Dredd (2012)


90851_galRoze-Rating: 4.5 / 5

Judge’s have the combined power of being judge, jury and executioner all at the same time. Dredd has a prestigious reputation making him known as the most feared judge around. They have been enforced to keep order in a deteriorating society where the criminals rule the chaotic streets. Justice calls for Judge Dredd to take down drug leader Ma-Ma (Lena Headey) who is the main distributor of a new street drug “slow-mo” which makes your brain perceive reality a fraction slower. He has been given rookie Cassandra Anderson (Olivia Thirlby) a mutant psychic, for him to assess, unlucky for her, her first day isn’t a breeze in the park.

This film is exactly what we’ve been missing this year. I think we’ve been deprived of good no nonsense action films with cool gadgets and a simple bad ass character with good one liners. It’s unrealistic, gritty and bad ass all at the same time, exactly what you want from a comic book character brought to the screen. I have no relationship with the comics and little knowledge of the character, but from what I’ve read about it, Dredd perfectly captures that deteriorating society atmosphere with murky surroundings and a tolerance to violence. 

I really liked the cinematography, it’s stylish and has a genuine comic book look to it. The transitioning of the scenes reminded me of how comic strips are laid out and drawn, as well as the vivid colours that came out of the slow-mo moments. It made the action a lot more enjoyable to watch and set itself apart from the generic action films with static camera work.

Despite the lack of expression of Judge Dredd, I think Karl Urban did an outstanding job, he captured that non nonsense precision of the character perfectly. He plays Dredd extremely tough but also portrays his human side effectively during his moments with Anderson (Olivia Thirlby). Would like to see him in more actions flicks as good as this. Olivia Thirlby surprised me so much in this film, when I saw her cast as Judge Dredd’s temporary partner I honestly thought her character would be a mess. I’m extremely happy to say that she put in one of the most surprising performances of this year for me, I was totally hooked to her character. At first I expected her to exude femininity because of Thirlby’s past roles, but she doesn’t show a hint of it. She’s mysterious, calculated and incredibly gritty. Her abilities make her interesting and the way they are used is very entertaining. Definitely one of my favourite characters this year.

A great action film bringing Judge Dredd from the comic strips to the big screen with stylish cinematography, excess computerized blood and engaging characters, definitely one of the best action films of the year. I really hope they make a sequel, can’t get enough of these characters, truly badass.

Archer (Season 1-2)

Archer_partyingRoze-Rating: Give it a go

I find it hard to start watching series regardless of how good it may be because it’s quite a big commitment. It may seem like I’m over thinking it but I know that once I’m hooked, I’m totally HOOKED, and watching 50 odd minute episodes when there’s 4 or more seasons just seems too intimidating. Which is why I tend to watch comedy series only cause I know I can get three episodes in within an hour without feeling guilty and unproductive, even if I am a lazy ass, it’s still nice to think otherwise (sigh).

Anyways, I scoured the world wide web for a new series to watch which was guaranteed to be funny and entertaining and found Archer. It had pretty good responses and I’m a big fan of family guy and south park so animation wasn’t a problem. Although when I checked it out on youtube I was almost put off because the animation seemed odd compared to other animated comedies, but after watching it I have gladly retreated from that opinion. I think it’s hard to rate a series because it’s all down to an individuals taste, and once you watch an episode you can decide if it’s for you or not, unlike a film where once you’ve committed to it, you will most likely watch it all, especially if your in the cinema. It would take one shitty movie for someone to walk out after spending all that money. Good thing I lived in a country where the cinema wasn’t expensive at all, because I would have been pissed if I spent 17 NZ Dollars (5.300 OR) on “Blonde and Blonder”, last time I will let my penis pick the movie.

So I’ve managed to get through two seasons of Archer within a week with the third one to go, and I just had to review it and somehow show my support because I don’t think enough people know about this series, and it is a god damn injustice to this piece of comedy gold. I don’t understand how show’s like “Mad Love” get 8 odd million viewers per episode in America, and Archer only gets 1 million. Don’t get me wrong, those typical sitcom’s with live audiences can be some of the funniest crap on TV but I think they are making sitcom’s for the sake of it now. Yes back to Archer, it ticks off all the boxes for a good comedy series and as the series progress there are significant changes with every episode which improve on the last. Which is a testament to the creators I think for noticing its faults and making it even better than before.

