Pacific Rim Uprising (2018)

Director: Steven S DeKnight

Writer: Emily Carmichael, Kira Snyder, Steven S DeKnight, T.S. Nowlin (Screenplay) Travis Beacham (Characters)

Starring: John Boyega, Rinko Kikuchi, Scott Eastwood, Adria Arjona, Tian Jing, Charlie Day, Burn Gorman, Tian Jing, Jin Zhang

 

Plot: Jake Pentecost, son of Stacker Pentecost, reunites with Mako Mori to lead a new generation of Jaeger pilots, including rival Lambert and 15-year-old hacker Amara, against a new Kaiju threat.


Tagline – Rise up.

Runtime: 1 Hour 51 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Average Action Film

 

Story: Pacific Rim Uprising starts in the aftermath of the great war with the Kaiju, cities have been rebuilt, while others became squatter’s paradise, Jake Pentecost (Boyega) has taken to this life style, getting what he wants through stealing, not following in his father’s footsteps. When he meets genius engineer Arama (Spaeny) who has built her own illegal Jaeger unit, the get captured.

Jake is force back into the Jaeger program by his step-sister Mako (Kikuchi) with Amara being one of his cadets. When Liwen Shao (Jing) has created drone controlled Jaeger, it looks like the program has become obsolete, until they malfunction bringing the Kaiju back with a bigger and deadlier threat. Jake must put his past a side, follow in his father’s footsteps and work with his rival Nate Lambert (Eastwood) to save the world again.

 

Thoughts on Pacific Rim Uprising

 

Characters – Jake is the son of the great Stacker Pentecost, he hasn’t followed in his father’s footsteps, believing the war to be over for good, getting himself in trouble with the law brings him back into the program to train new recruits in case the Jaegers return. When they do he must become the leader his father was. Nate Lambert is the Ranger that has been working in the force for years, he enjoys training and was once a brilliant combat operator, he is the rival in the sense of having different mentality, but they both respect each other. Amara is the 15-year-old genius engineer that can build Jaeger’s like the best, she gets to become a cadet where she must prove herself to the fellow cadets. We have a random love interest, that seems to be there to add slight, weak tension between the boys, the scientists are back with their experiments and Liwen Shao is the brilliant mind behind an improved defence system.

PerformancesJohn Boyega gets to have fun in this role, his performances feels like a mix of his Attack the Block streets wise and Fin who is being brave on the outside, this works even though he does get more screen time that you think he needs for certain moments. Scott Eastwood is good in his role, its not the most difficult role to play and he doesn’t put a foot wrong. Cailee Spaeny is the new comer here, she has good chemistry for the banter with Boyega which is important between the two. No one really gives a bad performance, it is the lack of time given to Jin Zhang and Rinko Kikuchi that disappoints the most.

StoryThe story here brings us into a world which has seen the war, believed it was over and moved with life. This reflects what would happen with major disasters, parts gets rebuilt others forgotten. The idea that a tech firm wants to improve, this time by going drone warfare is something we know and have seen before, while the twist behind everything just seems random and out of place. we come into this movie to watch giant robots fight giant monsters, we get moments but for a story this felt like almost a forced sequel that believes it will become a franchise. The characters arcs are basic Jake’s has the clearest one at that.

Action/Adventure/Sci-FiThe action sequences are a mixed bag here, the big finally one, great loved how it was shot, tracking the different battles, the problem with most of the action sequences comes when we jump between non action moments, taking us out of the carnage. The adventure side comes from new people needing to prepare for a big battle, been here seen this. The sci-fi side of this is giant robots fighting giant monsters from another dimension, can you get more sci-fi than this?

SettingsThe settings show us once again that Kaiju only attack tourist destinations, like Sydney and Tokyo, we have some random time in the snow because why not.

Special EffectsThe effects do look flawless on the surface, my only issue here is watching the destruction sequences, it always feels like the buildings just vanish at times.


