Thursday, August 24, 2006


I do not get this film!

Haze was a random HMV purchase, wanted to get something new, perused the world cinema sections and Haze caught my eye. I read the back and was hooked.

It's a Japanese film, of only around 49mins, from director Shinya Tsukamoto, who previously directed Tetsuo, which I've only seen once and remember it to be a horribly disturbing film at the time.

So, the film..

A man wakes up to find himself locked in a tiny, cramped concrete room, in which he can barely move. He doesn't remember why he is there and where he came from. He has a terrible stomach injury and is slowly bleeding to death.

(Taken from the synopsis by Anon on IMDb)

A brilliant idea, but I just don't get where it went. The film was creepy, really pushing the claustrophobia, (I had to turn the light on!), there's some horrible moments involving grinding but overall I just didn't know what the hell was going on by the end, no clearer than when it started.

However, I will be going back for a second viewing, it may just have been that it was late and I was tired and not trying to freak myself out before bed, but I am still intrigued.

Haze - 6/10


Took me a while to get around to seeing this, mainly cos every time I rented a film, i was with my girlfriend and she didn't want to see it (shitbag as she says). So she was away I wanted a film to watch, Munich was it.

It's a long film, and by the end you're feeling it, but as with most Spielberg epics, it's a pretty good ride. Hard going at times, little hammy in places, esp. near the end, but a precision made piece with the usual Spielbergian (?) lust for entertaining, despite the subject matter.

So, the subject matter concerns that of the Munich Massacre, the deaths of members of the Israeli olympic team in the seventies (forgive me I forget the year), although, the kidnapping and deaths are shown, this film is more concerned with Israel's response to the events and the subsequent retribution dished out but a group of "specialist" assasins, led by Avner (Eric Bana).

Bana in this is amazing! I put the occasional hammyness down to the script rather than his performance, Daniel Craig, as the South African, Steve also puts in a good performace, despite a wandering accent.

The ending was a tad disappointing for me, but I get the point of it. The intensity seemed to be a little watered down throughout, possibly because of the tones and nature of the lighting, or more probably the lack of power in the script again.

Overall it's an ok film, long but good performances and some good sequences.

Munich - 7/10

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Crooked Features

The British low budget film industry is massive, there are countless films made every year, from shorts to features, documentaries, promos..what is done big budget is also done low budget.

The key to low budget film-making is knowing your limits, the film you produce is not gonna look like a film that Jerry Bruckheimer has produced. When I say knowing your limits, it's more knowing the scope you have within those limits and how best to exploit them.

This film knows that inside out. I've literally just finished watching it and I reccommend you head over to HERE and purchase yourselves of a copy right now! (You can finish reading this when you've placed your order).

Let me say first off that I know the director Mike Peter Reed (a little at least), he was the Sound Recordist on my short that was filmed recently and my copy of his film came included in the package with the sound rushes. Secondly I'm not giving him a thumbs up review because of that, I genuinely enjoyed this film!!

So what's it about? Basically (i say that too much), porn director Rod Shuffler (Julian Lee) after recieving his third SHAFTA for Lifetime Achievement, sets out to go mainstream, however things are not meant to be that easy!!...

Filmed as a mockumentary (a-la-Spinal Tap etc), it follows the cast and crew of "Attack Of The Clowns" as they wade their way through the production.

The key players are brilliant, natural and most impotantly funny! Pano Masti, who plays David Goliath and Kate Naughton who plays tortured First Assistant Director Tanya Hyde steal the show completely.

Although, the whole mockumentary format has been uber-exploited since Spinal Tap and more so since the advent of DV filmmaking (god know's I've got a couple of mockdoc scripts myself!), this film does the job far better than others I've seen.

You have to accept the production values before you sit down to this. It's low budget, DV, documentary style, if you accept that you'll enjoy it. It may appeal more to filmmakers because of the subject matter, but then maybe I'm being a little hard on non-filmmakers who would probably enjoy this. The best viewers for this are the ones who know their films (and in some places music, eg: the scene with David and Sandy in the car!!).

It's a very geeky film, there are references littered throughout, even to the extent of a Tie Fighter sound subtly thrown in for good measure. It's these little touches that make it shine and the sorts of things that made me choke on my drink.

Cheers Mike :)

Crooked Features - 9/10

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Inside Man

Firstly, let me apologise for the gap between posts here, the reason for it, is that I've been busy busy working on my own short film (, but I have a little respite so...

Inside Man, a Spike Lee joint. Now I don't like Spike Lee's stuff, his films are usually "message" films, preaching or ranting about racial issues, and while in itself that's fine, I'm not having a go at him making films of that nature, they just don't appeal to me, so it was with some trepidation (?) that I sat down to watch his latest offering.

