Review of Thor: Ragnarok


When it comes to dysfunctional families the Norse gods of Marvel’s cinematic universe are tough to beat. Odin and Thor have a strained relationship, to put it mildly, and Loki doesn’t get on with the thunder deity either. The god of mischief lives up to his reputation by routinely betraying his brother. In Thor: Ragnarok we learn that Thor has a long lost sister named Hela. She is the goddess of death and has returned from exile with aspirations of claiming the vacant Asgardian throne. Hela’s thirst for conquest will put her at loggerheads with Thor, who seems to be blighted with unruly relatives.


Don’t let the movie’s title fool you, a substantial chunk of Thor: Ragnarok takes place outside of Asgard. After getting trounced by Hela, a hammerless Thor ends up marooned on the alien world of Sakaar. The planet’s ruler is a nutty chap named Grandmaster (who is played by Jeff Goldblum, who appears to have walked on set wearing his morning gown.) Grandmaster enslaves Thor and forces him to compete in mortal combat. In effect Thor is now a gladiator, who fights against other gladiators, in a gladiator arena… just like that Ridley Scott movie whose name I cannot recall.

Thor: Ragnarok boasts a star-studded lineup. Many of the big names are limited to brief appearances though. That’s what happens when 130 minutes has to be rationed out between such a big cast. Benedict Cumberbatch’s reprisal of Dr Strange is constrained to a cameo. Tom Hiddleston’s Loki is relegated from nemesis to comic relief. If you came to watch a memorable performance from Karl Urban, I “dredd” to inform you that he is nothing more than Hela’s lackey. I didn’t mind that Mark Ruffalo barely featured in human form though. I found the chattier CGI Hulk to be more entertaining than his alter ego Bruce Banner.


My rating for this motion picture is a Thor out of five. Overall I would have to say that Ragnarok is a big improvement over its predecessor Thor: Dark World. If you enjoyed Guardians of the Galaxy I imagine you will like Ragnarok too. Both films deliver on sci-fi spectacle, tons of action and lashings of humour. If anything, the script was a little too saturated with gags. Most of the jokes are hilarious, but there were some moments of slapstick that missed their mark. Another grievance I had, with the witticisms, is that on a couple of occasions the mood was ruined by an out of place quip.

I’ll conclude by saying that the ladies acquitted themselves well. Hela is just a generic Marvel villain, who looks like a blade wielding Maleficent. Cate Blanchett made the role work though, with an over the top portrayal that is cartoonishly evil. Tessa Thompson also did a good job as the booze swilling Valkyrie. As someone who loves blondes, I was disappointed to see that Valkyrie doesn’t resemble a traditional Scandinavian war maiden. Tessa did however match the boys when it came to fisticuffs. She’s actually tougher than some of the guys (Loki and Banner I am looking at you.) Okay, I take that back. Banner is a badass. Best not to upset him with insults. You wouldn’t like him when he’s angry.

Review of Justice League


A horny new god named Steppenwolf has returned from exile and plots to take over the world. Unfortunately for the citizens of Earth, after the events of Batman versus Superman, the Man of Steel is no longer around to save us from peril. In his absence, the responsibility of guarding Earth from invasion falls to DC’s Caped Crusader. His only super power is wealth though, so Bruce Wayne will have to recruit beefier allies to help him fend off the impending alien threat. The group that answers the call are known as the Justice League. For all intents and purposes they are Warner Bros’ version of the Avengers (only not as cool.)


After the convoluted plot of Batman v Superman, Justice League elects to keep things simple. The narrative is a straightforward tale of heroes banding together to stop the villain from collecting three MacGuffins. Steppenwolf is no Lex Luthor, so audiences are spared from schemes that pit protagonists against each other and tricks that dupe rivals into drinking pee. The antagonist of this tale is a generic evil conqueror who looks mean, akin to Thor’s enemy Malekith the Accursed. Justice League might fail to mimic the box office success of Marvel’s motion pictures, but its script does at least replicate the competition’s two-dimensional baddies.

