Terminator 2: Judgement Day

“Come with me if you want to live”

Review by Lewis Goodall

Hasta la vista, baby… there we go, that’s better.

Terminator 2: Judgement Day, directed by James Cameron, is proof that you can make a sequel that is better than the original. This sequel now follows John Conner (Edward Furlong), the son of Sarah Conner (Linda Hamilton). As an attempt to make sure that John Conner doesn’t get far enough to start a revolution in the future, a more advanced killing machine is once again sent from the future to try and kill him. The Rebels in the future send help to protect John in the form of Arnold Schwarzenegger. Its clever cause in the first one he’s the threat but in this one he’s the good guy, you see what they did there.

This film takes everything that was great about the first film and just takes it to the next level. Like taking a song you love and turning it all the way up. You’re still getting the same song but it’s that bit more intense, and this is exactly what you get with Terminator 2. So it’s still the same formula of cat and mouse, but this time between two killing machines. At the same time they are stopping the machines rising up in the first place to avoid any war happening in the future. Arnold Schwarzenegger is of course great as a robot again but its Robert Patrick who really shines in this film. Robert plays the assassin robot know as the T-1000, which is made from a liquid metal, basically meaning that he is pretty much invincible. Theres something about his character that is so god damn terrifying that it makes every scene with him in it just explode with tension.

Being a sequel, they obviously wanted to pump this film with a bigger budget and you can certainly tell they used everything they could to make the best action experience. The special effects in this film are dated in some places but it honestly didnt matter, and it didnt stop me from physically saying “cor” when you see the T-1000 walk though metal bars. There was one moment in particular when he is thrown up against a wall, facing the wall, and in an instant, he flips his head and arms around to face Arnold again. I havetn described it well so I’ll try a d find a GIF of it.

Looking back at clips from this film just make me love it even more. Just everything about it is just insanely good. Great performances all round. This time you get to see more emotions coming from all the characters, including Arnold. It’s just all round better than the first film which Is so so rare. Usually the sequels are shit shows but this…. this is a treasure.

Overall, other than The Thing of course, Terminator 2 is THE 80’s sci fi masterpiece and is a serious must watch for everyone. See the first one first cause that too is an amazing film but this one is the cheery on top. In fact the first one is a great tasting cake, we’ll go with triple chocolate. Terminator 2 is a quadruple chocolate cake on top of that cake but also with a cherry on top.

9.5 Robot Carpets out of 10

The Terminator

“I’ll be back”

Review by Lewis Goodall

Hasta la vista, baby… wait no that’s the second one. I watched the first two films in one day so I’m getting my wires crossed. Too much Arny in one day has muddled my brain.

The Terminator, directed by The James Cameron, is the 1984 Sci Fi classic that if you’ve never heard of it you mustve been in a coma since 1983. The year is 1984, a human soldier has be sent back in time to protect Sarah Conner (Linda Hamilton) from a lean, mean, killing cyborg, THE TERMINATOR (Arnold Schwarzenegger). The Terminator has been sent back to ensure that Sarah’s unborn child doesnt see the light of day as that child, is the key to saving humanity in the future.

There’s something about someone being chased constantly that really puts you on the edge of your seat. Even though I knew there were multiple sequels, I still had this constant fear throughout. It’s the chase, the chase that gets me, knowing that every single moment you’re breathing, there’s something on it’s way trying to kill you is terrifying, especially If that entity is Arnold Schwarzenegger. It’s the constant pursuit that made this film so tense and so great, not one moment ate you thinking that Sarah and the soldier are safe.

I’ve talk about 80’s films before, literally in the last review so I wont express my love for the practical effect even more but this film has it and it’s great again. But jaggerty if that’s a word but they still hold up pretty well. What holds up too is the acting, although parts were slightly cheesy, they all are great at creating such a tense game of cat and mouse where the cat is a futuristic killing machine and the mouse has a perm.

What I mainly mainly MAINLY love about this film though is a story of time travel that makes 100% sense the first time watching. Something with time travel films nowadays is that its overly complicated unless you watch them over and over but with The Terminator, everything just made sense. It was a coherent time travel story where all the loose ends are completely tied st the end which is pretty rare and why I think this film is loved by many today. That and its just in general an awesome film.

