Archives for : May2015

Dino Time- Review

Whether he’s zooming around town on his rocket-powered skateboard or stealing an early peek at the cool new fossil exhibit at the Dinosaur Museum, Ernie never lets the strict rule of his mom, or his tag-along sister, Julia, keep him from stirring up some fun. Only this time, he has a little bit too much of it and it sees him transported 65 million years into the past.

Synopsis (Warning: May contain spoilers, duh!)

The Gist of It: ‘Dino Time’ focuses on a young scamp named Ernie whose rebellious antics lead him to travel back in time to the age of the dinosaurs, with his friend Max and sister Julie.

Plot

Ernie (Pamela Adlon) is the hyperactive son of PTA ‘Mom of the Year’ Sue (Jane Lynch). He’s joined in his serial mischief-making by best friend Max (Yuri Lowenthal) and pursued by sister Julia (Tara Strong) who has made it her mission-in-life to bust her errant brother.

Messing with Max’s inventor father’s time-machine that doesn’t work until the kids accidentally spill soda on to it and BINGO! The time-machine sends the trio hurtling back 65 million years to prehistoric times to a land with untouched, lush jungles and roaming dinosaurs. After emerging from an egg-shaped time machine, they are mothered by a bright pink T-rex, Tyra (Melanie Griffith), who mistakes them for her babies, bond with adopted brother Dodger (Rob Schneider), and fall foul of the villainous Sarcosuchus brothers Surly and Sarco (Stephen and William Baldwin).

Dino Time #2

Lets hope NASA takes a few pointers from this kids flick on “What Not To Do When Building A Time-Machine”.

Thrills and spills ensue in frenzied fashion, including a ride through the rapids, which results in Ernie losing the key to the time-machine, while Dino-Mom must contend with Lower Valley kingpins the Sarco Brothers (the Baldwins) who want to take over her territory; with the help of three blue spy-birds (who suffer from the severe flatulence) who intend on kidnapping her ‘babies’ to achieve it.

Meanwhile, back at home, Mom, whose heroic bosom will probably be the star of the film for bored dads, helps Diego, Max’s inventor father, transform her car into another time machine in order to save the mischievous trio.

KH- Review

‘Dino Time’ is less adept at keeping the whole family entertained than pros like the ‘Ice Age’ franchise, while Ernie doesn’t always stay the right side of irritating; especially in his to-the-camera addresses. However, there are lightly delivered lessons for both parents and their offspring cohorts; it tries to balance a message about allowing your kids to plough their own path with one about appreciating maternal sacrifice. With the animation being middle-of-the-road, Dino Time peddles an uncomplicated, enjoyable-enough brand of anarchy, rocketing from its high-powered skateboard opener to its ‘Uh-oh’ ending.

A prime example of the "meh" CGI quality of this film.

A prime example of the “meh” CGI quality of this film.

Visually the film is stuck between the first ‘Toy Story’ and the early ‘Ice Age’ films. The adventure chase scenes hold enough driving excitement to keep younger audiences enthralled, though. The introduction of the creepy lizards, Surly and Sarco, help give the film a darker twist as they bring a layer of evil.

Unfortunately, the story is not a very original one with it being quite weak. It handles most of the characters poorly and its main plot is lacking a clear point. Viewers have no idea what the villains in this film wanted, for instance, and have no real idea how the kids were trying to get back to modern times. The humor feels a bit too forced and so do some of its characters. Some of the characters are only in this to serve as comical relief but it doesn’t work out too well, since the comedy isn’t anything too creative. It even has fart jokes in it, which should tell you something about the comedy’s quality and creativity.

The proud kings of pretty much all the fart jokes in this film.

The proud kings of pretty much all the fart jokes in this film.

Despite the quirky characters and otherworldly setting, the film is surprisingly laugh-free. ‘Dino Time’s’ main selling feature may be its fantastical adventure storytelling, but every worthy animated flick still has its share of humour. The sense of fantasy escapism is also constantly lost by the Ernie breaking the fourth wall to talk to the audience; an irksome technique that gets old quickly.

Ultimately, it is the sort of the film that tries to crowbar in all sort of messages and lessons about life but it does it in such an ineffective way that it actually never starts to become anything distracting or annoying, so it’s not a real complaint in this case.

