Special Correspondents – Review

It’s been almost a week since I watched this but I keep neglecting to write this review. So I watched this with my dad as it was on his Netflix watch list and if a film from this year.

It’s ok. There are funny jokes, unfunny jokes and jokes that just don’t work. In fact this average quality is a big part of why I’ve taken so long to write this, there isn’t much to say about the film outside of “it was alright”.

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Ricky Gervais is just playing Ricky Gervais. Sometimes it works, other times it feels out of place. Eric Bana is ok but nothing special. The rest of the cast are talented but are somewhat underused. Kelly Macdonald’s character’s role is just to be nice and a love interest. America Ferrera gives a great performance but her character’s scenes mostly consist of her misunderstanding the main characters which gets old really fast.

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It’s not bad but it’s not exactly good either. I enjoyed it more due to watching it with my dad but compared to the other Netflix Original films I’ve seen this year this is the weakest. I’m sure it’s better than the Adam Sandler one but if you’re looking for a Netflix film to watch Tallulah and The Fundamentals of Caring are much better options.

Finding Dory – Review

Anyone who read my Angry Birds review will probably know that I originally planned on seeing this in June but UK release dates delayed me so I ended up seeing Angry Birds instead. So now that I’ve seen it was it worth the wait?

Yes it was though my irritation at delayed UK releases still stands. The short before the film is adorable and the film itself is a great follow up to the original. Speaking of the short I wish more movies had shorts that played before them.

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The comedy is very funny. One of the things that was memorable about Finding Nemo was how funny it was and I’d say Finding Dory is just as funny. The majority of the cast are new characters too meaning mostly new jokes, but some classics do make the occasional appearance (including the seagulls).

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The new characters are a great addition to the cast. The stand out characters include Hank the octopus, Destiny the whale shark and the three sea lions. The returning characters aren’t overshadowed though, Ellen DeGeneres does a fantastic job returning to the role of Dory and it’s nice seeing Nemo along for the ride this time.

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Is it as good as the original? Not quite but it doesn’t need to be, it’s still a great film. Also it has sea otters in it and they’re adorable. I know what the next film I’m seeing in the cinema this month is going to be and I’m already watching another film as I type this.

Spectre – Review

My exposure to Bond films has been pretty limited. Before this the only ones I’d seen in full were Casino Royale and Skyfall which I found to be disappointing. Neither of them lived up to the hype built up by the iconic nature of the Bond franchise and had a really slow pace that made the films boring for me while the little I’ve seen of older Bond films were much more entertaining. So I didn’t go into this with high expectations.

So imagine my surprise when I found myself enjoying this one. This feels more like what I always figured the Bond films were like. He says the catchphrases, has the gadgets, the villain has a base that just screams evil lair and there’s a scene on a train.

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This improvement naturally makes Daniel Craig a much better Bond too. Before I didn’t really know what to think of him, I could tell he was a good actor but the other films didn’t really give him much to work with. He’s still the same Bond from his other films but now he’s grown into the classic Bond. While I’ve only seen three Bond movies in full I have seen a small segment of a couple of Sean Connery and Pierce Brosnan’s films giving me a basic idea of the Bond character.

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As far as weak points go the opening song could have been better and the action scenes were just alright. Of course that might just be when compared to the action scenes in Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation and the opening song from Spies are Forever (a musical that came out earlier this year). I also feel some subplots were a bit rushed.

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Overall Spectre is a decent movie. It’s not great and I think that out of 2015’s spy movies Spy and Rogue Nation are better movies but this is a huge improvement other the other two Bond films I’ve seen. Maybe I’ll check out the rest of the films in this franchise some time but that’s a lot of movies, I should focus on watching a shorter film series first. I’m planning on doing my next movie marathon early next month.

Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation – Review

I haven’t seen any of the other films in this series but I was invited to watch this with my parents so I did. I did ask if I should at least watch the first film for a bit of context but I was told it shouldn’t matter, and it didn’t. It was clear that it was following up after one of the previous movies (probably the last one) but it wasn’t hard to follow.

