In-flight entertainment… poor choices?

Before heading off to Bahrain, it had been a very long time since I’d gone on a long haul flight. But I always have one rule when it comes to what to watch. Don’t watch anything that needs more than an ounce of attention and concentration. Keep it light. Because you know you’re going to have to pause for the food, drinks and random fellow passenger interruptions.

See, I was conflicted. There were so many films I wanted to watch – Mud, The Hunt, Monsters University, The Great Gatsby, among others. But I can’t do that to films. I can’t watch films that could potentially be amazing with a dodgy set of headphones and a tiny screen. I just can’t.

So what did I end up watching? Well nothing on the way there. Sleep was what I needed. On the way back? I needed to stay awake, so was intending to cram as many as I could in the 7 or so hours. Looked through the films that were available and was looking for some silly action, comedy, is short and anything that doesn’t require a single brain cell. Continue reading →

100 movies: The Bourne Legacy

[yellow_box]Every year I set myself a target, usually of about 100, of films to watch. These are new films. Not new, new films. But films that are new to me. Any time I’ve seen a new one, I post a bit of a brain dump of my thoughts on the film here. Enjoy![/yellow_box]

The Bourne LegacyThe Bourne Legacy (13/08/12)

An expansion of the universe from Robert Ludlum’s novels, centered on a new hero whose stakes have been triggered by the events of the previous three films.

This is one of those films that inspires neither strong outrage nor strong joy. It just is. Films like that are incredibly hard to talk about.

The Bourne Legacy is meant to be a new jumping off point for the Bourne franchise but for me, it felt like a remake of The Bourne Identity. Sometimes it almost felt like there were scene for scene do-overs. I did appreciate the opening of Legacy mirroring the opening of Identity though. With Aaron Cross’ seemingly lifeless body floating in water. That was a nice throwback. But the rest of the film pretty much felt like it took Identity as a template. You’ve got the super powered agent. An innocent woman caught up in it. Serious conversations happening in the car between them. Nameless agents chasing them. The scene in the hotel with Marta and Aaron in front of the mirror. I was half expecting them to cut Marta’s hair off. Not that I would have been surprised if they did. Even the ending felt very much like Identity.

What it didn’t share with Identity was the energy, and funnily enough, the identity. The Bourne Identity felt like a very rough around the edges action thriller. Small, but it skipped along brilliantly. Legacy probably began to bore me. I was sitting there wishing for something to happen. When the action did kick in, it was fine. But it felt like it needed the action.

The saving grace for this film is Jeremy Renner and Rachel Weisz. They’re brilliant. It’s just a shame the film around them wasn’t better. Renner’s Aaron Cross is instantly more human and relatable than Matt Damon’s Jason Bourne. But Jason Bourne has more of a journey in the first film alone than Aaron did. There wasn’t that much development. Just revelations.

Is it me or did they showcase all the best stunts and sequences in the trailers? I was expecting more but the more never occurred. Also on the marketing side of things, I have a question about the posters. The phrase ‘There Was Never Just One’. Now before the film I always thought that referred to the fact that there was never just one Jason Bourne. I rolled my eyes and yelled out ‘DUH’! We know this from the first film! After the film, I’m wondering if the phrase is actually implying that there was more than just one Treadstone-esque project. *shrug*

I’m really torn on what rating to give this film. It was slow. Had bad pacing. Didn’t really add much to the Bourne franchise. But Renner was great. So I went back to my list of films this year to get a gauging point. I definitely enjoyed it more than a lot of the films I’ve given 2/5 but definitely less than some of the films I’ve given 3/5. I’m torn! So I’ve gone soft. Blame Renner.
Rating: 3/5

Read on to see all the films watched this year… Continue reading →

100 movies: Avengers Assemble

Every year I set myself a target, usually of about 100, of films to watch. These are new films. Not new, new films. But films that are new to me. Any time I’ve seen a new one, I post a bit of a brain dump of my thoughts on the film here. Enjoy!

Avengers AssembleAvengers Assemble (26/04/12)

Nick Fury of S.H.I.E.L.D. brings together a team of super humans to form The Avengers to help save the Earth from Loki and his army.

I’m going to attempt to do a spoiler free mini review of this film, however, I can’t guarantee that the comments will be spoiler free, so you have been warned!

Avengers Assemble the film that a year ago, I wasn’t all that excited about. I was dreading it a little bit. But then I saw Thor. My excitement level crept up. Marginally. Followed by Captain America. The film itself didn’t really make me look forward to Avengers Assemble, but the post credits trailer did. The teaser trailers and full-blown trailers that have followed since have firmly planted me on the ‘Oh my GOD, I’m so excited!’ bandwagon. Attending the European premiere last week only made sure of the fact that I wasn’t leaving the bandwagon.

