hammer of the gods

Hammer of the Gods (2013) Review

Hammer of the Gods (2013)

With the overwhelming success of the television series’ Game of Thrones and Vikings it is no wonder we have been swarmed with films trying to cash in on their current popularity. So as a big fan of both these programmes it was with both optimism and enthusiasm that I approached this film. From the trailer, Hammer of the Gods promised to be an action packed, blood fuelled romp across the rural countryside of war-torn Britain. This was exactly what it was, unfortunately it failed to be anything more.

The acting seemed fake and without depth, as did the characters. They also all seemed to suffer from one of the most infuriating lack of authenticity, the ‘Hollywood teeth’. These savage Vikings seemed to have extraordinarily straight white teeth. This is something which never fails to bug me, they have the costumes perfect, the weapons are spot on, the locations are stunning, everything sucks you in to believing this is authentic. Until they open their mouths.

The characters weren’t engaging, I didn’t feel anything for them so when the time came for some to die it was with no emotional impact. The story itself also lacked any depth, Steiner (Charlie Bewley) has been sent on a quest to find his older brother and to bring him back so he can be king. The story gets somewhat convoluted along the way with conspiracy theories, religion, assassins and betrayal. It felt like they were trying to cover too much ground and fell short in more than one area.

On top of all that, they tried to introduce modern music to this historical era. Dub Step can be heard throughout the film and during the credits in an obvious attempt to modernise and do something different with this suddenly popular genre. It reminded of another film which does this, The Great Gatsby (2013). In this they manage to bring in both pop and rap music to a film set in the 1920′s and it works brilliantly. Director Farren Blackburn attempted something similar and failed miserably.

The film did however deliver in the action area. The battle scenes were done well, they were energetic without being overly dramatic. There was no talking during the fighting, no bravado, just good old fashioned fighting. This aspect, at least, brought this film up to bearable, but by no means did it make up for the lack of everything else.

Overall this film was a flop, from the hollow acting and characters right through to the tremendously terrible soundtrack. The action was good but was unable to prop up this stale and aimless film. So if you, like me, like your historical war epics, then I would suggest you watch, well, anything instead of this cheap imitation.  

Written by Oliver Willis

Watch Hammer of the Gods Trailer Here!

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Wreck It Ralph Poster

Wreck It Ralph (2012) Review

Wreck It Ralph (2012)

Ever thought what would happen if Shrek met Toy Story? No neither have I, but if I had then the answer would be Wreck It Ralph (2012). Ralph is a video game villain who spends his days wrecking an apartment building and his nights spent in the rubbish dump looking enviously up at the hero Felix’s penthouse as he is surrounded by his friends. Upon not receiving an invite to his own game’s 30th anniversary party he decides to change things. In the hope of getting people to see him as a hero instead of the villain Ralph embarks upon a journey which will lead him through the world of arcade gaming meeting a few characters you may just recognize.

One of the first things I noticed was just how well the voice casting had been done. John C. Reilly as Ralph was fantastic, there seems no other voice could have suited that character so much. The same can be said for his opposite, Fix It Felix who was wonderfully voiced by Jack McBrayer. His work in 30 Rock acting as the innocent and do-gooding hillbilly must have been the only audition Jack would have needed. To top it off we were greeted with Jane Lynch’s commanding and often cold voice as the stern soldier Calhoun.

Ralph’s story is a simple and common one. A man who, due to his role in life, is considered as a bad guy but deep down yearns to be accepted by society and welcomed as one of their own. Yes the story pans out almost exactly as you expect but that is not to say this is a bad thing. The journey Ralph takes is involving, and I expect many a traffic warden watching shed a tear, but it is the snappy jokes and sharp wit which turns this film into something else. The scene at the beginning with all the villains of the arcade sat in a support group helping each other to remember just because they are villains does not means they are bad guys is a great example of this film’s humour.

