Tuesday, 30 November 2010

A Man Who Doesn't Seem To Be Very Fun.

The Coen Brothers' last production, released around this time last year for awards season. Leading up to their next release, True Grit, I thought it'd be an appropriate time to review this. This being, of course, A Serious Man.

At the end of the credits, the film claims, 'No Jews were harmed in the making of this motion picture.' Could have fooled me. A black comedy focused on the life of Larry Gopnik (Michael Stuhlbarg) as he goes through the more difficult times of his life. Divorce, teenage kids, a brother prone to gambling, court cases, lawyer's bills, land feuds and job problems involving bribes and complaints. Not a lot is going well for Larry. In more detail, His wife Judy (Sari Lennick) wants to leave Larry for her lover, Sy. (Fred Melamed) At work, a Korean student is bribing Larry to change a grade and complaints about Larry are flowing into the complaints box. On top of all this he has to deal with his law breaking brother and his teenage kids who steal money from him and just want him around to fix the television ariel. And that is pretty much the movie. There a few side plots: Larry's son Danny (Aaron Wolff) has issues with pot and bullies, Larry's daughter Sarah (Jessica McManus) wants a nose job and the next door neighbour.. well lets just say she has no problem tanning in clear view.
Sometimes, all you need is a hug.

Depending on your sense of humour, you'll either love this movie or hate it. Personally, I found it hilarious. It's so clever, so intelligent, so funny. There's all kinds of humour. There's visual comedy, intelligent jokes, religious humour and just plain funny reactions. The script is so well written but best of all: it's real. The issues that plague Larry are the same things that you or I may face. Okay, perhaps my son won't get high at his bar-mitzvah but it could happen. It's believable. The acting, particularly from Stuhlbarg, is just so good. It makes everything work. The reactions are funny yet real etc.

Direction, like always from this pair, is spot on. The Coen brothers are two of the best directors around at the moment and while this is no Big Lebowski or No Country For Old Men, it is still a brilliant movie. The camera work is so well worked, especially with comedy moments. In fact, the camera shots often make the scene even funnier... In a really good way.
'Teach, you can't be serious!'
'Oh, I'm serious. I'm a serious man.'

And a quick note on the ending, (Fear not, I avoid spoilers if I can... But this will cut it pretty close... No film ruining facts... but if you don't want to know anything about the end, look away,) the claims that the ending of this film isn't any good are completely unfair. The story that the Coens are telling the viewer is over. Like reality, when one story ends, another begins but it is a different story. And, in this case, the end is based on real events. Go use google if you wanna know what happens next.

Oh just go watch it. Stop reading this and go watch it. If intellectual comedy or religious humour isn't your cup of tea, it may not be your thing. But otherwise go watch it.

Best bit? I'm going to pick two. Cheeky I know.
1) Larry's explanation of Schrodinger's cat - with equation and all. (See second picture)
2) When Larry bids Arthur and his canoe goodbye, only to get a horrid shock.

Monday, 15 November 2010

Making Movies Is Easy, Eh?

If you're wondering what film I shall be writing about today, go back and read the title again until you hear the movie name. Can't get it? Okay, it's Easy A.

You fell in love with her as the mysterious but ever so sexy Wichita in Zombieland (review coming soon) and now you'll want to marry her; yes, even if you're female. I'm talking, of course, of the gorgeous Emma Stone. I actually saw this movie before Zombieland. It was her that convinced me to watch Zombieland. She's just that good. More about her later.
The family and their most-certainly-not-adopted son.
The premise of the movie is one that brings the 80's rom-com to a modern audience. Olive (Stone) lies to her best friend about losing her virginity and starts a crazy stream of rumours. Everyone believes her to be a whore so she complies by dressing as one and allowing the rumours to flow. All she really wanted however, is to have a romance just like the ones in 80's rom-coms. Nice post-modern touches here and there on that last point. With a family so adorable you'll want to adopt them and smart jokes in such plentiful supply, the pace never drops and sucked into the movie you shall be.

All round brilliant performances. In particular, Olive's family, who I've already mentioned, where most certainly the highlight of the film, (bar Olive herself.) They had some brilliant moments. A huge congrats to Patricia Clarkson and Stanley Tucci. If they were on screen, you knew something funny was going to happen; you'll be quoting them for weeks. But the absolute best thing about the whole film is Emma Stone. She has unique comic timing, a brilliant wit and and such variety in her performance. Oh, and she's bloody hot. She's one of the most lovable characters in film history and I can guarantee you will be very fond of her by the end of the movie.

I'll tell you, if this was how teachers gave me an A, I would try a lot harder in school.

Direction from Will Gluck is suburb and the soundtrack is fairly good. In terms of technical aspects, it's pretty average. But the script is brilliant. It is so very witty, chucked full of sarcasm and bad puns. "Is there an Olive her?" "Sure, there's a whole jar in the fridge." Oh and who could forget, "There is a higher power that'll judge you for your indecency." "Tom Cruise?" Very well written, Bert V. Royal

I'm running out of things to say. Did I say that Emma Stone is wonderful? I would suggest that you watch this movie. It's brilliantly light and fun. Think Mean Girls... But with Emma Stone instead of a crack whore... Lindsay Lohan... Sorry. Oh, and you'll leave with Pocket Full Of Sunshine stuck in your head.. I've got a pocket, gotta pocket full of sunshine....


