Saturday, 5 December 2009

10, The Box

I was expecting a fast paced, action thriller with twist, turns, plot surprises and a massive "never saw that coming!" moment at the end, I could not have been more wrong if i tried.

Set in the late 70's its about a young family, she's a teacher, he's a NASA scientist, kid at school, mid American suburbia. Very quickly into the movie a box gets delivered with the premise, push the button and you get £1m, downside, someone you don't know dies. Hmmmmm, enough meat for a story - maybe, did it work?, maybe not.

At this point I was expecting guns, conspiracy theories, maybe a little sex but nope, it just seemed to plod along for about 45 minutes.

The worst thing that a dull movie can do is get confusing and unfortunately it did. The moral of the story can be identified as "what goes around, comes around" and I didn't want to spoil the end of it for you by saying Diaz dies, but she does and in a way, she should, to make the story continue to the next family who put money before life.

The the confusing bit - it's aliens. From Mars. In 1979. I think, still not entirely sure!!! But they inhabit humans making them like zombies, without the moaning and gore and all the things that make really good zombies. The are called "employees" and they appear to be everywhere, pretty much freaking out our beloved Cyclops (x-men) who ends up floating in a water cube, above his sleeping wife and then it floods the house, and they get kidnapped, then returned home, the you think you have sussed it and then it cuts to another family and.............My wife fell asleep. I can understand why.

Its not the gritty thriller I wanted for a Saturday afternoon. Its a 12a, it not scary so much to say one bit WILL make you jump (or scream if you are the girl sitting behind me!) and I took our 11 year old who enjoyed it, but did need an explanation at the end. You WILL understand the "cycle", you WILL understand the ties, you WONT leave feeling it was amazing. The Trailers make it attractive, the reality is it's not all it should be.

and I am getting REALLY bored with the Sigourney Weaver Orange Ad now - CHANGE IT !!!

See this if.......................You didn't know any better!

Thursday, 3 December 2009

9, Nativity!

So Christmas is well and truly here and so far, Christmas Movies = 2 Seen (Check!). I definitely think I've done my bit for the "Kiddie Xmas Movies" this year but to be brutally honest - I cant complain about either of them (See earlier Christmas Carol Blog)

There are a few rules when you go and see Nativity!

Rule 1 - TAKE KIDS!!! This is definitely not a movie to see without them and besides, everyone else will take their kids so you will just look silly!

Rule 2 - Don't Expect the Hollywood Elite, The kids are REAL KIDS (barring the Cheeky Monkeys from Britain's got Talent) but other than that they all are normal kids, cast for a BBC movie

Rule 3 - you will think you are watching something by Ricky Gervais, the cast include ex Office & Extras stars so don't be confused!!

Rule 4 - Smile!!, Its heartwarming.

It's not big budget, its not even well acted but it's fun. You want Hollywood to turn up and the kids are Fantastic!!!, keep an eye out for mini Elvis and the kid who's talent is turning purple - they are the best. The star of the whole movie is the Teaching Assistant, Mr Poppy, who delivers a brilliant performance even down to wearing his Parker as a cape (as we all did!) and acting, speaking and behaving throughout the whole film as a kid in the class, rather than a TA in charge of them!!

My wife cried, my daughter laughed and my M&M's ran out all too quickly. Great cameos from Alan Carr and Pam Ferris and all in all a Happy Ending!!!

See this if...............you LURVE Christmas!!!

Saturday, 28 November 2009

8, Law Abiding Citizen

My 6 year old daughter loved him in "Nims Island", My Wife loved him in "The Ugly Truth", I loved him in "300 & Rock 'n' Rolla", in-fact it would be hard to find a movie that Mr Gerard Butler has done recently that was not loved by someone. And "Law Abiding Citizen" is Brilliant.

In most films there is a good guy & a bad guy, but this movie manages to take these two roles, switch them round and then return them back, which means you totally understand why Butler does what he does and you also fully believe that Foxx acts how he acts, but on the flip side, Butler goes too far and Foxx should have known better.

As I mentioned in the blog for New Moon, I'm not here to tell you how it ends, but this movie is both sincere & heartwarming as much as it is gruesome and cruel and at every turn you are drawn into the realism of the story and end up questioning how you would act, given the same situation?

Gerard is amazing in this role, The play off of Heartwarming Dad against Psychotic Murderer are evenly placed in the plot and the first 5 minutes are harrowing (whether you are a parent or not!), but at every turn you want him to avenge his family, although the fact that he claims all are guilty, even through association are questionable, but what a movie!!

