Top 5 Movies of 2000-2004

1. Lord of the Rings Trilogy (2001/2002/2003)

Possibly the greatest fantasy films ever, I’m counting all three together because they are all from the same original story and are all released in this time period. It’s so rare to have a cannon of films which all receive similar praise, even The Godfather trilogy has a fall with their third film, but all three of these films are deservedly considered incredibly. Along with all the best fantasy films Lord of the Rings has great acting, high tech CGI (although it’s beginning to look a little dated), a good script and a wonderful soundtrack which combine to make great films but also realistic fantasy. It’s rare for a fantasy film to get popular appeal and be recognised by the awards, this trilogy won 17 Oscars in total and get 8.8/8.9 on IMDb which shows that these films are successful in all possibly ways within this industry. Unfortunately The Hobbit films barely compare to Lord of the Rings, but I guess getting a good thing three times around is difficult, let alone trying to make it happen 6 times.

2. Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)

These films keep rolling out but the first is still the best so they really need to stop making more. It’s got a fantastic cast of characters from the memorable Jack Sparrow, to the kick-ass Elizabeth Swan but then also the bland Will Turner. Pirates are always fun, as long as they’re the fictional swash-buckling kind, and this film creates a wonderfully fun and charming take on the pirate stereotype. It’s one of those films where people of any age leave the cinema wanting to hop onto a ship and sail for treasure, and those are the bet kinds of films. You can’t go wrong with this film, but you can go wrong with making too many pointless sequels (please stop).

3. Love Actually (2003)

The best rom-com ever, this is the rom-com to end all rom-coms, if you want to watch a rom-com this is the rom-com for you. It’s got a great cast, is funny, has multiple plots for which ever type of love story you like, and it’s set at Christmas time so there is always an excuse to watch it when the weather get a little cooler. I can’t deny that I’m a fan of Richard Curtis, from his films to TV work he’s excellent, and this is a good example of the kind of stuff he does, charming, funny and very British. This film also isn’t overly sentimental, obviously there are a lot of cheesy moments, but there is also more alternative versions of love. If you want to watch a rom-com, this is the one to watch, whether for your first time or your 100th re-watch, watch Love Actually.

4. Belleville Rendezvous (2003)

A French animation with little/no dialogue but a very catchy song, what could be better? Everyone knows Pixar, Disney and Studio Ghibli but Sylvain Chomet should be another name that people who like animations are aware of. It is odd, be aware of that, there are Mafioso types who melt into each other, a tiny grandmother with uneven legs, and ageing singers who fish for frogs with bombs for their dinner. It’s a typical French film where you just have to accept what you’re seeing rather than questioning, because then you can enjoy it for what it is. If you’re looking for a slight alternative to the more common animations, then this is amazing. 

5. Moulin Rouge (2001)

Not everyone’s favourite musical, but as someone who really likes cover song and Baz Luhrmann  this is an amazing musical for me. It’s a very pretty film with distracting costumes and colours if you don’t like the rest of the film. It’s a slightly flimsy plot, about misidentity and passionate love, but there is enough plot to keep you interested in between songs. Seeing Jim Broadbent singing Queen is one of the best thing you will see in the history of film. It’s another film that you shouldn’t take too seriously and just enjoy it for what it is, Jim Broadbent singing and a lot of bright colours. If you don’t like musicals, maybe try this one, if you like musicals I assume you’ve already seen it.

Top 5 Movies of 2005-2009

So, I accidentally chose all 5 films from 2009 but I’m not going to change that because these were my favourite films. Obviously 2009 was a vintage year!

1. District 9 (2009)

The most under-rated sci-fi film, although the director, Neill Blomkamp, and the star, Sharlto Copley, are now getting more recognition with Blomkamp’s larger budget Elysium and Copley being in Maleficent. For a relatively small budget the CG created aliens are amazing, especially because they’re so intricate, and it’s interesting to see aliens shown as neither the enemy or the friend but as complex characters. The film is in a mocumentary style and then falls away from that, I love mocumentaries and the fact Blomkamp doesn’t stick too rigidly to it. The most disappointing thing about this film is that it feels incomplete and I am still hoping for sequel eventually. Worth watching even if you’re not a fan of traditional sci-fi because it doesn’t take place in space and deals with very human issues.

2. Up (2009)

With the greatest opening of a film ever, Up never gets boring even after re-watching it thousands of times. Up taps into a lot of basic human fears about living life to the fullest and achieving your goals, which is what makes this film so amazing for a wide range of people. It has an annoying but oddly loveable cast of characters, with the grumpy Carl, endlessly chatty Russel and desperately friendly Dug, and you want all of these characters to just be happy because they all suffer from loneliness, another very common feeling. Up is also a very beautiful because it is animated with such colour and vibrancy, one moment in particular was when the balloons filled a little girls room with multi colour lights is very memorable. It’s a typical Pixar film, family friendly and with a lot of heart. 

3. 500 Days of Summer (2009)

This is such a lovely, charming film and it does make you fall in love with Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s Tom but unfortunately a lot of people hate Summer because she is the one who breaks Tom’s heart. This is quite a misinterpreted film, I’m not sure how it’s meant to be interpreted but it’s not meant to be a pure love story and yet everyone thinks of it as such, it’s almost more of a cautionary tale about falling in love too quickly. Aside from the story, the film is created beautifully, with Marc Webb incorporating interesting techniques like an Expectation vs. Reality split screen or a shot which is transformed into a sketch. It’s one of the better rom-coms because it doesn’t deal with The One, but rather shows a realistic portrays of a transitional relationship, which is rare to see. Along with being a cute but realistic film, it’s also funny, so it’s a good film for a date night (maybe) because hopefully everyone can enjoy it.

4. Inglorious Bastards (2009)

Everyone loves a bit of Quentin Tarantino and this is one of his most approachable films because it isn’t quite so abstract and stylised as Kill Bill or Pulp Fiction, and deals with a very common filmic topic of WWII. It’s wonderful to see a big Hollywood film filled with European or bilingual actors who can actually speak the languages, Tarantino even makes fun of the American actors trying to speak Italian, and it is nice for a Hollywood film to actually cast people correctly rather than just getting big stars and trying to train them to speak in certain languages or accents. Everything about this film is masterful, from cinematography to script to acting, and this makes for an enjoyable watch for the casual viewer and film buffs. It’s also funny, bloody and fast paced (for a 153 minute film) so you don’t get bored, despite the length. It’s just a very good, well made and fun film, so I find very little reason that it shouldn’t be on this list.

