Monday, 10 December 2007

Aimhigher '07: Chase Me Bot

This is the result from our media course in October! :D
Took a day to write, two to film and another to edit; enjoy ;)
Oh, and one to piss around with bells! :D

Saturday, 24 November 2007

Planet Terror Review

And, finally, it arrives. The second half of the Grindhouse extravaganza has finally arrived in the UK, with low marketing amd little hype. No wonder it did badly in the 'States. The fact that it did is a real shame, as the film is a real blast. When combined with Tarantino's Death Proof, it could be a fun, indulgent, glorious event to be treasured. Let's just hope for a full Grindhouse DVD.

One of the disappointments in the split was the question of the fake trailers - which film would they accompany? And would they all make it? Sadly, the answer is no. Whilst "Machete" makes it unscathed, the others will be probably be forever lost to UK audiences unless they find their way onto one of the DVDs. And when the trailers are as good as this, it's a shame that they don't feature. Whilst maintaining the tone of Grindhouse, it manages to complete the aims in 2 and a half minutes. With the incredible line "They just f*cked with the wrong Mexican!", it's no wonder it's been rumoured as maybe being made for a Grindhouse 2 - though obviously no plans have been finalised [and quite probably won't be, due to the fact that Grindhouse was, technically, a flop]. Basically, it's lovingly made and well executed, a perfect way to ease the audience into the full-on feel of Planet Terror.

Back to the movie - Planet Terror [a.k.a Grindhouse Part 2] is gross. It splats, it gurgles, it pops and oozes and drips. The first ten minutes include bio-chemical zombies, ball cutting and Bruce Willis, and it doesn't let up. Tension is, to be honest, fairly low, but luckily it isn't the desired effect from Rodriguez. The cheesy music and grainy look of the film is much more "grindhouse" than Death Proof [missing reels, corny soundtrack] and the tongue-in-cheek tone of the film is more leaning towards gross-out comedy shlock than downright terror. This keeps proceedings funny, sharp and always enjoyable, and means the film is more like the olden days, when posters promised more than the movies could provide.

Whilst this may sound like a criticism, it really isn't. Planet Terror never tries to be more than it knows it is and wants to be. It gives sly reference to the war on terror, without focusing on it, and knows that its concept is laughable. The icky bits are suitably slimy, the weird bits suitably weird, leaving us satisfied, if not blown away, by the outcome. I mean, how many films do you get to see where Tarantino's balls drip [yes, drip] off? And Sayid from Lost holding a big jar of balls?

This movie likes balls, and it's sure got some. It moves at a rollocking pace, Rodriguez amping up the action and laughs as the time whizzes by. The action is always fun, especially the final shoot-out [yes, with a gun-leg from Rose McGowan], and the characters hit exactly the right tone. Whilst the performances aren't always mind-blowing, they more than serve their purpose, especially Freddie Rodriguez as the insanely cool El Wray, who seems to be able to do things because he is El Wray. There are many parts like this, but Planet Terror feels no need to explain and justify its reasons.

One of the movie's main attraction is its balls-out attitude, summed up when Rose McGowan emerges with a gun attached to the stub of her leg. She looks incredible, simply cool in the way that a hot chick with sunglasses and a gun-leg is. The fact that it's willing to base the whole movie leading up to the this scene shows its daring and inventive feel. The finale does not disappoint, with a very satisfying ending, yet keeping with the tone of the previous hour and a half.

The direction isn't really anything special, Rodriguez focusing more on the feel and look of the movie than using interesting shot types. To say that it wouldn't fit the genre would be true, but Rodriguez need not worry - most people going to see this aren't going to nit-pick about the good-but-nothing-special direction rather than focus on what this movie's really about.

And what is this movie about? Is it a subtle comment on our fears of nuclear bio-weapons? Is it an intimate view of small-town america? Or is it just a dumb excuse for slime, monsters and stupidity? Well, it's none of these. Planet Terror is all about having a good time, with comedy, splatter and action combining to a very entertaining, if not earth-shattering, movie, that can be accurately summed up [in tone and subject] by the line "I'm gonna eat your brains and gain your knowledge"...

So, who's up for a full DVD with both movies and trailers?

Genre Value: 4/5
Entertainment Value: 4/5
Style: 3.5/5
Overall Rating: 4/5

Thursday, 1 November 2007

1-18-Oh, Wait... Is That It? - Recent News and Personal Views

The SUPER-SECRET-MEGA-EXCITING title for JJ Abrams "Untitled" 1-18-08 has possibly been announced. The team behind the movie announced that a new trailer for the movie was to appear at the beginning of Beowulf, released in America on Nov 16th, and would reveal the movie's title and give some glimpses of the creature(s) that everyone was running away from in the first extremely effective trailer [for me, one of the best teasers for years]. The viral marketing for the film has been phenomenal - excellent trailer, everything kept under wraps, brilliant posters and many title rumours have cranked up the hype-factor, and now somebody's said they've seen it.


Devin Faraci from movie-site has seen a trailer for the movie labelled "Trailer #1, V.17" - and therefore it may not be exactly what Beowulf viewers see. Devin describes "Army guys running up a street, firing into the air. Tanks come up behind them, firing. Rockets launch up.We see the big monster briefly passing between two buildings. I couldn't make it out at all, but it appeared to be HUGE." Supposedly there will be little monsters and a big monster, lots of choppy editing and hand held cameras, though the trailer mainly shows more panicky Americans yelling for help. For the full description, visit THIS SITE.

At the end of the trailer, the title for the movie is revealed. There is a chance that this is a marker to be changed for the actual screenings but the movie title is...
[Highlight text to read]

Yup, that's it. It's what we suspected all along - OK title, too much build up. Slightly disappointed. I was hoping for something really awesome, and totally out of the blue. Hell, at least it's not Monstrous though...


In more news, there's more viral marketing from the Dark Knight guys. A new website,, has brought forth another Halloween-based task, and is whetting appetites all over the web for the movie. Let's hope the end result is worth the wait and endless clues.

New releases this week - I'm most excited about 30 Days Of Night, which has been hailed as one of the best vampire movies in ages, and as a big fan of Night Watch with its more original take on the genre, I'm looking forward to seeing how this compares.

In even more movie news, a new picture has caused a divide in fans of two sets of movies. Of course I'm talking about Alien vs. Predator: Requim's "Predalien" hybrid. Personally, I'm impressed - there's not much more you can do with a Predator/Xenomorph hybrid except stick some dreadlocks on it and make it look like a Xenomorph but more badass - and this is exactly what they've done.

So, no complaints from me, and, as a mystery even to myself, I am really looking forward to this movie, despite the pretty bad first film. From interviews etc, it sounds like these guys really know what they're doing. They're using suits instead of CGI, and have talked about the tone of the film being very different to Paul WS Anderson's movie.

So, I think that's it. There are so many movies to look forward to over the next 6 months. And with marketing strategies pushed into overdrive, let's hope they don't disappoint...

Friday, 19 October 2007

Why I Love Jurassic Park

One of my favourite films of all time is Jurassic Park. It's there on my list, at number four. There are many reasons why I love Jurassic Park, but first we need to set the scene.

The first time I ever saw JP, I was about 6 or 7 years old. I was terrified. Absolutely terrified. Well, when you think about it, this a film where creatures we can't begin to imagine go on the rampage, running riot and chomping on the occasional human [be they on the toilet or not] on a beautiful island where everything that can go wrong, does go wrong. Hell, the opening scene is a velociraptor in a box killing an innocent man! How could I not be terrified? However, it stuck with me. It's such a magical film, that whenever it's on TV, I always, without fail, sit down to watch it, and every time it's still as tense, exhilirating and incredible as it was that first day, many years ago as I sat on the sofa, cushion clamped to my chest.

Jurassic Park is incredibly iconic. It was the first real 100% success with CGI, beating even modern films in its realism. It's also got so many memorable scenes. Theres the bit when they're talking about the raptors in the desert, the bit where they fly over the island [to one of the best soundtracks ever written], the bit when they see the egg hatch, the bit where they look at the Triceratops poo, the bit where the T-Rex comes, the bit where the T-Rex is by the window, the bit where the T-Rex eats the man on the loo, the bit where the car is in the trees, the bit where there's the stampede, the bit in the kitchen with the raptors, the bit where the raptors face off against the T-Rex... Chances are if you've seen this film, even only once, you'll remember one of those parts. And those are only the ones that immediately spring to mind.