It's an 18 cert but there is no nudity, no sex, not even extreme language - in fact, the only part that suggested "adult" was the murder of the cell mate (which would have made Wes Craven Smile) but apart from that it was a 15, over and over again.

I left this film moved, satisfied and glad it ended as it did, (spoiler alert!!), Butler, for his actions deserved the ending, Napalm! His murdering of innocents through association was wrong, but the state was on trial by him, not the man, and the the full bloodied belief of failure in the system led him to do what he did. The technical plot of his actions was brilliant and this plays out right up until the end.

If you have kids, you will be moved - you will believe, you will also understand Foxx's position and that of his family and in the end, stand along side the D.E.A, believing justice was served. Albeit, glad that those that died, did. (Except the blonde attorney, she did not need to be there).

See this if...............You question authority and stand for your beliefs!

Thursday, 26 November 2009

7, Twilight - New Moon

Every day I seem to hear "The book is better than the film", is it an imagination thing?, does "working it out yourself" always make for a better interpretation or like me, do you just want your stories told in 2 hours, job done, move on?

I have not read the books but I loved the first film and the sequel was always going to have a lot to live up to. This blog is not about explaining story lines but for a snap shot, girl & Vamp are in love, Vamp cant handle pressure & leaves, girl falls for werewolf, vamp gets jealous, werewolf turns hairy, vamp returns, werewolf gets jealous, girl goes back to vamp, it end, ABRUPTLY!!!

So, plot over and I was right, it did have a lot to live up to but how many sequels actually improve on the original?, Empire Strikes Back - Definitely, Ace Ventura - Not a chance and as for Chipmunks 2 - The jury is out until the kids drag me along but nether the less, it was still a cracking movie.

The special effects (mainly the werewolf transformations) were well done, the story ran smoothly, although appears a little slow to get going and the cameo as the head vampire from Mr Clough / Tony Blair / Kenneth Williams / Last weeks Top Gear? (keep up) was excellent.

Before going I ran a facebook vote, Vamps or Werewolves and Vamps won outright, Team Edward was all set for my support and they were right, the Vamps are cooler & sexier and given the choice of being either, VAMP, every time !! Bella definitely shows signs of heartache and you really get involved with her story, losing Edward, falling for Jacob etc but its obvious the outcome, (spoiler alert) but EVERYONE in the cinema was expecting her to be turned at the end and just when you thought Edward was going to do it IT ENDED !!!, just like that ! - Gutted.

Ob the up side, Eclipse (Part 3) is already filmed, in post-production and due for a 2010 release so not too long to wait to see it all come together.

Its a 12a so kiddie friendly, but after nightmares from the youngest after watching "9" and even "Christmas Carol" we decided to leave her at home and glad we did. Werewolf bits are not jumpy as expected but still a few yelps from around the audience and teenage girls all swooning when Jacob and his clan bowl around in denim short and nothing else (given reason - 114c body temp??) (actual reason - female audience!!)

It's good - See this if.................You get "sucked" in !!

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

6, 2012

I have been looking forward to this movie since the 1st trailer was shown about 6 months ago. I love CGI Extravaganza movies and was gutted when I heard everybody slate this film. Radio 1 - Hated it!, The Guardian - Hated it! in fact, it was hard to find anyone who vaguely liked it.

But I have no idea what they are all taking about. Yes, the CGI is pretty much throughout the entire movie but I agree with Chris Moyles, how the hell can you make a movie about the end of the world without CGI!!

Two of my Favourite movies of all time are Gross Point Blank and Pushing Tin, fair enough they are not that well known but John Cusack is in both of them and he is ace!!! This does not disappoint, the everyday Joe turned hero who happened to work for a Russian Billionaire (as his chauffeur).

The movie kicks off with the discovery that devastation is coming 3 years in advance and the government goes about planning what to do. Luckily, a camping trip into Yellowstone Park for Cusack and the kids leads to information that the end is nigh from a hippy conspiracy theorist (Woody Harrelson) and Cusack takes it under advisement until things start to pan out as predicted. After about half an hour the pace kicks off and bring on the special effects!! It does not stop from then on and after 3hrs of it I could still have watched it over again!!!

The whole thing leads to pretty much half of the east coast collapsing into the sea, this brings on Tsunami's and characters on land, sea and air all get hit with a variety of mega natural disasters. It's every disaster movie you have ever seen rolled into one and the main cast are brilliantly played out.

