Kingsman: The Secret Service: Ryan’s Movie Reviews #30

Hello and welcome to Ryan’s Movie Reviews!

Something that is becoming (and is still growing) increasingly popular in terms of movies is taking a film in a genre and putting a twist of some sort on it to help it appeal to a wider audience. I took the two earliest and most notorious examples of this, a spy movie and a buddy cop movie and pitted them against each other in a poll on Instagram (@ryans.movie.reviews, give us a follow please). Kingsman: The Secret Service beat 21 Jump Street with 56% of the vote, making it this weeks review.

From director Matthew Vaughn (also known for X-Men: First Class and Kickass) and with a fantastic cast including Taron Egerton and Samuel L Jackson is the story of  the Kingsmen, a British secret service group. The Kingsmen are a group of elite gentlemanly spies who are looking for a new recruit. Among the applicants is Eggsy, a young man from a tough background, who is up against privately educated for the job spot. Eggsy has to battle it out against the other applicants to secure his spot at the best secret agency in the world. At the same time, a new threat in the form of an eco-terrorist who wants to kill half the world rises (sounds like Thanos) and it’s down to the Kingsmen to bring him down.

Let me start by saying how enormously fun and awesome this movie was. It came out of nowhere and was instantly loved by people all over the world, and it’s rare that something like this happens. The most recent example that I can think of for this is Baby Driver. Our protagonist is Gary Unwin, nicknamed and referred to as Eggsy (for some reason) throughout the film. Played by Taron Egerton, Eggsy is your average London tough guy, who has a less than decent home life. The way that Egerton combines a rough gangster-like attitude with a softer and more delicate side was highly commendable. Supposing that Egerton was only 23 when he did this, it was quite a terrific performance. Egerton makes Eggsy a relatable and awesome character, and is part of the reason why myself and audiences aroun the world loved this film so much. The villain in this film is Richmond Valentine, played by Samuel L Jackson. And it’s fair to say that he was one of the best parts of Kingsman. Valentine in an internet billionaire who wants to cure the world by eradicating as many people as possible to stop the destruction of mother Earth. He gives out free SIM cards (or cellphone chips) to the world, but programs them so that he can trigger a series of neurological brain waves that make people go on a murderous rampage. It was fun to see Jackson play a villain, but also evident to tell that he had a blast playing Valentine. His lisp was spot on and he had reasoning, and he was a good villain that made the film really good. Assisting Valentine is his sidekick, Gazelle, played by Sofia Boutella. She was a great character and her action scenes were fantastic, but I would have liked to have seen more from her. In his fight against Valentine and Gazelle, Eggsy is not alone. He is supported by Merlin, Harry Hart and Roxy. Merlin was played by Mark Strong, who was one of my favourite characters in this film. He provided a fair amount of humour that made this film more enjoyable. Colin Firth played Harry Hart, Eggsy’s mentor and a Kingsman spy. He was an amazing character, and his action scenes were stunning. Lastly, we had Roxy who was played by Sophie Cookson. Again, she was a good character and I liked her, but she too could have been used more in the film. I feel like we were kind of just forced to like her. With Eggsy, that love came somewhat more naturally. I felt that some of the characters were a little wasted, particularly Gazelle. I’d have honestly liked to have seen more about the history of Kingsmen, but if Matthew Vaughn is going to/might make a sequel-prequel about it, then that’d be much better.

KSS_JB_D07_00960.tif

Chaos breaks out in the unforgettably amazing church scene.

The music in Kingsman had mixed reactions from me. The songs were smartly selected so that they fit the scenes perfectly. From Bonkers by Dizzee Rascal to Free Bird by Lynyrd Skynyrd, the songs where something that I wouldn’t change. However, the music soundtrack composed by Henry Jackman and Matthew Margeson could have been better. It was good but honestly overused and reached a point of irritation. It was just the same dramatic Kingsman theme repeated over and over again with maybe a change in pitch or tone to suit the mood.

The plot idea of Kingsman was smart. It took a classic spy cliché of all spies being gentlemen and put a nice little twist on it, by showing that the common man is just as capable of being a spy, as well as a woman being able to do it as well. There were a few potholes, like if Valentine was trying to use someone elses satellite to make the connection for his V-Day plan, it would surely be a longer process then something that took like 30 seconds in the film.

