Rookie, are you ready? – Dredd 3D

Dredd 3D - Official Poster - from

Dredd 3D – Official Poster – from

Dredd 3D (2012)

Director: Pete Travis
Writers: Carlos Ezquerra (characters), Alex Garland (screenplay), and John Wagner (characters)
Stars: Karl Urban, Olivia Thirlby and Lena Headey

There is something to be said for knowing what a film is about before stepping into the cinema. I made the rookie error of going to see a film without realising its history, even though I knew it had one. Even knowing the original starred Sylvester Stallone didn’t stop me or make me think twice. I just thought it would be like other action films I’d seen. Apparently there is a large difference between M15+ films and MA15+ films.

From the opening moments of the film I realised that I wasn’t going to like this film as much as I’d hoped. I think I’ve been spoilt by seeing clever action films. Christopher Nolan, Tony Gilroy, Steven Spielberg and Ridley Scott have something to answer for with their clever camera work and screenplays. I was not ready for the amount of visual violence. I was not ready for how much violence would be shown in great detail. It was sensory but senseless. I had to force myself to stay in the cinema at one point because I was not going to let my money go to waste. I am usually okay with violence on film, one of my all-time favourite films is Fight Club and I grew up watching action films with my older brother, but this was a whole other level of violence for me. I think it was that it wasn’t just alluded to but you are shown in detail the violence, death, and torture of the characters. The camera reveals the awfulness of violence so extensively throughout the entire film. The use of slow motion and 3D heightens the visuals and shows the audience the violence explicitly.

The storyline is thin, the characters are underdeveloped and it seems that the main point to the film is to have Judge Dredd sentence one person to death but in the meantime get everyone else killed. It doesn’t really make sense to me that this would be a film that appeals to a wide audience nor a cult following, however I am informed that my suspicions are wrong and that this is actually a big deal in the action film world. I don’t rate it highly. It’s indelicate and unsightly. It’s full of one-liners that are delivered with such seriousness that it made me laugh (I’m not sure if I was meant to laugh or not…).

I wouldn’t recommend seeing Dredd 3D. The only thing that is worth seeing it for is its use of 3D. They have used 3D the way that I’ve wanted a film to use it – I may have ducked at one point to avoid being splattered by blood, yes it sounds as disgusting as it was but I appreciate them making the experience immersive to some degree. I just wish it wasn’t this film that made me like slow-motion and 3D again. It was cleverly filmed if nothing else.


Stripped bare – The Terminator

The Terminator - Official Poster - from

The Terminator – Official Poster – from

The Terminator (1984)

Director: James Cameron
Writers: James Cameron, Gale Anne Hurd, and William Wisher Jr. (additional dialogue)
Stars: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton and Michael Biehn

When I was 12 years old my parents took us to Los Angeles. It was a dream come true. It was my first overseas trip, we went to Disneyland, Grand Canyon, Las Vegas (not so fun as a 12 year old, but the Stratosphere was awesome) and of course Universal Studios. I was so excited. My love of film had been growing since I was a child and I was so excited to see where the movies were made. One of the things I remember most about Universal Studios is the Terminator “ride”. We all entered a room and a woman appeared on a balcony-like platform and introduced us to the ride, the way she said “Suuuuupeeeeer” had us all in giggles and then a guy ran out on another balcony saying it was a trap and not to go in. There was a moment where I stood there and thought “what if it really is a trap?” and the terror started to fill me, like it was supposed to I guess. I remember talking to my mum about it afterwards, wondering why we were so willing to go along with something we knew could be dangerous. I don’t recall her answer but it is one of the moments that has stuck with me till this day.

Since then I’ve always been a little cautious of actually watching the film, and so until a few days ago when my housemate demanded I watch it because I wasn’t a true movie buff until I did (those weren’t her words but it was the gist of it). So I finally watched The Terminator. And I don’t know why people don’t rave about it more often because it is actually a great action film for it’s time. I mean I wasn’t even born when it was made and it brilliantly encapsulates the potential terror that can come with the advancement of technology and the way experience the world through the eyes of media and the way we rely on technology. Of course there were moments when it was just a little silly and the 80s clothes are somewhat special to behold, but it was a good action film all around. And I finally understand the Skynet references that people make now.

I ended up live tweeting the entire film which I think I might continue to do for old films I watch (follow me on twitter @vicariousfilm). I really enjoyed watching it even though a lot of it was a bit gross and invasive, like the bit with his eye ball, oh my, I never want to see that again, it reminded me too much of Salvador Dali’s film. Ew. The main reason I like the film was because it was the female that triumphed over all the male wreckage. And although she was the typical damsel in distress and ended up pregnant at the end, I still felt like she was the fight through the latter part of the film. I just spent most of the time wanting Kyle to let go of Sarah Connor’s hand and let her run for herself because I had faith she’d be much quicker without his “help”. But there you have it, it was the 80s after all.