One reason why Spielberg got it so right is that dinosaurs are cool. Inexplicably, awesomely cool. As a kid, I'd never seen anything like it. The creatures on the screen are so powerful, it's impossible not to be in awe of them. I'll always remember the scene when Jeff Goldblum and his wife see the Brachiosaur, their first dino experience, in a large herd. The grass is green, the sun is shining - it's a magical moment for cinema, one that'll stay with me for the rest of my life. The T-Rex is incredible, a thundering, towering beast, hungry for anything crossing it's path. The Velociraptors are incredibly smart, providing possibly the most tense scene in the film as they sneak around the kitchen looking for two cowering children...

The score is incredible, an absolute joy. The soaring strings playing as the team fly to the island is breathtaking, fully encompassing the majesty and horror of the secrets lying within the trees... It's my favourite musical score of all time, and unless you haven't heard it, you'll probably know why.

Whilst partly being a comment upon society today, talking about chaos theory, and man's battle with science causing more harm than good, it's also an unashamed blockbuster. There's mountains of excitement - all the T-Rex scenes, the stampede and the raptors in the kitchen currently spring to mind. The film's exhilirating in a way that running amongst a tide of great CGI lizards would be in real life would be. The scientific reasoning behind the dinosaurs is not so far-fetched, thus maing the plot a lot more believable than it could've been. Even the slightly declining standards of the [actually reasonably good] sequels can't dampen the spirit or legacy of this mammoth movie.

The characters in the movie are brilliant - the development is such that, straight away, you have an idea of their role in the film, but not in a way that makes it too predictable. You know that Richard Attenbrough's going to be lovable, despite his flaws. You know that Jeff Goldblum and Sam Neil will stick around 'til the end. You know Wayne Knight will meet a sticky end... But this only makes it more satisfying when it does eventually happen.

So, to conclude, this is an amazing film. Not only a technological marvel, but incredible entertainment on a massive scale that will capture the imagination of many generations to come. Those who haven't seen it will start watching their glasses of water for tremors, while those who have will be able to escape in the best way - via a huge adrenaline rush and MASSIVE DINOSAURS.

Friday, 12 October 2007

The Skeleton Key Review

So, after a long absence, I now begin a new feature, reviewing films which are reasonably new, but not not in cinemas or just out on DVD. Today's review is of 2005 hoodoo-horror-thriller movie The Skeleton Key.

The Skeleton Key begins, quite aptly, with a man apparently being bored to death. This is a most likely unintenional but retrospectively clever touch by the director/writing team, as the first hour or so of the film is incredibly dull. In fact, if it weren't for that chilling, disturbing ending, the film would most likely have been long forgotten to the realm of lost, crap horror films by now - and I only finished watching it ten minutes ago. The conventions are all here - creepy house, flickering lights, scary door, mysterious objects - making what could be a very different, stand-out movie sink into depths of mundanity and banality. It's a miracle my eyes stayed open long enough to get to the surprisingly satisfying climax. I simply let the hoodoo/black magic/haunted house plot wash over me, occasionally absorbing details I thought might be important.

In terms of scares, its all random jolts, creaky doors, and red herrings. How terrifying. It doesn't really warrant many brain-cells or a large attention span, so those willing to stick with the movie are those most likely to be impressed by a slightly more intelligent and satisfying climax than usual.

But as I said earlier, the reveal is much more satisfying than usual, and is genuinely spine tingling. It leaves the audience feeling uneasy, which is why I'm currently watching Eurotrip before going to bed. The thought of what actually happens to the characters is quite sickening, and the overcoming of expectations leave you feeling shocked. Don't let anyone ruin it for you. It's one of those films where it exists purely for that horrifying twist [like Saw]. Without it, it's a 1.5/5.

With it, it's a comfortable 3/5.

Genre Value: 3.5/5
Entertainment Value: 2/5
Style: 2/5
Overall Rating: 3/5

Saturday, 22 September 2007

Ain’t looking good for Britain…

Ever since the dawn of time (e.g, 1900), film-makers have been fascinated with the future and what lies ahead for mankind. Some seem to have pinned the metaphorical tail straight on the donkey of time, with Metropolis (1925) predicting the rise of momentous monorails and everyday flying machines; through to The Matrix (1999) who predicted our love of little blue pills. Boing.

Some of the more unforgettable science fiction movies have been created by our own British novelists: Mary Shelly, Victor Hugo, and John Wyndham. Not forgetting George Orwell and H G Wells; the very creators of British sci-fi, who are still churning out Hollywood hits such as War of The Worlds and Animal Farm. Maybe these two film giants should not be placed on the same scale, but WoTW will hopefully soon discover their mistake of believing weeds are so much cooler than pigs. Have they ever been to Yorkshire?

Let’s focus on H G Wells, a personal favourite of mine. Having read The Time Machine, and seen the movie (not counting the more recent one, but who honestly does?), anyone can see they jazzed up the original though-provoking book into an action-packed testicle fest with daring rescue missions, cannibal scenes and lava pits. I enjoyed both versions of the story, but I still wonder why they turned a cowardly scientist (let’s call him Shaggy), into a hunky liberator for the future, (let’s call him Alex). It’s quite creepy to think that even though this film was created in 1960, they added the threat of nuclear war, during the year of 1966. This kind of plot isn’t unheard of; A Clockwork Orange, 1984 and Brave New World are but a few more examples of Britain’s grim future, yet they’re all set in our past.

As I mentioned before, WoTW has become a huge hit over the last few years thanks to great actors, effects, music and directed by the legendary sci-fi guy himself; Spielberg. Although many changes were made, one of the more major ones was to shift the location from London to New York. They’re similar I guess, in that they’re both in charge, the people are large and not much else. What I really liked about the original WoTW, was the fact that I could share the protagonist’s journey through Britain and recognise certain accents or landmarks I’ve seen myself. Well that, and the hilariously appalling crash scene at the finale. Wanna know what really exterminated the alien menace? Morgan Freeman and his penguin horde.

Speaking of hordes, America has had more than it’s fair share of apocalypses. They can keep their fancy Terminators, and we’ll stick to our Triffids, thanks very much. A handful of futuristic American dystopias such as I, Robot and A Scanner Darkly are the brainchildren of writer Philip K. Dick. Although they are staged and located around the US, they all seem to stem from the typical British sci-fi themes: corrupt government, hallucinogenic drugs and the use of needless and new technologies. Sounds like a day at the races for the States, but still has it’s roots buried in the little Empire that is the United Kingdom. I should probably stop digging on at them so much, as without their superior budgets and resources, superstar films such as Blade Runner, Logan’s Run and The Running Man would never have been created! And where would that leave us? Very unfit I guess….

Another gruesome end that Britain may inevitably face thanks to cinema is the threat of zombies, and all the merriment that surrounds them. 28 Days Later was perhaps the most profound British zombie movie, causing quite a stir in horror-circles for containing themes that remained unused until now. The zombies are quite alive in this film, but having ingested the Rage virus, they are drawn into a blood-thirsty and ultraviolent unconsciousness, where memories and reasonable thought are lost completely. To be true, it’s not the first appearance of such a style, but never has it been applied so delicately. Even the director, Danny Boyle identified “John Wyndham's The Day of the Triffids as the original inspiration for the story”. Cillian Murphy and Christopher Eccleston, both renowned British actors, are to be found amongst the credits, playing their roles superbly and realistically. With the introduction of 28 Weeks Later, and the planned 28 Months Later (2009), one cannot feel disappointed at the film industry for failing to realise once again, LEAVE THE FRIGGING SEQUALS OUT OF IT.

One of the most recent British classics and, in my eyes, one of the greatest but disturbing dystopias ever created for our tiny island. Children of Men blew me away when I first saw it, and not because of the amazing action towards the end, or the stylistic directing, or the brilliant acting on all accounts. It was the scarily realistic plot that won it over on me. The idea that all immigrants were to be placed in a Nazi-themed concentration camp, and treated like an inferior species until they rose up and took on the country by force, scared the shit out of me, as I could see it happening before my own eyes. It really felt as if we were heading for such a bleak future, where all over superpowers have fallen to war or poverty, teenagers violently rule the streets and racism is rife once again. It’s hard not to see the similarities between this future and a past that we encounted only a few decades ago. This is a must-see for anyone that I know, and that I don’t, and I can guarantee that if you aren’t worried about this possibility, then you’re in the wrong country mate.

