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FILM REVIEW: Triple 9 – Another Cops vs Robbers

Dan Atkins

SPOILERS AHEAD

Directed by: John Hillcoat

Rating: 3/5

So there you have it, our thoughts on Triple 9, recorded via the new app ‘Anchor’. Certainly a good action film, but it won’t be anything you haven’t seen before. Be sure to stay tuned next Monday for a new review!

If you haven’t yet downloaded the app Anchor yet, do so and follow us by searching for ‘Louder Than Words’.

Dan, LTW

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FILM REVIEW: Deadpool – A Superhero Film?

Dan Atkins

SPOILERS AHEAD

Directed By: Tim Miller

Rating: 4/5

Now before I step foot into this review, I need to make a couple of confessions. First of all, I need to make it quite clear that I’m really not a fan of Superhero films, (with the exception to Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy, for various reasons I won’t get into now). I know right, a film maker who isn’t a nerd! Unheard of. But seriously, they really aren’t my cup of tea. For me they all seem to follow an all too familiar formula, which if your not already a fan of the Marvel/DC worlds, just gets a bit samey and boring, especially with the sheer amount that have come out of late. This then does also mean that I have no prior knowledge towards the Deadpool comics or any form of back story on the character, so you need to understand that I am looking at this film as a complete Marvel idiot. Right, now that’s sorted, that will hopefully prevent any angry comic book fans (and believe me I know a few!) from yelling things at me I don’t understand… So here is what I thought.

We start the film in the middle of a mission motivated by revenge, with our lead character Deadpool, also known by his real name ‘Wade Wilson’, (played by Ryan Reynolds), as he is hunting down his arch enemy ‘Ajax’ also lovingly known as ‘Francis’, his actual name, which Wade finds all too amusing. This film is the eighth installment of the X-Men series, but boy, immediately, this film already has a completely different feel to it. Before I knew it, Deadpool was constantly breaking the ‘fourth wall’ and communicating with us the viewer, a touch that I really enjoyed! He even makes a joke about it at one point by saying “fourth wall break, inside of a fourth wall break. That’s like… sixteen walls!”. Wade narrates this story for us as we go back and forth through time to understand what has led him to this point (very Tarantino like I felt), the edit of this film really impressed me. We learn that Francis is the reason why Wade is now Deadpool, a name that was chosen at a table with his friend ‘Weasel’ (played by T.J Miller), at their secret society’s safe house. Wade was chosen to be part of a group of secret experiments that promised to heal him of his then recently diagnosed terminal cancer. Not only did it cure him of his cancer, but also turned him into a mutant with super powers including the ability to heal from anything (even chopping his own hand off!), with the only downside that, in Weasels words, ‘You are haunting, you look like an avocado had sex with an older avocado..’ . He wasn’t too pretty. Meaning that he felt he could never go back to the love of his life and therefore had to track down Francis to correct his looks.

T.J Miller and Ryan Reynolds in Deadpool
T.J Miller and Ryan Reynolds in Deadpool

I came into this film with absolutely zero expectations. Not because I thought it was going to be bad, but as I have already stated, simply because I knew nothing about it. I also took my wife with me, who didn’t seem particularly impressed that I’d dragged her out, when i was trying to describe to her what I thought it was we were sitting down to watch. But I’m happy to report, that I can’t remember the last time I went to the movies and laughed as much as I did… and I certainly don’t think there has ever been a time that both me and my wife have gone to see a film together and both laughed as much we did throughout this film. So let’s get this straight right off the bat, this film is hilarious! If you simply want to go and see a brilliant comedy, packed with one liners, go and watch Deadpool. Unfortunately, this statement does have to come with a disclaimer, and that is, if you are easily offended or your not a fan of a potty mouth, then this is DEFINITELY not the film for you! You have been warned. It is full of profanities and vulgar jokes, but I have to say, I personally found it so refreshing! Finally, a superhero movie to break the mould! It’s almost like Deadpool is looking at the Superhero franchise as a whole and is willing to poke fun at it. Something I’m all to happy to do!

Ryan Reynolds is brilliant and the perfect choice for this role, he has a wit and a charm in real life that really transpires over into this film. I guess if you were being picky, you could suggest that it did feel a bit over the top at times the way the studio were poking fun at themselves. Almost like they were saying ‘see look at us, we can be silly and make fun of ourselves, as long as nobody else is doing it…’. You can also tell that this film has a fraction of the budget of some of its predecessors, as the CGI and action sequences are on a much smaller scale, but this again has been covered well with it’s humour and clever editing.

