30 June 2014

How to Train your Dragon 2 doesn't quite soar

The first How to Train your Dragon may be the best film that Dreamworks has ever released. It was a surprisingly good coming-of-age film that followed Hiccup, son of the Viking Chief Stoick, as he learnt that dragons were not the monstrous enemies they once thought, but instead gentle, friendly creatures that were misunderstood, forced to attack Berk by an unknown force. Its strong, character based story allowed it to remain focused on the central theme of compassion over violence, making it one of the best films released in 2010.

How to Train your Dragon 2 picks up 5 years after the events of the first film. An older Hiccup is dating Astrid now, and the village and villagers have fully embraced dragons into their life. Stoick is ready to make Hiccup the new Chief, but Hiccup has other ideas - he is exploring the world outside of Berk with his dragon Toothless, trying to put together a map of the world while also searching for another Nightfury, a partner for Toothless. While exploring, he finds out that someone is amassing a dragon army, and naturally tries to talk them out of it. Meanwhile, Hiccup meets someone from outside of Berk, known as the Dragon Rider.

26 June 2014

Chef is a real feel-good film

About 30-45 minutes into Chef, there is a scene where Jon Favreau, director and leading man of the film, shouts and rants angrily at a critic for a solid 3 minutes about how he does nothing but shit on other peoples dreams, so I feel incredibly thankful that Chef was a very good film.

Chef is the story of Carl Casper, who buys a food truck and tours the USA with his friend and his son after losing his job at a restaurant and losing his mind at a food critic, becoming an overnight internet celebrity. And that's it really - the story is simple, allowing the emotional hook of the film (Carl's relationship with his son) to be front and centre.

16 June 2014

22 Jump Street is the first great comedy sequel

Comedy sequels are strange beasts, usually unwilling to take the risks that made the first film popular, instead relying on references to jokes from it's predecessor to get "That was funny in the first film and I remember it" laughs from the audience. They often end up feeling tired or unoriginal, and as such are usually less memorable and less funny than the first film, devoid of the creativity that made the first film a success. 22 Jump Street acknowledges this issue with comedy sequels, playing it through with a nudge and a wink, giving the audience a comedy sequel that is genuinely funnier than its predecessor.

5 June 2014

Edge of Tomorrow makes Tom Cruise likable again

We are living in a strange, strange world. The new big budget, action/sci-fi blockbuster starring Tom Cruise isn't expected to do very well in the box office despite a lack of other action/sci-fi films released this year. This is shame, because Edge of Tomorrow is actually really good. Without giving away anything that the trailers haven't, the basic premise is that there has been an alien invasion. We join the film as a last-ditch assault on the land the aliens have invaded is about to be undertaken, with our main man Bill Cage being sent to the front-line for the assault, where he gains the ability to go back in time to the start of the day whenever he is killed. Another soldier in the battle, Rita Vrataski (better known as the Full Metal Bitch), recognises his power as something she used to have, and helps him train.