Thursday, 22 June 2017

Django Unchained (2012) - Film Review

Review:

 *Originally written September 25th, 2015*

"I like the way you die, boy"

Tarantino is a well known fan of westerns. His films are littered with homages and cues to well known westerns, a lot of his films even have western elements. With him taking on his first full-blown western, you'd expect another Tarantino masterpiece, while it isn't quiet that, it is still another excellent and worthy entry into his amazing filmography.

Django Unchained follows a slave Django (Jamie Foxx) who is freed by a bounty hunter, Dr. King Schultz (Christoph Waltz) who trains him to be a bounty hunter also and agrees to help him free his enslaved wife from Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio).


To get the minor quibbles out the way. Django Unchained has a few minor problems that emerge in the last 40 minutes. First off, it is so long, which isn't too much of a problem as it runs at such an relentless pace. The Biggest problem is a strange choice a lead character makes in the last act, which completely derailed the character and seemed like a poor excuse to get a gun fight to start, there were plenty of ways the film could have got to this set-piece, but doing it in a way that just butchered one of the best characters of the film just felt stupid. Lastly, Tarantino could really not just help himself, he had to cast himself in a completely terrible cameo, which just felt awkward and unnecessary. His character has a an AWFUL Australian accent, why does he do this? I love his films, but he needs to just stay solely behind the camera.

These minor things aside, Django Unchained is one of the most entertaining and overall enjoyable films I've ever seen. Every scene is just pure, balls out the bath fun. The bloody violence is unrestrained and just fantastic. No CGI here, just gallons of squibs worth of practical blood. Gorgeous. The action scenes themselves are well shot and smooth. The Candie Land shootout is one of the best set-pieces I've seen from an action film and might just be Tarantino's best straight-up action scene he's filmed, it's a mash up between this, The Crazy 88 scene from Kill Bill and the theater scene from Inglorious Basterds.

The performances are all great. Obviously Christoph Waltz won an Oscar for his charming role as bounty hunter who takes in Django. Jamie Foxx is kinda forgettable as Django, he's just kinda there, he doesn't give a bad performance, it's just when everyone else in the film is so great, you're gonna get forgotten. DiCaprio is excellent as the villain, playing it gleefully sadistic and clearly just having a blast being a slave owner. The stand-out and most enjoyable member of the cast though, easily has to be Samuel L Jackson as the self loathing head slave of DiCaprio's Candie, he plays it so fantastically over the top and hammy, it's hilarious. I've never seen him like this before.


Filled with a lot of the Tarantino trademarks. You know, long, engrossing monologues about something mundane or not important, but it's just so well written you hang on every word. Including an amazing scene where a primitive KKK argue about the quality of the sacks on their heads. There's the bombastic and erratic camera shoots, so many fast zoom ins here, which all look great and are effective. And of course, it wouldn't be Tarantino without an amazing soundtrack, filled with classic, modern hip-hop and rap.

Django Unchained might falter slightly towards the end, but you can't deny that every moment of this western is just a joy to watch. I want to give this a 10 so bad, but that poor character choice at the end really won't let me.

9/10 Dans

Django Unchained is out now on Blu-ray and DVD in the UK
Watch the trailer below:

Follow us:
Twitter: @FigmentReviews, @DanBremner96 and @ArronRoke91
Instagram: @DanBremner96 and @ArronRoke
YouTube: Figment Reviews
Letterboxd: Dan and Arron 

Facebook

 

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

The Amazing Spider-Man (2012) - Film Review

Review:

*Originally written June 21st, 2017*

"With great power, comes a mediocre reboot"

The Amazing Spider-Man is something I remember enjoying when it was released, despite being a pissed off 15 year old who was annoyed we never got Raimi's Spider-Man 4. I never loved it, but I did enjoy it. Now, however, I found it to be the film equivalent of chewing gum for two hours that has lost its flavour.

I was never offended by this reboot, but it just walked a fine line of mediocrity during its entire, bloated 137 minute run-time. The biggest crime Marc Webb's film commits is probably being far too familiar and certainly unnecessary. 



Rather than do something new or interesting, we're once again given Spider-Man's origin story. It's far too similar to the first Sam Raimi film, despite being different. We see scenes we've seen before, Peter going after who killed Uncle Ben (Which is a subplot that is dropped and never mentioned again), him discovering his powers, a big villain who's the result of a science experiment gone wrong. It's all just really dull, despite flashes of something better that is potentially underneath the surface. Oh, they do the whole "Beam in the sky" finale here too... urgh.