Overall, much like Robocop, this film is a perfect example of prime time 80’s sci-fi. It’s a fantastic, original story with great special effects. Plus the music is so 80’s so if you like movies for the music then head here, if you like movies where you can slightly see Arnold Schwarzenegger’s cock then this is the place for you too.

8 Drive Throughs out of 10

Robocop (1987)

“Your move, creep”

Review by Lewis Goodall

Freeze! I suggest you use your right to remain silent. Anything you say or do will be used against you in a court of law. Anything… that’s usually as far as American cops get before they shoot the person so I’m not sure what’s meant to be said after that

Robocop, directed by Paul Verhoeven, is a 80’s sci-fi classic about Murphy (Peter Wellers), a new cop working in Detroit. On his first day on the job, Murphy is blown to bits by a gang using shotguns. In a bid to clean up the city before the construction of a new Detroit, a company called OCP are constructing robots cops to clean up the streets of thugs and gangs. Using Murphy’s body as a prototype, we follow Robocop as he stops crimes.

I wish I was born in the late sixties. That way I could be the age I am now but be living in the era of sci-fi cinema which is miles better than what we have today. Robocop, The Thing, Bladerunner, Terminator, the list goes on. Why is it that now the films are so pussyfied. No film nowadays really has the same punch as they did back then. They remade Robocop in 2014 and it’s a 12A… Kids can see a film about robot policemen who blasts criminals away. It makes me sick but I’m so glad that we can still enjoy the incredible originals

The original Robocop is just so cool. I couldn’t help but just think about how cool everything about him was. On the surface it should be stupid, a robot cop, but the effects in this film and the way Peter Wellers plays the part of Robocop just makes it so cool! A mega machine who’s prime directive is to stop criminals in any means necessary, and that Includes shooting the criminals cock off.

It’s that typical, perfect use of 80’s practical effects that again prove that practical will always trump special effects. Having stop motion for some of the robots in this film may have dated a but but the fact that it’s still a real prop still means that it holds up. Throwing people through walls whilst being shot by 280 rounds of ammunition is the reason this film is just so cool. Oh yeah the story is pretty good too, it’s not just a compilation of practical effects, it also has a full crime syndicate that Murphy has to take down as they are the ones who shot him to bits. The longer he lives inside the suit, the more he begins to remember his old past, and I’ll stop there as to not spoil everything anymore.

Overall, if you haven’t seen this movie then you’ve definitely heard about it. If you haven’t seen it then do yourself a favour and watch this. It’s a perfect 80’s sci-fi with plenty of story and plenty of people being shot, its wonderful. If you’re an American policemen then you should definitely give this a watch for some training, learn from Robocop that its vital to shoot someone who is actually committing a crime, not just for getting a speeding ticket.

8 Thousand Blood Squibs out of 10

Videodrome

“Long live the new flesh!”

Review by Lewis Goodall

Welcome to the Videodroooooooooooome. Tonights host is David Cronenberg where he will be exploring the evil which is television. We follow Max Renn, for the folks at home who doesn’t have a keen eye, Max Renn is played by James Woods. Max Renn runs a pretty sleazy TV station called Civic TV and deals with soft core pornography all the way to torture and murder films. When he stumbles across a new sort of show called ‘Videodrome’, he pursuits to learn all of its secrets. Going down the rabbit hole he finds himself fighting between reality and fiction. It’s a thrilling show for you all tonight so let’s get to it.

Television is an evil entity according to a lot of tin foil hats, I agree with them to an extent (love island) but it also makes way for great shows (Bojack Horsman). Videodrome is an exploration into the dark side of television and how greedy corporations can manipulate the viewers. Atleast that’s what I think this film is about, honestly it’s so bizarre I just had to find myself going along with it at some points.

As the films goes on and the deeper Max starts to delve into the secrets of this videodrome program, he starts experiencing hallucinations which make way for my favourite parts of the films. These hallucinations become pretty grim and gross, the main one being a hole in Max’s stomach which looks so real thanks to the practical effects. Thank the lord for the 80s and their practical effects. Being practical, the effects in this film hold up to today’s standard which is always amazing. Without the practical effects though I felt the rest of the film was just waiting for the next effect.