Scene of the Movie –
Final battle.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The building destruction never feels permanent.

Final ThoughtsThis is a solid enough sequel, it does everything a brain switch off movie needs to, grab popcorn, don’t car about anything for 2 hours and enjoy. If you want a deep story you will be disappointed and loveable characters, look elsewhere.

 

Overall: Solid popcorn nonsense.

Rating

 

 

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Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017)

Director: Rian Johnson

Writer: Rian Johnson (Screenplay) George Lucas (Characters)

Starring: Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega, Mark Hamill, Oscar Isaac, Domhnall Gleeson, Carrie Fisher, Andy Serkis, Kelly Marie Tran

 

Plot: Having taken her first steps into the Jedi world, Rey joins Luke Skywalker on an adventure with Leia, Finn and Poe that unlocks mysteries of the Force and secrets of the past.


Runtime: 2 Hours 32 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Spectacular

 

Story: Star Wars: The Last Jedi starts as the Force Awakens ends, Rey (Ridley) has tracked down Luke Skywalker (Hamill) in an attempt to bring in to join the rebel forces in the in battle against the First Order. Princess Leia (Fisher) is evacuating the Rebel Forces after the previous attack, with the First Order waiting to pick them off.

General Hux (Gleeson) is leading the assault from the First Order, with Poe (Isaac) leading to defensive assault, while Finn (Boyega) must go on his own adventure to bring down the First Order and help the Rebels escape. Kyle Ren (Driver) is trying to battle his inner demons deciding whether to make the transition to the Dark Side or not. This brings the characters into the next chapter in the saga who will have the upper hand by the end.

 

Thoughts on Star Wars: The Last Jedi

 

Characters – Let’s look at the newer characters first, Rey locates Luke and must try to convince him to return to help the Rebels only to need to learn her place in the battle, she starts to go through Jedi training showing the powers she has deep down ready to become a powerful force in the rebel battle. Fin spends most of the film wanting to find Rey, only to go on a secret mission to help stop the First Order from tracking the Rebels. Poe is still the trigger happy pilot that wants to fight more often than just survive, he has thee biggest arc to learn about through the film. Kyle Ren is now being questioned on his dark side alliance from Snoke, he must prove his alliance by taking out the threat which stands in their way.

Original characters, Luke has been in hiding after what happened with Kylo Ren, he doesn’t want to see another student influenced by the Darkside and is reluctant to help Rey, but he must learn from his own past to guide the future. Leia is leading the Rebels escape, knowing that they have dwindling numbers, she knows they must regroup in order to survive for the next battle, she does clash with Poe’s battle heavy beliefs.

There is one more character I feel deserves a mention, that is Rose, she is an engineer for the rebels, she goes on the mission with Finn and we learn just how many people have been affected by the First Order and how they are all doing their part to help somehow.

PerformancesWe can spend time going through all the individual performances here, but it would be hard to find a fault with any of them. The whole cast picks up where they left off last time around and the addition in Kelly Marie Tran and Benicio Del Toro shows we can get stars from different scales of the experience walk into the franchise without looking out of place.

StoryThe story continues from where we left off nicely, it does branch out into the four main stories with Rey & Luke, Finn, Rose and BB8, Poe trying to save the rebels and Kylo Ren showing his true colours. This helps continue the saga on to the next chapter, gives the characters the development needed for the next stage of the battle and gives the story a real time feel about it, as the film follows the Rebels trying to escape from The First Order for the most part of the film. it does have a darker town to everything, but this is needed because this is the middle of the trilogy story and now we are ready to see how the saga concludes.

Action/Adventure/Fantasy/Sci-FiThe action here is big battle set pieces, we have space battles, land battles and one wild race through a city, they entertain throughout the film. the adventure takes some of our characters to new worlds, with new fantasy creatures which helps them grow and learn the size of the battle they are part of.

SettingsEach world has its own unique style, the island Luke lives on feels abandoned and isolated for a reason, the rich person planet shows the type of people that could be using the battles for their own good and the space sets look brilliant too.

