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Saturday 3 August 2013

Red Dawn

Red Dawn Cover
Red Dawn is an action/war film, it is a remake of 1984 film with the same name. Dan Bradley directed this film and it is his debut as primary director. This film was made in 2012 and features several new and upcoming actors. The film is about a North Korean invasion in USA in which a group of youngsters known as 'Wolverines' fight back, sounds like a silly premise but actually it works well. I'm reviewing this film without any knowledge of the older version and so no comparisons will be made.

The storyline is simple, North Koreans invade USA. That is essentially it. A group of teens join together, with their leader being Jed (Chris Hemsworth), and attempt to fight back, calling themselves 'Wolverines'. They believe that fighting back will cause other civilians to pick up a weapon and join the rebellion against the North Koreans. The teens soon realise that a Russian is involved and provides an EMP to disable the US electrical grid. So why are the North Koreans invading anyway? I don't actually know. I don't think the film tells you a straightforward answer, actually I'm certain there is no answer to that. We just automatically assume that the North Koreans are the bad guys, but are they? Or are they just seeking peace? We will never know. I have to say though, the ending 'twist' made me get out of my chair and stand in front of my TV in shock and horror. Only a few films do that so props!

The acting is pretty solid in this film. The majority of actors are teenagers or really young adults which is good to see, new young actors are always welcome to the big screen. Chris Hemsworth is the leader of the 'Wolverines' and he is good, he isn't a versatile actor in my opinion and this role has been done before by him (in 'Cabin in the Woods') but he is good. Josh Peck was the biggest surprise, yes the guy from 'Drake & Josh' is in this film. Where has he been all this time? He has proven himself in this movie, he is a great actor. Josh Hutcherson is also in this film, I'm not a huge fan of his. He plays the same stale role in every movie and he does so in this film. Will Yun Lee plays Captain Cho, who is the leader of a particular taken district that now belongs to the North Koreans. When I first saw him, I thought to myself: "Isn't that the bad guy from 'Die Another Day'?" and it was and he was good playing the antagonist. The rest of the teens were all good, nothing amazing, just good.

Matt (Josh Peck) shocked by the North Korean invasion.
Explosions. Explosions. Explosions. There are alot of explosions, but it is a war film after all. The explosions looked realistic which is the main thing. In the beginning of the film, the invasion starts and an war airplane breaks off it's wing and flies straight into a house and explodes, that impressed me. Very realistic. The paratroopers in the sky looked a bit like floating toy soldiers but it's not too bad. Camera shots at night were not too dark so you couldn't see anything but not too bright that you see everything, it was just right and that enhances the realism of the film.

The script was not that predictable which is good. The ending though, did not see that coming at all. Usually I can foresee the ending, but this was something else! The only cheesy part of the script is when Josh's character repeats the same inspirational lines that Chris's character said earlier on just to add empathy and a sense of an ultimatum to civilians. Was it necessary? No. But I understand why they did it. Overall the script was interesting, it was good to see character's develop as they venture forth into the war.

Final Verdict:
Red Dawn surprised me, it really did. I thought I wasn't going to enjoy it considering what the critics say but actually it was great. It just goes to show you shouldn't always believe what critics say. It is a realistic war film that may have a silly premise, but if you watch it for what it is, you will enjoy it immensely. If you've seen the original, then your score may be different to mine as you would be comparing the two. This means I'm giving Red Dawn...

8/10                               Used = £7.99                          (*At the time of this review)

Friday 2 August 2013

G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra

G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra Cover
G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra is an Action/Family film that is inspired by the American toy series G.I. Joe, which is similar to Action Man in the UK. It was directed by Stephen Sommers ('The Mummy' and 'Van Helsing') in 2009 and features a large ensemble cast. Essentially the film has a good vs bad premise which is popular for family movies. Although the special effects that were used are decent, the story was predictable which ruins the plot.

A nanotech-based weapon called 'Nanomites' has been created by a Scottish weapons master named James McCullen (Christopher Eccleston). His company known as M.A.R.S. sells four warheads of the 'Nanomites' to NATO in which the main character Duke (Channing Tatum) and his colleague Ripcord (Marlon Wayans) must deliver the weapons. But alas, they are ambushed by Cobra, which to me and you are the bad guys, and must defend the package. Then G.I. Joe (known simply as 'Joes') arrive and help the remaining soldiers. This leads to Duke and Ripcord joining the Joes and going back to their base. Cobra then attack the base and get the weapons, you already know where this is going. So it's up to the Joes to take back the warheads before the 'Nanomites' are released into cities and devour everything that is metallic. Again, it's a simple good guys vs bad guys plot and it is so predictable! Yes, there are background stories for the main characters which adds a little bit of depth, but it's not enough to save the dry yet blunt story.

Right, this is why the movie is saved, the cast. I'll go through the actors by team. So Channing Tatum plays the main protagonist for the Joes, he is mediocre at best. I'm not a big fan of Tatum, I just cannot seem to like his performances. His acting was pretty stale in this film, but you are not watching this movie for the acting, you are watching it for the action. Marlon Wayans plays Ripcord which was a strange choice. He is seen as a funny actor but the film shows us that he is both serious and funny, and I like that. You will want to see more of Wayans instead of Tatum, trust me. Dennis Quaid as General Hawk was a good choice, he is a pretty good actor in general but anyone could have played his character. The other team members were acting at a satisfactory level, nothing amazing so I won't waste time going through them. Now for team Cobra, Christopher Eccleston plays James McCullen, the primary antagonist, and I enjoyed watching him play a villain. He was good in '28 Days Later' but he was pretty menacing in this film. Sienna Miller plays The Baroness and she did a good job, her character was the most emotional considering she is linked with Tatum's character despite being evil, so her acting had to be decent and it was. 

