Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Review of the year: 2008

Well 2008 is almost over and 2009 is gearing itself up to be a quite a good movie year. Hopefully I will locate more cash and go to the movies more often than I did in 2008. However with the credit crunch (read: cute word for recession) rearing it's ugly head, this seems unlikely!

However with it all said and done I still managed to check out enough movies to have a top five list of films and that's all that matters. I also have a bottom 3 list of movies that I found unbelievably dreadful. Why only three? Because films that sucked hard should not have an equal amount of reading time as films I actually enjoyed.

Also, none of the films on either list are in any sort of order as I don't see the point.

So without further ado:


A meditation of fate and a truly quality Neo-western


The Monster movie re-vamped with a sprinkling of Blair Witch for the youtube generation.

There Will Be Blood:

PTA's most mature offering to date with a power house performance by Daniel Day Lewis

The Dark Knight:

There's no introduction needed. You knew this would show up somewhere.

A sweet and simple coming of age film, which suddenly became a figure of hate for being successful.



The usually reliable Doug Liman gives us; not only a bad movie but half a bad movie.


Dreary Thriller with no surprises and Hayden Christensen AGAIN!

The Happening

Zooey and Mark running...from nothing....for 90 minutes...fucking tragic.

Roll on next year!

Man doesn't get mad...he gets shooty

A small newspaper article caught my eye yesterday. I had a quick search on the internets and found an article covering more about it courtesy of Total Film. For those who are too lazy to read the hyperlink....Basically James Joseph Cialella Jr got so pissed off at a father and son talking during a screening of The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button*, he decided to pop a cap in the dads ass (well arm).

Now while we all hope the father recuperates and gets well soon....


Seriously. As a cinema goer and ex cinema worker, the chances of getting an usher (usually a skinny student*) to help you can be quite limited. To add to this some people take the absolute piss when at a cinema. Talking during the ads and trailers I get, but people constantly having a conversation during the film can effectively ruin other peoples viewing experience. The other people have paid too ya know!!!

While it sounds like I'm trying to justify going postal during a pubic cinema screenings, usually when you ask someone to be quiet during a film these days, the said party will ignore you, talk even louder or bemoan something about their rights.

People should not get shot when at a cinema (or anywhere to be honest) but on the flipside...if everyone had their gobs shut during a film because they weren't sure if the nutter beside them was packing...Well you'd have more people enjoying their visit to the cinema.

*You know how people get so worried about violence in movies.....
Benjamin fucking Button!?!?!?!?

**Trust me most of the people who worked with me when i worked at a cinema...skinny students...me included.

Sunday, 28 December 2008

Review: All the boys love Mandy Lane

Year: 2008 (U.K General Release)
Director: Jonathon Levine
Screenplay: Jacob Forman
Starring: Amber Heard, Whitney Able, Anson Mount, Michael Welch



Hot Girls? Check. Dickhead Jock blokes? Check. Gory Set Pieces? Check. All the usual pieces are in place. However Levine's 70's style slasher is far too dull to be anything more than below standard horror film.

Levine's film takes an ice age to get going, preferring to bore the viewer with deary drug taking scenes and typical teen bitching before getting to what most people have come to see the movie for. Those who stay awake during these exceedingly boring moments will soon notice that Mandy Lame has no atmosphere or tension to speak of. The film has a brilliant setting for a horror movie and fails to utilize it, with Levine hardly using the farmhouse house at all. Maybe it's just me but generic chase scenes in a field just don't cut it, especially after 70 mins of badly decided MTV editing and faux 70's film filters. Levine's film shows how derivative the horror film can be these days.

The screenplays dialogue is believable enough but is dragged down by the fact that you will hate every character bar one (Hint: it's not Mandy Lane ). For a film which eludes slasher films of old the least this movie could do is include likable characters like they did. So not only do most of these characters take forever to die, but you'll have to grin and bear these assholes until they finally bite the bullet (or you leave the room). The relatively intriguing premise is marred by a bland narrative with a twist that is so unsurprising that you'll be more angry than shocked.

I guess it's a shame to all the attractive stars of the movie...or not. No one really stands out a such and they spew so much bile anyway you wouldn't care less if a huge explosion landed on the farmhouse and vaporize the fuckers.

Mandy Lane is just another pretender to the to the slasher throne. Unfortunately Mandy Lane can't compare to the Laurie Strodes and Sidney Prescotts of the genre. Even cult creatures such as Angela Baker have nothing to worry about as Mandy Lane will soon be relegated to the bargain bucket leagues.

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Elm Street - on, Near Dark - off, Rob Zombie - Frustrating

This week has been a mixed bag of fruits for those who enjoy horror films.

The Nightmare on Elm Street remake is now been greenlighted, while the Near Dark remake is now almost definitely off. To add to this Rob Zombie is getting a sequel to his badly taken (but successful) Halloween remake.

I watched A nightmare on Elm Street the other day and while the film has dated in it's jump scares and effects, the film still works well as a horror film. Its sub-text and dream logic is still hard to beat within the realms of mainstream Horror. The problem is America has almost given up on the idea of an original horror idea and seem set on releasing every old film under the sun.

These films are being thrown out at great speed and with mixed (mostly poor) results. While a remixed Nightmare could be a great idea with spruced up effects and a modern touch. Most remakes seem to forget what made the original films so special in the first place. A great example of this is the U.S remake of The Ring. By spelling out plot moments and ruining one of the most effective set pieces in modern horror, the end result is a bloated and lackluster film.

Many Horror fans can see a New Nightmare being devoid of those primal fears that made the first film so memorable and being given a tepid slasher movie. The jump scares improved but the creepiness gone.

I'm quite happy the Near Dark idea is being scrapped after hearing Producer Brad Fullers comments. Likened to Twilight? Granted i haven't seen the film yet but from the previews, the only thing that connects the two films are vampires. Replacing Near Dark's Neo noir western feel with OC style angst does not float my boat.

This brings me on to Mr Zombie. One of the main reasons I avoided the Halloween remake is because of the 2002 statements made by the director before making the film. After making the film obtaining the poor reviews and the outrages (but making a large amount of cash to be fair). Zombie said he's not going to make a sequel to the film....guess what folks....that's right!

Annoyingly this is after making this statement

Many on the boards have stated that Zombie made an OK film and I feel his a competent director in his on right. But one of Zombie's bad original ideas (read Devils Rejects) appears more watchable than a money motivated sequel. I maybe wrong but Zombie came into the horror scene as a raw and hungry director with original ideas blended with old school pastiche. Why turn around make such derivative films?*

*While I know i haven't seen the Halloween remake as of yet, But seriously, giving Micheal Myers such an elaborate backstory makes him lose his appeal and effectiveness.

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Terminator 4 Trailer....

The good people at JoBlo have got the international trailer for Terminator 4: Salvation up (it has Japanese subtitles...I think). After watching the trailer...I still have my reservations on the movie:

My reasons:

1. Everything in the Terminator universe was covered by James Cameron.
Yeah it's a fanboy reason I know, but in all honesty, what else was there to say after the second film? T.V series included. I didn't mean the third film if I'm completely honest but seriously watch Arnies face through that film. Even he knew how unnecessary the movie was in that movie. Everything else after James Cameron left the movie feels awfuly stale and forced.

