You’re my boy, Blue

Last night I watched Jurassic World with my dad (who, it turns out, is full of random dinosaur facts!) I had avoided seeing this film at the cinema because I was scared of being bitterly disappointed as I love the original so much. (see post here). Was it as good as the original? No, not even close. Was it an enjoyable film? Yes, if entirely predictable.

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The basic premise is that a dinosaur zoo called Jurassic World has opened on the old Jurassic Park island. Business is booming but every few years they have to install a new attraction so that people will get excited. They’ve created a hybrid dinosaur called Indominus Rex out of a T-rex and ‘something top secret and classified’ (although as soon as you see its claws and learn that it’s intelligent it’s pretty obvious what the other is!)

The Indominus Rex escapes so they call in ex-military man Chris Pratt (who has been patiently training Velociraptors) to help.

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I wonder if this works on dogs…

Then the chaos commences. Lots of people and dinosaurs get viciously killed. There’s the token woman running in heels, two kids in danger and plenty of shots of Chris Pratt looking manly.

As a lot of people have said, look out for the cameo of the man saving his drinks from the Pterodactyls. Only seconds long, but hilarious.

The only thing I will say is that the dinosaurs felt like a step back in terms of graphics from the 90s original. Seriously. The 90’s dinosaurs looked more realistic, as far as any dinosaur can.

Better than Jurassic Park III and an easy film to watch but I’m not sure it will stand the test of time.

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He likes his shaken, she likes hers dirty

A day later than the rest of the world, I have now seen Spectre. I went with my mother, who I had also seen Skyfall with.

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I will try and keep this as spoiler-free as possible!

My main reaction after the film was that whilst this is a ‘good’ Bond film, it was no Skyfall. Skyfall was such an incredible film that it would have been hard for anything to follow it. After Quantum I had such low expectations and was totally surprised. However, Spectre was always going to be tough.

All the actors were good. I loved Madeleine the feisty, self-sufficient Bond girl and ‘C’ the head of the newly merged MI5 and MI6. M, Q and Moneypenny were all super, especially Q. Christoph Waltz was good, but no Javier Bardem. Such a hard act to follow.

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The obligatory silky dress.

The only disappointment was that nothing was a shock or a surprise. The plot played out exactly how you expected it to, maybe that’s what makes a Bond film safe and why Skyfall worked so well.

It was a good film, lots of action, lots of humour and a fabulous opening sequence. Definitely give it a watch if you’re a Bond fan!

What’s your favourite scary movie?

Tonight my friend and I had a crazy Saturday night – we stayed in, knitted and watched movies. Wild, I know.

First off we watched Scream. Now, Scream is an absolute favourite of mine. See here for all my top films. It’s like a standard 90s teen movie but lots of people die instead of falling in love.

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Scream was a game changer in the world of horror. It kick-started a new wave of slasher films. It’s a classic Wes Craven film and has sneaky hints to his other movies (like the janitor’s clothes!)

The script is brilliant. Just as Randy reels off all the horror movie tropes, each member of the ‘gang’ is a stereotype. A theme that would be played on in Joss Whedon’s uber meta Cabin in the Woods.

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The whole gang, look at those 90s fashions!

The rest of the Scream franchise is ok. The sequel is pretty good (if you’re reading this I’m probably dead), the third film isn’t very good but has some good moments and the fourth was enjoyable but not memorable. I’m currently watching the Netflix tv series which I’m liking when I’m watching but I’m not motivated to keep watching.

Scream is a rarity in the world of horror movies, it can be watched over and over. What I did reflect on after was that Scream is a bit of a pastiche. It’s funny and it finds itself funny. Scary Movie, whilst a good comedy, tried too hard to make fun of a film that was already making fun of itself.

Next we watched 22 Jump Street, which I had also seen before.

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I loved 21 Jump Street. It’s one of those films that goes by really quickly when you’re watching it because it’s so slick, there isn’t a scene that isn’t funny.

22 Jump Street, whilst funny, seems like a loosely connected series of comedy sketches rather than a film with a compelling plot.

My favourite scene is the tripping scene…

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You’re literally dragging me down.

Like with Scream, 22 Jump Street constantly makes fun of itself and doesn’t even try to hide it but it says something when one of the funniest scenes in the entire film is the end credits.

There isn’t really much of a plot, it just seems to be Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum improvising through the same plot as the first film but I guess that’s the entire point.

I guess all I can say is – my name is Jeff.

The build up to Halloween

As a fan of horror films I’m a big fan of Halloween. I’m actually just a fan of Autumn in general – I like the darker nights and colder weather. I get it. I’m the anomaly.

