Author Archives: SETV

Skyscraper

Sometimes the simplest premise works the best, take a little it of Die Hard, add a dash of Towering Inferno and put the Rock between a hard place and you have yourself a summer popcorn flick. You smelling that? The Rock is cooking up a storm.

FBI agent Will Sawyer (Dwayne Johnson) is injured in the line of duty and losses his leg. Ten years later he’s married to surgeon Sarah (Neve Campbell) and they have two children and Will has set up a private security firm, his newest client is billionaire Zhao Lung Li (Chin Han) and Will has been hired to assess the security of Zhao’s super tall tower, the Pearl. At 220 floors high, the Pearl is the tallest structure in the world with the upper levels not yet available to the public until Will evaluates exactly how safe the tower is.

While Will reunites with old friends, Sarah and the kids are living in the upper levels, unbeknownst that a group of terrorists led by top syndicate enforcer Kores Botha (Roland Moller) infiltrate the lower levels and begin their plan to set fire to the Pearl. After a second team gain control of the Pearl’s offline cyber security facility, they deactivate the safety systems and within minutes a fire spreads all across the middle levels, directed upwards through the ventilation shafts, turning the world’s tallest building into a chimney.

Will-learning of his old friend’s role in this plan- heads towards the Pearl to rescue his family who are trapped on the upper levels. Defying the Hong Kong Police, he climbs a construction crane and leaps into the fray, fighting fire and the terrorists to rescue his family and save Zhao from Botha, who wants a mystery McGuffin that Zhao has.

Skyscraper is the height of absurd fun, and it helps that Dwayne Johnson can make just about anything work, and he’s committed to it, he even walks and runs as if he where if an actual prosthetic leg. The run time is comfortable and the pacing takes you through it steadily without forgetting that it’s a race against time, and the death defying stunts are not for the faint hearted. Just good clean fun from beginning to end.

Remember- if you can’t solve a problem with duct tape, you’re not using enough duct tape.

(Foolish Fools! Don’t they know that fire is ineffective against Rock types?)

By Daniel Murphy

Solo: A Star Wars Story

When sney bought Lucas film, they annexed the deep Star Wars expanded universe in favour of making their own canon. A lot of fans were peeved by that decision and so, to their credit, the executives seem to realise the mistake and now, in addition to new episodes in the on-going saga, their giving us stories that fill in important gaps in Star Wars lore. Rogue One detailed how the rebellion got the Death Star plans and now we learn the origins of everybody’s favourite 

nerf herder.

On the planet Corellia, a young Han (Alden Ehrenreich) plans to escape his debt to local crime syndicates along with his sweetheart Qi’ra (Emilia Clarke). The lovers depart in a boosted speeder, but they are separated at an Imperial checkpoint, Qi’ra is captured and she urges Han to go on without her.  To avoid being captured himself, Han enlists at an Imperial recruitment centre, vowing to one day return and save Qi’ra.

Three years later and Han meets up with a crew of smugglers, he pleads for them to take him with them, along with freed Wookie prisoner Chewbacca. The leader of the smugglers, Tobias Beckett (Woody Harrison), decides to bring Han and Chewie along with them to pull off a heist. They hit an Imperial transport delivering Coaxium, the fuel for hyper-drive engines. Unfortunately a rival band of marauders arrives to seize the cargo; only Han, Chewie and Tobias survive but fail to acquire the Coaxium.

With nothing to lose but their lives, the trio go to crime syndicate boss Dryden Vos (Paul Bettany) to try clear their debts to him by compensating the lost Coaxium. Qi’ra, who works with Dryden, is re-united with Han and is sent with the trio to assure the complete the job. The only planet to find Coaxium is Kessell, mined in its natural form where it quickly degrades and explodes, so a fast ship is required. Qi’ra brings them to the man with the fastest ship in the galaxy, Lando Calrissan (Donald Glover).

Solo is certainly a worthy origin of the galaxy’s greatest smuggler. It’s a heist film set against the galactic space opera that invokes Wild West vibes. Plenty of talented casting, Glover in particular channels the spirit of Billy Dee Williams. The crème-de-la-crème is the famed Kessell run that we’ve heard so much about and now we’re finally see, and it’s more epic than a simple getaway. And a surprise cameo we certainly didn’t see coming. I’ve got a really good feeling about this one.

Turns out that parsecs are a legit unit of measurement, 1 parsec= 3.26 light years. Suddenly it makes sense.