2. No Arnie
It just feels wrong doesn't it? For me Arnie was the engine of the films. Say what you want about his (very) limited acting ability. Arnie made the terminator role iconic (Robert patrick also paid his dues). Anyone remember Kristanna Loken? Thought not.

3. McG

Word has it that McG got the actors to read Cormac McCathy's The Road before hand to absorb the bleakness of the world in the novel. I've only just finished reading the book and that is a good idea. However I did watch Charlies angels 2: Full Throttle and I absorbed the badness of that film. It's hard to work up how excitement when you know the films director was signed on to make a film based on tiny toy cars.

4. Nothing Special in the trailer
Sorry. I found the trailer quite boring to be honest. Nothing elevated my emotions more than....meh. It really doesn't look out of the ordinary. In fact rehashing Cameron's imagery (the tank crushing human skulls) displays a lack of imagination somewhat. At times you can get away with homages but when your trailer shows nothing new and then has a retread some of a better director's shot...says alot doesn't it.

But I haven't seen the movie yet so what the fuck do I know? Lets hope it rocks.

Zombies! Ate my blogspace. Reviews of Rec and Diary of the dead

Zombies are great aren't they:

If you have never played this game...you better recognise! Ok on to the reviews:

All credits and Synopsis' are courtsey of www.imdb.com (Beware of spoilers in their synopsis')

Diary of the dead (2008)



Despite being a horror legend and the known creator of the modern zombie, George A Romero's Diary of the dead shows is almost a clear sign that the director needs to let dead dogs lie. Romero's film feels longer than it actually is, suffers from a severe lack of tension and is too wrapped up in it's message. While Romero was never subtle with what he wanted to say, here he seems to lack the bite of his previous horror satires. The film has some inspired moments and Romero still has some droll scenes of dead pan humor. However for long stretches of time, the film bores us with it's paper thin characters and their ignorant antics. I for one still can't believe that the narrator would stand and do nothing (more than once) because he needs to "shoot everything". Romero is trying to tell us that with all the information available to us, we are in danger of becoming desensitised patrons of a truth shrouded in misconceptions and assumptions...and it's a good message..he just needs to give it to us with people we care give a shit about.

Rec (2007*)



*UK release 2008

Rec is a hand held zombie horror much like Romero's Diary, however Rec is the more enjoyable because of one thing: Urgency. Directors Jaume Balagueró and Paco Plaza deal of the immediacy of the crisis and the film is all the better for it. By ramping up the pace and cutting out any flab, we are given a tightly wound 75 minute film. The film is not original in any shape or form but the execution of material (particularly the use of sound and setting) is what keeps the viewer on there toes. Short sharp shocks are melded with larger fears of government mistrust and social tension. The directors do their best to keep an Aura of dread in the isolated building before unloading with a climax filled with "what the fuck" moments. The film suffers slightly due to it's hysterical cast (they come off a bit amateurish) and contrived moments, but for the most part Rec is a taunt tense ride full of good jump scares (something I usually despise), unnerving tension and social fears.

Monday, 8 December 2008

Reviews in Brief: Quantum of Solace, Zack and Miri, W., Tropic Thunder, Babylon A.D.

As I don't update my blog as much as I should. I will continue to review movies in brief as it's easier to watch more flicks, the reviews will be too the point and less rambling and I can fit them all into one blog entry and concentrate on other things. So with out further to do.....

Quantum of Solace (2008):



The second rebooted bond is lighter on plot than it's predecessor but works incredibly well as a revenge film. Daniel Craig's brooding performance is one of small subtle nuances that display a more complex Bond than before. The script once again throws away the terrible one liners and replaces them with exchanges of actual wit. The action suffers slightly due to it's uber quick editing but the film still gives you more bangs for your buck than other lesser action films.

Zack and Miri Make a Porno (2008):



As a Kevin Smith fan, my expectations of his movies are always quite high. However his first feature since the wildly amusing Clerks 2 is severely lacking. Leads Seth Rogan and Elizabeth Banks don't display the chemistry so desperately needed for a film such as this and their relationship comes off false. Smith's film also suffers from poor stock characters and only serves us one brilliant set piece moment. With this said, while the incessant swearing almost becomes a turn off, Smith can still turn a phrase as his one liners demonstrate. I do hope his story editing skills improve however, as the films climax is so weak it's almost non existent.

W. (2008)

Synopsis ,


Oliver Stone's W is not as controversial as it should be. In fact It's one of the tamest of his films. This stems from the film being incredibly rushed to come out just in time for the election and to try and give the exiting president one last kick before he leaves. More research and time would have made the impact of the film hit so much harder. Also Stone film neglects the second term. The war still on going, America's financial difficulties and of course Katrina would portray Bush as what Stone feels he was...the wrong man for the job. However W. is very entertaining, with my hat going off to the performances of Richard Dreyfuss as Dick Cheney and Josh Brolin who is almost unrecognizable as Dubya

Tropic Thunder (2008)



Satires don't seem to be as biting as they once were. However Ben Stiller's movie is a very hilarious send up of egos and actors that borders gleefully on the right side of bad taste. Much was said about the black face and the use of the word "retard" however those who complained may have missed the point. In making fun of such taboo subjects, Stiller's film also brings certain things to light. It's more on point than a of those "serious" films that appear around this time. The highlight of the film is Robert Downley jr's performance as Kirk Lazarus, who must be a fantastic piss take of Russell Crowe.

Babylon A.D (2008)



Worst film I've seen this year? Most probably. A film so bad that even it's director dislikes it. A story cut by executives in such a way that the "guts" of the film is left on the cutting wood floor, leaving us only poorly executed action sequences. Every actor in the film sleepwalks through their role and tries not to laugh at the dialogue they have to vomit up. This is Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever bad, This is American Psycho 2: All American Girl Bad, This is Cube 2: Hypercube bad. I don't try and tell people what to watch when i write this blog....but don't watch this movie.

All credits and synopsis pages care of imdb.com (beware of spoilers)

I left my review of The Assassination of Jesse James review elsewhere and will post that hopfully next week.

Sunday, 12 October 2008

Unborn Trailer

This trailer has already told me that the end of this film will be hidiously excessive and ruin what might be an ok horror film. However, that old man with the twisted body......WTF?!!! Could have it's moments.

W. Second Trailer

New trailer for W. can't wait to see it:

As someone who doesn't really love or hate George Bush, Stone's portrayal isn't likely to make me think any differen.t However, it looks like it gives him a fairer shot then what people thought they'd get from the outspoken director. Good times!

Sunday, 5 October 2008

Some News

I haven’t been posting for a little while because there hasn't been anything I’ve wanted to invest any interest in. However lately has been filled with a truckload of things:

First we have the sad passing of one of the movie greats:

A sad farewell to Paul Newman (1925 – 2008). There will never be another like him.

