6 July 2015

Review: MAGIC MIKE XXL

In the same week as Terminator Genisys has shown just how low the bar is for sequels, Magic Mike XXL turns out to be perfect counter-programming by expanding upon and ultimately surpassing the first film in just about every way imaginable. And as it turned out, the first thing that had to go was all of that pesky plot. 

Three years after the first film, “Magic” Mike Lane has managed to get his beach Womble enterprise off the ground, selling his handmade flotsam and jetsam furniture. Business isn't bad, but it's not so good that he can afford to pay for his lone employee's health insurance either. Unusually, financial gain isn't what spurs Mike to return to stripping. Nevertheless, the former Kings of Tampa - Big Dick Richie, Ken, Tarzan and Tito- come calling as they're about to head on a road trip from Florida to South Carolina, planning their final show as a group at a prestigious convention.

22 June 2015

Review: THE LONGEST RIDE

There are variables in the chemistry of a Nicholas Sparks film, but the basic formula has seldom changed through films like The Notebook, Dear John and The Lucky One. Even the posters for these movies often look indistinguishable from one another, except for the two actors pictured. The Longest Ride is the tenth Sparks adaptation to hit the big screen and though it sticks to what you'll know if you've seen more than one of the others, it's not necessarily a formula that's in need of fixing.

Read my full review on Den of Geek »

17 June 2015

Review: AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON

I'm assuming you've all seen it by now, but this is still a spoiler-free review. However, it may contain plot details from other Marvel Studios movies up to this one.

With some assembly required, Joss Whedon marshalled Marvel Studios' fledgling franchises together for a full-blooded and hugely entertaining Avengers movie back in 2012. The studio had the geek god on contract as a creative consultant for a spell after that, ending with the massive sequel, Avengers: Age Of Ultron. No matter what you think of it, nobody could accuse him of leaving anything on the table on his way out.

Giving absolutely no quarter to viewers who aren't up to date with who Hydra are, what Loki's sceptre does and why both sides are after it, the film jumps right in with a re-assembled team of Avengers- Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, Black Widow, Hawkeye and the Hulk- taking a terrorist base. Winding down after a job well done, Tony Stark is anxious about where the next threat is coming from, and works to create Ultron, an artificially intelligent program that can protect the world in their stead. Alas, Ultron has unconventional ideas about what peace in our time really means.

12 June 2015

Review: JURASSIC WORLD

"Gunther! Harpo! Roll over!" (only slightly exaggerated)
Sorry about the mess- I didn't know blogs could gather dust. If anyone's still reading, I'll hopefully be writing to you a bit more often in the next few weeks, on subjects like why I really can't imagine any other film topping Mad Max: Fury Road this year, (cue an avalanche of other masterpieces) and a little thing called BlogalongaStarWars. But we're really here because Jurassic World is a terrible and wonderful sequel to Jurassic Park all at once.

Previous sequels The Lost World and Jurassic Park III have had a hard time finding a logical plot to follow the pitch-perfect blockbuster mayhem of the original. Colin Trevorrow's Jurassic World trumps them both by doing a sublimely illogical one instead. Years after John Hammond's dream went awry, an equally eccentric businessman has turned the venture around and as the unimprovable tagline has proclaimed, the park is open. They've spared no expense (except maybe common sense) in genetically engineering a monstrous cocktail of a creature that inevitably goes rogue on the island, but this time there are 20,000 tourists in peril.

15 May 2015

Review: CLOUDS OF SILS MARIA

Maria Enders is an actress who’s fed up with Hollywood and wants to go back to the stage, where she made her name. Having escaped a comic book franchise contract, she holds high hopes for a mooted sequel to Maloja Snake, the play in which she broke through 25 years earlier, playing a young and vivacious girl who seduces an older, embittered woman and eventually drives her to suicide.

When the playwright, Wilhelm Melchior, passes away unexpectedly, a new director instead pitches the idea of redoing the play with Maria now playing the older woman and Jo-Ann Ellis taking on Maria’s part. In Jo-Ann, Maria sees an uncanny reflection of herself, which only makes it more difficult for her to accept the opposite role.