5. Star Trek (2009)

I haven’t seen anything else in the Star Trek cannon but this film creates an exciting alternate universe from the originals to introduce a new generation to the franchise. It’s a good sci-fi action film that introduces the characters and world really well, which allows the old fans to understand the differences between this version and the previous ones, as well as new fans to get a grasp on everything. The story was really interesting, because it’s about parallel universes and time jumps, etc. which I think is a popular subject for most sci-fi fans because it’s so interesting, and this also allows these films to head off into a different direction than the earlier version. It’s brave to remake a very popular franchise, because although you will definitely make money you will also suffer from fan-boy hate, however this film’s popularity is testament to the skill and care of its creators. For a fan of sci-fi, you can’t go far wrong with Star Trek.

Top 5 Movies of 2010-2014

This will be a 5 part series where I pick my 5 favourite films within 5 year time periods, enjoy :)

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1. Life of Pi (2012)

This is one of the greatest films ever, not just of this time period, because it is visually flawless but also manages to make the story of a boy in a boat fascinating (something that I felt that the book didn’t do). Also, any film that shows animals in such a positive, respectful and realistic light makes me happy. The veteran director Ang Lee creates another stellar film but doesn’t rest on famous actors, instead casting the unknown Suraj Sharma in the lead, which shows the strength of his conviction in his film not needing big names to draw in the audiences. You could watch this film with the sound off and just enjoy how beautiful it is and the superior CGI, however I do feel that it will begin to look dated as a lot of films do because technology is constantly advancing and we become more aware. Life of Pi is a film that I not only enjoyed but I believe is a master-class of film-making and I hope that it is one of those enduring films in the future.

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2. Inception (2010)

Confusing to some but enjoyable for all, with an amazing cast, director and writer this film couldn’t really fail and certainly didn’t disappoint. The film was advertised in such an odd way that I remember going to the cinema without a clue of what will happen and, to be honest, throughout the film I was a little confused, but after millions of re-watches it actually makes sense. It’s a typical Nolan film with a lot of complexities and subtleties, so if you like Nolan’s style then this will be for you, and if you don’t watch it anyway! This film is dripping with stars, worthy of their fame, and carries Nolan’s name which is possibly a reason for its initially success, however the film itself that has made it endure. The best thing about this film was that everyone walked out excited, thinking and discussing which is what a film should make its audience do.

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3. Toy Story 3 (2010)

I am a major Pixar fan girl, so obviously Pixar will appear on some of these lists, and the Toy Story trilogy are three equally amazing films and an incredible trilogy. Toy Story 3 does what the other two did, introduces amazing new characters, makes you fall in love with the old ones again, and spends 100 minutes focusing on a charming story. The first film came out 15 years before this, and this means that many of the little ones who watched the first were grown and therefore the emotional kick behind this narrative hit home for a lot of people. It has the Pixar heart of humour mixed with emotion and works so well for children and adults. This film is one of the most emotive Pixar films, making most people cry at some point, and would be a fitting end to the trilogy, although I think (and hope) it will become a tetralogy.

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4. The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)

Although this is a recent discovery, it is a great one, because this film is so charming, witty and beautiful that it jut makes me smile. Similar to Inception because it has a big cast and very famous director, so it was going to successful but, again, the actual film lived up to expectations and quickly became my favourite of this year so far. It’s another beautiful film and focuses on every little detail to ensure that each shot is perfected. The plot was good, although when writing this review I forgot what it was so clearly the film focuses less on the major plot but rather focuses on the more minor details, which is fine because you never lose the point of the film, you just don’t focus on it. Sometimes Wes Anderson films go over my head but this one was perfect, so even if you’re not a Wes Anderson fan you could try this film to ease yourself in; I think the main tip is to just go along with everything that happens without quetioning it.

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5. The Intouchables (2011)

I do like a good French film but rarely find films in foreign languages funny because there is a barrier because of the reading and linguistic nuances, but this film was laugh-out-loud funny. I’m surprised it didn’t get more Oscar attention, but I suppose the ‘foreign language’ film award is generally given to more emotive films. Despite being overlooked by the American awards this film is an impressive balance of humour and emotion so that you care about the characters and like them. It’s one of the few French films that I’ve seen but if more are like this I hope French films become more commonly shown in England. Both actors are going on to do more English/American films and I would love to see the writers/directors to also do a film in English, just so that I can fully appreciate one of their films (especially with my lazy nature).

Orange is the New Black - TV programme for Netflix
★★★★★

5 word summary:

Shawshank with women (and better)

5 sentence review:

I started watching this because Netflix wouldn’t stop promoting it and I had seen a lot of positive things about it online so I caved, and I’m so glad I did because now I’m re-watching it because it was so good.
It has a lot of obvious positive traits, such as a large female cast  (of different shapes, sizes and races), gay characters, social commentary, transgender character, etc. and this is actually  what made me hesitant to watch it in the first place because I though that was what everyone loved, rather than the programme itself.
I was pleasantly surprised that not only were there diverse female characters, but well written ones; storylines were interesting and heartfelt; the humour is on point; and everything about the programme draws you into their world and the characters’ lives so that you care and are interested. 
The plots are slightly extreme to add to the humour and drama, such as the chicken story, however they never go too far into the realms of the unbelievable that you disengage (I now really want to read the book to see how close to the original authors version it is).
I couldn’t really recommend this programme enough, because there is a little something for everyone and it’s only 26 hour in total (2 seasons with 13 episodes) so if you’re really committed you can watch it in just over a day (although it took me 5 I think).

5 good things:

1. The characters (my favourites are Nichols, Morello and Poussey)

2.  It’s funny

3. Hair and costuming is amazing (looking at how the prisoners look outside of the show)

4. Most of the back stories are so good and well integrated within the main storyline (I normally don’t like dual narratives but they make this work very well)

5. ‘Scatter the nuns!’ - my favourite quote

5 bad thing:

1.  Not enough of Nichol’s back story (I forgot it had even happened until I re-watched the programme)

2.  Some of the lines are incredibly cheesy and overly metaphorical

3.  Vee was quite cliché, pantomime villain, compared to all the other nuanced character she stood out a bit.

4.  I don’t think many people care what is happening outside of the prison, and yet they keep showing us and making big stories happen outside.

