Monthly Archives: May 2013

2013 Film Rankings

So 2012 was a good year for cinema and my 2012 film rankings turned out pretty well with a good mix of films. I will do the same for 2013 and review my top ten at the end of the year!

  1. Iron Man 3
  2. Zero Dark Thirty
  3. Olympus Has Fallen
  4. Django Unchained
  5. Star Trek: Into Darkness
  6. I Give It A Year
  7. Les Misérables
  8. The Place Beyond The Pines
  9. Side Effects
  10. Wreck It Ralph
  11. Flight
  12. Gangster Squad
  13. Lincoln

Review: Stark Trek: Into Darkness

star-trek-into-darkness-poster‘Stark Trek: Into Darkness’ is the follow up film to 2009’s Stark Trek. Starring Chris Pine (Kirk), Zachary Quinto (Spock), Simon Pegg (Scotty) and Benedict Cumberbatch as John Harrison this sequel is an action packed sci-fi adventure.
After the crew of the Enterprise encounter an unstoppable force of terror from within their organisation, Captain Kirk (Chris Pine) leads a group of men and women into battle to capture a one man war machine.

Now just to let people know, I have never seen the 2009 Star Trek film and have never seen the television show. I wasn’t originally going to go and see the film but the trailer really sold me. I really liked the dramatisation of the trailer and the whole 3-minute trailer was great to watch. Without the great trailer, I probably wouldn’t have bothered to see this one.

The stand out in the film is definitely Benedict Cumberbatch. He is without a doubt fantastic and really does give the film the spine-chilling element of drama that it has.  His character (without spoiling things and giving anything away) is what makes this film. Without his presence, drama and edge I don’t think the film would be what it is. Another stand out for me was Simon Pegg who clearly brings the comedy factor and even though he is the complete opposite to Cumberbatch, he balances the film out perfectly.
The storyline is really good as well and is straight to the point. There is no smoke and mirrors and you get what you expect to get from this film. Even I, who hasn’t seen anything Star Trek related before could easily follow the story line and follow what was going on without getting lost or confused.

The main downside for me is the length. It is over two hours long and after about the first hour when really good and important things happen, it does start to feel very dragged out. The ending in particular just seemed to go on and on until it eventually ended with some very predictable outcomes. I also think that by having such a great cast with this film, a bar has been set rather high for anyone who comes on board if another film is done, which can be a hard thing to achieve.

The main thing that really stood out for me was the cast. Everyone brought something great to the film and each character was believable and great to watch. Overall, as a first time viewer of Star Trek I wasn’t entirely disappointed and did like the film but I wasn’t in love with it and don’t know if I have convinced myself enough to see another film, if one is to be made.

* * *

2013 Film Rankings

So 2012 was a good year for cinema and my 2012 film rankings turned out pretty well with a good mix of films. I will do the same for 2013 and review my top ten at the end of the year!

  1. Iron Man 3
  2. Zero Dark Thirty
  3. Django Unchained
  4. Olympus Has Fallen
  5. I Give It A Year
  6. Les Misérables
  7. The Place Beyond The Pines
  8. Side Effects
  9. Wreck It Ralph
  10. Flight
  11. Gangster Squad
  12. Lincoln

Review: The Place Beyond The Pines

the-place-beyond-the-pines-free-preview-screenings-131046-a-1364298520-470-75Starring Ryan Gosling, Bradley Cooper and Eva Mendes, The Place Beyond The Pines tells the story of a motorcycle stunt rider who turns bank robber to help support his lover and newborn son. This decision puts his life on a collision course with a new ambitions young police officer that is navigating a police department run by a corrupt detective.
With limited release The Place Beyond The Pines has a running time of 2 hours and 20 minutes and is split into three sections, ultimately giving the film three different stories to tell.

As I said, The Place Beyond The Pines is split into three sections. The first section surrounds the story of the motorcycle stunt rider Luke Glanton (Ryan Gosling) and is a very emotional driven first half. Gosling plays the character well but you cant help think back to his character in Drive. This half of the film is very well paced and keeps you on edge by building on the character of Luke more and more. Just as you are starting to understand this character and are just getting to adapt to his story, in comes Bradley Cooper as police officer Avery Cross.

