Bumblebee (2018)

Director: Travis Knight

Writer: Christina Hodson (Screenplay)

Starring: Hailee Steinfeld, John Cena, Dylan O’Brien, Justin Theroux, Angela Bassett, Megyn Price

 

Plot: On the run in the year of 1987, Bumblebee finds refuge in a junkyard in a small Californian beach town. Charlie, on the cusp of turning 18 and trying to find her place in the world, discovers Bumblebee, battle-scarred and broken.


Tagline – Every Hero Has a Beginning

Runtime: 1 Hour 53 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Charming & Delightful

 

Story: Bumblebee starts when Bumblebee is sent to Earth to prepare a base for the Autobots from the war against the Decepticons, getting injured in the landing he goes into hiding. Charlie (Steinfeld) is turning 18 trying to finish fixing a car that her and her late father worked on, she stumbles upon the Volkswagen Bug in a junkyard taking it home.

Learning that the bug is actually Bumblebee she finds a new friend, Dropkick and Shatter have been hunting down Bumblebee in search for the new base, with Agent Burns (Cena) working with them to stop humans getting caught in the middle of a war between the robot factions.

 

Thoughts on Bumblebee

 

Characters – Charlie is an 18-year-old girl still recovering from the death of her father, even though the rest of the family has moved on, she isolates herself from people working on fixing her car. She finds Bumblebee becoming her first friend as she tries to teach the robot about the world, she is the heart and soul of this movie because you feel each moment that tests her in life, as she needs to move on with her life. Agent Burns is a military man that is there when Bumblebee lands, he has spent time hunting down the robots he saw kill his men, wanting both answers and revenge. Bumblebee is a warrior back n Cybertron, he is sent to Earth to prepare for the next battle, only he loses he voice in the battle and his memory has faded, he goes into hiding until Charlie brings him out of his shell showing him what is worth fighting for on Earth. Shatter and Dropkick are the two Decepticons that are hunting down the Autobots before they can regroup, they know how to work the humans to get what they need.

PerformancesHailee Steinfeld gives us the best performance in any Transformers movie, she brings a heart to this character that we actually care about for the first time in the series. John Cena continues his rise in Hollywood giving us a good performance without needing to be truly tested.

StoryThe story follows Bumblebee who comes to Earth to prepare it for a new base for the Autobots and defend it from any of the Decepticons that could make the base known, he meets a human in Charlie who offers him friendship guidance and helps fix him. The unlikely friendship helps both the isolated figures learn their place in life which makes this one of the surprisingly refreshing stories of the year, for a big action film. the villains are only a smaller part of the war which is nice because we don’t need or want to see Bumblebee battle Megatron. We could sit here and complain about different aspects of the large scale of the story from the previous films, but we don’t need to, we also get a nod to a future character in the series. The best part of the story comes from the idea that everything becomes simple again which keeps us only focusing on one story between the Charlie and Bumblebee.

Action/Adventure/Sci-FiThe action when unleashed is good with the fights between the Transformers becoming easier to watch than previous films with each having their own ability in the fights to become stronger. The adventure takes Charlie from what she thinks is a dead-end life to learn to move on with life. The sci-fi side shows us the Transformers war we are going to be part of soon.

SettingsThe film puts us in San Francisco, well just outside with the locations of the beach showing us the beauty in the open road, which is what Charlie wants to be on.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film are brilliant, the fights between the Transformers all feel flawless with the world they are from looking like everything you thought it would be.


Scene of the Movie –
Final battle.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Why are they vehicles on Cybertron?

Final ThoughtsThis is easily the best movie from the Transformers universe, it brings a heart and soul to the characters making you care about what will happen to them.

 

Overall: Wonderful and will you with a smile.

Rating

 

 

Advertisements

9/11 (2017)

Director: Martin Guigui

Writer: Steven James Golebiowski, Martin Guigui (Screenplay) Patrick James Carson (Play)

Starring: Charlie Sheen, Whoopi Goldberg, Gina Gershon, Luis Guzman, Wood Harris, Olga Fonda, Bruce Davison

 

Plot: A group of five people find themselves trapped in an elevator in the World Trade Center’s North Tower on 9/11. They work together, never giving up hope, to try to escape before the unthinkable happens.


Tagline – The world watched it, they lived it.