Andrew Garlfield is better than I remember when he's actually Spider-Man (I love the look and design of the suit) and he has some genuine chemistry with an underused Emma Stone, but when he's Peter Parker, he acts like a mentally challenged and twitchy Marty McFly and it is weird, so weird. I feel it's meant to be charming, but it comes off as all wrong.

Rhys Ifans doesn't fare much better as Dr. Curt Connors/The Lizard. We were given hints of The Lizard throughout Raimi's trilogy and we sadly never got him, but here he's pretty wasted. He looks like a terrible cartoony CGI mess and plays it very hammy and over the top. I noticed a weird scene where he's shouting, but his mouth wasn't moving, which is a goof. Sure, whatever, but I expect better from a film that cost this much. Again, his character is far too similar to Spider-Man's Green Goblin, another science experiment gone wrong who gives the host split personality.




There are some decent bits of action spread throughout. I liked some of the POV shots of Spider-Man going around the city, which I remember being in the teaser trailer for the film. I just wish there was more creative stuff on display, like the most of the film, everything is just very forgettable and vanilla.

The Amazing Spider-Man is an instantly forgettable and mostly dull attempt at rebooting Spider-Man by rehashing a lot of stuff we've seen before.   


5/10 Dans

The Amazing Spider-Man is out now on Blu-ray and DVD in the UK
Watch the trailer below:

Follow us:
Twitter: @FigmentReviews, @DanBremner96 and @ArronRoke91
Instagram: @DanBremner96 and @ArronRoke
YouTube: Figment Reviews
Letterboxd: Dan and Arron 

Facebook

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

The Mummy (2017) - Film Review

Review:

*Originally written June 20th, 2017*

 "Leave it buried"

The Mummy is the first entry in Universal's 'Dark Universe' which technically started with 2014's Dracula Untold, but due to the poor reception, they scrapped and started again with is. Based on the critical blasting The Mummy has recieved, I'm interested to see what happens with it, they have some interesting cast and directors set for future films, but in all honesty, The Mummy is very mediocre restart to the universe.

2017's The Mummy feels like a remake of Brendan Fraser's The Mummy from 1999 (that I rewatched this week), but set in the modern day. I'll be honest, I was into this for the first act or so. The opening scenes feature a baby murder (Always a plus) and Tom Cruise plays a sort of dickish Nathan Drake or Indiana Jones. He's fun and charismatic enough, but his attempts at humour are a huge miss, which is strange considering his comedic talents were shown off very well in Edge of Tomorrow.


My biggest problem with The Mummy is how convoluted and boring it gets as it goes along. It pretty much loses all its steam after a brief, but excellent plane crash (That is highlighted in all the trailers). I was reminded of World War Z, a film that started strong, but just got worse as it went on. Most of the action is just heavily-bombastic on CGI and really uninteresting.

I was surprised at Sofia Boutella's performance as The Mummy, she was actually quite intimidating and was given more to do than I expected. I really liked the design and the look of the triple eye thing. I was also surprised by the end, which went in a direction I did not expect at all.

I wish the tone had been a bit more consistent, it really is a nightmare at times. It goes from Indiana Jones like adventure, to horror to strange Austin Powers like comedy as Tom Cruise is walking naked around a morgue with random props are covering his junk. It doesn't help that none of the comedy hits either, especially Jake Johnson's comic-relief, who was irritating and brutal.


The worst part was Russell Crowe strangely enough as Dr. Jekyll, who is essentially the Nick Fury of this cinematic universe. He was fine as Dr. Jekyll, not exactly memorable, but fine, but when he becomes Mr. Hyde, do this gets terrible. He hams it up to 11 with an atrocious accent that feels so out of place in this film, it was bizzare.

It was weird to see how little The Mummy does to establish this Dark Universe. Once we got to Russell Crowe's organization, there's loads of easter eggs to the Universal Monsters, but there's no hints to future films in the series, which made it feel stand-alone at the very least. Oh, and there's a weird nod to Brendad Fraser's Mummy trilogy, which makes it canon to this universe, sort of? The film also opens with the 'Dark Universe' logo, which nearly made me throw up.

The Mummy isn't as horrible as the critics made it out to be, but for the most part it is pretty dull, bland and forgettable despite Tom Cruise's game performance and a solid opening act.

