Book Review: Hyperion By Dan Simmons

Posted on by 5WC in Book
Dan Simmons Hyperion - Header

He speaks fluent French, took one of the most rewteeted selfies of all time, and happens to be one of Hollywood’s hottest actors, in both the looks and property department. There are many, many reasons that you can dislike the apparent perfectionist talents of Bradley Cooper. And now he is turning his attentions to conquering the small screen, as he helps bring to life Dan Simmons’s award winning novel Hyperion.

I must confess, until I heard that Cooper was attempting this feat, and the ensuing discussion as to whether there is actually anything that Cooper cannot do, I’d never heard of Simmons or his story, but because the discussions around Cooper’s choice of source material seemed to suggest that this was something of a quality book, commanding almost cult status which would be a challenge to bring to life I was intrigued. I wanted to read it, to see what story Cooper was attempting to relay. Read more

Film Review: Minions

Posted on by 5WC in Film

It’s currently 32ºC outside, so why moan that it’s “too hot” as a table fan stutters depressingly left and right almost audibly sighing as it stirs nothing but warm air, when you can be blast chilled in a cinema, avoiding both the mid day sun and popcorn munching, always talking children, while watching Minions?

Why? Because it’s not very good.

The minions were destined for their own spin off film from the minute they stepped foot in Gru’s lair 5 years ago. And that’s my problem. Minions feels rushed. It’s been 2 years since Despicable Me 2 and for an animation of the scale of Minions that really isn’t very long. As a result, it doesn’t feel like a film that has had time and passion spent creating it, making it as polished and perfect as they could, instead lacking that little spark needed to make it into a classic and give it longevity. Read more

Film Review: Mr Holmes

Posted on by 5WC in Film

Currently Hollywood loves the comic book and every character imaginable is being rolled out into a franchise. But to ensure we never lose sight of those who lead the way, and to keep them fresh, we’re being treated to their “origin story”. A simple idea of taking a well loved and popular character and instead of unleashing them again in another formulaic adventure that would get lost in the saturated genre they now inhabit, we are given their background, their beginnings. Telling us how they came to be, showing us the person behind the mask as it were.

Recent examples include: Batman, Spiderman, The X-Men and even James Bond and whilst origin stories are traditionally kept to the superhero genre, as Bond showed, the trend is starting to leak out into the surrounding subsets and the latest attempt to expand a well loved character out beyond their natural territory, is slightly surprisingly, Sherlock Holmes. With the post investigatory mumblings of Mr Holmes. Read more

Film Review: The Longest Ride

Posted on by 5WC in Film

I’ve never read a Nicholas Sparks novel, I don’t even think I’ve seen a film adaptation of his work and if I’m honest I slightly wish that I could still say that is the case. Unfortunately, his latest cinematic offering – The Longest Ride – while not looking overly impressive didn’t appear too bad either and with Meercats, cheap day ticket offers and my Mother meandering towards wanting to see it, a combined trip to the cinema of less than £10 seemed a reduced enough risk to take to finally take the plunge into the world of Nicholas Sparks.

Sparks writes romantic dramas, but according to a few critics, he actually writes the same drama over and over again. The romance of a girl, meeting a boy, from opposing lives; falling in love falling out of love, before the epiphany and realisation of the fundamentals of true love whilst, apparently, someone always dies. The End. You just have to look at the film posters for the novels brought to life to see the standard theme of a boy and girl kissing in front of a golden sunset to know exactly what I’m on about. And The Longest Ride continues that trend without error. Read more

Film Review: The Age Of Adaline

Posted on by 5WC in Film

The Age Of Adaline has skirted my life ever since its initial release. I have never felt really drawn to watch it, coming close once only for illness to dictate otherwise, but in my mind it’s always been a “take it or leave it” type of film. A rainy day affair which would fail to excite or disappoint in equal measure, leaving you nonplussed and the critics lukewarm in their simplistic praise.

My mother, however, felt differently, and while slightly shy, obviously wanted to see it. It’s fair to say she was drawn to it more than I, and almost seemed disappointed when I told her it had finished it’s big screen run. So when my local independent cinema put on a single showing, at the same time as my Father’s birthday, it seemed a good idea to have a celebratory family night out and allow my mother to be happily disappointed. Or so I thought. Read more

Film Review: Black Swan

Posted on by 5WC in Film

I’ve spoken before about how I find it fascinating how your reactions to movies can change over time, over mood and over life experiences. That a film that you once thought poor or emotionally removed can suddenly create sensations and responses far beyond from any memory you may hold and Black Swan has become exactly that type of film.