Special EffectsThis is one of the best looking special effects filled films in this whole saga, nothing looks out of place for this movie and it shows from the first shot to the final one.


Scene of the Movie –
Lightspeed, this moment had the whole cinema gasp in amazement.

That Moment That Annoyed Me I did find the timeline slightly confusing, Rey & Luke seem to be together for days maybe even weeks, while everything else seemed to be one or two days or nights only.

Final ThoughtsThis movie has bought the saga to new levels, our characters know their place in the battle and now they are ready to get to the next level of this battle, we know the stakes are at a critical level in the battle as we wait to see where things will go next.

 

Overall: This is the best addition to Star Wars since the Original Saga.

Rating

 

 

Detroit (2017)

Director: Kathryn Bigelow

Writer: Mark Boal (Screenplay)

Starring: John Boyega, Anthony Mackie, Will Poulter, Algee Smith, Jacob Latimore, Jason Mitchell, Jack Reynor

 

Plot: Fact-based drama set during the 1967 Detroit riots in which a group of rogue police officers respond to a complaint with retribution rather than justice on their minds.


Tagline –  It’s Time We Knew

Runtime: 2 Hours 23 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Strong Intense Film

 

Story: Detroit starts in the 1960s Detroit, where African Americans are restricted to limited neighbourhoods that were enforced by strict and brutal white police force, the equality act is nowhere to be seen here, which has only risen the racial tension between the races. In 1967 the tension has reached new heights, the army has entered the city to try and cover the problems as the Detroit riots start, days of looting, we follow white police officer Krauss (Poulter) who use his power to control the streets with force leading to him finding himself in trouble with his superiors. We also follow black security officer Dismukes (Boyega) who is called to try and control the looting, to complete the main people we will be following is Larry (Smith) and Fred (Latimore) musicians whose big opportunity is taken from him when the riots require a curfew at night as the group must hide out in a hotel.

When Carl (Mitchel) sends shots into the night, he sparks the events of this night, as the military focus on the hotel in which Larry and Fred are staying, with Dismukes wanting to make things end peacefully but Krauss, well he sees it as a chance to continue his violent ways, how will the night turn out?

 

Thoughts on Detroit

 

Characters – Dismukes is a security officers trying to stop looting during the riots, he plays the man between the lines, the violent white officers don’t respect him, the fellow black prisoners in the siege don’t trust him. He is the only one that has the power to find a peaceful outcome. Krauss is the violent police officers, he is about to face murder charges after killing a looter by shooting him in the back, he takes charge of the siege on the hotel which gets him a chance to continue the violent behaviour to anyone who supports the black side of the riots. Larry and Fred are two musicians that get caught up in the middle of the siege on the hotel, they are nothing more than kids who are just wanting to make a living. Greene is a war veteran that gets caught in the middle of the siege that served his country and still gets treated the way he did, he remains strong during the incident. We also meet the two white young women who are believed to be involved in the shooting and the officers working for Krauss who are just as twisted as him.

PerformancesJohn Boyega continues to show he is one of the hottest properties in Hollywood right now, he is gives us an authentic accent, never seeming like he is riding the Star Wars fame. Will Poulter is hauntingly disturbing in this role, he shows us that he will be a main stay in Hollywood most likely in villainous roles until he wants to step away. The new kids on the block Algee Smith & Jacob Latimore are both great showing the fear they are going through. The rest of the cast are brilliant too showing what the characters are going through.

StoryThe story faces the reality of one of the most violent nights in the Detroit riots, the build up to why people were there and how the events went down, as well as the aftermath. We have snippets of real footage that showed us what was going on in the bigger picture to the events around this incident. This is an interesting way to tell the story, because the first 1 hour and a half is leading up to and showing the siege while the remaining time is focusing on the aftermath which at times can drag along because we know the events, we don’t need to see a court case recounting them for us again.

