October 1, 2012

Review: Looper (15)

Directed/Written by: Rian Johnson
Starring: Joseph Gordon Levitt, Bruce Willis, Emily Blunt

In a semi-dystopian future, time travel is controlled by mob syndicates. They use it to carry out untraceable murders by sending the victim back 30 years to be killed by specialised assassins called Loopers. When a Looper is to be retired the mob “close the loop” by sending his older self back as the target. When a shadowy figure in the future, known only as The Rainmaker, begins closing all the mob’s loops at once Joe (Levitt), faced with his future self, must not only ensure the loop is cosed but also determine the identity of The Rainmaker in the present and stop a destructive 30 year circle of violence.

continue reading Review: Looper (15)

August 8, 2011

Review: Super 8

Directed by: JJ Abrams
Starring: Joel Courtney, Kyle Chandler, Elle Fanning, Riley Griffiths

Soon after witnessing a catastrophic train crash, a group of friends begin to notice strange phenomenon in their small home town. Eager to somehow incorporate the events into their own movie, the group dig deeper into the events surrounding the crash only to discover something a lot more sinister is at hand. J. J. Abrams and Steven Spielberg invite us to remember how movies used to be.

continue reading Review: Super 8

May 9, 2011

Review: Trollhunter (tbc)

Directed by: André Øvredal
Starring: Hans Morten Hansen, Tomas Alf Larsen, Johanna Mørck

I first heard of this by way of a trailer on iTunes a few weeks ago and it sort of caught my eye. As rubbish as they usually are, I really love it when movies come out that deal with an established myth or folklore story in a new way (that said, I have no interest whatsoever in seeing Red Riding Hood). Trollhunter is a Blair Witch style mockumentary set in rural Norway. A group of filmmakers on the trail of a bear poacher, instead end up tagging along with a bizarre government employee, the only one in Norway, who’s job it is to track down and kill trolls to protect the public while also working to keep them a secret. Sounds pretty bonkers, but check out the trailer to see why it caught my eye:

continue reading Review: Trollhunter (tbc)

April 7, 2011

Review: Rubber (TBC)

Directed by: Quentin Dupieux
Starring: Stephen Spinella, Roxane Mesquida

You may have heard of this one, maybe not. Rubber follows the story of an abandoned car tyre that comes to life and begins killing off the population of a remote desert community by psychokinetically blowing up their heads. Yeah, you read that right. So anyway, after a stupidly long break from this little old site, allow me to review what is probably the most ridiculous movie I’ve ever heard of.

continue reading Review: Rubber (TBC)

August 23, 2010

Review: Salt (12a)

Directed by: Phillip Noyce
Starring: Angelina Jolie, Liev Schreiber

Synopsis: When seasoned CIA spook Evelyn Salt (Jolie) is named as a Russian double agent she goes on the run to find her husband and clear her name. The only problem is Salt may well be everything that she’s accused of being. As the foretold “Day X”, the proposed start of World War 3, draws nearer the truth about Salt must be uncovered to save the world.

continue reading Review: Salt (12a)

June 1, 2010

Weekend Viewing: A round-up.

This weekend I watched some movies. Get a cup of tea and have a read of my mini reviews. Also, let me know if you like this format because I think it could be a pretty decent way to post in the future.

continue reading Weekend Viewing: A round-up.

May 15, 2010

Review: A Nightmare on Elm Street (18)

Directed by: Samuel Bayer
Starring: Jackie Earle Haley, Kyle Gallner, Rooney Mara

Twenty-six years and seven sequels later, Wes Craven‘s most recognisable horror creation is re-booted. This re-imagining of the classic horror tale has been on my radar for some time now as I was a huge fan of the 1984 original starring Heather Langenkamp, John Saxon and Robert Englund as Freddy Krueger. When I heard that Jackie Earle Haley (Rorschach from Watchmen) was set to play Krueger in the reboot I was even more excited to see what could be done with Craven’s over-worked baby.

continue reading Review: A Nightmare on Elm Street (18)

May 4, 2010

Review: Iron Man 2

Directed by: Jon Faverau
Starring: Robert Downy Jr. Don Cheadle, Gweneth Paltrow, Micky Rourke

It’s been six months (well about 2 years, our time) since Tony Stark threw down his cue cards and announced to the world that he was Iron Man. The world is a different place, it is at peace and the worlds first walking nuclear deterrent doesn’t only have to worry about enemies on the battlefield. The government wants his suit, his company is on the verge of ruin and the arc reactor chest piece that saved his life is now beginning to kill him. When things couldn’t get more challenging, enter Ivan Vanko, son of Howard Stark’s disgraced Russian employee, intent on destroying Tony; not just the man, but the symbol he has become.

