Sunday, 25 June 2017

The Fast and Furious (2001) - Film Review

Review:

*Originally written January 2nd, 2016*

"Live life a quarter mile at a time" Whatever that means.

It's always interesting to go back and watch films you loved from your childhood only to find out they are quite terrible. The most fascinating thing about The Fast and Furious is just how different it is from the later sequels, it's much more grounded and toned down, but also quite lame and cheesy.

The story is a complete knock-off of Point Break. Paul Walker plays a cop who goes undercover to take down Vin Diesel's street racing circuit, but finds himself getting in way too deep with the people he is meant to be taking down.

It's simple stuff that just reeked of '90s cheese, complete with awful and outdated CGI. Although some of the later action scenes like the truck heist at the end were pretty solid. It's probably unfair to compare the action to the creativity of the later films, but this first entry just feels really uninspired. The editing also feels so outdated and they try and make some of the scenes seem dramatic, but the execution is laughable and cringe worthy at best.


While they try and make you care about these characters to tell a story that is nowhere near as engaging as similar films, it fails dramatically. I haven't seen this in years and I remember next to nothing about it. It feels like one of those films that should have faded into obscurity, but somehow didn't and is now part of a billion dollar franchise.

Tonally it is different from any of the others too, this one feels far more gritty and violent and there's a few more f-bombs too. When people get shot they get a large bloody wound on them and actually get hurt in car crashes, a far cry from the superheroes they are today.

I guess this is the film that made stars of Vin Diesel and Paul Walker too. They are both terrible. 
 Maybe terrible is harsh, Walker isn't bad exactly, but he really was quite bland. Then we had Diesel, who doesn't do much other than try and sound serious with his 'milk bubble' voice. It was just so bad.

The Fast and Furious is far more interesting to watch ironically and to see where this series started, but it really isn't good at all. I don't even like Point Break, but I'd just say watch that instead.

4/10 Dans

The Fast and Furious 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
 

  

Elephant (2003) - Film Review

Review:

*Originally written June 25th, 2017*

"Most importantly, have fun, man"

Gas Van Sant isn't a director I'm massively familiar with, I've known the name for a long time, but I was surprised to find out the only film I've seen of his is Good Will Hunting and now Elephant.

School shootings are a touchy subject, one that has rarely made it into film or TV for obvious reasons. Elephant could have potentially been a highly glorified and explotive piece of violent cinema, or even worse, a heavy-handed anti-gun film. The result was neither of these. The end result is something much more fascinating and unsettling.

We follow the lives of a multiple group of students. Some lonely, others popular, then some just normal. A lot of the script is improvised, making everyone feel real and natural. There's not really a lot to these characters, as we only see one morning of their lives, but that's not the point. It's like an on-the-fly documentary, like a first hand account of what happens. There's no cinematic feel to any of this, nothing unrealistic or over the top, it's just how it was. The use of several long and unbroken takes really helped add to the realistic feeling.


There are obvious influences from the Columbine School Massacre. The shooters are clearly designed to look like them, their plan was very similar and there are small moments added to the film from first hand accounts of the massacre. I believe this was originally meant to be a film about the Columbine massacre too, but ended up its own thing. I do hope that some day we get a film about the Columbine Massacre and maybe we one day get to see the infamous 'Basement Tapes', but for now, Elephant is our definitive school shooting film.

The only thing that kinda bugged me about Elephant was it's ending. It's left ambigious and open-ended (Like the shooters motivations), but despite the unsettling and tense build-up to the disturbing and gruesome event, I was left pretty cold by the ending, it left me wanting more. I'm sure there's a lot to the ending that needs to be looked up, but for now, it just left me a little frustrated.

8/10 Dans

Elephant 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
 

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
 
  

Friday, 16 June 2017

Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World (2010) - Film Review

Review:

*Originally written June 16th, 2017*

"An Epic of Epic Epicness" 

Edgar Wright's Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is a film I've seen countless times, and I still enjoy with each watch, but despite the bigger budget and scale, Scott Pilgrim feels like a step backwards from Wright's Cornetto trilogy of smaller, British comedies.

This might be due to the fact, Scott Pilgrim is aimed much more at teenagers, who grew up with Nintendo and stuff, which is fine, but it lacks what made Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz and The World's End so special. I just feel like a maybe growing out of this film a little, which is a shame, because this is a film I've been watching fairly consistently for the past 7 years (Fuck me, this is 7 years old).

After rewatching the Cornetto Trilogy then this, it feels a lot less mature, filled with weaker and easier jokes. Not to say Scott Pilgrim isn't funny, there are a hell of a lot of gags that land, but quite a few are just a bit.... shit. I remember liking a lot of the comic-book and video-game influences that come off the screen like the "Pee bar", but again, now, it's just a bit shit.


