Don't be put off by my title: there is nothing sinister here chaps!! Indeed, with my general 'bloggings' I shall attempt to delight and astound you out of the mundaneness of a middle class suburban life, into the magical world of the Sophster!! Mystical...

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Sophie's Film Choice #6: STAR TREK: INTO DARKNESS

Having never been interested in 'Star Trek', 'The Next Generation', 'Deep Space Nine', 'Voyager', 'Enterprise' or the... 'Animated Series' (I know. I had never heard of it either, but Wikipedia would not lie to me, surely?) I was pleasantly surprised at the enjoyment I experienced at the new 'Star Trek' film series in 2009, and this instalment is just as exciting as the last.

Before we begin, I will reassure you of some consistencies/ developments from the previous film: Kirk is still smug. Scotty's accent is just as (or even more) hammy. The female crew still wear impractically short skirts. Spock is still an absolute dude. 

IT'S STAR TREK: INTO DARKNESS TIME! (Feat. terrifyingly hyperevolved Benedict Cumberbatch)

'Maybe I should have just used the door...'
Having now become an IMAX addict, the glasses were on and the gloves were off for the cinematic event of mid- May. Admittedly, I did feel like I was going to be literally speared in the eye by an indigenous alien culture in the first five minutes of the film (nearly choking on my Ben and Jerry's milkshake in the process); however the special effects and action sequences in 3D were spectacular. The conceptual work behind this film should be applauded- particularly the inventive portrayals of the futuristic cityscapes of London and San Francisco. And then their exploding. Because that's how 'Star Trek' rolls. 
'I flare my nostrils at you, sir.'

The film is true to its title: everything becomes darker, scarier and more violent, with the introduction of the franchises returning villain, Khan. Benedict Cumberbatch's portrayal of Khan, a genetically enhanced superman, is ruthless, intense and unnerving. His stare is the stare of nightmares. And he stares a lot. A bit like when you look at a cat, and it stares at you, and you don't know what it's thinking (do I stare back? Do I ignore it?) Except it's OK with a cat because they generally don't try to crush your skull. 

As if watching Benedict Cumberbatch destroying buildings, punching Spock in the face and fighting off a hoard of Klingons with his bare hands wasn't enough, all our favourite characters are back, bigger and better than before. Watching Spock and Uhura having a quiet domestic was one of my favourite moments of the film (In the words of Kirk: 'You're fighting? What is that even like?'), whilst Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto elevate the friendship between Kirk and  Spock to 10/10 on the 'welling up' scale. Man, that Vulcan has some deep feelings! Respect. 
'Live Long and Prosper.   ...I'll just go make a sandwich.'

With some light gimmicks thrown in, such as Simon Pegg and a small alien enjoying a drink in a nightclub, and Alice Eve valiantly providing the 'girl in underwear for no reason' shot, this film has all the ingredients for a Box Office success. The plot is simple yet contains enough unexpected twists to leave you crying and sobbing at once, like some emotionally unstable maniac. Of course, like Scotty, I kept my cool. (It's funny because he is the only one who, quite understandably, panics a lot.) 

All I can say is, bring on the next one! And I'll leave you to decide whether Cumberbatch has had hair implants...

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Sophie's Film Choice #5: IRON MAN 3

(Looks up from casually reading a literary masterpiece as if interrupted)

Oh hello film fans! Fancy seeing you here! It's been a while...

What's that you say? You miss my film related postulations and witty anecdotes? Then fear no longer! Like the 'real slim shady' I am indeed back. Back again. (Tell a friend). Not only am I back but I am going to enthuse your senses by accounting my experience of Iron Man 3! Don't say I never treat you. 

After a glorious evening out at Sheffield's finest 90s bar 'Babylon' (so classy that they live by the policy 'No Drinks on the Dancefloor!') me and my fellow student accomplices decided to continue the decadence by making a trip to the cinema. But not just any cinema. The IMAX. Having not been to one in years, I eagerly donned my 3D goggles over my glasses (creating a fashionable look which would allow me to see every bit of flying debris in the next two hours) and settled ready to engage with some Iron fuelled madness. 

Chillin' in my armoured onesie. 
There were trailers. Lots of trailers. In fact, I thought at one point that we may have been in the wrong screening as we were shown about 15 minutes of footage from 'Fast and Furious 6' in a desperate plea for Vin Diesel's salvation. However, after a mere 40 minutes, the film began, and was well worth the wait. 

The blend of exciting action, believable characters and appropriate humour has made the 'Iron Man' series a firm favourite of mine, not being the greatest fan of comic book films for their own sake. Despite a new writer and director, Shane Black, the third instalment maintained the charm of its prequels, with added emotion and hilarity in equal measures (only Tony Stark could show so little sympathy for a small child and make us laugh). 

Dude! Brush your teeth!
Threatened by the dangerous and infiltrating force of 'The Mandarin', a formidable villain played by Sir Ben Kingsley (the obvious choice for a militant terrorist, I'm sure we all agree), Tony Stark faces his toughest challenge yet: protecting the world, his reputation, and dealing with his increasing dependence on his own technology. (Note to self: if creating a remote controlled suit, remember to switch it off before sleeping). 

Amongst some stunning action sequences, involving multiple flying suits, falling from planes and buildings being desroyed -IN IMAX-  the characterisation in this film is better than ever. Tony Stark, played by the irreplaceable RDJ (as we in the Hart family endearingly refer to him) proves he has a heart, without resorting to the serious, look- how- hard- my life- is, Ed Norton's Hulk style acting. And Gwyneth Paltrow, recently voted the most beautiful woman in the world, is badass. She's on it kung fu style, donning the iron suit and everything! Sassy. 

Topped off by the cold, smarmy and antagonistic presence of Guy Pearce as Aldrich Killian, Stark's adoring fan turned sour (think 'Syndrome' in 'The Incredibles' but slightly less pathetic and whiny), the acting and screenplay transform this film from 'the one after The Avengers' to something much more substantial. I was well emosh. 

I am now going to provide you with my favourite moment of the screenplay:

Harley Keener: You're gonna walk away, like my dad?
Tony Stark:.... Yeah! 

And for some context, here is the child:

'You may leave me, Iron Man, but I've already acted in more films than you .'(Seriously, look it up, he was acting since birth!)
 On that note, I would thoroughly recommend 'Iron Man 3' to all fans of the series, all fans of RDJ, all fans of kick ass special effects, all fans of Gwyneth Paltrow in a bra, and anyone who wants to see Sir Ben Kingsley playing his finest role ever. Marvel- ous. (yep, I said it).