Best Bit? Olive's sexy musical number. Every male will be drooling, every female will be jealous they don't have the same effect.

Saturday, 30 October 2010

Don't Worry, Death Is Funny.

Yesterday I went to see Scott Pilgrim (for the third time) and also Simon Pegg and Andy Serkis' new film, Burke and Hare. Burke and Hare, for those of you who don't know, were a real pair of murderers from the 1800s. In fact, Hare has been referred to as 'one of the worst villains to ever draw breath.' But have no fear, this is a comedy. One of the darkest comedies for a while... You feel bad for laughing at it.

The movie follows the story of the two Irish immigrants in their attempt to get work and money in 19th century Scotland. Trying to make ends meet as con artists and through Hare's (Serkis) lodging house which he runs with his wife, Lucky (Jessica Hynes,) the pair discover stumble across a way to get rich quick. The two top medical science practices in the world need dead bodies (or cadavers, if you will) but Dr. Knox (Tom Wilkinson) can't get his hands on any due to a new by law saying that Dr. Monroe (Tim Curry) gets all of the recently executed. He becomes willing to pay a fair amount of money for any cadavers delivered to him. Cue Burke and Hare's new job. After one of Hare's lodgers passes away, the duo stumble across Knox's payments and after a very brief (and unsuccessful) attempt as grave robbers, they go into business as murderers. Hare: for enough money to live and set up a real business. Burke: for enough money to fund an all female production of Macbeth and impress Ginny (Isla Fisher.)

The duo looked sad. Turned out their business was dead.

The history isn't perfect but it's well covered by a brief message at the beginning, informing us that it is a true story... apart from the bits that aren't. It's been twisted a little to suit the comedy genre easier. What disappoints me is people's clear misinterpretation of the film's purpose. It is a comedy. It's not meant to be gory, despite focusing on two horrible criminals. It taking a light view on what is usually a grim subject. Don't expect blood and guts everywhere (though there are some, mostly in autopsy scenes.)

A fast pace and fun filled riot. Really. If you haven't laughed at death before, you will during this movie. Whether it's jamming men into barrels or unfortunate carriages, this movie makes death funny. How? A killer cast; that's how. With Pegg and Serkis as the foolish entrepreneurs, every death scene or attempted murder becomes ridiculously amusing, mainly down to the reactions of the pair. Also, prepare for lots of famous faces popping up for a small amount of time. Christopher Lee, Paul Whitehouse, Bill Bailey and more. Ronnie Corbett is also in for a 'small role.' (Gettit?) It's brilliantly funny. It's not just the front men or the cameos either. Tim Curry truly steals scenes as Dr. Monroe who finds feet fascinating and Jessica Hynes is absolutely brilliant and also contributes to the oddest, but also funniest, sex scenes I've ever seen.

Children Of Men 2: Andy Serkis is Simon Pegg's gynecologist

And it is brilliantly directed too. From chasing runaway barrels to shit-out-the-window gags, the comedy is perfectly timed. It's not just the comedy either. We can see that director John Landis can push the boundaries of genres. Despite all the comedy, Landis recognises the dark nature of the period and throws in a couple of moments to make you jump. In other technical areas there's nothing particularly special. The camera work is average and the score is generic. They don't add anything, which is a pity. But it's okay because it's bloody funny. (Another pun there. I'm on a roll!)

Certainly worth a watch. Not the best film I've seen recently but I would say (along with Scott Pilgrim) one of the funniest. Watch it.

Best bit? So many moments. But I'll say when a certain cameo reaches his demise in a carriage. I still laugh at the memory.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Claustrophobic? You Have No Idea....

Have you ever spent 95 minutes trapped in a coffin, underground with only a lighter and a cell phone at your aid? "A cell phone? That's handy... Could just call for help can't ya?" That's what I thought. But what happens when help is useless? When your kidnapper keeps interfering? When air is running out? You end up with suspense. Brilliant suspense that will keep you hanging on every word. It's Buried ladies and gents.

It's not the most original of premises nor is it the most complicated plot but boy does it work. Paul Conroy (Ryan Reynolds) is an American contractor working in Iraq. When his truck convoy gets ambushed by kids with stones and a group of Iraqis he gets kidnapped and wakes up in a coffin. The coffin is buried somewhere in a desert in Iraq and isn't much bigger than 7 foot by 4 foot. But it's not all bad. The kidnappers were nice and provided a lighter, a telephone, some glow sticks, a knife and a bit of alcohol. Nice chaps. All they ask in return is £5 million ransom money. Cue lots of phone calls and flicking light.

Hunger was a major issue in the coffin.

Ryan Reynolds, being really the only physical actor in the entire film, throws in a groundbreaking turn. His performance is gripping and believable. Imagine how you'd react when trapped in a box; Reynolds does it. Everything from wild lashing out to erm... Wild lashing out. Seriously though, he creates a believable character and you won't want to look away, and when the whole film is set in a small box, that's an impressive feat.

There is no soundtrack in true suspense style and it's difficult to throw in fancy cinematography when the camera has to stay within the limits of the box. (Though the last shot is top class.) The direction is pure awesome thanks to Rodrigo Cortés. You may think there isn't much to do with a man in a box but there is. The main thing? Timing. When the phone goes off, when the lighter goes out. These sort of things make movies brilliant. Alfred Hitchcock was king of it and I'm sure he would have been proud of Buried.