For a brief second you do forget that Bradley Cooper is in the film because he only turns up after about an hour and when he does turn up you kind of go “oh yeah, I forgot he was in this”. The introduction of Bradley Coopers character ultimately leads us into the second story of the film and this is where the film chances completely. For the second half, the film becomes rather slow and boring. Not a lot happens and you don’t particularly care about what is going on.

Finally the film jumps forward fifteen years where we see Luke’s son Jason (Dane DeHann) and Avery’s son AJ (Emory Cohen) meet and head on a path that can only end in upset. For this final part of the film, things mainly pick up towards the later end. It builds up slowly and has a bit of an eruption before the end and then slows down again. It is hard to believe the friendship between the two boys because they are complete opposites and the actor playing AJ doesn’t look anywhere near seventeen, he looks more like thirty and he characteristics aren’t believable at all.

Overall, The Place Beyond The Pines is a very two-sided film. The first half was really good and kicked things off really well but ultimately the film is let down by its following half. It is a very long film and could be shortened but it does need its length to tell you everything that it wants to. It is bold in what it talks about and the issues it discusses but it isnt something to rush out and see.

* * *

TV Topic: The Following

the-following-14The Following is an American psychological television drama series that was shown on the UK on Sky Atlantic. The show is about an FBI agent trying to catch a serial killer and his murderous cult. Starring Kevin Bacon (Ryan Hardy) and James Purefoy (Joe Carroll), the show, which recently ended its run of 15 episodes, has been renewed for a second series.

The idea of the story was great and the concept was very original. The idea of a serial killer and his cult taking on the FBI seemed very new and original from episode one. The twists and turns from episode one onwards also kept audiences members on their toes and did get you questioning every characters moves and motives. This was one reason in particular that I kept watching. The show was very good at making you think one thing before completely turning it upside down and doing something completely different.

Casting for this show was superb. James Purefoy was fantastic for the role of Joe Carroll. He was great as a villain and really made the character evil and scary to watch. It was also great to have Kevin Bacon in the show. He played Ryan Hardy is a great way and was good at playing the sides of vulnerable, caring and detective really well.

My main gripe with the show was that it felt dragged out a little towards the end. After about six or seven episodes it felt repetitive and felt like the same thing was happening over and over again. Like I said, I did really enjoy the show at the start but part of me thinks that it should have been cut down in terms of episodes to stop the repetitive feel. The ending of the series did pick up the shows drab feeling but you kind of expected it after everything that had happened in the previous fourteen episodes. As previously said, the show has been renewed for a second series but I’m unsure of what they can do next. They did a lot in this first series so if they continue with the same story line; it really is going to get old.

I really did like the show but was let down by the ending and lack of things that where going on by one point. The cast where great, the original ideas where great but I think the execution towards the end was a bit blah. I will possibly watch the second series to see how and what happens but I don’t know how long I will watch that series for.

TV Topic: The Ice Cream Girls

The-Ice-Cream-Girls-For the past three weeks ITV have been screening their latest drama offering ‘The Ice Cream Girls’ based on the novel by Dorothy Koomson. The story followed two young vulnerable girls, who in 1995 where accused of murdering a schoolteacher. For seventeen years, the two girls have lived very different lives and now in present day, the two are forced to confront each other and their very dark past.

As soon as I saw this advertised on ITV, I knew instantly that I wanted to watch it because I found the concept of the story really appealing. After watching the first episode I loved it. The formant in which the show was filmed was a really good way of showing you all aspects of the past story and the story. Showing the girls in present day but showing their past in flashbacks which where triggered by certain things was great and added to the tensions being built. All of the actors where great and made you believe, hate and understand them. Martin Compston who played teacher Marcus was superb in the role and played the evil teacher brilliantly. The young actresses who played young Poppy (Holli Dempsey) and Serena (Georgina Campbell) where also great and played the young vulnerable role in a way, which really made you, feel sorry for them.
The twist at the end is also great as it is unexpected and you really don’t see it coming and that is why in my opinion, the third episode is by far the best out of all three.

In a way it is a shame that the series was only three episodes because it was well built, well acted, well written and incredibly gripping. I am now interested in reading the book to see what it was like and see how the show was adapted and if it was slightly changed. If you didn’t see this series on ITV then I highly recommend finding it on ITV player and giving it a watch because you wont be disappointed.