Tuesday, 28 December 2010

80, The Way Back


Before I get started, lets state one thing.  If Action, Sex, Explosions, Comedy etc are your thing and you never deviate then this film is definitely not for you.

So whats left? What makes this film great?

Well, to be honest this is an extremely moving true story that really captures your imagination and the thought that it actually happened to a group of near strangers made it even harder to believe - but because it did, and it affected a group of WW2 prisoners in such a way that defies belief makes you sit back in awe of their achievement.

I loved this.

The Gulag, one of the worlds most severe prisons.  Deep in Siberia its the wilderness and desolate location that acts as the guards, not the guns, dogs and watchtowers. 

A group of Polish, American & Russian prisoners devise a way to escape, knowing that they would need to survive the 4000km trek to freedom.

Mark Strong is the brains behind the plan, although not venturing on the trek himself he makes a few inmates believe it can be done.  Its not until the arrival of Janusz, a young Polish guy accused of soviet spying who believes Strong's words and devises an escape. In tow are Colin Farrell, (a Russian career criminal) & Ed Harris (an American patriot), along with a few others who Janusz befriends inside.

Soon after they manage to escape, battling the severe Siberian winter(s) their trek takes them across Russia, Mongolia, into China and then via the Himalayas, onto India.  I checked it on Google Maps - that's a pretty epic journey!!

Along their way they meet a young girl, also on the run and decide to take her along.

Sadly, only 3 make it to India (No plot spoiler - it tells you at the start of the movie) but that does not necessarily mean the rest die - merely go separate ways? but there is some tragedy.  You will have to wait and see who makes it!!

I cant categorise this for you other than that it makes you really think about your own lives and what you would do in this situation.  Battle on for the thought of survival? Stay true to your moral beliefs leaving no man behind? realising that in the face of sincere danger you are stronger as a team?

It's epic.  Amazing scenery, beautiful acting and an truly amazing story.  If Historical or factual movies float your boat then buy a big bag of popcorn, settle down, leave the kids at home and revel in what is a definite future masterpiece.

On a Bank Holiday Tuesday, the cinema was full to capacity for this adventure and there was silence from start to finish.  Captivating, inspiring and beyond belief.

To those Gulag inmates of the 40's, I salute you.  Brave souls in the harshest conditions.

See this if...................................you believe cinema is more than guns and bombs!!

Monday, 27 December 2010

79, Meet the Parents: Little Fockers


When I first saw the trailers for this 3rd installment I thought it might have gone one movie too far.  It looked cheesy, over acted and a poor attempt to grasp the few remaining jokes that might of been missed previously with the over used one-liner of linking "Focker" to every imaginable everyday sentence. 

Growing very old!! 

However, I was pleased to find that the film makers managed to make me chuckle more to myself in this one than the other two combined.

Hopefully everyone knows the characters by now, Ben Stiller plays Gaylord Focker, a name much ridiculed by his wife's family and friends, mainly DeNiro.  A good few years has now passed from the the 2nd outing with young kids in tow and our hero, Gay (Greg) now heading up the nursing division of the local hospital.  Byrnes (DeNiro) suffers a minor heart attack and survives unbeknown to his wife and daughter. 
He relies on Greg not to spill the beans but asks him to take over running the "Family" to which Greg takes on will full Mafia gusto - highly amusing.

The star of this one though is Jessica Alba who plays the brilliantly named Andi Garcia, a medicinal drugs rep who is focused on bagging both Greg's endorsement on a new drug as well as the big guy himself.

As seems to be with the other two two movies all seems to start off fine, then Greg messes up and has to win back the affections of those he loves - in this one though his doting wife has his back the whole time and its Alba who is warned off as our loving husband and father stays true to his "Focker" roots. 

Streisand & Hoffman once again rock up as Greg's Parents with show stopping excellence and Owen Wilson excels himself as Kevin, the ex-boyfriend that every new boyfriend fears and is hilarious, even richer and more freaked out than the first one!!!

I think I was expecting too little in the way of new jokes and humour but it was the opposite, they managed to further develop the roles of the cast and if anything, made an improvement on the past two movies.

There are some great scenes but even though its aimed at "kids" there a few saucy bits and a lot of sex references that the younger viewer might not be accustomed too.  A lot will go over their heads but my youngest who is now 7, laughed along with the rest of us - albeit she didn't follow that much of it.

I laughed out loud and was pleasantly surprised at the outcome.

Well done Stiller & co.  I applaud you on not screwing it up!

See this if....................................You're bored of Turkey!!!  Merry Xmas xx.