Of course I say that but I don’t really get a proper introduction to the main cast. Of course I can’t hold that against the film, it’s a sequel after all. Fortunately you pick things up quick enough and just knowing “oh these are Hunt’s coworkers/friends” is enough.

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Speaking of said characters I wasn’t aware Simon Pegg was a series regular. I’d seen him in the trailers for this film but based on the dialogue it looks like he’s been in a few M:I films. He’s great in this as is to be expected and out of the returning cast he’s the one with the most attention outside of Tom Cruise himself.

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The other two characters returning from other films are good too but it does feel like they had bigger roles in previous films and they’re just along for the ride. Seeing more from these two would be a good reason for me to check out the other films.

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And since I’m talking about the cast I should talk about Tom Cruise himself. Tom Cruise the person has lost his popularity in recent years mostly through his connections to Scientology but he’s still a very good actor and even though I’ve not seen the other Mission: Impossible films it’s still clear that Ethan Hunt is a character he’s been playing for a long time and he knows just how to make the character work.

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If there’s a weak link in the cast it’s the villain played by Sean Harris. He’s not bad, he’s just mediocre. He’s not terrible though, his deadpan performance suits the character but just feels weak when compared to the rest of the cast.

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Of course in a spy movie one of the important questions to ask is how is the action. The action is good, it and the cast are the strong points of the film. And of course they’re usually accompanied by the iconic main theme.

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The film was fun and one of the better spy movies I’ve seen outside of the comedies. I am considering watching the other four as a movie marathon sometime but I have another idea for what my next one will be. I’ll probably watch them before picking up the upcoming Level Pack for LEGO Dimensions though so maybe it’ll be the third marathon. My next review is probably going to be another recent spy movie that my parents invited me to watch…

Star Trek Beyond – Review

When I’ve asked friends about films from this year they’ve liked this movie has come up a couple of times. So it went from a film I might watch when it came out on DVD to something I should see in the cinema. Plus it was a good excuse to wear my Millennium Enterprise shirt.

So far I’ve only seen one of the original Star Trek films (Wrath of Khan) but I’m familiar with the popular mindset that the even numbered films are the good ones and the odd numbered films are the bad ones, so far in the new series the opposite is the case. This film was great and out of the three movies it’s the one that feels the most like Star Trek.

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Early in the film the main crew as split up into pairs providing us with plenty of great character moments. Naturally the best moments come from Spock and McCoy but it’s important to highlight the late Anton Yelchin as Chekov. While this isn’t his last film it is the last appearance of his Chekov and I did worry he wouldn’t do much but in reality he’s got plenty of great moments. He’s the crew member that gets paired up with Kirk too meaning his scenes get a decent amount of attention.

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Meanwhile the character Scotty is paired with is new character Jaylah played by Sofia Boutella. Her character interactions are very entertaining and she very quickly feels like part of the crew, in fact I really hope that she actually joins by the start of the next movie because I really do feel the main crew needs more characters from outside the original series, especially non human characters who mostly have minor roles.

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One topic that is regularly brought up when talking about this film is the fact that Sulu is gay (or at the very least part of a same sex couple). This has naturally been met with both praise and criticism, except this time there’s valid points on both sides. Most notably that George Takei doesn’t think Sulu should be gay, that it isn’t how Gene Roddenberry wrote the character and they would have been better off making a new character gay instead while Simon Pegg feels that it’s good that it’s a character the audience already knows and the filmmakers meant the choice of Sulu to be a tribute to Takei. And of course as is expected of me my stance is somewhere in the middle, I agree with both sides.

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If you’re a fan of the new films or didn’t care for them but still like Star Trek this is worth watching. Meanwhile I really need to watch the rest of the older films, maybe it’ll be one of my movie marathon’s but since it’ll be a long one it won’t be the next one.

Ratchet & Clank – Review

I originally planned on seeing this in the cinema but it stopped showing in my local cinema only a few days after coming out. It received a fair amount of negative reviews and bombed at the box office which is probably why that happened but I still wanted to see it despite never actually playing any of the Ratchet & Clank games. It looked like a fun film and even the negative reviews I saw didn’t think it was a bad movie.

