‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’ Review

guardians2Guardians of the Galaxy was easily the most obscure property that Marvel studios have set their sights on adapting, and the only really surprising announcement since they made since the MCU’s inception. It was a risk that paid off though, with the film being arguably Marvel Studios’ most unique entry, both content and quality-wise. It certainly tends to lie near the top of any fan’s ranking (I’ve got it at 3 myself). With the addition of this sequel though, confidently the strongest ‘part 2’ of any MCU series yet, they might well prove to be the Studios’ biggest stars. Continue reading

‘The Fate of the Furious’ Review

fast-furious-8I’ve begun the last couple of reviews for films in the Fast & Furious series by noting just what an unusual path this franchise has taken to becoming one of the most successful and important film series of modern times. I don’t want to get too repetitive, but let’s just say that my opinion of this series has turned around so much that I’ve gone from thinking they were actively bad movies that I wouldn’t consider paying to see, to being hugely excited about seeing the latest instalment on opening night. Continue reading

‘Ghost in the Shell’ (2017) Review

shost-in-the-shell-trailerI’ve made it no secret that I struggle with a lot of anime, even the classic, universally acclaimed titles of the genre. Maybe it’s me, maybe it’s cultural differences, but I often find myself having difficulty understanding films that, on paper at least, sound like I’d really enjoy. Case in point; 1995’s Ghost in the Shell, noted as a key influence on The Matrix no less, when I first watched it, I found it more or less incomprehensible. I saw it again a few years later with similar results, finding the material surprisingly inaccessible for such a landmark, beloved movie. Anyway, I think I’m more of an outlier here, so maybe I shouldn’t be taken too seriously when I say that one of the few positive things about this American, live-action Ghost in the Shell remake is that I didn’t find it especially confusing at all. Continue reading

Director Months: February – Abbas Kiarostami

taste-of-cherrySo, only two months in and I’m already behind on this, I’ve got to stick with it though, my aim is to publish these within the first week of the month, and I must try harder next time. Anyway, a couple of years ago I wrote a piece about what I considered my top ten movie “blind spots” – the most famous movies I had never seen. At the end of the list I wrote down a couple of names of famous directors who I hadn’t seen any films from, one of whom was acclaimed Iranian auteur Abbas Kiarostami. I had intended seeing all my blind spots to be a challenge for the following year but then unfortunately forgot all about it, though I might resurrect that post next month. I did want to include Kiarostami in my ‘director months’ project though, particularly after his death last year led to a number of articles highlighting his work, reminding me just how respected he was among critics and fellow directors. Continue reading

‘Kong: Skull Island’ Review

kong-skull-island-kongIt makes sense that a studio would want to attempt a giant monsters cross-over again in the current trend for desiring shared universes, and considering that the Japanese production King Kong vs Godzilla (1962) is one of the earlier examples of such a movie. So in case you didn’t know, Kong: Skull Island takes place in the same universe as 2014’s Godzilla, but at a completely different time point so they are generally more unrelated, save for mentions of the mysterious Monarch organisation, and while the two most iconic movie monsters of all time are clearly being positioned for a future confrontation, Skull Island is its own story and not all a big set-up. Continue reading

‘Silence’ (2016) Review

silenceThe notion of ‘faith-based cinema’ nowadays generally refers to low-budget garbage like the output of PureFlix Studios (Do You Believe? God’s Not Dead) that do not seek to do anything more than shamelessly, and often insultingly pander to evangelical Christian audiences. Then, whenever a director gets a rare chance to actually try something riskier, it usually ends up proving controversial among religious audiences, such as Darren Aronofsky’s recent Noah. No stranger to controversy himself, Martin Scorsese last took on the weighty subject in 1988’s The Last Temptation of Christ, a film that caused sufficient outrage to be banned in multiple countries and a terrorist attack at a Paris cinema occurred at a showing. Scorsese isn’t seeking to offend at all though, and at the heart of his latest film Silence, a project he’s wanted to tackle for over two decades, is a sincere exploration of faith and its consequences. Continue reading

‘John Wick: Chapter 2’ Review

John_Wick_Chapter_2_Large.jpg2014’s John Wick appeared pretty much out of nowhere and was quickly embraced by action fans of all stripes as a potential new genre classic. It was not so much the character or storyline that made John Wick such an enjoyable piece of action filmmaking though; it’s premise was a weary one, former elite killer comes out of retirement for revenge after being wronged, even if it had a somewhat novel spin in that it was John Wick’s dog that got killed to provoke him rather than his wife. The great success of the film was two-fold, first in its manner of choreographing its action scenes, employing long takes and practical effects which really helped it stand out in a world fill of quick edits and massive CGI explosions, but also the world it presented. Continue reading