Empire Magazine’s Website has given up some interesting/bizarre treats such as:

Kenneth Brannegh to direct Thor! Read the crazy news here!

The New York Times prints a short and sweet article about Micheal Cera. Click here for something written better than my tripe!

The Green Lantern has been green lighted! Once again Empire give us the news here

I've spent this morning posting my opinions of many films up too, so have a gender!

Review: The Happening

Year: 2008.
Director: M Night Shyamalan
Screenwriter: M Night Shyamalan
Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Zooey Deschanel, John Leguizamo

Midway through The Happening, while the main group are trying to escape the "happening" that is occurring in the film, they run past a sign of a model home which screams "YOU DESERVE THIS" at the top of the board it's printed on. Subtly...has never been M Night's thing. Yes basically if the "wind" decides to attack our brains and causes us to commit suicide we only have our self to blame. This is M Night Shyamalan we are talking about here. The mans smug ego allowed himself to play a Jesus-like character in his own film Lady in the Water. In that same film he unleashes an petty attack on film critics who may not like his films (cause that will warm them to you mate). In The Happening all of us are to blame for the world being shit and nature is gonna tear the audience a new one.

It's going to be be hard for this director to win people back to his camp after his last celluloid "disasters" but for me The Happening at times seemed a step in the right direction. Individual scenes reminded me of how competent he is as a filmmaker. Shyamalan has always been able to provide scenes that can unsettle and here is no exception. It's the simple things that freaked me out the most. People stopping and walking backwards, the babbling talk that stuttered out of the confused peoples mouths before taking their own life. it's these things that M Night is good at and here I saw glimpses of the man who wowed many with The Sixth Sense. It's a pity that those flourishes are quite brief. What's more upsetting is that these moments are undermined by the many negative points of the movie.

Many reviewers have mentioned the unintentionally comic death scenes that plague the film. i won't mention them here as they're detailed highly elsewhere. My issues with the film have more to do with the basic mechanics of the film. The film's leads are very weak in many aspect for example. Their reasons for estrangement are limp, the casting of Whalberg and Deschanel are extremely off and the acting is incredibly flat. It's hard to keep interested in the characters because of the lack attention the writer/director has placed with them.

Other problems include the extremely jarring moments of awkwardness that crops up constantly, usually after one of the extras finishes sprouting off some bad dialogue. Is Shyamalan trying to pass this off has tension? I hope not as the actors look quite embarrassed to be fair. At times the film has editing that makes student films look like masterpieces. In tightening those little moments in the films quieter moments, the film would probably feel less contrived.

What upsets me the most is that the films basic plot isn't that bad. This world is ever-evolving and the idea of nature fighting back is strangely becoming more and more plausible. As species die off and evolve, Shyamalan's film reminds us of how fragile our race really is...if only briefly. The Happening needed another few rewrites, some stronger actors and some tidying up in the editing room. After the Lady in the Water debacle, it seems that Shyamalan wouldn't listen to reason, even if you told him. That's a shame because his talent is slowly being consumed by his ego.

Note: Sorry for the piss poor review It's been a while.

Review Round Up Part 2!

i like capsule reviews. It displays the lazier side of myself so here goes! For synopsis of the movies please click on the titles

Slumdog Millionaire: I got to see an early screening of this wonderful film (out next year i think) and thank god I did! Danny Boyle takes on Bollywood films by way of City of God and his own film Millions...and it works. Boyle directs this film with so colourful and vibrant that it's hard to ignore. Boyle captures the harsh reality of living in the Indian slum but delivers a beautiful and inspirational tale without being too sweet and sickly. Skins actor Dav Patel is phenomenal as the lead and is helped out by some great Bollywood talent. The must see, feel good film of this/next year.

Shanghai Kiss: I also managed to obtain a copy of this before it comes out in England (straight to video). While I can see why it's gone down that route it deserves more than the unnoticed release it's likely to get. Ken Leung and Heroes star Hayden Panettiere give off strong chemistry in a unconventional romantic comedy about cultural roots and finding yourself. While the film has some off moments (some of the film could have been cut), the comedy works, the performances are tight and film still manages to stay light and breezy despite some of the darker moments of it's cultural subplot.

WALL-E: I cannot agree that this is Pixar's best film as some of their earlier efforts are much easier to digest. However this is truly their most mature. The message is strong and at times off puting (we are fucking the earth up and we need to sort it) but Pixar's wonderful use of pop culture (note Metropolis and 2001) and storytelling ability shines through. To add to this WALL-E's titualr character has comic timing that rivals Chaplin himself. Not as re-watchable as Toy Story but definitely worth a few for "the little ones".

Awake: Predictable, Pedantic and Piss Poor. First time writer/director Joby Harold gives us a story which thinks it's smarter then it actually is. Any vigilant film viewer will see the plot twists coming a mile off while the film itself lacks tension and mood. The film is littered with character actors that look a little embarrassed, while the leads (Hayden Christensen and Jessica Alba) should stick to looking pretty. Also for a film that's only 84 mins....why did it feel like 7 hours?

Semi-Pro: Like many Will Farrell comedies, the film is hit and miss. The story is nothing to write home about and the comedy is scatter shot. However...some of the comedy I still found to be laugh out load. This never reaches the heights of comedy that people found with Old School, Anchorman or even Taladgea Nights. With this said, it's ensemble cast and silly set pieces manage to keep this out of Kicking and Screaming territory.

Monday, 22 September 2008

2008 Film Review Catch Up (Very Brief)

I have not got around to review some of the films I watched this year due to a mixture of changing jobs, having a girlfriend, having a life outside my computer and of course god damn laziness.

So here's a quick update on what I saw (from ages ago btw) and if I enjoyed it:

The Dark Knight: So good i watched it twice at the cinema. The perfect batman film with the perfect joker and a script which not only riffs on the most influential dark knight comics but on a rich cinematic tapestry. The opening scene alone homages Micheal Mann on pitch perfect form. It's performances and set pieces eradicate any source of bum ache. One of the best films of the year.

Sweeney Todd: An odd beast. Like all Burton films it looks grand and the obligatory Johnny Depp performance is oddball by the way of Jack Sparrow, but the film is ultimately very shallow and lacks the charm that would keep me coming back for repeat viewings. The songs are sung well enough but nothing too memorable. Once again for true Burton fans.

Be Kind Rewind: Quirky, breezy and amusing, Be Kind could do with the Kaufman touch and a less restrained Jack Black, however Mos Def proves that he's not only a solid actor but could carry a bigger film if he tried. While the story is cute but not too sweet on the tooth. If anything it's worth watching for the "sweded" videos

There Will Be Blood: The most intense character study I've seen in a while. Daniel Day Lewis brings about a performance with the force of two tornadoes. His titanic performance is only heightened by the gorgeous cinematography (Robert Elswit) and the haunting score (Radiohead's Johnny Greenwood). The ending is so brutal and manic it hurts. Anderson's film is complex, richly layered and painfully compelling. This is also one of the best films I've seen this year.

