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I was dimly aware of the real life backdrop to Ron Howard's latest film but essentially went into this film blind....................and came out entertained by what I think was one of 2013's best films. And I don't even think you need to be an F1 fan to enjoy this.
As Daniel Bruhl and Chris Hemsworth create a believable and not always likeable pair of competitors the film never makes one the hero and one the bad guy. BOTH men have their faults and their strengths and their love for the sport binds them. Only their approach to the sport and to life brings them into odds with each other and so the film has two human characters that we as the audience both can become attached to and involved in.
Bruhl should have made the Oscar shortlist for his work but even though he didn't his performance is easily the better of the two, although Hemsworth proves he's more than just biceps as well. The recreation of the 70s seems exacting, the editing, score, tension and visual effects all combining into a superb piece of entertainment that I will easily buy and rewatch in the future.
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I was dimly aware of the real life backdrop to ron howard's latest film but essentially went into this film blind....................and came out entertained by what i think was one of 2013's best films. And i don't even think you need to be an f1 fan to enjoy this.
As daniel bruhl and chris hemsworth create a believable and not always likeable pair of competitors the film never makes one the hero and one the bad guy. Both men have their faults and their strengths and their love for the sport binds them. Only their approach to the sport and to life brings them into odds with each other and so the film has two human characters that we as the audience both can become attached to and involved in.
Bruhl should have made the oscar shortlist for his work but even though he didn't his performance is easily the better of the two, although hemsworth proves he's more than just biceps as well. The recreation of the 70s seems exacting, the editing, score, tension and visual effects all combining into a superb piece of entertainment that i will easily buy and rewatch in the future.
American Horror Story: Season 1
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I blind bought this a while back out of curiosity and honestly after watching the very first episode I thought it was straight up THE most bonkers pilot episode of a show I had seen.
But I wanted to keep watching and so I did, and really ended up enjoying it a lot (I only give it three stars because actually I think the second season shows up season 1 a little bit by having a lot more thematic content and elements) thanks to having enough twists and turns to keep me viewing.
Led by the tremendous Connie Britton and Jessica Lange and supported by a large cast it's a sexy, thrillery, scary horror series with top notch production values and performances, but it's not necessarily anything very deep. That's not a problem at all, but I think season 2 is where things pick up much more strongly.
House Of Cards: Season 1
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Although I'm old enough to remember the 1990's Ian Richardson trilogy it's also been a good twenty years since I did see it so watching this new US adaption from (amongst others) David Fincher meant there was little baggage in my mind about going in.
And indeed, with movie quality production values, a high calibre cast led by Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright (particularly excellent as a wife with a backbone of steel) and a twisty, adult oriented plot this political thriller plays smoothly and slickly from episode one all the way to the finale as Frank Underwood (Spacey) wreaks revenge on his own Party for his passing over for the appointment of US Secretary for State in the wake of a recent election. Sparing no one in his determination to come out on top.
Excellent performances, and even though some of the narrative twists and turns won't shock seasoned TV drama viewers, the show is a quality addition to the political drama genre and I look forward very much to the upcoming second season.
Oblivion (With UltraViolet)
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The four stars is really more of a very high 3.5 as I'm being maybe a little more generous thanks to being a Sci-fi fan, but even at that, 'Oblivion' is one of the more beautifully realised films of the year, even if the final story remains one that you'll realise you've seen elements of before.
Several decades in the future the Earth has been left desolated and ravaged after alien invasion. With the last of it's natural resources about to be harvested by humanity Jack (Tom Cruise) remains one of the last people on Earth overseeing the machinery before he evacuates to the space station which the rest of the human race live on. Until, a spaceship crashes in his patrol area revealing inside a women whom Jack has had recurring dreams about. A woman who also seems to know who Jack is.
In finding out the answer to this mystery, Jack's entire perception of his world will be changed.
Director Joe Kosinski (Tron: Legacy) proves himself to be a developing master of visual science fiction, and 'Oblivion' is truly stunning from an effects and production design perspective. But the thinnish characters and ultimately derivative plot which the visuals mask do undermine some of that effort. It's also got a fantastic music score from M83 that pulses and matches the visuals perfectly at times.
I really enjoyed it for what it was, but 'Oblivion' probably thinks it's a slightly better sci-fi film than it actually is.
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Alcatraz: Season 1 Box Set (3 Discs)
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This is the kind of bread and butter sci-fi genre TV show that I can consume quite easily and 'Alcatraz' is actually perfectly decent on that score. The main problem is it only ran 13 episodes and so was never able to offer any real conclusions to the many mysteries it set up.
Handsome production design and visual production values are to be expected from a TV show from the J.J. Abrams stable and the cast was OK as well, but there's no resolution to the show at all unfortunately.
There are some minor extras but some of the episodes are good enough. It may not be worth a buy unless you are already a genre show fan, but if you are, like I am, then it offers some decent entertainment and moments.
Alcatraz: Season 1 Box Set (2 Discs)
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Star Trek Into Darkness
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While summer 2013 has been perhaps less of a stellar year there was at least one film which managed to entertain me and provide some visual thrills and spills along the way and just like back in 2009, J.J. Abrams has delivered the Summer's best piece of entertainment. Funnily enough, back in 2009 the film in question was this film's predecessor 'Star Trek'.
Taking it's cue from the events of the first film, the sequel plunges Starfleet into turmoil when Earth is attacked by someone who appears to have been one of their own best officers, sending Kirk and Spock out on a mission to track the man responsible down. Except, Kirk and Spock are still struggling to reconcile their different ways of commanding and find that even greater conflict may yet come between them. And just who is John Harrison, the seeming mastermind behind events?
The film isn't perfect but I would say the first 70 odd minutes are actually better than the 2009 film, with an intriguing plot developing, examination of the nature of Starfleet and the Federation and struggle between morality and instinct. Where it does take a turn is in the revelation of who is actually whom - a revelation that feels like it was made to make fans go 'woah' but which doesn't fully pay off. The film also then does become more of an actioner as the extended finale plays out before a finale that openly winks at a previous film, but which manages to make it work thanks to a new thematic interpretation for the relationship between Kirk and Spock.
The visual effects are top notch and from a fan's POV sights and sounds of a future Earth are beautifully rendered and realised through locations and CGI. The performances are all solid and most of the cast have quickly settled into their parts and get a little to do along the way. Benedict Cumberbatch is a smooth and seductively voiced villain who plays not only with the characters but the viewer as well and the final moments of the film finally promise some (overdue) deep space adventure.
I'm already ready for the next one in the new series!
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