Soon to be heading our way is an American style “last man on earth” wasteland movie, starring New York (peopleless) and Will Smith (topless). The idea branches from earlier movies on this genre, but with the twist that he’s not alone in the city, and that diseased mutants are hiding and waiting to unleash an ugly and brutal revenge. To be honest, I’m pretty excited about I Am Legend, and although I could be wrong about this film, I’d still like to go see. There are also tales of a similar tale coming out in 2009 aptly named Doomsday, written and directed by Neil Marshall, starring Malcolm McDowell, who excellently played Alex in A Clockwork Orange 40 years earlier. If this kind of story really interests you so, give Stephen King’s Novel The Stand a checkout, a long story of fear and hope in a post-apocalyptic America, fuelled by religion and warfare. Definitely one to keep away from the kids…

And so, I put it to all you out there, that we British have a great knack for a certain genre; the post-apocalyptic, fascist governed, drug controlled, zombie ridden, deceptive dystopias that we so love. And to think I was worried about the lack of llama farms…

Tuesday, 18 September 2007

Run, Fat Boy, Run Review

Run, Fat Boy, Run has caused some friction in the I Hate How Fake Hollywood Is... camp. Initial reviews haven’t been consistent; Empire gave it 3 stars (which sounds fine until you compare it to the 4’s it gave to Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, Pegg’s previous gems) but it faired reasonably well on Rotten Tomatoes and they’ve split us slightly. Ben, low on cinema going funds with many possibly better opportunities on which to spend his pennies deemed it something he’d wait for the DVD of. Fair enough, but I’m not that patient and so with a freshly paid allowance I decided I’d give it a shot and so did Alex (although I bagsied reviewing privileges before hand.) So a motley crew was gathered together, and we were cinema bound! Get on with the review I hear you shout, well, fine…here it is.

I was pleasantly surprised…the film I saw wasn’t nearly as bad as the one described in its reviews, but then I suppose they could have mixed the reels up. The gags weren’t predictable (as Empire had described them) and Pegg easily led the film, backed up by a whole host of excellent comedic actors playing some great characters. Run, Fat Boy, Run had a couple of pretty successful and handsome big brothers to try and live up to (despite not being part of the Ice Cream Trilogy, it’s always going to be compared to Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz) and it did very well with style and ease.

The plot goes that Pegg’s character leaves his pregnant girlfriend at the altar (basically because he’s scared shitless, but there’s an excellent cameo by a ginger hair piece in the early movie) which leads to him falling into a life of slobbish disregard for himself. He then finds out about the new man in her life and sees competition he’s never had before. And thus the duel begins, the outcome you’ll have to find out by getting your butt to the cinema, but lets just say our anti-hero is helped along the way by the Irish cousin of aforementioned girlfriend and his over weight, spatula wielding, moped riding landlord. While Whit (who I have cunningly renamed ‘the Twit’) needs the help of no one, not that there’d be any space in the room, his ego is already lounging on every available surface.

I think Simon Pegg deserves an award simply for being filmed in the most appalling pair of lycra shorts cinema has ever seen, seriously - new category at the Baftas. His slob was made likeable and realistic (with the help of a fat suit), you can’t help but for him to beat the living monkeys out of Twit or whatever his name was. He made up for the lack of Nick Frost by taking advantage of good chemistry with the rest of the cast, particularly Dylan Moran (his Irish friend, a regular collaborator with Pegg) and Harish Patel (his slightly unhinged landlord.)
Moran was brilliant as the Irish best friend/cousin (seemingly part of the most multi-cultural family in all of filmdom) who was something of a scene stealer, involved in a seedy gambling group, chain smoking and inclined towards worryingly incestuous comments.
The American ‘perfect’ guy, Whit, who turns out to be an utter bastard (oh, come on. We all saw it coming) is played by Hank ‘voices most of the minor characters in the Simpsons’ Azaria. Previously I’d only ever seen him act, act in Friends and then a Julia Roberts movie where he ponces around in Speedos and talks in a funny accent – so I wasn’t sure how he’d fare against his cast makes. I’m happy to say I under estimated him, he plays an excellent bastard.

Thandie Newton, who most people will recognise from Crash and possibly the Pursuit of Happyness, I sadly recognised from her brief stint in ER – but no more should be said about it. Her character was probably the one with the least ‘funny potential’ written into the script, but she played Libby well, to the extent that you didn’t immediately label her as the one put in to bump up the serious factor. She had quirks rather than obvious funniness and I think that stopped the film from being a little too sickly in the laugh department.

It has to be said the old ones were still the best. The profanity spewing little old lady, the inappropriately disgusting expulsion of bodily fluids (from a highly unlikely place – you’ve seen it in the trailer, but the entire scene is just so much better), the Asian landlord who came up with an excellent metaphor that made me chuckle long after the rest of the audience had stopped (its about toothpaste, look out for it) and the kid spewing profanities - not that this film bases itself on comedic swearing.

David Schwimmer should be very proud of this film, he’s doing something quite brave by switching from acting – a career for which he is so well known and this may help him lose the ‘Ross from Friends’ tagline that voice work in animated films was never going to touch. It is most definitely the best of his directing efforts thus far and I look forward to seeing more of like this in the future.

The general consensus from my fellow cinema goers was that it was ‘dead good’ – and these people are taking English, worrying isn’t it? But yeah, it seemed to go down better than expected, even if they did only have sweet popcorn at the schnack stand, which put something of a dampener on the opening. And this wasn’t deemed to be ‘too boyish’ by the owners of two X chromosomes as Hot Fuzz was (something I, a couple of shiny X’s completely disagree with by the way, Hot Fuzz was brilliant.) I warn ye, this isn’t one for the squeamish…or those with a nudity phobia but it’s most definitely worth the price of a cinema ticket.

Genre Value: 4/5
Entertainment Value: 4/5
Style: 3.5/5
Overall Rating: 4/5

Monday, 17 September 2007

Death Proof Review

Ah, Grindhouse. The UK's biggest disappointment of this calendar year, hyped by critics, ignored by idiots. Sorry, Americans. The dream-team of Tarantino and Rodriguez, working together but seperately... how could someone ignore one of the most exciting movie prospects of the past couple of years, all due to a not-particularly-bum-numbing 3 hours? If people can sit through three Rings films, surely they can have a blast watching Grindhouse?

When I found out that Girndhouse was to be split for the UK, I was furious. Surely, I thought to myself, this defeats the whole point of the Grindhouse experience, the entire essence of the film's creation? Why ruin it for us, just because the Americans didn't "get" it? Not only was it loved by critics, but lots of people who did go and see it, loved it. The news came that Tarantino was going to extend Death Proof with footage he wanted in the film originally, before deciding it was too long. I was worried - would this be half the film I was expecting?

The answer is no. The long and short of it is, Death Proof is absolutely brilliant. From the opening shot, once again showcasing Tarantino's foot fetish, to the fantastic close, the film is always incredibly entertaining. At times it's exciting, at times it's sexy, and, as ever with QT, it's effortlessly cool. The whole film is incredibly well directed, deliciously authentic and decidedly witty. It's standard Tarantino dialogue, but that still means it a huge cut above the average, Tracie Thoms especially benefitting from some hilarious comic timing. Some people do not realise that a slight plot and simple plot are not the same thing. Death Proof is definitely the latter, an interesting premise gloriously realised and not over-complicating itself for the sake of it. Kurt Russell is especially good as deranged killer Stuntman Mike, all slashed face and malicious grin. But he's also surprisingly charming, even when it's part of a facade to lull his victims into a false sense of security. To be honest, half the time you can't really blame them.

As previously stated, it's magnificently well made. QT, sometimes praised more for his writing, is such a talented directed that only the blind couldn't see how competently he's made this. Despite the 2-Hour running time [which, to be honest, is mostly talking], there's always something interesting to look at, be it the shots themselves or the various blips, crackles and missing frames used. It's all done to stunning effect - it's so captivating you can't help but feel transported to a different time. I particularly enjoyed the short monochrome section at the start of the film's second half, and the opening warning about it being rated 'R'. One horrific scene, approximately an hour in, is replayed from so many different angles that you feel slightly disorientated from watching it [in a good way].

