Airplane! – Review

They don’t make them like they used to.

Airplane! Is one of those movies I’ve seen bits and pieces of but I’ve never sat down to watch the whole thing. Boy am I glad I did! There are very few jokes in this movie that don’t hit. It’s a simple but enjoyable story filled with slapstick humour that would probably not go down too well in this day and age.

The film spoofs other movies like Zero Hour (mostly), Jaws and Saturday Night Fever. Written and Directed by the Zucker Brothers (known for other comedies like The Naked Gun and Top Secret) as well as Jim Abrahams.

The comedic timing is the star in this film. Majority of the time, comedies don’t tend to go to heavily on the visuals, its the script and the actors delivering the lines.

I feel that the comedy in this movie stands the test of time while a lot of the visual comedy serves as a bit of a time capsule for things that were pretty standard in those days – you have to understand, this film is almost 40 years old.

There’s not much else I can say about this movie other than praise it. It’s a simple irreverent comedy that is great when you want to watch something without thinking too much. If you haven’t seen this 1980 film, I suggest you give this a go (in Australia and New Zealand, the film was released as ‘Flying High!’).

5 Stars

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Dredd – DVD Review

Karl Urban is Dredd.

Just needed to get that out of the way. Sylvester Stallone has nothing on Urban. This film was so simple but so frickin’ effective the visuals are stunning the acting from the three leads is perfect and comic book movies just keep getting better and better. Dredd was by far one of my favourite movies last year and now its on DVD so I can watch it again.

Set in Mega City One the story revolves around Judge Dredd, a law enforcer who has the power of Judge, Jury and Executioner and a young psychic rookie, Judge Cassandra Anderson. The pair are called to Peach Trees, a 200-storey slum ruled by Ma-Ma a drug lord who is responsible for the creation and distribution of new recreational drug Slo-Mo. When Ma-Ma finds out she has judges in her tower she orders a lockdown and tells the citizens she rules over to take the judges down or get out of the way, and so begins the fight to the top of the building for Judge Dredd and Judge Anderson.

With a plot line and main objective so clean cut and simple, the 95-minute film has plenty of time to have awesome fire-fights (and I do mean fire-fights), a little bit of back story (though none would suffice), and just the right amount of character development from both Dredd (Karl Urban) and Anderson (Olivia Thirlby). Lena Headey plays the drug-addled and psychotic Ma-Ma perfectly.

Stunning visual effects, near flawless acting, and enough explosions and gunfire to make any guy’s day. Dredd is the perfect man-movie.

5 Stars

Dredd will be out on DVD March 13

The Avengers – Review

What can I really say about The Avengers? Joss Whedon has directed a possible contender for movie of the year? I could say that. The Avenger’s truly is the ultimate Super-Hero film? I could say that too. Hell I’ve even heared people say it was better than Batman… The truth is Marvel’s The Avengers is absoultely, 100%, with out a single itty-bitty shadow of a doubt one of the greatest movies I’ve ever seen. You might say; “Thats a bold claim Nick, how can you really say that?” Well I can confidently say that because I have only been seen a handful of movies that I have walked out of and thought, ‘I wouldn’t change a thing’. The Avengers is one of them. It had everything I was expecting and more and I would not change one single thing about it. Joss Whedon has really raised the bar in Super-Hero films. I might even say; “Watch out Nolan”.

S.H.I.E.L.D. (the Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division in the Marvel Cinematic Universe) has the Tesseract, the glowing blue cube as seen in Captain America. During a routine inspection by S.H.I.E.L.D. Director Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), a visitor from a strange world arives through a gate way created by the Tesseract, that visitor… is Loki Laufeyson (Tom Hiddleston). After an attack on the S.H.I.E.L.D. base, Loki makes off with the Tessract and some S.H.I.E.L.D. agents he has mind-controlled. He intends to hand over the Tesseract to the Chitauri and claim the Earth as his payment. Nick Fury will have none of that… AVENGERS ASSEMBLE!

Captain America – Steve Rogers (Chris Evans): The World War two veteran who was frozen in the arctict circle for about 70 years is back with a new suit and a new vision of the world. He’s dissapointed at what the world has become but still believes in the same ideals that America stood for during the War. Evans contiues to play the valliant Captain America very well, he has accepted that he is in the future and can’t go back and he is trying ever so hard to enbrace it… but it is difficult.

Iron Man – Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.): Tony Stark has a few new surprises in his suit this time around but it’s his quick wit agian that steels the spotlight. Downey Jr. and Whedon are a match made in heaven!

Thor Odinson (Chris Hemsworth): The god of thunder is sent by his father to put a stop to Loki and his plans. Once again, on of my favourite characters of the franchise does not dissapoint. Although out of the team he gets probably the least screen time (not by much though), Thor has a fantastic presence in the team and seems to be the target of many jokes.

