Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014) Film Review

Dawn of the Apes gives blockbuster season some heart...

Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014) Review - Been there, done that

While revitliasied with a complete new cast, Michael Bay offers much of the same old material...

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 Teaser Look Arrives!

Get your first ever teaser to Mockingjay Part 1 here!...

The Fault in Our Stars (2014) Film Review

A film that explores the harsh realities of life, without taking itself too seriously...

22 Jump Street (2014) Film Review

Get cosy with 22 Jump Street!

Lana Del Rey "Ultraviolence" Album Review

Lana Del Rey's latest album casts an ultraviolet light on our darker and most vulnerable sides.

Game of Thrones Season 4 (2014) Review

Another year ends in Westeros, fans begin the agonizing wait until April 2015.

Maleficent (2014) Film Review

Every villain has a past. Get our verdict on Disney's Maleficent...

The Normal Heart (2014) Film Review: A Gut-Wrenching Look At the 80's Hidden AIDS Epidemic

An emotionally heart-wrenching look at the hidden disease, that is AIDS.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Penny Dreadful Season 1 (2014) Review

By: Joel Evans



A very successful spin on Gothic Penny Dreadful's. 


A "penny dreadful" was a cheap comic book like form of entertainment in Victorian England. These horror stories were popularized incarnations of vampires and werewolves, in the gothic style of Dracula and Frankenstein. The new series Penny Dreadful is a patchwork of classic and new Gothic characters. The series features origin stories, nods to the original classics, as well as new twists and turns in an extraordinarily dark and unpredictable tale of a man searching for his daughter, and the select few chosen to assist. 

The acting in this series was very impressive, particularly from Eva Green, who portrays the clairvoyant Vanessa Ives. Josh Hartnett was also a standout as Ethan Chandler, who in a surprise twist in the final episode is revealed to be more than he first seems, but I won't spoil it for you. Timothy Dalton also stars as Mr Hawkins, the father of Mina Harker, and in my opinion is one of the least interesting performances, but nevertheless a commendable one. A very interesting character was the lonely and charming Dorian Gray, played by Reeve Carney. 

The plot lines and character arcs are extremely well done. Arcs from the original novels are easily recognizable while new elements have been weaved into the fold seamlessly. They are dark, twisted and incredibly entertaining. I would like to thank the producers for making demonic possession scary again. 

I was amazed that the production design matched the genre so well, creating a dark and inviting atmosphere each episode. The colour palette is washed out and bland.  London is shown to be an overcrowded and industrial cesspit, a fairly accurate portrayal of the conditions faced in the 19th century. 

If you have an interest in 19th century horror literature, monster movies, science fiction, horror films or all of the above then Penny Dreadful is for you. I cannot recommend this series higher. It is the perfect combination of drama and thrilling mind blasting gore. And if you do decide to watch the series stay away from the Facebook page until you watch the last episode. Some over eager fans consistently post spoilers. 


10/10


Check out the trailer below:


-JoelE


Thursday, July 10, 2014

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014) Film Review

By: Shahbaz Malik

Dawn of the Apes gives blockbuster season some heart...
20th Century Fox
While I was rather up in the air on this sequel, Dawn proved to be a surprising blockbuster of the year as it picks right up from it's predecessor and explores touching issues amongst the human and animal kingdom.

It follows the outbreak of the "Simian Flu" virus from the last film, as humans have become near-extinct and infrastructure broken down with a only a mere few genetically safe humans making it through (but not without being broken from losses of loved ones). Apes on the other hand, are safe and continue to build their genetically enhanced ape empire among themselves away from the interference of humans, with no other than Caesar (Andy Serkis) leading the pack (along with the film itself).

But things go awry, when humans seek the assistance of the apes in re-generating energy in order to rebuild what the humans have lost. Malcolm (Jason Clarke) is the leader of the humans trying to achieve a settlement between the two species, alongside son Alexander (Kodi Smit-McPhee) and female counterpart Ellie (Keri Russell). Gary Oldman although has lesser of a role in this film as Dreyfus, but lands a helping hand to other remaining human survivors.

