Tag Archives: Science-Fiction

Ghostbusters (Film Review)

I’ve been slacking a bit with this blog, which is a bit stupid really, especially considering the last post made it look like I was committed to film reviews and stuff. So, here’s a new film review, two months on. I nearly saw Now You See Me 2 instead, but I’m glad I didn’t.

A Sony Pictures Film, Directed by Paul Feig

Released: 15th July 2016

Starring: Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon, Leslie Jones, Chris Hemsworth, Neil Casey

Review: People have hated the reboot of Ghostbusters since it was announced. They’ve claimed that Paul Feig has ruined their childhoods and are horrified by the fact that they would make the new Ghostbusters… women?!

In fact, these people are so aghast at this, that if you looked at the rating for Ghostbusters on IMDb on Thursday, before the film had even come out in the USA, it was ranking about 4/10. At the time of writing this, it’s at a 5.1.

Ghostbusters3But that rating, like the opinion of all those internet trolls who are having a hissy fit because they can’t stand the thought of women starring in a remake of a classic film, is ridiculous.

Because this film is pretty damn good.

Ghostbusters see’s Professor Erin Gilbert (Wiig) forced to reunite with her estranged friend Abby Yates (McCarthy) when someone confronts her about a book they once wrote on the paranormal. Enlisted as a pair of ‘ghost experts’, they, along with Jillian Holtzman (McKinnon) and subway-worker Patty Tolan (Jones) begin confronting paranormal break-outs across New York City as the Ghostbusters.

Basically, it is another Ghostbusters origin story, but with enough changed to warrant it being it’s own film. The characters are all new creations brought to life by a fantastic cast. Because that is the true gem of this movie; it’s cast.

Ghostbuster2The beautifully varied Wiig brings a more straight-laced performance than usual as she comes head-to-head with McCarthy’s hopeful Yates. Kate McKinnon meanwhile, is basically playing herself, but that’s not a problem, because she’s pretty darn funny. So much so, that her Holtzman and Jones’ Patty Tolan are perhaps the most enjoyable Ghostbusters to watch, something I think Feig realised when he was deciding which Ghostbuster he’d give a ‘badass takes on loads of villains at once’ sequence. You know the sorts of thing I’m talking about. They’re in like, every ensemble action movie.

Which, I suppose brings us onto a fault of the movie. Although it is an original cast of characters and it does it’s own thing, the basic premise isn’t wholly new; there’s conflict between our heroes, they’re united against a common threat, they save the day and are celebrated by the City. We’ve seen it before.

Ghostbusters1Another issue is with the villain. From the moment he was on screen, I enjoyed actor Neil Casey, but it gets to a point where he gets sidetracked in favour of Chris Hemsworth, who is doing his best to try out his comedy chops in this film.

But it does eventually come round full-circle, culminating in a final-confrontation that I wasn’t expecting and thought was quite a clever riff on the finale of the original film.

Furthermore, the reason those issues aren’t really that big’a deal are because the humour and spirit enthused in the film throughout by it’s cast and crew mean that you don’t really care that the story isn’t all that original, because it’s the characters that are giving you that much craved originality.

(The film also ranks highly in my estimations for having enjoyable credits; not like ‘I have to stay because there’s a little extra at the end; the actual credits are enjoyable)


Posted by on July 18, 2016 in Film & TV


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Through the Wormhole


To really love a movie, I need to fall in love with the soundtrack. Sitting down in the cinema, I need the music to grip me so I can become further enthralled in the spectacle that I am privileged enough to behold. Such was the case in these past few hours when I finally sat down to watch Interstellar.

I had put it off for some time, despite my housemates continuous urging to watch it.

My reasoning was that I was pretty sure I would love it, and as such didn’t want to sit down groggy and half-focused to watch Christopher Nolan’s latest epic. But after giving two university presentations today, I figured this evening was the perfect time.

Hans Zimmer once again does wonders, with his music bringing the perfect amount of intensity to the science fiction odyssey. I’m not sure why the music was the main thing I took away from this movie. The visual spectacle probably would have been the most memorable thing about it, had I seen it in a cinema, but alas, that was not the case.

Perhaps it’s because the movie isn’t perfect. There are some parts of the plot that seem a bit flat, and a fair few others that I thought to be quite predictable. Fortunately, at the climax, when we finally got past all of that, I was able to sit back and enjoy the ride into the Kubrick-esque world Cooper (McConaughey) finds himself in towards the end.

But whatever. I want to watch another film now; something just as magical and wondrous; a science-fiction film that takes you places you can never truly experience and that makes you think about the endless possibilities of ‘what if?’

It makes me think back a few years, when my friend started babbling about a program that would send a select few people of about my own age to go live on Mars. It doesn’t sound very true, and this journey would apparently be a once-in-a-lifetime, but also one-way, trip. But wouldn’t it be fantastic? It would be difficult to leave the earth and everyone you love, but the prospect of encountering the endless beauty of space would be a majestic experience, I’m sure.

I think, perhaps, that’s why I love science-fiction so much. In watching a good science-fiction film, you’re travelling further than you ever can in the real world, and for a much cheaper price, seeing things more fantastical than you can ever imagine.

God, I love the cinema. I haven’t been in ages. Maybe if I wasn’t so horrendously poor I would go more often.

Student life.

