Monday, 8 August 2022

REVIEW: Thor: Love and Thunder (2022) - Starring Chris Hemsworth and Christian Bale


Review By Jon Donnis

Chris Hemsworth is back as everyone's favourite former King of Asgard, Thor!

Thor: Love and Thunder sees Thor enlist the help of Valkyrie, Korg and ex-girlfriend Jane Foster to fight Gorr the God Butcher, who intends to make the gods extinct.

As with previous films in the series, Thor: Love and Thunder is a very tongue in cheek action film, and is a welcome addition to the series, and works well as a one off film for people new to the genre, as well as for people who watch all the Marvel films.

The film starts off with Gorr (Christian Bale) and his daughter Love (played by Chis Hemsworth's real life daughter India) as they struggle in a barren desert. As love is dying they pray to their god Rapu, but their prayers go unanswered and Love dies.

Gorr finds himself called by the God Killing Necrosword which leads him to God Rapu's realm, but Rapu dismisses Gorr, and tries to strangle him, the Necrosword offers itself to Gorr who then kills Rapu with it, and vows to kill all Gods using the sword. Gorr is given the power to manipulate shadows and create monsters, but in return he is cursed with impending death, and his mind is corrupted.

Gorr proceeds to kill several gods.

Thor who has joined the Guardians of the Galaxy, (cue lots of appearances from the Guardians of the Galaxy cast) and after killing some bad guys and saving the day, Thor learns of Gorr and that his next target is Asgard.

Thor's ex-girlfriend Dr. Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) has been diagnosed with terminal cancer, she travels to New Asgard in the hope that Thor's hammer Mjolnir might heal her, but due to an enchantment that Thor placed on the hammer years earlier to protect Foster, Mjolnir reforges and bonds itself to her.

As Gorr attacks New Asgard, Thor arrives and is surprised to see Foster wielding Mjolnir which was previously fractured by Hela in the Thor Ragnarok film. He teams up with her, Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson The King of New Asgard) and Korg: A Kronan gladiator (Taika Waititi). They fight Gorr and stop him, but as he escapes he kidnaps a number of Asgardian children and imprisons them in the Shadow Realm.

What follows is a non stop action film that needs to be seen.

A special mention needs to go out to Russell Crowe who has a really fun scene about half way through the film, he plays Zeus. And to say he steals the show is an understatement. With a hilarious Greek accent, Crowe absolutely nails his part, and I really hope we get to this character in future films.

Korg also impresses as the rock creature friend of Thor, there is also a nice nod to another famous Rock in the film, so listen out for that one.

Overall this for me was one of the best Marvel films in recent years, loads of cameos, non stop action, a decent storyline, and fun light hearted comedy. There really is something here for the whole family, fans of Marvel and newcomers alike.


The Good

So good, it is hard to put across how much I thoroughly enjoyed this film, there really is no weak points, without the credits the film is about 1 hour 45 minutes, which is just perfect, and the mid and post credit scenes which we all come to love are also worth sticking around for. Chris Hemsworth is strong as Thor, and you even get a bit of nudity for the women to enjoy, and Christian Bale is great as Gorr, although with that makeup you would never know it was him.

There is a nice fight scene towards then end where all the kids get involved, and it just works, and doesn't come across as too silly. 

The Bad

I struggle to think of anything in the film I didn't like. Maybe we could have had more Zeus?

Overall

One of the best Marvel films in years and perhaps the best Thor film yet.

I score Thor: Love and Thunder a solid 9.5/10

Out in cinemas now!


COMPETITION: Win Downton Abbey: A New Era on Blu-ray



Downton Abbey: A New Era - Released on 15th August

And to celebrate we have a great competition for you and a copy on Blu-ray to give away.

Synopsis: 
It’s time to return to Downton in DOWNTON ABBEY: A NEW ERA, celebrated by critics as “Delightful, glorious and lavishly entertaining” (Heat), the sequel arrives just in time for a summer movie night in with exclusive and exciting featurettes to give viewers a more in-depth look behind the scenes with fan-favourite stars.

