Monday, August 25, 2008


So what does Brad Bird follow up the incredible Incredibles (sorry) with?? A story about a rat that cooks..... yep.

Surprisingly, it's actually pretty good! I wasn't expecting to like this, it looked...well... a bit shite in the trailers, but I was really entertained (and after watching Cars, I needed to be!!)

Ratatouille steers back towards a more Disney-esque type of story, with the human/animal interaction and human/animal characters, it feels like a much more "traditional" animated film.

Set in France, Remy the rat has a passion for food and finds his way to a restaurant and a hopeless young man Linguini, cue various culinary adventures and slapstick. It IS a pretty standard story, but it's charming, funny and is brilliantly directed by Brad Bird (& co).

Lifted, this one's accompanying short, is AWESOME!

Ratatouille - 8/10
Lifted - 9/10


Pixar are one of the best animation studios out there at the moment, but every studio has to have at least one duff film every now and again.

A good friend of mine commented that a lot of people don't like Cars, but that it's not bad and at the end of the day it's "Pixars least awesome movie", which says a lot for Pixar!!

I agree that it's their worst movie so far, I disagree that it's still awesome though, because it isn't.

The opening race scenes look fantastic, they really captured the energy and style that you'd expect from a NASCAR film, (NB: Actual NASCAR is BOOOOORRRRIIING! from what I've seen at least) but that energy soon dissipates once the track stuff's done with.

Basically Lightning McQueen (blandly voiced by Owen Wilson) gets lost out in the desert and ends up in the forgotten town of Radiator Springs on the famed Route 66. On the way he has to learn a little humility and all that schmaltzy stuff.

The problem is, apart from it being long, slow and boring, is that I didn't and couldn't engage with any of the characters. None of them did anything for me, I just didn't care. Maybe because they're all too similar? Sure they're all various different cars, but they're just cars, all a box on wheels, and there's not a huge amount you can do on a body language front there, so they have to rely more on their voice talent, which doesn't stand out here.

The accompanying short One Man Band, was a hell of a lot more entertaining than the feature presentation!! Which is a shame.

Cars - 5/10
One Man Band - 8/10

Monday, August 18, 2008

In Bruges

(In best terrible attempt at an Irish accent) It's fucking brilliant is that!

Two hitmen have to spend some time in Bruges, Belgium. Colin Farrell's Ray, really doesn't want to be there, isn't enjoying himself and thinks it's a "shithole". Brendan Gleeson's Ken, actually quite likes it, enjoys the architecture and takes the time to sightsee.

It's a fair bit more involved than that, but that's your basic character premise there. It's offensive to the point where we wondered exactly how they got away with it, it's also bloody funny, touching, brilliantly written and outstandingly acted.

The best hitman movie since Grosse Point Blank.

In Bruges - 10/10

Mission: Impossible III

I've been waiting to see this for AGES, I enjoyed the first one, the second was utter pants, but with M:I-III, J.J. Abrams is a the helm, so that's gotta be promising!!

For the most part it is. It certainly ups the ante from number 2 (both films take a very different tack from the original Brian De Palma outing), and it's a hell of a ride through most of the film, throw in some, 'here's how they actually do that' bits and Philip Seymour Hoffman and it's top notch. Simon Pegg was pretty funny, although did seem a little out of place among it all (still can't see him as Scotty, but that's not far off now).

It was also my first look at Billy Crudup and while he was pretty good, I'm not entirely sure how he's gonna come across as Dr. Manhatten in Watchmen.

But anyway, the plot has a couple of interesting twisty turns in it and as I say, it's a pretty good ride for the most part, but I was HIGHLY let down by the ending, something I wasn't expecting and I can only hope that Lost doesn't fall foul of it, if he has the reigns for the finale.

Mission: Impossible III - 6/10

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Logan's Run

Logan's Run is an odd film, it's a good ol' 1970's sci-fi, which feels totally of it's time, set in the obligatory dysotopian/utopian future, Logan is a 'Sandman' basically a copper who chases down 'runners'.

'Runners' are those who's life clock has run out (at the grand old age of 30), but don't really feel like getting beamed up and disintegrated. All's going well until circumstances lead Logan into becoming a runner himself.

There's a whole load of stuff that's never really made totally clear, not ambiguous, just not explained properly. Peter Ustinov is brilliant as the 'old man' and Jenny Agutter is HOT!! She alone is a good enough reason to watch this!!

Besides that, it was quite entertaining.

Logan's Run - 6/10

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Ocean's Thirteen

To be honest this was a lot better than I thought it was going to be, plot wise there's a heist, it's a very involved heist, and it involves people that don't really like Danny Ocean.

