‘Birdman (or the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)’ Official Review


The masterful ‘Birdman (or the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)’ is an experience that will profoundly resonate. From its pristine writing, to its carefully constructed direction and cinematography, to its genius casting and performances, ‘Birdman’ is just a dream of a movie.

The film tells the story of Riggan (Michael Keaton), a washed up actor who used to play a superhero icon called Birdman. In a valiant attempt to reclaim his career, he adapts, directs, and stars in a Broadway play. With problems from one of his very method actors (Edward Norton), assistant daughter (Emma Stone), emotional co-star (Naomi Watts), overly sexual girlfriend (Andrea Riseborough), flamboyant producer (Zach Galifanakis), and loving ex- wife (Amy Ryan), Riggan prepares for the breaking point of his career. This film eerily serves as a somewhat personal film to Michael Keaton, giving the mere fact that he was known for playing Batman, a comic book hero similar to Birdman. Keaton is an actor that proved time and time again that he can play virtually anything from heavy and hard hitting dramatic roles to silly and funny comedic roles.

‘Whiplash’ Official Review – A Lesson in Resilience and Study of Ambition


Andrew (Miles Teller) is a 19-year old student at a music conservatory in Manhattan. Terrence Fletcher (J.K. Simmons – absolutely brilliant) is a teacher at the conservatory with a ruthlessly brutal teaching style. After picking Andrew to play in the school band, he pushes Andrew to his limits in order to realize his full potential, at the risk of his humanity. Director Damien Chazelle has described the film as an origin story to the jazz musicians of the golden age, and it thrives on the myths of jazz heroes such as Charlie Parker. They’re urgently looking for the next Parker, in search of perfection.

J.K. Simmons nails this part! He’s a force of nature, with a terrifying presence that incites the fear Bryan Cranston achieved with the peak of his Walter White. In fact Chazelle has done a masterful job in casting the two leads in Teller and Simmons. Their respective acts are full of purpose, full of tension and ultimately terrific.

‘The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies’ Official Review #OneLastTime


“Will you follow me… one last time?” Peter Jackson has successfully pulled it off, he has concluded his inflation of Tolkien’s Hobbit into a triple-decker Middle Earth saga equivalent to the Rings trilogy, and more importantly made it something incredibly spectacular.

The film begins with us pitched right back into the chaos, as the dragon Smaug (superbly voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch) unleashes his fiery fury on Lake Town. Meanwhile the Dwarves have reclaimed Erebor and it’s treasures which they now consider their ‘birth right’ and the movie culminates into a gigantic battle of Orcs, Men, Elves and Dwarves… and an Eagle or two, all contesting their right to this unimaginable wealth. Meanwhile Gandalf is locked away in Dol Guldor, enchanted by evil from the returning eye of the Necromancer (also Cumberbatch), until the White Council arrives. This scene was certainly made to induce goosebumps as Galadriel, Elrond and Saruman the White join the show to save poor old Gandalf. I am a huge fan of Christopher Lee and was so glad he made this scene, albeit with the use of a lot of CGI (he is a fighting machine in this scene).

Meanwhile Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) is battling an internal crisis. Simply wading waist-high in piles of gold has turned his head, infected him with “Dragon sickness” and sent him delirious with power and greed. It is up to the humble Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) to break the toxic spell. The film finishes perfectly with an almost seamless transition to the Fellowship of the Ring, in fact when you get home having seen this, put it on and you will notice it fits astonishingly well.

One criticism I do have of this trilogy, is the at times overbearing use of computer generated effects. I have found that as the movie industry develops and technology along with it that films CGI use appears increasingly amateurish. If you watch the Lord of the Rings trilogy, the CGI goes by almost unnoticed, yet in this film it is all the more apparent, even Dain (Billy Connolly) rocks up as a complete computer generated character. Also the high frame rate used in this film does at times confuse the eyes, some scenes just turned into a fast motion blur as cameras panned in and out.

