review

‘The Walking Dead’ Season 4 Episode 11 – ‘Claimed’ Review

I sat down this evening to watch my weekly fix of AMC’s The Walking Dead, a series, which in case you didn’t know focuses on a group of survivors after the zombie apocalypse. I took a load of notes down and will be running through them, hoping to reach some sort of conclusion at the end.

The major thing I enjoyed about this episode was the fact that there actually some dramatic tension, which was at a consistently good quality – the scene where Rick was hiding under the bed in a ‘Taken’ fashion, I was fully expecting some foreign terrorist to pull him out by his feet and turn him into a sex slave… no, really, I was. It was nice to see some tension at long last, as essentially, a ‘horror/drama’ should have some tension, which I believe has really been inconsistent lately. Although we didn’t just see dramatic tension this episode, we saw some ‘romantic-tension’ *raises one eyebrow seductively* in particular, Rick and Michonne! Of all the characters, I definitely could feel some vibes de l’amour throughout the opening scenes. Is Michonne going to slowly replace Lori and become the most ridiculously stupid character on the show? I hope not.

I was also pretty glad to see some development of an actual storyline, in contrast to the last two episodes of what can simply only be described as ‘wandering around’, we have the ‘scientist’, whose name escapes me, so for the process of this review, shall be named Short-Life-Expectancy-Guy (Or Sleg for short). Sleg actually brings an interesting turn in the story, about the origins of the virus, something which has really been left by the wayside since the end of season 1 when we visited the CDC and our friend Dr Jenner and his bad CGI effects-show. I’m glad to see Sleg, Ginger army dude and Lara Croft, as a trio who I hope will stay for at least a little while as I really do, despite my satirical naming system, like the characters and ginger army dude brings some much needed humour into the array as I don’t think I can cope with Carl’s 80’s sitcom laugh which we heard during his discussion with Michonne at the start of the episode, as he was munching on his surprisingly not out-of-date cereal (I can’t even keep a pack of shreddies in the cupboard without ’em going soft in a few weeks). My only criticism of Sleg and the gang is the fact, after however many years we are into this apocalypse, Sleg hasn’t been taught how to shoot and consequentially, although highly convenient for the plot to advance and keeping the characters in the show, breaks the armored vehicle (which I suspect was made on the cheap).

I noticed some quite dark scenes throughout this episode and one in particular caught my eye as being a bit rough, even for the Walking Dead’s gruesome standards: this being the scene when Michonne enters the little girls room which is full of the dead families rotting corpses – I found this particular disturbing, even to my insensitive heart-strings and felt this was very out of place, and something which may foreshadow the future of The Walking Dead, as it supposedly set to take a darker turn towards the end of the series and it will be interesting to see how this pays off.

The other things I picked up on during this episode were: Rick’s tarzan-esque dress style – ripped shirt, sleeveless, bloody cuts – all that was needed was a strong African drumming soundtrack and it’s essentially a preview for the new Tarzan film coming to our screens later this year. I also picked up on the continuity of that damn can of ‘Crazy Cheese’ which showed the slightly comical aspect which the writers were trying to include so that it was not all dark and depressing. Finally, I was glad to see that Rick had learned from Solid Snake’s stealth skills from Metal Gear Solid although he was far too patient for my liking when hiding outside the front porch and did not use a cardboard box to stealth away from the thug.

Verdict

Good 

Storyline Development

Tension

SLEG and the Gang

 

Bad

A few cliche plot conveniences

Felt a little too borrowing from other films, shows and games.

 

Result – A Can of Crazy Cheese signed by SLEG and the Gang – 4/5

 

 

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Memento (2000) Film Review [Spoiler Free]

In 2000, a 30-year-old Christopher Nolan released what was just his second film on a career which would lead to what are possibly some of the best films we’ve seen in recent years – Inception, The Prestige and The Dark Knight Trilogy. The film I am writing about today is Memento, the psychological thriller concerning a man, suffering from short term memory loss, who, whilst noting down everything he needs to remember through photos and tattoos, is hunting the killer of his wife, who was murdered in the same incident that caused his ‘condition’. I am keeping this review spoiler free, so if you are worried about the clever twist at the end being ruined, you have nothing to fear.

I went into this film with a very sceptical mind, I expected it to be your run of the mill thriller, with ‘that twist’ in the tale that will leave everyone shocked, but after about halfway through, my mind had changed drastically. I knew the film had excellent reviews but, even as a reviewer, I am sometimes extremely let down, so I tend to prepare for the worst. The film got off to not quite the slow start we all know and ‘love’, instead, it was quite the opposite. With a quite intense opening scene, that of course, I won’t ruin, the film uses a clever trick to get you instantly involved and wondering what on earth is going on. I for one, had no clue whatsoever as to what was happening, nor did I care because I knew Nolan would find a way to explain it to even the dimmest of viewers.