Like I’ve said previously, I grew up with an older brother and watched action films with him all the time. I attributed my love for action films to him but I really do love the hero stories they capture. I want to live as a hero, to be able to make those tough life or death decisions, to live with fear being a motivator instead of an inhibitor. I wish I was as badass as Sarah Connor and I hope if a handsome man comes and tells me my life is in danger that I would be able to. I guess we’ll see what happens when Skynet does engage humanity in war.

Is there a film that people rave about and always tell you to watch that you finally saw and it was awesome? Or are they all a little overrated?

Why Rory Williams Is My Hero – Doctor Who

Doctor Who - Series 6 Poster - from

Doctor Who – Series 6 Poster – from

Doctor Who (oh since forever…jokes, 2005+)

Series Writer: Steven Moffat and a bunch of his friends.
Stars: Matt Smith, Karen Gillian, Arthur Darvill and everybody who has ever acted in Britain basically.

It is not always the case that a secondary character can transform everything you think about a show. It was one line, it was in a normal episode but it changed the way I forever thought about Doctor Who. Rory Williams told the Doctor “You don’t know how dangerous you make people to themselves when you’re around.” From that moment on Rory Williams stole my heart and became my favourite Doctor Who character of all time. He trumps Amy Pond who is fabulously feisty and he trumps River Song who is the woman I wish I could be, and he trumps Donna Noble who proved herself to be so normal and yet so spectacularly special (I’m just gonna skip over Rose Tyler and Martha Jones). Rory tells it like it is. He is the male companion the Doctor never wanted but who he comes to treasure as a moral and ethical compass.

For a long time I watched Doctor Who for the adventures, for the friendship of the characters, and for the Doctor’s extravagance and wonderful charisma. It is a show that has been able to hold captive audiences for multiple generations and made the transition from black and white television to colour to HD and lived on. The production value may have gone up but the heart of the show remains the same. It is, at it’s core, a show about the wonder of humanity. For me, Rory embodies this as the character who is humanity at its best and most noble.

Doctor Who has for a long time been my favourite show. From the moment it was reincarnated by Russell T. Davis in 2005 to today and the imminent arrival of Season 7 on our silver screens, I have been in love with the Doctor. When Steven Moffat took over writing in 2009 after having written some of the best episodes in previous seasons, including my favourites “Blink” and “Silence in the Library”/”Forest of the Dead”, I was overjoyed. I have loved Moffat’s writing since a kid, even though I hadn’t connected the dots until he started on Doctor Who – this included his teen drama “Press Gang” which I have vivid memories of as a child. I’ve already written about my love of Moffat (see my Sherlock review here) but it has to be said that Steven Moffat and Matt Smith’s teaming have brought Doctor Who to a new level of awesome. It’s a darker and more philosophical show when Moffat writes and collaborates with people and it provides a deeper level of intrigue than usual. There are so many moments whilst watching Doctor Who when I find myself thinking about the meanings of life and what it means to be a human. This isn’t necessarily the case in every episode but the more I watch the more I find the multifaceted nature of Moffat’s story lines and scripts. The way he weaves story lines together across multiple seasons is extraordinary and I am constantly awed by his genius.

Arthur Darvill as Rory in Doctor Who - Let's Kill Hitler - from Tumblr

Arthur Darvill as Rory in Doctor Who – Let’s Kill Hitler – from Tumblr – myvintagelove

Getting back to my love of Rory though… Rory Williams is a character that is centred on love, loyalty, courage, and honesty. This is all buffered by an underlying insecurity which is truly endearing and really grounds those characteristics in a truthful portrayal by Arthur Darvill. Darvill’s performance as Rory is practically perfect because he balances the insanity of the Doctor and Amy Pond (Karen Gillian) with a warmness and gentle strength. It is the combination of all his courage and cowardice that makes him a true companion and my hero of television. He is who I would want to be if I was with the Doctor, both petrified and cynical but ultimately triumphant in the moment of need. He is someone that seems realistic rather than being carried away with the charisma of the Doctor, and provides the grounding that the Doctor needs when off on adventures and traveling in the TARDIS. Rory is my hero because he is the one companion who is not afraid of leaving the Doctor but who is loyal to a fault to his friends. Rory always seems on the outer with Amy and the Doctor but it is Rory who will always be there for both of them when night falls on their tale.

With the new trailer having just been released for Part 1 of Season 7 I am both excited and sad to see the end of the Pond’s. I think they have been great companions and I don’t think that will ever change, but I know I will weep for a week when the curtain is drawn on their adventures with the Doctor. Moffat will make it as painful as possible, this we know, but I also think it’s going to be a good ending to a wonderful period of the show.

P.S. I know most people think River Song gets her sassiness from Amy but I really think she gets it from Rory, he is the truly bold and brave one.

P.P.S You can watch the new Doctor Who series trailer here:
Doctor Who: Full Length New Series Trailer Autumn 2012 – Series 7 – BBC One