Film Review: The Lego Batman Movie

I was a massive fan of The Lego Movie and one of the many good things about it was the treatment of Batman (Will Arnett), who they transformed into a cocky, self absorbed show off. When it was announced that he’d be getting a solo run out, it instantly joined the list of movies I was looking forward to and yesterday MWF and I went along with a friend to check it out.

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The film kicks off with the Joker (Zach Galifianakis) leading a team of Gotham’s villains in a daring attempt to seize control of the city by threatening with a gigantic bomb. Unfortunately for the Clown Prince of Crime, Batman arrives just in time and makes short work of his associates. As the duo face off the Joker is hurt to discover that Batman doesn’t regard him as special or his archenemy, announcing he doesn’t care.

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Tears of a Clown

Batman saves the day and all is good, however, it is revealed that when he returns to Wayne Manor he is lonely and bored. His trusty butler Alfred (Ralph Fiennes) is concerned that he has no life beyond Batman, but he refuses to acknowledge this. Bruce—0s0A\\\ attends the retirement party of Jim Gordon, where his replacement is to be announced. The replacement is Jim’s daughter, Barbara (Rosario Dawson), who Bruce is attracted to. Distracted by Barbara’s beauty Bruce agrees to adopt nerdy orphan Dick Grayson (Michael Cera).

Barbara announces a bold new plan for Gotham and her desire for Batman to work with the police, and highlighting that despite his efforts Gotham is still the worst city for crime. Joker and Co. attack but Joker then surrenders, much to the suspicion of Batman and Barbara. Joker and the other villains are imprisoned, and the city celebrates.

With nothing to do Batman is bored and sad, resisting Alfred’s urging to spend time with Dick and act as his father figure. Batman continues to spy on Joker and decides that the only way to be safe is to send Joker to the Phantom Zone, where the universe’s worst villains are imprisoned. Recruiting Dick as his sidekick, and giving him an old colourful costume the duo steal a device to send people to the Phantom Zone from Superman (Channing Tatum), who Batman discovers is throwing a party for all the superheroes that he was not invited to.

They send Joker to the Phantom Zone, but Barbara imprisons them. Unfortunately, this has played into the Joker’s plans and he breaks out with several other villains to get revenge on Batman and Gotham.

Batman reluctantly agrees to allow Barbara, Dick and Alfred to help him, but can they triumph and can he resist his urge to go it alone? And will he be able to admit to himself that his insistence on working alone comes from his fear of losing people again?

This is an incredibly daft and fun movie which works because of the central character, with Batman continuing to be a swaggering, boastful jerk who has to face up to his failings and feelings. It’s a big twist on the traditional way the Dark Knight is portrayed and the egomaniac is hugely entertaining, especially when he is repeatedly outwitted or out of his depth.

This happens often with Barbara who is a clever, confident woman who has his number from the jump and provides sensible advice he routinely ignores. As the movie unfolds he is forced to accept that teamwork is key and slowly acknowledges the help the others provide him with.

The other supporting players work well, especially the irritatingly cheery Dick Grayson who slowly breaks down Batman’s stern exterior.

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The Dynamic Duo

The storyline of the Joker’s rejection and his relationship with Batman is quite well done, playing it as almost a warped romance, with Joker believing it was a deeper connection and Batman brushing it off saying that he “likes to fight around”. The Joker’s plan is pretty clever and allows a whole host of cameos from different villains in the final act, with King Kong, Voldemort, Daleks, Gremlins and the Wicked Witch of the West among others.

The action is fact paced and largely comical, with characters making the sounds of the guns they use and the Lego world allowing for inventive chaos. Batman, as a master builder, continues to build massive, crazy contraptions and visually it is stunning.