Memento has a strange chronological mechanic to it, there are two story-lines, both concerning the same main character – Lennie, or Leonard as he prefers as we are often told through the film. However, one of the story-lines is going forward in time, whereas the other, is going backwards in time, leading to an eventual climax which actually occurs halfway through the overall timeline chronologically. This is indeed very strange, and I am still, despite 24 hours since I watched it, not quite sure what I feel about it. It was extremely clever but I am not sure if it quite had the same effect on me as it has had on many others. I will say though, that this unique feature is definitely one of the reasons that you should watch this film.

The acting was decent too, Guy Pearce did a good job as the main character and all the supporting actors and actresses definitely played their part well to contributing to the overall feel of this film. I was convinced of their acting ability and they thoroughly sustained their character’s role and emotions throughout the duration of the film. I can’t slate it too much apart from the fact that some of the lesser characters were not so consistent, but I cannot blame the actors for something that may be down to the script.

To conclude, I very much enjoyed watching this film yesterday evening. It had a great story, good characters and was visually impressive – the twist at the end was the icing on the cake for this film and I do recommend watching it if you get the chance.

 

Hope you Enjoyed.

Oblivion (2013) Film Review

First off, I’d like to say that this year’s most popular Sci-Fi flick Oblivion borrows a majority of it’s content from other Science Fiction films. Despite this fact, it managed to produce a completely original story with a twist that caught me right off guard. So Let’s Begin!

Tom Cruise has never put in a ‘bad’ performance, there have been questionable films but his acting is always solid and Oblivion was no difference. He put in a good performance, clearly working well with Olga Kurylenko, Morgan Freeman and Andrea Riseborough. Those three did well too, it was nice to see Morgan Freeman in something where he was not the ‘peaceful-friend’ to the main character and the other two were believable love interests to Cruise. Acting Rating – 9/10.

As I mentioned in the introduction – the story borrowed many aspects from other Science-Fiction films but still managed to produce a captivating story. The adventure of Tom Cruise on a journey of person discovery as he fights… some giant distopian robot, death star, planet.. thing. It was inventive, exciting, interesting and managed to keep my attention for the entirety. Story Rating – 9/10.

There were some good shots in this movie, I was impressed – it wasn’t the most art-deco film out there, but was it really going to be? It looked visually pleasing, some of the ‘in-ship’ shots looked great, there was an absence of shaky cam – something which greatly pleased me. The director of photography was the same who ‘directed the photography’ for Life of Pi and Tron Legacy, so she didn’t do badly. Cinematography Rating – 8/10.

The music for this film was pretty standard, nothing special here folks – I’m a big fan of music in films, but this really was ordinary. An original score, yes, but it was far from original and more like your ‘generic-sci-fi-score’. I would not go out of my way to re-listen to this score, nor would I pay £7.99 to purchase the entire thing on iTunes. Music Rating – 7/10.

The film was creative in the fact it managed to take a bunch of aspects from other films and compiled them into an original and creative story. This was impressive and I actually enjoyed it for this reason. There were a lot of bad mistakes that the film-makers could have made and they managed to avoid all of these. Creativity Rating – 9/10.

The special effects in this film BLEW. MY. MIND. The landscapes, the designs, the weapons – I loved every second of those. They just looked ‘cool’ and futuristic despite the fact several designs were ripped off of other films – but let’s just focus on the designs in this film. I had no issues at all with any green-screening or special effects – Perfect Performance. Special Effects Rating – 10/10.

There were some suspenseful parts of the film, mainly at the beginning and the end, with a lack during the middle. There were no complete ‘edge-of-your-seat’ moments but enough to raise my heartbeat a tad. I don’t think it was supposed to be a suspenseful film so I’ve had to grade it on what I thought was supposed to be suspenseful. Suspense Rating – 8/10.

To conclude – I enjoyed this film a lot more than most of the films I’ve had to watch so far for this site – and I award this film a Star Rating of 4. It was nothing outstanding but was still pretty impressive. 

 

P.S. I’m raising funds for a new PC – It’d be much appreciated, if you like my work, that you give me a few quid.. there are nice perks for donating too^~^

 

The Silence of the Lambs (1991) Film Review

Hello Clarice. Please be aware that the following review may contain a spoiler or two so be careful if you haven’t seen 1991’s ‘The Silence of the Lambs’, Starring Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins. This, before last night, was one of my biggest film confessions. I’d never seen The Silence of the Lambs. For a bit of a horror fan, like myself, this is pretty shameful – but I’ve finally seen it and can now review it for all of you guys! *faint hooray in distance*

Firstly, the acting in this film is phenomenal. I’d compare the acting in this to ‘The Dark Knight’, in the terms that the ‘villain’ is played brilliantly and the protagonist isn’t bad either. This acting was believable but what stood out was Hopkins’ performance – Lecter was played so creepily that I was even pretty freaked out by Hopkins. Apart from Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins, not many other people had much to do. Scott Glenn, who played Jack Crawford perhaps had a bit of work to do, but really, everyone else just had minor roles. Acting Rating – 10/10.

