THOR Blu Ray review

Origin movies are incredibly difficult to get right, for every Spider-man there’s a Daredevil. Unfortunately Thor is more Matt Murdock, than Peter Parker.

The movie is a bit of a mess, the pacing is way off and they recycle the same gag, every three minutes. I could never escape the feeling that there were a few scenes missing.

The humans believe Thor’s story all too quickly and I would have liked to see more of Chris Hemsworth and Natalie Portman talking about Life, the universe and everything. Or at the very least convince me that there was something going on between them. I just didn’t believe in their romantic relationship. I believed they were friends, but nothing more. Some great characters were criminally underused, as a Marvel geek I was excited to see them in the movie, but I just got the feeling they were there for merchandising. It could be that their backstory was included in the missing scenes I spoke of earlier.

The cast is great, Anthony Hopkins as Odin, Idris Elba as Heimdall and Clark Gregg as Agent Coulson, all put it great performances. But a special mention must go to Tom Hiddleston, he plays Loki brilliantly. With villains, there is always a danger of over, or underacting. He turns in a great, believable performance.  Now whilst I have issues with the way certain characters are used, that doesn’t mean I thought they were miscast.

There are slight nods and references to other characters in the Marvel universe when Loki’s robot turns up on Earth the S.H.I.E.L.D agents ask “One of Stark’s?”.  This movie handles the future setups better Iron Man 2 did, the references don’t just feel like a checklist to pave the way for future Marvel films.

I’m hoping that Thor will work better as part of an ensemble team, in The Avengers. But, he has yet to win me over. It’s really a telling sign, when the 1:45 minute, the post-credit sequence made me more excited than the whole movie.

Special Features:

  • Commentary by director Kenneth Branagh
  • Marvel One-Shot: The Consultant
  • Featurettes
  • Road to the Avengers
  • Deleted Scenes with optional commentary
  • Teaser Trailer
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Avengers Animated Trailer

Thor is out now on DVD, Triple Play and Blu Ray

Film Review-Mission Impossible:Ghost Protocol

The IMF is shut down when it’s implicated in the bombing of the Kremlin, causing Ethan Hunt and his new team to go rogue to clear their organization’s name.

I was curious to see this movie, as it’s the first live-action film from director Brad Bird. Bird has previously only worked on animated movies, so I approached this with intrigue. Visually the film is stunning and the locations are beautiful. The beauty is amplified by the fact that the movie was partially filmed with IMAX cameras, which gives it added ‘sex appeal’. You really need to see this on an IMAX screen to feel the full benefit. As with all the films in the franchise, the action scenes are completely breathtaking, the standout scene is undeniably the moment Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) scales the outside of the Burj Khalifa tower, in Dubai. Which just so happens to be the tallest building in the world. Tom Cruise performed this stunt himself, which just adds to the realism and completely engulfs you in the moment.

The performances all round are great. Tom Cruise is on top form and is leading a new team, which includes Simon Pegg (Benji Dunn). Pegg had a minor part in Mission Impossible 3 but has now been promoted to full-on co-star. Unfortunately, Ving Rhames only has a small cameo in this film, but it’s a nice nod to the fans as he and Cruise are the only cast members to have appeared in all of The Mission Impossible movies. The film has a few little industry in-jokes as well. Ethan Hunt’s code number is “A113”. A113 is a frequent Pixar in-joke based on one of the room numbers for the animation program at Cal Arts. The director has worked for Pixar, and he has worked an “A113” reference into every one of his films. Lost fans are in for a treat, as Josh Holloway (Sawyer) makes a small appearance.

The only thing letting this down is the storyline, it could have been better there is a noticeable dip in certain parts and my attention wandered elsewhere. There were also some errors that I couldn’t overlook, almost too many to list maybe I’m just being a bit too pedantic, but The Nuclear Launch Device used by Hendricks has a Russian keyboard, but the Interface Screen is in English.

All in all, I would say the film is worth watching and will keep you mostly entertained throughout.

.Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol is out in the UK on Boxing Day.