Duke (Channing Tatum) and Ripcord (Marlon Wayans) attempting to save Paris.
The special effects in this film were 50/50, considering six different companies were in charge of the effects. At times the special effects were really good, the explosions and gadgets had good effects. But there were other times when they were really bad, especially scenes that include the Joes flying to a specific place. The scene that sticks out into my mind is when they are flying across the Sahara Desert, awful CGI, just plain bad. This is a 2009 film, 'The Chronicles of Riddick' had better CGI and that was made in 2004. Although I must admit, when the Eiffel Tower was collapsing, that did impress me. So I have a love-hate relationship with the effects of this film. 

Typical family film and I have nothing against it. It's blunt, un-emotional and boring at times. Wayans plays the typical funny guy and he does have some cheesy one-liners but what do you expect, it's just appealing to its target audience and it does. When you look at the cover of the film, you can tell who will be fighting who without even watching the film. The two ninjas (Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow) will be having a throwdown, or more as it turns out. The two female characters will fight. The protagonist and antagonist will fight and it's just too predictable. The script is mediocre, it isn't bad but it's super predictable and that takes away some of the fun from the movie. 

Final Verdict:
G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra is a mediocre family film, it's based off of a toy so don't expect anything amazing. The effects were good in places but the story itself was too predictable and that took alot of the fun away. The cast is pretty good, Wayans and Eccleston particularly, so there are redeeming factors. This means I'm giving G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra...

5.5/10                            Used = £2.98                               (*At the time of this review) 

Thursday 1 August 2013

Phone Booth

Phone Booth Cover
Phone Booth is a suspense/thriller film with a strong cast. It was directed by Joel Schumacher (who also directed the good 'Lost Boys' but the bad 'Batman & Robin') in 2003 and at first has quite a simple premise. It's all about a man in a phone booth. But if you look at it in a deeper perspective, it's much more than that, it's about honesty and redemption.

The story is straightforward, a publicist called Stu (Colin Farrell) is initially calling a girl called Pam (Katie Holmes) in a phone booth. He is then disrupted by a pizza delivery man who was sent by an unknown person to deliver Stu the pizza at a specific time of the day in the phone booth. The unknown stranger only known as 'the caller' phones the phone booth and Stu picks up. 'The caller' then threatens Stu, if he hangs up the phone then both Pam and his wife Kelly (Radha Mitchell) will be in danger. Soon it becomes clear that 'the caller' has been stalking Stu and is ready to assassinate him with a sniper from a far distance. Why does he want to kill Stu? Now that would be telling. Overall the storyline is sublime, for such a simple premise, the film delivers an emotional story that will have you at the edge of your seats. After all, it is a suspense film.

Colin Farrell plays the main character and I have to say, this is his best movie. You actually feel all of the emotions that he goes through in that tiny little phone booth. Without giving too much away, in one scene he completely breaks down and announces a truth in front of everyone. The emotion he puts into that scene is brilliant, much better than the stale acting we have nowadays. Forest Whitaker plays a police captain and he was mediocre, his role was quite small so anyone could have played his role. Radha Mitchell plays Stu's wife, again, quite a small role but she delivers (it's no 'Silent Hill' or 'Man on Fire'). The actor who voices 'the caller' was so menacing, I shall not reveal the actor's name, yet you can understand why he was appointed the role. The last big star is Katie Holmes who plays a woman that Stu is familiar with, she isn't very good for portraying emotion so thankfully her role is small.

Stu (Colin Farrell) held hostage in the phone booth.
The camera work was good in this film. There are some scenes where you can see both callers calling each other as the receiver has an inset within the screen. The film is set in New York so there are some good camera shots of skyscrapers and streets. This is a low budget film, and the majority of the film is set in a phone booth, so don't expect amazing camera shots. Matthew Libatique was the cinematographer who has worked on films such as 'Iron Man', 'The Fountain' and 'Requiem for a Dream' so you know the camera shots are good.

The script was great! This is a short film, at a running time of 77 minutes which to me is an acceptable length. Some may think it is too short but I disagree. This means the script was sharp, there were no unnecessary scenes. Each scene that took place was relevant to the story and grips the audience. If there was any dialogue that I thought was not needed, I would say it would be the beginning scene. Yes it is setting up the story, but I thought it was too long. It's 10 minutes of Farrell talking to contacts on his mobile phone while walking around New York. But as soon as he gets into the phone booth, BAM! The film kicks off.

Final Verdict:
Phone Booth is an excellent thriller with a good cast that I personally think is very underrated. More people should watch this film. It's a short film so you don't have to invest alot of time into it which could be seen as a negative or positive, up to you. Good camera work and great script and to me, is Colin Farrell's best film to date. This means I'm giving Phone Booth...

8.5/10  Used = £0.99                     (*At the time of this review)


After some decision-making, I decided to create a blog about some of the movies that I have seen and will post a thorough review of them. I am no movie critic and have no desire to be, but I just love movies and like to express my opinions to others. This means that these reviews will be opinionated, so we may have differing opinions but I like to read what others think also.

I started collecting DVDs last July and now have over 200 of them. Thanks to, I can find several films for £1.00 each which is a great bargain.

My own DVD Collection

A little info about me: my name is Luke, I'm 18 and I'm a student studying computing and product design. My career aspiration is to be a video game developer, whether or not that happens is a different story. My hobbies pretty much include films, games and music, I guess that makes me an introvert?

So I guess that pretty much sums me up, a gamer who likes movies. Please feel free to follow, like and comment on my reviews. I also have a friend who is new to Blogspot and can always have more followers, visit her blog here: 

Check back regularly and you may find a film that catches you interest!