Category Archives: Animation

Animation is the art of bringing to life still illustrations or computer generated imagery, basically breathing visual life into fantasy and idea.

Why do Classic Cartoon Characters wear white gloves? Animation | Science, Technology & Curiosity 02 FEB 2017

I’m familiar with the concept of a cartoon hand in animation being drawn with four fingers only (image simplification, cartoon proportions, etc), but I’ve never really pondered as to why so many of the classic cartoon characters (like say Mickey Mouse and Goofy from the Disney stable for example) wore white gloves.

Luckily for us then, the Vox team went in and took a closer look at the possible reasons as to why:

In summary (just in case you can’t view the video, you know, thanks to work restrictions or something like that):

1) Image simplification to save time and thus money. (Less details, curves instead of angles, etc.)
2) To contrast black hands against a black body in the age of early black and white animation.
3) Humanizing an anthropomorphic creature by giving them more human-like hands.
4) Vaudeville and blackface minstrels style that was originally associated with the art of early animation performances.

So a good number of plausible, possible and quite interesting reasons then!

Related Link: YouTube | Vox

So, did You catch Lego Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures?
[Partner Content] 29 DEC 2016

In case you missed it on Disney XD (channel 304 on DSTV), Lego Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures is a brilliantly silly and fun watch to enjoy with your kids. (Seriously, catch the re-runs!)

If you enjoyed the Lego Movie or any of the licensed property Lego games from the last couple of years then you will definitely enjoy this one.

For starters, the show is set between The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, meaning that you know straight away that you are in at a minimum for Lego Darth Vader and his Lego Stormtroopers to make an appearance.

Then there are the titular Freemakers, consisting of the young Rowan who first starts all the ruckus by discovering the hilt of the shattered Kyber Saber and then insisting on hunting for the rest of the crystal fragments, the older sister Kordi who is forever looking out for the family, and finally the eldest brother Zander, the mechanic who is good at building ships and probably the most important when it comes to keeping the Freemakers’ salvage operation afloat!

(Plus, there is the reprogrammed battledroid R0-GR, who as you may have guessed – in the tradition of the Star Wars universe – is funny as all heck.)

Anyway, essentially the setup is that you have these two forces, the Freemakers and the Galactic Empire who are both racing to find the Kyber crystal fragments in order to restore the powerful, legendary Kyber Saber lightsaber. There is the usual good versus evil, a clever twist and a lot of guest appearances – all generously mixed into this very fun action/comedy story.

It’s thirteen episodes long. The boys/girls will love it, you will grin at it, and essentially, the fanboys will adore it.

Pretty much a winner all around then! ;)

Related Link: The Freemaker Adventures | Lego Star Wars | Disney XD

Have you heard about Lego Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures yet?
[Partner Content] 29 NOV 2016

Games developer Tt Games has been producing its silly/fun franchise-tied Lego games for more than just a few years now, and if you are a gamer, then no doubt you’ve bumped into at least one of their titles during your gaming career – particularly if you are a middle-aged gamer with children like me!

lego star wars the freemaker adventures screenshot

Whilst all the licensed property Lego have always been brilliantly funny in their storytelling, one of the earliest franchises easily stands out as one of my all time Lego game favourites – the Lego Star Wars series.

Obviously, with parent company Disney now finally getting around to doing what Lucasfilm should have done a long, long time ago, i.e. capitalize fully on the amazing Star Wars universe with a seemingly endless slew of films, television shows, toys and of course video games, it makes complete sense for the guys over at Lego to also want to jump back in on this super hot bandwagon at the moment – translation, hello Lego Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures.

lego star wars the freemaker adventures screenshot

Essentially, the Freemaker Adventures chronicles the search for Kyber Saber crystals in order to restore a powerful lightsaber. The hunt is undertaken by a small salvage team made up of the Freemaker siblings, Rowan, Kordi and Zander (plus one friendly, reprogrammed battle droid called R0-GR), and naturally, the Empire kind of wants this thing too.

lego star wars the freemaker adventures screenshot

So a lot of interesting action adventures to be had, a clever twist, and of course a story featuring a host of familiar characters from both The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi timeline.

