Blade Runner 2049 (2017) Film Review

K (Ryan Gosling) is a Blade Runner – tracking down the old robot-types who need to be destroyed as they went a bit feral and did some killing of people once. When he comes across a situation that no-one believed was possible, he needs to delve deep to find the truth. Helped by his holographic girlfriend Joi (Ana de Armas), his boss Lieutenant Joshi (Robin Wright) and various others, he needs to track down Deckard (Harrison Ford) and find out what is what.

I saw this at Imax, and it was so totally worth it. The soundtrack is amazing (although there were a few times where I was confused about what was diegetic and what was non-diegetic) and it is stunning beautiful. It is also three hours long, which is a really, really long time. I also found that the various twists and turns of the film where extremely obvious and nothing surprised me, yet that didn’t bother me. I enjoyed it for exactly what it was.

Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens (2015) Film Review


It’s many years later. Darth Vader and the Emperor and the Dark Side are all gone. Now, there is The First Order. Ruled by a mysterious creature, but still using a huge bunch of Storm Troopers and with a dude with a mask and cape quite similar to Darth Vader. But there is hope, there is a still a resistance, still with Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) at the helm. Then there are other good folks who get drawn in – the absolutely delightful Finn (John Boyega), the gutsy and fabulous Rey (Daisy Ridley), the far too handsome pilot Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac), and they manage to bring back Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew), both as kick arse as ever.

After disliking or, at the very lease, being totally disinterested, about the Star Wars films for so long, I didn’t want to see this. Then reviews started coming in saying that it was pretty darned good, and I started to have a slight interest. And then I went and saw it and LOVED IT! What a surprise. It was fun and funny and spectacular. Mind you, I’m not keen on seeing it again, because I suspect that is one of my problems with rewatching the first films too many times – when I knew what was coming, I was far less interesting. Not knowing what was going to happen was awesome, and then there were a lot of things that were just about nods to the past. And that was nice, too.


Star Wars : Episode VI – Return of the Jedi (1983) Film Review


The last of the original trilogy. And I have to say that watching the three of these films almost back to back have made me less hateful. No, I wasn’t hateful. I was indifferent. No, I think now I am indifferent. Previously, I was disliking. Now, I totally see what people love it so much, but it ain’t my cup of tea.

What didn’t I like? Well, I think the problem with no seeing it over a gap of several years means I didn’t really see the character development happening, especially of Luke. It feels as though one second he is a young fool and the next a wise Jedi (or close to) and, despite several films of plot development, I didn’t feel that I’d seen him grow. Also, if the Emperor was that easy to get rid of, why hadn’t they? And seriously, how quickly can you rebuild a Death Star? Like, months? Surely, it should have been decades or longer. Oh, I also didn’t like the ewoks.

What did I like? I liked all the action in the forest. And while a lot of it was really spoilt by the terrible acting and heavy-handed clue giving, treating the audience like fools, it was still pretty. Actually, there wasn’t much more I really liked about it. But I guess the characters had kind of grown on me, and I was glad to see all ended well. Now, the new one? Well, goodness only knows what I’ll think of that.

Return of the Jedi won Oscars for Visual Effects and was nominated for Best Art Direction, Best Sound, Best Effects – Sound Effects Editing and Best Music – Original Score.


Star Wars : Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back (1980) Film Review


Okay, so this is the post Star Wars world. And just because things are going well, doesn’t mean that things will continue to go well, and things are now not going well for our heroes. I must admit, I don’t remember the details of this film nearly as much as I remembered Star Wars. Still, not loving this film, but not hating it.

What did I not like? Oh, dear, the acting. Mark Hamill is a lot better in this film, but overall, jeepers, it’s all so terrible and heavy-handed and yawn. Plus, could the scooby gang be any cheesier? What did I like? The ice planet was pretty cool. And there were some cool fight scenes.

The Empire Strikes Back won Oscars for Best Sound and Visual Effects and was nominated for Best Art Direction – Set Design and Best Music – Original Score.

Star Wars : Episode IV – A New Hope (1977) Film Review


So, over the last few years, I’ve allowed myself to admit something that brings shame to any self-respecting Gen X geek such as myself; I don’t like Star Wars. And no, I’m not just talking about the apparently god-awful prequels, because I believe I have only seen a part of one of those. No, the original. And I’ve avoided re-watching because I have little interest.

And now, there is apparently another Star Wars film that is, this time, quite good. And I’ve been sucked in to going to see it. And so, I need to revisit the first ones. Because apart from all the usual spoilers, all I really remember clearly are the trash compactor scene, flying through the woods and um, oh, the dead bodies of Luke’s aunt and uncle.

I’m not going to do a plot summary; it’s about wars that happen in the stars. There’s other stuff you should know, but just watch it.

Was it as bad as I remember? Look, no. But I still didn’t like it. I found the acting absolutely appalling, the story quite tedious and I had little interest in the world I was shown. What did I like? The humour – between Han (Harrison Ford) and C3P0 (Anthony Daniels), there are a lot of fun lines. Um, that’s pretty much it. I understand why people love it. I can see the elements that would make it loved and I get why people want to watch it over and over again, and share with their kids and all that. Just… not me. Thanks, though.

Star Wars won Oscars for Best Art Direction – Set Design, Best Costume Design, Best Sound, Best Effects – Visual Effects, Best Music – Original Score and for Sound Effects, and was nominated for Best Picture, Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Alec Guiness), Best Director (George Lucas) and Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen (George Lucas).