There were admittedly a lot of scenes that I loved from Kingsman, despite it being a little dull in places. The opening to Dire Strait’s ‘Money for Nothing’ was a perfect introduction to the film and set the tone immediately. I loved the scene with Eggsy stealing Dean’s car and driving backwards with it as it was just so much fun to watch but also served as a secret character development scene for us to learn about Eggsy’s skills. The next best scene easily goes to the famous ‘manners maketh man’ scene, where Colin Firth shines in a fantastic (yet shakey cam) fight that makes audiences even more excited for what’s to come. Then we had the underwater escape room, which was pretty cool to watch. The next few things were bit boring, but I love the sky-diving scene. We had a cool scene with Gazelle fighting some guards but she should have been used more in the film. After that, the next best scene was a scene that is one of my all-time favourite scenes in cinema history. The iconic church scene to Free Bird’s epic rock guitar was gory, bloody, adrenaline pumping, awesome and just so incredible that you have to rewatch that scene again and again and again to fully appreciate its awesomeness. Rewatch it again here to fully appreciate truly how amazing the scene is. I guess the ending fight between Eggsy and Gazelle was pretty good, but I would have liked it to have had a bit more action to it. The fights between the people on the streets were really cool and fun to watch, especially with ‘Give It Up’ as the background music, but I would have loved to have seen more of it. The music kept getting cut off with some of the same dramatic music and the scene kept being cut to Valentine getting angry about his tech not working. Vaughn, you got something great here and I loved it, but you kept ruining it!

I think it’s worth mentioning my thoughts on the sequel too, seeing as it’s part of the Kingsman-verse. The Golden Circle ripped off its predecessor and was worse than the original. The original was good, I loved it, but the Golden Circle was just copying and pasting what the first film did but a new villain, a higher budget and more stars.

Overall, Kingsman: The Secret Service gets an 8.1/10. Though it lacked in some areas, it had a great villain, the right amount of humour and incredible action, putting a twist on a classic movie genre.

Thanks for reading this weeks review. Follow my Instagram (@ryans.movie.reviews) for the latest movie news, polls and everything else you could want from a movie related Instagram page.

Once again, thanks for reading this weeks review, and I’ll see you next week when I review a new drama/crime film that’s actually based on a true story. See you then!

My Favourite Characters: Ryan’s Movie Reviews #29

Hello and welcome to Ryan’s Movie Reviews!

I know what you’re thinking. ‘He said he’d review a film about money last week but now he’s not even reviewing a film this week’. Yes, true, I was going to review The Big Short but I needed more time to give it the proper review that it deserves. For this week, I’ve compiled a list of my favourite characters from movies. I’m always adding to this list, so keep your eye on it.

To see my list of my favourite movie characters, visit this link.

Next week, I’ll be reviewing a recent movie that’s part of a genre but brought something new to the game. Vote between Kingsman: The Secret Service and 21 Jump Street on @ryans.movie.reviews now, and join me next week for when I review the winning film.

Isle of Dogs: Ryan’s Movie Reviews #28

Hello and welcome to Ryan’s Movie Reviews!

2018 (so far) has provided us with movies, both good (Avengers: Infinity War) and not so good (let’s say Lara Croft for this one). One film I watched recently from this year was Wes Anderson’s latest flick, Isle of Dogs. It had some great names doing voices, like Bryan Cranston and Jeff Goldblum, and the Fantastic Mr Fox-like animation looking absolutely beautiful. But it wasn’t exactly the best film of 2018 either. With that, welcome to this week’s review!

From Wes Anderson (also known for The Grand Budapest Hotel, Fantastic Mr Fox and other with Bill Murray) is Isle of Dogs. Set in Japan, Isle of Dogs tells the story of Mayor Kobayashi, who exiles all dogs to Trash Island as they are infected and spreading dog flu. The first dog to be exiled is Spots, the dog of Mayor Kobayashi’s nephew, Atari. Sometime later, 12-year-old Atari flies to what is now known as the Isle of Dogs, where disease and illness run throughout. Atari’s jet crashes and a group of dogs rescues him and help him try to find his missing pet. Atari and his newfound pack try to hunt down Spots as well as fending off Kobayashi’s government who are now more anti-canine than before.

