Category: Adventure

Hardcore Henry

Summary: You remember nothing. Mainly because you’ve just been brought back from the dead by your wife who tells you that your name is Henry. Five minutes later, you are being shot at, your wife has been kidnapped, and you should probably go and get her back. You’re also in the unfamiliar city of Moscow, and everyone wants you dead. if you can survive the insanity and solve the mystery, you might just discover your purpose and the truth behind your identity.

Year: 2015

Australian Cinema Release Date: N/A

Australian DVD Release Date: 3rd August, 2016

Country: USA, Russia

Director: Ilya Naishuller

Screenwriter: Ilya Naishuller

Cast: Haley Bennett (Estelle), Darya Charusga (Katya the Dominatrix), Martin Cooke (Marty), Sharlto Copley (Jimmy), Andrei Dementiev (Henry/Slick Dmitry), Danila Kozlovsky (Akan), Ilya Naishuller (Henry/Timothy/Higher-Self Merc), Aleksander Pal (Mr. Fahrenheit), Oleg Poddubnyy (Yuri), Tim Roth (Henry’s Father), Liya Sitdikova (Ella the Whore), Will Stewart (Robbie), Svetlana Ustinova (Olga the Dominatrix), Sergey Valyaev (Henry/Beaten Up Boyfriend)

Runtime: 96 mins

Classification: R

OUR HARDCORE HENRY REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

David Griffiths:

You just know from the get go that Hardcore Henry is the type of film that is going to divide audiences. If you’re an audience member that doesn’t like graphic violence and has never played a first-person shooter video game then there is a high chance you aren’t going to like the film. If you’re an avid gamer or like your action films to try something a little different then you are going to be in your element with a film that gets two thumbs up from this reviewer.

Told from a POV perspective Hardcore Henry begins with Henry (Andrei Dementiev – Biting Elbows) waking up in a laboratory where he is being given robotic arms and legs by his scientist wife, Estelle (Haley Bennett – The Equalizer). The next thing he knows Estelle is being kidnapped by a criminal with telekinetic powers, Akan (Danila Kozlovsky – Vampire Academy), who also seems to want Henry dead as well.

The result is Henry lost in a city he doesn’t know, Moscow, and having to hunt down Akan in order to find Estelle. As he does so he learns more and more about his new robotic self while receiving orders and help from a man of many disguises, Jimmy (Sharlto Copeley – District 9).

Many cinema goers would dismiss Hardcore Henry as a cheap gimmick with very little artistic merit, but nothing could be further from the truth. Any person with any knowledge of filmmaking would know that what director Ilya Naishuller (Biting Elbows) does here is nothing short of cinematic brilliance. The thought of filming an action film from the POV of the hero sounds like an epic task that most filmmakers could only dream about, but the idea of doing it using Go Pro camera attached to an actor/stuntmen would send most directors to a rubber room where they would rock back and forth constantly.

Yet somehow Naishuller manages to pull all of this off. And we aren’t just talking about a hero that does a lot of running and shooting we are talking about a hero that takes plunges off bridges, jumps from trucks to motorbikes and likes blowing things up. Yes Naishuller doesn’t take the easy way out and the result is a sleek (didn’t think I would be saying that when I heard that this film was a POV film) action film with a lot of inventive shots and sequences.

To Naishuller’s credit his screenplay also holds up with the alternative filmmaking as well. Again the film’s storyline is not stereotypical and while most of the film is set in the action genre the telekinectic powers of the main ‘baddie’ sees it delve into the sci-fi realm as well. Yes it might be a bit of a surprise at first but once you are used to it it works just fine and even raises the suspense and you start to wonder just how Henry will every find a way to defeat Akan. The screenplay itself also provides enough twists and turns along the way to make sure you are constantly trying to guess just what will happen next.

Perhaps the most interesting side of Hardcore Henry though is the acting. There is a film where you only once get a glimpse of the leading man’s face yet you have to say that the array of stuntmen who play Henry do a magnificent job and you are there with them for the entire ride. The person who steals the limelight in most of the scenes he is in however is Sharlto Copley who gets to mix his action sequences with some well-timed comedy… something that he is very, very good at.

Hardcore Henry is a true action film with a difference. The POV style proves to be worthy and a lot more than just a gimmick while it also contains a killer soundtrack that matches the film to a tee. Write off this film at your own peril
Stars(3.5)

 

 

Average Subculture Rating (out of 5):  Stars(3.5)

 

IMDB Rating:  Hardcore Henry (2015) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment Hardcore Henry Reviews: Nil

Trailer:

GoE_DVD

 

Summary: Mortal hero Bek teams with the god Horus in an alliance against Set, the merciless god of darkness, who has usurped Egypt’s throne, plunging the once peaceful and prosperous empire into chaos and conflict.

Year: 2016

Australian Cinema Release Date: 25th February 2016

Australian DVD/Blu-Ray/On Demand Release Date: 15th August, 2016

Country: USA, Australia

Director: Alex Proyas

Screenwriter: Matt Sazama, Burk Sharpless

Cast: Rachael Blake (Isis), Emma Booth (Nephthys), Chadwick Boseman (Thoth), Bryan Brown (Osiris), Gerard Butler (Set), Nicolaj Coster-Waldau (Horus), Yaya Deng (Astarte), Courtney Eaton (Zaya), Alexander England (Mnevis), Lindsay Farris (Older Bek (voice)), Goran D. Kleut (Anubis), Abbey Lee (Anat), Robyn Nevin (Sharifa), Kenneth Ransom (Sphinx), Geoffrey Rush (Ra), Rufus Sewell (Urshu), Brenton Thwaites (Bek), Elodie Yung (Hathor)

Runtime: 126 mins

Classification: M

 

OUR GODS OF EGYPT REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

David Griffiths:

Sometimes when a film comes out and meets negative press you have to wonder whether some of the critics were watching the same film you just did. While ‘Gods Of Egypt’ isn’t exactly an Oscar winning film it is a fun sci-fi film that really does show the creative mind of Alex Proyas (The Crow). If you’re a fan of films like The Scorpion King then you’re really going to want to give this one a look.

Set in ancient Egyptian mythology ‘Gods Of Egypt’ shows what happens after the throne is stolen from Horus (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau – ‘Game Of Thrones’) by Set (Gerald Butler – ‘300’) whose plains will bring about the destruction of humanity. With Horus’ power gone he goes into hiding, but some like the innocent Zaya (Courtney Eaton – Mad Max: Fury Road) believe he can still save humanity. After her death the love of her life, Bek (Brenton Thwaites – Maleficent), goes in search of Horus in a bid to try and save the world.

Storywise ‘Gods Of Egypt’ works just like the sci-fi films that many of us grew up watching, films like ‘Never Ending Story.’ While it might just be a little too violent for kids, this is the kind of film that can be enjoyed by teens and adults alike as it is nowhere near as violent as a film like ‘300.’ The creativity is there throughout the film and Proyas is a gifted enough director to work with his screenwriters, Matt Sazama (‘Dracula Untold’) and Burk Sharpless (‘The Last Witch Hunter’), to create a film that not only creates suspense and action but also has a storyline that will allow the audience to actually care what happens to the characters at hand.

One of the biggest criticisms levelled at this film is that the CGI and special effects don’t look as good as they should but it is very obvious that what Proyas wanted with this film was for it to look and feel like a graphic novel or comic. It is impossible to fathom that a man who brought us a films like ‘The Crow’ and ‘Dark City’ would ever deliver a film that didn’t look the way he wanted it to – especially when he had the effects team who put together ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ working with him as well.