Crime/HistoryThis is an important moment of history in America, the crime was horrendous, the action are almost unbelievable the crimes we witness, if you know the events then you will know the outcome, which could become negative if you want to see where things will go.

SettingsThe settings keep us in Detroit which is where the film is set, well the title tells you that, we are transported back to the time with everything seeming authentic too.


Scene of the Movie –
The whole siege is edge of your seat.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The film seems to keep going when it should have ended a lot earlier.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the most intense thrillers of recent years, but then the thrilling side ends and the film just keeps rolling through details we didn’t need to see after what we have seen.

 

Overall: Such a strong movie for the most part.

Rating

 

 

The Circle (2017)

Director: James Ponsoldt

Writer: James Ponsoldt, Dave Eggers (Screenplay) Dave Eggers (Novel)

Starring: Emma Watson, Tom Hanks, John Boyega, Bill Paxton, Karen Gillan, Ellar Coltrane, Glenne Headly

 

Plot: A woman lands a dream job at a powerful tech company called the Circle, only to uncover an agenda that will affect the lives of all of humanity.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Interesting Technology Warning

 

Story: The Circle starts as Mae (Watson) a bright young woman gets a dream opportunity to work for a tech company named The Circle thanks to her friend Annie (Gillan), the company has been creating technology that could give the world a one-use password for everything in their lives, with full security. Bailey (Hanks) runs the company is about to unleash the latest technology that analyse anything in filmed on a camera.

Mae learns that she is required to attended social events as the employees are meant to create their own circles depending on their interest through a social media account which they are meant to share through their employment. When Ty (Boyega) the original creator of the technology shows Mae the truth behind the technology and the threat it could hold to the human race comes through the battle between privacy or lack there off.

 

Thoughts on The Circle

 

Characters – Mae is a smart young woman that gets an opportunity of a lifetime to work for the biggest technology company in the world, at first she doesn’t fit in but soon she becomes the star new employee, even if she does step on the people who don’t want to be part of a social media world, we see how she was made for this world but also learns what the bigger picture could be. Bailey is the face of the Circle, he keeps everything feeling fresh when it comes to offering up new ideas to the technology world, he is open to an idea and discussion about improving to the next level. Ty is the creator of the technology that has been off the grid since it went too far for his own design, but he watches over it. Annie is the best friend that gets Mae the job but soon sees her potential and the danger the job has created. We do have the rest of the cast which work well as we have a blend of the people who do and don’t want to be involved in the technology side of the world around them.

PerformanceEmma Watson is good in the leading role but I do feel she doesn’t have the emotional range for certain roles including this one, this does frustrate because she has the look of a leading lady.

Tom Hanks is good as the Steve Jobs like character whose ambitious will drive his own greed but can give a speech we want to see unfold.

John Boyega is good in the supporting role but I do wish we had seen more from his character.

The rest of the cast is good throughout the film with each person giving their character the justice required throughout the film.

StoryThe story focuses on the ever growing idea of technology in the world, the Circle company is about trying to break boundaries even if the ideas are illegal and against the privacy laws. Most of the story focuses on Mae needing to question the moral reasoning behind technology because one side could be considered good while the other side could be considered wrong but the disappointment from the story comes the fact it doesn’t hit extremes it needs too.

Sci-Fi/ThrillerThe sci-fi element of the film comes from the new technology being unlocked which does come off looking fantastic but we are never on edge wondering what could happen next.

SettingsThe settings show us the Circle would all be within one facility but opens the doors to anybody in the world. Nothing comes off that great in the end though.

Special EffectsSeeing how the technology is shown is where the effects come into play as they are used well because we can’t see how workings of the technology in places.

Scene of the Movie – The Search for Mercer because it is the turning point in the story.

I always get annoyed by one thing in a movie, this is that moment Emma Watson lacking the emotional range needed for this role.