The film is very much in two halves - two sets of victims, two different cities, two opposing outcomes. In the first we meet minimal big stars, not counting the extended cameos from QT himself and his splatter-buddy Eli Roth, and it's all about the build-up. Some people have complained that there is no build-up, but it's so subtly done that they most likely didn't realise. Each scenario always feels like it's leading somewhere, making it all the more watchable. In the second half, the big names come into play, with a fabulous array of colours illuminating the less-scratchy-flickery screen.

Rosario Dawson is excellent as usual, Mary Elizabeth Winstead is left slightly trailing, but it's Zoe Bell [Uma Thurman's stunt double in Kill Bill] that deserves the big mention. Playing herself, she's a great character, and does all of her own [amazing] stunts. The finale is taut and exciting, a real-edge-of-your-seat unpredictable chase before reaching its crowd-pleasing destination. QT's made his own sub-genre by mashing others together [grindhouse, serial killer, stalker, thriller, action] - stalk 'n' smash to hugely entertaining effect.

There are one or two small negatives to that large amount of positives. For starters, it's by no means the "slasher movie at 200 MPH" that Tarantino initially promised. It starts reasonably slowly, like all of QT's films, before steadily gaining more and more digits on its speed-o-meter. Also, the film is really great, but Quentin hasn't really moved on much. I guess he has his own style, but it's not wildly different to what he's done before. He's even re-used the "feature presentation" retro starter that he's used before.

But these are only very slight downers in what is otherwise genuinely one of the best films of the year. It's so well made with so much passion, lots of [interesting and amusing] talk mixed with some of the best car chases I've ever seen. Usually, there isn't somebody on the bonnet... it's so striking you can't ignore it, and it's all the better for its OTT factor. It feels so genuine that now I'm more annoyed about the split than ever before. Bring on Planet Terror.


Genre Value: 4.5/5
Entertainment Value: 4.5/5
Style: 4.5/5
Overall Rating: 4.5/5

Wednesday, 12 September 2007

I Don't Want My Mummy

Whilst this year was officially the "year of the threequel", one franchise managed to escape, delaying itself by another 12 months or so - luckily for us.

The original remake of The Mummy was an entertaining, ghoulish thrill ride, all sand-whipping CGI, walking dead egyptians and killer beatles. It was genuinely scary [well, I was only 8...], guiltily using any plot device at its disposal, be it mummies, plagues or wartime rivalry, but always managing to chundle along pleasantly enough.

The sequel - with it's oh so original title The Mummy Returns - is one of the worst films I've ever seen. It tried so hard to exceed its predecessor that it left out what was so enjoyable about it. The Rock sucked. The CGI went backwards, and it was frankly ridiculous. The plot rambled, the action was disengaging and yet it still spawned a spin-off, The Scorpion King - another failure in my eyes.

So it shall come as no surprise that the Mummy 3 does not have a lot going for it. Director Stephen Sommers took a break from the series to direct the abysmal Van Helsing, and even he hasn't bothered returning to the franchise that made his name. Neither has Rachel Weisz, who has since moved on to bigger and better things. Also did I mention that it's called The Mummy: Tomb Of The Dragon Emperor? Having read a simple plot outline, I found myself reading the words "shape-shifting entity", "curse" and "wizard". Oh dear.

I'll let you make your own mind up, but you can be sure I won't be reviewing this one. Unless we start an "awful films" section. Which I might well do.

In other movie news, Indy 4 gets a title! Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is released on 22nd May 2008. Awesome!

Friday, 7 September 2007

Just Joking

Is anyone else getting incredibly excited about the Batman Begins sequel - The Dark Knight [due for release next year]? Every new picture released gets me even more excited. If you've seen any, you'll know why.

At the end of the [incredible] Batman Begins, the Joker is hinted at as the next villain to be used. When a casting call went out and Heath Ledger was eventually chosen for the role, I was wary, unable to picture him as a real bad guy after seeing him in A Knight's Tale and 10 Things I Hate About You. My faith has been comfortably restored and surpassed.

Does that not just scare the crap out of you?! The Joker looks seriously twisted, and like a real villain [something I feel Begins rather lacked - sure there was a crime gang, but Scarecrow wasn't featured much...]. Ledger's described his character as an "anarchic, junkie Joker".

Not only does the villain look amazing/terrifying, but other highlights of the re-boot have been improved, such as the Batmobile - there's now a bat bike [awesome!] and the suit has been re-designed [thankfully without nipples] to be harder, tougher and stronger.

I guess I'll have to wait for the film to be released to see if it'll be better than Begins. May can't come soon enough...

Wednesday, 5 September 2007

Shock Shock Horror Horror

I'm hoping to write a lot more on this blog in the future, just about anything film related, really. I shall soon be watching Blades of Glory [the Will Ferrell ice-skating comedy] and may well be reviewing that, and am looking at starting a new "classic reviews" section, reviewing, you guessed it, classic films. Ellie is mid-Airplane! review, so watch out for that soon.

Today I will be adding my two cents to the 1408 debate [handily rhyming]. Many people have said to me to go and see it, but the truth is that shlock horror no longer interests me. If you spoke to me a year a go, I would've gushed about House of Wax and Final Destination, but not today. No sir-ee. One day I realised that most horror movies are complete wastes of time. Scares are often manufactured through creaky doors and dark rooms until they are no longer scary - just uninteresting and uniform. I laughed out loud [lolled?] at the similarity between these two posters, from the same team of producers/writers or whatever.

This a perfect example of the point I'm trying to make. All horror movies seem to have the same themes, stories and conventions [I know this is obvious, but look at negatively]. Not only are these two posters exactly the same, but Apartment 1303 looks as if it shared a writer with 1408. I'm looking for originality in horror, something thats actually scary, not some crazed japanese ghost or haunted house. If you want something genuinely scary, look for The Descent or Severance. The premise of each is disturbingly possible - well, maybe not the Descent's creatures, but the shocking beginning and primal fears involved are - and is much better for it. Don't let Severance's "horror-comedy" tag fool you - the horror vastly outweighs the comedy, and it is honestly terrifying. Hell, even the first Saw film is worth a watch - if only for that stunning twist. Looks past the pretty awful dialogue and the declining sequels [Saw III belongs in the sick and twisted bargain bin] and there is an exciting, intelligent thriller [not really horror - trust me on that] with more brains than gore. And if anyone tries to tell you that Hostel is good, there's obviously something wrong with them.

Basically, what I'm trying to say is, most horror films are shite.

Tuesday, 4 September 2007

The Prodigal Son Returns

After what was, let's face it, a rather long and unnecessary absence, I've returned to my old film blog. Summer's come and gone, and, when you think about it, it was slightly disappointing for movies. There were some great new franchise starters [Transformers, The Simpsons Movie], some entertaining/exciting sequels [Pirates, Spider-Man, Bourne Ultimatum, Harry Potter], but also some real crap. Fantastic Four, Rush Hour and Shrek all came out with cash in hand, but with significantly dwindling reviews and feedback, and didn't live up to any anticipation/hype set around them. Nowadays, just slapping some people and FX on a screen does not a good movie make. The people behind these movies obviously didn't get the memo. It was a real shame, especially for Shrek The Third, which became the very thing it was trying to be different from, and was the big red cross in the previously enchanting, daring and hilarious record.

But now it's time to look on at the rest of the year. The Golden Compass is released towards the end of the year, and is undoubtedly going to be the christmas movie. But I don't want to have to think forward that far yet. In the next couple of weeks, I'm certainly looking forward to Disturbia and Superbad, both of which did very well at the American box office and have been given surprisingly positive reviews. It appears Judd Apatow is the flavour of the month. Ratatouille, the next Pixar movie, also looks brilliant. After Cars, it looks like a definite return to form, and is a contender for Oscar nominations.

This week I've been keeping my eye on Kevin Smith. Anyone that knows me is likely to have heard me quote his movies at some point, and this week he's finished the script for his forthcoming "horror" movie, Red State. He has two projects planned - a comedy [Zack and Miri Make a Porno] and Red State, which he says is a "horror movie, but not a traditional horror movie". I can't wait for it - Smith claims that it's completely different from anything he's done before. Here are some quotes that I've picked up, of people describing the script:
"It's so bleak"
"it's a helluva provocative script"
Maybe not "snootchie bootchies" then...

