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Film Mini-Review: Despicable Me 2

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Steve and I went to see Despicable Me 2 at the cinemas last weekend. Gru is back with Margo, Edith and Agnes. Gru’s life seems perfect – apart from being chaotic; but he’s missing a wife and the kids are missing a mother. Here’s the trailer:

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Gru is recruited by Lucy to join the Anti-Villain League. Gru must help Lucy to identify which of the Mall Store Owners has stolen a serum. The serum is capable of turning the cute yellow minions into purple I-will-eat-anything-and-everything monsters.

The minions stole every scene with their beyond hilarious antics. It was great to sit in a crowded cinemas and hear the audience actually bellow with laughter for most of the film.

More Minions!

More Minions!

Despicable Me 2 [DVD] was a fantastic film, one that I’d happily watch time and time again. I intend on buying the DVD as soon as it’s released on Amazon.

Blog soon,


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Mini-Reviews: Films I’ve Watched Recently, Part 3

By Amazon, Reviews, TV, Online Streaming & FilmsNo Comments

Welcome to the final part of my Mini-Reviews of Films I’ve watched recently. The second part is here: Part 2 and the first part is here: Part 1. I know I’ve got a bit delayed in writing this post (it’s been sat in my Drafts for a while) and that I haven’t wrote any other film reviews recently, but that’s because I’ve read so many fantastic books I’ve wanted to share with you. Anyway onto the films…

The Vow (2012)
In The Vow (2012) Paige and Leo are a married couple who are still very much in love. They leave a theatre walking to the car in the freshly falling snow. Once they get into the car Paige rubs her bitterly cold hands together; Leo takes her hands into his, puts them near his mouth and gently blows warming them up with his breath. On the drive home Leo stops at a red light. Paige unbuckles her seatbelt to kiss him and a truck hits the back of them. Paige is knocked through the windscreen.

Afterwards at the hospital Leo recovers well, remembering back to how they met and how their relationship developed with the audience being shown a montage of these events. Paige is in a coma and when awakens she has permanent amnesia, remembering nothing about her life with Leo.

Paige goes back to the last people she remembers loved her, her family. Paige goes back to her apartment with Leo and starts to try to piece together the bits of her life she can’t remember. Paige discovers that she doesn’t have many photos of her family and asks Leo about it. Leo tells Paige that she wasn’t that close to her family. Paige and Leo drift apart with Leo heartbroken.

Paige rediscovers why she wasn’t close to her family, rediscovers her forgotten passions and in the final scenes in the film rediscovers Leo. Leo goes to get something to eat at what used to be their favourite place before the car accident; but it’s closed because of a Snow Day, as he turns to leave he sees Paige. Paige suggests they try an alternative place they used to go to when this place was closed, but they agree to try somewhere new. The ending implies a happily ever after as they walk off to experience a mexican place round the corner both going for this new experience together.

This film is inspired by a true story and without doubt is one of the best love story films I’ve seen in a long time. It has happy ending that leaves you feeling good. The actress playing Paige was brillant, but the actor playing Leo wasn’t. I have watched this film again and again and still enjoy it. If you’re into love stories with a happy ending you’ll love it.

The Wicker Tree (2010)
The Wicker Tree (2010) starts in Texas, America with the Cowboys for Christ evangelical group. They are dispatching Beth (a Pop Star turned evangelical Christian) and Steve (her boyfriend) to Scotland to spread the word of God. Beth & Steve have purity rings meaning they wont have sex before marriage.

The story is somewhat forgettable, but from what I can remember Beth & Steve are negatively received when they arrive in Scotland. A Lord and his wife invite Beth & Steve to stay with them in a small village to convert some of the locals. Beth & Steve accept, but what they don’t know is that the whole village is pagan led by the Lord and his wife.

Once there Beth struggles with an internal conflict between what she wants to do and what the church says is right. Steve is quickly corrupted by a beautiful blonde. The film ends with Beth & Steve becoming part of the local pagans sinister May Day celebrations.

Up! (2009)
Up! (2009) is an animated film by Pixar and is one of the best animated films I’ve ever seen. Carl is a young child obsessed with Charles Munts an adventurer who brings back a giant bird skeleton from Paradise Falls (South America). He meets Ellie whom also loves adventure and wants to go to Paradise Falls.

