With all the award ceremonies out of the way it was the time of year where Hollywood starts off it’s blockbuster season, so lets go blow some shit up!

Oblivion 16/4/13


Tom Cruise’s second film of the year (okay Jack Reacher was released in 2012), again got a bit of stick, but not to the level of the previous film.  From the director of Tron Legacy, Joseph Kosinski it had the same beautiful visuals, but also like Tron it was sometimes a bit slow. Recently watched it at home and have to say it does improve on second viewing. It was criticised for stealing bits from other famous sci-fi films, but these days what films don’t, and the story had some nice twists and turns. M83 should also get note for their soundtrack, which like Daft Punk did with Tron Legacy, added a whole new level to the film. If you like sci-fi that isn’t all about spaceships blowing up should check it out.

Olympus Has Fallen 23/4/13

olympus has fallen

For some reason in Hollywood, especially in recent times, we have had an epidemic of two different studios bringing out films about the same topic. For A Bugs Life, we also got Antz, for Deep Impact we got Armageddon, for Dante’s Peak we got Volcano. This years face off saw two films about the White House coming under attack, Olympus Has Fallen, was the first out of the gate, more on the other one later.  Directed by Training Day director Antoine Fuqua, this sees Gerard Butler as an ex secret service agent, who was involved in a tragic accident (aren’t they always), coming to the rescue of the President as the Pennsylvania Ave property is taken over by North Koreans.  As far as dumb action films go, this one is pretty good, if a little over violent at times, Butler seems to spend a lot of the film stabbing people in the head.  Unfortunately it does at times take it’s self too serious, which was the one element that made Die Hard (the film this so wants to be) so great. Butler shows he has the leading man chops though and the action scenes are pretty good, it also had my second best line of the year when Butler has a conversation with the bad guy on the phone, and gives him a great sign off.

Spring Breakers 23/4/13

spring breakers

Another of my double headers, came out of Olympus Has Fallen, and fancied watching something else, saw this was about to start and it’s diverse range of reviews made me curious to see it. It’s the story of four girlfriends who are desperate to get to Miami for Spring Break, so decide to rob a fast food restaurant. With the money in their pockets they head off for the debauchery of the college holiday and soon start taking advantage of what it has to offer. Soon they attract the attention of drug dealer, Alien, played with relish by James Franco, and find themselves doing his bidding robbing other students for drugs and money.  This is a divisive film, it’s like a music video dialled up to a 100, the opening shots of all the spring breaking students baring breasts and divulging in drugs and drink is certainly an eye opener. Unfortunately the film suffers from being all style and no substance, some of it seems to be about shocking us by having girls who we know from the Disney club having threesomes in swimming pools. It does have memorable moments though, the girls turning the tables on Alien as he thinks they will be impressed with all his stuff, and the scene that got talked about a lot, the girls in pink balaclavas and holding machine guns, standing around Alien as he plays Britney Spears, Everytime, on the piano. Not a bad film, but not great.

Iron Man 3  29/4/13 & 7/5/13

iron man 3

Yes you read that right, I saw this twice! This was the  first big blockbuster of the year, that I was really looking forward to. The original Iron Man was an amazing film and specifically Robert Downey Jr, if it wasn’t for him, I don’t think we would have got The Avengers film we did. I was also very excited about this because of the choice of director, Shane Black, the man who has written some of the great films of the 80’s and 90’s, a man with a very distinct style. He didn’t disappoint. He has always been known for his snappy dialogue and with Tony Stark as the outlet for his lines, it was the perfect mix. We found Stark suffering from the events of New York and then throw into that the arrival of a new terrorist threat in the form of the Mandarin and Tony was on the edge. Soon he found himself without all his gadgets relying on his smarts and this I think was the master stroke. There was also an amazing twist to come, which some people love and some absolutely hate. I have watched this film a few times since getting it on Blu ray and have to say it is one of, if not my favourite film of the year. This was the film with my favourite line of the year, when a henchman comes face to face with an armed and angry Tony Stark. Also a nice little post credits sting.

Star Trek Into Darkness 3D 13/5/13

star trek into darkness

The first film/reboot by JJ Abrams was such a pleasant surprise, it took a franchise that had run out of steam and gave it a whole new life. It was fun and full of action, so the question was where would they go next. This films release was a bit overshadowed by the news that it’s director was jumping off to helm that ‘other’ space series. In what will probably be his last Star Trek film, JJ left it in a good place, well unless you are a Trekker, who recently voted it the worst film of the series, really!  After the Federation finds themselves under attack from one of it’s own, Kirk and the crew set off on a galactic man hunt for the mysterious John Harrison.  From it’s fun, Indiana Jones style opening to the space battle the film rockets along at a great pace, never dragging at all.  As we come to expect from JJ Abrams, the visuals are impressive as was the 3D, which even though was a post conversion, added to the film, though the usual Lens flare’s were a little bit out of control. Pine and Quinto were as good as the first time and Benedict Cumberbatch was menacing in the first of his bad guy appearances of the year.

Fast And Furious 6 20/5/13

fast and furious 6

It’s weird writing about this film now after the terrible events of a last month, that’s why I picked the above poster to represent the film.  I am an unapologetic fan of the Fast And Furious franchise, in fact my favourite film of the series is still Tokyo Drift, yes you read that right.  After the amazingly OTT action of Fast Five and it’s shocking post credit surprise, I was really looking forward to this one, and it didn’t disappoint. It was great seeing a Hollywood film set in London, and the car chases we love from the franchise were all there.  The chemistry between the crew has got better and with Luke Evans they had a great foe with an amazing flip car, and we also discovered the worlds longest runway. Like the first one, this also had a great credits sting, one that actually made me exclaim out loud when I saw how it locked into the franchise and who was gonna be in F & F 7, I was very excited. Then of course things took a dark turn, Paul Walker’s death was a very sad thing, and put the franchise’s future in doubt. He wasn’t a actor who was gonna win any awards but he was good at what he did and away from the F & F films he did some good work, I especially liked Roadkill with Steve Zahn. He will be a very big missing piece when the franchise returns next year.

Man Of Steel 15/6/13 & 22/7/13

man of steel

Ahead of Iron Man 3 in my most anticipated films of 2013 was the return of Superman. As I may have mentioned on my blog in the past, Superman has a very special place in my heart as the Christopher Reeve film of 1978 was the first film I can remember going to see at the cinema, I even liked Bryan Singer’s 2006 film as well. So following the amazing Dark Knight trilogy I was looking forward to seeing what Warner Brothers were going to do with the Man Of Steel. I was a big fan of Zack Snyder’s previous superhero film, the Watchmen, and enjoyed this a lot more. I thought Henry Cavill was perfect as Kal El, and the flash back style of telling his story was a clever move as it avoided the now common origin story model which a lot of the films in this genre follow. The supporting cast also gave the film a real sense of gravitas, Russell Crowe’s  Jor El was a good new interpretation of the character, from a Krypton we have never seen before. As his adoptive parents on Earth you can’t beat Kevin Costner, as Pa Kent, his line about him always being his son, had me tearing up again and Diane Lane was the supportive mother you expected. Amy Adams, who I am a big fan of, brought a nice harder edge, investigative side to the character who in the past has been a bit of a ditzy character. Am looking forward to sequel, whatever they decide to call it, though I have to admit I am a bit concerned about the amount of characters they seem to be cramming into it.