Roll on 2015

Yeah so, I’ve been on holiday in the past week, explaining my lack of posting but I’ll aim to try and keep it consistent throughout 2015, a year already lined up with great movies and TV as well as some exciting news I’m sure.

So 2015, what you got? A tonne of great movies you say? As well even more comic book TV shows? And some great looking video games? I’m in, seriously, as good as most of the 2010s’ have been so far for all of the above in terms of entertainment, next year is looking pretty great if you ask me.

Upcoming big releases next year include Jurassic World, Star Wars Ep 7 The Force Awakens, Ant-Man, Avengers 2 Age of Ultron, (James Bond) Spectre ,a host of summer (and Star Wars, a december release) films that is probably better than what we had in 2014, Guardians Of The Galaxy was excellent, but the rest of the summer, meh. We’ll also be getting a Luke Cake, Iron Fist and Jessica Jones TV shows on Netflix next year and provided that they do well, hopefully that opens the door for more shows based on Marvel or D.C. properties, ok maybe not too many but a few done really well.

Marvel may just be pushing out TV shows to compete with D.C. in that area at this point but they should take it slow, quality over quantity, anyway back to films, don’t forget Jupiter Ascendingthe somewhat confusing but ambitious sci-fi epic from the Wachowskis’, I may not completely get the plot but I applaud the idea for it. And of course not forgetting the hotly anticipated Furious Seven, Terminator Genisys and Hunger Games MockingJay Part 2, yes there will be quite a few sequels next year but said sequels are shaping up to be pretty freaking good.

Oh and if you’re a an avid gamer, of course there’s Battlefield Hardline, Evolve, The Division and Batman Arkham Knight to look forward to, Arkham Knight especially looks awesome and I know a lot of people can’t wait to get their hands on it. All in all, it’s a good looking year for entertainment, we’ll have to wait and see what exciting new TV dramas or comedies get announced as well sometime next year but hopefully it’ll be another great year for sci-fi and fantasy.

Not forgetting the behemoth that is Game Of Thrones of course, season 5 could be one of the best, each season usually trumps the last in my opinion anyway, but as the story’s gone on, the show has gotten better I think.

The Hobbit – The Battle Of The Five Armies review

(Includes spoilers)

Wow that was a rollecoaster of a film and a great film at that, The final entry in The Hobbit trilogy, Battle Of the Five Armies sets up events to come in LOTR nicely while satisfyingly concluding the Dwarf centric plot arc, as well Smaug and the overall power struggle for Erebor/the lonely mountain.

Immediately the film starts off with a darker and more serious tone, the stakes are obviously higher in this film as we know we’ll be seeing how Bilbos’ great adventure ends and how the fight with Smaug ends, which by the way starts straight away and carries on for a few minutes. Smaug looked and sounded great once again, being quite expressive and terrifying and even with me knowing the outcome of Smaugs’ attack on Laketown, at points he did seem genuinely un-killable. The visual effects were fantastic as well, this isn’t the best thing to say but Laketown on fire looked fantastic, the CGI was great, Smaugs’ attack is cut short by that black arrow to its’ hide shot by Bard of course and the whole thing felt a bit short in the end.

But that just goes to show you the scope of the movie, the fact that Smaugs’ attack and defeat covers about 10 minutes, it’s even before The Hobbits’ title credits, but back to the story, the Laketown survivors leave the burnt out town and seek to rebuild and seek refuge in the lonely mountain, wanting a piece of the treasures there. Meanwhile the Dwarves in the mountain and Thorin go about their business, with Thorin slowly going mad, Thorins’ gradual decay as a result of dragon sickness and the love of gold was fascinating to watch and a huge part of the story, more to come on that.

