6th February 2015 | Films
Following the success of 2013’s Frozen, the impact of which we are still feeling today, the animators at Walt Disney Animation Studios were under immense pressure to produce a new film that would test the boundaries and make a mint. It seems that with Big Hero 6, they’ve found their match.
Big Hero 6 tells the story of child prodigy Hiro Hamada and his relationship with plus-sized inflatable robot, Baymax, who was created by his brother before his untimely death. Whilst still battling with emotions of denial and loss, Hiro Hamada and a group of friends from his brother’s old Tech University, find themselves facing a new battle: a high-tech villain.
Disney’s latest animation effort should be applauded in all rounds – the animators and storytellers at the Animation Studios have successfully told a traditional young-beating-old, hero versus villain story but, this time, all of the protagonists are smart. Finally, there is a young-persons film out there whereby, upon leaving, everybody in the cinema wants to learn science and get into University, rather than pretending to be an Ice Queen or a Snowman.
The characters are real but the story feels even realer, making it almost impossible not to find yourself gripped at every moment. When Hiro’s brother dies, you cry; when you find out Callaghan is the evil man, you boo; when it ends, you applaud – but, it’s fine, because you’re not alone. Every single person in the cinema, no matter their age or gender, is going through the same rollercoaster of emotions.
Should we be surprised that this is the case, though? After all – Disney has gotten people of all ages singing to Frozen and laughing alongside Wreck-It Ralph within recent years, all of which had lower budgets.
A review of…
31st January 2015 | Films
Kingsman, Jane Goldman and Matthew Vaughn’s follow up to the brilliant Kick Ass, tells the story of Eggsy, a young man who is recruited by Harry Hart, an older spy, to join the world most exclusive society of spies and take down Richmond Valentine, an eccentric millionaire and wannabe ‘super-villain’.
Based on Mark Millar’s comic series, Kingsman tonally picks up where the first Kick Ass ends. Not a parody, but not po-faced either, Kingsman is perfectly pitched somewhere in the middle. Littered with loving nods to spy films of the past, it manages to feel classic and contemporary at the same time.
If comedies are your thing, you won’t be disappointed - Kingsman is filled with proper laughs from start to finish. If you’re an action fan, you’ll love it too. One particularly brutal sequence is a supposed one-shot of a crazed Hart slaying a church full of crazy Christians - think of it like Birdman, but if Birdman was about Colin Firth mowing down some racists. And if drama’s your thing, you too have plenty to enjoy - the plotting and structure is excellent.
The performances are universally excellent, and the chemistry between the two leads (Colin Firth and Taron Egerton) is lovely.
If you’re looking for a gritty, realistic action movie, then steer well clear. But if you want a fun, unapologetically silly couple of hours, Kingsman: The Secret Service is the movie for you.
Kingsman: The Secret Service is released in the UK on the 29th January, and in the US on the 13th February.
Preston has his own movie blog. For more from the world of film, visit http://prestondefends.tumblr.com/.
26th January 2015 | Films
Mark Wahlberg is an actor who seems to choose his films with a certain pattern. For every outstanding film he is in, it’s usually followed by a film that’s not-so-good. For example, Ted in 2012 was fantastic – Broken City in 2013 wasn’t so good. Equally, Lone Survivor in 2013 wasn’t so good, but Transformers: Age of Extinction was amazing. Unfortunately, The Gambler is Wahlberg’s next film after Transformers.
In ‘The Gambler’, Mark Wahlberg plays the character of Jim Bennett, an English teacher turned high-stakes gambler who’s in a predicament when he borrows money from a gambler (Michael Kenneth Williams) and offers his own life as collateral. Bennett plays both sides of the coin, immersing himself in the underground world of gambling whilst gaining the attention of Frank (the outstanding John Goodman), a loan shark with interest in Bennett’s future. As his relationship with basketball-player and student (Brie Larson) deepens, Bennett must make some serious risks.
The Gambler is a bit like a burger. The bun and the salad (beginning and end) are a bit soggy at times, but the meat (the middle) is nice and juicy.
The beginning of the film focuses most of its energy on Bennett’s character development, but no matter how hard it tries, the fault is with the worker not his tools. Wahlberg plays a potentially complex character as a one-dimensional addict who doesn’t care what anybody thinks of him. He walks with a swagger that makes you want to hit him and, Wahlberg – from me to you – sunglasses indoors is a no no.
One thing you can’t fault Wahlberg on, however, is how well he plays that one-dimensional, arrogant addict. It’s conviction, that’s for sure.
In more ways that one, ‘The Gambler’ is a typical 21st century…