Film Review: Taken

When your girl isn’t about and its Valentines day what do you do? Indulge in cliché behaviour of beer, crisps and films involving violence or explosions! The first 2 are very easy to procure, plenty of brands of beer out there in a variety of distils, crisps are just as easy, the synergy of the entire night for me is the film. Choose wisely and the tone of the entire night is amplified, pick wrong and you’ve at least got your friends around to laugh with you, or if it was really bad and your fault, at you.

This film is fast paced and intense. I’m not talking about the intensity that was promised to us in Quantum of Solace, I mean sitting in your lounger, heart pounding the inside of your chest, not being able to stick a ‘goodie’ in your gob cus your hands are shaking.

That being said I think its because the plausibility of the scenario that teenagers get kidnapped and are sold into prostitution in the world heightens the fear factor because of the shocking reality that you ARE scared not only for the characters but what you think might happen. It is a very cleaver trick, a dominant theme in films such as Cloverfield and Signs, that creates fear not from what you do see but what you don’t.

Without a demanding presence onscreen I don’t think that this film would draw you into it so much. Neeson is truly spectacular in his role as the protective father, and keeps pace in the numerous action sequences.

At first I was dubious about watching this film due to emotional onslaught that a parent would go through but to view this film through the eyes of a teenager they would surely find a greater appreciation for the things that a parent does, or prevents us from doing, in our best interest.

Not for the week hearted, literally.

  • Picture: 7/10
  • Sound: 8/10
  • Effects: 8/10
  • Story: 8/10

Film Review: Flyboys

When George Lucas was first trying to explain the Tie-fighter and X-wing dog fights in Star Wars (1977) he used World War II dogfight recordings to convey the tension and action the way he imagined it. These visuals lead to the now common place air-to-air and space to space combat scenes we see today in television series like Babylon 5, Stargate SG-1 and Battlestar Galactica. At the time it was unconventional and difficult to perform and now it happens on a daily basis.

Flyboys makes use of the (then) latest CGI technology for the air combat shown in the film as the use of replica planes didn’t sync well. It was pulled off fantastically, I was expecting either greatly exaggerated feats or unrealistic physics and performances of the aircraft rather than accurate portrayals.

Not being a pilot myself I’ve always liked imagining taking the pilot seat and flying, I’m seen many air (and some space) combat films that have really got me swaying in my seat with the momentum, Flyboys is the first that’s been an artificial experience.

Sure there have been computer games that try to mimic the experience but when I was fanatically playing them the detail was just too poor to relish the simulation. Nowadays computer rigs and consoles provide entire skies that pull you into the scene.

Perhaps oneday I’ll have the time and inclination to do more than an afternoon gliding around the British countryside but until then films such Flyboys will kept my dreams alive.

A superb film, although some events are predictable you won’t be sure when they’ll happen, luckily there are some outright surprises too!

Rating: 87%

P.S. If you liked watching this an all-time classic is Memphis Belle, which is also based on a true story.

Film Review: The Mummy 3 – Tomb of the Dragon Emperor

Sequels are fantastic things because they offer something more about something you already like. However trying to use, or recreate the same ‘magic’ that made you like the original is trickier creating something widely liked from scratch.

The first Mummy film was fantastic. The Mummy Returns felt to me like another adventure in the series and was about as good as the first. This third film, whilst it was goods in it own right, does not do the other ones justice. I however would like a forth film, (the hot Coyote Ugly owner) Maria Bello, stated in an interview that “absolutely” another Mummy film will be made so I look forward to having 2 sets of Mummy films in my collection as that is really how I see them, 2 distinctly different series both of equal rating to the other.

Continue reading Film Review: The Mummy 3 – Tomb of the Dragon Emperor

Film Review: The Dark Knight

Film quality is getting better and better. The bar, the standard, has been pushed so high that its very expensive to beat the expectation the last film leaves you for the next. The Dark Knight, the second in the new Batman franchise left me in awe. Having recently seen Iron Man I expected practically seamless transactions between actors, digital dummies, and effects what I didn’t expect was the entire package; sound, mood, storyline, growth, depth. Everything came together beautifully, each frame felt like it had been hand crafted rather than one in a among hundreds or thousands, in a particular scene.

There are 3 aspects that warrant attention, and all for positive reasons; The Joker, was magnificently portrayed by Heath Ledger, at the Première there was at least one mention of it being an Oscars worthy performance, this I whole heartedly agree with, whether it will actually happen is another story altogether (Best Picture 1977?).

Highlight number two, the score, a beautiful classically based musical accompaniment. It didn’t feel like pulp culture music, I felt it was an everlasting classic, something that won’t feel dated over time.

And finally the story, gripping, I never knew what was going to happen next and I couldn’t wait to find out.

No criticism from me here, I really would like to try but I can’t, it was a film I thoroughly enjoyed and will sing praises loudly about. Not something I often do so enjoy it while it lasts, hopefully I’m not the only one to feel this way and no-one will throw any right hooks and my view.

Rating: 97.8%

-0.2% because cinema ticket prices are so damn expensive when wanting to see it again.

Bullitt

My father and I sat down to watch the 1968 classic Bullitt tonight on the Sky box. I always wondered how this car chase ranked in Top 10s after so long, after watching it (in HD of course) I completely understand why.

Obviously the chase clip is out of context but you can, despite the loss of quality in encoding, appreciate the views, the pace, and the atmosphere of the chase. I hope you like it as well and will try to watch the movie at some point just to see it properly.

Film Review: Transformers

My toys when I had a single digit age were Transformers, I saw the amazing animated movie at the cinema and even dressed up as Optimus Prime for a Halloween. As such in my teenage years I daydreamed what a live action film would be like, drawing on conclusions from what I’d seen in the cinema that week, be it The Matrix, or Episode 1. As years passed I grew more and more doubtful anyone from my generation would write a screenplay to get it directed and produced. Now its 2007 and my extremely high expectations have just about been reached.

Whilst I didn’t expect blocky robots with grotesque transformations I never imagined that the Autobots and Decepticons would be depicted so authentically. All the internal parts of the vehicle modes are visible in the humanoid form which is absolutely breathtaking, I don’t care how much it cost to render all the frames at 38 hours each it was worth every penny. However, now that the initial thrill is over I bet in the sequel (and there blatantly has to be one) there are more panels covering the mechanical organs, probably ret-con’d in as armour now that they are warring again.

Showed me something uncommon then, and a rarity now; for once the good guys didn’t always win outright at the conclusion of that weeks episode but they did eventually triumph in that particular story arch which meant that anything could happen and kept me guessing each week and inspiring me to work it out with my toys. With the eighties show being so iconic I assumed that the film might do the same, whilst the tale didn’t regale me as a beloved intrepid leader falling at the hands of the enemy the special effects did, something progressively harder in these insensitive times.

As for the toys, I owned Optimus Prime, both the original version and the Power Master version. I did not have Megatron, which is easily forgiveable because his alt mode was a pistol and given one of them to a kid is not something I would be entirely happy with today, toys guns should look like toys, plastic and brightly coloured. Maybe I’m being to PC but there are many parents not being protective enough out there and others being too much, if I fall into the ‘to much’ category on this issue so be it. Anyway, with the detail on the transformations being so high I’m interested to see how they engineer the newline of toys…

Hopefully you’ve kept reading to this point and as such I’ll not keep your attention much longer. This film whilst not entirely faithful to the animation that I loved so much is a fantastic watch. An entertaining story, great effects and superb performances.
Rating 96%

Wallpapers: Standard (4:3) and Widescreen (16:9)