I liked it. Looking back at some of the reviews it feels like too many people were comparing it too much to some of the biggest Disney, Pixar and Dreamworks films and expecting the same quality. People were expecting too much from what just needed to be a fun adventure. This kind of attitude is probably why people think we don’t get good video game movies despite clear evidence that suggests otherwise.

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Ratchet and Clank themselves are likable characters and play off each other really well. This movie does make me want to try out the games so I can see more of these two and their adventures together. It’s also neat that they keep their voice actors from the games.

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On the subject of voice actors the guest voice actors fit in just fine. They didn’t feel out of place or like they were phoning it in. In fact until the credits I only noticed two of them, Sylvester Stallone and John Goodman who both have very memorable voices so it’d be hard not to notice them.

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So can the myth about there being no good video game movies die already? Sure they haven’t quite translated to live action just yet but animated movies that keep the art direction, cast and lore intact are at the very least going to be good. Now in my attempt to see more films than last month I’m going to be seeing another film later this evening so expect another review either when I get back or the following morning.

Suicide Squad – Review

The opinions on this movie really have been all over the place. After seeing the film myself I watched two reviews with pretty much exact opposite views on its quality. And even when we’d only seen the trailers there were strong views on both sides. So of course my opinion falls somewhere in the middle.

The production on this film was a mess and it shows, especially in the first few minutes where it feels more like I’m watching an extended trailer and near the end with a weirdly long slow motion scene. But with all that said the movie is fun which is what I was hoping it would be. It’s also a huge improvement after watching Batman V Superman.

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While this is about a team the film mostly focuses on Deadshot and Harley Quinn which makes the most sense with one being played by the most famous actor in the cast and the other being the most famous character in the team. So I should start by talking about my thoughts on these two.

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I was interested in seeing how Will Smith’s take on Deadshot would be, especially compared to Michael Rowe’s portrayal of him on Arrow. While I’d still say Michael Rowe is the better Deadshot Will Smith is a close second and gives one of the best performances in this movie. He has a couple of the best action scenes and some of the funniest lines.

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Harley I have mixed feelings about. Margot Robbie is great and a lot of the best things about this version of Harley come from her performance. She has plenty of great lines and interactions with the rest of the squad. Most of the time she’s an entertaining character but there’s also shots that exist just for fan service which has really been a common problem for Harley. There are other issues I’ll get to later but in order to talk about them there’s another character I should talk about first.

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My thoughts on Jared Leto’s Joker are that he’s ok. He’s not bad but he’s not good either. I think his voice is too similar to Heath Ledger’s Joker, and for context I never liked Heath Ledger’s Joker. The most positive thing I can say about him is that I like that he doesn’t have an extended smile like all the other live action Jokers, his smile is 100% his own. Unfortunately he just doesn’t have the kind of stand out performance needed to truly capture the Joker. He’s also a minor character, the trailers give the impression he’s going to be the villain but he’s really just part of a subplot and Harley’s origin story.

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The issue concerning Harley and the Joker is focus. It’s clear their relationship is abusive and is accurate to the source material but the troubling thing is that because we only see this relationship from Harley’s point of view the abusive nature isn’t highlighted. This isn’t a Harley that has a conflict about her feelings, they stay the same from the start of the film to the end.

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Overall I enjoyed more than I disliked. It’s a fun movie but not one I’d rewatch (I might watch clips from it and reblog gifsets on Tumblr though). And since I know none of them will be in my top 10 at the end of the year I’ll wrap up this review with my ranking of all of this year’s DC movies from best to worst.

Batman: Bad Blood > Suicide Squad > Batman: The Killing Joke > Justice League vs. Teen Titans > Batman V Superman

Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice – Review

I did say in my Batman: Bad Blood review that I was going to watch all the Batman movies and with Suicide Squad around the corner I figured I should get this one out of the way. I’ll admit going into this I had low expectations, it sounded like everything I was worried about concerning the film was true, but I did say that I wouldn’t judge it until I actually saw it. I even went with the extended version because I’ve heard people who defend the film recommend it to people who hated it. So I went into this with an open mind.