Verdict

Featuring a distinctly B-list Hollywood voice cast, this irrepressibly peppy, luridly hued, mercifully short CGI offering will mildly entertain dinosaur mad kids and should be over quickly enough for adults. Of course it’s still a pretty ok ok and certainly a simplistic little animated film but it’s still a watchable enough one, especially for little kids of course, who are into dinosaurs and adventure type of stuff.

The faces of all the kids in the theatre who want this film to end; probably.

The faces of all the kids in the theater who want this film to end; probably.

With the pace not being brisk enough to hide the groaning gags, paper-thin plotting, and continuity errors that emerge, the fine line between lovable and annoying does unfortunately tilt towards the latter as the film progresses.

Rating: 3/10

Favourite Line: –

Dino Time Poster

It barely passes as an “OK” for many kids but not so much for adults accompanying their kids to the movies.

Release Date: 4th June, 2015

Insidious: Chapter 3 – Trailer

The darkest Insidious chapter plunges audiences back into the otherworldly realm The Further, revealing how Elise Rainier (Lin Shaye) first braved it in her fight to save a young woman from demonic possession.

Survivor- Review

A State Department employee newly posted to the American embassy in London is charged with stopping terrorists from getting into the U.S. That puts her right in the line of fire and she is targeted for death and framed for crimes. Discredited, she is forced to go on the run while she tries to clear her name and stop a large-scale terrorist attack set on New Year’s Eve in Times Square.

Synopsis (Warning: May contain spoilers, duh!)

The Gist of It: After being mysteriously framed for a terrorist bombing, a Foreign Service Officer must evade government capture and death by a ruthless assassin in order to stop the real perpetrators’ master-and much deadlier-plan.

Plot

​Kate Abbott (Mila Jovovich) is an officer with the US embassy in London and is sent to identify possible security breaches.  While on duty, Kate starts to ask a few too many questions to a man applying for an American visa who she suspects to be (and actually is) a bio-terrorist; before letting him through customs.  She soon notices a pattern and uncovers a chemical conglomerate that is entwined with staging a terror attack.

This sets him and his associates into freak-out mode, and they hire an elite hit man known as The Watchmaker (Pierce Brosnan) to take her out.  From there, Kate becomes a most-wanted fugitive due to a series of misunderstandings and explosions and goes on the lam to evade capture from both her former colleagues and government. While she is being hunted, she must discover who the real terrorists are while staying one step ahead of a hit man (Pierce Brosnan) hired to kill her.

KH- Review

In spite of an A-grade cast, a solid $20 million budget, and it being directed by James McTeigue (‘V For Vendetta’ & ‘Ninja Assassin’- though the latter was dumb, it was at least energetic), ‘Survivor’ is nothing more than a B-grade straight-to-DVD thriller (If you can call it that). If more effort had been injected into it, in terms of better writing and more inventive staging, this could have easily been a summer blockbuster; no questions asked.

While the premise is recycled, with it being a cross between a discount ‘Salt’ and a low-budget ‘The Fugitive’, Mila Jovovich makes for an impressively down-to-earth heroine; as opposed to her zombie-slaying, ass-kicking, sword-wielding role in the coveted ‘Resident Evil’ franchise. Pairing her up with Pierce Brosnan, who stars as a believable and ruthless baddie, should have made for a solid cat-and-mouse thriller; but it’s shamefully disappointing.

 ‘Survivor’ also hits all the genre clichés; Jovovich is the low-key professional trying to do her job but stymied by her boss (Robert Forster) in a way that reveals an eventual twist far too early. There are lots of chases where Jovovich has to avoid the authorities Jason Bourne-style, but McTeigue either doesn’t have the resources or the inspiration to stage any really good set-pieces; with all the chases and quick fights being nothing more than you would expect to see on a network television show any night of the week.

One should probably never let logic get in the way of a chase thriller, but the plot here is hard to swallow, even by genre standards. The bad guy’s plan, where they try to do away with Jovovich by blowing her up in a restaurant to make it seem like she died in a terrorist attack, makes no sense whatsoever. As soon as Brosnan’s baddie realizes she’s survived the attempt on her life, he proceeds to draw his silenced weapon and shoot her in broad daylight; which should certainly prove to authorities that Jovovich is innocent- especially in a heavily CCTV’d city like London. It seems as though the bad guy’s idea of framing her happens accidentally, with her colleagues having nothing beyond the barest circumstantial evidence to prove she’s a terrorist.