So it’s about a secret agency ISIS which is no where near it’s prime, employing people which other agencies would consider liabilities. The agency is run by Malory Archer (Jessica Walter), mother of the protagonist Sterling Malory Archer (Refered to as Archer), code name “Duchess” (H. Jon Benjamin) who is an alcohol addicted, sex crazed, cocky, mommy’s boy. The craziness ensues as a result of Archer’s actions or at the behest of his sexual active mother. Of course to aid the already hostel environment that the mother-son relationship provides, we have a group of ISIS employee’s who are just as crazy as the next character. With some big names playing the characters, there’s little that can go wrong. We have Cyril Figgis (Chris Parnell) a comptroller for ISIS who is perceived as a pretty normal character at first, but just wait, those first impressions will change immensely. Cheryl Tunt (Judy Greer) a… well she’s into some crazy shit and doesn’t have the intelligence to hide it like other closet fetish addicts are. Doctor Algernop Krieger (Lucky Yates) is one of the more mysterious characters as it takes awhile to figure him out and what kind of “crazy” he is. Lana Kane (Aisha Tyler) definitely one of the sanest characters and the best looking, it’s amazing how cartoons can look sexy, maybe that’s the pervert in me, but she does have some nicely animated… assets. Anyways her ambition and jealously towards Archer’s special treatment from his mother get the best of her at times. Lastly we have Pam Poovey (Amber Nash) who is probably one of the most weirdest and sickest characters you will see on television, but it’s hilarious in the best of ways. She prides herself for her incompetent ability of keeping secrets and having no feminine bone in her. The one thing each character has in common is that they are all unhealthily addicted to sex, but it’s not the worst addiction to have, waaaaay.

A good description of Archer would be if James Bond and Maxwell Smart made a baby and that baby was put in an environment similar to “The Office” while keeping the threats and thrills of a 007 agent. At first you will criticize the series for lacking in the James Bond-esque action and situations, but by the time you get into the second season you will notice how much its improved in terms of action while staying true to its humor. The animation also adds to the charm of Archer, and really backs up the dialogue where most of the humor comes from of course. It’s also quite unique and sets itself apart from other animated comedies, it gives it a darker and cruder side, which a lot of the humor ends up being. If you haven’t seen Archer, it’s definitely worth a watch. Enjoy.

The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)

the-amazing-spider-manRoze-Rating: 4.5 / 5

There was a lot of confusion and pessimism towards this Spider-Man reboot. People were confused about the change of cast thinking that the previous Spider-Man trilogy had not finished, but with a cast like this, I think it was hard to figure out where it could go wrong. I myself was a huge fan of the Spider-Man trilogy and was pretty intrigued about this reboot, especially when I heard Emma Stone was in it, who is my favourite female actor at the moment. Going into the film I was expecting something familiar but I’m glad to say that there was a lot of things different about this film compared to the original and most of those things were huge positives.

A lot of the advertising at first for this film was that it would expose the “untold story” about Peter Parker in terms of where he came from and his parents. To an extent this film explores what exactly happened to his parents, how they were related to Oscorp and how they died but it only touches on it in small doses. If your going to see the film purely for that aspect of the film, then there will be a bit of disappointment, but I guess that’s where they attract you back into the character for this film but also the sequel. As usual these comic films have snippets at the end to leave you guessing who the next villain will be etc, and there’s a mysterious looking man who mentions Peters father, insinuating that there’s still a lot untold, this will be frustrating but I guess that’s where the fanboys come in and speculation begins, which is the whole spirit of these comic films, the film is one thing but the speculation and the hype also adds to the awesome experience.

The film features Andrew Garfield as Spider-Man and he totally triumphed, giving the web slinger a whole new identity compared to the original Spider-Man. From playing a few Spidey games and cartoons, the character seemed a lot more witty and annoying than Toby McGuires version, and I think that’s where Andrew Garfield got it right. He was more than just a nerd, he had attitude, heart and style, which is why the little touches like the skateboard and the way he treated his enemies as quite vital to the role. It was also awesome to find out that he was a childhood fan of Spider-Man and looked up to the character, so you knew that he was coming from the right places. Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy, DAYM, great person for the role, I mean she brings a lot to her characters and this character was never intended to be just cute and a damsel in distress, she brought a lot of charisma and humour to make her a much more interesting and smart character to root for. The chemistry between Garfield and Stone seemed very natural, I don’t know if it’s because they are an item (Damn you Garfield!) but what they were doing worked. Perfect awkward moments mixed with the dialogue, but when they kissed on that roof, Gwen looked a bit too turned on by the fact Peter was Spider-Man, but I’m not complaining. As for the rest of the cast, solid performances of course, especially Rhys Ifans playing over obsessed scientist Dr. Conners, who lets the pressure of Oscorp and his own desire for limb regrowth get to him, ultimately becoming The Lizard.

The action is great, some memorable scenes and I like how they stayed true to all of his trademark moves, seemed identical to the game at some points, which was pretty awesome. The effects weren’t cheap and the The Lizard looked pretty bad ass. Compared to the original, I can’t remember anything negative about the effects, but this version definitely brought something new to the film with the first person scenes, which made you feel even more absorbed into this world that they created. Overall pretty solid action.

I think the only negative of this film compared to the original is that the original had a lot more iconic moments which will live on, while this film didn’t really produce any except for the crane scene. The fact that the original had those iconic and memorable moments made leaving the cinema slightly dissatisfying, because I expected there to be a “with great power, comes great responsibility” line, but it never came, it was all disjointed. I think this film tried a bit too hard to be different from the original which is quite apparent with the way they did the origin story for this film, but it still works, so no complaints there.