To say the story is familiar and slightly predicable does not mean to say there are not a few surprises along the way. They surprise because we do not expect plot twists in a family orientated animated film. Why is that? Because studios believe it will confuse the children who will be too young to understand. What director Rich Moore and co did was find a way around that. If you don’t make the twist integral to the plot then the children will still enjoy it while the parents in the audience will be pleasantly surprised and impressed.

Animated films seem to have the misconception of being created for children and often are not taken seriously. To those people I say watch this film! With the inclusion of characters from such games as Street Fighter and Mario the film almost instantly begins by pulling on those nostalgic heart strings of its older viewers.

Written by Oliver Willis

Watch Wreck It Ralph Trailer Here

 

Paddington Poster

Paddington Gets The Big Screen Treatment!

The Weinstein Company have announced that everyone’s favourite childhood bear is hitting the big screen. It is expected to be in cinemas December 12th 2014 and will feature the likes of Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, Julie Walters, Jim Broadbent, Peter Capaldi, Nicole Kidman and Colin Firth who has got the honor of being the voice of the iconic bear.

‘PADDINGTON follows the comic misadventures of a young Peruvian bear with a passion for all things British, who travels to London in search of a home. Finding himself lost and alone at Paddington Station, he begins to realise that city life is not all he had imagined – until he meets the kindly Brown family, who read the label around his neck (‘Please look after this bear. Thank you.’) and offer him a temporary haven. It looks as though his luck has changed until this rarest of bears catches the eye of a museum taxidermist…’ - Marmalade Films

Have a look at the official teaser trailer here: Paddington Teaser Trailer Watch Here

Filth Poster

Filth (2013) Review

Filth (2013)

When one hears the words ‘Irvine Welsh adaptation’ no doubt Danny Boyle’s Iggy Pop pumping pint-glass wielding Trainspotting (1996) springs to mind. That or the lesser known Irvine Welsh’s Ecstasy (2011) (yes, it is on Netflix). One thing is for certain though, with Boyle’s adaptation now a cult phenomenon permanently engrained into the top five favourite lists of a whole generation of 30-somethings and an endless torrent of adolescents still praising its funky-junkie attitude, the notion of a new Welsh adaptation is certainly tantalising.

In steps writer/director Jon S. Baird.  A quick Google search, as of the time of writing of this article, reveals very little about the Scottish filmmaker but for upcoming projects and his preceding ventures, notably the seldom heard of crime-drama Cass (2008).  However, last year’s Filth has put Baird at the forefront of British independent film-makers to say the least.

The film follows the absurd drug, drink and sex driven escapades of Scottish Detective Sergeant Bruce Matherson (James McAvoy). Five minutes with Matherson and we quickly learn that beneath his completely silicone golden-boy surface, somewhere alongside his inner party manimal is a very cold, calculated and troubled individual. Co-stars Jamie Bell and Eddie Marsan deliver solid performances as Matherson’s easily lead colleague and meek mannered friend respectively, but McAvoy’s completely unhinged lead steals the show, and does so in a disturbing fashion.

Consistently throughout the film our sense of what is real, what is fantasy and what is repressed is constantly subverted. Baird kicks our sense of security out the window in favour of the heart-breaking, unsettling and in places downright terrifying. Jim Broadbent’s appearance as Matherson’s zany psychiatrist becomes more bizarre as the film progresses and we end up inside Matherson’s head in more ways than one. Aside from the obvious presence of more seedy themes in the films, Filth is a complete departure from anything of Welsh’s that has been adapted beforehand. In the same way Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet  (1996) could not be considered a ‘Shakespeare film’, Baird’s Filth should not be considered an ‘Irvine Welsh film’. Baird’s adventure into the twisted mind of McAvoy’s Matherson stands alone as unique, impressively so considering the independent film’s tiny budget, which one can only assume was spent mostly on locking down the well-known ensemble cast.

Whilst Filth, as the trailer boasts, sits on the crazier side of things, the narrative seems to lose its way in its final third. The film’s out-there ending comes at you harder and faster than a line of cocaine and you’ll leave feeling perplexed and maybe even downright confused, but all round its an off the wall and thrilling endeavor.