continue reading Review: Iron Man 2

March 27, 2010

Review: Kick-Ass (15)

Directed by: Matthew Vaughn
Starring: Aaron Johnson, Chloe Moretz, Christopher Mintz Plasse, Nicolas Cage

Based on a comic book mini-series that wasn’t even finished when production began, Kick-Ass follows Dave Lizewski, a teenager who buys a costume and hits the streets as a “super hero” to help people. Using the moniker Kick-Ass he discovers that he is way out of his depth when he meets the real deal in the form of Hit Girl and Big Daddy, a father and daughter pair of vigilantes on the trail of mob boss Frank D’Amico. As Kick Ass begins to get the blame for the pair’s “work” he finds himself in the sights of the D’Amico family who put their own “super-hero” on the streets to trap Kick-Ass.

continue reading Review: Kick-Ass (15)

March 1, 2010

Review: Legion (tbc)

Directed by: Scott Stewart
Starring: Paul Bettany, Dennis Quaid, Lucas Black

Tired of mankind’s wicked ways, God has had enough. He instructs his general; The Archangel Michael (Bettany), to lead his army to earth to exterminate the human race for good. Convinced that there is still hope for man, Michael gives God the finger, heads down to Earth and cuts off his wings, transubstantiating into complete human form and heads to a diner in the middle of nowhere. There he meets up with a motley crew of misfits including a woman pregnant with man’s only saviour. It is here the final battle for mankind’s survival will unfold. Oh yeah, did I mention that Michael has a fuck load of guns? Probably should have.

continue reading Review: Legion (tbc)

Review: Edge of Darkness (15)

Directed by: Martin Campbell
Starring: Mel Gibson, Ray Winstone, Danny Huston

When his daughter is gunned down in front of him, aging detective Thomas Craven (Mel Gibson) begins an investigation that will lead him into the darkest realms of corporate conspiracy and government corruption. Edge of Darkness sees Gibson return to kicking ass and taking names and also stars Ray Winstone and Danny Huston.

continue reading Review: Edge of Darkness (15)

December 19, 2009

Review: Avatar – 3D (12a)

Directed by: James Cameron
Starring: Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Sigourney Weaver

James Cameron returns to the fore after a 12 year hiatus with his $3oo million game-changer, Avatar. This simple story of man’s ruthless desire to take anything he wants has been brought to life in stunning 3D. Paralysed ex-marine Jake Sully is the last hope of a peaceful arrangement with the native population of the planet Pandora, the Na’vi. Using a remote controlled Na’vi body called an Avatar, Sully must gain the trust of the native population and urge them to move away from their home, an area of great interest to the human invaders. As patience runs out, Sully finds that he may have been on the wrong side of the fight all along.

continue reading Review: Avatar – 3D (12a)

December 13, 2009

Review: The Box (12a)

Directed by: Richard Kelly
Starring: Cameron Diaz, James Marsden

Richard Kelly once again squeezes our mind-grapes in his trademark style. The Box follows a couple played by Diaz and Marsden who are offered the opportunity to make a million dollars to push a button and be responsible for the death of one person, somewhere in the world, they don’t know. Unbeknown to the pair, this choice is just the beginning of a mind-bending series of events that will tear the family and even the human race apart.

continue reading Review: The Box (12a)

November 26, 2009

Review: Harry Brown (18)

Directed by: Daniel Barber
Starring: Michael Caine, Ben Drew

Brutal vigilante thriller crosses the pond as Michael Caine stars as the titular Harry Brown, an elderly widower who takes the law into his own hands when his only friend is murdered by a gang of local thugs. As Harry journeys deeper into the seedy and violent criminal underworld he must find the inner strength to not only avenge his friend but also make it out alive, with his soul in tact.

continue reading Review: Harry Brown (18)

November 7, 2009

Review: The Men Who Stare at Goats (15)

Directed by: Grant Heslov
Starring: Ewan McGregor, George Clooney, Jeff Bridges, Kevin Spacey

Ewan McGregor plays Bob, a disillusioned newspaper journalist who, following his divorce goes to Iraq in search of a story, a goal and something to believe in. It is here he meets Lyn Cassady played by George Clooney who begins to tell the story of how he and other soldiers were involved in a secret military operation to create psychic soldiers. Bob is inadvertently swept up into Lyn’s current secret mission to find a hidden military installation in the Iraqi desert by means of “remote viewing”. Kevin Spacey and Jeff Bridges co-star in this voyage of discovery that, I guarantee isn’t what you’re expecting.

continue reading Review: The Men Who Stare at Goats (15)