Ender’s Game (2013) Film Review


It’s a futuristic world where the world had been attacked by some aliens and a hero saved them. Now, for a reason that wasn’t totally clear to me, kids are recruited to fight, and it is only the cream of the crop, the best of the best, who get through, chosen by Colonel Graff (Harrison Ford) and Major Anderson (Viola Davis). Ender (Asa Butterfield) comes along and proves the be the best of the best of the best, provided he can get through training.

I didn’t really expect to like this film all that much – I thought it might be a bit earnest and really for the kids, but I really enjoyed it. I didn’t like the end all that much, but the fighting scenes were quiet cool and I really liked the way the characters developed, kids becoming really adult like.

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989) Film Review


Here’s another of the films I watched over and over as a teenager. The humour, the action, and of course, the sticking it to the Nazis – it’s got it all.

Indiana (Harrison Ford) finds out that his father, Professor Henry Jones (Sean Connery) has gone missing whilst tracking down the Holy Grail for collector Walter Donovan(Julian Glover). The Holy Grail has been Henry’s life’s passion, and luckily his research helps Indiana track him down, but of course the Nazis are about and that doesn’t make anything easy.

Watching it again, I think it is Sean Connery that makes this film; he and Harrison Ford together. I can’t recall another film where he gets to be so funny; I think of him as suave and collected and sometimes angry, but not funny. This film truly got Indiana Jones back on track after the disaster that was Temple of Doom. Even the opening sequence, with River Phoenix as the young Indiana gets his morals back on track – it’s all about getting things in museums, not making a profit. Onya, Indy.

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade won an Oscar for Best Effects, Sound Effects Editing and was nominated for Best Sound and Best Music, Original Score.

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984) Film Review


Having raved about how everyone must surely love Raiders of the Lost Ark, I then watch Temple of Doom and think to myself “Ah, see, people love this film, yet I hate it. Perhaps some people don’t love Raiders of the Lost Ark.” Yes, it’s still Harrison Ford being Indiana but… oh, there is so much wrong with it.

The story goes that Indiana is selling the remains of the first Emperor of something to a guy in Shanghai for a big diamond. He is double crossed and ends up drugged and dragging an American singer with him out of the club, through town driven by a small Chinese orphan Indiana has found and onto a plane. However, there are issues here, too, and the planes crashes, leaving them stranded in India where they are sent on a mission by the townsfolk who find them. Of course, it is not easy, and there is some screaming and stuff.

Firstly, why was Indy suddenly selling the items for profit? At least in the first film he was avoiding the Nazis. But now he’s into the cash? Second, why have such a cool, strong female lead in the first film (even though she had to be rescued and stuff, she wasn’t going to be pushed around), then a squealing and totally unlikable woman in this one? And what is the story with the Chinese orphan that Indy essentially kidnaps? He’s cute and says quirky little humourous things, but it screams of trying to appeal to a kids audience, and Indiana Jones films should be better than that. My theory is that every other Indiana Jones film is good – from memory, Last Crusade is fabulous, but then the more recent Crystal Skull was appalling. I’ve heard (god forbid) that there are plans to make a fifth. By this theory, it’ll be ace. Or totally destroy this theory.

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom won an Oscar for Best Effects, Visual Effects and was nominated for Best Music, Original Score.

Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) Film Review


Some films you need to watch again to remember how truly magnificent they are. Raiders of the Lost Ark is one of these, without a doubt. It’s got everything; running, explosions, fighting and humour – oh, the humour. Here’s a recap if you have no idea of what I’m talking about.

Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) is an archaeology professor at a university. But he also obtains hidden ancient treasures. Now, if he was just taking things for the sake of taking them, or for money, that wouldn’t be so ace. But he’s getting them before the Nazis, and so he is a hero. Oh, yes, it’s set pre-WW2. Hitler is about, but the war hasn’t started yet. Indiana Jones needs to get a pendant from the Marion (Karen Allen), daughter of a fellow adventurer. He then needs to get the writing on it deciphered, make a rod, go to a map room in the middle of a dig run by the Nazis, find the location, dig up the ark and escape with it. The only help he has is Marion and his mate Sallah (John Rhys-Davies) and he is against a nasty archaeologist, Belloq (Paul Freeman) and a whole heap of Nazis.

The whole thing is action, action, action, with a tiny bit of romance for fun. It’s awesome and fun, and if you haven’t seen it, do. I don’t know anyone who does not like Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Raiders of the Lost Ark won Oscars for Best Art Direction – Set Decoration, Best Sound, Best Film Editing, Best Effects, Visual Effects and Special Achievement Award (for sound effects editing) and was nominated for Best Picture, Best Director (Steven Spielberg), Best Cinematography and Best Music, Original Score.

Cowboys and Aliens (2011) Film Review

Cowboys and Aliens 5

It’s the Wild West, back in the 1800s. Jake Lonergan (Daniel Craig) has woken with no memory and a strange iron bracelet on his arm. Arriving in a small town, Jake comes across Percy  (Paul Dano), the drunk son of rich landowner Woodrow Dolarhyde (Harrison Ford) tormenting the town. But, their dispute takes a back seat when aliens appear, kidnapping townsmen and exploding a lot of stuff.  Together, Lonergan, Dolarhyde, the mysterious Ella Swenson (Olivia Wilde), preacher Meacham (Clancy Brown) and barman Doc (Sam Rockwell) take off to save not only their family members, but the world.

There is a lot of running and explosives, some pretty serious alien action, intense gazes just off camera and the odd cheesy line. What more could you want from an action movie? For me, not a lot. Plus, Harrison Ford – its been a while since I’ve seen him doing anything that’s been that great. Well, that’s not strictly true – I didn’t mind Morning Glory. But to get him at his action hero best – it’s nice to see.