5/10 Dans

The Mummy is out now in cinemas in the UK
Watch the trailer below:

Follow us:
Twitter: @FigmentReviews, @DanBremner96 and @ArronRoke91
Instagram: @DanBremner96 and @ArronRoke
YouTube: Figment Reviews
Letterboxd: Dan and Arron 

Facebook
 

  

Monday, 19 June 2017

Baby Driver (2017) - Film Review

Review:

*Originally written June 19th, 2017*

"One killer track"
 
I was pumped for Baby Driver, I'm a huge fan of Edgar Wright, he's maybe my favourite director working right now, I will be massively excited for anything he does, although I was a bit worried about Baby Driver. I would prefer to see Wright do more smaller British comedies like his Cornetto Trilogy, but holy shit, my expectations were exceeded and then some.

Baby Driver is a huge change of pace for Wright, while all of his previous films are mostly comedies, this is a full on action musical, a genre I had no idea could work. While it is funny in places, it is pretty serious for the most part and the last act goes to some really dark and surprisingly gruesome places, Which is a was pleasant surprise.

Ansel Elgort is an actor I've not been too hot on, he mostly appears in teen crap like The Fault in our Stars and the Divergent series, but holy shit, he really proved he can carry a film here as the titular 'Baby'. He's the right amount of cool, charismatic and compelling to root for. His relationship with waitress (Lily James) brought real heart to the film and was insanely likeable.

Baby's disability and use of only being able to work with music is something so unique and I don't think I've ever seen it done before. It's a weird way of making a musical without anyone really singing. The sound design is excellent too, with the ringing sounds of Baby's tinitus subtly entering the scene whenever he is without music in a moment he needs it. The love of music in Baby Driver gave me that same feeling I got from watching Almost Famous where I just wanted to spend hours discovering and loving new music.

The supporting cast were filled with memorable characters, most of which are extremely unlikeable, but quirky and fun in their own way. Kevin Spacey really surprised me, I was under the impression he was the straight up villain of the film, but they turn that on its head at the end as you learn more about his relationship with Baby. Jon Hamm was a lot of fun, as was his on-screen wife Eiza Gonzales. Jamie Foxx was the most unstable as the genuinely crazy Bats, his character was a bit of a one dimensional psychopath, but there was enough there for him to leave an impression.

What really drives Baby Driver is Edgar Wright's direction and use of music. I mentioned this was like an action-musical, and it really is. It felt like La La Land meets HEAT and it is a bizarre combination that works. Every song choice is perfect and matches the images on display beat for beat while Wright delivers some fantastically kinetic action that is some of the best filmed stuff I've seen this year. I'd say the strongest set-piece was the opening getaway sequence, but the rest of it is all still awesome, especially a footchase towards the end that reminded me of Ferris Bueller and Point Break.

While it's a Hollywood film, it keeps Wright's British charm, complete with the fluent quick-cutting he's so good at and while Baby Driver is not a comedy for the most part, there are some really funny moments here and there, including an incredible reference to Monsters Inc. One of the earlier Wright'isms I noticed early on is the lyrics to the music Baby is listening to during the opening credits are written subtly on things around the city as Baby is walking to get coffee. It's amazing that Wright can make something as mundane as getting coffee be such a fun and memorable scene.

Like all of Edgar Wright's work I can only imagine my apprection for Baby Driver will grow with each watch due to all the subtle little breadcrumbs Wright leaves throughout his films, demanding rewatches. I will definintely be seeing this again when it hits its official release, as it could potentially be my film of the year by the end of it all.

Baby Driver is another masterpiece from Edgar Wright, a magical, kinetic, music-led action film filled with outstanding set-pieces, memorable characters and an insane soundtrack. I cannot wait to see what Wright does next. All I know is, I want it now.

10/10 Dans

Baby Driver is out June 28th in cinemas in the UK
Watch the trailer below:
  
Follow us:
Twitter: @FigmentReviews, @DanBremner96 and @ArronRoke91
Instagram: @DanBremner96 and @ArronRoke
YouTube: Figment Reviews
Letterboxd: Dan and Arron 

Facebook

Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011) - Film Review

Review:

*Originally written March 12th, 2017*

"More Bayhem"

Transformers: Dark of the Moon is an odd beast of a film. It never reaches the level of fun seen in the first, but it's streets ahead of the absymal trainwreck that was 'Revenge of the Fallen'.

I'm amazed the studio let Michael Bay return after the last films shambles, but whatever, he's back and he made the film 155 minutes long. Think of that, a film about fighting robots is over 2 and a half hours long, and it's not even the longest in the series. That's absurd.

It's also the third and currently final appearance of the Witwicky clan. They are still just the worst. Annoying, vexing and borderline unbearable like all the humour in this film. As bad as all the humour gets, nothing gets as irritating as the Witwicky family shenanigans.

