Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018)

Director: Ron Howard

Writer: Jonathan Kasdan, Lawrence Kasdan (Screenplay) George Lucas (Characters)

Starring: Alden Ehrenreich, Joonas Suotamo, Woody Harrelson, Emilia Clarke, Donald Glover, Thandie Newton, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Paul Bettany

 

Plot: During an adventure into a dark criminal underworld, Han Solo meets his future copilot Chewbacca and encounters Lando Calrissian years before joining the Rebellion.

 

Runtime: 2 Hours 15 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Star Wars Fans Only

 

Story: Solo: A Star Wars Story starts as we meet Han (Ehrenreich) and his girlfriend Qi’ra (Clarke) are they are planning a life away from a prison like planet, Han gets away and joins forces with smuggler Beckett (Harrelson) and along the way he meets Chewbacca (Suotamo) and Lando Calrissian (Glover) as they go on one high risk heist to clear their debts from Dryden Vos (Bettany).

 

Thoughts on Solo: A Star Wars Story

 

Characters – Han comes from a prison like planet, dreaming of being the best pilot in the galaxy, once out he wants to save his girl, but to do so he must team up with smugglers to pay for his own ship, he meets his trusted co-pilot Chewbacca and other business partners in the galaxy, not wanting to commit to either side of the impending war. Chewbacca shows his loyalty to Han, as the one who saved him, he is pretty much what we know, but strangely has more of the comic side like we have seen in the modern films. Beckett the thief that reluctantly takes Han under his wing, he teaches him the trade and how to survive becoming the mentor figure for the film. Qi’ra is the girlfriend from the prison planet that Han wants to go back for and save one day, she gives him the strength to take the risks he does. Lando Calrissian is the charismatic smuggler that knows how to get out of any bad situation, he has the flare to draw the ladies in and will do anything to protect his ship. Dryden Vos in a gangster figure that the deal is for, he will kill people, but just ends up being standard villain, not offering much of a threat or back story, to what his scars are about. We have a couple more names characters, but none make too much of an impact, L3-37 doesn’t hit the comedy levels that is hoped for and Rio falls into knocked off Rocket Racoon territory.

PerformancesI don’t want to write that any of the performances we bad, the problem is that most are not that memorable, Alden always had huge shoes to follow and he doesn’t seem to capture the charm Ford bought to the role, Joonas is great as Chewbacca, but not too difficult for what he needs to do, Woody Harrelson is someone I could watch in most films, he is always good. Emilia Clarke continues to pop up in big franchise movies and being fine without being anything more, Paul Bettany enjoys a villainous role without needing to do much and Donald Glover is the scene stealer here as you want to watch every moment he is in.

StoryWe know from the start this is an origin story for Han Solo, this does the instant thing we know, HE WILL NOT BE IN TROUBLE IN THIS FILM, putting him in any peril related moment is almost pointless same goes for Chewbacca and Lando, as for the rest there is always questions about their relationship to Han and whether he could trust them, this is good part. The story also includes the origin of the Solo name, which is awful. The problem with the story for myself is that it is a generic heist movie that we have seen with Firefly/Serenity who did it a lot better, this doesn’t give us too much to go on even if the story is paced well to not give us too much slow moments.

Action/Adventure/Fantasy/Sci-FiThe action is on the levels you would expect for a Star Wars film, we have laser battles which the bad guys can’t shot for shit and the heroes one shot anyone, so basically me on Fortnite. The adventure does take Han on his first across the galaxy even though it never feels like we are part of it and even the sci-fi side of the film just seems to not hit the marks.

SettingsThe settings take us to the different planets, we have a snowy one, a criminal based one, a desert one and mining one, none look overly original or make anything memorable about what happens there.

Special EffectsThe effects are the best part of the film, nothing looks out of place the creation of the different droids is great and the space sequences look flawless.


Scene of the Movie –
Lando alone.

That Moment That Annoyed Me How he got the Solo name.

Final ThoughtsThis is one I can see the Star Wars fan loving, if you haven’t seen a Star Wars movie, this will miss on too many levels, the comedy barely hits, the characters decision making makes no sense and by the end of the movie you will be better off watching Firefly.