Friday, 17 December 2010

78, Tron: Legacy

Right, Firstly it is very important that you clearly understand exactly what I am about to say because for me, this is a defining comment that I hope I never live to regret.............

This is the Best special Effects film I have Ever Seen!!!!

So, now you are on my level its time to examine that fact a little deeper.

1982.  Tron (1).  For its time, a visionary masterpiece.  However, watching  it back on Sky Movies Classics it looks dated, dull and cheap.  I did try, but sadly had to switch off.  Luckily the story is simple.

Flynn (Bridges) is a computer genius and founder of upstart company Encom, he manages to create "The Grid" and gets warped into it, living in his virtual universe.  The 2nd movie starts a few years after this and one night Flynn disappears after reading his son a bedtime story.

Leap forward about 20ish years and Sam, our "grown up" son is now the major shareholder of Encom although takes no part in the running of this now, global monster.  Always wondering what ever happened to his Dad, Sam stumbles across the office under his Flynn's arcade and very quickly also gets launched into the grid where he meets his Flynn's clone, Clu who has taken over the Grid, exiling Flynn to the outer reaches.  So - the plan, get back to the porthole with Dad and a very cute non-human / human isotope being (who is played by Thirteen from House M.D) and defeat Clu in the process.

Whats good about this is if you have not see the original there are a few flashback moments to keep you up to date in relation to who Tron actually is and if he is in this one?, which he is - although sadly, under shroud the whole time.

After about 15 minutes of being in the "real world" at the start and about 5 more at the end the whole movie takes place on the grid - The special effects are awesome - from the lightbikes to the outfits and most impressively, the CGI generated Clu - a 30 year younger version of Bridges that is seamless!! 

This is the most awe inspiring, beautiful movie I have ever seen - the "comedy" comes from Martin Sheen's character Zuse who is a mixture of Louis Spence meets Russell Brand with a touch of Chaplin thrown in and for the few short scenes he is really lightens the movie.

There is only one disappointing thing I can say about this, and I hate to have to say it but it's apparent from before the movie even starts. 

There is a disclaimer!!!

It states, (and I Quote) that most of the film is in 2D due to it being shot mostly in this format and there are only some 3D moments but to keep your glasses on the whole time.

The realistic truth is I could not spot any 3D whatsoever!!! except for one final shot at the very, very end.  This could have been the most breathtaking 3D movie ever conceived - but gratefully, it does not need it - the 2D is completely amazing on its own with the fluorescent space age graphics shimmering across the screen and the lighting of the projector scanning the audience in time with the visuals.

The bikes, jets, discs.even the Formula 1 style dune buggy are amazing and I WANT THEM ALL!!!

There is not a slow, pointless, unimagined or wasteful part of the entire process - from start to finish I was captivated, amused and enthralled.

I don't really want to say this but................Better effects than Avatar?

YES.

I loved it - you will too.

See this if..................................................you want to witness movie perfection.

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

77, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

I love a good sequel.  Harry Potter & Twilight both conclude next year, Lord of the Rigs is getting "The Hobbit", Tron is going to be a Christmas Smash, Pirates 4 is going to be Awesome and to top it off, Fast & Furious 5 has just released its 1st trailers!!! So why did I not include Narnia in this...........Well this is why.

I just don't get it!!  That's a lie, I DO get it, but I just don't get it.  As a kid I read the first one, Lion Witch & Wardrobe done, but sadly I lost interest with Caspian, The Boat and the Chair. (2,3 & 4)  and that's a real shame because they are great stories but the movies just spoilt it for me.  I never really warmed to the Actors and that is so important. I know they are from the "proper" class and its World War time and they are Kings etc but they just come across as arrogant, snotty, posh wannabes that I just don't like.  So, should for any reason Georgie, Skandar (stupid name), Will, Anna & William read this, I am sorry but you're crap.  The guy who played Caspian however was pretty good, as was the Rat, the Dragon, the Bison and the Lion.  Hmmmm?, so the real people suck (Caspian excluded) and the animated creatures are great.

And with that the penny drops, the special effects are awesome it is just a real shame the cast don't come up to scratch.

So onto the story.  From about 5 minutes in our intrepid Muppet's land in Narnia and come across the Dawn Trader, Caspians ship as they trek across the land defeating evil and bringing peace to Narnia.  However, a spooky green mist is taking over and they need to collect the 7 Swords given to Aslan's 7 Lords and place them on his table to defeat the evil spell.  Plot sorted.

