Jumanji – Welcome To The Jungle

Date Watched: – 8th December 2017 (2D) & 10th December 2017 (3D)

Director: – Jake Kasdan

Genre: – Action, Adventure, Comedy

Starring: – Jumanji World – Dwayne Johnson (Dr Smolder Bravestone), Jack Black (Professor Sheldon “Shelly” Oberon), Karen Gillan (Ruby Roundhouse), Kevin Hart (Franklin “Moose” Finbar), Nick Jonas (Jefferson “Seaplane” McDonough), Bibby Cannavale (John Hardin Van Pelt), Rhys Darby (Nigel). Real World – Alex Wolff (Spencer), Madison Iseman (Bethany), Ser’Darius Blain (Fridge), Morgan Turner (Matha), Colin Hanks (Alex) and Marc Evan Jackson (Principal Bentley)

Review: –

I saw this as an Unlimited Screening and again as an Advance Screening in 3D and I was glad I did, after seeing the trailer I thought this would be a reboot but it is set after the original film and more a sequel than a remake/reboot but not a true sequel so you don’t need to watch the original Jumanji and I think why the full title is often mentioned when it’s advertised.

The film starts in 1996 when Alex’s father finds the Jumanji board game during a run on the beach and gives it to his teenage son though he rather play video games, during the night the game lights up and a game cartridge appears in the box and when Alex puts the game in the console you see his room light up and he vanishes into the game (you don’t see this but this is very much applied). The film title then appears and you then jump ahead 20 years though this is not mention and probably one of my only criticism of the film and you see Spencer give “Fridge” his homework that he has done for him outside Alex’s old house. In class Bethany is face timing her friend when her teacher tells her to hang up and when she starts to make an excuse is given a detention, later during Gym Martha refuses to pair up to play catch and tells the teacher that Gym is basically only good if want to be a Gym Teacher and is also given a detention (see where we’re going like Power Rangers and the original Breakfast Club) and then the Principal calls Spencer into his office and along with Fridge is given a detention. The Principal gives the 4 of them a task of taking out staples from old magazines as their task for detention when Fridge finds a game console and asks Spencer what it is as Spencer is a nerd (Fridge is an athlete, Bethany is self-centred and thinks everything is about her and Martha is someone who keeps themselves to themselves and hates everyone (again similar to the Breakfast Club)). Spencer plugs the game in and joins Fridge with playing the game but are unable to select access one of the players (Jefferson) but Fridge chooses Finbar whilst Spencer selects Dr Bravestone and they get the 2 girls to join in with Bethany choosing Professor Oberon and leaving Matha with Ruby Roundhouse, once all 4 have selected Spencer starts getting transported into the game followed by the others and they’re transported into a Jungle.

When they arrive in the Jungle they have taken on their apperances of the characters they have chosen with Spencer now a handsome tall tough man whist Fridge is a short zoologist, Bethany an overweight middle age man and Martha a beautiful fighting expert. As Bethany (looks in the lake at her reflection) she is eaten by a Hippo and a few moments later falls out of the sky back to the group when they then flee and bump into Nigel who has a jeep and tells them to get in which they do and he starts to explain the game and what they need to do. Spencer notices Nigel is a Non Player Character and sticks to a script even when they asks other questions. Nigel tells them the back story and what they must do to get home. Nigel then drops them off and this is where the action really begins, in the clearing where they’ve been dropped off they find out they have 3 lives and what their strengths and weaknesses are and look at the Map that Nigel gave them but only Bethany can ready it. They follow the clue that Nigel gave them and head off to a Bazaar where whilst fighting off an attack by Van Pelt’s men (the enemy), we see some of the Rock (Dwayne Johnson for those who don’t know his wrestling past) wrestling moves of old, and are met by Alex who helps them to flee, Spencer then realises that Alex is the fifth player of the game and they soon arrive at Alex’s home base where they rest and work out what they need to do next as they’re now on the third level of the game. Whilst Bethany teaches Martha how to flirt to see if she can distract the guards that are protecting a building they need to get in Spencer and Fridge realise that Alex is the same person that went missing 20 years ago and that he has been in the game for 20 years but has not got past this level and only has 1 life left. With Alex’s help the 5 of them now get past the level but when they land the Helicopter Alex is bitten by a Mosquito and begins to die as this is one of his weekend but Bethany gives him CPS and Mouth to Mouth to save him and says she will get him home, he recovers but Bethany loses another life so she only has one left.

