July movie preview

Summer movie season is well underway and June proved to be a big month for big box office success with Inside Out and the runaway hit Jurassic World, July also has some exciting films to look out for and here are a few, (US release dates).

Terminator Genisys – released 1st of July

The Terminator franchise is back with Arnold Schwarzenegger once again reprising his role as the T-800 and a new spin on the Terminator story, things are different this time with Arnie already being in the past having protected Sarah Connor, who herself is well capable of self defence and not a woman that really needs saving. While John Connor also appearsi n the past and isn’t quite the John Connor everyone is expecting. The film looks like a different take and should be better than Salvation at least. Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Emilia Clarke, Jai Courtney, Jason Clarke, J.K. Simmons, Lee Byung-Hun.

Magic Mike XXL – released 1st of July

The sequel to the first well received Magic Mike film, following the events of the story after Mikes’ success as a stripper, the story follows Mike and his group returning to put on another show. Stars Channing Tatum, Matt Bomer, Joe Manganiello, Elizabeth Banks, Kevin Nash.

Minions – released 10th of July

The Minions finally get their big solo break in this animated prequel to Despicable Me, chronicling the history and lineage of the adorable yellow creatures who have an natural desire to follow despicable leaders. They’ve existed since the beginning of life on earth but find themselves with no leader, leading to events in the 60s’ in which they end up following and working for ambitious supervillain Scarlet Overkill. Starring Pierre Coffin, Sandra Bullock, Jon Hamm, Michael Keaton, Allison Janney, Steeve Coogan, Geoffrey Rush.

Ant-Man – released 17th of July

Marvel is still in full swing and its’ next MCU installment is coming in Ant Man, following the events of Age Of Ultron and the story of Scott Lang, an out of luck thief who needs money for his ill daughter, he’s recruited by Hank Pym and urged to become the Ant Man in order to ‘break into places and steal stuff’ but also to take on the other things that come with the mantle. It looks like it could be one of Marvels’ funniest films to date and Scott Lang will be a very different type of hero for a Marvel film. Starring Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas, Evangeline Lilly, Corey Stoll, Michael Pena, Judy Greer.

Trainwreck – released 17th of July

Judd Apatows’ latest comedy is about commitment weary Amy as she meets a guy that she may need to re-consider her ideas on relationship for, this is Amy Schumers’ first big movie roleand LeBron James is also in it, of course. Starring Amy Schumer, Tilda Swington, Bill Hader, John Cena, Alison Brie, Brie Larson.

Paper Towns – released 24th of July

Paper Towns, directed by Jake Schreier, is the latest John Green novel- film adaptation and a teen mystery drama, following the developing relationship of Quentin and Margo, when Margo suddenly disappears, cryptically leaving behind messages, Quentin and his friends set out to look for her. The film looks quite heartfelt and could be quite fun. Starring Nat Wolff, Cara Delevigne, Austin Abrams, Halston Sage.

Pixels – released 24th of July

Pixels, directed by Chris Columbus is a sci-fi comedy action film in which an alien race interpreted a message sent into space by NASA in 1980s’ as a declaration of war, they send some of humanities most iconic video game characters to earth to destroy the world. A task force of expert classic video game players is put together to combat them. Starring Adam Sandler, Peter Dinklage, Kevin James, Josh Gad, Brian Cox, Michelle Monaghan, ashley Benson.

Southpaw – released 24th of July

Southpaw, directed by Antoin Fuqua is a sports drama about a famous, boxer during his prime who retires, his life falling apart after the death of his wife, he seeks to get things back on track and finds the way to do that in getting back into boxing. Starring Jake Gylenhaal, Forest Whitaker, Rachel McAdams.