But that's definitely one to watch out for. My thoughts about the plotline are thus: maybe about politics, giving power to the wrong people, and the world/economy going down the drain as a result. I guess we'll just have to wait and see. It's no secret that I love Kevin Smith, so you can expect lots of updates from me.

I guess that's all for today.

Friday, 31 August 2007


A quick summary of all the fun, fab, or flaky films i saw on my travels! :3
And I apologise for the lack of paragraphs, humour or reason I may give in my reviews!


This is maybe the best film I watched this whole summer! Watched this in Amsterdam with Dutch subtitles; and it's a great way to learn funny words in funnier languages. I've always loved Jake Gylllllennhaalll and although I think he's a great character in this, I just didn't find him as interesting as the others. Robert Downey Jr is brilliant casted as a slightly eccentric journelist with all of Downey's natural confidence and suave attitude mixed in. The story was pretty lengthy, but not once did I think that whilst watching it! It kept me riveted to my seat until the ending credits! As I said before, this was the personal holidy favourite for me, and by all means the most disturbing...

Blades of Glory

Another great piece to add to Ferrell's already impressive comedy arsenal; and for me, this was possibly his greatest yet. Probably because I watched it with my mum on the plane, and it's one of those films to watch with family or friends. Otherwise, you may not find the urge to laugh your way through it! Although i'm not too keen on John Heder, as most of his career has just been one long drawn out character, he works so brilliantly with Ferrell and pulls off a great piece of comedic cinema. To re-iterate, I loved this movie and will be one for me to see again soon!

Freedom Writers

Personally, I enjoyed this more than I thought I would. Based on a true story, this movie includes romance, comedy, violence, drugs and tears; and basically aims for everyone with a heart. So you might wanna avoid this, Grinch. Not too much to delve into for this one folks, but it was a good one to see with family. You really end up loving the characters, learning more about America's history with racism, and you get to see Imelda Staunton (Delores Umbridge in HP5) be another grouchy, yet cuddly, teacher! Worth a view, even if just for the great true story and ace real characters.

The Invasion

As a modernised recap of the Body Snatcher genre, The Invasion was pretty limited with it's plot but with solid acting from Craig and Kidman, I was pretty impressed with the overall style of filming. Possibly letdown by the unnecessary and dull action sequence towards the end but still scary, funny and sophisticated enough to be quite the underdog thriller of the year. Both arty and mainstream, it was a surprisingly good film to see; especially as I'd heard nothing from it back in the UK!

The Perfect Score

"The Breakfast Club meets Ocean's Eleven". Slow your horses Washington Post, did we see the same movie? I reckoned it was one of the better and smarter teen comedies I've seen in my time, but if it weren't for one character out of a highly recognisable cast, I would have been thoroughly dissapointed. Leonardo Nam, an Korean-Argintinian that's lived in Sydney his whole life, is hilarious as "the loser" Roy. Final thoughts: It held my attention, and captured a whole cross-section of interesting teenagers, but still not enough to save the silly plot and lifeless acting.

No Reservations

To sum this up, it's just your average (more) rom- (than) com...but with great taste!
Not because it's thats exciting or detailed, but becacuse it revolves around 2 chefs and their love of food over each other. The real attraction of this film for me was the cast! Aaron Eckhaart as a light and witty italtian cook, who loves dancing to opera in his kitchen! Catherine Zeta Jones plays a woman who lives her life by the cookbook, and when *something terrible* happens, she's left in charge of her niece...and has no clue what to do.
Saving the best till last, the cute paegent goer from Little Miss Sunshine, Abigail Breslin, plays the niece who loves bears, hates fancy food and seems intent of creating a new family. Annoyingly, she was used as little as possible and seemed to be a lurking background character behind the other two. Not really worth much of a look-in, unless you love your food or rising child stars, but where we saw it? That's got a whole section dedicated to it's own....

Reel Pizza Cinerama

It has now become my dream to open a place like this...
It's a small 3 screened cinema in a tiny New England village, but unlike anything i've ever seen before. No cinema seats in sight, just an army of leather, cotton and any other materials you've ever seen on a sofa. You sacrifice your cupholders for a three piece suite of paridise. Did i mention they include scatter cushions?! Not only that, you can order popcorn, nachos, chips, hotdogs, beers and milkshakes from the entrance! And there's only one thing more exciting that the movie.... the bingo board. Once you've ordered your pizza, you just relax and wait for your number to flash up on a giant bingo board! Nothing can beat that surely?
Maybe the fact that the lobby is also a local art gallery, for both young and old to display their works! This amazing place has treasured me with great memories, and I hope that I'll get to return before long. Thanks for reading guys! - Awesome! - Phwoarsome!

Friday, 17 August 2007

It's Friday Again

Once again, it's the start of the weekend which, of course, means more new releases at the cinema.
Summer is winding to a close, with the last of the real big blockbusters released today. The Bourne Ultimatum concludes the amnesiac-spy trilogy based on Robert Ludlum's bestselling books. Once again starring Matt Damon as Jason Bourne, it's been highly praised, receiving mainly 4 and 5 star reviews. It's today's biggest release, just above the Bratz: The Movie. I widely consider the "movie" franchise [Scary Movie, Date Movie, Epic Movie] to be the absolute scum of the movie world. In my mind, Bratz is set to join them. Just the trailer on the TV was enough to make me reach for the nearest copy of Little Miss Sunshine and tell myself that it was all going to be OK. Frankly, it looks dire, and unless you're a five year old girl [or the parent of a five year old girl] there is no reason [at all] to see this movie, unless it is as a form of punishment.

Other releases today are New Zealand indie flick Eagle Vs. Shark, children's fantasty Mee-Shee: The Water Giant, and the re-release of Scorsese's Raging Bull.

Friday, 10 August 2007

The Simpsons Movie Review

There have been more eagerly anticipated films this summer, and there have been more thrilling blockbusters, but I doubt there were trailers more appetising or unexpected! The last couple of seasons of The Simpsons have been entertaining at best and I doubt there can be much done to muster material as funny as it should be; which is why I'm so glad they conjured up a couple of new ideas and packed in quite a few one-liners for the movie. With a superb start and a satisfying ending, you won’t be too disappointed with their efforts. I know for certain that my 7 year old cousin loved it more than I did, as I had to put up with him flicking straws into my face during the trailers, but once he was watching, it was hard to distract him from the screen.

When I left the cinema, I felt that I was left questioning the PG certificate they had settled on. There's certaintly more than a pinch of sex, nudity and swearing in this family cartoon, but fans will probably be delighted that they're wiling to go the extra mile for the movie. Still, I can guarantee there will be moments when you think "can they really do that?!", but if you're like me, you could be enjoying yourself too much to care! There also seems to be a fair use of 3D effects on rather mundane objects such as cars and houses which I think seems a slight waste, when we’re so used to the regular 2D animation. But when it’s used on missiles and other explosive features, it gives a new modern edge to this cartoon classic.

This particular story follows the family as they try and save Springfield from some unlikely villains and try to keep their family together in the face of peril. Marge plays the ever cautious and level headed mother, Lisa will stop at nothing to clean up the pollution of Springfield, Bart has father issues turns to Flanders for guidance, Maggie returns as the unsung hero whilst Homer literally 'hogs' the spotlight for the majority of the film and the script seems to follow his tale more than any others. No one, except the family, gets much of a look in and this takes away from the overall varied and sometimes absurd scenes of the TV show.

As with most films, this one has it’s share of mistakes and pitfalls. Although the story is intriguing and exciting, you can’t help think that you’ve seen it somewhere before. They do use quite a common plot to base the story around, making it both familiar and slightly dry. It also does seem to slow towards the end half with a quaint happy ending, nothing more but surely nothing less. ‘Empire’ seems to have taken a pretty critical view of the feature, slating it as the “biggest waste of the summer.” Their opinion, or certaintly not that of the reviewer, is not shared by me and I have to agree that you might not be rolling around on the cinema floor, or even laughing out loud more than once; but why are we treating this as any different to the television show? As a movie, I fear this would not even be recognised without all the show’s previous achievements. As an episode, I feel that it’s top notch, and still thoroughly enjoyable, without as many sidesplitting gags as we’re used to.

