The World’s End


Viewed – 26 January 2015  DVD

I went into this fairly apprehensive.  I’d heard only luke warm opinions of it and the usual it’s no ‘Shaun of the Dead’ which has been ringing in my ears with every movie the comedy pairing of Simon Pegg & Nick Frost have appeared in since.  This time around Pegg plays a lovable loser whose never really grown up and still yearns to complete the sacred ‘golden mile’ pub crawl that he and his friends attempted and failed at on the last day of school.  Now approaching forty, he decides to ‘get the band back together’ and hunts down his old mates who have all moved on, got jobs, gained families, become someone where as Pegg is still the same person he ever was.

worlds end

A great initial concept sets forth a very energetic ride with snappy dialogue-a-plenty and the usual slapstick pop-culture referencing fun of Pegg & Frost at their best.  Lending a helping hand is a wealth of familiar Brit actor faces, including The Hobbit’s Martin Freeman along with Paddy Considine to name but a few.  Unlike Pegg & Frost’s last outing ‘Paul’ however this is brought endlessly to life by the scatter-shot, imaginative direction of Edgar Wright, yes the same man that brought us ‘Shaun and Hot Fuzz not to mention the underrated Scott Pilgrim Vs The World.  Very clever editing and stylish camera work and surprisingly excellent effects work too.  You see the friends all go back to their home town to attempt this so-called pub crawl and suddenly find themselves in the middle of an alien invasion where the majority of the towns folk have been assimilated, ala The Stepford Wives.

I’m not ashamed to say it, but I had a riot with this.  There’s some very funny lines (… ‘he may be a bit of a cock, and he is a cockbut he’s my cock’…) and some great action (the gents fight scene is first rate, think the matrix with a twist) and the on-going gag of getting a pint in in every pub, no matter what is happening just never stopped being funny.  Yes the ending feels a tad thrown together, and well the alien invasion concept is almost as tiresome as zombies … but that never hurt Shaun of the Dead.

Check it out.

Verdict:  4 /5

Update


Hi folks.  A quick update to say I haven’t vanished.  Not a great deal of movie watching going on right now but planning on rectifying that soon. Been catching up on the rather brilliant TV series ‘True Detective’ after a friend borrowed me the DVD box set, and also watching Breaking Bad for the second time following getting the Blu-ray set for Christmas.

true-detective-matthew

Other than that playing and trying to finish various games.  The Evil Within has ramped up it’s difficulty from hard to bastard-hard of late, so struggling a bit with that one, and Assassin’s Creed Unity is well, mammoth so still playing that and making progress bit by bit.  Wonderful, underrated game though in my opinion with such beautifully detailed graphics and atmosphere.

Work has been particularly busy, with a lot still to do and well, catching up from having a week off at the beginning of January is always difficult … and I still have plenty of holiday left to take before April.

Another friend has borrowed me the Simon Pegg / Nick Frost comedy The World Ends, which I’ve heard nothing but mixed views on, so will probably check that out soon.  Also the Alex Garland sci-fi drama Ex_Machina has just come out so would like to go and see that at some stage.

I’m also excited this year as it’s going to be pretty special for my favourite band Garbage and singer Shirley Manson.  They have two brand new tracks planned for Record Store Day in April, as well as a whole new album at some stage … and 2015 also marks the 20th anniversary of their debut album, which they are planning to re-release as well.

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Well, that’s all from me for now.  Reviews and what not coming soon.

The Guest


Viewed – 13 January 2015  Blu-ray

From the trailer alone this looked like an interesting action thriller with a twist.  Even if during the opening credits it’s difficult to judge the tone, with the title appearing ominously as the lead character jogs down a dusty highway, a rural house in the distance.  Yet on further inspection it bares more than a passing resemblance to Park Chan-Wook’s excellent Stoker with newcomer Dan Stevens playing David, a mysterious soldier who turns up on the doorstep of the Peterson family, claiming to be a friend of their recently deceased son.  Naturally the grieving family welcome the charming and pleasant David into their home, but as days go by a spate of unexplained deaths seem linked to his sudden appearance.

the guest

Stevens nails the sinister / charming act really well, befriending the young geeky son who is getting bullied, whilst casting a watchful eye over the rebellious teenage daughter whose friends seem less than ideal.  I had a lot of fun watching this nice but clearly highly trained soldier front up and protect the family, especially in one bar room scene that had me almost cheering.  Yet as the move hits it’s stride it takes a dramatic turn, and not necessarily for the better.  Supporting cast including a weirdly flirtatious Sheila Kelly (why was I expecting her and David to get it on?) as the mother and Maika Monroe (?) as the  suitably spunky sister, all do their jobs well.  It was also easy to care for these characters as events began to turn deadly.  Yet it lacked some of the intelligent character observation of the aforementioned Stoker and what began as a complex portrayal by Stevens as David quickly replaces character for brainless action and bloodshed, as if the writers just ran out of ideas.