As a build up to the night itself I decided to watch The Purge (Netflix). This is a film I saw the trailer for before its release and thought ‘that looks good’ and never got round to watching it. The people of Netflix gave it 2 stars, I think this is a bit harsh. It wasn’t the best horror film I’ve ever watched but I’ve seen many (and I mean MANY) that have been much worse.

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The basic plot is that for 12 hours every year between the hours of 7pm and 7am the US government stops the emergency services and allows all crime (as the opening spiel says – even murder, well, duh, murder is a crime).

Ethan Hawke and Lena Headey play husband and wife with two children. Hawke’s character sells security systems which, for some reason, makes his neighbours hate him.

As with any horror film, it takes a while to get going. There’s a boring storyline with the daughter’s boyfriend and then the son lets in someone off the street. Then these guys show up:

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Spooky.

I won’t say anymore because the fun of any horror film is being shocked and not knowing what will happen next.

If you like slasher/suspense horror films then give it a go. I can guarantee that you will have sat through much worse films on the quest to find the perfect horror film!

My Top 21 Films OF ALL TIME

Hello everyone! I was challenged by my friends to come up with my Top 20 films. I realised I couldn’t narrow it down to just 20, so I have gone with 21. It was actually easier than I thought it would be. These are films I have watched over and over again. They are films I could finish watching and literally sit and watch them again. Which actually might be a bit sad and I have actually done before.

They are in some sort of order. Roughly.

21. The Mummy (1999)
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I can remember watching The Mummy a lot in the lower half of secondary school. I was obsessed with this film partly because I was a big nerd at school and had a fascination with Ancient Egypt (does everyone go through this phase?) and partly because I had a massive crush on Brendan Fraser. Maybe also because I wanted to grow up to be Rachel Weisz.

A lovely combination of action/adventure, comedy and romance. Perfect family viewing! Though the scarab beetles were a bit creepy…

20. Singin’ in the Rain (1952)
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I felt I had to include a musical on this list because of my love of musical theatre. Singin’ in the Rain was the obvious choice. It’s a culturally interesting film – documenting the advent of talking pictures (with hilarious consequences).

Gene Kelly is a true gentleman, they just don’t make them like that anymore (is Brendan Cole the nearest equivalent? Maybe?) There are some moments of truly brilliant cinema – especially the iconic title number (which, rumour has it, was filmed with milk instead of water so it would show up more clearly on camera!)

19. Donnie Darko (2001)
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I did a blog post on this recently which can be found here. I rediscovered this film in the last few weeks (to the extent that my Halloween costume this year is Donnie’s). Another film I loved when I was at school, but in my later teens.

It is delightfully weird, quirky and philosophical. It’s a bit pretentious and I guess it wouldn’t appeal to everyone but I love it!

18. True Romance (1993)
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This is a film I only watched for the first time in the last few years. It’s a crime/thriller/dark comedy starring Christian Slater with a fantastic soundtrack. There are some beautiful cinematic moments – especially the final shoot out.

Watch out for Gary Oldman’s amazing cameo!

17. Predator (1987)
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I watch Predator (yes, the Arnold Schwarzenegger alien jungle romp) every New Year’s Eve. It is a brilliantly ridiculous movie. There’s no dialogue for a massive chunk of the film as Arnie stalks the Predator through the jungle, only to come out with a truly classic one-Iiner.

Keep an eye out for the credits – they are amazing.

16. Scream (1997)
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As a horror fan I felt I should include one on this list. Scream is my favourite horror of all time, perhaps because it includes comedy so it makes it able to be watched time and again even though the ending is no longer a surprise. Courtney Cox and David Arquette perfectly compliment the high school antics and Neve Campbell is so 90s it hurts (whatever happened to her?). So iconic.

Never, ever, ever, under any circumstances say ‘I’ll be right back’. Because you won’t be back…

15. Gladiator (2000)
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Yet another film I binge-watched in secondary school before binge-watching was a thing. After my obsession with Ancient Egypt came my obsession with Ancient Rome. It was also one of the first films I saw Russell Crowe in, back when I only knew him from South Park (fightin’ round the world).

Perfectly acted and with a haunting soundtrack. A must see, but you already knew that!

14. Clueless (1995)
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There were SO many mid-90s to mid-00s teen films I could have included on this list. I have narrowed it down to two. The first is Clueless. Full of memorable dialogue, fabulous outfits and a young Paul Rudd. I remember wishing I could be Cher. Although thinking about it now the whole step-brother thing is a bit weird.

(Very loosely) based on Jane Austen’s Emma, Clueless is a true cult classic. If anyone disagrees then whatever!!

