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Black Ribbon’s Best Film Scenes of 2015

Best Film Scenes of 2015

Within every great movie is a scene of equal greatness, whether it be a memorable moment of character progression, a tear-jerking loss of a key character, or even something as trivial as a note of music that pulls at the heartstrings in a way that affects a particular viewer. Throughout 2015 there have been a vast amount of particular movie moments where the magic really kicks in, scenes in which have left a long-lasting impression within my mind and have resulted in either making the film a better picture or just a fantastic scene on its’ own ground albeit being in a overly mediocre movie. Within this list is Black Ribbon’s top ten most memorable scenes of 2015, starting promptly with…

10. A Meeting With Macha – Song of the Sea

Song of the Sea is many things. Beautiful. Awe-inspiring. Genuinely tear-inducing. Yet one of the things I didn’t expect from Tomm Moore’s animated masterpiece is the scene in which our beloved heroes come across the legendary owl-witch known as the Macha, whereby we witness the darker side of the Irish folklore in which Song of the Sea is based upon. Although most of Song of the Sea is undeniably child-friendly, the introduction to the insidious Macha was genuinely startling, resulting in a hallucinatory dream-scape of evil owls and creepy Irish folklore legends.

9. Confrontation With Jobs – Steve Jobs

Although Steve Jobs is directed by the fine hand of Danny Boyle, it undoubtedly belongs to the craftsman of screenplays himself, Aaron Sorkin, with its’ three-act structure being an effective stage for which Sorkin is allowed to play upon. Of the many wordy dialogues within the film, the scene in which Jobs is confronted by John Sculley within the second act of the film is the one that stands out the furthest, with Sorkin’s brilliant script being fully embraced by the acting duo of both Fassbender and Daniels whilst being offset with flashbacks of the past, all of which results in a heavy sense of escalating drama that gives credence to the simply unfair talent that Sorkin has unleashed upon directors such as Boyle and David Fincher, both of whom have enjoyed undeniable success because of such in Steve Jobs and The Social Network respectively.

8. Day of the Dead – Spectre

Before Spectre was even released, director Sam Mendes made sure that his latest entry into the Bond canon was set to have one of the most epic opening scenes in the film’s 53 year history, with the famous Day of the Dead in Mexico City being the backdrop for the return of everyone’s favourite English super-spy. Beginning with a seemingly one-take shot following Bond through the streets of Mexico City and onto the rooftops above, Spectre’s opening scene definitely ramps up the thrills and skills, with Bond mercifully tracking down and defeating a high-ranking agent of SPECTRE all-the-while attempting to keep the poor innocents of Mexico City with their lives intact from the rogue helicopter in which our enemy decides to escape within. Mr Mendes, you were right. The opening scene of Spectre is one to be treasured.

7. The Walk – The Walk

Although not exactly the greatest film of the year, with the release of Robert Zemeckis’ The Walk essentially just being a dramatic re-telling of the superior documentary Man on Wire, one thing the film did have going for it was the exceptional titular sequence in which Philippe Petit crosses the Twin Towers with nothing more than his wit and skill as a wire-walker to keep him alive. As a self-confessed hater of heights as it is, the concluding 30 minute scene of The Walk was a sheer nail-biting collage of vertigo-esque tension, where even though I was fully aware of Petit’s incredible success, resulted in an sense of intolerable discomfort in the best way possible, something of which is owed simply to the brilliant way in which Zemeckis’ titular act is filmed. Simply breathtaking.

6. F**K Tha Police – Straight Outta Compton

Some of the best films are those that unexpectedly turn out to be real gems and surpass any expectations they have had before it, and in the case of Straight Outta Compton, F. Gary Gray’s real firecracker of a drama based upon the rise of the notorious hip-hop group, N.W.A, what a surprise it was to witness its’ brilliantly managed explosive temperament and uncanny portrayals of the genre’s most decorated patrons. Within the film’s many great scenes is the recording sessions of the group’s titular debut album, particularly that of their most notorious single, “F**K Tha Police”, recorded after a confrontation with the somewhat backward’s handling of the Los Angeles police department whose racial stereotypes present in the early 1990’s are made abundantly clear within Straight Outta Compton, yet it’s the ferocious response from the group into recording arguably their most famous hit which creates one of the most entertaining scenes of 2015.

5. Showdown With Gordo – The Gift

Written, directed and starring Joel Edgerton, The Gift proved to be a real tense and taut claustrophobic chiller thriller with Edgerton sinking in almost too well into the role of Gordo, the creepy stalker hell bent on making the lives of both Simon and Robyn Callum rather awkward with a selection of creepy get-together’s and unwanted hand-delivered gifts. The real winning success of The Gift however is down to the nature in which Edgerton’s portrayal of Gordo is one of a rather mixed and ambiguous nature, resorting to feelings of compassion towards someone who is obviously rather troubled at heart. One of the most incredible scenes within The Gift is when we witness the rather fiery Simon confront Gordo at his place of work, yet instead of being on the side of the targeted Simon, the sight of Gordo’s sheer embarrassment as his real life is discovered results in a collage of conflicting feelings, something of which has stayed with me ever since the film’s release.

