Friday, May 30, 2008

Horton Hears a Who!

To be honest, I didn't think this was going to be any good, CGI movies that aren't from Pixar, generally inspire that knee jerk reaction.

I was wrong, a bit slow in places with a bit of a heavy handed message, but overall a really entertaining and heartwarming movie.

On the CG front, it's a bit of and odd one, it opens with a pretty much photo-realistic shot of rain drops on a leaf, then becomes very cartoony, ditching any sort of realism on any elements. No while I have absolutely no problem with this, after all it's an animated family film, it just made me wonder why they bothered at the start, maybe just to show that they could??

At the other end of the scale is a brilliant Anime segment in the midst of Horton's trek.

So, all in all an unexpectedly great animated movie!

Horton Hears a Who! - 8/10

10,000 BC

Ug. UgUg. Ug. etc etc. Well not quite, but it's getting there.

10,000 BC from Roland Emmerich, the man who brought you such classics as The Day After Tomorrow, Independence Day and Universal Soldier! It starts REALLY badly, sooo very bad, terrible acting, really ropey CG and I almost considered turning it off, but no, I was strong and I stuck with it.

It does get better, once the real story kicks in and their on their way to rescue their tribe members, but overall it's a less than impressive big-dumb-movie, barely keeping the interest levels up. Enjoy.

10,000 BC - 3/10

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Eastern Promises

Yet another one I forgot to blog at the time :/ What am I like eh? eh? eh?... eh?

David Cronenberg's follow up to the, frankly, stunning A History of Violence, takes a look at the Russian gangster underworld in London.

A midwife played by Naomi Watts comes across the journal of a Russian teenager who dies in childbirth, as she gradually gets the journal translated she discovers a lot of unsavoury things about the teenager's life. On the way she encounters a very Russian Viggo Mortensen and a load of others.

That's pretty much it, although it's well put together, pretty well acted (eg: Naomi Watts doesn't annoy the crap out of me in this one), it just doesn't have the same impact that 'History' did, or any of the other Cronenberg film's I've seen. That said, it's not a bad film, it's pretty good, of course it is.

It'll be interesting to see where Cronenberg goes next as he seems to be getting increasingly mainstream.

Eastern Promises - 8/10

Friday, May 23, 2008

Operation Delta Force

A terrible TV movie, all about South Africa and some Ebola related shenanigans, to be honest I found it difficult to stay interested.

It's proper TV Movie stuff too, lots of close ups so you can't see the lack of set, crappy practical locations, masses of action but not the budget to support it.

Thought it might be good fun, but it wasn't really, but thankfully there's a shitload of sequels, and there's a brilliantly odd mix of drama and library footage.

And if you want to see a better Jeff Fahey performance check out Lost season 4 ;)

Operation Delta Force - 2/10

Six-String Samurai

Randomly watched this at a friends house earlier tonight and WOW I was totally blown away, Six-String is AMAZING!

It's a proper low-budget film, pretty much think Mad Max + El Mariachi, has a mix of clearly-low-budget-shots and some amazing ones!

We're basically following a Buddy Holly/Ronin type character (called Buddy) as he treks across the desert to get to Lost (Las) Vegas in a Post-Apocalyptic future (past?) to become the new King of Rock and Roll and stop Heavy Metal from taking over.

Yes it's that odd, yet brilliant. I've gotta get myself a copy!

Six-String Samurai - 8/10


Let's face it, Highlander is awesome! Have a list of stuff that will go some way to proving that.
  1. Christopher Lambert - An American brought up in Switzerland, thus giving him a crazy accent anyway...playing a Scotsman.
  2. Sean Connery - A Scotsman with one of the most distinctive voices in the world, making no attempt at an accent as he plays an Egyptian from Spain called Ramirez
  3. Clancy Brown - A solid middle American with deep American voice playing an ancient Russian (no accent needed)
  4. Sword fighting Immortals
  5. Queen soundtrack that dicks on Flash Gordon
Any arguments? No. Thought not.

It's ropey and pretty poorly directed in places, but for sheer nostalgia value, it's solid!

Highlander - 8/10

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

Unlike many people it seems, I went into watching this knowing it was a musical, not that, that reassured me! I'd seen the trailers!! :/

And the film totally lived up to my expectations! Slow, dull, boring, not very interesting, mediocre visuals (yes I did say that about a gothic Tim Burton film), I just don't think it's that good.

I don't have a problem with musicals, I just don't rate this one, the songs in fact are (IMO) rubbish, and annoying as generally each song could've been replaced with a single line of dialogue saying and emoting the same thing!

Had this been done as a straight (non-musical) film, I probably would've enjoyed it a lot more... well I probably would've enjoyed it. There were odd chuckle-worthy moments, and despite the fact that both my girlfriend and I forced our way to the end, just to find out how it ended, we were both glad when it was over!

