Wednesday, 29 October 2014

OJ's BIT Review - 2001: A Space Odyssey

I can't even.

Sometimes there are films made where it splits it's audience into two categories: those who get the film, it's ideas and everything about it; and those who don't get it at all and view it in quite a negative light. This is one of those films.
   I can guarantee that this film is unlike anything you've ever seen in your life; it is a unique piece of cinema and an outstanding historical achievement of the film industry. But goodness me, this isn't for everyone. The plot is anyone's guess but it's set in space. The thing is the cinematography is so unique and amazing, especially for the 60's, you can see that it has obviously influenced films from then on even to today. The problem is though, it's just so boring! The majority of the film is made up of very long, extended shots of space, or the ship, or travelling through another dimension with these epic pieces of music behind it. If your into classical music, or that genre of the arts then this is amazing. But for the majority then this is a very slow, long and uninteresting 160 minutes of your life.
   The only positives I have to say is that the H.A.L. 9000 computer is the best part and the special effects are pretty good even now. In the end I'm not surprised that 241 people left in the middle of the premier but glad it exists because it's inspired so many of the biggest blockbusters that we've come to know and love.


Thursday, 16 October 2014

OJ's Movie Review - The Maze Runner

A young adult novel being adapted to film? Never had one of those before...

  So yes, The Maze Runner is the latest in a genre that tries, and sometimes succeeds, to get teenagers to give their cash. I've watched trailers for them over the years but then I learnt about this film and it actually sounded interesting; I haven't read the book so this review is going off just what I saw in the movie.
   To start off, the storyline, it's about a guy who finds himself in a large field surrounded by a giant maze, and he's not the first to appear there, there is a whole community that has been built by these young adults who have also had their memories wiped and are in this field. This film certainly gave you the feeling of isolation, the CGI was pretty good for the most part so the walls and the maze looked awesome, the plot had few good twists, although maybe some were a little predictable, and for at least the first two acts it was a solid movie, it had tense chase scenes, strong characters and I enjoyed it. Some of the dialogue was a little hard to swallow, nobody could seem to answer questions straight forward, it was always a vague command or statement.
    Of course there has to be a resolution to all this and that becomes the last 20 minutes or so. Without going into spoilers, I was a little surprised how after the revelation the entire tone of the movie changed; some people are going to hate it, I'm on the fence currently but it just seemed odd; especially the fact that they were almost to the point of looking at the audience and saying "Please let there be a sequel!". Apart from that though I enjoyed The Maze Runner's mystery and thrilling dark moments and the I couldn't really fault the special effects so from me, this movie gets:


Wednesday, 8 October 2014

OJ's Book Review - Exposure

Let's expose my thoughts on this novel.

So Exposure is the 4th book in a series of young adult novels written by Kathy Reichs. If you've read the previous one, Code, then you'll know it had an awesome climax involving a serial killer, the beginning of this book carries that on a bit showing the court case and after effects which to me was a mistake, it would be very confusing for new-commers and to be honest I couldn't remember the finer details of the last few pages of Code so a few references went over my head.
     After that is all over with we get into the plot. The main focus in Exposure is basically a kidnapping; the Virals also start having problems with their powers but that's secondary to the criminal investigation they've decided to take upon themselves. The book flowed mostly smoothly with just a few plot pauses here and there but the tension at the end kept the book glued to my hands. There were also a few humorous points and some cool references to pop culture and the like.
     The only major thing I can criticize about it is that it feels like it went really mild in terms of story. The first book was great with the characters learning their powers and that, the second had a big treasure-hunt adventure and the third involved geocaching, a hurricane and a sweet twist near the end but Exposure didn't really feel amazing, it felt very average. Even their powers took a break a lot of the time because of {spoilers}. In the end it was a good read but inferior to the previous three.


Monday, 29 September 2014

ORIGINAL VS REMAKE - Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

This Original VS Remake takes you to a world of pure imagination.


In 1971 Roald Dahl's unique book was adapted to the big screen and fascinated a generation. The film was called Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and Gene Wilder created an iconic depiction of the titular character. I really like this film, it's warm and actually really funny; Wilder delivers some cracking lines that wouldn't look out of place in today's comedy movies. It has a solid story, you enjoy watching the characters interact with the factory and for it's time it has some pretty good practical effects. A true classic.