4. Madness Prevails – Macbeth

Transferring the dark, twisted tale of Shakespeare’s Macbeth to the big-screen is no easy feat in itself, yet Snowtown director Justin Kurzel manages to embrace the bloody nature of the famous text and turns it into essentially a horror flick with glorious displays of violence, something of which won’t exactly be shown to schoolkids examining the play for the sake of education. Of the many great scenes within Kurzel’s adaptation is when we witness the titular Macbeth, played majestically by Michael Fassbender, start to go completely bonkers at a royal feast in front of his loving, loyal wife and fellow ruling family and friends where, reeling from the violent slaughter of Banquo by his own hand, Macbeth begins to hallucinate his bleeding, pierced body dining at his feast, resulting in a crazed, frightened Macbeth showing how the power of being King has truly began to corrupt him. It’s a wonderful scene and one in which Fassbender’s raw and ripe acting talents are once again put on display.

3. Thermal Imagery – Sicario

If Sicario is not the film that finally wins the simply brilliant Roger Deakins an Oscar for his cinematography skills then I am pretty sure nothing will. One of the most talked about shots of the year is the scene in which we witness the spook-like militaristic agents disappear into darkness in search of a drug-trafficking tunnel and it is here where the best scene of the film begins. Switching between complete darkness and thermal imagery, our venture into the pitch black tunnel of horror, all seen through the eyes of unknowing FBI Agent Kate Macer (Emily Blunt), is nail-biting tension in its’ most extreme, even more so than the scariest traffic jam ever we witness earlier in the film, yet it is the ambiguous nature of both our heroines nature and what lies for her in the tunnel which makes this particular scene a true gem and definitely the most tense twenty minutes of the entire year.

2. Goodbye Bing Bong – Inside Out

I love Disney, I’m not afraid to say it, and I love Inside Out even more. Not only is it wholly original and incredibly intelligent but it also features the most heartbreaking cinematic moment of the year by a long shot. After falling into the subconscious and memory dump of Riley’s mind, Joy and imaginary friend Bing Bong attempt to escape via that of Bing Bong’s homemade rocket ship yet after being originally unsuccessful, Bing Bong sacrifices himself to get Joy safely back to head office, who subsequently disappears into dust, much to the despair of everyone, including myself, who found it hard to hold back the tears, regardless of the extent to which lip biting came into effect. It’s a scene as heartbreaking as the death of Mufasa and reinforces Disney’s ability to make every human resort to their inner child and weep with sheer sadness. Damn you!

1. A Final Encore – Whiplash

The final ten minutes of Whiplash are among the greatest of cinema within the past decade or so, if not of all time, with the final drum solo combining sheer tension and thrills, resulting in a storming final encore for both Miles Teller’s Andrew Neiman and Damien Chazelle’s simply brilliant drama surrounding the abusive teachings of Oscar winning supporting actor J.K. Simmons as the terrifying Terrence Fletcher. Although drumming and the entire aspect of drums are as exciting to me as a wet flannel, somehow Whiplash is a film that just is just majestic in its’ execution with Tom Cross’s editing one of the many reasons for such, and it is here within the final scene where his skills are truly put to the test, resulting in a stunning tour de force of blood, sweat and tears which left me simply breathless. With that in mind, scene of the year belongs to Whiplash, and boy does it deserve it.

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Black Ribbon’s Top Film’s of 2015: Part One

Top Films of 2015: 20-11

What a resounding year it has been in the world of cinema. Not only have we had the grand-scale return of beloved franchises such as Bond and of course, STAR WARS, but we have also been treated to a vast range of quality independent movies that although may have gone slightly under the wide-appeal radar, haven’t shied away from deserved critical acclaim. Although it is nearly impossible to catch up with every single release each and every week of the year, Black Ribbon has worked extensively to provide weekly reviews of the newest releases throughout 2015, and here is the first part of my own personal top films of the year, starting with numbers twenty through to eleven…

20. Ex Machina

Remember how good 28 Days Later was? Well after taking on the infected in the streets of London, writer Alex Garland takes on directorial duties for Ex Machina, a creepy, claustrophobic thriller focusing on the concept of artificial intelligence, nodding ever-so slightly into the realms of Blade Runner, but resulting in a solid first outing for the talented Garland and reasserting the talents of both Oscar Isaac and Alicia Vikander. If it’s creepy sci-fi chills you are after, Ex Machina is definitely for you.

19. Enemy

In Enemy, Denis Villeneuve goes full-out Lynch mode, even so far by casting Blue Velvet actress Isabella Rossellini in a minor, if rather significant role, but the real masterwork of Enemy is the way in which questions are left without straightforward answers without ever feeling self-indulgent or being created for the credit of being linked to the work of Lynch himself like this years’ terrible Lost River. Spooky, weird, and featuring the creepiest ending to a film this year, Enemy is another win in the ever-growing back catalogue of Canadian Villeneuve.

18. Carol

A rather late addition to the floor, but within Carol, we witness director Todd Hayne’s beautifully elegant and incredibly delicate portrayal of forbidden romance and social acceptability with Oscar-worthy performances from both the radiant Cate Blanchett and the all-eyes spectacle that is the brilliant Rooney Mara. Carol is not only a great film, it is  one that  has been made with pride and admiration and wants the viewer to sit back and let the film simmer in its’ beauty and marvelous attention to detail.

17. Montage of Heck 

21 years after his death, Kurt Cobain is still undoubtedly one of the biggest household names when it comes to the reinvention of the rock genre during the grunge outbreak of the 1990’s with Montage of Heck a comprehensive insight into the star’s early childhood, his rise to fame, through to the endearing legacy of Nirvana’s impact on the musical industry during their way-too short stint on this beloved planet. Although the film does dwell on the presence and influence of Courtney Love a bit too much, Montage of Heck is a insightful and creative window into the world of music’s most tragic hero.

