The Raid 2 (2014) – A Review

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Synopsis: Set a short time after the events of the first movie, our hero Rama goes undercover to infiltrate a crime family and bring down the thugs and corrupt police in Jakarta.

Main Cast: Iko Uwais, Arifin Putra, Tio Pakusodewo, Oka Antara, Alex Abbad, Julie Estelle

The Hype: From the reaction and critical response the first movie got, big things are expected from the follow-up film. With a bigger budget and a more experienced cast, you would think that this film would be out of this world considering the success of the first.

What I Thought: Let me first get this straight. I loved the first film. The Raid was both innovative and exciting to watch and kind of raised the bar for martial arts movies. The Raid 2 however, failed to excite me in the same way. I don’t know whether it was lost in translation, but to me the plot was very disjointed and the hunt for the corrupt policemen storyline very quickly became non-existent. This did spoil the film somewhat for me, but the action, the fight scenes and the violence are all just as present as in the first film, perhaps this sequel is even more violent.

Conclusions: A storyline which is disjointed and loses its way quite early on, but excellent fight scenes and violence aplenty make this a good watch, but a poor sequel.

Smurfin’ The Web Rating: 3star

Trailer:

Draft Day (2014) – A Review

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Synopsis: An NFL team manager has to decide who he is going to pick in the NFL Draft in order for his team to make a difference next season. Sonny Weaver Jnr has to balance the books, please the fans and the coach as well as his own personal goals. This will be one hell of a day.

Main Cast: Kevin Costner, Jennifer Garner, Frank Langella, Chadwick Boseman, Josh Pence, Terry Crews, Tom Welling

The Hype: This was released just before the actual NFL Draft. Probably in an attempt to gain some more box office monies from bored Football fans during the summer months. It worked pretty well too, taking 3 times its meagre budget.

What I Thought: I love this kind of movie. It’s a similar type of film to Moneyball or Trouble With The Curve in its ideas and eventually its payoff, and although not a film worthy of Oscar recognition, it serves its purpose and fulfills the watcher satisfactorily. I enjoyed it and was pleased that it took you in a direction that you wanted it to go. Predictable, but sometimes that’s ok as you get what you pay for. I recommend Draft Day to sports fans, but anyone who like Moneyball will probably get a kick out of this one. Kevin Costner makes another welcome return to the screen and seems to be on a bit of a roll at the moment with a few films out this year and this performance does him no harm whatsoever.

Smurfin’ The Web Rating: 4star

Trailer:

Noah (2014) – A Review

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Noah

Synopsis: A retelling of the well-known bible story about a man given the task by The Creator to save all that is good in the world before it is destroyed by flood.

Main Cast: Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connolly, Emma Watson, Logan Lerman, Ray Winstone, Anthony Hopkins

The Hype: Its been a while since a bible story was brought to the big screen (other than the Christmas story of course) and I guess this was as good as any to get the big budget treatment. Not a massive success in the box office though this one…

What I Thought: …and its easy to see why. Despite the cast which is really good, the film itself was pretty poor. There are bits in the story that I certainly don’t remember from being taught it as a child which did make it kind of confusing in places, particularly at the start but the jist of the story is the same. What let this down for me were the special effects. There are some real moments of shoddy workmanship that seem to have been just swept under the carpet in order for the film to make its deadline leaving me to take the opinion that this was just a paycheck movie for all concerned and that no real pride was taken in it.

Conclusions: Basically, it’s not exciting enough to keep your interest at its highest peak throughout the duration of the film and the special effects just made it worse in all honesty. I am sure there are some films on my hard drive that will easily beat this one in terms of enjoyment.

Smurfin’ The Web Rating: 2stars

Trailer:

X-Men: Days Of Future Past (2014) – A Review

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x-men-days-future-past-postersSynopsis: Wolverine is sent back in time to convince the younger Professor Xavier to help him stop Mystique and the dangerous path that she has put herself on in her quest for justice after many mutants have been killed in the war effort in Vietnam.

Main Cast: Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellan, James McAvoy, Hugh Jackman, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Peter Dinklage

The Hype: Since the series was rebooted, there has been much more buzz about the movies and this sequel was no exception. The first film was a huge success and I had high hopes for this movie from the very first trailer.

What I Thought: Great. It was as good as I thought it was going to be. The story is indulging and keeps a good high pace throughout. The special effects are also pretty decent and in particular a scene featuring the character Quicksilver. Apparently when this character’s look was released the comic fanboys went nuts. Personally, I am not quite that nerdy so it didn’t matter to me one way or the other and I really enjoyed his scenes in the movie. There is plenty of action throughout the film and the time travel aspect of the story means that you can pretty much wipe out the two sequels to the original movie from 2000, which of course is a very good thing, because they were crap.

Conclusions: Good story, great effects and the cast is yet again a collection of some of Hollywood’s finest. Definitely worth a watch and if you liked the first reboot, then you will enjoy this also as a natural progression in the saga. It will be interesting to see where they take it next.

