‘Wonder Woman’ one of the best DCU films in a long time.

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Wonder Woman
 tells the story of Diana Prince, princess of the Amazons, before she was Wonder Woman. When a pilot crashes and tells of conflict in the outside world, she leaves home to fight a war to end all wars, discovering her full powers and true destiny.

What an amazing film coming out of a pile of dogshite that’s the DC universe, don’t excuse the French. Director Patty Jenkins has brought us the best portrayal of ‘Wonder Woman’ to the screen and does the character justice to such an iconic character. What’s such a massive relief is this film being done right and wasn’t destroyed like Catwoman in 2004 and Elektra in 2005. The DC universe did get off to a rough start that didn’t deliver so fingers crossed this is a change of pace, finally.

There will be no doubts comparisons to MCU and there’s no shame in saying that Wonder Woman’s DCU’s Captain America — a fish out of water with a heart of gold only wanting to do the best for those around her. You couldn’t imagine anyone else as Wonder Woman apart from Gal Gadot and she has wonderful chemistry with Chris Pine as war pilot Steve Trevor.

Amazonians accompanying Gadot is Connie Nielsen as overprotective mother and Queen, Hippolyta and her right hand woman Antiope played by the bad ass Robin Wright, whom I love very dearly.

It’s a visually spectacular film with mind blowing action set pieces pulled on camera by Matthew Jensen. It’s not a conglomeration of special effects much like what we’ve seen in previous instalments of the DC universe in Man of Steel and Batman Vs Superman helmed by Zack Snyder and Suicide Squad helmed by David Ayer. Those films were a mess that you couldn’t make any sense out of while Wonder Woman finally had a refreshing sense of logic and humour to it. It was a film that was serious but didn’t take itself too seriously.

The film doesn’t really start going until we leave the island of Themiscyra after an average first act that was needed to set Diana up as a character. There, she’s broken into a world that’s so unlike what she imagined. And from there, we’re taken straight into the action and like I said before, it isn’t overwhelming. It’s enough to get us excited to see a woman be so bad ass and kick some bad guy butt. Amongst all this, a love story is interwoven but it isn’t a stand out, over the top aspect of the story. If this was helmed by a man, or done any differently, the hinted at sex scene would’ve been taken further and made almost pornographically unnecessary. Much like the MCU with their villains, it’s not the strongest element of this movie but the women do steal the show.

All the idiots who have brought the film down because of their sexist and misogynistic views can bite their tongues. Hard. Until they bleed. While everyone deserves their opinions and the such, there are some that just need put in their ways, to help those with those views to realise what’s ultimately wrong. There have been comments about Gal Gadot’s appearance and is downright sexist trash that makes me sick thinking about it.

Wonder Woman is one of the best films in a long time, and even since The Dark Knight all those years ago. It’s such an important movie for woman and honestly, it’s the first in a dramatic change in cinema and how we view films.

Film-O-Meter: 9/10.

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Agony is the best part of ‘Into the Woods.’

Into The Woods is a film about  a witch who tasks a childless baker and his wife with finding magical items from classic fairy tales to reverse the curse put on their family tree.

Right off the bat, I would like to say I’m someone who grew up watching and loving Disney. They have always told stories that have found their ways into our hearts with song and beautifully designed visuals. When someone were to mention “Disney,” we would think of songs like “Let It Go” (as overplayed and cringe worthy as it is to some) from Frozen; “I’ll Make A Man Out Of You” fromMulan; or even the opening to the Lion King.

With new addition of Into The Woods to the Disney repertoire I don’t think it will ever have the lasting affect. Even when it’s a film with an “all star cast” (whatever that means), where a decent majority of them can actually sing but some with an ear shattering quality.

Into The Woods is almost like an opposite of what a Disney movie should be. What I’m trying to say is that the songs and characters were weak. Hardly any of the characters gave a genuine performance. There were so many fairy tales in this film that maybe it clouded the story a bit too much with the audience’s preconception of it’s characters.

If you’re going to do a re-telling of a well known story, or even a compilation like in this film, you have to do it well. And in this case, Into The Woods failed to do that.

I did enjoy the film. The first half, at least. I went into the film knowing little about it. At school, some of the musical theatre students performed the musical, but I was too young at the time to really have the interest in musical theatre I did when I reached their age. What I did understand, though, was that it was an interesting weave of a multitude of fairytales that is then turned upon it’s head in the second act.

During certain parts of the film, I wondered if there were meant to be inconsistencies with accents – by that I mean, were the cast told just to have their own natural accents, whether it be British or American, without bothering to even consider confusing the locale of the story? At least make it accent neutral. One or the other.

I do have to admire, though, Chris Pine’s attempts at what seemed to be a British accent and his performance was one of the few highlights of the film.

Film-O-Meter: 6/10.

‘Star Trek Beyond’ isn’t bad, just a little too action focused.

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Star Trek Beyond
 tells the story of the crew of the USS Enterprise exploring the furthest reaches of uncharted space where they encounter a new ruthless enemy who puts them and everything the Federation stands for to the test.