Tobias Beckett has the honorable distinction for having the most pedestrian name in the Star Wars galaxy.

Deadpool 2

You thought you were safe once the credits started to roll? Fool! The fourth wall cannot protect you from the Merc with a Mouth. And now sequelitis strikes again as Ryan Reynolds (aka ‘’God’s favourite idiot’’) reprises the role of the Internets favourite superhero.

After the end of his first movie Wade has taken his mercenary gig overseas taking on the worst of the worst, but still manages to return home to his girlfriend Vanessa (Morena Baccarin) in time for their anniversary. But that’s when the fickle hand of the writer decides to just s*it all over Wade’s happiness as hired goons break into his apartment and kill Vanessa in the crossfire. (Did George .R.R. Martin write this?)

So now Wade in his depressed state tries to kill himself by blowing up his apartment, but his healing factor makes it impossible. Colossus (Stefan Kapicic) collects Wade’s remains and brings him to the Xavier mansion in the hopes of recruiting him to the X-men and wade accepts, believing it is what Vanessa would want for him. On his first mission with Colossus and Negasonic Teenage Warhead ( Brianna Hildebrand) a mutant boy Russell ( Julian Dennison) is rampaging as he’s been abused at a mutant ‘’rehabilitation ’’  centre . Deadpool subdues Russell but kills one of the orderlies who abused Russell, Colossus takes Wade down and both are imprisoned at the ‘’Icebox’’.

Their time at the Icebox is short as soon the complex come under attack by Cable (Josh Brolin). Wade and Russell make a break for it, but Cable is hell-bent to kill Russell, Wade fights Cable but both are blown out of the prison while Russell is re-captured. Wade blames himself for not saving Russell and resolves to form a team to fight Cable. Among the recruits is Domino (Zazie Beetz) a mutant who power is being super lucky, the same cannot be said for the rest of ‘’X-Force’’ as they are all killed in comically gruesome fashions (even Peter!) so it up to the two of them to fight Cable and rescue Russell.

Deadpool 2 delivers on and improves on everything that made the original so endearing – zany, foul-mouthed humour, stylish action sequences and of course Deadpool’s unique brand of fourth wall breaks. Although the constant use of the fourth wall wears out its welcome and after a while the joke gets old, we get it, you don’t like other superhero movies. Or perhaps because if you strip away the humour, all were left with is a basic plot and… wait… oh, god… Deadpool, no! HE’S CLIMBING THROUGH MY SCREEN! HE’S GOT A KNIFE! HEL-!

*ahem*

Sorry for the interruption, but I would like to inform all our readers that Deadpool 2 has beaten out Infinity War at the box offices!

So, just ignore what that other guy was write there, s’not important, cos as we all know he name of the game is MONEY!

So use that money to buy Deadpool comics and merchandise, I command thee, my legion of fans!

CHIMICHANGA’S!!

 

Ready Player On

Video game movies don’t always go over so well with either their fans or movie-goers, but movies about video games is a different story, and ironically this film started out as a novel.  Written by Ernest Cline and adapted to the big screen by Steven Spielberg, Ready Player One is a high concept fiction grounded in reality.

Columbus, Ohio 2045. The world has changed and society now revolves round a virtual reality online role-playing game, the OASIS. In the OASIS, everybody has an avatar, everything from an anime-esque version of your real self to superheroes and classic video game characters (side note, just how much it must have cost to use the likeness of so many iconic characters just as cameos?). The OASIS hosts every game ever made, the OASIS itself was created my genius and trillionaire James Halliday (Mark Rylance) who before his death hid an Easter egg in the OASIS that will give the player who finds it Hallidays shares of his company, effectively giving them ownership of the entire OASIS.

Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan) is a hardcore Halliday fanatic, hoping that the prize will dig him out of poverty, sets out to find the first key as his avatar Parzival and his best friend Aech (Lena Waithe).  The first challenge is an impossible race course, Wade meets pro egg hunter Art3mis (Olivia Cook). Wade-as Parzival- goes to the Halliday archive to search for clues left by Halliday himself on how to beat the challenge, and does so. Parzival wins the challenge and earns the first key.

Word of Parzival’s success soon reaches Nolan Sorrento (Ben Mendelsohn) the CEO of Innovative Online Industries, the biggest competitor of the OASIS. IOI wants to win the challenge and take the majority share of the OASIS, and basically rule the world (Of course!). Bad enough that they control people by racking up in-game debt and arresting people in the real world for not paying up. (Is that better or worse than EA’s lootboxes and microtransactions? You made the call.)

