Review: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (2016)

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“My daughters are trained for battle, sir, not the kitchen.”
– Mr Bennet

SYNOPSIS: Five sisters in 19th century England must cope with the pressures to marry while protecting themselves from a growing population of zombies. – via IMDB

Guys. Guys. Let’s just talk about this. I cannot believe that I had so much fun with this movie. I mean seriously. Take a classic and add a ton of zombies to it? Not traditional zombies either, mind. How exactly was that supposed to work out? Super fun, let me tell you that! I am so pleased that Natasha enjoyed this so much and made me watch it, as I had zero designs on checking this out before she insisted. Now I have seen it a few times and still think it is so much fun. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies totally embraces all that is ludicrous about it, and delivers on so many fronts. Like Warm Bodies, this is a movie that has no right to be as good as it is, and yet here we are.

Right off the bat, I must say that I enjoyed the cast. I think everyone was well cast and they all seemed to have a total ball. Sam Riley is an actor I quite enjoy, and do wish he was in more things. He’s an absolutely brilliant Darcy, and there is just no way that you are not in love with the dude when all is said and done. For reals. Riley just sneaks up on you – he delivers a harsh Darcy, a man so reserved and focused, and before you know it, you are like oooooooh… totally get why Elizabeth would fall for him. Then there is Lily James, and she is a wonderful Elizabeth Bennet. Got mad love for this character – ballsy, educated, can take care of herself and is strong? So ahead of her time and a great feminist? Hells yeah. I was rooting for her all the way. I absolutely loved watching her and Riley together, they had lovely chemistry – so contained and yet completely through the roof. Jack Huston is another actor I particularly enjoy, and I so wanted to trust Mr Wickham, but he is a smarmy bastard. Pretty one, but still.

I would like to take a moment to talk about Mr Collins and Matt Smith’s portrayal. It is evident he is having a blast portraying such a total twat, and is beyond exasperating. My inner feminist was just like “wtf” the whole time, and yet his character made me laugh and groan, and that is purely down to how well Smith played Collins. Charles Dance was also great as Mr Bennet, and I had a lot of respect for how he saw his girls as more that just marriage conduits. Well played, sir!

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies totally embraced its weirdness. Right off the bat it has a crazy opening (that elaborate story and animation was really cool), girls with all sorts of weapons in all sorts of places and mad training and a mother who just wants them to marry rich. It’s insane. While being totally out there yet still loyal to the source material, this movie looks good, too. The sets and costumes are really good, and it does not come off as a budget film. It goes all out, and it really helps the cause.

As you can tell, I thought the movie was a lot of fun. Don’t go into this and expect to see the classic as you have come to expect. Why can’t people just accept this as a fun adaptation, not something competing with a classic? Don’t take it too seriously. For reals, it will ruin the experience. It is silly popcorn entertainment that is actually put together quite well, and has a cast that just makes it well worth the watch. It’s funny, it’s ridiculous, it has zombies and manages to convey a classic love story, where you get involved and want to root for Darcy and Elizabeth to just, you know, find each other. So I think in terms of that the movie delivered, and I would say watch it if you are not going to nitpick for issues and can just shut your brain down at the door and have some fun.

Review: Underworld: Blood Wars (2016)

8

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“The Vampire and Lycan clans have been at war for centuries, turning our world into a battlefield. For me, the fight is personal. Everyone I’ve ever loved has been hunted down. Now a new war is being waged.”
– Selene

SYNOPSIS: Vampire death dealer, Selene fights to end the eternal war between the Lycan clan and the Vampire faction that betrayed her. – via IMDB

underworld-blood-wars-weapons

GRADE 6Hoo-boy, was I ever excited for this! I know there are tons of people that have issues with the Underworld movies, but come on peeps, lighten up! They are fun and entertaining. Don’t overthink it. So when we got Blood Wars in December, I was out in full force to catch up with ass-kicking Death Dealer Selene, and to see what has become of the ever-precious Michael.

Now, right off the bat, I wanted to love the costume design. It is usually pretty good, but then this movie looked like The Hunger Games in terms of outfits. The parallel didn’t stop there. When I saw how the new Death Dealers were being trained, I was a little shocked. Seriously guys, since when are you guys in cages, wearing the same creepy leather vests, and training like you are going to get in the arena? Then the makeup and costumes that were so over the top also made me keep up with that line of thinking. Oh well.

underworld-blood-wars-training

I was pleased to see David and his father Thomas return, and I particularly enjoyed the story arc involving David’s lineage. Theo James is a welcome addition to the franchise, and works quite well with Kate Beckinsale. The story was again (surprise surprise) lacking here, but again, not a deal breaker for me. There is enough story to keep you mindlessly entertained, with plenty action to glue it all together. I was not pleased with the stupidly weak coup that took place, because really, there was so much more potential there to use than was actually realised. Another major issue I had with Blood Wars is that it felt rushed, and that is such a pity. It came across as a bit clunky.