Vacation – released 29th of July

Vacation, directed by John Francis Daley and Johnathan Goldstein is the spiritual continuation of the popular National Lampoon comedy series, with Rusty Griswold now all grown up and wanting to live in his father Clark Griswolds’ (Chevy Chase) foot steps by taking his wife and 2 sons on a fun vacation to Walley World, which will be closing. Things inevitably go wrong however and the film looks like it emulates the fun, hectic comedy of the films’ it’s a sequel to. Starring Ed Helms, Christina Applegate, Leslie Mann, Chris Hemsworth, Chevy Chase.

Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation – released 31st of July

Rogue Nation, directed by Christopher McQuarrie is Cruises latest venture in the Mission Impossible franchise, with the IMF spy organization that Ethan Hunt was part of being disbanded, Hunt gathers his team in order to fight against a shadowy, dangerous organization. Starring Tom Cruise, Jeremy Renner, Simon Pegg, Rebecca Ferguson, Sean Harris, Alec Baldwin.

Spy review

Spy is an action comedy movie and a parody of the spy genre, directed by Paul Feig (Bridesmaids, The Heat) and stars Melissa Mccarthy, Jude Law, Jason Statham, Rose Byrne, Allison Janney,Miranda Hart. In a plot about a desk bound CIA worker who opts to go undercover, in the field prominent CIA agents identities have been revealed, to help prevent an arms dealer from letting deadly weapons get into the wrong hands.

The cast in the film is great and McCarthy is on her A-game once again as Susan Cooper, an insecure but intelligent CIA worker, infatuated with her CIA co-worker and spy Bradley Fine (Jude Law) who pulls off the charismatic, charming CIA agent role with ease, while her friend in Nancy (Miranda Hart) is some great comic relief and really good in her role. While Rick Ford (Jason Statham) is pretty hilarious, acting the foul mouthed, angry Englishman who seems to be unkillable, apparently seeing a tonne of action in the field but ironically coming up short a lot of the time, his character is pretty much a parody of some traditional Statham roles and he’s a great sport for taking this role on. While Raina (Rose Byrne) is the straight man character in the film and cuts a quite humorous role, feeling at home in a more comedic role as she’s already done Neighbours and Bridesmaids, her pompous and stuck up persona is one of the more fun parts of the film.

The humor hit surprisingly well as I personally wasn’t expecting to laugh half as much as I did due to the situations McCarthy gets in and how people react to her, while she herself is pretty funny and doesn’t pull back any punches when she needs to get serious and put a character in their place. The humor is well balanced and far from basic, with a few off the cuff, juvenile jokes here and there but mostly great humor, fast moving dialogue and great character interaction, especially between McCarthy and the quite naturally funny Miranda Hart, the comedy comes through thick and fast and is balanced well in the film some more serious moments here and there.

While the action scenes that are included are decent, though the action clearly isn’t the focus of the film and takes a back seat, regardless McCarthy once again does well in slight action oriented film. The plot for Spy is a play on some iconic spy films and has some unexpected twists, which was a nice touch as I personally didn’t see a few things coming and while the conclusion is a bit predictable, the ending was still satisfying the context of the story, leaving room for potential sequels as well.

7/10

. Humor is on point, helped with some good writing

. Plot is good, plays out in an interesting way

. Some characters are one dimensional

iZombie season 1 reviewed

iZombie is a sci-fi drama based on a graphic novel of the same, it was a mid-season show premiere for the CW and didn’t exactly premiere off the back of tonnes of hype and maybe that was a good thing as people unfamiliar with the existing material were open to the show and weren’t expecting it to necessarily be a certain way. I am one of those people who hasn’t read the novels and the show was a pleasant surprise for me, it’s a quirky, fun show and the most light hearted zombie TV show to date of course, featuring zombies functioning in everyday life without cannibalistic tendencies, though they do need to eat brains and do so in inventive ways.