Once the East Coast vanishes its a race to find the only safe ground where a plan is in place to save about 300,000 of the entire population. I won't spoil the end plot, other than it all goes to shit but the "plan" they come up with is slightly believable and the Chinese appear to save the day, as always.

This is an awesome movie, don't believe the (bad) hype and if you like Action, Disasters, Explosions, Special Effects etc then check it out. Cusack is under appreciated in the lead role and is brilliant.

Since O'Bama came to power its inevitable that Black Actors now get a shot at being "The Man" and normally you would expect Morgan Freeman to lead from the front but the ageing legend steps aside to allow Danny "Lethal Weapon" Glover into the fray and he does a great job.

See this if...........You Want a Great CGI Experience!! - Its Brill!

Friday, 13 November 2009

5, A Christmas Carol

Okay, So we all know the story. Scrooge, 3 Ghosts, Cratchett, Tiny Tim, Blah Blah Blah!!! and so far, The Muppets Version is AWESOME !!! But this one really does cut the mustard!!

I have seen a few 3D movies now since the new revolution (even at xtra cash per movie!!) but so far it has all been a few 3D bits here and there...............not any more!!!

This movie is Excellent, 3D from start to finish, It takes the story that we all know and love. Add Jim Carey, Sirius Black & Mr Darcey and all of a sudden the film takes off. It's a Disney PG so of course it screams KIDS!!! but mine shit a brick to say the least. Yes it's got ghosts, death, etc but when you introduce Devil Horses, The Grim Reaper with claw hands, a creepy Marley with a green face and dodgy teeth & 3D it makes kids jump (and adults, the guy behind me kicked my seat 4 times!!).

But I loved it!!! Not as a cartoon / animation but a story made real and great use of the 3D technology. The next 3D one I see will probably be Avatar and that is supposed to be awesome so hopefully the 3D phenomenom is now worth the money (and we can re-use the specs)

See this if...........Just See it!!

4, The Men Who Stare at Goats

Oceans 11,12 & 13. The Peacemaker, The Big Lebowski, The Usual Suspects, American Beauty.......All Amazing Movies, so tell me how so much talent can combine to make such a dull, unfunny, tedious and completely pointless movie.

I am usually the optimist when it comes to movies but it has been a very long time since I saw people actually walk out of a movie, especially at £7.50 a pop with an additional £300 for popcorn and drinks.

It was useless!!! in fact, the 2 minute 46 second trailer combined the total comedy in the whole movie in to a tiny space and like the packed movie theatre, I was sucked in by Jeff Bridges jumping off a roof, George Clooney hitting a rock in the middle of a baron desert and Kevin Spacey attempting to predict the future and in reality I should have seen "This is it" instead.

The only saving grace was Ewan McGregor being the only one not believing in the "Jedi Soldier" status when we all know that he is the only true Jedi in the movie!!!

See this if...........Inf act don't unless its a choice between this or losing a limb. In fact, sod it....Lose a limb!!

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

3, "9"

Lets start with the highlights.

1. It was in the posh screen with nice comfy armchairs.
2. It was quiet, only 7 people in the screen.
3. It was Tim Burton!!!

Now I love Tim Burton, The original Batman, Edward Scissorhands, Beetlejuice etc. Now, as a producer its his first film since "Corpse Bride" in 2005 and as a director his last film was "Sweeney Todd" in 2007 so it was nice to see something new from him. And it did not disappoint!!

Barring "Alice in Wonderland" due out 2010 (and planning to be very good indeed) this was his best film for a long time. The story was good, the Animation was excellent and the cast of voices was pretty impressive. Elija Wood headed the cast with the title role and Christopher Plummer, John C Reily, Jennifer Connelly, Crispin Glover & Martin Landau played the other "Sack Men"

The character names were very easy to remember (1 through 9) and the machine was called "The Machine". Simples!

The sets were like every ones favourite "Little big Planet" environments and the effects for the explosions were great.

Basically, World destroyed by Machines and all humans died out. 9 Creatures have been created by an inventor (who also invented the machine that took over the world, masterminded by Nazi looking dude's) who passes a piece of his soul into each of them so a non mechanical presence remains on earth and all is going fine until "9" accidentally wakes up the machine!! - All hell breaks loose and a mission is launched to defeat the machine, win the day and save an extremely small population!!.