The Hobbit trilogy has been a bumpy but enjoyable ride, Peter Jackson has managed to preserve fantastic character and plot storytelling but gone are the days of real sets, with real armies. The Hobbit prelude now matches its far bigger counterpart the Rings saga in weight and action, maybe unjustifiably so. But we cannot deny that we loved it.

‘Interstellar’ Christopher Nolan’s Sci-fi Masterpiece is Spectacular


This is the only film I’ve ever seen where I actually needed 24 hours to allow the sheer excitement and emotional tension to thoroughly sink in. During the film I was on the edge of my seat, heart pounding and fists clenched.

I feel completely comfortable in saying Interstellar has easily met my pretty big expectations – which naturally comes with any Nolan film. I do however understand the somewhat mixed reviews I saw prior to the screening, because the film is very demanding of its audience and the solution and overall conclusion to the movie may not be for everyone (one cinemagoer left the film shouting “what a load of cock and bollocks”).

We open in a dusty (literally) planet Earth where blighted food supplies are dwindling and the world slowly dying, an underground NASA contingent is building a ‘space ark’ – a giant ship that will take mankind to a new home in the stars, providing the ‘problem of gravity’ can be solved by Professor Brand (Michael Caine).

Meanwhile pilot-turned-farmer Cooper (Matthew McConaughey – absolutely spectacular performance) is prompted by ghostly forces to lead an exploratory mission through a wormhole beyond the rings of Saturn, abandoning his family in search of a future for all humanity. What follows is a emotional rollercoaster – and the addition of inverted time shifts (an hour on a distant planet equals lost years back on Earth) adds to the emotional tugs that Cooper just wants to be home in time to take care of and see his kids grow up.

Intergalactic portals are breached, timescales shifted, science and faith reconciled. The only constant trait in this story is not time, space, nor gravity, but love – the story is both heartbreaking and mending. Although the end result may not be for everyone it nevertheless reaffirms Christopher Nolan as cinema’s leading man behind the camera, he has stamped his singular vision on to every single frame.

Christopher Nolan’s space opera is slow but beautiful to look at, huge, complex, terrifying and ultimately spectacular in every way. I found myself largely enthralled, often amazed and occasionally aghast by the sheer magnificence of it all.

Film ‘Diana’ bad reviews were devastating says director Oliver Hirschbiegel | Fail Movie


Oliver Hirschbiegel is best known for his amazing work directing ‘Downfall‘ a film about Hitler’s last days in his Bunker below Berlin. However his latest project saw him direct the critical flop and box office disappointment ‘Diana‘ – the poor reviews it received were ‘devastating’ he said. 

The film featuring Naomi Watts who said: Diana had given her approval from beyond the grave for her to play the part (what a load of bollocks), boasts just one positive write-up on the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes and has received nothing but 1-2 stars just about everywhere else. 

One review said: “The central failure is its desperate inability to make her even interesting,” and “Watts’s incarnation of the Princess is so wan and flat you wonder how anyone fell for her at all.”

Perhaps the reception came as a shock to Hirschbiegel, who just eight years ago was nominated for an Academy Award for Downfall, his acclaimed portrayal of Hitler’s final days. The director told the BBC that “In all the other places where it’s opened – in Poland, the Czech Republic, Turkey and Slovakia – it’s been very strong,” adding that he hoped people would “make their own minds up”.

In its opening weekend, Diana took more than £600,000 to finish in fifth place. A week later it lost more than half its audience – often a sign of poor word of mouth. Hirschbiegel claimed that “for the British, Diana is still a trauma they haven’t come to terms with.” – A tad patronising don’t you think, blaming an entire nation for the fact he has made a woeful film? 

He said the film’s reception in the UK gave him a sense of “deja vu, because it has the same reactions in the UK as Downfall had in Germany on release”. Hirschbiegel hoped that people would step back and look at it “afresh” in a year or so, “because it is a very British story and I am a very German director.” He added that Diana was “the most complex character I have ever tried to depict – more complex than Hitler. The one thing they both had in common was they were born actors”.

I find it hard to believe that Princess Diana was more complex an individual than Adolf Hitler don’t you? 