The Bourne Legacy (2012)

The Bourne Legacy Jeremy RennerRoze-Rating: 3.5 / 5

I was pretty excited to watch this film, just the fact that Jason Bourne wasn’t involved, and how that was going to work. I had a lot of faith in this film since one of my favourite actors was cast as the main man. Jeremy Renner coming off four major films, The Hurt Locker, Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, The Town and The Avengers, all of which are amazing films, seemed like the perfect person to play Aaron Cross, and he was, but the film itself was quite a let down.

It was always going to be hard to incorporate Aaron Cross into the Bourne series, and the story alone is smart and convincing enough for Jeremy Renner to enter the world of Jason Bourne, but the film told the story in an inefficient and dis-jointed manner, it needed more flow for audiences to get a grasp of what was happening. After the first 45 minutes, which were very tedious due to its slow pace, the film really kicked to life and gave Aaron Cross a purpose. The action sequences were engaging and exciting, but overall lacked the intensity and tension that the previous films provided. The ending didn’t really conclude on anything which made it seem a little bit pointless, but maybe that was the intention to illustrate some unfinished business. Another thought walking away from the film was that it felt like a very thin plot, compared to the previous films which were very complex and interesting, it felt too much like an origin story without the aftermath. For this film to be as satisfying as its predecessors, it needed a compressed beginning and an extra hour of Aaron Cross bringing hell to Blackbire, alternative government programs and the pharmaceutical industry.

This film really needed to be longer to include more action, but more evidently it needed the previous director of the Bourne series to give it the TRUE atmosphere and intensity it needed, which could have been the difference between another classic and this. But as a Bourne fan, I am hoping that Jeremy Renner can have another go with a more vengeful and determined Aaron Cross joining the war against the corrupt government programs.

What did you think of the new Bourne actor Jeremy Renner? Would you guys be up for a sequel with both Aaron Cross and Jason Bourne? And what did you think of the introduction of Aaron Cross, do you think they should have finished at The Bourne Ultimatum?

Total Recall (2012)

colin-farrell-total-recallRoze-Rating: 3.5 / 5

This film is a remake of the same titled 1990 version starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, which achieved raving reviews. I haven’t seen the original version but from research the remake covers most of the events which take place in the original, except for a significant mars scene. The remake also focuses more on the political side of the story. It takes place at the end of the 21st century after a nuclear war had broken out affecting almost the whole earth, leaving only “The United Federation of Britain (UFB)” and “The Colony”. This nuclear outbreak prompted the governments to build a gravitational elevator which transports people from one side of the earth to the other, so that workers can be used within the UFB. One worker Douglas Quaid (Colin Farrell), is extremely unhappy with his life, despite having a loving wife, he still seeks a way to escape his lifestyle and live his dreams, motivating himself even more to visit “Rekall”; a solution for his problem. The procedure goes terribly wrong and Quaid finds himself in a world that he may regret wishing for.

This film suffers from being a remake, which explains a lot of the negativity surrounding it. If its predecessor never existed then this would be a pretty solid but regular blockbuster film, which is why I have rated it “3.5 / 5″, which could rightly be a lot different had I watched the original. That being said, I thoroughly enjoyed a few aspects of the film, which I can safely assume improved upon the original, such as the special effects, action and filming.

The special effects helped create a whole new world which was quite frankly awesome to look at, it truly looked like a post apocalyptic world, with seemingly floating buildings and magnetic cars moving with no wheels. The fact that they could create the look of this fictional setting with a genuine slum tone and a coherent style was magic to my eyes. This aspect of the film, ultimately sets up the rest of the film in terms of action sequences and atmosphere.

The action was easily the best part of this film, making it a lot of fun to watch since it wasn’t your typical gun fight, fist fight or human fight. The war zones were infested with robot killers and people dressed in robot looking gear which you could instantly tell was going to be unique compared to your average blockbuster. The best scene will have to be the elevator scene, giving it a real comic sensation, where your getting main characters switching from elevator to elevator trying not to get crushed. The main cast were exceptional with their action sequences, especially Kate Beckinsale, who has proved time and time again that she can take on gritty action chick characters from her roles in “Underworld”.

Aiding the relentless action was the sharp camera work and it’s movement, which gave it a futuristic look. This was appropriate since the contraption Quain used seemed very video game like, and that’s exactly how the film felt. For instance the way the camera would quickly sway from one kill to the other and the zero gravity action scenes. It made the sequences a lot more exciting and engaging to watch.

The plot is very complex and it leaves a lot of room for an elaborate psychological game to inhabit the film and it’s characters as well as the audience. The reason for this is because I found that I was constantly second-guessing myself after a certain event would take place, and I went from one opinion to another then back again. If done correctly this would have been a pretty great film, but they were extremely safe with it. The dialogue was too literal, and you found yourself listening to a character practically explaining every single significant occurrence which affected the storyline. This made it a lot easier to understand, but it wasn’t subtle or mysterious and took away a lot of the fun that could have come with it. It also felt unrealistic as characters would spend quite awhile just explaining. A clear example of this would be at the start with Kate Beckinsale’s character, when she confronts Quiad, which didn’t make sense anyway.

A lot of potential was lost with that one little lost opportunity, but other than that better than average blockbuster Sci-Fi flick, with top quality action. Popcorn stuff.