Black Mirror – Striking Vipers

Director: Owen Harris

Writer: Charlie Brooker (Screenplay)

Starring: Anthony Mackie, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Nicole Beharie, Pom Klementieff, Monique Cynthia Brown

 

Plot: Two estranged college friends reunite in later life, triggering a series of events that could alter their lives forever.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Largely Forgettable

 

Story: Striking Vipers starts as two former college friends Danny (Mackie) and Karl (Abdul-Mateen II) reunite at Danny’s birthday, even though they have gone in different directions, Danny is married with a family, while Karl is a womaniser. Karl buys Danny a birthday present called Striking Vipers which is a virtual reality game.

The game takes Danny and Karl into avatars of their favourite characters, where they can actually fight and experience other feelings that can be replicated from real life.

 

Thoughts on Striking Vipers

 

Characters – Danny is a happily married man who is looking to have his second child with his wife, he has grown up a lot since his wild college years which saw him party a lot, with this new game, he starts to see life differently starting to question his own views on life, which could start to put a strain on his marriage. Karl is the old best friend of Danny from college, he has become distant from Danny, only to return with a new game which could change their lives, he is still acting like he is in college despite the fact they are reaching 40, he is often seen as the bad influence on Danny. Theo is the wife of Danny, she starts to notice the change in him, which sees her wanting to connect with her husband once again before losing the marriage.

PerformancesAnthony Mackie is great in the leading role without struggle to balance his characters emotional dilemma through the film. Yahya Abdul-Mateen II continues to show he has continued to impress in the last year as an actor fast becoming a name to watch for years to come. Nicole Beharie shows us how to make a supporting character make an impact as we see how she bring us the wife that is losing it.

StoryThe story here follows two former college friends whose lives change when they start using a virtual reality video game, it reaches dangerous levels of obsession and offers up the questions of sexually desires. For the calibre of storytelling we are used to seeing from a Black Mirror story, we look at the reluctant behaviour in relationships and how people can become overly reliant on certain ways of finding love. The way this story flows does feel off for the most part leaving us like a moment of impact in missing.

Sci-FiFor the sci-fi elements used within this film, we get to see just how the world of virtual reality can be used to achieve things you can’t do in real life and shows us that not everybody will turn to needing to find help from this source.

SettingsThe settings in the film come from the idea that everyday life can need refreshing at times.

Special EffectsThe effects come from being inside the virtual reality world, which does show how they movements could be real, which is beautiful to see.


Scene of the Movie –
The first entry to the virtual world.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It does go way to slowly.

Final ThoughtsThis does just about become a forgettable story, it does want to examine real issues only to just pull out from them follow through.

 

Overall: Disappointing addition to the black mirror.

Rating

 

 

Avengers: Infinity War (2018)

Director: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo

Writer:Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely (Screenplay) Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Jim Starlin, George Perez, Ron Lim, Steve Ditko, Joe Simon (Characters)

Starring: Josh Brolin, Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Robert Downey Jr, Chadwick Boseman, Karen Gillan, Scarlett Johansson, Zoe Saldana, Sebastian Stan, Pom Klementieff, Letitia Wright, Tom Holland, Tom Hiddleston, Chris Pratt, Idris Elba, Benedict Cumberbatch, Danai Gurira, Dave Bautista, Mark Ruffalo, Paul Bettany, Benedict Wong, Anthony Mackie, Don Cheadle

 

Plot: The Avengers and their allies must be willing to sacrifice all in an attempt to defeat the powerful Thanos before his blitz of devastation and ruin puts an end to the universe


Tagline – An entire universe. Once and for all.

Runtime: 2 Hours 36 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Truly a Game Changer

 

Story: Avengers: Infinity War starts as we see the power of Thanos (Brolin) collecting his second infinity stone leaving a path of destruction, with his power growing the Avengers must unit to fight and stop him getting the remaining Infinity Stones that will give him the power to eliminate half of any population with the click of his fingers.

The battle will take place in space, on distant planets and back home on Earth where we get to see unseen team ups and reunions between friends.

 

Thoughts on Avengers: Infinity Way

 

Characters – When we dive into characters we have so many to talk about, I will spend time talking Thanos because has been a villain waiting in the background for many films for, we know his is powerful and this is how you make a villain the powerful force we know and will remember because what he does in this film will make you remember within the first five minutes, but we do also see what drives him and that he has true belief in his cause. In the rest of the characters we know what we are getting from most, I was impressed with Doctor Strange as I wasn’t too interested in the solo film, Thor has a brilliant story arc that keeps his character in the tone we got in Ragnarok and the father son dynamic between Tony and Peter is still here. Drax gets the most laughs once more, while everyone around Steve Rogers is the more serious side of the film. the only negatives on the characters we meet would be the generals for Thanos, who are largely forgettable.

