Category Archives: Blog

The Predator  

The hunt for a new installment of the classic Predator franchise is over, and how appropriate that Shane Black, the Predator’s first victim in the 1987 original, be the one to capture the exploits of the Galaxies Deadliest Game.

One-upping the opening of the first Predator, this time a space dogfight between two Predator spaceships introduces us to the conflict. The smaller ship escapes to Earth and jettisons its cargo before its occupant ejects himself. Cut over to Mexico, sniper Quinn McKenna (Boyd Halbrook) is on a mission when he sees the Predator ship crash land. Investigating the site he finds a bracer and mask as is unit is attacked by the Predator. McKenna survives the encounter, and sends the technology in a package to his wife and son.

Biologist Casey Bracket (Olivia Munn) is recruited by Project: Stargazer and agent Will Traeger (Sterling K Brown) to study the body of the captured Predator, discovering it is a hybrid with a human genome. Meanwhile McKenna is detained and transported onboard a prison bus along with other veterans in ‘’group therapy’’, Nebraska (Trevante Rhoder), Coyle (Keaghan Michael Key), Baxley (Thomas Jane), Lynch (Alfie Allen) and Nettles (Augusto Aguilera).

The Hybrid Predator awakens and escapes, killing all Stargazer staff, but sparing Casey because she was unarmed.  McKenna and the vets take control of the bus and they meet up with Casey as they escape Stargazer in pursuit of the Predator. Meanwhile McKenna’s son Rory, a savant, decodes the Predators technology as the second Predator ship emerges in pursuit of the Hybrid. As Traeger hunts for the Predator technology, McKenna find Rory before the Predator can, all the while caught in a life or death struggle between the Hybrid and the physically and technologically superior Super Predator.

The Predator certainly tries to live up to the original, and while it may not succeed in that regard it is a very ambitious, adding new layers to the mythology and giving us a deeper insight to the Predator’s and their culture. As expected, the Predators execute some creative kills chalked full of gore and blood, and you’ll be rooting for the underdog humanity all the way through.

(I’ve always wondered, what do female Predators look like, and are they bigger or smaller ,and do they participate in hunting?)

By Daniel Murphy

 

Black ‘47

Set during the backdrop of the Great Famine, Black ’47 is not so much a spaghetti western as it is a ‘’potato’’ western. The story chronicles one man’s quest for revenge amidst the darkest hour of Ireland’s history.

With the blight ravaging the crop, many Irish men are forced to swallow their pride and enlist in the British army and fight in their wars overseas to support themselves and their hungry families. Feenay (James Frecheville) an Irish ranger returning from Afghanistan to his sister Ellie (Sarah Greene) and her children, with a plan to immigrate to America. Feenay goes to pay his respects to his mother’s grave, but when he returns the constables and landlord evict Ellie and arrest Feenay when he intervenes, only to watch his nephew gunned down. Escaping his imprisonment, Feenay returns to find Ellie and her children dead of cold and hunger.

With his particular set of skills, Feenay sets off to hunt down all those he holds responsible for his sister’s death, his nephew’s murder, for the famine itself, killing apathetic landlords, heartless judge and ministers who will only feed the starving if they convert.

To curb Feenay’s killing spree, the British army recruits the ‘’Hunter’’ Hannah (Hugo Weaving), a disgraced veteran who served with Feenay, and is sent to find him as a stay of execution. Hannah is accompanied by British officer Pope (Freddie Fox) and private Hobbs (Barry Keoghan). The three track Feenay across the rural bog lands and steep roads, as Feenay closes in on his final target, Lord Kilmichael (Jim Broadbent).

As they close in on Feenay, Hannah must choose between his loyalty to the Crown or his respect of Feenay. The historical setting further empathizes the bleakness of the future and a purveying sense of hopelessness. The final scene is open ended to between the choice of carrying on the fight to the bitter end or the possibility of starting over.

Black ’47 is an important addition in Irish cinema, one that is ripe with the cultural, political ,religious and personal history of the land, and it’s made in honour of all those who died, left or never came back.

By Daniel Murphy

 

 

 

Ant-Man and the Wasp

If you’re still recovering from the events of Infinity War but can’t get enough of you’re yearly allotted Marvel fix, then a small adventure should keep you going until the next big event. Following up from 2015’s surprise hit superhero-family drama- heist movie, now Marvel’s first (and original) power couple makes an impact on the big screen.

SMALL SPOILERS

After Civil War, Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) is living under house arrest and the watchful eye of FBI agent Jimmy Woo (Randall Park). For aiding and abetting Scott, Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) and Hope (Evangeline Lily) are on the run and in hiding. While Scott attempts to lead a normal life, Hank and Hope recalling Scott’s escape from the subatomic Quantum Realm, theorise that Hope’s mother and Hank’s wife Janet (Michelle Pfeiffer) could still be alive. Scott receives a vision Janet left him while he was in the Quantum Realm, Hank and Hope build a device to travel into the Realm and rescue her.

