hobnobs: (12 Wizard Speed Time)
[personal profile] hobnobs
Have been using my Cineworld card pretty often, and have managed to see 24 films in the last 2 months.

San Andreas - 7/10
Decent disaster fillum about the effects of a quake along the titular fault line. Decent cast - led by Dwayne Johnson and Alexandra Daddario, with able support from the (always good) Paul Giamatti - and some terrific effects put to good use. A few moments where my attention wavered, and one or two clichés made me roll my eyes, but overall I enjoyed it - and it was good to see a strong (and sensible) female lead.

Man Up - 8/10
A really enjoyable RomCom starring Simon Pegg and Lake Bell as a pair who end up on a blind date after Pegg's character mistakes Bell as the person he's supposed to be meeting.
Great humour and performances, and I can recommend it.

Tomorrowland - 7/10
A take on the "World of Tomorrow" ideals of times long since past starring George Clooney, Raffey Cassidy and Britt Robertson. Tomorrowland is a parallel world where scientists have been able to develop technologies far in advance of the age, but have become isolated from Earth due to the differing ideals. Overall it's a good film that appeals to my inner optimist/Sci-fi fan, but it does lack a bit of depth in the story and if they'd realised that potential it would have got a 7.5

Jurassic World - 6.5
Had some good scenes but overall uses too many idiots to push the plot along, so much so that I was hoping for one of the kids to get eaten if only to save time/problems later. Of course that didn't happen, and the problems did indeed occur, so it only gets a 6.5 tops. Jurassic Park may have had its fair share of dumb decisions, but for the most part the people there were doing the best with what they had/knew once they'd been dropped in it by the actions of Nedry so I rate it much higher than Jurassic World. Jurassic World is just full of stupid people in charge, and about the only people who come out ahead of the curve are the two wrangler characters played by Chris Pratt and Omar Sy.)

Mad Max: Fury Road - 7/10
Reboot of the Mad Max films, starring Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron.
Might have scored higher, but again marks were lost for potential - this time down to the meandering first 20 minutes or so that seemed to be aimless and pointless. It got better once the War Truck left the base though, as it seemed to finally have something to focus on, and the longer it went on though the more it improved.

The Longest Ride - 9/10.
Romantic drama starring Scott Eastwood and Britt Robertson, about a bull-rider who meets a girl (or a girl who meets a bull-rider) and they fall for each other. Going home from their first date they save the life of a WW2 veteran who was in a car crash, and the film then switches between the two periods, contrasting the progress of each relationship.

I hadn't seen much from the two leads; Eastwood was in Gran Torino and Flags of Our Fathers, and about the only thing I'd seen Britt Robertson in was Tomorrowland a week earlier, but the veteran was played by Alan Alda, who I am more familiar with.

In short, I absolutely loved it. In the top 3 overall for the list, and one particular scene affected me greatly.

Mr Holmes - 7.5/10
A good film about an elderly Sherlock Holmes who is trying to remember/write the story of one of his final cases from many years ago. Very thoughtful and well made, with an excellent performance from Ian McKellen, and the story (and human element) were both engrossing.

Minions 7/10
Lots of fun. Not as good as the Despicable Me films, which is unsurprising given the limitations of the Minions as characters, but it had a brilliant ending. Given an extra .5 for the credits scenes.

Slow West - 7/10
A western drama (although with not that much drama, literally speaking) starring Michael Fassbender and Kodi Smit-McPhee. Slow-paced (as stated in the title, duh) it's about a young lad following his love, who went to America to escape the law, and meeting Fassbender's character.

Many reviews say it's "Coen Brothers-esque", and I'd agree with that. Wonderful framing and scenery, good plot, but let down by performances that don't particularly stand out or impart a sense of life to the film. (It's better than the True Grit remake though.)

Terminator Genisys - 7.5/10
Compared to the first two Terminator films, this one falls short... but overall I'd actually put it 3rd in my personal list as I enjoyed it more than T3 or T4.

Story is much like the Terminator staple... Machine sent back in time, other machine fights it, explosions ensue...

Well worked into the original Terminator timeline, at least before they branch it off, and J. K. Simmons' detective was a great minor role adapted from the original film. Overall not exceptional, but certainly nowhere near as bad as reviews would have you believe. It was much better than Jurassic World, at least for me.

Song of the Sea - 9/10
Wonderful film. Very touching, and brilliant use of mythology. Right up there with the best I've seen, including the anime films from Japan. I started the rating at 8.5 but after seeing it again it's definitely worth a 9. See it if you get the chance.

Self/Less - 8/10.
Body-swap film starring Ben Kingsley, Ryan Reynolds, and Eddie Redmayne. There was a lot less Sci-fi than I expected/hoped for, as it was more of an action/drama after the first 20 minutes, but the plot was interesting and it was very well made.

Ant-Man - 9/10
Fantastic film. Very very enjoyable, funny, and a great sense of adventure. Very much like Guardians of the Galaxy in its humor, and I think I enjoyed it more than GotG - I certainly laughed a lot more. Paul Rudd is excellent as the hero, and is given excellent support by Michael Douglas and Evangeline Lily. Very easy to see the influence of Edgar Wright, it was a shame he left the project, and I can highly recommend seeing it. Probably the best film I've seen in the last two months.