Smurfin’ The Web Rating: 4stars

Trailer:

Because I’m Batman!….Again (Sigh)

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So this week brought us the first image featuring Ben Affleck as Batman and also the added attraction of the new Batmobile (albeit only the cockpit).

Oh my word! The amount of creaming about this photo that is going on over the internet is incredible. Personally, I don’t know what the whole hoo-ha is about. I actually think that the Batman vs Superman film is going to be a terrible film and yet another needless superhero movie.

I am almost done with the whole superhero thing, after so many disappointments recently. The world orgasmed over The Avengers – I hated it. That same fanboy world gushed over Iron Man 3 – I hated it. Yet again we see another reboot (WHY!) of the Batman franchise when the last reboot has only just finished and I can’t help thinking that it will be hugely successful, but I will indeed hate it.

Now please bear in mind that this is not any reflection on Ben Affleck, I was actually in his corner when it was announced that he would be playing the part of Batman when that same fanboy world that is now banging on about how cool he looks all cried NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

We shall see, and I will probably get around to watching it at some point when it is released, but I won’t be rushing out to the cinema and queuing for hours just to get a ticket before anyone else. I am more looking forward to the new TV show Gotham which is out this autumn which traces the origins of some of DC Comics most well know characters growing up in a city that has danger lurking around every dark corner.

Eurovision 2014 Final – Review & Conclusions

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It’s over, and this year it was yet another anti-climax when it came to the voting. Here are my reasons why.

This year was a very even final set of participants with no clear bad or good split in each half. The eventual winner Austria put in a superb performance, but so did many other countries on the night. I am sorry, but without that ridiculous beard, Conchita Wurst would NOT have won this contest. the gimmick appears to have paid off and I am very annoyed to be honest.

The booing of Russia was completely inevitable and fully deserved of course. The Netherlands? where did that come from, it was one of the songs that I hated the most and to finish in the top 3 was a real surprise. My favourite song Romania was nowhere to be seen and I was sad to see the UK finish so low and I think she deserved much better than the 17th place.

I almost got the top 3 correct with Austria and Sweden both finishing in the main positions. Armenia who I predicted would do well finished just outside in 4th place so I didn’t do too badly.

I still feel that the winning act was a novelty and for me it vilifies all the sceptics of Eurovision that just take the piss out of the competition. Just for once it should be a song and act that actually deserve to win it without the use of a gimmick. In my opinion Austria deserved to do well, but it wasn’t a winner for me and I shall just have to jar my disappointment once again and wait for next year’s batch of songs.

Until 2015, thank you all for reading my blogs and hope that we will meet again next year.

Eurovision 2014 Final – Preview & Predictions

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Its Grand Final Day! The time has come for these 26 countries to polish off their acts and make sure they are all ready for tonight’s final in Copenhagen. This year I actually think the contest is pretty wide open although there have been less songs that I have really liked this year which is different from most years.

I would say that the whole show is pretty even in terms of the draw. there isn’t a better half of the running order and I think that this makes it interesting in a number of ways. Traditionally in recent years, the winner has come from the second half of the set and around the 17th/18th position. This year, the favourites are split right across the draw. Austria go 11th, Sweden go 13th and Armenia and Romania are very early.

The UK, who are now 5th favourite at 9/1 are finishing off the show tonight going last and I think this is very favourable for us. This is a very pleasant change from recent years and I think that we will be quite high up on the left hand side of the scoreboard. I still don’t think its a winning song though, there are better.

I’ll give you a couple of top 3 possibilities that I think may happen by the end of Saturday.

  • Sweden
  • Austria
  • UK

Or perhaps we may see this final 3…

  • Armenia
  • Sweden
  • Austria

So a couple of possibilities there which are interesting, but I definitely think that Sweden will be there or thereabouts. The top songs are very equally matched in their own way. I don’t rate The Netherlands as a top 5 song, its sudden popularity may reach the top 10, but no further. I have been known to be very wrong before though, lol.

Anyway, I hope you all enjoy the final tonight, I know I will and I will be back on Sunday to report my review and thoughts on the proceedings of Eurovision 2014. Thanks for reading and good luck to your own countries if they have made it through to the final. I will be cheering the UK and Romania. =)

Eurovision 2014 Semi Final 2 – Review & Thoughts

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The second semi final last night went without a hitch and there were a couple of surprises on the night. With one less song to perform than there had been on Tuesday, there was a little time-wasting to be done at half-time and while the votes were readied, but eventually we got our 10 qualifiers who will join the rest on Saturday in the Grand Final of this year’s Eurovision. The qualifiers:

  • Malta
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Austria
  • Finland
  • Belarus
  • Switzerland
  • Greece
  • Slovenia
  • Romania

The surprises for me were the qualification of Slovenia who I really didn’t think had a strong enough song and Poland who’s inane whittering song just annoyed the hell out of me. I suspect they only made it through thanks to the two girls oozing their breasts all over the stage. Hey-ho.

