Jack the Giant Slayer (2013) Film Review


You know the story of Jack and the Beanstalk? Jack is dumb and poor and trades his cow for a handful of magic beans that his mother throws out the window and in the mornign a beanstalk has grown to the sky, and so Jack climbs it and steals a whole bunch of stuff from them and then he cuts it down and the giant dies. Well, let’s rewrite this a bit. First, the giants have attacked the world once and were driven off by a king wearing a magic crown and have remained above the clouds for a really long time. But now, due to a couple of silly mistakes and the scheming of the nasty Roderck (Stanley Tucci), there is the chance for the giants to return. It ends up being up to the kings men, notably Elmont (Ewan McGregor) and Crawe (Eddie Marsan), helped by Jack (Nicholas Hoult) who was saving Princess Isabelle (Eleanor Tomlinson) to kick the giants’ butts.

I totally should have loved this more. Apart from Stanley Tucci, Ewan McGregor, Nicholas Hoult and Eddie Marsan, all of whose performances I generally really enjoy, there was Ewen Bremner, Ian McShane and Warwick Davis. The story should have been good enough to carry me along. Yet there was something lacking. Something that I just didn’t love. Was it that yet again, there was only one female character? And that while she had a bit of personality, essentially she was just another princess waiting to be rescued? Or did it all just feel a bit forced?


X-Men: Apocalypse (2016) Film Review


We’re back in the early days of X-Men. The really early days – there is a dude back in ancient Egypt who is a mutant, who rules as a god on earth and takes powers from other mutants. Luckily, there are some good guys who manage to trap him in the Earth for thousands of years. Unfortunately, he gets free and tries to take over. He’s always had four sidekicks, and this time is no different: he takes Angel (Ben Hardy ), Storm (Alexandra Shipp), Psylocke (Olivia Munn) and our old favourite, Magneto (Michael Fassbender). So it is up to Professor Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and his guys to save the world.

For me, as someone who came to the X-Men films with no prior comic knowledge, this is all starting to get a bit confusing. Don’t get me wrong, I still love it. I love all the explosions and the craziness, and especially the powers, but I get a bit lost. Who is what? What powers do they have? Who is good and who is bad? And what’s the story with Magneto – after constantly being in these battle where he seems to (spoiler – I think?) change from the bad side to help the good, why does he keep being bad? What? I know I’ll keep watching these films and getting more and more confused, and I don’t really mind as long as they keep the special effects fancy and the costumes cool.


Mad Max : Fury Road (2015) Film Review



Imperator Furiosa (Charlieze Theron) is on a mission; to get a group of women being used as breeders away from the evil control of Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne). Taking a tanker for refueling across the stark desert from the compound run by Immortan Joe is the perfect chance, and she gets a hell of a way before he is on her tail – with his crew of followers, including the War Boys – men who are ill with some kind of perhaps radiation poisoning and live to give their lives for Immortan Joe. Nux (Nicholas Hoult) is one of these, and Max (Tom Hardy), who has been captured, is being used as his ‘blood bag’ – his blood is being transfused from him. Max gets free and ends up reluctantly helping/being dragged along for the ride with Furiosa.

It’s awesome. It most certainly fills all my love for explosions and chases and all of that. Plus, it has a kick-arse female character – actually, it has quite a lot of kick-arse female characters. Max is almost an after thought in the film, it is so much the journey of Furiosa. However, Hardy is perfect as Max – he has the humour and toughness that Mel Gibson had back in his heyday – and there is very much the feel of a man beyond desperation. I think the breeders possibly could have been a bit more clothed, though I understand the arguments for their near-naked state. Charlize Theron has shown again and again how amazing she can be, and here a lengthy close up on just her eyes can tell you so, so much. It’s so refreshing to have a woman being strong without a man puppet mastering her from afar. More kick arse women like this, please. We all love them.

Oh, and the guy on a bunji cord playing a guitar that shoots fire? Yeah, him too.

X-Men : Days of Future Past (2014) Film Review


Do time travel storylines do your head in? Then this may not be the best film for you. Because I love time travel stuff, but I drifted off for a moment in this and suddenly was totally lost.

Essentially, it starts in a future where everything is a bit crap, with bad guys coming from everywhere and the X-Men can’t cope. So, somehow (mutant skills. Don’t question it), Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) is sent back into the past to change history. And things get awesome.

There are all of the usual fighting and explosions and all of that stuff. Plus the older X-Men folks and the younger ones – we got them all. Really, if you are a fan of the X-Men films, I think you’ll like this. Be hard not to.

X-Men : Days of Future Past was nominated for an Oscar for Best Achievement in Visual Effects


X-Men : First Class (2011) Film Review


It’s the early sixties, and Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) is starting to get quite vocal about his discoveries about mutants. Meanwhile, Erik Lensherr (Michael Fassbender as the character who becomes Magneto) is seeking revenge on the Nazis, in particular Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon), who killed his mother. Then there is Raven/Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) who is trying to find her place in the world. Oh, but the world doesn’t really know about them. As they are revealed, people are scared.

Fun and exciting with cool characters who (mostly) I am really enjoying. I really love the depictions of the sixties, the styles and fashion and getting these parts of the characters’ backstories.


A Single Man (2009) Film Review



It’s the 1960s in LA. Colin Firth plays George, a college professor whose male partner of sixteen years has recently died in a car accident. He is distraught, and forcing himself to go through the everyday motions of his life. Charley (Julianne Moore) is his close friend and neighbour who is recovering from divorce and Kenny (Nicholas Hoult) is one of his students with whom George forms a strong connection.

This is a very beautiful film; slow and gentle, yet quite heartbreaking. One thing that did bother me was the use of light in the film; there were several points in the film where it was far too heavy-handed. Clearly, it was representing George as being in the dark of his own depression and Kenny as the new light, a ray of hope, but it would have benefitted from being far more subtle.

The film was directed by fashion designer Tom Ford, and this explains the pure beauty of production and cinematography. It’s like watching good art; beautiful and moving.