Wednesday, 25 March 2015

OJ's Movie Review - Insurgent

I don't want to see every young adult novel adaption, you gotta pick and choose ya know?

So last year I was pleasantly surprised on how much I enjoyed Divergent, it had a good story, entertaining concepts and pretty solid characters. This year we get Insurgent which takes place five days after the end of the first film and is all about the main characters trying to....well...I'm not entirely sure, even they themselves didn't really know until the last act. It's true, the majority of the film is just our main protagonists wondering around doing various things, sometimes hiding, sometimes being chased, or sometimes confessing in a court of law. In the end, it's the antagonist who pushes the story along, Kate Winslet's character is the one who has a goal and sets out to attain it which is really the only interesting part of the movie; I mean I know they have to cut things out of the book and change things for cinema but this really did feel like it was missing a few chapters; the pacing was definitely off.
     That being said, what did save the film at times was the amazing acting of the cast, Shailene Woodley does some impressive scenes along with Theo James and Miles Teller who are all brilliant. The action sequences are also top-notch, they're exciting and entertaining so that's a plus and just the environment itself, the CGI can make for some impressive visuals weather it's the post-apocalyptic city or the awesome dream simulations, all good stuff.
    In conclusion, the story wasn't perfect with clich├ęs scattered here and there but the acting and visuals entertained me so I give the movie...

8/10

Friday, 13 March 2015

OJ's BIT Review - Ben-Hur

Today I go Back In Time to 1959 when films became epic.

Without a doubt, this film is epic. In the sense of scale, running time, and overall story, Ben-Hur is quite the masterpiece. If you didn't know, Charlton Heston plays a Jew living in the 1st Century A.D. and after being betrayed by his best friend he falls into a long journey of which he does many things.
    For it's time, this film accomplished as few big things in relation to cinema, the shots and directing was quite unique and the way action was filmed was ground-breaking, especially the famous chariot race, so if you don't like old films, this one does have shades of modern film-making.
  Story-wise, the main character has one simple goal, a goal we've seen many times but his adventure of how he accomplishes it and the things he does after is where the entertainment comes in; you're with Ben-Hur every step of the way and you are amazed at every point in his adventure, yearning to find out what will happen next, which is quite something for a film over 3 hours long. The setting is also quite defined and the huge sets are awesome to look at, having Biblical events as a back drop also adds a certain something, it doesn't force-feed you religion but it makes you aware of it which I appreciate as it adds a deeper layer to the world.
   In the end, Ben-Hur won't be for everyone, but it is an extraordinary piece of cinema if you have a spare three hours.


7/10

Thursday, 26 February 2015

OJ's TV Review - Broadchruch series 2

As the entire cast of Doctor Who move to southern England, we learn more about this town wrapped in secrets.

The first series of Broadchurch was met with an amazing reception; it was quite unlike anything we'd seen before, almost everyone loved it and the whole of the UK seemed to be engaged in this coastal murder. Now we return for another eight episodes to see how life as gotten on. Basically, this time around the show focuses on two big story arcs, which I will talk about one at a time.
   The first one is that of the trial of Danny's killer who was revealed in the series 1 finale; this court case goes on for every episode, putting various characters in 'the block' to give a witness. Now on paper this could seem a bit boring to some, as it is set almost entirely in the court room and we hear descriptions of various scenes from the first series. But the reason I didn't think it was boring was that of the writing, Chris Chinball does amazingly well with scripts, he makes you listen to every word that is being said, the suspense of the dialogue is carried out wonderfully by the brilliant acting of the cast. Two new characters are brought in for this court case, one is defending the killer, the other is trying to prosecute; these two women have history which is only hinted at but not explored fully but it does add a little extra something to the events as they are both well defined characters each with flaws and strengths which you enjoy watching unfold; so the relationship between these two is only minor but still quite engaging. During this series-long trial you also see the damage it is doing to our main characters, including Danny's family and Ellie's which makes for some very emotional and powerful scenes, especially towards the end.
   The second arc that is that of the Sandbrook case which was briefly mentioned in series 1 as a case that David Tennant's character Detective Hardy wasn't able to solve, now due to circumstances it's all been dredged up and he has sort it out with the help of Ellie. Another two main characters are brought in for this story too, that being Hardy's original suspect and his wife who is a witness under protection. These two work brilliantly together and are played by the fantastic James D'Arcy and Eve Myles respectively. As I've said before the acting in this show is perfect, D'Arcy plays such a powerful presence in the scenes he's in which makes you all the more engaged in this mystery, especially is the fact that the murder mystery aspect was what drove the first series entirely. So although the plot only got half the time to be explored, due to the court case, it was still very good at not giving anything away and throwing us a few red herrings until the final episode.
   Now I'd heard that this series of Broadchurch was getting mixed reviews and I think that is because it had to split its focus on two mostly unrelated story arcs which may have brought it down just a bit. Also is the fact that I think Broadchurch is something which should be treated like a film, I didn't watch it from week to week, I recorded all the episodes and watched it in one big batch which pays off considerably as you don't loose the suspense or rhythm. Apart from that, Broadchurch still has stunning cinematography in it's camera shots, excellent writing by Chinball and a very talented cast; I look forward to seeing where series 3 will go,

10/10

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

OJ's TV Review - Agent Carter season 1

Marvel's last series wasn't received to well, I think a redemption has come though.