PerformancesThe performances like the characters we have way too many to talk about, Josh Brolin being the new comer makes a massive impact easily becoming the best villain in the MCU. The talent on the Avengers is fantastic and the people that stood out for me were Benedict Cumberbatch, Dave Bautista and Chris Hemsworth, while I don’t think anybody is close to being bad, I felt the actors on the Earth battle weren’t given enough to do to get to their best abilities.  

StoryThe story here is the build up for 18 movies, we have developed our heroes while learning little about the villain, this story shows just what Thanos is fighting for, what he will do to get it and what the heroes will need to do to stop him. For me this is the game changer in superhero movies, we manage to handle seeing separate groups work together to fight on different worlds in groupings you wouldn’t put together, this does however mean certain characters don’t meet in this story which might disappoint fans. The story also balances comedy with the Thor and Guardians of the Galaxy mostly and the serious side of what is coming with Captain America. This is easily what we as fans have deserved, but you might not get everything if you haven’t seen the other films.

Action/Adventure/Sci-fi/FantasyThe action is massive and takes us to different worlds for the battles which each are filled with peril because we know not everyone will make it out of this one. the adventure takes our characters to places they haven’t been before for their part in the story, which brings the sci-fi sides with large parts of the film being in space and different worlds that only could come from fantasies of comic books.

SettingsEach setting offers our characters a challenge they will need to face in battle, this shows how easily travelling through space can be if you know the ability to do so.

Special EffectsThese fight sequences, action sequences look breath taking and nearly everything is flawless except the routine space creatures in the final battle.


Scene of the Movie –
Thor meeting the Guardians.

That Moment That Annoyed Me We learn why a couple of characters are not in the film, but there are some that just seem missing which frustrates because they were interesting ones you would have liked to have seen fight.

Final ThoughtsThis is the biggest comic book movie of all time, it changes everything going forward and is a must see for anyone who is a fan of the genre.

 

Overall: Must See Brilliance.

Rating

 

 

Ingrid Goes West (2017)

 

Director: Matt Spicer

Writer: David Branson Smith, Matt Spicer (Screenplay)

Starring: Aubrey Plaza, Elizabeth Olsen, O’Shea Jackson Jr, Wyatt Russell, Bill Magnussen, Pom Klementieff

 

Plot: An unhinged social media stalker moves to LA and insinuates herself into the life of an Instagram star.


Tagline – She’ll Follow You

Runtime: 1 Hour 38 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Wonderfully Disturbing

 

Story: Ingrid Goes West starts as we meet Ingrid (Plaza) a social media fanatic who shows the extremes she goes to become part of the celebrity’s life, but freshly out of the mental home, she now targets her newest celebrity obsession Taylor Sloane (Olsen).

Ingrid moves west to LA to be closer to Taylor after getting a reply from Taylor on social media, renting a place of Dan Pinto (Jackson Jr) she gets to grips with the LA life style. We see how Ingrid learns where Taylor lives and decides to dognap her dog, so she can become the hero in Taylor’s eyes. The two become friends where the two share secrets and now Ingrid has everything she wanted in her social media obsession, but when things go in the direction against Ingrid’s wishes, we see the unstable side of things.

 

Thoughts on Ingrid Goes West

 

Characters – Ingrid is an unstable young woman that is obsessed with celebrities on social media, her latest one left her in a mental home but fresh out she dives right back into social media locating her new obsession. Using the money she received from her mother’s death she heads to LA to get close to her latest obsession, when she soon becomes friends with her but are we prepared to see how far she will go. Taylor is the social media icon, she shots every moment of her life for her followers who feed her desire to be popular giving her the attention she requires, we learn that not everything she speaks is the truth making her just as fake as the followers that she has. Dan is the local screenwriter that gives Ingrid a room to rent, his is obsessed with Batman becoming one of the only natural friends Ingrid meets.

PerformancesAubrey Plaza is fantastic in this leading role, she plays the fine line between normal and unstable while being the social awkward stalker she needs to show us. Elizabeth Olsen is great as the social media diva that craves the attention. She gives us a truly believable performance as a woman that relies on social media for her attention. O’Shea Jackson Jr is good in the supporting role playing a down to Earth character throughout the film. Wyatt Russell and Billy Magnussen are both great in the supporting roles too.