Also, Clive Owen is a tad hit and miss (eg. Sin City & King Arthur), Denzel Washington is usually a big old piece of ham, so this film, didn't have a lot going for it other than it looked kinda interesting.

So...I really enjoyed it, it was funny (Denzel's ham worked quite well, although Willem Dafoe steals most of the scenes he's in), and it was clever, once I got used to the Without A Trace/Cold Case (et al) esque, TV style cutting back and fwd between the heist and police interviews, I settled in to a very enjoyable film.

Owen is very good in this, although I have a nasty feeling that it's because you can't see his expressionless face through most of it, the premise although slightly confusing and, yes, still a little preachy, is a good one, a clever ending and someone's (scriptwriter I guess) clearly spent a lot of time thinking the whole heist through.

Jodie Foster is good, but still irritating (I think she's still in Flightplan mode), Chiwetel Ejiofor, is a good side for Denzel and as far as performances go, his is better.

My girlfriend hated it, she was bored to tears as was her mum, but then rarely do they like the same films as me anyway, but the film is long, it probably could've done with being a tad shorter, but I felt at least, that the pace is well kept thoughout.

Not a masterpiece, but an entertaining ride, which is what I was hoping for.

Inside Man - 7/10

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Superman Returns

It took me too attempts to watch this one. The cinema had a power cut on the first attempt (at a rather apt moment in the film), so i had to wait for a few days then go back for a second attempt, which was well, well worth it!

Bryan Singer, shot to fame with The Usual Suspects, which in itself is a brilliant film, kinda dissapeared for a bit, then directed X-Men, HELLO! and welcome back big budget superhero movies!

A few years down the line and we have Superman Returns, set five years after Superman II and thankfully before III & IV, astronomers discovered the remains of Krypton so Supes obviously had to go and have a lookie. So five years later he returns, and funnily enough things have changed, Lois has a fiance and a kid, Lex Luthor's out of prison and the world's pretty much gone to shit. This he finds a little upsetting, but not to be out-done (after all he's Superman!) he sets out to put things straight.

Lex Luthor (Kevin Spacey) is on top form, hammy, over the top, and the "WRONG!" bit even made me jump slightly, despite being in the trailer. He is doing his usual world conquering stuff and Supes has to stop him.

I really REALLY enjoyed this film, just perusing the IMDb comments, there's a lot of slagging off going on, but then that's to be expected on there, it's vary rare for anyone on there to say anything nice! But then that's a different post (maybe I'll stick it on my blog).

Brandon Routh is pretty good as the big S and the same sized C, I can see the similarities with the late Christopher Reeve's interpretation of the character, but that to me is not a big deal. It's widely known that Singer directly referenced and homaged Donner's original vision, so of course they're gonna be similar! But still he makes the role his own, which I for one could see and was greatful for.

Kate Bosworth, well, I think someone slightly more mature looking at least would've felt better, but then Routh's not exactly old either.

The film's long, but doesn't really feel it, there's a couple of scenes that drag a little, but overall the pace was good, the actions scenes are as you'd expect from a film of this type, one particular Supes/Lex et al scene is positively brutal and is something I wasn't expecting but feel it really added to the film and is the sort of thing that is what brings this up to date.

As much as it pains me to say, as I've never really been a big Superman fan, I think it's taken the top spot in my list of fave super hero movies, knocking Spider-Man 1 & 2 into joint second.

Superman Returns - 9/10

Twelve Monkeys

Out of all the Terry Gilliam films I've seen, this is without a doubt the best. Note that this review is from what is probably my third or fouth viewing, but it still stands up as a very good film.

Twelve Monkeys is a grimy tale of time travel, with so many "time-travel-theory-holes" it hurts, but they're not ones that detract from the story in any way, why, because the sheer depth of detail that Gilliam is reknowned (?) for keeps you so wrapped up in the narrative that you don't care.

Bruce Willis plays Cole, a prisoner who's volunteered to go and collect samples and information to try and find the pure strain of a virus that wiped out most of the human race in 1996.

Obviously the whole 1996 thing is the only point that sticks out as we're now ten years later and most of the planet is still here. (Much like 2001...I haven't seen and H.A.L. 9000's on ebay recently) But again, you don't care. Bruce Willis is well.. Bruce Willis, Brad Pitt is in probably the best role I've ever seen him in playing the deranged Jeffrey Goines, Madeline Stowe...who?

I watched this on DVD, and the best bit about that is "The Hamster Factor and Other Tales Of Twelve Monkeys", which is basically the making of doc, but just goes to show exactly how mental Gilliam really is.


Twelve Monkeys - 8/10
The Hamster Factor and Other Tales Of Twelve Monkeys - 10/10