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Tasteless Thriller

 

Story: 9/11 starts as we meet our characters who work in the World Trade Centre, impending divorcing couple Jeffrey (Sheen), Eve (Gershon), janitor Eddie (Guzman), deliveryman Michael (Harris) and Tina (Fonda) who are in an elevator when the 9/11 attacks happen. Metzie (Goldberg) keeps an eye on the elevators and must use her skills to keep the people calm during the panic, leaving us to wonder if they will survive.

 

Thoughts on 9/11

 

Characters – Jeffrey was once a wall street wizard, now he faces divorce and weekends with his kid. He is one of the people trapped in the elevator, he becomes the voice of reason and calmness between the five. Eve is the wife soon to be ex-wife of Jeffrey, his work built their strain and she needs out of it now. Eddie is the janitor that knows the building but not the elevator. Metzie is trying to find a way out of the elevator for the survivors using as much knowledge as she can find.

Performances – Charlie Sheen in the leading role is very difficult to watch because we just can’t take him seriously anymore, while he does an ok job in the role we know we will never see the 80s Sheen again. The rest of the cast do seem like needed a pay day and are never believable in their roles.

StoryThe story is fictional and focuses on one of the darkest days in modern history, this makes the film difficult to watch because we do know thousands died in the event, watching a group try to figure out how to escape is a problem because it has been done before in horror, on a better level which makes this feel like it doesn’t need to be told in such a basic and poor manor.

ActionThe action mixed with drama doesn’t work on any level for the film.

SettingsThe film takes place for the most part in the elevator which should work, but every time we jump out we lose the sense we should have.


Scene of the Movie –
There isn’t one.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Charlie Sheen in the leading role.

Final ThoughtsThis is a tasteless movie that only seems to cause offence to the people who did die in the tragedy.

 

Overall: Poor unwatchable

Rating

 

 

Aquaman (2018)

Director: James Wan

Writer: David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick, Will Beall (Screenplay) Geoff John, James Wan, Will Beall, Mort Weisinger, Paul Norris (Story/Characters)

Starring: Jason Momoa, Amber Heard, Willem Dafoe, Patrick Wilson, Nicole Kidman, Dolph Lundgren, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II

 

Plot: Arthur Curry learns that he is the heir to the underwater kingdom of Atlantis, and must step forward to lead his people and be a hero to the world.


Tagline – He’s not from around here.

Runtime: 2 Hours 23 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: True Blast

 

Story: Aquaman starts as we learn about Arthur’s (Momoa) parents, mother the Queen of Atlantis Atlanna (Kidman) and father a mortal lighthouse keeper Tom (Morrison), Atlanna had to leave Arthur on land after her failed attempt to escape the rulers of Atlantis. We see how Arthur is being pressured into going to Atlantis and claiming his throne by Mera (Heard) to stop his half-brother King Orm (Wilson) who wants a war with the land by uniting the armies underwater.

Arthur must go on the quest to unlock his own position in Atlantis to prevent a war which will have mass causalities, along the way he will learn the truth about the ways of the Atlanteans if he is going to take the throne.

 

Thoughts on Aquaman

 

Characters – Arthur is the Aquaman, not wanting to be a hero on either land or in the ocean, he has always been against Atlantis because of what they did to his mother, he does protect the water from the helpless, while not being as friendly as the other heroes in this universe. He must go on a quest to take on his half-brother and become the true king of Atlantis. He does try to give us plenty of one liners through all the film. Mera is the princess and daughter to King Nereus, she knows that Arthur is the right person for the throne, though she is arranged to marry King Orm, she does come off as the smarter of the two while on the quest. Vulko has trained both to be prepared for fights, he is the advisor to King Orm, even if he believes that Arthur is the rightful king. King Orm wants to go to war with the land, he believes and is tired of how the oceans are treated, he wants to unite the different factions even if it means by going with force. He will use both sides to his advantage to put himself in the position of power. Atlanna is the mother of both Arthur and Orm, killed for her actions, one of the few people that commanded respect from all kingdoms. We do have the kings from each kingdom being pushed into following King Orm and Manta who wants revenge for Arthur’s action, he is human and a pirate, even if he ends up looking like a Power Rangers villain.

PerformancesJason Momoa is great in the leading role, he looks like he is having fun at times, which feels important, while he can get serious when needed, he also looks the part too. Amber Heard is good in her role where she gets to fill in the gaps for the audience. Willem Dafoe, Nicole Kidman and Dolph Lundgren are good in the supporting roles which you could watch them play for days. Patrick Wilson deserves praise too because he is one of the best villains in the DC universe.