They make it to the last level where they have to get to the Jaguar statue and after Spencer loses his second life he manages to get one of Van Pelt’s minions bike and starts to drive up the Status whilst Fridge throws the Gem away when Van Pelt tries get it back and it lands in a pit full of snakes and Martha rushes up to it when is confronted by Van Felt, she picks up the Gem and though Van Pelt says she has nowhere to go she stamps on a snake to get biten and says venom is her weakness and she dies holding the Gem but as she falls out of the sky she manages to hand the Gem to Spencer who has now on the top of the statue ready to replace the Gem which he does but at first nothing happens before they realise they need to shout out Jumanji which they do and Van Pelt turns back in a load of rats and Nigel reappears congratulating them and when he shakes their hands they return back to the real world. The 4 of them return back to the school where they’re in detention and Bethany wonders if Alex made it back or not as he had been missing for 20 years. As the 4 of them walk home and go past the Vreeke house (Alex’s home) they notice that it has changed and they see a car pull up and see someone get out of the car and they realise it’s Alex and he sees them and walks over to them and guesses their names and tells them he was spitted back out 20 years ago to when he started the game and is married with a family and tells them they named their daughter after the girl that saved his life, Bethany. The following week they return to school and have become friends and when Spencer sees Martha he walks up to her and kisses her and then hear the drumbeats of Jumanji and Fridge destroys the game by dropping a bowling ball on it.

I really enjoyed this film as was something different to the original though like it seems many films involving teenagers seem to have a basis on the Breakfast Club with a group of misfit teenagers meeting in Detention. I liked the way it was split into 2 with the real world and the game world though I couldn’t see much difference between the 2D and 3D versions so not sure would be worth the extra to see in 3D. I did spend much of both films wondering what Marvel film Karen had appeared in so only noticed that Kevin Hart and Nick Jonas appeared in the film towards to then of the second time I watched it. I recommend seeing it even if not watched or even if didn’t like the original.

9/10

Stronger

Date Watched: – 6th December

Director: – David Gordon Green

Genre: – Biography, Drama

Starring: – Jake Gyllenhaal (Jeff Bauman), Tatiana Maslany (Erin Hurley), Miranda Richardson (Patty Bauman) and Carlos Sanz (Carlos)

Review: –

Based on true events during the Boston Marathon Bombing and afterwards for survivor Jeff Bauman.

Jeff works at the a local Costco on the deli counter whilst living with his alcoholic mother, one evening in a bar he sees his ex-girlfriend raising money for the local hospital she works out by running the Boston Marathon, Jeff grabs the jar and goes round all the patrons in the bar collecting more money for her and promises he will be at the finishing line with a big sign. On the day of the marathon Jeff struggles to get to the finishing line but makes it just in time for Erin to start the final straight when the bomb goes off next to where Jeff is standing and blows both of his legs below the knee off and is rushed to hospital.

Jeff wakes up in hospital after having his legs amputated above the knee and tells his brother that he saw the bomber and his Mum then tells the FBI and they then interview him and he describes one of the bombers and becomes a hero. As Jeff leaves hospital he struggles to cope with the loss of his legs and with the fame that he has gained and isn’t helped by his mother who tries to capitalises on his new fame by booking interviews and appearances for him, Erin who is helping Jeff recover and they rekindle their relationship objects to the appearances after during his appearance at the Stanley Cup Final he suffers flashbacks and breaks down in the lift with Erin but Jeff won’t tell his family so when Patty says she has booked him with an interview with Oprah she says that he is suffering from PTSD and both Jeff and Patty start drinking again and start missing Physiotherapy and when Erin arrives home to find Patty drunk and Jeff passed out in the bath tub she snaps and after they finish a Physio session snaps and leaves Jeff and Patty to drive home alone. After a night out with his brothers Erin picks Jeff up and tells him she’s pregnant with his child which causes Jeff to panic and say he can’t be a father and Erin then leaves him in the car and packs her things from the apartment, Jeff crawls out of the car and makes his way to the apartment block crawling where he has another flashback of the bombing.

