Tag Archives: Reviews

Kingsmen: The Golden Circle

Thumbs up or Thumbs down? Simple, spoiler free reviews.

kingsmanposter_0When their headquarters are destroyed and the world is held hostage, the remaining Kingsmen’s journey leads them to their US counterparts, called Statesmen.

Kingsmen: The Secret Service is one of my favourite films, not just recently, but ever. I think it is simply fantastic. It was fresh, fun and brutal. I actually thought from the original trailers that I would hate it, but boy was I proven wrong. In fact, I’ve watched that film countless times and have been looking forward to this sequel ever since.

As a result I actually risked over hyping its potential to myself and perhaps as a result of this I did start getting a little concerned about the quality the second film in the franchise could produce. To be honest, I’d almost convinced myself that this film would fail horribly and be awful. It was a clear case of lowering my expectations so that I wouldn’t be too disappointed. I need not have worried, Kingsmen: The Golden Circle is a cracking film.

Now admittedly, The Golden Circle is not as good as the original, but you know what? Guardians of the Galaxy 2 was not ‘quite’ as good as the original either but that does not make either of them bad films. Far from it, this second outing is a highly enjoyable romp throughout that keeps a lot of the charm whilst also going a bit more bonkers at times. The argument will be that what was once fresh, new and different is now known and expected but Kingsmen 2 delivers on those moments of similarity and doesn’t feel like a re-tread of what we’ve already seen.

In Julianne Moore we have another excellent and eccentric villain and the action is as brutal as ever. Sure, it’s a little over the top at times and often ridiculous but when you’re having fun with it, who really gives a damn? Plus it still has that brilliant, now iconic (in my opinion) camera work for the fight and action scenes. Granted nothing is likely to ever top the original church scene with Colin Firth or that bar brawl just because they were so iconic and well executed in the original.

All of the returning characters are still a lot of fun and the new additions from The Statesmen are great too. Plus there are a number of surprises as well as a hilarious cameo too.

Honestly, if you enjoyed the first film you will enjoy the second one and if you have not seen the first one. Firstly, why not? Secondly, do so. Thirdly, then go and see this film because you will also enjoy this one. It’s really that simple.

Verdict: Thumbs Up

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Review: Wonder Woman

Thumbs up or thumbs down? Simple, spoiler free reviews.

Before becoming Wonder Woman, she was Diana, princess of the Amazons. Raised on a sheltered island paradise, Diana meets an American pilot who tells her of the war to end all wars that is raging in the outside world. Convinced that she can stop the threat, Diana leaves her home for the first time and finally discovers her full powers and true destiny.

Oh wow, it actually happened! A good, no, a great DC movie! I, along with the rest of the world, had given up hope yet after the disappointments of Man of Steel (although admittedly I thought that was okay, though flawed), Batman Vs Superman and Suicide Squad comes Wonder Woman and it’s really quite good!

I loved pretty much everything about this film and sat there with a great big dumb grin on my face for the entire time. If DC can correct their course for the rest of their cinematic universe things might just be okay again.

JL_Wonder_Woman

Wonder Woman is showing DC the way to make decent superhero films, but can they do it again?

Wonder Woman is everything it should have been and more. It shows that you don’t need to go all in on gritty and real and depressing to make a great superhero film. How has it taken DC this long to make something that’s worth watching? It’s fun, endearing and the action scenes are great too. Stylistically its excellent, the humour is spot on and it actually shows genuine heart as well. Wonder Woman is 100%, completely and totally bad ass.

The relationship between Diana and Captain Steve Trevor is the linchpin of the entire movie. The chemistry between Gal Gadot and Chris Pine is excellent. In fact to be honest, both are just excellent throughout. Pine is charming and confident while Gadot is equally as confident, strong, independent, noble and caring and sexy as well. Yet at the same time slightly naive too. It’s a perfect combination.

Here’s a thought, Wonder Woman wasn’t directed by Zack Synder and it’s a good film. Coincidence? Well, no not really. As he didn’t direct Suicide Squad and that was all sorts of horrible. What it does seem to show is that everyone was on board with the vision of this film and worked towards it, unlike the absolute messes that have occurred previously.

Instead Wonder Woman is the first ever superhero film to be directed by a woman, which is all sorts of crazy. Patty Jenkins, who was briefly signed on to direct the sequel to Thor, did a fantastic job here. Again I loved the stylistic choices, I thought everything looked great and the tone was spot on. I wonder if Marvel are kicking themselves for letting her go now?

If you haven’t seen Wonder Woman yet, put aside your disappointments of previous DC movies and go out and see it. You won’t regret it.

