Film Review: Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again

mamma-mia-900x505

Film Review: Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again    

Release date: 20th July 2018

Director: Ol Parker    

Starring: Amanda Seyfried, Lily James, Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth, Stellan Skarsgĺrd, Julie Walters, Dominic Cooper, Christine Baranski, Josh Dylan, Hugh Skinner, Jeremy Irvine, Alexa Davies, Jessica Keenan Wynn, Andy Garcia, Meryl Streep and Cher    

Runtime: 114 minutes

Genre: Musical, Romance  

Watched in: 2D

Rating: 4/5 stars

The much anticipated sequel to Mamma Mia!, ten years on from the original film, carries the same spark and barmy hilarity as the first. Five years later, Sophie is getting ready to open the hotel on the island that her mother dreamed of, while the story of Donna’s three love affairs many years earlier is told in flashbacks.

If you loved Mamma Mia!, you’ll probably love the sequel. If you didn’t like the first, this probably isn’t the film for you. The plot is a little flimsy, but really that’s not the point. This is a feel-good film and it definitely ticks that box.

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Film Review: Tomb Raider

tomb-raider-poster-alicia-vikanderFilm Review: Tomb Raider

Release date: 15th March 2018

Director: Roar Uthaug

Starring: Alicia Vikander, Dominic West, Daniel Wu, Walton Goggins

Runtime: 120 minutes

Genre: Action, Adventure

Watched in: 2D

Rating: 3/5 stars

Tomb Raider is a reboot of the film franchise, loosely based on the reboot of the video game. This vision of Tomb Raider is a little different from the Angelina Jolie films you may be familiar with. Alicia Vikander portrays a young Lara Croft, unable to accept her father’s death, and living away from Croft Manor. In search of her father, she journeys to a remote island off the coast of Japan where he had been looking for the tomb of Himiko. Alicia Vikander does a great job playing Lara, but there are few other substantial performances to make the film come alive.

Those who have played the 2013 game will recognise some similarities here, but the film is quite loosely inspired by the game rather than being an adaptation of it. Some things are familiar like Lara’s bow and arrow, the climbing axe and some of the action sequences, for example when she is washed down the river. Otherwise, the film takes quite a different story to the game.

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Book Review: The Kill Order by James Dashner

9781909489431The Kill Order by James Dashner

Genre: Young Adult, Post-Apocalyptic

Publishing Info: 2013 by Chicken House (first published 2012)

Pages: 331

Star Rating: 2/5

Back Cover Summary:

Sun flares have unleashed devastation on the earth. Mark and Trina were there when it happened, and against the odds they survived.

But now a violent and high contagious disease is spreading like wildfire. Worse still, it’s mutating, and people are going crazy. Mark and Trina will do anything to save their friends – if only they can avoid madness and stay alive…

The opening few chapters got my interest, and I wanted to know more. I wanted to keep reading to find out why the virus was happening. The opening action sequence was exciting and gave me high hopes for the rest of the book. Unfortunately, it didn’t continue as well as it started.

The plot is vague. It just didn’t really go anywhere. Despite the constant action, I lost interest because there wasn’t anything else to keep me engaged. There was a lot of action, maybe too much. The action scenes become quite repetitive. Some of them were hard to follow. There was a scene at some kind of base, where I just couldn’t visualise the awkward attempts at describing the characters’ surroundings and spent a few chapters feeling confused because I couldn’t visualise what the characters were doing. In a couple of places, Dashner made the odds the characters had to face (e.g. the number of enemies in a fight) so difficult that it seemed unrealistic for them to get out of those situations.

The fast pace also meant there was little time to develop characters. As with the Maze Runner trilogy, most of the characters were bland, and the book lacked any kind of character arcs. Only Alec’s personality came through, but only through repetitive emphasis on his characteristics.

I wasn’t keen on the flashbacks, but that may have been to do with the way they are written. The narrative switches to present tense for the flashbacks. Dashner’s writing seems to read even worse in present tense than it does in past tense. His writing is simple, which I didn’t have too much issue with in the other books, but for some reason in this one it’s very clunky. I also felt the dream flashbacks didn’t add anything that couldn’t have been conveyed in other ways, such as through Mark’s thoughts.

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Film Review: Rogue One

rogueone_onesheetaFilm Review: Rogue One

Release date: 15th December 2016

Director: Gareth Edwards

Starring: Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Mads Mikkelsen, Riz Ahmed, Donnie Yen, Forest Whitaker, Jiang Wen

Runtime: 134 minutes

Genre: Science-Fiction

Watched in: 2D

Rating: 4/5 stars

 

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is a standalone film set before the original Star Wars film – Episode IV: A New Hope. It’s about a band of rebels who plan to steal the Death Star plans from the Empire. The film fills in what was thought by many as an annoying plot hole in the original trilogy. What was good about this film is that it has a different plot. As much as I love The Force Awakens, it was basically a rehash of plots from the original trilogy.

Unsurprisingly, the visuals are stunning. We see several different worlds in the film, each of which is unique and detailed. What is amazing is how they can now create characters digitally. For example Tarkin features (he was in the original films), although the actor who originally played him passed away. A similar looking actor played the part and then they used digital effects to make him look like Peter Cushing’s Tarkin.

The acting is good. There are some typically cheesy Star Wars lines of course. But then it wouldn’t be Star Wars without them. All of the actors made me like their characters and they all interacted well together. There are some intense scenes, with a long end battle. Despite all the action the actors developed their characters well.

I really liked the ending. I don’t want to spoil anything so can’t explain why I liked it. Also it tied well to the start of A New Hope.

As we’re not getting Episode VIII until December it was cool to still get to see a Star Wars film in 2016. Coming in 2018 is another Star Wars Story about a young Han Solo. I’m not quite sure how I feel about that one yet. Rogue One is relevant to the other films and leads up to Episode IV so I can see why they made it. The young Han Solo films however, will have to be good for me to agree that they’re worthwhile making.