October 26, 2009

Review: Paranormal Activity (TBC)

Directed by: Oren Peli
Starring: Katie Featherston, Micah Sloat

“Reality” horror movie made on a shoestring using the actors’ real names and claiming to be footage recovered by police depicting a paranormal event. I finally checked out a movie that was originally released on the festival circuit back in 2007 and has just had a general release. So here we go, my review of The Blair Witch Pro…. erm, I mean Paranormal Activity.

continue reading Review: Paranormal Activity (TBC)

October 17, 2009

Review: Zombieland (15)

Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Emma Stone, Abigail Breslin
Directed by: Ruben Fleischer

It’s a question as old as the genre itself; How would you survive the zombie apocolypse? This simple question forms the premise of Ruben Fleischer’s Zombieland. Not concerned with the origins of the walking dead (although it does get mentioned), Zombieland is purely about the struggle of staying alive once the majority had turned zombie. Jesse Eisenberg plays Columbus (Because that’s where he’s headed. People don’t use their names, just the names of the places they’re going/have come from.) one of the few remaining actual people who scratch out a living by moving from place to place scavenging supplies and avoiding the hoards of zombies. Things go wrong… well right… but wrong, when he meets Tallahassee (Harrelson) and then Witchita (Stone) and her sister Little Rock (Breslin) and the group head out to the west coast… to visit a theme park.

continue reading Review: Zombieland (15)

September 1, 2009

Review: District 9 (15)

Directed by: Neill Blomkamp
Starring: Sharlto Copley

Every so often, even seasoned movie geeks get blindsided. We can be so focused on what the big guns like Jim Cameron and Martin Scorsese are doing that we miss an absolute blinder sneaking in under the radar. Well for me, District 9 was nearly one of these. Due for release in North America in August, I didn’t even know of the film’s existence until July. Odd considering that it’s right up my street. A modern sci-fi story with plenty of aliens, gore and giant robots. What makes this even more shocking is that it’s produced by cinema uber-giant Peter Jackson. Well, after a delayed UK release (Seriously, guys. It’s 2009. Worldwide release dates please.) I finally saw what all the fuss was about.

continue reading Review: District 9 (15)

August 24, 2009

Is Twitter killing Hollywood Movies? A Response.

Today my friend, Dennis posted an article on his site The Beta News about how movie studio fat cats see twitter as detrimental to the movie industry. They are concerned that people are instantly coming out of a screening and tweeting their, often negative, opinions on the movie and this is acting as a catalyst for bad publicity. Where before you’d have to pick up a newspaper or a copy of Empire to read about the latest movies, now you have short, sharp opinions hand delivered to you in your Twitter feed. What used to happen in days or weeks is now happening in minutes. But is this actually bad for the movie industry? I don’t think so.

continue reading Is Twitter killing Hollywood Movies? A Response.

July 21, 2009

Review – Bruno (18)

Directed by: Larry Charles
Starring: Sascha Baron Cohen

It’s been 3 years since Borat hit our screens and had the nation shouting “Is nice!” in a dodgy accent and now Sascha baron Cohen is back at it again with his latest character, Austrian fashion journalist, Bruno. The “story” follows Bruno travelling to America on a voyage of self discovery with his assistant where he appears on talk shows, conducts interviews and generally meets with people who will be most annoyed by him. Gee, where have we heard that scenario before?

continue reading Review – Bruno (18)

July 1, 2009

Review – Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (12A)

Directed by: Michael Bay
Starring: Shia LaBeouf, Megan Fox, John Turturro, Tyrese Gibson

Two years have passed since Megatron and the Decepticons had their asses handed to them by Optimus Prime and the Autobots and the latter have remained on Earth and have formed a secret alliance with military forces to form an elite force, NEST, to seek out and destroy any remaining Decepticons. While out on one of these clean-up missions NEST encounter some Decepticons with an ominous message; The Fallen will return.

continue reading Review – Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (12A)

May 20, 2009

Review: Angels and Demons (12)

Directed by: Ron Howard
Starring: Tom Hanks, Ewan McGregor

I’ve read all four of Dan Brown’s popular short-chapter cheap-thrills novels (Digital Fortress, The Da Vinci Code, Deception Point and Angels and Demons) and I have to say I’ve enjoyed them all. Long before Ron Howard began work on The Da Vinci Code, however, I’d come to the conclusion that if either of the Robert Langdon novels were to make their way to the big screen it would be Angels and Demons that would make the better film. The intense focused race against time wasn’t as broken by long historical explanations and the subject matter meant there was more scope for impressive special effects and action sequences. But I have been wrong before…

continue reading Review: Angels and Demons (12)