To bring this show to a close, I’d say that if you were to see just one 2D cartoon movie this year (which is most likely, given the amount of 3D rubbish churned out so far) then make this top of your list. You’ll feel comfortable in watching your favourite characters as usual, but with the extra thrill of the big screen. With minimal guest stars but brief appearances from Green Day and others, I was slightly disappointed by the lack of celebrity endorsement but it was hardly a big issue.Needless to say, don’t expect the greatest film of the summer, but if you enjoy watching on the small screen then be sure to give this a heads up.

Genre Value: 3.5/5
Entertainment Value: 4.5/5
Style: 4/5
Overall Rating: 4/5

Sunday, 29 July 2007

Transformers Review

This summer has seen many a blockbuster come and go: Spider-Man 3, Pirates 3, Ocean's 13, Shrek 3, Harry Potter 5, Die Hard 4.0... Let's go through them:
Spider-Man 3 will go down as being "the third one that wasn't as good as the second"
Pirates 3 will be "the one that was better than the second, but didn't live up to the first"
Ocean's 13 will be 'remembered' as "the threequel most easily forgotten"

I could go on and on. But I won't.

What is certain, is that people will remember Transformers. It's 2007's biggest and best blockbuster, with all you could ever want in a movie based on a Hasbro toy. It's the ultimate popcorn flick, only requiring a disengaged brain and a pair of eyeballs to take in the plot, action and thrills. The incredibly simple premise is summed up in a plot-by-numbers voice-over, neatly giving enough information to intrigue and excite, but without any real depth.

Our hero, played by the instantly likable Shia LaBoeuf, is Sam Whitwicky - just your average teenager. Like most young adults, he wants a car, pines over hottie Mikeala [Megan Fox], and has awkward talks with his parents. The movie's surprisingly large amount of comedic moments usually come from Sam, as he tries to hide the fact that his car is, in fact, an alien space robot. He isn't particularly interested in his family history, and what he knows about his explorer Grandfather, he uses to sell various things he left behind to raise money for his car fund. One of these objects is a pair of glasses, which holds the key to the whereabouts of the AllSpark, a life-giving cube. This is where the giant transforming robots come in. The Decepticons [bad robots] want the cube to turn every electronic gadget into a Transformer to make an army. The Autobots [good robots] want the cube to stop the Decepticons from getting it. Unfortunately, the Decepticons are already on Earth, whilst the Autobots are still floating through space...

The film's thrilling opening sequence shows a desert attack in which we most definitely lose. It is cleverly done, showing glimpses of the Transformer, but not showing you exactly what is going on. It's just one of many jaw-dropping action sequences, which, luckily, come thick and fast, though not in a way that you begin to feel bored or uninterested. Other favourites include a night-time battle between Decepticon Barricade and Autobot Bumblebee [Sam's car]. This is the first time we see the Transformers in full, and it's incredibly impressive - the sound of metal grinding upon metal has never been so invigorating, and you can't help but find yourself grinning.

The film itself is heavily endorsed - as much as action comedy as an advert for Nokia, Camaros, iPods and Macs, X-Box 360s, Mountain Dew and, more controversially, the army. The list goes on and on. Most scenes involve either choppers or soldiers, with heroes nobly fighting for the freedom of the world.

One of the reasons why the films works so well is in the fact that the Transformers themselves are real characters - they're all different, from trigger-happy Ironhide to dignified do-gooder Optimus Prime, each Transformer has its own personality. It's rare when, in a film, you can connect with a load of giant CGI robots, but small touches help us to like them. My favourite is Bumblebee's tendancy to use the radio to help Sam win over Mikaela, playing appropriate music whenever he sees her. It's these moments, as well as the incredible action sequences which will be remembered far into the future. It's genuinely touching to see the bond between teen and machine, and Sam's devotion to Bumblebee's cause. This is no doubt one of Spielberg's [who Executive Produced] touches, and he did a good job at reigning in Bay slightly. There are also some surprisingly nice shot types used, which I didn't particularly expect from Bay.

This leads us on to the smackdowns. There are so many. And they are oh so painstakingly good. I spent most of the film with my hand over my mouth, my eyes wide, thinking to myself "this is so cool". From the opening desert decimation, to the Barricade/Bumblebee battle, to the Optimus Prime vs. Megatron finale to name but a few, the action is captivating, engrossing, and simply amazing. The CGI is absolutely flawless - the best I've ever seen; the Transformers are works of art, especially Megatron, who often transforms into a jet whilst in mid-air. I can guarantee that, over the course of the summer, the amount of quality action in Transformers will not be beaten. Each Transformer consists of thousand of tiny moving parts, and watching them transform [even when they aren't fighting] is mind blowing. It just goes to show how far CGI has come, a memo obviously missed by the Harry Potter team when animating Hagrid's half-brother Grawp.

Many people have complained that the robots-search-for-cube story is stupid and dumb, but when we look at our culture and society, it isn't so far removed. When Bush was convinced that middle eastern countries were hiding WMDs, we invaded to try and find them so that they don't have them. Is this not what the Transformers were doing all along? Luckily, Transformers doesn't take itself too seriously - it knows how preposterous it is, and instead of taking itself into the realms of deep silliness, it just carries on knowingly, without straying too far away from what the fanboys want. The comedy and action are balanced perfectly, and it is always thoroughly entertaining.

So, to sum up, you won't see a better blockbuster all summer. With Spielberg and Bay working together, they've made a hugely enjoyable action movie with well-rounded characters, incredible CGI and a huge metal heart for every metal fist. Comparisons have been made with Spielberg's masterpiece Jurassic Park [one of my favourite films ever]. It turns out they are perfectly justified...

Genre Value: 5/5
Entertainment Value: 4.5/5
Style: 3/5
Overall Rating: 4.5/5

Friday, 27 July 2007

Please Welcome Our New Member...

A new member has joined the "I Hate How Fake Hollywood Is..." team! Please welcome our new writer Ellie! Expect some posts from her soon!

Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix Review

Many surprises and treats await the audience of the new Harry Potter film. The main surprise is that Daniel Radcliffe can really act. No, really. Our moody hero no longer looks as if he's constantly being slapped in the face, and conveys real emotions, injecting an actual character into his previous shell. Emma Watson is no longer the most talented of the young'uns, and even Rupert Grint has caught up. His Ron has changed significantly since the last outing, due to the fact that he gains real genuine laughs from his portrayal as the ultimate teenager [sarcastic, witty, a bit grumpy] instead of just gurning at appropriate times. The adult performances continue to impress, especially Alan Rickman and Gary Oldman, whose relationship with Harry is incredibly convincing, and has evolved significantly since the Prisoner of Azkaban. Evanna Lynch is perfectly cast as Luna Lovegood, just on the likeable side of creepy, and Imelda Staunton is captivating as Mrs Umbridge. She's a pink, fluffy, nightmare, seemingly light hearted but really a total b*tch.

The opening of the film is suitably thrilling, as our world and the magic world begins to collide with a Dementor attack in the park. It's a very well directed scene that sets the tone for the rest of the movie. The first four films/books in the series mark the first half of the series. From five onwards is where the darkness really begins. I know everybody says the books are "darker" and "edgier", but they really are from here on in. With Voldemort back for real, there's real threat round every corner [though the Ministry of Magic refuses to believe it], and a series of disappearances is the real sign that he's back. Though the Goblet of Fire had its darker moments, it was intersperced with moments of comedy and lots of action. Whilst that film was very good, by including all the action, it left no room for character development and was subsequently exciting yet lacking emotion. Order of the Phoenix is almost the opposite. With the book waffling on, with too much detail in the smallest matters, it works much better as a film. The characters have much more room to breathe, and the whole movie feels much more rounded and like a film rather than a series of action sequences with Harry Potter in them.

When Umbridge starts to take over, we see real frustration from our heroic threesome at the mounting restricitions [shown to good effect in some of the films few comedic scenes] and boundaries set by the Ministry. It is surprisingly liberating when the students begin to fight back, and gives real excitement at the thought of teenage rebellion against the establishment.

For all its talk and character development, the end of the film explodes in a tense, exciting scene in the Ministry of Magic's Department of Mysteries. The set is fantastic, especially the golden fountain, and the prophecy room, and it has a sense of real danger about it. It's good to see some of Harry's friends aside from Ron and Hermione helping him against the Dark Lord, as it also helps to show how all Wizards and Witches must unite to defeat evil. It makes up for the lack of action in the films mid-section.