Adulthood: Whilst the story is moderately weaker than the first film (Kidulthood). Writer/Director/Star Noel Clarke shows how multi-talented he can be. Clarke's sequel maintains a lot of the grit and British "charm" which made the first film more watchable than people would like to let on. If Clarke chills out with the OTT editing gimmicks (split screens) he can make himself to be one of the most interesting young British directors on the scene.

Well there! Due to lack of funds I've not been watching many recently released flicks as of late but now I'm more stable, expect some more in depth reviews soon. When I get time around i may even finish the five above!

Sunday, 21 September 2008


I recently visited the IMDB messages boards for no other reason other than madness and my eyes fell upon what many people see when they go to such a place....ridiculous arguments. I love a good message board, but one where posters value other peoples opinions and can engage in intelligent debate. There is none of this there.

Went to the SAW 5 board, read this topic, died a little inside and then found this at arrow in the head:

Sorry Saw fans, while at first the series was fresh and inventive......It looks quite clearly that everyone involved is flogging a dead horse.

If your don't with horror by the way, do visit arrow in the head, his reviews are no bullshit and his writing style quite humorous.

Saturday, 20 September 2008

Interesting trailers of note

After watching the breezy Brothers Bloom Trailer, I felt it was about time that I found some other trailers of films I'd like to see.

First up is Clint "shut the fuck up Spike" Eastwoods Changeling:

Next is the film that looks set for everyone to call "the next juno"...Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist

Fingers crossed that these films kick ass.

Friday, 5 September 2008

Dynamic Duo

What a movie idea! I mean really, I'd never of thought of it. Hayden Christensen and Paul Walker in a movie together!?!?!? Amazing call off the 2009-10 Oscars! Because Bone Deep (Yes the name of the film) will win everything and break records

What the Fuck? When I first read this I thought it was April Fools Day and I fell into a time warp when I got off the tube. Who'd the fuck would want to see this? The article where I found this atrocity even tries to place these "actors" in a good light!

"Walker was actually pretty good in fare like Running Scared and Roadkill, and seems to do pretty well when he’s not just being a pretty boy with rock-hard abs. Christensen, of course, is still struggling to escape the Star Wars type-casting tag, but he showed promise in Shattered Glass, so let’s hope that is consolidated here."

Hummm... That's far too much praise for a couple of good looking yet underwhelming actors (Good Roadkill and Running scared shouldn't be in the same sentence). But I'm sure director John Luessenhop (director of little seen independent Lockdown) will give these two jokers plenty of screen time to gaze blankly at each other.

Thursday, 4 September 2008

Bond has license to kill taken away...or something

Wanted to laugh while looking at this piece of "news". Basically for those too lazy to read the link...

Their are complaints about Bond holding a gun on the new posters of QOS (I'm not putting the full title up, it does sound silly then again...octopussy?).

Now Censoring films is one thing (bonds had headbutts taken out of films in the past) but the idea that the worlds most famous fictional spy isn't allowed to walk around with a big fuck off machine like he owns the place is near sacrilege.

I'm kinda sick and tired of people trying to control everything that we see and/or do because it might "harm the kids" etc. I mean I've watched all sorts of films filled with various degrees of killing all my life and the only violence I want to unleash is to ass clowns to wish for it to be banned. Now they wish to move onto NON MOVING IMAGES.

I'll have a word with Spielberg see if he'll put in a walkie talkie for them. Below is a poster done over 40 years ago when kids could tell the difference between poster and fucking reality.

Sunday, 31 August 2008

The Brothers Bloom

I'm always bitching about movies on this blog. moaning about remakes, reboots and sequels. Never liking anything really.....

However, Rian Johnson the writer/director of brick has got a new flick up his sleeve and it's got me excited.

Here's the trailer link.

I cannot wait to see this movie. IMO Brick was one of the best movies that came out in 2005 and The Brothers Bloom looks to have a lovely, light and dare I say it "coen-esque"feel to it.

Should be a delightful romp methinks!

Friday, 22 August 2008

The Sweeney.....The Sweeney!

Nick Love's Big Screen adaptation of The Sweeney has been cancelled due to the studio worrying about the oversea audience for the extremely British film. Judging from the 7 people that made comments on the empire news page...then it's no big deal. But that's 7 more comments than myself at this moment isn't it!

Anyway....here's the link

I'm not really surprised by this as Nick Love makes BRITISH films for BRITISH people and Football Factory, Outlaw, and the other Danny Dyer infested pieces of shit he's made haven't really made noise across any borders but our own.

But hang on a minute...a British crime film....that won't make money aboard? I have two words for you...Guy Richie.

I don't give a rats ass what anyone says. Richie is a competent Brit director who made more money with his first two features then Love has with all his movies put together. The Sweeney sounds like a premise that would be worth a watch under Richie's hands. He has a strong visual style, can tell a story and would be able to gain the "star quality" the studio are looking for. However in say this it seems that Fox wants an American in a lead role to "win the market".

To add to this talks for the second lead role seemed to have faltered. I say...ask John Simms.

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

They're here......again

Another day, another horror remake. To make things worse almost none of the report installs any faith. The fact that the screenwriters wrote the tragic Boogeyman film makes the project sounds as exciting as cock cancer.

A remake can work but only if the filmmakers give a shit about the material, especially something that balanced everything as well as poltergeist. However those who have seen Boogeyman however....continue to cry.

Note: The Birds will also be in the "faithful" hands of these guys two.

Monday, 18 August 2008

Myers the bastard

He’s always been for left field choices but this is something else. Quentin Tarrintino has decided on casting Mike Myers for a small bit part in his new film Inglorious Bastards. Myers will play British Gen. Ed Fenech, a military mastermind who takes part in hatching a plot to wipe out Nazi leaders.

I’m willing to defend the guy for most of his choices and films but to me it seems that now the maverick director is trying to hard to “outcool” himself. At the moment I see the director dipping his foot into the smug pool, getting ready to jump in. I mean did you see the second half of Death proof? Zoe Bell anyone?

Usually QT is on point with his choices; people like Robert Forster have worked effectively on his movies for many reasons. But looking at the back catalogue of “Austin Powers” we see one (well received) straight role of Steve Rubell in 54 and one good dramatic role doesn’t make you a great thespian does it Marlon Waynes? We must also add the the box office poison that courses through Myers’ vains and films, unless the word Shrek is placed in front of them and even the draw from that is starting to wane.

But I can’t say I’m not looking forward to QT finally getting off his arse and creating what could be a bit of a stunner. I’m sure it will at least wash the egotistical taste of deathproof out of my mouth.

Sunday, 17 August 2008


Didn't say too much when it first popped up on the internets. However after watching it again I am intrigued with what Stone is going to the material. I believe Stone will make it more balanced than we think, and i reckon Brolin will be excellent in the role. Gruffudd as Blair? I'm not sure about that one. Lets hope this one doesn't end up like Stone's recent misfires eh?

One Question....Will Dubya watch it?

