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Snowpiercer (2013)
Snowpiercer (2013)
2013 | Sci-Fi
A bleak and violent sci-fi
I wanted to see this film when it first came out, and was so annoyed it didnt get a UK release. At the time I managed to find a copy to watch, but havent seen it again until now.

To start with this has a fantastic cast. Whilst I struggle to forget Captain America every time I see Chris Evans, I do think he's a good actor and he's brilliant supported by the likes of John Hurt and Octavia Spencer. Jamie Bell is a great actor too and I think he's rather underrated. And Tilda Swinton simply steals the show as Mason. You hate her yet love her at the same time as she's absolutely hilarious. In part due to the genius idea to give her a Yorkshire accent, as this makes it even more surreal and funny.

The story itself is an interesting one and I was intrigued by the whole thing, I felt invested in the characters as they traversed along the train. And this plot plays out in a very bleak and violent manner. The action scenes are great and wonderfully brutal, and there is some very bleak and dark outcomes and conversations towards the end of the film that make this not your typical run of the mill sci-fi.

I do think there are some parts of this film that aren't great, namely some strange seemingly plot holes to do with character backstories. They're not the end of the world, but still a tad annoying. Also I'm not sure if this is just the Netflix version, but when the Korean characters were speaking there were no subtitles. Fine for minor scenes, but there is a least one major scene where the lack of subtitles is a huge detriment. I'm assuming/hoping the film hasn't been made that way, so I'll blame Netflix!

This is not your average happy sci-fi. However if you dont mind watching something with dark and bleak overtones and a decent amount of violence, this is definitely worth a watch.

Andy K (10818 KP) May 3, 2019

Love this film!

Rocketman (2019)
Rocketman (2019)
2019 | Biography, Drama
Elton John has had a career that has spanned decades, millions of albums sold, packed venues, awards, and more than a few headlines. In the new film “Rocketman” audiences get a look behind the man thanks to the amazing and Oscar worthy portrayal by Taron Egerton.

The film opens with a flamboyantly dressed John entering rehab in one of his stage costumes. As he opens up with his group, he shares the story of his childhood as a shy child who is desperate to have his father show him any signs of approval or affection.

When it is discovered that he has talent with the piano; his grandmother encourages him and even takes him to apply for a position at the Royal Academy of Music.
His mother (Bryce Dallas Howard) is moderately supportive but is more focused on her social life brought on by her failing marriage.

As the film unfolds; we see Elton working in a backup band and in time answering an ad that puts him with an agent. Paired with the man who would eventually change his life; Bernie Taupin (Jamie Bell), Elton and Bernie combine to write a series of songs which in turn leads him to a series of gigs in Los Angeles. The film shifts into high gear at this point as we see how their music becomes a smash and leads to a series of parties, drugs, and money.

Elton meets Manager John Reid (Richard Madden), who becomes his
As the record sales and hits mount, so does the destructive behaviors which leads Elton down a destructive path that threatens everything he has worked for.

The movie is a masterpiece of music and story and it cleverly uses musical montages and segments around the performances to outline various segments of his life and his rise to stardom.
The performances are amazing and Egerton was simply amazing as he not only captured the complexity of his character but performed all the vocals of the hit songs himself and they were spot on.
During our Press Screening I noticed many people singing along, tapping their feet, or bobbing their heads along with the music which helps to underscore just how timeless and popular his catalog of music has been as the songs have endured the test of time.

The film also evokes some unexpected emotion as there were more than a few people wiping their eyes during the film which at its core is a store of a young, shy boy desperate to be accepted and loved.
I truly hope the film is recognized come Awards season as it is a wonderful and memorable cinematic experience.
Fantastic Four (2015)
Fantastic Four (2015)
2015 | Action
An absolute snooze
Here comes yet another superhero film. Ending Marvel’s year that has included the charming Big Hero 6, the overstuffed Avengers: Age of Ultron and the surprisingly excellent Ant-Man, the Fox produced Fantastic Four reboot has a tough job trying to get audiences to forget the horror that came before it.

It’s been a tough ride for the quartet of heroes, but does director Josh Trank’s modern day reimagining of Marvel’s first team do enough to change perceptions?