The plot to The Silence of the Lambs is interesting, thrilling and surprising. It was a breath of fresh air compared to some of the ‘questionable’ plots I have reviewed so far. This film is just in another league compared to many films over the years and especially for a film based on a novel, it’s been adapted to screenplay effectively. The story was also consistently good throughout the whole film and did not deteriorate towards the end. Story Rating – 9/10.

The cinematography in this film was orchestrated by Tak Fujimoto, the same man responsible for The Sixth Sense and Signs. There sure were some nice shots, especially at the end and at the beginning – but there were not enough for the cinematography to be as good as other elements of this movie. Cinematography Rating – 8/10.

This film used music as all thriller/horror films should – to create tension in certain scenes – but not all the time. Composer Howard Shore – the man responsible for the music in two of my favourite movies – The Lord of the Rings and Panic Room, created a soundtrack which blended fear and suspense to match that of the film itself. I was impressed with the music, as it served it’s purpose in the film itself. Music Rating – 9/10.

Creativity, this film has plenty of that. The perfect amount, not completely over the top *cough* like Saw *cough* but a perfect blend of unique and realistic. Credit goes to Thomas Harris for the original books about Lecter but also credit to all the staff here and Hopkins in particular for capturing the true essence of the cannibalistic psychiatrist turned serial killer. Creativity Rating – 10/10.

For a film in 1991, the special effects were pretty impressive. The dead bodies and gunshots were realistic, better than Def-Con 4 anyway. For the time period when this film was made, I have to cut it some slack because of course it’s not going to be perfect – we are yet to enter the Post-Jurassic Park special effects. Special Effects Rating – 9.

Suspense was always going to be much present in a horror/thriller film about a serial killer. There would be something seriously wrong if there was not much tension throughout this film – fortunately, there was tension and it was very gripping, especially during Clarice’s pursuit of ‘Buffalo Bill’ towards the end. There wasn’t too much suspense but it was there at the right times. Suspense Rating – 10/10.

Overall, I have come to the conclusion that I really was missing out on something truly brilliant. Therefore, I award The Silence of the Lambs with a 4 and a half star rating! 

 

 

 

Hellraiser: Inferno (2000) Film Review

This morning I lost my Hellraiser virginity. I sat down to watch my first venture into this ‘critically acclaimed’ series. I say critically acclaimed… what I actually mean is ‘strange’. The only thing that majorly bugged me about Hellraiser: Inferno was the fact that the good solid story was ruined by the final 20 minutes, when it felt more like Willow than a horror movie. Anyway, without further ado, let’s get stuck in!

The acting in this film felt genuine. I generally felt sorry for the sleazy detective despite the fact he was set up to be a traitor and a cheat, this was partly down to the acting. The character made a few stupid choices but that’s not the actors fault. The actor who played our protagonist is Craig Sheffer, One Tree Hill’s Keith Scott. His acting was good and for the most part I was impressed. The other actors weren’t too bad either and generally, the acting was good. Acting Rating – 7/10.

The story was my greatest critique of this film. What started off with a generally entertaining hunt for a serial killer turned into a fantasy adventure film with zombies in it. This was not the ending I desired for a film like this as it ruined all the suspense built up over the film, the final scene was quite clever, I’ll give the writers that, but the final 20 minutes in general really let this film down. Story Rating – 5/10.

The cinematography in this film it was quite basic, as you would expect for a horror movie, so I will judge the film on the basis that it is not necessarily supposed to look beautiful in every way. There were some really nice shots in this film and some clever camerawork helped me suspend my disbelief in some cases however on the whole, it was fairly basic. Cinematography Rating – 6/10.

 I am a big fan of music in movies. I believe it helps create atmosphere, tension and even adrenaline in some cases. However, the music in Hellraiser: Inferno was a dull score and upon inspection of the composer of this music, I found it is the same man responsible for the score of 1995’s Mortal Kombat. This music really was average but I didn’t expect much in the first place. Music Rating – 5/10

The creativity of this film was pretty impressive, an original concept that took some aspects from ancient mythology and some from a episode of CSI – it was no groundbreaking idea but really did add to how much I enjoyed the film. Writer Scott Derrickson is famous for writing last years ‘Sinister‘ and I was impressed with his writing for this film, not so much for the story itself but for the whole creativeness and premise of the movie. Creativity Rating – 7/10.