To be more positive, Scott Pilgrim truly does feel like an Edgar Wright film. It's fast-paced, well edited and filled with beautifully chereographed action. Each of the battles with the "Evil Ex's" each have their own unique style and feel, making each fight different and exciting.

Michael Cera was born to play Scott Pilgrim, the loveable nerd and slacker who has to fight his way through the love of his life's 7 evil ex's in order to win her heart. It's not out of the way of most Cera roles, but he slips effortlessy into the role, giving us a loveable protagonist to root for.

Like all Wright films, the supporting cast are all fantastically memorable, such as Keiran Culkin as Scott's gay roommate, Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Scott's love interest Ramona. Then there's the evil ex's, each of which are great. The standout being Chris Evan's as an egotistical action film star who is ultimately defeated by his own ego.

The soundtrack is great too, with mostly original songs from the film's fictional band 'Sex Bob-omb', a garage rock band delivering surprisingly good music for what they're meant to be. Brie Larson's cover of Black Sheep is also excellent in of the film's more memorable musical pieces.


I do really appreciate how unique and different Scott Pilgrim is. It really has its own distinct style that was a really hard sell for a mainstream audience, leading to it being a huge flop and only making half its budget, despite strong reviews. As much as it doesn't hold up like I'd want it to, there's no denying there's no other film like this.

Scott Pilgrim is Edgar Wright's weakest work, but is still a great comic-book film, a fast, fun and unique ride that's unlike anything you've ever seen. A stylish rush of pure hipster adrenaline.

8/10 Dans

Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World 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

Iron Man (2008) - Film Review

Review:

*Originally written December 29th, 2015*

"Strong beginnings"

Marking the start of Marvel's 'Cinematic Universe', Iron Man is a really great start to a franchise that has been victim to the law of diminishing returns as of late. Not saying they're bad, they just aren't as fresh or fun as they like to think they are.

Following Robert Downey Jr as a sarcastic billionaire weapons dealer who gets captured by terrorists in the Middle East and escapes, but changes his ways to stop making weapons and helps people instead... with a suit, that is essentially a weapon.


I did like the progression of Tony Stark's character. He's an asshole, but he's an asshole you hate to love. He's nothing more than a playboy that also happens to be a scientific genius. Despite this, there is a certain charm to Robert Downey Jr's performance that I can't see the role of Tony Stark being played by anyone else. The guy is a charisma magnet. I found him much more endearing than say the humble Captain America, or any of the other Avengers for that matter.

Jeff Bridges plays Obidiah Stone, the villain of the piece, and while he is a more interesting villain than most of the MCU, that really doesn't say much. By the end of it, he is just another throwaway villain that ends up fighting the hero with powers that are the same as the hero, but evil. Yawn.

There are some fun action scenes though. The first 40 minutes are easily the strongest, especially with Tony in captivity and it feels weird to see the small beginnings of these films that mostly seem to end with a whole city being leveled in a CGI frenzy. Here, things seem more restrained and it works.


As the first film in the now huge MCU, there is obviously some world building. We get the first appearance of Agent Coulson, a good character, but he's not given a lot to do here rather than say the name of his agency. Then in the first post credits sting we have Samuel L Jackson as Nick Fury, trying to recruit Tony to the Avengers Initiative. I'm sure the film was also littered with references to Marvel comics and what not, but I don't really know any of that stuff.

Iron Man is great start to Marvel's MCU, it is carried by Robert Downey Jr's charisma and there are a couple of shortcomings, but this was a lot of fun and I can't wait to go forward with my rewatch of the MCU.

8/10 Dans

Iron 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
 


 

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Spider-Man 3 (2007) - Film Review

Review:

*Originally written March 21st, 2017*

"Web Dead"

WOW! Where do I begin with this mess? I liked this as a kid, maybe even loved it, but I'm a little fuzzy on that. How wrong a 10 year old me was. This film is pretty much a disaster on all accounts, no wonder it single handedly killed the series for 5 years and forced Sony to reboot it.

This time around Peter Parker's life is going just fine, all is good, he's going to ask Mary Jane to marry him and he's thriving as Spider-Man, but all this goes to shit due to the appearances of The Sandman, Venom and Harry Osbourne, who now takes over his father's Green Goblin persona.

It's a mess. There are way too many villains and sub-plots for one film. It was even considered at one point to make this into two films, but instead, it was all crammed into this utter mess. So much could be cut out. The idea of making Sandman the guy who accidentally killed Uncle Ben is pointless and brought nothing but an emotionally manipulative villain that lacked the humanity of Doc Ock or the campy fun of Green Goblin. Making him some criminal trying to get money for his dying daughter is woefully cliche and just awful.