The movie, as its predecessors, is dark and gloomy and looks good (even if you take that whole Hunger Games vibe and toss it). I appreciate the continuity of these movies, as it is more consistent than most franchises. I found Lara Pulver to be a total nuisance, and hopefully we will not have to suffer through any more of her in future. Bradley James reminds me of a young Mads Mikkelsen, which is pretty cool.

Underworld: Blood Wars is another silly, popcorn entertainment film that should satiate fans of the Underworld franchise, but might not appeal to people who are not familiar with the mythos of the vampire and lycan clans. I suppose it might not even really win over existing fans, but I thought it was alright! SPOILER: I absolutely refuse to accept this crappy premise that Michael is dead. REFUSE, I tell you. Guess we will have to see where it goes from here. Worth a watch, I’d say.

Review: Underworld: Awakening (2012)

9

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“Do you think I’m foolish enough to take you at your word? No reason to fear a Death Dealer who fell in love with a Lycan, who murdered two of our elders, and who, at every turn, has betrayed her own kind.”
– Thomas

SYNOPSIS: When human forces discover the existence of the Vampire and Lycan clans, a war to eradicate both species commences. The vampire warrior Selene leads the battle against humankind. – via IMDB

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GRADE 6.5While this is not my favourite Underworld film, it has grown on me since I first saw it, which was the only time I saw it. I wasn’t bowled over, it was a bit messy, true, and all over the show, and I was dead set against it because so little Michael just shattered me. But I watched it again and it actually isn’t that bad.

I am not a fan of the humans knowing about the clans, and the wars that have popped up because of that. I don’t know, I like the vampires and the lycans moving in secrecy, fitting in. This was a spin that I wasn’t keen on, and as the movie progressed, I thought things got even more bizarre. For instance, the humans are hunting them, etc. but the further on it goes, the less the movie even focuses on humans, which is just silly. It becomes just about the lycans (building a super breed) and the vampires. The humans just disappeared. Hello, where?

A child in a film pretty much always grates on me, and this was no exception. I was not a fan. I understood the arc, but didn’t much care for it. At least the kid wasn’t around the whole time. I would just not deal. Aside from her, I actually appreciated some of the new characters, like Detective Sebastian, David and his father, Thomas. I was interested to see how David and his father didn’t always see eye to eye, both having different ideals and how to go about them. Then there was Sebastian, a human, but very much on their side.

underworld-awakening

The one thing I really didn’t dig about this movie? The effects. They were beyond dodgy… looked like a bunch of first year graphic design students were given this movie and told to have a good time. I don’t know, it just wan’t okay all the time, and the other movies usually looked pretty good. Another thing? The story to this was, again, pretty thin. That being said, I suppose their is plenty action that is supposed to distract you from that, and the movie is shot pretty well and looks all dark and gloomy.

So while Underworld: Awakening has issues, it was still a light, fun watch. Definitely not as bad as I remember it, but it could definitely do with more Michael and Selene (yes, I will ship this for life man).

Review: Me Before You (2016)

8

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“I don’t do anything, Miss Clark. I sit and just about exist.”
– Will Traynor

SYNOPSIS: A girl in a small town forms an unlikely bond with a recently-paralyzed man she’s taking care of. – via IMDB

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GRADE 5So I read this book a while back, then saw after that a movie was coming. I was absolutely not going to rush out to see it in cinema. Not because the book was bad, I rather enjoyed that, but because I just didn’t see how they were going to bring is to the screen successfully. My doubts were not wrong.

Me Before You was a right bland affair. Massive chunks of the book were left out, which I understand, but there were also particularly important parts that were skipped. Like, the ones we needed to flesh out the relationship between Will and Lou, to understand why they got so close, and why this was such an emotional story. I suppose due to that, you never get really involved with what is going on, and it doesn’t feel like the movie is playing too much with your emotions, so I guess that is okay. Or maybe they did want to mess with your emotions but put it together so sloppily it would never work. Who knows? It just felt ridiculously rushed, that’s what. Anyway. I really did enjoy the tights scene. That was an important one for me, and they did it perfectly. One score, at least.

me-before-you-tights

I thought Sam Claflin was a really good pick to play Will and I think he did a pretty good job, especially considering how limited his movement was for this role. I think he got the sarcastic, angry side of Will, and yet could be the sweetest person, too.  I did not particularly appreciate Emilia Clarke though. I think the world has an inexplicable and unhealthy obsession with her. You can ask Natasha, I was totally ready to flip out based purely on the fact that her eyebrows were overactive. So overactive you never actually know what emotion she is going for, which is absurd. Maybe she doesn’t get to express herself enough on Game of Thrones, so she goes overboard here. Whatever, she irritated me. She got he awkward side of Lou down though. But those fucking brows man.

