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All reviews - Movies (137) - TV Shows (2) - Books (4) - Games (17)

"Terminator Genisys" (2015)

Posted : 1 year, 10 months ago on 29 August 2015 09:33 (A review of Terminator Genisys)

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

I'm just going to say it upfront: I loved it. Far from the pinnacle of the franchise (I mean, let's face it: you're never going to top the first two movies), but I think this one is at least a more worthy follow-up than the third and fourth movies, and definitely worth more than 26% on Rotten Tomatoes.
I'm not sure how much was spoiled in other trailers, but the ones I saw advertised an alternate timeline where Sarah Connor was a survivalist right from the start; that alone got me intrigued. :) In that respect, Kyle Reese sort of becomes the spokesman for the audience: John Connor has told him how history is supposed to go, so we end up being just as confused as he is. And I was thoroughly invested in the opening action sequences because of how relentlessly insurmountable a challenge it seemed.
Will this become this year's Amazing Spider-Man 2, where I love it at first but then find its naysayers bring up some really good points? I don't know. But, for the time being at least, my opinion is that this latest instalment comes closer to doing its franchise justice than any other movie since the second one. It makes up in story and ideas for anything it lacks in character development, and I had such fun while watching it that I can easily name it one of my top three favourite movies of the year so far.

My rating: 85%


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"Watership Down" (Richard Adams)

Posted : 2 years ago on 21 June 2015 05:57 (A review of Watership Down (Puffin Books))

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

Ever since I was a child, Watership Down has always been one of my all-time favourite movies. I'm so familiar with it that, when I finally got round to reading the original novel, it was a real treat because it was like experiencing the same story in a new way. For the most part, the film actually follows the book relatively closely, so as I was reading it, I was constantly recognising certain scenes and visualising them quite easily.
I don't know if I'd go so far as to say the book is better than the film, but it is much more detailed and does answer a few questions I had with it. For example, in the film, I always wondered how Holly was able to wander all the way to Efrafa, escape and still come across our heroes before they reached the down. In the book, the timing makes a lot more sense: he catches up with them at the down, and only afterwards do they send him to Efrafa as a diplomat.
It also explains Woundwort's motivation for running such a totalitarian society: his main concern is to stay hidden from humans.
But one thing the book doesn't have is quite possibly my favourite film soundtrack ever! :) And I also feel that, while of course the book is still very dark, the film got the nightmarish atmosphere down much better.
On the whole, it's still one of my favourite narratives ever, be it in book or movie form.

My rating: 85%


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"BioShock" (PS3)

Posted : 2 years ago on 21 June 2015 05:53 (A review of BioShock)

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

I was invested from the very start; they establish right off the bat just how savage Rapture is, so I imagined the character thinking, "What have I got myself into?"
But the long-term goal turns from simply getting yourself to safety to taking down the tyrannical overlord pretty quickly, before I really had a chance to take everything in, which made the whole middle section seem kind of unfocused. It doesn't help any that the game keeps throwing more obstacles in your way before you can complete your objective; those smaller goals kept making me lose track of what the ultimate objective was. Luckily, that aspect lessened as the game progressed, and that's when it perked up again for me.
My absolute favourite aspect was the game's back-story and the conflict that brought Rapture to the state it's in now, which I do feel is far more interesting than the game itself.
Still, the twist involving your character's origin is a really good one. And that line, "A man chooses, a slave obeys," is going to stick with me till the day I die.
So on the whole, I enjoyed this game. I don't think it's going to become one of my all-time favourites or anything, but it was a fun sit with an inspired back-story to cherish.

My rating: 75%


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"'71" (2014)

Posted : 2 years ago on 21 June 2015 05:51 (A review of '71)

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

Superficially, this movie is a nail-biting thriller. The way it presents an atmosphere of ever-present danger is nothing short of perfect. I wasn't clear on the reason behind it all, though; you really need to know the history beforehand going into this movie. Wanting to shoot British soldiers on sight is one thing, but this group of Nationalists goes so far as to hunt him down: like, "We can't let him get away!" …Why? I guess what I'm saying is that, rather than conveying the historical situation to me effectively, it came across more as a simple manhunt story with the Northern Ireland conflict as a mere backdrop – albeit a really well executed one. I have to mention my favourite scene, though (spoiler alert here). It's when the bomb accidentally goes off in the pub. I love that scene not just because it's all done in one take and the soundtrack perfectly conveys the dazed and confused state our main character is in, but because, in the blink of an eye, the guy's back to square one.

My rating: 70%


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"The Mask of Zorro" (1998)

Posted : 2 years ago on 21 June 2015 05:48 (A review of The Mask of Zorro)

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

This was exactly what I expected from hearing Doug Walker talk about it in several of his videos. It's a tightly written, solid, fun action movie that works in the same way as Indiana Jones before it: it has dark undercurrents, but doesn't take itself seriously and has a lot of fun with its concept. Aside from the gleeful action scenes, the characters are what really hold it all together: they're presented and built up so well that you're fully invested in seeing where the story takes them. I especially love the scene where Love tests Murrieta's disguise to the extreme. Good stuff.