Austria made it through. The bearded lady put in a hell of a performance and is now one of the favourites at the bookies to win the contest, just behind Sweden and The Netherlands!? Sweden I understand, but The Netherlands? Jeez – wrist slashing or what? Anyway, there weren’t any really poor performances from the acts, but Romania were my favourite and remain my favourite song of the contest this year, what a voice Paula Seling has. They should have stuck with the holographic trickery they used in their own qualifiers though, it was much more effective.

One thing I have liked have been the flag videos that the artists have been doing before each performance to show where they are from, some of them have been very nicely done and it a little different from just seeing the sights around the host country every year. All in all I have enjoyed the semi finals and look forward to the Final on Saturday. I hope you will stop by and read my preview of the final and my thoughts and review when we have a winner. See you all soon ;-) I will leave you with Romania’sMiracle” from Thursday night.

Semi Final 2 Preview & Predictions

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And so after the excitement of Tuesday’s first semi final, we move onto Thursday’s second semi final which in my opinion is a better selection of songs. This may be a little harder to choose a good 10.

NorwayCarl Espen – “Silent Storm” this slow ballad is yet another song from a sole male performer. There appears to be a lot of those this year and this is one of the better options.  Simple and to the point I think is the message here.

IrelandCan-Linn – “Heartbeat” Traditional pop from the Emerald Isle here that should make it through with little effort. Not a bad song and catchy enough without being a taxing job for her to sing.

FinlandSoftengine – “Something BetterThe Killers hit Eurovision! Up tempo and one of the rare rock tracks this year. t might sneak into the top 10 on Thursday. I like this one and want it to go through more than I think it will.

MacedoniaTijana – “To The Sky” I really like this one and is one of my favourites this year. This should be in the top 3 in this semi final and will add some dance to Saturday’s final and the visuals will be excellent on the Danish stage. An easy qualifier here.

SwitzerlandSebalter – “Hunter Of Stars” This catchy tune should be good enough to make it through. The initially annoying whistling grows on you and I reckon this will be one of those acts that makes up the numbers on Saturday. Not a terrible song though.

GreeceFreaky Fortune – “Rise Up” This dance number will see Greece through yet again this year and this upbeat song should qualify pretty early I think. Catchy and it didn’t make me switch off. Not sure about the rap part though, but the rest is ok.

BelarusTeo – “Cheesecake” This jazzy song I think is pretty good and it also gives us a bit of variety in the final and I think it deserves to make it through. Its more akin to something that Germany might enter but I like it and we shall see it on Saturday I think.

IsraelMei Finegold – “Same Heart” A very well sung song here and another rock style to give us a good mix on the night. Mostly in English which is in her favour. I like the song and can see me listening to it after the contest is over. It should make it through ok.

MaltaFirelightComing Home” This Cajun/country song is yet another song from Malta that takes the contest extremely seriously. I think its good enough to deserve a place in the final, but I do not think it will do anything on the night itself. Also, I’m running out of really good options…lol

RomaniaPaula Seling & Ovi – “Miracle” They have pedigree in Eurovision, a cracking song and good visuals. This will either win or be runner-up in this semi final. I’d love this to finish in the top 4 on Saturday night and I think it just might do it.  A performance from Paula during that hard section near the end and it has to be looking at some really great scores.

And that concludes my predictions for the second semi final. I think this is the better of the two nights and should set up a decent final on Saturday night. Still, I can’t help feeling that this year is a bit of a let down overall though. Nevermind, I’ll still enjoy it well enough =)

Eurovision 2014 Semi Final 1 – Review & Thoughts

ESC2014_TV_GraphicsLast night was the first semi final. the excitement in the house was electrifying. Well okay, maybe not that much but it has been something we have looked forward to for a year. This semi final was probably the weaker of the two with only a handful of stand out songs. Lets see who has qualified…

  • Armenia
  • Ukraine
  • Russia
  • Iceland
  • Sweden
  • Hungary
  • Azerbaijan
  • The Netherlands
  • San Marino
  • Montenegro

A very good mix of songs and surprisingly no trouble regarding the Russian/Ukrainian situation, proving that music Eurovision has nothing to do with politics…

I was immensely pleased to see Valentina Monetta from San Marino make it through to the final. She has now tried for 3 years and has finally made it although her song isn’t as good as last year’s one. I don’t thin she will win the competition, but I think now she can pack it in and give someone else a chance to compete. =)

Iceland and Pollaponk made it through and I think they deserved it with a great performance with lots of energy and to be fair, a very good song. The stand out performance of the night belonged to Sweden though. The song became extremely popular last night after she sang the s**t out of it and they thoroughly deserve their now favourite position at the bookmakers. I’ll leave you with Sanna Nielsen’s performance of “Undo” from last night and look forward to the second semi final on Thursday night.

Check back on Thursday morning for my Predictions and Preview post for the second semi final. Thanks for reading.

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