Written by Christian McEvoy

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tymWDB7gtK4

 

good vibrations screen shot

Review | Good Vibrations (2013)

Good Vibrations, directed by Lisa Barros D’Sa and Glenn LeyBurn (Cherrybomb), is the story of Terry Hooley’s discovery of punk in Belfast during the 70′s. The film follows Terry or, as he will later be known, the godfather of Belfast punk. The war between the Irish Catholics and Protestants has just begun and Terry seems to be the only one not to have picked a side. Instead he preaches peace, something that will make him a target for both groups.

After nearly being kidnapped for being passive, Terry takes refuge in his record collection. That’s when the idea that will come to shape his entire future occurs, to open a record store. In Terry’s mind music is the only thing that can save the people of Belfast for music picks no sides, has no real opinion, instead it brings people together. At least it did before the violence began.

We follow Terry on his journey from peaceful neutral to the godfather of the Belfast punk scene. We see him discover Rudi and the Outcasts and their rise, fall, and eventual rise again to fame.

The opening sequence of this film was something special. It had this feel of a world far from any that we know. The visuals, the colours, the camera angles used in this sequence is reminiscent of the work done by director Wes Anderson. This effect was evident throughout the film, although not quite as much as within that opening sequence.

The interactions between Terry and his customers was fantastic. Terry having this burning passion for music, could not seem to help himself when giving advice to people on what to buy. This kind of interaction and music snobbery shown here reminds me of the characters in the film High Fidelity.

Terry Hooley was played by Richard Dormer (Game of Thrones). Richard gave an inspired performance, the range of emotions his character demanded of him, often in the same scene, would be demanding to any actor and Richard truly succeeded in capturing them all. Terry was a loud character, unpredictable in not just his emotions but his actions. Richard’s portrayal was of such high quality that you could swear you were watching Terry himself.

It is hard to comment on the rest of the actors as Richard’s performance and his character was such a memorable one that it is hard to recall anyone else being in the film.

What adds the layer of realism and reminds you, through the laughs and good times experienced when watching these live bands and listening to their music is the use of real footage. Footage from the violence on the streets, of clashes between the IRA and the police was truly humbling. It reminds you of the horrors that occurred during that time and the suffering of people caught in the cross fire.

Good Vibrations was definitely a film I enjoyed watching. Terry is a character I found myself rooting for, I was scared for him at times and felt sorry for him at others. What he did for the punk scene in Belfast was truly incredible and an inspiration to music lovers everywhere.

As Terry himself said, “When it comes to punk New York has the hair, London has the trousers but Belfast has the reason!”

Written by Oliver Willis

 

The Angels’ Share

Review | The Angel’s Share (2012)

The Angel’s Share (2012) is a British comedy directed by Ken Loach. This film follows Robbie (Paul Brannigan) as he narrowly dodges a prison sentence based solely on the fact he is to be a father. The judge gives him one last chance to change his 20130806-025950.jpgways for not only himself but his family. Unfortunately Robbie, having grown up with the roughest that Glasgow has to offer, finds that changing his ways may be easier said than done. During his community service Robbie and his fellow servers attend a whiskey distillery tour and discover a way in which they can make enough money to get them out of Glasgow and start a new life.

This is definitely a film of two halves. The first is the reality of growing up on the rough streets of Glasgow and falling in with the wrong crowd. We are presented with the troubling reality that teenagers, no matter how much they want to, find it incredibly hard to get out of that life. Robbie goes from one problem to the next and it seems it is only a matter of time before he snaps and winds up behind bars.

But then the second half comes and after the gang have visited this whiskey distillery there seems to be a renewed sense of hope for not only Robbie, but his mates too. There is a fantastic scene where Robbie and the gang are sat in a crusty flat, they are sat around the table smelling, tasting and trying to identify the variety of flavours in a particular whiskey. While at the same time Robbie’s old friends are sat watching the television, with cigarettes hanging out of their mouths, drunk and shouting at the programme. This scene is so memorable because it’s the point where we start to really build a connection with these four characters and we can see them actively trying to better themselves.