Later Jeff meets with Carlos who cared for him in the immediate aftermath of the bombing and saved his life by ties his legs to stop blood loss. Carlos explains that by helping Jeff he helped him as he had lost his son in Iraq and attended his funeral on a stretcher as he had tried to commit suicide and his other son unable to cope with his brother’s death and his father attempted suicide did commit suicide so Carlos able to help save Jeff helped him make peace with his son’s death. After meeting with Carlos, Jeff realises that his story and what has happened to him may help inspire and comfort others so starts to change his life around and starts taking rehab serious and leaves Erin a voicemail apologising for his behaviour and his fear of commitment and promises to change.

Jeff then attends a Red Sox Baseball game where he throws the first pitch, afterwards as he meets the crowd he gets told by many people how he has impacted their lives and inspired them. He then arranges to meet Erin at a diner and his Mum drops him off he walks to the diner on his prosthetics for the first time to where Erin is and he tells her he loves her and she replies good and later Erin gives birth with Jeff by her side. The movie then ends with real life video and photos of Jeff.

Once I saw the trailer I was looking forward to this and to be honest I was a little disappointed with the film but to be honest I can’t really fault it, it’s based on a true story it is well thought out and acted but after watching Patriots Day (which is also about the Boston Bombing but based on a different person) I just felt it wasn’t as good as could be and wasn’t as action packed as Patriots Day but in truth it was never going to be.

I think it’s a decent enough film to watch but I can really recommend it except perhaps for the story and the inspiration behind it but there are other films that have the same inspirational stories that are better.

I only rate this 6/10 which may be a bit harsh but that’s just my opinion of it.

A Wonderful Life

A film I only watched a few years back after being told it’s a must see and I watched it every Christmas time since but always in colour until this year when I actually watched it in Black & White. It’s rated as the best Christmas Film in some lists and is always in the top few of all the others.

The film follows George Bailey (James Stewart), but narrated by 2 Angels Joseph and Clarence who is the Angel that is sent down to George, who when growing up saved his younger brother and also stopped his boss (at the time) Mr Gower from giving poison to customer instead of his medicine, it shows him giving up his dreams to take over from his father as the head of Buildings and Loans falling that his father ran with his brother (George’s Uncle Billy) after he dies and also shows him fall in love with Mary (Donna Reed) who has had a crush on him since their were kids. After George’s father death Henry F Potter (the richest man in the county) wants to dissolve the Building and Loan company as is a competitor to his businesses. Mary and George get married and whilst on their way to their honeymoon notice a run on the bank and his customers want to withdraw their savings but all the money is tied in the bank so George uses the Honeymoon Money (Mary actually starts this process).

Over time George establishes Bailey Park a housing development which is financed by loans from the Building and Loan company which allows the residents to own their own houses rather than pay rent to Potter and live in his slums. On Christmas Eve Potter then sends the Bank Examiner to Building and Loan whilst Billy makes a bank run to deposit £8000 but after chatting to Potter he misplaces the money (accidentally giving it to Potter), Billy returns back to the Building and Loans and tells George, they try retracing his steps and in the end George goes to see Potter for a loan but he refuses and George relies his is worth more dead than alive and after having a drink and a scuffle with the husband of a woman he had an argument over the phone with earlier in the evening he drives and crashes his car and finds himself on a bridge and considers jumping when Clarence (an Angel that hasn’t got his wings) gets sent down and falls into the river and George jumps in to save him. When they’re both recovered and are drying off Clarence tells George he is his guardian angle and jumped in to stop George from jumping in and committing suicide and during  them chatting George says he wishes he had never been born and Clarence grants this wish and shows George what life will be like if he had never been born, they go through the town which is now full on casino’s and names Pottersville as Potter closed down the Building and Loan place as no-one took over after George’s father death, he goes into a Bar which is now owned by someone else and he bumps into Mr Gower who doesn’t recognise him (as they’ve never met) and he had just been released from Prison after serving time for manslaughter as George hadn’t stopped him from giving poison to his customer, George makes his way home and finds his mother now runs a boarding house and again never heard of him and he walks down to what was Bailey Park and is now just the cemetery and he finds him brothers grave as George wasn’t there to save him and the soldiers that Harry (George’s brother) saved during the war all die as he wasn’t there to save them. George then asks Clarence where Mary is, Clarence says she never married and is now working at the library, George rushes to the Library and when chases after Mary, she screams and calls for the police, George is then chased by the local policeman and makes it back to the bridge where it all started and shouts to Clarence that he wants to live and go back to his life and the timeline reverts back. Bert (the local policeman) spots George on the bridge and calls to him and tells him he’s bleeding, George then relies that he is back and rushes home to Mary where Mary is not there but the Bank people are awaiting for him, Mary and Uncle Billy then come in with all of the Building and Loan customers and they donate more than the missing £8000 and the Potter’s warrant for George’s arrest is torn up, Harry then arrives and toasts George and whilst holding one of his daughters the Bell on the Christmas Tree rings and she days that every time a bell rings an Angel gets his wing and in amongst the money is the book Clarence had been holding with a message thanking him for his wings.