With hype levels so high, the film could have hopelessly disappointed me. Or lived up to the hype. Guess what? It completely lived up to the hype and I’m still buzzing now from it. Over 12 hours after seeing the film!

It is an epic comic book film because of all the massive characters involved. Bringing them all together and making them work, while not getting lost, was a huge ask of Joss Whedon. That was my biggest fear for the film. The characters, who are great in their standalone films, will just be watered down versions of themselves in this big team up. This couldn’t be further from the case. What was better, was the interactions between them all. Especially the ones we hadn’t seen before. I loved seeing Captain America butt heads with Iron Man. Then seeing Tony Stark and Bruce Banner as lab partners – loved it! I can’t get over how much fun I had watching all the characters interact with each other.

Did I mention this film was bloody hilarious. Not slapstick bad funny. But genuinely laugh out loud funny. And I rarely laugh out loud! This one did the trick. There are some fantastic one liners. Clark Gregg’s Agent Coulson has some brilliant moments. The dialogue was sharp! I expect nothing less from Joss Whedon on that side of things. I think I rate him more as a writer than a director.

Of the new Avengers, I really enjoyed Mark Ruffalo’s take on Bruce Banner. He had a bit of Eric Bana’s Bruce in him. And the best thing was, was that the Hulk had a bit of Mark Ruffalo’s face. Hulk had some great moments.

The story isn’t anything totally new. Try and bring a team of ‘misfits’ together. Earth in peril. Your average stuff. But it’s all put together so well here. Yes there are some great set pieces, but they never feel like set pieces. The film flows from beginning to end seamlessly. Sure, the film comes in at a staggering 142 minutes, but it never felt long. It never dragged.

Loved having Loki back. He’s grown in crazy, and looked like Tom Hiddleston had fun playing that. There wasn’t all that development or explanation about The Chitauri. They just seemed to be there to make the final epic battle all the more epic. Worked for me. I didn’t care too much. Spent the whole time rooting for my favourite heroes.

The score disappointed me a little. I couldn’t hear a strong theme. Though, I did recognise Captain America’s theme from his standalone film from last year, whenever Cap was on-screen doing his heroics. It sounded like Alan Silvestri was borrowing a lot of what he did for last year’s Captain America film. Sad. Was hoping for a score I could go home and be desperate to listen to over and over again.

I did end up going to see this in 3D. Why? Too impatient to wait for Friday’s ‘normal’ release. A day made all the difference apparently. I could have lived without the 3D. I still don’t think the tech’s there yet. Though, the 3D here was one of the better ones I’ve seen. Still not a fan.

Desperate to see the film again. There’s a lot going on and I just want another chance to soak it all in on the big screen!

(It looks like I’ve rambled on for a good lot longer than I thought I would. AND I was restraining myself – there’s still so much more I have to say. )
Rating: 5/5

Read on to see all the films watched this year… Continue reading →

100 movies: The Hurt Locker

Every year I set myself a target, usually of about 100, of films to watch. These are new films. Not new, new films. But films that are new to me. Any time I’ve seen a new one, I post a bit of a brain dump of my thoughts on the film here. Enjoy!

The Hurt LockerThe Hurt Locker (21/04/12)

Forced to play a dangerous game of cat-and-mouse in the chaos of war, an elite Army bomb squad unit must come together in a city where everyone is a potential enemy and every object could be a deadly bomb.

With Jeremy Renner turning up in this week’s big release – Avengers Assemble – I figured now would be a good time to catch up with the role that really put him out there.

Kathryn Bigelow’s The Hurt Locker is probably one of the most realistic war film I’ve seen in a while. It feels like a bit of a muted affair. The emphasis is purely on following the bomb disposal team. Which is where this film wins for me. It gives you, probably, a good idea of just how high the stakes are for these guys out there who do what they do as regularly as we, say, go to work. Only their work environment’s a bit more prickly.

Jeremy Renner’s great. His character’s clearly cracking at the seams. He’s holding it together. Just. It’s his work that gets him through. Despite his character being a little bit tough, I found it easy to connect to him. To get behind him.

There was one scene that really stood out for me. When the team were pinned down and they were trying to out-snipe being sniped themselves. That was intense. It felt real.

However… I didn’t quite see what all the fuss was about with this film. I don’t not think it’s a good film. It is. But not sure I get the hype that surrounds it. Like I said before, I won’t deny this is a superbly made film, I just don’t quite see the amazing in it. Definitely appreciate it for what it is though.
Rating: 3/5

Read on to see all the films watched this year… Continue reading →