let’s get this straight out of the way, this film is brutal. Green room is directed by Jeremy Saulnier and stars Patrick Stewart, Anton Yelchin and Alia Shawkhat. t’s a Horror/Thriller film set inside a neo-Nazi music venue, the film follows a punk rock band called the “Aint rights” and like their band title suggests this gig ain’t right. After they perform a relatively successful gig they are asked to follow someone and leave but when one of them goes back to get there phone which they left in the green room they return to see a body, its at that point it all kicks off.

The cast in this film are great as someone who loves Patrick Stewart I think this role fit him perfectly he is just the right amount of evil for this. Imogen poots as an unfortunate bystander played her role brilliantly and I really liked her character she was a real badass and knew exactly how to play her chabadass, she is also worryingly skilled with a box cutter.The band themselves are all really likeable characters but I can’t say each of them gave standout performances because some were in it for little to no time before being killed off. This is probably the film’s biggest issue, pacing at times felt off and while some characters deaths were intense and shocking others were so rushed over that it had no impact. This doesn’t represent everyone though and its only a few occasions I felt like it was an issue. One character for instance is in it for around a minute but they are killed off really well, didn’t need to know every character and there life story but some of the “main cast” were underplayed. Imogen poots as an unfortunate bystander played her role brilliantly and I really liked her character she was a real badass and knew exactly how to play her character she is also worryingly skilled with a box cutter.

The Directing in this film is pretty great I personally have never seen a film by Saulnier but if Blue Ruin is like this I’ll be watching it soon. Cinematography is also pretty good aswell with some shots being really well done and dramatic again the box cutter scene was brilliantly shot. I don’t normally mention editing in my reviews of things unless I think it’s important and normally it’s not something I notice in a film. However I think this is the only other major flaw with this film, It’s poorly edited. Scenes were cut too short or didn’t feel right the way they were done, there were times when someone’s body was being dragged away and it cut after 2 seconds and therefore didn’t see who it was. This was not the only time this happened as there was multiple occasions when I was left genuinely confused because the editing felt rushed. Im not sure if the editor was forced to a strict time limit of 95 minutes but if this film was say half an hour longer then it probably would have fixed these issues. It probably didn’t help that the cast was so large and at times there was so many different characters it became confusing to know who was who and who was fighting for who. So it’s only in the last act if the film were the much smaller cast really shines and the film becomes a lot more intense.

This leads nicely on to the end of the film which I thought was it’s strongest aspect. The last scene was incredibly intense and with only a few characters left it really emphasised what a messed up situation they were all in. The ending like the rest of the film used violence brilliantly every shot of a gun felt intense like every single bullet counted towards something. Nothing felt fake either which is quite worrying in a film  were people’s arms are getting hacked to pieces, it made the film very intense and at times hard to watch. That is not a bad thing though, I haven’t seen a mainstream horror film this brutal in a long time and it shows why horror needs to be a 18 only affair. Yes not every horror film “needs” to be a 18 but these teen horror films are a waste of everyone’s time (I’m gonna do a rant about teen/modern horror soon).

Overall this film is brutal and intense and that works for it in so many ways however the only thing stopping it from being a near perfect film is a longer run time to fix some pacing/editing issues I know it’s picky but it wouldn’t have affected me if there wasn’t so much to keep up with. If you like classic horror then see this film if your a bit squeamish or only like being scared this probably isn’t for you. Horror isn’t always jump scares, sometimes it’s just violence and that’s something this film mastered.wp-1463147519413.png

Directed By- Jeremy Saulnier

Written By- Jeremy Saulnier

Produced By- Neil Kopp

Scream

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Scream is one of my favourite horror films of all time. It’s directed by the late and brilliant Wes Craven and stars Neve Campbell, Courtney Cox, Matthew Lillard and Drew Barrymore and that’s just naming a few. Everything about Scream is great it’s fully aware of what it is and knows exactly how to do it well. The cast is electric and works so well together on screen you can see the chemistry between every character and are genuinely happy to see certain characters Develop. Every cast member seems to get there time to shine obviously some more than others but I never felt like any main characters were left undeveloped. Neve Campbell is great as Sidney Prescott the victim and technically “main character” of the film, she is the final girl and Wes Craven made sure to put every trait of that in and make it obvious, showing he knows the horror genre inside out. Matthew Lillard and Billy Loomis as Skeet and Stu have great on screen moments and have some of the best scenes of the entire film. Courtney Cox at the time this was made was on a roll rising in popularity due to the ever growing “Friends” (Which we now know made her career) and this film shows that Courtney was best in her time she’s the only character you genuinely like and root for in the film, her storyline isn’t the main focused storyline but it’s a nice subplot it works really well and is another aspect to why this film is so great. Every Story gets its own conclusion from little 5 minute opening segments to the aforementioned Courtney cox Love story

Now as a Horror Scream isn’t exactly scary in the normal sense, yes there are a couple of jump scares and well placed Horror moments but as a fan of Horror as a genre I felt like I was more smiling and laughing than shaking with fear. This film in a way is more of a parody of Horror than a Horror film itself, yes it has some disturbing scenes and some intense moments but when one of the first kills of the film is based on whether a girl gets Horror film trivia right you know it’s not taking itself too seriously.