On the journey of aiding each other, we are then treated to a compelling journey of trust between the two as they struggle to mantain proper relationships with each other. Caesar has compassion for humans (after-all James Franco's Will raised him) while his ape rival Koba (Toby Kebbell) thinks otherwise.

Caesar (Andy Serkis) is the true leader of this sequel.
What really brings out this film, is the maintenance of human ignorance and the desire to dominant other species while the apes themselves also surprisingly share these traits. Both species are against each other in the failure of truly understanding each other, when problems and issues arise in their very own species. Guess it really proves us humans aren't the only ones that struggle to maintain love, equality and trust amongst each other.

Verdict: If your about explosions and destruction this movie may satisfy you just a little (maybe go for the new bland and polluted Transformers sequel). But if you want some soulful emotion and heart then Dawn of the Planet of the Apes proves a touching exploration of honour, love, trust and family whether your of human or ape kind.

Overall Rating:
8.5/10

Watch the trailer below:


- Shahbaz Malik

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Teen Wolf Season 4 Episode 2 "117" Recap

By: Shahbaz Malik


This week's Teen Wolf while high on humor, felt little on story development...

MTV
1. Derek ageing drama... While funny, this story seemed quite useless... 

It was not explained properly how he fell into such a debacle (unless it flew over my head without me realizing) and ended abruptly with him returning back to his masculine broody-beard self by episodes end.

The only thing good about this plot device, was the hilarious moments with Stiles and Scott's dad. Other than that I'm still scratching my head why Kate even wanted comfort from him as a kid. It was also quite cringe-worthy when she kissed him.

Side-note, will anything happen to Dr.Deaton after begin scratched by young Derek?

2. Kate's unstable... After witnessing her lose it in a service station bathroom (come on, that guy was asking for it by relentlessly trying to open the door) we learned that she is currently a recluse trying to cope with her new-found self. 

Peter revealed she is of course after something, but it was a fail after her Derek ageing manifesto blew up in her face.

Also, apparently she has her own army of Predator-looking allies called 'The Berserkers'? Okay, that's a bit random.

3. Peter's loss... While not the biggest cliffhanger in Teen Wolf history, Peter lost a lot of the Hale's hard earned cash. Hmm, while devastating.. it seems the show is trying to move beyond our usual supernatural cliffhangers. After-all creator Jeff Davis did reveal we would be getting more human problems this season.

We although, did get some good Peter Hale reactions this week when confronting his unknown daughter Malia (yep, there first meet wasn't your typical Father-Daughter reunion), along with his discovery of learning Kate's return.

4. We love Lydia.. Probably my favorite person on the show right now. Lydia just keeps growing and her involvement in the show's mysteries continue to be intriguing. It was also nice to see her balance her own drama-queen self while in the car with Kira (also, was it just me or did it feel like a Lydia and Allison 2.0 moment?).

It was interrupted though after seeing the gruesome left-overs of Kate Argent...

5. Stiles and Scott re-united... It's good to see our fave buddies united again, and at their funniest too! After last seasons horrible departure and darkness between the two, it was particularly laugh-out-loud worthy when the two tried there best to deal with young-Derek at the cops office.

Verdict: High on humor and fun, but a little murky and messy on story this week Wolfies...

Overall Rating:
3.5/5

Next week, Scott's mum is in danger! Watch the promo below:

- Shahbaz Malik

Monday, June 30, 2014

Game of Thrones Season 4 (2014) Review

By: Joel Evans


Another year ends in Westeros, fans begin the agonizing wait until April 2015. 



The fourth season of HBO's Game of Thrones has hit its conclusion. This season left fans with many memorable moments, some highly anticipated by those in the know (fans of the book) and those like me who were just praying that the plot would take particular directions. The death toll was particularly high this season, seeing the arcs of many supporting characters end, and also a conflict between what I like to call narrative logic and George Martin logic. Below are some of this seasons highlights.

1) Joffrey's death.. Who wasn't hoping that this c**t would die in a caucophany of pain and misery. I am not afraid to say it was a pleasure to see him writh in pain as Olenna's poison spread through his system. What a joke, acts all tough and mighty and then has the most hilarious of deaths, calling for his mother as poison overcomes him.

