Friday, 19 December 2014

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies - The scoop and digest

Originally subbed There and Back Again, buckle up and ride with me for the last time.

Plot details and/or spoilers will engage in combat.

Middle-earth ends for:

Martin Freeman - Bilbo
Ian McKellan - Gandalf
Richard Armitage - Thorin
Orlando Bloom - Legolas
Bard - Luke Evans
Manu Bennett - Azog
John Tui - Bolg
Saruman - Christopher Lee

Still pissed at taking a golden shower, Smaug sets about decimating Laketown until Bard poops on his party when handed the Black Arrow by son Bain.

It seems Phil 'The Power' Taylor may have some competition as he cornily scores a direct hit.

A dragon slayer is born.

In the aftermath of the town's destruction, the survivors set up shop in Dale.

While searching tirelessly for the fabled Arkenstone inside the Lonely Mountain, Thorin has contracted 'dragon sickness' because Smaug brooding over Erebor's gold has brought a curse.

Why is everybody else immune?

Err.

At Dol Guldur, Galadriel and Saruman help defeat several Nazgul and rescue a weakened Gandalf.  Principal bad boy Sauron appears to tempt Galadriel but she casts him out from whence he came.

Orc head honcho Azog is planning an imminent assault on Erebor and sends his son Bolg to ambush elsewhere.

Even though Bilbo has already handed over the Arkenstone to the elf contingent so Thorin can be appeased, the stubborn sod's having none of it.

Cousin Dain Ironfoot II arrives with his crew of armoured dwarves to give these bastards a hammerin'.

War beasts (trolls with on-board weaponry) are summoned to assist in the Orc rampage.

During all that jazz, Legolas and Thorin resume unfinished business with Bolg and Azog respectively.

Legolas takes care of son but due to the sheer weight of his rock and chain weapon, Azog goes under ice.  However, he drags himself up and gleefully stabs Thorin with makeshift arm but crucially, our baddie gets the point even more...

Before succumbing to his wound, he and Bilbo make amends.

Hairy foot bids farewell to Thorin's remainder and heads back to the Shire with Gandalf.

Upon return, his estate has been sold off.

111 years hence, his older self welcomes a visit from an old friend.

Overall, a fairly satisfying conclusion to a mediocre trilogy.

We never wanted a very short book to be stretched over three films and compressing all into a single epic would have definitely sufficed.

Speaking on behalf of hundreds and thousands, I'm relieved it's over.

My first complaint is the death of Smaug.  Yeah I know it's inevitable, but to paraphrase a John Lennon song, give dragon a chance.

Did Benedict Cumberbatch care?  No.  This is easy money.

Dwarves were labelled 'scum' and 'filth' in the first and second respectively but this time, Orcs keep derogatory remarks to themselves as the insult baton is handed to their enemy.

There isn't much plot, script can be awful and those supporting the main course cannot act for toffee.

Two sequences deliver knockout referencing blows.

At some point, Legolas assumes control of a war beast and I swear Peter Jackson has played God of War and the only thing missing was executing button and analogue stick prompts.

When Azog goes under the ice, Renny Harlin's Cliffhanger jumps instantly to mind.

The scene in question is when mountain ranger Gabe Walker (Stallone) gets the better of Rex Linn's crooked federal agent Travers who takes a swim to Arizona.

There's only one more avenue to go down but obtaining rights for The Silmarillion is a billion miles away.

If it does become a reality, five chapters surely means five films.

Please God no!

Season's greetings and until next year folks.

Friday, 12 December 2014

The Pyramid - The scoop and digest

How in Giza was the Great Pyramid built?

Regardless of theory, nobody knows.

Clutching at canopic jars, I'd suggest those who somehow moved unfathomable weight didn't possess brutish strength, but just adopted construction techniques beyond scientific explanation.

Released by Fantasy Software in 1983, there was a Spectrum puzzle-cum-shmup bearing the same title, with the C64 game coming in 1984.

For reasons unknown, a dude in a submersible is tasked to find a way out of dodge.

An endless stream of bizarre enemy types are out to halt progress and in order to exit each screen, bombing a barrier by collecting colour-changing diamond is how one gets out.

Choice of exit determines your next 'chamber' and from apex, the only way is down.

Getting that off my retro chest...

Produced by Alexandre Aja and directed by collaborator Grégory Levasseur, a found footage horror of sorts endeavours to emulate all that came before.

Plot details and/or spoilers will be excavated.

Keeping things not under wraps include:

Ashley Hinshaw - Nora
Denis O'Hare - Holden
James Buckley - Fitzie
Christa Nicola - Sunni
Amir K - Michael Zahir

In 2013, a team of American archaeologists discover a lost pyramid buried in Cairo for x amount of years.

Along for the ride are experts father and daughter Holden and Nora, cameraman Fitzie (or Fitz), robotics geezer Michael and journalist Sunni.

Hi-tech robot Shorty takes a peek but 'something' shuts visuals down.

Once the gang are inside, bearings are soon lost.

After floor collapses, Sunni climbs a shaft but is attacked by an unknown creature.

They try to run, fail to hide, but do break on through to other side.