March 26, 2009

Review – Knowing (15)

Starring: Nicolas Cage
Directed by: Alex Proyas

Imagine you’re given fore warning of global disasters only to discover that you not only know they’re coming but that you play a vital part in the grand plan of fate. Knowing is the story of John Koestler, a teacher at MIT (They all work at MIT) and single parent following the death of his wife in a hotel fire a year earlier. Johns son, Caleb receives an envelope from the school’s 50 year old time capsule containing a list of seemingly random numbers. It isn’t long, though, before Mr. MIT works out a system in the numbers. They are dates and death tolls of every major global disaster for the last 50 years, in perfect sequence.

continue reading Review – Knowing (15)

March 7, 2009

Review – Watchmen (18)

Directed by: Zack Snyder,
Starring: Jackie Earle Haley, Billy Crudup, Malin Akerman, Patrick Wilson

The year is 1985. President Richard Nixon is in his 5th consecutive term in office. America has triumphed in Vietnam and currently stands minutes away from nuclear war with the USSR. Masked vigilantes have been outlawed but one of the original ‘masks’, Rorschach remains active. When former vigilante The Comedian (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) is murdered Rorschach must leave no stone unturned to get to the bottom of a sinister plot, the magnitude of which defies belief. This is Watchmen.

continue reading Review – Watchmen (18)

September 11, 2008

Review – Pineapple Express (15)

Directed by: David Gordon Green
Starring: Seth Rogen, James Franco

Dale Denton (Rogen) and Saul Silver (Franco) star as customer and drug dealer respectively as they must try to save their own lives after witnessing a murder where even the police are involved in this kind of clever but not clever at all laugh riot.

continue reading Review – Pineapple Express (15)

August 7, 2008

Review – The X-Files: I want to Believe (15)

Directed by: Chris Carter
Starring: David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson, Billy Connolly, Amanda Peet, Xzibit

***WARNING – POSSIBLE SPOILERS***

It’s been about 7 years since we last saw the two most famous FBI agents in the world and despite the series winding down in popularity (and credibility) towards the end, they left us wanting more. Well, now, all these years later we get more. Mulder and Scully, now no longer employees of the FBI are enlisted by the bureau once again, this time to help find a missing agent with the help of a convicted paedophile priest (Connolly) who also claims to be a psychic.

continue reading Review – The X-Files: I want to Believe (15)

August 1, 2008

Review – The Dark Knight (12a)

Directed By: Christopher Nolan
Starring: Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Aaron Eckhart, Gary Oldman, Maggie Gyllenhaal

A year (in movie time) after the caped crusader appeared on the streets of Gotham City, Crime is coming to an end. Mobsters and thugs who were previously untouchable are being brought to justice and corruption is dying a death. A new District Attorney, Harvey Dent (Eckhart) is finishing the work Batman is starting by seeing the criminals put behind bars in their hundreds. But the criminal element in the city finds unlikely… and deadly support in the form of an unknown psychopath known as The Joker. It soon becomes clear that Gotham now needs Batman more than ever before.

continue reading Review – The Dark Knight (12a)

May 23, 2008

Review – Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (12a)

Directed by: Steven Spielberg
Starring: Harrison Ford, Cate Blanchett, Karren Allen, Shia LaBeouf, Ray Winstone

After a 19 year hiatus from the silver screen, everyone’s favourite archaeologist and adventurer returns. On the trail of a mythical city of solid gold, Indy and his new found sidekick Mutt Williams (LaBeouf) must seek out a lost crystal skull, said to have untold power. Hot on his tail, however is Irina Spalko, a Russian scientist and lunatic obsessed with the possibility of psychic warfare. Indy must not only find the skull and city of gold before they fall into the hands of those pesky reds but he must also deal with some hard-hitting surprises a lot closer to home.

continue reading Review – Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (12a)

May 12, 2008

Review – Iron Man (12A)

Directed By: Jon Favreau
Starring: Robert Downey Jr, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jeff Bridges, Terrance Howard

When billionaire CEO of weapons manufacturer Stark Industries, Tony Stark, is kidnapped by extremists in Afghanistan his eyes are opened. He must protect the world from the weapons he once created. By building a state-of-the-art suit of mechanised armour, Stark becomes Iron Man. But will he be in time to prevent untold carnage at the hands of people who he once called friends?

continue reading Review – Iron Man (12A)

April 28, 2008

Review – In Bruges (18)

Directed By: Martin McDonagh
Starring: Colin Farrell, Brendan Gleeson, Ralph Fiennes

