Archive for the ‘Another World – Sci-Fi/Fantasy’ Category

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

Friday, May 30th, 2014

the-hunger-games-catching-fire-dvd-cover-14The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is the sequel to the successful first film The Hunger Games. The film adaptations have been inspired by The Hunger Games book trilogy.

Six months after Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark won the 74th Hunger Games, they carry on their lives in District 12 in peace. However, just before the duo are expected to do a victory tour of the country, President Coriolanus Snow visits Katniss and warns her that a rebellion has broken out in the other districts, inspired by their win. As a result, Katniss and Peeta need to express the reasons for their actions, in an attempt to keep the peace.

If you’ve read the book, you can pretty much guess what will happen in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire film. As with the first edition, we were very relieved to find that the films stays true to the books, which will please the fans of the trilogy.

Despite the whole thing being incredibly long to sit through, you’re never short of a new drama appearing out of nowhere to keep you from nodding off in your chair.

(more…)

Gravity

Monday, April 7th, 2014

2222f3bfa7044f4dc2bb2bff4049d85dGravity is a multi-award winning sci-fi thriller, starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney, playing on the fear of being stuck in Space.

After debris hits and damages their Space shuttle, Dr Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) and Matt Kowalsky (George Clooney) must find a way to get back to earth. Through many nail-biting moments and drama, their attempt to survive looks hopeless.

Since Gravity hit the high street shelves, following a successful term on the big silver screen, there has been a lot of talk about how great this film is and why it was so deserving of numerous awards at the Oscars, Golden Globes and BAFTAs. We suggest you believe the rumours, because this film takes special effects to a whole new level.

Despite many Space nerds commenting on the scientific inaccuracies of the film, such as Sandra Bullock’s hair not floating in Space, this is overshadowed by the creative love and thought put into this film. In many parts of Gravity, the audience is put into the perspective of Dr Ryan Stone, which highlights the strain and terror she’s under, making it almost unbearable to watch.

(more…)

The Host

Thursday, September 12th, 2013

The-Host-Movie-PosterFollowing the success of The Twilight Saga being adapted for the big screen, Stephanie Meyer’s The Host is the next of the author’s books to be released onto DVD.

The science fiction romance begins by establishing that aliens have taken over Earth, using human bodies as a host to colonise, to avoid extinction. Melanie Stryder is one of the few humans left but then comes across Jared Howe, where a romance soon develops. While hunting for provisions, Melanie is captured and is taken over by an alien species.

Throughout the film, Melanie fights her internal intruder while battling to convince Jared that she is still partly alive.

To watch a film like The Host, imagination and a slightly open mind is encouraged due to its strange plot twists and obscure outlook on what the world could become in the future.

Saoirse Ronan, who plays the lead of Melanie, must be noted for her commitment to the role, developing different relationships with each character, including the alien who quickly becomes her conscience throughout the film.

(more…)

Avengers Assemble

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2012

Avenger's AssembleBack in 2008, the release of Iron Man garnered rave reviews from audiences and critics alike.  This opened the door for Marvel to move forward with bringing its epic universe to the big screen.

The grand plan of having Iron Man, Thor, Captain America and Hulk springboard from their own movies into a single all-out action fest, with scope to continue their own stories afterwards, has come to fruition, with the big green guy’s recasting proving the only real continuity blip.

Downey Jr.’s wise-cracking, arrogant but hugely likeable Tony Stark has made for a great Iron Man, even if the second movie was a little weak. Chris Hemsworth has also proved a genius piece of casting for Thor, blending brash with stoic to give viewers a hugely watchable embodiment of the mythological god, and the film was a fast, fun affair.

Chris Evans as Captain America is certainly better than the film itself, as the second half struggles to deliver on a promising start. Evans does a great job of merging the all-American action hero with a man driven purely by his morals, so he looked a smart choice for the role.  It was just a shame that the film came loose.

Edward Norton was entrusted with the role of Bruce Banner. The Incredible Hulk was itself a reboot after the dullard, lifeless effort Hulk from Ang Lee, and whilst Norton’s movie was a stark improvement, Marvel obviously felt he didn’t fit going forward, and recast him with Mark Ruffalo. Rumours suggest it was actually about money, but surely, in Hollywood, the land of charity and low wages, this cannot be true.

(more…)

DVD Rental – Top 10 Favourite Films

Friday, May 11th, 2012

Favourite FilmsWith some highly anticipated, potential mega-hits coming out this summer, including Alien semi-prequel Prometheus and The Dark Knight Rises, along with the recently released Avengers Assemble, we thought we would find the Top 10 Favourite Films of All Time, as voted by our readers.

We expected some people would dodge the obvious and somewhat clichéd classics, like Citizen Kane, Lawrence of Arabia and, of course, Piranha 3D. We didn’t expect such a great mix of movies, with horror, comedy, action and romance all getting a look-in.

Yes, the big winner is perhaps expected, but there are some surprises in there, and we think it shows the continued diversity of both modern cinema and the UK’s own film fanatics.

So without further rambling, here is the list, counting down from 10.