And yes, because it is a Lego story, it is a whole bundle of silly fun.

lego star wars the freemaker adventures screenshot

As for where to catch it, it kind of makes sense for Disney XD to pick up this new Lego Star Wars show – after all, Star Wars: Rebels worked out pretty well for them, didn’t it? So, if you are one of the lucky DSTV subscribers with Disney XD available back home (channel 304), then consider yourself now informed – you have something rather fun to sit down and watch with the kids again!

lego star wars the freemaker adventures screenshot

lego star wars the freemaker adventures screenshot

Related Link: The Freemaker Adventures | Lego Star Wars | Disney XD

Star Wars Rebels: Freddie Prinze, Jr. vs Sarah Michelle Gellar Animation 14 JUN 2016

Star Wars Rebels from Lucasfilm Animation (currently showing on Disney XD), is a pretty enjoyable animated Star Wars romp that serves as the follow up to the excellent Star Wars: The Clone Wars, telling the story of a group of rebels as they take on the Galactic Empire – and then find themselves being chased by some pretty scary adversaries!

The show is a 3D CGI animated television series, and although I’ve never truly been a fan of the look (having always preferred the flatter style associated with more classic animation), the visuals that are pulled off work pretty well for what in the end is a pretty action-packed, story-driven kids show.

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However, it’s the score, sound effects and voice acting which really, really hits the high notes.

Lucasfilm Animation have pulled in some excellent heavy hitters in the world of American animation voice overs, roping in Steven Blum (Digimon, Naruto, Transformers: Prime, Ben 10, The Legend of Korra, and Wolverine and the X-Men) as Zeb, Vanessa Marshall (Avengers Assemble, Ben 10, Sym-Bionic Titan, The Spectacular Spider-Man, W.I.T.C.H., Young Justice, and Guardians of the Galaxy) as Hera, Kath Soucie (Futurama, The Powerpuff Girls, Samurai Jack, Totally Spies!, Kim Possible, W.I.T.C.H. and Ben 10) as Minister Maketh Tua, and Stephen Stanton (Archer, King of the Hill, Wolverine and the X-Men, MAD, Hero Factory, and Breadwinners) as Grand Moff Tarkin, to name but a few.

And mind you, they certainly don’t limit themselves just to actors known for voice over roles either!

Star Wars Rebels - Dave Filoni and Sarah Michelle Gellar

For example, Jason Isaacs (best known as Malfoy from Harry Potter) voices the intimidating Grand Inquisitor. Brent Spiner (best know as Star Trek’s Lieutenant Commander Data) brings to life Senator Gall Trayvis. Samuel Witwer (from Being Human) is Emperor Palpatine. Tiya Sircar (Vampire Diaries and 17 Again) voices Sabine Wren.

Perhaps the most surprising of all though, is film actor Freddie Prinze, Jr. picking up the role and rebel cell leader, Kanan Jarrus – a human Jedi survivor of Order 66, trained under master Depa Billaba, and the de facto leader of the Ghost crew, armed with a two-piece dual-phase lightsaber and DL-18 blaster. It has to be said, Freddie does a fantastic job of bringing this rough-edged Jedi to life!

Maybe that’s why Lucasfilm Animation then went ahead and roped his equally famous wife in to cut him down to size in season 2, unveiling Sarah Michelle Gellar as the deadly force-sensitive, steel masked Seventh Sister Imperial Inquisitor.

Definitely a fun way to pit husband against wife!

(Not that either of them steal the show mind you – that honour belongs – as always – to the impeccable James Earl Jones, the only man alive that can bring the intimidating Darth Vader to life!)

star wars rebels season 2 screenshot 8

Related Link: Star Wars Rebels | Disney XD

The Villains of Star Wars Rebels on Disney XD Animation 05 MAY 2016

Fourteen years after the fall of the Galactic Republic and the Jedi Council in Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, a rag-tag group of rebels unite aboard a freighter starship called the Ghost, and conduct operations against the Imperial garrison on and around the planet Lothal.

If you recognise that premise, then you’ve obviously been watching the action-packed Star Wars Rebels, the animated follow up by Lucasfilm Animation to their successful Star Wars: The Clone Wars series.

star wars rebels season 2 screenshot 4

Of course, the Galactic Empire is the primary villainous force of the story here, but naturally it is the agents on the ground that will provide the biggest thrills and threats!