Carl & Ellie become good friends and then an emotionally touching montage starts showing them falling in love, getting married, losing a baby & being told they’ll never have children, starting to save for a trip to Paradise Falls but then the jar being broken as their car needs fixing, the jar being put on a shelf & being forgotten about and them working enjoying their life together to their old age. The montage ends showing Carl see the jar in his old age, buying the tickets to Paradise Falls, taking Ellie to the park to surprise her, but then Ellie falling ill & ending up in hospital never to return home. This montage alone made me cry which is testament to the storyboarding.

Then in present day Carl is a grumpy OAP still living in his town house, his only connection to Ellie. The once quiet neighbourhood has been changed into an urban development with high rises all around his house. When a builders truck hits his mailbox Carl loses his temper and hits the construction worker. This leads to a Judge saying he must sell his home and move into care. But Carl has other ideas and ties a gazillion multi-coloured helium ballons to his house and takes off, destination: Paradise Falls. But Carl gets a disturbing surprise when in mid-air he hears a knock at the door; it’s Russell a young boy whose a Wilderness Explorer.

The film is essentially an adventure film that’s about rediscovering life for Carl and discovering a father figure for Russell. There’s undertones of sadness and hope throughout the film as the characters bond and a relationship develops with a mutual threat that they discover in Paradise Falls.

There’s another lovely montage at the end of Carl & Russell both living their lives as we come to hope for them; unsurprisingly I cried with happiness at this ending.

Zombieland (2012)
I love a good zombie film and Zombieland (2010) is one the best. It’s more of a comedy than a horror; Columbus is an uber-geek and former College Student whose survived a zombie apocalypse with his list of rules. He has a number of rules on his list including: Rule 1 – Cardio, Rule 4 – Seat belts and Rule 48 – Hygiene. Columbus is making his way across America back to of his hometown of Columbus, Ohio in the hopes of finding his family among the survivors.

This unlikely survivor meets Tallahassee a bad ass zombie killer obsessed with finding a Twinkie and they agree to travel together. Along the way they meet Wichita & Little Rock two sisters who cheat them out of their car and weapons. Columbus & Tallahassee find a Yellow Hummer and decide to go after the trickster sisters.

Columbus & Tallahassee catch up with the sisters, there’s a stand off between them which ends when Columbus loses his temper telling them that they’ve all got bigger problems to worry about. They decide to journey to their own destinations together with the sisters saying that they are heading to an amusement park called Pacific Playland in Los Angeles. Columbus, Wichita & Little Rock have heard that their destinations are zombie-free. But Wichita lets slip that Columbus, Ohio has been completely destroyed and with this revelation he decides to accompany the others to California.

Their journey has some funny scenes; and along the way we find out why Tallahassee isn’t searching for a place of safety and what he’s lost. We see a relationship start to unfold between Columbus & Wichita.

As the film reaches it’s conclusion Wichita & Little Rock arrive at Pacific Playland in the dead of night. They turn on all the lights and rides and attract the local zombie population. They end up stuck on a ride up in the air with zombie’s climbing up to get them. But just when they think it’s all over, Columbus & Tallahassee turn up and save them. The final scene shows the whole group leaving together as a makeshift family.

The film is what I’d call an easy watcher, meaning that if you don’t analyse it too much you can really let yourself go and have a good laugh. Definitively more a comedy with zombies thrown in, than a zombie film with comedy. Some critics have compared it to Shaun of the Dead (2004), probably because they are the only two mainstream zombie comedy’s around; I’d hate to compare the two but if I had to I’d say Shaun of the Dead (2004) is slightly funnier. Still well worth a watch though.

Zookeeper (2011)
Zookeeper (2011) is a film about Griffin, a Zookeeper at Franklin Park Zoo. Five years ago his marriage proposal was turned down by his girlfriend of the time because of his job.

Then he see’s her again and she still seems interested. He decides to win her back, even if it means working with his brother at the Car Dealership. The animals (who can and do talk to one another) hear about this so decide speak to Griffin to help him win his former girlfriend back whilst staying at the Zoo. From the animals point of view he’s the best Zookeeper they’ve ever had and they want to keep him.