I thought that Battle Of The Five Armies wouldn’t be as deep or emotional as it was in the end, considering the film title and the fact that it did feature a lot of action, though it was great, entertaining action, the stakes were higher than ever. And it pained me as a big Hobbit fan to later see the deaths of Filli, Killi and Thorin, this film clearly didn’t mess around and was in stark contrast in tone to the Dwarves cartoonishly fighting orcs in barrels in The Desolation Of Smaug. There is a pervading sense of loss in the film from the first minute with Smaugs’ attack and a sense that the end won’t be all sunshine and roses, but the journey to get to that end point is entertaining and gripping throughout.

The tone of the film never felt too dark and it was still great to watch, seeing the wizards of middle earth and Elrond in action was awesome as well, even Saruman kicked some ass which was cool, seeing Galadriel go toe to toe somewhat with an ethereal Sauron was sweet. I also like how the film set up but didn’t give you massive winks and nudges about the LOTR storyline, yes Tharanduil told Legolas to go and find Aragorn and we see Bilbo use the ring once or twice but the hints weren’t glaring at all, which was nice.

The action overall was great, a bit crazy and all over the place at times in typical Peter Jackson LOTR fashion with mountain trolls, Dwarves, Elves, mountain trolls, orcs, goblins and all fighting and it was awesome. I loved the chaotic feel to it and it really highlighted the fantasy element of the LOTR franchise, one of the things that makes me such a big fan. The Elves played more of role in this film, helping the Dwarves sort of, after threatening to attack them for some gold but hey, it’s awesome seeing them in action and actually doing something. The build up to the battle itself felt a bit more natural as well, the Elves, Men and Dwarves all coming to Erebor with legitimate claims to the gold, it was a complex situation and seeing some of the ‘politics’ in Middle Earth was a nice touch.

Oh and of course the Orcs commanded by Azog just come there to kill everyone that’s not them, but they also wanted Erebor as well, to use a base of operations, popular mountain.

As far as the acting went, it was great, Richard Armitage as Thorin gave a fantastic and multi-faceted performance which was interesting as you’re lead to believe that he’s only on the way down, driven crazy by dragon sickness but no, Thorin does make a return and it is epic, easily one of the highlights of the film. Bilbo is still a big part of the story and all, using the Arkenstone as a bargaining chip to get Thorin to not go to war with the Elves, but that storyline is cut short by the emergence of the Orcs and Azog, who seriously takes 3 films to get killed but he does get killed, finally.

The film was fantastic overall but pacing near the end was a slight issue, the people in the theatre I could see around me did all look a bit bored, as I was to be honest with the concluding moments but up until that point, I was hooked, gripped and thoroughly entertained. The highs and lows of Battle Of The Five Armies easily trump the events in the first two Hobbit films in my opinion, the action was much better, the stakes were higher and it was great to see more depth to some of the Dwarves, Thorin especially, though more of Dain would have been nice.

8/10

. The action was brilliant, best fight scenes in The Hobbit trilogy. Though the first two had some great scenes as well

. The scope of the film didn’t make the plot lose focus and it was still solidly entertaining

. Pacing near the end was a real issue

. The conclusion to Smaugs’ story felt rushed and anti-climactic as the first two films were mainly about him

So The Interview fiasco is a bit ridiculous

What a week it’s been for Sony and for film news in general eh, with a ludicrous series of events in the lead up to The Interview getting released, America itself has been threatened by a hacker group with a possible serious threat and North Korea has praised the group.

While denying any responsibility for the hack itself, you can’t imagine that Sony or anyone involved in the making of the film would have that though any of this would have happened, I myself was going to ignore the film and didn’t care much about it until the controversy. Now that isn’t to say that I’m just going to jump on the ‘It’s controversial so I have to see it’ train, but my interest is raised a bit, honestly the reaction from North Korea is over the top but then again, it’s North Korea.

I think everyone just needs to relax, it’s a Seth Rogen movie… I can understand people disliking his style of comedy and all but really Sony hackers, why’d you lose it over this, of all movies? I’m wondering if the group itself is actually in North Korea… which I doubt and if they are, you have a near comical situation with America accusing them of the hack and North Korea denying it, this could go back and forth for quite a while y’know.