Overall, I really enjoyed this film. It certainly isn’t going to be for everyone and I certainly can’t speak for the group of dedicated comic book lovers, but for general film lovers, I think most people with a broad sense of humour will really enjoy Deadpool. 4 out of 5 from LTW.

 

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FILM REVIEW: Point Break – An Advocate for Extreme Sports… But Not Much Else.

Dan Atkins

SPOILERS AHEAD

Directed by: Ericson Core

Rating: 2/5

Have you ever wondered, “What if Fast and Furious, Step Up 2, Robin Hood Prince of Thieves and The Bourne Identity had some crazy 4 way love child? (if that was even possible), what would that look like!? What would be the end result!”. Of course you haven’t, but if you were ever strange enough to think in such a way, wonder no more! The new remake of classic film ‘Point Break’ achieves that image perfectly and that certainly isn’t a compliment.. It’s diabolical.

The film opens with friends Jonny (Luke Bracey) and Jeff, we find them riding their motocross bikes out in some rocky wilderness, with a helicopter overhead filming them for their apparent ‘sponsors’. Jeff is uneasy, he isn’t too happy about the ride that is set before him, Jonny, our classic stereotypical, baby faced, tattooed twenty something ‘hero’, tries to ease Jeff’s nerves by saying some reassuring line, “come on, it’s fine, just follow my line”. Famous last words… Yes, we can all see where this is going (which is a trend throughout the whole film), but I wouldn’t want to spoil it too much for you…

Jump forward 7 years and our now emotionally damaged stunt rider has had a change of heart and has suddenly decided to join the FBI, we know this thanks to a strategically placed montage of FBI training. Well as luck would have it, a new case involving 3 extreme sport loving, adrenaline junkie vigilantes are now riding motorbikes out of skyscrapers and raining stolen diamonds down on the poor, alongside hi-jacking planes stacked with money which they too send free falling down to more apparent needy folk, this is certainly a strange case. After Jonny has had a motivational heart to heart with his superior on proving himself as an FBI agent, he seemingly becomes ‘just the man’ to go undercover to investigate these band of merry men, to find out who they are and to research more about their motives behind these bizarre actions.

We come to understand that the group of mysterious men, led by actor Edgar Ramirez as Bodhi, (Patrick Swayze played this character in the original), are actually on some kind of “path of enlightenment” to achieving the ultimate 8 ‘ordeals’ in physical extreme activities, set out by ummm, some guy? (We never really learn much about him). This is apparently all an attempt to connect more to the earth, whilst also at the same time giving back to it. (It’s safe to say that the story line was an after thought for this film).

With the help of UK agent ‘Pappas’ (Ray Winstone), who unfortunately is another cliche to this film. (Cue hard edged, tough love geezer, who is a veteran of the job, with an underlying desire to teach new guy the ropes as a strange kind of father figure), they manage to have no trouble tracking down this group in the middle of the ocean, seemingly through complete luck, just purely on a hunch that they may be surfing some big waves…somewhere, as the next phase of this so called ‘path’. Soon enough our lead character soon earns the trust of the group leader and begins to travel alongside his gang, completing some of their daunting extreme tasks. The story develops as a battle within Jonny’s head of where the line of right and wrong stands on what this group are trying to achieve. Unfortunately wooden, stale acting and a whole bunch of cliches is all we get to tell this story, including a moment which any Hot Fuzz fans will find hilarious. Yes, he actually did it!

I would say the only thing this film has going for it, is some of the incredible action sequences. Whether it’s proximity flying through woodland, snowboarding down epic mountains, surfing crazy waves or free climbing up ridiculously tall rock faces, we get treated to some really breath takingly beautiful shots. But even this could have been better. I feel like we were robbed of more real action footage in place for some less than impressive CGI cut together in a similar style to The Fast and Furious, where the rules are that you can only stay on one shot for no longer than a second and this shot has to be so blurry through motion, that you can’t even see whats happening anyway.

I’m certain that the fans of this film will be so, purely through the excitement provided by these action packed extreme sport sequences (and I love stunts just as much as the next man!), but this sadly was no where near enough to say that this film is a complete package. Also for anyone who enjoys the original, avoid it like the plague. I’m giving Point Break 2 out of 5 and if it wasn’t for those glimpses of cinematic beauty it would have been 1.