John Turtorro and his new assistant Alan Tudyk are also brutal. Then they somehow got John Malkovich for a role I can only describe as "bizarre". That's without even getting into all the racial, sexist and homophobic stuff that's a staple of Michael Bay's films.


Tonally, Dark of the Moon is at war with itself. We go from these lame and crude jokes to scenes of innocent people getting slaughtered in these surprisingly gruesome and dark scenes that feel so out of place. This film needed better writers and a better director to make it feel natural. These films are based on kids toys, they shouldn't be this dark and miserable.

There is at least some fun to be had here. It goes on far too long, but the final battle in Chicago is pretty spectacular at times and features some really inventive set-pieces, including a scene involving a collapsing building, which was oddly a lot more thrilling than I remember.

That's where the good ends though. There are some interesting ideas. I like the thought of incorparating the Transformers into real world history, leading to an unexpected cameo from Buzz Aldrin playing himself. All these neat ideas are collapsed under the plot heavy and convoluted story. I honestly have no real idea what was going on by the end, and I was pretty numb from all the mindless action. There's also the "portal in the sky" end of the world thing that has become so tired and overdone on display here. I can't blame the film for that, as it was probably one of the first to do it, but still, it's pretty tiring to see.


One of the more interesting things was Megan Fox being replaced by Rosie Huntington-Whiteley. The behind the scenes drama caused Fox to be replaced, but in all honesty, Whiteley is pretty annoying. Bay's perversion also causing her to be nothing more than a sex object. One of the opening scenes is nothing more than a tracking shot of her ass as she's walking up the stairs. Bay is just a disgusting pervert.

Dark of the Moon is a step-up from the previous film, but it once again fails due to its horribly racial, homophobic and sexist humour, Bay's gratuitous and misogynist direction and above all, it's too long by at least 40 minutes.

4/10 Dans

Transformers: Dark of the Moon is out now on Blu-ray and DVD in the UK
Watch the trailer below:

Follow us:
Twitter: @FigmentReviews, @DanBremner96 and @ArronRoke91
Instagram: @DanBremner96 and @ArronRoke
YouTube: Figment Reviews
Letterboxd: Dan and Arron 

Facebook

  

Sunday, 18 June 2017

Deadpool (2016) - Film Review

Review:

*Originally written February 10th, 2016*

"I'm touching myself tonight"

Here it is, in all its foul-mouthed, violent glory, my most anticipated film of the year. I really did wonder if they could live up to the insanely high standards set by the genius marketing campaign. I am so fucking happy to say that I had a motherfucking blast with Deadpool.

Part origin story, part revenge story and part love story, Deadpool brings the merc with a mouth to the big screen in all his meta glory. The film opens with the action scene shown in all the trailers and goes back and forth between present day and how Wade Wilson becomes the deformed psychopath Deadpool. I was extremely surprised at how all this was handled, despite being really bored of origin stories, like really fucking bored, Deadpool tries and gets all that out the way as fast as it can to make way for Deadpool's revenge mission. During all this we see his relationship with this hooker with a heart of gold, which was actually quite sweet and gave a heart to the core of the film.

Aside from the game I played on PS4, I really have no other point of reference to Deadpool, aside from X-men Origins: Wolverine, which was mocked and referenced a few times. I felt that character was put on the big screen to great success, Ryan Reynold's gave an incredibly charismatic performance that brought charm and humour to this completely violent man child. He could even be quite sweet at times, giving his view on love which was "Finding someone who brings out the best in you and never letting them go", it was a cheesy line, but I agree.


 I also thought Deadpool's constant fourth-wall breaking would get irritating, but it was nowhere near as relentless as I thought it would be and every moment he does was gold, in fact every line that comes out of his mouth was pretty much laugh out loud hilarious. I relate to Deadpool in some ways, much to the annoyance of my friends, I break the fourth wall in real life, which makes me sound insane at times, but it's who I am and I embraced it, so fuck you.

I was a bit disappointed by the lack of major X-Men cameos, if you were expecting an appearance from Wolverine, then don't. I did like the two X-Men they did use though, Colossus and Negasonic Teenage Warhead, both of which are annoyed by Deadpool's antics, but do eventually join him on his quest for revenge.

It was also a shame that Deadpool also fell into the same trap that all comic-book films that aren't DC fall into.... bland villains. Ed Skrein did a better job than he did in the awful Transporter Refueled, but his character was just a big piece of meh that was only there to serve as a plot device for Deadpool to battle. Gina Carano was serviceable as the main villain's henchman, but still very forgettable.