So lets start with the positives. The lighting is better than Man of Steel’s constant blue even during the day look, the batsuit is the best live action batsuit so far (especially after all the awful designs from the Nolan films), Wonder Woman has some cool moments, Aquaman’s design actually looks better in motion underwater than the still promo images and the actors are well cast. Yep, that’s it.

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Superman is just as boring as he was in Man of Steel. Even scene he enters should feel like a big deal and it doesn’t. I’d say a big part of that come from the score, they just don’t have a good entrance theme for him and refuse to use the classic John Williams theme. In fact the soundtrack in general is just dull with Wonder Woman’s theme being the only stand out track. See this is how dull Superman was in this, the segment where I’m meant to be talking about him has has more time dedicated to talking about the soundtrack.

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Originally I thought that at the very least they’d be able to get Batman right but instead he’s a mess. Apparently DC’s make everyone darker approach applies to Batman too because they got rid of his no kill rule and hate for guns taking away everything that makes Batman work as a character. He’s also fine branding criminals who have children with his symbol which for some dumb reason is considered a death sentence. Yes Batman, the man whose entire motivation comes from being made an orphan is perfectly fine with letting a parent die. And near the end of the film he brutally murders several of Luthor’s henchmen. The only things about him that work are the batsuit design and Ben Affleck himself who deserves to be playing Batman in a better movie.

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As for Lex Luthor honestly he wasn’t that bad. Jesse Eisenberg gives a decent performance and there are times I think that with the right script he could be a great Lex Luthor. But the script for him is bad and I don’t get it. I said I wouldn’t judge him until we see him bald because that’s when we see the true Luthor but that’s not the case, this Luthor isn’t putting on a false personality for the public he’s just silly. It’s not that bad but it’s certainly not good either, I just hate that people are going to blame Jesse Eisenberg when he’s honestly the only good thing about the character.

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But how was the fight? It is the title of the movie and even the negative reviews I’ve seen said they liked the actual fight. It was underwhelming. It’s shot well enough but compared to the action films I’ve seen this year and animated fights between Batman and Superman this one is just mediocre and honestly seemed pretty rushed.

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But lets talk about the thing that really angered me about this movie. The pointless killing of newly introduced to the films members of Superman’s supporting cast. Really early in the film we’re introduced to Jimmy Olsen who is shot in the head about two minutes later (also he doesn’t meet Superman, you know his BEST FRIEND in the comics). Why was he Jimmy Olsen? He could have just been some guy but no they decided killing Jimmy Olsen was something they needed to do near the start of their film. But it gets worse because I notice Mercy Graves (pictured above) is in this too but shortly after she finally gets name dropped as Mercy she dies in an explosion caused by Luthor. What the hell is wrong with you Snyder? There was no reason for Mercy to be there, everyone else that was killed in that scene I can understand but why Mercy Graves? It wasn’t to throw suspicion away from Luthor because she isn’t even acknowledged after her death.

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I suppose I should bring up Wonder Woman. She did have some cool moments in the final fight but they were really short and probably only stood out because Batman, Superman and Doomsday were all so bland in comparison. Before this scene she only really exists to foreshadow her solo movie and Justice League while her role in the final fight is as a guest, not enough attention is given to her because it keeps cutting away to the characters that aren’t fighting. She should have been given a bigger role.

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This is the worst Batman movie I’ve seen, the worst Superman movie I’ve seen and the worst 2016 movie I’ve seen. Man of Steel may have been boring but it didn’t kill off Jimmy Olsen and Mercy Graves for no reason. If you want to see a movie about Batman and Superman not getting along go watch The Batman/Superman Movie (World’s Finest) or The Dark Knight Returns instead. But on the bright side at least when I tell people what I think the worst Batman movie I’ve seen is people are likely to agree with me now.