Tag Archives: Action

Review – What Happened To Monday

What’s this?

I do not like Mondays. It is always a bit of a shock to get up so early and respond to colleagues after such a laid-back weekend. By Tuesday I am fine. I think the title What Happened To Monday is fitting. If I was ever going to choose a day where something bad happened, it would be that day.

This is a Netflix Original. A dystopian science fiction thriller that originally premiered at the Locarno Film Festival and stars familiar face Noomi Rapace.

What’s it about?

The premise is a distinctly interesting subject. It is 2073 and the planet is nearly beyond saving with food resource dwindling, there is an increase in natural disasters and the world appears to be over-populated. The story plants the idea that families producing too many children is the crux of the planet’s problem. Governmental departments have set up the CAB (Child Allocation Bureau) that enforces a policy that each family can only have one child, with the theory that in the short term it will deal with the planet’s issue.

Meanwhile, Terrence Settman (Willem Dafoe), has just learnt that his wife has died whilst giving birth to identical septulet sisters in an unknown hospital that is willing to keep it a secret. In a world set by the CAB policy the last thing you need is this, obviously.

The first act sets the stage; the seven sisters are trained into a robust cooperative routine to survive this dystopian nightmare in which they find themselves, in order to not get caught and cruelly executed. Conveniently, their father gives them names of each day of the week. That is the day they are allowed to go outside and become part of society. Their house is constructed in a way that allows the women to react to random strangers approaching the property if it ever became a problem. The concept is immediately absorbing which sets up the remainder of the feature.

So it’s good then?

There are a couple of elements that this movie gets right. The entire set-up presents an intriguing dystopian world accustomed to the norm that having one child is ideal to prevent disasters. The streets parade regimented CAB officials and checkpoints, something that you’d similarly see in other dystopian movies. If you are familiar with Never Let Me Go, you will understand that it hides you from the true horrors of a surviving disconnected world. What Happened To Monday wants you to understand the atrocities by showing forced compliance.

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Ready Steady Cut EP56 – Terminator 2: Judgement Day

Click Here To Download Or Play The Episode

This is Episode 56 of the Ready, Steady, Cut! Podcast. On this episode, with the re-release and 3D remastered version hitting limited cinemas, we discuss what is regarded to be the best Sci-Fi Sequel of all-time – Terminator 2: Judgement Day

Trailer Talk is The Meyerowitz Stories and as always, we answer questions raised by our listeners and play another game of You Can’t Beat Me! This week it is iconic 80s characters

Episode Summary:

00:00 – Introduction and Episode Summary
04:48 – Trailer Talk – The Meyerowitz Stories
08:45 – Terminator 2: Judgement Day Discussion
1:00:16 – Questions from Listeners
1:13:02 – You Can’t Beat Me! – Iconic 80s Characters
1:27:27 – Final Comments

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Review – The Hitman’s Bodyguard

What’s this? 

Somewhere in an air-conditioned office in Hollywood, a bunch of sweaty executives trawled through a big pile of scripts and raised this one in the air: The Hitman’s Bodyguard. The next task was to ensure that this explosion-filled blockbuster was going to make huge profits. How about Samuel L. Jackson and Ryan Reynolds? A comedy action genre? Bingo. Insignificant history was born.

Oh dear.

Okay, I am being intentionally sarcastic. The point is, there is no point in me sitting here writing an in-depth review about a movie that was not made to be critically well received. There were two reasons why this film was made; for money to be made, and mass audiences to indulgently eat popcorn and enjoy it. Money first, of course. Did it succeed in that? Well, I cannot discuss the money as it has just come out as I write this, but there is no denying that The Hitman’s Bodyguard is fun.

Okay, interesting. What’s it about?

Michael Bryce (Ryan Reynolds) is a triple A rated bodyguard. That’s until one of his jobs goes terribly wrong. Darius Kincaid (Samuel L. Jackson) is a famous imprisoned hitman that has been selected by Interpol to testify against violent dictator Vladislav Dukhovich (Gary Oldman). Despite their bitter past, Michael is forced with the task of protecting Darius as they go en route to the international court whilst the dictator has groups of corrupt men trying to stop them. That’s all you really need to know about The Hitman’s Bodyguard. The plot is irrelevant anyway.

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Review – Message From The King

What’s this?

Message from the King is a neo-noir action thriller. A Netflix Original. Wait, what? Yes, you read correctly. It appears the media giant is trying to distribute through every genre possible. It also stars Chadwick Boseman. Before he completely disappears into the Marvel Universe, we get to see him showcase his talents in this dark narrative. Intrigued? So was I.

What’s it about?

