Thursday, 31 October 2013

Thor: The Dark World: Movie Review

Thor: The Dark World: Movie Review

Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Natalie Portman, Anthony Hopkins, Christopher Eccleston, Idris Elba, Kat Dennings
Director: Alan Taylor

So, the Marvel juggernaut keeps on going.

With Captain America - The Winter Soldier due next year and another Avengers film, The Age of Ultron, on the way, it seems like the universe is somewhat overflowing with these flicks.

But it's pleasing to report that the shadow and after effects of The Avengers are still hanging over this, giving the feel that there's some kind of ongoing plan for the franchise. Whereas New York's mopping up after the antics of the Chitauri, Loki's behaviour's caused ructions in the nine realms and in Asgard, with Chris Hemsworth's Thor thrown into the mix to try and re-unite the warring factions at his father Odin's behest.

However, the mallet man's heart isn't fully in it, with thoughts turning to Natalie Portman's Jane Foster who's back on Earth and struggling with the same affliction.

But when Jane accidentally finds herself infected with a mysterious substance known as the Aether, she inadvertently awakens a long-buried threat, believed vanquished from within Asgard itself - the Dark Elves, headed up by the revenge-seeking Malekith (Christopher Eccleston)..... is it time for Asgard to fall?

Thor: The Dark World is a darker, grittier film than the first, but it becomes a little weighed down by some of its own intentions and a myriad of ideas.

There's such a mix of themes and motifs here that the whole thing feels tonally choppy in places as it shifts from one to the next, juggling way too many narrative balls in the air, and trying desperately to drop none of them.

It starts with a grand almost Game of Thrones / Lord of the Rings-esque prologue that details the ancient war between the Dark Elves (with their impassive white mask faces) and the Gods before shifting focus onto Tom Hiddleston's reptilian Loki, then onto Thor's attempts to quell the Nine Realms' discord before settling into some comedy scientist hijinks, led by Kat Dennings' Darcy, whose role is severely comically expanded this time around. Add into that mix, some gut-wrenchingly emotional moments in the second act of the film which are almost derailed by the sudden tonal shift,  a sub-plot hinting at romantic tensions between Thor, Jaimie Alexander's Sif and Jane Foster which is dropped mid-way through, a 9/11 style attack on Asgard, some sci-fi MacGuffins as well as a rather neatly and abrupt conclusion and the piece, while blockbuster in every sense of the word, feels a little like a mixed narrative journey. (Albeit, an enjoyable one if you're prepared to overlook all of these things.) For example - A great sequence involving a truly moving Viking burial barely has time to settle before Taylor's back to the comedy elements - it may work for the end of a comic book and the start of a next chapter, but on screen, it jars.

In terms of character, Hemsworth's adopted the rather stilted and stuffy tone for Thor, playing his fish out of water ways for laughs (a great scene sees him hanging up Mjolnir at a house the same way one does a coat); but his interaction / love interest with Portman's Jane is a little lacking this time around, with their onscreen time cut dramatically and their relationship suffering because of it. Equally, Eccleston's Malekith suffers in the shadow of the snakelike Loki, brilliantly portrayed by Hiddleston once again. While Eccleston brings the grim determination and vengeful might, there's little dimension or depth to his baddie, with the final showdown lacking the weight you'd expect. Meanwhile, Hiddleston provides much more nuance and layers to Loki this time around, turning a villain of the piece into something more Machiavellian than you'd have expected as the brotherly bonds of love and grief are played out.

That said, the epic feel and sense and scale of Thor 2: The Dark World, coupled with some measured and impressive action sequences and some top notch FX work, make it a film for the masses and a flick which ensures Marvel's still on the top of its genre game.

Ultimately though, if the Thor franchise wants to grow and continue, maybe some of the myriad of elements need to be taken out of the mix to help the story and characters breathe - before they risk becoming too one note and tired.