2) The Battle of Castle Black.. I found the ninth episode to be very strong in terms of plot, character development and emotion. It made war a reality, not everyone survives the fight, and we said goodbye to many minor but memorable characters, as well as possibly the most memorable wildling in Game of Thrones. Her death made for an emotional climax to the season, and ironically Ygritte was killed by the son of a man she murdered in episode three.

3) The Mountain and the Viper.. OMFG!!!! I can't believe they killed off Prince Oberyn!!! This is a classic conflict between narrative and Martin logic. Narrative logic demands that Oberyn win and get revenge for his sister, that evil acts be punished and evil doers defeated. Martin logic however demands that when you least expect it a main or major character dies, in a totally unjust and brutal manner. This was definitely one of the seasons most shocking moments.

4) Tyrion and Tywin.. While less enjoyable than Joffrey's death it was good to see Tyrion finally put his father in his place. Everyone should watch out though, now there's no one who can reel in the ambitions and rage of Cersei Lannister.

5) Brienne and the Hound.. What a fight. Brienne really showed what she's made of, and the Hound showed he's more of a fool than I thought. I've heard some people whine that Brienne was in the wrong killing him but the Hound really left her no choice.

6) Sansa Stark.. I was very impressed with the character development displayed by Sansa Stark this season. No longer is she the defenceless girl, a piece in everyone's game. Sansa now is her own woman, and a player in the game of thrones herself. She has grown as a woman, a royal and as a Stark.

7) Arya Stark.. A few names have been ticked from Arya's list of enemies, but none the more close to her than the Hound. Her cold abandonment of an agonising man shows that Arya has realised there are worse fates than death. Rather than killing her enemies I'm curious to see if she will punish them like she did the Hound. His fate was to painfully die alone. Perhaps Arya may kill Tommen to punish Cersei later in the series. There was a fulfillment in watching her sail away to Braavos, and I am looking forward to seeing what adventures await her there.

8) Brienne and Podrick.. It was good to have another hilarious journey with Brienne, only this time it was Podrick not Jaime providing her with things to criticise. As always her banter was excellent.

9) Daenerys restrains her dragons.. Daenerys' arc was particularly slow this season. That being said, no one can deny the raw emotion felt as she chained up two of her dragons and left them in the darkness. The way they screamed as she left still rings in my ears. It was a sad, but necessary moment. It will be interesting to see what havoc her largest dragon will wreak, and if the Mother of Dragons can lure it back to the nest.

Conclusions.. All in all this season was very good. Bran and Daenerys' arcs were anti climactic most of the season and very slow, but this is to be expected with several characters every season. I begin my watch upon the wall, waiting for season five.

 
9/10
 
 


-JoelE




Friday, June 27, 2014

Demi Lovato ft. Cher Lloyd "Really Don't Care" Music Video Arrives In Full

By: Shahbaz Malik
 Demi Lovato's latest music video for "Really Don't Care" is dedicated to supporting LGBT community... WATCH HERE!



Demi Lovato rocks the stage Los Angeles’ Gay Pride Parade, with an opening message to all the haterz (go Demi!) in her latest video.

Complete with drag queens, cheerleaders, nerds and golden cladded man in tights this is a video for all. Demi has been a proud supporter of equality, and this video just proves how dedicated she is (it also comes straight-off Demi revealing her grandfather was also in fact gay).

If that's not all, the video even features surprise cameos from gossip guru Perez Hilton, The Vampire Diaries Kat Graham and That 70's Show'Wilmer Valderrama! Plus her featuring counterpart Cher Lloyd also makes an appearance alongside Demi. Go team!

Watch the colourful video below:



- Shahbaz Malik

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014) Review - Been there, done that

By: Shahbaz Malik


While revitliasied with a complete new cast, Michael Bay offers much of the same old material...


Paramount Pictures
Why does this feel like a repackaged version of the last film Transformers: Dark of The Moon with a brand new cast and setting. It doesn't help that the epic battles also felt like they were straight out ripped out of it too, with the usual city explosions and constant robot battles.

Here, the best elements is the focus on the story of human technology thinking it can rule the world and the eradication of trust between Autobots and humans. Plus, there's some fun philosophical elements on species from different planets thinking they own the universe (a line straight from the latest baddie). But of couse, Optimus Prime (Peter Cullen) continues to be a caring soul and protect us... If only humans were as loyal Optius, if only.