You have to wonder the motivations behind the hackers’ actions if they are based out of North Korea, are they really loyal to Kim Jong Un? Are they just nefarious hackers and trying to troll on a grossly over the top scale? If so, making threats to people is a bit too much. Honestly it’s all just a bit confusing at the moment and I have to say I’m interested to see how exactly this ongoing story develops.

And maybe ironically, this story around the movie itself has ended up being 10 times as interesting as The Interview looked to be fair, I’ve seen people online theorise that this is all a huge PR stunt from Sony to drum up huge publicity for the film but that’d be a bit stupid. As Sony put quite a bit of money into the film and into promoting it, hacking themselves, leaking private information and conversations and all just doesn’t make sense, so scratch that theory.

Seriously though, whether the film is never released or released digitally or in a few theatres in protest… said hackers need to calm down and stop what they’re doing before they do cause a potential international incident. And if people want to see the film in protest then fair enough, freedom of expression is important and people should be able view/watch what they want without fear of harm or danger. Personally I just don’t really want to see the film either way but if people want to see it, they should be able to.

Brace yourselves.. winter hiatus is here

Dun dun dun, yes that dreaded time of year is upon us again, your favourite TV shows are going on a (I was going to put 3-4 weeks here but it’s much longer) several week long break, as they need to, of course, because actors are human and have their own needs too but yeah it sucks, so everyone let’s just binge on Netflix for the next month or two as we wait…

Though the good thing about this time of year, aside Christmas if you’re a big fan of it (can’t say I am), is that we still get a continual stream of entertainment, a few soap operas do keep running through the christmas break, films don’t stop coming out… ever, which is good of course. And you do tend to get the Oscar bait but generally better made films coming out from October/November until January (the dead zone for films). And of course some video games are always coming out as well so winter hiatuses – I prefer to say hiatii as plural, but anyway,  breaks are needed in entertainment of course, though we’d like to think otherwise.

But in the meantime, what will you be tuning into this winter holiday? Re-runs of the shows you’re watching? Anime? Will you just be watching whatever movies come out? Personally I’ll be watching copious amounts of anime, I might re-watch a season or two of Game Of Thrones and re-watch some of my favourite movies – LOTR, Inception and The Matrix to name a few. I did just see The Hobbit Battle of the five armies recently actually and I will be posting the review for it fairly soon.

Yes the winter hiatus for major TV shows is a drag but you know, internet and other things, we can all keep ourselves entertained, besides January isn’t too far away.

Space drama Ascension premieres on Syfy tonight

The glossy new space drama from Syfy premieres tonight, starting as an initial 3 part, six episode mini-series – reminiscent of a little old show Battlestar Galactica which premiered with a mini-series as well, Ascension also stars Tricia Helfer, an alumni from Battlestar.

The show itself looks fairly interesting, giving an alternative history slant on a space drama, the premise centred on a space ark on a century long mission, sent from earth to preserve human life by populating a new one and of course we’ll see conflicts of interest, drama and whatnot. As well as a possible long running mystery or conspiracy around the ‘true’ mission of Ascensions’, as a huge sci-fi fan and space drama lover, I’m interested so far and this is the type of show that I imagine could get a lot better as time goes on.

I’m interested to see what, if any twist there is to the show, android/robot uprising maybe? Half the population of the ship are clones… vampires, who knows. The interesting thing for the time being is not knowing and eventually uncovering that mystery, which may keep my (and yours, if you watch it) interest in the show.

Visually it looks great and it looks like Syfy has a fair amount of faith that the show will do well and presumably it will be getting a full series order, if the initial episodes are a ratings hit. Which I’m thinking they will be, anyway I’ll definitely be tuning in as the show looks interesting, hopefully it’s good.

Ascension will also be aired on Skyone in early January for UK viewers.