The story was strange, it was an odd one to keep up with. Not sure if it was just me but the story felt pretty unrewarding. It was sort of a mystery but the next step always seemed slightly off of what happened previously. I couldn’t really understand the motive of what was going on other than that people who run TV networks are evil. My face only lit up whenever the next practical effect arrived.

Overall its was a pretty mediocre experience aside from all the cool, gross effects that were in place. From the creator of ‘The Fly’ I’d expect nothing other than to be freaked out by what I was watching. It just felt like the story wasnt really evolved to be something that grips me. I haven’t written a long review because honestly I’ve already forgotten most of the film and I watched it yesterday. I have to give it credit though, that hole in the stomach practically effect was so gross, I won’t be having a C-section any time soon

6 Hitler Ballet Posters out of 10

Ex Machina

“You shouldn’t trust him, you shouldn’t trust anything he says”

Review by Lily Taylor

I had to sleep on this one before I felt ready to review it, not because I doubted whether it was a good film but because I wasn’t sure how to interpret who plays the roles of good and evil. I’ll give you a brief run down of the plot, definite SPOILER ALERT!

Domhnall Gleeson plays a programmer who wins a competition to spend a week with his companies CEO, Nathan Bateman (Oscar Isaac), in his isolated, luxurious and tech-filled home.
Realistically, it’s not a home at all, it’s a research facility and an electronic pass dictates where Caleb is able to go and what he is able to do, no phone access for example. Nathan tells Caleb he has created a robot by the name of Ava (Alicia Vikander) that possesses artificial intelligence. The reason Nathan invited Caleb to the facility is so that he can administer the Turing Test to Ava and determine whether she is truly self-aware and capable if independent thought.

Ava and Caleb begin to develop a relationship during their sessions together. She is confined within the facility and has never seen the outside world but would like to see it on ‘a date’ with Caleb. Ava causes power outages so that the CCTV cuts out, during which she warns Caleb that all is not what it seems with Nathan and that he is not to be trusted.

Nathan becomes an increasingly sinister character. He clearly has an alcohol problem and is a major narcissist who seems to have quite the temper. He has a single servant at the facility called Kyoko (Sonoya Mizuno) who is supposedly unable to speak English. Caleb is tipped off to his dark side when Kyoko accidentally spills a drink and Nathan is overly irate and abusive towards her, CCTV footage also reveals him being antagonistic towards Ava. During another power outage, Caleb makes a plan to steal an intoxicated Nathan’s key card and escape with Ava to avoid her consciousness being deleted and upgraded.
With full access to Nathan’s computer system by way of his key card, Caleb stumbles upon footage of Nathan interacting with previous AI model in some really messed up ways, like super messed up ways- you sick freak Nathan. Caleb and Ava’s plan to make their escape doesn’t go to plan and the suspense is really ratcheted up in the last few scenes leading to what I thought, was a pretty controversial ending.

This film has four characters, only three of which speak, and is set in one location and my god does that help make you feel trapped and isolated. Couple that with Nathan’s increasingly hostile and sinister behaviour and the viewer sympathises with Caleb’s cabin fever. I did find my self questioning why anyone would choose to have such ominous red back up lighting in the event of a power outage… wouldn’t be my first choice. The film won The Academy Award for Best Visual Effects and I can see why. Ava has a human face, hands and feet but a robotic body and the visual effects are impressive to say the least.

I think the viewer is supposed to sympathise with Ava being sentient and trapped by a malicious creator and that we’re all supposed to condemn Nathan as an alky with a God complex. In my opinion, the roles of good and evil are in fact the other way around; by the end of the film I saw Caleb as the bad guy and Nathan as a victim. Despite their sentience, Nathan treated the AI’s as robots, as lines of code, not an actual a crime. Whereas Caleb allows a billion dollar AI to escape into society and he’s basically an accessory to murder, nice one Caleb.