Perhaps one of the most fun parts of watching ‘Gods Of Egypt’ for an Australian audience is playing a simple game called ‘spot the Aussie.’ Aside from Brenton Thwaites in the lead role other Australian actors including Geoffrey Rush (‘Shine’) and Bryan Brown (‘Two Hands’) pop in roles and it is great to see them getting international expose like this. As far as the acting of the leads go Brenton Thwaites again shows that he has more than enough skill to be a leading man in an action film like this while audience members also get to see everybody’s favourite Lannister, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, flex his acting muscle and get to play the hero for once. Also announcing herself as a future star is Courtney Eaton, the young, inexperienced, Western Australian showing experience above her years and not being overwhelmed by appearing in a blockbuster like this.

The best way to approach ‘Gods Of Egypt’ is to just look at like you’re going to watch a fun movie. This is the kind of film that is going to be loved by anybody that has any interest in mythology while some of the epic battle scenes will do more than enough to keep the action junkies very happy. Don’t get put off by the negative press and make sure you check out ‘Gods Of Egypt’.

 

Stars(3)

 

 

 

Average Subculture Rating (out of 5):   Stars(3)

 

IMDB Rating:  Gods of Egypt (2016) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment Gods Of Egypt reviews: You can also listen to our Gods of Egypt review on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #167.

 

Trailer:

Independence Day Resurgence

Summary: Two decades after the first Independence Day invasion, Earth is faced with a new extra-Solar threat. But will mankind’s new space defenses be enough?

Year: 2016

Australian Cinema Release Date: 23rd June 2016

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: USA

Director: Roland Emmerich

Screenwriter: Dean Devlin, Roland Emmerich, James Vanderbilt, Nicolas Wright, James A. Woods

Cast: Gbenga Akinnagbe (Agent Travis), Angelbaby (Rain Lao), Arturo del Puerto (Bordeaux), William Fichtner (General Adams), Vivica A. Fox (Jasmine Hiller), Charlotte Gainsbourg (Catherine Marceaux), Jeff Goldblum (David Levinson), Mckenna Grace (Daisy), Evan Bryn Graves (Pilot P. Goodman), Tavis Hammer (Jeffrey Fineman), Chin Han (Commander Jiang), Liam Hemsworth (Jake Morrison), Judd Hirsch (Julius Levinson), Joey King (Sam), Kenny Leu (Ping Li), Lance Lim (Camper Kevin), Robert Loggia (General Grey), Joshua Mikel (Armand), Maika Monroe (Patricia Whitmore), Robert Neary (Captain McQuaide), Hans Obma (Sokolov), Deobia Oparei (Dikembe Umbutu), Bill Pullman (President Whitmore), Jenna Purdy (Voice of Sphere (voice)), Ryan Baloy Rivera (Sgt. P. Howard), Zeb Sanders (Camper Henry), Christian Simpson (Sgt. Fletcher Smith), Donovan Tyee Smith (Camper Marcus), Brent Spiner (Dr. Brakish Okun), Patrick St. Espirit (Secretary of Defense Tanner), John Storey (Dr. Isaacs), Travis Tope (Charlie Miller), Jessie T. Usher (Dylan Hiller), Joel Virgel (Jacques), Sela Ward (President Lanford), Garrett Wareing (Bobby), Nate Warren (Marley Sullivan), Hays Wellford (Felix), Otis Winston (Brian Cole), James A. Woods (Lt. Ritter), Nicolas Wright (Floyd Rosenberg)

Runtime: 120 mins

Classification: M

 

OUR INDEPENDENCE DAY: RESURGENCE REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

David Griffiths:

Has there ever been a film that you loved when you were younger that you have revisited as an adult and been bitterly disappointed? It happened to me recently with ‘Independence Day.’ As a kid this movie blew me away, the special effects, the idea that aliens could blow up the White House… and yes even Will Smith (I was addicted to the ‘Fresh Prince Of Air’). Going back to watch it last week though I realised that the film was not as great as I remembered, aside from the special effects it was actually a bit of a cheesy film and probably shouldn’t be considered a classic.

Still I didn’t let me truth defining moment about the original dampen my hopes for ‘Independence Day: Resurgence’, after all I kept telling myself it’s twenty years later, Roland Emmerich has grown as a director and I guiltily kind of enjoyed ‘White House Down.’ Well as it turns out I was horribly wrong, yes it may be twenty years on but Emmerich hasn’t learnt anything new and he is still making the same mistakes that made ‘Godzilla’ and ‘The Day After Tomorrow’ films that might have impressed the masses but had serious film lovers shaking their heads over what they have just seen.

Emmerich’s new storyline has been put together by a team of screenwriters that sees the world as a very different place to what it was 20 years earlier. Humans have embraced the alien technology that was used against them in the previous war giving a very new look to things even as basic as a helicopter. Our old heroes are also very different people as well. Former President Whitmore (Bill Pullman – ‘While You Were Sleeping’) is a depressed mess, his daughter Patricia (Maika Monroe – ‘It Follows’) works at the White House, Dr. Brakish Okun (Brent Spiner – Star Trek: Generations) has been a coma for 20 years, while David Levinson (Jeff Goldblum – ‘Jurassic Park’) travels the world and is considered an ‘alien expert.’ He now answers to the likes of President Lanford (Sela Ward – ‘Gone Girl’) and General Adams (William Fichtner – ‘The Dark Knight’) who have developed a pretty impressive defence system for Earth.

Then there are the newcomers – the likes of bored fighter pilot Jake Morrison (Liam Hemsworth – ‘The Hunger Games’) forced to live in the shadows of the likes of the famous Dylan Hiller (Jessie T. Usher – ‘Teeange’),Charlie Miler (Tarvis Tope – ‘The Town That Dreaded Sundown’) and Dr. Catherine Marceaux (Charlotte Gainsbourg – ‘Antchrist’) a former rival of Levinson’s who now wants to help him. Somehow this mixture of people all have to bring it together and help fight when the aliens return, once again hellbent on destroying Earth.

Perhaps the scariest thing about ‘Independence Day: Resurgence’ (is certainly not the aliens) is the fact that it becomes painfully obvious early on that despite it being twenty years later Emmerich seems to have learnt nothing as a filmmaker. Still there are the bad attempts of humor throughout the film, the awful over-writing of characters that makes them so clichéd and these repetitive tropes that keep turning up in Emmerich films (like a computer telling the characters of the impending danger).

Even worse this time around though are the facts though that Emmerich seems to have borrowed so much from other films, especially the ‘Star Wars’ franchise for this film, and just how unbelievable this film is to its audience. Yes, of course, a story about aliens attacking Earth is supposed to be a believable drama but can anyone buy the fact that two characters that are emotional and physical wrecks after the events of the first film are suddenly able to swing around and be battle ready this time around… one was even in a coma for 20 years but is suddenly able to do his work like nothing has happened.

The other area in which Emmerich manages to lose his audience with this film is the over saturation of characters and the even worse habit of introducing characters well into the film, far too late for you to ever care what happens to them. The result is a film where it is virtually impossible to connect with any of the characters, which in turn means the suspense that should be there in a movie like this is just non-existant. Add that to the fact that you find yourselves laughing at a lot of the dialogue littered throughout the film, or groan at ‘you have the heart of the warrior’ and this soon becomes a film that should be referred to as a let-down of a blockbuster.

The poor screenplay also lets down its cast badly. The likes of Charlotte Gainsbourg and Lima Hemsworth are sadly given nothing to work with and it’s likely people will quickly forget that they even made this film pretty quickly. Likewise if Jeff Goldblum and Bill Pullman thought this was the film that would resurrect their careers then they are very sadly mistaken. And as for the newcomers… well they barely even create a blip on the screen.

With a dreadful screenplay and nothing new when it comes to special effects ‘Independence Day: Resurgence’ ends up being one of the biggest disappointments of 2016. Even worse is the fact that we know another one is on the way… it’s like looking forward to a dentist’s appointment. One to avoid.