I am not going to lie. When I hovered over the thumbnail and read the description I rolled my eyes. I deliberated whether to press play. The Xbox Netflix app has this persistent feature where it either plays a snippet from the movie or starts the episode and, to my annoyance, it meant I had to press back a few times. Here is the basic premise: a South African man named Jacob King lands in Los Angeles to avenge his young sister’s death. It sounds like a typical action narrative that is good for the tired brain that cannot be bothered to concentrate. Here is how the premise really sets itself up: Jacob lands in LA, investigates the daily life of his sister in order to find her, ends up at a morgue as per advice from a local, identifies his bloodied and mutilated sister and gets extremely angry. Jacob is quite clearly a character that has more to him, yet reveals only grains of his personality. Who killed his sister is not clear, and who is important remains to be solved. The first twenty minutes of Message from the King gives you a convincing impression that we may have an absorbing thriller on our hands. I was surprised.

Did it deliver?

Yes, though with a few gripes which I will discuss later. The opening of the movie is immediate and straightforward. It does not begin showing his life in South Africa. It rolls from an L.A. airport where two unknowing border control men ask the suspicious questions and consider the shady answers. From there, it moves to Jacob investigating the whereabouts of his sister. Less is more because of the setting, the atmosphere between characters, and the slow revelations. It keeps you engaged. There is a moment in particular where Jacob passes his motel neighbour and she throws him the enquiring glance. He returns the favour so you know that she will be important at some point. By the time he finds his murdered sister you are ready. His pain and anger can be felt. Whether or not the slow build-up to the key moment was intentional, it works because when he first participates in an action scene you are exhilarated by his violent side. Message from the King wants you to know that this is not action reliant. There is a real character on display.

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Opinion – Is Daniel Craig A Little Too Shaken And Stirred To Play Bond Anymore?

So, following well over a year of speculation about whether he will return to the role of 007, it has been confirmed that Daniel Craig will play James Bond for a further two films.

After all the injury problems experienced during the production of Spectre, the actor’s most recent outing as the spy, Craig’s future was very much in question. During the promotional work for Spectre, everyone kept asking the big question – will he do another film? At the time, it looked as though we had seen the last of him. Craig seemed to have had enough; looked as though he had completely fallen out of love with the character. However, over a year and a half on after the release of the last film, the news has surfaced that he is signed not for one, but for TWO more films.

Now, inevitably, everyone has their take on the announcement. It has received a somewhat mixed response and has definitely polarised cinema-goers and Bond fanatics. Some have been overjoyed to hear that Craig will be in the role for the foreseeable future, and others have been… less so.

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Review – Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets 

What’s this?

After many apparent hesitations, director Luc Besson and his wife decided to write an English-language French science fiction action-adventure film titled Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets. It is based on the French comic series Valérian and Laureline. I am not familiar with the comics but in the past couple of months, I have admired the trailers from a visual standpoint. Then again, the movie did have a budget of 197 million Euros, so it should look mightily impressive. The movie has nowhere near matched the budget in the box office, and it is the most expensive European and independent film ever made. Ouch. I would hate to deliver that news to the board.

What’s it about?

Close your eyes for a minute and imagine a space station. Wait, this will not work. Instead, clear your mind for a minute and imagine a space station in 2020. Then years later, leading countries of the world attach their station to this one. Then many years later, other species from different planets send their station to join in on the action. This continues to happen until the 28th century. We now have one large planet made of cities (named Alpha) with a multitude of peace agreements. Still with me? Good. Now, imagine a planet far away with pale looking, peace loving Avatars, who are living in harmony amongst powerful energy-containing pearls, in a tropical paradise. All of a sudden, huge ships crash into their planet and they are wiped out. Lead male character Valerian wakes up. He just had a dream about this decimated planet and he is about to embark on a mission with Laureline ordered by his commander to retrieve a converter. They are later told that Alpha is infected by an unknown force and they must investigate and protect the Commander, suspiciously performed by Clive Owen.

Can you see why I told you to close your eyes? This narrative has so many obstacles to jump around that, at times, it felt mentally challenging.

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Review – Atomic Blonde

What’s this?

It’s Jane Wick.

Okay, sorry, that’s not entirely accurate. But I’ve had that joke lined up since the first trailer, and while it might not be my best work, I needed to get it off my chest. It’s half right, anyway. Atomic Blonde is about a badass super-spy punching, shooting and stabbing her way through a stylized aesthetic under the direction of David Leitch. Certainly sounds like John Wick to me.

But, alas, Atomic Blonde isn’t that – at least not all the time. In reality, it’s based on a moderately obscure graphic novel, The Coldest City, and takes the form, structurally and tonally, of a twisty Cold War espionage thriller full of Soviet skulduggery and collapsing communist regimes. Which isn’t exactly what was advertised.

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