It turns out these animals are scrawny cat sphynxs and main monster is Anubis.

Michael is killed off screen, (presumably by the devourer of impure souls) while Sunni reacts badly to spikes.

The survivors find a burial chamber and ceiling reveals the star that shines brightest paves the way to freedom.

Holden's heart is taken and because beating organ fails to restore balance to the scales, yummy yummy for Anubis's tummy.

Fitzie and Nora ascend a ladder but our baddie is hot on their heels...

She gets a little tied up and Fitzie's face is crushed like an insect.

Releasing herself with a convenient cutting tool, cats climb on his back and attack.

Well open my sarchophagus, I remember something like that happening in Jurassic Park when the last Raptor foolishly tries its luck against the T-Rex...

Anubis puts a downer on Nora's escape and brings closure to a truly awesome experience.

Congratulations Mr Levasseur, your film has achieved the astonishing feat of being even worse than As Above, So Below.

Apart from a fairly well done three-sided and fictitious environment, hieroglyphs conclude there is nothing; truly less than nothing to recommend climbing this mountain of FUCKING misery.

The script is impossibly amateurish, CGI makes Mega Shark, Sharknado et al seem big budget and why does it take so bastard long for Anubis to rip Nora's heart out, as the same courtesy isn't extended to anybody else?

Inept cliche at its deplorable best.

Robbie Coltrane's sharp drinking, chain smoking, gambling washout Dr. Edward Fitzgerald in Jimmy McGovern's Cracker detests anything other than 'Fitz' and because the bearded Jay can have identical nickname and/or variation - a very strange coincidence exists.

Something I prefer to forget is Fitz was the American adaptation of Cracker.

Clunge seeking sex pest does his best, but ultimately gives a useless performance.  Denis O'Hare of American Horror Story and True Blood fame is disappointing and the others unfortunately take too long to die.

"Terrifying - you'll want your mummy."

Oh sorry, I'm just predicting what some asshole will state on cover art next year.

They say a worthless artefact may become priceless in the years to come but expecting this to follow suit is delusional optimism.

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Horrible Bosses 2 - The scoop and digest

Less Colin Farrell of course, Sean Anders reunites an ensemble cast and hopes to build on Seth Gordon's largely entertaining 2011 original.

Plot details and/or spoilers are held to ransom.

Fools and tools include:

Jason Bateman - Nick
Charlie Day - Dale
Jason Sudeikis - Kurt
Chris Pine - Rex
Jennifer Aniston - Dr. Julia Harris
Jamie Foxx - Motherfucker Jones
Chritoph Waltz - Burt
Kevin Spacey - Dave

Dale, Nick and Kurt struggle to market the Shower Buddy, until mega rich father and son Burt and Rex Hanson agree to invest in their business venture, providing 100,000 units are manufactured.

Predictably, things go tits up and they're left with a massive debt to contend with.

After deciding to kidnap Rex, they visit Jones who advises it is best to have the kidnapped take a little trip to dozy land.

Aside from chloroform, what's the best way to force forty winks?

Watch a boring film?  Suffer the incoherent ramblings of an uncharismatic lecturer?

Yes and no, but gas always does the trick, which they steal from Julia's place of employment.

Nick gives the sex-addicted, naughty nymph what she craves and they escape with a tank of nitrous oxide.

At Rex's house, the idiots accidentally put themselves under...

They find Rex hiding in their boot and informs staging his own kidnapping is an ideal way to screw his father out of millions, hence why he personally increased the group's original ransom demand of half a million to five.

Burt involves the police and realising that money is more important than offspring, Rex breaks down quicker than a hammer to glass.

Taking pity on him, they form an unlikely alliance and assist Rex in the farce.

At the ransom drop, Rex shoots his father dead and double-crosses the gang so he can inherit the family fortune.

Motherfucker arrives and planning to claim the fortune for himself, rescues them from imminent arrest.

He drives them back to the warehouse and makes off with the money, where the gang find Rex all tied up.

Just as the police are about to arrest the gang, Rex's mobile goes off and the ringtone is recognised to be the same as the one left to Burt by the kidnappers.

Rex takes police chief Hatcher hostage and before the desperate is subdued, Dale takes a bullet.

In the aftermath, Dale recuperates in hospital and the police agree to drop all charges.  Julia and Dale's wife Stacy make peace but the Doc worries Dale as she intends to make a lesbian out of her.

Dave subsequently purchases the Shower Buddy business and Motherfucker uses his recently acquired windfall to invest in Pinkberry.

Ahead of credit roll, an outtakes reel is always worth sticking around for.

Sudeikis enjoyed greater success when given a Hall Pass with Owen Wilson and alongside Aniston in We're The Millers.

It starts promising enough but gags run out of steam.

Unlike Katy Perry's ringtone, nothing should make one roar with laughter.

Let's just say Ruthless People went about its business in a far more professional manner.

The leads carry on where they left off but Aniston, Spacey and Foxx are only here because they have to be.

Still, Pine impresses with a strong and quirky performance.

If the third ever happens, role reversal is the obvious progression but if not, we'll get over it.
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