10. Blade Runner

Ridley Scott’s revolutionary sci-fi smash-hit, based on Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, saw Harrison Ford’s Deckard chase down replicants in a dystopian future. Rutger Hauer gave Han Solo a sound hiding, and Sean Young was great as reluctant replicant Rachael.

9. Alien

Ridley again, and with his success rate for sci-fi it seems guaranteed that upcoming Alien prequel-of-sorts Prometheus should be a classic. This 1979 game-changer is often credited with revolutionising the heroine character, as well as introducing the surprise-shock ending which has become a stalwart in horror. And who could forget that famous chest-burster scene? Grim.

8. The Goonies

The Goonies, helmed by Superman and Lethal Weapon director Richard Donner, featured a young Samwise Gamgee (also known as Sean Astin) and friends trying to find the lost fortune of One-Eyed Willie. You wouldn’t need three guesses to work out that Spielberg is heavily involved behind the scenes in this charming family adventure.

7. The Notebook

This surprise entry doesn’t so much tug at the heartstrings, as yank at them incessantly whilst showing you pictures of kittens. Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams do the unrequited, forbidden love thing, then mum gets angry, then the two separate for years only to stumble upon each other, both faced with a great decision to make. But who is telling the story?

6. Crash (2004)

Not to be mistaken with Cronenberg’s mid-nineties gag reflex test of the same name, Crash is an inventive, compelling and beautifully crafted examination of racial prejudices, told through several intertwining stories set in Los Angeles. It really is a modern classic; funny, gripping, engaging, unpredictable and original, Paul Haggis’ movies is simply a must-see, with stellar performances from the likes of Don Cheadle, Sandra Bullock, Chris ‘Ludacris’ Bridges, Matt Dillon, Ryan Phillippe and Thandie Newton.

(more…)

Game of Thrones – A Song of Ice and Fire

Tuesday, May 1st, 2012

gameofthronesposterBack in 2007, HBO made the potentially risky decision to fund a TV adaptation of George R.R. Martin’s insanely epic set of novels A Song of Ice and Fire. Named after the first book, Game of Thrones is a fantasy-action-drama packed full of twist, turns, chills, thrills and an array of fascinating characters.

The tricky aspect is that, in order to do it justice, you would need to launch millions of dollars into each episode, get an absolutely stellar cast from kids to kings, film in genuine settings, structure the story faithfully and brace the audience for something which doesn’t exactly pander to the usual TV conventions. Luckily HBO has embraced the challenge, and now this studio has the best thing on TV either side of the Atlantic.

Prepare for dragons, incest, violence, gore, prostitutes, swords, sorcery, zombies, wolves and a dizzying amount of sneaky deception within the dynastic struggle which serves as the show’s foundation. There is also a eunuch and a dwarf, who are both utterly compelling, genius characters.

King Robert Baratheon sits on the Iron Throne, ruling the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros. He is married to Cersei Lannister, uniting his royal family with riches. Their marriage is loveless, and as he drinks and eats his way to an early grave, she conducts a grim affair with her brother Jaime. Her other brother, Tyrion, is a dwarf, but neutralises any potential ridicule through his sparkling wit and intelligence.

King Robert’s closest friend is Ned Stark, and when the King’s Hand dies suspiciously, the King calls on his friend to serve in the role. This pretty much means Ned will run business whilst Robert gets drunk, sleeps with prostitutes and eats as much food as possible.

(more…)

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Aching Yawn

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012

breakingdawnposterIt’s that time of year again, when we are subjected to a movie adaptation of one of the Twilight novels. Whether or not the books are good is irrelevant; the first film was a fine balance of grim and dull, the second was an absolute slog and full-on filmmaking disaster, and the third was a marginal improvement but still awful in a way that leaves searing pain coarsing throughout the central nervous system.

So, Breaking Dawn was unlikely to do much except for the fully committed and blinded-by-devotion fans of the series.

Breaking Dawn – Part I sees the eternally depressed Edward and the eternally depressing Bella get married on an island, sleep together and have a baby. There isn’t much more to squeeze out in terms of a premise; the marriage ceremony seems to drag on longer than a German opera, and then they finally have sex, but not without Edward whinging his pitiful way through the process, emanating about as much eroticism as a dead cat.

Bella gets a couple of bruises from their night of vampire-human playtime, and then Edward insists they play chess for the remainder of their honeymoon. Lucky Bella!

We are saved from this nonsense by her pregnancy, but the weird baby-human-vampire inside her is a bit much for her measly pelvis. Jacob is still really upset about her choice, and stumbles through the film looking miserable and being annoying. Much of the same ground is covered, and there is a meagre threat from some of Jacob’s clan.

The performances are abhorrent, with US daytime soap-style line delivery, and a total absence of charisma. Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner are all terrible in slightly different ways, and their little triangle has somehow been stretched out over six hours of achingly dull cinema. The minor shining light is a cameo from the awesome Michael Sheen during a mid-end credits sequence. Too little too late, sadly.