16. A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night

Talking of David Lynch, Ana Lily Amirpour’s noir-influenced genre horror takes the Lynchian recipe book and creates a masterpiece of vampiric mythology, resorting to long takes of silence and intrigue and bursts of violence representing the best bits of the age-old vampire story and producing a eerie and compelling drama of love, lust and desire, all incorporated around a equally eerie soundtrack. Think Let The Right One In meets Eraserhead, A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night is a real triumph.

15. A Most Violent Year

Featuring two of my favourite acting talents in this current cinematic climate, A Most Violent Year focuses on Oscar Isaac’s Abel Morales’ attempts to further advance his Oil Company whilst battling external violent pressures and the threat of continual hijackings, all the while being guided by his femme-fatale of a wife played by the majestic Jessica Chastain. Brilliantly acted and directed, A Most Violent Year produces tension in areas that in other films would only be trivial in a vein similar to that of the master of suspense himself, Alfred Hitchcock.

14. Bridge of Spies

Only extending Steven Spielberg and Tom Hank’s remarkable partnership is Bridge of Spies, a tremendous cold-war thriller focusing on American attorney James Donovan’s attempts to negotiate the exchange of Mark Rylance’s Russian spy Rudolf Abel for two American captives in Soviet Russia. If the spectacle of the ice-cold cinematography of Germany and the captivating supporting performance from Rylance aren’t enough to keep you entertained for two hours or so, then nothing will. A gem of an entry into the ever-growing back catalogue of entertainment auteur, Steven Spielberg.

13. Straight Outta Compton

Flawlessly acted and bouncing with style and substance, Straight Outta Compton focuses on the rise and fall of N.W.A, the notorious hip-hop group featuring the likes of Ice Cube, Dr. Dre, and Eazy-E. With uncanny re-recorded takes on the groups musical back catalogue, F. Gary Gray’s choice to focus primarily on the relationships rather than the social spectacle presents an interesting and compelling drama that fulfilled and exceeded any expectations proceeding it.

12. Steve Jobs

If double-billed with the equally fabulous, The Social Network, Danny Boyle’s Steve Jobs would showcase a masterpiece of cinematic writing from Aaron Sorkin whose latest screenplay is undoubtedly one of the best produced this year with it being filled with quick one-liners, snappy dialogue, and a tendency to think everyone is as clever as he is. Fassbender does a great job in the lead role, with kudos too going to the likes of Kate Winslet, Seth Rogen and Jeff Daniels, but Steve Jobs belongs to Sorkin. It’s rather good.

11. Brooklyn

Amidst all the craziness of superheroes and dinosaurs this year is Brooklyn, a wonderful romantic drama penned by Nick Hornby and starring Saoirse Ronan in a leading performance that is set to bring a rafter of nominations and awards after being universally acclaimed for her portrayal of the alienated-Irish wanderer who begins a new life in the United States only to question where she really feels at home. Wonderfully costumed and acted almost too well, Brooklyn is a real treat and deserves all the praise it hopefully gets in the coming months or so.

Part Two Coming Soon…

Halo 5: Guardians – The gift that doesn’t give – Xbox One Review

Let’s get straight to the point, I’m no Halo fanatic. In fact, I didn’t care very much for him. I picked up the series from 3 and just enjoyed shooting stuff. Even more so when I probably paid £20 for the lot making it worth the investment. Now I thought I’d change that and jump onto the pre-order bandwagon for Halo 5. Was it worth it? Hell nah

For anyone who has read previous articles, you’ll be well aware that I enjoy story. Halo’s trailers depicted a rogue Master Chief being chased down by another Spartan called Locke; a hench dude with a a beard that looks like he’s drawn it on with a whiteboard marker. Surrounded by rubble, the 2 variants features both characters in vice versa roles drawing their weapon to shoot the restrained one. The whole world appeared to be mourning the death of Chief and the whole thing looked very distopian. Jump into the game and its dramatically different. There is only one confrontation between the characters and this is just over the halfway mark in the game, so about 3-4 hours in and lasts a mere 30 seconds. Chief isn’t dead and the world has a far different threat to deal with. SPOILERS – Its Cortana. She’s gone batshit crazy and is now planning to police all of the known worlds with some crazy machines. Here is the problem, after 6-8 hours of gameplay, the story isn’t actually finished. The credits roll, the game is over and you’re left wondering why you spent a fortune for something that wasn’t even complete and drags a story so dull and lacklustre on for another instalment. I’ve played indie games for longer that were cheaper and far more enjoyable. It’s the perfect depiction of a cash cow and it’ll become another yearly game that bleeds money from its consumers because some mechanics are slightly different and the multiplayer maps have changed – aka Call of Duty.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed my experience of shooting stuff on platforms, moving on and rinse and repeat a hundred times, but I’m a different kettle of fish. I’m not there for multiplayer, I’m here for lots of fun and I didn’t get that. We’ve established that the story was pulled from the inner rim of a public toilet but lets talk about everything else wrong with it.

  • Its recycled
  • Characters and Voice acting were rather dull (Sorry Nathan Fillion, you don’t sell it)
  • Weapons lack diversity, power and ammo. Seriously, how the fuck does it take a full magazine to kill one enemy!?
  • No diversity in enemies. They’re dropped in from the beginning and they never change so levels don’t ramp up in difficulty, they just add more
  • Repetitive zones and boss – Literally, its all the same
  • God awful boost mechanic which moves you about 3ft at a time

Its not a long list, sure. Yet its a big list when the only things I can draw from it that are actually good are the visual cut scenes,general graphics and the sound effects. Many people worry about triple A games and the reviewers who cover them for the big publications and so far, these big guys have talked up and marketed these titles as some of the best games ever. I simply cannot agree and with complaints and rumours of paid promotions and reviews by these publications, its not looking good.