Don Cheadle's toned down his Dick Van Dyke impression since the first one which is much more pleasant to the ear!

It's basically a big romp, there's no jeopardy for any of the characters you know they're gonna come out on top, it's just a matter of how they get there and how entertaining that journey is.

Ocean's Thirteen - 7/10


Finally persuaded the girlfriend to watch this with me (how much of that sentence is wrong?), mainly thanks to Blockbuster's current deal on renting family movies for 50p! Bonanza!

The film starts off animated before a series of events transports the characters to the real world, this is where the film takes off, using the 'fish out of water' device, the Disney characters stumble around the real world, occasionally breaking into song (or not as the case my be).

At first I found Giselle to be incredibly INCREDIBLY annoying, thankfully, things were toned down a tad and I made it through!

It's funny, charming and inventive. Even the girlfriend liked it.

Enchanted - 7/10

No Country for Old Men

I read the book prior to seeing the film. Wasn't overly impressed to be honest. The typeface and layout used in the book is really off-putting, but I digress..

The film follows the book pretty closely, losing only a few elements. What's good about the film is the characters come across a lot better, the humor comes across (not so much in the book) and the language translates slightly better (yes as an Englishman, reading Southern American isn't a strength).

Javier Bardem is as good as everyone makes out, but as a story it's all very disjointed, subtext heavy and ultimately bleak and disappointing. Josh Brolin's character's actions don't seem to ring true and things just seem a bit forced. As a Coen Brothers film, it's far better than Intolerable Cruelty (what isn't?!), but not up to Fargo or Big Lebowski standards.

No Country for Old Men - 7/10

Chaos Theory

This is Ryan Reynolds' Stranger Than Fiction.

By that I mean, this is where we find out that Reynolds can actually act. He did show a hint of it in the remake of The Amityville Horror, but this one really pushes the boat out.

The story of a man who's life, organised to OCD levels and works as an Efficiency Expert giving seminars, has it all suddenly turned upside down and decides to leave everything to chance (vaguely).

Apart from chocking me up and reducing my girlfriend to a weeping mess, it showed that Reynolds can do something other than shout and raise his eyebrows. Makes me slightly more interested in The Nines, but I'm expecting his appearance as Deadpool in the Wolverine movie to be more akin to Hannibal King.

A top top film.

Chaos Theory - 9/10

Stargate: The Ark of Truth

Compared to Continuum, this is just plain pants.

This plays much more like an elongated SG1 episode, rather than a feature, it looks like it too, very "TV" and for the most part...dull.

It's lightened up only by (again) Ben Browder and, the chemistry between him and Amanda Tapping's Lt. Col. Carter.

You also need to know more of the back story, as explained in prior episodes, to fully appreciate the plot in this one. Didn't enjoy it as much as Continuum.

Stargate: The Ark of Truth - 5/10

Stargate: Continuum

I've been getting into the Stargate series recently (SG1 and Atlantis), mainly because there's no Lost, Heroes, Dexter, BSG etc etc (although Generation Kill..CHEERS!) on at the mo, and as such decided to check out the feature length SG1 movies.

First one I watched was this one, the most recent Stargate: Continuum, throwing in a bit of time travel shenanigans, one Baal goes back and buggers up the start of the Earth based Stargate program, fortunately though three of SG1 make it through to the new timeline and after a bit of stuff, proceed to make things right.

The main thing, apart from appearing to actually have slightly higher production values than the series, is that it was actually pretty entertaining! Ben Browder is very entertaining as Col. Mitchell (would like to see him do something new now), Beau Bridges short appearance is nothing short of amazing, and Richard Dean Anderson is old and fat.

It deals with the time travel problems pretty well, and overall gives you a pretty good ride. It's not entirely stand alone, it does sit within the Stargate timeline and universe and as such references previous episodes, which I haven't seen as they're all over the place on Sky, but it's not essential to know this stuff to enjoy it.

Stargate: Continuum - 8/10

Monday, August 04, 2008

The Orphanage (El Orfanato)

The Spanish language version of a "Quentin Tarantino Presents.." this "Guillermo Del Toro Presents..." follows a very similar style to Guillermo's own films.

It got pretty good reviews when it was in the cinema, and overall it's not bad, got quite a good end, although does suffer a bit from Return Of The King Syndrome, my main complaint is that it's VEEERRY SLOOOOW, it's a good story though and we stuck it out.

Not as creepy as I was expecting, there's a couple of creep-out moments, but it's not IMO, a full on scarefest. Well crafted and looks beautiful, Guillermo's certainly on a mission!

The Orphanage - 7/10