April 15, 2014


DIRECTOR: Guillermo del Toro

May Contain Spoilers!

The moment that our heroic Jaeger, Gypsy Danger, picks up a cargo ship and begins to beat the invading alien creature, known as the Kaiju, over the head with it, then this is the moment that Pacific Rim has reached whole new level of outrageous and yet entertaining action. This may well be The Dark Knight (2008) or the 300 (2006) of its genre, pushing the boundaries and setting the new baseline for action of this epic scale.

The gusto of this film is off the charts, funny, yet seductively plausible, swallowed up in its own internal logic to produce  a feature film in which it kind of makes sense that you would produce massive Godzilla sized robots to fight, well massive Godzilla sized monsters.

It’s obvious really…

Bright yet grimy, this has all the hall marks of Guillermo del Toro , with a great and yet mandatory guest performance from Hellboy himself, Ron Pearlman as black market dealer, trading in body parts of downed Kaiju, as well as a stand-out, if not, like most in this movie, scenery chewing performance from Luthur star, Edris Elba. But it’s the pacing which makes this movie, with the opening five-minute set up enough to convince me that I was in for another two hours of sheer entertainment, and I wasn’t disappointed.

This is a movie with a simple concept in many respects, seemingly playing to lowest common denominators within its audience by basically out doing Michael Bay’s Transformers series, yet layering it with a solid storyline, dense logic and even though it’s filled to brim with clinched characters, its tongue seemed to be gently lodged within its cheek, knowing all to well what Pacific Rim is all about and who it’s talking to.

Great fun, epic action and not to be taken too seriously. This could and should go on to become a classic and I genuinely hope that it does.


January 6, 2014


DIRECTOR: Peter Jackson

May Contain Spoilers!


Will we be adding this to our collection? YES

The second installment of Peter Jackson’s, undoubtedly bloated Hobbit adaptation is here, and is certainly a strong film. The problems are simple. The short book with has already supplied us with over five and half hours of entertainment, and is still set for presumably another three-hour finale, meaning that this film is hamstringed into keeping the flame alive without going too far. This was never clearer than in the final moments, with a cliffhanger which was simply unnecessary.

It is all too clear how this is going to end and so much so that I’m dreading a 12 month wait to stew on the inevitable conclusion. The action is more pronounced here than in the first installment but I felt that The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, whilst taking its time, was a wash with characters and substance whilst this seemed to be more of  a crowd pleasing exercise. In many ways, the contrived Desolation Of Smaug was the first real mis-step in Jackson’s Lord Of The Rings saga, but saying that, even a mis-step is till a cracking movie. The saga as a whole is already shaping up to be one of the best in the business, with a level of consistency which even Star Wars can only dream after the prequels, and maybe it’s best to look at this film as a part of greater whole.

If you do, then The Lord Of The Rings/The Hobbit saga is wonderful, a powerhouse of modern classical film making but as movie in its own right, it’s lacking in some areas. The action is overblown and in sharp contrast to the quality of the production as a whole and the story telling is baggy at times but overall, The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug is well worth it.


January 1, 2014

2013 has been a very sparse year for new films, with so many movies which I have yet to watch. Having Star Trek Into Darkness, Man Of Steel, The Lone Ranger, Turbo, The Hunger Games Catching Fire and The Hobbit: The Desolation OF Smaug to choose from, there’s so many on my watch list which I haven’t even seen. These include, Gravity, Thor: The Dark World, and World War Z.

But out of the limited selection, It’s basically a tie between Catching Fire and Man Of Steel. The Hunger Games sequel offers a genuinely tight and well crafted screenplay, with real twists and turns, well acted and equally well-directed, taking off from where Gary Ross left off seamlessly, whilst talking it in a slightly new direction. Whist Zack Snyder’s Superman reboot is well paced, expertly told and gets better with each viewing. man_of_steel_ver3_xlg


So, there we have it. Man Of Steel is my Film Of The Year for 2013.

