HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2 REVIEW

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DRAGONS! Hiccup and Toothless are back after the DreamWorks animated blockbuster hit the big screens! Bigger? Absolutely. Better? Visually it’s a feast for the eyes. While not surpassing the original, it certainly matches it for story, drama and entertainment. Get the little ‘uns or the big kids (like myself) over to the pics and invest!

So what’s it all about? It’s been five years since Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) and Toothless successfully united dragons and vikings on the island of Berk. While Astrid, Snotlout and the rest of the gang are challenging each other to dragon races (the island’s new favourite contact sport), the now inseparable pair journey through the skies, charting unmapped territories and exploring new worlds. When one of their adventures leads to the discovery of a secret ice cave that is home to hundreds of new wild dragons and the mysterious Dragon Rider, the two friends find themselves at the centre of a battle to protect the peace.

Firstly, 3D not a massive investment to be honest. So save your pennies, parents. The animation is incredible alone. The 3D makes it more prominent but not a must. The detail is stunning. Every little thing, the expressions, the waves as Hiccup and Toothless soar across the seas, brilliant. Anyway, we reunite with the dynamic duo and it is great that the characters have actually aged in the five years. Hiccup does look very different, and weirdly a little like Andy from Toy Story.

The gang are all back, along with the original and very talented voicing cast consisting of Jonah Hill, America Ferrera, Kristen Wiig, Craig Ferguson, Christopher “McLovin” Mintz-Plasse and T. J. Miller. Although, they don’t seem to be in this film as much. They still make a mark and bring the laughs but until the second half really. They seemed to be cast aside and understandably so as the story primarily revolves around Hiccup yet again. Torn between being a dragon rider and taking over the reins of being chief by his pushy but legendary father, Stoick (THIS IS . . . Gerard Butler), Hiccup must make a choice.

The spoiler-ific trailers reveal the identity of the mysterious Dragon Rider which was hardly a surprise twist. But for those who were lucky enough not to see that trailer then don’t worry, I won’t spoil it for you. Djimon Hounsou (Blood Diamond/Gladiator) brings his gravelly gravitas to the sinister Drago with aplomb. It was irritating me who was voicing Eret, the henchman. Firstly because I recognised the voice and secondly because his voice didn’t seem strong enough and didn’t match the character. And low and behold, I know nothing as it was Kit “Jon Snow” Harington (Game of Thrones – obviously). Shame. His conviction didn’t pull it off for me.

However, these are only minor quibbles as there are laughs to be had. Moments that surprise and pluck at the heart strings. It’s riveting, a feast for the eyes with an enthralling visual masterpiece of a finale with Toothless taking on his biggest foe to date. It may not surpass the original as the story may not necessarily break new ground but it is most certainly on par and if rumours are hinting at another, then another I want. I won’t divulge too much as this is one I would recommend that you see. There’s a little something for every one plus DRAGONS, hellooo.

In the words of GB, THIS IS . . . Not a bad sequel. 4 out of 5! Better. See I do like some films, you know!

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22 JUMP STREET REVIEW

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Jump to your nearest store or online outlet and see this movie!

Hill and Tatum reunite for a ridiculously OTT but incredibly funny sequel that has enough to match its predecessor and possibly surpass it.

Now Jump Street has never been (and never will be) subtle. If you like your comedies a little more subdued and less about sex and drug gags than . . . Why are you here?

Now I liked 21 Jump Street but felt it was a little overhyped. The way my brother bigged this movie up to me; I was expecting an Anchorman but it still delivered the goods.

What I loved about these movies is the blatantly obvious self-referencing, the ability to poke fun at itself and constant breaking of the fourth wall. This is perfectly demonstrated with Deputy Chief Hardy Nick Offerman (Parks and Recreation) explaining how the idiotic success of their last mission has led to their budget being doubled so they can do the exact same thing and hopefully yield the exact same results.

And boy do they! With crazy car chases, OTT action pieces, zippy one liners and laugh out loud gags from Jonah Hill’s wooing poetry slam to Tatum’s buffoonery. I always knew Hill would impress. You can tell where he improvises and it makes things all the better for it. There are a couple moments where the jokes have the tendency to go on a little bit.

I always found Tatum a little wooden in his other movies but whether it be the subject or his partnership with Hill; he has really come out of himself and is absolutely brilliant and they fantastically together.

It’s hardly perfect. The plot line is reversed to predictable if hilarious results. This time around, the inevitable happens in which Hill struggles to adjust to college life after his surprise performance at high school, while Tatum blends straight in, forming a bromance with another jughead that soon threatens to destroy the relationship of the dynamic duo.

I could list all the gags but hey, why would I do that? I was just pleased that this wasn’t a case of all the best bits in the trailer.

Ice Cube was actually very funny. I felt his typical angry bravado was used for its strengths this time around and he was given a little more screen time which allowed for some cracking moments.

