Tuesday 29 January 2008

Review: A V P: Requiem

Year: 2008
Director: The Streuse Brothers
Screenplay: Shane Salerno
Starring:Steven Pasquale, Reiko Aylesworth, John Ortiz, Johnny Lewis, Ariel Gade, Kristen Hager

Note: This review is written without knowledge of Predator 2.

Maybe there's something wrong with me, I don't know. Usually I leave movies like this unamused and not entertained in the slightest. However with this....somehow I came out....enjoying it. I won't go into the whole "you gotta switch your brain off" shite that everyone says as an easy way out as they don't like to get into real debates about movies.

It is a dumb movie, things go boom, people die and it's got movie monsters from way better films running around. But something about the film was...watchable. Maybe because I've become a less venomous cinepile in the last few months, maybe because I felt the directors tried harder with this film than Paul W.S Anderson's effort or maybe it was because I spent most of my time in a sex coma from the night before (due to an expensive hotel weekend in London thanks gf). I don't know...but I came out of AVPR with an OK feeling....

In compassion to the first cross over movie then films a godsend. It has a better storyline for one. All that shit about pyramids in the Arctic is out (seriously what?) and the plot has been dumbed down even more to give the film a slightly more back to basics feel.
The story follows on from the original film in which a alien/predator hybrid is born and causes havoc on the ship in which it was born in. After a brief chase an attacking predator shoots the shit of it's own ship trying to destroy this thing and the ship lands in a small American town where nothing ever happens. A death toll ensues.

It doesn't have the suspense of Alien or the Carnage of Aliens or Predator. But for me for some reason The film did it for me. I think I liked it's sadistic edge. I read a review which complained about children and pregnant women dying in the film "sickening" was the word he used. But seriously At least it had some guts. These creatures are vicious killing machines I want no mercy...unlike the first AVP with "understanding Predators".

The acting isn't Brando worthy but it's bearable. It's not as painful as some might think. What you see is what you get and you get nobodies trying, something I like more than somebodies not trying.

The film is what it is, a bunch of killer xenomoprhs and alien hunters trying to killer each other with humans getting in the way. No coming of age rituals, no pyramids under snow, no bullet time face huggers, just carnage (although it is quite moderate carnage)

The human characters aren't particularly warm but engaging enough despite being quite flat. The action itself is not the pinnacle of the series but like I said before.....bullet tme face huggers...WTF.

I enjoyed the references to the original films and the action was passable and while I am guessing it might have been the sex coma that made me like this somewhat, I still took more from this than the original film it sequels.

BUT I CAN'T UNDERSTAND WHY! Maybe the dumbing down of cinema is finally getting to me or maybe I'm biding my time till There will be Blood. I silently cry in shame covered in my DVD's of better movies but hey everyone's allowed a guilty pleasure.

Thursday 24 January 2008

Review: Walk Hard: The Dewy Cox Story

  • Year: 2008
  • Director: Jake Kasdan
  • Screenwriters: Jake Kasdan, Judd Apatow
  • Starring: John C Riley

OK. It's another geeky, low brow, comedy which looks destined to reach some sort of cult status (which doesn't take much with some things these days). However Walk Hard is an amusing way to spend 90 minutes.

Walk Hard: The Dewy Cox Story tells the story of Dewy Cox (John C Riley) a musician who needs to overcome his demons and adversities in order to become the musician legend that we "now know".

Walk Hard is a crafty parody of Ray/walk the line/et all which works when it hits the notes of the recent Oscar winners. ripping on their contrived story moments and cliched tales of redemption. Walk hard doesn't mean to rip into Ray Charles and Johnny cash, however it is saying the films that have been made in their memory are on the borderline between uplifting Oscar fanfare and farcical comedy, made just in time to brown nose for the Oscars.

Are films like Ray bad movies? No but they all follow the same patten, even down to the bad wife/good wife and the ironic "Greek chorus" in which every song of the lead character sings matches the action that came before it. Walk Hard exploits these cliches but never means to upset the music that inspired it (although a certain Beatles cameo may cross a line).