The Samsung Galaxy Gear Smart Watch | What’s the point?

After months of rumours and speculation, Samsung finally announced its Galaxy Gear Smart Watch. Unlike most of the new devices we’ll see this year – tablets, smartphones, TV’s – the Galaxy Gear is difference because it could potentially pave the way for an entirely new product category. But will it? Is there really a point?

The Look 

The Galaxy Gear is bigger than most watches and fairly clunky – especially on smaller wrists! Essentially it is a tiny, flat smartphone slapped onto a wristband – a curved screen would’ve improved it a lot. The screen is 320 x 320 pixel, 1.63-inch amoled touchscreen – menus look crisp but images, especially colored ones don’t particularly stand out.

The camera (yes it even has a camera) is located on the wristband, though i have no idea how good it really is. The home button can be found on the right side of the device – certainly the best place to put it.

All in all the device doesn’t look too bad and colour choice can greatly improve its looks depending on what your preference is. But overall fairly impressive for a first-generation device, aching to be refined down the road.


Lets be honest, this is not a replacement for your mobile phone. Its a companion kinda thingy, which can connect to your phone via bluetooth which then extends its functionality and ideally makes it less necessary to reach into your pocket for your phone (as if it was a difficult task).

It includes some cool features, the Memographer takes photos and videos directly from your wrist as well as the Pedometer which tracks your physical activities are nice enough to make you want to spend more time on the gear itself.

There is an array of apps available as well including RunKeeper and eBay, which are all released upon launch – however you can imagine how frustrating it might be to navigate eBay on that tiny screen.

Performance wise the device lacks. Maybe we are used to our superfast smartphones but the reactions are fairly sluggish on this Gear.

The device also boasts a 315mAh battery and voice functions. The Gear is priced at $299. It’s too early to tell, but for that amount of money, the Gear feels like it isn’t worth it.

Personally.. I don’t see the need for such a device, i have a real watch and everything else is provided by my phone. Having said that i am excited to see what Apple might bring to the table with the rumoured iWatch.

Green Day dominate Reading Festival 2013 | Dookie takes mainstage by storm

Reading Festival 2013

Green Day played an amazing set at this year’s Reading Festival headlining on Friday night. Similar to their warm up show at London’s O2 Brixton Academy on wednesday, the band played their third album, 1994’s Dookie, from start to finish in between some of their greatest hits for the insane 2 and a half hour set.

Billie Joe ArmstrongMike Dirnt Tre Cool came on to the main stage to a huge applause after they were introduced by a giant dancing pink rabbit which had the drummers name printed on the back.

The band kicked off with ‘99 Revolutions’, the title track to their current (now ended) world tour and then went straight into ‘Know Your Enemy’, during which Armstrong pulled a fan out of the crowd and up on stage to sing the track with him (lucky git).

Next was ‘Stay The Night’, Armstrong announced to the audience “This is no fucking party I have to admit. Come on, this ain’t any festival, this is the greatest festival in the world!” He also confessed “When i first started listening to punk music, i used to get my ass kicked. I was a freak. But now i’m amongst many, many, many freaks here tonight!” To which the crowd responded with huge cheers.

The band later conducted mass sing alongs for ‘Holiday’, ‘Wake Me Up When September Ends’ and ‘Boulevard Of Broken Dreams’, the latter of which saw Armstrong bow down to the crowd and collapse in a heap. 

The greatest moment however was when a huge backdrop of the ‘Dookie’ album cover appeared and Armstrong declared: “Ladies and gentlemen next year 2014 will mark 20 years of ‘Dookie’ so we’re gonna play it from the back to the front.”

The Dookie section of the set, which also saw the band play a brief cover of AC/DC’s ‘Highway To Hell’, culminated in Armstrong pulling out a huge water gun which he showered the crowd with during ‘St Jimmy’. He then pulled out a huge gun with toilet roll on the end and proceeded to cover the cameraman at the side of the stage. The singer finally pulled out a third smoking gun which fired out white T-shirts into the crowd.