Thursday, 7 August 2008

Wednesday, 6 August 2008

Review: Sex in the city

Director: Micheal Patrick King
Screenplay: Micheal Patrick King
Starring: Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, Kristan Davis, Cynthia Nixon, Chris Noth, Jennifer Hudson


I shouldn't have watched this. Hell I didn't even watch it with my girlfriend (she hates the show and watched it with a female friend) but fuck it I saw it. It could have been worse. I've seen worse films this year. Considering all the other cookie cut romantic comedies that rolled out the first half of the year, I'm kinda glad i missed them if I only have to see this one. To be honest for a materialistic, shallow, cash in (don't lie to yourselves girls) the film does alright. It does what it has to do. The problem with the film is quite simply you could have made a two part made for T.V feature for this one film. one that would show the characters better and have time for the story. What you get is a mildly amusing but overlong Rom-com. Tabloid Blurbs have spewed hyperboil about the film being it's ten times better than Bridget Jones diary but in my books that only makes it above mediocre.

Sexy in the city is divided into four quarter plots to make a whole. Carrie (Parker) is wanting to get married to the true love of her life Mr Big (Noth) who is having commitment issues, Samantha (Catrall) is earning shit loads in Los Angeles with her new man but misses new york, Miranda (Nixon) has kicked out Steve as he cheated and Charlotte (Davis)...is just Charlotte.

That's the story in a nut shell. Nothing plot wise has really evolved due to the short comings of the characters core beliefs (Carrie and Charlotte believe in love, Miranda is still an ice queen and Samantha loves sex) however the sex in the city film has allowed maturity into the mix. Time has passed and director/screenwriter Micheal Patrick King has allowed the girl to grow up slightly. Not by much, but enough to make it worth watching. What's unfortunate about the movie is the simple glaring fact that sex in the city is a buddy movie, a two woman one.

Unlike many rom-com's sex in the city is lucky enough to have a 7 season tv program behind it to back up some of the characters but ultimately this is a film about the cynical Miranda and constantly dreaming Carrie. The other characters are merely filler that are placed within the movie because it wouldn't be "sex in the city" without them. The character of charlotte brings nothing to the table while the moderately amusing character of Samantha is merely there to say/do something lightly risque about sex every so often. Her character is the saddest of all because her character arc is the most unbelievable. after five years her "real" reason for leaving her boyfriend is quite weak. If the screenwriters spent more time filling out her character, who had some of the strongest and more prominent turns in the series (especially in the later seasons), then her reasons for leaving most women's dream man (attractive, sensitive and caring) wouldn't appear so false.

But how could the screenwriters spend time on the "lesser" characters when they're spending time adding more needless ones. Jennifer Hudson appears as Carrie's PA, complete with lame story arc and terrible characterisation I've seen in a while. She quite simply is the biggest mammy I've seen in a while, almost born to be subservient to the "Superior white female". At first Hudson's character appears to be an independent black woman looking for the right man. By the end of the film, she's gone back to her small town roots with the trendy new bag given to her and old man. Her search quickly deflated because of course Carrie and Mr Big's misunderstandings are of a greater need than hers.

That's a little harsh maybe? Well even Peter Berg's Hancock is looking at race with a broader eye than this. That's right, Hancock, an original black super hero in a world usually dominated by white ones.

Charlotte is left to have a baby and disappears through lack of interest (her most memorable moment is a fart joke which would be more fitting in an American Pie sequel) which leaves Carrie and Miranda who both carry the movie quite well. Nixon and Parker's emotional scenes do carry weight but this is due to the fact that their characters have the most room to maneuver in.

The film performance wise is extremely solid, but almost everyone in the film have been in these roles for years now. You expect nothing less from the actors and they do not disappoint. Parker and Nixon win out for me as the standouts but a big hand must go out to the male actors of David Eigenberg and Chris Noth who not only provide characters with a bit of depth but remain underrated and important to the course of the story. I would hate this movie if the characters were merely evil male caricatures but their not and the actors, script and directors try to portray their actions as believable as possible. I don't condone what they do at certain points but their characters are made up to be flawed, not devious.

The screenplay is bearable. Moderately amusing when it has to be with some nice moments of wit. However the dialogue doesn't strike home as well as it did in the series and at times feels like it's desperately clawing be as clever. The story has it's moments and the main story rolls at a tidy pace for the most part (the supporting sub-plots cause the film to drag) and due to the series you do feel right at home very quickly. I will say it's a credit to the filmmakers that they manage to put together something that was watchable. Especially after quite a long hiatus. The four girls still manage to be quite relevant despite their changing lifestyle. At it's best the film has a breezy all-for-one charm that will stick to it's fans like glue.

With this said, lets not be misled on why this movie was made. Fans aside it was to make money and the filmmakers disgusting exploit that. The films message is some bullshit one about people leaving their labels behind and just being themselves. however this is after we've been hit with wave after wave of brands being slammed at our credit crunched audience. Yes the sex in the city girls can be themselves. It doesn't help however when your lead characters are label obsessed rich girls. The message just doesn't ring true when you've ultimately watched a 2 hour advertising spot.

Ahem...that aside Sex and the city has it's heart mostly in the right place. It's the ultimate movie for a group of girls getting ready to go out on the razz and that's what it will always be. But My question (like most blokes) is always going to be...why is it that Sarah Jessica Parker is considered a fashion icon when they dress her up in the worst clothes ever?

Sunday, 3 August 2008


After some net surfing and exploring. I stumbled on the quirky, British website named the Den of Geek which listed the shedload of remakes/sequels that will be flooding our multiplexes in the next two years. I won't list them here but here's the links

I haven't much to say about this. I've complained about remake/sequels before on this blog. But I'm surprised at the volume of these re-imagings or whatever you call them. I'm even more surpirsed that most of the original films for the remakes haven't even hit 30 yet before they've been taken in for repackaging. Bit scary to say the least. The sequels on the otherhand....well, most of them are just badly realised. I mean I am legend 2?

This blog post is really just a heads up to say I will be posting quite a few reviews hopfully by the end of the week as I've been lazy. So keep em peeled if your interested.

Friday, 18 July 2008

Watching The Watchmen

I must say that after watching the trailer of Zack Snyder's Watchmen I found myself stunned.

Snyder's vision of the seminal uber comic is not only true to the source but fucking beautiful. After hearing great things about Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight (many have stated it's the best comic book movie ever), it seems that Snyder is taking no prisoners. In fact the films scope is looking HUGE.

I've warmed to the director after his testosone fuelled mini epic (do they exisit?) 300. In fact that movie and the look of how Watchmen is shaping has made me consider re-watching the dawn of the dead remake again* (I think I'm the only person in the world that despies that movie).