Survivor #1

It is odd to see Mila Jovovich running AWAY from the action; as opposed to her usually running TOWARDS it in the coveted ‘Resident Evil’ franchise.

Overall, ‘Survivor’ is a below-average film.  It looks passable and some performances are fine, but it suffers from a poorly crafted story structure and no definitive stance on what it wants to be: too slow to be a thriller, but not interesting enough to be suspenseful.  Ultimately, the film’s downfall is lengthy.  Even at 90 minutes, it’s bloated with filler.  Though if you enjoy watching someone ride their motorcycle, park it, get off, walk up to the door, open it, walk through several hallways and rooms before arriving at the room in which the scene is set, then you’ll have fun with ‘Survivor’.

Verdict

It’s crazy that such a half-assed concept was able to attract talent like this, with not only Jovovich and Brosnan as the leads, but also a capable supporting cast including the under-used, as always, Dylan McDermott, Angela Bassett and James D’Arcy. Jovovich in particular seems to be really trying here, even though she’s played action heroines many times before, she’s admirably low-key, trying to give off the impression that’s she’s in over her head and using her smarts rather than brawn to save the day; she deserves much better than this. For his part, Brosnan at least seems to be having fun playing a full-fledged baddie. He actually looks pretty menacing with his salt and pepper hair and constant menacing growl plastered on his tired face. In his late-fifties, Brosnan still seems extremely capable in the action scenes; like Jovovich, he deserves better material than this.

Survivor #2

I’d happily let Pierce Brosnan pull the trigger after having watched 90-minutes of unnecessarily draggy scenes.

In the end, ‘Survivor’ was probably never meant for the big-screen and should cash-in and cash-out fairly well on both Video-On-Demand (VOD) and DVD; both in the States and abroad based on the name value of the stars involved. Still, it’s sad to see Jovovich and Brosnan in something so low-rent, as both have a lot more to offer. Had the writing been a little sharper and the staging a bit more energetic, ‘Survivor’ could have been a solid film rather than the immediately disposable filler that it ultimately is.

Ultimately, it’s slow pacing, phoned-in acting, and an uninspired script makes ‘Survivor’ relentlessly dumb, filled with familiar plotting, and laughable story contrivances.

Rating: 4/10

Favourite Line: “Since 9/11 American law enforcement has stopped 53 terrorist acts in New York City alone”.

I would like the 90 minutes of my life that you took back please.

I would like the 90-minutes of my life that you took back please.

Release Date: 28th May, 2015

Big Game- Review

In the rugged countryside of Finland, a young thirteen-year-old (Onni Tommila) embarks on a traditional quest to prove himself by spending 24 hours alone in the wild. After witnessing a spectacular crash, he discovers the escape pod from Air Force One, containing the President of the United States (Samuel L. Jackson). When they realize a group of kidnappers is hot on their trail with the intention of taking the President, this unlikely duo must escape their hunters as they wait for an American Special Forces team sent to rescue them.

Synopsis (Warning: May contain spoilers, duh!)

The Gist of It: When Air Force One is shot down by terrorists, the US President jettisons over some of Finland’s deepest forests where he teams up with a 13-year-old boy on a lone survival hunting hike; both must work together to stay one step ahead of their ruthless pursuers whilst Langley attempts a rescue.

Plot

On his 13th birthday, Oskari (Onni Tommila) is taken by his famed-hunter father Tapio (Jorma Tomilla) high into the sweeping mountains and verdant forests where he is to undergo a traditional rite of passage by spending one day and one night in the wilderness alone armed only with a bow and arrow; hopefully bringing back a trophy. But as he can barely bend his bowstring to shoot an arrow, it seems unlikely he’ll bag a deer; let alone a bear like the one his father snared during his adolescent hunting trek. Indeed, Oskari’s macho father not only casts an intimidatingly long shadow, he seems to doubt his son can ever measure up; making this an occasion in which Oskari is desperate to prove himself a man.

"Yippee Ki Yay motherfu*cker". Or whatever that is in Finnish.

“Yippee Ki Yay motherfu*cker”. Or whatever that is in Finnish.

Meanwhile lame-duck U.S. President Moore (Samuel L. Jackson), well down in the polls and pretty much the embodiment of feebleness, is flying to a pre-G8 summit in Helsinki. But on route, Air Force One’s sensors pick up active surface-to-air missiles heading towards the aircraft and are unable to deploy any of its defensive capacities, since they’ve been disabled. To protect the President, he is rushed into a specially-made escape–pod contraption by Secret Service agent Morris (Ray Stevenson) and ejected from Air Force One over a rural mountainous area of Finland.