Final ThoughtsThis is a warning movie about social networking and even going into the next level of surveillance. The idea is great but it doesn’t reach the potential or the darkness it should reach too.

 

Overall: Lacks the final conviction to hit home.

Rating

 

 

Attack the Block (2011)

attackDirector: Joe Cornish

Writer: Joe Cornish (Screenplay)

Starring: Jodie Whittaker, John Boyega, Alex Esmail, Leeon Jones, Franz Drameh, Simon Howard, Maggie McCarthy, Danielle Vitalis, Luke Treadaway, Nick Frost

 

Plot: A teen gang in South London defend their block from an alien invasion.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Unique and Original

 

Story: Attack the Block starts as we meet young woman Sam (Whittaker) who lives in the London estates, while walking home she finds herself being mugged by Moses (Boyega) and his gang Pest (Esmail), Jerome (Jones), Dennis (Drameh) and Biggz (Howard) only for an alien invasion to interrupt the incident.

Moses getting attacked by one of the aliens hunts it down with his gang and kills it, Moses goes on to wonder what to do with these new unknown creature as we see how the teenager is getting controlled by the drug dealers in the block.

When Moses sees more aliens arrive in the block the gang head out to kill the rest and an unlikely partnership between the gang and Sam rich boy Brewis (Treadaway) and local drug dealer Ron (Frost) starts as they battle for their home against the alien invaders.

Attack the Block gives us an alien invasion story which comes of fresh in the world of heavy unoriginal alien creations. The film does capitalise on the spin of putting a certain select group of people against an evil which all works because the unity within the neighbourhood would be close enough to fight off any enemy. I will say we should have had slightly more focus on the Sam’s realisation that these kids have never had a chance of a future and that is why they act the way they do but otherwise this is a good fun alien invasion story.

 

Actor Review

 

Jodie Whittaker: Sam is a recently graduated nurse living in the rough block in London, after she gets mugged by a teenage gang that is only the beginning of her nightmare as she has to work with the gang to fight off the aliens. Jodie

John Boyega: Moses is the leader of the teenager gang who spends his time mugging people around the block, when the aliens interrupt one he kills the creature but this only drags more aliens into the area as he leads his gang in a battle against the aliens. Moses is the age where we get to see these teenagers make the big decisions with their life choices as we see how he is getting ordered around by older members of the block but we also see him want to make his own decisions. John

Alex Esmail: Pest is a member of the gang who loves to use his fireworks as a weapon, I will say Pest is by far the most annoying of all of the characters but that is a character design. Alex does a good job to make us get annoyed by this character.

Leeon Jones: Jerome seems to be the brains of the gang who seems to only been there because he was born in the wrong neighbour. Leeon is good looking like part of the gang with ease.

Support Cast: Attack the Block has a supporting cast that you would expect to see within the neighbourhood with everyone making us feel like this is a real community struggling with life issues.

Director Review: Joe CornishJoe gives us a unique and original spin on the alien invasion genre by setting it within a London council estate.

 

Action: Attack the Block has good action throughout the film with a lot of the action being used to create the comedy in the film.

Comedy: Attack the Block uses the comedy points for this film to make fun at the ideas of having to beat off any enemy.

Sci-Fi: Attack the Block brings us a new form of alien which helps hugely because we needed something new in the alien style film.

Settings: Attack the Block keeps all the action in and around the block showing how they seen the world against them.
Special Effects
: Attack the Block keeps as much of the special effects as practical effects which adds the extra fear about the creatures.

Suggestion: Attack the Block is one for the fans of the action horror genre to enjoy because of the unique spin on the aliens. (Try It)

 

Best Part: The alien original and actually scary.

Worst Part: Slightly too stereotypical London Estate characters.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel:

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Awards: Nominated for a BAFTA

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $13 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 28 Minutes

Tagline: Inner City vs. Outer Space

Trivia: John Boyega found out about this film from an ad placed on-line.

 

Overall: One of the best and most original of the alien creation films out there.

Ratingcard