 

Stars(2)

 

 

 

Kyle McGrath:

There’s a lot of reliance on nostalgia in making sequels or follow ups ten or twenty after the previous film in a franchise. Recent memory brings up hits like Star Wars episode 7 and Creed but also not so successful films like Zoolander 2. As always with sequels it can be difficult catching lightning in a bottle twice but with a decade or two in between films that can only make it more of a challenge.

Independence Day: Resurgence is a sequel to the 1996 science fiction alien invasion film Independence Day. It’s been 20 years since earthlings with the aid of 90s computer viruses and nuclear weapons fought back and defeated the hostile creatures intent on total genocide of the human race and harvesting of all our planet’s resources. In the aftermath the world’s superpowers have entered a time of general world peace (Adrian Veidt would be so proud) and great advances have been made in space flight with secrets learned from alien technology. Unknown to everyone however is that the aliens sent a distress signal all those years ago and reinforcements are about to arrive.
I look at the original Independence Day as being the Avatar of the mid 90s. It showed us things we had never before seen on such a grand scale in movies, showcased amazing miniature special effects, cemented Roland Emmerich as the king of disaster movies and along with the successes of Bad Boys the previous year and Men in Black the following spring boarded Will Smith to be one of the biggest stars in Hollywood.
So even if the 96 original wasn’t the biggest of critical successes it definitely had a massive impact. Independence Day Resurgence simply doesn’t live up to its predecessor. The film attempts to weave so many threads together in only 2 hours that not enough time is spent on any of them and you wonder why they bothered with half of them.
Even as a 10 year old something that bothered me in the original was how quickly Will Smith’s character got over the death of his wingman during a battle with alien spacecraft. However the gravity of a massive alien invasion, the destruction and devastation of several major cities worldwide was still expressed to the audience. When the use of a nuclear weapon on US soil to destroy an attacking space craft turns out to be fruitless David Levinson (Jeff Goldblum) has a breakdown of sorts because it WAS a big deal. In this film the same character is watching London being destroyed and millions upon millions of people being massacred in front of his eyes yet he and the characters around him are making quips and generally playing for comedic relief. When David afterwards is consoling his new former girlfriend Catherine (Charlotte Gainsborough) as her parents are almost definitely dead it just feels forced.
This is a problem that comes up several times. It seems in an attempt to make the film fun they drove a steamroller through any possible drama the film has. Someone’s loved one is killed, they rage then in no time they’re back to making quips. If a film’s characters aren’t going to care about the end of the world then why should the audience?
After 20 years of disaster movies (seemingly half of which directed by Emmerich himself) audiences may not automatically find anything amazing about seeing the world destroyed anymore. This is made worse by the way in which the bland characters in the film itself don’t seem to care either. Ultimately what it means is a film about a fight for survival of the human race ends up being unreasonably boring.

 

Stars(1.5)

 

 

 

Adam Ross:

You can hear Adam Ross’s Independence Day: Resurgence review on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #182.

Stars(2)

 

 

Average Subculture Rating (out of 5):  Stars(2)

 

IMDB Rating:  Independence Day: Resurgence (2016) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment Independence Day: Resurgence reviews: You can also listen to our full Independence Day: Resurgence review on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #182.

 

Trailer:

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Out Of The Shadows

Summary: As Shredder joins forces with mad scientist Baxter Stockman and henchmen Bebop and Rocksteady to take over the world, the Turtles must confront an even greater nemesis: the notorious Krang.

Year: 2016

Australian Cinema Release Date: 9th June 2016

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: United States

Director: Dave Green

Screenwriter: Josh Appelbaum, Andre Nemec, Peter Laird (characters), Kevin Eastman (characters)

Cast: Quincy Acy (himself), Alessandro Ambrosio (herself), Stephen Amell (Casey Jones), Lou Amundson (himself), Carmelo Anthony (himself), Will Arnett (Vernon Fenwick), Andrea Bargnani (herself), Derek Binsack (Adam), Joslyn Brewster (Bumblebee), Peter Donald Badalamenti II (Splinter), Matt Barnes (himself), Phil Cappadora (Sailor Sam), Mike Catapan (Officer Grillo), Robert Clohessy (Deputy Warden Hamlett), Stephen Farrelly (Rocksteady), Noel Fisher (Michelangelo), Connor Fox (Trevor), Megan Fox (April O’Neil), Langston Arnold Galloway (himself), Brad Garrett (Krang (voice)), Matt Gorsky (Davy Lowry), Jeremy Howard (Donatello), Brittany Ishibashi (Karai), DeAndrew Jordan (himself), Shane Larkin (himself), Laura Linney (Chief Vincent), Jill Martin (herself), Tyler Perry (Baxter Stockman), Pete Ploszek (Leonardo), Jonathan Redick (himself), Alan Ritchson (Raphael), Austin Rivers (himself), Tony Shalhoub (Splinter (voice)), Brian Tee (Shredder), Gary Anthony Williams (Bebop), Jane Wu (Jade)

Runtime: 112 mins

Classification: M

 

OUR TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES: OUT OF THE SHADOWS REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

David Griffiths:

It seems like there are always going to be people that enjoy jumping over a film like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out Of The Shadows. See this franchise finds itself in a strange predicament. The first film was pretty much considered ‘average’ by critics (not this one… I loved it) but seemed to be well received by fans of the turtles themselves.  Having grown up not only watching the turtles religiously but also being surrounded by a tonne of turtle merchandise I was one of those that adored Jonathan Liebesman’s fresh new take on the classic… and now I’m here to say that the new film is better than the first.

This time around we find the turtles, Michelangelo (Noel Fisher – ‘Red’), Donatello (Jeremy Howard – ‘Men In Black II’), Leonardo (Pete Ploszek – ‘Teen Wolf’) and Raphael (Alan Ritchson – ‘The Hunger Games: Catching Fire’) still living in the shadows. They hide from New Yorkers and instead allow former cameraman Vernon Fenwick (Will Arnett – ‘Despicable Me’) take all the credit for saving the city.

The turtles are soon forced from their life of eating pizza and watching the Knicks though when intrepid reporter April O’Neil (Megan Fox – ‘Transformers’) discovers that respected scientist Baxter Stockman (Tyler Perry – ‘A Madea Christmas’) has hatched a plan to not only free the evil Shredder (Brian Tee – ‘Jurassic World’) but will once again give him enough power to take over the world. That plan soon leads to Shredder teeing up with cruel alien Krang (voiced by Brad Garrett – ‘Everybody Loves Raymond’) and taking control of two very tough, if not very dumb, henchmen (or should that be henchanimals) Bebop (Gary Anthony Williams – ‘The Internship’) and Rocksteady (Stephen Farrelly – ‘The Escapist’).

Not to be out-numbered the turtles find a new allie (and April a love interest) in the form of determined prison guard Casey Jones (Stephen Amell – ‘Arrow’) who plans on putting Bebop and Rocksteady behind bars and in turn show Police Chief Vincent (Laura Linney – ‘Mystic River’) that he is more than capable of becoming a Police Detective.

Director Dave Green (‘Earth To Echo’) hasn’t just made ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out Of The Shadows’ bigger and better than the original film he has also done something much more special and that is capture the magic of the original television series that made fans of the turtles fall in love with these tough mutants in the first place. Sure the fact that the screenwriters have introduced old favourites like Krang, Casey Jones, Bebop and Rocksteady into the franchise goes some of the way to re-create that magic but a lot of the credit must also be paid to Green who is in the difficult position of having to make this film appeal to people of all ages.