It’s also a delight for geeks as it’s rammed with little gags and references. The beginning and end poke fun at the seriousness of some superhero movies, and there are nods to the many different incarnations of the characters (including a brief clip of Adam West in action). The Joker’s posse includes a host of Gotham’s villains including lesser, dafter enemies and there are nods to the comic book conventions, especially how inept the Gotham police are and one hostage’s relaxed response to being confronted by the Joker. It’s quite clever and funny, but I did wonder how well it would play for kids as a lot of it is very ironic and pokes fun at the character and the world.

Plot wise it’s quite straight forward, and the issues of teamwork, family and Batman accepting help from others and letting people in hardly groundbreaking. It’s not quite as good as The Lego Movie in terms of sheer manic energy, but it’s still a very solid comedy adventure and keeps moving at a decent pace. But it feels like this is a good place to leave the block Batman, as any more would overplay the joke.

Verdict: Consistently funny and loaded with injokes, this is an extremely entertaining movie. Daft in places it, it works well as a fast paced romp. 8/10.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.


Film Review: Suicide Squad

Arriving on a wave of hyperactive marketing and talk of reshoots and extensive cuts comes the third film in DC’s Expanded Universe (DCEU) after Man of Steel and Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice, but this time the focus is on the villains. It’s basically a Dirty Dozen for the world of DC with a disparate group of criminals brought together by Viola Davis’ shady government agent Amanda Waller.

Many are inmates of a black site prison in Louisiana including the incredibly accurate hit man Deadshot aka Floyd Lawton (Will Smith) and Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) a psychiatrist turned psycho, lover and associate of the Joker (Jared Leto), both having been brought down by Batman (Ben Affleck).

Joining them is the beast like Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje), pyrokinetic gang member El Diablo (Jay Hernandez) and Slipknot (Adam Beach) known unimpressively as “the man who can climb anything”. Rounding off the team are Aussie thief Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney) who is seen being apprehended by the Flash (Ezra Miller).

The team is under the command of Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman) a decorated soldier who has fallen for June Moone (Cara Delevigne) an archaeologist who has been possessed by the malevolent Enchantress, who is kept in line as Waller owns her heart, her only vulnerability. To keep them every member has an explosive chip in their neck and Flag is backed up by samurai sword wielding vigilante Katana (Karen Fukuhara) and some anonymous Navy SEALs.

The Enchantress betrays Waller and unleashes her brother, a towering powerhouse with whom she lays waste to Midway City. The Squad are airlifted into the city in order to retrieve a VIP, but their individual weaknesses and inability to function threaten their effectiveness. Can Flag get the job done with his ragtag team? Can he trust them? Can they trust him and Waller?

I enjoyed this movie but it has plenty of flaws and is definitely a case of style over substance. The major weakness that having a team thrown together so quickly many are underdeveloped and here Katana, Killer Croc, Slipknot and Captain Boomerang are all slightly underwritten. My feeling was that several scenes must have hit the cutting room floor as the team go from disparate strangers to what El Diablo calls “a family” rather too quickly.

But there are moments that work. Kinnaman and Smith do a good job of capturing their characters differing views and distrust, with a slowly developing respect as the film progresses. They are both good actors and Kinnaman does enough to suggest that Flag isn’t the clean cut All-American hero he’d introduced as. He nails the character’s toughness while letting the cracks of vulnerability show.

Deadshot (Smith) and Flag (Kinnaman)

Will Smith is always reliable and likeable but his Deadshot feels like a missed opportunity, with too much heroism thrown in the mix which throws off his anti-hero status. As the biggest star Smith is the centre for the team in many ways and while he is a good anchor it unsettles the balance and he never fully convinces as the cold killer he thinks he is. There are a couple of moments where he is quite badass but it doesn’t quite come off for me. Also he takes the mask off far too early and far too long.
The only character who gets the same kind of background and focus is Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn. The manic energy is oddly charming and quite fun, but the character is emblematic of the film’s inconsistent tone. There is a brief glimmer of vulnerability and moments where the cheery mask drops, but then the film reverts back to having her quipping and messing about. I have to admit my view was harder than MWF’s who found Robbie’s performance the major strength of the film and the best member of the team.