Walk Hard follows many of the films with Apatows name somewhere on the credits. The story is heart felt and the comedy is crude. The combination gels well and is reminiscent of the Farrelly Brothers of old. Walk Hard doesn't hit as many laugh out load targets as Superbad and isn't as sweet as the 40 Year Old Virgin but has more than enough jokes for a titter and just enough story to keep the pace (although it does run out of stream near the end).

John C Riley has always been quite amusing, even in his more "serious" roles of Hard Eight and Boogie Nights. He was the next best thing in Chicago (after Zeta Jones) and has a great presence throughout. He's not as "zany" as Will Farrell or (enter verb here) as Steve Carrell but as an odd mixture of the two that works well with the material.

The soundtrack is catchy, the jokes are more hit than miss and Riley shows that he can carry not only a movie but a COMEDY quite well. Props go out to the amusing cameos (won't spoil them) and Cox's Band (Lovin that Tim Meadows).

If Judd Apatow is anywhere on the credits (usually as Producer), it's almost definitely going to make me laugh. as a writer and producer Apatow has a knack of having his name on genuinely amusingly cult hits. This isn't as quotable as the other films in Apatow's Production Cannon (Once again Superbad) but it's worth watching all the same.

Tuesday 22 January 2008


Actor Heath Ledger has been found dead in his apartment in Manhattan New York. Ledger was found to be unconscious at his home and pronounced dead.

Early Reports have hinted at drug abuse but it is still extremely early to say.

Ledger 28, broke into Hollywood with teen hit "Ten Things I hate about you" before starring in quite a varied range of roles from more teen originated affair such as A Knights Tale, to an Oscar Nominated Role as brooding cowboy Ennis Del Mar.

My Personal Favorite is Skip in Lords Of Dogtown in which he does his best Val Kilmer impression (watch the whole thing as the trailer won't give him justice):

Once again my thoughts go out to those who knew him well as yet another young promising actor has left us.

Wednesday 16 January 2008

R.I.P Brad Renfro

I'm not going to make a big gushing obituary about this actor as I had only seen him in a few films. However, a moments silence for Brad Renfro who died on Tuesday, aged 25.

While not what you could say a big name a-list young actor. The man had good screen presence was a solid preformer in the roles he picked.

My thoughts go out to those he's left behind

Sunday 13 January 2008

Review: I Am Legend

  • Year: 2008
  • Director: Francis Lawrence
  • Screenwriters: Mark Protosevich, Akiva Goldsman
  • Starring: Will Smith
Well this was my first visit to the cinema this year and it's safe to say I was not disappointed. I am Legend probably won't make it on to my top ten favorite films of the year. However Francis Lawrence's film is strong enough to hold a viewers attention. This is down to some well crafted art direction and a powerhouse performance by Will Smith.

Smith plays Neville, a lone survivor of a biological disease which has ravaged New York City. For the past three years as the lone survivor he spends his days with his pet dog Sam searching for a cure. However to quote the films tag line, the last man on earth is not alone. The disease has mutated those who didn't die, turning them into sub-human zombie-type creatures. Neville's life is divided into retaining his sanity during the day and staying alive during the night.

Remember the opening scenes of 28 Days Later? Well Lawrence wishes to take that isolation further. He almost makes it. For the most part, the film is an interesting exercise in isolation and loneliness. What helps is the utilization of silence which goes with the shots of human achievements. The film managed to freak me out a couple of times as we are shown shots of skyscrapers and monuments standing tall but standing for no one. Lawrence also manages some semi effective shock scares and creates some claustrophobic set pieces for two thirds of the film.

This leads me to the last third of the film, which isn't as terrible as so many has said but suffers from a soft climax and an almost abrupt ending. The films last third is jarring with what we've seen before and brings discomfort. Much has been said about the films CGI at the end of the film also. While not the greatest I've ever seen, it's a damn sight better than say....Charlies Angels 2: Full Throttle. It seems that the films problems (particularly at the end) hit hardest when the filmmakers make their most liberal alterations to the original novel.