Straight off the bat, this film was great fun to watch. Throughout the film, we spend time with a pack of five main dogs, and these are Rex, Duke, Chief, Boss and King. Rex was voiced by Edward Norton, and he’s basically in the leadership of the pack with Bryan Cranston’s Chief, but Rex is portrayed as a more lenient and understanding leader. Like most voices in this film, Norton’s was one that perfectly suited the character, particularly when it came to leading the other dogs and/or being a voice of reason. Bryan Cranston voices Chief, a stray dog with a dark backstory, but I’ll come on to that later. Cranston’s gruff voice (similar to the one used in Breaking Bad) was well suited to the character’s backstory and what he said, the most notorious being the harsh ‘I bite’.  The best trio in Isle of Dogs easily goes to Boss (voiced by Bill Murray), Duke (voiced by Jeff Goldblum) and King (Bob Balaban). I would have loved to have seen more from these characters individually as they were so awesome and hilarious. Koyu Rankin voiced Atari, the young nephew of Mayor Kobayashi and the hunter of his lost dog Spots. His voice varied, as it sounded like an old man in some places, a 6-year-old in some other places, and exactly like a 12-year-old (the character’s actual age) in others. Spots was voiced by Liev Schreiber and his voice was spot on! At first, he sounds like an odd choice for a 12-year-old’s dog, but when you find out that Spots and Chief are long lost brothers, the similarity between Schreiber’s and Cranston’s voices make the film slightly more awesome. We also had Greta Gerwig voicing Tracy Walker, an American teen studying in Megasaki City who supports the canine rights. She was a fun character, but I find it a little hard to believe that a schoolgirl was able to bring down a corrupt government. Scarlett Johansson voiced a dog named Nutmeg, who was a great character but you could cut her out of the movie and it wouldn’t make much of a difference.

To my surprise, the music in Isle of Dogs was really good. It had no pop songs or anything modern but stuck to a traditional Japanese tone. It used gongs and drums and various other Japanese instruments and tones. This was amazing in the film and it was able to create music that suited every scene as well as being exciting and making the film more enjoyable.

1*9ShfYu0OoLPHETx7bXzuUA

Director Wes Anderson with the puppets used for the stop-motion animation in Isle of Dogs

The storyline and plot were smart but a little complicated. The expositionary voice irritated me a bit and the movie had too much of a backstory to understand. It would have been better to have the story of Mayor Kobayashi as a corrupt leader of Megasaki City who wants to eradicate all dogs because of the dog flu rather than the whole backstory of the history of the Kobayashi’s.

Admittedly, this film was quite interesting yet also quite forgettable. That being said, there were some great scenes. The first was the montage of Spots being transferred to Trash Island then the montage of all the illnesses on Trash Island.  It was so neat and great fun to watch and reminded me of something out of an Edgar Wright movie. I liked the scene where the dogs fought over the food, as it was funny. Then the film dies down a bit, but the cable car scene was quite interesting to watch. It was nice to see Chief and Atari form a relationship, then learn that Chief and Spots (Atari’s dog) are brothers. The ending was too long and drawn-out, and though it was a nice sweet happy ending, it just went on for too long.

I had a bit of trouble understanding this movie because I initially went in thinking it was a kids film but found myself mistaken. You must hand it to Wes Anderson and his animation team, led by Mark Waring. Every frame is handcrafted using puppets to create pure perfection and it looks stunning on screen. Check out this video to see how it’s done and a comparison to show what it looks like in the film. It’s truly amazing.

Isle of Dogs is a 7.3/10 for me. It’s such a great film, with beautiful animation from stop motion and incredible voice actors, but it lacked in a few areas and could have cut out some part and been clearer in others. It’s great fun to watch, and after watching you will have the utmost respect for the animators. Honestly, their hard work deserves to be recognised, as it’s truly fantastic.