So here's hoping in 2009 is the year of the watchmen!
*This is one of the reasons why I hate the movie

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

Review: Hancock

Year: 2008
Director: Peter Berg
Screenwriters: Vincent Ngo, Vince Gilligan
Starring: Will Smith, Charlize Theron, Jason Bateman,

To describe Hancock? Superman on the way to mystery men, just past Arrested Development. That's how I'd describe the film in one sentence fragmented line. To say I enjoyed it? Yes. In one word. Should I say any more? Not really but fuck you as i have a laptop and the Internet.
Hancock is the story of John Hancock (Smith) a down and out, drunken superhero who "saves the world" in a way that The DC comic hero would state as "a curveball". He causes more damage than he should, he's got more than a few lawsuits up his sleeve and he is hated by the city he lives in (Los Angeles). His life however, takes an unexpected turn when he saves the life of an upbeat PR specialist (Batemen) who wishes to change the world. Hancock's world is suddenly on the up and people are beginning to like him. However why is The PR's wife (Theron) looking at him in that way?

Hancock starts well and runs at a swift pace and we are entered into his world extremely quickly. Hancock's script (competently written by little knowns Ngo and Gillian) lack of in depth origin story works as Berg direction tells us everything we need to know about our hero quickly, with no need to sidetrack us. As much as i love Spiderman, Batman et all, it's nice to see a hero film grab you from the start as Hancock does.

But what also hooked me in was how Berg decided to shoot the film with tight close ups, handheld cameras. His usage of space makes Hancock his own. The film doesn't look like just another super hero film. It's unbelievable that other directors haven't taken this approach with some of the other movies recently released. It's a film that actually feel like we invade a hero's personal space. Imagine how the Fortress of solitude would feel if directors took heed of what Berg does.

The film isn't without it's humor, It's funny to watch how others react around Hancock with everyone knowing that one wrong word could get you thrown into the stratoshpere (again watch the movie). The screenplay also has more than enough throwback lines that can bring a smile to ones face. The humor isn't a subtle but it's smart enough (I swear one character's hooked hand is a reference to a certain actors ill fated sitcom).

But while the story runs at it's breezy pace it's not without it's fault. The story suffers from one of the most predictable plot moments I've seen in a long time. Not only it's predictable but it knocks the film's enjoyment a notch mostly because the story/character dynamic changes so drastically but also because even a two year old can see it coming off a mile away. The second half alters the film from a funny, different and interesting look at a superhero to....an origin story. The film decides to take us back to square one and with that the film suddenly turns into a chance of a franchise. The film slowly starts to lose sight in what made it stand out in the first place. Big shame.

It's not all bad however. Hancock brings about some interesting commentary about race (if you REALLY want to read into it). Smith's role as the lead is more important than you might think. He is the most original black super hero (not named white hatin' coon) I've seen in a long time (if not the first). While I'd like to say more about this it would spoil aspects of the film to those who may watch the film one day.

The acting within the film is smart and tidy, Theron's role isn't too thankless, Bateman puts himself back into the Bluth suit for the good natured PR and as for Smith? Role's like this are his bread and butter. The shift in power between Smith and Tom Cruise isn't just in Cruise's rants (religious and otherwise) but because Smith is more accessible then Cruise ever was. This ties in with what I wish to say about race...but maybe for another time when everyone's seen the movie eh?

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

Stan Winston & Sydney Pollack R.I.P

A big fair well to Stan Winston who passed away with multiple myeloma two days ago.

This is a double blow to cinema with the recent passing of Sydney Pollack who died 11 days ago.

Both will be sorely missed.


Checked out the cool little blog site Cinema Suicide and had a look at a news article that I tried to ignore before but had to bitch about. Bloody Disgusting Article.

Why the hell is I spit on your grave aka day of the women aka piece of shit movie being remade?

To those who have never seen or heard of this infamous B-movie here's the story. A girl is writing a book at a log cabin. Three wankers come along and rape her (for ages). They laugh about it. The girl takes revenge. Oh and one of the guys penis gets chopped off...

That's it....oh and it's not filmed very well

The rape revenge a sub genre that can be extremely exploitative, but also one that when done correctly can provide intriguing and extreme viewing when done right. If the film deals with it's morals and theme's correctly then you have an interesting piece of film. Many cinema goers love to investigate the grey areas that can lie within such films.

I spit on your grave does fuck all in terms of interest (amateurish filming, shit actors, crap dialogue...etc) and is extremely exploitative. Some have tried to argue against it...but really? I think the director (Meir Zarchi) knew what he was doing when he made it. I mean who Else's' film has the grand-niece of Buster Keaton being raped and sodomised? Good times.

Why a remake? Gasper Noe has already done this material better, with actual themes, better actors and an actual point 6 years ago. Just re-release that?

"Nope we gotta take an old badly made film remake it with Hollywood gloss and give rape to the kids"

Well played guys.

Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Hip hop hooray.....not

Al Pacino and Robert De Niro together in a film for the first time since Heat. A Righteous Kill....mmmm sounds good don't it? Two heavyweights doing what they do best, upping the ante in each scene. Awesome....who else is in it?

This guy? Fuck sake....NEXT!

Tuesday, 27 May 2008

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Year: 2008
Director: Steven Spielberg
Screenplay: David Koepp
Starring: Harrison Ford, Cate Blanchett, Karen Allen, Shia LaBeouf, Ray Winstone, John Hurt, Jim Broadbent


George Lucas made what could be considered a very strange comment about the forth installment of his other extremely popular franchise.

Claiming that one of the biggest releases of the year is "just a movie" is a bit out of sorts coming from the man who help create the event movie. However I feel this was said due to the issues which came about involving the Phantom Menace. The "first" star wars movie is one that Lucas has not apologised for, despite displeasing a lot of fans. While I found the movie to be pretty bad, it's true he doesn't have to say sorry for his decision.

While this doesn't explain his more recent comment the man has only got himself to blame. This movie has spent years in development hell with Lucas and Spielberg rejecting scripts and picking other projects over it. Waiting for the moment that the films script will be "just right". Once the ball finally got rolling, everything was kept secret merely adding to the mystery and anticipation.

I think Lucas was just trying to give a little perspective to the situation. If people didn't expect so much from these two film makers then they would probably enjoy certain movies more. But unfortunately when you set the bar for family entertainment as high as this guys have it's tough to downplay expectations. I mean don't know anyone who truly dislikes Indiana Jones apart from Ray Carney and Jean-Luc Godard.

With all that said the comments which bothered me are the one made by one Micheal Bay.

While the comments on the video come across as a light hearted joke. After watching the movie I was quite surprised that the maker of "that toy movie" almost hit the nail on the head. The Crystal Skull isn't that great of a movie. Maybe I did expect too much. I mean what was I really expecting? just a pleasant feel good film or the second coming of great mainstream family cinema? The answer maybe a little bit of both. The expectations were always going to be no matter what and I don't feel the film stood up to them. My reasons my not be the most well explained out there but I'm sure a few people might share aspects of them.

