Thursday, 21 May 2015

OJ's TV Review - Arrow season 3

Back for a third run is our hero Batman, I mean Arrow!


As you probably know already, Arrow is about vigilante Oliver Queen and his team of friends tacking down criminals in their city. Now, Arrow is known for it's mystery, season one had a twist in almost every episode, but for some reason this season seemed to loose that. It didn't really have much for you to try and figure out at all. There was sort of an on-going case to begin with where they had to solve a murder but that was resolved before even mid-season. Mostly it was your bad guy-of-the-week format and then a story arc involving new villian Ra's al Ghul, which was OK and entertaining enough, just no mysteries which is what made Arrow so good.
    Of course every season has lengthy flashbacks to five years in the past to see what Oliver was up to while away from Starling City, and this time instead of being on a cool island...he's in Hong Kong. After watching the the full season, I definitely preferred when he was on the island, this just didn't seem as interesting and by the end it only amounted to a weak connection to the present day events of the final episode.
   Other than that, Arrow continued to be action packed, have awesome characters and this time it was fun catching all the references to The Flash and the like.

 6/10



Saturday, 16 May 2015

OJ's TV Review - Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 2

Coulson and his team are back! Well, they added some new people and technically one old member left... also Coulson isn't really feeling himself, so... S.H.I.E.L.D. is back!...oh wait.


As you know, the first season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was not great, only getting better in the final
episodes; thankfully this season continued on it's path of better quality as it is now actually a pretty decent show.
  Since the events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier Coulson has collected a few more team mates and is running special little missions as a secret S.H.I.E.L.D. organization; which is cool to see them as this special task-force in contrast to the big shiny S.H.I.E.L.D. we all used to know. Unlike the first season, this one doesn't do the whole different-case-every-week format, I mean it does have those kinds of episodes but for the most part it's story arcs influence the events which makes it flow nicely and very entertaining as the mystery and revelations make it worth it. It of course had a mid-season break so two different story arcs which are connected but still very different entities, both of which I enjoyed seeing play out.
  Character wise, I loved what they did with them. Fitz & Simmons had a great arc exploring the relationship they have, Skye had a huge role in things and was the main focus of more than a few episodes, we got to see a bit more about what kind of background Melinda May had so the original team were excellent. Three new members joined, one of which was Mac, he was good in his role moving the characters to do certain things when the plot needed; the others were Bobbi and Lance, I enjoyed those two a lot and were very well-defined characters. The only people I weren't as impressed with were Coulson, unfortunately he's quite a bit far from the fan favourite when he showed up in the movies, now because he has so many problems and worries it brings his character to a more serious and sometimes uninteresting personality. Grant Ward as well, although was a really cool character to watch, he had an odd story in the second half of the season which I was not a fan of.
  In the end, the second run of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has vastly improved and look forward to it's future!

7.5/10



Wednesday, 29 April 2015

OJ's Movie Review - Avengers: Age of Ultron

So after a very successful first film in what is a very popular franchise Avengers: Age of
Ultron brings the team back together for another world-saving event.

This time, instead of Tom Hiddleston's power-hungry Loki, it's the menacing A.I. robot played brilliantly by James Spader. And that's what is a really great addition to the film; Spader is such a good bad guy, his voice didn't go through any filters, he did motion-capture for the face so you get all his mannerisms and in an 8-foot robot, that is very effective. The other two new cast members I enjoyed more than I expected too, they did a great job as the enhanced twins and their powers were very enjoyable to watch on screen. Of course our main heroes are always brilliant in their roles and it's great to see them all interact both while battling and in casual situations.
  Plot-wise, it's a very different film from the first, the Avengers are known-all over the world so it's interesting to see what various countries think of them and what they do which they play on well; it also shows that they're not always that invincible, the team gets hit hard in this film more than they have done before and we get to see how they overcome that. All-in-all I really enjoyed the story.
  The only negative things I have to say about the film is that the opening segment lasted a bit long and the final battle didn't quite seem as good as the first film but other than that this is a another fantastic Marvel movie; there are some exciting easter eggs of what's to come and Paul Bettany's Vision is a fascinating addition to the franchise who I am very much looking forward to seeing more of. I give it...

9/10

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

OJ's Movie Review - Fast & Furious 7

Who needs physics right?

I think at this point we can all say the Fast & Furious franchise is quite special. It's so completely stupid, but in a fun way. It's pure mindless action and stunts but we love it, and the fact that the tragic death of Paul Walker just makes this movie a bit more unique.
  Now first off, the opening scene in Furious 7 tells you exactly what this franchise is, I laughed out loud at the over-the-top carnage before me, but in a good way; and from then on it's much the same. You can't really fault the special effects of these amazing stunts which add all the more excitement to what already is a car-themed action movie. You just sit back and enjoy cars fall out of a plane and parachute down because that's what you're there for.
   So with all of that what was the actual plot like? Well this franchise is known for evolving with each film, and this is no different, it still has the backbone of the franchise, with car races, girls, and funky music and some references to the first film which I thought was nice, but now it goes into almost a comic-book like setting with a secret organisation, science-fiction technology and very much ensemble battles. I'm still not sure weather a franchise like this fits into that kind of setting as some of it felt strange and they had multiple plots going on as well which made the pacing a little awkward but all-in-all I enjoyed the majority of it and Jason Statham makes for a good villain.
   Talking of actors, all the main crew work brilliantly together which comes from doing seven films which has built up some strong bonds, Vin Diesel and Paul Walker do amazing jobs and the ending did a brilliant send off to Walker's character showing that once again the franchise is going to change, unfortunately this time due to tragic circumstances but I thought they handled it with wonderful tact.
  As a movie as a whole, it's a fun romp that's not perfect but who cares in a film where The Rock flexes a cast off his arm.

6/10

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