Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 | Review | Film

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2“Flint, this is amazing! And designing the ice cream to accumulate into scoops? I don’t know how you’re gonna top this!?”

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2How about with hot fudge? Oh you’ve heard it before? Well..How about with a sentient strawberry with big green eyes that also poops jam? And billions of food puns? You’ll need to have quite an appetite for the overdosingly sweet and cutesy cutesy, but ride out the spaghetti storm and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 will not leave a bitter taste in your mouth.

It’s every food-loving child’s (or unashamed child at heart’s) favourite film franchise..ABOUT FOOD. Get ready for the sugar rush of your life as your eyes feast on Sony Pictures Animation’s deliciousness, in glorious gut-busting 3D.

With all your favourites from last time:  Flint Lockwood, Sam Sparks, Steve, Tim Lockwood, ‘Baby’ Brent McHale and Officer Earl Devereax (sadly, no macaroni head man…) and some really demonic looking pickles, Cloudy 2 picks up directly from where we left the gang – in the tasty, post-apocalyptic chaos of Swallow Falls.

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2Flint and his friends find themselves having to leave town after his childhood idol, Chester V (Will Forte) and his Live Corp Company of awesome inventors and scientists begin a mass clean up

Soon after leaving Flint discovers that the FLSMDFR (Flint Lockwood’s Diatonic Super Mutating Dynamic Food Replicator) is still functioning and creating delightfully imaginative mutant foodimals like Shrimpanzies, toastitoes and Hippotatomus! Armed with his friends he returns to Swallow Falls to find and shut down the FLSMDFR and, of course, save the world.

With a plot engaging for both adults and kids alike there are plenty of good laugh out loud moments, silliness is the name of the game! However there are some deeper themes that emerge occasionally as Flint deals with his bullied past, how he chooses a role model, the choice of studying the foodimals or destroying them and how he values his friendships.

All the lessons and trials he faces are served up in a way that differs from the deeply moving and heartstring pulling Pixaresque films out there and instead goes for a light hearted approach that still hits hard. Without the need of nearly killing off the whole cast in a blazing inferno. (No, I’m still not over Toy Story 3!!!)

With most of the original cast from the first film, (save Terry Crews replacing MR.T as Officer Earl) Bill Hader, Anna Faris and James Caan effortlessly glide back into character and bring to life the animation on screen. The dialogue is fast paced and mirrors the constant slap-stick and flamboyant gesticulations escalating in the fantastic food fight finale.

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2The design of the characters and their erratic movements, extreme facial expressions and adventures with the foodimals are highly amusing and even go as far as to reflect films gone by. Like the huge behemoth spring onions that mimic the brontosaurus scene from Jurassic Park.

All in all I would definitely urge all of who have not yet seen this film to do so, (and buy the DVD of part 1!) as it is a film I will be carrying with me in my imagination and heart alongside the original. For me, a self-confessed foodie and lover of cute I was completely obliged to see Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 and love every spoonful of it.

Rating 5/5

Jenna Fury

Thor: The Dark World | Review | Film

Marvel's Thor: The Dark WorldThor: The Dark WorldTopping The Avengers (or Avengers Assemble, if you must) was never going to be easy, and there’s no doubt Thor: The Dark World lives in the shadow of the events of the biggest grossing superhero flick of all time, but at least it has a really good go.

The gang’s all here: Thor, Loki, Odin…and Natalie Portman – OK, Jane Foster… Overall the cast performs well but it’s difficult to be sold by a supposedly highly intelligent scientist who things it’s a good idea, when she finds herself in a random place in the middle of nowhere, to touch the strange goo-like red substance which is moving around of its own accord.

Anthony Hopkins earns his place returning as Odin, bringing a reminder of how great power and the weary of war can change great men into the very thing they despise. Really it’s his wife Frigga (Rene Russo) who steals the show in the briefest of moments and she shows her true colours as more than just a queen.

Of the characters, most supporting players, such as Kat Dennings’ Darcy, get a decent amount of screen time and some good laughs or at least justify themselves. Sadly it’s the villain, unrecognisably played by Christopher Eccleston, who has no depth or complexity to him – you’d think after hanging around for 5000 years or more he’d have something interesting to say but there is no character beyond raw emotion.

Marvel's Thor: The Dark WorldMore than once, the film strays close to the feeling of the original Star Wars films. There’s a villain who speaks with wrath, is pale and wields great power, his dark servant who does his bidding without question and the feeling of the torch being past between the wise old man and the youngster who stands up to evil despite massive odds.

This is not necessarily a bad thing, in fact the parrallels with themes such as magic and space together, the frantic lazer battles juxtaposing the more traditional aspects of life on Asguard. Unfortunately there isn’t the same driving narrative surging through the film, and with Thor’s own lessons learned in the first film – little to encourage you to grow with the character.

Marvel's Thor: The Dark World - LokiWhat is a fantastic though is that the film has all the humour, all the action and, best of all, Loki. Since the first film, Tom Hiddleston has taken Loki on a journey which broke out of Thor into the Avengers, and now struggles to fit back in. For much of the plot he is sidelined, confined to the dungeons out of sight.

Despite this – every single time you see him on screen you are entertained. He is gifted with the best lines, the best timing and the strongest emotional story arc of any character. He could have been used more, think of the role of Gene Hackman in Superman II, but the team were cautious and merely held him back – setting things up for fireworks in Thor 3.

The story has some fun twists and turns, and even gives Idris Elba a chance to shine as we know he can (another character who deserves to go further in the next instalment), but overall plays it safe.