However, the film is not perfect. Helena Bonham Carter is desperately underused, and during the climatic battle there are opportunities that are disappointingly not taken [most notably Ron being attacked by the flying brains, and looking at the various rooms inside the Department of Mysteries]. Also, the incredibly important talk at the end of the book ["It is time I told you everything..."] is cut down to its bare bones.

These points aside, the Order Of The Phoenix is the best of the Potter films. With action, characters, great performances and a real sense of threat, it works much better than the book. Some might say it's boring, or that its too dark, but they're not looking for the right things, and neglect the fact that the book contains little action and is pretty dark itself. Just go out and lose yourself. Then wait in anticipation of the Half-Blood Prince...

Genre Value: 4/5
Entertainment Value: 4/5
Style: 3.5/5
Overall Rating: 4/5

Wednesday, 25 July 2007

Yellow Fellows...

Simpsons Movie reviews are surfacing around the internet - and they're positive! gives it 4/5, as does times online. All clips and trailers have been hilarious, so to me there was a good vibe from the start. The Simpsons Movie is released on Friday, with various preview showings tomorrow. Please keep voting on the Simpsons poll, and thanks to anyone who has voted so far!

You can expect a review of Harry Potter and the Order And The Phoenix by Saturday, if not Friday!

Tuesday, 24 July 2007

Lolz To Tha Pollz

I know the title joke is just so seriously lame, but I couldn't resist. I've added a new poll feature which I will aim to update and change every week. This week I'm asking you whether you think the Simpsons Movie [released Friday, with previews on Thursday] will be any good or not. Yes, it's your time to yell at me and my stupid opinions, so go ahead. Enjoy.

Monday, 23 July 2007

Lolz To Tha Holz

I've just got back from two weeks in France [and am soon to go away again to Germany for two more], during which much has happened in the movie world.
Potter fever has reached boiling point, with the release of the Order of the Phoenix movie [which I will hopefully see this week and review for you] and the 7th and final book, the Deathly Hallows, all within just over one week.
The film has recieved overall positive, but mixed reviews. Once again "darker" and "edgier" [words which have become immensely overused when describing the latter books/films in the series], it's one of my least favourite books. It's the one where Harry becomes, basically, a bit of a dick. He never ceases yelling or shouting, and it's purpose is mainly to set up the last two books, despite it ridiculous length.

There are, however, many bits which I am looking forward to seeing in the film, such as the climatic battle at the end, and the dementor attack in Privet Drive. It looks, from the trailers, like it could be the best film yet, an opinion which quite a few reviews have already expressed.

Talking of reviews, I have a new ratings system. Films, as well as being given an overall rating, will be marked through "genre value" [i.e. is a comedy funny, is a horror scary, is an action film exciting? No thought towards if it is well made, if it is trashy, if it's high class etc. aka Does the film serve its purpose?], "entertainment value" [a mark purely for how entertaining a film is, be it trashy, high class etc] and "style" [is it well directed? Has it been well thought out? is it classy?]. I am in the process of adding the new ratings to the old reviews, and all future reviews will take this form.

Released this week are the Blockbuster juggernauts Transformers and the very long awaited Simpsons Movie, and anticipation is getting higher and higher. I hope to see at least one before I go to Germany on Monday. If I do, I'll be sure to review. There are lots of Transformers reviews on the internet, as it is already on release in America, and I have read one review of the Simpsons Movie, which can be found on Transformers looks amazing, with serious talent on display - action king Michael Bay directing, movie king Steven Spielberg executive producing, and Even Steven's star Shia LaBoeuf in the leading role. Preview screenings and reviews seem positive so far, but most of us will have to wait until Friday to see it for ourselves.

Anyway, that's all for today folks!
Stay Tuned.

Friday, 29 June 2007

Even More Friday Releases

The big mainstream releases this week includes yet another second sequel in Shrek The Third. Reviews have been a lot less positive than those for the other Shrek films, and it appears that the franchise is starting to run out of steam. Things don't bode well for the next two sequels which have already been announced. Also released today is Eli Roth's torture porn sequel Hostel: Part II. The first one was a load of tat - incredibly shallow, boring, and just plain awful, and this one doesn't look much better.

Other Releases:
The Flying Scotsman

Monday, 25 June 2007

Yippie Ki-Yay...

Good news for Die Hard fans - Die Hard 4.0 has been given a 15, as, according to the BBFC, it contains "one use of strong language". Yes - this means that Bruce Willis WILL be saying "Yippie Ki-Yay Motherf*cker!". Thank god for that... I had my money on it being a disappointingly weedy 12A...

Transformers has been given 12A [expected] and Evan Almighty [poorly reviewed in the US] has been given a PG [also expected].
More news as I hear it...

Sunday, 24 June 2007

A Bit Late, But...

Yes, Friday has been and gone, but I've been busy. There aren't many releases this weekend, with only two on general release. Captivity is the latest in the "gorno" genre, and looks suitably horrifying [in both senses of the word]. Lucky You is a poker drama, which frankly looks a bit boring and stale. In the foreign corner, La Vie En Rose is a French Biopic of singer Edith Piaf, and has been very well reviewed generally, and PTU is a thriller set on the streets of Hong Kong.

So, not much this week. However, next Friday sees the release of Shrek The Third, with previews at selected cinemas showing at various times this week.

Friday, 15 June 2007

On Release Today

Yes, it's time for more Friday releases. Pictures on main release this week are:
  • Fantastic Four: Rise Of The Silver Surfer

I'm confused about this movie. The first trailer was great, and it looked very promising. But someway between there and now I lost all confidence for this film - I don't know why; it just didn't look very good. Suddenly I'm a bit more interested. It seems kinda cool to have a superhero movie with no dark undertones or political themes. Just a simple bash-em' up with super powers. It's probably going to break all scientific laws with its logic, but no-one can deny that the Silver Surfer himself looks incredible. All screen shots of him are just mind-blowing. I'll review when [or if] I see it...

  • Vacancy

I kinda like this movie's premise - couple in a motel, watch horror videos, realise they arein the room in which movies are set etc. It sounds like a pretty good B-Movie story, but with pretty much every teen horror/thriller, no matter what the story is like, they are never any good. I probably won't be going to see this at the cinema as it feels like it'd be a waste of time and money - if you've seen one, you've seen 'em all.

  • Grow Your Own

I don't know too much about this, apart from it's a British comedy set in the world of gardening. Reviews haven't been fantastic, but might be worth a watch if you're into brit-coms.

  • Tell No-One

I also don't really know much about this either. It's a French thriller which has been very well reviewed, and received a fantastic reception in France earlier in the year.

Those are the main releases this week. For more, visit more movie sites - there's loads of links on the right of the page.

Wednesday, 13 June 2007

The "Definitely Not Fantastic, But Better Than The First" Four...

Friday sees the release of Fantastic Four: Rise Of The Silver Surfer, which I'm sure we're all hoping will be much better than the first. With character introductions firmly out of the way, now it's time for some ACTION. Some reviews are out now - Empire Online, Total Film and BBC Movies all have them up - and the reactions are reasonbly positive. 3 star ratings seem to sum up the film, which promises fans the Silver Surfer and planet-munching Galactus.

In other news, gore fans will be happy that some of the most hyped horror/thrillers of the year have been rated as 18. Hostel: Part Two surely can't be much worse than the first, which was a pointless exercise in providing gore, dark "humour" and unjustified amounts of T'n'A. Face it - there was no story, and it wasn't the "sick f*cked up movie" that Roth claimed it would be. Tarantino's Death Proof has also been [unsurprisingly] given an 18 certificate. It seems that the only positive for Grindhouse being split [grrrrr...] is that Death Proof has been extended - everyone has said that they think it's a better film for it. Finally, Captivity, who have had posters banned in America for being so disturbing has also been given an 18 for "strong violence, torture and grisly images". Sounds lovely.

That's today's update - keep coming back for more!

Friday, 8 June 2007

A Quick [Stop] Update

Kevin Smith fans are currently awaiting horror movie Red State, his next project, but here's a little update about his project for after that. Titled "Zack and Miri Make A Porno", Smith's returning to comedy, and he says it's "dirty, with nudity". He's hoping to cast Rosario Dawson in the lead part, but she hasn't read the script yet...