I’m currently debating selling or returning this item because it was honestly a bleed on an already tight purse that didn’t give its customers what they really deserved – A game for the people, not for the bank account.

6/10 – Tune in next time to see the gradual decline of triple A games in record time

Halo

Assassin’s Creed Syndicate – Anything is better than Unity – Xbox One Review!

It’s that time of year again when our wallets and purses are left crying in the corner of the room, vacant and hollow – AKA: The greatest time of year for gamers. Triple A titles are raining down on us and today we start this with the first entry, Assassin’s Creed Syndicate.

Follow in on from the resounding success of Unity *cough*, Ubisoft continue the annual outing with Syndicate. Based in London in the late 1800’s we join Jacob and Evie Frye. Assassin twins with no direct connection to those from previous iterations but raised by an assassin family. Their mission is to remove the tyranny of the Templars from London and finish the grand master Starrick for good…So like every other game. In the current time line, we are back with Shaun trying to find another precursor artefact. Just this time we watch them through some floating camera drone cut scene that does nothing to progress the story or add anything vaguely interesting. It seems as if Ubisoft needed some sort of validation about what they were doing so they can keep this train a’rollin’. So, here we have it. A linear story with the same formula, rinse and repeat. Its alright if you ignore the simple changes that have gone into creating it. Like CIA black ops files, there are thick black lines over names and places and then Ubisoft takes it, rolls a dice and there you have it, your characters and location done. We’ve seen as of late that they’re picking up on this and are trying to diversify gameplay to reinvigorate the fan base. We see with Chronicles: China that they’ve been struggling to maintain the hype that was once reserved for their epic Ezio cut scene trailers layered with staggering music by now switching the gameplay dramatically to a stealth based platform/side-scroller. However, Syndicate hasn’t done anything new. In all honesty, its actually removed one of the more popular mechanics which was the sailing (don’t lie, everyone loved sailing the seas and blowing shit up in their OP boats). Understandably boating in London in the late 1800’s isn’t that easy but they have worked on liberation of rival camps and regions with your trusty rope launcher. That’s fun. Liberating an entire borough on London of its Templar/Blighters gang ends with a big brawl between you, your crew, the Blighters/Templars and the areas boss, unless you’ve already chased them down and spread them across the pavement with your carriage. Roughly 10vs10, the fight can end very quickly if you’re quick to catch the leader prior to the fight. Constantly upgrading and crafting new weapons and tools means you’re almost always ahead of them in fire power, most notably gun wise. Assassins Creed Syndicate 3

As ever, combat within the AC universe has always been extremely fun and violent. Finishers and multi-kills are now even more brutal which also intelligently use the wider environment to pierce your enemy to the wall or make them into your newest desk accessory. Multi-kills aren’t very often and require a setup so they don’t become tiresome to watch or do and the general assassinations are fantastic. Kicking the shit out of people is just so fun but every action seems to be a some super human speed that is impossible to achieve with such weaponry. However, it seems that every police officer, Templar and gang member knows the main characters. So the super secret assassins of the secret order are known by everyone in London and their hideout is as subtle as a streaker at Sunday Mass. This winds me up to no end. You cannot walk though a neighbourhood without drawing the attention of 20 people, murdering them and moving on rapidly only to get caught out again a few blocks down the road. Any reason to beat the shit out of someone I guess. Yet we do not have a non-lethal way to progress. If an objective says not to kill a police officer, I have to kidnap them individually and knock them out away from all their friends one by one. I’m sure if you have the patience to do it meticulously, you’ll find some way of bullshitting it but if you’re like me, flooding a quarter of London in Templar blood was far more appealing. I tell you what is not appealing though, the shitty boss fight at the end which is a simple sequence motion that is repeated 3 or 4 times with slight variations with an illogical starting point for the character in relation to the cut scenes. Now here is the real kicker, its not too buggy. I had my fair share of bugs the crashed my game, killed me and made progress through zones very difficult. One of those is when you enter combat and all attacks to nothing. You run about trying to get hit but you can’t do anything to stop it. Then we have the various audio bugs that didn’t sync with the on screen animations and the invisible enemies that you’ve managed to morph with the wall. But, nothing game breaking and in regards to Unity, that’s a winner.

Assassins Creed Syndicate 4Visually the environment was stunning. Landmarks and set pieces looked amazing and a certain WW1 memory sequence created some even more amazing pieces and interactions. Now, I play on an Xbox One, the lower spec of the next gen consoles and I’d presume that my experience is far less than that of the PS4 in comparison. Character variation was good but the city is so big, you see many of the same people hanging around and you’ve probably killed the same guys over and over. My only gripe visually is fluidity. Anything the characters touch that isn’t their uniform is stiff, like cardboard and the hair isn’t even smooth, in fact you can visibly see the pixels that make the strands of Evie’s hair. Its nice to see a female character in the main character slot but other female characters that originated in the gangs that were heads of the groups felt as if they were trying too hard to appeal to that section and really impacted the reality of what women actually had to fight for. The aim to put female characters in the games are fantastic moves, especially in the Creed and the Templars but the general gang populace, it wasn’t that way and feels more like pandering to the extreme voices. We do get a cheeky mention of women’s rights in the bonus WW1 mission which was very amusing and actually addressed the situation in a historical aspect that doesn’t shun the past but brings light to the horrors of the past. By all means, I don’t believe the games to be 100% historically correct but it brushed the social issues of the time under the rug by acting like it never happened and created an idealistic image in a fairly distopian story that still shows children being worked to the bone by factory bosses.