Followed gallantly by his secret service agents, who unfortunately all fall to their doom after having their parachutes sabotaged, Agent Morris leaps out of the plan in pursuit of the President. This spectacular scene sees him falling past the on-coming missiles that are heading for the aircraft mere seconds before Air Force One and its escort fighters are obliterated.

"...And on tonight's Air Crash Investigation..."

“…And on tonight’s Air Crash Investigation…”

It turns out grudge-bearing Morris, who leaps out with the one parachute he didn’t tamper with, engineered this crisis and betrayed the Leader of the Free World. Once on the ground, he meets up with co-conspirator Hazar (Mehmet Kurtulus), a shifty Middle-Eastern oil sheik’s “over-privileged psychopath” of an illegitimate son, who’s paid a lofty sum for the pleasure of literally hunting President Moore to kill, stuff and mount as his “ultimate trophy.” President Moore is fortunate enough to land in the vicinity of Oskari who is haphazardly hunting. After briefly worrying that he’s encountered a space alien, the duo team up and Oskari vows to get the President out of the woods safely; seeing this as the perfect opportunity to prove himself to his father and his village.

Whilst this is all happening, the emergency has not escaped the notice of the Pentagon, where a senior staffer (Felicity Huffman), CIA terrorist expert (Jim Broadbent), military general (Ted Levine) and the Vice President (Victor Garber) are all-hands-on-deck in search of the missing President of the United States (POTUS). They soon fix his location via satellite, but Navy SEALs will not get there before Morris, Hazar and their terrorist cohort do their worst. The only thing that stands between the POTUS and annihilation is Oskari and his arrows.

KH- Review

Ludicrous premise aside ‘Big Game’ has all the trappings of a muscular, expansive popcorn adventure, with sweeping aerial shots of the spectacular terrain and a conventional, thundering orchestral score. Taken in a lighthearted spirit, it’s all good fun, with well-handled, if not increasingly, improbable action.

The juxtaposition of high tech weaponry sporting bad guys versus bow and arrow carrying hunter makes for great cat and mouse peril situations. There are echoes of the films “Predator”, “Commando” and “Rambo” scattered in this film which will please ‘80s action film fans. There is also a cynical sense of humour at work that really helps lift this from being a film totally not worth checking out.

While it has its share of one-liners and amusing beats, ‘Big Game’ plays its premise with a commendably straight face, and a beating heart. Alongside the thunderous set-pieces we’re treated to moments of sweetness between the film’s unlikely heroic duo who trade lessons in survival garnered from lives led in disparate but equally hostile environments – the rough terrain of Northern Finland and the treacherous corridors of Washington DC.

Samuel L. Jackson, who isn’t taking things too seriously here, is good as the President, playing him as less of an action guy than in some of the more recent President-under-attack films such as “White House Down”. This allows young Tommila to shine and steal the film in what should be a career kick-starting role. The evil boss Hazar (Mehmet Kurtulus), is suitably nasty and without wanting to spoil anything- it may just be that there is a double agent somewhere too.

"Theres nothing quite like the smell of pine tress and a plane crash in the morning!"

“There’s nothing quite like the smell of pine trees and a plane crash in the morning!”

The dialogue may be hackneyed but Jackson and Tommila have a sweet, convincing rapport that is all carried off with style, enthusiasm and buckets of goofy charm; with Osakri proving to be a steady anchor throughout the whole endeavour. (And yes, Samuel L. Jackson does get to call someone ‘motherf*cker’ right before shooting them.)

"You gotta cock it, motherf*cker!"

“You gotta cock it, motherf*cker!”

It’s not entirely clear how much of ‘Big Game’ is funny on purpose, but it hardly matters. With ‘Big Game’ packing a serious punch by keeping CGI to a distraction free minimum and exploiting the stunning location for extra production value, it doesn’t commit the cardinal sin and outstay its welcome; rather it wraps up in speedy fashion- but you’re unlikely to be satisfied after leaving your seat as the credits roll.

“I’m king… er… Leader of the Free World!”

“I’m king… er… Leader of the Free World!”