The show follows Liv Moore (Rose McIver), a biology student turned forensics assistant, turned zombie, she gets infected by a zombie scratch (which is how Zombies’ turn people in the show) at a boat party and her life is changed forever, her passion and emotions are dulled, as is her complexion which is now pale and lifeless. Her relationships with the people closest to her in life are also changed, with her best friend Peyton – (Aly Michalka), her brother Evan (Nick Purcha) ex-boyfriend Major – (Robert Buckley) and forensic co-worker Ravi (Rahul Kohli), while Liv has to manage her personal life with her work life, keeping her undead secret from her new boss Clive Babineaux (Malcolm Goodwin). The cast itself is great, they all deliver consistently believable performances for the roles they play and they’re all great fits and that’s a credit of the shows’ writing, it’s very snappy and witty with characters often throwing in funny references or comparisons, it feels borderline Sitcom-y at times but the show has some of the funniest writing on the CW at the moment. Rose McIver especially is great as Liv being believably flat and disinterested in her natural zombie mode and then going through drastic personality changes as she eats brains, the shows’ character material is quite fun to watch as Rose essentially plays a new character each week.

The cast really helps bring life to the show (pun intended) with Blaine (David Anders) being the main antagonist, he’s also one of the funniest characters and the light entertainment feel and fun of the show is really brought because the characters are so vibrant in their own respective roles. The main characters as well as the supporting characters, from Blaines’ dumb henchmen to the witnesses or suspects they bring in for questioning each week, the show really feels like a comic book show and you get the feeling of each week feeling like a new issue in a comic book. And the show even has comic book panels in the opening title sequence and in scene transitions which is a nice touch. And that feeling is helped a lot by the procedural nature of the show for most of the first half with Liv eating the brains of a new victim each week and gaining their memories, mannerisms and characteristics temporarily, also a big and humorous part of the show, however morbid it may actually be, Liv is a functional zombie and that’s a good thing.

A lot of the comedy in the show is derived from the unreal circumstances that arise with Liv being a zombie and going through the motions, her odd demeanor is often shrugged off and knowing why she’s acting out as a viewer while some characters don’t has being a highlight. While the show also deals with a few darker and more emotional moments with Liv feeling out of touch with emotion and her loved ones, wanting to re-connect with Major and with feelings themselves, it also has an underlying theme on grief, as Liv, Ravi and Clive are dealing with homicides and it can take its’ tole on the mas people.

As we learn through the show, there are other zombies out there that need brains and Blaine creates a brain market to supply them, through nefarious means however, mostly involving kidnapping and killing at risk children. Blaine made a great bad guy as he’s complex, not purely evil but clearly out to service himself, he doesn’t care for the feelings of others and is a bit of an ass but he’s also servicing other zombies with brains. A good thing about the show is that portrays its character with some depth and there’s a lot of that with Liv, hating the fact that she’s a zombie but also retroactively being thankful for it considering some situations she’s been in, she wants to be as human as possible but knows she can’t be.

iZombie hasn’t delved into its’ own zombie lore a tonne but it’s an interesting spin on traditional mindless zombies that we’re used to and it’s a fun show, if you want action and something more heavy hitting there’s The Walking Dead or Gotham, if you want a fun comic book show you have The Flash, Agents Of Shield, Arrow and iZombie. And season 1 for it was a great starting point, establishing the tone and style of the show which is a hit so far, giving us an array of fun characters to follow and a world possibly filled with zombies to further explore.

Game Of Thrones, 6 talking points for season 6

So yeah… that finale eh, Game Of Thrones season 5 came to a dramatic and somewhat controversial conclusion last week and left on quite a few huge cliffhangers, some of which I think will lead us immediately into season 6, here are a few.

What now for Daenerys

Danys’ stories is one of the most interesting in the show and the overall story and she’s a very important character, events in Meereen and Drogon not fully in her control have taken her out of the picture for the time being but… what now? She’s about to be taken by a Dothraki horde from the looks of it so you have to wonder what will happen next, will she coerce them to join forces? Will a new Khalasar be hostile to her? How will the Dothraki react to Drogon? Season 6 should have a pretty great arc for Dany in the lead up to the end game for the overall story.