5.  This kind of makes me want to go to prison….

Orange is the New Black - TV programme for Netflix

★★★★

5 word summary:

Shawshank with women (and better)

5 sentence review:

I started watching this because Netflix wouldn’t stop promoting it and I had seen a lot of positive things about it online so I caved, and I’m so glad I did because now I’m re-watching it because it was so good.

It has a lot of obvious positive traits, such as a large female cast  (of different shapes, sizes and races), gay characters, social commentary, transgender character, etc. and this is actually  what made me hesitant to watch it in the first place because I though that was what everyone loved, rather than the programme itself.

I was pleasantly surprised that not only were there diverse female characters, but well written ones; storylines were interesting and heartfelt; the humour is on point; and everything about the programme draws you into their world and the characters’ lives so that you care and are interested. 

The plots are slightly extreme to add to the humour and drama, such as the chicken story, however they never go too far into the realms of the unbelievable that you disengage (I now really want to read the book to see how close to the original authors version it is).

I couldn’t really recommend this programme enough, because there is a little something for everyone and it’s only 26 hour in total (2 seasons with 13 episodes) so if you’re really committed you can watch it in just over a day (although it took me 5 I think).

5 good things:

1. The characters (my favourites are Nichols, Morello and Poussey)

2.  It’s funny

3. Hair and costuming is amazing (looking at how the prisoners look outside of the show)

4. Most of the back stories are so good and well integrated within the main storyline (I normally don’t like dual narratives but they make this work very well)

5. ‘Scatter the nuns!’ - my favourite quote

5 bad thing:

1.  Not enough of Nichol’s back story (I forgot it had even happened until I re-watched the programme)

2.  Some of the lines are incredibly cheesy and overly metaphorical

3.  Vee was quite cliché, pantomime villain, compared to all the other nuanced character she stood out a bit.

4.  I don’t think many people care what is happening outside of the prison, and yet they keep showing us and making big stories happen outside.

5.  This kind of makes me want to go to prison….



22 Jump Street (2014) - Sequel to 21 Jump Street
★★★★☆

5 word summary:
Better than the first one.
5 sentence review:
I wasn’t expecting much from the first film but was presently surprised, and the same happened with this one; they really stepped up their game and managed to improve on an already good thing.

The new characters we all really good, especially of Zook and Maya, and they added to the humour of the film without trying to overshadow Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill’s characters, and replaced Dave Franco without making me miss him.

The plot was definitely put aside in favour of the comedy, but that is ok because they delivered on the laughs and part of the joke was that the film was a little repetitive, clichéd and excessive, so everything worked really well.

It’s difficult to analyse this film because the basics are: if you want to laugh this is a good film for you, it’s especially good for people (like me) who want to de-stress after their uni exams.

I hope that there is a third because the films definitely don’t disappoint, however I am wondering where they would go next.
5 good things:
1.  It’s actually funny.
2.  So self aware and so amazing, ‘it’s looks just like an ice cube!’
3. Good use of new/old characters.
4. Despite being quite long for a comedy, it didn’t feel long.
5. The credits were very clever.
5 bad things:
1. College is just not how it’s portrayed in films
2. There seems to be a suggestion that they don’t want to do another one (although with all the good reviews about this, I’m sure there will be a third)
3.  Why does Jonah Hill always get the girl? And the incredibly pretty girls at that.
4. The villains/twist wasn’t great, although it was quite redundant anyway because the jokes are more important than the plot.
5. Struggling to think of any more…

22 Jump Street (2014) - Sequel to 21 Jump Street

★★★

5 word summary:

Better than the first one.

5 sentence review:

I wasn’t expecting much from the first film but was presently surprised, and the same happened with this one; they really stepped up their game and managed to improve on an already good thing.
The new characters we all really good, especially of Zook and Maya, and they added to the humour of the film without trying to overshadow Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill’s characters, and replaced Dave Franco without making me miss him.
The plot was definitely put aside in favour of the comedy, but that is ok because they delivered on the laughs and part of the joke was that the film was a little repetitive, clichéd and excessive, so everything worked really well.
It’s difficult to analyse this film because the basics are: if you want to laugh this is a good film for you, it’s especially good for people (like me) who want to de-stress after their uni exams.
I hope that there is a third because the films definitely don’t disappoint, however I am wondering where they would go next.

5 good things:

1.  It’s actually funny.

2.  So self aware and so amazing, ‘it’s looks just like an ice cube!’

3. Good use of new/old characters.

4. Despite being quite long for a comedy, it didn’t feel long.

5. The credits were very clever.

5 bad things:

1. College is just not how it’s portrayed in films

2. There seems to be a suggestion that they don’t want to do another one (although with all the good reviews about this, I’m sure there will be a third)

3.  Why does Jonah Hill always get the girl? And the incredibly pretty girls at that.

4. The villains/twist wasn’t great, although it was quite redundant anyway because the jokes are more important than the plot.

5. Struggling to think of any more…


Maleficent (2014) - Newest Live action Disney retelling
★★★☆☆

5 word summary:
Good, goes bad, goes good. 
5 sentence review:
I was really excited for this film, especially because I love villains, but I was sadly disappointed when it turned out that they decided to give Maleficent a (rubbish) back-story and reasons behind what she does, and go even further to then try to reverse her bad way.

I was hoping that the bad plot decisions would be compensated for a beautiful film, but really it just looked obviously CGI, you could even clearly see how much make up was on some of the actor’s faces (young Maleficent in particular) and that ruined things a little bit for me.

Aside from the bad points this was actually quite well cast, Jolie was perfect and I was really pleased to see Sharlto Copley and Sam Riley, who I’ve seen in other things and think they’re very good; however Aurora and the fairies were not as strong, although I don’t think it was the fairies fault,  I think that problem was down to bad scripting and bad CGI (again).

The magical creatures in this were very creative, with tree guards and crow-animals, and that was enjoyable to see someone’s creativity coming out while still maintaining the original creatures (like Maleficent’s crow and the dragon).