Season 1 had Ezra and the rest of the rebels being relentlessly chased by Agent Kallus, a high-ranking agent of the Imperial Security Bureau and skilled rebel hunter. Kallus eventually goes on to serve Darth Vader and work alongside the Inquisitors. He is particularly adept at spotting rebel traps and setting up his own, and as highly trained hand-to-hand combatant, Kallus also carries a rare Lasat bo-rifle which he personally pried from the dead hand of a Lasat Honor Guard when their homeworld fell to the Galactic Empire.

Then there are the insidious Inquisitors – force-sensitive agents of the Galactic Empire, armed with gyroscopic double-bladed lightsabers, and used by Darth Vader and Emperor Palpatine to hunt down the remaining Jedi.

star wars rebels season 2 screenshot 5

The first season introduced us to The Grand Inquisitor, tasked with hunting down any Jedi who survived Order 66, as well as luring any Force-sensitive children the Jedi in question take as their Padawans to the dark side or destroying them if they refuse. Particularly strong and adept at combat using his unusually lethal lightsaber, The Grand Inquisitor is easily superior to Kanan and any of the other rebels – thus making him by far their most immediate threat!

Season 2 also introduces two new Inquisitors into the mix, The Fifth Brother and The Seventh Sister. Eager to take the place of the Grand Inquisitor, these two Inquisitor partners are particularly energized in the carrying out of their mission of bringing down the rebels.

That said and done though, you can’t talk about the villains of Star Wars Rebels without mentioning the infamous Darth Vader. Pulling many of the strings and inflicting the heaviest damage against Ghost and her crew, the legendary cyborg Sith commander is at his imposing best, front and center in the fight against the rebel scum!

star wars rebels season 2 screenshot 6

Related Link: Star Wars Rebels | Disney XD

Star Wars Rebels Season 2 on Disney XD Animation 06 APR 2016

The first season of Star Wars Rebels was a pretty fun ride. Set fourteen years after Revenge of the Sith and five years before A New Hope, Rebels takes place during an era when the Galactic Empire is securing its grip on the galaxy. Imperial forces are hunting down the last of the Jedi Knights while a fledgling rebellion against the Empire is taking form.

star wars rebels season 2 screenshot 1

It introduced us to the hot head, street smart, Ezra (who it turns out, might just make a pretty decent Jedi), the cowboy Jedi and leader of the rebel cell, Kanan, Ghost pilot Hera, the gruff and irritable Zeb, the creative but also good with explosives Sabine, and of course the annoying and slightly broken astromech droid Chopper.

Chased by the relentless Agent Kallus, and then hunted by the brutal Grand Inquisitor (with his awesomely designed lightsaber), the Rebels slowly moved from being a small thorn in the Empire’s toe to a rather large pain in it’s side!

Kanan was forced to wield his lightsaber once more, and as it turned out, became an unwilling mentor when it was shown that Ezra might just have a connection to the force.

Loads of action, tons of nods to franchise and of course lots of awesome guest appearances, season 1 certainly didn’t disappoint – and ended on an absolute thrilling note: the introduction of Lord Vader himself!

So yes. The kids and I are most definitely looking forward to season 2 kicking of on Disney XD!

star wars rebels season 2 screenshot 2

star wars rebels season 2 screenshot 3

Related Link: Star Wars Rebels | Disney XD

Capsule Reviews: Movies (Walk of Shame, The Love Punch, etc.) Animation | Live-Action | My Reviews 07 SEP 2014

Batman: Assault on Arkham (2014)

Batman: Assault on Arkham is set in the universe of the Batman: Arkham video game franchise, and occurs after the events of Batman: Arkham Origins. The story focuses primarily on the Suicide Squad, particularly Batman villains Deadshot and Harley Quinn, with Batman in a supporting role. In the film, a Suicide Squad of six hardened, super-powered criminals is dispatched by Amanda Waller to break into Arkham Asylum and retrieve a specific item, where they must contend with the asylum’s inmates, including the dangerous as always Joker, and not to mention the ever present Batman, as they attempt to complete their mission.

