April 28, 2016

Kung Fu Panda 3

Director: Jennifer Yun Nelson

Starring: Jack Black, Dustin Hoffman, Angelina Jolie, JK Simmons, Lucy Liu, Bryan Cranston, Seth Rogen

IMDB Synopsis: 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.

Po (Jack Black) is back, tasked with saving the land from disaster, in Dreamworks third installment in the Kung Fu Panda franchise. Returning is a star studded cast and director Jennifer Yun Nelson who was at the helm for the second film.

The new tale follows the developing story of Po’s biological father Li (Bryan Cranston) and the revelation that one panda village still remains. However Po and the panda’s are soon shaken with news that villain Kai (JK Simmons) has escaped the spirit world and plans to steal the chi from all the Kung Fu masters. Po, with the help of his friends and new panda family, sets out to save the day.

Much like the previous two films Kung Fu Panda 3 feels like it shoehorns in too many themes than is necessary for what is only a 90 minute film. The stellar supporting cast like Tigress (Angelina Jolie) and Viper (Lucy Liu) feel nothing more than cameos, There are 3 academy awards in this ensemble (Jolie, Simmons and Hoffman), not that you would know from their lack of both dialogue and screen time. However, the film is visually great with fantastic 3D animation and stunning bright colours, something which must be commended.

Overall Kung Fu Panda 3 will not break any new ground but fans of the franchise will enjoy the storyline, stuffed with emotion and comedy. This third installment is a fun outing for the whole family and previous fans will not feel let down.

Rating: Moviesac

Matt :) <3

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March 08, 2016

Spectre

Director: Sam Mendes

Starring: Daniel Craig, Christoph Waltz, Lea Seydoux

Synopsis

After being stripped of his authority by MI6, a rogue James Bond receives a cryptic message from his past sending him on a trail to uncover a sinister organisation. While M battles political forces to keep the secret service alive, Bond peels back the layers of deceit to reveal the terrible truth behind SPECTRE.

Let me start by saying, as a lifelong James Bond enthusiast, I enjoyed this latest offering of Bond. That being said there are several issues with the movie on a whole. The beautifully done opening pre title sequence shot in Mexico City was by far the most memorable moment of the movie, afterwards it tailed off into obscurity. Park the Aston Martin and get out, this is not a fun ride any more.

As a fan of the Daniel Craig era of Bond, I thought they were really onto a solid reboot of the franchise with the stellar offering of Skyfall, but SPECTRE falls short of the mark. The main downfall being the absence of a believable enemy of Bond.  They shoehorn in Skyfall related backstory between the two, stripping Christoph Waltz’s villain of any believable or meaningful terror. Then SPECTRE bounces from one action scene to another without anyone really understanding why.

Director Sam Mendes shoots SPECTRE superbly; the cinematography is on point, although I could have done without the shaky cam fight scenes which left me feeling nauseous rather than excited. Craig delivers his usual sullen anti-hero performance, yet still dripping with charm. Female lead Lea Seydoux plays character Madeleine well, but I can't help but feel they could have explored the writing of her character more. The supporting cast does well, in particular Ralph Fiennes. However Dave Bautista as Mr Hinx the hired, almost mute (he said one word), muscle of SPECTRE was laughable and surely would have made the late Robert Shaw turn in his grave with the intended nod to his character Donald Grant in From Russia With Love. 

SPECTRE is a poorly written yet still very entertaining film. For every heart racing action sequence, there was a deflating scene full of dialogue that was muddled at best. There were moments akin to the classic Bond clichés of old and almost nods towards greatness, but sadly at the end, a very average outing. If this is, as suspected, Daniel Craig’s final appearance as the Tux wearing, Lady charming James Bond, then he is  at least, going out with a bang or six, they blew up a lot of things, I stopped counting.

Matt <3 :)

Rating: Pillowsac + Cubesac