The much-anticipated cinematic return of Downton Abbey follows the Crawleys and their staff as they welcome a movie crew and their glamorous stars to Downton for the filming of a new silent movie, while other members of the family go on a grand adventure to a villa in the south of France to uncover a mystery about the Dowager Countess and her past. With a screenplay by Julian Fellowes and starring the original cast alongside exciting new additions, DOWNTON ABBEY: A NEW ERA is packed full of exuberant moments, excitement and humor, tears of joy and sadness and new beginnings for all your favourite characters.

Order from Amazon at https://amzn.to/3bBlVwr

For your chance to win just answer the question below.

Who wrote the screenplay for Downton Abbey: A New Era?

Send your name, address and of course the answer to competition365@outlook.com

Quick Terms and conditions - For full T&C click here
1. Closing date 22-08-22
2. No alternative prize is available
3. When the competition ends as indicated on this page, any and all entries received after this point will not count and emails blacklisted due to not checking this page first.
4. Winners will be chosen randomly and will be informed via email.
5. Entries that come directly from other websites will not be accepted.

Sunday, 7 August 2022

REVIEW: Wrong Place (2022) Starring Bruce Willis and Ashley Greene

Review by Jon Donnis
This will be Bruce Willis' eighth film release of 2022, and officially marks his busiest year for film releases ever. Of course as we all know by now due to health issues this will be his final year of releasing films, but he still has three more to come after this.

You know the routine, Bruce is the big name attached to the film, but the film is often a vehicle for another actor to shine, in Wrong Place that job goes to Ashley Greene, probably best known for her TV role in Rogue as well as her appearances in The Twilight Saga films.


Wrong Place starts off with a robbery gone wrong, Frank (Bruce Willis), a former police chief of a small town, stops a robbery and witnesses a murder, as such he finds himself being hunted down by a methamphetamines cook, who wants to silence Frank before he can give eye witness testimony against the drug family.



The bad guys find Frank's daughter (Ashley Greene) and threaten her as a way to get to Frank.

This is an old fashioned low to medium budget action film. And Bruce Willis actually appears in more of this film than he has done in some of his other recent releases. And when he is on screen you do get glimpses of the Bruce Willis we all grew up loving.


The Good
A straightforward action film. Easy viewing, easy to follow, and one of Bruce Willis' final films. One to add to the collection if you are a lifetime fan.

The Bad
The film feels slightly long at only 96 minutes, and I think it could easily have been tighened into 80 or 85 minutes without losing anything.

Overall
A straight to digital action film that ticks all the boxes. Enjoy Bruce Willis while you can, as we are quickly coming to the end of a legendary career.

I score Wrong Place a fair 7/10

Out no on Prime Video - https://amzn.to/3p7gd8p

Wednesday, 3 August 2022

REVIEW: The Black Phone (2022) - Starring Mason Thames and Ethan Hawke

Review by Jon Donnis
The Black Phone seemed to be released without much fanfare, but once it was released it has done very well at the box office, so I thought I would check it out.

Set in 1978 there is a serial killer on the loose known as The Grabber (Ethan Hawke), he has been prowling the streets of a Denver suburb abducting kids.


Finney (Mason Thames) and his sister Gwen, (Madeleine McGraw) live in that suburb with their alcohol father Terrence (Jeremy Davies) who also regularly hits them. Finney is getting bullied at school, but one day befriends another boy Robin, who gets into a fight with a bully and beats him up, Robin informs the bullies to leave Finney alone.

Gwen seems to be having psychic dreams, which we soon learn her mother also had, but which eventually sent her crazy, Gwen dreams of the kidnapping of another boy Bruce, who was friends with Finney, she sees black balloons in the dream, and when the local detectives find out about her dreams, they are intrigued as the information about the balloons was never released to the public. Although they are sceptical of her claims of the info coming from dreams. There is a great scene where they are talking to Gwen, and she is just being really sarcastic back to them. Highlight of the film for me.