StoryThe story gives Aquaman his first solo adventure after his appearance in Justice League, where he must learn about Atlantis and take on his half-brother before a war between the land and the ocean starts. This is kind of an origin story, which seems to be the way DC are doing them, lets us meet them in a team up movie before moving into their own story, this is that movie. The idea that two half-brothers are fighting to power does seem to borrow from the Thor first movie, which does have a different game as Arthur is the one that doesn’t want to be king. The idea that one man must learn his place and stand up and be counted is a great hero story which is needed for Arthur.

Action/Adventure/Fantasy/Sci-FiThe action in this film is good with the battle in Sicily being the highlight for me, we get a unique use of camerawork too for shooting the action. The adventure does take Arthur around the world in search for answers above or below the ocean. The fantasy world plays into the idea that Atlantis has been living under the ocean to make their own technology which again plays into the sci-fi elements being used in the film.

SettingsThe film does use the settings well, with Sicily being a new fight location, though the underwater sequences look fantastic to be absorb within.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film are fantastic for the ambitious scale of the world needed to be created, there are a couple of shots which do look weaker than the rest though.


Scene of the Movie –
Sicily fight.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The story does feel safe for an origin story.

Final ThoughtsThis is a blast for an origin film, we can have a lot of fun with everything happening in the film and we now have a character in the DC universe to make us excited that we don’t only have Wonder Woman.

 

Overall: Great fun to enjoy.

Rating

 

 

Franchise Weekend – Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life (2003)

Director: Jan de Bont

Writer: Dean Georgaris (Screenplay) Steven E de Souza, James V Hart (Story)

Starring: Angelina Jolie, Gerald Butler, Ciaran Hinds, Chris Barrie, Noah Taylor, Djimon Hounsou, Til Schweiger

 

Plot: Adventurer Lara Croft goes on a quest to save the mythical Pandora’s Box, before an evil scientist finds it, and recruits a former Marine turned mercenary to assist her.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 57 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Enough Sequel

 

Story: Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life starts when Lara Croft’s (Jolie) latest treasure hunt ends up with her team killed and her treasure stolen by Chen Lo (Yam) who is willing to sell the orb to arms dealer Jonathan Reiss (Hinds) a former MI6 agent turned evil, that wants to use the orb to locate Pandora’s Box which could bring about the next viral apocalypse on the world.

Lara working with MI6 is joined by disgraced former agent Terry Sheridan (Butler) as per her request as they race around the world to unlock the truth about Pandora’s Box before it ends up in the wrong hands.

 

Thoughts on Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life

 

Characters – Lara Croft the treasure hunting heroine that travels the world to locate the treasure of the world before they fall into the wrong hands. She is still the kick ass resourceful heroine we know, we see how her connections around the world can help and hinder her quest. Terry Sheridan is the disgraced former MI6 agent, he is granted freedom for information and his former connection with Lara puts him in the middle of the two sides. Jonathan Reiss is the arms dealer that wants Pandora’s Box to be able to sell to the highest bidders to create chaos in the world. he knows how to get results and is happy to kill anyone that crosses his paths. Bryce and Hillary return in the same roles getting the laughs and doing the background work Lara. Kosa is one of the many connections that Lara has around the world, they are good friends after the previous work and respect between the cultures.

PerformancesAngelina Jolie continues to be great in the role of Lara Croft, she had the perfect look for the character and handled the swagger about the character perfectly well. Gerald Butler is good as the shady partner to Lara through the film, giving us rough around the edges figure. Ciaran Hinds is good in the villainous role even if the character is everything you would expect them to be. Barrie and Taylor continue to give the humour when needed. The rest of the cast are fine as they just fill the role required.

StoryThe story here follows Lara Croft on her next treasure hunt where she faces a new shady society lead by weapons dealer who wants to unlock the power of Pandora’s Box. We get to see her globe trot as she is aided by MI6 to locate the mysterious and deadly item. This does continue keep us in the peril filled situations, the idea that Lara has connections around the world to make treasure hunting possible, the shady organisation and treasure that could cause major destruction to the world. This doesn’t test us to the same levels as the first film because as it ends up just following the same formula.