I wouldn’t say I come into the AC universe to see the best voice actors in the industry create art but the script needs to match with facial movements and convey the correct emotions where necessary but often enough Evie’s mouth moved very little and emotion was lacking, but in all fairness, the stories and characters weren’t so engaging that you could immerse yourself into the world and feel for the characters. Some felt rather attached to the sibling disputes while I felt them more of a nuisance and that the relationship wasn’t explored enough to get a solid grasp of who these people are, its only towards the end of the game that we actually hear any mention of their parents real names and a history on them but still nothing on our protagonists apart from the fact that Jacob smashes shit up, Evie fixes it. It felt more like a big blockbuster action movie that priorities excitement and general fun over script, dialogue and character depth and if I’m honest, I’m okay with that. Its been fun and I will certainly be going back to experience some more of the extra missions, potentially more WW1 missions and generally beating the shit out of people. How is that not fun!?

Worth the pick up – 7/10

Let us know in the comments below of what you think of Assassin’s Creed Syndicate and head over to our Youtube channel to watch all the shit I do over there!

Assassins Creed Syndicate

Mafia III – Official RELEASE Trailer

The long awaited 3rd instalment into the Mafia series is finally upon us. Will it follow Vito and Joey from 2 or take its own new path? Well apparently its going to take a new path, throw the past away and join a gentlemen named Lincoln Clay in 1968 after the Vietnam war. As a lover of all things Mafia and crime related, I’m worried. Its not what I had hoped for. See for yourself below

 

Deadpool – OFFICIAL RED BAND Trailer

 

Let’s get right to this. Any decent superhero/comic book fan will know of Deadpool. Above we see parts of the reveal trailers and the leaks all bundled into one hell of a package. From this small short, we can really begin to see how Ryan Reynolds fills the shoes of one of the most beloved characters of the universe. Down below is the trailer for the trailer which tears into Reynolds previous appearance as Wade in some of the best marketing I’ve seen in a very long time.

Now personally, I’m not sure how this movie will fair with the general public who don’t know of the character and I worry that his reach and the violence may not appeal to them. Lets hope the Marvel community goes out in droves for this because we could be looking at a cult classic of the superhero universe!

 

Terminator Genisys – Double Trouble Review – I’ll probably be back

DAN – As soon as it was announced that a new Terminator movie was set to grace our screens sometime this year, the first thought that came to mind was “flogging the horse”, with the annoyingly named Terminator Genisys (Erm, dictionary anyone?) being the FIFTH instalment of a series in which the first two both settle in the category of classics, whilst its’ successors only manage to solidify themselves into the category of, “okay, but not brilliant”. With Arnie taking a break off from the franchise in Terminator Salvation, his return in the Alan Taylor directed Genisys, was at least some sort of reconciliation with my personal love for the series, with Mr. Schwarzenegger always having that monumental feat of being a truly brilliant screen presence, regardless of how bad a film he is in may be (Think of “classics” such as Eraser for example). Unfortunately for Arnold and friends, including Emilia Clarke (Erm, Game of Thrones), Jason Clarke (Zero Dark Thirty), Jai Courtney (Die Hard 5), and the lovely Matt Smith (Doctor Who), the sign of how mediocre a film like Terminator Genisys actually is can be traced back to the first theatrical trailer in which for its’ entire duration we are treated to echoes, lines, and even direct scenes from previous entries in the series and after finally watching the movie in its’ complete package, that’s pretty much what I took from it, with Genisys being a movie essentially jealous of its’ better, older siblings and it subsequently attempting to mimic them into becoming something it most definitely isn’t. Rant mode activated.

The plot of Terminator Genisys, if it can actually be called a plot, focuses on the war-torn John Connor’s (Clarke) attempts to finally foil the Skynet invasion of Judgement Day by sending back good friend and fellow soldier Kyle Reese (Courtney) to the 1980’s by use of a Skynet designed time-machine which has already sent back a Terminator to kill off Sarah Connor, the mother of John, in order to prevent the resistance of man from ever coming to fruition. Uh, hold up, isn’t this just the plot from the first Terminator? Yes. It is. But wait! In an attempt to do something wholly original, Genisys attempts to make us believe that the events of the first two Terminator movies in fact never happened with a plot line that is one, completely ludicrous, two, not clear-cut or understandable in the slightest, and three, certainly abides by the 12A certificate by presenting no sense of threat, shock or horror throughout its’ two-hour runtime and in fact, keeping with the Matt Smith casting, actually felt like a two-hour Doctor Who episode, solidified by the cheesy, saccharin sweet ending in which my love for the Terminator series was seriously put into question.

Aside from the nonsensical plot, Genisys was evidently a film in love with its’ previous incarnations, with way too many in-house references to the first two Terminators, whether it be cheesy, over-used lines such as “get out”, or “I’ll be back”, direct copy of villain choice, with the brilliant Robert Patrick portrayal of the T-1000 in Judgment Day being replaced with a shoddy, boring, no-one that thankfully was on screen less than I actually expected, or just the same characters, albeit in a much more boring and shallow reincarnation. I mean, I love Emilia Clarke as much as the next man but to be honest, she is no Linda Hamilton, and Clarke’s portrayal of Sarah Connor just felt wrong and flat, with no sense of depth or a case for me to actually believe Clarke could be this character. I’m sorry Emilia, you have been miscast. Of course, in any case in which a film has so many negative attributes, there are some positives, with the film being rather silly and fun in some places, with some of the effects being so cool it actually produced a little snigger of joy now and then, but when it comes to the fulfilment of a movie, I personally need more than that, and Terminator Genisys may indeed be action-packed and explosive ridden on the surface, but its’ depth is essentially non-existent, resulting in a popcorn movie for the masses rather than a much-loved classic like its’ older, and indeed better, siblings.