Hit men Ray (Farrell) and Ken (Gleeson) are sent to Bruges, Belgium following a semi-successful job in London. Unsure about why they have been sent to Bruges the two men try and make the best of their 2 week stay. But soon it becomes apparent that their purpose in Bruges is not all together savoury. What ensues is a blackly funny chain of events that will leave many dead and many more offended.

continue reading Review – In Bruges (18)

April 21, 2008

Review – Street Kings (15)

Directed By: David Ayer
Starring: Keanu Reeves, Forest Whitaker

David Ayer brings us another hard-hitting, street cop story of corruption and betrayal with Street Kings. Reeves stars as Tom “Lud” Ludlow, a borderline alcoholic who’s indiscretions have been skillfully covered up by his team and his commanding officer, Jack Wander (Whitaker). But when Lud is implicated in the death of another cop he is forced to turn against the force he loves and men who were once his friends and find out if he has been on the right side from the start.

continue reading Review – Street Kings (15)

April 11, 2008

Review – 21 (12A)

Starring: Jim Sturgess, Kevin Spacey, Kate Bosworth
Directed by: Robert Luketic

Star MIT student, Ben Campbell (Sturgess) is offered the means to get all the money he needs to go to Harvard Medical School and much, much more by joining a team of card counters as they take Las Vegas for millions in Robert Liketic’s fun, stylish, yet slightly predictable caper.

continue reading Review – 21 (12A)

March 6, 2008

Review – Jumper (12A)

Starring: Hayden Christensen, Jamie Bell, Samuel L Jackson, Rachel Bilson
Directed by: Doug Liman

David Rice (Christensen) discovers he has the ability to “Jump” anywhere in the world in an instant. After getting some money together he sets out on a life of leisure until he discovers that Jumpers like him are in the midst of a war that has been raging for hundreds of years. Paladins, religious fanatics who believe that only god should have this power, set out to wipe the Jumpers off the planet. Now he must fight in order to save, not only his own life, but the lives of his loved ones.

continue reading Review – Jumper (12A)

February 14, 2008

Review – Juno (12A)

Directed By: Jason Reitman
Starring: Ellen Page, Michael Cera

Juno MacGuf (Page), a 16 year old, high school junior finds herself pregnant after a one-time sexual encounter with her best friend. After deciding against an abortion Juno sets out on the bumpy path of finding and arranging a family who will adopt her baby while dealing with her relationship with the father, Paulie (Cera).

continue reading Review – Juno (12A)

February 2, 2008

Review – Cloverfield (15)

Directed by: Matt Reeves
Starring: Michael Stahl-David, T.J. Miller, Odette Yustman

Cloverfield… Rarely do we see a movie released in a shroud of such secrecy. Other than “monster attacks city” and some carefully edited clips of shaky camera work depicting the decapitation of lady liberty the publicity has been sparse and increasingly bizarre. Ever since I first saw Transformers back in May I’ve been chomping at the bit to see it. Last night was opening night and all of my waiting was over.

continue reading Review – Cloverfield (15)

January 24, 2008

Review – Aliens vs Predator: Requiem (15)

Directors: Colin Strause, Greg Strause

Starring: Steven Pasquale, Reiko Aylesworth

When I saw the HD trailer for AVP:R a few months back I was so excited, I swear I peed a little. Over the months that followed I learned more about the story and remained quite excited. After all, it looked, from the trailer, to be the film that we wanted the first time around, i.e. with the gore we wanted. It also had glimpses of James Cameron’s classic Aliens in that the creatures had the ridges in their heads as seen in the 1986 sequel.

continue reading Review – Aliens vs Predator: Requiem (15)

December 27, 2007

Review – I Am Legend (15)

Directed by: Francis Lawrence

Starring: Will Smith

2012: As the only man left alive in New York City, and possibly the world, following the outbreak of a deadly man-made virus, Dr. Robert Neville must find a cure for the ones the virus didn’t kill. Before the infected kill him.

continue reading Review – I Am Legend (15)

November 30, 2007

Review – American Gangster (18)

Directed by: Ridley Scott

Starring: Denzel Washington, Russell Crowe

Photos | Trailers | Full Cast and Crew | Memorable Quotes | Trivia

In the late 60s and early 70s, the drug trade in New York was run by one man. Ridley Scott’s latest film American Gangster chronicles the rise and fall of “the most dangerous man walking the streets of the city”, Frank Lucas.

continue reading Review – American Gangster (18)

November 1, 2007

Review – 30 Days of Night (15)