Ryan's contortionist act was progressing brilliantly

This movie is well worth a watch. Reynolds is great, the suspense is super and the dialogue will keep you on the edge of your seat from beginning to end. Perhaps avoid if claustrophobic.

Best bit? The bit in the coffin. That was wicked. I jest. Hmmm tricky one. I'll say the introduction. We're introduced into this situation and Reynolds reacts just as you or I would.

Monday, 27 September 2010

It's Satire... Fool.

Too many people take this film seriously. It's satire. One of the best forms of comedy. Because it's clever. It's a horror.. On the surface... But underneath that, at it's heart, it's a mockery of all old school slasher movies. I am talking, of course, about Scream. It's a pity that less people will watch it due to the unnecessary prejudice about horror movies. It's satire.. Fool. I have some good friends who are self proclaimed 'film nerds' and while that's a fair claim, they're unlikely to touch this movie with a barge pole.

It's a shame. It's a really good movie. It may sound familiar. High school girl, home alone, begins to get phone calls from an unknown caller who wants to play a game or the boyfriend tied up on the patio dies. Fairly average? It goes on. More high school murders linked to something that happened a year ago but the killer is too good for the police... Picking off teens one by one.. At parties, their houses or the school. Anywhere. But the difference is, while other slasher movies are bloody, this one is bloody funny. And make no mistake, it's just plain bloody too.

Drew loved singing Tom Jones down the phone to her boyfriend

It diverges from the rest of the genre by taking what is normal for the style and slanting it ever so slightly. There is no calm voice for the telephone threats, if hit, the killer won't somehow develop super strength and throw you back, he will fall down with a loud "OOF." On that note, the victims do fight back, often, and successfully... More or less. Apart from these aspects, the slasher genre rules are all there but in a post modern fashion. By this I mean the characters essentially discuss how to survive; the rules of survival in a horror movie. On numerous occasions, characters refer to their lives being 'like a horror movie.' One brilliant example of these post modern features is the party. Randy (Jamie Kennedy) discusses the rules of survival, "Never have sex" as clips of his two friends dancing the dance of love appear and "Don't say I'll be right back" just before Stu (Matthew Lillard) walks out uttering the phrase.

Performance wise, Drew Barrymore stands out in her short but crucial role to introduce the story but the true star is Matthew Lillard's grinning, comic and also scary Stu. Also worthy of notice are the real life and on screen couple, Courtney Cox and David Arquette, playing Gale Weathers, the bitchy news lady and Deputy Dewy, the love able police deputy.

Hearing Drew's singing made Matthew all bashful

In technical aspects it still manages to mock the genre. The peer-round-the-corner camera shot, the cheesy violin music... It all works with beautiful irony. And why? Director Wes Craven. Since he was one of the few directors that essentially invented the genre it seems fitting that he mocks it. And he has the ability to since he knows every aspect of the horror movie and can twist it successfully without making it look bad like other spoofs. (See Saturday The 14th)

It's a good movie. It's half horror, half comedy. If you expect it to be something, expect funny. If you expect horror, you're likely to be disappointed. I suggest watching it.

Best Bit? There's a lot. I mean a lot. I'm having trouble picking one. Just watch and see.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

A One Sided Battle?

When the whole world is prepared to fight, you or I may hide away to keep safe. Not Scott Pilgrim. Nope. He versus the world. The new movie, Scott Pilgrim vs The World, shows us these events. Admittedly, he doesn't really take on the whole world... Just some bad people.
Basically, Scott (Michael Cera) falls for Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) after she appears in his dream. Ditching his 17 year old Chinese girlfriend he opts for the pink haired Ramona instead. This, of course, is before he realises that to win her over he must defeat her evil exes... Her Seven. Evil. Exes. With help from his band, Sex Bob-omb, and his roommate, Wallace, he will fight his way armed with nerdy-ness, a bass guitar and, at times, a flaming sword.

The movie was ruined by some grafitti scrawled on the film

Great performances all round. Of course, this is nerd humour. One of the best types. There's still all types of humour and you will laugh regardless. Kieran Culkin steals the show with his comic timing and brilliant one-liners as Scott's gay roommate, Wallace. But really, this is one of the funniest films in a long time; Kick Ass and Hangover, move over. With a killer soundtrack and some fancy camera tricks this movie notches up to top class. Plus plenty of Zelda, Mario and every other video game ever references. Enjoy them nerds... Enjoy them.

The cute couple being checked out by Young Neil

Hot Fuzz/ Shaun Of The Dead director, Edgar Wright, really pulls of this graphic novel/comic book/ game world and makes it work. No doubt people will attempt to copy this style... And fail. Don't watch the movie expecting it to be like reality. This movie is set like a musical. However, instead of randomly bursting into song and dance, they burst into song and fight. Believe me. Music is a key element. (Though rock music is the main genre here.)

A really really good film. Watch it.

Best bit? The all-too-brief sitcom style scene. Brilliant cross genre work.

Tuesday, 31 August 2010


Some of you may ponder my title choice today. I shall explain. The opposite of extraction is insertion. So why Christoper Nolan called his movie Inception is a mystery.