While some directors have to make a film appeal to both children and their parents Green is faced with the even harder task of having to make this film likable to two generations of turtles’ fans. Like The Simpsons the turtles have been long enough to be loved by people in their mid-30s and then right down to young children. Hence, a real problem for any filmmaker brave enough to take on directing in this franchise. While critics may want this film to be as dark as Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy realistically that is never going to work. You can’t have an actor playing a Heath Ledger Joker like bad guy when you’ve got small children involved. No instead Green does the right thing and has Tyler Perry over-act his role of Baxter Stockman and making it a little ‘lighter’ for younger eyes. The fact that the film works on all of these levels just shows that Green is an director to watch in the future.

Green and his screenwriters are also smart enough to know not to change too much in the Turtles universe as well. The newbies here, Casey Jones, Rocksteady, Krang and Bebop are pretty much the same as they were in the original series… with a very modern tweaks. Then there is the action, again Green goes back to what fans of the series know and love, there is a huge element of danger to New York but the fight scenes never last too long and unlike so many films these days aren’t just a flurry of movement. Even the trademark Turtle moral is there as the film reminds kids that just because they are different to everybody else they are still important.

Acting wise you got what you would expect from a film like this. Megan Fox does her usual ‘pretty girl’ thing while Tyler Perry, Will Arnett, Stephen Farrelly and Gary Anthony Williams provide enough comedic relief to keep everybody happy. And while Laura Linney does look a little lost at what she is doing in an action blockbuster like this Stephen Amell does provide a real breath of fresh air into the genre. Amell looks like he was born to play Casey Jones and seems to love being given the opportunity to play one of the turtles’ universes’ most popular characters. He has shown in TV’s ‘Arrow’ that he is a decent actor and once again Amell impresses.

Once again I suspect some critics won’t be as impressed with this film as much as I am but I like to give credit where credit is due. As a massive fan of the turtles I give ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out Of The Shadows’ a huge thumbs up.

Stars(3.5)

 

 

Adam Ross:

You can hear Adam Ross’s full Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out Of The Shadows review on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #180.

Stars(2.5)

 

 

Kyle McGrath:

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Out of the Shadows is the sequel to the 2014 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. This film finds the turtles hiding in the shadows allowing Vern Fenwick (Will Arnett) to take all the credit for defeating the evil Shredder a year ago and saving the city. But all is not well, Shredder escapes captivity with the help of Baxter Stockman (Tyler Perry) and to their surprise get roped into assisting inter-dimensional villain Krang (voiced by Brad Garett) open a portal which will allow him and his battleship The Technodrome to enter and destroy our world. It’s up to the turtles and their friends to save us all again.

This movie for all its grandeur is primarily a kids film, it’s not attempting to be anything other than a fun adventure movie for the family and unlike the recent Michael Bay directed Transformers movies I didn’t find myself rolling my eyes at the stupidity or vulgarity of the humor. The characters of the turtles are presented perfectly and the messages of friendship and teamwork are simple but important.

A definite strength of this film would be it’s fan-service to the audience who enjoyed the 80s-90’s cartoon series all those years ago. While there have been many other animated and live action TMNT films and tv shows since then none have left that same impact and the filmmakers know it. A major issue the previous film had was its misguided attempts early in production to stray away from what people expected of a TMNT movie, this I believe led to some hasty re-shoots in order to fix things that fans had expressed concern over. With this film however from the beginning it’s clear the intention was to appeal to those fans expectations. This reminded me of the approach Star Wars Episode 7 took which clearly worked wonders for that movie after the much derided prequel trilogy. This was a nice touch I thought and as a fan who grew up with the cartoon series it was endearing to see villains like Krang, Bebop & Rocksteady again.

Ultimately I think people’s opinions on this film will reflect their opinions on the last. Personally I thought this was an improvement overall. It’s the kind of film that’s easy to nitpick but when you see a giant mutant rhino trying to kill 4 mutant ninja turtles with a tank it feels somewhat misguided to complain of plot holes that the target audience couldn’t care less about.

Stars(3.5)

 

 

Nick Gardener:

You can hear Nick Gardener’s full Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out Of The Shadows review on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #180. You can also his review from The Wednesday Motley Crew.

Stars(1.5)

 

Sam Gironda:

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows, directed by Dave Green and starring Megan Fox, Stephen Amell, Will Arnet with Alan Ritchson, Noel Fisher, Pete Ploszek and Jeremy Howard as the turtles. The film continues on from the first film and shows the audience the outcome of the turtles taking down the villain, Shredder.

As a kid I was never a truly big fan of the Ninja Turtles but I knew of them and did see some of the old TV shows.
The one thing that really stood out for me is the fact that the film really made you root for the turtles. For me anyway, I felt like the camera angles, the score to the film and the acting from the actors within the film, really made this a film that was highly enjoyable and fun to watch.

The newest addition to the Ninja Turtle team is Casey Jones played by Arrows, Stephen Amell. Seeing Stephen Amell as Casey Jones on screen was fantastic. I felt as though he portrayed the character perfectly and was very interesting to see him act in something other than the hit show Arrow.
The humour that was portrayed in the film was humour that was very enjoyable. It never felt forced, it always felt right to have in certain moments and reminded me of the kind of humour you would experience just by hanging out with your friends.

The storyline for the movie was a very enjoyable storyline. I felt like the movie was paced extremely well. I was never bored, I was never confused and I was never lost within the film. It all ran really smoothly in my opinion. The CG (computer graphics) used to create the turtles was amazing. For the film they used motion capture suits with the actors and you can tell in the film that using that technology really payed off in creating very realistic movements when the turtles were on screen.

Fans of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles will very much enjoy the next installment in the franchise.

 

Stars(4)

 

Average Subculture Rating (out of 5):  Stars(3)

 

IMDB Rating: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows (2016) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out Of The Shadows reviews: You can also listen to our full Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out Of The Shadows review on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #180.

Trailer:

 

Midnight Special

Summary: A father named Roy (Michael Shannon) goes on the run with his son, Alton (Jaeden Lieberher), after the boy’s special powers attracts the attention of a cult who believes he delivers messages from God and also the CIA.

Year: 2016

Australian Cinema Release Date: 21st April 2016

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: United States

Director: Jeff Nichols

Screenwriter: Jeff Nichols

Cast: Lynn Berry (herself), Sean Bridgers (Fredrick), Kerry Cahill (Linda), Bill Camp (Doak), Adam Driver (Sevier), Kirsten Dunst (Sarah Tomlin), Joel Edgerton (Lucas), Lucy Faust (Caroline), Sharon Garrison (Jane Adams), Dana Gourrier (Sharon Davison), Nancy Grace (herself), Scott Haze (Levi), David Jensen (Elden), Allison King (Hannah), Sharon Landry (Merrianne), Jaeden Lieberher (Alton Meyer), Michael Shannon (Roy), Sam Shepard (Calvin Meyer), Paul Sparks (Agent Miller)

Runtime: 112 mins

Classification: M

 

OUR MIDNIGHT SPECIAL REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

David Griffiths:

Jeff Nichols has really announced himself as one of the best modern day filmmakers over the past few years. To be honest Nichols is yet to make a bad film, and his features which have included Shotgun Stories, Take Shelter and Mud have been gems that have regularly made my Top Ten films lists of the years they were released. Hell, I would go as far as to say that Mud is right up there as one of the best modern day films made. For that reason alone when I heard that his new film, Midnight Special, was a dark edged sci-fi that just happened to star two of my favourite actors, Michael Shannon and Joel Edgerton, I was just as excited as I was about the release of Captain America: Civil War or Batman vs Superman.

Midnight Special begins with Roy (Michael Shannon – Man Of Steel) on the run from the law after he and his childhood friend Lucas (Joel Edgerton – The Gift) snatched his son Alton (Jaeden Lieberher – St. Vincent) from a cult where it is expected that Alton and his supernatural gifts will continue to be the cult’s bridge between themselves and God.