I was surprised how good this film actually is when I first watched it and can see why it is very popular, the message within the film is very good and it can be surprising how you life has a domino effect so something you do can have an effect many years later somewhere you’ve never been and with people you’ve never met. Watching in Black & White actually enhances the viewing of the film, not that the colour version takes anything away I just think the Black & White version just enhances the emotions in the film. At 130 Minutes long it is a long film and only the last 30 minutes brings the message but the whole film is relevant and it doesn’t drag. James and Donna play their parts outstanding and I believe both would hold their own in the modern film industry but I do like the acting in these old films.

This is a film that everyone should watch young or old, I am surprised that it’s not shown on mainstream TV much though have noticed it being on Sky Movies more recently.

If I had to mark this this is a 9/10 or even a 10/10 film as I don’t think you will find much wrong with this or any film that’s better than this especially for the period it was made. As mentioned before the female actress of the time are remarkably beautiful.

 

 

All I Want For Christmas Is You

A new release but one that went straight to Home Media but after seeing this advertised quite a bit I thought I’ll give this a watch and review like Cinema Releases.

Date Watched: – 5th December 2017 (Home Media)

Director: –  Guy Vasilovich

Genre: – Family, Animation, Comedy, Holidays

Starring: – Breanna Yde (Young Mariah), Mariah Carey (Narrator), Henry Winkler (Grandpa Bill), Issac Ryan Brown (Brett), Bria D Singleton (Beth), Connie Jackson (Grandma Lucy)

Review: –

Named after Mariah Carey’s top selling Christmas hit and book of the same name, All I Want For Christmas Is You is a story about a young Mariah who falls in love with a puppy in a pet store and asks for it for Christmas but first must look after her Uncles’ puppy called Jack (though was a stray he found) though her Grandma has already put a deposit on the puppy. The story follows Mariah’s adventures with Jack and how he turns her family upside down as well as her own whilst Jack causes mayhem with Mariah’s friends the town’s Christmas display and the school’s fashion show as well as with her own family.

Mariah learns that a puppy is not all cuddles and being cute especially with Jack tearing things apart and somehow always finding a way to find trouble, she learns patience and then falls in love with Jack and after letting another child have the puppy that had been reserved by the pet store for her though Jack has runaway after Mariah shouted at him, the whole town starts looking for Jack and Mariah finally finds him in Santa’s sleigh cuddling with the toy that he had fallen in love with which Mariah had given to the toy drive.

It also includes some festive songs by Mariah (Lil Snowman, Christmas Time Is In The Air Again and Miss You Most) and you can’t help love these but I’m not sure about her Narrative. The movie was released straight to Home Media and downloads and also available on Amazon Video for Prime members. This is a very decent family friendly film.

I give this a solid 7/10 as a enjoyable Christmas film for the family though it won’t be one I watch again (unless with an under 8) but is one I expect my Niece, Nephew, Step Nieces and Step Nephew may well enjoy a lot.