Film Review-Another Earth

Another Earth is a great little gem of a movie, written by Mark Cahill and Brit Marling. Marling also stars as the main character of the film, Rhoda Williams.
Rhoda has recently been accepted to MIT and she goes out to celebrate with friends and drives home drunk. On the drive home she listens to a news broadcast on the radio about an approaching planet that looks just like Earth, she looks out her car window and crashes into another car, putting John Burroughs (William Mapother) in a coma and killing his wife and son.

Rhoda is sent to prison and after serving her sentence she tracks John down and decides to take care of him. Rhoda learns that there is a lottery to win a trip to the mirror Earth. She hopes that her other self didn’t make the same mistake and applies for a place.

Although the title and premise make this sound like a sci-fi movie, it is far from it. Another Earth is clearly a metaphor for a second chance, something we all desire. The only misstep this movie took, was having Rhoda and John become romantically involved. The relationship could have been a lot more touching if it hadn’t been romantic.

This is easily the best movie I have seen this year and shows indie cinema at its best. Had this been a blockbuster the mirror Earth inhabitants would have been evil versions, with goatee beards and WMD’s. I can’t recommend this film enough, this deserves a lot of praise. I would love a mini-series follow up exploring the consequences of another Earth being so close to ours and also to see what was happening to the inhabitants on mirror Earth.

Another Earth is in cinemas, nationwide.

Film Review-Puss In Boots

A Puss in Boots spin-off has been in development since he made his first appearance in Shrek 2 way back in 2004. Now that DreamWorks have milked the Shrek franchise for all its worth, it is finally time for the cat to have his day.

This is essentially an origin story. It’s set way before Puss met Shrek, Fiona and Donkey. Since Puss is the main character, he needs wacky, funny characters around him. The love interest is a feline named Kitty Softpaws (Salma Hayek) and Humpty Dumpty (Zach Galifianakis) is Puss’ best friend from childhood. Puss and Humpty Dumpty were once as close as brothers until Puss became famous. Humpty soon became jealous of Puss and betrayed him by tricking him into a bank robbery. Years later, Humpty tracks him down seeking forgiveness, as well as help with a new scheme. The scheme involves stealing some magic beans from an out-law couple, Jack and Jill. The magic beans will send them up the famous beanstalk to the golden-egg laying goose.

The first half of the movie is better than the second half. I think this is due to it being such a busy story, the ending is little anti-climatic, but strangely unlike most children’s CGI movies, it isn’t bogged down by the over-preachy moral of the tale. The performances are all solid, but special mention must go to Antonio Banderas, he manages a performance that is consistently amusing as well as moving. The moment he sees his heartbroken mother staring at him is gut-wrenching. Visually the film is a treat. The 3D works well but adds little to the overall experience. The film would still be funny, enjoyable and moving in 2D. Puss in Boots is not a great film, but it is an extremely good film.

Puss In Boots opens in the UK on December 9th 2011.


I didn’t care much for the first Disney Cars film when it came out in 2006, however, since then I’ve had a son. He adores Cars and has just about every piece of merchandise with Lightning McQueen on it. He has watched the DVD so many times that the disc now sticks and requires replacing. Over the multiple viewings, it’s grown on me and I’ve even learnt to love Mater.

We went to see Cars 2 in 3D full of enthusiasm and excited to see the latest instalment. It was a letdown, my son got bored and wanted to run around and I wanted to go back and see the far superior Rio.

The story this time involves Mater being mistaken for a super-intelligent spy. Visually it is up to the high quality you’d expect from Pixar, but plot and story-wise it’s extremely poor. It’s a parody on a Bond film that we’ve seen done a thousand times. To me this movie was Pixar apologising to Disney for making Up, a film they couldn’t sell toys about. The best thing on this disc is the Toy Story short that is on the extra features.

A third instalment is inevitable, due to it being a huge cash-cow. Let’s just hope they actually have a story instead of a toy commercial.