Inside Out - 6.5/10
Not as good as I'd hoped, in fact it's one of Pixar's weakest for me, but it was well animated and had a decent story. (The short at the beginning of the film was good.)

Maggie - 7.5/10
Drama (with a hint of horror) starring Arnold Swarzenegger as the father of Abigail Breslin, who's been infected with a virus that is turning her into a "zombie". The infection is a slow process though, and Arnie pulls some strings to allow his daugher home until she reaches the stage where she has to be quarantined and eventually euthanised. The story follows the effect on the family (and some friends) as the disease progresses.

I enjoyed this... Although "enjoyed" is probably the wrong word given the subject of the plot. Appreciated is probably a better term. Nicely understated performances, whilst still showing heart and soul, and had some very touching moments. It was a very good performance from Arnie in a non-action role. I can recommend it for people who enjoy a slower, more thoughtful film.

Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation - 7.5/10
Enjoyable sequel, with the requisite complicated plot and excellent set pieces. Contains suitable twists and turns, and some good humour in it too. They took the very sensible decision to dive right in rather than deal with backstory, so the film flowed very well and I saw it a couple of times. :)

The Legend of Barney Thomspon 8.5/10
Brilliant black comedy, one of the better ones I've seen. Directed by Robert Carlyle, who also plays the title character, it's the story of a barber that accidentally kills someone, tries to hide it, then ends up becoming the prime suspect in the investigation of a serial killer who's been mailing body parts from various parts of Scotland.
Terrific performances from the cast, which includes Emma Thompson as his mum and Ray Winstone as the main policeman, and it's a shame the film only got a limited release. My only negative was that the wrap-up of the main storyline seemed a bit contrived, otherwise it would have been a 9, but the rest of the story was quality. If you get the chance to see it, do!

Fantastic Four - 6/10
Yet another reboot by Sony that just looks like dying on its feet. Not awful, but nothing stood out (even the superpower scenes) and I don't think I'll bother seeing it again. I await the next reboot... not.

Hot Pursuit - 6/10
Action comedy starring Reese Witherspoon as a police officer assigned to protect Sofia Vergara's "Gangster Wife" from hitmen so that her husband can testify against a cartel boss. The original plan also involved protecting the husband, but neither the husband or plan survived long so Witherspoon is forced to go on the run with her "accomplice".

Some very good scenes, but more than a few that fell flat. Wasn't unfunny as such, it was more that the film tried too hard to be funny rather than letting things flow.

Pixels - 6.5/10
Comedy starring Adam Sandler, Michelle Monahan, Peter Dinklage, and Josh Gad.
Aliens invade earth in the shape of classic arcade game characters, and nerdy heroes are called upon to save the planet.

Well, first things first, Adam Sandler wasn't annoying! Sadly Josh Gad was far more annoying than was required, to the level where it was detrimental to the film.
Otherwise it was an interesting plot that was let down by clichéd characterisation and some poor direction. Fun if you're a fan of video games, not so much fun if you like good films.

Trainwreck - 7/10 (maybe a 7.5)
Comedy starring Amy Schumer and Bill Hader. Very funny in parts, and touching in others, but Schumer's character was incredibly uncaring and self-centred for so much of the film that (whilst I liked that there was a happy ending) I didn't think she particularly deserved nor earned it. Good film though, and worth seeing.

Mistress America - 6/10
Indie film that had a decent plot, decent performances, and a good cast, but suffered from some poor direction and editing decisions. (Namely that when the performances/directing lacked the required spark, the film tried to induce a sense of action or intensity through (too many) very quick cuts back and forth during dialogue.

The Man from U.N.C.L.E - 7.5/10
Henry Cavill, Armie Hammer and Alicia Vikander star in a reboot of the series from the 60's. (If you aren't familiar with the series then the premise can be summed up by "A Russian Agent and an American Agent have to team up to save the world.)

I have to admit that I went into this with some reservations, given that the last thing I saw Armie Hammer in was the remake of The Lone Ranger. His performance in that film left a lot to be desired, so I was worried about how well he'd do here. (Not that I'm singling him out... that whole film needed work, and lots of it.)

I'm happy to say my fears were completely unfounded and the performances of Hammer and Cavill playing off each other made the film, which I've seen twice already.

Overall the film wasn't as polished as MI: Rogue Nation, which to be fair had 4 films to build on, but it was certainly enjoyable. Of course it was less complex than MI: as regards the plots and action, but on the other hand it was far more stylish. The 60s setting was great, and I laughed a lot more than I though I would. Comparing it to the first MI film I prefer this by far, and would but it on a par with Ghost Protocol / Rogue Nation - though for different reasons. Unreservedly recommended for a fun evening.

Absolutely Anything - 7.5/10
Simon Pegg is granted unlimited power by a group of aliens in a test to see if the world will be destroyed or saved - depending on if he does good or evil.
Very well written and directed, and the supporting cast were great. Overall the film contained nothing too complicated, but also had nothing superfluous to mess up the flow and the comedy timing/performances were spot on. Laughed out loud often, especially at the result of several of the wishes made by Simon Pegg, and will try to see it again.

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