All that said, it's got a solid 7.9 on IMDb and 86% on Rotten Tomatoes, so you'll probably like it!!

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street - 4/10

Monday, May 19, 2008



I mean really?!?!?

The film starts with some, actually pretty harrowing, news footage and images telling you how fucked up Burma is at the moment, then we see some (dramatised) footage of some Burmese people exploding, then we're straight into good ol' John catching snakes, although he's not exactly employee of the month on that as you find out.

Along come some do-gooders wanting to get up-river and into Burma to..well.. do good. John however thinks that may not be so wise.

Funnily enough he's on the money with that and the rest of the film is a rescue mission.

Back to "GOOD-FUCKING-GOD!!", to bring in a Spinal Tap analogy here, on the gore and blowing bits off people scale if Saving Private Ryan and Starship Troopers et al are a 10 on the dial, then Rambo is the special amp that goes up to 11, because Jesus! it was fucking horrible! I mean really nasty, I'd love to know what Eli Roth thinks of it, cos this pisses on his efforts.

And it's so full on, you hit a point in the film and it's relentless, I'm guessing if you saw this in the cinema you must've been washing blood out of your hair for days afterwards!! I was literally blown away (no pun intended) by the scale of the violence, to the point that it's more "car-crash" violence, you know you shouldn't look, but you can't help it.

IMDb reckons it's 91mins, it feels about 20, it doesn't hang around, little bit of Rambo not doing much and setting up the "story" then people start dying. It's ridiculous, or at least it feels it, but it's a bloody good watch and, IMO, far better than the boring mess that was Rocky Balboa. (which I've just discovered I watched but didn't blog! damn! I keep doing that)

Rambo - 7/10


Will Ferrell can act, however Semi-Pro sees him back to his usual shouty self. In fact, it's not really his movie, which is a bit odd.

The movie is more the story of Woody Harrelson's and Andre Benjamin's characters, with Ferrell's Jackie Moon, more of the film's Mcguffin.

So.. All these fellows are members of the Flint Tropics, an ABA basketball team, the worst one in fact, so when it's announced that the ABA will merge with the NBA and only four teams will go through, they decide to make a concerted effort to make it into the top four.

And thus follows your pretty much bog-standard Will Ferrell/Underdog movie. It's as funny as his others, but again, nothing special, nothing that will make it stand out from the rest. The best thing about Semi-Pro is the commentators, characters lifted from pretty much every other sports comedy of this type, but pretty damn funny.

Worth a watch but not necessarily for Ferrell.

Semi-Pro - 6/10

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Sympathy for Lady Vengeance (Chinjeolhan geumjassi)

The third and final film in Park Chan-wook's Vengeance Trilogy is undoubtedly the weakest.

While it takes things down a different road from the others, although still some familiar themes are there, and introduces a woman as the main character, for some reason it didn't feel like it had the same edge as it's precursors.

It retains the oh so dark humour of Oldboy, whilst still pushing the emotions of the characters and the justifications for their actions (not that Oldboy didn't of course).

Again, it's beautifully shot, beautifully directed and although it's, in my view, the weakest of the three films, it's a must see.


Understand this: OLDBOY IS AWESOME!

That's pretty much all you need to know, it's an incredible film from Park Chan-wook, the follow up to Sympathy for Mr. Vengance and the middle film from his Vengeance Trilogy.

Basically after being imprisoned for 15 years Oh Dae-su is released. Shortly after he meets a man who tells him he has 5 days to find his captor and discover why he was imprisoned in the first place. What follows is an amazing, mind-numbing and disturbing mystery tale that left me both horrified and amazed.

Needless to say a re-watch of this doesn't have quite the same effect, but it's still an amazing piece of art, yet again demonstrating Park's amazing skills and talent as a director.

I really don't want to explain too much of this away, not specifically giving spoilers but even hints at the different parts.

No-one can be told what Oldboy is, you have to see it for yourself. SO GO!! WATCH IT!!

Oldboy - 10/10

Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance (Boksuneun naui geot)

I cannot begin to express how simply fucking awesome this film is. Part of Park Chan-wook's vengeance trilogy (including Oldboy and Sympathy for Lady Vengeance), it follows a series of events leading through a bungled kidnapping and the outcome.

Oldboy was the first one I watched a while back (although I re-watched recently and didn't post so I'll do that after this one, also a re-watch), after hearing a lot of good things about it. Mr. Vengeance is the precursor to Oldboy, but the stylistic similarities are most definitely there, not so much with Lady Vengeance.

The film is beautiful. The lighting, framing, performances, everything about it. The way that Park is not afraid to hold a shot, using single shots for entire scenes, something a lot of Western directors aren't so confident with.