Once the nostalgia leaves you, Indy 4 is only a cut above Sahara and National Treasure. For all the talk about stunts being done by real people etc, there's a lot of CGI that snuck it's way into the film. To be fair CGI is now so common place I expected quite a bit...I just didn't know it was going to be so dodgy. That's the only way I could describe some of the action sequences that lie in the movie. One scene follows a character swinging on jungle vines (a bad moment itself due to the character) but the cgi reminded me of Pitfall on the snes (another Nintendo reference?). That's a bit harsh, with this said however, in comparison to Bay's Fanboy Fest The Crystal Skull pales in comparison. Spielberg's work in Jurassic Park still looks and (more importantly) feels better. In many other films CGI can bring you into the film, here it distracts. It feels out of sorts with the other stunts on display. The beginning has a great chase scene which not only looks good but reminded me of when I first watched Indy. When the film keeps it simple and keeps it real the fun factor stays high.

It's the same with the storyline. Before certain revelations the film is engaging, amusing and fun. However the film gets bogged down with a series of extremely predictable plot points and twists (both with story and characters) that did nothing but frustrate and bore me. I knew what was going to happen in the story by act two and I don't find that to be a good thing. To make things worse Spielberg underplays ALL the revelations of the film. Films can be predictable and cliche but they can still DO something with them. Most of the story moments were met with a sigh as I waiting for the lazy half baked ending to come about. It was truly a shame. I'm sure a lot of people will disagree but they should think of another film they wanted to watch so much only to be disappointed by it's lacking. I find Spielberg to be a master craftsman, hell I even liked A.I. (until the last 20 minutes) for fuck sake. The whole adventure aspect of the film felt very lackluster.

To add to this the screenplay had added a bizarre new mythology that goes against what we saw in the first films. The stories plot really sits awkwardly with the religious aspects of the original trilogy. (star wars fans may be getting deja vu). This will have alot to do with how I think about the world but The crystal skull doesn't sit will with the ark of the covenant or the holy grail. Fuck even the temple of doom is about gods!

It's not all bad. The film is very funny when it wants to be. The dialogue crackles between the characters but this also stems from how good the performances are. Despite the weakness of story and action the acting is top notch. LaBouf has great screen presence. Allen is still spunky (and an attractive older woman may I add) and you don't see people like Jim Broadbent and Ray Winstone putting a foot wrong. Blancett works well as a villain and is very commanding when on the screen. As for Ford....well it's like riding a bike isn't it. Ford is Indy, that will never change. after a few odd moments at the beginning I completely forgot how old Ford is in the film. It's a great performance and I really enjoyed him in it.

People love the film because it's Indiana Jones, others will believe that the Spielberg, Lucas and Koepp have placed another stunning addition to the trilogy and enjoy the updates. I unfortunately will remain indifferent. Much like when I saw the Phantom Menace or Attack of the clones. The often cracking dialogue, fun characters and great acting are almost overshadowed by an unsurprising story (with a shite third act btw), average set pieces and little thrill.
But it's ok...because George Lucas' plagiarising of movie taglines states...it's only a movie.

P.S. John Hurt despite becoming a little bit of a rent a loony wasn't too bad either.

P.P.S. Lucas didn't steal a movie tagline..he's more into nabbing a little of their storyline

Monday, 26 May 2008

Review: Speed Racer

Year: 2008
Director: The Wachowski Brothers
Screenplay: The Wachowski Brothers
Starring: Emile Hirsch, Christina Ricci, John Goodman, Susan Sarandon, Matthew Fox

If Micheal Bay ate nothing but sugar coated cartridges of Super Mario Kart (SNES) while watching Anime non-stop for five years, this is what would be puked up. Dazzling yet ridiculous, Stunning but stupid. Speed Racer is a beautiful mess, constantly innovate and yet surprisingly derivative. The Wachowski brothers have created something that has taken digital film making to the extreme but at a loss of good storytelling which in turn takes away much of the thrill of the movie.

The basic tone of the movie is inconsistent and the story unimportant and stale. Pretty colours are fine but at certain times the movie makes a shift that would feel more at home in a 12a movie as opposed to squeezing it into a movie such as this one for the sake of it.

To add to this as this movie tries to make out it's a family film but it's lack of a strong lead character and odd moral scope make the film stand out unattractively. Every Harry Potter (a series of movies I dislike) try to help encourage children more than this film can. Potter is a dull lead character but his story encourages, growth, wisdom and creativity (even when most of the time it's not from him). Speed in Speed Racer almost appears to have similar traits but it's so thinly spread and smothered between the visuals (and anti-capitalism stance) that it gets lost.
It doesn't help that everything about Speed Racer is an oddity. It's crammed with characters, loopy visuals and set pieces but it doesn't seem to be saying anything. Stephen King said of Kubrick's the Shining "A big beautiful car, with no engine" and the same goes for Speed Racer. This is a living, breathing video game that could suit the world of Halo or otherwise if done right. However while many modern video games have been doing what they can to incorporate pathos and depth into aspects of their storylines (see GTA4), Speed Racer is nothing but visual distraction.

Maybe I'm expecting to much from what is ultimately a kids movie but I don't think so. Pixar manage to bring about emotional impact, humor and unique characters to their stories. Why can't the Wachowski brothers? To say I didn't gawp in awe at the digial achievement on display would be wrong. however the film is completely shallow.

I wouldn't have a problem with the movie if the characters inside the (dull) story were engaging but not so. The directing duo do nothing to make me give a shit about Speed and his family and the performances from the actors are extremely one note. Their "emotional" scenes are pointless and I spent most of the film waiting for the next race to start as they are the only reason to watch the movie. However due to the lack of any true danger that might effect the character, the actions sequences have a nasty pre-ordained feeling. Making any sense of excitement come across as false. Flat characters in a film like this are almost forgivable but flat action as well? Bad Times. As awesome as the film looks the film doesn't actually generate any genuine feeling of excitement. I remember how I felt when I first saw the matrix...I don't get the feeling here at all.

The acting is piss poor and the directors look like they did nothing to get any true response out of the performances on show. John Goodman does his worst audition for a Super Mario Bros remake, while Susan Sarandon sleepwalks through her performance (although her thankless role is strongest). After four season of Lost, Matthew Fox decides to take a break with a tediously terminator-esque role as the emotionless Racer X. Christina Ricci is underused as the main love interest Trixie but the real disappointment is Emile Hirsch. His performance reminds one of a rabbit in the headlights, dazzled, sunned and unsure. I find this a shame as I feel that Hirsch is a great young actor. Quite simply, the movies background are more animated than the actors.

I'm pleased with what the Wachowski Brothers tried to do but I don't believe for a second that it works. the grand visuals are a great distraction from the bad acting, risible dialogue and thinly spread plot. The Wachowski's have produced a film which will inspire film makers for the future and thats a great thing. But for fuck sake guys can you just hurry up and make Carnivore already?

Thursday, 8 May 2008

Review: Iron Man

Year: 2008

Director: Jon Favreau
Screenwriter: Hawk Ostby, Mark Fergus
Starring: Robert Downey Jr, Terrence Howard, Jeff Bridges, Gwyneth Paltrow

The moment I knew I enjoyed Iron was when Tony Stark (Downley jr) and Rhody (Howard) are drunk while a glitzy hip hop video is playing behind them. This will mean fuck all to many people but those who love The Wu Tang Clan will know that Ghostface Killah (my fave member joint with RZA) has the nick name Tony Stark and named one of his albums Ironman after his love of the comics. The tiny fact that they place Killah in the film shows it's sense of fun. With this said Iron man has an interesting more realistic (in a comic book/film sense) approach to it's proceedings than say The Punisher.