Days later The Grabber abducts Robin, and then later Finney. Finney finds himself in a soundproofed basement all alone. The only connection to the outside world is a black rotary phone on the wall, but the Grabber informs Finney that the phone does not work.

Later Finney hears the Black Phone ring, he picks it up, he speaks to Bruce's ghost, but Bruce can't remember his own name or when he was alive, he informs Finney about a floor tile he can remove to dig a tunnel to escape. Regularly the phone then rings and previous victims of the Grabber give advice to Finney, to help him survive and escape, to try things that they were unable to complete. Including Robin who helps teach Finney how to fight using the phone.

The rest of the film is a mixture of Gwen having dreams, the detectives investigating, and Finney speaking to ghosts on the phone, who also appear for the viewer only to see, trying to help Finney as well as prevent what happened to them, happening to him.


The film has a very grim feeling throughout, which helps not only bring you in to the era it is set, but also to convey the helplessness of the situation.

Gwen is excellent as the little sister who loves her brother, is desperate to help him, as well as bravely standing up to her abusive father. I wonder if the story would have been better if she was the child abducted instead of Finney, as his character is a much weaker one, as well as the fact she is the one having the psychic dreams, it makes more sense that the ghosts would speak to her on the phone than her brother.

The film is about 100 minutes long, so not too long or short, there are some pacing issues, and with all films like this I tend to think a tighter runtime works better.

The Good
The Gwen character is excellent, and Ethan Hawke is good as The Grabber, although he is behind a mask for most of the film. The storyline although perhaps unoriginal, is told well and you do feel a connection with the young characters, and want them to survive.

The Bad
Perhaps 20 minutes too long, and Gwen would have been a better abductee than Finney.

Overall
For a "horror" film, I didn't really think The Grabber was particularly scary, and you pretty much know the ending in advance, no twists etc.

A decent film, well worth a watch.

I score The Black Phone a fair 7/10

Out now in cinemas. And also watch at home on Prime Video https://amzn.to/3bte0Ba

Tuesday, 2 August 2022

REVIEW: The Reef: Stalked - Starring Teressa Liane, Ann Truong and Saskia Archer

Review by Jon Donnis
The Reef Stalked is the latest shark film to try get you to stay out of the water. As with all Shark attack type films, they will all be compared to Jaws, and as such I happen to have a Jaws soundboard app on my phone, which is always fun to use when watching such a film and seeing if you can judge the music with the attack.

The film starts with Cathy (Bridget Burt), Jodie (Ann Truong), Nic (Teressa Liane) and Lisa (Kate Lister) diving and catching fish, when finished they take a photo together, as they are going back to the care park, Greg (Tim Ross), Cathy's husband appears, despite arranging to go home on her own, she goes back with Greg. Nic sees Greg shouting at Cath by their car. Later in the day Nic receives a text from Cath, and rushes to their house. She finds Greg inside, he tells her that Cathy made him do it, Nic then finds Cathy's lifeless body in the bath, Greg had drowned her.


And that is the main emotional setup for the film. Nic, her younger sister and a couple of friends decide to go on an Island Kayaking trip. Much of the film looks at how Nic is dealing with her grief, as well as how she handled things directly in the days and weeks after. And of course lots of flashbacks as if she was the one being drowned by Greg.

Since this is a shark film, we all pretty much know what will happen next, attractive women on Kayaks, get attacked by a Great White Shark, this is not rocket science. There are lots of "false" attacks, jump scares, the usual stuff. 


So, the question then has to be, is the Shark Scary? Well, it takes at least 30 minutes for the first proper Shark appearance, and to be fair the attacks are decent, the CGI is not over the top, and not too obvious either, which is a good thing.

The Good
An attempt at an actual story in a shark attack-based film seems rare, but they have tried here to add layers to the characters and have them deal with much more than just a shark. 

The Bad
There are not enough deaths for me, it is something you expect in a film with a Shark. It is also hard not to want to cheer on the shark at times too.

Overall
A simple film, which a good attempt at storytelling beyond the obvious, characters with layers, and a relatively satisfying ending.

I score The Reef: Stalked a fair 7.5/10