My favourite scene in the film was when a drunk Nathan and Kyoko tear up the dance floor with a groovy choreographed disco routine. Usually this would be hilarious but Oscar Isaac has built up such an unpredictable character that the dance feels borderline menacing. There were a couple of scenes that weren’t polished, for example Caleb shaves and wipes his face and in the next scene he has shaving foam on his jaw again, just little inconsistencies. Plus, Ava walks on grass in 5 inch stilettos without sinking into the mud- bitch please! Overall ‘Ex-Machina’ is a swell little sci-fi film and the idea that AI is in our societies not so distant future feels almost prophetic.

I would give ‘Ex-Machina’ 7.5 Robotic Nubbin Arms out of 10.

Annihilation

“Like God made a mistake. Left the hall lights on”

Review by Lewis Goodall

Yum yum yum yum yum, I love a good set design. Nothing beats a scene then having actors standing in the middle of a landscape that easy on the eyes. Take the Wizard of Oz for example, a proper yum looking film that one. So take the sort of same scenery and landscape of the wizard of oz, make it look more overgrown and swampy, add some more flowers and deer without faces and boom, you have ‘Annihilation’. Now I have expressed what i love about this film, let’s move on to what i found mleh.

Before doing so I better actually explain what the film is about. Annihilation is the tale of earth slowly being consumed by an ever growing zone which contains an unknown force that meddles with ever cell on the inside. The military get in a biologist to examine further into this zone to try and uncover what is happening and why. The biologist and 4 other women set out on a mission to the heart of this area to find the source and put a stop to it.

I mentioned the set design in the beginning because that it what drew me to this film. Seeing some of the art coming out from it that people made, general screenshots and quite more than everything else the thumbnail on Netflix is what caught my eye. I’m a sucker for a film with dark, creative scenery, hence why I’m such a fan of John Carpenters ‘The Thing’, so seeing everything going on with Annihilation I knew my eyes were in for a treat. Then I saw that Natalie Portman was in it so my eyes were in for even more of a treat.

Natalie plays the biologist, Lena. She has been out of the military for 7 years to pursue biology. She met her husband in the military when he is reported to go on a mission to which he didn’t return…. that is until she paints her bedroom and he rocks up to the house out of nowhere! He’s back but acting strange and secretive about where he’s been for the past 12 months. The military catch up to him and in turn grab Lena to assist with the mission that her husband had been so secret about. The mission consists of enter a force field like phenomena that is slower growing in size. All they know about this place is that people enter and no one returns, they’ve either been killed or gone insane and killed each other. Naturally with results proving that everyone who steps in their dies, they then send Lena in there with her biology background to see if it can offer so sort of answer to what is happening.

The story is pretty straight forward. Something weird is happening, send in the expert and sort it out. The story is fine but there’s added side stories that add nothing to the story and just over complicate the whole experience. They seem very unnecessary when the main story is fine and works well enough, there is no need to add spices that don’t add to the dish. So the main plot follows along these 5 women on this journey into the unknown as they discover what this entity is causing to everything on the inside. On the inside all cells are refracted and merge and split in all different types of ways so that different species of flowers grow on the same branch and animals have characteristics from different animals. The further they enter the more abnormal things become. The whole essence of what is happening is related to a cancer like way of spreading. In the beginning Lena is teaching students about cancer, and then compares the overgrown nature in the zone to cancer. Sort of a weird detail to add but I’m sure it added to the story in a way that I didn’t notice but the way it came across which is actually my biggest Issue with the film is the script.

I realised I forgot to talk about the side stories so I promise I’ll get back to that. So with the script, it’s such a lazy script. Her making the comparison to it being cancer is meant to be this gasp moment I’m sure but it’s so lazily written in that it’s just embarrassing. Details like that I feel shouldn’t be mentioned, it’s meant to be implied because when it’s so blatant and obvious like that it’s like treating the audience like an idiot and its just lazy. It’s the equivalent of people explicitly saying something like “look Kyle, you’re my brother, you need to step up and get mum a present”. You know, stuff like that is just super unnatural and lazy to try and get across information in the easiest way, and that’s how I felt the whole script was like during this film, it was all a bit lazy and mleh.