Director: David Slade

Starring: Josh Hartnett, Melissa George

Vampires, a film-maker’s dream job in my opinion. You have some hard and fast rules to abide by such as sunlight=death and vampires drink blood. Other than that you pretty much have carte blanche to put your own spin on the vampire legend. Anne Rice made them immune to crosses and garlic but sleeping in coffins was a necessity, Robert Rodriguez made them vulnerable to pretty much all traditional means of killing vampires but made them grotesque monsters rather than evil humans with pointy teeth and pale skin in From Dusk til Dawn. Given this huge scope, you’d think that we would be swimming in extremely good vampire movies… truth is, most of them suck. Out of modern ones, the only ones I’d say were worthy of 3 or more stars were Blade (just the first one) and Interview with a Vampire. And yes, since Blade 3 we’ve had a bit of a drought of vampire flicks making it to the big screen…It’s been all about the zombies. That is until now.

continue reading Review – 30 Days of Night (15)

October 4, 2007

Review – The Brave One (18)

When radio show host Erica Bain (Jodie Foster) is the victim of a violent attack in New York City she makes the life-altering choice to take the law into her own hands in a string of vigilante justice incidents that attract the interest of both the media and the police. continue reading Review – The Brave One (18)

October 1, 2007

Review – Chuck and Larry

Wednesday me and Nat went to see I now pronounce you Chuck and Larry at Derby cinema. The plot basically involves two New York Firemen (Adam Sandler and Kevin Kames) entering into a false gay marriage in order to solve a pension crisis. Their marriage comes under scrutany by the state however following a spate of simmilar situations where false couples had used it gain money or tax breaks illegally. continue reading Review – Chuck and Larry

August 16, 2007

Review – The Bourne Ultimatum

Three years on and the CIA’s most difficult target ever, Jason Bourne is still on the run. This time, he brings the fight to ther doorstep. Well, he did tell you to leave him alone.

As well as stars Matt Damon and Julia Stiles, director Paul Greengrass returns to finish the trilogy that restored faith in the spy genre. This time, while still on the run, Bourne hears of a leak from the CIA to British newspaper the Guardian regarding Treadstone (The black-ops assassination unit that Bourne was formerly a part of) but when he meets with the Journalist reporting the leak, it becomes clear that Treadstone was only the tip of the Iceberg. With unexpected help from former Treadstone logistics agent Nicky Parsons (Stiles) Bourne must get to the bottom of the conspiracy that made him and many others the killing machines they are.

One thing that I’ve always loved about these films is that they are true adult’s spy stories. None of this fake, make a witty remark after dispatching an enemy crap that the likes of Ethan Hunt and [insert cliche action hero] tend to do. Nor does Bourne dodge every bullet and punch. He’s not super-human This is gritty, realistic and honest. You really get a sense that the CIA could easily be behind something such as this.

It’s not just the script that gives this realism though. Moscow is shot in Moscow, Berlin is shot in Berlin and Madrid is shot in Madrid. Not everyone speaks English, not that Language barriers have ever been a problem for Jason Bourne as we have seen him speak fluent French, Spanish, Russian and German throughout the course of the trilogy. Use of real-life companies and technologies don’t only help fund the film through product placement, they also give you an extra level of realism. You see Bourne buy a phone form the Carphone Warehouse, he meets with a reporter from the Guardian, and at one point you see the CIA using what appears to be Windows.. or something very much dressed up as Windows. The cars he uses are typical of cars used in that country and in Morocco he rides a Vespa.

So yeah, we’ve established the film is realistic. But is it actually good? Does it Live up to the first two movies? In a word, yes.

Matt Damon as Jason Bourne was an unlikely choice but I seriously cannot imagine another actor playing the role as well as he does. He’s prefect for it and even in this third outing, he does not Disappoint. Supporting roles were good as well. I was surprised to see one of my favourite actors, Scott Glenn in the role of CIA Director Ezra Kramer and Joan Allen returns as scaresly informed but never naieve CIA agent Pamela Landy. Although Glenn doesn’t have much of a role in the film, the actor’s very palpable presence (without giving too much away) ensures that the Chracter’s place in the whole Bourne conspiracy is felt. I think what really gives this film it’s success is the consistency that is present thourghout the trilogy. Same stars, same Director and production team and no glaring plot holes between the films. This is a very satisfying conclusion to the trilogy and I can see many a DVD box set flying off the shelf come Christmas.

I am seriously hard pushed to say I enjoyed this film any more or any less than the first two installments. They are just so consistent and so well made that I can’t help but love them.

Verdict: starstarstarstar

July 31, 2007

Review – The Simpsons Movie

You know how you go to a theme park, queue for hours to get on a ride that lasts 20 seconds but somehow you’re cool with that? Well try waiting 18 years for 82 minutes of film. How was I still satisfied? I don’t know, but I was!