The film is full of laughs and cringe worthy moments. A lot of them brought about by the character Albert (Gary Maitland) who is the unintentional clown of the gang. He was absolutely brilliant and was reminiscent of Karl Pilkington with the blatant ignorance he possesses. But the real star of the show was the lead character Robbie. His portrayal of a troubled Glaswegian teenager was spot on. You really sympathise with this character as you know he wants to change, you can see that, but his old enemies are not prepared to let him go easily. Paul plays Robbie terrifically and the scene where Robbie is confronted with one of his victims is truly heartbreaking.

The Angel’s Share is truly a success in every sense of the word. There were enough laughs to ease the tension which begins to build right from the beginning of the film. The characters are so recognisable that when you first see them you find you have already judged them. But as the film progresses you are forced to challenge your initial opinion on them as you discover they are much more than they seem.

Written by Oliver Willis

Introducing: Protection

A bounty hunter on the fringes of the criminal underworld reconnects with his teenage daughter and re-examines his life when he comes face to face with the young daughter of a man he has been hired to hunt down.

In 2002 Denise Morrissey (producer, writer) and Kenneth McCabe (producer, actor) managed to generate some buzz around their current project, the short film Protection. Everything looked like it was moving along very smoothly indeed, they even had interest from Sally Struthers (Five Easy Pieces, The Getaway) to play a role.

As many of you will know, creating an independent film often means filming on a low budget. So when one of the investors pulled out at the last minute, it understandably put a halt to production.

In 2007 Kenneth and Denise managed to breathe new life into this film. This was done via a friend of theirs, David Japka. He offered to assemble a crew at no charge in exchange for being the director.

Later, Fran Bascom was brought on board as the casting director famously known for casting Ghostbusters (1984) and the television soap opera Days of Our Lives. With such a talented casting director, a talented and professional cast was assembled such as Maree Cheatham (Days of Our Lives, Beetlejuice) and Courtney Taylor Burness (Premonition, Thank You For Smoking).

In the words of Denise herself, “We are also pleased to have been able to shoot this as a SAG film, with a highly talented, professional crew and are proud of what we have accomplished with a very limited budget.”

It is truly brilliant to see experienced actors and crew members working on independent films. Too many people forget about the indie film scene and just think of Hollywood as films. This could not be further from the truth and people like Maree, a hugely experienced actress and even the younger generation, Courtney remaining loyal to their roots.

That these actors and crew members recognize a good idea when they see it is wonderful. Scrap the huge pay check and Hollywood studios, independent cinema are where the real stories are. This is where every actor started and this is where every actor should return to at some point during their career. I have provided the entire film free to watch below so enjoy!

Written by Oliver Willis

To find out more about this film check out some of the links below:

IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1388911/

Official Website: http://www.kennymccabe.com/Kenny_McCabe_Site/Creative_Expressions.html

 

 

 

Indieflix Presents: Finding Kind

 

In February 2009, two young women, Lauren Parsekian and Molly Thompson joined forces having both been affected by female bullying throughout their youth and decided to create change by giving females a platform to speak out about this universal experience. What began as an idea for a documentary about girl-against-girl bullying, ultimately became Kind Campaign, an internationally recognized movement, documentary, and school assembly program based on the powerful belief in KINDness that brings awareness and healing to the negative and lasting effects of girl-against-girl “crime.”

 

Lauren grew up in Laguna Niguel, Orange County, and currently resides in Los Angeles. The way girls treat each other has had a lot of significance in Lauren’s life. Finding a way to stop girl bullying in schools across America has been an important Issue for as long as she can remember. All of the careers she has considered have been with one common goal in mind: to foster awareness of the emotional, verbal, and physical abuse within female relationships. Lauren was one of the “popular girls” in middle school. But after the clique turned against her, school became a source of stress, depression, and even frequent thoughts of suicide. Through high school and college, Lauren witnessed the same kind of “mean girl” behavior around her. As a film student at Pepperdine, Lauren realized the enormous good documentaries can do and decided to apply her passion for film to this issue and make a documentary about the way girls treat each other and the way it affects us.  Lauren is scheduled to marry actor Aaron Paul (“Breaking Bad”) in May, 2013.