Before becoming Harley (Robbie) she was the Joker’s (Leto) psychiatrist

The worst part of the treatment of Harley is that the film botches the relationship between her and the Joker. In the cartoon and comics the Joker is extremely manipulative and cruel to Harley, the emotional clearly abusive and sadistic but the film bottles it softening these aspects and making the Joker seem to care for her in a way that undermines his psychopathic nature.
Leto’s Joker has limited screentime and it may be too early to judge but for me it doesn’t quite work, it feels like it’s trying too hard to be edgy and the actual jokes are thin on the ground. He might impress more in later Batman movies but here he disappointed me.

Of the rest of the Squad the only one with any development is El Diablo, who is introduced as a seemingly reformed character who no longer uses his powers. His tragic back story is a bit obvious, but Hernandez does a good job in making him human and at least he gets some kind of storyline, which is more than many of his teammates.

El Diablo (Hernandez) in his cell

On the whole the movie has more misses than hits, with inconsistencies in tone, underwritten characters and an annoying habit of quick pop music blasts over scenes. But the action sequences are fast and furious and the script delivers a few laughs along the way.
The plot is predictable in places, and as with BvS I got the feeling that DC are rushing the DCEU and a few of these characters could have done with being introduced elsewhere first before being thrown into the mix here. 

One of the aspects I liked most was Viola Davis as Waller. She gives a commanding performance as the hardened, calculating character with whom you don’t want to mess with and her moral ambiguity means her motives are never fully clear and it will be interesting how she works with the forthcoming Justice League, teased in a solid credits sting where she sits down with Affleck’s Bruce Wayne.

She makes a ruthless and cold antagonist for the anti-heroes, and Davis carries it off with a ruthless badassness which makes her utterly convincing as a no-nonsense woman used to getting her way no matter who opposes her.

The ruthless and badass Waller (Davis)

On the whole it’s a fun enough action movie, but there’s very little beneath the surface and it struggles from having to introduce so many characters so quickly but if there’s a Suicide Squad 2 I’ll probably go see it as there they can just get right to the action. And I so look forward to seeing more about the Joker’s history with Batman, even if Leto’s clown prince of crime is my least favourite incarnation of the character.
Verdict: Riddled with flaws and underwritten in places the film looks good but lacks depth. Davis, Smith, Robbie, Hernandez and Kinnaman do their best but many if the actors have little to sink their teeth into. A decent introduction but you hope further adventures are stronger. The DCEU seems to lack the patience of Marvel’s universe building process. 6/10.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.


Film Review: Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice

Warning! Spoilers ahead!

I finally got around to seeing this with MWF today and I’m kinda glad I did, having allowed the fanboy hype and critical mauling fade into the background. So, does the big screen meeting of the World’s Finest work or not?

The answer is partially.

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The plot works decently, even if it does feel like a whole lot is going on. It uses the destruction of the Zod vs Superman (Henry Cavill) smackdown of Man of Steel as a jumping off point for much of the drama, this is good as the smashing of Metropolis was distinctly unlike Superman, so it’s good it had some kind of point.

Debate rages over what Superman should and shouldn’t do and whether he is helping or a threat. He rescues Lois Lane (Amy Adams) from African rebels, but the hired guards kill many and he takes the fall for this and the reprisals, leading the US government to question how he acts.

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Superman's motives and actions are questioned

While some embrace him as a saviour others are skeptical especially Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) who talks to the government about using Kryptonite as a “silver bullet” in case they need to put the Man of Steel down.

Meanwhile, in Gotham Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck), who witnessed the destruction and saw many if his employees die, returns to his life as Batman after a break and starts his war on crime. He is highly suspicious of Superman, and plagued by a nightmarish dream of a desolate world where Superman reigns.

For his part, Clark is not keen on the violent justice the Bat is dishing out. He wants to write about it in the Planet, but Perry White (Laurence Fishburne) kills the story.

