Category Archives: Movies

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 (in Haiku verse)


Dancing Baby Groot.
Kill betentacled monster.
Drax claims victory.

My Dads a planet,
and somewhat nefarious.
Where is the big brain?

Sisterly Love/Hate
My spaceship trumps your huge gun.
Blame Thanos, not me.

No, sexual love…
YOU MUST BE SO EMBARRASSED!
Ahhh… HA ha ha ha!

Lets break out of here.
NO! Don’t push the death button.
Who cares? I AM GROOT.

I need my new fin.
I’m Mary Poppins Y’All!
You were my real Dad.

*cries*

(Header image via James Gunn on Facebook)

High-Rise (2016) Movie Review


Crown Jules Concludes: 

A thought-provoking delve into the group-psyche of a closed community.

Based on  the novel by J.G. Ballard (which I will now have to go and read!) we follow Dr Robert Laing (Tom Hiddleston) as he moves into the prestigious titular high-rise block, and encounters the characters that already dwell within.  Set in a version of the 1970s, in-keeping with the setting of the original book, and exaggerating the class differential of the various floors.  The sensational extravagance and debauchery of the higher floors, counter the poverty and desperation at the lower end of the scale.  Laing appears to be placed somewhere in the middle.

Once you’ve claimed your small piece of “utopia” how far will you go to defend that space?  Even after the dream has been turned on its’ head?  Should you feel guilty for enjoying the depravity, or feel a slight sense of satisfaction when it all goes to hell?  Do these characters deserve your sympathy?  As the situation gets more and more extreme within the building, another question remains: why doesn’t anybody move out!?  We see Laing go to work, outside of the high-rise, and yet each evening he comes home to a world descending into madness, and beyond…

If you’re looking for a plot-driven movie, this probably isn’t for you!  There’s the exploration of multiple facets of each of the characters’ motivations and desires, and how they interact within the constraints of the high-rise.  But you’ll find that you are left with more questions than answers.  And that’s the point.

I was most excited for a tiny bit of twitter-fame; that part of one of my tweets was included on the following tweet/poster graphic from the High Rise Movie official twitter account:

My full tweet was as follows:

So, what did you think?  I think I’m going to need to watch this movie several times, before I’ve actually seen all that was presented on screen.

Return to Sender (2015)


Format Reviewed: Blu-Ray (my winnings from the Film4 Fright Fest website competition!)

CrownJules Concludes:

3.5 out of 5.  Lulls you into a false sense of security, before the pay-off.

WARNING: This review contains MODERATE SPOILERS

Rosamund Pike provides a sterling performance as Miranda Wells, a woman who has been violently attacked in her own home and the subsequent repercussions that affect every part of her life.  Even before the attack, she was something of a germaphobe (Mysophobia – according to Wikipedia!), but afterwards, she’s both physically traumatised and emotionally damaged.  She wants to move on, but life itself is a stark reminder of what she’s lost.  She’s trapped living in the house where the crime was committed, because no one wants to buy it.  Miranda is then driven to try and contact the man who attacked her, by writing to him in prison.  The letters get returned, unopened.  But the last letter she writes, although it is still returned, comes with an indication that she has worn him down a little.  So she visits him.

Miranda slowly begins to create some order in the chaos of her life.  She even strikes up a sort-of friendship with “William” – her attacker.  She regains her relationship with her father, and even his dog (who she severely dislikes at the start of the film)…  Miranda appears to have made enormous progress, and is almost back to her old self.  But there’s something beneath the surface, a hidden agenda.  Things are not what they seem.

When William finally is released from prison, Miranda actually invites him to help rebuild her house porch.  To the dismay of her father.  Has she really forgiven him?  Why would she strike up this “friendship”?

Why indeed…

Jurassic World (2015)


Format Reviewed: Cinema Release, June 2015 – IMAX 3D

CrownJules Concludes:

4.5 out of 5.  Pretty darn awesome!  Some minor nitpicks aside, it’s a great and fun movie.