Verdict: Thumbs Up

Review: Paramore – After Laughter

After Laughter: Thumbs up or thumbs down?

Hayley Williams and Paramore are finally back with their fifth studio album! After Laughter is the follow-up to their self-titled 2013 release and a lot has happened with the band since then. Bassist Jeremy Davis left and sued the band, then former drummer Zac Farro returned and in the meantime the bands musical sound has continued to evolve too.

I personally love the 80’s synth-pop and new wave influences but I can understand why some people do want ‘the old Paramore’ back. However, I loved 2013’s ‘Paramore’ sound (it is my favourite album by the band so far) and I really enjoy this one too. At the end of the day, if I like the music they produce who cares if it is not in their original style.

AL2After Laughter is a fantastically produced and crafted album which is full of crisp hooks to catch your attention. Honestly it sounds amazing, I love the mix.

After only a few listens I can recommend first single ‘Hard Times’ and ‘Rose Colored Boy’ as definitely worth a listen, I am particularly fond of the latter. While the first half of the album is initially stronger than the second half I do have faith that after a few more listens they will all prove to be ‘growers’.

Lyrically Hayley Williams is at odds with the upbeat rhythms created by the rest of the band but I really like the combination. Songs with sad themes do not actually have to be depressing after all and obviously Williams is brilliant as always vocally too.

This new record might not be immediately as awesome as 2013’s ‘Paramore’ but its pretty darn good. Consider me a fan. A fan of old and new Paramore, because I’m allowed to be both. Although some angry people on the internet say otherwise…

Now if we could avoid any other members leaving the group in between this and the next album then that would be great!

Verdict: Thumbs up!

Podcast: Wrestlemania 33 & NXT Takeover Orlando Reviews!

Rob and Dan return to talk about Wrestlemania 33 and NXT Takeover Orlando, as well as ramble about this, that and the other as per usual.

On the agenda, the awesome NXT Tag Team Division, Brock Lesnar versus Goldberg, the return of The Hardy’s and The Undertaker’s last match. As well as much, much more.

Review: Patriots Day

Thumbs up or thumbs down? Simple, spoiler free reviews.

On April 15, 2013,  two bombs exploded during the Boston Marathon. In the aftermath of the attack, police Sgt. Tommy Saunders (Mark Wahlberg), FBI Special Agent Richard DesLauriers and Commissioner Ed Davis joined the courageous survivors, first responders and other investigators in a race against the clock to hunt down the suspects and bring them to justice before they can attack again.

Patriots Day is a well acted and intense film that focuses prominently on the manhunt post the Boston Marathon bombings. Honestly it’s quite good, I’m really surprised by how much I enjoyed this movie. At times you are on the edge of your seat while at others laughing out loud as the human spirit shines through. I thought it would just turn out to be one big piece of American propaganda, but it’s actually a solid and respectful drama based on a horrible event. It doesn’t glamorise the act of terrorism and isn’t scared of showing you some of the horror that was created.

I have to make a special mention to the music and general ambience that constantly builds tension throughout key scenes. It can be really quite unnerving.

Onto the downside of Patriots Day. I was all ready to sing this films praises from start to finish but then while I was prepping to write this review  I discovered that Mark Wahlberg’s character is actually fictional and it just knocked some of the shine off the whole thing for me.

Now I understand that from the Hollywood perspective it is better to have a protagonist who is heavily involved in the plot. However Wahlberg’s Tommy Saunders goes beyond being a pair of eyes for the audience to watch through. Every major story beat revolves around him. He’s the one who rallies the troops in the immediate fallout after the attack, he’s the one who goes to the 991 calls, he’s the one at the fire fights, he’s effectively the one who wins the day. If this was any other crime drama film I wouldn’t complain about this, it tells a better story. Yet, isn’t it a little disrespectful to heap so much praise on a fictional character when real people, mere years ago, did so much to actually find the bombers? Patriots Day really wants to play of the Boston Strong movement, but in hindsight it feels more like ‘if that one character is strong, we’ll all be okay I guess’ movement. The logic is that Tommy Saunders is a mixture of multiple different police officers who were on duty. It’s just the mixture of real life and fiction that doesn’t quite mesh. It seems off, but in reality probably doesn’t do to much damage.

Ultimately however, I still really enjoyed the film. So, while it’s not fully based on true events it is still very good. Was it made slightly too soon, considering it has only been 4 years since the attack? Probably. Would I have preferred a more accurate representation of the facts even if it meant not having Mark Wahlberg in the lead role. Probably.

Do I recommend this film? Absolutely.

Verdict: Thumbs Up