Wayne’s investigations lead him to Luthor, who is shipping in Kryptonite which Batman wants. Also looking into Luthor is a mysterious woman, who wants a file that Lex has on her. She is unable to crack it and gives it to Bruce, who finds out she is Wonder Woman, another superhuman who fought in WWI.

It turns out Luthor has used his government connections to access Zod’s body and ship and is breeding something there, and is also aware of Batman’s identity and orchestrates a showdown. Who will triumph or will they be able to realise what’s going on and unite?

First the good. The questioning of Superman’s role on earth is handled well with fake news broadcasts and rival factions. Given the sheer havoc that rained down in the last movie it makes sense that not everyone is too keen on the Last Son of Krypton, and the way Luthor conspires to smear him is well done and paints Luthor as a genuine threat.

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Good start, poor ending: Eisenberg as Luthor

The problem is that this ball is dropped as despite Eisenberg’s early success as the slick, egotistical billionaire he lapses into raving look territory halfway through, which is a shame as it would be nice to have a Luthor who manages to be evil while remaining clean on the surface.

Eisenberg’s casting drew some heat, and it’s a flawed portrayal that justifies some of the doubts. Doubts about Ben Affleck’s ability to be the Bat are blown away thanks to a fantastic performance which portrays a darker, more morally ambiguous Batman than we’ve seen before. It owes a debt to Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns in particular but this is a Batman who doesn’t shy from killing and is coldly ruthless.

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Star of the show: Affleck as Batman

There’s a sense if an older, jaded man behind the cowl and a scene where Batman and Alfred (played with a long suffering, dry charm by Jeremy Irons) talk about how all the good guys are gone, and many didn’t stay good. It teases more to come and a murky past, some of which we’ll probably see in Suicide Squad, and Affleck carries it well.

His fear is understandable and his rage utterly human, and he’s a total badass in the role, both as the Bat and Wayne. Those who criticised him will be feeling rather embarrassed now as he owns the film.

That’s not to do Cavill a disservice, he continues to impress as Superman but the character isn’t developed much and others steal the focus. That being said he captures a human side to the Man of Steel and works well with Adams again. The contrast between the two heroes is good and Cavill succeeds with what he’s given.

The third hero involved, Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman is given a great introduction as she’s shown to be smart, resourceful and strong and her bantering with Affleck is well handled. MWF liked that she was shown in a costume that looked badass without being too slutty. I always worried that Wonder Woman, like Thor, wouldn’t translate to the big screen but Gadot is solid and I’m looking forward to seeing more of her in action.

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I like that they introduced her but there are a couple of things that make you aware that this movie made in the shadow of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, particularly The Avengers, and clearly DC and Warner Bros. Want their own franchise, but it feels that this is a bit of a rush to get there. Marvel built up over a few movies, this is the second for DC.

Cameos from other Justice League members are fan pleasers, but this feels in places like a stepping stone to get to a bigger movie.

The other thing that’s rushed is Doomsday, a major villain in the comics, who rocks up here. While he’s a real threat here, he’s dispatched with relative ease and it’s a shame they couldn’t have done The Death of Superman as the second or third Justice League movie. It’s a major villain used against three of the team, which is a shame although there are hints of a bigger villain on the way.

Another misstep is the visions Batman has. They’re never explained, apart from a brief glimpse of the future Flash talking to him and it’s not clear if this is a dream or meant to be real. It’s messy and feels needless, why is he having them?

It feels in places like it would have been improved by being stripped back and with Luthor having a better ending.

So while it’s far from perfect it’s not an utter failure, it just feels like they’re trying to fit way too much into one movie and there are lots of gaps and questions left. But for the most part it works as a superhero epic and there are some good performances and it sets up further movies well.

Verdict: A little messy and with a few mistakes, this just about works and is helped by Ben Affleck’s sensational work as Batman and some good action sequences. The conflict is set up well and the conclusion satisfying, but in places it feels less like it’s own film, and more like a means to set up other movies. 7/10.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.


