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Wrath of the Titans: Bland Action Sequel
Hades (Fiennes) and Ares (Ramirez) have conspired to kidnap Zeus (Neeson) and use his power to break Kronos, king of the titans and father of Hades, Zeus and Poseidon (Huston), out of Tartarus, where his three sons had imprisoned him after they overthrew him. Only Perseus (Worthington), Zeus’ demigod son, can avert this calamity and save the world. Accompanied by Queen Andromeda (Pike) and Poseidon’s demigod son Agenor (Kebbell), the trio try to find a way to free Zeus from the underworld so he can help them in the fight against Kronos.
The film’s plot fulfils only one purpose: to connect the various fights and battle scenes together. Seriously, don’t question anything or you’ll uncover a ton of gaping plot holes. And while these fights are initially pretty cool, after Perseus has fought a chimera, Cyclops and a Minotaur, you start to get kind of bored and then there are still battles with Hades and Ares and Kronos to sit through. And while the fights /mythical creatures look good, there’s nothing particularly exceptional about them that’ll hold your attention for the entire film.
The film looks blandly pretty in a sand-strewn kind of way. Everything looks good but nothing stands out or grabs your attention. These swords and sandals flicks are a dime a dozen and after last year’s Immortals, the bar has been raised tremendously on eye popping visuals. Unoriginality seems to be a common thread here because the 3D is absolutely wasted. It’s mainly used only to chuck a bunch of rocks at the audience. There are some scenes that are pretty eye popping though. Perseus, Andromeda and Agenor trying to navigate their way through a labyrinth to get to Kronos comes to mind. The labyrinth’s walls shift, tilt and rearrange themselves while the trio try to get through it before they’re squeezed to a bloody pulp or tossed off the edge.
The most surprising thing about the film is how it’s filled with heavyweight actors who are barely recognisable. Both Fiennes and Nighy were unrecognisable under their costumes and wigs. But the problem wasn’t just in their appearance. These two actors who are usually pretty electric just weren’t even trying. And it wasn’t just them either. Worthington continues his quest to blend into the background of every film he’s in and Neeson sleepwalks through his dignified, wise man shtick.
Wrath of the Titans can be summed up in three words: beige, bland, and forgettable.
Based on real events, Love and Honor - Danny Mooney’s directorial debut – follows one American soldier in his fight for love. However, with it’s glossy, squeaky clean façade, the romantic drama does very little to stir the emotions within.
Set in the late 60’s, the story opens up in the jungles of South Vietnam where two soldiers, best buds Pvt. Mickey Wright (Hemsworth) and Pvt. Dalton Joiner (Stowell) are making their way through the hidden dangers of the tropical forest. Mickey and his arrogance ensures that Dalton – the more edgy of the two – keeps his cool and stays alive in order to return home to his long-time love and girlfriend, Jane (Teegarden).
After the twosome successfully escape the grips of death, they go on a leave of absence; the idea of exploring the Southeast Asian brothels seems like an appealing idea to Mickey, but after receiving a disturbing ‘Dear John’ letter from Jane, Dalton has other plans. Informing him that it’s better if they go their separate ways, Dalton is desperate to win her back, and decides to go home for the week with Mickey following for moral support.
However, upon their arrival they soon discover that the free-thinking youth movement has taken over, including Jane, who has now decided to go by ‘Juniper’. With their presence immediately causing negative attention, the soldiers claim to be peace-seekers deserters. This lie causes Juniper to rethink her feelings for Dalton, whilst Mickey finds comfort in the arms of her best-friend and fellow flower child, Candace (Palmer).
Pinned up high against the backdrop of the Vietnam War, Love and Honor hopes that the up-and-coming Aussie star, Liam Hemsworth will bring in the much-needed credibility and appeal. However, even he found it impossible to overcome the story’s careless script and mechanical ways. Hemsworth’s presence will undoubtedly leave young teenage fans weak at the knees, but as far as his performance goes, the young actor fails to turn the film into anything more meaningful than just another teenage-romance flick. The same goes for his partner-in-crime Stowell, although he managed to bring a bit more versatility to his role. As the boys’ love interest, Palmer and Teegarden were a little too playful and animated to be taken seriously.
The script, written by Jim Burnstein and Garrett K Schiff, plays out like a wistful and a rather tasteless Danielle Steel novel that would later be turned into a small TV-movie. It’s all a little too obvious and eager to please and everything from the costume department to the all too familiar soundtrack, which naturally includes both “Spirit in the Sky” and “Magic Carpet Ride”.
Love and Honor seems fake and insincere; any chances of it becoming a sweet and lovable romantic drama are completely diminished by its conventional, tasteless ways.
In 1986, Richard ‘The Iceman’ Kuklinski was sentenced to life imprisonment after being found guilty of three murders – just a fraction of the hundreds of murders that he laid claim to.
Following a steady stream of books and documentaries on the notorious killer, Ariel Vromen’s The Iceman comes as the first on-screen adaptation.
Based on Anthony Bruno’s nonfiction book, The Ice Man: The True Story of a Cold-Blooded Killer, the story opens in the mid-60’s with a rather shy Richard Kuklinski (Shannon) on his first date with future wife, Deborah (Ryder). The couple shares a cup of coffee and Deborah innocently falls for his quick-witted ways hidden beneath his otherwise stone-faced demeanour, and the couple soon weds.
Kuklinski’s day job sees him dubbing and selling porn with partner and friend, Dino (Abeckaser). Embarrassed by his line of work, Kuklinski prefers to keep to himself and never allows family or friends – including Deborah – in on his shameful dealings. He’s a troubled and disturbed man, whose off-kilt temperament produces wild bursts of rage. It’s these characteristics that catch the eye of Roy DeMeo (Liotta) – a member of the Gambino crime family – who recruits him as a hired gun.
It’s at this point that Kuklinski embarks on his career as a killer, as he tries to balance his personal and ‘professional’ lives.
No one does creepy better than Shannon and the gifted actor – who was recently seen serving up the goods as the relentless General Zod in Man of Steel – pushes the envelope and delivers a blockbuster performance; unsmiling, pitiless and downright heartless, his presence simply demands attention every time he’s on screen.
Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the rest of the gang, which include Liotta, Schwimmer and Evans, all of whom fall victims to mobster-movie stereotypes. Meanwhile, Ryder, who hasn’t been seen since her small outing in the 2010’s Black Swan, makes a fine fit for Kuklinski’s oblivious and completely ignorant wife.
Taking cue from films such as Goodfellas, Mean Streets and Donnie Brasco, Ariel Vromen’s The Iceman is crammed with clichés – including Shannon's horrendous handlebar moustache – making the infamous serial killer’s biography a rather wearisome affair.
With one tiresome killing sequence after another, the film does little to penetrate what must have been a fascinating case-study behind a brutal murderer.