Action/AdventureThe action in the film is big as we have bigger stunts going on through the film including a motorbike sequence along the Great Wall China, flying through the streets of Hong Kong and giant monsters in Africa. The adventure does take us around the world once again which is what we want, but we don’t get enough in tomb locations.

SettingsThe film does take us around the world as we see different locations some iconic, some secret tombs with historic stories.

Special EffectsThe effects are weaker than last time without taking us too far out of the film.


Scene of the Movie –
The Great Wall motorbike scene.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not enough Tomb location.

Final ThoughtsThis is a solid enough sequel that the fans of the original should enjoy, but if you didn’t like the first one you won’t be enjoying as much.

 

Overall: Solid enough for a sequel.

Rating

 

 

Franchise Weekend – Lara Croft Tomb Raider (2001) Revisited

This is a revisited review, I first did this as one of my very first reviews in 2012.

 

Director: Simon West

Writer: Patrick Massett, John Zinman (Screenplay) Sara B Cooper, Mike Werb, Michael Colleary (Story)

Starring: Angelina Jolie, Jon Voight, Iain Glen, Noah Taylor, Daniel Craig, Chris Barrie, Leslie Phillips

 

Plot: Video game adventurer Lara Croft comes to life in a movie where she races against time and villains to recover powerful ancient artefacts.


Tagline – Who Is Lara Croft?

Runtime: 1 Hour 40 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Pure Fun

 

Story: Lara Croft: Tomb Raider starts on the anniversary of Lara Croft’s (Jolie) father death, with a once in a lifetime planetary alinement happening, Lara just so happens to discover the all seeing eye in her mansion and now she is involved in an adventure she is interested in. Lara’s connection lead her to Manfred Powell (Glen) a man assigned to locate the eye for secret society that want to use its powers for their own desires.

Once Manfred takes the artefact, Lara must go on adventure showing her tomb raiding skills hoping to stop them powerful device causing havoc on the world.

 

Thoughts on Lara Croft: Tomb Raider

 

Characters – Lara Croft lifted straight from the video game, the Lady of Croft Manor, she has found treasures all over the world becoming slightly bored of the popular location, getting a hidden message from her later father Lara’s interest spikes and soon she will be battle a secret society that are using her latest discovery to hopefully control time. We know she is the kick ass action heroine from the video games, calm through each situation, competitive rivalry with Alex West and the best in her field. Lord Richard Croft had died before the story starts, he appears in dreams guiding Lara as he was the one that trained her, he started learning about this event long before it started. Manfred Powell is hired by an underground society that want control of time, he will do anything to get what he wants to prove his value to the society and doesn’t lift a finger when it comes to searching for treasure. Alex West is the American rival to Lara, he works for money over desire to find treasure even if the two do just have an honest rivalry. Bryce and Hillary are the two most trusted people in Lara’s life, one works on her tech while the other looks after the manor.

PerformancesAngelina Jolie was the perfect choice in the year 2001 for this role, she was the best action heroine for the time, had the look of Lara Croft down to perfection as well as the swagger filled attitude. Jon Voight while only in a couple of scenes is good as the father figure needed for Lara. Iain Glen is good as the calculated villain who can kill just as quickly as Lara, he shows the calmness through the film to stay a threat in the film. Daniel Craig as the rival tomb raider is fine, his accent is his weakness though. Noah Taylor and Chris Barrie get most of the laughs which keeps the story on a lighter note.

StoryThe story gives us one of Lara Croft adventures as a Tomb Raider against the Illuminati. The story shows us an established Lara, accepting her place in the high society with connections in the antique world, we see she is trained in combat and this helps us get right into the story. the story shows us how Lara is almost bored of the generic treasure hunts and this knew one sparks her interest once again. When it comes to the story it unfolds as you would imagine, going from one location to the next location for the next chapter of the adventure as we get the different parts to complete the quest.

Action/AdventureThe action in the film is set pieces set up on the different adventures Lara is on, be it in the tombs or in the manor which get bigger as the film goes on.

SettingsThe settings take us from the manor, to the tombs in the jungle and Siberia as well as Venice. Each place would be where you could imagine Lara going on her adventures.

Special EffectsThe effects are a mix of good and bad, for the time however they would have been excellent to watch, with the stone figures in the tomb sequence.


Scene of the Movie –
First Tomb sequence.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Certain effects have dated.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun action adventure bring to life one of the most iconic video game characters in Lara Croft.

 

Overall: Action adventure worth watching.

Rating