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Film Review: The Jungle Book

“I Am Mowgli, And This Is My Home..!”

Of all the Live-Action Disney remakes that have graced our screens over the course of the past few years or so, the latest from Iron Man’s Jon Favreau could easily be regarded as perhaps the best of the lot, with Kenneth Branagh’s take on Cinderella last year arguably being the closest Disney re-imagining that manages to at least rival and in some areas, better, the latest take on Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book, a film featuring an impressive foray of CGI inflicted animals, each with their own personalities, aided by a stellar voice cast featuring the likes of Bill Murray, Ben Kingsley and of course, Idris Elba as the terrifying figure of Shere Kan, an enemy completely parallel to the one featured in the 1967 Disney animated classic, highlighting the darker and scarier direction Favreau’s film has decided to go in. The real question still remains though; does the latest incarnation of Mowgli and Baloo’s story give justice to both Kipling and the 1967 animation? It does indeed, although, perhaps inevitably, probably won’t be as endearing as the latter has been in terms of longevity and legacy.

Of the film’s many successes, the CGI animals throughout the entirety of the film are a sheer wonder to behold, with flawless design and an incredibly voice cast accomplishing the incredible feat of forgetting the animals’ fictionalised reality and entirely believing in them from the outset. A dour joke at the beginning that fell flat on its’ face aside, the CGI through the course of the film is easily the best use of the technology in recent memory, perfectly realising the characters of Kipling, particularly that of the stand-out trio in Bill Murray’s charismatic Baloo, Idris Elba’s sinister Shere Kan and finally, Christopher Walken’s King Louie, harbouring a comical updated version of “I Wan’na Be Like You”. Letting the team down rather comprehensively however is Scarlett Johansson’s Kaa, a involvement way too short to have any impact whatsoever. Of course, being the only real-life actor within the film, Neel Sethi’s portrayal of Mowgli is one of depth and interest, a testament to the young acting abilities of Sethi, a previously unheard actor. Not any more I would think. Disney does it again, congratulations, The Jungle Book is a easy-going family treat, one that will please everyone that intends to see it. With a sequel already in the works, it is safe to say the story of Mowgli has a very strong future indeed. Any news on Star Wars now?

Overall Score: 7/10

Film Review: Self/Less

The Bored Identity

The final cinematic release out this week is that of Self/Less, a science fiction thriller featuring everyone’s favourite Ben Affleck doppelganger, Ryan Reynolds, and everyone’s favourite Gandhi, Ben Kingsley, whilst being directed by Tarsem Singh, famous for films such as Immortals and Mirror Mirror of which I am afraid to say I haven’t exactly attempted to seek out anytime soon. In regards to his latest release, when property and business tycoon Damian Hayes (Kingsley) is diagnosed with terminal cancer, he decides to undergo a medical procedure named “shedding” at the hand of eerie Professor Albright (Matthew Goode Stoker, The Imitation Game) which transfers his life-force into that of a new and healthy human body in order to further live his life and not succumb to that of an early death from cancer. After a successful procedure in which the newly named Edward Hale (Reynolds) takes advantage of his newly found youth and good looks, the echoes of a distant past begin to trouble his mind leading to Edward/Damian attempting to seek out the ambiguous answers behind the secretive organisation of Prof. Albright and co who have become eager to track him down and put an end to his life once and for all.

Although Self/Less does feature an interesting, if rather preposterous, premise, any element of supposed greatness is lost in the films’ messy presentation, lack of real suspense or excitement, and a knack to abandon all hope of real intelligence by annoyingly resorting to endless, and exceedingly boring, action sequences in a failed attempt to be this years’ Total Recall. Unfortunately for director Singh and the one-two writer partnership of David and Alex Pastor, they are most definitely not in the league of Phillip K. Dick with their screenplay attempting to be something that is both highly engaging and clever at the same time but ultimately results in Self/Less being both highly sleep-inducing and ultimately, incidental. Ben Kingsley’s absorbing ten minute stint on-screen aside, Self/Less was hugely uninspiring and rather quite boring on the face of it, with seemingly having a lot to say, but ultimately choking at the chance to say it with any form of gusto or fervour in sight.

Overall Score: 4/10

Iron Man 3 REVIEW -SPOILERS-

Iron Man 3 1We here in the UK have one of the biggest releases of 2013, before the USA!

Right!, to sum the movie up. It is pretty damn epic!

Rumoured to be the last Iron Man in the series, it was one hell of a send off and I’m sure we shall be seeing him in the upcoming Avengers movie in 2014.

Let’s get to it!

Story wise, we follow Tony in the aftermath of the New York alien invasion. After developing anxiety, he cannot sleep soundly and locks himself into his garage while he works on the suit. Although it’s not the dark and gritty plot that I was prepared for, the removal of the suit and the battered Stark in a far flung state forces Tony to investigate a series of bombings and rebuild the remains of his busted suit to kick some ass! Upon crash-landing in Tennessee, we are introduced to a young boy who supports Tony in the rebuild of Iron Man. The kid is quite annoying, yet the connection between the two of themIron Man 3 3 is comical and very entertaining with the banter.

A plot twist occurs, which is jaw dropping and funny at the same time (I won’t be ruining that for you). This was brilliantly executed and you were never given a hint towards this. You do however find that the fight just got 10X harder against an army of bad guys.

But enough on the basics. The fight scenes were fluid and brilliantly violent. Iron Man has certainly grown up since the second instalment, with the actual deaths of people on screen and the extent of his rage. The final fight sequence is just amazing, with the arrival of all of Stark’s work (from all the tinkering away with no sleep), the huge collecting of suits is just brilliant and gives you goosebumps when you can feel the ensuing chaos that they will bring! Favreau has a nice little role, but his true place is in the directors chair. His distinct style makes certain scenes eerily reminiscent of Cowboys and Aliens, and his ability to capture the fight scenes are great. Favreau has also continued to capture the witty side of Stark and has made sure that the film doesn’t take itself too seriously. It’s also great to see that the Iron Patriot plays a pivotal role as well but doesn’t get into the thick of it all, yet the general who pilots it goes around kicking ass with his commando skills!
The acting throughout is top class, which you would expect from A list celebs and Paltrow’s far more prominent role in the story and outcome really helps to make her stand out amongst the crowd. Robert Downey Jr. is once again on form. It’s hard to tell whether he is actually acting, simple due to the fact that he is like that!

Visual effects are perfect, fire and explosions are lifelike and the famous interfaces that fill the room are wicked! All of this tech makes me want to become rich enough to afford something like that! The sound is also very good and clear, but when you have an almost indefinite supply of Iron Man 3money from Marvel and Audi, you would expect them to be perfect. However, you don’t really hear much physical music. I felt myself blurring out the music and focusing primarily on the action.

Theres not a huge amount to write about the film, it’s great fun and I recommend it to everyone. It’s a nice length, so you get plenty for your money. With effects and sounds that are so clear, you have to see them in cinema to get the true aspect of the film and truly enjoy it. Small screens and cheap speakers won’t do any good for this! Overall, this movie is getting an 8/10. It’s fun, not taking itself seriously and is full of action. A great watch!

Sorry for the short review but be sure to post some comments on what you thought of the movie and your rating!

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Iron Man 3 2