 Molly grew up In Dallas, Texas before moving to California to attend Pepperdine University to study acting and film/television production. Molly’s negative experience with girl bullying occurred in high school. Ostracized by a group of girls, she feared answering the phone, going to school, and felt a terrible loneliness. A small core of loyal friends stuck by her, and the year ended on a note of healing and forgiveness. Molly has always had a passion for helping others and for the way film affects people and can inspire them to action, so when Lauren approached her to collaborate on a documentary about middle school bullying between girls, Molly agreed. While working together on Finding Kind, Lauren and Molly saw how open women and girls were about sharing their experiences. They realized that this is an issue that affects females of all ages, and they were inspired to launch a movement to spread the word of kindness. Kind Campaign is the result of that moment of inspiration. Molly is thrilled to shed light on this serious issue and unite women and girls together under an umbrella of kindness. She considers herself very lucky to be working with such a close friend on a project she loves, evidence of the power of female friendship.

 

WATCH EXCLUSIVELY ON INDIEFLIX.COM

 

  • Premiering May 10-24th on indieflix.com, XBox, and Roku — $6.99 (free with IndieFlix subscription)

  • First time ever audiences can view the film outside of a screening

HOST A SCREENING THROUGH INDIEFLIX

 

 

 

Review | Iron Man 3

Iron Man 3

Directed by Shane Black

The third film in the Iron Man series is set shortly after the events which occurred in Avengers, but Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) is not celebrating any victories. Inwardly he is struggling to come to terms with these recent events (simply referred to as New York) Iron Man 3 Teaser Posterand suffers anxiety attacks due to post-traumatic stress. He has withdrawn himself to a certain degree, spending most of his time tinkering in his workshop while Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) is left to run Stark Industries, and Colonel James Rhodes (Don Cheadle) rules the skies in his War Machine suit, now re-branded as the Iron Patriot. As a result of all his spare time, Stark has made some impressive changes to the Iron Man suits, which are at times funny, but also very cool.

While Iron Man has been in semi-retirement, a new evil has risen in the form of The Mandarin (Ben Kingsley), who indiscriminately slaughters men, women and children, with the help of his new breed of super soldier, and defies all, claiming that the United States is getting what is coming to it. In a confrontation with the media, Tony Stark impulsively dares the Mandarin to bring the fight to him, which he promptly does, destroying Stark’s entire house with Tony and Pepper barely managing to escape. Stark goes AWOL trying to figure out the mystery of The Mandarin and has to do so without the help of his Iron Man suit. He proves that he is not just a hero because of his armored suit, but he is quite the formidable foe with even the most basic of tools. We get to see Iron Man in his simplest, most basic form. No glamour, no computers, just the genius that is Tony Stark. Then when the going gets rough we also get to see what he can do with his entire workshop. Tony Stark is not perfect and his weaknesses are laid bare in this story but he proves that he is still a hero even when everything has been taken away from him.

The first movie to be released as part of Marvel’s Phase 2, Iron Man 3 had a lot to live up to. Especially being the first Marvel movie to come out since Avengers. How do you create a bigger battle than the one that earth’s mightiest heroes had to face?  Well, Iron Man 3 wasn’t out to try and go bigger or more impressive, yet I was more impressed. The story was deeper and the villains seemed more villainous. Iron Man had to face this threat on his own. There was no S.H.I.E.L.D. or Avengers team to back him up this time. One has to assume they were busy dealing with their own problems. As always, Robert Downey Jr. is the perfect fit for Tony Stark. Anyone can put on an Iron Man suit but in my eyes only Downey Jr. could be Stark. Gwyneth Paltrow had more than one moment to shine this time as Pepper got her chance to be the hero. I could feel the emotion shown in her face at the times when she showed her care for Tony. Without giving away too much of the plot I will say that Ben Kingsley was great as The Mandarin but I was disappointed with how his role played out, through no fault of his own. His acting was impeccable. Guy Peirce was also a very cool calculating bad guy as Aldrich Killian. These Marvel movies never fail to keep a sense of humor through it all and Iron Man is always great with his deadpan wit.