Film Review: The Lego Movie

I actually saw this a while ago and planned to review it sooner, but it kept getting pushed back for different reasons, but I wanted to get the review in before the end of 2014 and the yearly Top 10 movies list.

There have been a couple of games based on toys and most have been lacklustre (I enjoyed the first Transformers movie, but the sequels were woeful and Battleship was just terrible), luckily there’s this movie to stand as the best example of the genre. It’s quite fitting that a movie based on Lego, a toy all about creativity and possibilities should provide a movie that crackles with imagination.

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The basic plot of a regular Joe having to realize their potential is standard fare, but it’s where the movie goes with it that shows genuine imagination, wit and ambition.

The movie follows Emmet (voiced by Chris Pratt), a cheerful, dim-witted Lego man who lives a normal day-to-day life following the instructions that he’s provided with and never really thinking for himself. All seems good for Emmet, but one night he gets sucked into a rebel plan who don’t like that President Business (Will Ferrell), plans to use a weapon called the Kragle to stop the Lego world being different and inventive.

Emmet

Emmet

Emmet touches the “Piece of Resistance” a brick that grants the owner, the prophesied “the Special”, the power to stop the Kragle. The Piece was hunted by Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks), an ass-kicking master builder who works for Vitruvius (Morgan Freeman), who made the prophecy.

Wyldstyle kicking ass

Wyldstyle kicking ass

Wyldstyle is frustrated by Emmet’s stupidity and lack of imagination, and they doubt whether he is actually the Special. Aided by Wyldstyle’s boyfriend, Batman (Will Arnett) they travel across different Lego worlds and try to figure out how they can stop Lord Business from his evil plan, building to a climactic showdown.

I totally dug this movie, which is jam packed with wonderful graphics and a wealth of gags throughout. It’s a kids movie that truly works on two levels, with younger viewers loving the story and the visuals, but lots of jokes that might go over their head, the best example of this being the decision to have Will Arnett’s Batman being a bit of a douche, and the scene where he plays his band’s demo is a delight.

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The voice cast across the board are fantastic, especially Chris Pratt as the clueless Emmet, with this and Guardians of the Galaxy this year, and Jursassic World coming soon, Pratt seems to have arrived in a big way, and here he is on sensational form, with his vocal skills really bringing Emmet to life.

Morgan Freeman does his usual voice of wisdom thing as Vitruvius, and they have fun with this, especially when he makes his opening prophecy.

Freeman as Vitruvius

Freeman as Vitruvius

The movie makes little jokes about Lego’s history, with cameos from Lego’s Star Wars line and the plot having a slight dig at those Lego fans who just build once and keep them pristine, thanks to the live action section (also featuring Will Ferrell). The live action sequence is a bit cliche, but by that time the movie had built up such a feeling of good will in me I went for it.

From the start to the finish I was utterly charmed and it had me chuckling consistently, especially at daft gags like Liam Neeson’s split personality character Bad Cop/Good Cop. It’s a cheerful, vibrant and engaging movie that will work for all ages and is an utter gem.

Bad Cop/Good Cop

Bad Cop/Good Cop

One word of warning though, the cheesy song “Everything Is Awesome” from the movie will lodge in your head for a long time after, and recur frequently.

Verdict: An utter delight of a movie, filled to the brim with quality gags and strong vocal performances. It’s a fast based, fun and inventive movie and easily one of the better animated movies of recent years. Delightful. 9/10.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.


Holy Overreaction, Batman!

At Comic Con it was announced that the follow up to this year’s Man of Steel movie will see Superman go toe-to-toe with DC’s other big draw Batman. Batman vs Superman is due for release in 2015, and I have to say I had mixed feelings about it all.

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I’m happy that DC are trying to get a Justice League movie off the ground, and to do this they need to reboot the Batman movies because the Nolan Bat-flicks won’t work in a larger scale DC universe. They’ve clearly been inspired by the success of Marvel’s cinematic universe, but the difference is that Marvel appeared to have a plan in place and took they’re time introducing the characters in five flicks over four years. DC have their two big guns going head to head in just two years, with the new look Batman going in without a solo adventure to build the character.