But as Roy and Lucas rush to get Alton first of all to his mother, Sarah (Kirsten Dunst – Melancholia), and then to the co-ordinates that he has been sent, the journey is made dangerous by the fact that they are pursued by henchmen sent by cult leader, Calvin Meyer (Sam Shepherd – Mud) and law enforcement agencies led by Sevier (Adam Driver – Star Wars: The Force Awakens). Then there is the fact that Alton’s supernatural powers seem to be changing all the time, sometimes with catastrophic results.

There is no doubt that Midnight Special is going to frustrate some audience members. The film begins with an amazing opening as Nichols has the courage not to let the audience be able to figure out too much. In fact for the first 20-30 minutes you are led to believe that Alton has been kidnapped and you have absolutely no idea who Lucas is. The film keeps you completely in the dark to key information and that just adds to the suspense as you try to piece everything together like a jigsaw puzzle. That works remarkable well for the beginning of the film but what is annoying is when Nichols decides to do the same thing with the ending the film. There are so many unanswered questions in the end that it almost drives you crazy. In fact there are so many things left open that this is the one time I wouldn’t be angry if they decided to make a sequel to the film just to finish it off.

For the most part though Midnight Special works sensationally well.  The way the film drifts from the cult storyline to a road-thriller shows that Nichols has the maturity to be a filmmaker that doesn’t shy away from throwing all the traditional filmmaking styles right out the window to get his story across. The fact that Nichols also manages to mix tropes from road trip and thriller movies into a film that ends up being a sci-fi also shows why he is one of the most exciting filmmakers of the modern generation.

Nichols’ well written screenplay also allows his cast to shine. As you would expect Edgerton and Shannon at their usual brilliant best while the film also allows Kirsten Dunst to remind audiences that she is still an actress who can really deliver when she is given the right material to work with. The script also lets Adam Driver show those who have been critical since his performance in Star Wars: The Force Awakens just how good he has always been in the indie filmmaking society. But the star here is clearly Jaeden Lieberther who like he did in the Bill Murray film St. Vincent shows the world how is destined to become one of the finest actors Hollywood has ever seen.

Midnight Special is the kind of film that has the potential to frustrate cinema goers who like a simple linear story, but if you like your sci-fi a little left of centre then you are going to adore this film. In fact this is the kind of movie that you’ll go to see and then urge your friends to see because you’ve loved it so much. Sure Midnight Special is not as good as Nichols’ previous films but it is still well worth a look.

Stars(4)

 

 

Greg King:

You can hear Greg King’s full Midnight Special review on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #173.

Stars(3)

 

 

Nick Gardener:

You can hear Nick Gardener’s full Midnight Special review on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #173.

Stars(3)

 

Average Subculture Rating (out of 5):  Stars(3)

 

IMDB Rating: Midnight Special (2016) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment Midnight Special reviews: You can also listen to our full Midnight Special review on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #173.

Trailer:

Captain America Civil War

Summary: As the government asks the Avengers to be brought together under the one umbrella Tony Stark/Iron-Man (Robert Downey Jnr.) and Steve Rodgers/Captain America find themselves going to war as they both stand for their ideals.

Year: 2016

Australian Cinema Release Date: 28th April 2016

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: United States

Director: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo

Screenwriter: Christopher Markus, Steven McFeely, Mark Millar (comic book), Jack Kirby (characters), Joe Simon (characters)

Cast: Gozie Agbo (Dr. Broussard), Paul Bettany (Vision), Chadwick Boseman (T’Challa/Black Panther), Daniel Bruhl (Zemo), Don Cheadle (Lieutenant James Rhodes/War Machine), Kerry Condon (Friday (voice)), Hope Davis (Maria Stark), Robert Downey Jnr. (Tony Stark/Iron-Man), Chris Evans (Steve Rodgers/Captain America), Gene Farber (Karpov), Martin Freeman (Everett K. Ross), Frank Grillo (Brock Rumlow/Crossbones), Tom Holland (Peter Parker/Spider-Man), William Hurt (Secretary of State Thaddeus Ross), Scarlett Johansson (Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow), John Kani (King T’Chaka), Anthony Mackie (Sam Wilson/Falcon), Elizabeth Olsen (Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch), Jim Rash (M.I.T. Liaison), Jeremy Renner (Clint Barton/Hawkeye), Paul Rudd (Scott Lang/Ant-Man), John Slattery (Howard Stark), Sebastian Stan (Bucky Barnes/Winter Solider), Marisa Tomei (May Parker), Emily VanCamp (Sharon Carter), Alfre Woodard (Miriam), Jane Wu (U.N. Staffer Wu)

Runtime: 147 mins

Classification: PG

 

OUR CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

David Griffiths:

So far 2016 has delivered mixed results for comic book fans right around the world. While we were very impressed with the way that Deadpool stuck to the comic itself despite the possibility of making it a cinema unfriendly film we were all disappointed that Batman vs Superman: Dawn Of Justice didn’t live up to the dizzying heights we all wanted it to. With those results echoing in our heads we all approached Captain America: Civil War with some trepidation. Even as a series in itself Marvel’s Avengers series has been up and down. While Captain America: Winter Soldier was a brilliant film, Avengers: Age Of Ultron was a bit of a letdown. Well you can all take a big breath and relax comic book fans because Captain America: Civil War delivers with a massive payload.

For those that haven’t read the comics surrounding the Marvel Civil War series Captain America: Civil War sees Steve Rodgers/Captain America (Chris Evans – Snowpiercer) go head-to-head with Tony Stark/Ironman (Robert Downey Jnr. – The Judge) after Rodgers decides that he can’t be part of the Avengers if it means they now have to answer to Government department… as he points out Governments can have agendas. With pressure mounting after a mission led by Captain America, Falcon (Anthony Mackie – The Hurt Locker), Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen – Godzilla) and Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson- Lucy) ends in civilian casualties Stark is quick to sign the agreement but Rodgers refuses.

Tensions rise even more when the new Government led Avengers are asked to bring in Bucky Barnes/Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan – The Martian) after he is blamed for a terrorist attack. Something that Rodgers believes he is innocent of. Cue the war.

When leaving the cinema after the premiere of Captain America: Civil War one thing was going through my mind, and that was that the Russo Brothers who directed this film and true action film geniuses. Trying to fit so many comic book characters into one film could have failed really badly. In their hands it doesn’t. For many directors (I’m looking at you Zack Snyder and Michael Bay) this film would have been an excuse to throw characterisation right out the window and instead just concentrate on explosions and fighting galore. That isn’t the case here, while the film not only allows fans to know exactly how each Avenger is feeling as the split happens we also get an introduction to two new Avengers – Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman – Gods Of Egypt) and Spider-Man (Tom Holland – In The Heart Of The Sea) and get a real feel for their characters despite the fact that time doesn’t allow for a huge introduction into their lives.

The characterisation really comes to the fore though with the friendship breakdown between Steve Rodgers and Tony Stark though. This isn’t just simply raised fists at twenty paces like it was in Batman vs Superman, no Civil War really allows the audience to see the pain the two men are going through as their friendship erodes and as a result it is easier to understand exactly what leads to the battles that we end up witnessing.

Having said that though the Russos have not forgotten that a movie like this needs action sequences and boy do they deliver on that level. If you were impressed with the action scenes in Winter Soldier then you are going to be blown away with what you see here. While Iron Man and Captain America’s hand-to-hand battle is something that every true comic book fan is going to savour what really steals the show here is the amazing car chase involving Falcon, Cap and Winter Solider, and then of course the epic airport battle that is truly Avenger vs Avenger with battle lines drawn. While the Russos make this scene look good, they also bring in some creative use of the environment around the characters and also manage to deliver some light hearted moments made possible by the smart-ass antics of Spider-Man and Ant-Man (Paul Rudd – Role Models). You wouldn’t think that action and comedy would gel so well together, but somehow the Russos manage to pull it off. So impressive are what the Russos seem to be able to do with action sequences it has to be said that they are now the best action directors around currently and they are doing for the genre what James Cameron did with the Terminator films all those years ago.