Thanks for reading this weeks review. Next week, I’m in Bournemouth for some work experience with a bank, so it only seems appropriate to review a movie related to money. Next week’s review might be out a little late, but it’ll be a good one. It was one of my favourites for quite some time, but I’ll have to rewatch it to give you my true judgement. Follow my Instagram (@Ryans.Movie.Reviews) for the latest movie news, sneak peeks and chances to have your say on what I should review next and other fun topics! Don’t forget to like this post and follow my blog to stay up to date with my reviews.

Once again, thanks for reading this weeks review, and I’ll see you next week when I review a film related to money. See you then!

 

Back to the Future: Ryan’s Movie Reviews #27

Hello and welcome to Ryan’s Movie Reviews! 

I recently asked on Instagram what film I should review next. From Magic Mike to Tangled, and even Kangaroo Jack, there was a wide range of responses. One was Back to the Future, the famous 1980’s time travel film. I rewatched it and fell in love with it again. I promised to review it for last weeks review, but I just had to review Final Space (check out my review for it here), so I’m bringing it to you this week. 

From Steven Spielberg and Robert Zemeckis, Back to the Future is the story of Marty McFly, a classic 80s teen who’s in a band and is in a great relationship. Except, Marty is good friends with Dr Emmett Brown, a wacky scientist who invents time travel in a DeLorean using plutonium that he obtained from a trade with terrorists, but he scammed them. The terrorists soon realise that Doc scammed them and come to hunt him down. Marty escapes in Doc’s DeLorean and hits 88 miles per hour, the magic speed needed to travel through time. He winds up 30 years in the past, in 1955 and bumps into his teenage parents who haven’t even met yet. Now that Marty’s in 1955, he has caught the eye of his teenage mother. It’s up to Marty to help his parents meet, or he will change the course of history that leads to him and his siblings never being born. On top of all this, the DeLorean has broken down, so Marty must track down young Doc so he can fix the DeLorean and go back to the future. Get it?

Michael J Fox plays the role of Marty, and he did a fantastic job. For a young person when he filmed it, as well as juggling other roles, he was great. And Michael J Fox must have done a pretty damn good job playing Marty, as it is easily his most iconic character to date. This is more than evident in Back to the Future. The way that Fox plays a teenager who’s trying to wrap his head around all this sci-fi mumbo-jumbo is fantastic, and Fox brings elements of naivety and pluckiness to Marty’s character that makes the film even more enjoyable. Christopher Lloyd plays Doctor Emmett Brown, or Doc as he’s referred to for the majority of the film. He’s such an iconic character, and, like how it is for Marty, is arguably Lloyd’s most notorious role. The way that Lloyd executes his role is absolutely perfect, and I would honestly not change a thing about how Lloyd did it. He had the perfect blend of eccentricity with a hint of craziness and some good-heartedness (that’s a word, right?). The best thing about Back to the Future is the relationship between Doc and Marty. They’re easily one of the most iconic duos in the history of film. You have Marty, a kind of shy but sweet character paired up with Doc, an eccentric and wild character. It may not sound like something that goes well together, but the way that the actors play their characters is absolutely amazing. Crispin Glover played Mr George McFly, and I think he did a pretty good job as Marty’s nerdy dad. I don’t really have much to say on him, but the way that Glover made George a bit of a geeky loser was awesome. Lea Thompson played Lorraine McFly, Marty’s mother. I must say that Thompson’s character was hilarious, and it actually comes down to the acting from her. She was just the right amount of funny which was entertaining, but not so much where it ruined the film. The bully, Biff Tannen (because all 80’s movies needed some form of a bully) was played by Thomas Wilson. I honestly felt that there was no need for Biff’s character. We already had enough conflict with Marty trying to fix the DeLorean by locating young Doc in 1955 and his young mother having the hots for him, and having Biff there just seemed like something that Zemeckis wanted so that he could the pad the runtime, add a bit of humour and make Marty more of a hero. The way Wilson made Biff an unlikable character though was quite well done, but I still don’t really see Biff’s character as necessary.

Back_to_the_Future

Doc and Marty discover that the time machine works.