I first saw it not long after Natalie Portman picked up her Academy Award for her performance as Nina/The Swan Queen. People were raving about it as a work of exquisite film making and emotional story telling while lauding Portman for her the technical brilliance. And I sat there and watched it and just felt detached. I remember feeling cold and uninspired by this dark and warped tale that seemed too extreme and polar in the story it told, the characters it used and world it conveyed. I knew it was good but I didn’t understand why you’d enjoy it. Read more

Book Review: Dune by Frank Herbert

Posted on by 5WC in Book
Dune - Header

Ever since this passion I now have for reading exploded in my life I have wanted to read Dune by Frank Herbert. Not only do people rave about it as one of the seminal and biggest selling science fiction novels ever written but also, I grew up playing the computer games that take it name on the Sega Mega Drive, as well as, watching Sting prance around in his underwear in the film adaptation and so, have always had a natural draw and loyalty to it.

However, the book had always scared me because it’s 608 pages long; and thus, always appeared to be too thick, too demanding to commit to reading. The size implying an almost aggressive and uninviting attitude to the story it holds. Somehow, I have just never looked at it and felt moved to read it. It would be something I’d start and end up demoralised by, as the pages appeared never to turn. But, literally as I finished The Night Manager by John Le Carré I noticed it was heavily reduced in price as an eBook and so, I decided, finally, to take the plunge! After all, you can’t see how many pages are left in electronic form! Read more

Film Review: Young Adult

Posted on by 5WC in Film

There can be no question that when it comes to Mad Max: Fury Road, it is Charlize Theron who steals the show. So impressive and central is her performance that a lot of people are even arguing that it is in fact, her movie rather than Max’s! But this limelight seems odd, because she’s an actress that I have always felt has snuck somewhat under the radar. An A-List name who shies away during a film. Her filmography is impressive: The Cider House Rules, Men Of Honour, The Italian Job, Snow White & The Huntsman just a few example, and also the films I own, yet thinking about them, I struggle to remember her roles with any clarity.

I also own Young Adult, in which she takes the lead, and once again I remember nothing about it, or her. But having seen her stunning performance in Mad Max I was somehow drawn back to it. Wanting to remember, prepared to take the risk. But there was just something a little uneasy in the back of my mind, the box art, the title, all seemingly implying a cheap, throwaway comedy and that unease grew when the opening titles rolled and the name: Patton Oswalt appeared on screen. Read more

Film Review: Avatar

Posted on by 5WC in Film

I’m not exactly sure why I never saw Avatar on the big screen. It just obviously wasn’t meant to be and in fact, it was only recently that I watched it at all. The reason being, that as director James Cameron virtually reinvented this modern stereoscopic 3D trend for the film, it seemed wrong to view it in any other format, and that meant waiting for me to get a 3D TV!

It is also the film that you can use to best sum up why I started my films reviews on this blog. Avatar is not actually a film about blue aliens at war with nasty humans who are intent on mining their natural resources, but rather, a social commentary by James Cameron about how the west invades the east because they have something we want. Or to put it another way: it’s America versus The Middle East over the control of oil, plus a few other things woven into the mix. Read more

Film Review: 21

Posted on by 5WC in Film

I think it’s fair to say that however multicultural and diverse the film industry may be, the overriding geography that comes straight to mind when you think of mainstream movies is America and more specifically Hollywood. Which means that gambling and it’s portrayal on screen becomes a strange juxtaposition of illicit taboo and acceptable secret due to America’s interstate differences and varying attitudes to gambling. This unease towards a simple monetary bet, more often than not, forces the focus of attention away from the actual betting and instead twists everything into just another story about stealing lots of money, a “little man taking down the bank” monopoly heist tale. And 21, sadly, really is no exception.

It doesn’t run away from gambling quite as much as some movies set in Las Vegas do, it is happy to shuffle cards and bet chips but it also is desperate to be something more. It wants to show you it has depth and a personality and tries to keep your attention on the characters and not on the cards and for me, as a result, it ends up becoming simple losing focus. 21 is actually inspired by a true story, there really was a MIT blackjack team that over two decades counted their way to worldwide financial success. But 21 doesn’t have the time to look that widely at the truth and so shrinks everything to fit and rather that making a film that worked, it just left everything feeling very compact and condensed. Everything seems to happen at a million miles an hour, and nothing is ever really expanded or explained. They simply show, imply and hope you accept. Read more

« Previous   1 2 ... 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 ... 47 48   Next »