Henry Cavill who impressed me as Kal-El is due to return and Zack Snyder will be in the director’s chair again, having done reasonably well first time out (maybe edit down the fight sequences next time, yeah?).

Today saw the announcement of who will step into Christian Bale’s Bat-shoes.

Ben Affleck.

Cue massive meltdown on the internet as people appeared to lose their minds. #BetterBatmanThanBenAffleck trended on Twitter and people whined about how Affleck’s previous attempt at a costumed hero had been a bit of a dud. Personally, Daredevil is a guilty pleasure of mine and it’s unfair to lay its failures at Affleck’s door.

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I’m a fan of Affleck’s and can’t help feeling that a lot of the criticism is unfair with people getting hung up on his duff movies (Gigli, Pearl Harbor, Paycheck) and ignoring the fact that over the years he’s actually been in some quality flicks (Argo, The Town, State of Play, Changing Lanes) and can do fun blockbusters too (Armageddon, Sum of All Fears), plus you know, he was the bomb in Phantoms yo! I mean, seriously, the guy’s worst work is all about a decade ago and his last couple of flicks have been gold.

Affleck in the brilliant Argo, proof of his talent in front and behind the camera

Affleck in the brilliant Argo, proof of his talent in front and behind the camera

Affleck is a capable actor, and the premise for the film’s approach to the characters sounds genuinely interesting, with Snyder revealing that Batman will be older than Superman and having been in the crime fighting game for a while. Snyder explained Affleck’s casting rather well:

Ben provides an interesting counter-balance to Henry’s Superman, he has the acting chops to create a layered portrayal of a man who is older and wiser than Clark Kent and bears the scars of a seasoned crime fighter, but retain the charm that the world sees in billionaire Bruce Wayne. I can’t wait to work with him.

Also, fanboys have form for getting these things wrong- Daniel Craig wasn’t a popular choice for Bond but he knocked it out of the park, and I was skeptical when Heath Ledger was cast as the Joker, and both knocked it out of the park. So hold fire until we actually see some footage of Affleck in action as the Dark Knight? Who knows, he could turn out to be aces.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.


Pic Post: Good Advice, Bad Answers and Unfortunate Alignment

Good Advice 1- WWBD?

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Bad Answer 1- Wipeout

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Unfortunate Alignment 1- Tempting offer

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Bad Answer 2- Kinda right, but yet wrong.

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Unfortunate Alignment 2- Tax dodging sucks

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Good Advice 2- It’s a trap!

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Hot Picture of the Week

Anna Kendrick, who I’m a massive fan of (let’s gloss over the whole Twilight thing, okay?)

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Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.


Pic Post: Geeky Fashions, Greats Meet and Grumpy Grans

Holy facial hair, Batman!

This is just ace.

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One of the advantages of getting old

I’ve noticed that one of the things old people have over their younger counterparts is that they seem to have lost all their cares and don’t really give a damn about anything like embarrassment, it’s both inspiring and kind of annoying, but this illustration of this phenomena really made me laugh:

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When Awesomeness Collides!

I’ve previously used these picture posts to show greats meeting, and I was kinda stoked to find a Tumblr page devoted to this kind of picture, so here are a couple of my faves from the page:

Florence Welch and Diane Keaton seeming to have a good old natter

Florence Welch and Diane Keaton seeming to have a good old natter

The Golden Age of Hollywood- Bacall, Bogart and Monroe, with Bogie blatantly checking out Marilyn

The Golden Age of Hollywood- Bacall, Bogart and Monroe, with Bogie blatantly checking out Marilyn

The President, The Boss and The Rapper

The President, The Boss and The Rapper

Awesome dress

So, this Doctor Who fan made herself this bitching TARDIS dress:

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It’s gotten quite a lot of exposure online, which is how I stumbled across it and most people seem to appreciate the awesomeness of the dress and praise the lady in question, but sadly there are always a few idiots out there and I was annoyed to see a few negative people slagging her off. Well, personally I think it’s super cool and it’s a funny, smart dress that shows real with and quirkiness, and I think she’s cute too.