So finally the side stories, I guess I might be going into detail here so spoilers I guess, skip to the next chapter if you don’t want this spoilt. Gone?? Cool. So there is a sideline of Lena having an affair on her husband with a colleague. It is totally unneeded as it adds absolutely nothing to the story at all. The other characters we follow all have backstories but again, they are put in there but they don’t really add anything at all, I’m listening to their stories and I’m just uninterested, at the end of the film they don’t really get addressed or anything so it felt a bit like filler. Just stick to the one premise, adding to much to a film is just confusing, I guess that’s why they added the super easy script to try and balance the two naff aspects out.

The action in this film is also laughable, I wont slag this film off much more but yeah there were a couple of moments that are meant to be tense and have me in the edge of my seat but instead I was reminding it because I couldn’t believe a jump scare could be so bad. All these pieces together are a shame because they taint what could’ve been an incredible film because the cinematography and imagery was insanely powerful and I loved all of it. One particular scene where the plants a re infused with human cells so they grow in the shape of humans and having tree people darted around the shop was just beautiful. It was all beautiful to look at. It’s all like a pastel version of the scenery In ‘Last of Us’.

Overall, this is a film that annoyed me because it has such potential to be incredible but Is let down in terms of writing, most of it is illogical and is poorly worked into the main story. The writer needs to be sat down in front of ‘Black Swan’ and shown how to properly write a film and how to get Natalie Portman to do a sex scene that make sense to the story. Aesthetically, this film is gorgeous and I cannot fault it at all, I did enjoy the film, I’m not saying I didn’t but I felt that looking at it from a critical eye then its definitely mleh, a beautiful mleh.

6.5 Tampax Bushes out of 10

Alita: Battle Angel

“This is just a body. It’s not bad or good. That part’s up to you.”

Review by Lewis Goodall

The cyberpunk setting is one I could see myself living in. I love the whole design of run down slums with really high tech cyborgs walking around with half a normal face and the other half looking like unsheathed toaster (bet that’s the first time anyone’s used that sentence). But honestly the contrast of slums and future really gets to me and I would love to be a part of it. Ever since seeing Bladerunner, I feel in love with that style and that style is brought heavily in with Alita: Battle Angel.

Alita (played by Rosa Salazar) is an out of service cyborg that has been left to rot in a scrap yard, only to be discovered by Dr. Dyson Ido ( played by Christoph Waltz). Clearly bored of making vacuum cleaners, Dr Dyson takes Alita from the scrap yard and breathes new life into her by creating her a new body. Alita having no memory of her past, must go on a quest to discover who she once was.

The world in which this cookie cutter story takes place in is stunning. Like I said before, the whole cyberpunk vibe is just amazing to look at, you can really appreciate all the details that went into making that world. In the background of every inner city shot, there will be someone with a robotic arm or something along those lines. Cyborgs walking around and vehicles that have only one wheel. The attention to detail in the world is phenomenal. The film takes place in the year 2563, 300 years after a great war known as ‘The Fall’. Since then the city has been divided into two sections. The slum side where all the scum, ruffians, bounty hunters and general Artful Dodgers hang out. The other section is known as Zalem, This part of the city is suspended in the sky above the slum city and there is no way of getting there (2563 and apparently there’s no such things a planes anymore).

Something I found really great with this film is really having the feeling of being along with Alita and discovering parts of the world together for the first time. Rosa Salazar does her part really well during this film and especially the beginning to which I have to be honest, is my favourite part of the whole film. Just seeing the way the citizens interact with this futuristic dystopian world is great and especially once you get introduced to Motorball which holy mother of titty shaking Christ I wish was a real sport. Motorsport is basically basketball on roller blades where everyone is trying to kill each other. I got heavy spy kids 3 flashbacks whilst watching Motorball. Specifically the part in spy kids where they have the race on the hover bikes and pumped up unicycles (if you have no idea what I’m talking about then shame on you). I had this nostalgia trip and then realised that they were both directed by Robert Rodriguez so it made a lot of sense.

I wish there was more Motorball in the film, there were only a couple of scenes with It in and they were by far the best scenes and I would love for it to actually become a sport. Actually I wish the whole film revolved around Motorball because I feel it would’ve been a lot more interesting. Not to diss the story as it is but it was a very typical Hollywood, cookie cutter film.