13. Superbad (2007)
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Superbad is a film I tend to watch after a night out at 2am. I have watched it so many times it is unreal. Particularly at University.

The dialogue is so perfect and the whole McLovin thing is one of my favourite comedy moments of all time. Take off the vest, you look like Aladdin.

Superbad introduced me to some of my favourite comedy actors – Bill Hader, Michael Cera and Seth Rogen. It’s vulgar and hilarious but has such a sweet ending.

12. Jurassic Park (1993)
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A classic. No one can disagree this shouldn’t be on here, can they? The dinosaurs have stood the test of time so well. As a child this film terrified me, I was genuinely scared that dinosaurs would take over the earth (bear in mind that I was 4 when this came out!!)

The cast is great, John Williams’ score is incredible and the velociraptors are the stuff of nightmares. If you ever meet me in person, ask me to do an impression of my favourite dinosaur – it’s impressive!

11. Bridget Jones’ Diary (2001)
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This appears on the list partly because it’s a great British comedy and partly because I’m pretty sure that I actually am Bridget Jones. She speaks to me on a level I get (with the exception of the cigarettes and alcohol – there’s a song in there somewhere). I think it’s how tragically awkward she is.

Very loosely based on Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice (very loosely) the film stars an array of British stars and Renee Zellweger doing a passable British accent. It’s a true Romantic Comedy with just the right amount of both genres. The fight scene is just brilliant – should I bring my duelling pistols or my sword?

10. Mean Girls (2004)
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Sticking with RomComs, and the second of my teen film choices, my favourite films in this genre definitely focus on the quality of the comedy and script. Tina Fey is an exceptional comedy writer and Mean Girls is my favourite of her work. This is such a quotable film.

There isn’t a loose link in Mean Girls, the casting is perfect and you know when I said I could watch some films straight after I’ve finished watching them? Well at University we once watched Mean Girls three times in one night. Who knows why?!

9. Pulp Fiction (1994)
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I had to pick a Tarantino film for my list. I love his style and the whole universe he has created. If you haven’t read the theories of how his films link together then Google it now! Or after you’ve finished my list, whatever.

Pulp Fiction is so iconic – another true cult classic. A fabulous cast, soundtrack and a really original way of storytelling. The attention to detail in this film is stunning – next time you watch it check out the board games in the background in the Mia Wallace adrenaline scene.

8. Die Hard (1989)
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The ultimate Christmas film (other than maybe Elf). Bruce Willis just wants to get home for Christmas but gets a bit held up by some German terrorists. Alan Rickman plays the bad guy with a ridiculous German accent.

Some classic one-liners and a lot of awesome action. Makes me want to always wear shoes.

7. Anchorman (2004)
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An absolute favourite. So, so well cast and such a great script. It’s completely ridiculous and some of it makes very little sense.

I went to the cinema to see this with my brother and we had no idea what to expect. It instantly became a favourite. The sequel was a massive disappointment, but I don’t know how it possibly couldn’t have been.

I love lamp.

6. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
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Harrison Ford. Do I need to say any more?

Indiana Jones is a brilliant character, he’s a teacher/hero and is utterly charismatic. It was hard to pick just one of the trilogy (yes, trilogy, alright?) for this list. Last Crusade is funnier, Temple of Doom is scarier but Raiders of the Lost Ark is the original. Fantastic John Williams score, obviously.

5. Beauty and the Beast (1991)
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I’m a huge Disney fan, like every other person who grew up in the 90s. Easily my favourite is Beauty and the Beast and that’s primarily because I love Belle. She’s clever, funny and doesn’t take any nonsense.

The songs are lovely, Gaston is hilarious and the only disappointment is how the Beast looks as a Prince!

It will be interesting to see whether I enjoy the live-action film as much. Watch this space.

4. Back to the Future Part II (1989)
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A rare occasion where the sequel is far superior to the original (but where the second sequel is dreadful). BTTF II is so clever with the moving backwards and forwards in time. The sequence at the Enchantment Under the Sea dance in particular.

It’s nearly BTTF day guys – October 21 2015. Now, where’s my hoverboard?

3. Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
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It pains me to choose just one, especially one which Faramir isn’t in, but I think Fellowship is my favourite Lord of the Rings film. It follows the forming and the breaking of the Fellowship and the start of Frodo’s long journey across Middle Earth.

It starts on such a positive note and ends on such a sad one, leaving you needing to carry on the adventure. It also introduces you to some amazing characters and to Middle Earth itself.

I’m a huge Lord of the Rings fan. My housemate and I used to revise to these films so I know them pretty well!!