Justice League

 

Date Watched: – 19th November (3D) & 23rd November (2D)

Director: – Zack Snyder

Genre: – Action, Adventure, Fantasy

Starring: – Ben Affleck (Batman/Bruce), Henry Cavill (Superman/Clark), Amy Adam (Lois), Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman/Diane), Erza Miller (The Flash/Barry), Jason Momoa (Aquaman/Arthur), Ray Fisher (Cyborg/Victor), Jeremy Irons (Alfred), Diane Lane (Martha Kent), Connie Nielsen (Queen Hippolyta) & J K Simmons (Commissioner Gordon)

Review: –

Below contains spoilers

This was a film I’ve been looking forward to most of the year after it was announced and hinted in Superman Vs Batman where the new characters (to the Cinematic Universe) where shown and mentioned, this carries on after the events in Batman Vs Superman and Batman along with Wonder Woman now face a new threat in the form of Steppenwolf who had tried to invade previously but was fought back by the strong armies of the Amazon’s, Atlanteans, Mankind and the Olympian Gods and had to leave the Mother Boxes that when unite have the combined power to conquer Earth. After his retreat the 3 boxes were separated and hidden in different locations, 1 guarded by the Amazons, 1 by the Atlanteans and 1 by Mankind.

We move forward to the present time and Steppenwolf has returned and attacks the Amazons and retrieves the box forcing Queen Hippolyta to warn Diane of the attack by lightening the ancient invasion fire, meanwhile Bruce is trying to find out what has been attacking and seemingly kidnapping members of the public when Diane goes to see him to tell him that the invasion is happening and Bruce says they need to find other Metahumans to help fight the invasion, at first Bruce visits Arthur to try and recruit him but he refuses to do so but then after meeting with Diane, Bruce then goes to visit Barry Allen to recruit him which was easy to do Diane speaks to Victor who at first is reluctant to join but does then join the others. Meanwhile Steppenwolf attacks and retrieves the next box from Atlantis.

Commissioner Gordon then calls Batman and he goes to see him with the others (Cyborg, The Flash, Wonder Woman) and Gordon then gives him intel of the attacks which leads them to an abandoned facility under Gotham Harbour and the group manages to rescue the hostages that Steppenwolf army has kidnapped (including Victor’s father) but he is too strong for the group to overcome and are forced to retreat with the help of Aquaman who after the attack on Atlantis has now changed his mind and now joins the band of Metahumans to fight against Steppenwolf. Whilst back in the Bat cave and how they can beat Steppenwolf Bruce suggests using the other box (that Victor knows the whereabouts off as it was used to save him after an accident nearly killed him) to bring back Superman from the dead, Diane says this is a bad idea and whilst the others are unsure they agree, Diane says she will be there but for Clark’s benefit.

Clark’s body is then exhumed by Victor and Barry and taken to the Kyptonian ship which has incubation waters which along with the box they hope resurrect Superman. Clark is then resurrected and the idea works but he returns confused and angry and attacks the others until Lois arrives and helps calm him down and he returns to his family home (which is now in rebate) where his mother then joins them, meanwhile the other 5 travel to Russia where Cyborg has detected the power of the other boxes and whilst fighting Steppenwolf and in the hope to distract him long enough for Cyborg to separate the boxes but they’re unable to but as it looks like they’re about to be defeated Superman arrives to help and wants to help Mankind rather than help Bruce, he then along with Barry help evacuate the city before returning back to battle to help Cyborg separate the boxes whilst Diane and Arthur keep Steppenwolf in battle, they manage to separate the boxes and then between Superman and Wonder Woman they destroy his weapon and his own army then attacks him and forces him to retreat and the threat is over.

Bruce and Clark call a truce after Bruce buys the bank that reprocessed the family home, Bruce and Diane plan to rebuild Wayne Manor to house the new Justice League with the potential to add more Metahumans to the group. Barry gets a job with the Central City Police Department after being recommended by Bruce. Clark returns back to reporting and back to his old Superman self as well. In the end of credits scene (DC’s first one I believe) we see that Lex Luthor has escaped prison and suggests to Deathstroke AKA Slade Wilson who has visited on his yacht and suggest that they form their own league.

This is the best DC superhero film so far with regards to action, I don’t think it’s as good as Wonder Woman in regards to story but does open the door to many other films especially standalone films for the likes of Aquaman, Cyborg and The Flash (which I believe DC have all in production). I really enjoyed this film though I don’t think the 3D made any difference after also watching it in 2D.

