Tuesday, 22 August 2017

John Wick Chapter 2: Blu Ray Review

John Wick Chapter 2: Blu Ray Review

"Can a man like you ever know peace?"

John Wick: Chapter 2

It's a question posed to Keanu Reeves' titular hero midway through the latest adrenaline-fuelled sequel to the 2014 hit which saw wannabe retired assassin John Wick go on the rampage following the killing of his dog and stealing of his car.

In this second, which ramps up the action sequences by way of very little plot, Wick's looking forward to a quiet life after tying up all the loose ends and offering peace to former nemeses. But when Italian crime lord Santino D'Antonio looks to call in a favour that helped Wick out of the fighting game and Wick refuses, all hell's set loose.

With D'Antonio wanting his sister dispatched and having destroyed Wick's chance of peace, John Wick has no choice but to be pulled back in one last time...

John Wick: Chapter 2 carries quite a strong line of honour and rules in among the world of assassins.

It's a good strong levelling thread that runs throughout that builds to a level of tragedy for Reeves' eponymous hero; there's a tantalising sense of sadness in Reeves' relatively mute turn, as he struggles to leave the world behind he lived in. One scene even literally sees him burying the past before he's thrown back in by others.

John Wick: Chapter 2

If the film's 2 hour run time occasionally feels a little over-paced, it's at the expense of a rather minimalist plot of revenge and betrayal. Though, in many ways, that's exactly what many an action thriller has been fuelled on before.

Once again, the balletic dance of destruction and extremely choreographed fight sequences is well constructed. Unlike other action films of its ilk, this one is content to let long scenes of hand-to-hand combat play out, rather than relying on ADHD, frenetic, choppy editing to flesh it out.

The result is visually thrilling and what you'd expect from a film of this particular genre.

Setting action sequences in white museums or corridors that are splattered with blood sprays are viscerally thrilling this time around. And the final hall of mirrors set showdown crackles with neon and doubt as the action kicks in. But there are other scenes (a casual walkway being the best) which bring an inventiveness to the tired beat-em-up genre.

Equally, director Stahelski's used the visuals of the globe-trotting to expertly set the scenes and build the mythos of Wick and his world.

From smart montages of Wick heading to Italy to get suited up for combat in more ways than one, the script peppers large portions of what transpires with dry humour to make up for a lack of anything more narratively substantial.

John Wick: Chapter 2

As for Reeves, there's a weariness this time around that's relatively infectious and in keeping with Wick's desire to retire. That doesn't mean Reeves is tired in the action sequences, rather that his lack of dialogue gives way to more work behind the eyes to convey mood and state of mind. It's certainly a vicarious thrill to see him share scenes with Laurence Fishburne after so long since they were parted in The Matrix.

The rest of the cast are a strong, if occasionally mixed, bag.

Rose is simply there to kick ass and pout as D' Antonio's mute bodyguard, but she comes across as bland. Common makes a strong case as a foe for Wick early on, but D'Antonio is a hollow baddie used to set wheels in motion than really give a personal sense of Wick's quest for retribution (In fairness, it's the more personal edges that are sorely missed this time around, with betrayal not quite feeling as strong a motive to set the ball in motion). And McShane brings a certain charisma as the hotel head caught up once again in Wick's world.

Ultimately, John Wick: Chapter 2 sets out to kick ass and build on the lore of the assassin known as the Boogeyman - and does so with veritable ease.

It certainly provides the thrills and the action in among the tragedy, but the lack of a personal thrust this time around means at times, the whole thing, while excellently executed, feels a little stiff and starched as it kicks and punches its way through an occasionally over-long 2 hour run time. 

Monday, 21 August 2017

Tomorrow: DVD Review

Tomorrow: DVD Review

It's hard to imagine anyone leaving watching of Melanie Laurent's Tomorrow feeling anything other than inspired.

The doco's galvanising cry is to try and save the planet ahead of us all being wiped off the face of it in a forthcoming extinction event. The film-makers would have us believe that potential demise of the human race is a when not an if, and Laurent's wake up call came when Nature magazine published research into this in June 2012.

So, along with a small crew, they go globe-trotting in a style much like Michael Moore recently espoused in Where to Invade Next to see what ideas could be adopted at a local level and within people's communities to ensure that change comes.

Activists with communal gardens, experts with opinions on how to make a difference and an ease of directorial nous make Tomorrow upbeat and will see it succeed locally with audiences already attuned to the realities of wanting to do more.