When we first heard that the latest offering in the excellent DC Universe Animated Original Movies line was to be yet another Batman title, we sighed. But as it turns out, Batman isn’t exactly the star of this particular outing, making for quite the nice twist as we follow a rampaging group trying to achieve their goal and thus buy their freedom, against some pretty overwhelming odds. It is to date the most violent (and graphically so) outing in this great movie line, but ignoring that this genuinely isn’t a half bad attempt at doing something different and it certainly entertains from start to finish, with more than a few surprises hidden up its sleeve. It’s a solid, good looking animated film that is a great watch for any Batman comic book fans.

Rotten Tomatoes rating: 85%

batman assault on arkham movie screenshot

Walk of Shame (2014)

Walk of Shame stars Elizabeth Banks as a resourceful reporter whose one-night stand with a handsome stranger (James Marsden) leaves her stranded the next morning in downtown Los Angeles without a phone, car, ID, or money – and only 8 hours before the most important job interview of her career.

This movie had me laughing out loud, and as such, is a genuinely laugh out loud comedy that will keep you entertained from start to finish. Elizabeth Banks is thoroughly entertaining in her role, and as a whole the movie is well put together and a proper polished comedy gem, despite the weirdly low Rotten Tomatoes rating. Both Chantelle and I loved it, making it well worth it as a date night watch!

Rotten Tomatoes rating: 12%

walk of shame movie screenshot

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (2011)

There is a new criminal mastermind at large-Professor Moriarty (Jared Harris) – and not only is he Sherlock Holmes’ (Robert Downey Jr.) intellectual equal, but his capacity for evil, coupled with a complete lack of conscience, may actually give him an advantage over the renowned detective. When the Crown Prince of Austria is found dead, the evidence, as construed by Inspector Lestrade, points to suicide. But Sherlock Holmes deduces that the prince has been the victim of murder – a murder that is only one piece of a larger and much more portentous puzzle, designed by Professor Moriarty. The cunning Moriarty is always one step ahead of Holmes and Watson as he spins a web of death and destruction – all part of a greater plan that, if he succeeds, will change the course of history.

I enjoyed Guy Ritchie’s first stab at Sherlock Holmes very much, and as such, Holme’s second outing is equally as enjoyable. The second installment is as expected, louder, longer, and perhaps a little more action-orientated than the first (which is in truth a pity), but nevertheless remains a great action/mystery film watch with superb action, style, and filmography. Definitely worth picking up!

Rotten Tomatoes rating: 60%

sherlock holmes a game of shadows movie screenshot

The Love Punch (2013)

In a nutshell, a divorced couple of pensionable age (Pierce Brosnan as Richard Jones and Emma Thompson as Kate Jones), have their retirement nest egg wiped out when Richard’s investment firm is defrauded and the pension fund is siphoned away. Learning that the unscrupulous French financier behind the scheme has just purchased a $10 million diamond for his bride to be, the divorced duo grudgingly agree to set aside their differences, head over to France, and hatch a plot to gate-crash the wedding and steal the jewel.

Sadly, this movie just doesn’t work. Despite the talent and one or two chuckle-worthy moments, the whole plot is just too contrived and as a whole, The Love Punch comes across as a bungled attempt at classic caper cinema. Everything runs too smoothly, there are too many leaps in plot and as a whole, nothing feels believable behind the whole adventure. Not worth checking out to be honest.

Rotten Tomatoes rating: 27%

the love punch movie screenshot

Capsule Reviews: Anime and Movies (The LEGO Movie, Paul, etc.) Animation | Anime | Live-Action | My Reviews 07 AUG 2014

War of the Worlds: Goliath (2012)

War of the Worlds: Goliath is a 2012 Malaysian animated science fiction film directed by Joe Pearson that was released in November 15, 2012 in Malaysia. Unlike other War of the Worlds films, this film is a loose sequel to H. G. Wells’ novel The War of the Worlds.

With strong dieselpunk/steampunk undertones, the film is set in an alternate reality Manhattan, New York City, in 1914, just before the First World War. As it happened, Earth was invaded and laid waste to by Martian invaders, doing most of their damage via giant tripod battle machines. However, the invaders eventually succumbed to common Earth bacteria, thus allowing humanity to recover and rebuild.