Not by a long shot. Despite some excellent special effects, this yawnfest of a film that was plagued by rumours of constant behind-the-scenes tension and last-minute editing doesn’t have an ounce of originality in its short 100 minute running time.

Miles Teller (Insurgent), Kate Mara (Transcendence), Michael B. Jordan (Chronicle) and Jamie Bell (Billy Elliot) take on the roles of Reed Richards, Sue Storm, Johnny Storm and Ben Grimm respectively and are fine, if lacking in any real chemistry.

Fantastic Four is above all, an origins story as the four young adults try to crack interdimensional travel. Naturally, things don’t go quite to plan and they, alongside fellow colleague Victor Von Doom end up with an unusual set of powers – with Doom becoming the main antagonist.

Unfortunately, the plot, devised by no less than three writers is a complete bore. There is hardly anything of interest throughout the entire film as Trank pushes his cast from one underwhelming set piece to another.

When things do get tense, it’s only for a five minute scene involving Doom breaking out of a research facility. This is when we get to see what Fantastic Four could’ve been, a dark and brooding film with a disturbing villain at its core.

However, it seems this has been pushed back to make way for an unusually flat sense of humour and an uninteresting origins story. Marvel films live and die on their comedic elements and unfortunately Fantastic Four is as poor as they come.

Nevertheless, the film’s special effects are on the whole, very good. The other dimension looks fantastic and The Thing in particular is rendered using excellent motion capture animation.

An underwhelming climax wraps up a bitterly disappointing outing for the four heroes. Most superhero films end with a spectacular showdown of good versus evil but Fantastic Four has none of this. The ending is clichéd, short and has no real payoff.

Overall, expectations were already low for this reboot and despite director Josh Trank’s obvious talent for direction, this talent is nowhere to be found in Fantastic Four.

A cast that doesn’t gel together, a poor soundtrack and a lack of tonal balance ensures it will rest alongside X-Men Origins: Wolverine as proof that Marvel Studios needs the rights to all of its heroes returning to it.
The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn (2011)
The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn (2011)
2011 | Action, Animation, Family
6.9 (19 Ratings)
Movie Rating
From director Steven Spielberg who brought us “E.T.” and the producer of “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy Peter Jackson, comes the fabulous “The Adventures of Tintin”. The film is based upon the popular European comic books which were created by Belgian artist Georges Remi and tells the story of Tintin (Jamie Bell) , a young journalist and his canine Snowy who are always seeking to find a one of a kind story to write about.

One afternoon at an outdoor market the two come across a small replica of the three-masted Unicorn sailing ship being sold at a very good price. Tintin then starts to be pressured into selling his replica to a sketchy man Ivan Sakharine (Daniel Craig) who tries very hard to purchase the ship by offering him double than what was originally paid. Without luck, Sakharine leaves and is soon followed by another man who also attempts to purchase the ship, only this time he warns Tintin about what he has gotten himself into. Tintin starts to think that maybe there is a secret about this ship and he is determined to get to the bottom of it. After returning home following a scuffle between Snowy and a neighboring cat, the ship is accidentally broken and concealed in one of the masts is a cylinder that later is revealed to contain directions to hidden treasure.

After being bitten by the curiosity bug, Tintin decides to investigate at the house of Sakharine and ends up discovering a second replica that holds another clue. He becomes captured by Sackharine and imprisoned on a ship headed to find the third and final Unicorn replica. Tintin is imprisoned with the Captain of the ship, Captain Haddock (Andy Serkis). Who learn that they must escape and collect all three of the clues to assemble the directions that will lead them to the treasure.

Both are racing to get to the treasure before Sakharine as there is a history between he and the Captain which further complicates the issues at hand.

After what seemed to be a very long and drawn out opening, the film jumps right into the action with lots of adventure, pirates, comedic moments and realistic scenes. This proves that you really can‘t judge a book by the cover as I have never been a fan of stop motion film at all, in fact it has always been creepy to me.

Knowing that this movie was filmed with that technology, I was extremely hesitant in even giving it a chance but I am very glad I did. The film is very well written and executed and truly delivers. The 3D is also outstanding and makes you feel as if you are a part of the epic adventure. I recommend this film to all ages and if you have your doubts, please trust me and give it a chance. You will not be disappointed.