Then we have Venom. A black alien symbiote that attaches itself to Spider-Man, turning him black and becoming more aggresive, violent and a huge asshole, both as Parker and Spidey. There's also a scene where Peter has a montage of being a massive douche set to jazz music, that is either best or worst thing to ever happen to cinema. I honestly don't even know anymore. Topher Grace's Eddie Brock fares no better as Venom, once he is infected by the symbiote. He's far more annoying than he is intimidating.

After a brief green screen heavy fight, Harry gets amnesia, which Peter just takes advantage of to make them friends again, until the end where he remembers everything, but changes his mind to help him save Mary Jane from Venom and Sandman. A fucking mainstream film that uses amnesia for plot. I forgot Spider-Man was a daytime soap.

It's clearly a film ruined by studio interference. It lacks the personal journey Peter goes through in the first two, I was a little warm on the first, but it's looking a lot better to me after this. I wonder how The two Amazing Spider-Man films compare to this, it's been a while, but I think they're both stronger than this? (I will be revisiting them to confirm)


The only real saving graces of Spider-Man 3 are some great performances. J.J. Jameson once again steals every scene he's in and it is true gold for every little moment he's in. Even with the final battle, he trumps everything else happening with one 30 second scene. There is some creative action scenes spread throughout, but they are more often than not, undercut with some really terrible CGI and use of green screen.

Despite Raimi still at the helm, the action just feels off. Everything feels fake and it's way too CGI heavy. I couldn't pinpoint a single moment that looked or felt real. I did like some of the ideas though, black Spider-Man looked cool I will admit and it was sorta fun to see him be more of a dick, but yeah, that's pretty much it.

Spider-Man 3 is a complete mess that killed a franchise with so much potential, it's somehow watchable, but a bloated, stupid and at times, laughably bad sequel and a disappointing send off for Raimi's trilogy.

4/10 Dans

Spider-Man 3 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
 

  

Spider-Man 2 (2004) - Film Review

Review:

*Originally written March 18th, 2016*

"Webscellent"

Bigger, longer, deeper. Urm, that sounded less filthy in my head.... anyway, Spider-Man 2 is a vastly superior sequel, in every way imaginable and was a new standard for superhero films at the time. Unlike the first Spider-Man, this sequel holds up remarkably well, despite the extreme cheese at some moments.

Picking up 2 years after the first, this sequel finds Peter Parker struggling to balance his life as Spider-Man and Peter Parker, all while a new threat emerges in the form of 'Doc Ock', a mad scientist with metal tentacles trying to finish his experiment that could destroy the whole city.

There's just no other way of putting it, this is just an insanely improved sequel. The action scenes are all memorable and amazing, the story is compelling, as are the characters and the paths they take, it's funnier and the cheese and campiness is taken down a notch.


Doc Ock is a great villain, a sad and tragic figure with a sense of humanity. Alfred Molina's performance was fantastic. A lot less hamming up compared to Willem Dafoe's Green Goblin. We spend more time with him before his transformation, showing he truly is a nice and caring man, making his fall that much more sad and effective.

Tobey Maguire is even better this time as Peter Parker and Spider-Man. Being taken through a very deep story about doubting who you are and discovering who you're meant to be. It played extremely well, and was pretty damn effective. While it had moments of extreme cheese, the love story between Peter and Mary Jane provided a heart for the film.

Raimi's direction is much more confident this time as he handles some much more ambitious set-pieces. The bank heist and train sequences in particular are still the highlights for the whole series. We even got Doc Ock's "awakening" scene, which is pure Raimi getting a chance to flash his horror roots. I barely noticed any of the CGI either, this has barely aged at all.

The humour is so much better this time around and J.K. Simmons gets much more screen time as the scene stealing J. Jonah Jameson, I honestly wish they would have just made a whole film based around this character, would have been amazing. And that scene where he wears and plays in Spider-Man's suit? Genius.



I do feel there are moments that don't work and it is a little too long. The whole 'Rain Drops Keep Falling on my Head' scene is pure cringe and even ends in a bizarre freeze frame that made me laugh out loud, and I don't even know what the intention was. There's a few plot-lines left unanswered, which are obviously going to be explored for the next one, but I still wish there was more with Harry and Peter.

Spider-Man 2 truly is a franchise peak, bigger and better in every way imaginable. Such a shame that the series completely lost momentum after this. Who knows what Disney can conjure up, maybe they'll managed to get their new Spider-Man up to this standard.

8/10 Dans

Spider-Man 2 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
 

The Fast and Furious (2001) - Film Review

Review: *Originally written January 2nd, 2016* "Live life a quarter mile at a time" Whatever that means. It's always i...