Sunday, 28 February 2010

The Others - Who the what now??

The Others is a great example of real horror movie. It doesn't need gore and it doesn't need violence, it just needs the atmosphere. The Others is creepier than creep from the creepshow in creepy town.

It sets itself up in a Mansion house. Always cold and creepy. Plus it comes up with an excuse for the said mansion house to usually have the curtains drawn and only candle light to break the gloom. Creepy. And that is basically it. I don't think there is any music in this film or if there is it is very infrequent. All it does it use the cold setting, long silences and some loud footsteps and creaky floorboards. But it's better than my description could ever make it and the few actors on show are very very good at what they have to do. A fantastic story from start to finish.

Clifhanger - The comeback king

This was definitely an improvement in the Stallone bankability for me. After giving me some legendary cinema (well video at least) in the early Eighties he had started to turn out some right tosh. Was probably feeling the pressure from Arnie and Willis as a threat to his throne and let's face it, he doesn't deal with that well. Still no excuses for turning out tripe like Oscar and Stop! or my Mom will shoot though. I mean Lock Up and Rocky V were not a sign to give up the genre just re establish yourself. Still, with Cliffhanger he made one of the best movies of its type for the decade and got started to climb back to the top. Hardehar.

Directed by Renny Harlin in his purple patch and carrying some good support in John Lithgow and Michael Rooker, Cliffhanger entertains from start to finish. It's got the easy set up, Sly involved in the death of a mates girlfriend, chucks in job and friends, then comes back, tense atmosphere but luckily a dramatic situation gets them to all pull together. Of course as this is Harlin, by dramatic I mean well OTT. A plane heist, a plane crash and a mountain rescue kick ass adventure. But it's all about the set pieces with Renny and the ones on show here do not disappoint. The plane heist is superb and the red copter still stands out as one of the best copter scenes in the movies. Before this I'm sure we had to do with helicopters disappearing before an inevitable explosion. Hell, we had to wait for The Matrix to better it.

So, if you're ready for Renny's corny dialogue and camp villains on the basis of all the great violence you're gonna get then you're ready for Cliffhanger. Hell, you'll even be ready to accept Eastenders Dan as the nasty English Hardman.

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Fantastic 4 : Rise of the Silver Surfer - Actually, a docudrama about 70s on the web would have been more fun to watch

Every so often a Superhero movie comes out that redefines the genre, or maybe just places the genre within a different genre there buy not given us a new genre but merely an adaptation of the existing genre or maybe of the other genre. Either way, it usually makes you sit back and go 'WOW!' Like the original Tim Burton Batman with all it's Gothic imagery and dark characterisation, adult themes and lack of spandex. Of course, with great success comes great irresponsibility, and in the movie world that means shovelling numerous inferior sequels and imitations down the throats of your insatiable shallow audiences until even they throw up on the putrid excess and lack of substance that you have dragged from the pit of poor comic pulp. Yes, Comics (or Graphic Novels if you think it affects your sex life (I don't think it will make a blind bit of difference but may affect your standing in Starbucks I suppose)) like books can have bad stories too. And we don't really need to have a 2 hour movie made from the expanded issue 412 of Spiderman, in which Peter Parker had met Doctor Octopus who had come across The Hulk earlier in the day and had happened to mention that he saw Thor in a cafe talking to Mr Metamorphoses who had said he was going into town that afternoon. Hmmmm, what mysterious adventure was he going to have??? Maybe we could make a film about it.

I guess what I mean is that for Every Batman and Batman Returns, we get Batman Forever and Batman And Robin (mind you even that can entertain more than this) oh and Ghostrider too. Booooooooo!

So there you are. The Fantastic Four sequel is shite. Now that maybe not a great revelation to many of you as you probably thought the first one was too. But I kind of liked it. As for the sequel though, it's shite. Chris Evans is annoying and shite. The welsh bloke (insert phlegm name here) is irritatingly annoying and shite. The Thing is soo annoying and shite.(Did this man star in one of the finest dramas on TV??? Lets hope he doesn't go down the Nic Cage route of wasted talent cash whore) and Jessica Alba is sickly sweet and annoying and shite, and I don't care how attractive she may be 'cos I own Into the Blue. The only saving grace is The Silver Surfer himself who is kinda cool, but even he cant save this from feeling like A big budget humourless remake of Star Trek IV. And such comparisons should never have to be made.