Debutants Aquaman, Cyborg and Flash join Batman and Wonder Woman, who have previously been established in other films. Aquaman reminds me of Drax the Destroyer (Guardians of the Galaxy). They both look tough, but don’t do much other than make silly remarks and get smacked about by the opposition. Cyborg is the half man, half machine token black guy. His sole purpose in the movie is to hack Steppenwolf’s gizmos. To be fair, overriding extra-terrestrial tech with mechanical appendages is more plausible than Jeff Goldblum uploading a virus. Flash is the unfunny comic relief. His displays of speed lack the creativity found in the X-Men scenes that feature Quicksilver.


My rating for Justice League is a three out of five. An average superhero flick that fails to match the standards set by Marvel Studios. Thank goodness that I didn’t pay to watch this at the cinema. It’s mediocre and the CG effects lack polish. For fans of spandex crime fighters, I would however say that the DVD is worth a rental, as the action is decent. I also appreciate how Justice League is less serious than its predecessors. The biggest beneficiary of the lighter tone is Superman, who returns near the end. He makes some quips and is finally presented as a beacon of hope. What a relief. In prior movies it was weird to see how the last son of Krypton was grouchier than Batman.

Now that Superman is back (not a spoiler given that he is on the box art) I wonder how he will be handled in future sequels. The biggest issue with Superman is that he is too darn strong. In this movie, for example, the entire Justice League is powerless against Steppenwolf. Superman on the other hand can pwn him without breaking a sweat. Perhaps they can reduce Superman’s strength by cutting his hair. That worked against Samson. First up they can start by shaving his facial hair. It amazes me that digital effects had to be used to hide Henry Cavill’s moustache. How dare you refuse to shave for a role? Who do you think you are? Only Cesar Romero’s Joker can get away with that.

Review of Baywatch


If you yearn for summer weather, during these chilly months, fear not because a trip to the beach is just one DVD away courtesy of Baywatch. Whilst conducting research for this review (mostly Google image searches of Pamela Anderson) I was surprised to learn that the original Baywatch TV series ran for a very respectable eleven seasons. How does a show about lifeguards last for so long, whilst Hasselhoff’s awesome Knight Rider gets a paltry four seasons to its name? What a travesty of justice! Speaking of the Hoff and Pammy, both actors make brief cameo appearances in this movie. It’s a little sad seeing how the heartthrobs of my youth have now gotten so wrinkly.


Lieutenant Mitch Buchannon is the head lifeguard of the world’s most dangerous beach. Seriously. Although nothing of note ever happens at my local seaside, over at Baywatch Florida, Buchannon has amassed a record of five hundred coastal rescues! When the movie begins Mitch recruits three new trainees to his team. The trio of newbies include a former Olympic gold medallist named Matt Brody. You would imagine that enlisting the services of a speedy swimmer would be quite the coup, but unfortunately not as Brody isn’t a team player. This is evidenced by the time he cost his nation relay glory, due to excessive partying. He turned up to the event with a hangover and proceeded to pollute the pool with puke – earning him the nickname Vomit Comet.

In this adventure the Baywatch crew take on a foreign entrepreneur named Victoria Leeds, who is played by a former Miss World. After losing ownership of the family business to her brother, Leeds migrated to America where she proceeded to amass a fortune through drug trafficking. If you think that lifeguards battling a criminal syndicate is ridiculous worry not, because various onscreen characters express similar sentiments. Baywatch constantly pokes fun at itself. This is an action comedy that veers more towards humour than action. If anything the action is rather lacklustre. A film starring The Rock should feature good fight choreography – the few fisticuffs we get however are marred by shaky cam. The shaking will make you more seasick than riding on a Baywatch jet ski.


My rating for Baywatch is a three out of five. The movie isn’t great, as the scathing reviews penned by professional critics will attest to, but I would still class it as a fun romp – providing that you can turn off your brain throughout its two-hour duration. A guilty pleasure offering a blend of comedy and eye candy is how I would put it. The ratio of funny/lame jokes could be better, but I must admit to chuckling quite a few times. Highlights of note include the banter that Mitch and Matt share, along with the scenes mocking how the original series would use slow motion effects whenever CJ took a jog. I could however have done without the morgue sequence involving a dead man’s genitals. That gag was bollocks in more ways than one.