(Oh, and make sure you stick around for the credits - there are two post credit scenes in Thor: The Dark World....)


Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Brand new Wolf of Wall Street trailer is here

Brand new Wolf of Wall Street trailer is here

Hot off the presses, here is the brand new Wolf of Wall Street trailer for you to enjoy!

Official movie trailer #2 in HD 1080p - directed by Martin Scorsese - starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie, Matthew McConaughey, Jon Favreau, Kyle Chandler - based on Jordan Belfort's best-selling memoir "The Wolf of Wall Street," which chronicles his rise and fall on Wall Street, along with his hard-partying lifestyle and tumultuous personal life.  

A true-life drama, which teams DiCaprio with director Martin Scorsese for a fifth time, dives into the sex, drugs, yachts and 1990s excess of New York stockbroker Jordan Belfort, who penned the best-selling memoir The Wolf of Wall Street. DiCaprio stars as Belfort, a hard-living sort who makes mad money on Wall Street ($49 million in 1996 alone) and enjoys the booze and babes that come with it. 

The good times last for only so long, though, because the FBI shows up wanting Belfort to help in their case involving securities fraud and corruption. 

X Men: Days of Future Past trailer is here

X Men: Days of Future Past trailer is here

Mutants of the world unite, the X Men: Days of Future Past trailer is here!

The ultimate X-Men ensemble fights a war for the survival of the species across two time periods in X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST

The beloved characters from the original "X-Men" film trilogy join forces with their younger selves from "X-Men: First Class," in an epic battle that must change the past -- to save our future.

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Latest ZB Review

Latest ZB Review

Listen here for reviews of:

About Time

Captain Phillips

The Great Gatsby

After Earth: Blu Ray Review

After Earth: Blu Ray Review

Rating: M
Released by Sony Home Entertainment

Will Smith stars with son Jaden Smith in this rather odd slice of sci-fi, directed by M Night Shyamalan.

On a world in our future ravaged by a cataclysmic event, Will Smith is General Cypher, a war hero, whose shadow son Kitai (Smith's real-life son Jaden) is struggling to walk in. But when the pair of them are left stranded after an asteroid storm hits their ship, Cypher is left fighting for his life when the ship crashes onto an abandoned Earth.

It's left to Kitai to man up and try and save the day.

While After Earth looks relatively impressive with its space-age gumption full in overdrive (should that be hyperdrive?) it has to be said the story is somewhat plodding and at times, terribly dull. Both Smiths have a slightly clinical almost military feel to the delivery of their lines, and while that's probably intentional, the staccato clipped tones rob them of any emotion whatsoever.

Jaden Smith steps up reasonably well throughout it all, but the script, complete with a few set pieces, verges a little too much on the preachy side as it leans too heavily on the CGI creatures. Echoes of Scientology seep through and you can understand why those accusations were levelled at the film on release.

All in all, After Earth isn't the thrill ride you'd expect; it's a story of fathers and sons which is quite tepidly told.



Brand new Hunger Games: Catching Fire Trailer is here

Brand new Hunger Games: Catching Fire Trailer is here

It's finally here, fans of Katniss Everdeen - the latest Hunger Games: Catching Fire trailer.

The Catching Fire trailer is of course the sequel to the phenomenally popular The Hunger Games, starring Jennifer Lawrence and is based on the Catching Fire book.

Click on the Catching Fire picture to watch the trailer.

It follows the release of a set of new Catching Fire character posters.

They feature Jennifer Lawrence of Katniss, Elizabeth Banks as Effie Trinket, Lenny Kravitz as Cinna, Woody Harrelson as Haymitch and Stanley Tucci as Caesar. New images of Jeffery Wright as Beetee and Jena Malone as  Johanna Mason are also out on site Mockingjay.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire hits NZ cinemas in November.

Monday, 28 October 2013

Armageddon Day Four

Armageddon Day Four

More shots from Armageddon Expo 2013 as it draws to a close in Auckland.

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