If you didn't guess I'm finally getting round to reviewing Inception; an all round excellent movie. It stars some of my favourite actors, (Cillian Murphy, Leanardo DiCaprio, Michael Caine, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ellen Page) and is directed by the incredible Christopher Nolan. Now, if for some reason you didn't recognise that name, you have issues. Christopher Nolan directed the reboot of the Batman series and has placed The Dark Knight in many people's 'Top Ten' lists. And if you haven't heard of that.. Then I truly feel sorry for you.

With gun and spinning top in hand, Leo can take the dream world.

The plot of the film is complex but please don't let that put you off. Professional 'thief' Dom Cobb (DiCaprio) and his partner, Arthur (Gordon-Levitt,) are offered a job. But instead of the usual job of stealing they must place something. An idea. Yes they work within the subject's dreams instead of their reality; extracting ideas or, in this case, inserting one... Inception. Japanese business man, Saito (Ken Watanabe,) wishes for rival company, Cobol Engineering, to be gone and asks Cobb to place an idea in Robert Fischer's subconscious. The idea? To destroy his fathers company. Cobb gathers a team to place the idea, despite Arthur stating it's impossible.

A film full with awesome action sequences but also a clever plot which contains philosophical underlining. (Don't worry. Those underlinings are just for intelligent people. If you feel you just want to watch an action film this is still for you.) It's nice to see a completely original film in this world of remakes, reboots and sequels. It's not just a unique plot either; the fight sequences and car chases are truly new and fresh, (mainly cause in the world of subconscious you can plow a train down the middle of a street..) The special effects are spellbinding and some of the acting is outstanding (Check Joseph Gordon-Levitt playing the serious character.)

The hype for this film had the actors bouncing of the walls.
There's funny moments and sad moments. There's thrilling moments and calm moments. There's WTF moments and 'Oh I get it' moments. There's basically something for everyone.

Also, here's a fun fact for your amusement: This is the third Christopher Nolan movie in five years in which Cillian Murphy has spent a significant amount of screen time with a cloth bag on his head.

So worth a watch.. In fact a must-see. Don't miss it. You'll regret it.

Best bit? Joseph Gordon-Levitt's fight scene in a spinning hotel corridor. (He did his own stunts that scene don't you know.) Oh and BRITISH DIRECTOR!

The Penultimate Destination (Maybe)

The last chapter in The Final Destination series... No wait... There's still a 5nal one coming. See I found that joke really funny but all you won't. I'm not sure why I bother.

So anyway; Final Destination, otherwise known as The Final Destination. When it was released it was 3D which I assume made the horrid special effects bearable. But I was not watching it in 3D.. My television doesn't do that. Every explosion looked wrong, every flying object looked fake.

An example of one of the less gory deaths.. Just so you know what to expect.
Despite this, my biggest problem was the way in which characters died. If you have not encountered any Final Destination film before, allow me to explain the plot.. Of every film. One teenager has a vision of their friends and themselves dying in a horrible accident and so they stop it happening. Afterwards the teenagers die in extremely odd ways, one by one, in the order they would've died in had they have died in the original accident. Just to give you an idea of how the franchise has spiralled down for this movie, here's a list of the original accidents: FD1: Plane crash, FD2: Car crash, FD3: Roller coaster crash, TFD (FD4): Nascar racers explode as they crash forcing the whole of the stadium to fall to pieces and crush the spectators. Yes.. That is how the movie starts.

The teens were practically lining up for their deaths
So we knew before the film started that there would be a lot of death. But in the previous films the death scenes have (kind of) made sense. Thinking back to all of the death scenes of this movie there's maybe two or 3 that make sense. out of 11. Even in the visions.. One girl gets a foot crushed in an escalator motor and then coughs up blood. Someone explain that biology to me. And have you ever seen a single ember set a whole pile of wood on fire in seconds? Or a doctor just leave an elderly patient in a harness while the bath is running and almost overflowing? Or a pile of sand, yes sand, catch fire.. in the sun? No. It doesn't happen. Admittedly it's unlikely that any of the deaths in previous films will happen... But the science makes more sense (even if it is ridiculous.) Plus there was no cool cliffhanger on this film. Sad stuff.

There is nothing special here in any of the technical departments either. If you like gore and you don't care whether the reason for it makes sense then this film will be a welcome treat. Otherwise you will end up yelling at the stupidity of the characters and the lack of science.

Best bit? The bit where someone dies.. I like that bit. But seriously the best bit is... is... hmmm...

Thursday, 5 August 2010

11 Years In Waiting.

Yes. I have been waiting over a decade for this movie. I remember seeing the second film in the cinemas in 1999 very clearly but now, the third film is here. I am, of course, talking about Toy Story 3. I saw it yesterday with the wonderful Kate Pass in stunning 3D. And yes, stunning is the best word to describe this film.

A happy audience waited for Woody's next speech

If you don't know the general plot by now you're weird. But I'll recap it anyway. Buzz, Woody and the remaining toys that Andy has kept over the years are accidently donated to Sunnyside Daycare when Andy leaves for college. But what seems like paridise soon turns ugly.

This is the first animated film I've reviewed I think... Those of us that were around when the first two movies were released will appriciate the film far more than the little kiddie winkles... In fact I think adults in genral will enjoy this more. Why? The jokes are very funny but it's unlikely that the little ones will get all of them. But the animation... Just... Wow. Not only is it just amazing but it also focuses on human aspects of the toys, the emotions. Never did I think I would border on tears from some toys holding hands. PIXAR made it happen.