When it comes to fan service both genders are well catered to. Alexandra Daddario and Kelly Rohrbach bouncing about in swimsuits will go down well with the guys. Female viewers on the other hand can gawk at Dwayne Johnson and Zac Efron’s chiselled torsos. If you are the rare breed of girl who prefers blubber to muscle Jon Bass has you covered, in the role of computer whizz Ronnie Greenbaum. Do women who lust after unattractive overweight blokes really exist though? If they do, and one of them happens to be reading this article, please leave your phone number in the comments section below. We should meet up for dinner and a movie some time 😉

Review of The Mummy (2017)


Tom Cruise resembles the adversary he is pitted against in this movie. Both the titular Mummy and Cruise look great for their age. I wonder what the secret of his youthful complexion is? Perhaps it is exercise, as the protagonist spends a large portion of this film sprinting. What happened to the days when heroes battled against evil rather than flee from it? One of the many things that I didn’t like about The Mummy is that the lead runs away from his problems, and in the end only triumphs due to a power he didn’t earn. Oh well, at least the trials he faced did at least transform him from a selfish prick into someone who is willing to sacrifice himself for others.


Nick Morton is a US soldier who is currently based in the Middle East. His orders are to patrol the region and search for insurgents. Rather than dutifully follow his mission however, he uses the role as an excuse to raid local tombs for antiquities. His latest discovery is a crypt that houses the remains of an Egyptian princess. Whilst exploring the catacomb, for treasure, he inadvertently liberates said royal from her sarcophagus prison and ends up getting cursed to boot. To spare the world from a force more wicked than Scientology, Nick allies himself with a clandestine group of UK based monster hunters. Together they must prevent the female Mummy from completing a ritual that will summon the god of death.

Given that The Mummy is being used to launch Universal’s Dark Universe (think Marvel’s cinematic universe, only with monsters instead of superheroes) the film is rich with shoehorned references to other creatures. Prodigium, the group of monster slayers mentioned above, owns a warehouse whose inventory contains an assortment of vampire skulls for example. A chap named Dr Jekyll, who is played by a pudgy Russell Crowe, also happens to lead the organization. I presume that Crowe’s weight gain can be attributed to the fact that scenery is high in calories. He chews the scenery whenever onscreen. This performance will make you wonder how he ever won an Academy Award.


My rating for The Mummy is two stars. It feels like something designed by committee, were Universal execs drew up a checklist of things they should include to mimic Marvel’s success. As a result what we get isn’t a scary horror movie, but a film packed with action and humour. It’s a formula that worked for Brendan Fraser in 1999. This time however the whole thing falls flat. None of the gags are funny and the fight/chase scenes bored me. I also thought that Tom Cruise was disappointing. He is charismatic in real life, but didn’t show much of that here. Not good when you are meant to be portraying a likable rogue. Cruise also didn’t have much chemistry with onscreen love interest Annabelle Wallis, so I couldn’t buy the moments when Nick Morton risks his life for her sake.

Another complaint I have is with the villain. Princess Ahmanet, the Mummy, is just a generic baddie who was buried alive as punishment for an attempt to usurp the throne. Years later, when resurrected, she is driven by the cliché motivations of power and immortality. The Mummy starts off looking rather creepy, but as she drains the life force of others she morphs from a cadaver to sexy Sofia Boutella… who I would rather ogle than fear. Based on this showing, the future Dark Universe team up will resemble League of Extraordinary Gentlemen rather than the Avengers. Don’t spend a dime on this DVD. From what I hear, the cash would be better invested in WayForward’s Mummy Demastered – a rare example of a decent movie based console game.

Review of Baby Driver


Making a good first impression is important. For example, you won’t get laid if you start the evening off by belching in front of your date. Baby Driver, the latest movie from director Edgar Wright, begins strongly enough. Just like a hot date that turns up to the restaurant in a cleavage flaunting dress, this movie wowed me with an eye-popping car chase opener. Unfortunately nothing that followed the first scene ever topped that moment of vehicular pursuit. Grabbing the audience’s attention from the offset is a good idea, but be sure to save the best for last – or else you run the risk of ending things with an anticlimactic finale.


Baby Driver stars a young getaway driver, played by Ansel Elgort, who goes by the alias Baby. The movie kicks off with a bank robbery where Baby showcases his talent for steering automobiles, as he effortlessly evades the law. One thing that stands out about the protagonist is that, during the pursuit, he is constantly listening to his iPod. Protagonists who are tied to a musical device are all the rage in Hollywood. I blame Starlord, from Guardians of the Galaxy, and his pesky Walkman. The justification for Baby’s love of tunes is that he suffers from tinnitus; so listening to songs helps him drown out the ringing in his ears.