2. Con Air (1997)
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It was challenging deciding whether to put this film first or second. I love it so much. Again, a brilliant cast and such a simple storyline, nothing too mentally taxing. Pure entertainment. Nic Cage is awesome, obviously, John Malkovich is a perfect villain and John Cusack is just lovely.

A word of warning – watch this film and you will get Leanne Rimes stuck in your head for days. How do IIIIII…

1. Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
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Here we go, number 1!! It won’t be much of a surprise to anyone who knows me.

Again, really hard to pick just one of the trilogy (yes, trilogy) but I chose it for the same reason I chose Fellowship, it starts positively and ends sad, leaving you wanting more.

All the characters are great, with the obvious exception of C3PO, a brilliant John Williams score and lots of awesome space fun!

If anyone is reading this and wants to confess their undying love for me, be warned, I will respond with ‘I know’.

So, that’s it!! I’d love to hear your top 20 (or 21) films. Comment below!

Harry Potter and the horns of destiny

I decided to watch the film Horns tonight (yup, Netflix). It stars Harry Potter, sorry, Daniel Radcliffe as an ‘American’ gentleman who wakes up with satyr-like horns shortly after his girlfriend is found dead and he is accused of her murder.

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In a world of re-makes and franchises it was quite refreshing to watch something fairly unique. The storyline and the way it was told were quite novel and it made for an interesting watch.

Straight off I felt uneasy about watching DanRad and Juno Temple with strained American accents. They’re not the best but you gradually get used to them. Juno Temple is actually quite a good actress, I’d only really seen her in British teen films before.

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I missed her glorious hair though.

The story is told through a series of flashbacks and the viewer unravels the story at the same pace as DanRad’s character.

The film is described as a comedy horror. I would disagree with this. I would say it was more of a black comedy/fantasy. Maybe I’ve just seen too many horror films, but I would not classify this in that genre.

The film uses a lot of Biblical analogy and imagery to make the reader question the meaning of morality. There is Eve’s Diner, a lot of talk of angels, a cross pendant and, hilariously, a lot of snakes. Harry, you’re a parselmouth, get over it!

I don’t really know what else to say about this. Perhaps it was a bit long at 2 hours but I would give it a watch, especially if you enjoy the films of Guillermo Del Toro, which I would say is the closest comparison I can make.

I hope this is the start of DanRad moving on from the boy wizard and becoming a more versatile actor. He’s actually quite charismatic, in a weird way. Though, as a die hard Potterhead I did keep shouting spells at the screen whenever he could have got himself out of trouble. Lumos!

Rachel McAdams is not a mean girl

Tonight’s film fare was About Time (available on Netflix) a strange, Richard Curtis affair starring Regina George and Bill Weasley. Also starring Bill Nighy playing, once again, Bill Nighy.

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To tell the truth, I found this film very odd and pretty boring. It started off well and then sort of trailed off into nothingness. Bill Weasley was told on his 21st birthday that he could travel through time but this magical power was just a bit weird and didn’t actually add anything to the storyline. It reminded me of Bridget Jones where she imagines scenarios before she actually goes through them.

I enjoyed the early parts of the film, where he met Rachel McAdams but the second half of the film was just a bit meh. It was all a bit meaningless. The film itself was also rather over long, the same effect could have been easily achieved in an hour and a half, it was over two hours long.

Domhnall Gleeson was very charming (and ginger). His accent reminded me of being back at Durham University. I don’t always like Rachel McAdams. I liked her in Mean Girls (duh) and in Wedding Crashers but I really dislike The Notebook and The Time Traveller’s Wife was a snoozefest. Wait – wasn’t this basically just a reworking of The Time Traveller’s Wife?! Odd.

Their relationship was very sweet but also a bit bland. To mix things up she does things like wearing a red wedding dress, as seen here:

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Edgy.

Bill Weasley’s relationship with his dad was also explored but was still kind of dull. He could always fix things, up to a point, so nothing really seemed to matter.

Some of the dialogue was funny. At one point Rachel McAdams described lawyers as ‘sexy’. The script writer clearly has never met any of us. Not a word I would use to describe us!

All in all I found this film a waste of time, it was about time it finished already! The time travel was just a bit pointless and I kept expecting something exciting to happen but it never did. There are many Richard Curtis films that I love but this just isn’t one of them.

Another Sunday night with Jake Gyllenhaal

This evening I decided to watch Nightcrawler. I’ve been meaning to watch it for a while and I noticed that they’ve just added it to Amazon Prime. I didn’t really know a lot about the film and had no idea what to expect.