Woody Jumped onstage to meet his favourite acting group;
They were rather startled.

It's the little things that PIXAR do that make their movies so damn good. All the way through the movie were hints to other things from the world of PIXAR: drawings of Nemo, Boo playing with a toy version of 'kitty' and even Luxo Ball is the credit scenes. But, for me, it was the human characters that made this movie such a success. It was mostly emotions we could relate to: the stress of leaving home, the fear of losing your childhood memories... Even the way they characters interacted. Bonnie, a little girl character, acted like any real toddler would. The characters are real.

If you see this film, splash out and see it in 3D, it's worth every penny. Wait... What do I mean if? When you watch this movie. It's unmissable. A perfect rounding off to the triology.

Best bit? I really don't know... So many bits to choose! Just the whole film. Really.

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Updates, News etc.

I hate Justin Bieber. I'm sure he's a nice person.. That produces awful music, sells his soul and ruins Twitter. I hear you shout, "But Phil! This is a movie blog!" And correct you are! Which is why Justin is here. He has just signed a deal to turn his life story, the sixteen years of it, into a film. Now I know plenty of 12 year olds and so on will see this as he is Justin Bieber but surely it's an insult to the biopic film genre?

Anyway, moving on from my extreme anger at this. Woman In Black. One of the most stunning West End plays around. If you haven't seen it, see it. Again, not a film I know but it will be. And Harry Potter is set to star as Arthur Kipps. Good choCheck Spellingice? Well we can't judge yet.. But I have my opinions.. Lets hope Daniel Radcliffe proves me wrong.

Finally, Batman 3 update. Just over a month ago, the legendary Christopher Nolan announced that the script was finished and that shooting would start in April 2011. Sounds good right? Though we still know nothing about plot, villains or cast but it looks more and more likely that the brilliant Joseph Gordon-Levitt may be playing the Riddler. I'm totally in favour of this idea as he is an incredible actor. Chris Nolan has also claimed that the Penguin and Mr Freeze would not be in it.

Well that's it. Stick around for reviews on Inception, Shrek 4, 12 Angry Men, District 9 and more.

Saturday, 31 July 2010

And The Winner Is....

My word! I have so many films to review!!!

But first things first.
A week yesterday was the end of our annual film week (Woohoo.) Last year was very official.. We had notepads and rated the films to decide a winner. We scraped that. This year was about enjoyment. We didn't decide a winner all together but I know what came out on top for me. (Note: The winner isn't my favourite out of the films on the list. Just the one that I enjoyed most in film week.)

Here are the films:

  • DAY 1

  • The Beach (****)
  • Moon (*****)

  • Goodfellas (*****)

  • The Good, The Bad and The Weird (See previous review)

  • DAY 2

  • Into The Wild (****)

  • The Holy Grail (*****)

  • The Pianist (*****)

  • Being John Malkovich (*****)

  • DAY 3

  • In Bruges (*****)

  • Brick (*****)

  • Walk The Line (****)

  • The Shining (*****)

  • DAY 4

  • Leon (We were half asleep - or asleep- for (ooer))

  • Garden State (****)

  • Taxi Driver (Which we never got around to.. This year or last year.)

  • [500] Days Of Summer (*****)

You can tell from my mini star ratings which films I loved.

But the winner is.........

[500] Days Of Summer!

So lets review it.

The story of one man called Tom and his love with Summer. A girl... Not the season. The tag line of the movie is, 'Boy meets Girl. Boy falls in love. Girl doesn't.' Sound original? No? Well it is. Tom (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) works in an office and falls for colleague Summer (Zooey Deschanel.) She may or may not love him back. We follow the 500 days of their relationship, good and bad, but not in chronological order. We jump from day 22 to 204. (Maybe not those exact days but you get the point.)

The film doesn't take itself too serious. We're randomly treated to a documentary about love with opinions from characters. There is a huge dance sequence complete with an animated bird. There is a split-scene comparison between reality and expectations for a whole scene. The film is very funny. Check out the date scene in Ikea, "Honey. I don't know how to tell you this, but there is a Chinese family in our bathroom." But it is also sad... After all it is (not) a love story.

The soundtrack is epic. Every song is brilliantly selected. Some camera work is outstanding and the acting is just... wow.

Watch this movie. No exception.

Best bit? Either the dance sequence or the first date to Ikea. Classic.

Monday, 19 July 2010

Night At Grosse Pointe With A Wild Target.

I have a list of films to review building up so forgive me for some short reviews. And also I apologise for the extreme lack in blogs recently. I've had exams and performances etc.

Lets start at the most recent film I watched on the television box.

Night At The Museum 2: Battle of the Smithsonian.

This is a film that will be enjoyed by all ages. Kids will love it for the funny slapstick and prat falls and we older folk will enjoy it for the clever references t
o real (and fictional) historical characters. A pity though.. The original had a lot less characters and so it was a lot easier to focus on them and they became very funny. Unfortunately this had twice as many characters and just too much going on to focus on. Larry (Stiller) sets off to DC to save his favourite exhibits but the magic tablet soon falls into the hands of evil Pharaoh Kahmunrah and events begin to get out of hand.

Einstein's clones had been in short supply.

