Category Archives: 41-50%

Thor: Ragnarok (2017)

“Let the Games Begin”

Directed by Taika Waititi
Starring Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Cate Blanchett, Idris Elba, Jeff Goldblum, Tessa Thompson, Karl Urban, Mark Ruffalo, Anthony Hopkins

In pursuit of his visions in Age of Ultron, Thor (Hemsworth) winds up in Muspelheim, where he breaks out of captivity to defeat Surtur, greatest of the Fire Giants. Taking Surtur’s crown seemingly defers Ragnarok, the long-prophesied fall of Asgard, but Asgard is on the skids. With Loki (Hiddleston) ruling in disguise and gatekeeper Heimdall (Elba) replaced with slacker Skurge (Urban).

Continue reading Thor: Ragnarok (2017)

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Eyeborgs (2009)

“Nowhere to Run. Nowhere to Hide.”

Directed by Richard Clabaugh
Starring Adrian Paul, Megan Blake, Luke Eberl, Danny Trejo

Next Sunday AD, and after one too many terrorist attacks the US has passed the Freedom of Observation Act, creating a unified surveillance system linking all security cameras to the Optical Defence Intelligence Network (ODIN – because naming your computer after a god couldn’t possibly go wrong.) DHS Agent Gunner (Paul) follows up intel provided by ODIN’s mobile cameras – the titular eyeborgs – and stumbles on a plot, seemingly to assassinate the president.

Continue reading Eyeborgs (2009)

Kingsman: The Golden Circle (2017)

“Suited vs. Booted”

Directed by Matthew Vaughn
Starring Colin Firth, Julianne Moore, Taron Egerton, Mark Strong, Halle Berry, Elton John, Channing Tatum, Jeff Bridges

Flush with recent successes, the Kingsman private intelligence service comes under fire from treacherous former recruit Charlie (Edward Holcroft) and his boss, Poppy Adams (Moore). Intent on expanding the power of her drugs empire, the Golden Circle, Adams launches a pre-emptive strike on Kingsman, killing all of its agents except for Eggsy (Egerton) and Merlin (Strong), the head of strategic services.

Continue reading Kingsman: The Golden Circle (2017)

Exodus: Gods and Kings (2014)

“Once brothers, now enemies”

Directed by Ridley Scott
Starring Christian Bale, Joel Edgerton, John Turturro, Aaron Paul, Ben Mendelsohn, Sigourney Weaver, Ben Kingsley

In Ancient Egypt, Pharaoh Seti I (Turturro) sends his son Ramses (Edgerton) and foster son Moses (Bale) to destroy a Hittite army massing near the border. In the battle, Moses saves Ramses’ life, completing the first part of a pre-battle prophecy that ‘a leader will be saved, and the saviour will one day lead’. Moses later visits the Hebrew slave works under Viceroy Ambiguously Queer Hedonist Scumbag (Mendelsohn; the character has a name, but names are actually pretty hard to come by in this film), and there learns from one of the elders (Kingsley) that he is in fact the child of a slave, floated down river during a cull of the slave population (and by ‘floated downstream’, I mean literally walked downriver into the hands of a childless princess by his sister.)

Continue reading Exodus: Gods and Kings (2014)

Rebourne: Ghost in the Shell (2017)

Directed by Rupert Sanders
Starring Scarlett Johansson, Michael Pitt, Pilou Asbæk, Chin Han, Juliette Binoche and ‘Beat’ Takeshi Kitano

The Original

“That’s what I do. I jump off things and disappear.”

Major Motoko Kusanagi, a human brain in a robot body (the ‘shell’ which holds her psyche/soul/’ghost’) pursues cyberpunk criminals in a cyberpunk world. I’ll be honest, this is about all I know except a) she has an active camouflage system in her robot skin and b) jumps off high roofs while looking into the camera. I will try to watch the anime (the actual original is a manga comic, originally titled ‘Mobile Armoured Riot Police’,) and maybe even Stand Alone Complex and the new movie (imaginatively entitled ‘The New Movie’.)

The Remake

Right…

What we’re looking at here is of course the US remake starring Scarlett Johansson as Major Mira Killian, a woman whose refugee boat was blown up by terrorists, leaving her brain to be implanted in a robot body by not-even-slightly-dodgy corporate giants Hanka Robotics so that she can fight crime.

Continue reading Rebourne: Ghost in the Shell (2017)

Blast from the Past: xXx (2002)

xxx

“A New Breed of Secret Agent”

Directed by Rob Cohen
Starring Vin Diesel, Asia Argento, Samuel L. Jackson, Marton Csokas and Michael Roof

After an NSA agent is killed while trying to James Bond his way through a Rammstein gig in pursuit of Russian ex-military crime syndicate Anarchy 99, maverick senior agent Augustus Gibbons (Jackson) is given carte blanche to recruit and deploy an asset drawn from the criminal world, without the tells of a professional agent or ex-soldier. Of those chosen, the only one to pass all of Gibbons’ tests is extreme sports athlete and political pre-YouTube video prankster Xander Cage (Diesel).