The performances are amazing, the lead character is a deaf-mute, which immediately changes the game in how the story is told and again, there's no trying to 'PC' the guy for the sake of it. One of the other stunning performance comes from Song Kang-ho (pictured), playing a TOTALLY different role from his one in The Host! He's in a fair few Korean films so check him out.

The film is hard to deal with at times, it's slow paced, but you want to stick with it, not quite a full on and gruesome as Oldboy, but still potent enough. AWESOME!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Alvin and the Chipmunks


Didn't Jason Lee used to be cool? Wasn't he a pro skater? When did he sink into saccharin family fodder? 2007 actually, with this.

To be fair, it's not terrible, it's bad yes, but it's not terrible, I managed to watch all of it, possibly smiling a bit throughout and it moves along swiftly enough, there's no real dead spots.

The 'munks are drawn and animated pretty well, not as funny as I was expecting to be honest, but then I wasn't expecting a lot from this. It probably would've added something to the film to put the 'munks in a little more jeopardy than they actually are, but then again this is an Alvin & the Chipmunks movie!

The most annoying thing about this (apart from being irritated by David Cross) is the bloody AAAAALLLLVVIIIIINN which pops up in various forms throughout, although my girlfriend kept chuckling, in an almost Butthead fashion, at the fact that Justin Long voices Alvin.

Well apparently a sequel's in development, let's hope they give Eli Roth a shot at it.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

The Invincible Iron Man

If the Iron Man film was a cartoon, set in China and not as good, then it would be pretty close to this.

For a part it follows a very similar plot line, indeed even some scenes are pretty close to the movie, I'm going to hazard a guess that they're common across the origin story variations in the comics too. But then there's this whole other super natural thing with a Chinese Mandarin and his elemental warriors, wait, that's it!...

If the Iron Man film, was a cartoon, set in China, not as good and basically Iron Man meets Big Trouble in Little China, then it would be pretty close to this. (Although Big Trouble.. is better ;)

I'm guessing seeing the movie before this didn't help, but then I've only watched this because of seeing the movie and I probably won't go out of my way to watch any more Iron Man stuff until Iron Man 2.

If you're into Iron Man, then it's probably worth a watch, casual viewers, maybe not so much.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Balls of Fury

Bad, bad, bad, bad, bad. Why does Dan Fogler exist and is Christopher Walken really this hard up??

I thought the trailer was reasonably funny, that is all the funniest bits and their cut together better in the trailer.

Many a punchline is dragged out, just to make sure you get it, or maybe to try something different to make it funny. It's trying to jump on the Will Ferrel sports comedy bandwagon (which to be fair isn't that great) and misses, landing face first in it's own festering excretia.

Harsh? No. I laughed a few times and each one felt forced and I now feel slightly guilty for them as I know, it's just not that funny.

Balls of Fury - 1/10 (for the trailer)

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Iron Man

I'm reasonably into comics, but not all and Iron Man hasn't been one to grab my attention, nor the Saturday morning cartoon, it just didn't appeal, the movie however...

It was announced that Robert Downey Jr. was t play Tony Stark. Hold on a sec Robert Downey Jr. in a superhero movie, ok you've got my attention.

Then it was the promo shots of the MkIII suit, nice, looks pretty sweet, still interested.

Then the trailers and good lord it looked good!

So this one I made sure I got in on opening weekend, saw it yesterday and, let's be honest here, it's fucking awesome!

As I say, I've not read the comics (I may look at a couple now), so I don't know how close Downey's Tony Stark is to the comic iteration, but in this he's perfect, he fits and he makes it work. He brings a certain quirkiness to the role, which starts out as arrogance and turns into remorse and determination as the film progresses, all of which with a cheeky smile and a witty quip thrown in for good measure.

Tonally, this Billionaire-crime-fighter flick is a world away from Batman, and rightly so, it's closer to Spider-Man, although I'd say even that's darker than this one. There's comedy and action, with a dashing of drama, although not too much (possibly not enough??)

My only complaint with the film is that pace wise it does seem to falter every now and again, but I think that's the main issue with all 'origin' movies, in that you have to cover certain ground before getting into the action, but then in Iron Man there is a couple of slow spots in the middle of all the action and while it doesn't drag, I certainly shifted in my seat a couple of times.

Also some of the latter action sequences reminded me a little of what I've seen in The Incredible Hulk trailer (2 btw), but better ;) Small fact, RDJ pops up as Tony Stark in The Incredible Hulk, not sure where, but it's on the IMDb page.

They're already talking Iron Man 2, and I'll be there to watch it, if rumours fill out, then it'll probably be slightly darker, going more into Stark's alcoholism and the stress and pressure of being Iron Man, but it'll still rock and I'll still go see it.

So far it's being raved about, best superhero movie of the year so far, one of the best superhero movies, one of the best movies this year so far, so it seems a lot of people like it.

Three words tho...

Iron Man - 9.5/10