 

Overall: Disappointingly generic sci-fi heist movie.

Rating

 

 

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Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Horror – The Lazarus Effect (2015)

Director: David Gelb

Writer: Luke Dawson, Jeremy Slater (Screenplay)

Starring: Mark Duplass, Olivia Wilde, Sarah Bolger, Evan Peters, Donald Glover, Ray Wise

 

Plot: A group of medical researchers discover a way to bring dead patients back to life.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Just Didn’t Click

 

Story: The Lazarus Effect starts as we meet our team Frank (Duplass), Zoe (Wilde), Eva (Bolger), Clay (Peters) and Niko (Glover) who have been working on bring animals back from the dead with the Lazarus serum with the latest attempt bringing Rocky the dog back to life.

When the research project is sudden closed down, all the data is taken by Mr Wallace (Wise) who works for a pharmaceutical company, the team break into the lab to perform the experiment one last time so they can take the credit the last few years of their lives have work towards.

When disaster strikes Zoe is killed in an accident but Frank not accepting losing her decides to perform the experiment on her, to bring her back from the grave. It starts by looking like a success but it soon turns strange when Zoe has gifts she didn’t used to possess including telepathic and foresight.

 

Thoughts on The Lazarus Effect

 

Characters/PerformanceFrank is the lead scientist leading the research team, he is engaged to Zoe and once she dies he goes uses his research to bring her back to life. Zoe is the partner of Frank and leading member of the research team, once she is killed in an accident she is bought back to life but this time he is different. Eva is the newest member of the team will Niko and Clay are the generic playful rest of the team.

Performance Wise, it would be fair to say the performance don’t use the talent available to their full abilities, Olivia Wilde isn’t up to her normal levels, but it is the underused Evan Peters and Donald Glover which disappoints most.

StoryScientists look to bring the dead back to life, I have heard this one before and sure we get a modernised tale on this that does feel more scientific but in the end it just falls into ‘what is in the afterlife’ style and you must be evil if you come back from the dead. It is generic, plain and we have seen it all before.

Horror/Mystery/Sci-FiShe comes back from the dead, well that is the horror cover nothing scary going on here we have lazy jump scares mostly. There are elements of a mystery we try to figure out what is happening but we don’t focus on that enough and the sci-fi side well we all know how bringing people back from the dead works.

SettingsOne of the few highlights in this film is keeping most of the action inside the lab because by doing this we see how they must use their intelligence to get around the problem they are facing.

Special EffectsEasy effects are used here with most being in the vision sequences.

Final ThoughtsThis does feel like a lazy horror that doesn’t click to the levels it should do even with a cast of well-respected stars.

 

Overall: Horror that doesn’t work to the levels needed.

Rating

 

 

Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)

Director: Jon Watts

Writer: Jonathan Goldstein, John Francis Daley, Jon Watts, Christopher Ford, Chris McKenna, Erik Sommers (Screenplay) Stan Lee, Steve Ditko (Comic Book)

Starring: Tom Holland, Michael Keaton, Robert Downey Jr, Marisa Tomei, Jon Favreau, Zendaya, Donald Glover

 

Plot: Several months after the events of Captain America: Civil War, Peter Parker, with the help of his mentor Tony Stark, tries to balance his life as an ordinary high school student in Queens, New York City while fighting crime as his superhero alter ego Spider-Man as a new threat, the Vulture, emerges.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Easily the Best Spider-Man Movie

 

Story: Spider-Man: Homecoming starts as we learn how Adrian Toomes (Keaton) has be learning to develop the alien technology from the first Avengers battle in New York City, he has learnt how to make highly powerful weapons which he sales on the black market. Peter Parker (Holland) on the other hand must return to his quiet life in Queens after his work fighting Captain America for Tony Stark (Downey Jr), with Happy Hogan (Favreau) reluctantly looking over him.

Peter builds his weapons at school and turns into Spider-Man out of school to fight off small time criminals, when Peter stumbles upon Adrian’s men and weapons he tries to get help but no one would listen to him so he tries to stop him, himself, here is where Peter must learn the responsibility of being a superhero all while trying to get good grades at school.