Continue reading Blast from the Past: xXx (2002)

Rebourne – Dad’s Army (2016)

dads-army
This is one of the least accurate taglines of recent years, given that the film concerns a purely defensive and domestic force.

“The British Empire Strikes Back”

Directed by Oliver Parker
Starring Bill Nighy, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Toby Jones, Tom Courtenay, Michael Gambon, Blake Harrison, Daniel Mays, Bill Paterson

The Original

Dad’s Army, by Jimmy Croft and David Perry, is perhaps the most beloved and enduring of Britain’s classic sitcoms.

The originals: Arthur Lowe, John le Mesurier,
The originals: Arthur Lowe, John le Mesurier, Clive Dunn, John Laurie, Arnold Ridley, Ian Lavender and James Beck

Set in the seaside town of Walmington-on-Sea, the series told the story of the local Home Guard platoon, who for nine years engaged in scrapes and shenanigans more or sometimes less war related, from camouflage exercises, to hunting down escaped IRA operatives, to capturing enemy parachutists and submariners. The writers and the characters became national treasures, the series continues to be repeated long after the morbid passtime of calling out which of the actors had since died during the closing credits became monotonous, and a scene in which a German prisoner asks for the name of the youngest platoon member, only to be cut off by Mainwaring’s sharp “Don’t tell him, Pike!” was voted the nation’s favourite comedy line over many more recent offerings.

Often conceived as ‘cosy’, Dad’s Army was pretty racy for its time, with about half the characters engaged in extramarital affairs. It revived the Home Guard in the national memory, launched a thousand catchphrases and while ostensibly focused on the comedy of old men and boys playing soldiers, never failed to present its protagonists as intelligent, good-hearted and courageous. With a run almost unprecedented in the history of British sitcoms, it established unusually rich characters in a full and developed world.

There was also a 1971 film, which remade the early episodes about the formation of the platoon, and added a hostage rescue with German airmen invading the church hall.

The Remake/Sequel

The new bunch:
The new bunch: Toby Jones, Bill Nighy, Tom Courtenay, Bill Paterson, Michael Gambon, Blake Harrison and Daniel Mays

In 1944, the Walmington-on-Sea Home Guard platoon still diligently guard their little stretch of the south coast, under the command of Captain Mainwaring (Jones) and the leadership of Sergeant Wilson (Nighy). The arrival of glamorous reporter Rose Winters (Zeta-Jones) throws the platoon into a spin, provoking the jealousy and ire of the women of the town as the men prove once more the claim of Cleopatra, that all men are fools and what makes them so is beauty like what she has got.

Continue reading Rebourne – Dad’s Army (2016)

Spectral (2016)

No real poster, as this is a Netflix original.
No real poster, as this is a Netflix original.

Directed by Nic Mathieu
Starring James Badge Dale, Emily Mortimer, Max Martini, Bruce Greenwood and Ursula Parker

Incongruously pacifist DARPA researcher Mark Clyne (Dale) is called to war-torn Moldova to investigate a series of attacks by seemingly invisible enemies, detectable only using the hyper-spectral goggles developed by his team. The local General (Greenwood) and CIA liaison Fran Madison (Mortimer) think that the enemy insurgents are using active camouflage, while the locals blame the deaths on restless spirits. Clyne’s job is to get a decent picture of the attackers and help a Delta Force team led by Major Sessions (Mancini) to capture a sample of the active camo.

Continue reading Spectral (2016)

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (2016)

miss-peregrines-home-movie-banner

“Stay Peculiar”

Directed by Tim Burton
Starring Eva Green, Asa Butterfield, Chris O’Dowd, Allison Janney, Rupert Everett, Terence Stamp, Ella Purnell, Judi Dench, 
Samuel L. Jackson

Jake Portman (Butterfield) is a regular American (honest) loser, who connects better with his grandfather Abe (Stamp) than with his father (O’Dowd). When Abe dies, an apparent victim of a wild dog attack, and Jake believes that he sees a faceless giant looming in the bushes, his psychiatrist (Janney) suggests that it would do him good to go to the island in north Wales where his grandfather once lived in a children’s home, run – he always insisted to Jake – by a woman named Miss Peregrine who could turn into a bird, for the protection of children with extraordinary powers.

Continue reading Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (2016)

American Ninja 2: The Confrontation (1987)

I think Steve James might rate the small print on this one at least.
I think Steve James might rate the small print on this one at least.

“The Ultimate American Fighting Machine is Back!”

Directed by Sam Firstenberger
Starring Michael Dudikoff, Steve James, Larry Poindexter, Gary Conway and some women

When the Marines guarding the US Embassy on a small, Caribbean island start disappearing, Washington dispatches Ranger Sergeants Joe Armstrong (Dudikoff) and Curtis Jackson (James) to investigate. Cue Army vs. Marines shenanigans of an extremely low grade. This step seems prescient, when an ambush on an R&R party is launched by ninja.

Continue reading American Ninja 2: The Confrontation (1987)