Search only in certain items:

    Warm Gun

    Warm Gun


    (0 Ratings) Rate It


    "Warm Gun will pull your eyeballs out of your head at first glance." - TouchArcade "Something...

    Topo Maps+

    Topo Maps+

    Navigation and Travel

    (0 Ratings) Rate It


    Go Deeper into the Backcountry. ** ZDNet's 24 Best iPhone or iPad apps for 2017 ** Featured in Apps...



    Entertainment and Music

    (0 Ratings) Rate It


    Meet ZappoTV, your Mobile Media Center for TV. Easily search and find interesting content from many...




    (0 Ratings) Rate It


    Get no strings attached free entertainment with WAVO. Visit the WAVO website to sign up and start...

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021)
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021)
2021 | Action, Adventure
Relationship between Shaun and Katy (1 more)
Great Shakespearean level of story
Ten rings to rule them all
- This is Marvel at its best. A script (with Shakespearean undertones) that melds action with good character development and laugh-out-loud feel-good dialogue. The great thing is that you don't need to be a Marvel nerd to enjoy this one. Yes, there are some fabulous Easter Eggs for Marvel fans (and a wonderful return of a character from one of the early films). But it's almost a standalone feature in its own right.
- The action sequences are top-notch, particularly an early fight on a careering San Francisco "bendy-bus". Some great martial-arts reminiscent of "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon", made more exciting by the fact that the impressive Simu Liu did all his own stunts.
- The relationship built between Shaun and Katy is wonderful, and the actors deliver on it brilliantly: no wonder when you have the exceptional Awkwafina on the other end of it. Similarly, the relationship built between Shang-Chi and his father is powerful, thanks to some wonderful acting from Tony Chiu-Wai Leung. So good in the gripping (and erotic) 'Lust, Caution', I believe this is his first English-speaking film.

- With the odd exception (see below), the special effects are top-notch.

- I thought this was 5* all the way until the final reel, when we descended into a CGI-driven "Godzilla vs Kong" finale. I hate CGI that's just a blur of action across the screen where you're struggling to understand what's going on. Less would be more here for me.

- The movie makes extensive use of 'flashbacks' and, for me, there was a bit too much heavy-handedness in their use. I muttered "enough already" to a few of them, since they were taking us out of the movie's current narrative.

- There were a couple of effects that looked like the intern at the special effects company had put them together during a coffee break. An early plunge of a jeep into a forest and some rather obvious green-screen stuff in the finale. Surprised that these weren't caught and redone.

Timeline?: So, it took more of a Marvel nerd than I am (my wonderful daughter-in-law Bronwyn) to point out that although this film is set (largely) in the "Present Day", the events of "Avengers: Endgame" actually happen in 2023. So in the Marvel timeline, this is set in between Thanos's "blip" and "the return". This is the reason why Wong is present but not Doctor Strange, for example.

Summary Thoughts: Marvel goes East! This is a really entertaining addition to the franchise, mixing Marvel action with Eastern mysticism and martial arts. It's an impressive job by director and co-writer Destin Daniel Cretton, in only his second feature (he did "Just Mercy" in 2019).

As a Marvel film, there are of course end-credit scenes ("monkeys" in onemannsmovies speak). A mid-title one is the best, bringing some additional Marvel characters into the mix. And there's a post-credits one which sets up for further sequels but which I found rather irritating.

It's ironic that a Marvel movie so right for the Chinese market - the first to be headlined by an Asian actor and with substantial Mandarin dialogue - might not get a release in China. According to this report, this appears to be for two reasons: firstly that the actor Simu Liu made some derogatory remarks about China in the past, and secondly that in the comics Shang Chi's father is Fu Manchu - a Western-derived character with racial overtones.

This doesn't seem to have hurt it so far. After less than two weeks of opening, it has made $262 million on a budget estimated to be $150-200 million.

(For the full graphical review and video check out #onemannsmovies on the web, Facebook and Tiktok. Thanks).
Wild Rose (2018)
Wild Rose (2018)
2018 | Drama, Music
Three Chords and the Truth.
BAFTA named Jessie Buckley as one of their “Rising Stars” for 2019, and here she proves why.

Buckley plays Glaswegian Rose-Lynn Harlan, a decidedly wild child electronically tagged and released from the clink but straight down to some very public cowgirl sex with her erstwhile boyfriend. Only then does she have the afterthought of going round to the house of her Mum (Julie Walters) where two young children live. For Rose-Lynn is a single mum of two (#needs-to-be-more-careful-with-the-cowgirl-stuff), and the emotional damage metered out to the youngsters from her wayward life is fully evident.