My rating: 75%


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"The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies" (2014)

Posted : 2 years ago on 19 June 2015 10:43 (A review of The Hobbit: the Battle of the Five Armies)

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

If you missed my reviews of the first two movies, I should point out that yes, I have deliberately held off on it until now. I didn't go to see any of the Hobbit movies in the cinema because I was so vehemently against the idea of splitting the book into three films that I refused to support the notion; I didn't want to vote yes with my wallet.
Just to recap, I thought the first movie was a surprisingly good start to a trilogy I had very little faith in, but the second one was more uneven and definitely inferior.

It's difficult to manage a movie that's almost entirely one long battle sequence, but I think this movie pulled it off pretty well. It's sort of the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 of this trilogy in that regard, in that it strikes a perfect balance between intense battle scenes and legitimate drama. That means every part of the battle feels important. The face-off with the Necromancer, the fight between Legolas and Bolg, and the final duel between Thorin and Azog were all riveting. So, I actually think all the added storylines that seemed ill-advised at first ultimately paid off, because the stakes were made perfectly clear and they culminated in a spectacular fashion. This is probably the most exciting instalment of the trilogy, and my personal favourite.

My rating: 75%

So, to conclude, on the whole, I liked this trilogy. They took a terrible idea (splitting the one book into three films) and actually pulled it off. It rarely, if ever, felt like it was dragging; there was actually enough content to sustain the extended length. So, you're free to have your own opinion, but in mine, these movies are certainly not a patch on Lord of the Rings but still pretty good.


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"The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug" (2013)

Posted : 2 years ago on 19 June 2015 10:39 (A review of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug)

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

If you missed my review of the first movie, I should point out that yes, I have deliberately held off on it until now. I didn't go to see any of the Hobbit movies in the cinema because I was so vehemently against the idea of splitting the book into three films that I refused to support the notion; I didn't want to vote yes with my wallet.
Just to recap, I thought the first movie was a surprisingly good start to a trilogy I had very little faith in.

In keeping with its predecessor, some of the adaptation choices work really well, particularly expanding the Bard character's role in the story so he doesn't seem like a deus ex machina. On the other hand, I have the same complaint everyone does: the love story between Tauriel and Kili was completely unnecessary. Kili was already becoming one of my favourite characters from the first movie; he didn't need a cross-species love triangle storyline to make him stand out. On top of that, the fight scenes get a little too choreographed at times, as the characters often easily dodge attacks from behind that they couldn't possibly have seen coming. Smaug himself was just plain awesome, though. :) Overall, this is definitely far inferior to the first movie – not bad, but a mixed bag.

My rating: 60%


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"The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" (2012)

Posted : 2 years ago on 19 June 2015 10:35 (A review of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey)

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

Now, before I start talking about this movie, I should point out that yes, I have deliberately held off on it until now. I didn't go to see any of the Hobbit movies in the cinema because I was so vehemently against the idea of splitting the book into three films that I refused to support the notion; I didn't want to vote yes with my wallet.

Going into this movie, I tried to keep an open mind; I wanted to see how all the added material that wasn't in the Hobbit book would justify its presence. At first, it didn't win me over; whenever it cut back to the orcs, I rolled my eyes. But it all culminates in a pretty awesome face-off at the end, which works because you know the dwarves' history with them. In terms of adaptation, some of the changes they made are actually superior to the book, especially the lead-in to the trolls scene. My only real complaint is that this movie seems far more dependent on CGI than the Lord of the Rings trilogy; even the basic visual style looks too artificial. But on the whole, this movie was actually pretty good. I was surprised. I had very little faith in this trilogy, but this movie turned out to be a promising start.

My rating: 75%


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"Superman/Batman: Apocalypse" (2010)

Posted : 2 years ago on 18 June 2015 08:48 (A review of Superman/Batman: Apocalypse)

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

The story deals with Superman's cousin Kara's arrival on Earth, and her subsequent capture by Darkseid, ruler of Apokolips. So, as well as Superman and Batman, this movie also includes a few other popular DC characters that I didn't expect, like Wonder Woman and the Amazons, who take it upon themselves to train Kara. This was even my first exposure to Big Barda, who's recruited to join the rescue operation, and she too quickly exploded into my good books. All the characters are fantastic, which fleshes out an all-around great adventure that kept me engaged from start to finish. And the climactic battle was simply nail-biting, because I'd seen from other media how ruthless Darkseid could be, so I knew the characters were in genuine danger. To sum it up, I really liked this movie; it's far more consistent than the first Superman/Batman movie.

My rating: 80%


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"Superman/Batman: Public Enemies" (2009)

Posted : 2 years ago on 18 June 2015 08:46 (A review of Superman/Batman: Public Enemies)

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

Lex Luthor has been elected US President, and Batman and Superman maintain their distrust. Kevin Conroy and Tim Daly reprise their classic roles, and their banter is every bit as delightful as you'd expect. And Clancy Brown continues to be the best Lex Luthor ever. :) My favourite scenes are when Luthor arranges a meeting with Superman and surprises him by bringing Metallo along as backup ('cos I love me some Metallo!), and his claim that the approaching kryptonite meteor is affecting Superman's judgement – and the way he manipulates footage from the meeting to support that claim. God, what an evil slimeball! The climax, however, is a bit of a disappointment: whereas the first half is all about brilliant character interactions, the last act just devolves into nonstop mindless action. It's an action climax that doesn't feel earned; it feels like the movie just gave up. I enjoyed this movie on the whole, but did find it very lopsided.

My rating: 70%


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