Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Jurassic World

SF: I love the first and the third installment of these film. Please never speak to me about the second one, I may cry. While I had high expectations for this I knew it was unlikely to be amazing. The effect are awesome and I expected no less. The movie is set back on Isla Nubar, the T-Rex is back on top and there are kids in danger, so far so good. Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard are fine and likable but here is the problem, its just OK. I never got particularly excited or scared just sort of mildly entertained. So on the whole this is your typical average blockbuster. While there are plenty of nice nods to the originals it wasn't enough for me. I would say seeing it in the cinema at least once is a good idea, it still fun after all.

50Eggs: I watched this in 3D IMAX, so Jurassic World was off to a good start for me (IMAX, btw, is the only time it's worth bothering with 3D). Obviously this film was never going to compare favourably to the original, and whilst it can't come close to recreate the sense of wonder that was so core to Jurassic Park, it does actually trump it in other ways. The kids in this one are far less annoying, and the big fish dino is awesome. Don't expect the world and you'll enjoy it. 8/10

DonkeyB: n/a

Overall: 7/10

Monday, May 18, 2015

Pitch Perfect 2

SF: How much did I love the last installment! This was no disappointment, the same zany comedy, brilliant songs and vocal performances. I laughed all the way through and I can't wait for the DVD. Das Sound Machine was a hilarious addition and *spoiler* I now adore the Green Bay Packers. Also Snoop Dog can actually sing. Is this going to be ground breaking now, it is really enjoyable - totally.  Don't miss it.

50Eggs: Watching Pitch Perfect 2 cemented a life lesson for me. It taught me that I do in fact like musicals, and that the reason I have never ever liked one until this series is that they all had rubbish songs. I'm looking at you Chicago, and Les Mis. So you can guess that I enjoyed this film, and personally I would say it's just as good as the first. The songs are still great and, if anything, it's funnier than the first. 8/10

DonkeyB: n/a

Overall: 7.75/10

Friday, May 15, 2015

Mad Max: Fury Road

SF: I loved this film. The action never stops, OK it is one very long and brilliant chase but I didn't mind because what it lacks in story it makes up for in adrenaline fueled, over the top fun. The pace was great, I liked the characters, they didn't over indulge in character development. The action was fantastic, the special effects brilliant and the cinematography surprisingly evocative. Probably the best Mad Max film to date and well worth the wait. Tom Hardy was a good in the title role but Charlize Theron was fantastic, pretty much stole the whole movie. Like most action films it isn't going to win any awards but as a piece of entertainment this was exactly what I wanted. 8/10

50Eggs: Oh dear, this review isn't going to make me popular - I didn't love Mad Max. Yes it is visually arresting and you have to appreciate that all the stunts were done 'for real'. Things all start brightly and we're treated to a 20 minute chase scene that really gets you excited for the rest of the film, but here's the problem....that is the rest of the film. The chase scene just continues without much variety for two hours, with very little developments to either the characters or the story. I wanted to give this a higher score, but I'm sorry, those things are really important to me. 6.5/10

DonkeyB: n/a

Overall: 7.25/10

Saturday, April 25, 2015

The Avengers: Age of Ultron

SF: I did everything I could to avoid too many trailers and spoilers so I could watch this without my expectations being too high. I also feel this needs two scores because from a totally bias view its a 10, it delivers everything I want, tonnes of Marvel universe nods and hints. I'm enjoying the move from the more Ultimates line up to a traditional Avengers roster, I also screamed with glee when Vision appeared, ok not the Vision we are used to but Wonder Man isn't around so lets go with it. Having said that - Ultron without a mention of Hank Pym despite the Ant-man movie being on the way? Surely Tony Stark could of had him on Skype of something. Anyway I digress. As a film I didn't feel the same sense of awe that the first installment delivered. Maybe the attempts at character development were a tad shallow but this had plenty of action, a few good quips, amazing effects and I can't wait to see it again, maybe even three times so it deserves 9/10