Rose-Lynn is a frustrated ‘country-and-weste’… no, sorry… just ‘western’ singer, and she has a talent for bringing the house down in Glasgow during a show. The desire to ‘make it big’ in Nashville is bordering on obsession, and nothing – not her mum, not her children, nothing – will get in her way.

Rose-Lynn has no idea how to make her dream come true. (And no, she doesn’t bump into Bradley Cooper at this point). But things look up when she lies her way to a cleaning job for the middle class Susannah (Sophie Okonedo) who sees the talent in her and comes up with a couple of innovative ways to move her in the right direction.

Will she get out of her Glasgow poverty trap and rise to fame and fortune as a Nashville star?

Difficult to like.
Rose-Lynn is not an easy character to like. She is borderline sociopathic and has a self-centred selfish streak a mile wide. As she tramples all over her offspring’s young lives, breaking each and every promise like clockwork, then you just want to shout at her and give her a good shaking. It’s a difficult line for the film to walk (did the ghost of Johnny Cash make me write that?) and it only barely walks it unscathed.

Memories of Birdman.
A key shout-out needs to go to director Tom Harper (“Woman in Black 2“, and the TV epic “War and Peace”) and his cinematographer of choice George Steel. Some of the angles and framed shots are exquisitely done. A fantastic dance sequence through Susannah’s house (the best since Hugh Grant‘s No. 10 “Jump” in “Love Actually”) reveals the associated imaginary musicians in various alcoves reminiscent of the drummer in “Birdman“. And there are a couple of great drone shots: one (no spoilers) showing Rose-Lynn leaving a party is particularly effective.

The turns.
The camera simply loves Jessie Buckley. She delivers real energy in the good times and real pathos in the bad. She can – assuming it’s her performing – also sing! (No surprise since she was, you might remember, runner up to Jodie Prenger in the BBC search for a “Maria” for Lloyd Webber’s “Sound of Music”). She is certainly one to watch on the acting stage.

Supporting Buckley in prime roles are national treasure Julie Walters, effecting an impressive Glaswegian accent, and Sophie Okonedo, who is one of those well-known faces from TV that you can never quite place. BBC Radio 2’s Bob Harris also turns up as himself, being marvellously unconvincing as an actor!

But I don’t like country music?
Frankly neither do I. But it hardly matters. As long as you don’t ABSOLUTELY LOATHE it, I predict you’ll tolerate the tunes and enjoy the movie. Followers of this blog might remember that – against the general trend – I was highly unimpressed with “A Star is Born“. This movie I enjoyed far, far more.
The Equalizer 2 (2018)
The Equalizer 2 (2018)
2018 | Action, Mystery
A “Good Guy” meting out justice in a bad way.
There’s something really satisfying about seeing our ‘hero’ Robert McCall giving bad ‘uns a bloody nose (and far worse) as immediate punishment for a crime committed. My parent’s pre-war generation would wax lyrical about the days when police officers or teachers could give a kid a “good box around the ears” as a lesson for a minor infringement. (“Ah, the good old days…. That’ll learn ‘im”!). But equally there’s also the queasy feeling here that this is a vigilante being judge, jury and executioner. Thank GOODNESS then that it’s Denzel Washington and he’s OBVIOUSLY a good guy that will never get it wrong!

Washington returns here as the righter of wrongs, now working as a Lyft driver in Boston (clearly Uber either lost the bidding war or they were not considered to be as cool a brand anymore). Through his job he crosses paths with various troubled souls and is often able to help: sometimes with just an encouraging word; sometimes with more physical activity! By way of validating his good guy credentials, he also takes under his wing Miles (Ashton Sanders) – a local black kid at risk of being dragged into the Boston gang scene.

But this is all window-dressing for the main plot, involving bad guys (for reasons that escaped me) tidying up a lot of CIA loose ends in Brussels in a very brutal way. In charge of the investigation is Robert’s ex-boss Susan Plummer (Melissa Leo) and to help out further Robert has to ‘reappear’ to his ex-partner Dave York (Pedro Pascal). As in the first film, events lead to an explosive western-style showdown.

Directed again by Antoine Fuqua, the film oozes style from the impressive opening shots of a Turkish train, where the cinematography by Bourne-regular Oliver Wood is exceptional. The action scenes are well-executed, and includes a superb science experiment that will puzzle any viewer who thinks “hang on a minute – flour doesn’t burn”!