So good is the screenplay for Captain America: Civil War that this is one of the first times in this franchise that the actors have really had a chance to show their skills. Robert Downey Jnr. brings his acting A-Game to this film, he seriously puts as much effort in here as he did in dramatic films like The Judge. Even Chris Evans shows that he is more than just a pretty boy actor while Paul Rudd is backed up the comedic stakes by Tom Holland who brings a fresh new feel to the Spider-Man character. While it does take a bit to get used to Holland as Spider-Man his wise-cracking version of Peter Parker does grow you and by the time he exits the screen you find yourself looking forward to the forthcoming Spider-Man movie.

Captain America: Civil War is what we all dreamed it would be… it fact it goes beyond expectations. If it wasn’t just a little bit long you would have to say that it is the perfect action film. With spectacular action sequences, great suspense and a well-written screenplay this is one film I am going to watch over and over.

 

Stars(4)

 

 

Adam Ross:

You can hear Adam Ross’s Captain America: Civil War review on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #174.

Stars(5)

 

 

Nick Gardener:

You can hear Nick Gardener’s Captain America: Civil War review on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #174.

Stars(3)

 

 

Average Subculture Rating (out of 5):  Stars(4)

 

IMDB Rating: Captain America: Civil War (2016) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment Captain America: Civil War reviews: You can also listen to our full Captain America: Civil War review on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #174.

Trailer:

Jem And The Holograms

Summary: As a small-town girl catapults from underground video sensation to global superstar, she and her three sisters begin a journey of discovering that some talents are too special to keep hidden.

Year: 2015

Australian Cinema Release Date: N/A

Australian DVD Release Date: 24th March, 2016

Country: USA

Director: Jon M. Chu

Screenwriter: Ryan Landels

Cast: Justin Alastair (Esteban), Ken Baker (Donnie The Reporter), Nicholas Braun (Brad), Barnaby Carpenter (Emmett Benton), Jimmy Fallon (himself), Katie Findlay (Stormer), Eiza Gonzalez (Jetta), Ryan Guzman (Rio), Dwayne Johnson (himself), Djoir Jordan (herself), Jason Kennedy (Jason Kennedy), Kesha (Pizazz), Alicia Keys (herself), Hayley Kiyoko (Aja), Hana Mae Lee (Roxy), Juliette Lewis (Erica Raymond), Christy Marx (Lindsey Pierce), Nathan Moore (Zipper), Aubrey Peeples (Jerrica/Jem), Aurora Perrineau (Shana), Chris Pratt (himself), Isabella Kai Rice (Young Jerrica), Molly Ringwald (Aunt Bailey), Stefanie Scott (Kimber), Jackie Tohn (Rebecca)

Runtime: 118 mins

Classification: PG

 

OUR JEM AND THE HOLOGRAMS REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

Harley Woods:

Jem And The Holograms is a film based on Hasbro’s super popular doll line of the Eighties, which had a cartoon series still loved to this day. The screenplay of this film was written by Ryan Landels and the film was directed by Jon M Chu.

The story revolves around the orphaned Jerrica who grows up with her little sister, Kimber, and 2 adoptive sisters, Shana and Aja, in a house where music is cultivated as a way to bond. She becomes an online sensation overnight when she dons a pink wig and performs a song under the name ‘Jem’.

When I heard that Jem was going to be done as a live action movie I was so excited. I loved the cartoon when I was a child. I t was the essential Eighties cartoon – full of music, colour, crazy style but with real heart at its centre.

Then I saw the trailer for the movie. What was being advertised was absolutely nothing like Jem – it was just using the name. I’m pretty sure this pissed-off a lot of people and the film’s release suffered for it.

However, having just watched the DVD release, I have to say it was not as horrible as I feared. Synergy was there as a character, albeit a little different to the original, as was Jerrica’s backstory, slightly tweaked…

So why was I shown a completely boring ‘I-want-to-be-on-American-Idol’ type trailer to advertise the movie – with almost none of the classic Jem elements and characteristic details?

Despite this, the film does offer good fan-service throughout the film; a lot of characters and elements from the show appear. Some elements are not used enough, such as the classic Jem “truly outrageous” style. This appears briefly at the start and gets our hopes up… only to be watered down when they hit stardom.

The filmmakers have created a story about finding the ‘real you’ and being courageous enough to be yourself and follow your dreams. To sell this, we not only follow Jerrica’s journey to becoming Jem via her online video, but other ‘everyday people’ are shown throughout the film with their video uploads. This is meant to be an inspirational “we are all Jem” idea, showing that everyone can make their dreams come true.

Whilst I applaud the idea and lesson, I have to say that all those videos were annoying and detracted from the narrative. More time spent ‘showing’ Jem’s effect rather than a bunch of low-quality home video scenes of people saying how inspired they are would have been more beneficial.

Overall, the story was good and engaging but suffered from lazy and predictable moments later on. At one point the band falls apart, but all is forgiven without any kind of prompting a few minutes later. Character-wise, the movie starts good and builds each of the main characters, then becomes all about Jem and the others start to become background elements.

Jerrica’s biological little sister, Kimber, is the catalyst for the events and is built up at the start. Jerrica finds clues left by their father and follows them as her personal journey and, apparently, is nothing to do with Kimber. A message from their father at the end is all directed at Jerrica, only acknowledging Kimber at the very end.

Fans of Jem will have been wanting to see the Misfits in the movie. They’re not the main antagonists as you might have hoped, but do appear in a mid-credits bonus scene (with Pizazz played by Kesha) obviously intended to set-up a sequel. Their absence did not bother me, though, as it made sense to set Jem up as a star before introducing rivals.

I hope we actually do get a sequel, but with stronger writing (I’ll do it!) and ‘style’ showing it to be a bit more faithful to the franchise – especially in how it’s advertised. I hope they make the effort to set it straight and actually make Jem ‘truly outrageous’, which she really wasn’t in this film.

A nice touch might have been to update the old theme-tune. The music was good in the movie, but it should have been more striking and utilised more than it actually was for a film about a musician. It was disappointing to see her turned into a Lady-Gaga-clone at one stage – although this could have been a device used to show her becoming unpopular when they tried to change who she fundamentally was; you missed something there, Hasbro Studios!

Performances by the cast were generally strong, given what they had to work with. At times the film did not know if it wanted to be funny or feely and could have been executed better. Our heroine played her part well but we would like to see more opportunity to be the striking character and talent that she is built up to be (more the script’s fault than the actress’).

This film deserves 3.5 out of 5, with plenty of room left to be truly, truly, truly outrageous.

 

Stars(3.5)

 

 

Average Subculture Rating (out of 5):  Stars(3.5)

 

IMDB Rating:  Jem and the Holograms (2015) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment Jem And The Holograms Reviews: Nil

Trailer:

The Monkey King

Summary: Sun Wukong, (The Monkey King) is a monkey born from a heavenly stone who acquires supernatural powers. After rebelling against heaven and being imprisoned under a mountain for 500 years, he later accompanies the monk Xuanzang on a journey to India. Thus, according to legend, Buddhism is brought to ancient China. This much beloved story, is as much a part of Asian culture as The Iliad and The Odyssey or The Wizard of Oz are to the West.