(more…)

Thor – It’s Hammer Time…

Thursday, November 24th, 2011

thor-posterKenneth Branagh – director of Henry V, Much Ado About Nothing, Hamlet, As You Like It, Love’s Labour’s Lost and… er… Thor.

It is perhaps unfair to pigeonhole Mr. Branagh, and he has plenty of movie titles to his name, but his work in performing and directing Shakespeare has dominated his career, so his selection for a Marvel Comics adaptation that has been a long time coming certainly baffled many. But then they gave the Hulk job to Ang Lee, a man known for directing Sense and Sensibility and The Wedding Banquet, and that worked out great.

No wait, that’s not right. Oh dear.

Moving on, Thor is one of the classic comic characters, but has been denied even a single big screen treatment before this effort, whilst Batman is awaiting his seventh Hollywood outing, Superman gets his sixth in 2013 and Spider-Man is chasing the pack with number four.

In all fairness, the man uses a big hammer as his weapon of choice, and it just isn’t as obviously cool as an array of Bat Gadgets, bullet- beating speed or the ability to sling spider-webbing from your wrists. Still, Thor is actually based on the Norse mythological God of the same name, and once you bring deities in, you can have plenty of fun with a big budget.

Branagh’s movie adaptation of Thor sees the eponymous character (played by Chis Hemsworth) banished from the Godly realm of Asgard by his all-conquering uber-powerful father Odin (Anthony Hopkins). He is slapped with this punishment when his rash actions bring about the threat of war with the neighbouring Frost Giants of Jotunheim. He was all set to be handed the title of King, but felt the urge to start a ruckus due to an overabundance of machismo.

His scheming brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) takes the opportunity to bring about his own plans for ruling the kingdom, once Odin suffers some kind of random collapse. Meanwhile, a disgruntled Thor finds himself landing on Earth with the commoners, much to his displeasure, but his father Odin was kind enough to send his big beast of a hammer, called Mjolnir for some reason, along with him. In a little bit of Sword in the Stone-type drama, Thor will only be able to wield this weapon and its power once he is worthy.

(more…)

Skyrim – Rock and Scroll

Thursday, November 24th, 2011

skyrim

Bethesda’s latest instalment in the Elder Scrolls saga has arrived, and Skyrim sets this new story around 200 years after the events of predecessor Oblivion. You play one of the Dragonborn; a rare occurrence of a human with the soul of a dragon, that only appears whenever the world is in danger.

So begins your adventure of dragon-slaying, dungeon-crawling, bandit-beating fun that will take you across a map of epic proportions. From the frozen peaks of the mountains, to the luscious greenery that adorns the forests, every corner of the world that is Skyrim feels unique, boasting breathtaking detail and a mind-bending array of intricate touches.
The hundreds, if not thousands, of dungeons, ruins and tombs that fill the world of Skyrim create a grand and immersive setting. Once you’ve completed one dungeon, there always seems to be another to conquer, and each has its own original aesthetic. The gameplay also involves a new, convenient mechanism which means that you will always be sent to places you haven’t already visited, so you will always be encountering new locations and dungeons.

Clearly, dungeons are only one aspect of this truly open-world experience. Within this world you are able to create your own weapons and armour, and adorn your bodily defence with special enchantments to improve your abilities. You can mix potions to strengthen you and your skills or weaken your enemies, as well as hunt animals for the skins and meat to create food with healing properties and even join a number of guilds to perform special tasks. The game’s progression, and that of your character, appears infinite.

(more…)

Battle: Los Angeles – Invading Private Ryan

Friday, August 5th, 2011

BLA_IT_1SHT_SLDRLK_3Billed as a cross between Saving Private Ryan and Independence Day, this latest alien invasion epic actually offered up one of the most impressive trailers of the last few years.

A few startling shots of an obliterated Los Angeles, a screaming Marine dragged away by an unseen menace, hordes of meteoric vessels striking Earth with such force that they blast rings through the sky, and of course large clusters of confused sheep-like people running around amidst the raging anarchy; all complimented by Icelandic composer Jóhann Jóhannsson’s beautiful, yet haunting and eerily mechanical piece ‘The Sun’s Gone Dim and the Sky’s Turned Black’.

It is, without doubt, an awesome movie teaser, with plenty to get excited about, and a real sense that maybe this could offer something a little different, whilst maintaining the essence of a summer sci-fi blockbuster.

Such a shame that Battle: Los Angeles is actually as bland as a beige Volvo.

That’s not to say it’s a terrible movie; there’s some remarkable visuals, and even a couple of rousing performances, but clichéd doesn’t even begin to describe this film and its by-the-numbers storyline, direction and dialogue.

As Battle: Los Angeles begins, no time is wasted in pointing out that the Earth is currently being pelted by strange objects from space, thought to be meteorites. All the well known cities are casually referenced in a half-hearted attempt to steer clear of ‘Roland Emmerich Syndrome’, which is a devastating virus that renders large scale disaster movies devoid of multicultural awareness (when the world is under attack, only the USA is affected, and only the USA can save us – sigh).

(more…)