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The Fourth Phase and why it’s going to be AWESOME!

Dan Atkins

We all have something that we are passionate about, that one thing we couldn’t imagine life without. For a lot of us it’s things like music, sport and fitness, maybe dance? Or perhaps you just live for the weekend and getting social time with your friends. Whatever floats your boat, I’d hope we all have something that gets us out of bed in the morning. For me that thing has become film and more importantly filmmaking!

This certainly hasn’t always been the case however. If you had told a 16 year old me that later in life I would run my own production company, he probably would’ve laughed in your face and said something about becoming the next Steve Irwin… (Don’t ask…). Needless to say, it has been a long roundabout journey to lead me to where I am now, but I wouldn’t change a thing.

One moment that really sticks out to me, a moment of inspiration in this journey of discovering my love for film, came when myself and a couple of friends sat down to watch ‘The Art of Flight’. For those who haven’t seen The Art of Flight, the premise of the film revolves around a group of snowboarders who are at the top of their game, looking to ride some of the most hardcore places in the world, (The film title, I would guess, comes from the way that these riders appear as if they are literally defying the laws of gravity). Now, I don’t pretend to know anything about snowboarding, I’d like to give it a go, but I have never been before. But this film completely changed the way I look at cinema, it was stunning! Everything from the movement of the camera and riders, to the little graphical elements that complemented the text was perfect! I started to look at my own work differently. How can I take my projects that may not immediately be of interest to everyone and make it beautiful, how can I be creative in my processes, so that this film can suddenly be noticed by people who maybe wouldn’t otherwise be bothered. Without exaggeration, it changed my life!

Here’s The Art of Flight trailer: 

Which brings me onto the real news! Brainfarm and Red Bull Media House, the production companies that brought us The Art of Flight, have just released the trailer for their latest project, ‘The Fourth Phase’, and it’s another exciting look into the world of snowboarding. Have a look at the trailer and make up your own mind, but I can honestly say, if The Art of Flight is anything to go by, this film will be another example of how some of the most creative cinematographers, combined with extreme sports can be some of the most breathtaking cinema we the viewer can consume!

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Give your marketing campaign life!

Dan Atkins

How often do we see marketing videos or online marketing campaigns that just seem to always have the same taste to them? That utterly corporate feel, of talking through processes and how this business, or that company is so vastly different to all the others out there trying to sell you stuff. And yet there they all are, all saying the same thing, actually sounding exactly the same as each other! Giving no distinction really between themselves and everyone else at all! It’s incredibly frustrating! They’re nothing new, they’re not fresh and exciting, we will just simply ignore it and quite frankly, deservedly so.

I’m sure my fellow peers working within the film industry will say the same thing as me here, but if i had a quid for every time someone has enquired to do this same corporate video, of their CEO talking to a camera as we have cutaway shots of their office space, or factory or men in the field working, no matter what the business does, or who they work for, I’d be a lot better off than I am now! Why do we think that by doing the same thing as everyone else we’ll be any better off? Are people really seeing a return on the investment they’re making with these videos!? These are the kind of questions marketers need to be asking themselves when commissioning anyone to produce a video for them. And film makers, let’s stop ripping off our clients with videos that won’t serve them effectively!

It was a few years ago I first saw this advert for Contrex online and I realised the power that just one video can give to a brand.

The tagline at the end says ‘Slimming doesn’t have to be boring’. Well guess what? Neither does your video marketing! Let’s be creative and make something that has life in it! It honestly doesn’t matter what you do, Contrex sell water, I mean where do you go with that right? Wrong! Look at what they achieved! “But I don’t have the budget for something that big”, budget isn’t everything, you can still be creative. Think about it, half the viral videos we see from Youtube are shot on an i-phone… So you can’t say that to create a viral marketing campaign you need 100’s of 1000’s of pounds, (it certainly helps!), but it shouldn’t restrict your creativity.

All I ask, is that the next time your company or brand is considering it’s new marketing strategy, maybe this includes a video or not (I certainly recommend that it did!), don’t look at your competitors and think about how you can match what they have done or assume that to be successful you need to create similar content to all these other strong businesses. To be cliche, think outside the box, how can you be different, how can you stand out, what has never been done before? People don’t want to see the same content, they want something new and exciting, something they’d be willing to share with their friends. Let’s create that content together and let’s take your business to new heights!