Sorrento employs pro player i-Rok (TJ Miller) to head off Parzival before he completes the challenges. Parzival enlists help from Art3mis and Aech along with friends Sho and Diato to beat Sorrento to the prize and prevent real life lives being lost.

Ready Player One might just be the best video game movie ever made, part social commentaryand part cautionary tale about technology invading people’s lives, and sheer amount of fan service they put into it is labour of love in itself. It’s a story about connecting with others and fighting for something everybody loves is all too real, under all the gorgeous graphics and shiny colours, it shows some real heart.

(You know what’s weird? Despite so many game avatars not one of them is Hana Song aka D.va. We see Tracer in the OASIS, so where’s D.va? Or would that be too meta?)

By Daniel Murphy

 

Tomb Raider

Twenty years ago, when the PlayStation was in its infancy, amidst all the choppy graphics and hexagon shaped humanoids, a legend was born. Standing out from the rest of the boy’s club of video game protagonists, there is no greater gaming heroine than Lara Croft (with all due respect to Samus and Chun-Lee).

Back in 2003, Angelina Jolie took on the role of Lady Croft, and even got a sequel out of it, a rarity with video game movies. In 2013, Square Enix studios rebooted the Tomb Raider franchise to what it is today, and this reboot served as the primary inspiration for this retelling of Lara’s adventures.

Lara Croft (Alicia Vikander) is the daughter of Lord Richard Croft, whom disappeared seven years prior. Lara can’t –and won’t – inherit her father’s company until she signs his official death cert and Lara needs closure, wanting to know what happened to her father. When she concedes to sign the papers, her family lawyer presents her with a puzzle box Richard left her. Lara quickly unlocks it and the clue within leads her to a hidden room in the Croft mausoleum. (A hidden room, on the grounds of her family estate? Lara Croft… is Batman!)

Discovering a secret room filled with artifacts and a message left by her father warning about a secret organisation called Trinity in search of the tomb of a Japanese empress Himiko. Lara heads to Hong Kong, tracking down a boat captain Le Ren (Daniel Wu), whose father also disappeared alongside Lara’s in the Devil’s Triangle, searching for the island of Yamatai. With some coaxing, Ren agrees to take Lara to Yamatai, but the storm smashes the ship and the two are stranded on the island.  (Wilson!)

Waking up Lara finds herself captured by Trinity, led by a man named Mathias Vogel (Walton Goggins). Trinity has been searching for Himiko’s tomb with slave labour in hopes of discovering the source of Himiko’s legendary magic, with the aim of unleashing it upon the world.

With no other option, Lara escapes and prepares to go on the offensive to stop Trinity. Suffice to say, the girl can take a hit, getting washed downstream, falling out of an old cargo plane and parachuting through a forest and getting impaled by a sharp tree branch, and still being able to overpower a Trinity soldier in close quarters combat. Although Lara’s first blood took a toll psychologically, she’s resolved to stop Trinity.

Alicia Vikander does Lara’s character justice here showing her resolve and capabilities while also allowing her to be vulnerable. Ultimately whatever incarnation, Lara Croft is- and remains- an undeniable badass.

My name is Lara Croft… after a few days on an island; I return home with a new mission, I must become someone else… I must become something else.

(Alicia Vikander is married to Michael Fassbender, so maybe my Tomb Raider and Assassin’s Creed crossover isn’t so far-fetched after all…)

 

 

International Women’s Day 2018

International Women’s Day 2018 is upon us and the women of the world are coming together in supporting each other.

Women can be their own worst enemy and can be the first to judge their own sex and their achievements. But today women ate feeling empowered and strong in their beliefs, mentally, physically and eachother.

 

 

 

 

 

Repeal the 8th march today in Dublin at 5.30pm beginning at the ‘Garden of Remembrance’. View link for more details on events www.abortionrightscampaign.ie/2018/03/06/events-around-ireland-for-international-womens-day/

 

 

 

 

 

 

#MeToo protests are taking place sthrough out the world.  All opportunities should be forfilled through equality and ability with no regard for gender, race, sexual orientation, religious belief, cultural standing and social status.  

As worn by actress Emma Watson in pink lady style ‘Girls just wanna have fundamental human rights’.

#WomenSupportWomen #IWD2018

The Shape of Water

No, this isn’t a movie about Bruce Lee, although with that title I can’t blame you for thinking that. Instead it’s a ‘’tale as old as time’’, about an unlikely love story between a woman and a monster, and who better to tell this tale than the Master of Monsters himself, Guillermo Del Toro.