It’s suppose to be a comedy but I failed to find any of it funny, despite really trying too. I think the problem was that it’s very dumbed down humour. The storyline was glaringly obvious from the start: Griffin and his ex-girlfriend get back together and he realises she’s not the one for him. Instead Griffin ends up with Kate the Vet who works at the Zoo.

Review soon,


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Mini-Reviews: Films I’ve Watched Recently, Part 2

By Amazon, Reviews, TV, Online Streaming & FilmsNo Comments

Welcome to Part 2 of my Mini-Reviews of Films I’ve watched recently. The First part of this post can be found here: Mini-Reviews: Films I’ve Watched Recently, Part 1.

Immortals (2011)
Immortals (2011) is a brilliant film with a good mix of action and storyline. It’s about Hyperian a King who wants the bow of epirus to release the Titans. The Gods (Zeus etc.) and the Titans thought a war, with the Gods winning and the Titans being imprisoned. The death of Hyperian’s wife and daughter through disease has made him turn away from the Gods and become determined to release the Titans to kill the Gods as they wouldn’t intervene in his time of need.

Theseus is the main character and will only fight for what he cares about which at the beginning of the film is his mother. When Hyperian’s army arrive Theseus fights but he’s unable to save his mother who they kill. The soldiers catch Theseus and decide that he’s to work as a slave with some others in salt mines. On route Theseus meets the Virgin Oracle and they escape Hyperian’s soliders. The Gods are watching and Ares wants to intervene but Zeus won’t allow it stating they must have faith in mankind. They travel back to Theseus’ village (with a little help from Poseidon) so that he can bury his mother in the religious chamber, which is where he discovers the bow of epirus. Theseus and the Virgin Oracle are intimate removing the Oracle’s ability to see the future which she sees as a curse.

Theseus is ambushed and Hyperian gets the bow of epirus. Ares saves Theseus and Athena provides them with horses to get to Mount Tartarus. Zeus appears and is angry at Ares and Athena for disobeying him. Zeus kills Ares for saving Theseus and tells him he’s on his own. Then Zeus and Athena return to Mount Olympus.

Theseus and the others arrive at Mount Tartarus and tries to warn his King about Hyperian’s intentions but he doesn’t listen. The war begins with Hyperian using the bow of epirus to destroy the wall surrounding the city. Hyperian needs to get in to Mount Tartarus as that’s where the Titan’s are imprisoned. Hyperian releases the Titans and Zeus, Poseidon, Athena, Heracles and Apollo appear to fight them.

Theseus eventually kills Hyperian while Zeus destroys the bow of epirus. The battle between the Gods and the Titan’s goes well, the Gods are more than a match for the Titans but are overwhelmed by the sheer number of them. Theseus has been injured during the battle with Hyperian and is close to death. Only Zeus and Poseidon make it out alive before. Zeus takes Theseus and gives him a place in Mount Olympus as a reward before collapsing the mountain. The film ending is set several years later with the Virgin Oracle having Theseus’ child who is told he will one day have to fight evil.

It was a fantastic film which had brilliantly choreographed action scenes; good use of CGI and an epic story that is well paced and keeps you captivated throughout. It was one of those films that I really wished I’d seen at the cinemas, well worth watching.

Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol (2011)
I’ve previously watched Mission Impossible and Mission Impossible 2, but by the time the third film was released I was a bit like mission possible? Action films really aren’t my bag, but I thought I’d give the fourth in the series Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol (2011) a chance.

It was the same sort of storyline as the other films, Ethan and his team must stop the Russian’s from declaring war on the US. The US administration denying all knowledge of Ethan and his team are caught. The two aspects that made me finish the film were the cool technology and the humour from Simon Pegg who played a minor member of Ethan’s team.

If you really enjoyed the previous films, then you’ll really like this film. I found it too simliar to the other films in the series.