WARNING: some light character-based spoilers.

Dinosaurs, ladies and gentlemen, are cool.  Fact.

Dinosaurs in 3D IMAX?  Even better!

The feeling of nostalgia when THAT theme tune come on.  Just lovely.

Suffice to say, I rather enjoyed Jurassic World.  Bryce Dallas Howard and Chris Pratt held the story well.  Without giving too much away, the park is open and has been doing well financially for the past few years.  But the “same old” attractions don’t keep the crowds from coming back, so they have to come up with something new to get the feet through the door.  And it all goes horribly wrong.

Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) is the current manager of the park, who has to oversee everything; and I mean EVERYTHING: staff, guests, security, the dinos, current financiers, new investors, research and development.  Despite being clearly a successful businesswoman, who must have worked twice as hard as anyone else to get where she is, she is given the obligatory guilt trip for not yet having procreated (because clearly a woman cannot possibly be fulfilled in life, or congratulated, on merit alone), and for wearing the wrong shoes (pardon the office attire – we weren’t expecting the apocalypse today!).  She still manages to kick-ass and save her two unruly nephews (Nick Robinson & Ty Simpkins), and works with Owen (Chris Pratt) to mitigate the disaster; and quite frankly deserves a medal for not breaking an ankle in 4-inch stilettos (she *could* have changed them at one point, which seems like a missed opportunity).  Speaking of the kids, why were they sent by themselves in the first place?  Claire’s sister clearly knew that she wouldn’t have time to look after them herself day and night, but instead chose to berate her for it from afar, instead of supervising her own children.  They clearly knew they weren’t to be trusted on their own.  Interesting family dynamics!

Then there’s Owen.  His character is almost that of a more “feminine” park ranger type, in that he has a more emotional connection to the animals compared to the business-oriented manager role, here taken up by Claire.  Owen has learned to respect the dinos and even interact with the Velociraptors in particular – see all the trailers!  He’s built that relationship on research of the behaviour of predators in the wild, his military background, and most of all, trust.  So in this respect, we still have the stereotypical gender-roles, but they have been switched up and mixed up to make them stand out.  I’ve seen other reviews where the Claire character has been criticised for being “cold” and “unfeeling” towards the animals, but there is little mention (or credit given) to the more emotional aspects of Owen.  Which just enforces the fact that no matter what the female role is – she’s somehow in the wrong!  Were Claire’s role played by a guy, would he also be criticised for being cold, dispassionate and businesslike?  Or is that expected, and therefore okay?  I think it was refreshing to see the more sensitive side of Owen, and the work-focused Claire.  These are just as realistic as character types as the reverse.

Of course the primary stars of the show are not the humans, but the dinos themselves.  I can’t believe the film-makers made me get “the feels” for a Velociraptor!  You just want to hug them – but extremely quickly, then run a mile..!  This was the first time I’ve been to an IMAX 3D showing, and it was definitely an immersive experience.  The crowd around me seemed to melt away, and I was purely focused on the movie.  If there hadn’t been a reflection of the IMAX logo from the back of the theatre in view on my 3D lenses (I had to wrap my hair around the glasses to block out the reflections), then I would have completely forgotten where I was.  The 3D imagery wasn’t overly “gimmicky”, it felt just about right.  Enough depth to make you feel as though you were looking into the world, and enough times when things flew at your face to get the excitement level up.  Mosasaurus vs shark = fun!  T-Rex, check. Raptors, check. Nostalgia, check!

Put simply, if you like a good/scary/funny action movie with lots of running, shouting and above all, DINOSAURS, then this is definitely the one for you!  Catch it in 3D if you can – and if your eyesight allows!

Header Image: That time when I faced-off with a Velociraptor at a convention. Good times!

Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)


Format Reviewed: Cinema Release – May 2015

CrownJules Concludes: 4 out of 5 stars
Full Star_76Full Star_76Full Star_76
Ultron wants to be a real boy; but has no “Jiminy Cricket” to keep him on the straight and narrow. I’ve marked it down a star, only because as a standalone movie it’s a little weak. You need to be following the MCU.

WARNING: Review contains Moderate Spoilers.

This movie has a lot going on. It’s very much the “middle” of the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), and therefore if you haven’t seen at least the previous Avengers movie, and Guardians of the Galaxy, you may not really follow the plot here.

So, the Russians via HYDRA got their hands on Loki’s scepter and have been using the information contained within to do their own human experimentation and augmentation. The results of which are Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver, AKA Wanda and Pietro Maximoff. The Avengers come in to reclaim the scepter, and Tony Stark (Ironman) finds out that the gem which gives the scepter it’s power over the mind also contains the key to an Artificial Intelligence program he and Bruce Banner have been working on – Ultron – to bring “peace in our time”.

5 minutes after having been created, Ultron absorbs/learns the entirety of the internet (with a few exceptions) and decides that the only way to bring “peace” is to wipe out the human race. Of course.

We later learn that the blue gem in Loki’s scepter actually contained one of the six “Infinity Stones” – the Mind stone. Within the MCU, we’ve been introduced to a few of these stones already: the Space Stone is contained within the Tesseract (from Captain America & Avengers 1), the Reality Stone took the form of the Aether (Thor: The Dark World), and the Power Stone changed hands a few times at the other end of the Galaxy (Guardians of the Galaxy). That’s 4 out of 6 so far: just the Soul and Time stones left to find (I reckon Doctor Strange could certainly put the Soul Stone to good use… that’s the plot for his movie pretty much in the bag then). The “big bad” of the MCU, behind all nefarious acts, has been Thanos. Usually sat idly on a big space-chair looking smug, and purple(ish), he’s after all of the Infinity Stones with which he will complete the Infinity Gauntlet – and no doubt bring death and destruction to the universe!

Ultron’s attempts at building himself a new body (he wants to be a “real boy” – cue the constant humming of “I’ve got no strings”), ultimately bring about the newest Avenger “Vision”.

There’s plenty of action to keep you going throughout the story here. Scarlet Witch throws a few spanners into the works by playing her mind games. A few of the otherwise neglected characters from previous movies get a little bit more to play with this time around. Finally Hawkeye (Clint Barton) gets some fleshing out with a more rounded personality, and a hint at a backstory. Black Widow (Natasha Romanoff) and Hulk (Bruce Banner) keep plotting to run away together, which is cute but there are bigger issues that keep getting in their way. Like saving the world, again.  The most under-served character this time around is Captain America (Steve Rogers), but then he has already got two solo-movies to his name.

There seems to be a fair bit of buzz online regarding the so-called-misogyny around the Hulk/Black Widow relationship – however I didn’t see that theme to be particularly pronounced.  As their relationship developed, the scared Bruce Banner simply wants to run away with his new lady-friend.  Natasha, however, although tempted by this invitation to a simpler life, realises that their responsibilities outweigh her personal wants.  So she essentially says, “Thanks, but no”.

Lastly, Ultron’s final plan to turn an Eastern-European town into a man/machine-made meteor has a few real-world-physics errors, and (probably) wouldn’t have had quite the result he was after.  But it would have caused a large amount of destruction nonetheless.  Check out the reasons why, via the link below.

And Bonus – I felt compelled to draw a picture of the Hulkbuster Armour (or Veronica as Ironman calls it), because obviously – it’s the Hulkbuster!  It came our more comic book like than I originally planned, but it’s otherwise OK!  I’m going to have to upgrade my drawing materials methinks..

Hulkbuster Sketch, (c) @crownjulesb May 2015
Hulkbuster Sketch, (c) @crownjulesb May 2015

References/Links:
Marvel Cinematic Universe (Wiki) Infinity Stones
Kyle Hill via Nerdist – The Physics Behind Ulton’s Earth Shaking Ending