Verdict

Taken in a lighthearted spirit, it’s all good fun. Featuring some improbable action and plot twists, lots of things disappearing in flames, and a memorable scene involving an aircraft ejector seat, ‘Big Game’ isn’t trying to be big or clever; it’s just a loud, daft and explosive B-film right down to its fingertips. For instance, there is a tonal shift in the third act of the film, beginning with Oskari’s decision to jump onto a freezer transported by a helicopter, is the “jumping the shark” moment that marks the descent of the film into a ludicrous B-grade film.

No, travelling by chest freezer is not a common mode of transport in Finland.

No, travelling by chest freezer is not a common mode of transport in Finland.

Plot loopholes are also abundant in the film, making the viewing of the film a strange experience. For instance, CIA terrorist expert Hurbert’s (Jim Broadbent) involvement in the President’s attempted assassination is not clearly explained; the same with his relationship with Hazar. Felicity Huffman’s lack of lines as the bland CIA Director also suggests that the film has been edited and re-edited into a pale translation of the original script.

To some, ‘Big Game’ may come off as a 80’s or 90’s action flick that is the lovechild of “Die Hard” and “Cliffhanger”. Accordingly, ‘Big Game’ is a rough-edged watchable survival romp that captures the spirit and mood of a classic action film; serving up a fine fillet of Finnish fun that delivers on old school thrills without ever patronising its genre.

Ultimately, few current releases offer quite so much good old-fashion fun; you can’t go wrong here.

Rating: 6.5/10

Favourite Line: “Find the President, kill the sons of bitches who are after him and bring him back!”

Big Game #6

The film’s as explosive as the poster suggests.

 

Release Date: 21st May, 2015

Pixels – Trailer

The latest trailer of the much talked about Pixels. Pixels is about basically about aliens sending game characters to conquer us.

Tomorrowland- Review

The futuristic metropolis of Tomorrowland, a unique civilization built by visionaries with supremely advanced technologies, is a utopia for the optimistic; with it being devoid of both political distractions and physical limitations- A city built by and for dreamers.

Synopsis (Warning: May contain spoilers, duh!)

The Gist of It: A former boy genius jaded by disillusionment and a bright, optimistic teen bursting with scientific curiosity embark on a dangerous mission to unearth the secrets of an enigmatic place somewhere in time and space known only as “Tomorrowland”; what they must do there changes the world, and them, forever.

Plot

‘Tomorrowland’ begins with young inventor Frank Walker (Thomas Robinson) attending the historic 1964 New York World’s Fair with a self –made rocket pack in tow. Wowed by the staggering display of cutting-edge technology, Frank finds himself pulled into the futuristic world of Tomorrowland; a place that’s a natural extension of the minds of Verne, Tesla and Edison where human ambition is encouraged to thrive and anything seems possible.

The 60’s; a time where things were a hell’ova lot simpler.

Initially impressed by Walker’s invention, tech guru David Nix (Hugh Laurie) dismisses Frank’s invention upon learning that it can’t actually do what it was intended to do- which is fly. Nix’s assistant, Athena (Raffey Cassidey), a mysterious young girl, is intrigued by Frank and introduces him to the secret realm of Tomorrowland; a place where science and progress thrive at a rate well ahead of Earth and is home to some highly imaginative futuristic design.

After the ’60s intro, the film skips forward to the present to pick up the story with Casey Newton (Britt Robertson), an inquisitive-minded teen who lives near the old Cape Canaveral NASA base with her soon-to-be-unemployed NASA engineer father (Tim McGraw) and younger brother Nate (Pierce Gagnon). Arrested for trying to sabotage the demolition of the NASA launch site, Casey is bailed out of lock-up and discovers a mysterious pin among her returned possessions. The pin gives Casey a fleeting glimpse of Tomorrowland and finds herself drawn into a web of intrigue as she discovers a whole new world where science-fiction dreams seem to have become reality.

Athena, still a young girl, then contacts Casey and attempts to take both her and the now adult Frank Walker (George Clooney) to Tomorrowland, which is now lying in ruins, in an attempt to save the realm. The oddly matched duo team up with Tomorrowland exile Athena and soon find themselves confronting killer robots and reinvigorating jaded mentors; soon discovering that the fate of the Earth is resting in their hands.

KH- Review

Tomorrowland’ is a quintessential Disney movie with grand scale and scope, innovative storytelling, and amazing special effects. There is no question considerable money was spent in the awe-inspiring production design. For instance, one sequence that involves the Eiffel Tower brilliantly fires up the imagination while Tomorrowland itself is brought to life in vivid detail; monorails weave through giant towers, robots and civilians work together in unison, and sleek vehicles cut through the sky effortlessly.