Lee (2222 KP) rated Rocketman (2019) in Movies

May 22, 2019  
Rocketman (2019)
Rocketman (2019)
2019 | Biography, Drama
Taron Egerton (0 more)
Rocketman isn't the standard music biopic movie you're used to - the formulaic rise to fame and fortune, accompanied by drug and alcohol misuse and a troubled, lonely life. The story of Elton John, the musician whose life this movie is about, certainly does have all of those elements, but Rocketman presents them in such a wonderfully crazy and original way. Weaving classic songs into the storytelling and providing a wonderfully welcome and heart warming fantasy element to the movie.

The story begins with a middle-aged Elton (Taron Egerton), dressed in one of his trademark outrageous outfits (this time a winged devil costume, complete with horns!), as he marches into a group therapy session and informs everyone that he is addicted to cocaine, sex and prescription drugs. “For as long as I can remember I’ve hated myself” he continues, before starting to recall his childhood years. He sees his younger self across the room, looking at him as the first song begins. It's more like something out of a musical though, with both versions of Elton involved in the singing and dancing, not to mention the members of the therapy group too!

That therapy room is where much of the story is told, rejoining Elton at various stages of his recovery as he recounts the moments of his life that shaped him and brought him to the point he's at now. We initially join the younger version of Elton that we saw in the opening number, or Reggie Dwight as he was known back then, tinkling out his first few notes on the family piano and never feeling fully accepted by his family. His dad is uncaring and cold towards him, never once giving him the simple hug he craves, while his mum (brilliantly played by Bryce Dallas Howard) eventually proves herself to be not that much better than dad either as time goes on. Only Reggie's Nan seems to offer him any kind of support and encouragement, and it's not long before Reggie is receiving piano lessons, attending music school and playing small gigs in the local pubs.

Fast forward a few years to Elton as a young man (played by Egerton from now on), as he starts to get noticed by the right people in those pub gigs. He's paired with Bernie Taupin (Jamie Bell) where they form the partnership which will last a lifetime - Bernie providing the lyrics, Elton providing the music and the performance. They form a strong friendship, and it's fun to see them growing together as artists, revealing how such classic songs came from such simple beginnings. It's not long before Elton is on the fast track to becoming a global superstar, performing at the Troubadour club in LA where he immediately wows the audience. It's there that he catches the eye of John Reid (Richard Madden), who he starts a disastrous romantic relationship with, as well as taking him on as manager.

From there the movie becomes a rollercoaster ride of emotions, carried along by an outstanding, and I'd say Oscar worthy, performance from Egerton. Singing all of the songs, and portraying perfectly the highs and lows of Elton John's incredible career. As mentioned previously, he's also supported by what is an amazing cast, all sharing the singing duties. Familiar songs that give extra meaning and insight as they seamlessly integrate within the story. And they're also completely bonkers at times too! A song performed underwater, a song where everyone in the bar levitates off the ground, Elton firing up into the sky like a rocket and exploding like a firework! Despite all of this, the movie still manages to feel relatable and believable and is a real joy to watch.
Rocketman (2019)
Rocketman (2019)
2019 | Biography, Drama
Strong Lead Performance
I have to admit, I thought the Freddy Mercury bio-pic BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY was just "meh" and that Rami Malek was "just o'k" as the Queen frontman (personally, I would have given the Oscar to Christian Bale for his portrayal of Dick Cheney in VICE) so I was not rushing to the multi-plex to check out the Elton John musical film ROCKETMAN. And the fact that the release of this film was "buried" in the summer and not right before "Oscar Season" gave me room to pause.

And...I would be wrong...for ROCKETMAN is a fun, fantastical fantasy musical depicting the rise and fall (by drug and alcohol abuse) of one of rock's most flamboyant showman of the 1970's.

Following the "Jukebox Musical" blueprint of something like JERSEY BOYS, Rocketman follows a young Reggie Dwight as he discovers his musical talent and grows into the Global Superstar known as Elton John.

