Saturday, December 30, 2006

Layer Cake

Now I've been toying with the idea of watching this for a while, everything I've heard about it has been good and after seeing Daniel Craig in Casino Royale, the watching fate of this film was sealed.

It started off well, music video stylings, cracking soundtrack, although pretty much the same VO introducing the story and "this is Gezzerbird" (not an actual name in the film) character intros, that we've seen in both Lock Stock and Snatch. Not surprising considering it's directed by the producer of those two, Matthew Vaughn.

Unfortunatly it becomes too convoluted for it's own good, and I found myself losing track of exactly what was going on when and where. Regaining that slightly towards the end as I found the various bits of proverbial string that make up the "plot-rope" if you will, the film for me had lost it's momentum, culmunating in the epilogue scene, which was, well surprising at least.

Craig is good, but he was far better as Bond and is probably far better in his other stuff.

Layer Cake - 6/10

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe

I'll get it out of the way now... A poor man's Lord of The Rings. Or rather a small child's Lord of The Rings.

Comparisons are made whether you want them to be or not, the fact is that since LOTR, "fantasy" films are back en vogue and this one is for the kids, and you can tell.

It left me wholly underwhelmed, maybe that's because of the LOTR comparison, but still, it should've at least entertained me. As it was I felt rather indifferent to it.

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe - 4/10

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Monster House

If this film was live action as opposed to digimation, it would be absolutely amazing! (It isn't thus it's bloody good!)

Why is this 3D animated film any different from all the other rubbish that's come out in the past couple of years? No it's not by Pixar, what it is, is produced by Robert Zemekis and Steven Spielberg, and you can tell right from the start. Why?

If you're about my age (I'm 30 (atow)) you've more than likely seen The Goonies, Gremlins, Back To The Future, Explorers and other brilliant 80's adventure movies, of which there is a distinct lack of in this day and age!!

Chowder is Chunk, [the main boy] would've been played by Corey Haim, this film is brilliant!

I don't doubt for one minute that they couldn't do the house effects in a live action and I can only hope that Bob and Steve realise that today's kids need their own Goonies!! (I'm getting sidetracked)

The dialogue is spot on, Chowder is clearly the best character, but the whole grown-up-but-not-enough part of the plot is well done with [main char], the secondary characters are a tad weak in places, but I'm putting that down to the ani..sorry digimation lacking the human aspect rather than anything else.

I laughed out loud, I grinned throughout, remembering what proper adventure films were all about, none of this Harry Potter/Stormbreaker tosh!! ;)

Monster House - 9/10

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Too Late The Hero

Just watched this one, from a FREE DVD with The Mail on Sunday.

For a free film, it's pretty good. Directed by Robert Aldrich who also made The Dirty Dozen, it follows a similar kind of idea, rag-tag-reject group of soldiers, this time British + an American officer, also rag-tag-reject, sent out on a pretty much suicide mission.

Michael Caine delivers a good performance as the squad's medic, although the film itself, while good, isn't great, watchable, a typical Sunday afternoon BBC2 movie.

Too Late The Hero - 6/10

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Casino Royal (2006)

Pierce Brosnan is dead! Long live Daniel Craig!!

Ok, Brosnan isn't actually dead, but I think you get my point! Let me get this out of the way first...

a) I despise Pierce Brosnan (obviously not on a personal level but as an.. "actor">

b) Daniel Craig is the best Bond since Connery. Period.

Shout and scream at me all you like for either point, but that's my feelings. Now I went and saw this the other day at the Odeon West End, and thus paid the price of a small car for my ticket, popcorn and 7-up (of which there was only a choice of large and massive), so I was damn well hoping for a good film. At least I was giving my savings away for a 145min film!

Ok, price rant over, 145mins is a bit King Kong (go cockney!), and suffers from a similar problem as LOTR:ROTK, in that it gets to the end, 2/3 of the way through the film. I'm sat there thinking; "this is a soppy ending for a Bond film", only to remember that there hasn't been the Venice bit that's in the trailers and that everyone keeps talking about.

I was apprehensive about CR, but not because of Mr. Craig, but Martin Campbell the director, who also directed Goldeneye, the painful introduction to "Pierce Bond", while Goldeneye is one of the better Brosnan era films, it's still not that great.

Apart from the length issue and the pacing in certain parts, this film kicks ass, literally. It's hard-bloody-core. No messing about, the few "Bond-quips" that are in there are darker than before and Craig is electrifying, the man is simply just one big bit of testosterone fueled muscle, the amount of screen presence that man has, without trying, is phenomenal.

I liked Craig in Munich, I have to say I haven't seen Layer Cake, so this was the first time I've sen him in a leading role (I will be renting Layer Cake this weekend hopefully) and as Bond he is brilliant! No messing about, hard as nails and yet still has the "Bond-feel" which I felt was so lacking in the Pierce Bland films.

i say he's the best since Connery, because obviously Connery was the first and will always be the "ultimate" bond.

If you forgive the film's bloated running time, the slight soppyness (although somewhat justified), product placement (not as bad as The Island) and (although I need to check this) the fact that this is the start of Bond's career as a '00' and didn't Judy Dench's 'M' take over from the other one in story terms?? You'll love this film, a proper action movie, one of the best for a long time.

(Note to Broccoli's people: Jason Statham as a bad guy in the next one please.. goood God!)

Casino Royal 8/10

School Of Rock

"One good concert can change people's lives"....not this one!

Let's be honest, what's the fuss about Jack Black, he's not that great, this film, supposedly one of his best, is simply bland, it has the odd moment of humour, notably his derogatory name calling of the kids, but apart from that, it's simply a very average, light hearted film.

The resolution left me unsatisfied, not a great enough character change for my liking, being that I never really liked his self-centered character, the kids were ok, but the whole thing was just wholly underwhelming.

You'd be better to watch Rock School with Gene Simmons, either series, than this.

School Of Rock 5/10

Pan's Labyrinth (El Laberinto del Fauno)

Hello Guillermo!

My introduction to Guillermo Del Toro was through Mimic, although at the time I didn't really know who he was, I took more notice after Blade 2, then went on to watch Hellboy, then The Devil's Backbone and now his latest piece Pan's Labyrinth.

Pan's is far more along the lines of Backbone than the others I mentioned, it's a fantastical story of a young girl, Ofelia, who finds out she is a princess from an underground realm, set against the backdrop of the latter days of the Spanish civil war, she must perform a series of tasks to prove that she still has her 'spirit' and can return to her kingdom.

Much like Backbone, it's really told from the child's perspective, and I can't see that it would've worked in any other way. It's dark, violent and emotional and although a little slow in places, yet again an amazing film from one of the modern masters of cinema.

Pan's Labyrinth 9/10