Peter Stormare seemed to play a strangely out of place and generic villain. I mean the passing joke about what happened to the 90s works for those are familiar with his numerous bad guy roles back in the day but for anyone else, it will go straight over your head.

Patton Oswalt (King of Queens) was in a funny blink-and-you’ll-miss-it cameo as a teacher whose just received tenure. I just wish he was in it more. The alluring Amber Stevens (Greek) plays the love interest well and was able to be more than just a cliched cut out. The Lucas Brothers (TWINS! JINX!) were brilliant as the Yang twins. A memorable supporting role if ever there was one.

I found Jillian Bell quite irritating by the end. Her old guy jibes at Hill were funny (At first) BUT the massive punch up goes on far too long. I could respect the Mr & Mrs Smith parody nod BUT it got a little repetitive.

And of course, regular faces from the original (Well, original remake) pop up. Inevitably, the teasers were hinting for another sequel. IF the gags are this good, I’m happy to keep watching.

Keep watching the closing credits for a fantastic sequels gags. There was a surprising cameo from a certain comic actor.

I would have to say that this is one of the funniest films I’ve seen in a while. My name is Jeff! INVEST!

4 (just) out of 5!

WOLF OF WALL STREET REVIEW

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The Boss is back with one drug induced beast of a movie. Bold, brash and bloody bonkers but better than ever?

Nah, but it’s one hell of a ride!

It’s relentless, outrageous and doesn’t give a f- This film is not afraid to rock the boat. It literally capsizes one! DiCaprio’s Belfort is a monster but Scorsese always has that ability to make them so god damn watchable and likeable.

From the get go, Belfort’s character is very reminiscent of Liotta’s Henry Hill from Goodfellas. He makes it explicitly clear that he is out to make money and doesn’t care who he’s gotta screw to get to the top.

The opening sequence was a perfect indicator of the madness that will take over your life for the next three hours. Midget tossing, shagging and enough drugs to kill Keith Richards. You feel like you’re on drugs watching this. It’s so frantic, it’s almost like you’re watching a demented Luhrmann flick.

I won’t say too much about the film’s plot. Firstly, you won’t believe me. It’s so intense that it seems to throw everything but the kitchen sink. In fact, it launches the whole god damn kitchen! The only problem was that after the first hour, it got exhausting, a little repetitive and overlong.

However, the writing is sharp and everything you could expect from the legend and  “soprano” Terence “Boardwalk flippin’ Empire” Winter. It’s incredibly dark, gritty, violent and funny as hell. There is one scene I don’t know how DiCaprio and Hill did it. I won’t spoil it but my God!

Rodrigo Prieto’s cinematography is fantastic to boot and makes such a dirty and murky world look so glamourous. The cast are incredible. Jonah Hill is fantastic. His massive teeth and his erratic behaviour were hilarious. I couldn’t tell if he was improvising in parts because DiCaprio’s reactions seemed too genuine.

Great cameo from Matthew McConaughey. He manages to make a memorable impression in five minutes, summing up the beautiful reality of working in Wall Street and the true corruption that it brings. Plus his little motivation chant is very funny.

The stunning Margot Robbie certainly made her presence known. Plus she can act. What? I couldn’t get over the faces that popped up in this. Jon Bernthal (Shane from the Walking Dead), Jean Dujardin (The Artist), Jon Favreau, the movie legend that brought us When Harry Met Sally and This is Spinal Tap, Rob Reiner (on comic form) and Joanna Lumley.

However, plaudits must go to Leonardo DiCaprio. A tremendous actor who manages to stand out in a sea of talent. Proving why he is one of the best actors going. You can see why Scorsese has made him a regular. Even when the film may dip in pace, DiCaprio carries it every time. Bravo.

It was also good to see Kyle Chandler. An underrated actor in my opinions. Friday Night Lights fans will agree. A much needed injection as the second hour approached. He worked well with DiCap. A perfect catalyst with much needed tension and top notch banter.   

One little gripe. I can’t believe Winter had the cheek to steal a line from one of my favourite films, Heat. “Who? Who? What are ya? A fucking owl”.

It was always going to be tough for Scorsese to top such iconic films as Goodfellas, Casino, Raging Bull and Taxi Driver. His last few films have been good but lack that edge (except Shutter Island).

I still believe that Scorsese was given the Oscar for the wrong movie. The Departed was one of his weaker entries. But in a way, it must be the universe amending such a big mistake for Goodfellas.

Wolf of Wall Street may look like it has that edge but it’s just too ridiculous and exhausting that I was a little relieved to see the ending. That’s the problem with Scorsese flicks. There’s only ever two outcomes. They get away with it or they don’t.

Brilliantly shot, brilliantly acted and bloody bonkers. A little exhausting and overlong. Scorsese’s best? Nope BUT definitely worth a go.

3.5/5