Ralph Breaks the Internet


Viewed – 31 August 2019. DVD

I remember enjoying the first movie. Wreck It Ralph was a great idea, borrowing it must be said, from Pixar’s Monsters Inc yet not quite reaching the potential of its rather brilliant concept. However it delivered first-rate turns from John C Reilly as Donkey Kong inspired video game villain ‘Ralph’ and Sarah Silverman as cute kart racer girl ‘Venelope’. So yeah, I was keen to see what (mis)adventured this likeable duo would get up to next. This brings forth the arrival of wi-fi connectivity to the little arcade that’s home to Ralph, Venelope amongst others (including Pacman, various Street Fighter characters and several more recognisable faces), and after an over-zealous gamer breaks Venelope’s arcade machine steering wheel, a quest to get a new one (from eBay no doubt) is undertaken, with the world wide web ripe for exploration.

I found this built perfectly on the foundations set up in the first movie and delivered exactly what a sequel should … bigger and better. The animation is top-notch and I’ll go as far as to say its sone of the most lush, imaginative and personality-filled CGI I’ve ever witnessed. With the looming shadow of Pixar’s Toy Story 4, any hype for this seemed to get brushed under that carpet at time of release, which is a travesty as in many ways this is the superior movie. Ralph & Venelope are a great double-act and although the story is mostly focused on the plucky racer-girl’s journey of self discovery, Ralph still gets many of the best gags and a brilliant final act (hint…one Ralph is never enough!). The clever mickey-takes and references of the internet and especially of Disney themselves are also well-observed and often laugh out loud funny. The Disney Princesses scene is pure gold.

However the story isn’t exactly all that on paper, but its exploration of a developing friendship is poignantly observed none the less. Yet Disney’s obsession with forcing feminist propaganda into every movie these days raises its head again in the closing moments, but it’s at least more subtle than Avengers: Endgame. Tiny gripes aside though, this was great fun and one of the best animated movies of the year.

Verdict: 4 /5

Avengers: Endgame


Viewed – 30 April 2019. Cinema

This year’s most hyped movie begins with a rather gentle ‘where the world is now’ first act that sets a melancholy tone for this sequel and eases the viewer into a complicated turn of events to ‘put right what once went wrong’. As anyone could predict after that ending for Infinity War … this is all about time travel as Ant Man gets a disbanded team of the surviving Avengers back together to attempt a risky mission to reclaim the infinity stones before Thanos originally did.

So what we get are several very entertaining sequences taking place in earlier time periods (but mostly the first Avengers movie) that prove funny, exciting and rather clever … if it wasn’t for the fact that this movie turns time-travel conventions as we’ve come to understand like ‘the butterfly effect’ on their head. This leads to a few moments of ‘hang on, how can they do that? Won’t that change such and such…’ which proved problematic for me.

That aside, banter between the various characters is at the forefront and brilliantly comical and well written. also throwing in a few emotionally poignant scenes between the characters we have grown attached to over the years. Add to this some very slick action (Captain America v Captain America?), epic battles and feel-good moments this still delivered a satisfying, at times awe-inspiring piece of cinematic grandeur. Shame then, that towards the end it had to hit a few of those pc-culture tick boxes that came across as obvious and totally unnecessary. So not quite the masterpiece I hoped for, but regardless I still had a great time.

verdict: 4 /5

Watch List 2015


Here are a number of movies I still hope to see before the end of 2015.  I’m trying to get as many in as possible so my end of year Top Ten has more to pick from.  I think my viewing this year has had some real gems and compiling the list will prove very interesting.

Avengers: Age Of Ultron

Crimson Peak

Inside Out

Jurassic World

Legend

Man From U.N.C.L.E.

The Martian

Spectre

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Straight Outta Compton

Tomorrow Land

Iron Man 3


Viewed – 17 December 2013  Blu-ray

You have to love Iron Man.  Such an unashamedly bad-ass character backed up by the one liner filled charisma of Robert Downey Jr … what’s not to like?  In this third outing for the high tech hero / billionaire and following on directly from the Marvel Avengers Assemble, Tony Stark (Downey Jr) faces a new threat, that of a middle eastern terrorist (Ben Kingsley), clearly modelled after Osama Bin-Laden (bad taste?) who is setting off bombs on American soil.

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Directed by Shane Black (Lethal Weapon, Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang) as can be expected this is peppered with the director’s trade mark sharp, often very un-p.c. dialogue.  Not quite so much fun are the constant nods to Avengers with references to Thor and the like (didn’t we get enough of this in I.M #2?) and a war on terror backdrop that’s becoming an all too familiar story device these days.  Downey does a good job as the increasingly troubled stark (he’s getting panic attacks following Avengers … but this isn’t fully explored) and throw in a little kid let’s bond moment (Hellboy anyone?) and a twist I saw coming a mile off … and well, to be honest considering all the good reviews – I was disappointed.  The first half of the movie is actually rather slow, and although Guy Pierce as always, is rather good – this all just felt a bit unnecessary.

Again Stark’s relationship with Pepper Potts is well observed and is the crutch this movie just about stands up with, with an enjoyable Gwyneth Paltrow – and towards the end some of the action was pretty slick – especially the final encounter with the villain.  Also Rebecca Hall is in it, and well… she’s hot.  But overall I found this really lacking – and dare I say it, I might have enjoyed I.M #2 more.

Verdict:  2.5 /5

Top Ten 2012


Well here it is folks, time for my annual Top Ten of the movies I watched and reviewed (for the first time) in 2012…   Also I’d like to thank everyone for visiting this humble blog in 2012 and I’m looking forward to whatever cinematic delights 2013 holds.

Note: I try and limit the contenders to movies released in the last two years.

1.   LOOPER

2.   THE ARTIST

3.   BRIDESMAIDS

4.   THE GREY

5.   TED

6.   SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN

7.   HUGO

8.   THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY

9.   MARVEL AVENGERS ASSEMBLE

10. THE DARK KNIGHT RISES

Honourable mentions: Contagion, Sherlock Holmes: A Game Of Shadows, The Adventures of Tintin and Young Adult