I have to say that using a character’s hearing impairment, as an excuse to wedge the soundtrack into the movie is rather creative. Baby himself is more perceptive than he first appears and has a dorky charm going for him. The scene were he struts down the street, with an order of coffee in tow, reminds me of Peter Parker in Spider-Man 3… only less cringey. Anyways, the plot of the movie is that Baby has found love in the form of a diner waitress named Debora. Romance has convinced him to go straight, but before he can sever ties with the underworld he first has to pull off one final heist for his Mafioso employer Doc.


My rating for Baby Driver is a three out of five. I liked the movie, but out of all the Edgar Wright flicks that I have seen I would have to rank it the weakest. Although amusing at times, Baby Driver lacks the laugh out moments of something like Scott Pilgrim or Shaun of the Dead. Viewers who appreciate fast cars, whizzing through city streets, are likely to enjoy the film more than I did. The action scenes feature some very creative driving manoeuvres. When you peel away the catchy OST and slick racing however, what remains is a run of the mill story that doesn’t warrant a two-hour run time.

The acting in Baby Driver is competent, but none of the actors stood out. Doc was probably my favourite character. He’s one of those charismatic gangsters who come across as amiable, organized and professional. Friendly at first glance, but ruthless should you not ago along with his schemes. He is played by the talented Kevin Spacey, a man who can do no wrong… well apart from sexually assaulting teens. Never mind that though, because he is gay. What a novel excuse. I wonder if that would have worked during my school days? Sorry sir, I didn’t do my homework. It’s all right though because I am homosexual.

Review of Kingsman: The Secret Service


James Bond meets Kick-Ass is how I would best describe Kingsman: The Secret Service. The movie features suave British spies who are armed with quirky gadgets (such as poisonous pens, semi-automatic brollies and taser rings) along with a smattering of comedy and heaps of brutal action. Kingsman’s similarities to Kick-Ass should come as no surprise given that both films share the same director (Matthew Vaughn) and both movies are based on a comic penned by graphic novel scribe Mark Millar. The question on everyone’s lips is whether Kingsman kicks ass or if it is painful to endure, like a kick to the gonads. Read on to find out.


In another movie Kingsman antagonist Richmond Valentine could have been classed as a good guy. He’s one of those trendy entrepreneurs who favour baseball caps and McDonalds over smart attire and Michelin star meals. How many villains do you know that abhor violence (bloodshed causes him to hurl, as he suffers from hemophobia) and lobby against global warming? Sounds like a stand up guy, until you learn that his plans for combating carbon emissions involve a mass cull of the human race. I suspected there was something sketchy about him. Why would a pacifist need the services of a secretary who slices up critics, with bladed prosthetic legs, after all?

MI5 and MI6 are too busy misplacing laptops, so it falls upon the Kingsman secret service to foil Valentine’s scheme. Veteran agent Harry Hart (codename Galahad) is assigned to the case. At the same time viewers watch as unemployed chav Gary Unwin (nicknamed Eggsy) tries to transform his life by applying to the titular clandestine agency. There’s just one vacancy up for grabs and stiff competition for the spot, in the form of posh candidates that hail from a military background. Recruitment into the Kingsman ranks is not for the faint of heart. The process, dubbed the most dangerous job interview in the world, tests applicants by seeing how they perform in various scenarios – including skydives with no parachute and an assassination mission, were the target is a cute puppy!


My rating for Kingsman: The Secret Service is a five out of five. It’s an exceptional movie that boasts a great cast. Newcomer Taron Egerton does a fine job playing Eggsy the loyal, yet rough around the edges, underdog. Colin Firth steals the show in the role of gentleman spy Galahad. Based on this performance, if the James Bond franchise decides to reboot back to the less serious days of Roger Moore, I think Firth would make a great 007. Samuel L. Jackson on the other hand proves that he can be entertaining, without resorting to his trademark yells, in his portrayal of Valentine. The star-studded lineup also includes Sir Michael Caine, who plays Kingsman leader Arthur, and a cameo appearance by Mark Hamill.