Armed with ecological activist Cyril Dion, who does most of the on-screen interviewing, there is no denying the directors have the self-awareness and smarts to realise that audiences are already saturated with pieces trying to make a difference.

So by presenting a wealth of information with a clarity of vision vastly helps the genially presented documentary hit its message home.

It could probably stand to lose a little of its baggier run time toward the end and one senses there was an excess of material available, but by dividing the film up into chapters and keeping each section engaging, as well as injecting proceedings with a blast of humour, the inspiring simplicity of it all is quite simply inspiring.

It would be nice to see some talking heads from the governments tackle some of the reasons why things like major community gardens aren't more readily available and why land can't be freed up for others to use, but Tomorrow goes a long way to presenting solutions rather than just showcasing problems.

One senses it's a people powered documentary and loathe to get bogged down in the endless cycle of denial from the major corporations, but with a weight of evidence piling up, it would have been good to have seen the film-makers had tried to reach out for some reasons. Instead, Tomorrow's more interested in helping start some kind of people fuelled revolution.

From intercropping to better recycling, these are all solutions that are proffered and have proven to have worked in other parts of the world.

That alone is Tomorrow's major difference; a compulsive and compelling desire to show that each person can simply make a difference and Laurent and Dion never lose sight of that agenda.

Granted, there's no denying there's an agenda at heart here, and some may decry the liberal leaning intentions, but given there's also no denying the vastness of the problems being faced, perhaps Tomorrow with its non-didactic and digestible approach is a lot smarter than we all believe.

Sunday, 20 August 2017



Hoping for a kind of Starsky and Hutch remake level of success, the much-misguided 2017 reboot of beloved kitsch cult 80s TV show CHiPs is perhaps one of the worst films of the year.

Shepard plays Baker a former extreme BMXer whose only skill is on the biking front and whose desperate desire is to win back his estranged wife (Shepard's real life partner and Veronica Mars alum Bell). So by signing up to the Californian Highway Patrol, he hopes that the man in uniform will do the trick.

Baker finds himself partnered up with sex-addicted undercover agent Frank 'Ponch' Poncharello (Pena, who demonstrated great flair for comedy in his recent outing to the Marvel Cinematic Universe), who's sent to look into the possibility of five dirty cops in the California region...

CHIPS is, sadly, utterly irredeemable after about 15 minutes in when one single moment sinks the whole film and any degree of good will you may be willing to offer it.

A sequence where Shepard's character is told 'most of the disabled cadets scored much much higher' and that 'disabled folk are doing a ton these days' is utterly repugnant and gives the film an unnecessary meanness and ugliness that's hard to shake throughout.

The film's deep dive as low as it can go continues with talk of the benefits of anilingus and regular bowel movements in among the bickering banter between Ponch and Baker. And while some of the bromance banter hints at the kind of levity we've seen before in films of mismatched partners since time immemorial, CHIPS has nothing new to offer to the genre, nor is it carried out in a manner which displays any level of maturity and any talent for film-making.

Shepard's MO as writer/ director is simply to fill the bits between rote action sequences with as much flaccid dialogue, homophobia and gay panic as he can muster, and sadly even Pena debases himself by obliging with the script. (Though perhaps, the biggest disappointment is why Erik Estrada felt the need to urinate all over his cult love garnered from the TV Series by agreeing to appear in a cameo.)

Replete with a story that's as thinly stretched as roadkill, CHIPS is a slog of a film that rarely fires like it should or reaches any level of meta-smartness that other films of its ilk aim for.

The opening title board claims: "The California Highway Patrol Does not endorse this film. Not at all."

And quite frankly, neither should you. 

Win a copy of Uncharted The Lost Legacy on PS4

Win a copy of Uncharted The Lost Legacy on PS4

From the critically acclaimed developer behind hits such as The Last of Us and Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, comes a thrilling new voyage of high-octane action and pulse-pounding peril.

In order to recover a fabled ancient Indian 
artefact and keep it out of the hands of a ruthless war profiteer, Chloe Frazer must enlist the aid of renowned mercenary Nadine Ross – last seen in Uncharted 4: A Thief's End.

Together, they’ll venture deep into the mountains of India, learn to work together to unearth the mystery of the 
artefact, fight their way through fierce opposition and prevent the region from falling into chaos…
To win a copy of Uncharted: The Lost Legacy thanks to PlayStation NZ, all you have to do is email the first word spoken in the trailer below and your details to this  address: darrensworldofentertainment@gmail.com or CLICK HERE NOW!