50Eggs: Winter Solider having restored my faith in Marvel films, I was expecting big things from this. It partly lived up to those expectations. As a standalone film it tries to cram in far too many story threads, but viewed as 'hub' film in a massive story arc you can understand why. The first hour is a little slow but it does pick up, and the finale, whilst close to being a rehash of that of the first film, is spectacular. 1 point off for too much Hawkeye, but a point back on for lots of Black Widow. 8.5/10

DB: These Marvel films are definitely starting to suffer quite seriously from the law of diminishing returns, creatively at least if not yet financially. It is just not as good as the first one, not as funny, not as exiting, the bad character is nothing like as interesting (no Tom Hiddleston). The set pieces don't feel as spectacular, while I'm prepared to be told they are in fact 200 times bigger and involve twice as many people etc etc I just don't care very much about computer animations of things hitting things with things. The film has two ideas in it, neither of which are new or particularly interesting but both involve Bruce Banner: his conflict over whether he should assist serial world endangering narcissist Tony Stark and his conflict whether he can form a relationship with Natasha. Both ideas are under explored in favour of the ridiculously boring Hawkeye, who I was disappointed to see survive death near the start of the movie. There are none of the memorable moments typified by Bruce Banner swinging Loki about like a toddler with a doll from the first film in this film, it is all just more of the same. I was under the impression we were going to be getting some Hulk films, we only need one, but I would have preferred to see that than this. 6/10

Overall: 7.8/10

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The Salvation

SF: I'm not normally a fan of westerns but there have been a few recent films that have changed my mind, this is certainly one of them. While it doesn't bring tonnes that is new to the genre I really liked this offering. The element of migrants with pasts beyond the wild west really adds to the character development. This film even gives the bad guy a reason to be bad - something a lot of westerns never even bother with. The acting was well measured but then I've never seen Mads Mikklesen fail in that department (before you say it Valhalla Rising doesn't count because he is good the film is rubbish!). The action perfectly timed and rather believable. If you like westerns then definitely give this a go. 8/10

50Eggs: n/a

DonkeyB: There is I'm afraid nothing special about this whatsoever. If it weren't so reverent of western and revenge cliche it could have been mistaken for pastiche. It's incredibly stylish to look at but it turns out all that stunning photography is just special effects and it was shot in South Africa. 6

Overall: 7/10

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

While We're Young

SF: I laughed once in the whole film and now because it was being funny. While I like Ben Stiller most of the time, I find him hard to watch when he's being serious. Also I don't think I've seen anything where I've liked Naomi Watts but I gave this a go and was mostly bored. Adam Driver is the only good thing in the whole film, he's character is awful and he plays to it and steals the film. I found the main characters dull and painful, the pace lacking and the story uninteresting. Just the wrong type of film for me but I can see why others would enjoy it. 5/10

50Eggs: n/a

DonkeyB: I laughed a lot more than I was expecting. This is definitely good Ben Stiller, Adam Driver is exceptional. 7

Overall: 6/10

Wednesday, February 18, 2015


SF: There are many things I enjoyed about this film particularry the direction. The acting was perfect, I totally forgot the fact David Oyelowo was in Spooks and bought into his portray of Dr King completely. The tone of the film is subtle and incredibly poignant. This managed to depict the events in an engaging but never over sensationalised way. One I'd highly recommend. 8/10

50Eggs: n/a

DonkeyB: It is a compelling and well acted story about an absolute giant of 20th Century history. Despite knowing much of what the film was about and the context of the film I was moved by it. And in view of the barrage of reviews of comic book films to come over the next few weeks and months I would be remiss if I didn't point out that you can read Representative John Lewis co-created comic books about the civil rights movement. 8/10

Overall: 8/10

Wednesday, January 21, 2015


SF: I'm going to have to find out if Miles Teller was a drummer before this film or not, because his playing is incredible. I had no plans to see this as the trailer didn't interest me but something about this film is truly compelling. The performances were fantastic, the pace is good, the characters could have more development but really you're so taken in by the music, don't think I'd want more, or even notice. The whole film is held together by just two characters and works so well you are totally drawn in, cringing and wincing along with Andrew. I can't really describe what I liked so much but I will say go see this, you won't be disappointed. 8/10