Written by Ben Freeman

FILM HOUSES YOU WOULDN’T WANT TO LIVE IN

FILM HOUSES YOU WOULDN’T WANT TO LIVE IN

 

From the producer of Paranormal Activity, Insidious, and Sinister comes DARK SKIES: a supernatural thriller about a young family living in the suburbs.  Daniel and Lacey Barret and their two young sons witness an escalating series of disturbing events involving their family.  Unable to understand what is happening to them their safe and peaceful home quickly unravels and friends turn against them.

When it becomes clear they are being targeted by an unimaginably terrifying and deadly force, Daniel and Lacey take matters into their own hands to uncover the truth and protect what belongs to them.

 

Finding the perfect home is tough enough without having to think about ghosts, demons, and aliens.  So to celebrate the release of Dark Skies on 3 April we are taking a whistle-stop tour around the film houses you really wouldn’t want to call home, including: the Bates mansion from Psycho, Leatherface’s family home from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and the Freeling household from Poltergeist.

The Barrett family home (DARK SKIES)

You could not ask for a nicer home than the Barrett’s house. Situated in the heart of a pleasant neighborhood with friendly neighbors on both sides this is a lovely property for any family. The only downside to this location is the occasion attacks from ‘The Grays’, dark forces intent on causing disruption and general havoc.

The Bates Mansion (PSYCHO)

Do not be deceived by attractive offers of dinner with an elderly woman at the Bates mansion. For once you step into this home your chances of coming out alive are seriously diminished. A particular room to avoid would be the basement, in which you may meet a few more residence than you bargained for.

House of Leatherface (THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE)

This quiet country residence is far from the city and will provide time away from the hustle and bustle. Unfortunately it also homes a leather-faced, chainsaw-wielding serial killer who enjoys impaling women and massacring travelers searching for petrol. It is also worth noting that local petrol station attendants and hitchhikers are not to be trusted.

112 Ocean Avenue (THE AMYTVILLE HORROR)

This Dutch Colonial house located in a suburban neighborhood in Long Island looks like the perfect home for a family of five, but all is not as it seems in this dark residence. Strange goings on include swarms of flies, red swine-like eyes outside the second floor window and ooze that drips out of the walls and the toilets.

The Freeling household in Cuesta Verde (POLTERGEIST)

In the planned community of Cuesta Verde sits the Freeling house. The house seems fine at first but when the static on the TV starts playing up it is time to go. Be especially careful of the living room ceiling and bedroom closet. Nothing serious, they are just portals to a ghostly realm inhabited by ghouls who will steal your children. Like I said, nothing serious.

The Isolated Cabin (THE EVIL DEAD)

A remote cabin in Morristown Tennessee is the ideal location for a spring break with a couple of friends. The local woodland is perfect for walks and the cabin is nice and cosy. My only advice would be to steer clear of reading the ‘book of the dead’. If you decide to give this charming publication a read you may experience such frustrations as sadistic trees, fire-poker-wielding girlfriends and demons possessing your friends and trying to butcher you.

The MacNeil’s (THE EXORCIST)

Situated in Georgetown, Washington is the house which the MacNeils call home. This lovely re-brick house on the corner of Prospect and 36 is worth every penny. It’s worth avoiding one of the bedroom however, as a demon named Pazuzu has the nasty habit of possessing its inhabitant. It usually takes two priests to get rid of this nasty individual, and please note that the window will need replacing after their visit.