The plot and storyline are really smart and awesome, but it actually does have its holes. The film is executed is impeccably, but after some thought, you do spot some plot holes. For example, Marty is set on getting his parents together at the under the sea dance, but do they have to kiss at the exact time for everything to be as it was? Surely if they just got together at some point then everything would be ok? And Marty also meets his parents in 1955. Wouldn’t they think it’s weird that their son in 1985 looks exactly like him with the same clothes and voice and everything as they would remember him from their youth? Just think about it, maybe even rewatch the film, and you’ll see exactly what I mean.

Now for my favourite moments. The opening was fantastic. It set the tone of the movie perfectly well. You have the watches and clocks for the time element, the setting of the 80’s being established immediately and some great music in ‘The Power of Love’. I love the reveal of the DeLorean time machine. Even though it’s a bit stupid, as Doc had to get in the DeLorean, drive it into the truck, then close the truck to only open it again and reverse out of the DeLorean to then surprise Marty with his invention, it’s honestly just such an amazing and iconic scene in cinema history. Then with Marty escaping in the DeLorean to 1955, it is truly an amazing scene. When Marty first meets his dad in 1955, it’s a great and incredibly well-acted scene. Then it kind of dies down a bit, with trying to fix the DeLorean, getting young Lorraine to like young George instead of Marty (her son!) and beating up Biff. I have no shame in admitting that from the under the sea dance to the end of the film, it is perfect in my opinion. You have the awesome Johnny B Goode scene, getting back to the future, ending on the best line of the film. ‘Roads? Where we’re going, we don’t need roads.’

Back to the Future is one of my all-time favourite films, and gets an 8.4/10 from me. Awesome music, amazing characters and just such a great experience, Back to the Future is incredible. I will criticise its sequels though, more so Back to the Future 3. Of all times in history to go to, the Wild West?! Imagine how amazing it would’ve been to see trying to get the DeLorean working in Ancient Rome or in medieval times. And the premise for the sequels is the same. Travel in time, fix the time machine and go back to the present day with the possibility of setting up another sequel. It’s well worth mentioning the popularity of Back to the Future. You remember back on October 21st 2015 when it was Back to the Future day? Only some films get that recognition, like Star Wars. Back to the Future is no exception, and it’s because it has helped to mould films to how they are today. It’s like Jaws. It was the first film of it’s kind to play with a new idea that had such an amazing reaction from audiences then and is still loved today. And the ripple effects of just how popular Back to the Future was and is are still evident today. You will see endless parodies and references in TV shows (like Family Guy) and movies (most notably, Ready Player One) relating to Back to the Future. Even Rick and Morty basically riffed off this sci-fi classic. which is why it’s such a great and awesome film. 

Thanks for reading this weeks review. Sorry, it’s out late, but I returned from Turkey on Thursday morning. Follow my Instagram, @ryans.movie.reviews, for the latest in movie news, with behind the scenes and sneak peeks for the next blockbusters, and regular polls and chances to have your say. Also, follow this blog to be notified of when I publish my reviews, and you’ll be the first to read them!

Once again, thanks for reading this week’s review. Join me next week when I review a film about dogs. See you then!

 

Final Space – Season 1: Ryan’s Movie Reviews #26

Hello and welcome to Ryan’s Movie Reviews! As a heads up, this review will contain spoilers for season 1 of Final Space.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. ‘Last week he said he was going to review a classic sci-fi movie but he’s reviewed some random other thing.’ You’re not wrong. But, it’s not random, it’s sci-fi and it’s awesome. My friend Nick recommended it to me and at first, I was a little reluctant to watch Final Space. I even called it a Rick and Morty rip-off. I couldn’t be further from the truth.

Created by Olan Rogers (who also voices Gary Goodspeed), Final Space is the story of Gary Goodspeed, a man who is kept prisoner for 5 years in space on a spaceship called the Galaxy 1. Onboard the ship is KVN (pronounced Kevin), an irritable robot, the SAMEs, a bunch of duplicate robot servants and HUE, the AI system. While out in the galaxy somewhere, Gary meets Mooncake, an adorable but planet-destroying alien. Gary is soon wanted by the Lord Commander, who is hunting down Mooncake. Along the way, Gary and Mooncake meet friends like Avocato, Little Cato and Quinn, who all team up to stop the Lord Commander from kidnapping Mooncake and using him as a weapon to open up Final Space.