Tomorrowland’s infrastructural marvels and ideas hark to sixties utopianism: tiered swimming pools, astro-commutes, brilliant monolithic structures, and beautiful tangles of airborne boulevards. With the characters feeling part of this world, as they actively walk through and interact with some of Tomorrowland’s inhabitants and surroundings, this sense of perspective creates a scale and texture that makes ‘Tomorrowland’ consequently more believable and impressive.

Jet Pack Warning: Imminent death probable.

As befitting its fascination with fifties and sixties science-fiction iconography, Tomorrowland throws out high concepts with some unrestraint. ‘Tomorrowlands’ direction keeps the film moving forward with enough speed that the audience never really stops to question or to nitpick what is happening; the basic ideas are strong enough to reel the audience in, even if there is some sizeable logical gaps.

The first half of the film coasts along with a breezy pace and you’ll find yourself warming to the pro-science agenda and intrigue factor. However, the narrative will have you scratching your head whilst the story continues to leave an explanation just out of the characters’ reach; and it seems as though not even the filmmakers seem to have an answer.

Fortunately, the action is well-choreographed and exciting while the special effects are undoubtedly top notch; from the spectacular production design to the impressive cinematography, and even the vibrant film score makes this film such a sensory triumph of sound and visual.

To complement this, George Clooney admirably delivers a cynical-burned-out-inventor-turned-heroic-world-saver performance as Frank Walker, with his trademark snarky quips that bounce off the younger cast to great effect; it’s somewhat jarring to see him playing a character who, initially, is so at odds with his usual wise-cracking screen persona.

*Insert phoney evil British laugh*

Finally, ‘Tomorrowland’ seems to desperately grasp for an era that is now long lost and explicitly pleas to the modern generation to abandon their own visions of the future and embrace those of their predecessors; to prevent the world from becoming a bleak, post-apocalyptic landscape. It is a fascinating conflict at the heart of the film, and not necessarily one that is comfortably resolved; there are aspects of ‘Tomorrowland’ that do feel distinctly uncomfortable and contradictory.

Ultimately, ‘Tomorrowland’ has its heart in the right place, but it occasionally gets a little lost.

Verdict

Taking its name and inspiration from the futuristic themed area at Disneyland, ‘Tomorrowland’ is mostly packed with dazzling animations that expertly blends heart, spectacle, and nostalgia; only occasionally not  quite living up to the level of those aforementioned offerings. It is, however, buoyantly optimistic. ‘Tomorrowlands’ breezy and upbeat swing at something original is a refreshing contrast that is skewed towards a younger audience. It is the embodiment of high-spirited adventure that’ll appeal to fans of the new-era Doctor Who; as opposed to the onslaught of comic book movies and sequels that have been invading the big screens lately.

Even though ‘Tomorrowland’  is a time-traveling caper that works hard to suggest some secret magical world is operating just behind the mundane reality that we all take for granted, it’s giddy visual whimsies and exuberant cartoon-like violence tries to cover-up an uneven, and sometimes clumsily told story, an in-your-face social message, and fully-embodied clichés that signify very little.

What is more unfortunate is that ‘Tomorrowland’ gets caught in a friction between wanting to provide a reasonably accessible family adventure whilst also wanting to intrigue the more mature audience with an involving Sci-Fi story. It attempts to explain Tomorrowland itself as something made by ‘dreamers’, but it’s a vague concept that the movie struggles to tie down to a plot that is both relatable and logical.

Ultimately, this is a film of great individual moments that doesn’t quite add up to a winning whole. The script leans heavily on mystery, slowly and frustratingly drip-feeding answers before rushing to tie things up neatly in a finale that lacks a satisfying pay-off (and fails to deliver on the promise of an evil Hugh Laurie).

Even though ‘Tomorrowland’ doesn’t reach its full potential, it has all the big and interesting ideas that could have turned this into a cinematic masterpiece for the modern generation; nonetheless it remains a fascinating high-concept blockbuster with ample amount of entertainment value.

Rating: 8/10
Favourite Line: “Imagination is more important than knowledge.”

 

TOMORROWLAND 1

What ARE they both looking at!?