DVD extras:

  • Toy Story Toons: Hawaiian Vacation
  • Air Mater

Cars 2 is available on DVD and Blu Ray

Review-X-Men: First Class DVD

After the abysmal X-Men 3 and the enjoyable, but forgettable Wolverine. I’ll admit that I was sceptical about another trip to the X-Men well.
I was wrong, X-Men: First Class is brilliant.
The movie starts, where the first X-Men film started, in 1944, with a young Erik, in a Nazi concentration camp. Erik’s power is spotted by Dr Schmidt (Kevin Bacon) who pushes Erik to unleash his powers, in a brutal way.

At the same time, a young Charles Xavier finds young Raven/Mystique, in his kitchen, disguised as his mum stealing food and the two become friends.
The movie then moves to  1962, where Charles (James McAvoy), with the help of CIA agents, starts to search out other mutants. It’s during a mission, that they find Erick (Michael Fassbender-next James Bond, surely?) who is still hunting Schmidt, who now is a wealthy man named Sebastian Shaw. Shaw is organising his own group of mutants, to rise up against the humans.

The acting is great, but the film suffers slightly from having so many characters. Any film with a large cast is going to struggle to give each character the screen time, he/she deserves. Some of the mutants featured are Angel,  Azreal, Banshee, Beast, Emma Frost, Darwin, Havok, and Riptide.  Even Hugh Jackman makes a cameo appearance as Wolverine.

There are some continuity issues, Xavier is left wheelchair-bound in this, yet in the flashback opening to X-Men 3, an older Xavier is walking, unaided. Also, in the ’80s set Wolverine, there is a teenage Emma Frost. Yet in the 60’s set First Class, Emma Frost is a fully grown adult.  Which, bring us on to the only major flaw in this film, January Jones. She is awful. She looks bored, she looks hungry. Maybe we would have gotten a better performance if someone on set, had just bought her a sandwich. Special mention however must go to Nicholas Holt. He is amazing as Hank McCoy/Beast. His American accent even sounds natural.

Overall, I enjoyed this film and I would welcome another X-Men story, with this cast.

Film Review: Red State

Three virgin high school friends think they’re on to a sure thing. One of them has found a woman online that will sleep with all three of them but they are soon caught in a trap by Pastor Albin Cooper and his Five Points Church. Albin Cooper is based on the real-life head of the Westboro Baptist Church, Fred Phelps.

Five Points protest at funerals with signs saying “anal penetration equals eternal damnation,” etc – Cooper believes that homosexuals are sinners and must be wiped off the Earth.  In its first half, Red State is almost a horror film. A gay man is murdered quite brutally and the three high-school boys are next.  However, halfway through it turns from a horror film into a shoot ‘em up action movie; the transition doesn’t really hurt the film.  What hurts is that the tension that Smith created in the first half completely vanishes in the second; it’s almost two different films. In the first half, Smith showed incredible restraint in not adding much comedy but in the second half, during the middle of the shoot out, characters start cracking jokes and asking for tea. Which is a shame, since the tension could have been cranked up a bit. By far the first half of the movie is the strongest part.

Red state is a massive departure for Kevin Smith. You could even argue that it’s his first grown-up movie. The visuals are stunning which is really impressive for Smith; he has never been known as a visual director.  He’s been criticised in the past for static camera setups and simple lighting but with Red State, Smith has created a style that works incredibly well. Shaky camera work is nothing new but it is a huge step forward for Smith. The film has no background music which really makes it more atmospheric; all we get is the sound of bullets and Cooper singing hymns.

This is easily Kevin Smith’s best work as a director. It’s something different and doesn’t feel like ‘a Kevin Smith movie.’ We are seeing him mature here but he seems to be lacking the confidence he needed for this. The introduction of Five Points isn’t handled in the best way. We learn about them in a classroom and it’s just too much exposition. John Goodman’s character exists only for exposition which is a waste of the actor’s talent.

Overall the film is good, it’s just not great. But it is great to see Smith break away from his comedy roots and try something a bit more ambitious. It’s a shame that he’s announced his next film, Hit Somebody, will be his last as Red State is such a huge step forward for him. It would be interesting to see what else he could come back with. Let’s just hope that Red State and Hit Somebody is such huge, global hits that he’ll change his mind and come out of retirement.