However, the aliens are set to return, now immune to Earth’s bacteria, setting the stage for a second confrontation. This time around though, humanity, having learned a few tricks of their own since the first war, are ready – as are their giant battle mecha!

Honestly, this wasn’t very good as a whole. The backdrops are generally beautiful and well animated, but the main characters and action sequences not so much. Simple lines, over-muscular builds on all the male characters, and often very flat CG overlay effects (particularly for things like fire, lasers and explosions), means that visually not everything works on this one. The story is relatively simple and just a little too ‘rah rah’ for me as well, and I have to be honest, despite one or two nice ideas (particularly the steampunk aspect of it all), I struggled to make it through this one in a single sitting.

It isn’t for kids I don’t think (given all the death rays employed to great success), but it doesn’t really work for adults either, leaving this film stranded in a bit of a no man’s land scenario really. Not recommended, nor worth the time.

Rotten Tomatoes rating: N/A

war of the worlds goliath movie

The LEGO Movie (2014)

The Lego Movie is a 2014 computer animated adventure comedy film directed and co-written by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, and featuring the voices of Chris Pratt, Will Ferrell, Elizabeth Banks, Will Arnett, Nick Offerman, Alison Brie, Charlie Day, Liam Neeson, and Morgan Freeman.

Based mainly on the Lego line of construction toys, the film tells the story of an ordinary Lego minifigure named Emmet prophesied to save the Lego universe from the tyrannical Lord Business who plans to use the Kragle to glue everything in place.

Sounds simple enough, but oh my goodness, what a fantastic, heartfelt film that is guaranteed to please absolutely anyone who watches it – provided of course they’ve had some sort of exposure to LEGO in their lifetime. It pushes all the right buttons, features humour on levels for both young and old, carries a huge sense of nostalgia for older viewers, and then to top it all off, tugs equally hard at the heartstrings at the very end.

It’s a fantastic tale, that is brilliantly done, featuring the perfect voice actors, fantastically clever visuals and an awesome soundtrack. Having gushed all that, by now you might just have guessed as to how much I enjoyed The LEGO Movie – and just how much I recommend you see it, especially with your kids!

Rotten Tomatoes rating: 96%

the lego movie emmet batman and wild style

Paul (2011)

Paul is a 2011 British-American Comic science fiction road film directed by Greg Mottola and written by and starring Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, with Seth Rogen as the voice of the title character. The film is about two British science fiction fans who meet an ET-like alien who has a sarcastic manner and a penchant for alcohol and cigarettes. The two help the alien to escape secret service agents who are pursuing him so he can return to his home planet.

Hmm, I have to say, I’ve come to realize that I’m not actually such a big fan of Simon Pegg and Nick Frost buddy movies after all. Paul has a moment or two, but to be honest, it felt as if it just lumbered through some over the top scenarios (one after the other) and just didn’t put in the necessary laugh a minute punches to make it a memorable comedy film. Maybe it is because I’m a little jaded, but I have to say, I can’t really remember enjoying this one all that much.

Still, the CG visuals are great, and the soundtrack pretty good too – plus, the surprise ending certainly proved a unsuspected treat!

Rotten Tomatoes rating: 71% (looks like a lot of people enjoyed it after all).

paul movie simon pegg nick frost

Æon Flux (2005)

Four hundred years in the future, Aeon Flux is the top underground operative at war with the totalitarian regime governing what appears to be a perfect society. But is this perfect life hiding a perfect lie? Aeon is on the front lines of a rebellion that will reveal a world of secrets.

Hmm, it’s hard to say that I found Aeon Flux a complete disappointment, primarily because at the end of the day I really did enjoy the visual style, the visuals themselves, and all futuristic concepts on display. That said, the acting is perhaps not the greatest in the world, and there are some action sequences that are just too over the top (read silly) to be enjoyable. The story starts out interesting enough and there is certainly twists and turns that you don’t see coming, but it feels jerky quite often in terms of pacing, and there are just too many implausible logical jumps (and twists), all of which combine with some seriously dull dialogue that eventually just weighs the movie down.