StoryThis is the story of the darker side of social media, it shows both how the people on it can be fake, but it can also create the stalker mentality behind the people who follow people on social media. We get to see how this has become a new problem in the world and how the mental unstable will struggle to cope with the rejection with the popularity they crave. This story is a great watch, it is powerful throughout the film, it tells a powerful message about the dangers of social media both for the people sharing and following.

ComedyThe comedy in this movie fits what the movie drama tone without making is completely dark, we do have dark moments of comedy and not full-blown laugh out loud moments.

SettingsThe LA setting works for the film because it shows how people in the area can be drawn into obsession.


Scene of the Movie –
Punch Me.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It is hard to find anything that I didn’t like here but the one moment would be, Ezra, I believe we could have had one more moment with him.

Final ThoughtsThis is easily one of the films of the year, it tackles a serious matter and entertains throughout with powerhouse performances.

 

Overall: Contender for the film of the year.

Rating

 

 

 

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2 (2017)

Director: James Gunn

Writer: James Gunn (Screenplay) Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning, Steve Englehart, Steve Gan, Jim Starlin, Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, Jack Kirby, Bill Mantlo, Keith Giffen (Characters)

Starring: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Pom Klementieff, Sylvester Stallone, Kurt Russell

 

Plot: Set to the backdrop of Awesome Mixtape #2, ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’ continues the team’s adventures as they unravel the mystery of Peter Quill’s true parentage.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Character Building of the Galaxy

 

Story: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol, 2 starts with the guardians Peter Quill (Pratt), Gamora (Saldana), Drax (Bautista), Rocket and Baby Groot protecting the galaxy once more doing a paid job for Ayesha (Debicki). The payment is none other than Nebula (Gillan) who they aim to target her bounty, but when Rocket commits the same crime the Guardians are once again on the run.

Being saved by Peter’s father Ego (Russell) the team split up with an old friend Yondu (Rooker) the Guardians will learn more about themselves, working together and being the saviours of the galaxy again.

 

Thoughts on Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

 

Characters/PerformancePeter gets a chance to learn about his father while still trying to be the leader of the Guardians continuing on his maybe romance with Gamora. Gamora tries to continue being the strong silent type but this time gets to deal with her relationship with sister Nebula. Drax becomes the best character in the film getting all the best line with his way of life that he once lived, having a connection with Mantis. Rocket continues to deal with his wishes to be alone and not make friends seeing himself in Yondu. Baby Groot is fun for the most part getting the cute award. Yondu continues on his arc as we continue to learn he isn’t as much of a bad guy as he wants to be. The additional characters include Mantis who does get plenty of laughs with her innocent nature, Ego is also very interesting with his past becoming the interesting.

Performance wise, I feel Chris Pratt does struggle to maintain the charm he gave us in the first film, Saldana does continue to look the part of a kickass warrior though. Dave Bautista for me is the star of the film getting all the laughs wanting you to see his next scene. Cooper continues he great work voicing Rocket and Rooker does well with his increased involvement in the film. Kurt Russell fits into an 80‘s themed movie perfectly and does well throughout. If you are going to look into Stallone to be a big part you will be disappointed as he is only in one scene building his character for future films.

StoryThe story can be described in one phrase ‘character building’, I say this because we have a lot of pairing up as the good guys work with bad guys putting their differences aside to see themselves in a new light. This is the base of the story and is great for the next stages of the Marvel Universe but in the end we are left with something slightly flat with the normal big fight feeling at the end. This isn’t the best story but can entertain where needed.

Action/Adventure/Sci-FiThe action is large scale but nothing new with the adventure also not being on the level of the first film, the sci-fi is all good looking at the potential universes the Guardians could have adventures in the future.

SettingsThe settings are all created to look beautiful and unique without being something of complete wow factor.

Special EffectsThe special effects are all great and it is hard to find a fault in them for the most part.

Final ThoughtsAs a huge fan of the original film, I couldn’t help but find myself slightly let down because this film does feel slow in places and too character development heavy.

 

Overall: This is a fun film and it will be important to where the film franchise goes next.