Year: 2014

Australian Cinema Release Date: N/A

Australian DVD Release Date: 18th June, 2014

Country: China, Hong Kong

Director: Pou-Soi Cheang

Screenwriter: Tai-Li Chan, Kam-Yuen Szeto, Edmond Wong

Cast: Joe Chen (Princess Iron Fan), Kelly Chen (Goddess Of Mercy/Guanyin), Calvin Ka-Sing Cheng (Nezha), Siu-Fai Cheung (Heavenly King), Yun-Fat Chow (Jade Emporer), Yitian Hai (Master Puti), Peter Ho (Erlangshen), Aaron Kwok (Bull Demon King), Chung Him Law (Muzha), Cathy Yue-Yan Leung (Caixia Fairy), Gigi Leung (Chang’E), Jing Li (Green Monkey), Hua Liu (Dragon King Of The East Sea), Irene Wang (Caiyun Fairy), Zitong Xia (Ruxue), Hua Yan (Jade Warlord Guard), Donnie Yen (Sun Wukong/Monkey King), Zilin Zhang (Goddes Nu Wa)

Runtime: 90 mins

Classification: M

 

OUR THE MONKEY KING REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

Harley Woods:

The Monkey King is a Hong Kong Chinese film based on classic stories most famously collected and retold in the novel “Journey To The West”, published anonymously but most commonly attributed to Wu Cheng’en. The screenplay of this film was written by Szeto Kam-Yuen, Edmond Wong, Lola Huo and Dali Chen.

The story revolves around Sun Wukong, the Monkey King, as he is raised to the Heavens to be taught higher skills and learning, including magic, and his subsequent fall and rise (and fall again). It is but an opening portion to the whole story of “Journey To The West”, but sets up and establishes the main character nicely.

The world created in the film is full of beautiful imagery and quite faithful to the legends and beliefs of the centuries these stories were told, even if being an embellished version of the origin part of Sun Wukong’s story. The CG elements were used quite successfully to realise the world and supply some great imagery. It is, however, let down a few times where modern audiences of Hollywood blockbusters might jeer, but it is not so bad as to ruin the overall aesthetic and charm of the movie. The locations created as well as the dragons we see throughout the film tend to be examples of the best computer effects work. I think the points where it falls a little flat are mostly to do with scene structure and how the elements are put together.

There is sometimes a ‘cartoony’ feel to the movie, but this does not jar with the overall tone, which is that of a grand adventure. Part of this is attributed to some of the slightly underdeveloped CG in scenes – such as the one where Sun links his tail affectionately with the vixen girl, Ruxue (Xia Zitong) – or when further animal spirit characters are introduced and they are all performers in costume rather than CG elements. The costume creations are marvellous in this movie, and for the animal spirits this works very well as you have real actors giving them character through movement and behaviour and making them interesting despite having no real development or stake in the plot.

Donnie Yen’s portrayal of Sun Wukong was exceptional, creating a whole character with well thought-out movement style for a monkey, carried right through to the development of a specific fighting style. The more subtle qualities he uses to portray the mischievous, yet good-hearted, protagonist through all of his furry make-up and costuming deserves much praise.

As something of a change to the tradition, Sun is given a love interest as a means to get him invested in the battle to come, and also as a means for the villainous Buffalo Demon King (Aaron Kwok) to manipulate the character into rash and wilful action.

It is the monkey’s impetuousness and naiveté that get him into trouble, as fundamentally he is a child character. This is essentially a morality tale with examples of our basic behaviours and what we need to learn to be better and enlighten ourselves; just as many old tales of myth, legend and religion have told us for centuries. This is an exciting action tale which subtly educates us on the way; a great and colourful adventure for children to watch but equally rewarding for an adult who can more clearly notice the depth.

For kids of the Seventies and Eighties, you may remember the Japanese TV series adaption of “Journey To The West”, titled “Monkey” (no, it’s not named ‘Monkey Magic’ – that’s just a line in the theme song lyrics!). Whether or not it is deliberate, it seems like the director may have given some nods to this famous and beloved series. Most notably was the execution of one of Sun’s tricks – the conjuring of an army (of clones of himself) created by the shedding of strands of his hair. The way it is shown took me right back to watching it in the old show, only with a bit more skill to the effects work.

On the whole, while some of these effects and the structure of the elements could have used some work, the movie itself is very well done and engaging. The end is set-up to carry on into the next chapter of the story where Sun Wukong begins the journey to the West with the boy monk, Tang Sanzang. This story begins in the sequel, released in February 2016.

Stars(4)

 

 

Average Subculture Rating (out of 5):  Stars(4)

 

IMDB Rating:  The Monkey King (2014) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment Reviews of ‘The Monkey King′: Nil

Trailer:

Kung Fu Panda 3

Summary: Continuing his “legendary adventures of awesomeness”, Po must face two hugely epic, but different threats: one supernatural and the other a little closer to his home.

Year: 2016

Australian Cinema Release Date: 23rd March 2016

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: USA, China

Director: Alessandro Carloni, Jennifer Yuh Nelson

Screenwriter: Jonathan Aibel, Glenn Berger

Cast: Jack Black (Po (voice)), Jackie Chan (Monkey (voice)), Radzi Chinyanganya (Mi (voice)), Bryan Cranston (Li (voice)), David Cross (Crane (voice)), Barbara Dirickson (Grandma Panda (voice)), Steele Gagnon (Bao (voice)), Willie Geist (Dim (voice)), Dustin Hoffman (Shifu (voice)), April Hong (Mrs. Chow (voice)),  James Hong (Mr. Ping (voice)), Kate Hudson (Mei Mei (voice)), Angelina Jolie (Tigress (voice)), Knox Jolie-Pitt (Ku Ku (voice)), Pax Jolie-Pitt (Yoo (voice)), Shiloh Jolie-Pitt (Shuai Shuai (voice)), Zahara Jolie-Pitt (Meng Meng (voice)), Randall Duk Kim (Oogway (voice)), Liam Knight (Lei Lei (voice)), Wayne Knight (Big Fun/Hom-Lee (voice)), Lucy Liu (Viper (voice)), Seth Rogen (Mantis (voice)), Al Roker (Sum (voice)), Lindsey Russell (Peony (voice)), J.K. Simmons (Kai (voice)), Fred Tatasciore (Master Bear (voice)), Ming Tsai (Ming (voice)), Jean-Claude Van Damme (Mast Croc (voice))

Runtime: 95 mins

Classification: PG

 

OUR KUNG FU PANDA 3 REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

John Noonan:

Five years since he last skiddooed onto the scene, Po the Panda is back and this time, for fear of sounding like a movie poster, he’s bringing the whole family. Yes, a chance encounter at his adoptive father’s restaurant leads  Po (Jack Black) to meeting up with his long lost Dad, Li Shan (Bryan Cranston). Meanwhile, the vengeful spirit of a great warrior known as Kai (JK Simmons) has returned to the mortal realm and is seeking to steal Po’s chi.

This is the second sequel to DreamWorks’s 2008 hit and it’s amazing to see the difference between this and their previous flagship series, Shrek. By the time Shrek coughed and spluttered into his third sequel, the franchise was nothing more than weak storylines on which to pin dated pop culture references and Eel songs.

Conversely, Kung Fu Panda 3 allows Po and his pals to grow organically. Despite being declared Dragon Warrior in the previous film, there’s still much for the young panda to learn. Including it seems, that of how to be a panda. With his newly found father, Po ventures to their secret village in the hills to understand panda nature (tips include that they don’t do stairs and they don’t get up before midday) and potentially learn something that can defeat Kai.

Yes, this ‘just be yourself’ through line is a tried and tested formula, but it’s yet to feel derivate in the Panda universe. Po, despite his prowess, is a still a student. He has questions about his place in the universe that he hopes to answer. Meanwhile, there is only so many ways to you teach an ogre that’s okay to be an ogre, as long as you change yourself a bit.

Kung Fu Panda 3, as has become expected, is beautiful with traditional animation – admittedly done by computers – used for line drawn flashbacks. It’s a simple trick, but one that is used to great and emotional effect. Elsewhere the vocal talent is uniformly brilliant, with JK Simmons sounding like he’s channelling the angriest of angry John Goodmans, whilst James Hong steals every scene as Po’s adoptive father, Mr Ping; who doesn’t take kindly to others cutting his grass.