(Still a better romance that Twilight)(Although that’s really not saying much…)

The year is 1962 (in the movie, but sometimes it does feel like we’re all living the past these days) and the focus is Eliza Esposito(Sally Hawkins), a mute woman who lives with her neighbour Giles (Richard Jenkins) and works a secret government research facility as a janitor alongside her friend Zelda (Octavia Spencer). One day, a new face arrives at the lab, Colonel Richard Strickland (Michael Shannon) and in tow, a tank filled with water, and trapped inside a creature of the deep.

Over time Eliza sneaks into the lab and begins to bond with the creature in secret. Feeding it boiled eggs and teaching him sign language, demonstrating that the creature is in fact intelligent. While Strickland plans to torture and dissect the creature for research, the head scientist Bob Hofstetler (Michael Stuhlberg) is adamant about preserving the creature, as we learn he is secretly Soviet spy Dmitri Mosenkov, hoping to study the creature to give the Russians an edge in the Cold War.

Upon learning the creature is to be killed, Eliza puts a plan together to rescue him, while Dmitri’s superiors order him to kill the creature to prevent the Americans from learning anything that could give them the advantage in the Space Race.  Enlisting the help of Giles and with Zelda’s reluctant assistance and Dmitri’s intervention, the creature is freed and brought to Eliza’s apartment until they can release him into the sea. All while an increasingly unhinged Strickland hunts for him.

You wouldn’t think that the story of a sea monster and a mute woman falling in love against the backdrop of the Cold War would make a compelling fairy tale. Del Toro really knows how invoke emotional response and all too human themes, much like Pan’s Labyrinth, although heads up, this is one fairy tale you don’t want to bring the kids to, Eliza and the creature isn’t exactly… platonic.

#stillhealthierthan50shades.

Also the creature is played by Doug Jones. Does this mean he’s related to Abe Sapien?  Could this be the first sign of a Del Toro shared universe? Maybe we’ll get confirmation in Pacific Rim: Uprising. (Fingers crossed).

By Daniel Murphy

Black Panther

Happy Birthday, Marvel! 2018 marks the tenth year of the ever expansive Cinematic Universe, and it’s a double celebration. February is Black History Month in America, and Black Panther is black history, and the first Marvel-and Hollywood- movie to bring Afrofuturism into the mainstream.

SPOILERS- WHETHER YOU WANT IT OR NOT

After Civil War, T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) is set to inherit the throne as King of Wakanda, but first he rescues his ex-girlfriend Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o) from human traffickers, alongside Okoye (Danai Gurira) the general of the Wakanda royal guard, the Dora Milaje. T’Challa then returns home to Wakanda, meeting with his mother, Queen Ramonda (Angela Bassett) and his younger sister Shuri (Letitia Wright). After completing the rituals of succession, T’Challa is crowned King of Wakanda.

All while this has been happening, Wakanda’s mortal enemy Ulysses Klaue(Andy Serkis) has re-surfaced and is working with mercenary Erik Stevens(Michael B. Jordan), better known as ‘’Killmonger’’ for his high body count. After Klaue is captured by T’Challa, Killmonger breaks him out, only to later arrive on Wakanda’s border with Klaue’s dead body. Gaining an audience with T’Challa and the rest of the Royal Court, Killmonger reveals himself to be N’Jadaka, the son of King T’Chaka’s brother and therefore cousin of T’Challa and Shuri. (So it’s like the Lion King meets Game of Thrones).

Killmonger challenges T’Challa to trial by combat for the crown and title of Black Panther, with the aim of starting worldwide revolution armed with Wakandian Vibranium weapons. With T’Challa seemingly defeated, Nakia, Shuri and Ramonda along with CIA agent Everett Ross (Martin Freeman) must stop Killmonger before it’s too late.

While Killmonger is a villain, he’s not unsympathetic, and his reasons are valid, wanting to arm oppressed people all over the world to overturn those in power who capitalize off their disenfranchisement. Conversely T’Challa is faced with the dilemma of whether to be a King or a hero and how much he can do to make the world better. And the women of Wakanda prove to be as every bit capable, Shuri is possibly smarter than Tony Stark and Okoye is steadfast and utterly fearless, and she leads the Dora Milaje who are all warrior women who make the Amazons look like pin up girls by comparison. Praise the ancestor and thanks be to Bast, because Wakanda is here to stay. I pity the fool who thinks Wakanda is a sh*thole country.