In fact this is so Shite that I expect a second sequel is already in production.

Orphan - If you weren't trying to cash in on a superior Spanish movie with the title then I forgive you for that....

....but, oh for the love of God! ( A term I shall be using more often as I have been watching The Tudors too much) what were you aiming for? the small number of people who will never have seen this kind of by the numbers affair before.

The film starts with an unnecessarily cold, bloody and shallow beginning, very reminiscent of The Fly II for me. Not a great recommendation and not exactly dragging me in for the post intro fare to come. Ironically the rest of the film doesn't really follow along the lines of the opening gore, preferring in this instance to follow along the psychological horror route albeit with the finesse of J-Horror westernised remake directed by Uwe Boll....on an off day.

So what we have is a recovering alcoholic (not to be believed), who appears to have accidentally almost nearly killed a family member (Definitely not to trusted), a young son who will hate everything immediately (you're so gonna get it), a deaf/mute daughter (see lots of evil, say no evil then) and a an Orphan girl to be adopted into said family (Will be European in American movie to sound more menacing and wear freaky old style clothes to heighten menacing appearance).

And that's what it is. A cliched affair with all the obvious scares laid out by the ordinance survey before they strike, with only the ending being a true surprise as you may not have quite figured it out and even if you did it's a little ickie. I don't like to criticise too much as many horror films are cliched affairs, it's just this one seems to take itself so seriously and really thinks that it's great. Esther, the orphan in question, is definitely scary though, so give it a go and you might get a few jumps. Providing you've never seen a horror movie before that is.

Saturday, 13 February 2010

Edtv - 57 channels and there's got to be something on

So I can't sleep. Get up, and browse the internet and switch on the TV. Watch a bit of the winter Olympics on BBC and then when that finishes, up pops the Ceefax selection of pages and the killer background music. How can this still exist??? What purpose does this TXT system now serve and is the facility not due to disappear when the analogue signal switches off??? In the time of HD satellite, 1000's of channels, 50 inch plasma TV's, Big Brother ,press the red button now interactivity, feesat, freeview, dancing on ice, digital switchover, Internet downloads, torrentTV, Justin TV, get me out of here and iPlayer who is interested in this. Everyone has the Internet, and if they don't then I'm damn sure they don't feel the need for a slow information digest like this. In fact they probably don't want to know anything

This ran for an hour this morning. If you want to go off air, then go off air. I think I'd rather look at this at least it might stimulate somekind of emotion. Fear maybe. Mental!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The Butterfly Effect - Flap wings, Earthquake, Japan and all that shit

Love this movie. Gets a bit of a bum ride from some corners but if you take it at face value then it's simple entertainment. An easy suspense/thriller/scifi movie that can be watched at anytime. You get comedy, drama, excitement all rolled into what is effectively a very light story. Okay, so the abuse undertones may or probably did put a few off, but it's no more than a tool to move the story along and is not lingered on or even shoved under your nose as it's not what the film is about. Time travel is the theme as the title should have indicated to you and you don't mess with that mother, trust me. Kutcher plays the lead role well (he just lightens the movie) and the supporting cast are just as worthy. And the soundtrack is superb.

A bit like Frequency, the Dennis Quaid movie in style and content for me. But at least that movie didn't spawn 2 lesser sequels. Okay I've not seen them both but Internet debate is not encouraging me to rush out and do so. I caught the start of the first sequel and even Erica Durance couldn't keep me watching. I'm informed that the third movie is better (than the second), but that's what people say about the Starship Troopers sequels. Well being better than a complete Turd is not exactly raising the bar.

Oh and a word of advice. There is a Directors cut of this film that has a different ending. Don't watch it, or at least not first. The Theatrical ending is just better. Hollywood got it right for once.

Pontypool - I wouldn't believe your wireless radio

So onto the zombie drama that is and isn't. I really liked this film. Very little happens outside the environment of one room and the involvement of a handful of characters, but it is done really really well. To a level that keeps the viewer engrossed. The clever (I always say clever. I just mean decent, engaging, well lit, not just point and shoot) camera work, the solid acting and the flowing story always had me on edge to what was coming next. The idea of how the zombie virus is spread is where the story will create debate and give the film a longevity (not me I thought it was bonkers :) but this is still a solid little movie performance regardless.