But all is not lost! The few characters that actually had more than ten minutes screen time were as hilarious as ever and very well acted. I'm speaking of course of the wondrous Amy Adams as Amilia Earhart who performed her part very well. But Owen Wilson and Steve Coogan as Jedediah and Octavius stole the show again with their miniature antics like stabbing the toes of the baddies and confronting squirrels.

Overall not a bad film but nothing special. Good if you're just wanting to relax on a lazy afternoon.

Best Bit? The Einstein bobble heads. "All together now! Zats ze vay uh huh uh huh ve like it"

Next up, Grosse Pointe Blank.

Starring one of my favourite actors around , John Cusack, Grosse Pointe Blank already looks good. And it is. I always like a good black comedy and this is almost too light to be put with this particular genre. But I suppose if Martin Blank (Cusack) wasn't a hit man then there would be no comedy or darkness. When a job happens to be in the same place and time as his high school reunion he has a decision to make. Find his high school love? Or do his job?
Cusack is awesome and funny as always and his co-star Minne Driver is stunningly beautiful and incredible. Its a really enjoyable film with some laugh out loud moments and also some real touching stuff. Who says hit men can't have hearts? We'll come onto that next review. The soundtrack kicks ass and the action sequences are awesome.

A must see if you ask me. Really fun and really cool.

Best bit? The awesome fight scene near the end.

Finally another comedy about a hit man, but this time with an aura of British humour. Bill Nighy stars as Victor Maynard, the best British hit man around. But when he's put on a job to kill the beautiful Rose (Emily Blunt) things get out of hand. It's a British film through and through and very funny. But the show stealer here is Rupert Grint. His comedy timing is superb and he's actually a really good actor. Well done to him for moving on before the end of Harry Potter to show his range.

Bill soon realised his mistake; never trust a ginger with a gun.

Their lack of souls makes them born killers.

Sure the film had some jokes that weren't funny and some scenes which didn't quite make sense but brilliant performances all round. It's worth a watch if you like British humour. In Bruges fans.. Pre-order the DVD now.

Best bit? Any of Rupert Grint's moments. He's perfection in the form of a ginger.

Friday, 25 June 2010

Korean Cowboys?

I'm beginning to really love foreign language films. Here is a film that took a famous western and put it in South Korea.

The Good The Bad The Weird pays tribute to the classic, The Good The Bad And The Ugly. Plenty of little in jokes for fans of the western to pick up on as well as little character traits. (The weird/The ugly both brush their teeth with their fingers.) The plot is far simpler than the original. Set in the 1940's, two outlaws and a bounty hunter go on the search of treasure due to a map. Following them are Chinese gangs and the Japanese army. Far less side plots. Not that side plots are a bad thing... But if you have a short attention span like a lot of young people nowadays, this film is easier to watch. Unless you dislike subtitles.

"Check out this backwards shooting!"

Firstly, I noticed straight away how awesome the camera work was. I mean.. It's really incredible at some points. The chase at the end... WOW. So there's not that much of a score (Though during the chase listen for the background tribute to The Good The Bad & The Ugly's score.) but the other technical aspects make up for that. The action sequences are suburb and wonderful to watch. Not only are they full of action but they're also cool and fun. The cast are wonderful. Some may think Byung-hun Lee was the wrong choice for Park Chang-yi / The Bad, but they're wrong. His 'pretty boy' exterior may seem odd for a crazy killer type person but it just makes it all the more effective when he whips out his knife and starts madly slashing people up. Kang-ho Song (Yoon Tae-goo / The Weird) fits his role perfectly. He is weird. There is very few other ways of describing it. But he was brilliant. Woo-sung Jung (Park Do-won / The Good) is just plain cool. From the moment we first see him shooting at The Bad and The Weird plus henchmen, till the very last second. Especially his part in the chase scene.... Wow.

Guess Who is Who

Some fun facts about the film... Woo-sung Jung, The Good, broke his arm during filming... This was the most expensive South Korean Film to be made (as of 2009)... And something that made me chuckle: Director Woo-sung Jung claimed he would like this to be called a 'kimchee western' after the Korean food made with fermented cabbages. He says he thinks the plot and film are spicy and vibrant, like the Korean culture and people. Of course, The Good The Bad And The Ugly was a 'Spaghetti western' due to it being a western made by Italians. Really worth a watch if you can be bothered to read subtitles. I dislike it when films aren't given a fair chance because people won't read a little.


Best Bit? The Chase Scene. It's awesome. Armies, gangs, outlaws, weirdos, cars, horses, moterbikes... It has everything.

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

The Meanest Yard

Two birds with one stone here. A film and it's modern remake.

The Longest Yard, (Or Mean Machine in England,) was made in 1974. 36 years on and it is still a very funny film.

Burt Reynolds/Adam Sandler is Paul Crewe, an ex American Footballer, sent to prison for violently abusing his wife, escaping the cops in an amusing fasion, ditching the car in a body of water then beating up a couple of policemen. In prison, The Warden (Eddie Albert/James Cromwell) convinces him to start a football team to face the guards semi-pro team. With help from Caretaker (James Hampton/ Chris Rock) and Nate Scarboro (Michael Conrad/Burt Reynolds) he forms a team of big bad convicts to help him beat the guards.

Burt Reynolds was secretly Iron Man under his shirt.