Meereen in Westerosi hands

Meereen being ruled by Tyrion and Varys is a pretty awesome concept, not strictly good or bad but… interesting, Tyrion is far from a dictator or warlord and he has his wits about him so he should be able to see things out, but can he really manage an all out civil war, governing city presumably just a few days after the Coliseum massacre. It’s a huge task and you also have to wonder if Varys now has alterior motives for Meereen or Dany.

Myrcellas death

This was a huge event that paled in comparison to Jon Snows’ murder but a significant event nonetheless, more or less confirming war between the Tryrells’ and Lannisters’ which will be massive in the south and possibly the next great war since the Lannisters and Starks, how will Jamie react to learning of Cerseis’ treatment under the faith as well? Something to think about.

We need to talk about Sansa and Reek

Theon finally realizing the logical thing to do and helping Sansa in the finale was awesome, they leapt from Winterfells walls into uncertainty and now they need to get the hell away from there/Ramsay as fast as they can, but where do they go? Will they likely meet up with Brienne and Podrick? Or is Theon/Reek too far gone now to ever be re-introduced into society? It’s a very interesting arc for Theon to be on and him and Sansa surely have a lot to bring to the story to come.

What next for Bran and Hodor

Both characters took a season break as their story was caught up to their book counterparts but what comes next for Bran especially is intriguing, he can warg at will now which is pretty cool, but something with a Weirwood tree, seeing visions of the past and future, children of the forest… it’s all a bit confusing. But I think Bran has a huge part to play in events to come and we’ll see what happens next.

Re-animation works, Jon Snow…

So guys, the Mountain has been brought back to life, not by magic or anything but via weird, crazy medieval science by Tyburn so yeah, people near death or fully dead can be brought back, we saw a few seasons ago that people can be brought back from complete death as well with the Lord of lights magic. Melisandre being at the wall, Jon just being killed, yeah we’re all thinking it, surely he has to be revived.

And while I’m not including this as one of my points, Stannis’ apparent end is also a big thing, though I personally think he’s still alive on the show, season 6 can go in so many exciting different directions, so here’s to another short 10 month wait (which is well worth it in the end).

Heroes Reborn preview (The extraordinary among us)

So there’s a minute long preview to Heroes Reborn now, the long awaited follow up to the popular but divisive show Heroes, Heroes Reborn has been teased over the past several months with some cryptic promo photos and video but now we have our first solid look at what to expect from the season.

Messages saying “where are heroes?” are seeing spray painted on walls and rooftops and in this series, the super powered heroes seem to be gone, missing from the public eye, while a portion for the public longs for their return so immediately the tone is different to Heroes. With Reborn being the start of a possible resurgence of powered people in this world, while we get a few shots of people who presumably will be the Heroes of Heroes Reborn, including the returning Noah Bennett (Jack Coleman) and Masi Oka (Hiro) who we see right near the end, Micah (Noah Gray Cabey) all grown up now and Mohinder Suresh (Sendhil Ramamurthy) also return.

So far so good really, NBC is deliberately not telling us much about the plot in the lead up to the premiere and I think it’s a good thing to be a bit in the dark, it seems like Heroes Reborn may capture some of the feel of Heroes season 1 with characters exploring their new powers and discovering they have them, though that probably won’t be the main theme. But I think we’ll follow already established, functioning heroes finding their way in the world whilst laying low for some reason and why they’re laying low – is probably a big part of the story, the public even seems to have cult followings around the powered heroes as we see people walking around with a red flag with a question mark on it, linked to the “Where are the heroes?” question.

I’m quite looking forward to finding out the context of the world of Heroes Reborn and the state of the Heroes in question, as well as what’s happened with some returning characters like Mohinder, Hiro, Noah, Micah and Matt, the set up is already interesting so I’m curious to see how it plays out.

This could prove to be another hit for NBC but it’s gonna be interesting to see how a different TV audience reacts to the show, with the number of superhero shows now on air and with everyone having seen a plethora of comic book movies in recent years. Heroes Reborn debuts on the 24th of September.