Dan’s Score – 4/10

 

PETE – Well, it seems like Dan and I have swapped roles this week. Since Jurassic World’s giant disappointment, I was left hoping that Terminator would do something different and dazzle me. Fortunately it did. Sure, its not the greatest movie in the series but it didn’t simply repeat itself with a half-arsed money spinner with a plot that was vacant of any consistency.Terminator is another movie from my childhood that I actually feel was a decent reboot. Lets hope its not a new trilogy…

The plot was basic. It was a little complex and over convoluted with the general use of time travel but the rest of it is very simple. I wasn’t expecting something with a story like Interstellar, I wanted something entertaining with a plot that wasn’t ripped off from the previous generations. It was a creative use of the situation which tied the series up with a nice bow. Sure, its basic and the big surprise of the movie was ruined in the trailers, but this is one of the reasons I tend to avoid them. Its simple, but gives the originals enough of a twist to become different and have a creative angle on a series that’s been drawn out for many years.

What really lets the movie down is the visual FX and CGI. On the Terminators themselves, it was fairly good but it tried to hard to use visual effects similar to that of the originals as some sort of fan service but it looks so blunt and disjointed amongst other good examples in the same scene! The way people fly off a rolling car isn’t like a ragdoll, its more like a still being slid along the screen in animation closer to SNES Mario. Its as if one of the artists was being fired and just fucked with everything he could while the better in the group simply continued with everything they had without even a look to see just how bad some of it was.

Perhaps it was fan service, but the fan service I enjoyed was Arnie. Who doesn’t love the man? He’s a power house on and off screen, his acting is pretty poor which aids the whole robot thing and he’s been given an element of humour to him rather than cold blooded killer we’ve seen before. Although not along the lines of the original but an enjoyable take nonetheless. As for the rest of them, meh. Emilia Clarke is a woman I’ve had little contact with in my consumption, her role in Game of Thrones seems to be the driving force behind her but her performance in this doesn’t give me hope for when I eventually get around to watching GoT. Die Hard’s Jai Courtney is another that suggests poor things about his other pieces of work and I’m extremely disappointed by Jason Clarke. His role in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes was a solid performance which put him onto my watch list, this is just weak and lacklustre. As the dominant villain, he should have been far darker and twisted to really suggest his power and ability.

Visually poor, acting was fairly flat and the story wasn’t half bad. It is a popcorn movie and it always has been, I won’t lie, but I can’t see how the reincarnation of Jurassic Park using exactly the same basics of big bad dino, stupid people making a park and annoying children can be deemed as a good movie for the previous incarnations while Terminator is slated for daring to change the formula and wrap up its loose ends. I enjoyed it. Its funny, some great action scenes and a rather interesting take on the past.

For me, its a 7/10

OVERALL SCORE – 5.5/10

Triple Whammy – Jurassic World – Does it have enough teeth?

Dan – In terms of childhood memories, particularly those of a cinematic pedigree, the Jurassic Park series was one that I never wholly took to and thus never really had a set place in my heart like other childhood films such as Back to the Future, Star Wars and even Lord of the Rings, a trilogy of movies that did, and still does, have a secure place in my love of cinema. Sure, I recall watching Jurassic Park and even remember watching Jurassic Park III in the cinema as a child, but the sheer wow factor of the “dinosaur dystopia” in which Spielberg and co. had created never really excited me in ways that other films did. I recently watched the trilogy once again after years of them being in the category of just “seen it”, in order to discover whether my childhood had in fact been a complete disgrace, yet my feelings still remain the same. From a a much more mature and critical standpoint also, it was clear to see that the first Jurassic Park was clearly the best out of the trilogy, with it to this day still having moments of pure excitement and tension, but it then all being spoilt by its’ predecessors The Lost World and Jurassic Park III which were, let’s just say, nowhere near as good. So now, 22 years after the original movie, we have Jurassic World starring Chris Pratt (Guardians of the Galaxy), Bryce Dallas Howard (Spider-Man 3), Vincent D’Onofrio (Daredevil) whilst being directed and partly written by Colin Trevorrow of Safety Not Guaranteed fame. Before entering my local multiplex, I was cautious of Jurassic World maybe carrying on the torch of another mediocre dinosaur film but as soon as the credits rolled it was clear to see this was definitely not the case. In fact, its’ almost as good as the original. Almost.

When scientists at the world famous Jurassic World theme park, located on the Isla Nublar, disobey rules clearly laid out in the first three Jurassic Park films such as DON’T MESS WITH DINO DNA, their new creation, the aptly named Indominus Rex, decides to go AWOL, leading to mass panic and mass murder on the island, forcing park manager Claire (Dallas Howard) and trainer Owen (Pratt) into finding a solution to prevent the death of not only themselves, but the 20,000 tourists stuck on the island with them. Seems like a pretty straightforward Jurassic Park style plot doesn’t it? And it most definitely is, but one of the things that I loved about Jurassic World was that it didn’t stop long enough for you to really care about the weakness of its’ plot with it constantly ramming up the dinosaur action up to eleven, leaving you continuously with a sense of breathlessness and feelings I probably should have felt when I watched the first film as a child. Not only does the tension hit home due to the surprising amount of bloodshed and death on-screen throughout, but also due to the expertly crafted dinosaurs that we are faced with. Each and every scene in which a dinosaur appeared was genuinely jaw-dropping and deserves a round of applause for the amount of precise detail that those tasked with the creation of such have adhered to. Top marks.