I think the movie appealed to me because the story has heart. One can’t help but root for Eggsy in his battle against the snooty toffs, who act like they are his superiors just because of their heritage. The mentor/pupil relationship that forms between Unwin and Hart is sweet. After growing up with an abusive step-dad it’s nice to see Eggsy bond with a more respectable father figure. Kingsman’s humour and action remind me a little of Kick-Ass, although Secret Service is more classy… possibly due to all the English accents. It was surprising how violent the action can get. The second act church slaughter reminded me of Kill Bill, but the carnage is so over the top that it comes across as cartoonish rather than gruesome.

Kingsman: The Secret Service proved to be a pleasant surprise. Based off the trailer, I didn’t expect to enjoy the movie quite as much as I did. Let’s hope the recently released sequel maintains the standard set by its predecessor. Have you seen either of the Kingsman movies? If so, what did you think of them? Let me know in the comments section below.


Review of Alien: Covenant


Set a decade after the events of Prometheus, Alien: Covenant continues the prequel storyline of Fox’s sci-fi horror series. Ridley Scott retains the directorial reigns for the franchise he brought to prominence back in the late seventies. Public opinion on Prometheus seems to be divided. I thought the movie had its flaws, but overall was okay. At the very least I liked how it tried to do something different, with a plot that explored humanity’s origins. The designs of Prometheus’ extra terrestrials were pretty cool too. People don’t want originality though. Most moviegoers lamented how HR Giger’s Xenomorphs were absent from the film. That’s something Fox has addressed in Covenant… even if you have to wait until the final act for the titular aliens to make an appearance.


Covenant is the designation of a colony ship that is on a multi-year voyage across the cosmos. When the movie begins the space faring craft is slammed by a solar burst. The impact causes extensive damage and claims the life of the ship’s captain, who was incinerated inside his cryogenic chamber. Ouch. The burns he suffered rival my own skin, that time I ventured to Ibiza with scant regard for sun cream. Anyways, unpopular first mate Christopher Oram assumes command before choosing to divert the Covenant to a nearby habitable planet. Perhaps the crew can abandon their original mission and settle on this world instead? Sounds like a reasonable plan, but first they will need to investigate a mysterious transmission that is broadcasting from the planetoid’s surface.

I am sorry to report that the Covenant’s colonists are no brainier than Prometheus’ scientists. Upon shuttling down to their destination they opt against using respirators, as the air appears to be breathable. Does no one in the future fear bacteria? Well, needless to say a couple of the expeditionary team get infected and end up giving birth to pale skinned Neomorphs. Forget the natal discomfort caused by human babies or Chestbursters erupting from a ribcage. These buggers own the market on painful births, thanks to a spawning process that sees them rip through their host’s spine! Stranded, the remaining crew are forced to survive against the unfriendly parasites. They must return to the safety of orbit or else it will be “game over man.”


My rating for Alien: Covenant is three stars. Thanks to Ridley Scott’s gorgeous cinematography I would rank the film above Alien 3 and Alien Resurrection. It doesn’t however match the quality of the earlier Alien movies. Aliens had a more memorable cast and better action. In terms of terror Alien is way scarier. Scott’s original movie was creepy thanks to the suspense, which is something that Covenant lacks. Despite the advances in technology I must say that a guy, in a rubber suit, sneaking through dimly lit corridors is more frightening than a CGI alien snarling in broad daylight. Ironically, the Xenomorphs everyone was clambering for are less scary than the new Neomorphs. Their juvenile form is similar to a Velociraptor and the way they stand when fully grown is unnerving.

As is the case in these types of movie, most of the characters are stupid, underwritten and only there so the beasts have something to dismember. Katherine Waterston plays Janet Daniels – the poor man’s Ellen Ripley. She kicks arse in the final thirty minutes, but does little else before that. Michael Fassbender steals the show by portraying not one but two synthetics. The first of these is a friendly bot named Walter, who reminds me of Star Trek’s Data. Fassbender also reprises the role of David, who has gone off the rails since we last saw him in Prometheus. By utilizing Engineer tech, David plots to replace humans with what he considers to be superior life forms. Traitor! You cannot trust an Android. That’s why, when it comes to mobiles, I prefer an iPhone.