Marvel's Thor: The Dark WorldThe end result is a really really good film, but not quite as high as the standard set by so many Marvel flicks brought out over the past few years. Thor is a strong character, and Chris Hemsworth brings him to life brilliantly, but his sheer spectacle makes him the most un-relatable Marvel hero, and so it is more difficult to connect with the film.

In all Thor: The Dark World isn’t the moody sequel you might expect in this post-Dark Knight world, ironically it’s actually more comedic than the first film, but it does tick all the boxes for fans of both action films and comic book tales.

If you’re in the mood for a great film, this is a solid choice, but if you are looking for something unforgettable, you’ll be left wanting.

Rating: 4/5

James Michael Parry

How to be a serial killer (on TV) | Feature | Television

DexterSince it’s almost Halloween* we thought it would be fun to turn our thoughts to the darkness within, namely the serial killers of the silver screen and what we can learn from their successes and failures.

(*Disclaimer – Depending on when this is actually being read it may or may not be Halloween, This Is Entertainment makes no apologies for diminished enjoyment of the following editorial. Also, killing people is bad, so no, you may not try this at home.)

From Dexter to Hannibal, Red John to Henry Grace, there are many killers at large on the box and all of them have their own methods, motives and characteristics which help them succeed, or lead to their downfall.

Keep your friends closer

DexterAll serial killers have something in common, aside from just being murderers, in that the act of taking a life has a purpose.

It might be because they ‘need’ to kill, it might be because they enjoy it or because they want to show everyone how clever they are. Regardless of how they feel about killing, almost all need a cover story to maintain the appearance of a ‘normal’ life.

For Dexter Morgan, the titular anti-hero of Dexter (Michael C. Hall), his cover comes both in the form of his job and his sister Debra. Staying close to Debra is what helps to hide Dexter’s darkness from the rest of the world.

In this year’s TV adaptation of Red Dragon – Hannibal – the character of Hannibal Lecter remains hidden by getting close to the person most likely to find him.

The impression of the person they are, the disguise, is almost as important as their true self. This is one thing you must master, to be in with any chance at all.

Don’t bite off more than you chew

The MentalistWhen killers worlds start to unravel is when they are trying to do too many things at once.

A pretty important tip for any budding serial killer is to only try to take out one victim at a time.

Some of the hairiest situation for Dexter have been when he has to kill another person to cover up the first murder.

Control is very important for these sociopathic personalities, and as soon as things start to get out of hand, you will quickly see them get more brutal and frantic.

Make sure you have a plan and stick to it, even if that voice in your head says differently.

Be wary of exploring new things

Colin Hanks in DexterWith an incapability to feel genuine emotion, there is always a temptation for serial killers to yearn after what they cannot have.

Often from their perspective, things like love, attachment, family are all distractions which make things more complicated, and hold little worth in the long run.

In reality the success at which these aspects can offer value varies greatly, but bigger social topics such as religion, addiction, celebrity have numerous new experiences and possibilities attached to them.

However tempting it might be to believe that these things can give you a way out, don’t be fooled – for a serial killer, almost everything comes back to secrets.

Always get rid of the evidence

Criminal MindsIf you don’t fancy eating them, make sure you are well-versed in how one might go and hide a body, since the past is always poised to come back to haunt you at any moment in unexpected ways.

It may be much to have a wide array of recipes to cater for whatever organ you fancy cooking up that particular day, but you do have to have a system. Do you keep everything together? Store it for a while or dispose of it all at once?

There’s no absolute certain way to not have bodies traced back to you, but some care and patience goes a long way. After all, there’s more than enough CSI-type shows looking for your DNA.

Don’t get caught

Dexter caught by DebLearning how the police work, or even steering the investigation yourself, are sure-fire ways to stay ahead of the game.

Of course, the more you learn, the more they have to learn to catch up and the harder the job of remaining hidden becomes.

Never get sucked into sacrificing anything for anyone but yourself, in the end it’s you against the world. If a few more people have to die to get you out of a situation then what’s a few more bodies? What’s one more?

Dr Hannibal Lector (Mads Mikkelsen)Obviously, the way to really survive is to make it on TV. There you can be immortalised for years to come with all of your great achievements laid out. The reason that serial killers continue to be popular, even rooted for and loved despite being horrible, evil people, is because they fascinate us.

It is difficult to understand or appreciate why or how someone would be so destructive as to dissect so many people’s lives. Not being able to feel emotions that we all experience daily for ridiculous things – that rush of fear as you almost slip on the way down the stairs for example – serial killers are something which we all in some ways admire, even at the same time as being appalled by them.

You can’t imagine rooting for Darth Vader or Skelator in quite the same way as you want these people to get away with it. In many ways it’s the birthplace of ‘the lovable villain’. Can you imagine the attendees at Comic Con cheering Loki if it wasn’t for Tom Hiddleston’s charisma and charm?

Will Graham, Hannibal (2013)Perhaps this is also where the love for Halloween itself comes from. The excitement and the fun of mocking the darkness and the evil with chocolate treats and silly costumes makes it all seem less frightening and less horrific, when really if you look closer and see the truth of what it represents you would run for your life.

So the next time you think it would just be easier to kill everyone and be done with it, throwing morals and reason out the window in favour of a simpler life of black and white, good and evil. But remember, in the end, it isn’t quite so simple as that.

What are your top tips? Leave a comment below, but be careful not to give away too much…

James Michael Parry