Happy New Year! 2014 is looking like it may well be a vintage year and that’s just in the build up 2015, which with the likes Batman vs. Superman, Avengers: Age Of Ultron, Jurassic World and of course, Star Wars: Episode VII all hitting our screens. But first we have THIS year, with Robocop, 300: Rise Of A Empire, Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes and X-Men: Days Of Future Past all flickering throughout the spring and summer.


December 27, 2013


DIRECTOR: Terry Zwigoff


May Contain Spoilers!

Will we be adding this to our collection? NO

What is this all about? I know that Billy Bob Thornton’s portrayal of a thief and con man who dupes a strange kid into believing that he’s Santa Claus in order to get free ride, is good, but the tone of the film is difficult for me to accept. I simply don’t like it. It’s dark, grimy and trashy, with damaged characters smearing the festive period with its gunge.

The performances are good, the story is twisted but I just don’t like the characters, what they do or what they stand for. Maybe it deserves more that just 3/10 but I don’t want to give it any more and in many ways, I’m struggling to give it that!

neopol film week banner 2 mark 2 work white


December 26, 2013


DIRECTOR: David Dobkin


May Contain Spoilers!

Will we be adding this to our collection? MAYBE

Fred Claus. What a title. Vince Vaughn and Paul Giamatti star as Frederich and Nicholas Claus, or Santa Claus to everyone else. The idea is simple: Two brothers grow apart and in opposite directions because one is destined to become Saint Nick and the other isn’t. Fred (Vaughn) is a cynical character who is a Repo man in contrast to his brother, but is in need of $50,000 for a sure-fire business venture.

He asks his brother for help, who in turn makes a deal in which Fred will visit him in the North Pole and help out for a few days, with the agenda of building some bridges between the estranged siblings. But things obviously go aerie. But the beauty of this movie was that it wasn’t the Christmas or Kids film which I was expecting it to be. The comedy was broad and not limited to Christmas. Shmaltz was toned down and replaced with some well placed comedic ideas, such as the ‘corporation Santa Claus’, in with Christmas is a money-making racket run from the top.

A pleasant surprise and not Vince Vaughn’s worst film by any stretch and as well conceived as it was executed.

neopol film week banner 2 mark 2 work white


December 25, 2013


DIRECTOR: Karen Disher


May Contain Spoilers!

Will we be adding this to our collection? NO

First there was Ice Age (2001). Then, Ice Age 2: The Meltdown (2004) and Ice Age 3: Dawn Of The Dinosaurs (2009). But before we got Ice Age 4: Continental Drift there was this holiday short. Why is this so much better than the rest, even though it abandons any semblance of reason and logic? It has flying reindeer and a human man calling himself Santa Claus!

But it’s precisely that abandonment of the so call logic which makes this escapism work. It’s a warm-hearted Christmas film and not the second-rate, boring and poorly conceived mainstream animation which the others were. Ice Age doesn’t work, but this half-decent and enjoyable short does. It’s about time!

neopol film week banner 2 mark 2 work white


December 24, 2013


DIRECTOR: Robert Zemekis


May Contain Spoilers!

Will we be adding this to our collection? NO

Charles Dickens and Robert Zemekis do not mix. Dickens was a serious and yet darkly witty writer and Zemekis on the other hand, is the man being Forrest Gunp (1994), Back To The Future (1985) and The Polar Express (2004)! So, what has this innovative director done with this satirical Christmas tale?

Well first off, he’s back with his second-rate and difficult to watch animation style, infused with the fad that is 3D, certainly back in 2009, with Avatar (2009) just around the corner and cast Jim Carey as most of the motion capture characters! The original story has already been done to death so I can only presume that the belief was that Zemekis could breath new life into it. Well they were wrong.

Don’t get me wrong, I like his work, especially, the Back To The Future movies (1985 – 1990) and Contact (1997) but he has pushed the envelope too far at times, certainly with his mo-cap animation style. The Polar Express, one of the earliest examples of 3D in this century, is hard to get into, but helped along by the fact that they were trying something new, but what about Beowulf (2007)? The animation was a few years on though still more gloss than substance, but here it just seems to be misjudged and jarring.

In the end, the film just seemed to be unnecessary and experimented with the wrong material.

neopol film week banner 2 mark 2 work white


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 75 other followers