I say satisfied… I should really say “overall I was satisfied” because, you see, all the simpsons humour was there, all my favourite characters were there adn the story was really good. The only problem was… well, the fact that it was a movie. That might sound odd but honestly, I don’t think I benefitted in the slightest from seeing this on the big screen. The animation was good, better than a standard episode, but it was a long way from being a special effects blockbuster. Also, a few risque gags aside, the story was nothing so special it had to be a movie.

Basically the story revolves around Springfield becoming the latest ecological disaster to plague the earth, an event foreseen by Grampa Simpson in a holy vision. In response, the EPA enclose the city in a gigantic glass dome. Tensions rise and when it becomes clear that it is in fact Homer that is responsible for the disaster the town band together to Kill the Simpsons. After an unlikely escape the family soon discover that they may be the only hope to save Springfield from total destruction.

The story has a lot going for it. It’s topical, everyone wants to know about climate change and the environment!! Also, as is always the case with the simpsons (paticularly the modern episodes) there are many references to pop culture made in a, sometimes darkly, satirical way. I laughed consistently throughout this movie but no more so than I would have laughed at an episode.

I suppose I should come pack to the comparison I made to the theme park. This movie was thrilling, like a rollercoaster, but no more thrilling than being pushed at great speeds down the road in a shopping trolly, a thrill I could enjoy for free. Good enough for a feature length TV special, yes… Fit for an actual theatrical movie… ‘fraid not.

Verdict: starstarstar

July 23, 2007

Review – Transformers

2007 is truely turning out to be a big year for movies. Loads and loads of long-awaited titles have come out or are due to be out. Spider-man 3, Pirates 3, Die Hard 4.0, The Bourne Ulimatum, Harry Potter and the Order of the Pheonix. All Big titles. However, the one I have been most looking forward to, as a true child of the 80s, is Transformers. As I child I was pretty much obsessed with Transformers and I vividly remember having a butt load of action figures including a massive Optimus Prime that transformed into this mobile command centre. Anyway… I digress. On saturday I finally got to see an advance preview screening of Michael Bay’s: Transformers.

The story is basically two waring factions, The Autobots and the Decepticons are searching for an ancient artefact called the All-Spark. It has the power to create worlds… or destroy them (bet you can’t guess what each side wants it for.) The artefact, rather inconveniently ends up on Earth… Bugger.

Sam Witwicky, played by Shia LaBeouf, unknowingly has something that both sides want; the loacation of the All-Spark, encoded on an old pair of glasses once owned by his great great grandfather, Captain Archibald Witwicky who, it transpires Discovered a frozen Megatron in the ice while exploring the arctic circle. When he accidentally activated Megatron’s navigational system the whereabouts of the All-Spark were beamed and etched onto the glasses. Sam has placed the glasses along with other items on an eBay auction and it is through this that both sides become aware of Sam, and the information he unknowingly posesses. Sure enough both sides make contact and the battle is on to find and put to use the All-Spark.

Having been told very little about the films over all plot I didn’t have many preconceptions about it. There has been lots of controversy over the appearance of the robots though. Bumblebee, in the cartoons was a VW Beetle, in the film he is a Camaro. Also, Optimus prime looks quite different, with flames no less. Megatron is the most radical change though with him being absolutely nothing like his Cartoon form.

So anyway… How was the film. I hear you ask…

In a word… Fan-bloody-tastic!!! I properly 100% enjoyed it. The story was good, the CGI was absolutely crackin and the characters were really really good. Shia LaBeouf was entertaining as Sam Witwicky and there are some entertaining appearances from John Voight and Bernie Mac.

There was some controversy over the choice of Director in Michael Bay. His work is often quite derivative and in places this can be seen in Transformers. A bunch of men getting off a plane or helicoptor around dusk with the sunset behind them all shot in slow motion… it’s either going to be John Woo or Michael Bay. You can certainly see his influence in many shots and if you were to watch The Rock straight after this movie you’d be properly surprised how similar they are in terms of cinematography and Direction. This sensationalist style doesn’t lend itself to many films but one of them is definately Transformers. I thought the way it was shot was really nice and was in keeping with the style of the story.

I do have a couple of gripes with the film, nothing major but they are worth a mention. First of all there seemed to be a lot of story centered around the humans. Not really that bad but you’d expect that in a film called Transformers there would be more action and storyline based around the robots themselves. Thankfully the story with the humans is a pretty good one too so it’s not so bad. Secondly, although most of the characters were really awesome, one of the Autobots, Jazz looked really really gay! The car he turned into was like a Daihatsu Copen!! Honestly, I was half expecting him to talk like Big Gay Al!! Again, this was a minor complaint. One other thing is I would have liked to see more of Bernie Mac’s character. He was really funny. When Sam is looking at the Camaro (Bumblebee) Mac’s character tries to sell him an old VW Beetle… Perhaps giving a slight nod to Bumblebee’s original cartoon form.