Release Date: 21st May, 2015

Kate Beckinsale Returns to Underworld

Good news to all Underworld fans, it’s a confirm that Kate Beckinsale will be returning to her role as Selene in the 5th installment of Underworld. It’s a good 3 years since the last Underworld movie and there were rumors that Kate might not continue her role as Theo James who publicly told the press he won’t be continuing his role as David. However in September 2014 signed up with Lakeshore Entertainment for Underworld: Next Generation.

Underworld-Awakening-2012

New to the franchise would be Anna Foerster; the director. Foerster who hasn’t really directed a movie, is more famous for her work in The Day After Tomorrow and Pitch Black.

The franchise is expected to start shoot in Prague this October.

The Intern – Trailer

70-year-old widower Ben Whittaker has discovered that retirement isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Seizing an opportunity to get back in the game, he becomes a senior intern at an online fashion site, founded and run by Jules Ostin.

Ricki & The Flash – Trailer

A musician who gave up everything for her dream of rock-and-roll stardom returns home, looking to make things right with her family.

 

Spy- Review

After her partner is presumably killed and another top agent is compromised, an unassuming, desk-bound CIA analyst, and unsung hero behind the Agency’s most dangerous missions, volunteers to go deep undercover to infiltrate the world of a deadly arms dealer, and prevent a global disaster.

Synopsis (Warning: May contain spoilers, duh!)

The Gist of It:Spy’ is an uproarious blast of globe-trotting action-comedy delirium that involves an eager-to-please desk-jockey turned full-blown CIA operative who learns to wield a gun as skilfully as she does a one-liner. ‘Spy’ refreshingly presents itself as one of the smarter, funnier, more versatile big screen mockery flicks to date.

Plot

Susan Cooper (Melissa McCarthy) is a forty-something desk-bound analyst in a vermin-ridden basement that assists super spy CIA operative Bradley Fine (Jude Law) from her computer monitor, providing him with instant life-saving updates. Yielding the full power of the United States Military Industrial Complex at her fingertips, she is able to pull off numerous surprises to keep her agent alive in the field.

This highly effective working relationship invariably leaves the hard-working Susan feeling more like a secretary / assistant than an equal, in spite of her having many years of successful field training. It also doesn’t help that she’s nursing a major unrequited crush on Fine, who, much like everyone else, looks at her and sees a single, middle-aged, overweight loner whose Agency career has probably already peaked.

The film opens with an extended combat sequence in Bulgaria as Fine searches for a nuclear weapon, with him effortlessly manoeuvring past every obstacle and enemy assailant in his path. However, Fine’s luck eventually runs out when he enters a home where the CIA’s best technology is snarled and rendered inoperative. This results in super spy agent Bradley Fine being taken out of commission by haughty Raina Boyanov (Rose Byrne), an aristocratic arms dealer with a flair for extravagance.

Raina, who somehow knows all the identities of all the CIA’s top operatives, rambles off a list of names and warns them to back-off. The stakes are extremely high because the agency is trying to recover a mobile nuclear device before it is sold into the hands of a terrorist organization that plan to set if off in New York City. This is when Susan Cooper, determined to avenge her partner’s death, volunteers, for the first time ever, to become a field agent.

The CIA director Elaine Crocker (Allison Janney) is reluctant but after viewing Susan’s training videos from a decade before, she decides to give the operation a green light. However, surly meathead agent Rick Ford (Jason Statham) is adamantly opposed to sending the middle-aged frumpy Susan into the field.

The CIA sends Susan to her first assignment in Paris, where she is assigned a basic track-and-report mission and is forbidden from making contact with her target Raina. Instead of being armed with an arsenal of hi-tech gadgets, she gets poison darts and pepper spray disguised as things a middle-aged woman is expected to carry:  a spray for a fungal infection, stool-softening pills, wipes for piles etc. As for her undercover outfit: “I look like someone’s homophobic aunt.”

Should her intel prove valuable, it could lead them not only to Raina but also to Sergio De Luca (Bobby Cannavale), a greasy-haired terrorist who’s trying to acquire the nuke for his own nefarious, loosely Al Qaeda-related reasons. This begins a whirlwind international adventure as the plot quickly thickens, with Susan’s mission taking her from Paris to Rome and even Budapest. Assisted by excitable colleague Nancy (Miranda Hart) and sleazy Italian associate Aldo (Peter Serafinowicz), things do not unravel as planned.