Include your name and address and title your email LOST LEGACY!

Competition closes Sept 1st

Good luck!

Win a double pass to see Girls Trip

Win a double pass to see Girls Trip

When four lifelong friends travel to New Orleans for the annual Essence Festival, sisterhoods are rekindled, wild sides are rediscovered, and there’s enough dancing, drinking, brawling and romancing to make the Big Easy blush.

From the producers of (Ride Along)

Starring Regina Hall, Jada Pinkett Smith, Queen Latifah and Tiffany Haddish

In Cinemas August 31

Rating TBC

To win a double pass to see Girls Trip, all you have to do is email below and your details to this  address: darrensworldofentertainment@gmail.com or CLICK HERE NOW!

Include your name and address and title your email GIRLS TRIP!
Competition closes Sept 1st

Good luck!

Saturday, 19 August 2017

Alone in Berlin: DVD Review

Alone in Berlin: DVD Review

The pen tries to be mightier than the sword in this war film that looks at the quiet more passive side of resistance.

In 1940s Berlin, Gleeson and Thompson are Anna and Otto Quangel, whose German lives are irrevocably changed when they receive word their son has been killed in combat.
The working class family is, obviously, shattered and Otto decides to take action, losing faith in the Fuhrer and the war which has robbed them of so much.

So, picking out postcards and lacing them with anti-propaganda messages, Otto starts leaving them in prominent parts of Berlin, hoping to instil a sense of revolution in the downtrodden working classes.

While he manages to persuade his wife to join the cause, the campaign gets the notice of the German authorities who dispatch an inspector (the ever reliable Daniel Bruhl) to try and quash the seeds of rebellion before they gain any light.

Alone in Berlin is blessed with a pair of quiet and unassuming leads that skirt around the prestige edges of the film.
But it lacks a palpable sense of tension to really ramp things up as former actor Perez guides the film through its workmanlike touches.

There is power in some of the language used within, and there's certainly a degree of thoughtfulness which has gone into the script and its debate and discussion over the wearying costs of war.

And despite the work of Bruhl, the film never really ignites in perhaps the way you'd expect as it moves from one sequence to the next. A forlorn Thompson, a harried looking Gleeson, great shots of period detail which are evocative - the elements are all there, ready for the lighting, but it never quite catches.

Alone in Berlin's sedentary pace is staved off by some of the lush orchestral score which passes through the film and gives it the feeling of something simmering.

It's perhaps more noteable for its philosophical edges - Gleeson asks "What more can a man donate other than his child?" to the war effort, and the pangs of loss are certainly felt.

Alone in Berlin's power lies more in the resistance of words, and the seeds of revolution rather than playing out the direct consequences of those actions. And, as a result, the film feels rather muted in its execution.

Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus – Double the Firepower

Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus – Double the Firepower

For BJ Blascowicz, taking back the world from the grip of the evil Nazi regime was never going to be easy. But to complicate matters, the bad guys you’ll be taking on in Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus have learned a thing or two and are tougher than ever. 

For example, the lumbering SuperSoldat, who debuted in Wolfenstein: The New Order, can now charge toward the player. Then there are powerful new adversaries, like the fast-moving, laser-shooting, wall-clinging UberSoldat cyborgs.

Luckily, there is a new and returning arsenal of weapons to help you fight back. For more details on BJ’s formidable firepower – including his new ability to freely dual-wield his diverse collection of big guns and brutal, new melee weapon – check out our latest video, with exclusive insights straight from the developers

“What we love about Wolfenstein are the heavy weapons and that over-the-top crazy combat,” says Executive Producer Jerk Gustafsson. “We have focused a lot on freedom – on the ability to move around and control yourself in combat. And a part of that is to allow the player to freely dual-wield weapons in any combination as well.”

Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus releases on October 27, 2017, on Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC. Winner of more than 100 awards at E3 2017, Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus also received four nominations from the official E3 Game Critics Awards (including Best of Show) and won Best Action Game.