Along with at least some meaning in the film, we also get a shiny look at new transmorfian (yes, this is a word used in the film) species created by humans, along with the inclusion of Dinotbots which are fun addition and the usual lovely cinematography Bay manages to produce. But sometimes Bay, it is just simply too much of a good thing, which in turn makes it into a bad thing.

While I was oblivious to the stereotypes of last films (being younger comes with its perks) Transformers: Age of Extinction features it's fair share of racial and sexist stereotypes. The leading lady Nicola Peltz (who plays daughter Tessa) again discourages girls further by being the typical Victoria's Secret Models (which is also conveniently product placed in the movie itself). Peltz's character is also of course the one to look after the home by cooking, cleaning and looking after her dad... Umm, what age is this Michael Bay?!? But, I'll give him credit of the badass ninja lady's inclusion Su Yueming (Bingbing Li) who also so happens to be Asian.

Casting wise, The Hunger Games Stanley Tucci proves a worthy addition as lab making transformers company KSI's leader. Mark Wahlberg is also not too shabby himself as leading man Cade, bringing his humour and action hero skills to the table while the others are just your typical Hollywood blockbuster cast fare.

New leads Michael Wahlberg, Nicola Peltz and Jack Reynor can't save this rehash of a sequel.
The worst part of it all though, has to be its whopping near 3 hour run-time (what happened to it being the shortest Michael Bay?) in which the 3D literally kills your eyes.  The 3D is great, but it's just too long for a film that doesn't even need to be. If some of the battles were cut down, the film could have worked much better as it would have bypassed falling into already dreaded waters.

VERDICT: An over-long sequel, that may have worked better with cutbacks and less rehash of its predecessors.
Overall Rating:
6/10

Watch the trailer for the metal clanking explosion-heavy film below:

- Shahbaz Malik

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 Teaser Look Arrives!

By: Shahbaz Malik
The first ever teaser to Mockingjay Part 1 has been unveiled!...


It's here Hunger Games lovers, the first-ever teaser to the first chapter of the epic two-part conclusion to the series, titled 'Mockingjay' has arrived.

It comes hot-off the cast recently wrapping filming on the entire series this week *grabs tissues*.

Watch the menacing teaser look below, which features one of the most disturbing parts of the book (*cough* Peeta): 



Mockingjay Part 1 will be released globally late November.

- Shahbaz Malik

Teen Wolf Season 4 Premiere "The Dark Moon" (4x01) Recap

By: Shahbaz Malik


Teen Wolf spices things up by heading to Mexico...


MTV
After a particularly dark season, Teen Wolf has decided to spice up its tone a bit in the Mexico tripping Season 4 premiere. It introduced a new dynamic with Malia (Shelley Hennig) and Kira (Arden Cho) now being part of the mix after the departure of Crystal Reed last season (R.I.P Allison Argent).

Mexico dealing... Opening with our faves Stiles and Lydia making a mystery deal to find Derek at a Mexican random nightclub (yep.. only on Teen Wolf) . The pair were dealing with Mexican ring leader hunter Araya in order of gaining information. But, did anyone else find it kind of funny at her menacing acting? She seems like a cute old lady then a ruthless hunter.

In the end though, after electrifying Scott into Alpha-revealing form, he miraculously learned Kate was alive and was holding Derek captive. 

Also, did we mention there was some hot girl-on-girl action between Malia and Kira? Watch out Scott and Stiles, it seems these two may have some remarkable chemistry going on.

Scott hasn't moved on.. Allison is gone, and it seems several months have passed but Scott refuses to be labelled in love with Kira. He also refused to kiss her, instead hugging her as he headed off with guidance leader Braeden (Meagan Tandy) to find Derek.

I think it's a good sign though as fans still need time to adjust before we see him with Kira (which will no doubt happen eventually).

Stiles & Malia? After some mental hospital sex, we saw the two regain there chemistry since Malia joined the pack. And of course, it wouldn't be all rainbows and butterflies between Stiles other childhood love Lydia.