The screenplay itself was alright and felt natural but there was nothing overly standoutish about it. The story line in general was just that really, it was general. It did the job and I was captivated the whole way through but nothing outside of the CGI blew my mind. Not even the score stuck with me, thinking about it I don’t remember if there even was any music, there definitely was but I just don’t remember it. All my negatives towards the film are minor ones as I still did enjoy the story, even if it was generic I still found myself getting really invested in what happened to the characters and I’m really rooting for them to make a second one.

Overall this film may have a standard template but the visuals and action in there really step it up a mark. The setting and world that this story takes place in makes the experience definitely worth while. The analogy that I have in my head right now is, imagine someone wrote a story on Microsoft word. It’s a story everyone knows by heart and has read before but this time they have used a really nice font and used wordart for the header to make It looks really pretty. If that analogy doesn’t work then just imagine it’s a cross between Bladerunner and spy kids 3.

7 Go-Go Gadget Extendo Fingers out of 10


Upgrade

“There are some things machines can’t do”

Review by Lily Taylor


Set in a dystopian not-so-distant future, ‘Upgrade’ follows Grey Trace (Logan Marshall-Green) after his wife Asha (Melanie Vallejo) is killed in a mugging that leaves him paralysed from the neck down. The beginning of this film depicts Grey as a technophobe who prefers to work on his old Pontiac Firebird over the futuristic self-driving vehicles favoured by his wife. We see Grey struggling to adapt to life as a quadriplegic with his independence replaced almost entirely by technology and, despite the support of his mother Pam (Linda Cropper) he attempts to end his life by overdosing on medication; even that is administered by a robotic household appliance. I felt that Logan Marshall-Green portrayed the characters suffering brilliantly, although he does look a little like a Tom Hardy and Ansel Elgort’s love child which was slightly distracting.
Tech mogul Eron (Harrison Gilbertson) offers Grey an unusual opportunity to gain his independence back and exact revenge on the muggers responsible for Asha’s death. Under Eron’s watch, Grey undergoes an operation to have a multi-purpose microchip by the name of STEM implanted in his neck to bridge the gap between his mind and body, hopefully enabling him to walk again.


With STEM’s assistance, Grey gets more of an upgrade than he bargained for as the chip in his neck is able to take full control of his body when he gives it permission to do so. Although Grey Trace once lived an almost technology free existence, it appears that tech is ultimately what has saved him. The upgraded Grey tracks down each of the muggers involved in Asha’s murder leaving a trail of very satisfying, gory deaths in his wake. Eventually, STEM and Grey find that the accident that rendered him paralysed was in fact a hit, paid for by Eron and his tech company, but all is not what it seems when Grey goes to confront him…
Overall, I found ‘Upgrade’ to be a great, easy watching kind of movie. I was immediately hooked by the Bladerunner style of the landscape and panning shots over the city. My favourite element of the cinematography was that when STEM was in control of Grey’s body the filming took on an RPG perspective as though in the middle of gameplay. In my opinion this was the perfect way of subtly yet clearly show that the machine was the one in control. The development of STEM was particularly interesting; without giving too much away, there is a shift from symbiosis to autonomy and I’m impressed at the level of character development the micro-chip manages to achieve. Despite starting the film with some pretty heavy emotional scenes, director Leigh Whannell succeeds in lightening the mood with moments of black comedy. My favourite example of this is during a bar fight in which Trace exclaims ‘you though I was an invalid, but you didn’t know I’m a fucking ninja’- I always approve of some well-timed banter. I’m doing my best to avoid spoilers but I feel the need to mention that I loved the ending of this film; I really think it’s the only way it could end and I think you’ll see what I mean if you watch it yourself.


Whilst good fun and full of sci-fi flare, ‘Upgrade’ is not without its flaws. The most significant of these is the slightly simplistic storyline and I have to admit that I guessed the ending with an hour and ten minutes of the film left to watch, not ideal! The acting skills of the surgeon that assesses Grey after his operation has the emotional range of a doormat and should promptly be banished from the world of cinema, you’ll know who I mean. A few minor editing slip ups were present if I’m being picky but, all in all I enjoyed the cinematography. Side note: the hacker who helps Grey when STEM is being remotely shut down, looks like the third, lesser known member of Die Antwoord.

I would give ‘Upgrade’ 8 Fisk’s Moustaches out of 10