And also, they have cyborg rhinos.

Klaue got himself a new arm with built-in sonic cannon, now I imagine him in the waiting room of a robot arm clinic sitting next to Misty Knight, Nebula Phil Coulson and Bucky.

Coco

Last year, Disney and Pixar crafted the animated epic Moana that resonated with and brought Polynesian culture into the mainstream. This year they’ve moved to the other side of the ocean to Mexico to bring an uplifting and soul-stirring musical. (And for the last time, no, it’s not just the Book of Life made by Pixar, stop saying that).

While it’s called ‘’Coco’’, the story focuses on the title characters great-great-grandson, Miguel Rivera. The Rivera’s family business as shoe makers began when Coco’s father left to become a famous musician. Coco’s mother Imelda forba de any music in her household continuing to Miguel’s life. But Miguel is enamoured with musical legend Ernesto de la Cruz and wishes to be a musician himself. Miguel, discovering an old incomplete photo of Coco’s father holding a guitar, begins to believe that Ernesto is his great-great grandfather. After a falling out with his family, Miguel runs off with his Xolo dog Dante (who is just the most lovable mangy dog you ever did see).

Miguel and Dante head to the cemetery where Ernesto is buried, taking his guitar displayed in his crypt, but doing so curses Miguel and he crosses over into the Land of the Dead. Meeting with his late relatives including great-great grandmother Imelda, Miguel must return to the Land of the Living before the end of Dia de Muertos. However, Imelda will only sent Miguel back if he agrees never to play music again. Unwilling to accept this, Miguel runs off in search of Ernesto to get his blessing to return to life and play music.

To this end, Miguel enlists the help of Hector, a skeleton who is unable to cross into the living world on Dia de Muertos because no one puts up a picture of him on their ofrenda. Miguel promises to place Hector’s photo if he can get him to Ernesto’s palace. The two head off, with Imelda and her family in pursuit alongside their alebrije- spirit animal- a multicoloured winged jaguar. Her name is Pepita.

Coco is nothing short of Disney and Pixar patented tried and true magic, and will become a cherished classic, especially for Mexican children and their families, because that’s exactly who the movies about. Beautifully animated, Disney one-up’s themselves not just in the intricate and colourful city in the Land of the Dead but in how Miguel handles a guitar, the attention to detail is astounding. And of course the songs are exactly what you expect, all original scores that have a deep emotional resonates in particular, the song Remember Me. In short Coco is the kind of movie that makes you really feel alive.

By Daniel Murphy

The Greatest Showman

’The noblest art is that of making others happy’’. True words make a truly entertaining biography of the life, love and legacy of P.T. Barnum, and plenty of great songs.

Young Phineas Taylor Barnum (Hugh Jackman) is the down and out son of a tailor who marries his childhood sweetheart Chastity (Michelle Williams) but while they live on hard times they are happy despite having Phineas going through a gauntlet of odd jobs and wanting to provide a better life for his wife and their two daughters. Deciding to risk it all, Phineas buys an old wax museum and converts it into a circus. P.T. calls for ‘’unique persons and curiosities’’ to star in the show he’s putting together.

With everyone from a tattooed man to a bearded lady answering the call, soon Barnum puts together a show and brings in the money, with the shock factor gaining the circus further publicity , they even take their show to Buckingham Palace. P.T enlists the help of noted playwright Philip (Zac Efron) to legitimize the circus and insulate them from angry protests. Philip agrees after an improv musical number, and seeing trapeze artist Anna (Zendaya).

With fame going to his head, P.T. begins to push himself away from the circus and his family to tour with opera singer Jenny Lind (Rebecca Ferguson), leaving Philip to run the circus and wanting to be with Anna despite the societal expectations and class taboos of the time. Remembering Chastity and his daughters, P.T. returns home just as thugs’ burn down the circus and Philip is hospitalized. Despite being effectively bankrupt, P.T. is encouraged to re-open the circus with the performers telling him how he gave them a home and a family.

Even the stingy critic admits to P.T. that putting people of all shapes and sizes, colours and walks of life on stage as equals was a celebration of humanity. That it is and with original songs that stir the soul, it makes The Greatest Showman a high note to close the curtain on a trying year for everyone.

(It’s already been nominated for Best Song, here’s hoping that Hugh Jackman gets an Oscar nomination. I’ll drive Doctor Cox crazy).

(Barnum’s Circus for Gifted Youngsters, anyone?)

By Daniel Murphy