Along comes 2005 and with it a film that actually has the same title as it's source material, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
Johnny Depp becomes the chocolatier and popular child actor Freddie Highmore is Charlie Bucket. Unlike the original, this adaptation does stick much closer to the book and obviously CGI makes for some awesome visuals along with more of a science fiction feel than the original's fantasy vibe. Johnny Depp's Wonka though is where I think it fails, his portrayal makes him seem very weird and even a bit mentally unstable, which I guess what comes when you have Tim Burton directing. 


I'm glad that the 2005 adaptation stuck closer to the book with making the setting British again and using the actual songs (which were pretty catchy) but in the end Willy Wonka and the Chocolate factory caught the imagination of many audiences and so today the original wins.

Saturday, 20 September 2014

OJ's Game Review - LEGO Marvel Super Heroes

I love Marvel. I love LEGO. What else is there to say?

So LEGO Marvel Super Heroes was released late 2013 which is when I bought it and planned to review it; unfortunately I didn't read the PC specifications and basically I couldn't play it on my then-current  laptop. So eventually I got a new laptop and here we are!
   This game is your basic LEGO game, you collect studs, you unlock characters, etc. But this time it's Marvel! These characters are awesome, you can fly, you can shrink, you can grow, throw fire, ice, electricity. It's just a roller coaster of powers that you love exploring. The mechanics are nice and smooth, easy to get a handle of. The animation is amazing, the movements of Spider-Man swinging or the transformation from Bruce Banner to the Hulk look incredible. Some of the characters can be a bit generic like construction workers or enemy minions but the majority of the people have unique powers from the X-Men, Avengers, Sinister Six, you have them all. 
    It does have a plot mode which isn't bad. It has some good comedic lines and some of the cinematography was definitely influenced by the films. Also the music, the music in this game is really good, especially when you jump off the Helicarrier. The only down-side I would have to point out was the repetitiveness, because there are so many things to collect you have to redo levels over and over again which for me took some of the joy away. In the end though, this is the first LEGO game of this type I've bought and I am a satisfied customer.


Thursday, 4 September 2014

OJ's TV Review - Falling Skies season 4

This is not a world I would like to live in.

So TNT's Falling Skies has reached it's 4th season, where can they go now? Well if you remember last season we were introduced to the character of Lexi, a human-alien hybrid and daughter of Tom Mason; this year she is grown up due to her extra terrestrial DNA and she is the main plot of the season.
   When the season began various characters were quickly thrust into one of four story arcs; I felt this was weird, I thought that each story arc was going to drag over the whole season and then meet in the finale. Fortunately that isn't what happened, although some of the arcs were interesting they dispersed with them around episode 5 and it got into the main focus of Lexi. Now Lexi did have a solid and complete story, but I, and I know others do, didn't really care. Lexi just never caught my interest, she never did anything which I really wanted to follow. Her story does allow us to see some new things concerning the Espheni though and that was cool to see; the series definitely looks like it has had a budget rise. All the main characters were on top form though, and we even had to say goodbye to some; a couple of new faces joined as well and they were fun to watch. After all that though I'd say it was an improvement on the last season with a good finale cliffhanger but still not quite as good as the first two seasons.


Wednesday, 27 August 2014

OJ's BIT Review - A Trip To the Moon

For this special Back In Time review I will be looking at the first film ever made.

Originally called Voyage dans la Lune, this film was made in 1902 and is considered to be the first actual film made - of course the definition of film is up to you as the first ever motion picture was back in 1878 - but this is a movie specifically shot to entertain an audience, it had a plot, characters and special effects.
   The story consists of a group of astronomers (who seem to resemble wizards) who travel to the moon and then meet alien beings. Although compared to today's films it could seem quite boring this just shows how it all began, and to an audience in the early 20th century elements of this could be creepy and strange as it had never been done on this scale before. I think A Trip To the Moon just shows us how far we've come in the last century; just over 100 years of cinema and we have CGI, 3D, motion-capture, fantastic concepts that really did seem alien in 1902. This film has also inspired much pop culture media as well and the most well-known is probably the 2011 film Hugo which stars Ben Kingsley as Georges Méliés - the creator of A Trip To the Moon, that film in its own right is fantastic but it's nice to see the roots of cinema, and what it looked like. So if you've got about 12 minutes to spare then I recommend you watch this 1902 icon, you can find it on YouTube easily, then you can contemplate that you can watch footage that was shot over 100 years ago.