The Hulk – Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo): Last played by Edward Norton in the film The Incredible Hulk, Ruffalo’s Banner is a very interesting character played very well. Ruffalo captures the bumbling scientist and tortured soul that is Bruce Banner in a way that the other actors of the role in the last few films (Eric Bana and Norton) havn’t been able to pull off. I wa very worried about having the Hulk on the team but I am convinced that it was a good choice… and I will say… the Hulk definately does, SMASH!

Black Widow – Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson): Joss Whedon loves his strong female characters and Black Widow is definatley one of them! We see a little more of her bad ass skill that we got a glimpse of in Iron Man 2 as well as her sexy demenor and a little of her back story involving her run ins with S.H.I.E.L.D. and their most  loyal (?) agent, Hawkeye.

Hawkeye – Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner): No need for that purple cowl, Hawkeye in this film proves that rangas can be bad ass! I have read articles that his shooting (with a bow and arrow) style is competely wrong but who cares? It’s a movie guys… serioulsy. I have to say I loved this character and I’d really like to see a spin off film in the next Avengers phase (see Cinema Forecast Week 16 & 17) to focus on the back story between Black Widow and Hawkeye. Even just a short would be good.

Secondary Cast members include Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, Colbie Smulders as Maria Hill, Stellan Skarsgård as Erik Selvig, Clark Gregg as Phil Coulson and Gwenyth Paltrow as Pepper Potts.

It is so good to see such a huge cast all get enough screen time, this was my main concern going in to the film am I going to see Iron Man and Captain America hog the spotlight. But I didn’t and that is part of what made the film so damn good. You really felt like there was a team forming here and although the heroes had their differences, believe me the whole first act highlights this, when the Avengers assemble… my god is it worth it.

Technical Points: The film was converted in post in to 3D but to be honest… it’s not half bad. It’s your choice weather to see it in 3D or not seeing it in standard (2D) wont take anything away from the amazing film that it is. It brings a new maening to the Hero’s Journey (i’m calling it the Heroes’ Journey now) it keeps it simple with a fantastically developed 3 act-structure, which alot of films try to muck around with. Joss Whedon is brilliant at what he writes and directs and I would definately say that it’s the simplicity of the film that gave it the freedom that it needed. Everything is explained but I would recommend seeing the films in the franchise at least once first. Just so you get a scope of whats going on and where they’re up to in the story.

The Avengers is the perfect balance of action and comedy that the Super-Hero films of today have needed. It’s not meant to be completely serious… the films are based on comic books, I mean it works for Batman, but who says saving the world from aliens can’t be fun as well as deadly serious. Joss Whedon really does leave his mark on the franchise (in more ways than one) and the producers of the film have an option open for Joss to return to do The Avengers sequel in probably 2015 or 2016 (my estimate: based on the way the films are looking – Thor 2 and Iron Man 3 in 2013 & Captain America sequel in 2014). This is a film I would see again in a heart beat. It’s action-packed, funny, exciting, and a little bit sad. A true cinema expierence!

5 Stars

The Avengers is in Cinemas in Australia now. In the US, it opens on May 4th.

Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back – Review

Episode V

THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK

It is a dark time for the Rebellion. Although the Death Star has been destroyed, Imperial troops have driven the Rebel forces from their hidden base and pursued them across the galaxy. Evading the dreaded Imperial Starfleet, a group of freedom fighters led by Luke Skywalker has established a new secret base on the remote ice world of Hoth. The evil lord Darth Vader, obsessed with finding young Skywalker, has dispatched thousands of remote probes into the far reaches of space….

The Empire Strikes Back is the sequel to Star Wars (Now titled “Episode IV – A New Hope”), it tells the continuing saga of the rebel alliance’s fight against the evil galactic empire. The story centres around a young Jedi Padawan, Luke Skywalker, in search of further training (after his mentor Obi Wan Kenobi died) and the ability to become a full Jedi Knight; Han Solo, a smuggler turned fighter for the alliance along with his Wookie co-pilot, Chewbacca; and Princess Leia the princess (and one of the last of her people) of the destroyed Alderaan.

This 1980 film was the highest grossing of the year and the third highest of the decade. The Empire Strikes Back followed the main characters three years after their first win over the Empire, the rebels are on the run from the clutches of Darth Vader and things are starting to become dire. Luke is told by his former mentor to go in search of a great and powerful Jedi, Yoda. While Luke receives training from the Jedi Master, his friends are chased by the Empire to Cloud City where they are cornered and Han Solo is handed over to Jabba The Hutt as a prisoner. Luke interrupts his training and travels to the city to save his friends, there he must confront Darth Vader, the murderer of his father Anakin Skywalker… or was he?

This is probably the best Star Wars film in the series it has all the action, romance, comedy, suspense and more that you’d be after in a Blockbuster. It also ends differently to most movies… everything goes to shit, something that really never happened in film back then. It served as a fantastic cliffhanger for Return Of The Jedi.

5 Stars

To finish this review I give you the only possible way to make The Empire Strikes Back more enjoyable… a trailer of the movie with the music of Inception!