The Evil Within 2 | New Trailer Released - The Twisted, Deadly Photographer

The Evil Within 2 | New Trailer Released - The Twisted, Deadly Photographer


We’ve just released a new trailer for The Evil Within 2. Not only will Sebastian have to contend with the myriad horrific creatures waiting for him in The Evil Within 2, he’ll also have to deal with the human “monsters” who have made their way into the new STEM world. Wretched creatures like Stefano Valentini, an artist with dark proclivities and unbounded imagination. You’ll see examples of his work scattered throughout Union – from grisly photographs of his victims, to the “moment of death” tableaus he creates, capturing the last seconds of a person’s life in a tangible, looping scene. Learn more about the man behind the art in the latest trailer for The Evil Within 2

After losing his eye in an explosion during his time as a war photographer, Stefano rapidly descended into madness. His newfound “vision” drove him to become fascinated by the precise instant when death takes a person – that split second in time when people are, in his opinion, at their most open and most beautiful. Stefano returned home from the war with a newfound purpose. But he wouldn’t wait for these perfect moments to arise on their own. Why should he, when he could orchestrate those final breaths? One victim became two, and soon enough he had become a serial killer, photographing each of his victims’ faces at the exact moment of their demise.

But the real world could never appreciate his talents. Stefano was hunted, until he found himself in this STEM world – a world of “pure creation.” A world he could shape to suit his own desires. And Lily is the key to unlocking the potential of this world.

And he’s not alone in his endeavors. Born from an untethered and immoral imagination and sculpted from blood and bone and flesh, Obscura is one of Stefano’s greatest masterpieces. Somewhere inside of Obscura is a story from another life, long before Stefano ever even learned of the existence of STEM – a story you’ll have to uncover for yourself as you explore Union and discover more about the twisted artist behind some of the horrors hunting you.

The Evil Within 2 will launch worldwide Friday the 13th, October 2017 on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. For more information about the game, visit www.TheEvilWithin.com.


Epic Story Trailer Releases Today, Four More Characters Added
and Game Mode Details Shared

Sydney, 18th August 2017 - Capcom, a leading worldwide developer and publisher of video games, today released an all-new cinematic trailer that highlights never-before-seen elements of the story mode experience featured in MARVEL VS. CAPCOM®: INFINITE. The action-packed trailer expands upon the key plot points, with heroes from both universes coming together in an attempt to stop Ultron Sigma from infecting all biological life in the newly merged Marvel and Capcom worlds.

More playable characters in MARVEL VS. CAPCOM: INFINITE have been recently confirmed, including Jedah, Dormammu, Firebrand, and Ghost Rider. Additional information and gameplay details on these four characters will be available next week, in conjunction with the Gamescom event in Cologne, Germany. These newly added characters bring the final roster at launch up to 30 characters, with more post launch characters to be revealed in the future.

MARVEL VS. CAPCOM: INFINITE will provide memorable experiences and infinite gameplay possibilities for players of all skill levels. The next evolution of the popular action-fighting series will arrive action-packed at launch, with a variety of accessible single player and multiplayer offerings including the below.

Offline Modes and Features:
  • Story – puts players at the center of a fierce battle as heroes from both universes come together to stop Ultron Sigma, the combined form of two robotic villains.
  • Arcade – recreates the classic arcade experience. Keep winning to move forward and confront the final boss in an epic showdown of skills.
  • Mission – players can do various tutorial missions, or try their hand at advanced character-specific challenges.
  • Training – set up a training area with various parameters and hone skills to improve fighting abilities.
  • Vs. Player 2 – go head-to-head against another player locally.
  • Vs. CPU – play solo against an AI-controlled opponent.
  • Collection – the Dr. Light Database contains numerous unlockable items, including cut scenes from the story mode, character/stage information, concept artwork and character/stage audio tracks.

Online Modes and Features:
  • Ranked Match – battle other players online to advance in the rankings.
  • Casual Match – battle other players online without the results affecting the rankings.
  • Beginners League – a special league fought between players of Rank 14 or lower.
  • Lobby – search for or create a lobby where up to 8 players can engage in simultaneous player-vs-player matches.
  • Rankings – view the rankings of players from all over the world.
  • Replay Settings – configure replay settings and view replays.

All of the action in MARVEL VS. CAPCOM: INFINITE takes place in new but familiar settings, as famous locations from the Marvel and Capcom universes fuse together as part of Ultron Sigma’s nefarious plot. Imagined and created through a shared vision between the two companies, the game will feature free-form 2v2 team battles and the ability to harness the power of one of six game-changing Infinity Stones, further deepening the customized gameplay by allowing players to equip and unleash elemental in-game powers during battle.