Creepiest Snow Sculpture Ever!

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Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.


Favourite Films of 2012

So here are my top 10 films of the year, you can read my full reviews underneath the Films 2012 tag along with the flicks that didn’t make the list.

10. Ted

Seth MacFarlane’s first movie uses tricks borrowed from his TV work in being filled with pop culture references and close-to-the-knuckle gags. The central conceit of a teddy bear brought to life by a child’s wish is handled well, and it’s a fun examination of what happens when the boy and the bear grow up. MacFarlane voices the bear himself and does a good job as the foulmouthed toy, but the real stars are Mark Wahlberg and Mila Kunis who have great chemistry as the couple having to deal with his immaturity and it’s rather sweet at times.

9. The Raid

Welshman Gareth Edwards’ Indonesian action movie keeps things simple and tight with it’s tale of a squad of cops storming a tower block riddled with criminals to create a gripping action movies which is loaded with some of the most impressive, bone-crunching martial arts fights I’ve seen in years. Intense and entertaining it’s a real joy to watch and marks Edwards as one to watch in the future.

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8. Frankenweenie

Tim Burton’s latest is a callback to one of his early short films and the passion he has for the project is evident as he crafts one of his most enjoyable and emotionally resonant films in years. A return to form which reminds audiences of how good Burton can be.

7. The Hunger Games

A gripping youth movie that in Jennifer Lawrence’s Katniss boasted a brilliantly strong, resourceful female hero. The premise is simple, but its executed well and the violence is handled in a way that manages to be restrained yet still tough to watch. Lawrence is superb and I’m eagerly awaiting part 2.

A great heroine- Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss.

A great heroine- Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss.

6. The Amazing Spider-Man

Sam Raimi’s Spidey flicks stumbled after an impressive opening but the reboot (despite the mercenary reasons for it’s production) nails the tone superbly, capturing the character’s odd mix of joy and strife. Unlike most costumed heroes, Peter Parker was always a character who seemed to get massive enjoyment from his exploits. Andrew Garfield does well as the nerdy, wisecracking webslinger and shares real chemistry with Emma Stone’s Gwen Stacy. It’s highly enjoyable, despite the villainous Lizard being a bit weak in places. But great fun and I look forward to more of Garfield in the role.

Stone and Garfield- fantastic chemistry

Stone and Garfield- fantastic chemistry

5. The Dark Knight Rises

Christopher Nolan wraps up his Bat-movies in great style, with a dark epic which sees Bale’s caped crusader having to return to action to face a terrifying threat in the form of Bane, played with intense menace by Tom Hardy. There’s a real sense of danger and it manages to wrap up the series in a satisfying way that doesn’t let down the great work that Nolan and co. did on the first two films. It also boasts an incredibly impressive cast, all of whom do their jobs with great skill.

4. Skyfall

Daniel Craig’s third outing as Bond is probably his best, with a movie that manages to balance dramatic integrity while returning a sense of fun to the franchise. The action sequences are superb and the plot has more heft than usual, exploring Bond’s past and the nature of his relationship with his bosses, in particular M played by Judi Dench, who is superb as she’s finally given more to do with the role. A real treat and among the best of the Bond series.

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3. The Artist

Arriving on a wave of hype and critical hyperbole this flick was burdened by the weight of expectation but shouldered it well, delivering a film which is a heartwarming tribute to the early years of Hollywood while also being a wonderfully endearing romance loaded with funny moments and a few clever gags. The silence is more than a gimmick and it nails it’s tone perfectly throughout.