Overall, this film is worth seeing, but not necessarily paying for, maybe if it’s on TV; just before there was a trailer for the original Sleeping Beauty and frankly it just made me wish I was watching the original rather than this remake. 5 good things:
1. Angelina Jolie looks amazing!
2. Sharlto Copley and Sam Riley were really good and I’m glad they’re in such a big film.
3.  The crow wolf/horse/dragon looked awesome and were a good idea.
4. ‘Once Upon A Dream’ is amazingly redone (although not used in the film other than the end credits).
5.  Adorable cameos from Angelina Jolie’s children.
5 bad things:
1. Why can’t villains just be villainous? Why do they need reasons for everything?
2.  It seemed as though 90% of the cast were putting on accents, just hire people with the actual accents.
3.  Also, try to hire child actors who can act. 
4. There were a lot of awkward close-ups of people staring or smiling.
5. The fairies were annoying and a little pointless, definitely not as good as the original three.

Maleficent (2014) - Newest Live action Disney retelling

★★★

5 word summary:

Good, goes bad, goes good.

5 sentence review:

I was really excited for this film, especially because I love villains, but I was sadly disappointed when it turned out that they decided to give Maleficent a (rubbish) back-story and reasons behind what she does, and go even further to then try to reverse her bad way.
I was hoping that the bad plot decisions would be compensated for a beautiful film, but really it just looked obviously CGI, you could even clearly see how much make up was on some of the actor’s faces (young Maleficent in particular) and that ruined things a little bit for me.
Aside from the bad points this was actually quite well cast, Jolie was perfect and I was really pleased to see Sharlto Copley and Sam Riley, who I’ve seen in other things and think they’re very good; however Aurora and the fairies were not as strong, although I don’t think it was the fairies fault,  I think that problem was down to bad scripting and bad CGI (again).
The magical creatures in this were very creative, with tree guards and crow-animals, and that was enjoyable to see someone’s creativity coming out while still maintaining the original creatures (like Maleficent’s crow and the dragon).
Overall, this film is worth seeing, but not necessarily paying for, maybe if it’s on TV; just before there was a trailer for the original Sleeping Beauty and frankly it just made me wish I was watching the original rather than this remake.

5 good things:

1. Angelina Jolie looks amazing!

2. Sharlto Copley and Sam Riley were really good and I’m glad they’re in such a big film.

3.  The crow wolf/horse/dragon looked awesome and were a good idea.

4. ‘Once Upon A Dream’ is amazingly redone (although not used in the film other than the end credits).

5.  Adorable cameos from Angelina Jolie’s children.

5 bad things:

1. Why can’t villains just be villainous? Why do they need reasons for everything?

2.  It seemed as though 90% of the cast were putting on accents, just hire people with the actual accents.

3.  Also, try to hire child actors who can act.

4. There were a lot of awkward close-ups of people staring or smiling.

5. The fairies were annoying and a little pointless, definitely not as good as the original three.

X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014) - Latest film in the X-Men franchise
★★★★☆

5 word summary:
Let’s just change everything, ok?
5 sentence review:
This film in currently very highly rated on both IMDb and Rotten Tomatoes, so I was expecting a lot, and wasn’t disappointed.

It literally can’t go wrong with characters because they have new faces, old faces, old old faces; a little something for everyone to keep you interested and happy but hopefully not overly confused (although I had no idea what most of the new characters’ names where when I left the cinema).

The story is mildly confusing, especially because they jump between times occasionally, but a lot of the points where I was thinking, ‘what?!’ were then explained later in the film, so I think as long as you’re paying attention and willing to occasionally look over any minor plot holes, then you’ll be ok.

I must say the plot became slightly annoying, because it was repetitive, firstly the humans were against the mutants and then Magneto and Mystique were against the humans, and all this caused a whole lot of problems that everyone has seen before (in most of the X-Men films).

Despite some more minor gripes this was a very good film, superhero or otherwise, and it stretched itself beyond blockbuster into more complex social/psychological explorations, which all the best films do. 5 good things:
1. Amazing sentinels 
2. Excellent new characters (particularly Quicksilver and Blink)
3.  Old characters/cast members returning.
4. There are moments that are genuinely funny.
5.  Peter Dinklage’s hair/make up/costume/moustache/glasses
5 bad things:
1. I think (I’m not 100% sure) that the future part was only meant to be 50 years from the past part, but it looked much more futuristicly different than is possible (in my opinion). 
2. Mystique’s skin looked painted.
3.  Not enough focus on the amazing future time
4. Mystique and Magneto just being their same old, annoying, ‘kill everyone, that’ll sort everything out’ ways.
5. Was Hugh Jackman too veiny when he first woke up in the past? It was worrying.

X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014) - Latest film in the X-Men franchise

★★★

5 word summary:

Let’s just change everything, ok?

5 sentence review:

This film in currently very highly rated on both IMDb and Rotten Tomatoes, so I was expecting a lot, and wasn’t disappointed.
It literally can’t go wrong with characters because they have new faces, old faces, old old faces; a little something for everyone to keep you interested and happy but hopefully not overly confused (although I had no idea what most of the new characters’ names where when I left the cinema).
The story is mildly confusing, especially because they jump between times occasionally, but a lot of the points where I was thinking, ‘what?!’ were then explained later in the film, so I think as long as you’re paying attention and willing to occasionally look over any minor plot holes, then you’ll be ok.
I must say the plot became slightly annoying, because it was repetitive, firstly the humans were against the mutants and then Magneto and Mystique were against the humans, and all this caused a whole lot of problems that everyone has seen before (in most of the X-Men films).
Despite some more minor gripes this was a very good film, superhero or otherwise, and it stretched itself beyond blockbuster into more complex social/psychological explorations, which all the best films do.

5 good things:

1. Amazing sentinels

2. Excellent new characters (particularly Quicksilver and Blink)

3.  Old characters/cast members returning.

4. There are moments that are genuinely funny.

5.  Peter Dinklage’s hair/make up/costume/moustache/glasses

5 bad things:

1. I think (I’m not 100% sure) that the future part was only meant to be 50 years from the past part, but it looked much more futuristicly different than is possible (in my opinion).

2. Mystique’s skin looked painted.

3.  Not enough focus on the amazing future time

4. Mystique and Magneto just being their same old, annoying, ‘kill everyone, that’ll sort everything out’ ways.

5. Was Hugh Jackman too veiny when he first woke up in the past? It was worrying.

Godzilla (2014) - Film remake of various other films

★★★★☆


5 word summary:
Godzilla is the good guy! 

