Wednesday, 16 April 2014

X Men Days of Future Past trailer

X Men Days of Future Past trailer


The final X Men: Days of Future Past trailer is here


Mutants of the world unite, the X Men: Days of Future Past trailer is here!


The ultimate X-Men ensemble fights a war for the survival of the species across two time periods inX-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST

The beloved characters from the original "X-Men" film trilogy join forces with their younger selves from "X-Men: First Class," in an epic battle that must change the past -- to save our future.
Watch the opening of XMen: Days of Future Past


Tuesday, 15 April 2014

The Amazing Spider-Man: Rise of Electro: Movie Review

The Amazing Spider-Man: Rise of Electro: Movie Review


Cast: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Dane DeHaan, Jamie Foxx, Sally Field, Paul Giamatti
Director: Marc Webb

The web-slinger returns.

In The Amazing Spider-Man: Rise of Electro, Peter Parker (a wonderful Andrew Garfield) is enjoying life; one of swinging through the city and being with Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone). However, when a major health and safety breach results into Jamie Foxx's socially invisible and borderline schizophrenic Max Dillon being turned into a formidable electrical villain called Electro, the two are set on a collision course.

Things get even more complicated as Peter delves into the mystery of his missing parents and with the return of Harry Osborn (Chronicle's Dane DeHaan)....and this time around, the cost of being Spider-Man could be too high.

The Amazing Spider-Man: Rise of Electro is a bit of webbed muddle, a mix of blockbuster tone and doomed romance.

Big set pieces dazzle, with the CGI work this time around more assured and the comic book origins more firmly grasped, but there's such a jumping around in between and a few lulls in an unnecessarily extended 2 hours 20 minutes run time that some may be fidgeting in their seats.

But in among the noise and bluster, there are three grounded human performances which help Spider-Man defeat any accusations of being less than Amazing. Primarily, Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker - this time around, the fast quipping Spidey works as well as does the emotionally haunted Peter, who's been searching for answers about his parents (as most teens are wont to do), is plagued by visions of Gwen's dead father and is struggling to juggle the responsibility of a relationship with Gwen. It's a heartfelt performance by Garfield who transposes the weight of the material with a non-showy turn that hits the emotional heights needed. Equally, when the script demands it, the comedy works well.

Similarly, Stone fizzles with chemistry and spark as Stacy; the scenes the duo have together work exceptionally well - even if occasionally those quiet moments seem tonally at odds with the rest of the action on the screen. And Dane DeHaan, with his icy blue eyes, twinkles with frustrated teen menace as Harry, whose curse sends him over the edge.

So, it's a shame to say that comic book plot contrivances and convenient lapses in logic make this spectacle at times feel like a backwards step for the genre as it works its way through a series of sins-of-the-father issues.

Deus ex machina pop up conveniently to save the day, Jamie Foxx's Electro suddenly gains powers when captured that would have ended his captivity very quickly, and one of the scientists appears to have been plucked directly from the stereotyped scene-chewing bad guy with dodgy accent handbook. Even Paul Giamatti's Russian bad guy who book-ends the movie is OTT.  Jamie Foxx's Electro flips very quickly into deranged villain after previously being Spider-man's biggest fan - and Foxx manages to sell the earlier scenes of Max's ostracism and loneliness, before flipping out into Man of Steel Times Square style destruction. (And Parker's quest for answers over his parents doesn't quite deliver the conclusion you'd expect)

Ironically, the final sequence of the movie feels an emotionally rushed and an overly cluttered set piece - complete with two aeroplanes on a collision course (!) and a denouement that robs you of any resonance that should have lingered long after (but to say more is spoiler territory - suffice to say if you know your Spider-Lore, you won't be surprised).

With a film packed full of Easter eggs and nods to the expansion of the Spider-universe, The Amazing Spider-Man: Rise of Electro is a little too stuffed to the gills - it soars in the quieter moments such as a small boy inspired by Spidey taking on the baddies, but juggles, and ultimately fumbles, too many elements to make a superhero movie that's not quite as amazing as it could be.

Rating:


The Wind Rises: Movie Review

The Wind Rises: Movie Review


Director: Hayao Miyazaki

If this is Miayazaki's last ever film, it appears the Studio Ghibli director has gone out on something mellow, but visually extraordinary.

It's the biographical story of Jiro Horikoshi, an aeronautical designer whose work shaped Mitsubishi. Beginning with Horikoshi as a young boy, blighted with near sight and therefore whose dream of flying a plane is dashed in 1918.

However, Jiro's blessed with an imagination and is prone to flights of fancy and daydreaming which see him conversing with an Italian aeronautical engineer called Caproni. It's these dreams which see Jiro follow his passion for planes despite the tempestuous times ahead for Japan with the Kanto earthquake of 1923 and of course, World War II.