Of course, the film does have weaknesses, and weaknesses that have been current in the franchise from the start such as having quite a few incidental characters whom are used simply as cannon fodder for death-by-dinosaur on screen, and having an annoying tendency for making human beings seem actually quite stupid in the line of fire, but these weaknesses are glossed over by the sheer spectacle that is presented, with likable leading characters in the form of Pratt and Howard also doing well in solidifying Jurassic World as one of the forerunners in the 2015 blockbuster race. In a nutshell then? Miles better than the two previous Jurassic Park entries but maybe just below the original in terms of quality, Jurassic World is a bigger, bolder and cooler entry into an inevitably ever-growing canon of movies. Jurassic World, you have my endorsement.

Dan’s Score – 8/10

 

Josh – When I first watched the trailer for Jurassic world I was psyched. I had a lot of hopes for this film. Little did I know that what I was watching was the bloody highlights of the film!  Which did partially spoil the film. Yes this is done so often nowadays and I will always rant about it.Jurassic World

Yes being a Jurassic park film you can immediately tell the plot of the film, dinosaurs get loose, people get eaten, as the cast try to escape the island. That’s just what the films are about fair enough it’s good, however when it gets to the point you can tell who is going to get eaten  and by what it just loses all of the thrill and almost horror side which made the previous films all so enjoyable.

You would think after all the deaths and accidents from the previous films they would make more safety precautions to deal with the protection of guests. nearly all the way through the film I was face palming, if there was a desk I would be slamming my face into it I mean the stupidity of  characters its like they don’t realise that the dinosaurs eat people! Yes I can see them lowering the intelligence of the human characters in an attempt to make the “indominus rex” and the Raptors seem smarter but not like this! Also they know clearly state that the “indominus rex” can see thermal heat yet they still try hiding 2 inches away from it *face palm*. Also, little side note, Bryce Dallas Howard’s character, Beth somehow manages to cross all terrain from muddy grasslands to concrete while running faster then a T-Rex in high heels now I don’t wear high heels (in public) but I’m quite sure this is actually impossible. There are a lot more weird plot holes but I weld be here all day to mention them all.

Honestly I feel the whole kids characters to be slow and pointless and an attempt to copy the kids from the first movie. Also the character development was relatively poor to non-existent I mean the Nick Robinsons charter Zach’s whole thing with him staring at all the girls at the park was ridiculously boring and brought no plot development and if anything made him seem creepy. And the whole their parents getting divorced was already used in Jurassic park 3. It all just seems recycled. I will give it props to relating to the first movie at some parts to the film with the kids finding the old Jurassic park banner and driving the old Jeeps.

Though I do agree with Dan in that the first was by far the best out of the previous trilogy, however I would disagree with him in that Jurassic world is on par with the first. If anything I would say that Jurassic world has made Jurassic park look even better and they should have created more suspense in being hunted or made it seem more like a thriller.

So far I have been biting chunks out of this film, but I did enjoy it aside from all the plot holes and annoying characters it was good to watch. As mentioned by Dan when the dinosaurs were on the screen it was amazing to watch. The detail and action scenes were superb and thrilling to watch with impressive use of the surrounds such as the use of the holograms in stalling the Raptor. The magnitude of the dinosaurs are impressive and that’s exactly what I came to see, so much so I would actually like to watch it in 3D.

Josh’s Score – 6/10

 

Pete – Josh and Dan both bring very valid points to the table. I myself sit on the fence. As I was raised on these movies, they have a special place in my heart. They are so fondly remembered that I can’t help but watch them whenever they’re on. So perhaps my view of the latest is one of a spoilt critic with an expectation of greatness. Jurassic World lacked. It lacked the tension and the heart pumping excitement that made the classics, classic but it had throwbacks to the past that gave the sense of nostalgia. Yet here I am, with my ass on a white picket fence.

Jurassic World 1It lacked the tension for many reasons. The build was not long enough and the pay-off was a generic, predictable mess and happened instantaneously. It feels that the movie is a children’s one with an attempt to keep their minds focused on one thing for more than a few seconds without them pulling out their Iphones and playing Candy Crush. The need for the instant gratification ruins exactly what Jurassic Park is known for. Sure, the originals were PG but at the time, they were legitimate, scary thrillers. Now we have a 12A which sparks no fear or excitement. In many years time, I will show my kid(s) all of these movies and I could almost guarantee that the 4th will fade into their memory without a second glance. The only scene to really make me recoil was the abuse the kid’s guide got from a multitude of dinosaurs which was actually over zealous. Although the CGI was on point I would enjoy seeing more practical effects throughout.

Josh rightly pointed out the issue with the plot holes and this is really significant. Things are happening everywhere, but we never really finish anything up. No one talks about the women murdered by the Mosasaurus or the fucking owner of the park! The group that try to weaponise the creatures are whisked in and the need to classify information from the owner just confuses the plot even more. By claiming they have to use other creatures DNA to breed the dinosaurs, why is it that the hybrid has Raptor DNA? and why do I need to know about the childrens parents getting a divorce, how does that change anything and why is this child so fucking annoying? Among a host of continuity errors, I find myself mad that this happens so much and it was let out of the gate. Its either that the cut way to much, or more likely, they never finished. With production being back and forth for years, many ideas have floated about and some genius had the idea to smash them all into one and hope it did something. The general production suffers, not only the visuals but also the script and the music. With a script written by a child and music probably crafted prior to the film, nothing fits. Its all disjointed and doesn’t flow or create something magical and special.