5 sentence review:
I am judging this film based on the decision that it is very, very self-aware and pointing out that it is a remake/typical blockbuster because there were so many points that were so obvious that I feel they had to be poking fun at themselves.
You have, mad/obsessed scientist because he’s lost his love; children in a bus trapped on a bridge; the main woman is a nurse and the main man is a soldier; the government has been hiding secrets for ‘the greater good’ and it gets messed up; it rained during the final sequences. 
These things can’t just be there accidentally, one or two clichés, yes, but almost every aspect must be tongue in cheek.
Mostly, the way Ken Watanabe said ‘Godzilla’ just screams that they knew what they were doing, and I so hope that they were aware of what they were doing.
This hasn’t been a review, but rather me trying to rationalise that this film is good but you need to be aware that it is aware (I’m now sounding as obsessed/odd as Bryan Cranston’s character) but I feel as though you could enjoy this film so much, if you think that every cliché is put there purposefully.  
5 good things:
1.  Despite clichéd points, there were some surprises 
2.  Self awareness
3.  Parachuting/skydiving bit looked really amazing
4. The cast was good
5.  Some of the main people actually died

5 bad things:
1. The other monsters were kind of boring
2. The fight sequences seems to yield no wounds at all. One of the things had wings and they weren’t even punctured.
3.  Literally stole the ending from The Dark Knight Rises 
4. It doesn’t really pass the Bechdel Test, which shouldn’t be allowed in a film that will undoubtedly be watched by millions. 
5. Not enough of the main people died for it to be believable.

Godzilla (2014) - Film remake of various other films

★★★

5 word summary:

Godzilla is the good guy!

5 sentence review:

I am judging this film based on the decision that it is very, very self-aware and pointing out that it is a remake/typical blockbuster because there were so many points that were so obvious that I feel they had to be poking fun at themselves.

You have, mad/obsessed scientist because he’s lost his love; children in a bus trapped on a bridge; the main woman is a nurse and the main man is a soldier; the government has been hiding secrets for ‘the greater good’ and it gets messed up; it rained during the final sequences.

These things can’t just be there accidentally, one or two clichés, yes, but almost every aspect must be tongue in cheek.

Mostly, the way Ken Watanabe said ‘Godzilla’ just screams that they knew what they were doing, and I so hope that they were aware of what they were doing.

This hasn’t been a review, but rather me trying to rationalise that this film is good but you need to be aware that it is aware (I’m now sounding as obsessed/odd as Bryan Cranston’s character) but I feel as though you could enjoy this film so much, if you think that every cliché is put there purposefully. 


5 good things:

1.  Despite clichéd points, there were some surprises

2.  Self awareness

3.  Parachuting/skydiving bit looked really amazing

4. The cast was good

5.  Some of the main people actually died

5 bad things:

1. The other monsters were kind of boring

2. The fight sequences seems to yield no wounds at all. One of the things had wings and they weren’t even punctured.

3.  Literally stole the ending from The Dark Knight Rises

4. It doesn’t really pass the Bechdel Test, which shouldn’t be allowed in a film that will undoubtedly be watched by millions.

5. Not enough of the main people died for it to be believable.


Bad Neighbours (2014) – Film starring Seth Rogen and Zac Efron

★★★☆☆

5 word summary:
 
American universities are very confusing.

5 sentence review:

I’m calling this Bad Neighbours because that is what it is called in my country, hopefully no one will get confused (there is a picture).

This film is funny, which is important for a comedy, it isn’t laugh after laugh but there are moments when you do just chuckle for a while (I particularly liked the air bags).
The whole cast are pretty strong, and I can understand why Efron is the main frat guy(?) but they have a lot of talented actors in the fraternity and I think they could have utilised them more than for small comical sequences (although I suppose they wouldn’t be a comedy).

The story was quite odd because they were worried about the fraternity but it seemed like a simple solution could be resolved by complaining to the head teacher and a compromise being made that the fraternity won’t return next year…but again, then there wouldn’t be much of a film.

It’s enjoyable for a stupid comedy but I was expecting it to be as surprisingly good as 21 Jump Street, and I feel as though it didn’t get to that level (although it actually currently is 0.1 higher on IMDb so what do I know?).

5 good things:

1. The couples relationship made me happy.

2. The parties looked interesting…colourful.

3. The other fraternity members (other than Efron) were good).

4. Dave Franco’s De Niro impression. 

5. Toplessness


5 bad things:

1. Excessive nakedness.

2. The annoying/crazy friends cliché.

3. Only 1 real female character (and she looks perfect while Seth…does not).

4. The fact it is called ‘Neighbours’ except for the countries where ‘Neighbour (the soap) is aired.
5. I feel as though the babies will be traumatised when they see this film.
Bad Neighbours (2014) – Film starring Seth Rogen and Zac Efron
★★★
5 word summary:
 
American universities are very confusing.
5 sentence review:
I’m calling this Bad Neighbours because that is what it is called in my country, hopefully no one will get confused (there is a picture).
This film is funny, which is important for a comedy, it isn’t laugh after laugh but there are moments when you do just chuckle for a while (I particularly liked the air bags).
The whole cast are pretty strong, and I can understand why Efron is the main frat guy(?) but they have a lot of talented actors in the fraternity and I think they could have utilised them more than for small comical sequences (although I suppose they wouldn’t be a comedy).
The story was quite odd because they were worried about the fraternity but it seemed like a simple solution could be resolved by complaining to the head teacher and a compromise being made that the fraternity won’t return next year…but again, then there wouldn’t be much of a film.
It’s enjoyable for a stupid comedy but I was expecting it to be as surprisingly good as 21 Jump Street, and I feel as though it didn’t get to that level (although it actually currently is 0.1 higher on IMDb so what do I know?).

5 good things:
1. The couples relationship made me happy.
2. The parties looked interesting…colourful.
3. The other fraternity members (other than Efron) were good).
4. Dave Franco’s De Niro impression.
5. Toplessness
5 bad things:
1. Excessive nakedness.
2. The annoying/crazy friends cliché.
3. Only 1 real female character (and she looks perfect while Seth…does not).
4. The fact it is called ‘Neighbours’ except for the countries where ‘Neighbour (the soap) is aired.