With this said, plot wise the film is still engaging. I have yet to read Richard Matheson's original novel, but I'm sure there will be moments in the book I would have loved to see on the screen. What keeps the film so engaging however is the charm and screen presence of Will Smith. His role in the film is one of his strongest since Ali (yep seven years ago). Smith manages to take the role beyond that of a regular action hero and adds a small amount of pathos to the film. The supporting characters are nothing to yell about as all the characters apart from Neville are mostly cameos, save for the brilliant animal performance from Abby the dog who plays Sam.

I am Legend for the most part is an entertaining film which slowly begins to run out of stream before the climax. Which is a shame when you release that Smith's talent and star potential could have been used to greater effect in such a film.


Sorry that my blog has been very intermittent but all that's about to change.

2008 is a new year and I will put more articles up, maybe a few small reviews, charts etc.

The way way to start bulking up my blog is a quick look at the upcoming movies that I'm wanting to see as it's the beginning of the year. Without further ado lets have a look at some of the movies that I can't wait to see this year!*

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull:

After years in development hell, Lucas and Spielberg are now in post production of their forth installment of the Indiana saga and I can't wait to see what the cast and crew come up with.

Ford is once again donning the Fedora, Karen Allen is coming back as Indy's old flame, and the filmmakers have decided to go back to basics with the action. No CGI here folks, only stunt men half killing themselves for our entertainment.

The addition of Shia LaBeouf and Cate Blanchett in the cast are also much welcomed in Camp Byron. Blanchett is a strong actress who deserves to be in a fun movie (Hot Fuzz cameo excluded) after spending her time in some heavy affair. LaBeouf was the best thing about Transformers and has shown at a young age he has more than enough charm and comic timing to keep up with such a huge project.

Hopefully Ford's age won't be a problem and David Koepp's script is more Raiders of the Lost Ark than Death Becomes Her.


I am a big fan of Doug Limans films, even Mr and Mrs Smith, so I'm quite intrigued on how this film will turn out. Now is the time for Hayden Christensen to show that he can actually carry a movie well (sorry haven't seen Shattered Glass yet). The cast is an interesting mix that could work and Samuel L Jackson might not phone in a performance this time.
Liman is a director who has not only made successful films but made them with a bit of talent also. It's hard to believe this guy made the cult comedy Swingers before starting off the intensely popular Bourne franchise. He has a great ability to adapt to whatever material with ease and with David S Goyer (Batman Begins) and Jim Uhls (Fight Club) helming the script this could be a fun two hours.

No Country For Old Men

It's the fucking Coens! Need I say more? Yes? Well ok then, it's the Coens with a flick that's doing well in critical praise as well as award nominations. While many look at Quintin Tarantino as a director who makes films only for himself, you only have to pick one or two titles from the Coen filmography to see that Ethan and Joel have always done things THEIR way. This has lead to some dubious recent outings which i won't mention (I will say Alec Guinness may have turned in his grave), however their portfolio is a eclectic mix of great entertainment and this looks like no exception.


While all the subtely of the comics will probably be lost, Wanted still looks like it could be a good laugh. Timur Bekmambetov is an action director I can really get behind. Despite being a director that places style over substance, Bekmambetov can still tell a better story than say I don't know.......Micheal Bay. Bekmambetov has also grabbed himself a cast which not only combines strong character acting (Terrance Stamp, Morgan Freedman) but box office draw as well (Angelina Jolie). The film is also taking a bit of a risk with the lead. James McAvoy is not only making a name for himself in kiddy blockbuster affair (Narnia) but in period drama Oscar Bait (Atonement). It will be interesting to see the actor adapt to something such as this. The trailer has the kind of crazy action which made the Night Watch franchise so watchable and while it will upset every comic nerd from here to Ohio, it could become a cult classic to others who know nothing about it.

Sweeney Todd

I am not the biggest Burton fan, however I'm oddly curious about his next endeavour. I love violent revenge movies, Depp's a great actor and Burton's style is prefect for the material at hand. Sweeney Todd is coming over from America with high praise from the likes of Roger Ebert (like him or not) and has hit the imdb's top 250 films list extremely quickly (most likely Burton fans rating it ten for the sake of it).
The art direction looks top notch (Typical Burton) and supposedly Depp and Bonhiem Carter can sing. One thing that bothers me however is Depp's preformance. Granted I haven't seen the film yet but in watching the trailer, Depp acts like he's Jack Sparrow with a razor. This wouldn't be such a bad thing if I hadn't had grown so tired of the Keith Richards impression after three movies.
Issues aside the film looks delectably, twisted and evil. The film might keep me distanced from any emotional response (I get that a lot with Burton) but the films tale of madness and murder should keep me going for the duration.