Skyline (2010)
Skyline (2010) is about a couple Jarrod and Elaine who go the visit Jarrod’s best friend Terry in L.A. when aliens attack. Terry’s made it big in L.A. with a swanky apartment and loads of money. Terry offers his oldest friend Jarrod a job in L.A, meaning Jarrod and Elaine would have to move. Terry hosts a party, Jarrod and Elaine get into a heated discussion about the move (Jarrod wanting to move and Elaine not). In the heat of the moment Elaine reveals that she’s pregnant. Later that night blue lights start to appear in the sky memorising anyone who looks at them and giving them the impulse to get as close to them as they can. Think moths to a flame.

Soon enough alien ships appear with the blue lights sucking up human beings all over L.A. Terry, Jarrod, Elaine and a few others are informed by the T.V that alien ships have appeared all over the world and are sucking up human beings with the blue lights. In L.A. alien ships are scanning buildings for humans they may have missed. The group realise they can’t stay indoors and wait it out. Jarrod notices that there are no alien ships over the seas. The group decide to head for open waters, but upon leaving the apartment block are attacked by aliens and end up back inside. The following day the remaining survivors of the group see the US Air Force fire a nuclear missile. At first they think they’ve won as the alien ship falls to the ground following the detonation. But it repairs in a matter of seconds and is back in the air.

After this the story got a bit far fetched. Jarrod and Elaine are sucked up by a blue light into an alien ship. Inside Jarrod’s brain is removed and put in an alien body, meanwhile Elaine is taken into another chamber where pregnant humans are kept. But Jarrod’s feelings for Elaine and his unborn child mean he fights other aliens and then carries Elaine to safety.

The CGI was incredible but the storyline could have been massively improved. Firstly, I had little care for the main characters. This could have been improved by seeing more of the relationship between Jarrod and Elaine prior to the alien attack. Secondly, it would have been good to give humans some advantage over the aliens. This would have enabled humans to have a fighting chance and mean’t the writers could have tapped into the emotional responses of the audience. Emotions such as hope, loss and love.

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
I was going to do a mini-review of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2011) in this post, but I enjoyed the film so much that I felt it deserved a full review on it’s own. So a review of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2011) is coming soon.

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Mini-Reviews: Films I’ve Watched Recently, Part 1

By Amazon, Reviews, TV, Online Streaming & FilmsNo Comments

I’ve watched quite a few films recently. Some good, some bad and some amazing. So here’s some mini-reviews of the films:

Chronicle (2012)
Chronicle (2012) is about three teenage boys who while at a party go into a wood and discover an underground cavern. In the cavern they discover a crystal-like object that gives them telekinetic powers. They work out that their powers are like a muscle the more you use it the stronger the powers get. The teen boys go from building lego to moving bigger objects and eventually flying. The main character Andrew has the strongest power, but he’s a troubled teen with a mother dieing of cancer and a father that physically and emotionally abuses him.

Andrew starts to feel powerful and angry (never a good combination). He takes out his anger on an impatient motorist flashing his lights at their car by forcing the car into a river, beats up his abusive father and then kills one of his teen friends all with his telekinetic power. But the three of them are linked on some metaphysical level, when he kills one of his friends the other friend (his cousin Matt) instantly knows what’s happened. By the time Matt gets to Andrew he’s in a state that can only be described as pure rage, he’s crushing and hurling cars, destroying building and essentially threatening lives. Matt tries to help him but all Andrew wants to do is fight. In the end Matt realises that he can’t help Andrew and that if he doesn’t kill Andrew, Andrew will kill him. So that’s what Matt does.

I enjoyed the film, I particularly liked the effects in the film when the teenage boys used their powers. It felt more realistic that their powers gradually developed rather than instantly appeared. It also gave you the time to get to know Andrew and understand why he was so angry. I do think that the writer could have developed the other two characters further so they felt more real, rather than completely focusing on Andrew and his eventual misuse of power.

Dark Shadows (2012)
Dark Shadows (2012) has been directed by Tim Burton and is what you’d expect from a Tim Burton film. It’s about a Witch who wants Barnabas Collins (played by the remarkably pale Johnny Depp) all to herself. When his parents gets in the way she kills them, when he falls in love with another she kills his love and makes him a vampire so that he can live eternally. Her hope is that he will love her one day, and to give him a few decades to think it over she has him buried alive in a silver coffin complete with silver chains.