Autobots Featured:

Optimus Prime, Ratchet, Bumblebee, Ironhide, Jazz

Decepticons Featured:

Megatron, Starscream, Bonecrusher, Frenzy, Barricade, Blackout, Scorponoc

All that aside though, this film is still hugely entertaining and I think I’ll be going to see it again because it truely is an amazing specatle. I want to know if this is out in IMAX theatres because it will definately be one to check out. The only reason I’m not going to give this 5 stars is because of one flaw. The film is having something of an Identity crisis. I think I went into the cinema with the right outlook; that I was going to see a kid’s/young adult’s movie with some violent action scenes. If it was looked at from the oposite view point, it being an adult’s film with a childish script, this could be a real problem. However you look at it though, this film is a success.

Verdict: starstarstarstar

July 18, 2007

Review – Die Hard 4.0

It’s been 12 years since we left John McClane with his new-found friend Zeus Carver on the side of a Quebec street having just spectacularly blown up Simon’s helicoptor with some electrical cables after uttering his obligatory catch-phrase; “Yippee Ki Yay mother fucker”. I’m sure I was not alone in thinking, until rumours of this fourth installment began to surface, that this would be the last time the beloved character would appear on the silver screen… But thank god I was wrong!

This installment sees John McClane yet again fighting the almost Die-Hard-Patented Theives posing as terrorists. This time, however, it’s Cyber-terror that get’s the Die Hard treatment with Timothy Olyphant (Go, A man apart, Gone in 60 seconds) playing the role of Thomas Gabriel, a formerly government-employed IT security consultant who was fired for “Hacking into Norad using only a Laptop” to point out the military’s inadequate security. McClane is given the task of overseeing the safe transport of young hacker and genius Matt Farrell played by Justin Long (Dodgeball) to police custody following the assassinations of various other prolific hackers across the country. It is at this point McClane becomes involved in Gabriel’s plans.

Gabriel and his team, made up of equal parts of brains and braun, begin to carry out a “Fire Sale” which is basically a massive hack of all computer operated systems in the country. All is not as it seems though and when Mclane begins to interfere in Gabriel’s plans, things get personal and McClane’s daughter, Lucy is kidnapped and her life threatened. John must not only rescue his daughter but also put a stop to Gabriel and his team before the USA is brought to it’s knees.

The computer illiterate McClane is not alone in his fight, however and the young Matt Farrel is never far from his side providing technological assistance whenever it’s needed.

It appears with time some things have changed with our hero. He’s come to terms with his hair loss and has decided to shave off the few remaining hairs rather than opt for a much less action movie friendly comb-over. He’s also managed to curb his bad language, a move that someone as cynical as myself could see as a change to fit the movie into a PG-13 certificate (15 in the UK) so as to maximise profits. But dispite these changes, Detective John McClane is as good an action hero as he has ever been, dishing out beatings and hillarious one-liners as if the events of the 40 story Nakatomi Plaza 19 years previous had happened only yesterday.

The protagonist is not the only factor to a story’s success, however and the supporting performances in this movie are also as good as I would have hoped. They certainly had big shoes to fill after Die Hard With a Vengance and supporting performances from Jeremy Irons and Samuel L Jackson. Justin Long and Timothy Olypahnt are excellent in this film and Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Lucy McLane is also hugely entertaining. An unexpected role from Kevin Smith is something I wasn’t expecting to see but I have to say I enjoyed it.

The special effects were all great and the scene with the fighter jet and the Juggernaut was superbly shot and put together. Stunts were great too and with the addition of CGI were only enhanced.

So all good then? Not really, no. You see, although this film ticked all the right boxes for an adrenaline fuelled action adventure… It didn’t feel like Die Hard. It seemed far too glossy and polished. I felt distanced from the action, something that was certainly not an issue with the previous three films. Also, McClane was given almost Carte Blance to roam from place to place fighting these new, high-tech bad guys. He goes from New York, to DC to Maryland. I think some of the success of the previous movies came from the fact that the action was confined to a very well defined area (Nakatomi Plaza in Die Hard, Dulles international airport in Die Hard 2 and Central New York City in Die Hard with a Vengance). McClane is best in confined areas. Also… McLane flies a Helicoptor! I’m sorry but that seems like something the John McClane I thought I knew would never do.

Overall though, I really enjoyed this film and I reccomend any fan of the Previous installments of Die Hard should go and see it.

starstarstarstar

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