Showing posts from June, 2019

Dracula Untold (2014) - Review

In an era of shared-universe mega-franchises, it's difficult not to distinguish the finished film 'Dracula Untold' from it's clear cynical, money-grabbing ambitions. Universal once had a success franchise with their Universal Monster movies, including 'Dracula', 'Frankenstein', 'Creature from the Black Lagoon' and more, and in a post-Marvel Studios era, they want to try again - properly this time. Everything is connected, and one day Dracula will team-up with the Wolf-Man and Frankenstein to fight the Mummy. But not today.

'Dracula Untold' was released in 2014, and was set to start what was later dubbed as the "Dark Universe". Despite making a fair $217 million against its $70 million budget, the franchise was rebooted in 2017 with 'The Mummy', a $190/345 million flop that turned in $407 million, but not any profit for the studio. Alas, neither started the Dark Universe that Universal had been hoping for, but both coul…

Doctor Who: Planet of the Daleks (1973) - Review

With Doctor Who: The Collection - Season 10 set to be released on Blu-ray next month, the BFI screened the newly-remastered edition of 'Planet of the Daleks' on Saturday, complete with restored picture quality, brand-new CGI effects work and 5.1 surround sound mix by Mark Ayres. Starring Jon Pertwee as the Third Doctor and Katy Manning as Jo Grant, this serial was part of Doctor Who's anniversary season, and saw the return of Dalek creator Terry Nation to pen all six episodes. This serial also acts as a direct follow-up to 'Frontier in Space', forming what was intended to be a twelve-episode epic, akin to Nation's own 'The Daleks' Master Plan' in 1965.

The story sees Jo Grant helping a wounded Doctor back to the TARDIS. They escape the Ogron Planet, and the TARDIS materialises on Spiridon - a jungle planet home to the invisible Spiridons. As Jo journeys through the jungle to find help, the Doctor encounters the Thals - inhabitants of the planet Ska…

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. - Season 6, Episode 3 Review

'Fear and Loathing on the Planet of Kitson' is a rather bizarre episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., attempting a more bizarre and humorous installment without actually having the story to justify this. The tonal shifts throughout the episode border on the bizarre, and do serve the remove a lot of the tension. On the one hand, it's a story about Team Space SHIELD (Daisy, Simmons, Davis and the other one) desperately trying to find Fitz (and Enoch), coming so close and yet again losing him at the last possible second. A new threat emerges in the form of a hunter Chronicom, and the episode ends on a very dour note with a short epilogue showing Sarge's plan coming to fruition.

The issue here isn't so much with the story as much as the execution of said story. Initially the scenes of Enoch trying to blend in at an alien casino are fun, and a welcome relief of tension, but then Daisy, Simmons and Davis get high off some alien drug and the whole thing meanders about with …

Men in Black: International (2019) - Review

I'm not entirely sure how 'Men in Black: International' came to fruition. Originally it was supposedly a crossover with Sony Pictures' own '21 Jump Street' franchise - which is baffling in itself - and clearly there was some debate as whether to make a sequel or straight-up reboot. The angle that 'International' goes for is that of a spin-off to the Men in Black trilogy with Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones, focusing instead on new agents M and H, played by Tessa Thompson and Chris Hemsworth respectively. Emma Thompson returns from 'Men in Black 3' as Agent O to bridge the gap between the series', but this film is very much focused on its new cast.

Tessa Thompson plays Molly, who after befriending an alien and witnessing a Men in Black encounter endeavours to find out exactly who MIB are, and how to work for them. Twenty years later, Molly finally encounters MIB again, and is recruited on a probationary basis by Agent O (Emma Thompson), and s…

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. - Season 6, Episode 2 Review

The struggle with reviewing individual episodes of a serialised show like Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is that each episode naturally builds on the last. Not enough Sarge or Fitz in Episode 1? Give them more focus in Episode 2. And surprise surprise it actually works really well, even if it does highlight that Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. would perhaps work best as a binge-able streaming show as opposed to a week-to-week network drama. Each episode is considerably more action-packed and engaging than standalone episodes of Marvel's Jessica Jones (or most of the Marvel/Netflix shows), but that partly comes with the format of a network television drama - you need to keep the audience hooked, not just to come back next week but to sit through horrific amounts of adverts.

'Window of Opportunity' dedicates a lot of its time to setting up Sarge and his team, establishing their dynamic with one another and teasing their threat to planet Earth, which is thankfully handled with m…

X-Men: Dark Phoenix (2019) - Review

'X-Men: Dark Phoenix' the twelfth and penultimate installment of the X-Men film series, acting as a send-off to the main series whilst next year's 'The New Mutants' has ended up as an unexpectedly standalone coda. The entire franchise has been cut short by Walt Disney Pictures, who during post-production acquired the assorted assets of 20th Century Fox and made the decision to end this run of X-Men films to make way for a new rebooted series as part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, making 'Dark Phoenix' the exciting (?) finale to twenty years' worth of films. Until that next film comes out...eventually.

The film has been re-tooled into a satisfying finale during post-production, and the marketing has leaned more towards nostalgic love for the X-Men films as a whole as opposed to building excitement for this entry. The new marketing push has even produced a new, more comic book-inspired poster to sell the film, but despite their best efforts, it's h…

Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019) - Review

Whilst many large-scale film franchises have flopped recently ('The Mummy' (2017) didn't start its Dark Universe series, 'Pacific Rim: Uprising' is still without a sequel, 'Hellboy' (2019) bombed quite spectacularly, among many others), it's surprising to see one succeed that isn't a superhero franchise. 'Godzilla' (2014) was an interesting film in that it had spectacular trailers and a rather boring end product. Nevertheless, it made $500 million and thus it started the MonsterVerse, followed by 'Kong: Skull Island' - a considerable improvement, and another moderate hit. Now though, the Monsterverse is going for the top spot with two new entries - first, 'Godzilla: King of the Monsters', and the next year 'Godzilla vs. Kong'. It's a risky move for Warner Bros Picture, but they clearly have confidence in the franchise to produce two entries back-to-back.

'Godzilla: King of the Monsters' is supposedly a se…