Malia and Lydia seem to have some icy ground between each other too over our lovable Stiles (and who wouldn't?) as Malia seemed to determined to leave the banshee screamer behind (she is Peter's daughter after-all) in Mexico. Lydia also dropped some smirks at the couple, along with throwing smart remarks back at Malia.

Looks like this new relationship dynamic is gonna be hell'a fun right? Perhaps, Maybe we could even get a Lydia and Malia catfight!

Stiles tries to balance out his relationships with Lydia and Malia.
Kate back-story... Okay we got an explanation, it seems Kate was rescued by her Mexican hunter counterparts. She then awoke and assassinated them all and escaped... Oh and apparently it seemed hinted at that she is a Were-jaguar.. Hmm okay we can gulp that info as this is Teen Wolf after-all and nothing is ever black and white on this show. We will just have to wait and see what this Were-jaguar stuff is all about though, plus that other weird predator looking creature lurking around

Shocker... While were at the shows craziest developments, what in the name is Derek doing as a teenager again?! And how the hell did Kate manage to do that to the poor guy!

Of course, he will eventually go back to his normal self. But it will be interesting to see just how such an aging gap even occurred. 
Overall Rating:
4/5

Watch the promo for next week's age-numbing episode below:

- Shahbaz Malik

Monday, June 23, 2014

22 Jump Street - The Perfect Movie For A Winters Night.

By: Silvia Pinneri


As the winter weather approaches us slowly (and cooly) in Australia, grab your best bed socks, the best blanket you can find and head to the cinemas and snuggle up with a box of popcorn and get cosy for 22 Jump Street! 


If the action packed comedy doesn't get you all warm and fuzzy though, maybe Channing Tatum will! 



After finishing high school for the second time, 22 Jump Street take detectives Schmidt and Jenko to college, to find the dealer of a new drug which has emerged called WHYPHY. The weird situations and characters lead them closer to their guy. 

22 Jump Street was not as funny as the first; however it still manages to make you laugh! Unexpected situations arise and the longevity of the jokes does not hinder them, however it makes them funnier. The characters (like the situations) are original from the identical twins to the weird roommate across the dorm of Schmidt's (played by Jonah Hill) love interest. 

The constant references to Ice Cube and Benny Hill really show us that the makers of this film knew what they were doing, and weren't afraid to remind the audience what we’re watching is only a film. These references widen the age bracket for this film providing something for everyone.

The jokes that worked well were the ones which were improvised. Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum played well off each other and neither one of them brought the others performance down. Much like Seth Rogan and James Franco, this acting duo is a pair made in movie heaven.

Jonah Hill takes the cake in this movie though. Playing on the girlfriend/boyfriend relationships and showing the sensitive side of his character, we are able to laugh at these ridiculous, real life situations. I also have to give it up to Jillian Bell who plays the character of Mercedes, her acting and comedic timing was spot on and it was nice to see a female version of Jonah Hill. It just goes to show that us girls are just as good (and when I say good, I mean better) at comedy  as men! 

There is no denying, that here in Australia we love the summer movie season in the US which means an influx of awesome movies for us in winter! So if you're too cold on a Friday night to head out in the blizzard, head to the cinemas instead and make sure you grab a ticket to watch 22 Jump Street.


7/10

- Silvia Pinneri

The Fault in Our Stars (2014) Film Review

By: Shahbaz Malik


A film that explores the harsh realities of life, without taking itself too seriously...
20th Century Fox
Based on the best selling teen-novel, The Fault in Our Stars is an exploration of love, loss and life.

While the romance side of the film can get a tad corny at times, as per usual teen romance flicks formulae. The Fault in Our Stars instead refrains from going that route, by providing viewers a realistic look at cancer-sufffering patients and there experiences of loving and being loved.

Along with this, the film goes beyond and explores notions of stereotypes of sick patients and the usual expected reactions from others of feeling sorry. It paints cancer patients as real people, with real problems that don't want to be treated as different.

It's core-emotional side though, is life after death and the impact on those left behind. I found this rather striking, as it explores what is often kept an untouched topic between loved ones and those facing life-or-death situations. And with cancer, death is no longer just a long-sighted thing but a reality. The Fault in Our Stars particularly touches on wanting to be remembered and the confusion of how others will cope with the pain of death.