There were definitely changes from the book. Some changes were fine, others were terrible, but that is to be expected with a adaptation to the screen from a book. A lot of the cast definitely felt immensely underused, and could have been used better. I quite liked the relationship between Mr and Mrs Traynor, albeit extremely different from the book. Nathan, too, was what I expected of him, so that is good.

While I have some major issues with this movie for a multitude of reasons, what with the pacing being all wrong, the story being rather hollow and ultimately forgettable, just to name a few, there are worse movies out there. This is utterly generic, with nothing special going for it.

 

Review: Alien³ (1992)

5

alien 3 poster

“You’ve been in my life so long, I can’t remember anything else.”
– Ellen Ripley

SYNOPSIS: Ripley continues to be stalked by a savage alien, after her escape pod crashes on a prison planet. – via IMDB

The one iconic moment from the movie:

alien 3 iconic

Instead, this is what we dealt with the entire time :/

alien 3 cgialien 3 bad cg

GRADE 4What the hell happened here?! And to have Fincher’s name attached to it? Oh the shocking horror, the shame! Alien3 is terrible. Let’s not beat around the bush. But then, even Fincher hates it, and all the production woes and strong-arming is evident every second of the way through this. Even the presence of Weaver, Dance and company could not save it. Oh no, this was deeply flawed from the off.

I think the biggest offender here is the CGI/effects. It is unacceptable and cringe-worthy. It is some of the worst I have ever laid eyes on. In fact, it was equal in ways for me as the CG used in The Wrath of Paul Bunyan (remember that, Shitfest Social watchers?!). Wow. It is unforgivable. Alright, I understand that the xenomorph itself is a puppet, but the editing to get the limbs and shadows and all that right just makes it look so ridiculous. So not only are we watching some limp story, but the xenomorph isn’t even scary. From time to time we get to see a quick glimpse of it as a costume and not some silly computer generated kitty cat/dog/what the fuck ever that was, and it is way better then.

Let’s not even talk about the fact that within the first few minutes, this movie completely kills off what happened in Aliens – not the events, but the escape. I get that it is to move the story along and all that, but come on guys! Kick in the teeth right there. Then there was the thing with Ripley and Dance’s Clemens. I could deal with a romance aspect being tossed in (I was quite keen on Hicks and Ripley), but I was not keen on how it was rushed from meeting, to immediately asking about a mutual interest, to taking that mutual interest to bed. It happened so fast, and it felt forced. Not because they didn’t work well together, because they did, it was just how it was handled – clunky and clumsy all the way.

The cast did the best that they could with the material that they were given, and I did enjoy the performances for this film as they are worth noting. I hated the aspect of Ripley being a temptation to the men there in the prison, like it would be her fault if she got raped or hurt because, hey, these religious dudes are all good and well until a woman forces them to lose their shit. I was so not a fan of that insinuation at all.

Back to the xenomorph, my other half and I are of the firm opinion that it looks like the xenomorph is humping its prey when it gets to them… every single time. I don’t even want to go there. I appreciate that the xenomorph of this film was trying to be something else, but it wasn’t scary like the others, and I think a large part of that was due to the fact that the alien just wasn’t really that bright. Oh well.

Overall, Alien3 is just a bust all round: bad effects, some truly stilted dialogue and a flimsy story with a xenomorph that is lacking, despite the solid performances all round, this movie could not be saved.

Rapid Review: The Imitation Game (2014)

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“Advise about keeping secrets: it’s a lot easier if you don’t know them in the first place.”
– Alan Turing