When I heard there was going to be an Agent Carter TV series, I thought that was great because I loved the Marvel One-Shot they did, I think it's the best one. I think the majority of what's riding on this shows success is the lead; fortunately Hayley Atwell pulls it off perfectly as the titular character. You're with Peggy every step of the way and you know she's a strong, independent character who holds her own. Atwell does brilliantly in this role and am always glad to see her in the films and TV series. Dominic Cooper also returns as Howard Stark who is OK, but can never have the charm and charisma of Robert Downey Jr, so he serves his purpose the show but it doesn't bother me that he's not in every episode. Next I'm going to come to James D'Arcy who plays the brilliant butler Edwin Jarvis; we all love Iron Man's A.I. computer and now I think D'Arcy had done extremely well in portraying it's namesake; Jarvis is one of the best characters in the show, he has some great lines, he is used well in the plot and he really does have great chemistry with Carter which is fun to watch. There are some other characters too who filled various roles for Carter to interact with, mostly the other SSR agents who were all well and good; so all-in-all the cast wasn't bad but Atwell and D'Arcy definitely owned the stage.
      Next I come to plots and story arc. Unlike Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. which in the beginning, the majority of plots relied on something which had already been set up in the films and had few original ideas, and also Agent Carter had only 8 episodes thankfully, which negated the need for pointless filler episodes which moved the overall arc more smoothly. So because it all happens before any of the films (except one obvs.) they had to get some good writing; in the end I was intrigued with the mystery and the individual episodes themselves were entertaining enough. The only problem I would say it has was the fact that there wasn't really a specific enemy, no one target; some could argue that there was but he only appeared mid-way into the series and wasn't that impacting. So on the antagonist front, a little weak.
    As a conclusion I will say Agent Carter started off much better than Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. it really worked well in the Marvel universe and set up some exciting stuff along with showing us some great characters, old and new.

7.5/10

Thursday, 5 February 2015

OJ's Movie Review - Big Hero 6

America got this two months before Britain! TWO MONTHS!

So Big Hero 6 is the first major animated film based on Marvel comics and of course it is Disney too. It's about a boy genius who, with a bunch of friends, attempts to stop a villain whom he blames for a recent tragedy. Now what makes this movie quite unique, I think, is the look; the world building in the film is amazing, it makes you want to visit San Fansokiyo and it really does look like it has blended the two cites really well, so the visuals are stunning. And of course the animation helps and as always Disney animations are really nice to watch.
     I also loved seeing the different abilities each character had, all the different inventions and what they could do was really fun to watch and really set up the fact that science is really fun and we should embrace it, which was good; the problem is though I don't think they used their powers enough so they showed them using these abilities but only for a very short amount of time.
    Plot-wise, Big Hero 6 was familiar in a lot of aspects but did throw some new elements in there too which kept things balanced between visual references to other films (Baymax' suit is very Iron Man) and downright predictable. In the end I felt the pacing was a bit slow, I kept waiting for the whole thing to really start and get going but, apart from a few really powerful scenes, it always felt as though Disney were holding back for some reason.
     Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed the movie, regardless, there were some very funny scenes I laughed at, some twists I was not expecting, I loved the look and design of the characters, Baymax is one of the best robots in cinema and I think everybody wants one, the micro-bots that the villain uses look awesome and even Stan Lee makes an appearance! So as a conclusion, Big Hero 6 is a good superhero movie, just not the best.

8/10

Sunday, 4 January 2015

The OJ Reviews: 2015 UPDATE


Wow, 2015 already, This is going to be a good year people; let's see, we've got the Avengers taking on Ultron, Jurassic World, and a new Star Wars movie! Not to mention a whole bunch of TV series and other stuff to look forward too!

Right, now for some new stuff. Well... there isn't any. Well... not really. I mean, I think this website is going pretty well, I like my rating system, I like my three posts a month, the views could be better but this is really just a hobby. I am working on an advert for The OJ Reviews, I will put it on YouTube when it's done so there's that. Also, with the month of January exclusively, there might only be two or one posts as it is always an awkward and slow month for movies and TV, so don't be surprised if this is the only January post this year. Otherwise I hope you all enjoy this year! If I do think of anything new to do I'll do it in August for the 3rd Anniversary. Bye guys!


Tuesday, 30 December 2014

ORIGINAL VS REMAKE - Broadchurch/Gracepoint

Today ITV's Broadchurch does battle with FOX's Gracepoint.

Original

In 2013 a new series aired on ITV1 about the investigation of a boy's murder in a coastal town in England. I'd seen British crime dramas before, I'd seen  Sherlock and Death in Paradise and that sort of thing so I did actually give this one a miss; what did peak my interest though was the fact that on various websites and forums around the web people were raving about Broadchrurch, the whole of the UK seemed to be entranced with this show. A few months later I got round to watching it and boy, what had I been missing. Broadchurch is one of the most intriguing, emotional, fantastically realistic piece of television I have ever watched, it's plot and characters are so drawing I watched four episodes in one day. It is incredibly well directed, the shots and camera work is beautiful, the script is real, the acting is amazing from everyone. I don't know if it is because I have visited towns like these as I live in the UK (and have actually been to where it was filmed), but I can't get across how real it all felt. Whatever your taste in genre, you need to give Broadchurch a try.

Remake

When I heard there was going to be an American adaption I was disappointed because I am not in favour of films or television being remade for a foreign audience. But because it was the same writer and apparently it would end differently so I decided to check it out. Well, what can I say? Gracepoint is a shot for shot replica of Broadchurch, the scenes are exactly the same, the dialogue is verbatim to Broadchurch and there are very few creative differences. The problem is that it's just not as good, the acting is quite poor, David Tennant's terrible American accent is off-putting and for anyone who saw Broadchurch you could predict every plot point from the word go. I mean, to be fair they did add some new elements, mostly in episodes 4 and 7 and there was a new twist in the finale which were interesting but I'm afraid there was just not enough change for me. Even for new viewers the premise apparently it didn't go down well as the second season has been cancelled.

Comparison

As if I hadn't made it clear already Broadchurch is far superior so for this Original VS Remake, the original wins. Thank you for reading, if you disagree please leave a comment, after all these are just my opinions,