MARVEL VS. CAPCOM: INFINITE will simultaneously release on the PlayStation® 4 computer entertainment system, Xbox One® systems and Windows PC on September 19, 2017.

Dishonored: Death of the Outsider - Who Is Billie Lurk?

Dishonored: Death of the Outsider - Who Is Billie Lurk?

Dishonored: Death of the Outsider - Who Is Billie Lurk?

From her presence at the political assassination of Empress Jessamine Kaldwin – the inciting incident that launched the Dishonored series – to her role as Daud’s right hand in The Knife of Dunwall and The Brigmore Witches DLC, to her star turn as the Dreadful Wale’s captain in Dishonored 2, Billie Lurk has played a big part in the Dishonored series. And now she’s playable for the first time as the protagonist in the standalone Death of the Outsider

Learn more about legendary assassin Billie Lurk – including her background, her motivations and her new powers – in our latest video, featuring new gameplay and insights from Arkane Studios Creative Director Harvey Smith.

“Billie Lurk is one of my favourite characters,” Smith says. “Players have asked about her over and over. People really like Billie Lurk.” 

If you’re a long-time Dishonored fan, you’ll understand why. But don’t worry – if you’re new to the series, Death of the Outsider also tells a discrete story with a world-changing mission and new abilities for players to explore. With Arkane Studios’ signature style, you can once again be as bloodthirsty – or as merciful – as you like, as you take on Billie Lurk’s final job: eliminating the supernatural, god-like figure who’s been at the centre of the events that have embroiled the Empire of the Isles.

Dishonored: Death of the Outsider releases on September 15, 2017, on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC.

Friday, 18 August 2017

Annabelle: Creation: Film Review

Annabelle: Creation: Film Review

Cast: Anthony LaPaglia, Miranda Otto, Stephanie Sigman, Lulu Wilson, Talitha Bateman, That bloody creepy doll
Director: David Sandberg

There's just something inherently creepy about dolls.
Annabelle: Creation: Film Review

Ask Chucky, and now ask Annabelle, the doll given life in the first Conjuring movie and unleashed into a prequel here by the director of the muchly impressive jump-fest Lights Out.

This prequel concentrates on the birth of Annabelle and on that front, it's rather tame.
Opening with Anthony LaPaglia's dollmaker Samuel Mullins sitting among doll body parts in a shed in the 1940s, like a bizarre kindly serial killer cum Gepetto, the doll is made and placed in a box with little to no fuss.

A little while later, during an innocent moment, Mullins and his wife (Miranda Otto) lose their daughter to tragedy and retreat in their isolated home to grieve.
Jumping a few years later, the Mullins open up their home to a busload of orphan girls and their guardian Sister (played by Spectre's Stephanie Sigman), giving them a place to grow up.

One, a polio-riddled kid called Janice (played with equal parts warmth and equal parts terror by Talitha Bateman) is an outsider from the group. In an homage to Rear Window, her life gets worse when she stumbles into a locked room and meets the doll...
Annabelle: Creation: Film Review

Annabelle: Creation gets great truck from its creepy atmospherics, orchestrated to perfection by Sandberg, who delivers long drawn-out shots of freaky looking corridors, swamped in darkness and with ominous touches clearly present.

Smartly, Sandberg realises the ultimate reveal of the demon is a bit of a waste of time, and wisely confines his scares to moments within the house, long-drawn out scenes and lingering camera shots which simply focus on the expressionless eyes of the totally menacing doll.

Great manipulations of the use of sound also helps Annabelle: Creation achieve a spooky and sinister soundscape, even when things get silly around the protagonists. And while the idea of innocent children being repeatedly menaced isn't exactly new territory, Sandberg gets good mileage out of retreading familiar ground and making it appear fresh.

LaPaglia gives great mournful edges as the bereaved Mullins, Otto is slightly wasted; but the star of the film is 11 year old actress Lulu Wilson, who impresses mightily as Janice's lifelong orphan BFF with an assured turn that cements the extremely solid work she did in Ouija: Origin of Evil.
Annabelle: Creation: Film Review

Even when the story becomes cliched and lapses into the trademark horror tropes of people doing intensely dumb things, Annabelle Creation works a suspenseful and smartly executed horror which never loses sight of what it wants to achieve.