 

Thoughts on Spider-Man: Homecoming

 

Characters/PerformancePeter Parker is the geeky high school student who has shone through classes, getting heckling like bullying from Flash but is easily a background student. Outside of school he gets all of his excitement fighting crime waiting for the call to be part of the Avengers. Peter has one of the better superhero arcs in recent years he learns about responsibility, friendship and sacrifice to become the masked hero. Adrian Toomes is a man who knows how to make the most of a difficult situation, he takes his demolition/removal men and turns his enterprise into an arms dealership that produces the most high tech weapons on the streets from the alien technology. The best thing about this character is, that he is human, there is no superhero abilities he has just mastered the technology to be the threat, he wants money over destruction which is refreshing. Tony Stark is mostly used as the mentor and is there for all the important decisions Peter must make. Aunt May is younger than before but is mostly used as the concerned parental figure in Peter’s life. Happy is also in like a reluctant guardian role mostly on the other end of the phone. In the school we have Ned the best friend he always puts Peter’s foot in it, Michelle the quiet one that stays out the way, Liz the one Peter has a crush on and Flash the bully like character but it is mostly whittled down to heckling.

Performance wise, Tom Holland is excellent at Peter Parker, his enthusiasm shines through but we also get to see the range of emotions Peter goes through during the film, he does also make a great Spider-Man being original enough after the previous two actors turns at him. Michael Keaton makes a devilish villain and one you can enjoy watching because of the simple desire he has. Robert Downey Jr, Marisa Tomei and Jon Favreau are good through the film giving us the comic timing we need at times but also the serious talks when needed. Jacob Batalon gets the most laughs, Zendaya, Laura Harrier and Tony Revolori also are great in the roles they play.

StoryThis is the third first solo chapter of Spider-Man, we have been introduced to this version in Civil War so, we can skip he got bitten and slowly learn he is mutating which is great. We know have a young superhero (15) that has been giving a glimpse of the battles he could be having, (See Civil War) but must return to a normal high school life. The best way to describe this feeling is traveling to a beautiful country only to need to return to a dead-end job. The story focuses on the growing up process, if you want this is a coming of age superhero film because Peter must learn his place in the world, not every day is going to be battle the save the world and most of all enjoy the youth he currently has. We have strong elements of a high school comedy coming through here and people will all say if John Hughes made a superhero movie, well this would be it.

Action/Adventure/Sci-FiThe action is good with each battle increasing in size, starting with a small car chase before escalating up to the ferry scene which we saw in the trailer and beyond. The adventure comes from seeing how Peter tries to solve these crimes by himself learning about his enhanced suit. The sci-fi element of the film comes from the idea that Toomes has learnt from the alien technology left from the battles that destroyed the city.

SettingsThe settings are mostly New York but we do also end up in Washington because we need big landmarks for the battle or saving people scenes to take place in.

Special EffectsIt would be hard to fault a single side of the special effects being used in this film, that all make the action sequences look fantastic.

Final ThoughtsThis has been a brilliant year for comic book movies and we seem to have learnt the formula, give a small introduction in an ensemble film before stepping out giving us the solo film instead of origin this origin that. I would say this is know the best Spider-Man film I have seen and I would be happy to suggest people to watch and even watch again myself.

 

Overall: Marvel throws us the best teen comedy superhero movie to date.

Rating

 

 

The Martian (2015)

martianDirector: Ridley Scott

Writer: Drew Goddard (Screenplay) Andy Weir (Book)

Starring: Matt Damon, Kate Mara, Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig, Sebastian Stan, Sean Bean, Michael Pena, Donald Glover, Mackenzie, Jeff Daniels, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Naomi Scott

 

Plot: During a manned mission to Mars, Astronaut Mark Watney is presumed dead after a fierce storm and left behind by his crew. But Watney has survived and finds himself stranded and alone on the hostile planet. With only meagre supplies, he must draw upon his ingenuity, wit and spirit to subsist and find a way to signal to Earth that he is alive.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: One of the Best in 2015

 

Story: The Martian starts with the first astronaut team on Mars Commander Melissa Lewis (Chastain), Mark Watney (Damon) Martinez (Pena), Johanssen (Mara), Beck (Stan) and Vogel (Hennie) as their exploration mission gets hit by devastating storm leading them to lead for an immediate evacuation. During the storm Watney gets hit and lost in the storm with the rest leaving the planet.