SYNOPSIS: Based on the real life story of legendary cryptanalyst Alan Turing, the film portrays the nail-biting race against time by Turing and his brilliant team of code-breakers at Britain’s top-secret Government Code and Cypher School at Bletchley Park, during the darkest days of World War II. – via IMDB

the imitation game

GRADE 7Finally got around to seeing this, and I must admit that I did enjoy it. I was looking forward to it not only for Cumberbatch (though yes, big draw) but because I have covered Turing and some of his work for my studies, and I find it fascinating. So a movie on the man? To find out more? I was sold. The Imitation Game had a great cast working for it, and I enjoyed what they all brought to the screen. I did not want to throttle Keira Knightley, which was a really weird experience for me. Cumberbatch, obviously, stole the whole show here, and presented Alan Turing in a wonderful manner. He made you laugh, he made you feel sorry for him, and he never lost you along the way. His interactions with Charles Dance were simply too amusing for words. I was happy to see Allen Leech in here, too, and Matthew Goode was more entertaining than I can explain – his character Hugh Alexander definitely did not get along with Turing at all. Watching Turing’s whole team was a treat, from the exasperation, frustration, and finally admiration, the journey is quite a sweet one. Turing’s story is fascinating, and Morten Tyldum did a good job of conveying it to the audience without necessarily losing you along the way, but he certainly brought nothing fresh or new to the table, which was also quite disappointing from time to time. It is very formulaic at times, but that doesn’t necessarily cripple the movie. Sometimes there was also an issue of things happening in a totally nonsensical manner, but we were expected to buy into it because that was how they had to tell the story. I suppose there isn’t really time to flesh it all out perfectly, but occasionally discoveries and actions just felt forced. The Imitation Game obviously focused on WWII and the machine that decoded the Nazi Enigma code, as well as the code-breakers that worked incessantly and fruitlessly on it for so long, but did not necessarily explore more of Turing’s work. Also, do not go into this thinking you are going to get the average war movie, you will be sorely disappointed. This movie is about Turing, his work, and parts of his life. This didn’t thrill me as I was hoping it would, seeing how it has been pretty much universally loved. While not a perfect movie, it is engaging and well presented, and deserves a look, at least once, even if just to get more people familiar with Turing.

Rapid Review: Dracula Untold (2014)

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“Men don’t fear swords. They fear monsters.”
– Vlad Tepes

SYNOPSIS: At the turn of the century, the young lord Vlad and his family live a peaceful life ruling over their small kingdom, but when a Turk warlord demands from Vlad a thousand boys and his son to create an army. Vlad seeks a terrible power that will allow him to protect his kingdom and family from the Turks at a terrible cost. – via IMDB

My cape fetish went into overdrive…

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#ForScience

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CGI up the wazoo and all, it worked for this.

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I was such a fan of the flight style and look. So fresh and fancy!

dracula untold bat transformation

GRADE 7To be very honest, I don’t know why this movie was panned so much. Undeniably, the last fifteen minutes were a bit of a wreck, but everything before that was a boat-load of fun, and the way the movie itself wrapped up right by the end was also good. The movie also flaunts some impressive effects. I was totally taken in by the way Vlad was swooping around with bats pulling him forth. Very cool. I thought the costume design was great, too. Luke Evans waltzed around looking like a total badass and he was very well cast. I had a few serious cape fetish moments throughout here, because you all know how I am about them… That and dear goodness, even when he takes off his cape and his armour and his shirt he’s just… yummy. But I swear, that is not why I was watching. In actual fact, I didn’t even know I would get to see Evans strut his stuff. I really enjoyed his portrayal of Vlad. He was strong, he was fair, noble and loyal, he was dangerous, he was so in love with his wife, such a charmer and a tortured individual (bestie, maybe that’s what sold me). I think Dominic Cooper was a bit of a miss here, which breaks my heart seeing as I really enjoy him. He looked like he had a fight with a can of spray tan, and the spray tan won. Plus he had some weird accent going there. He was not scary, and did not look like he could invoke fear or lead armies. Not like Evans. Anyway, I had a lot of fun with this. It is certainly not a movie you can take too seriously, and there are plot holes and contrivances, but if you simply take this as a movie of Vlad desperately trying to save his people, then you will not be disappointed. Don’t concentrate on the mythology you know of Dracula. This is just a pretty cool interpretation about the man who he was before the changes. I enjoyed the way that everything looked, it was really awesome and it was shot very nicely. I liked how it was done, even with all the CGI (which I am usually not a fan of in abundance) and even with the few gimmicky specially-for-3D scenes that were in there, they still managed to look alright despite not seeing this in 3D. I really wish I had caught this in cinema. I was glad to see this return more to real vampires types, not these sparkly things we have been subjected to the last few years. I was totally a goner when there were these pretty big battles and castle sieges. I, personally, would have liked them to go on longer and feature more blood, guts, and gore because few things thrill me like a damn fine castle siege, but for what they were, yessssss. My other half saw Vlad march back into Castle Dracula, and the battle started, and his reaction? “Yes, you’re officially on board.” I know that there have been complaints, and they are valid ones at the very least because there is a lot wrong with it, but overall Dracula Untold is a lot of cheesy amusement, and definitely something I will check out again!