While mentioning it the opening scene itself is flawless. Wes Craven took a big risk casting Drew Barrymore in a film where she dies in the first 5 minutes and using famous horror trivia as a way of causing horror is very imaginative. While she may only be in it for a short period of time Drew shines like the rest if the cast without hardly any screen time, I cared for her character, got backstory for her character and was shocked by her death (something that most modern horror films fail to do in their entire runtime never mind 5 minutes). There are some intense parts and some quite disturbing parts mixed in with the black comedy elements and that really mixes with your emotions but emphasises even more how good Wes Craven is as a director, he knows exactly what he’s doing and this film was a huge risk but the opening scene does a great job of showing everything you get in the film; horror, black comedy, shock twists, horror clichés and a stellar cast.

The cinematography is great and the soundtrack fits so well, the iconic music for this film is still used to this day and you can tell why. The music is intense it’s music that will get you on the edge of your seat and causes worry without any footage, it’s great tension building music that helps emphasise the horror aspects of the film even if they aren’t that scary. The script is hilarious and well written Kevin Williamson did an amazing job of making this film keep you guessing on who “Ghost face” is. You can tell, like Craven, that Kevin is a fan of horror films but knows what there issues are and points them out in excellent ways. Craven brought the script to life brilliantly and in my opinion it’s his best work to date with the only close follow-up being Scream 2.

If nothing else this made horror film makers realise that you can’t just do the same thing over and over again you need to reinvent what you have. The film isn’t perfect some plot inconsistencies don’t make sense and don’t seem to have been done intentionally but the majority of the film is so well made its hard to find faults. Yes everything in Scream is cliché and been done before but that’s exactly how it’s supposed to be Craven even goes so far to take the Mick of his own popular franchises. While the sequel’s may not have been as good (Scream 2 is quite good but isn’t anywhere near as good as the first) the original classic stands high as one of the greatest horror films ever made because it did something no one else dared to do.

By Dawson Roberts

4.5 Stars

 

Release Date- 20th December 1996

Directed By- Wes Craven

Written By- Kevin Williamson

Produced By- Cathy Konrad , Cary Woods

 

 

Bad Neighbours 2: soroity Rising

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Bad neighbours 2: soroity rising is the follow up to the surprisingly successful Bad neighbours which starred Rose Byrne,Seth Rogen and Zac Efron with smaller roles being filled with minor comedy actors like Christopher Mintz-Plasse and Dave Franco.It was about a pregnant couple (Rogen and Bryne) trying to take down the neighbouring frat house, it was a enjoyable film and was funny but it lacked any sort of substance or depth.The sequel soroity rising stars basically all the original cast but adds in new female cast members however the only really recognisable one, is Chloë Grace Moretz. The film, as expected is basically a carbon copy of the first film but with a soroity instead of a frat house and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

The film is funny and in most ways is much superior to its predecessor however as the first one wasn’t exactly the pinnacle of comedy gold this one doesn’t reach the heights of say anchorman 2 or more recently Kingsman. The film doesn’t reinvent the wheel it uses jokes from the first film in new scenarios (the airbag joke makes an entertaining comeback) and Rogen’s trademark weed jokes often occur but it’s the cast members and their obscure situations that make it a fun watch.The film isn’t imaginative but yet it still feels refreshing and fun to watch, i didn’t think at any point “oh I’ve seen this a thousand times before” because the jokes and script were entertaining enough to keep me interested even with a simple plot.The film does however try to address the lack of women in powerful roles as the first one struggled to do (being accused of being very sexist multiple times). My issue was that the use of powerful feminists felt like a direct response to sexism claims, less a film that the director wanted to make but had to save his reputation.Because of this the whole feminist thing feels very haphazardly done and isn’t done too well.This film didn’t really need to be made but now it has the director can safely say “I’m not sexist,  honest!”.

The cast members are actually the best part of this Zac Efron is especially funny (I feel like this new comedy side to Zac Efron is a  great suit for him and will probably do his career really good).Chloë Moretz is really funny and so are her “partner’s” and the reason is haven’t mentioned the marketing focused Selena Gomez is because she’s in it for around 2-3 minutes. So if you’re being sold on this film for the sole premise of a Selena Gomez filled film (like some of my friends were) then you’ll be disappointed.

While the cast are great the directing and editing is sub par, and cinematography isn’t exactly anything spectacular (although were you expecting it be).The soundtrack is actually surprisingly good and fits well with most of the scenes.Use of Kanye West’s “Black skinhead” worked particularly well in one scene.For a comedy film like this I didn’t go in expecting anything marvellous technical wise and I came out thinking there wasn’t anything marvellous fulfilling my expectations .

All in all bad neighbours 2 is a good time it’s an enjoyable film but it’s scattered with poor/underwhelming stories.Would I watch it again, maybe.If you’re interested in a funny comedy or just a nice time waster then you’ll probably love it but if you’re going in expecting the best comedy ever you’ll be disappointed I can’t see this making anyone list of their favourite comedy films.

By Dawson Roberts

3.5

Release date 6th may 2016

Directed By- Nicholas Stoller

Written By- Seth Rogen, Nicholas Stoller, Evan Goldberg, Andrew Jay Cohen, Brendan O’Brien

Produced By- Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg, James Weaver

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