5. I feel as though the babies will be traumatised when they see this film.

Animation Week (Day 5): 5 Best Claymation Animated Films

1. The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (2005)

This pair are possibly my favourite duo in films, and it’s shocking to think that there are only 4 shorts and one feature film and yet these are such recognisable and well loved characters. Going from 20-something shorts to a nearly 90 minute picture must have been difficult but this film maintains the charm and nuances that make the Wallace and Gromit films so enjoyable. The film is hilarious, with a vegetable eating bunny on the loose, and the secondary characters, voiced by fantastic actors, add to the film and support W & G well. Also, how they make hairless, clay bunnies cute is beyond me but they manage it. Watch this film and then go and check out A Grand Day Out because the difference between the quality is phenomenal.

2. The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

This is one of the greatest animations ever but my love of Wallace and Gromit triumphed, although I’m sure this film would have topped a, lot of other people’s lists. This is such a wonderfully dark animation and the oddity of everything makes it extra beautiful to watch. It’s so interesting to think that it follows most of the basic Disney principles, a love story, songs, discovery of magic, and yet it is much a step away from the familiar formula as well. A lot of people have mentioned that they can’t decide when toy watch this film, Christmas or Halloween? Personally, I would recommend watching it any time, any day, but if you want to watch it as a holiday film, pick both Christmas and Halloween.

3. Mary and Max (2009)

Similar style to Nightmare Before Christmas because of the use of monochrome colour a and a dark diversion from traditional animation methods, but this film is a lot darker. Mary and Max follows two troubled characters who find each other, however they can’t help each other to their fullest extent because Mary is in Australia and Max is in America. It’s an odd mixture of cute, endearing but then also sad, heart-breaking. If you’re less of a fan of children films but still want to watch an animation (for whatever reason) this is the one for you. The director/writer hasn’t done much else, which is a bit sad, but hopefully more will be coming from him.

4. Chicken Run (2004)

Such a weird film, but so good because it is very aware and accepting of its own oddness. It’s also similar to Lion King where they take a familiar classic idea (Hamlet/The Great Escape) and apply it to animals….the natural progression where I hope all films will get to in the end. It’s another weird one where there are featherless chickens (like the hairless bunnies) but they are still believable and kind of cute. It’s genuinely funny but unfortunately there are some moments that are meant to be dramatic and they fall a little flat due to the general tone of the film (I’m thinking especially of a bit where there is dramatic rain but it looks so odd on the smooth chickens). I never thought that I would be rooting so intensely for a chicken, but you do when watching Chicken Run.

5. James and the Giant Peach (1996)

A hybrid of live action and animation which blew my mind when I first saw this. It’s my least favourite style of animation, because it’s reminiscent of Nightmare but has a more creepy/spikey feel to it. The plot also wanders around, the scene in the sea with pirate skeletons is particularly useless although enjoyable. Joanna Lumley and Miriam Margolyes as the aunts are wonderful and satisfyingly horrible and terrifying. There are a lot of flaws in this film, but it is still incredibly good and worth watching (but if you don’t want to then just read the book).

Animation Week (Day 4): 5 Best Studio Ghibli Films

1. Castle in the Sky (1986)

This is a slightly odd film and reminds me somewhat of The Goonies, possibly because it’s about children running from fairly bumbling baddies that are a mother/sons partnership. I have to say, like The Goonies, I found the villains quite benign and therefore dull, you don’t expect people in children films to die, but I would like there to be more of an effort made to make me think that they are in some type of danger. Like most Ghilbi films, it’s mystical and wonderful but also a lot of fun because of the almost steampunk vibe. However, the reason this is my favourite film isn’t necessarily the plot, but instead the main character Pazu who is just the loveliest character, throughout the whole films I was just admiring how polite and kind he was. Because it’s Ghilbi it’s beautiful and worth watching even if it hadn’t made this list.

2. Howl’s Moving Castle (2004)

I grew up reading Howl’s Moving Castle so once I found out about this film I needed to watch it, and although it is quite different from the book, it’s an amazing interpretation and the changes made don’t detract from the story. The castle is so amazing, detailed and marvellous (if you haven’t seen the film just google ‘Howl’s room’ and imagine people drawing that. Sophie and Howl, as the leads, are wonderful and you can definitely fall a little in love with Howl, but the secondary characters (particularly Markl and Calcifer) are so much fun and memorable. Oddly, the cast is huge, with Christian Bale, Billy Crystal and child actors who are now famous like
Josh Hutcherson, animations often have very impressive casts but this one is particularly surprisingly wonderful. I’m going to probably mention it in every review, but this is a beautiful film and enjoyable, there’s very little negative to say.

3. My Neighbour Totoro (1988)

This is probably the most famous and recognisable Ghibli film and rightly so, so many of the sequences feel iconic when you are watching them and everything is so happy. It really captures the magic of childhood, or at least how childhood feels (because I’ve never met a giant cat/bear/thing). The problem that I have with this film is that the mother is ill, apparently, but we don’t really know anything else about it so I don’t know how to feel about that situation and therefore it seems as though it isn’t important, even though an ill mother is very very important. All the little creature creations, from Totoro to the dust balls(?) are delightful so you can see why there is a big market for stuffed Totoros. This is probably one of the Studio Ghibli films that everyone should watch just to have a basic knowledge of the studio (probably along with Spirited Away).

4. Grave of the Fireflies (1988)

The saddest and most serious Ghibli films, not what I was expecting so be prepared, this is not a magical romp through childhood but like being dragged through history. Not a lot of fireflies, this is not about fireflies, furthering the diversion from traditional Ghibli the title isn’t so obviously connected to the film. The story is so heart breaking and I was hoping the ending that was hinted at wasn’t going to happen all the way through because you just want the children to be ok (and I’m generally quite cold -hearted). It’s set at the end of WW2 and based on a semi-autobiographical book, so the mixture of truth and fiction adds to the distressing nature of this film. If you’re in the mood to cry, you can check this film out.

5. Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989)

So cute, perfect level of cute in a film. As someone who loves witches and cats this film would have been perfect for me to watch as a child but unfortunately I think the first time I saw it, I was 19. Kiki would also be a wonderful person to cosplay as because it’s so simple but obvious who you are with the bow and a broomstick/cat (just a slight tangent in this review). The story just ended rather abruptly which confused me, the end credits began rolling before I realised it had ended, but other than that the story is very good. It’s yet another thing that makes me so sad that I’m not a witch but at least I can watch this on repeat and pretend I am.