The Special Effects in this film were good, for a film produced in 2000, I was impressed. It was no Jurassic Park but I liked them. The blood and gore looked realistic and the CGI/Costumed Demons were good looking (not in an attractiveness sense, style-wise), apart from Pinhead’s blatant CG look, I enjoyed the design and special effects in this film, perhaps more than I did any other element. Special Effects Rating – 8/10.

Finally, the suspense. It was quite suspenseful when our protagonist arrived at certain places and I found some scenes very tense – which I presume is what the director wanted to create an effect of. However, there was a real lack of these scenes and I was disappointed that there weren’t more of them. Suspense Rating – 7/10.

To conclude, Hellraiser: Inferno was an average movie by anyone’s standards. I enjoyed it, unlike the catastrophic Def-Con 4 which I reviewed last time. Hellraiser: Inferno has however not set a good standard in my mind for the series and I’m going to have to seriously consider whether or not it’s worth my time watching the rest. 

Overall Star Rating – 3 Stars

Def-Con 4 (1985) Film Review

I sat down on Saturday afternoon thinking, “Damn, I need a good film to watch.” After a 10 minute browse through Netflix, as per usual, I stumbled upon a film named Def-Con 4. This low-budget 1985 Sci-Fi flick had great premise, a “dystopian, post nuclear-war universe, greatly affected by the radiation released during WWIII”, I thought I’d found a diamond in the rough but the fact of the matter is… I was greatly disappointed.

Firstly, I’d like to discuss this ‘acting’, if you can call it that. I have never seen such a sorry excuse for ‘acting’ in my entire life. The line delivery sounded like it was read straight off an auto-cue and it really had a negative impact on the film. I feel slightly bad for criticizing main actor Tim Choate, who unfortunately died in a motorcycle accident in 2004, but this acting is poor. I know this guy was a good actor as his performance as Clifford in 1979’s ‘The Europeans’ but this performance was sub-par. I gave this film 1/10 for Acting.

Next up, we have the boring, tedious, generic story. I really thought I was in for a treat when I turned this on but the story could have been the same in a non-apocalyptic environment to be honest. It was too predictable, I’m not going to spoil anything but any attempted ‘plot-twists’ had no effect on me at all. If you’re a big fan of the plot to a film, try and avoid this. A good story needs to be realistic, creative and interesting rather than this dull and generic attempt at a story. I rated the story 2/10.

Thirdly, the cinematography. Cinematography is a strange one – I’m not a great fan of all these french, art-house, style films but it is still a fairly important factor in how much I enjoy a movie. Def-Con 4 had some… ‘interesting’ cinematography going on. It wasn’t AWFUL and there were a few decent camera shots and design features that impressed me. However, it was very simple for the rest of the film and really was nothing special. I rated the cinematography in this film 3/10.

Next is the films saving grace, it’s music. I’m a sucker for a good soundtrack and the guy behind this did the soundtrack for Spider-man 3 and The Grudge, two films with atmospheric soundtracks. The music in Def-Con 4 is dramatic and quite ‘epic’ at times, creating a sense of adventure which interests me very much. There’s a few fast paced pieces that help certain scenes from becoming total flops and my rating of 7/10 for the music saved this film from being a 1 star film.

The creativity of this film is something which is hard to judge. I loved the idea of the film however the generic action-survival film that I was given, greatly disappointed me. The idea of a hostile earth with mutant creatures and tribes alike that fight over food was great but I think the producers missed forgot the ‘mutant creatures’ bit which was actually supposed to be in the movie itself. Creativity Rating – 3/10.

Special Effects is a hard area to judge as many older films are more likely to have slightly dodgy special effects or stunts. However this…. was truly inexcusable. Upon gunfire, no flash, no bullet, just a loud ‘bang’ that sounds like someone sitting in a small recording studio hitting a drum very hard and some of the more ‘adventurous’ stunts that we were shown, I’m pretty sure I could do if I was given the right environment. It was simple and not very exciting. For a film about a nuclear war, the one explosion we are actually shown, looks like something from a video archive from the 1950’s, something it probably was. Special Effects Rating – 3/10.

Finally, the suspense. For a film that was supposed to be quite suspenseful, especially in the chase or capture scenes, was really not suspenseful at all. In fact, it was Soap Opera level suspenseful. In fact, this entire film was like a feature length Soap Opera set in a prison camp. It was not very tense which made it not very interesting at the times where it was supposed to be the most exciting. Suspense Rating – 2/10.

To conclude, this film was poor. I don’t know if that’s because I was expecting ‘Fallout: The Movie’ or whether it actually was a bad film. If you have seen this film, feel free to leave a comment on whether or not you enjoyed it. If there’s a film on Netflix you want me to review, comment that too and I’ll try and get round to it. 

Star Rating – 1.5 Stars

Conclusion: I’d rather WWIII actually happened, than having to watch this catastrophe ever again.