Honestly, it probably isn’t worth watching, even if you adored the original MTV cartoons. Unless of course you’re a big Charlize Theron fan that is.

Rotten Tomatoes rating: 10% (That rating seems a little harsh to me)

aeon flux movie charlize theron

The Skull Man (2007)

Studio BONES adapted Skull Man into an anime TV series which premiered on Fuji TV in April 2007. The series is directed by Takeshi Mori and written by Yutaka Izubuchi. Unlike the previous Skull Man, the story closely focuses on a journalist named Hayato Mikogami who returns to his hometown at Otomo to investigate strange rumors of killings done by a man wearing a skull mask. Tailed tightly by a young photographer, Kiriko Mamiya, the two soon uncover the many strings of connections between the victims, a local pharmaceutical company, a mysterious new religious sect, and strange half human, half animal creatures, which roam the night streets for blood.

Nice and short, lots of intrigue and some decent twists and turns (even if the plot does hasten a little too fast towards the end) makes for an enjoyable viewing that starts out strong, fumbles a bit during the middle, and then picks up some good steam to deliver an action-packed finale – which doesn’t necessarily satisfy the viewer mind you. Dark visuals, slick animation and a generally likable cast makes for a decent drama/horror watch that will certainly entertain followers of the genre.

In the end, I did enjoy the viewing, though I can’t necessarily say that I loved it. Worth catching given the slickness of production though.

the skull man anime

Capsule Reviews: Movies (Elysium, Kick-Ass 2, etc.) Animation | Live-Action | My Reviews 07 JUN 2014

Elysium (2013)

Elysium is a 2013 American dystopian science fiction action thriller film written, directed, and co-produced by Neill Blomkamp (South African, woo-hoo!), and starring Matt Damon and Jodie Foster. The film takes place on both a ravaged Earth, and a luxurious space habitat called Elysium. It explores political and sociological themes such as immigration, overpopulation, health care, exploitation, the justice system, and class issues:

Max Da Costa (Matt Damon), a former car thief, and now a parolee, lives in the ruins of Los Angeles and works at an assembly line for Armadyne Corp, a company which supplies Elysian weaponry as well as the robots which police Earth. After being accidentally poisoned by a lethal dose of radiation, Max has only five days to live, and seeks help from a smuggler named Spider (Wagner Moura) to get him to Elysium.

Visually, Elysium delivers on all fronts, and in general, I have to say I enjoyed this film. The story is well implemented and paced, Matt Damon is fantastic as always, and although Sharlto Copley’s South African accent was a bit over the top, he made a great psychotic antagonist. It’s a heavy, but action-packed watch, and certainly a good follow-up to Blomkamp’s previous outing, namely District 9. (Essentially, if you liked District 9, you’ll probably like Elysium).

elysium movie matt damon sharlto copley

Dallas Buyers Club (2013)

Dallas Buyers Club is a 2013 American biographical drama film directed by Jean-Marc Vallée and written by Craig Borten and Melisa Wallack. Matthew McConaughey stars as the real-life AIDS patient Ron Woodroof, who smuggled unapproved pharmaceutical drugs into Texas when he found them effective at improving his symptoms, and distributed them to fellow sufferers by establishing the “Dallas Buyers Club” while facing opposition from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

First off, this really is a terrible movie. The guy is a dick from start to finish quite frankly, motivated entirely by profit and self preservation, and as such it makes it impossible to actually root for anything. Matthew McConaughey is brilliant in the role, but seriously, this story doesn’t really go anywhere and I genuinely struggled to bother watching it all the way through.

If these happenings were part of your reality at the time, then maybe this will appeal to you, but I certainly can’t say that I got anything out of the viewing. Neither did Chantelle for that matter.

dallas buyers club movie Matthew McConaughey

Black Swan (2010)

Black Swan is a 2010 American psychological thriller/horror film directed by Darren Aronofsky and starring Natalie Portman, Vincent Cassel, and Mila Kunis. The plot revolves around a production of Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake ballet by a prestigious New York City company. The production requires a ballerina to play the innocent and fragile White Swan, for which the committed dancer Nina is a perfect fit, as well as the dark and sensual Black Swan, which are qualities embodied by the new arrival Lily. Nina is overwhelmed by a feeling of immense pressure when she finds herself competing for the part, causing her to lose her tenuous grip on reality and descend into a living nightmare.