Through it all though, Jiro finds love - a tragic love which is doomed...

The Wind Rises is a reflective piece, blessed with gorgeous animation that you've come to expect from Miyazaki. With trademark painted backgrounds and some truly magical shots, the animation is beyond top flight. Planes swoop through clouds as if they were cotton during Jiro's dream sequences and lushly animated scenes give a feeling of the surreal nature of the fantastical.

Then again, there is also the menace inherent in the earthquake and the channeling of almost childlike noises during planes flying. The very brief earthquake sequence itself is extraordinary - a kind of rumbling roar becomes a rippling wave of destruction as the roads and countryside roll and rise up to signify the carnage of Kanto. In these dark sequences alone, Miyazaki's crafted a fine blend of magical, memorable and downright frightening, transforming the normal into the horrific and capturing the essence of the horror of nature revolting against humanity.

But there's more than just sumptuous animation here.

Miyazaki's made a reflective piece that hints at the world around Jiro as well as apparently drawing parallels to his own life. Jiro's an upstanding young man, a man who has a moral code and who cares for those around him - from helping an earthquake victim to standing up to a bully, he's a man whose approach to life is to be marvelled. Miyazaki's captured these moments in quieter times during the animation, as well as providing thought-provoking commentary on Japan and America's quest to rule the skies.

In fact, while the divide between Jiro wanting to pursue his aviation dream and the military wanting to increase their might is never overtly stated, the clues are there on the screen and the message more than just allegorical. There's a haunting quality to the final sequence as Jiro picks his way through a field strewn with plane wreckage (and comments have been made before that none returned home) as the skies burn around him, with his dream mentor congratulating him on following his dream. The stark realities of war are always lurking but are subtly sketched out - something which adds to the dreamlike quality of the film.

In the end, The Wind Rises is heartbreaking - a story of love through the decades, of love of dreams, a love of your life; it's also a film which gives Miyazaki a fittingly mournful send-off with a reflection on his own life (anyone reading more on Miyazaki will see parallels with the loves of his life and his attitudes). It's a poignant end to a master's career and a cinematic experience that cries out to be enjoyed on the big screen.

Rating:



Monday, 14 April 2014

X Men: Days of Future Past opening sequence

X Men: Days of Future Past opening sequence


The opening sequence of X Men: Days of Future Past has been unveiled.

The latest X-Men movie is out very soon and this opening features Ellen Page and has just dropped at the MTV Movie Awards.

Take a look at the X Men: Days of Future Past opening sequence

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug: Blu Ray Review

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug: Blu Ray Review


Rating: M
Released by Warner Home Video

It's the second part of Peter Jackson's Hobbit trilogy, and all eyes are on the film to ramp up the action and introduce some new characters (one a woman in the form of the elf Tauriel, played by Lost star Evangeline Lilly) as well as move the story on.

At the end of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Bilbo and the company of Dwarves had survived being attacked by Azog and the Wargs and were heading East to the kingdom of Erebor.

But trouble was awaiting them in the form of the sleeping dragon, Smaug, voiced by Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch, who was awakening from his slumber in the Lonely Mountain to take on any who would enter...


In The Desolation of Smaug, Bilbo and the Dwarves face yet more peril, as they continue their journey to the Misty Mountain. From a dangerous skin-changer, swarms of giant spiders in Mirkwood and being captured, the Company face threats they could never have imagined. However, it's when they find themselves at the Lonely Mountain that danger lurks - the dragon Smaug.. The second part of the trilogy brings the action - and then some.

It's a great pay-off when compared to the slightly more sedate pace of the first Hobbit movie, which saw some criticise Jackson for stretching the story as far as it could go, without actually doing anything.

But what you come to realise is just how much Jackson invested - and forced you to invest - in the journey of the Company of Dwarves as the Desolation of Smaugplays out. It begins with a prequel in Bree, on the edge of the shire (complete with a cameo from a certain director) and then doesn't let up until its final scenes leave the audience screaming for an immediate conclusion, as the threads dangle precariously in the wind.

As the film zips along, overcoming its narrative constraints (two sequences see the Dwarves captured by different factions, leading to fears of repetition), the world Peter Jackson, J RR Tolkein and Fran Walsh have created is expanded with a rich resonance that's hard to deny. New characters thrive in this second film, which brings tragedy and ominous consequences to the fore - despite occasionally stuffy dialogue being uttered by some (chiefly, Lee Pace's Elven King Thranduil).

