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.