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Posted by on March 10, 2015 in Film & TV, Life


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Film Reviews – Now You See Me and Edge of Tomorrow

I’ve got way too much free time this term. My academic week consists of a three hour seminar on Gothic cinema on a Monday morning, an hour break, then a two hour seminar on Screen Writing, followed by the occasional two hour film show to further our understanding of screenplays.

And that’s it. I’m done for the week.

So I figured, beyond not getting awful grades, there would be two things I would do with my six day weekend. Namely read more and watch all the movies I’ve meant to but never got round to. Some have described me as a film buff or lover, but to be honest, there are tons of big films I’ve never seen. And for a supposed ‘film buff’, that’s kind of shocking. An example: I’ve never seen E.T.

But anyway, rather than starting with E.T., I thought I’d instead focus on the twenty films in my collection that I have yet to watch, starting with Now You See Me.

For those of you who don’t know, Now You See Me is a magic-thriller-heist-revenge-romance-drama. I think. There’s a lot going on.

[Spoilers to follow]

A Lionsgate Film, Directed by Louis Leterrier

Released: 31st May 2013

Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Isla Fisher, Woody Harrelson, Dave Franco, Mélanie Laurent, Mark Ruffalo, Michael Cain and Morgan Freeman

Review: Now You See Me features four street magicians who band together after receiving a mysterious summons to become a close-knit team of Robin Hood-like criminals. For the majority of the film, neither they nor the audience knows their true purpose, as they supposedly seek to join an age-old society of magicians, whilst seemingly avenging the death of an unseen magician who died some years before.

The film features an impressive cast who all deliver great performances; not the best of their careers, but still thoroughly entertaining and enjoyable. Their chemistry is impressive, and along with the story, keep you guessing as to what the true nature of the story is.

The film offers an impressive visual spectacle to boot. A particular highlight is the fight scene between Dave Franco and Mark Ruffalo, which features Franco’s character hurling several magic tricks into his choreography, to dazzle both Ruffalo and the audience, as this sequence sidelines into an exhilarating car chase.

Unfortunately, after all of this, the film seems to fall flat, as in what seems like an unnecessary twist, Mark Ruffalo is revealed to be the son of the aforementioned magician, whom the main characters are in the process of avenging. As such, it is he who has been instructing the ‘Four Horsemen’ from behind the scenes, having spent years undercover in the FBI as a means to allowing his associates to remain one step ahead of their adversaries.

The twist seems rather empty, by the time you reach the conclusion of the film. The plot seems to be leading towards Ruffalo failing to capture the Four Horsemen, but being fine with his failure, having come to appreciate the beauty of magic and having found love in his Interpol partner. Rather than following through, and perhaps revealing the deceased magician to be alive as has been hinted at throughout the film, the story hurls in a twist that seems to be there just to throw the audience off.

However, as the film continually states, “The closer you think you are, the less you will actually see”, and so I feel I will have to watch the film again to see if the Ruffalo twist is cleverly threaded throughout the story, or whether it is all just a pointless illusion.

However, not wanting to end there (my one hour in university today made 2 o’clock seem like it should have been much later on), I decided to follow through with Edge of Tomorrow.

A Warner Bros. Film, Directed by Doug Liman

Released: 6th June 2014

StarringTom Cruise, Emily Blunt, Bill Paxton and Brendan Gleeson

Review: I had originally doubted the quality of Edge of Tomorrow. Despite being a big Cruise fan, and a lover of Science Fiction, I was worried that the film, like Oblivion (which I did enjoy, but realize wasn’t the best film), would not make true on its promise to dazzle (the magic lingo from Now You See Me has started to infect my brain).

And, straight off the bat of a film that I really did enjoy up until the end, I was worried that Edge of Tomorrow, despite receiving rave reviews, would seem a little flat straight after such a visually appealing flick.

How wrong I was.

Edge of Tomorrow features Cruise as a media officer for the United States army, who is involuntarily drafted into service under command of the British forces. Thrown into combat, Cruise is quickly killed when facing off against an alien invader, whose blood imbues in him the power to ‘reset’ the day after his death. Meeting with Emily Blunt, another soldier who has previously undergone the same process before losing her power, Cruise must find a way to navigate the battle and defeat the alien hordes that have consumed most of Europe.

Although it is a little difficult to believe Cruise as an un-heroic coward at the start of the film, his eventual evolution into a battle-hardened warrior is a fun one to watch. And the no-nonsense Emily Blunt allows us some suspension of disbelief about Cruise’s early portrayal.

The movie is highly entertaining, and watching Cruise try and try again to survive the invasion of France doesn’t get old as one might imagine. Similarly, the aliens are also a delight to behold, staying away from standard alien convention, and adapting the shape-shifter archetype in a fresh new way.

And, unlike Now You See Me, Edge of Tomorrow does have a somewhat satisfying conclusion. I was initially ready to applaud the film for killing off all the main characters as they succeeded in vanquishing the enemy, only to find that Cruise is once more thrown back in time, his victory in tact. It was slightly obvious that something of the sort would happen, and for a moment, it did make my faith in the film waiver. But the final interaction between Cruise, who remembers all the events of ‘tomorrow’, and Blunt who remembers nothing, reaffirmed my belief that Edge of Tomorrow is a great piece of Science Fiction.

Definitely glad I bought this on my birthday.

Now, what to watch next…

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Posted by on January 29, 2015 in Film & TV


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