However, the finest part of the film comes nearly two hours in - and when it does, you realise just how much you've been waiting to see it - the dragon Smaug. Previously glimpsed in trailers and hinted at, this creature is a marvel of technology, a computer generated serpentine lizard that's as much a symbol of greed as it is a creature of cunning and deviousness. With Benedict Cumberbatch's rich tones adding a sinister and slimy texture to the character, the scenes with Bilbo trying to charm the dragon while finding his booty are rich with menace and ooze impressiveness.

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug ends on a cliffhanger with the stakes raised incredibly high and Martin Freeman's Bilbo asking "What have we done?" and with you knowing there's at least another 12 month wait to find out. The simple answer though, Bilbo, is that you've created a fantasy film that once again soars above expectations, delivers a magical journey in spades and effortlessly commands and rewards your attention through its 161 minutes run time.

Rating:

Comedy Fest Q&A: Wade Jackson

Comedy Fest Q&A: Wade Jackson


Wade Jackson, IMPROV BANDITS

1)Tell us the name of your show
Improv for Parents starring The Improv Bandits

2)Which came first – the show name or the show content?
It’s improv so definitely the show’s name as the content will be created on the night

3)C’mon, be honest….
I am, it’s improv not stand up

4)Any other working titles for the show?
Nope. This is a show that delivers what it says on the tin – an improvised comedy show that parents can enjoy. We’re doing one for kids and thought it’s time that the parents had a special one too.

5)How long – honestly- have you been working on this?
Well, we’ve been doing improv together for 17 years but every night is different

6)What’s been the biggest challenge of pulling this show together?
No challenges. It’s fun doing a show that is a 100% fundraiser for a school (Michael Park School in Elerslie).

7)Who’s your biggest comedy rival – and why?
People who ask questions tailored only to stand up comedians and forget the comedy genre is much broader

8)Who’s your biggest comedy friend – and why?
Our audience. Because without them, it would just be a rehearsal.

9)Which show is your must see? Why?
We love the Covert Theatre’s Ferris Wheel show – it’s mind-blowingly brilliant.

10)Give us your definition of a great night out during the festival
Where you go to a show, have lots of laughs, enjoy a drink and then on the way home buy the winning lotto ticket

11)What goes through your mind, the minute before curtain goes up?
Is it time to go out on stage yet?

12)What about when you’re on stage?
Phew! Made it.

13)How easily distracted are you?
Sorry, what was that?

14)Give us your dream comedy line up
Little bit of Eddie Murphy, some Craig Campbell, and a flourish of The Flight of the Conchords

15)Just finally, where will you be in 5 years’ time
Right now we’re in Chicago performing in the world’s largest improvised comedy festival so I suspect we’ll be at some international festival. Somewhere a little warmer one hopes.

WADE JACKSON and the IMPROV BANDITS perform numerous shows as part of the 2014 NZ International Comedy Festival in cahoots with Old Mout Cider (24 – 18 May).  For more info visit www.comedyfestival.co.nz

Comedy Fest Q&A: Sanjay Patel

Comedy Fest Q&A: Sanjay Patel


Comedy Fest Q&A
SANJAY PATEL

1)Tell us the name of your show
An Effort to Impress

2)Which came first – the show name or the show content?
The show content

3)C’mon, be honest….
The show name, thanks for the interrogation.

4)Any other working titles for the show?
I Ain’t No Hollaback Girl, If I were a Rich Girl

5)How long – honestly- have you been working on this?
However long it’s from completing this questionnaire to the start of the third show

6)What’s been the biggest challenge of pulling this show together?
Trying to gather how well the material put together for the show will be received

7)Who’s your biggest comedy rival – and why?
Gwen Stefani, for personal reasons

8)Who’s your biggest comedy friend – and why?
The crowds, if they can be collectively known a friend, their laughs and claps bring this soul much enjoyment

9)Which show is your must see? Why?
They all are must see, if they were all must hear then it would remove the visual aspect that greatly adds to the gags

10)Give us your definition of a great night out during the festival
Any night you avoid getting stabbed

11)What goes through your mind, the minute before curtain goes up?
Is there time to go and take a dump

12)What about when you’re on stage?
How much longer before I can go offstage and take a dump

13)How easily distracted are you?
Let me put it this way, it took me 2 weeks to fill this 15 question thing

14)Give us your dream comedy line up
The sportspeople in the ANZ beach cricket ad

15)Just finally, where will you be in 5 years’ time
Probably in the process of answering another one of these

SANJAY PATEL performs his solo show AN EFFORT TO IMPRESS (AKL 6 – 10 May) as part of the 2014 NZ International Comedy Festival in cahoots with Old Mout Cider (24 April – 18 May). For more info visit www.comedyfestival.co.nz