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What struck me was how against type Jake Gyllenhaal’s character was. It was instantly noticeable how skinny he was from his hollowed out cheeks and tiny wrists. I could have counted on one hand how many times he blinks during the film, which is incredibly unsettling. His character reminded me a lot of the lead characters from the popular Scandi Noir films and tv. He is distant and finds it hard to empathise with other people. He laughs at some pretty unsettling things for the purpose of furthering his craft – which is filming crime scenes. At one point he pulls this face in the mirror:

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Yup.

Other than Jake’s character, all the other characters were fairly bland and forgettable. There was no one that I really liked or warmed to, including Jake – although I guess that is the point.

I hadn’t really thought about the fact that people film crime scenes. To be honest I didn’t even think it could be a thing, it’s incredibly unnerving and seems rather immoral. A pretty interesting topic for a film.

However, I found that although the build up to the climax of the film was interesting and well-paced the beginning of the film was very same-y and they could have added other elements to move it along a bit. Also, because it all happened at night it was all visually very similar. Though, I guess the clue is in the title!

I think Nightcrawler was an interesting film choice for Jake. He is very good at the ‘on the brink of a meltdown’ acting. I just wish there had been part of the storyline that I could have related to.

Matt Damon (Matt Damon)

Today I went to see The Martian (along with half of the population). First off, I went by myself and had some right banter with the guy serving me. To the point that he joked that the two for £10 offer that came with the ticket clearly wouldn’t be applicable to me!!

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I think I’ve said in a previous post that I like Matt Damon as an actor. He’s intensely likable and I think that’s chiefly the reason why this is such an enjoyable film (well, it’s definitely not the plot!). It’s really fun to watch him joking around to himself, to the rest of the crew and to the people at NASA. I also felt really tense towards the end because I just really wanted him to make it.

The rest of the cast are also great, there isn’t a weak link in a very star-studded cast. Jessica Chastain heads up the crew as a sensible captain who has a heart. The rest of the crew each bring a little something to the mix (and seem to be half the supporting cast of the Marvel Cinematic Universe – yay Sebastian Stan).

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I miss his guyliner!

Despite being primarily an Action/Sci-Fi film, The Martian has great moments of humour. I particularly enjoyed the Iron Man joke and Sean Bean explaining the Council of Elrond. I enjoyed Sean Bean’s joke so much that I openly laughed out loud and was the only person to do so. One does not simply stay quiet at comedy gold like that!

The film reminds me a lot of 90s survival movies – I’m thinking Armageddon, Twister and Deep Impact. It has a lot of heart and space looked really great on the big screen. I will say that Mars looked a lot like Tatooine though!

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Yeah? You must mean old Ben Kenobi!

All in all, I would definitely recommend seeing this. It’s good, old-fashioned film fun. Just don’t take the plot too seriously. It’s pretty ridiculous and once again the Americans send all their resources to bring back Matt Damon (Matt Damon).

ATJ and a foul-mouthed child.

Tonight’s movie of choice (and also available on Netflix – I’m not sponsored by them, promise!) is Kick-Ass 2. I saw Kick-Ass not that long ago, pretty late to the game and quite liked it. I wouldn’t say I was crazy about it, which might explain why it’s taken a reasonable amount of time for me to watch the sequel.

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After I got past Quicksilver and ‘blatantly Quicksilver but copyright prevents us from calling him Quicksilver’ being friends which I had forgotten from the first film (I preferred Evan Peters – agree?) and had Wikipedia’d ATJ to confirm he’s the one with the older wife, I started watching properly.

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Anyone else think that ATJ looks better blond? (and HENCH).

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Yeah?

Then, because I’d been on my phone, Evan Peters suddenly wasn’t in it anymore?! What even happened there?! Confused!! And then he was played by some other dude?! Huh?! Did I imagine Evan Peters?!

The first thing that struck me is that the language isn’t as bad as the first film. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, it was truly shocking hearing Hit-Girl’s language in the first film. It’s still pretty violent, although even the violence seems more slapstick whereas in the first one it seems more real. Again, not necessarily a bad thing!

Most superhero sequels struggle in not being an origin story. Kick-Ass 2 tries to compensate by adding a million new characters. I struggled knowing exactly what was going on and who they were – I have a limited attention span. How come there’s only one new female superhero character and the others are all superficial high school girls?!

The actors are all pretty great. Chloe Grace Moretz is fabulous (and she just keeps getting better), Jim Carrey is refreshingly ‘un-Jim Carrey’ and Christopher Mintz-Plasse is McLovin with weird hair. How many of these actors have three names?!

I liked the storyline of the film but I disliked a lot of the ‘filler’ bits. What was with the sick stick? Unnecessary.

Conclusion: it was watchable but, would I watch it again? Probably not.

(Yes, I was too lazy to write out Aaron Taylor-Johnson each time – get over it!)