Rumours are that DreamWorks’s have at least another three chapters in the story of Po, and whilst that is a tempting offer, should they never surface, rest assured Kung Fu Panda 3 is a wonderful and joyous ending to a truly enjoyable series of films.

Stars(4)

 

 

Average Subculture Rating (out of 5):  Stars(4)

 

IMDB Rating: Kung Fu Panda 3 (2016) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment Kung Fu Panda 3 reviews: Nil

Trailer:

The 5th Wave

Summary: Based on the hit novel by Rick Yancey The 5th Wave sees teenager Cassie Sullivan’s (Chloe Grace Moretz) world get turned upside overnight. One moment she is your typical partying High School student who has a crush on classmate Ben Parish (Nick Robinson) and the next moment everything changes as an alien race known as The Others begin four waves of attack on Earth.

Soon Cassie finds herself in a desperate bid to survive while trying to find her brother, Sam (Zackary Arthur) who has become separated from her and is now in the so-called safe hands of the military. But Cassie knows that nobody or nowhere is safe anymore and she will do anything to get back to her brother.

Year: 2016

Australian Cinema Release Date: 14th January 2016

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: USA

Director: J Blakeson

Screenwriter: Susannah Grant, Akiva Goldsman, Jeff Pinkner, Rick Yancey (novel)

Cast: Zackary Arthur (Sam Sullivan), Cade Conan Ball (Oompa), Talitha Bateman (Teacup), Michael Beasley (Major Bob), Maria Bello (Sergeant Reznik), Bailey Ann Borders (Julia), Faneal Godbold (Trooper Fay), Nadji Jeter (Poundcake), Adam C. Johnson (Sergeant Webb), Scott Ledbetter (Officer Henry), Charman Lee (Ms. Paulson), Ron Livingston (Oliver Sullivan), Gabriela Lopez (Lizbeth), Alex MacNicoll (Flintstone), Flynn McHugh (Tank), Maika Monroe (Ringer), Chloe Grace Moretz (Cassie Sullivan), Johnny Otto (Dr. Osborne), Tony Revolori (Dumbo), Derek Roberts (Private Barker), Alex Roe (Evan Walker), Nick Robinson (Ben Parish/Zombie), Liev Schreiber (Colonel Vosch), Terry Serpico (Hutchfield), Maggie Siff (Lisa Sullivan), Parker Wierling (Jeremy)

Runtime: 112 mins

Classification: M

 

OUR THE 5th WAVE REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

David Griffiths:

Hunger Games, Divergent, Maze Runner – there’s been no shortage of teen utopian flicks coming out the last few years and now there is a new kid in the playground – The 5th Wave, and boy does this kid have some bite. The 5th Wave doesn’t mess around, as some unsuspecting parents discovered in the screening I was in when they had to rush their kids from the cinemas after Chloe Grace Moretz gets shotgun friendly within the opening moments of the film. Yes this film’s a winner, but I just wish I’d had a better and longer time to get to know the characters.

Don’t get me wrong The 5th Wave delivers on all cylinders, in fact it has everything that a movie like this needs. The problem is that the story and the characters are so interesting I wanted to spend longer in their world. Instead of a two hour movie I would much rather have seen Cassie and her family put through trials for a longer period of time and had this become a television series that I could enjoy alongside The Walking Dead and Under The Dome. The first four waves of the attack happen so quickly in the film it seems the only way to do it true justice would be to have it happen over two or three seasons of a show.

Still credit needs to be paid to The 5th Wave as a film. Director J. Blakeson knows how to deliver suspense, he did it by the bucket loads in the haunting The Disappearance Of Alice Creed and here he teams up with a talented screenwriting team that among others features the talented Akiva Goldsman (yes the genius that brought us I Am Legend). Together these two set about making this film enjoyable for the same reason we loved Maze Runner… because they don’t hold back and as a result the story is more believable. Believability was really on their side as Cassie isn’t based in some far off world, her world is our world just with some alien attackers added. Blakeson and co then brilliantly have her face decisions that many of us would struggle to comprehend and the result is a film that has you on the edge of your seat throughout. Once the twists and turns start occurring in the plot you never know what is going to happen next.

The other thing that makes The 5th Wave work so well is that all the characters are relatable. Cassie isn’t your superhero archetype, instead she is the girl next door who suddenly finds herself having to fight for survival. Her instinct of wanting to protect her family is something that we all identify with and the audience very quickly finds themself ‘barracking’ for her. Sadly that same feeling takes a bit longer to generate with Ben as he missing for a huge part of the middle area of the film… still he is likable enough for it to come back and it would have been nice to have been able to spend more time getting to know him as a character.

The well written script and good direction from Blakeson also allows the young stars to shine. Chloe Grace Moretz is her usual stand-out best but unlike her role in Kick-Ass we do get to see a much softer side to her this time around as well. She is well supported by Nick Robinson and also Alex Roe who both announce themselves as stars of the future. A gruff performance by Liev Schreiber is also worth mentioning as he is at his menacing best.

One of the saddest things about writing this review is that I can’t tell you the real reason for why I loved The 5th Wave so much and that is for the twisted elements that exist due to the film’s plot turns and revelations. The 5th Wave is a good action sci-fi that has a little more bite than some would predict. Easy-to-warm-to-characters and an interesting storyline means the audience quickly feels part of this new world… so now we can only hope that this spins off into franchise so we can spend a little more time watching Cassie and co go up against The Others. Bring on number 2 please.
Stars(3.5)

 

 

Greg King:

You can listen to Greg’s The 5th Wave review on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #161

Stars(3)

 

 

Nick Gardener:

You can listen to Nick’s The 5th Wave review on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #161

Stars(2.5)

 

 

Sam Gironda:

The 5th Wave, Directed by J Blakeson is a film adaptation from the popular novel written by Rick Yancey.

Chloë Grace Moretez (Cassie Sullivan) is the star of the film accompanied by a variety of young actors. Nick Robinson (Ben Parish), Alex Roe (Evan Walker), Zackary Arthur (Sam Sullivan) and Maika Monroe (Ringer) all play leading roles in the film.

The 5th Wave is the story of an alien race, known as The Others, coming to Earth and trying to claim the planet as their own. The Others attack Earth in a series of waves. The 1st Wave, lights out. All electrical appliances and vehicles are terminated from being able to be used by mankind. The 2nd Wave, Surfs Up. This wave involved tsunamis and flooding to occur all over the world and killing millions. The 3rd Wave, Pestilence. The Others increased the effects of the bird flu and infected the whole planet ridding Earth of those who were left, those who caught it at least. The 4th Wave, They Arrive. In this wave The Others come to Earth in human form and try to gather up the last remaking human’s by impersonating the Army. The 5th Wave… This is what the whole film is based around. Trying to stop the 5th wave from happening.

During the film I loved the acting by some of the cast members and I loved the aspect that Humans are so delicate and vulnerable to so many things and how the aliens used our vulnerabilities to kill us. The story itself was a good story. I felt as though it was dragging on a little bit towards the middle of the film but that’s just my personal opinion. Once a few plot twists were presented to the audience things really picked up in my opinion. Being the School holidays this is a great film to take the whole family to. Action, drama and romance are all included writhing the film so I think there should be an aspect of the film that everyone will enjoy.

Stars(2)

 

 

Average Subculture Rating (out of 5):  Stars(3)

 

IMDB Rating: The 5th Wave (2016) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment The 5th Wave reviews: You can listen to our full The 5th Wave  review on a The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #161. You can also read our The 5th Wave review on The Book The Film The T-Shirt.

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