Lovers of the film represent the two-sides, with Hazel (Shailene Woodley) just wanting her family and others to move on and be remembered by those she loves most. While her newly found love with Gus (Ansel Elgort) represents wanting to be known by the world and gaining the remembrance of aplenty.

Jurassic Park's Laura Dern also deserves a mention here as she pulls of Hazel's mother convincingly, along with broody jerk author Van Houten played by the brilliant Willem Dafoe.

Hazel (Woodley) and Gus (Elgort) represent lovers of different dying wishes.
The film also has a lovely soundtrack to accompany it with emotional tunes from Birdy and Ed Sheeran, along with newcomer Charlie XCX also penning a tune for the film.

For a teeny bopper flick, this is certainly of the better share as it touches on the more harsher realities of life and love. It refrains from trying too hard to be emotional, and delivers fans of the book and audiences alike a raw take on issues represented throughout the film without overlying on waterworks or cheesy romanticism.
Overall Rating:
7.5/10

Watch the trailer for the emotional-heavy film below:

- Shahbaz Malik

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Lana Del Rey "Ultraviolence" Album Review

By: Joel Evans



Casting an ultraviolet light on our darker and most vulnerable sides. 



Lana Del Rey's new album Ultraviolence hit Australian shelves last week and is a very interesting exploration of human behaviour and vulnerability, well at least that's my interpretation. As always her voice retains a haunting elegance and the music a filtered, scratchy texture that is simultaneously elegant. It is this style that I believe sets Del Rey aside from other artists. 

Overall the album is generally pleasing with some standout tracks and additionally some disappointing ones. The title song Ultraviolence was a good listen, but by far the best song on the album was Black Beauty. People rave about West Coast but I personally think it is quite average, and I was disappointed by Sad Girl, Brooklyn Baby and Shades of Cool. Fucked My Way Up to the Top was a very risky title and I couldn't wait to see what this song was about. It's not bad, I definitely recommend it. 

To me this album is drenched with meaning, as was Del Rey's first album Born to Die. The name Ultraviolence reminds me of ultraviolet light which reveals markings, writing and other hidden secrets that the eye normally could not see. When you consider the song titles it could be said that Del Rey is casting an ultraviolet light upon Western society and culture, unearthing the greedier, seedier, darker elements of human behaviour that lurk in the back alleys of our awareness. I believe also that Del Rey is exploring these behaviours in light of vulnerability, particularly in Cruel World, Pretty When You Cry and The Other Woman

Between drugs, sex, infidelity, old and new money, mourning, Del Rey explores it all in Ultraviolence. It is definitely worth the listen and I eagerly await her future work. 

Listen to..Cruel World, Ultraviolence, Fucked My Way Up to the Top, Black Beauty, Guns and Roses

Skip.. West Coast, Shades of Cool, Brooklyn Baby and Sad Girl


4/5


Listen to the song Ultraviolence below:




-JoelE

Friday, June 20, 2014

Lady Gaga’s Scrapped Controversial Video for ‘Do What U Want’ Surfaces Online! (NSFW)

By: Shahbaz Malik
Watch the NSFW snippet for Gaga’s unreleased music video here...


It’s never seen the light of day, but a snippet has been unveiled from the music video for scrapped ‘ARTPOP’ single “Do What U Want”.

TMZ posted the sexy clip earlier today, which shows Gaga getting a physical from controversial rapper R. Kelly. We then later see her rolling around in the nude amongst tabloid headlines while the video’s director (who is also facing claims of sexual assault) Terry Richardson snaps shots of her.

A source spoke to Page Six on the video, saying “Gaga had a video directed by an alleged sexual predator, starring another sexual predator. With the theme, ‘I’m going to do whatever I want with your body’? It was literally an ad for rape.”

Guess it was the right decision by Gaga and her label Interscope to scrap it, since it's already getting into hot water with just 30 seconds of it being released!

The “G.U.Y.” singer though seems to have acknowledged the surface of the sexy clip, by posting a quirky snap of her dogs on Instagram with the caption reading “Stella and Asia after watching DWUW”.


Watch the video below.


  
Do you think her label made the right decision in scrapping the music video? 

-         --Shahbaz Malik