As they wrapped up the set, the crowd sang along to ‘American Idiot’ and ‘Jesus Of Suburbia‘ before Armstrong closed the night with a solitary performance of ‘Brutal Love’ and ‘Good Riddance (Time Of Your Life)’.

Green Day played:

’99 Revolutions’
‘Know Your Enemy’
‘Stay The Night’
‘Stop When The Red Lights Flash’
‘Boulevard Of Broken Dreams’
‘Let Yourself Go’
‘Wake Me Up When September Ends’
‘Having a Blast’
‘Welcome To Paradise’
‘Pulling Teeth’
‘Basket Case’
‘Sassafras Roots’
‘Highway To Hell’/’When I Come Around’
‘Coming Clean’
‘Emenius Sleepus’
‘In the End’
‘St Jimmy’
‘American Idiot’
‘Jesus Of Suburbia’
‘Brutal Love’
‘Good Riddance (Time Of Your Life)’

‘Total War: Rome 2’ London event & gameplay opinion | Best PC game ever?


Although i can’t call myself a ‘hardcore fan’ of the Creative Assembly Total War series (having joined in at the second game Medieval) it has definitely kept my attention throughout. For those of you who don’t know of the Total War games, they are based at key periods in history and although you as a player to command & govern the nation of your choosing around that time period in a sandbox mode. Whilst including historical events, for example the Crusading wars of the medieval era, you ultimately have the control to say whether or not your nation is involved alternatively on a bigger scale you may be playing as the British Empire during the American War of Independence and win the war, claiming all of North America in the name of Queen & Country. The Total War series thus far has covered the following:

  • Shogun: Total War – set in feudal Japan
  • Medieval: Total War – set in medieval Europe
  • Rome: Total War – Set in the roman republic
  • Medieval II: Total War – the sequel to the original set in medieval europe
  • Empire: Total War – set in the 18th century of european empire building
  • Napoleon: Total War – set during the Napoleonic wars in europe
  • Total War: Shogun II – sequel to the original set in 16th century / medieval Japan
  • Total War: Rome II – latest installment returning to the era of the Roman Empire

Rome: Total War was by far the biggest innovation in the series, it took the game from flat characters to 3D ones with a huge system overhaul expanding the game dramatically. Now Creative Assembly have returned to the era of the Roman Empire for a sequel where the graphics and game has once again been completely overhauled. Ranging from the Spanish coast to the exotic kingdoms of the east Rome II allows the player to command various factions such as Rome, Carthage, Macedon, Sparta & many more.

Last wednesday i was fortunate enough to attend a Creative Assembly gathering in Soho, London where i had the opportunity to play the game itself. Firstly it is stunning, the in game graphics have reached a level never before seen in a game of this level, Roman Legions have never looked so awesome. The terrain detail was extremely detailed and the realism of the water, games have just never looked this beautiful. The visual spectacle of hundreds of soldiers clashing on the battlefields of Total War: Rome 2 is certainly a sight to behold. Surveying the battlefield and seeing tiny troops from a distance offers a sense of the huge scale of the battles, while focusing the camera on an individual soldier offers real in depth viewing with amazing animations.


Many fans will welcome the improvements to the AI system in Rome II, it will now take full advantage of terrain during skirmishes, maneuvering to attack you from the side or rear. It’ll also keep reserves during battles in order to reinforce failing lines, during city sieges it even recognises areas of strategic importance and will go out of the way to place units in guarding positions leading up to say markets or forums. The Ai is constantly evaluating the battlefield and reacting to every movement you make which ensures that conflicts are much more than just two sides charging head on at one another.

The campaign map looks superb, much bigger than the previous game and so many additions from city building to even introducing edicts in your regions to please the people and influence politics. The prologue allows you to play through the days of early Rome, before the region of Italy was unified, really taking you down the roots of history.

Total-War-Rome-2-5I am really excited for this game, i am quite literally counting the days down till September 3rd. And may i also say a huge thank you to Creative Assembly, not only for creating this masterpiece but also throwing the event in London last week and allowing us all to meet some of the team behind it. Check out the gallery below.