Animation Week (Day 3): 5 Best Dreamworks Films

Quick note: I’m excluding collaborations with Aardman Studios because I’m going to do a ‘5 Best Claymation List’

1. Shrek (2001)

So go, so so good. Lovely idea of twisting all the best known fairytales and their common tropes making for a hilarious film which challenges its audience’s expectations. I, as an introvert, enjoy seeing an introverted character who is endlessly happy as an introvert. Shrek 2 is also very good, especially with the addition of Puss, The Fairy Godmother and Charming, however after that the sequels become significantly poorer (and they’re still getting made). It’s very funny, enjoyable and endearing, but, to be honest, I doubt there are many people I need to tell that to because it seems as though everyone has seen and liked Shrek.

2. How to Train Your Dragon (2010)

I haven’t read the book that this film was adapted from, but my Dad said that the book doesn’t even compare to the film (which is a nice change). It’s a magical story for children and adults alike because little Hiccup gets to transcend his dreary world after discovering dragons (everyone’s dream, right?) In addition to the story the film is so pretty pretty with flying scenes and the animation of the dragons being cat-like and really well researched (or as well researched as it can be for a fictional creature). The really odd mixture of adult Scots and American children makes no sense but I guess realism doesn’t necessarily apply to this film. It’s a wonderful film but I’m very glad it didn’t come out when I was younger because my dragon obsession would have been fuelled no end.

3. The Road to El Dorado (2000)

Such an underrated film (I seem to keep mentioning underrated films on these lists) but this is one of the most charming and quotable comedies and not enough people quote it constantly (as me and my friends do). It’s a very typical story about two men who go to El Dorado but then they realise that there is more to life than money…Slightly moralistic narrative but they get away with it because the friendship between Miguel and Tulio is phenomenal and perfect. The best thing about this film is the unrelenting humour however the jokes come thick and fast and you need to be paying attention because it is less slapstick an obvious than films such as Shrek. If you haven’t seen this film, watch it with a friend because there can be a lot of joy in quoting Miguel and Tulio’s lines at each other.

4. Antz (1998)

I watch Annie Hall this weekend and it was my first Woody Allen film with Woody Allen in it that I’ve seen, all I could think while watching the film was ‘Oh my goodness, he’s the voice of Z’. I had a lot of ants in my childhood, with this film and A Bug’s Life, but I think this bug based movie was my favourite. It’s one of the most oddly animated things ever, the antz look so weird but things like water and nature look really pretty. I love films that show a familiar world from a different perspective and Antz has a very memorable scene of a picnic from an ant’s perspective and that kind of thing makes me happy. The final scene, trying not to give anything away, is wonderful and such a marvellous use of having so many ants (hint, hint, go watch the film!)

5. The Prince of Egypt (1998)

Forget VeggieTales, Dreamworks knows how to tell a Biblical story. It’s difficult to analyse this film because I don’t know how truthful to the original text it is, and I don’t necessarily care as long as the film is good, but I do feel as though religious interpretations should be honest to their texts because some people will get a  warped understanding of religion. The people are fairly simply animated but the rest looks really beautiful, there is one sequence, where Moses splits the sea, when the animation is stunning. Moses does become very self-righteous, which is one of my pet-peeves in characters, although some may argue that he has the right to be. It’s a great film and doesn’t alienate anyone because of its religious context. 

(P.S. I’m so sorry for how many brackets I’ve used. I don’t know where this obsession began but hopefully the bag habit will end. It’s probably due to my limiting of 5 sentences during reviews so maybe it will never end unless I stop my obsession with 5).

Animation Week (Day 2): 5 Best Disney Films

1. Lion King (1994)

Possibly one of the greatest films ever made and it’s odd to think that this is an animal adaptation of Shakespeare’s Hamlet (the premise doesn’t sound promising but works incredibly well). From the music to the beautiful drawn animation this film demonstrates superior film making skills. Additionally to how good the music sounds, the voice actors are phenomenal, although I have to say that I’m surprised that Matthew Broderick played adult Simba. It’s definitely one of the Disney films that is as enjoyable for adults as it is for children. This is also one of the few Disney films with a decent sequel (which I actually debated putting on this list).

2. Mulan (1998)

Disney’s ultimate female power film, even though the best song is I’ll Make a Man Out of You, this film shows that you don’t need to be a man to be awesome and badass (woohoo!) It’s one of the most progressive Disney films because it is about cross dressing, Asian, soldier which is a little different from the traditional Disney formula. The music, not just the songs but also the score, is really pretty and powerful; the interestingly named ‘Haircut’ is particularly good. It’s nice how in this film there are animal sidekicks who cannot talk, but the one who does talk is explained as magic (this might sound odd but it makes everything feel a teeny tiny bit more realistic). One of my favourite things about this film is that the love story is more interesting, not only because Shang might have been very confused for a short while, but also because the characters actually got to know each other well before they walked off into the sunset.

3. Treasure Planet (2002)

The most underrated Disney film. For a sci-fi fan Disney is low on supply but this film marvellous and need so much more recognition. It’s a familiar and well told story and it’s quite similar to The Muppet’s Treasure Island because of the odd mixture of aliens/puppets. Again, I’m going to mention music, because despite the fact that this isn’t a musical there is one of the greatest songs ever, I’m Still Here, which is very similar to Iris in the way it sounds. This film needs to get much more recognition as one of the greatest Disney films rather than one of the forgettable ones.

4. Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996)

Another under appreciated film. This one shows a man triumph over oppression and adversity but because he’s not a beautiful princess, no one cares. Furthermore, Frollo is bloody terrifying, he’s possibly the best Disney villain ever because he’s not magic he’s cut crazy, and Hellfire is one of the most epic songs and animation sequences Disney has ever produced. I haven’t read the original book, I know the ending is a lot darker, but I don’t know how much Disney has changed the story, regardless it’s quite depressing and he doesn’t even get the girl in the end. The Hunchback definitely doesn’t follow Disney’s traditional formula, but that’s why it’s so great because it’s really unique within the cannon.