The warden was shocked.

The original first. I have no problems with the acting. The four main characters are all brilliant. Reynolds is sly and witty but also shows some heart at points when with (and at some points without) Caretaker. Speaking of Caretaker, James 'Jim' Hampton was also great as his part but he wasn't quite outgoing enough... Just my thought. Eddie Albert was, personally, the highlight acting wise. He started warm and friendly but became a domineering, power hungry, reputation focused man. Michael Conrand was also fantastic as Nate Scarboro.

What I do have issues with is the pace. It's a good half an hour from the cop chase to when he pieces the team together and even then it's still slow... It drags. When they start picking up crazed murderers and training it gets good. The final 47 minutes are taken up by the final game between the guards and the convicts and it's a pleasure to watch. I also disliked the editing.... How it was nominated for an Oscar I will never know. It looked like someone had done the scene transitions on Movie Maker.

"Hi Paul Crewe... I'm Paul Crewe.... From the past."

Now I'm not normally a fan of remakes but I make an exception in this case. I like most of Adam Sandler's comedy but it does grate a little I suppose. This was the beggining of his transition into more serious films. He provides very little of the humour and does more serious stuff. Chris Rock is funny and has a much stronger personality than James Hampton and I think that's better in a prison, don't you? Burt Renyolds is also a better Nate I think. He's more amusing and he looks stronger, like an ex football player. The supporting cast are equally as funny as the original though the dumb jokes fall flat more. Nelly is awesome as Megget the running back.

Oh the soundtrak is all R 'n' B, some is good.... Some is too much.

There are scenes in both that I really like that aren't in the other or that are better.

1974-The 'Why did you throw that game' scene, the police chase, the ripped shirt in the game.

2005- The try outs, the game plays, the rehearsing in the mud, the final plays (A lot less cliche!)

All in all these are both good films but the remake is certainly one to watch with your mates with some drinks and snacks whereas the original is a Sunday afternoon sort of film... Know what I mean?


Tuesday, 15 June 2010

In 2 No Arm.

The title is an anagram... Try and get it :)

This film was undoubtedly less cool than its predecessor but very cool none the less. It also wasn't as good but I think it may just be for that reason. Why wasn't it as cool? Hmmm a fair point.... I don't think it was as fun as the first film. I mean Stark (Downey Jr) was facing inner demons etc.. But then it didn't feel touching either. And the 'big' fight scene at the end is a real disappointment.

Whiplash never looks both ways before crossing the road

But that's the bad out of the way. The acting was suburb. Robert Downey Jr was still brilliantly funny and just seemed to shine with coolness. Sam Rockwell was a brilliant 'villain.' He is officially one of my favourite actors (Check out 'Moon') and he is awesome in this as Stark's business rival. Mickey Rourke is insane as Whiplash or Ivan Vanko, the homemade Iron Man person. With his home made suit that has electric whips that can cut a car in half, he portrays a troubled Russian with pure excellence. Oh bloody hell! I almost forgot Don Cheadle! He stepped into Terrence Howard's shoes like a pro. I forgot he was a different actor. Excellent. Other performances by Samuel L Jackson, Gwyneth Paltrow and Scarlett Johansson are equally cool and not a single decline in quality.

Direction by Jon Favreau is brilliant and so is his little supporting role. It's edited really well and has an awesome AC/DC-full soundtrack. The camera work is a little generic though.

It is still a good film and super cool. A film to watch with friends and a couple of beers/ cans of coke. (I have 14 year olds read this blog you know. Drinking is bad kids.)

Best bit? The race car fight scene... Brilliant. Funny and full of action.

Monday, 14 June 2010

17 And Sexy. It's.... Matthew Perry?

Yes yes it's that teen hunk, Zac Efron, and everyone's favourite FRIENDS actor, Matthew Perry. They've teamed up to make a kind of touching comedy. And it's pretty good.

I know what a lot of you are thinking. I'm not a twelve year old girl; why would I like it? Well for Matthew Perry of course! But also everything else in the film. Seriously, I decided to watch it because of my love of Matthew Perry and found myself actually enjoying it. Once you get the topless Efron scene out the way at the begining it's clear sailing.

Perry is a middle man (Mike O'Donnall) who's wife and kids don't want anything to do with him. He's just missed out on a promotion which was given to some lady with a nice ass. His bed friend lives in a house full of geek drugs. (Lightsabers, toys etc.) He suddenly gets flung into his 17 year old body (Efron) and given a second chance to re-do life. Get the basketball scholarship instead of a pregnant teen girlfriend. That sort of stuff. You can image the silly situations he gets into. *Giggles*

There were some really dirty scenes in the film

The majority of acting is pretty good. Efron shows he isn't just a Disney produced pile of crap. *COUGH* JONAS BROTHERS *COUGH* He has talent. Check out his last big scene if you don't believe me. He caught some of Matthew Perry's mannerisms through rehearsal but he lacked something... He was too... Zac. Matthew Perry was brilliant of course. Michelle Trachtenberg also put in a good turn as Maggie O'Donnell, Mike's daughter. Also worth a mention is Thomas Lennon. Very funny man.

What brings this film down is everything else. The score/soundtrack is generic, the plot is very familiar and there is nothing special about the camera work. It seems very mediochre in the end but nevertheless enjoyable.