Final Space was such good fun to watch, and the best part of the series was the characters. Admittedly, there were characters that I didn’t like. KVN and Tribore were just so annoying, and Tribore basically did nothing. It’s Gary who is one of the best characters and steals the show. He’s so funny and awesome that makes him such a great character. The best thing about Gary’s character is how whatever Gary says is said in a way that will have you bursting out in laughter. He’s basically a funnier, blonde, animated version of Chris Pratt’s Star-Lord. Mooncake is an adorable alien who only says ‘chookity’, ‘pok’ and ‘woo’ (no he’s not a woo girl) but he’s also a planet-destroying being who is undeniably badass. I love Mooncake, and he’s the joint best character on Final Space, joint first with Gary. In joint second place for the best character in Final Space is Avocato and Little Cato. Despite the fact that I thought it was Avocado and Little Cado until I turned on the subtitles, this father-son duo was fantastic to watch on screen. More on them later as it’s a spoiler. Quinn is a good character, but she was a bit dry, and she was lacking in some areas. HUE was one of my favourite characters too, as for an AI he was very intelligent and witty. The SAMEs were also great characters who made me laugh a few times. The Lord Commander (who is voiced by David Tennant but doesn’t sound anything like him) is a good villain, but he kind of reminded me of Emperor Snoke from Star Wars, except we got a backstory for him.

One of the best things about Final Space is the animation. It’s so stunning and every little detail is taken into account. Whether it be Gary’s hair bouncing a bit after he stops running or a background detail that emphasises the mood, the animation was awesome. The animation comes from ShadowMachine, a company based in Los Angeles who has also animated for shows like Robot Chicken and BoJack Horseman. Final Space also uses imagery from NASA, which is incredible as it is a show set in space and actually uses footage from space in its show.

Before I go and talk about spoilers, it’s worth mentioning that the first half of Final Space was a bit boring, but from episode 6 to the end is absolutely amazing. It’s well worth a watch and I highly recommend it to everyone.

Screenshot_20180411-180851

KVN, Little Cato, Gary and Mooncake prepare for battle.

Now we enter spoiler territory. Do NOT read any further if you have not seen or completed Final Space Season 1. If you wish, scroll past this and to the next bold warning to read my final verdict. 

 

 

 

Wow. What a season. Action-packed, full of jokes and moments that will leave you in shock and awe. The biggest shock for me was Avocato’s death, as it happened all so quickly and I had to rewatch that scene to fully appreciate it. That’s a key turning point in the series as it’s where it takes a turn for the better and is so much more fun to watch. It’s also where Little Cato turns more badass in revenge for his father’s death. The final episode was one of the best though, especially the ending. The final showdown had too much going down, and it was hard to keep track of what was going on. However, I like how Olan Rogers and David Sacks (the creators of the show) started every episode off with a countdown of how long Gary has left to live, then recounting it in the last minutes of the final episode. Then in the last half-second of the episode, a light beams over Gary’s almost-dead body in space. What is it? It can’t be Quinn as she’s on the other side of Final Space. Is it Nightfall? Someone else? Guess we have to wait until 2019 to find out.

 

We are out of spoiler territory and it is safe to continue reading.

Overall, the first season of Final Space gets an 8.2/10 from me. It’s a blast to watch, and despite being a bit confusing at times as well as having some bad characters and sometimes looking like an over-animated showdown, Final Space has some great characters with hilarious comedy mixed in with awesome space action that will leave you wanting more.

Thanks for reading this week’s review. I’m off to Turkey today, and won’t be back until late next week, so expect a late review next week. Follow me on Instagram, @ryans.movie.reviews, for the latest movie news, behind the scene looks and everything else, and follow my blog to be the first to read my reviews.

Once again, thanks for reading this weeks review. Go watch Final Space, it’s first season is on Netflix now. Join me next week when I actually review a classic sci-fi movie. See you then!