Unfortunately Pym’s shrunken lab is stolen by the Ghost (Hannah John-Kamen), a high tech thief who can disappear and walk through solid objects. Needing a way to track the lab, the trio go to Hank’s old colleague Bill Foster (Laurence Fishburne). Per Foster’s advice, they locate the lab but are blindsided by the Ghost. Wakening to find themselves held hostage, Foster reveals himself allied with the Ghost, who is in reality a woman named Eva. Foster wants Pym’s lab in the hope that he can use it to cure Eva and prevent her atoms from permanently losing cohesion- but the cost is that Janet would have to be sacrificed.

Escaping capture, Scott, Hope and Hank race against the clock to pull Janet from the Quantum Realm while contending with Ghost and Foster, and evading the Feds as well as a persistent crime lord. Hope comes into her own as the new Wasp and the movie makes it clear that Scott and Hope are partners on equal footing. Unique among superhero films, Ant-man and the Wasp doesn’t really have any villains; Bill Foster and Eva are wholly sympathetic and serve as foils to Hank and Hope with their own father-daughter relationship. And of course Louis (Michael Pena) is the master storyteller. A bit sized adventure with a big heart.

(Next time, Ant-Man and the Wasp foil the Mafia’s annual pick nick)

(DC can’t help but shoehorn Batman into everything, but Marvel made successful movies with Ant-man, Guardians of the Galaxy and Big Hero fr****** Six. This is indeed a strange reality.)

By Daniel Murphy

 

Mission: Impossible- Fallout

“Your mission Vault Dweller, should you choose to accept it, is to pick put a Pip-Boy and… its not *that* ‘’fallout’’, is it?” Now I really want the next Fallout to be a post-apocalyptic spy thriller, and given what happens this time around, it could very well be. The sixth installment of this long running franchise begins with and possibly ends with a bang.

THIS SPOILER WARNING WILL SELF DECONSTRUCT

 The mission begins with Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) and his team Benji (Simon Pegg) and Luther (Ving Rhames) intercept a deal for plutonian cores, but the exchange goes sideways and they loose the package. However, the trail is still hot so IMF Secretary Hunley (Alec Baldwin) sends Ethan but he has be accompanied by CIA agent Walker (Henry Cavil) to catch the suspected mastermind, code named ‘’John Lark’’.

Parachuting over Paris, the two locate the contact and an intense bathroom brawl ensues, but he proves too much and is killed by Isla Faust (Rebecca Ferguson). Ethan opts to go in the contacts place for the meeting with arms dealer ‘’White Widow’’. Assuming John Lark’s identity Ethan makes contact and a deal is arranged- the Widow will give Ethan the stolen plutonian cores if he springs Solomon Lane (Sean Harris) – the former leader of the Syndicate- from government custody.

Ethan and his team proceed to spring Lane while losing the Widow’s men in the process but complicating matters further, Isla re-enters the picture intend to kill Lane on behalf on MI6 in exchange for asylum. Things don’t become any simpler with the sheer scope of schemes, deceptions and double identities and loyalties, but the short version is preventing Lane’s former charges from detonating two nuclear bombs, no pressure.

Mission: Impossible has become perhaps a most reliable summer blockbuster franchise, thanks in no small part for its high concept espionage thriller and death defying stunts, and constant use of Scooby Doo masks. Its balls-to-the-walls absurd and we love it.

“do you have suitcase to swap?”

By Daniel Murphy

 

The Incredibles 2

So the Incredibiles finally gets a sequel? 15 years too late. (Yes, I know its 14 years since the first movies, but you have to say 15 yeas for the joke to work.) Appropriately, we the audience had to wait for a decade and a half, the same length of time in story that superheroes have been outlawed. And once again Brad Bird steps up to the plate as both writer and director to take us in the next chapter of the Parr family.

The story picks up immediately where it left off, with the Underminer attacking the city, robbing the bank and fleeing, while the Incredibiles and Frozone stem the damage caused by the rampage. The Incredibiles are arrested and blamed for the destruction, and afterward are returned into their life in hiding. Bob and Helen meet with Lucius, who brings them to meet Winston Dever and his sister Evelyn, sibling duo CEO’s of Devtech, a telecommunications giant.

Winston and Evelyn want to bring supers back into the limelight, sponsoring Helen as Elastigirl to live stream her crime fighting heroics to change public perception of superheroes, while Bob and the kids, Dash, Violet and baby Jack-Jack, and move into a new home provided for by Winston. While Bob makes the transition to stay at home dad, having to contend with Jack-Jack’s myriad of superpowers, Helen saves a runaway hover train and learns of a new super villain who has her in their crosshairs- the Screenslaver.

The Screenslaver is an interesting villain, while no Syndrome, still has a philosophical monologue which lends itself to some very Meta moments.

In fact The Incredibiles 2 might just be the most subversive superhero movie in recent memory. Another example is how Evelyn and Helen pass the Bechdel test- a rarity in a movie rated PG and marketed towards children. Speaking of which, as Bob shows, and Edna reminds him, being a good parent is just as important as saving the day, just as heroic as anything. There great character drama and beautifully animated action sequences, it makes the wait worth it, just hope that Brad Bird doesn’t wait another ten years to show us what happens next to the Parrs.

(You just know that racoon that Jack-Jack was fighting will turn out to be Rocket.)

By Daniel Murphy

 

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…)