A few decades later a young woman travels to the Collins estate to become the Governess to Barnabas’ distant relatives. Around the same time construction workers dig up Barnabas and he returns to restore his family fortunes. But the Witch is still around and has took over the fishing port which was how the Collins family made and maintained their money. As Barnabas rebuilds his families fortunes, he has to adapt to the 1970’s world, woo the Governess and deal with the up coming conflict with the Witch. Eventually things come to a head and Barnabas and the family take on the Witch. They manage to stop ancient history repeating it’s self with Barnabas stopping the Governess (his love) from being compelled by the Witch to jump off a cliff. The Witch ends up cracking to pieces on the floor like a dropped vase.

I really wanted to enjoy this film, but the editing made it difficult. It felt like someone had presented me with a jigsaw were the wrong pieces had been forced together and where there were pieces missing. A good example is the relationship between Barnabas and the Governess, the film shows hardly any development of the relationship so it feels wrong for them to suddenly be in love with one another at the end.

The use of the set, costume, make up and shooting does lend it’s self to the vampire genre of film. But the comedy that starts early on in the film indicates that it’s only styled in the vampire genre, which is disappointing as the comedy isn’t all that funny. Overall it makes you feel very confused about what Tim Burton had set out to achieve and by the end of the film you can’t even feel that at least you got a good story out of it.

Despicable Me (2011)
Despicable Me (2011) is a animated comedy about an evil genius Gru who suddenly has competition when someone steals the Egyptian Pyramids. Gru decides he’s going to steal the moon by shrinking it using a shrink ray. But his competition, Victor, a younger ‘groovy’ evil genius steals the shrink ray from him and takes it to his super-security-protected mansion.

Gru watches Victor’s house and sees three orphans selling cookies door to door to make money for the orphanage. They get in to Victor’s house (as he has a weakness for cookies) and then Gru thinks of a plan. He adopts the three sisters to get into Victor’s house. The story is hilarious – particularly Gru’s minions (so cute, I want one!). But it’s also a touching as Gru adjusts to no longer just being an evil genius, but a father as well. It’s an excellent film for the whole family.

Oh and if you’ve seen it and loved it, here’s the trailer for Despicable Me 2, staring the minions:

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How To Train Your Dragon (2010)
How To Train Your Dragon (2010) is an animated adventure staring Hiccup, the son of a mighty Viking Warrior who regularly battles the fire-breathing dragons that steal livestock and burn their homes. However unlike the other stocky Viking kids, Hiccup is slim and scrawny. Hiccup invents a cannon that he hits a Night Fury with (the Night Fury being the most deadly type dragon). The Night Fury flies off into the forest, looking injured.

Hiccup finds the Night Fury in the forest and begins to develops a relationship with it, naming it Toothless. About the same sort of time Hiccup and the other Viking kids start their dragon fighting training in an arena. Hiccup starts to learn all about Toothless and applies this learning to the dragons in the arena to tame them and get them to do what he wants. The other Viking kids are amazed at Hiccup’s ability and he soon becomes a hero among them.

Hiccup realises that Toothless can’t fly away from the forest because Hiccup damaged his tail wing with the cannon. Hiccup creates a new tail wing and learns to fly Toothless. Soon Hiccup reaches his final challenge in the arena to kill a dragon. Hiccup can’t do it and tries to tell the villagers about the true nature of the dragons. The villagers capture Toothless and use him to find Dragon Island. When the Vikings get there they discover a giant dragon and realise that the other dragons have been stealing livestock to feed to the giant dragon because they are scared of this beast. Hiccup riding Toothless and the Viking kids riding their own dragons take on the giant dragon and kill the beast. As a result the villagers change their relationships with the dragons and Hiccup and Toothless become heroes.

There was nothing to dislike with this film. The characters were good albeit superficial, the storyline moved on at a reasonable pace – allowing time for Hiccup and Toothless to develop their relationship, but my one gripe was the late introduction to the giant evil dragon. It’s a good family film but certainly not one of the classics that I’d watch over and over again.

Coming soon Part 2 & 3 of the Mini-reviews of films I’ve watched Recently.

Write soon,


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