Posted in 2010-2019, Film Review

Man of Steel (2013)

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Image is property of Warner Bros, DC Entertainment, Syncopy and Legendary Pictures

Man of Steel – Film Review

Cast: Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Michael Shannon, Russell Crowe, Kevin Costner, Diane Lane, Laurence Fishburne

Director: Zack Snyder

Synopsis: When a young man on Earth realises his alien heritage and seeks the answers to his past. As members of his race come looking for him and seek to destroy the planet he has adopted as home, he must rise up to become a superhero and combat the threat that is being posed to mankind.

Review: Man of Steel brings an exciting new take on this popular character. With Zack Snyder at the helm, collaborating with Christopher Nolan and David S. Goyer,  we have an action packed and exciting film that has laid the foundations for a DC Universe of films and that could lead one day to an eventual Justice League film, and at the very least the Superman VS Batman film that is all set for a 2015 release.

In the beginning, we see Kal-El’s (AKA Superman)home world Krypton and how it was destroyed which forced his parents to send him to Earth. There are glimpses of Kal-El’s parents played by Russell Crowe and Ayelet Zurer. We also see the determined and ruthless General Zod (Michael Shannon) attempt a coup to seize control of Krypton in order to save his people. However, this is a coup that ultimately sees him banished to the Phantom Zone. This happens to be a neat convenience for Zod and his supporters when they get freed soon after Krypton is destroyed.

Through a series of flashbacks we see Kal-El’s upbringing by Jonathan and Martha Kent (Kevin Costner and Diane Lane). Through these flashbacks it is clear to see that certain events in his human upbringing have had their impact on him. The dialogue between Papa Kent and a young Clarke illustrate to great effect the impact that Kal-El will have on humanity. Henry Cavill is terrific in the role of Kal El. He really looked the part and for a  British actor, his accent is absolutely spot on.  The rest of the supporting cast also do a great  job with a special mention going to Michael Shannon as General Zod who was menacing and ruthless. Likewise his sub commander Faora (Antje Traue) was equally menacing and was also superb in her role. Amy Adams was also a solid casting choice in the role of Lois Lane. However, there were times when the chemistry between her and Kal-El was a little lacking.

From his past films, we know Zack Snyder is a very visual director. (Watchmen, 300) From this, you would hope to see exciting and very visual action sequences with Superman and his iconic red cape flying through the air battling his adversaries. Man of Steel certainly brings this in abundance.  The action scenes are pulsating to watch  as buildings come down as Superman and Zod do battle. Yet in this case, one intense action scene is followed up with another intense action scene and it gets to a point where it is almost overkill with the action scenes and that they should have slowed it down when it came to the action.  That being said, some of these scenes were fantastic and completely enjoyable, with a lot of destruction in the process.

With a great origins story, some solid acting all round, particularly from Cavill and Shannon and some sweet action scenes, Man of Steel was a fun film to watch and for me it is the best superhero film of 2013. With the subsequent news of the Superman Vs Batman film that’s planned for a 2015 release, fans of DC have something that they hope can compete with Marvel’s vast and ever expanding cinematic universe.  A lot was riding on Man of Steel, and it definitely delivered.

An exciting new take on a very popular character, with Cavill shining as Superman and some terrific action sequences, the DC Universe has blasted off at long last.

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Posted in 2010-2019, Film Review

Pacific Rim (2013)

All image rights belong to Warner Bros and Legendary Entertainment
Image is property of Warner Bros and Legendary Entertainment

Pacific Rim – Film Review 

Cast: Charlie Hunnam, Idris Elba, Rinko Kikuchi, Charlie Day, Max Martini, Robert Kazinsky, Ron Perlman, Burn Gorman,

DirectorGuillermo Del Toro

Synopsis: When a portal opens at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean and huge alien monsters called Kaiju begin to attack human cities and wipe out thousands of lives. The leaders of the human race pit their resources together and construct huge robotic machines known as Jaegers in order to prevent the oncoming apocalypse

Review:  When the notion of a film’s plot line consists of big robots taking on huge alien monsters , it is a plot line that sounds strangely familiar and one that has been done to death. The likes of Godzilla and Transformers come to mind. However, under the guidance of the visually brilliant Guillermo del Toro, Pacific Rim is a fantastic blend of the two and is a terrific and thrilling ride.

The film sets the scene with a prologue in which these frightening Kaiju creatures have destroyed plenty of cities and slaughtered lives across the world. Humanity’s last line of defence against these creatures is the Jaeger program, headed by Marshal Stacker Pentecost (Idris Elba) who seeks the help of Raleigh Becket (Charlie Hunnam) to come out of retirement and pilot one of these machines.