For a great initial concept however, a star-making turn by Stevens and some unexpected shocks – I’d still give this my recommendation.  I just wish it had maintained it’s brains throughout.

Verdict:  3.5 /5

Movie preview 2015


With 2014 finally in the memory banks, I am of course looking to the year ahead for my movie fix and wonder just what will excite, delight and entertain in 2015?  Listed below are just a few of the movies I am most looking forward to, with a few words on how I hope they’ll turn out…

Kingsman: The Secret Service

January

Mathew Vaughan’s attempt to inject some much needed cool into the Brit spy thriller and considering he was responsible for the excellent Kick-Ass, I’m very hopeful of this one.

Ex Machina

January

Directing debut of writer & novelist Alex Garland, with an intelligent look at artificial intelligence, a reclusive genius and a realist look at cyborg-technology.  Trust me, it looks cool.

Avengers: Age Of Ultron

April

I really enjoyed the first Marvel Avengers Assemble, and any follow up seems essential viewing.  Maybe the whole Marvel comic book thing is getting tired, but hey, one last outing for Iron Man, Thor, The Hulk and Black Widow has gotta be worth seeing.

Mad Max: Fury Road

May

Tom Hardy seems perfect casting as Max, but the post-apocalyptic setting is very tired and director George Miller, who made the first movie way back in 1979 – has he still got it?  Could go either way this one.

Jurassic World

June

No Spielberg?  Hmm, ok.  I’m on the fence about this, but the original Jurassic Park is still a classic and if they can capture even a bit of that movie’s wonder and scale, then I’m in.  Chris Pratt, hot off Guardians Of The Galaxy seems a good fit.

Crimson Peak

October

After the luke warm offering of 2013’s Pacific Rim, it’s good to see director Guillermo Del Toro (Pan’s Labyrinth) go back to his routes in this creepy looking horror.  Casting of Alice In Wonderland’s Mia Wasikowska seems a great choice as is the gothic spooky mansion setting.

Mission Impossible 5

mission-impossible

December

Can this series do any wrong?  Not after Ghost Protocol it can’t I’d say and despite an ageing Tom Cruise, this is pretty much guaranteed to wow us again with some amazing stunts.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

December

Although the recent prequels were rather hit and miss (mostly miss) I’m very open minded by what wonder-kid J J Abrahms can bring to the party.  Star Wars is now also in the hands of Disney who seem to have the Midas touch of late, so this has to be good, right?

So those are for me, the big hitters of 2015 but I’m sure there will be many surprises and disappointments along the way.  I’m curious about The Man From U.N.C.L.E. movie and there’s still a lot I didn’t get to see in 2014 that I need to catch up on, like Hunger Games: Mocking Jay Part 1 (and Part 2 when it arrives) as well as Exodus Gods & Kings and Birdman.  There are also probably some I haven’t even been made aware of yet that could turn out to be great.  We’ll wait and see.

Maleficent


Viewed – 03 January 2015  online rental

I hesitated about this because I’m not a particular fan of Angelina Jolie … unlike some guys, I don’t find her attractive and well, she is a bit of a diva, isn’t she?  However this was a movie that kept getting name dropped by people I know, saying how good it was and well, suppose I should pass judgement, huh?

maleficent

That evil queen who cursed sleeping beauty … what if the tale was retold from the point of view of such a wicked sorceress, and showed that hey, maybe she was misunderstood all this time?  An interesting concept and one Jolie pulls off with relish – she was born to play this part and suits the freaky costume, horns, wings (and exaggerated cheek bones) intact.  With a backdrop of enchanted woodland creatures, a wicked king, a beautiful princess and lots of spells and curses – this was easy to get swept up in.   Disney have crafted a very unique spin on a very old tale and has some great moments, such as Maleficent’s battle against the king’s army, then the final epic showdown.  Effects throughout are first class (although some of the creatures look a tad cartoony) and those three fairies were quite entertaining.

That’s not to say it works entirely, as some of the hokey plot dating back to the original Sleeping Beauty isn’t particularity built upon (why a spinning wheel?) and it get’s very predictable towards the end.  Casting isn’t entirely perfect either.  Ella Fanning’s Aurora is rather annoyingly sugar-sweet, and Sharlto Copley’s King Stefan despite a good character ark, seemed miscast.  So yes, this was the Angelina Jolie show throughout, and do you know what?  I still enjoyed it.

A fun, if throwaway fantasy, that does the job … but far from a Disney classic.

Verdict:  3 /5