On Release Today

Friday means movie releases, and this week sees the return of the heist-caper franchise with Ocean's Thirteen. The general concencus - much better than the second, not as good as the original, but still very enjoyable. Amongst other releases are the sequel to 2005's family road movie Are We There Yet? - this time with the very original name Are We Done Yet? Frankly, it looks rubbish. Billy Elliot's Jamie Bell is back in The Chumscrubber, an indie drama about troubled teenagers, and John Boorman's satirical The Tiger's Tail is also released. For those who love documentaries, Taking Liberties is being hailed as the British Bowling For Columbine - definitely one to watch. Black Gold is a documentary about the coffee-trade.
Other Releases:
  • The City Of Violence (Jjakpae)
  • Not Here To Be Loved

Thursday, 7 June 2007


This is my first proper rant on the blog, but I'm just getting so fed up. Dreamworks have announced that there will be a fourth Shrek movie released in 2010, and a fifth in 2013. Yes, I did say fifth. This has made me so angry - the first Shrek was brilliantly satirical of Disney, and was perfect for literally all ages. The sequel was very entertaining, very funny, and focused more on general movie spoofs instead of just Disney. The third - in my opinion - looks a bit poor. They've taken a great idea and run with it. But runners can lose steam very easily. It now seems that they're just going through the motions - I can even imagine the boardroom meeting now:

"OK, so Shrek was great - and made a heap of cash. Lets make more!"
"But, how many should we make?"
"Well, families like it... hmmm... 3?"
"3?! Is that it? I was thinking 5..."
"OK, so 5 Shrek movies - whats gonna happen in them?"
" 1 - Shrek meets Fiona"
"So far so good"
"2 - Shrek marries Fiona"
"Yeah, that's the way sequels usually go..."
"3 - Shrek has babies with Fiona"
"So far so HILARIOUS"
"4 - Shrek is a grandad"
"Dude, that's freakin' AWESOME! Nothing could be more hilarious. What about 5?"
"I'm kinda running out of ideas here... I GOT IT. PREQUEL."

"Genius - total genius!"

It makes me so angry that they're cashing in on the success - but, hey that's the way business goes. The thing is, I swear movies were supposed to be mainly for entertainment. Slapping out sequel after sequel means that the magic of the original is lost. Many people this year have complained that all the "part threes" have been big disappointments - what are parts 4, 5 and 6 going to be like?
Sony have announced three more Spider-Man films, they hinted towards a fourth Pirates film at the end of At World's End, and doubtless there'll be Transformers sequels. It's just being taken too far. There's not enough originality in film making anymore. Three cheers for QT and Robert Rodriguez, trying something different with Grindhouse - of course the Americans all went to see other films instead. Well, I hope you're happy. Now the UK won't get to see Grindhouse in its full 3-hour trashy glory. Here's to originality, and the oh-so clever public.

Wednesday, 6 June 2007

Welcome Arrival

A surprise hit in America at the moment is the new Judd Apatow [40 Year Old Virgin] film Knocked Up - a comedy about a lowly slacker who impregnates a woman out of his league during a drunken one night stand. The film was fantastically reviewed, and on Rotten Tomatoes is currently not only the top rated comedy but the top rated film of the year so far. Knocked Up has been hailed by some critics as an instant comedy classic, and is said to be a lot more laugh-out-loud funny in comparison to the 40 Year Old Virgin's more refined sense of humour.
The film will be *ahem* due for release [terrible pun intended] in the UK on 24th of August. Expect it to be the summer's biggest comedy hit [depending on what Evan Almighty, reportedly the most expensive comedy ever made, is like].

Adding To The BBFC Post...

...the new Harry Potter film [which looks awesome] has been rated 12A - the books definitely get darker and darker, so that seemed kind of inevitable with the last one also being a 12A. Expect Potter-mania to hit the UK in July, with the last book and the new film both released within the same week.

Tuesday, 5 June 2007

BBFC Ratings

Only a quick update - some of the year's bigger movies have been rated by the BBFC. Ocean's 13 has been given a PG, and Fantastic Four: Rise Of The Silver Surfer has also been given a PG.
Some Ocean's 13 reviews are out now on Empire Online, Total Film and BBC Movies all have reviews. The overall opinion seems to be that this is definitely better than Ocean's 12, and is a good, entertaining flick. However, there are some negative opinions flying around. Currently, Rotten Tomatoes's average is 69%, and IMDB's user rating is 7.2/10

Also, If you're a Kevin Smith fan, it's worth subscribing to his Podcast, which he runs with his producer Scott Mosier, called Smodcast. It can be found on iTunes and on Quick Stop Entertainment. WARNING - This podcast is not for the faint hearted. There is a LOT of strong language, and lots of talk about sex, drugs and stuff. But it is very funny.

Wednesday, 30 May 2007

Youtube #2: Dutch Chatshow Mayhem

I'm really sorry that this doesn't have that much to do with movies, but this is just so amazingly funny :D The conversation is about how that guy had his testicles removed accidentally. Here are some translated quotes ;) Enjoy

"I noticed my voice had changed slightly..."
"Try talking on the phone like this!"
"As a wife, I cannot fondle his testicles anymore"
"Think what it'd be like for a dog, not to have testicles to lick anymore!"

Saturday, 26 May 2007

Pirates Of The Caribbean: At World's End Review

First of all, answer these questions to yourself.

1) Do you like Pirates, and the general pirate craze?

2) Did you like Dead Man's Chest?

If the answer to both of those is yes, then you'll definitely at least enjoy At World's End. If any of the answers were no, then you'd best steer clear of this.

I really enjoyed this film. Sure, it's not going to win any awards for the best film ever [maybe the most commercially successful?], but if you just go with its crazy logic and over-complicated plot, then you're likely to have a pretty good time. It's better than the second, partly because it always feels like it's heading to some sort of destination - what with the pirate lords being brought together for a final showdown with the East India Trading Co. - no matter how long it has to be, or how convoluted the plot becomes.

At World's End works best when viewed as "Dead Man's Chest Pt. 2", because that's what it essentially is. After Jack's fate at the end of the last film, lots of this one is spent bringing him back. including a wonderfully trippy sequence of Jack inside Davy Jones' Locker, some amazing CGI landscapes and mythology a-plenty. There were many more minor characters in Dead Man's Chest which, if they had been cut out, would have made that film flow more easily, and would have made it shorter. However, many of these characters have real purpose in this film, giving a better appreciation for the slightly less-enjoyable second installment [which I actually really liked].

The plot of this film, for the most part, is a twisted, sloppy mess. It starts off simply, but soon there are so many betrayals and double crossings that you find yourself concentrating so hard that you can't remember each character's objective and need for Davy's heart. By the end, this doesn't really matter, as things even out more, and there's less back-stabbing. There are some real character developments [especially towards the end], and [whilst being very long] feels more rounded as a whole. It is much more serious than the second, with only Captain Jack and Monkey Jack to lighten the sombre mood. It also has one of the most hideously misjudged openings for a [supposedly] family film - if I were you, I'd leave the kids behind. In parts it is surprisingly violent for a 12A, giving the impression that either the BBFC have gone soft, or Disney asked for a lower rating to attract a bigger audience.

Orlando Bloom is much better in this film - his character is a lot more likeable, after all his whining and moaning in Dead Man's Chest, and Keira Knightley's character is given a much more impressive part this time around. But it's Depp's Captain Jack Sparrow and Geoffrey Rush's wonderfully unhinged Barbossa who really steal the show.

We learn a lot more about Davy Jones' past, and the mythology of the Pirates world in this film, which makes the films seem a lot more involving. Davy Jones looks fantastic once again - it's amazing what is capable using CGI these days. Not often do barnacled evil sea captains with a squiddy face/beard look this alive.

The whole film leads up to an incredible, hugely enjoyable climatic battle, which sees the pirates facing off against the East India Trading Co. and Davy Jones. It's a very exciting, involving sequence, which tops many other scenes from recent blockbusters. I was actually surprised at how much I liked this film and how much I loved the final showdown. I'm not going to ruin it - but make sure you see it!

So, to conclude, this film is better than Dead Man's Chest [which will seem better when you've seen this film], but not as good as the original. To me, it never felt as long as its 168 minutes, and it works surprisingly well. It's not the best film ever made, and it isn't going to be loved by everyone, but, hell, I went out and genuinely enjoyed this film. But, make sure you see the second one again before you go to see this!

Genre Value: 4/5
Entertainment Value: 3.5/5
Style: 2.5/5
Overall Rating: 3.5/5