I never grew up on the Star Trek franchise – I was always and continue to be firmly in the Star Wars camp having grown up loving the original trilogy, disappointed by the prequel trilogy, and somewhat excited for the future of the series after working at Star Wars Celebration Europe. I had obviously heard of Star Trek and was a fan of those like William Shatner (though not so much recently in light of his sexist comments at San Diego Comic-Con this year), Leonard Nimoy, George Takei, and Patrick Stewart through their other work. The “live long a prosper” motto of the Vulcans along with their salute was a small part of my memory tucked away with no real importance.

It wasn’t until about a year or so prior to Into Darkness was released that I had any interest in giving the reboot a chance. I knew nothing about them, had no idea who was in it, and came into the 2009 Star Trek with no prior knowledge of the universe whatsoever. Because of this, I think I was pleasantly surprised and enjoyed myself nonetheless with the roles of James T. Kirk filled by Chris Pine (who had appeared in numerous favourite childhood films), fellow Aussie as his father George Kirk, Zoe Saldana as Lieutenant Nyota Uhura (whom I loved from her first appearance on film in Centre Stage), a friendly face in Kiwi Karl Urban as Bones (who I loved from a wide range of films), John Cho as Sulu, one of my favourite comedian’s Simon Pegg as Scotty, Zachary Quinto as Spock (who is so underrated as an actor) and the recently passed but ever so talented Anton Yelchin. With such a strong cast, intelligent plot, and a director at the helm that was well known for his work in science-fiction, I enjoyed myself a lot more than expected and it’s a good entry point for those who are willing to try something new and entertaining.

Although my dislike for Benedict Cumberbatch is well known, Into Darkness was thrilling and vibrant though lacked the intelligence and fun of its predecessor. This didn’t mean it was any less of a film, it just had a lot to live up to since the 2009 Star Trek did so well. Star Trek Beyond follows in a similar suit to Into Darkness where it was a boat load of fun with well directed action sequences, well written humour with great one liners aided by the fact that Pegg helped pen the film but lacked the spunk of the original. This is something to keep in mind but nothing that Beyond should be discredited for.

Director Justin Lin, known for his work on the Fast and Furious franchise, does well with the loud action sequences as this is where he truly shines as he moulds a high-intensity action sequence at the climax of the film to the Beastie Boys. This is one of the strengths of the film along with Lin guiding the well known and respected cast into giving strong performances.

With this being all well and good, the story is a bit “meh.” Beyond does well in dazzling us as an audience with it’s visuals, performances, and soundtrack but falls in a enthralling and gripping story. There’s hardly any addition to the characters and time that is spent on these character elements are short and hardly sweet – I wanted to know more about Captain Kirk finding out who he is as a person and as a captain and not trying to be his father, being more than George Kirk could ever be. The story seemed a bit superficial and lacked any real sort of depth or isight into this world. It was like it was a cookie cut out of what a film should have been and a lot of elements very generic – good guys who are good and a bad guy who is bad.

But the thing is, though, the motivation of Idris Elba’s Krall or even his character as a whole was a bit flat and lacked any real threat that the first to reboot films held with their enemies. It all felt personal and real to the characters we have come to love and Krall just seemed like a throw away addition that hardly mattered and honestly probably could’ve done without. If Krall actually played more into the fact that both Spock and Kirk were having doubts about their positions and roles amongst society or even who they thought they were, it would’ve made the film and Krall as a villain significantly more interesting. It would’ve even been more interesting to see more of what Krall was like and what his experiences were at the time he was enlisted.

In the end, Star Trek Beyond isn’t a bad film it’s just nothing but a little bit of fun.

Film-O-Meter: 7/10.

“Hell Or High Water” packs an emotional punch.

Hell Or High Water tells the story of a divorced father and his ex-con older brother resort to a desperate scheme in order to save their family’s ranch in West Texas.

It’s a shame this film didn’t get as much publicity as it should have and it makes the film one of the rare hidden gems, including one of the rare ones that Chris Pine is actually decent in where he’s not playing Captain Kirk in a Star Trek film or the romantic lead he got his start in. Hell Or High Water is a thankfully gritty and realistic film amongst a market of films laden with special affects that are to it’s detriment. Superhero fatigue is a definitely something more commonly felt these days and it’s good films like this are starting to grace our screens. It’s a shame, however, that we have to wait so long for them but it makes it ever more worth it.

Playing believable brothers, both Chris Pine and Ben Foster turn out great performances that really carry a film that relies heavily on top of the game performances, though it’s Foster that stole the show. Even in supporting roles, he makes use of every scene his in and unfortunately more often than not gets overlooked. He needs more recognition for the actor he is and we definitely got another glimpse of his acting chops here. Foster plays against Pine’s more straight edged brother whose struggles are authentically portrayed and both Pine and Foster’s performances are complimented by the mumbling and often hard to understand Jeff Bridges.

It’s not an overdone film and I’m one who particularly dislikes westerns, though this is more of a crime drama than anything else set against the backdrop of the west. It really shows how hard towns in the south have been hit by the recession, with a failing farm and oil industry, and what a particular family has to do to survive. Sympathy is something that can be easily given to the brothers.

With it’s smaller, more confined vibe with nothing big or explosive about it, Hell Or High Water packs an emotional punch in a more real and humanistic way that can be seen in league with films like Drive or even more Place Beyond the Pines.

Film-O-Meter: 7/10.