Reading again my review of the original film, I went off on a rant about extreme screen violence in sub-18 certificate films. There is certainly – as the British film censors (the BBFC) describe it – “strong violence” in this film, with some pretty brutal murder scenes. If anything though I thought the violence was a little less gratuitous this time around, which I welcome.

Denzel is the greatest asset of this film though. He acts up a hurricane (literally), and without his calm and powerful presence at the heart of the film, this would just be A.N.Other generic thriller. It’s also great that this time around the excellent Melissa Leo gets more screen time, as does her husband played by Bill “Independence Day” Pullman. (Is it just me that gets Mr Pullman confused with the late Mr Paxton? I spent all of this film thinking “Oh how sad” though all his scenes before I realised I was grieving for the wrong guy!). In terms of mistaken identity, this film has another in that a key villain Resnik looks far too much like Mark Wahlberg, but is actually Canadian actor Jonathan Scarfe.

Where the film stumbled for me was in having too many parallel “good deed” sub-plots. One in particular – you’ll know the one – feels completely superfluous, beggars belief and could have been excised completely for the DVD deleted scenes.

Do you need to have seen the first film? No, not really. There is exposition about McCall’s back-story, but if this was covered in the first film then I had completely forgotten it. It certainly didn’t detract from this as a stand-alone film.

A cut-above the norm, Washington’s solid performance makes this an entertaining night out at the flicks.
The Light Between Oceans (2016)
The Light Between Oceans (2016)
2016 | Drama, Romance
“You only have to forgive once. To resent, you have to do it all day, every day”.
In my review of “The Two Faces of January” I described it as a film that “will be particularly enjoyed by older viewers who remember when story and location were put far ahead of CGI-based special effects”. In watching this film I was again linking in my mind to that earlier film… and that was before the lead character suddenly brought up the two faces of Janus!
For this is a good old-fashioned weepy melodrama: leisurely, character based and guaranteed to give the tear ducts a good old cleaning out.

It’s 1918 and Michael Fassbender plays Tom Sherbourne, a damaged man seeking solitude and reflection after four years of hell in the trenches. As a short-term job he takes the post of lighthouse keeper on the isolated slab of rock called Janus – sat between two oceans (presumably as this is Western Australia, the Indian and the Southern Oceans). The isolation of the job previously sent his predecessor off his trolley.

En route to his workplace he is immediately attracted to headmaster’s daughter Isabel (Alicia Vikander) who practically THROWS herself at Tom (the hussy), given that they only have snatches of a day at a time to be together during shore leave. Tom falls for her (as a hot blooded man, and with Vikander’s performance, this is entirely believable!) and the two marry to retire to their ‘fortress of solitude’ together to raise a family and live happily ever after…. or not… For the path of true motherhood runs not smoothly for poor Isabel, and a baby in a drifting boat spells both joy and despair for the couple as the story unwinds.

(I’ll stop my synopsis there, since I think the trailer – and other reviews I’ve read – give too much away).
While Fassbender again demonstrates what a mesmerising actor he is, the acting kudos in this one really goes again to Vikander, who pulls out all the stops in a role that demands fragility, naivety, resentment, anger and despair across its course. While I don’t think the film in general will trouble the Oscars, this is a leading actress performance that I could well see nominated. In a supporting role, with less screen-time, is Rachel Weisz who again needs to demonstrate her acting stripes in a demanding role. (Also a shout-out to young Florence Clery who is wonderfully naturalistic as the 4 year old Lucy-Grace.)

So this is a film with a stellar class, but it doesn’t really all gel together satisfyingly into a stellar – or at least particularly memorable – movie. After a slow start, director Derek Cianfrance (“The Place Beyond the Pines”) ladles on the melodrama interminably, and over a two hour running time the word overwrought comes to mind.

The script (also by Cianfrance, from the novel by M.L.Stedman) could have been tightened up, particularly in the first reel, and the audience given a bit more time to reflect and absorb in the second half.
The film is also curiously ‘place-less’. I assumed this was somewhere off Ireland until someone suddenly starting singing “Waltzing Matilda” (badly) and random people started talking in Aussie accents: most strange.

Cinematography by Adam Arkapaw (“Macbeth”) is also frustratingly inconsistent. The landscapes of the island, steam trains, sunsets and the multiple boatings in between is just beautiful (assisted by a delicate score by the great Alexandre Desplat which is well used) but get close up (and the camera does often get VERY close up) and a lack of ‘steadicam’ becomes infuriating, with faces dancing about the screen and – in one particular scene early on – wandering off on either side with the camera apparently unsure which one to follow!
A memorable cinema experience only for Vikander’s outstanding performance. Now where are those tissues…