I was happy that the filmmakers went this route (vs the bio-pic route that BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY went) for they were able to use the vast catalog of Elton John/Bernie Taupin tunes to their fullest advantage, when it made sense to drive the narrative forward - or to give the storytelling a shot of adrenaline.

This film had Elton John's blessings and he was not kind to a few people in his life - most notably his mother (an almost unrecognizable Bryce Dallas Howard in a strong turn), his father (Steve Mackintosh, who I had never seen before) and his Manager, John Reid (Game of Throne's Richard Madden). All 3 are pretty one-dimensional villains that help contribute to Elton's drug and alcohol abuse.

On the other side of the coin is his writing partner, Bernie Taupin (Jamie Bell, the original BILLY ELLIOT in a performance that I think is the best of his career) and his Grandmother, Ivy (good ol' Gemma Jones BRIDGET JONES DIARY and Madam Pomfrey in the Harry Potter films). Both of these characters are generally positive influences on Elton's life, trying to understand and support our hero on his journey.

As for our hero, Taran Egerton (the KINGSMAN films) embodies Elton with panache and zeal while showing an underlying shyness and insecurity that helps lead to his abuse issues. Egerton is EXCELLENT in this role - both in acting and singing. He doesn't so much imitate Elton John but embodies the essence of Sir Elton and his performance is quite effective. If Rami Malek deserved his Oscar for playing Freddy Mercury in BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY then Taran Egerton better be in the Oscar conversation this year.

The film was Directed by Dexter Fletcher (who was brought on to finish BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY once Bryan Singer was fired from that film for his on-set behavior), so he puts to good use his experience on the Queen movie, keeping the action moving fast, the characterizations simple (but satisfying) enough while showcasing just enough music to fill a "Best of" Album.

While BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY was a "meh" movie with a buffo ending (the recreation of the LIVE AID concert was amazing), ROCKETMAN suffers from just the opposite problem. Starting off strong and growing weaker until it ends in "meh" fashion. The fact that this film musical fantasy decided to end with a faithful recreation of the I'M STILL STANDING music video is at the heart of the issue. I understand the implied underlying meaning of this song selection, but it just doesn't pack the punch that a live concert appearance would have.

Come for the music, stay for Egerton's performance and you'll be glad you did.

Letter Grade: A-

8 stars (out of 10) and you can take that to the Bank(ofMarquis)
Rocketman (2019)
Rocketman (2019)
2019 | Biography, Drama
A dazzling, brutally honest biopic
Biopics are always challenging. Trying to condense the life of a public figure into a couple of hours is never easy, which is why it can go wrong. It must be even more intimidating when your subject is still alive, and in this case, Elton John is very much alive and kicking at the age of 72.

Rocketman was a project that was closely followed by a number of fans and media outlets, all of them keen to see how they brought his story to life on-screen. With Dexter Fletcher at the helm and a star-studded cast, the film certainly had potential. And boy did it deliver.

Something that took me by surprise was the fact the film was more of a musical, rather than a straight-up biopic. I must admit I’m not the biggest fan of musicals most of the time, but I was instantly charmed by the musical numbers in Rocketman. It felt appropriate to present someone so passionate about music in this way. The film is choreographed to perfection, with the key moments in Elton’s life brought to life through song and dance.

In the leading role, Taron Egerton absolutely shone as Elton. The fact he actually sang so many of his iconic songs, and did them well, is something that should be celebrated for years to come. But even beyond the music, the way he showcased Elton’s pain throughout his years brought me to tears several times, and I’d be as bold to say his performance was award worthy. I couldn’t take my eyes off him.

It was also refreshing to see the brutal honesty in the film. Elton John himself said he ‘hadn’t lived a PG-13 life’, so the inclusion of sex, drugs and depression was absolutely necessary. Elton suffered from a lot of addictions, which are unapologetically presented on screen. There were so many tragedies I was not aware of, and it was so awful to see how he’d been treated by those close to him.

His parents in particular, Sheila (Bryce Dallas Howard) and Stanley (Steven Mackintosh), weren’t accepting of him and created a toxic home environment for Elton. I wasn’t aware of these strained relationships so it was interesting to observe, and the performances felt incredibly raw and devastating.