Film review: Fright Night

Charley Brewster (Anton Yelchin) and his mum (Toni Collete) have got a new neighbour called Jerry (Colin Farrell). Ever since Jerry moved in, local residents have gone missing. It’s been about a year since Charley last spoke to his geeky best friend, Ed (Christopher Mintz-Plasse).

Charley is desperate to outgrow his nerdy roots. He has got himself a girlfriend (Imogen Poots) and spends his days trying to befriend/ impress the school’s dumb jocks. So when Ed starts making outlandish claims that Jerry is a vampire, Charley tries to distance himself even further from Ed. Ed then goes missing, causing Charley to believe Ed’s theory. The thing is, now nobody believes Charley.

Charley’s last hope is magician and vampire hunter Peter Vincent (David Tennant). Now, I like David Tennant but if you’re going to cast Russell Brand in your remake cast Russell Brand. Tennant plays the role brilliantly but be warned he swears, a lot. This isn’t one for the kids.

I’m a fan of the original so I approached this remake with a lot of trepidation. But unlike most remakes, this is entirely enjoyable. It’s faithful enough to the fun of the original whilst ramping up the tension and putting a modern spin on it.

It’s got a good, strong cast. Farrell is really intimidating as Jerry. He owns every scene he is in. The dialogue is sharp and witty and the movie is well-paced. Dare I say it, the acting is so much better in this than the original. In fact, the only thing letting this movie down is the 3D. Most of the film takes place at night (obviously) so it made the images a little too dark to truly work in 3D. The only part of the 3D I thought that worked was the opening titles. This is a decent remake and well worth a watch but, if possible, catch the 2D showing.

Review-Attack the Block DVD

In 2001 Joe Cornish was mugged, outside his house. He wondered what would have happened if an alien invasion had taken place, during the mugging. The kids he feared at that moment would have become useful. Their savagery would have become an asset. Ten years later, Attack The Block hit cinemas.

Joe replaced himself with a woman named, Sam (Jodie Whittaker). Sam is a well-spoken, recently graduated nurse. Who has just moved into the Brixton tower block and one day, on her way home from work, she’s mugged by a gang of youths, then chased by aliens.

The leader of the gang is fifteen-year-old, Moses (John Boyega), who decides to “tool up” and defend the block. The movie is incredibly fast-paced. We’re not really given a second to settle down and think about what’s happening. The kids do start out, as the caricatures, the daily mail, write about. But they soon win us over you genuinely care about them by the end of the film. Joe Cornish has written and directed a nice little, gem of a movie.  This is a fun film it’s not a perfect film, the aliens are like something out of 80’s Doctor Who and the final scene, doesn’t quite have the ‘punch the air’ moment, it thinks it does. Maybe it’s because of my British cynicism, I wasn’t moved by the sight, of Moses, heroically swinging from a union flag. I imagine that’ll work better, in the inevitable US remake, where the 30-year-old, playing the teenager swoops in and saves the day, on the good old stars and stripes. This really is a fun, enjoyable movie. If Cornish’s next film, is as good as his debut, then I guarantee you, in ten years time, Joe Cornish will be a power-house in Hollywood.

JUNIOR COMMENTARY – Joe Cornish with John Boyega, Alex Esmail, Franz Drameh, Simon Howard and Leeon Jones
SENIOR COMMENTARY – Joe Cornish with Jodie Whittaker, Luke Treadaway and Nick Frost

Featurettes: Behind The Block, Creature Feature, Meet The Gang, Joe’s Massage, It’s A Rap, Unfilmed Action

Review-Super 8

Well as we all know that Super 8 has been out a little while, so I thought I go and check it out…

Well, I do have to say that J.J. Abrams and Steven Speilberg do make a cute couple as the pair puts their heads together to come up with this awesome Film. The storyline is brilliant and it does leave you feeling tired, waiting to flatline, but it also doesn’t leave you on the edge of your seat waiting to see what happens next, but it is quite entertaining. but if you are into sci-fi, then this is a film to see.

I wouldn’t mind waiting for it to come to DVD, to see the extras and see it on my HD screen to see how it plays, on the small screen, rather than the large screen.

What I do suggest is watch yourself and then let us know what you thought of it.