The biggest thing that Deadpool does different from most other comic-book films is that R rating, and it did deserve it. We get constant F-bombs, graphic violence, including dismemberment's and even some T and A, which is where we get Stan Lee's cameo. It doesn't make the film more mature than other superhero films (far from it), but it does give it an edge over Marvel's other films and makes it far more fun. I think I'll happily put Deadpool alongside the first Kick-Ass, Kingsman and Dredd in a hopefully growing list of excellent R-rated comic-book films.


Being a first time director, I was interested to see how Tim Miller would handle this, and he did a great job. The 100 minutes run at a crazy pace, I was never bored for a second. The few action scenes were all excellent, loved the mix of gun-play and sword-play which was extremely well choreographed. It also must have been a tricky job to make such an insane character such as Deadpool accessible to mainstream audiences, from what I know, they obviously had to restrain Deadpool's more abstract plotting and actions to introduce him for the first time, but I hope with the sequels, they explore Deadpool's chaotic and rampant journeys. What makes Deadpool so interesting is his mind, even he doesn't know who he is, everything is a joke to him, he does insane shit, he even got bored once and decided to kill everyone in the Marvel universe. I got why they played it safe and fair enough.

Deadpool is Fox's gamble and it paid of better than I could have hoped, it's fast, funny, meta, violent and featured what might be the best performance of Ryan Reynold's career. Deadpool 2 has already been announced, I cannot wait.

Oh, and wait till after the end credits if you wanna see Deadpool's homage to Ferris Bueller's Day Off.

9/10 Dans

Deadpool is out now on 4K UHD, Blu-ray and DVD in the UK
Watch the trailer below:

Follow us:
Twitter: @FigmentReviews, @DanBremner96 and @ArronRoke91
Instagram: @DanBremner96 and @ArronRoke
YouTube: Figment Reviews
Letterboxd: Dan and Arron 

Facebook

Saturday, 17 June 2017

Handsome: A Netflix Mystery Movie (2017) - Film Review

Review:

*Originally written June 17th, 2017*

"Shitflix"

I love Jeff Garlin in Curb, but this is just pathetic. Another piss-poor Netflix Original in their catalogue of slightly higher budget direct-to-DVD films. Handsome has its moments, but ultimately feels like an extended pilot for a garbage police comedy procedural.

There is nothing to this film. It's a generic and unfunny police comedy that has a bit of wacky content, but lacks any kind of style or voice. It looks like shit, ugly TV lighting, the most cinematic part about it is the fact it's wide-screen. Watch five minutes of this, then five minutes of No Country for Old Men, that's what a real film looks like. Not this fucking trash-fire.

Jeff Garlin's lead character is woefully bland and boring, a lonely cop on the verge of retirement, who is in love with his new neighbour and is put in the middle of a murder mystery with his partner (Natasha Lyonne, on of the film's only highlights). The mystery is not compelling in the slightest. It really does feel like an episode of TV, everything is wrapped up, but leaves the world open for more. Like a TV pilot seriously.

It is at least mercifully short at only 80 minutes, but still feels really long, mostly due to how ugly and uninteresting this whole thing is. Barely any of the humour lands either, which is even more disappointing considering this was also written and directed by Jeff Garlin, someone I know is capable of comedic greatness.

I hope after Netflix's shake-around with the cancellation of a few of their big TV shows, it leads to them sorting out whatever the fuck is going on with their atrocious original film content. Their hit rate with films is about 1 in 10 by this point. It's embarrassing.

Remember 2 years ago when we got Beasts of No Nation? Yeah, well that was 2 fucking years ago and the gold standard of Netflix films seems to be shit like this. I wouldn't fucking be surprised if they fucking bought the rights to produce Paul Blart: Mall Cop 3 at this point. Oh... Shit. I just figured out their next deal will be a four film contract with Kevin James. Dear fucking Christ.

There was a time where cinemas were worried about Netflix killing cinema by producing their own films. They don't need to worry, if their content keeps up like this, then people will be fleeing to the cinema to see new releases in order to escape from Netflix's garbage Originals.

4/10 Dans

Handsome: A Netflix Mystery Movie is streaming now on Netflix in the UK
Watch the trailer below:

Follow us:
Twitter: @FigmentReviews, @DanBremner96 and @ArronRoke91
Instagram: @DanBremner96 and @ArronRoke
YouTube: Figment Reviews
Letterboxd: Dan and Arron 

Facebook
 
  

Django Unchained (2012) - Film Review

Review:   *Originally written September 25th, 2015* "I like the way you die, boy" Tarantino is a well known fan of western...