The acting on show here is of a decent order with Charlie Hunnam proving to be a strong willed and determined protagonist. Alongside him we have Mako Mori (Rinko Kikuchi), a young and untested Jaeger pilot who is keen to prove herself to Marshal Penetecost. The two form a solid relationship as the film progresses and their relationship is a crucial element to the story as they must work together to build a solid neural link together to ensure humanity does not reach its doom at the hands of the Kaiju. Idris Elba is as awesome as he always is in everything he’s in and you can see the fuel in him that drives him to lead the ship through the difficult storm of mayhem and destruction that the Kaiju are bringing to the people of Earth. This desire is apparent within all of the leading characters and through it it drives the story forward.

On the other hand, the apocalyptic mood of the film is counteracted by the humour of the two scientists in the film with Dr Hermann Gottlieb (Burn Gorman) and Dr Newton Geiszler (Charlie Day) who whenever they are on screen always seem to be bickering and squabbling with one another as to how to best defeat the monstrous invaders. Their rivalry and differences of opinion is fun to watch but deep down their desire to ensure humanity’s survival is apparent within both of them.

While the relationship between the three leading characters is central to the story, the fight scenes on show are of monstrous proportions. The size of both the Kaiju and the Jaeger takes your breath away and you watch with glee and suspense as these two titanic monsters go head to head in jaw dropping and exhilarating fight scenes that are among the best that we have seen in this year’s selection of films. Cars get crushed and buildings are reduced to rubble as these great beasts do battle against these great machines of war.  An Oscar nomination for Best Special effects could definitely come Pacific Rim’s way next year.

Thus with interesting characters and some thrilling action sequences, Pacific Rim is certainly a fantastic adventure that gets the adrenaline pumping and leaves the viewer excited and wanting more. Combined with great action sequences and some interesting characters Pacific Rim is certainly one of the finest films that emerged from the Summer Movie season of 2013.

You come for Transformers VS Godzilla essentially and that is precisely what del Toro gives you, and it is nothing but damn good fun.

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Posted in 2010-2019, Film Review

Rush (2013)

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Image is property of Exclusive Media, Universal Pictures, StudioCanal, Pathé Productions, Working Title Films, Imagine Entertainment, Relativity Media, Cross Creek Pictures

Rush – Film Review

Cast: Daniel Brühl, Chris Hemsworth, Olivia Wilde, Alexandra Maria Lara, Stephen Mangan, and Christian McKay

Director: Ron Howard

Synopsis: An account of the rivalry between Formula 1 drivers James Hunt and Niki Lauda, as they rise to the top of Formula 1 and the pulsating and horrifying race to win the 1976 Grand Prix title

Review: An enthralling and fast paced adrenaline ride. Ron Howard does a magnificent job in giving the audience a thrilling account of the fierce rivalry between these two very skilled and determined drivers. From the moment the two rivals met at a Formula 3 event, you immediately see the stark contrast between the two drivers and the immediate mutual dislike that they have of the other.  On the one hand James Hunt, lives his life to the maximum with a lot of partying, drinking and women. This outgoing nature does not impress his wife, Suzy Miller (Olivia Wilde) While Lauda is far more calm and collected, and who uses great intelligence and precision to give him the edge over his rival. While both are very different people in terms of personality, you do find yourself rooting for both of them to succeed in their aim to triumph.

The racing scenes are brilliantly recreated. You really feel your heart beat as the races are played out on screen. You really get the sense that these two are both taking death head on with a burning desire and drive to succeed in their quest to win the Formula 1 title. Their burning desire to win and defeat the other is very strong in spite of the very real dangers that a sport such as Formula 1 had at that time, as it mentions in the film, there were at least a couple of deaths in every Formula One season.

Chris Hemsworth and Daniel Brühl both give superb performances as James Hunt and Niki Lauda respectively. Hemsworth does an outstanding job portraying both Hunt’s charismatic and party-going nature, while at the same time demonstrates the competitive, but very reckless driver that Hunt was. Brühl also gives a strong performance as Lauda as we see his great intelligence and knowledge when it comes to Formula 1 racing and equally his determination to recover and compete for the title only weeks after an a Formula 1 accident that almost killed him. Alexandra Maria Lara provides a strong performance as Lauda’s other half Marlene Lauda. She is supportive of Lauda and really comes into her own especially after the accident that almost killed Lauda, as she is the figure of support that Lauda needed. Olivia Wilde does a great job in portraying Suzy Miller, the other half of Hunt, who soon becomes alienated with Hunt’s brash and outgoing lifestyle.

All in all, Rush was a thrilling spectacle. The film is well directed and the racing scenes are brilliantly shot and the film is accompanied with a fantastic score. The races really get your heart racing. You are rooting for both of the lead actors to achieve their goals, but at the same time, you fear that there could be an accident at any given moment in the film. The two lead actors both deliver Oscar worthy performances. It is an exciting adventure that will keep your heart racing for a long time after you leave the cinema.

Gritty, suspenseful with terrific racing scenes that will ensure even if you’re not into Formula 1, you’re still going to enjoy the adrenaline fuelled ride of this movie.

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