Director of NASA Teddy Sanders (Daniels) announces to the world what has happen and that Watney died on Mars. Meanwhile on Mars we follow Watney as he awakens from his injuries and returns to the command centre to record what he thinks will be his final days on Mars because he knows how long it would take for a rescue team to save him.

Watney refusing to give up so easily decides to fight to survive by using his expertise as a botanist to grow enough food to last the time period he has to wait for any sort of rescue mission.

When Mission Control discover that Watney is alive they have to figure out what to do, Vincent Kapoor (Ejiofor), Annie Montrose (Wiig) and Sanders need to make contact with Watney to make a rescue mission a reality while hiding the truth from his original crew. We have to witness Watney survive, NASA make the big decision and the crew deal with the consequences of leaving him behind, but will he make it home?

The Martian was a film I along with many others thought the trailer could have given away too much, but how we were wrong. Watching the rescue plans being built up is great along with watching how Mark plans his survival. We get to enjoy the non-serious attitude from Mark keeping the story feeling light hearted even though it is a serious situation. Looking back on the film it was hard to find a bad thing as we see the world unite to bring Mark home during the testing time.

 

Actor Review

 

Matt Damon: Mark Watney is the expert botanist who gets left on Mars during the first mission there, he has to figure out a way to survive on this planet where he knows he will not get any support for a long period of time. First he starts by growing food then finds a way to call home and against all the odds he must never give up in his quest for survival. Matt gives a brilliant performance in this leading role which could have been dull but his charm keeps your attention throughout.mark

Jessica Chastain: Melissa Lewis is the commander of the mission on Mars, she has to make the big decision to leave Mark once it becomes clear he gets lost during the storm. When she and her team learn about his survival they have to make their own decision. Jessica does a good job in the role where she handles everything going on.

Kristen Wiig: Annie Montrose is the public relations officer at NASA who has to help spin any decisions being made by the NASA team to make sure they look good through this situation. Kristen does a good job in this supporting role.

Jeff Daniels: Teddy Sanders is the director of NASA, he has to make all the final decisions when it comes to the rescue of Mark, he has moments where he is portrayed as the bad guy but he is making the correct logical decisions when it comes to each idea with the rescue. Jeff does a great job in this role showing that he isn’t just the authority in the situation but part of the world population wanting to bring Mark home.

Chiwetel Ejiofor: Venkat Kapoor is trying to answer the questions when it comes to rescuing Mark, he controls the satellites with his team. He does question enough of the ideas even though he wants full control of the satellites for his own work. Chiwetel does a good job in this role even though it feels very familiar to his 2012 role.vincen

Support CastThe Martian has a massive supporting cast including Michael Pena, Sean Bean, Kate Mara, Sebastian Stan, Aksel Hennie, Benedict Won, Mackenzie Davis and Donald Glover who all gives great performances with the role they are involved in.

Director Review: Ridley Scott Ridley brings us one of the best sci-fi films in recent years.

 

Action: The Martian has good use of action when required but doesn’t go over the top with the ideas.

Adventure: The Martian feels like an adventure from Mark’s side of the story as he must find a way to survive.

Sci-Fi: The Martian is on Mars and looking at NASA trying to rescue a stranded astronaut, could we get anymore sci-fi?

Settings: The Martian creates a brilliant setting location on Mars that all works make us feel like we are on Mars with Mark.
Special Effects
: The Martian has great effects to make everything seems logical throughout.

Suggestion: The Martian is one that really should be watched this year. (Watch)

 

Best Part: Damon shines in this role.

Worst Part: Slightly long.

Action Scene Of The Film: Rescue.

Funniest Scene: I blew myself up

Favourite Quote: Mark ‘I don’t want to come off as arrogant here, but I’m the greatest botanist on this planet.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: You get to see the what happens next for the characters.

 

Oscar Chances: This could easily get a few Oscar nods.

Runtime: 2 Hour 10 Minutes

Tagline:  Bring Him Home

 

Overall: One of the best films of 2015 with excellent sense of survival

Ratingcard