Directed by Jon Favreau Iron manages to balance a laid back sense of fun with an origin story that comes close to competing with Christopher Nolan's Batman's Begins. I say comes close because Iron man manages to get me interested into a story and character I've never shown any real interest in. With a character such as Batman I knew all I needed to know, I just wanted it done right. With Ironman I didn't even know which war fucked him up royally (It was Nam) let alone supporting characters.

That for me was always the first hurdle that the film had to cross and it cleared it well. Iron man as a character is charming, funny and engaging. The story also manages to be as entertaining, keeping itself from being a bland retread of other general origin stories despite having all the similar plot points. A lot of this comes from Favreau wish to give the film the same easy going feel that inhabited Doug Liman's Swingers (written by Favreau). Ironically Liman's awful Jumper could have done with the same sense of fun (as well as story structure and better acting).

I expected this from Favreau who clearly likes the idea of keeping things loose (see working with Will Farrell). Nothing about the film is rigid at all, the dialogue has an obvious amount of improvisation, the humor doesn't come across as staged, and the actors feel like the built upon their characters as opposed to just merely reading from the script. In doing this the film feels more organic, more plausible and generally more entertaining.

The masterstroke in keeping this all together is of course casting Robert Downley jr as the lead. It worries me that in the next ten years we'll see less of actors like this and more good looking cardboard cutouts. Downley jr IS iron man, just like he WAS Wayne Gale or Harry Lockhart. His performance is full of energy, charm and cheeky improv. He encapsulates the playboy feel of Stark perfectly. At times he outshines Christian Bale's Bruce Wayne but only at times. Paltrow is an interesting (although a little flat) choice for the "love interest" while Terrence Howard provides a stable performance as Stark's Army Buddy. Bridge's has a ball as Obadiah Stane and avoids the easy option of completely hamming his character up.

What Bale (and Batman Begins) has however, is that psychological edge that is not seen in many of the Marvel Comic book adaptations. You still know where you stand with Brucie and friends. Iron man's lighter balance of comic material at times skips over a very intriguing aspect of the story: The war mongering. I'm still not sure if Favreau's light touch should have glossed over the talk of weapons, wars and legacy. Stark at the beginning is the epitome of American patriotism in the beginning, before seeing what happens on the other side. The double dealing and grey areas give an interesting conflict not seen in the happy go lucky violence of The Punisher etc. But the conflict doesn't last long enough to truly question the polemic views that will always stand in America. The film clearly leans left but before "getting serious" the film gets to what everyone is watching it for......the set pieces.

The action sequences are well executed and fun. Nothing we haven't seen before but still exciting. This is mostly down to the background work done by the screenplay.
Iron man is a better start to the blockbuster movies than Jumper. It has a story with an actual conclusion and structure, much better acting (my little blurb doesn't give the actors their due at all), and has a greater sense of fun. At the end of the film I found myself looking forward to a sequel if one ever appears. The likelihood of this looks good due to the box office figures so here's hoping the the sequel will expand on the good work done here.

Review: In Bruges

Year: 2008
Director: Martin McDonagh
Screenwriter: Martin McDonagh
Cast: Colin Farrell, Brendan Gleeson, Ralph Fiennes, Clémence Poésy, Jordan Prentice, Thekla Reuten

Three great central performances, captured in a beautiful city (trust me I've been) combined with a deviously dark wit and a well paced story (until some messy plot issues at the end) make up Martin McDonagh's In Bruges. The film took me by surprise owing more to No Country for old men than say Lock Stock or Snatch. McDonagh's film demonstrates that the bad guys become even more interesting when they have a crisis of fate.

After an a botched assassination hit, Ray (Farrell) has headed to Bruges with a fellow hitman named Ken, to hide out. The grumpy Ray ponders his fate while the gentler Ken spends his time sightseeing and tiring to reassure his younger assassin that everything will be fine. Unfortunately Harry (Fiennes), the boss that ordered the hit has other ideas.

While No Country for Old Men took an old school Mcguffin and turn that aspect of plot into a grand epic revisionist western. In Burges is more introspective keeping the focus purely on it's leads. When the film wasn't hitting me with punchy dialogue and one liners, there are brief moments of poignancy that stayed with me longer than the comedy. McDonagh develops his characters well, allowing them to stew in their situation bring forth characteristics slowly and allowing the chance for the characters to evolve into well rounded individuals. Ray and Ken feel like an Irish odd couple during the first half of the film, the banter comes in thick and fast, and you get to know them as they evolve and shift roles. At one point the two feel like an old married couple, two scenes later a spoilt brat and mother. The interaction is feels almost like a buddy cop movie, In Bruges comes across as Lethal Weapon for the other side.

The two leads give off two very different but effective performances. Farrell, in his most mature performance in ages, is brilliant. His comic timing and visual tics are hilairious and his acting range throughout the film is broad and engaging throughout. Glesson on the other hand uses his screen prescene to mass effect. His performance is gentle and fatherly, two things he's done before with ease but not with this much resonance. It's great to watch, as the two role complement each other so well it's constantly engrossing. You can't wait to see what the next guy is going to say next.

To round it off we are given brute energy of Ralph Fiennes as a fiendishly loutish cherry on top of the main duo. Fiennes role is like a tornado, with chaos happening everywhere he goes. Be it at home with the family (delightfully awkward Xmas moment) or when he finally appears in Bruges. Not only has he some of the best lines in the movie, his delivery gives them more punch and humor. A character that can easily be forgotten is given a wonderfully animated touch. The support range from the thankless (Clemence Poesy) to the memorable (Jordan Prentice)

The screenplay written by McDonagh (who is also theatre playwright) is one full of cracking one liners and amusing, un-p.c moments. These moments are forced to meld with moments of poignancy. However McDonagh clearly understands context, these are despicable characters and their moments of offensiveness only illustrate and highlight their phobias and isolation (expect for Fiennes who is clearly just an 'orrible cunt). The story overdoes it's ending, in particular a death which goes on for too long and ends with a very unconvincing plot moment. But up until that point the story moves at a steady pace and redeems itself after a few missteps.

In Burges doesn't have massive set pieces or the now familiar traits of the new wave Brit gangland movies. Howevcr its story is ten times stronger then most of the Guy Richie imitators/nick love films and for the most part the film is laugh out loud funny. I was almost embarrassed with how loud I laughed at some of the jokes. To add to this In Burge reminded me of how much I love small films when I get the chance to see them. The general jaded feel that can happen with some of Hollywood's bigger movies is lost when going into something like this. The laughs come naturally, the drama works well and the story is fulfilling. While it may not be remembered in those big books of blockbusting box office stats, In Burge is more likely to remain in the memory of those who were lucky to see it.