Deeping the Creepy Conjuring Cinematic Universe, Annabelle Creation is a thoroughly solid chiller that rarely resorts to cheap tricks to frighten its audience but delivers exactly what they'd want and expect from a film of its ilk.

Thursday, 17 August 2017

The Trip to Spain: Film Review

The Trip to Spain: Film Review

Cast: Steve Coogan, Rob Brydon
Director: Michael Winterbottom

Returning for a third helping that's more Quixote than quixotic, The Trip To Spain just about manages to stay on the right side of not being irritating.

The Trip to Spain: Film Review  

Once again culled from the six part TV UK series, which aired on satellite rather than free-to-air broadcasting, and spun off from the first Trip which aired in 2010,  the film follows an exaggerated version of Steve and Rob as they travel around Spain, taking in restaurants and trying to one-up each other along the way.

This time with Coogan hitting 50 and Brydon struggling with two young kids, there's very much a feeling of desperation in the air as the duo head round the sumptuously shot Spanish countryside. With Winterbottom's sweeping scenic vistas providing the eye-watering backdrop, it's down to the relationship between the two to provide the meat in this meal - and they certainly don't disappoint.

There's a definite feeling of ennui between the pair given their collective point in their lives.

The Trip to Spain: Film Review
Coogan is teetering on irrelevance in many ways, looking to still capitalise on the Oscar success of Philomena by injecting it into every conversation much to Brydon's annoyance; and Brydon's continual pushing of his impressions as every point borders on irritating in the extreme, a reminder that not all travelling partners are welcome.

With Don Quixote and Sancho Panza figuring into proceedings, there's a feeling that you're never quite sure why these two are friends anymore, and both play their roles well, with Coogan's irritability and frustrations being perhaps the saddest of the two. Struggling with past feelings, current career worries and future loneliness, Coogan's exasperation is palpable, and while there are moments that you feel he's being unnecessarily dismissive to Brydon, there's the fact this examination of a close friendship cuts to the quick where it needs to.

Granted, there's the obligatory Michael Caine moments, but it's the scenes where the duo are trying to out-impersonate Mick Jagger and the competitiveness between them over Roger Moore when they're joined by two women for a meal that speak the loudest to what Winterbottom's showcasing here. It may be a Tourettes of impressions at times but what it demonstrates is that niggling pushing and pulling between friends as well as showcasing of insecurities that come later in life to some. Less men behaving badly, more men behaving sadly, the midlife existential crisis has never been so scathing and fascinating to view.
The Trip to Spain: Film Review

Shorn of the excesses and stultifying rhythms of the TV version, the tighter film, with its more caustic edges and very funny moments proves that it's still a trip worth taking. Just.

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Win a double pass to see Terminator 2 3D

Win a double pass to see Terminator 2 3D

He said he'd be back and now he is!

It has been 10 years since the events of the Terminator. Sarah Connor's ordeal is only just beginning as she struggles to protect her son John, the future leader of the human resistance against the machines, from a new Terminator, send back in time to eliminate John Connor while he's still a child.

Sarah and John don't have to face this terrifying threat alone however. The human resistance have managed to send them an ally, a warrior from the future ordered to protect John Connor at any cost.

The battle for tomorrow has begun...

The film’s in cinemas on August 24 for one week only , so grab your clothes, your boots and your motorcycle and get to the cinemas!

To win a double pass, all you have to do is enter simply email your details to this  address: darrensworldofentertainment@gmail.com or CLICK HERE NOW!

Include your name and address and title your email ARNIE!
Competition closes August 24th

Good luck!

The Eagle Huntress: DVD Review

The Eagle Huntress: DVD Review

Blasting as much female empowerment as it's allowed and with a closing track from Sia with the refrain You Can Do Anything, The Eagle Huntress comes dangerously closing to over-egging its cinematic pudding.

But thankfully, the simplicity of execution for this story helps it soar as highly into the skies as one of the titular birds the cameras are following.

It's the story of 13-year-old nomadic Mongolian Aisholpan, who's determined to smash centuries of patriarchy and tradition that dictates women can't be eagle huntresses, as it's the sole domain and right of the men.

However, Aisholpan is a falconry prodigy and despite her always smiling, red-faced exterior, she's determined to ensure she follows her heart and dream.

Thankfully, with a tremendously supportive father, the pair set out across the remote Altai Mountains to achieve their goal. First, it entails Aisholpan getting her own bird, then taking part in the eagle festival and finally off out into the wintry plains to hunt.