50Eggs: Awesome. The last music based film I saw was 'Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit', so you can imagine this isn't the sort of film that would ordinarily temp me to the cinema. So glad I did though as its 2 hours of intense, nail biting drama. JK Simmons deserves all the plaudits for his role as the conductor, but lets not forget Miles Teller who manages to get us to like his character, then hate him, before finishing somewhere between the two. 9/10

DonkeyB: I've liked this film more and more this week as I've got further away from having seen it. I think it is the best film about music I have ever seen, the final scene which is really just a ten minute drum solo perfectly captures what jazz is, the danger and thrilling tension had me on the edge of my seat. I've liked a lot of films we've seen this year but I don't often feel like I have to tell everyone I bump into how great they are (Boyhood excepted I will continue to tell everyone I ever meet how much I loved Boyhood). I found the parts in between the musical performances fell a bit flat but the further I get from having seen it, the more I think that is because of how extraordinary the tension in the music and J K Simmons performance is. 9/10

Overall: 8.8/10

Ex Machina

SF: The cinematography is great, the effects are lovely and they nicely resist the temptation to overuse. But on the whole the film is predictable and at times rather pointless. It asks interesting questions but nothing you haven’t heard before or explored in superior literature, television and cinema. The answers given to the audience are shallow and dull.  The overall treatment is a pale shadow of better science fiction by more talented writers and I spent half the film wishing I was watching something else. Something better. 4/10

50Eggs: Whilst Ex Machina has a very topical and 'current' story line, the film this most reminded me of was Dracula. The protagonist is simultaneously a guest and a prisoner, and the sense of discomfort is palpable, with Oscar Isaac nailing it as the proverbial vampire. So it's not a particularly nice film to watch, but it is engrossing nonetheless. Like a feature length Outer Limits, or Black Mirror...and funnily enough Domhnall
Gleeson actually played the part of a robot himself in an episode of the latter which is well worth catching too. 8/10

DonkeyB: n/a

Overall: 6/10

Wednesday, January 14, 2015


SF: Channing Tatum can act. Firstly this is another film that isn't fun to watch and I'll most likely never watch it again mainly because I found it dull.  After 45 mins I did almost leave as I just didn't see this going anywhere and I wasn't all that interested but it was Channing Tatum that kept me
watching, he made the film, he was subtly able to deliver a depth of emotions in wasn't expecting . Steve Carell gave a good performance too but I wasn't all that invested in his character. Most of the film is an unindulged drama focused on three people and the real events that unfolded. While films like this can be brilliant, I don't think this is one of them. 4/10

50Eggs: n/a

DonkeyB: Any review should start by saying that the performances in the film are exceptional. Steve Carell is utterly transformed as John Du Pont, and I thought if anything I was even more amazed by Channing Tatum's performance, he got the physicality of a wrestler exceptionally well I though. Once again 3 reviews favourite Mark Ruffalo was just outstanding also putting in a very convincing physical performance with somewhat less raw material (in terms of sheer size) than Tatum. The film is very still and very quiet and seems to be set in a perpetual autumn/winter which adds to the sense of impending doom which you don't need plot spoilers to sense from the outset.

I thought all those things were to the film's and the director's and cast's credit, but in the end I just wasn't gripped. There is a theme about american patriotism in the film and also money, and it seems to be saying something about the power of money to corrupt and and the ability to use patriotism to corrupt as well, but I didn't think the story was interesting enough to pay off the deliberate pacing and subtle underplaying throughout. 6/10

I had no idea Sienna Miller was in the film at all until the end credits came up, this might be because she is one of those famous people that I have no idea what they look like, I assume she played Ruffalo's wife, its an easy part to miss, there is not a lot of screen for the female cast. Redgrave gets two scenes as Du Pont's  Hitchcockian/Larkinian matriarch, her presence more expressed through her absence. - Donkey B

Overall: 5/10