5. Hercules (1997)

This film is about a lot of misfits who either work with or against each other to achieve a greater good, and it’s wonderful. I love the colours of this film, it is definitely made for children with how each of the Gods is a different colour, but I like that. Hercules is one of the most light-hearted Disney films, although there are sad/dark parts, but even the villain is funny and likeable if you look past his touches of evil. Some of the humour is quite shouty and slapstick but it suits the excessive style of Grecian myths. One of the main reasons people should watch Hercules is to just gather a basic knowledge of Greek mythology which is especially good for children.

Animation Week (Day 1): 5 Best Pixar Films

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1. Up (2009)

Charming, funny and beautiful. Fascinating story about dealing with the loss of a loved one and seeking adventure. The main reason this is my number one is because of the flawless opening sequence which, to this day, is one of the greatest cinematic openings ever. You’ll laugh, you’ll genuinely cry and you’ll leave the cinema smiling. What more could you want from a film?

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2. Toy Story (1995)

This film is filled with amazing characters, not just Woody and Buzz, who can make any adult or child laugh. The soundtrack for this film was particularly strong, especially with Randy Newman’s amazing voice put to the opening credits. Considering how old the animation is, it doesn’t look too dated and is a testament to Pixar as not just great story-tellers but also astonishing animators. This, as a first film, is possibly the strongest start a company can ever have. Toy Story captures the magic of childhood in a way few other films have managed to do.

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3. Toy Story 3 (2010)

A great way to (potentially) end this trilogy. Similar to Toy Story 2, this adds in a few new characters to help keep momentum going (and generate more merchandise). This came out when I was turning 18 so the growing and leaving things you love behind really hits home for me, and many people in my generation. Yet another Pixar film that will make you feel every emotion under the sun. I don’t know if there will be a 4th, or if it’s even necessary but a 4th instalment would be welcomed by me.

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4. Wall-E (2008)

Probably the prettiest Pixar film, they even managed to make living in a wasteland look romantic. Wall-E is somehow one of the most endearing characters even without really speaking and no recognisable facial movements. Although it can be read as slightly preachy about Global Warming, it’s told in such a friendly way that most people won’t mind. The love story, which is quite rare in Pixar films, is so endearing and enjoyable but doesn’t overtake the plot. I can’t believe that Pixar managed to make, what is essentially, a dystopian film and still make it charming.

5. Monster’s Inc (2001)

Probably the funniest of Pixar’s film but it doesn’t shy away from the sentimental stuff either. Pixar do pairing very well (Woody and Buzz, Marlin and Dory) but Mike and Sully are my favourite friends. Watching this after having seen Monster’s Uni, I was shocked at how simplistic the animation is (go back and re-watch, it’s weird) but Pixar were so ambitious for their time, especially with Sully’s fur, it’s amazing that it looked as good as it did. I was even some how converted into liking little Boo, which is another achievement because I am an adamant child disliker. I was so pleased when Monster’s Uni came out, but I do want a sequel to see how Boo turns out.

P.S. Having finished this list I keep thinking of all the other Pixar films that could be here. Top 5 really does chop and change depending on how I’m feeling. To be honest, you can’t go wrong with any Pixar film, so this list is almost irrelevant. Left it until the end to say so though ;)

Captain America: The Winter Soldier - Newest Marvel film

★★★★☆
5 word summary:
You can’t trust anyone, ever.
5 sentence review:

Probably the best Marvel Studio film that I’ve seen, although I do say that as someone who isn’t very interested in any of the Avengers (prefer X-Men or Spiderman).

When I came home I explained it to my parents as a Marvel film with much more focus on the plot than simply ‘look how cool superheroes are!’ (Although there was also so many great fight sequences and general inner-5-year-old wonderment).

We are given a little more about a lot of the characters, from Nick Fury to Black Widow, and everyone (even Captain America) comes across as more human, showing tears and flaws rather than being excessively bad-ass all the time.

The film does have a slight feeling of being a filler film, it sets up a lot and helps to introduce/develop characters for future events; of course all these films are interconnected so there is filler/linkage in all of them, but sometimes I felt it quite strongly in this one (possibly because it’s the one directly before the big one, The Avengers).

The two end of credit scenes were really interested and worth waiting for, I’m so excited to see how Winter Soldier’s character develop and hope that Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver will be as good a villains as Winter Soldier was.5 good things:
1. The cast (especially the new-comers).
2. The fight sequences.
3. The Winter Soldier = awesome.
4. Explosions!!
5. Abed?!
5 bad things:
1. So many bullets and yet so few people actually hit (why does no one shoot at Captain America’s legs? The shield doesn’t cover his entire body).
2. Some of the dialogue was very cheesy (which is ok for the Captain, but not for Natasha).
3. Why is Black Widow in every other film but still not her own?
4. Why is there always a black side-kick but not a black superhero with their own film?
5. Some scenes felt unnecessary.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier - Newest Marvel film

★★★★☆

5 word summary:

You can’t trust anyone, ever.

5 sentence review:

Probably the best Marvel Studio film that I’ve seen, although I do say that as someone who isn’t very interested in any of the Avengers (prefer X-Men or Spiderman).
When I came home I explained it to my parents as a Marvel film with much more focus on the plot than simply ‘look how cool superheroes are!’ (Although there was also so many great fight sequences and general inner-5-year-old wonderment).
We are given a little more about a lot of the characters, from Nick Fury to Black Widow, and everyone (even Captain America) comes across as more human, showing tears and flaws rather than being excessively bad-ass all the time.
The film does have a slight feeling of being a filler film, it sets up a lot and helps to introduce/develop characters for future events; of course all these films are interconnected so there is filler/linkage in all of them, but sometimes I felt it quite strongly in this one (possibly because it’s the one directly before the big one, The Avengers).
The two end of credit scenes were really interested and worth waiting for, I’m so excited to see how Winter Soldier’s character develop and hope that Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver will be as good a villains as Winter Soldier was.

5 good things:

1. The cast (especially the new-comers).

2. The fight sequences.

3. The Winter Soldier = awesome.

4. Explosions!!

5. Abed?!

5 bad things:

1. So many bullets and yet so few people actually hit (why does no one shoot at Captain America’s legs? The shield doesn’t cover his entire body).

2. Some of the dialogue was very cheesy (which is ok for the Captain, but not for Natasha).

3. Why is Black Widow in every other film but still not her own?

4. Why is there always a black side-kick but not a black superhero with their own film?

5. Some scenes felt unnecessary.