Avengers: Infinity War

Giant purple glove enthusiast Thanos (Josh Brolin) has a sad back story. His people, the Titans of Titan (which isn’t confusing at all, couldn’t it at least have been the Titons of Titan, or the Titaniums of Titan, or the Titans of Titanic? All viable options) were ravaged by over-population and over-use of natural resources, leaving their home world in ruins. Thanos had proposed an option to prior to this, which would have meant randomly killing half of Titan’s entire population, which was understandably vetoed. Now, in the wake of Titan’s ruin, Thanos has seen the opportunity to enact his plan on a much grander scale, wiping out half of all known life in existence, for which he will need the golden infinity gauntlet and six infinity stones scattered across the galaxy. It’s up to Earth’s mightiest heroes – and a few from some other places too – to try and stop Thanos before it’s too late.
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The Iron Giant

This review was originally written as part of my USA Road Trip series for French Toast Sunday.

Earth, 1957. Somewhere off the coast of Maine, a fisherman caught in a storm sees an enormous metal being – an Iron Giant, if you will – with two great glowing eyes in the middle of the sea. Understandably, no-one believes him, until a small boy by the unfortunate name of Hogarth Hughes (Eli Marienthal) comes across said giant when it gets caught up in the electrical power plant. Naturally, being a young boy, Hogarth thinks the robot is awesome, and wants to do lots of cool things with it, but he isn’t the only party interested in the giant, and when the authorities hear about him they think it’s potentially a threat from Russia.

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Riddick

This review was originally written for Blueprint: Review.

The last time we saw Richard B. Riddick (Vin Diesel) he was being crowned leader of the Necromongers, a race of deeply religious killers who destroy anyone who does not accept their way of life, but five years later he once again finds himself lost and alone on a strange planet, battered and bloody, fighting for his life against humans and alien creatures alike. Where is he and why is he there? Riddick doesn’t care; he’s just trying to survive. Continue reading

Fast & Furious 6

Former drag racer turned international bank robber Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) has given up the life of the crime and settled down with his new girl Elena (Elsa Pataky) after the death of his wife, Letty (Michelle Rodriguez). CIA Agent Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson), who was last seen on the hunt for Toretto and his gang, shows up at Toretto’s home – not to arrest him, but to ask for his help, as Hobbs is now trying to arrest Owen Shaw (Luke Evans) and his team of master criminals and drivers, who are currently making Hobbs’ cops look like idiots. And apparently, the only way to catch an international thief with crazy driving skills and his similarly equipped team is to employ another set of international thieves with crazy driving skills. So why on Earth would Dom agree to help his former foe? Well, it turns out Letty may not have died after all, as Hobbs has a photo of her working for Shaw, so Dom calls up his team, and they set to work.
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Saving Private Ryan

There is a drinking game, the most disrespectful and coma-inducing that I’ve ever come across, where when watching Saving Private Ryan the players all drink a shot every time someone on screen dies. If one were to play this game, which I cannot advise for medical, moral and cinematic reasons, then I would recommend having 50-100 shots per player lined up ready and waiting for the opening 25 minutes of the film, as the much celebrated D-Day landing is a veritable cornucopia of fatalities, with soldiers coming a cropper as soon as the rear doors of the landing ships open, drowning in the water struggling with heavy packs, being carried to safety and every other way available.

This opening scene is a landmark in war movie history, recreating the sense of utter confusion and imminent death present at that time. With a shaking camera, dialogue lost to explosions and gunfire, men wandering around after lost limbs and a bloody tide lapping at fallen soldiers and shot fish alike, it’s almost a relief once the landing has finished and they can get on with the plot, as Tom Hank’s captain is ordered to find Private James Francis Ryan, last survivor of four brothers and location unknown after parachuting somewhere in France. With a cast positively brimming with stars and up-and-comers – Giovanni Ribisi, Matt Damon, Nathan Fillion, Jeremy Davies, Tom Sizemore, Edward Burns, Adam Goldberg, Paul Giamatti, Vin Diesel, Barry Pepper, Ted Danson, Bryan Cranston, Dennis Farina – no character is left without some characterisation, or providing an insight into a soldiers life, be it collecting dirt from every country they fight in, writing a novel about their experiences or making sure every German soldier they come across knows they have been bested by a Jew.
There are those that claim this is a long, boring film about walking, bookended by two of the greatest battle scenes in cinematic history, yet without the middle, where we truly understand the brotherly bond felt by soldiers fighting and dying together, would the closing battle – a much more personal, strategic affair than the opener, have such an impact? For my money this is Spielberg’s most cinematic film, showcasing his ability to show ordinary people in extraordinary situations, yet without losing the human touch.
Choose film 9/10