I've typed some insane ramblings about this little ditty on my site already but it's worth mentioning again. Matt Reeves film looks like it could be one of the surprises of the year. Cloverfield look like it's going to take a few risks such as unknown actors and a release date during Hollywood down time. However, net hype has kept interest ticking over and unlike crap like Snakes on a Plane, Cloverfield looks like it's more going for it than a ridiculous name.

The Dark Knight

For me Batman Begins was brilliant. It was one of my favorite movies of 2005 and of recent times. To me The Dark Knight looks willing to make Begins look like a piece of shit. I checked out the trailer only recently this week (after a very entertaining marketing campaign) and I went nuts. I know many people are still quite worried about Ledger and what his portrayal of the "clown prince of crime" may be like. However, Heaths "down to earth" Psychopath is so much more creepier than the previous portrayal. In fact this joker is likened more to Nicholson's performance in The Shining than anything else. Fans always worry when actors aren't too familiar with the source material. But seeing Ledger in action during the trailer brings a lot of confront.

The trailer itself, is full of shots which should tantalizes fans, including the very intriguing destruction of the bat signal. This is the film I am waiting for the most this year and I have to wait till fucking July!!!!!!!!

There Will Be Blood

Being the P.T.A whore that I am, I cannot wait for this movie. It's been five long years since Punch Drunk Love and it's about time Mr Anderson came back with some serious cinema. As I write this, the National Society of Film Critics have picked There Will Be Blood with their Best Picture award. Once again rave reviews have been landed upon the director and one of his works. To add to this reviews have described the film as less pompous, something that has followed the director since Magnolia. With this said the trailer gives off an even more epic feel than Anderson's three hour opus.

The cast has Daniel Day Lewis leading from the front and he appears to channelling his Bill the Butcher role from Gangs of New York. Paul Dano is bringing up the rear, also garnering some optimistic approval. Day Lewis put in one of my favorite performances of 2002 in Gangs and it looks like he will be well remembered again with this performance. I have only seen Dano in The Girl Next Door (2004) which while cute wasn't anything too outstanding. In TWBB however, he looks set to expand his acting wings.
Oh and the music.....is by Radioheads Johnny Greenwood! So one of my favourite directors is working with one of the musicians from one of my favorite bands. Good times methinks.

Funny Games

Now I don't understand why Micheal Hanke would want to make a shot for shot remake of his disturbing yet brilliant critique on violence. But then it's clearly made for people who don't watch subtitled movies. Fair enough I guess. However those people Hanke may be aiming for might miss the point of Hanke's scathing attack on well....themselves. I loved the original film because it's one of the most provocative and frustrating works I've ever seen. Feel shit after watching it? You should. Despite the director's arrogance at his own audience, the film has made me think twice about some of the violence I watch in films.
The remake? Well it has Tim Roth and Naomi Watts as the unfortunate souls whose idyllic trip to a holiday home ends in pain and murder. While Micheal Pitt (The Dreamers) and Brady Corbet (Mysterious Skin) are the two villains of the piece.
While I've seen the bad side of directors remaking their own films again for the American Market (I'm looking at you George Sluizer). However, with this said If done right, Hanke could garner himself some new fans.

Bond 22

Not the biggest bond fan in the world but Casino Royale was worth watching. The film's success (both critical and box office) might make a certain stupid website look even more ridiculous. Craig may not be the quintessential Bond that many would like to see. However not only he's closer to Flamings model of Bond, but his performance not only had an assured coolness but was more grounded in realism. (thank you Doug Liman and Matt Damon!)
Paul Haggis is once again behind the screenplay which should only be a good thing, the director however is an odd choice. Marc Forster is known for his touchy feely movies (Finding Neverland, Monster's Ball). Never the less the change in direction of the franchise may suit the German director.

* Please note that some of the films have already been released in the U.S. However I going with U.K releases.