I enjoyed this much more than Paranormal Activity. Are they similar?? Well to me they are as there are very few characters, very little really happens and the trailers would have pulled in some very disappointed viewers. But I love zombie movies in all shapes and sizes so this wins out. Trailer, trailer trailer......

Dark City - We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of dreams.....

Dark City is a strange one. Good film, Intelligent script and original Ideas (at least to me), but still difficult to pin down. Therefore 'Period Scifi' is the label I shall give it.

The story focuses on a group of aliens who are on earth to study Human reaction. To do this they constantly change the environment and situations using a skill they call 'Tuning'. The Aliens themselves are pretty good Richard O'Brienesq (as he is one) looking creatures. Although when they are all together in the same room, they do appear to be a cross between Hellraisers Cenobites and Toy Story's Green Aliens. 'Tear my soul apart OOOOOHHHH!'

The setting is very sterile and grim to look at and kind of reminded me of a less colourful Dick Tracey. At the time it's look reminded me of The Matrix in that I was thinking that that film did it better or even looked better, so was interesting to read afterwards that the same sets may have been used in places. And where as in the Matrix we have Neo as the link between cultures, in this film we have "John". More indication then that this film didn't quite have the budget let alone the Kung Fu of that film.

All in all, a clever film, for fans of Blade Runner, Brazil, Matrix, Meaning of Life, City of Lost Children, Time Bandits (it's really just the way the buildings change that is making me quote Gilliam/Monty Python movies)

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Valentine's Day - Our survey says.......

I'm not going to watch this movie. Not even if you pay me. Looking at the list of cast names on the movie poster doesn't really fill me anticipation, and is only worsened as I look upon the name of Julia Roberts. Never got that one in the hot actress stakes. And don't bring up her legs in Pretty woman poster as they weren't even hers. If I must go for a Hollywood Bitch of the time the give me Demi Moore anyday.

I've seen this movie poster everywhere and much as I'm sure that I'm not the target audience I am still not sure who really is. Above the title of the movie sits the line 'From the director of Pretty woman'. What!!!!!!????? How relevant is that to anyone? What is this telling us? Put on your best deep American movie trailer voice and read.

1) The director has not made a film of any worth for 20 years.

2)The director hasn't made a decent film for 20 years and there is a good chance this will be shit

3) The film that 40 something woman have been waiting a generation for to fill the empty void in their lives

4)If you spent the past 20 years believing that there could never be a film as powerful and moving as Pretty Woman and so refused to watch any then this is the film for you.

5)Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the sea (cinema)

Okay, so I was never going to watch this regardless of any presentation or advertising but it just bugs me. Surely the biggest spending element is in the 20/30 bracket and this means nothing to them. Who gives these people jobs???

Monday, 1 February 2010

The Tudors (season one) - And I think my job is shit

Showtime is to many, the poor man's HBO. I'm not sure why. They have produced two fine shows in Dexter and Brotherhood, and now The Tudors. I took me a while to watch it but as I'm glad I did as it is a fantastic looking show.

It concentrates on the early years of Henry VIII (or '8' as Showtime have indicated, Ah one reason then) so rather than the old fat church burner we see in all history books we get the young athletic church burner instead. So it's a cooler telling of the story that most of us know with our Henry being a bit of a bratish, power mad, hedonistic king. Considering he's about 25 he does seem to have a fair bit of teenage angst though. Think Haydens 'Anakin Skywalker' with just a lot more fun and sex. (Ahh The Sex, When things get slow, whack in some sex. That's Showtime) I suppose they have to, we all pretty much know the story of The church burning Beheading king so they have to maintain the interest.

But I'm belittling the show. It's well acted by some, cringe worthy by others but you can not take away the fact that it looks superb. You would actually think you were in 16th Century England (god I hope that's right).

Roll on Season 2. But it ain't no Rome, BoB, Sons of Anarchy, etc.........

Oh yeah. The Job. Well I knew that The King had people who wiped his ass, and even people that sat at the bottom of the bed when he shagged. But I had no idea that he had someone to do this job. And before you think you know what it is, it isn't. But it almost is. I mean you're close enough :/