This is not a movie that I would normally watch, but seeing as it was one that Chantelle wanted to see, I sat through it with her. To be honest, the dark tale is pretty okay most of the way through, and certainly does keep one interested from start to finish – but I have to say, it fell a little flat for me when Aronofsky took a couple of steps too far and incorporated the whole CG swan transformation sequences. This broke the story’s ‘reality’ for me just a little too much, and as such, I ended the film feeling a little disappointed and disillusioned with the tale as a whole.

Again, not my cup of tea, but for people who enjoy dark tales of the human condition, this probably hits all the right spots.

black swan movie natalie portman

Kick-Ass 2 (2013)

Kick-Ass 2 is a 2013 British-American superhero action comedy film based on the comic book of the same name and Hit-Girl, both by Mark Millar and John Romita, Jr., and is the sequel to the 2010 film Kick-Ass, as well as the second installment of the Kick-Ass film series. The film was written and directed by Jeff Wadlow and co-produced by Matthew Vaughn, who directed the first film. Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Christopher Mintz-Plasse and Chloë Grace Moretz reprise their roles from the first film as Dave Lizewski, Chris D’Amico, and Mindy Macready respectively.

Dave Lizewski, bored after having retired from fighting crime as Kick-Ass, begins training with Mindy Macready to become a proper hero. Eventually he resumes his life as Kick-Ass, and joins the superhero team Justice Forever, led by Colonel Stars and Stripes. At the same time, after accidentally killing his mother, Chris D’Amico is now in control of his family’s money, and reinvents himself as supervillain The Motherfucker – and swearing vengeance on Kick-Ass, the two groups head straight for a very bloody confrontation!

Um, yeah, I have to say, I found this a pretty boring outing. Jim Carrey blew me away in his role as Colonel Stars and Stripes (wasn’t expecting that!), and it was nice seeing Turk from Scrubs (Donald Faison) getting some screen time again, but outside of that, this movie was a bit of a chore to sit through. Over the top, violence for the sake of violence, gross out bits, and really just a bit… juvenile, I strongly suspect that I definitely was not the target market for this one. Though to be honest, I’m not exactly sure who is.

kick-ass 2 movie hit girl jim carrey

Oblivion (2013)

Oblivion is a 2013 post-apocalyptic science fiction film based on Joseph Kosinski’s Radical Comics-edited unpublished graphic novel of the same name. The film was co-written, produced and directed by Kosinski. It stars Tom Cruise, Morgan Freeman, and Olga Kurylenko.

In 2077, the Earth has been ravaged from war sixty years prior with the extraterrestrial Scavengers (Scavs); the war destroyed the Moon, causing earthquakes and tsunamis, while humanity used nuclear weapons to achieve a costly victory. Humanity is now relocating to Saturn’s moon Titan via the “Tet”, a large tetrahedron-shaped space station used as a launching point.

On Earth, Tech 49 Jack Harper (Tom Cruise) and his partner Victoria “Vika” Olsen (Andrea Riseborough) are two of the last few humans on Earth. Stationed at Tower 49 in what used to be northeastern United States, they are instructed by mission controller Sally (Melissa Leo) to protect from Scav attacks the gigantic offshore fusion energy generators, using a combination of Drones and Jack’s reconnaissance via his ship. Though both had memory wipes five years prior, Jack experiences visions of being on the observation deck of the Empire State Building well before the war – and images of a mysterious woman…

First up, I have to say that the visuals are absolutely stunning, and the cast are perfect, the action sequences great, and the story contains a well executed twist – in other words perfect Sci-Fi. But the pacing… not so much. Actually, I lay the blame squarely at the muddling and slow-paced soundtrack – M83, the band behind the music fails to generate the necessary musical temp to match the action-packed sequences, resulting in an almost boring, listless affair.

It’s a pity really, because everything else really appealed to me, and yet I ended the viewing feeling a little ‘meh’. So did Chantelle, so I know I’m not alone on this one either.

oblivion movie tom cruise and drone