KH-Review

There are two noticeable attributes that elevate this flick significantly. Firstly, as opposed to a straightforward parody of a particular genre, ‘Spy’ starts off mocking spy movies before getting down to the business of being a pretty competent version of one. Adrenaline junkies won’t be blown away by ‘Spy’s passable action sequences, but because it transcends mere parody, it finds more places for laughs; particularly, from Susan’s interactions with her fellow spies who aren’t convinced she’ll survive in the field.

Secondly, Melissa McCarthy (who plays Susan Cooper) has shed the uncouth persona that, ironically, helped make her an A-list star. In ‘Spy’, she plays a woman with little self-confidence pining for the dashing agent Fine. But once she begins trying to track down Raina on a mission that sends her to glamorous destinations like Paris and Rome, the humour comes from Susan’s fish-out-of-water insecurity; not the abrasive and ill-mannered persona that propelled her to Hollywood stardom. Surrounded by gorgeous, statuesque women and lethal, arrogant spies, Susan stands out like a sore thumb; and McCarthy milks every ounce of the character’s discomfort for laughs; making Susan incredibly sympathetic. (Also, as opposed to McCarthy’s previous characters in other flicks, Susan Cooper is actually quite capable, using her CIA training to good use and discovering how badass she can be.)

Speaking of characters, the actors in ‘Spy’ have mastered the art of inhabiting two different worlds simultaneously, tossing off even their funnier lines without breaking character. Melissa McCarthy’s Susan Cooper is the perfect mixture of internal insecurity and outward bravado; particularly about halfway through the movie, the actress’s head-butting, expletive-hurling, take-no-prisoners personality emerges in full force as Susan puts aside her earlier timidity and taps into the inner core of rage. Rose Byrne’s Raina is nothing short of brilliant here as an icily glamorous villain with gravity-defying hair, crimson lips, and supreme arrogance; the two superb actresses’ chemistry is an utter joy to watch.

Jason Statham’s Ford, who showcases his comedic chops and rugged swagger, is mainly on hand to perform an ongoing riff in which he tries to convince Susan she’s not cut out for the job and attacks every joke the way he attacks a fight scene; and his uber seriousness only makes it funnier. Jude Law’s Fine, clearly having fun playing Bond for a day, brings an extra shot of star power to the across-the-board superb supporting cast.

Spy’ follows the zigzagging patterns of an actual spy movie, with motives revealed and moles uncovered, keeping audiences alike from figuring out who was really double-crossing whom; and for the most part it really connects. ‘Spy’ also offers up more blood and vivid violence than the genre it’s tweaking, but never enough to get in the way of the comedy. If anything, the occasional mayhem reminds us of the danger Susan’s putting herself in while also under-scoring how cartoony many contemporary espionage dramas have become.

 

Verdict

Spy’ isn’t just an endless procession of jokes where McCarthy simply falls down and walks into things; maybe most surprising of all, there isn’t a single reference to her weight. Don’t get us wrong, there are plenty of references to her frumpy appearance and apparent lack of physical abilities, but on the overall, ‘Spy’ is a vastly rich and intricately conceived piece of work.

Lampooning the alpha-male conventions of the secret agent flick while transferring some of that badassery to an unlikely character, McCarthy’s performance is a never-ending succession of priceless moments. For all her strengths as a verbal and physical performer, there’s a real core of emotion here; remarkably, she manages to pull all these disparate extremes of violence and comedy into a stirring, coherent portrait of a woman motivated by love, loyalty, and a courageous, if unrealized, sense of her own inner worth.

Spy’ has struck a winning formula between the silly and the serious, smartly housing an occasionally outrageous comedy in the strict trappings of a traditional espionage tale. This approach of delivering a silly comedy with a straight face benefits ‘Spy’ hugely, and makes it an uneven but undeniably entertaining romp; but it’s not without its pitfalls.

For one, at 120 minutes, it sometimes feels agonizingly long. For a comedy, it borders on exhausting, especially when so many scenes are built around a single joke, batted back and forth between actors. Second, apart from all the dynamic action sequences in the film, the rest of the movie is shot pretty flatly. Third, towards the final act of the film’s narrative it becomes far too convoluted, which is pretty deathly.

Ultimately, we could see ‘Spy’ becoming a little franchise, and future installments could definitely stand to feature more of this deadpan delivery and fine physical comedy. It also wouldn’t hurt if an adversary who is as interesting as the lead characters was introduced as well.

Rating: 7.5/10

Spy #1

Release Date: 21st May, 2015