Naturally, the film also explored Elton’s first relationship with music manager John Reid (Richard Madden). This was heartbreaking to witness, as there was a lot of abuse and manipulation from Reid throughout their relationship. I thought Madden was exceptional in this role; villainous yet charismatic, and he delivered some truly cutting lines that, again, made me cry.

The one constant good relationship in Elton’s life was, and still is, Bernie Taupin (Jamie Bell). The two worked closely over the years to write the lyrics we know and love, and have endured lots together. As a key figure in his life, it was essential he was played well, and I couldn’t be happier with Bell’s performance. The energy between him and Egerton was a powerful thing.

These great performances are set against a beautiful backdrop of glitz and glamour, with some seriously impressive live shows where Egerton gets the opportunity to really shine. The gorgeous set design, costume design and cinematography only broke my heart further, when it became apparent a lot of it was a lie, and deep down Elton was battling with many demons. Fame does not always equal happiness, and this film is the epitome of that message.

Whilst it’s not an easy film to watch at times, it’s a beautiful celebration of Elton’s life that I can’t wait to experience again. He has came such a long way, and the film does everything in its power to show both the lows and highs, and remind fans where he came from. My advice would be to bring tissues, you’re going to need them.
Fantastic Four (2015)
Fantastic Four (2015)
2015 | Action
If you hold the film rights to an iconic and beloved comic book series, one would think you would do everything possible to see that it flourishes under you watch. For 29th Century Fox, The Fantastic Four is an asset that should be a gem of their studio as the long-running Marvel comic series has had legions of fans for generations.

The previous two films did well enough but still had their detractors amongst the fans. So, Fox opted for a hiatus and then a radical reboot of the series complete with casting choices that were considered very questionable.

The new version features Miles Teller as Reed Richards, a young man obsessed with teleportation to the point that his teachers and other students laugh at him for his odd and obsessive ways.

His only friend is Ben Grimm (Jamie Bell), who despite a lack of scientific knowledge supports Reed in his efforts which eventually allow him to be recruited by Dr. Franklin Storm (Reg E. Cathey), who discloses that he is working on a large scale teleportation device and seeing how Reed pulled it off with a device he made in his garage, is eager to see what he can do at a fully-funded facility.

Reed meets Franklins adopted daughter Sue (Kate Mara), as well as his son Johnny (Michael B. Jordan), while they work with the mercurial Victor Von Doom (Toby Kebbell), to complete the device.

When the team finds success, they are horrified to learn that the government plans to take over control of the project so Ben, Victor, Johnny, and Reed opt to use it themselves to visit the other dimension in order to leave their mark in history.

Things at first go well but when a mysterious force envelops them, odd things start to happen when they return home. Reed is capable of stretching himself, Johnny is a living fire, Ben is covered in rocks, and Sue is phasing in and out.

Flashing forward the group is under the watch of the government and Reed has fled not wanting to be a part of whatever is going on. Ben is used for special operations and blames Reed for abandoning them as Sue and Johnny are prepped for the field.

Now one would think a setup like this has some potential at the very least for some action and great FX. Sadly the film lurches ahead fairly light on action. The threat to the film appears, and within 10 minutes has moved to a fairly underwhelming final conflict that is so obviously done in front of a Green Screen that it loses much of the intended impact.

The best I can say for the film is that it is a forgettable and flawed film that tries to launch a new franchise in a new way. But the casting choices in the film are so wrong, that it undermines it at every step. Setting aside the debate over an African American Johnny Storm, Miles Teller is so bland; he just does not scream leading man or driving force behind the team.

The same can be said for pretty much the entire cast. The backstories hint at various things but their actions conflict several aspects of the film which to be honest are fairly forgettable.

The entire movie is like watching a Jr. College Fan Film where the cast has a Green Screen and studio funding, but not a clue on how to carry out a story, modern action sequences of character development.

Fox needs to take a serious page from Sony and work with Marvel if they are going to continue this franchise, or return the rights to Marvel so fans can finally get a film that does justice to the source material.

I am glad that Director Josh Trank is no longer associated with the pending Star Wars film as this movie is a train wreck that spits all over the history and legacy of the source material.