I may be attacking this like a rabid dog but the reality is, this is a movie that has been created for the commercial reasons. They may claim its for the fans with a short appearance of the T-Rex but rather than targeting the original audience, you bombard them with more product placement than the Super Bowl ad break and pander to the child market so you can squeeze more money from the merchandise. Its feels cheap. As if they no longer value the franchise and want to abuse it like its into some sick dino BDSM.

There were parts I’m okay with. It was a blast to the past. It was something that I was raised on and the it has Chris Pratt in it. The rest is just a bit meh. Its one of those films that don’t stick. It lost its edge and for the love of god, stop using child actors whose character and acting suck. I feel too generous awarding it a 7 so I feel that a 6 is far more appropriate. Bring on the Lego game!

Pete’s Score – 6/10

Overall – 6.66/10

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Fallout 4 – REVEAL TRAILER – Skyrim goes nuclear

I’m a bad man when it comes to Fallout. My first and only experience of the series was Fallout 3, not long after I got my first Xbox 360. The time I spent within the game was very little, in fact I gave up as a merely lost track of what I was actually doing. Today is the day I realise I should get back into it.

So if you’ve lived under a rock the past few months, you would know Bethesda have been teasing something. No one was quite sure until yesterday when a Fallout styled timer appeared across their platforms and low and behold, we got a trailer.

The plot is one that reflects the series however, what drives that narrative is unknown. Hopefully we shall see some more information arrive when E3 is in full swing.

What do you think? Do the graphics look the part? Let us know in the comments below

Hatred – Quicky Review – Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should…

HatredYou’ve most likely heard of Hatred if you have anything to do with the gaming circles. News of the so-called hyper violent top-down shooter couldn’t have arrived at a worse time. This is because Hatred places you as a mass-murderer. Given a multitude of weapons, your only aim is to kill and massacre everything in some sort of holy crusade. When news broke about this, there were several mass school shootings and murders , so this glorification of violence to this degree has struck quite a few nerves. Understandably, the game thrived because of the controversy, as did GTA in it’s fledgling years, but Hatred took it a step further. By claiming that they have creative freedom, they appealed to a lot of the hardcore free-speech members of the internet gaming community but was it really necessary? My opinion, not really. Its a bit insulting to say such a thing when you know your games only aim is to kill innocent people without an ounce of sympathy with an extremist. Without any justifiable story behind the character or why you pursue the actions, the game is simply senseless. It doesn’t help that the achievements are rewarded for killing people, more specifically cops with certain achievements rewarding you for over 1000 kills.

The so called story is that our nameless lead hates the world. Everyone else is evil and inherently bad and the world must be cleansed. With little quips and quotes eerily reminiscent of an extremist, its a god given crusade. I hate it. Over top-down shooters have a form of narrative no matter how simple. This is really just killing people for the shit of it. Is it ground breaking for gaming? No. Its not innovative and its not creative. Levels are lacklustre, the art style is fitting but requires polish and the system is slugish. With a recommended settings such as 8GB of RAM and a multitude of others, the game is slow. It assaults the system with specs that are exuberant of what it should really be. Its poor optimization means that the framerate plummets and the game lags behind. My gaming laptop is nothing short of expensive and powerful for what it is but to have an issue running a top-down shooter is absurd. Hatred 4

As I mentioned above, the level design isn’t great. Repetitive corridors, streets and homes with a few explosive barrels indicate what to shoot and general movement through them is hampered when you keep getting stuck on trees or in doorways. Everything looks very copy and paste and the art works makes the game a nightmare to play.The black and white often blends the aiming cursor meaning its almost impossible to see at the best of times. Not including the fact that its general movement speed is awful. Our lead is a combination between She-Hulk and Medusa with long black hair that flails around frantically at walking pace and gets even worse when running faster than Usain Bolt and a voice that grates more than Steve Buscemi’s teeth. Other than that. The guns and general action were quite good but the AI is atrocious. Planned to make it easier to kill? I don’t know but when you have simple civilians wandering around without a care while you murder the rest of the population, you would think running away would be the basic reaction. Nope, they run at you and nudge you along gently in their efforts. Then finally the set pieces. I never realised how poorly constructed American homes were. Everything falls apart on a blocky fashion, as if the walls are only made of plywood from a single round of buckshot.

As a shooter, Hatred could have been a great game. With a few tweaks and a major overhaul of its premise, it may have been far more enjoyable. I agree with the argument for freedom of creation but just because you can do it, doesn’t mean you should. The creators should really take a step back and look at what they’ve done. They have caused a big stir and put themselves on the map for the time being but as an independent group, funding will run dry and its employees may struggle to get work when they’re associated with this project that they all seem to be so proud of.

Overall the game is a bit of a disappointment. I wasn’t expecting the release trailer to show the complete introduction to the game and I was really hoping for something that had an interesting story to coincide with its dark premise and at least give some sort of reasoning or next level philosophy. Instead I was caught up in they hype for a generic shoot-em up that used shock to sell a game that is glitchy, poorly optimized, slow and unnecessary.Because its on release and there has been about 3 updates since I came off yesterday, I can’t attack its optimization solely so the game gets 5/10. Its no Hotline Miami and its certainly not worthy of its fame, much like Kim…

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