2. Marvel’s Avengers Assemble

Joss Whedon brings Earth’s mightiest heroes to the big screen and succeeds in uniting all of Marvel’s good work into one hugely entertaining blockbuster loaded with great lines and brilliant performances, the ensemble cast all work well together and it manages to build on the previous movies while also standing on it’s own as one of the best superhero movies ever made.

The Avengers get ready for the big fight.

The Avengers get ready for the big fight.

1. Looper

A mind blowing sci-fi action film based on the concept of hitmen being used to take care of targets sent back in time from the future. It manages to deal with themes like destiny, choice and identity while still also being extremely fun. Benefits from Joseph Gordon Levitt and Bruce Willis both being at the top of their game as the older and younger versions of the protagonist. Chock full of great moments and interesting ideas, and packs a powerful emotional punch, stayed with me for days.

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Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.


Pic Post: Team Ups, Tools and Taking the Mick

Kim Kardashian gets burned

I’ve watched far too much of the Kardashian family’s TV shows, and used to think that Kourtney’s husband Scott Disick was a total douche, however, I slowly warmed to him in that while he was still a tool of the highest order he carried it off with some sort of flair. And I was really creased when I saw his deadpan burn on sister-in-law Kim:

scottdysickownskk

When Awesomeness Collides Part 1

I love it when you see two awesome people who you wouldn’t normally put together meeting up, it’s like when superheroes have team ups. Saw pictures of two meetings of legends this week, here’s the first- The King and the Greatest!

legendsunited

Idiot 1

We all occasionally put something up on Facebook that shows our idiocy or lack of knowledge, but this one is above and beyond stupid and highlights that maybe somebody needs a bit more education beyond watching Leonardo DiCaprio movies.

Although part of me would love to see Shakespearean tragedies reimagined as theme park rides

Although part of me would love to see Shakespearean tragedies reimagined as theme park rides

When Awesomeness Collides Part 2

Barry White and Pavarotti!

whitepav

Here they look like an 80s “big men” tag team from the WWF, like they’re about to go out and face the Legion of Doom or something, but they were actually going to perform together, which must be a record for the heaviest duet ever.

Idiot 2

The first idiot I featured was just poorly educated, but this shows a painful deficiency of common sense.

escalatoridiot

Hot Picture of the Week

Fangirls really can sexify any character, here the terrifying, hulking Bane gets a rather busty make over. She could kick my ass any day.

sexybane

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.


5 by 5: Kids TV, Writers and Funny Things

Okay, five different top fives all inspired by things from Plinky. And yeah, its largely because I’ve got blogger’s block today.

What were your favourite TV shows as a kid?

  1. Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles– apparently “ninja” was something you couldn’t have on TV in Britain in the 80s. I loved these guys, especially Raphael.
  2. Batman– As a kid the camp naffness of Adam West went over my head and I genuinely loved watching this.
  3. The Lone Ranger– They used to repeat this when I was a kid, and as I loved cowboys I totally dug it. Man, I had retro tastes as a kid.
  4. Postman Pat– Made postmen seem decent and hard working, experience has exposed this as false. Great theme tune too
  5. Thomas the Tank Engine– Why I can’t put Ringo as the worst Beatle.

When you need a good laugh, who/what do you turn to?

  1. YouTube videos of people falling over
  2. Friends repeats
  3. My mates
  4. Trawling through my Twitter feed
  5. Stick on some Bill Hicks on my iPod

Who are your all time favourite authors?

  1. Hunter S Thompson
  2. Terry Pratchett
  3. Stephen King
  4. Ernest Hemingway
  5. Jane Austen

What creeps you out?

  1. Clowns
  2. Ventriloquist dummies and dolls
  3. The weeping angels from Doctor Who
  4. Spiders
  5. When I’m walking along and I see an abandoned article of clothing. Especially shoes, I always fear the owner has been grabbed or gobbled up by something.

Name five foods you’d hate to live without.

  1. Pizza
  2. Alpen muesli
  3. Steak
  4. Yogurt
  5. Subway

My usual- Turkey breast and ham

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.