Through the traditional coming-of-age tale that unfolds, director Otto Bell's managed to craft something that looks spectacular and cries out to be seen on the biggest screen possible.
Mountain vistas and the barrenness of the world inhabited by Aisholpan and her father make for eye-popping visuals.

There's more to this simple tale though than just pigtails and pluck.

The chubby faced Aisholpan embodies a spirit that's facilitated to shine on the screen, and it's easy to see why the likes of Morgan Spurlock and Star Wars' Daisy Ridley are involved with this tale - it screams empowerment as its simple MO.

There's little in-depth interviewing of the family, Bell's camera is simply there to capture the moments and transpose them to Western worlds unaware of a life lived. There's little intimacy, but Bell hilariously and simultaneously decries the decades-old detractors, determined to dwindle Aisholpan's flame. Showing scenes of her school friends engaged and excited by the prospect of her break-out adds elements to the innocent 13-year-old's journey but doesn't deify it; this is a kid who not once loses her charm and sweetness as the path to destiny is trod.

Blessed with beautiful cutaways, and literal eagle eye views, The Eagle Huntress is hypnotizing in its simplicity, but what shines through is not what you'd expect.

For in among the traditional coming of age triumphs as Aisholpan innocently decimates the decades-old way of doing things, emerges as tender a portrait of a father- daughter relationship as has ever been committed to celluloid. Bell's eye for the more intimate moments between the two speaks more to the familial bond, than it does to the bird or the tension of competition.

And while you could level claims of the film lacking bite in parts, the lingering image of a father and daughter trekking on horseback together, along with brief moments of Aisholpan's father's fears speak more loudly than any eagle's cry ever could or do. 

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Win a double pass to see American Made

Win a double pass to see American Made

In Universal Pictures’ American Made, Tom Cruise reunites with his Edge of Tomorrow director, Doug Liman, in this international escapade based on the outrageous (and real) exploits of Barry Seal, a hustler and pilot unexpectedly recruited by the CIA to run one of the biggest covert operations in U.S. history.

American Made is produced by Imagine Entertainment’s Academy Award ® -winning producer Brian Grazer (A Beautiful Mind), Cross Creek Pictures’ Brian Oliver (Black Swan) and Tyler Thompson (Everest), Quadrant Pictures’ Doug Davison (The Departed), and Kim Roth (Inside Man).

American Made releases in New Zealand August 24, 2017.

To win a double pass, all you have to do is enter simply email your details to this  address: darrensworldofentertainment@gmail.com or CLICK HERE NOW!

Include your name and address and title your email CRUISE!
Competition closes August 28th

Good luck!

Win a double pass to see An Inconvenient Sequel

Win a double pass to see An Inconvenient Sequel

A decade after AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH brought climate change into the heart of popular culture, comes the riveting and rousing follow-up that shows just how close we are to a real energy revolution.

Vice President Al Gore continues his tireless fight traveling around the world training an army of climate champions and influencing international climate policy.

Cameras follow him behind the scenes – in moments both private and public, funny and poignant -- as he pursues the inspirational idea that while the stakes have never been higher, the perils of climate change can be overcome with human ingenuity and passion.

An Inconvenient Sequel releases August 24, 2017

To win a double pass all you have to do is enter simply email your details to this  address: darrensworldofentertainment@gmail.com or CLICK HERE NOW!

Include your name and address and title your email GORE!
Competition closes August 28th

Good luck!

Enjoy 15 Months of PlayStation®Plus when Purchasing a 12 Month Membership from PlayStation®Store

Tuesday 15 
August, 2017

Media Alert: Enjoy 15 Months of PlayStation®Plus when Purchasing a 12 Month Membership from PlayStation®Store

Available to all Players Including Current PlayStation®Plus Members

Auckland, New Zealand, 15th August, 2017: Sony Interactive Entertainment Europe (SIEE) has announced that Players can receive and enjoy 15 months of PlayStation®Plus when purchasing a 12 month membership from PlayStation™Store.
The current annual fee for the 12 month membership of PlayStation®Plus is NZD $89.95.

The offer is open to all Players including current PlayStation Plus members and available until 9 PM NZST on Tuesday, 29th August only from PlayStation Store.

With a PlayStation Plus membership, Players can enjoy PlayStation®4 online multiplayer, two PlayStation 4 games each month, new PlayLink social party game That’s You! as a bonus game until 25th October, exclusive discounts and 10GB of online storage for game saves.