Rating

 

 

Oldboy (2013)

logoDirector: Spike Lee

Writer: Mark Protosevich (Screenplay) Garson Tsuchiya, Nobuaki Minegishi (Manga)

Starring: John Brolin, Elizabeth Olsen, Sharlto Copley, Samuel L Jackson, Michael Imperiolo, Pom Klementieff, James Ransone, Max Casella

 

Plot: Obsessed with vengeance, a man sets out to find out why he was kidnapped and locked into solitary confinement for twenty years without reason.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Classic American Remake, Botched

 

Story: Oldboy starts by showing Joe (Brolin) going about his normal day drinking on his job turning up late working on a big job. Joe has been letting his three year old daughter down by missing her birthday just so he can get the advertisement job with an elite client. We learn in just five minutes just how much of a low life screw up Joe really is.

Joe wakes up naked in a hotel room with a selection of different everyday products, the door is locked and there is no way out of the room. Joe’s ex-wife gets murdered while Joe is locked away and Joe is framed for the murder. We continue to see how Joe is locked up and we want and learn the time changing through the television Joe watches as he starts to change.

20 years have passed and Joe is released from his prison and ends up showing the skills he has learned while locked up and meeting Doctor Marie Sebastian (Olsen). Joe goes to the one person he can trust Chucky (Imperioli) and after getting a phone call from the man who has kept him locked up he starts to look into any potential enemies he has. Joe teams up with Marie to search for answers as he struggles to deal with the technology that has come to the world since he was locked up.
Joe finds the location where he was locked up and sets out torturing the man running it Chaney (Jackson) in searching for the one who arranged his locking up. When the mystery man (Copley) visits Joe forcing him to watch murder giving Joe 46 hours to work out who he is and why he locked him up or he will kill Joe’s daughter. We now have to watch Joe and Marie figure out who the mystery man is before learning the terrifying truth behind his motives.

Oldboy is a remake of a classic that with its shock and grit really gathered a hardcore fan base. With that in place we have to wonder how a remake could make an impact, well the only positive I saw was the idea of improved technology, we see Joe solve the problems just by looking on a smartphone while in the original it was a computer. This helps the investigation get fast tracked but that is where the original ideas end. Nearly every scene and twist is a carbon copy of what the original had, we get no shocks because we know what is coming and to take these shocks away would ruin the outcome of the film.

Let’s try and look at this if the original had never happened now. In fairness this really does throw up a very good mystery and I would really like to hear from anyone who has only seen this copy of the film. After seeing the original I can only give this score, but I do think it could be higher if you haven’t seen the original. (4/10)

 

Actor Review

 

Josh Brolin: Joe Doucett starts out as a terrible father, drunk and overall sleaze ball. After he gets locked up for twenty years Joe has to figure out who is behind it and get to his daughter before it is too late. Josh doesn’t reach the same levels the star of the original reaches and never looks as full emotional broken by what happens. (4/10)

 joe

Elizabeth Olsen: Marie Sebastian young nurse who helps Joe with his investigation, she ends up getting caught up in the middle of the battle with a much more sinister motive. Elizabeth does a solid job but really is just a pawn in the bigger game. (6/10)

marie

Sharlto Copley: Adrian/Stranger this is the mystery man who has been making Joe run through hoops while threating his daughter to see if Joe can learn the motives behind locking him up. Sharlto does a solid job as the villain staying very calm through every scene his character is in showing just how twisted his character really is. (7/10)

 mystery

Support Cast: Oldboy has a supporting cast who makes up the victims for Joe to target.

 

Director Review: Spike Lee – Spike is one of the best directors in the business but in the end he just makes a carbon copy of the original. (4/10)

 

Action: Oldboy has the good fight scenes but like most of this film, it doesn’t reach the levels of the first. (6/10)

Mystery: Oldboy gives a mystery that really makes you wonder what will happen and what is the motive. (9/10)

Thriller: Oldboy does give mystery but doesn’t put you on the edge of your seat like the original does. (5/10)

Settings: Oldboy brings the settings back to America but really doesn’t use anywhere special. (4/10)

Suggestion: Oldboy is a difficult film to suggest because if you have seen original you can miss but if you haven’t you could try this one but I can only suggest really seeing the original. (Watch Original)

 

Best Part: Technology speeds the pace up.

Worst Part: It is just a carbon copy.

Oh My God Moment: The End.

 

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $4.8 Million

Budget: $30 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 44 Minutes

Tagline: Ask not why you were imprisoned. Ask why you were set free.

Trivia: Josh Brolin personally created the title artwork.

 

Overall: Oldboy sums up the problem with American remakes, it just copies something brilliant and never gets the same shock value.

Rating 40