If you’re a DC Fan this is a must watch but even on its own it is a very good film though you will need to watch the previous 2 films (Superman Vs Batman & Wonder Woman) to understand more of what’s going on.

A solid 8/10

 

The Man Who Invented Christmas

Date Watched: – 3rd December 2017

Director: – Bharat Nalluri

Genre: – Biography, Comedy, Drama

Starring: – Dan Stevens (Charles Dickens), Christopher Plummer (Ebenezer Scrooge), Jonathan Pryce (John Dickens), Simon Callow (Leech), Miriam Margolyes (Mrs Frisk), Morfydd Clark (Kate Dickens), Ian McNeice (Chapman), Justin Edwards (John Forster) and Anna Murphy (Tara)

Review: –

The below review contains spoilers

The story behind the story that changed the face of Christmas, when I saw this film advertised I was interested in going to see as being from the south coast Charles Dickens stories are well known and how he uses his own experiences in many of his books and the characters are normally based on people he knew. The film starts as he tours the United States after the success of Oliver Twist before we jump 16 months later to where he is starting to struggle with 3 failed books and finding himself slipping into debt and it’s October when he leaves his publishers who refuse to back him and says he will write a Christmas book in time for Christmas.

As he starts to write his parents visit him, with whom he has a strained relationship with which we find out is due to Charles having to work in a factory at a young age as his father caused the rest of his family to go to a debtor’s prison due to the debts John had accrued. As he struggles to write he overhears the new nanny (Tara) tell stories to his children about spirits visiting families on Christmas Eve and after speaking to her and noticing a comic book in her pocket, Tara explains that she told those stories and taught how to read so Charles uses her for advice and to read his writing during the writing of the book.

After Charles struggles to find a character until he finds Scrooge who he bases on a few people that he encounters during his book tours and charity events and then starts interacting with them in his imagination though sometimes it spills out into his real life. He then uses bits of Tara’s stories about Ghosts and Spirits visiting on Christmas Eve in his book and whilst walking through London, he stubbles across a funeral for a rich man where there is only one mourner which he also uses in his book.

As the deadline approaches for Charles to finish his book he has Tiny Tim to die in the ending but first Tara and then Forster says that he can’t have Tiny Tim to die and when Charles visits the old Blacking factory where he used to work and whilst “talking” with Scrooge he decides that the story should be about redemption and changes the ending so that Scrooge changes and Tiny Tim lives and in his real life as he finishes the book he reconnects with Tara who has returned the book he had lent her and he rehired her (he had fired her during one of his outburst) and Kate tells him his parents are on their way to the station and he gets and cab and reconnects to them and then rushes to the printers to get the final chapter (called Stave) printed so it can be published before Christmas.

This film is really good and gives a good insight behind the story of A Christmas Carol (or to give its full title – A Christmas Carol in Prose, Being a Ghost Story of Christmas), I expect the film also has a lot of artistic license and embellishes a lot of what happen however I expect that the majority of this is true and you actually see two films as you also get the story of A Christmas Carol in this as well (so that’s 4 versions of A Christmas Carol I’ve seen this year). If you’re a Charles Dickens fan then this is a film you need to see. I strongly recommend this film. It’s a good story and I found very insightful.

8/10

December Movies

This month I have the film I’ve been waiting over a year for coming out The Last Jedi and also sees at least 2 Unlimited Screenings (Stronger & Jumanji) and I’ve already seen The Man Who Invented Christmas this month (review to come soon) so thought I write a brief post on what films I’m hoping to see this month. One of my favourite Christmas films (The Polar Express) and one of the Nations favourites (A Wonderful Life) return for one off showings (except The Polar Express now has 2 showings) both I have booked to see (Polar Express are on 9th & 10th, A Wonderful Life on 11th) then you have the third instalment of Pitch Perfect coming out the weekend of The Last Jedi and a Boxing Day opening of The Greatest Showman which looks amazing in the trailer and the Animation of Ferdinand in the week leading up to Christmas too; though I was disappointed that Coco isn’t being released in UK until mid January 2 months after US release. So that’s 9 Movies I want to see in total (1 already watched and 8 to see if which 5 I’ve already got booked).