Kong Skull Island: Blu Ray Review

Kong Skull Island: Blu Ray Review

Kong may be King of all he surveys, but in this mesh-up of Apocalypse Now and The Land That Time Forgot, his human counterparts are a little wanting.
Kong Skull Island

But that's not to detract from the spectacle of the mega-monster's return in this fantasy film so reminiscent of the past.

As the new franchises start to emerge, a Monsterverse is being set up and it's this latest which reintroduces the beastie last seen ploughing down Auckland's streets under Sir Peter Jackson's watch.

Starting off over the South Pacific in the dying days of the Second World War and then zipping forward to 1973, the story's thrust centres around an expedition to a mysterious Pacific Atoll known as Skull Island. Headed up by John Goodman's government agent Bill Randa, and made up of a ragtag bunch including a former SASer turned mercenary (Hiddleston, complete with piercing blue eyes), a photo-journalist (Larson), a bunch of scientists (including The Walking Dead and 24: Legacy star Corey Hawkins) and a bunch of just-out-of-Vietnam grunts, headed up by Samuel L Jackson's jaded-after-years-of-war-and-lacking-a-purpose Colonel Packard, the gang set off.

However, upon arrival at the Island, they're attacked by Kong, the protector of the world.

Smashed to pieces, the group's split asunder and finding themselves separated in a jungle environment and with different creatures all around threatening them, the race is on to get to the extraction point alive.

Kong Skull Island

But, it soon transpires Kong is not the only threat on the island...

Kong Skull Island is, in effect, a generically pulpy trash monster-bash of a movie.

Its B-movie ethos is redolent of the old Saturday morning matinee screenings, where stars would slum it to be seen next to the creatures and the mass audiences who'd lap the pulpy trappings up.

In fact, the film's A-listers simply do no more than find themselves lined up as prey in a kind of brutal meshing of The Land That Time Forgot and Apocalypse Now in Kong Skull Island.

And much like those films, where despite Doug McClure's acting chops, the creatures and the FX were the stars; and depressingly, with Kong Skull Island, that's the same here.

Once again, a rote collection of humans, with scant character thrown in amongst an ethnically diverse bunch (for which Kong Skull Island gets a thumbs up) are proffered up to be fodder for the creatures, and we're supposed to care thanks to a modicum of interaction.
Kong Skull IslandEssentially, the movie slows when they have to escape the island, with tantalising bits thrown in simply for set up. The worst is Jing Tian's scientist who says very little and is clearly there to tick some kind of box for Chinese box office. Even Hiddleston's clearly-modelled-on-Nathan-Drake mercenary reveals that his father went missing over Hamburg in a desperate ploy to set up a dangling thread for future films. Larson fares equally badly, and while she doesn't exactly go full Fay Wray, her character's clearly wanting. As the film goes on, it's clear the director's more interested in visuals and positions the characters in stock shots that feel ripped from a storyboard or an art book.

More successful is the arc afforded to John C Reilly's hirsute lost-in-time pilot, whose quirks in the trailer belie a deeply resonant emotional story that's worth the price of admission alone. There's a large case to state that Reilly is actually the lead of this film without a shadow of a doubt.

Equally, Samuel L Jackson's Colonel, a soldier without a war, but looking for an enemy is an alternate take on Apocalypse Now's Colonel Kurtz, that's as daffy as the preponderance of director Vogt-Roberts' over-reliance on slow-mo helicopter shots and 70s soundtrack that could be a Vietnam movie's greatest hits. (It's ok, we get it - you've seen Apocalypse Now and are rather fond of it)

Kong Skull Island

The film's at its dumb and derivative best when it doesn't monkey around and when its titular monster is on screen, battling either the human invaders (though admittedly, it's no competition) or fighting to protect the other creatures from the beasts that lie below. Kong's CGI is an impressively solid piece of work, with the ILM team preferring to concentrate on the scale and scope of the beast and a few facials, rather than the full range of emotions. And some sequences of Kong against the backgrounds really do shine, a testament to both the effortless melding of CGI and atmosphere.

It's here the sound and fury of the film builds on its B-movie aspirations and while it's clear this is Legendary Pictures' push for a franchise (with a Kong Godzilla pic in the works), if future films are to be successful, they need to do more work on the human elements of the film or abandon that and just fully embrace the monsters-fighting-each-other premise.