There are certainly films of a lot higher standard but don't just pass this one by. It is worth a watch on a lazy sunday or something.

Best bit? Hmmm... tricky.....

Mike O' Donnell: [after Alex sees his mom, Scarlett and "Mark"/ Mike dancing] She's just nervous... it's creepy, right?

Alex O'Donnell: [stares at him, still weirded out] A little bit.

Mike O' Donnell: She's so old; it's like... [stops himself and immediately walks away]

Alex O'Donnell: You dance with all your friends' moms?

Mike O' Donnell: Pretty much

Saturday, 5 June 2010

North By Northwest

Okay no creative title... Sorry.
The famous Hitchcock classic, North By Northwest. If you've seen this film or not you'll know the crop duster scene. Everyone does!

Lets start with the director, Alfred Hitchcock. One of the best directors of all time, if not the greatest. I have huge admiration for this man. His dress sense, his habits, his films, his way of getting things done and his wicked sense of humour. And these aspects are clearly visible. Note his protagonists in suits despite what their doing.

Cary Grant is incredible. A cocky advert exec mistaken for a spy who doesn't exist. Thrown into the deep end of life, he has to fight for his life against evil Vandamm's (James Mason) games. His line delivery is brilliantly funny and his slow turn from cocky exec to almost a spy is believable and precise. Eve Kendall as Eva Marie Saint is incredible. Considering actresses in the 70's were often hired by looks but Hitchcock made sure he had talent in his films. James Mason is always worth a mention. His fun loving criminal mastermind plays games with Thornhill (Grant) like trying to mow him down with a crop duster.

Carry Grant Was Feeling A Bit Run Down Today.

Brilliantly edited together with some crazy, crazy action scenes, (Climbing down Geroge Washington's face anyone?) and a brilliant plot. It's such a good film and very clever and very funny. Its humour is often overlooked but it is incredibly amusing.

Watch it. Watch it now.

Best bit?
The Cropduster scene and.....

[Thornhill climbs into hospital window]

Woman: [Shocked] STOP!

[Turns light on and puts on glasses. Looks at Thornhill]

Woman: [Seductevely] Stop....

[Thornhill Pauses]

Thornhill: [Pointing at woman] HA!


Friday, 4 June 2010

Things On My Mind Now.

No Batman 3 this time. (Though I may talk about Christopher Nolan's Superman reboot.)

Firstly, two remakes of brilliant foreign films. I'm not sure why Hollywood has to remake these remarkable films though I suspect ti has something to do with people being too lazy to read subtitles. Timecrimes (Los Cronocrimenes) is set to be remade for 2011 with Tom Cruise strongly linked to it. As you know by reading previous posts, I adore this film. Timecrimes is an amazing creation, innovative and clever. I really worry that it will loose the things that make it great with an American remake. The simplicity, the slightly porky everyman protagonist, the point.
Also another film I am in love with, Let The Right One In. I reviewed this a little while back and boy is it stunning. I certainly have more faith in this than in Timecrimes. Mainly because of the awesome casting. Kick ass' Chloe Mortez and The Road's Kodi Smit-McPhee as our protagonists; sounds good. I still can't believe it would be as magnificent as the original but I hope for a good turn out. Also it will be called Let Me In.

Also, director Christopher Nolan has bounced around my mind a lot in the last few hours. His stunning take on Batman has left millions comparing him to Kubrick or Hitchcock. Others may know him from The Prestige or Insomnia but everyone will soon know him from one of his three upcoming movies: Batman 3, Superman and Inception. He has claimed that he will focus on Superman's character to create the world around him. Thats how he created his gothic Gotham. So what is Superman's character? Strong, powerful and mighty. He's also a lovely chap... Perhaps less of the grouchy need-a-soother voice from Batman.

Inception being the most expected film of the year (coming out July 16th) I advice everyone to see it. That's all I have to say about that.

Anyway that's all from me :)

Stay tuned for reviews on North By Northwest, 17 Again, Mean Machine, A Few Dollars More, Iron Man 2, The Notebook and The Good The Bad The Wierd.

Peace out ya hear!

Thursday, 27 May 2010

Wrestling Is Fake?!?!?!

Is it better to say BAFTA winning or Oscar nominated?
Of course I'm talking about Mickey Rourke's performance as Randy 'The Ram' in The Wrestler.

And that's what we're talking about today. The Wrestler. A remarkable film... really.. it is.

A Wrestler who suffers a serious knock back, a heart attack, and his life, portrayed on the big screen with real heart. Rourke is magnificent. When you see a fully grown man who is a wrestler for a living break down into tears... It gets to you. Evan Rachel Wood also puts in a stunning performance as Stephanie, Randy's daughter. I think I mildly fell in love with her.

The Ayatollah's new 'Shout-in-the-face' hit Randy hard.

The story line is very simple but effective. It shows the glamour of wrestling but also the sad empty world it could leave you with. Its easy to sink into and easy to follow. So the less intellegent of us can also enjoy it. BUT it says wrestling is all planned! This may be a shock for those less intellegent i mentioned... Wrestling is fake.. Sorry.

Really Really Really worth a watch. Something for everyone, romance, comedy, emotion, fighting, being sick on the floor, blood. Yup it's all there.

Best bit? Randy's improvisation and using a metal, false leg as a weapon in a fight. Genuis.