Sadly, not all survive and my little girl did find this upsetting, but its a 12a and deservedly so. The "Baddie animation" of the Machine, A Robotic skull dog and a baby doll faced Cobra (Think the baby head doll spider thing in Toy Story, only much scarier!!) were fantastic and definately stole the show. The sack men were great with little zips housing the mechanical workings, telescopic eyes and gadget filled backpacks. Loved it!

Yes, kids under 10 will jump at the jumpy bits, but that's part of the fun.

This is a really good kid / adult movie, in fact of the 7 people visiting 5 were adults.

See this if.........Batman (Original) made you smile and you like dark animation.

Saturday, 31 October 2009

2, The Spiderwick Chronicles

Okay so this isn't a new film, infact its been around a while, but..... it is Halloween and it was the kiddie club flick at the cinema today (£1) so, family in tow, we all headed off.

I think it was a PG, not entirely sure but all in all it was not too bad. For those that don't know the story a mum and her 3 kids head to a spooky house in the middle of nowhere after her marriage breaks down. The house was left to them by a crazy great aunt who now resides in a nut house due to claiming her father was taken away by fairies!!!

BUT, in all good movie plot lines she was of course totally correct and roll on a barrage of goblins, hobgoblins, trolls etc. The special effects were good, with a great little "Dobby" style character who lives in the house and has done for the past 80 years. A secret book "the Field guide" is basically being hunted for by the evil baddie dude who can end the world as we know it if he gets his hands on it.

Normally you would expect Bruce Willis or Arnie to storm through right about now but our hero is none other than one of two twin brothers, who quite quickly identifies the entire history of the "chronicles" and manages to recruit his slightly nerdy twin, older irritating sister and 2 friendly creatures to assist in protecting the book and defeating the bad trolls.

Obviously after recruiting the help of the not so nutty aunt, our heroes end up saving the day and even managing to summon a griffin to rescue the 125 year old original writer of the field guide and reunite him with his daughter (the aunt) who decides to go back with him to the land of the fairies (ahhhh)

It's on Sky Movies so don't buy it. But the Trolls etc look good on the big screen so if its on near you, and is showing for a quid, you could do a lot worse.

See this if..........It's part of Kids Club or you fancy a kiddie friendly up to date "Labyrinth / Willow" style movie without the Celebs.

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

1, Fantastic Mr Fox

I know I am starting with a kids film, but it's day one and its the only one I've seen since starting this so here goes....

I never really understood the term "The book is better than the film", infact, I never found any real enjoyment from reading anything except "Look-In" Magazine as a kid and more recently "Official Playstation" but when you have kids of your own and part of the job involves reading to them it all of a sudden becomes a slightly different story!!

I remember this book as a kid. Actually, I remember all the Roald Dahl ones growing up, its all I ever read through choice, that was until I got my first Sega Master System!!

Obviously this story needed padding out to make a movie, the book itself can be done and dusted in about 60 minutes max so it was interesting to see what Wes did with it. The first thing that jumps out is the cast. Clooney, Streep, Gambon, Wilson, Murray to name a few but even I had to IMDB Schwarzman to find out what he had been in (and even then was still not sure!) but him aside the level of "hollywood" names was a definate draw and made up for the animation.

Now I have seen Up!, Think the trailer for Christmas Carol looks awesome, Can't wait for Avatar and even understand the logic behind "9" but I cant work out if the aim of this film was to try something new, take a step backwards in technology or merely the budget ran out due to the cost of the cast!!! Dissapointing is an understatement. Luckily the story sees it though and the "Clooney / Streep" relationship between Mr & Mrs Fox makes any slightly childlike, fun loving husband who is definately glad to be married to a sensible woman / fox take his side throughout the whole film.

The Kids enjoyed it but I could not help but imagine "Tarantino" directed it and tried to think of all the different words he would have used to replace "cuss" which cropped up everytime a character needed to make a point, "What the Cuss was that?", Who the Cuss does he think he is?" and more. Now imagine Tarantino was at the helm, you get my point!!!

The story stayed true to the book except for Kristofferson (Mr Fox's Nephew) and the secondary sub plot of the competition between Mr Fox's Son and the "highly athletic" cousin holds amusement for all of about ten minutes but wears out quicker than the Stig on a rocket.

Overall, enjoyable - Michael Gambon sounded the best, The kids had a good time and to be honest, more people were next door watching "This is It"



See this if............You remember it as a child and the kids make you go!