It came across as long and drawn out but to be fair the kids enjoyed it.  We saw it in 2D and there may have been a few moments where the 3D would have looked great but be slightly warned, if you take the under 8's to see this in 3D the Sea Serpent may be a little scary at the end, mine hid her eyes in 2D so beware!!

I am sure that some of you will find this great.  You certainly cant fault the special effects but for me, effects don't cut the mustard if the cast do not fit and in my eyes, this lot are wetter than a sponge at sea.

Sorry Narnia, bored now.  Hollywood listen up..............you should of spent the cash on actually making the sequels to "The Last Airbender" or "The Golden Compass", both sadly yet to be given the sign off for completion.  The good news is Bond 23 is now in pre-production for a 2012 release date.  Who said Sequels were dead?

See this if.........................................You actually care about making C.S Lewis's family more money.

Sunday, 12 December 2010

76, The Tourist

There is no denying that Johnny Depp is a bonifide legend.  From early doors as Edward Scissorhands to one of the best character creations of our time Captain Jack Sparrow, with every turn Depp continues to dazzle on screen.

But, Sadly there comes a time in every actors career when the good turns to bad and legendary status gets replaced with has been. 

Luckily for us though.........................This is not that time!!!

Depp is brilliant in this playing our mishap hero Frank,  a Math teacher turn tourist who heads off to Venice for some R&R after losing his wife in a car crash 4 years earlier.  A chance meeting with Angelina Jolie on the long distance train from Paris leads to a great identity thriller where Depp is set up as a gangsters accountant, on the run after stealing over £700 Million Dollars!!  Scotland Yard, The Gangster himself, Interpol and pretty much all of Venice's police force are on the hunt to track down our accountant and get back the stolen money.

But all is not as it appears to be...............

What makes a great thriller is suspense, anticipation, a little twist - or in fact........A massive one!

And this has all of the above.  The cast is fantastic.  Depp already mentioned but Jolie is her usual sexy, sultry self.  Paul Bettany (who happens to be one of my favourite British actors) is great as the Scotland Yard Detective as is his boss, played by Timothy Dalton.  The Gangster / bad guy is played by Steven Berkoff and there is a tiny bit-part from Rufus Sewell which sadly, is too small to count.  There are a few other familiar faces including the Russian bad guy from Indiana Jones 4 who.........surprise surprise, plays another Russian bad guy.

I am kicking myself to announce a plot spoiler on this one...............but I cant.  Even my clue would spill too many beans, but I cant help it.  All I will say is, check movies made in 1995 starring one of the Baldwins and the Artistic Director of the Old Vic and you are on the right line......cryptic enough? Well that's all you are getting.

This is 103 minutes of what is fair to say, not the fastest paced action movie you are ever going to see.  It actually includes one of the slowest movie chases ever captured on film, in boats through Venice at about 7 miles per hour - but even that is good.

And its funny!! Which was a little unexpected and this is mostly down to Depp himself.

After recent disappointments like Skyline & The American this was a refreshing break.  No 3D, No expensive animation, no massive explosions or OTT special effects.  Just a good old fashioned thriller with all the whistles and bows you would want.

See this if...........................................you remember Depp before the Pirate Days.

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

75, Megamind



Another Animation, Another Kids movie.  Its getting harder to judge these just on appearance as there is no denying that pretty much everything falling out of Hollywood right now looks great when it comes to modern animation so lets instead, take a look at the cast.

Ferrell, Fey, Pitt & Hill.  All 4 are absolutely fantastic in this.  The script is brilliant.  It's well written and beautifully delivered.  Hysterically funny with Ferrell taking all of the best one liners and Brad Pitt, albeit he could easily have done his lines in a single lunch break pretty much sends himself up here and is a great cameo.

The plot sees our super villain head out of his home galaxy as a baby after his and the neighbouring planet get sucked into a black hole.  At the same time, another family have the same idea, also launching their son into Earth's orbit and after years spent together in school, battle lines are drawn and our team favourite, Megamind ends up the villain to Pitt's over cheesy Metroman.  What then plays out is (unbeknown to us at the time) Metroman becomes tired of being the hero so works it in his favour to lose a battle, opening the way for Megamind to take over!!  With no Hero to defeat life soon becomes boring for our villain so he sets about creating his own one but this quickly backfires when "Titan" realises that good guys finish last and switches to the dark side, leaving Megmind no choice but to turn his attentions to saving the day, and the girl.

Right, that's the plot so I hope I did not give too much away.  This is a very funny movie and great for both kids and adults alike - I was quite impressed with the 3D effects in comparison to others seen recently but I am sure it would have been just as good without them.

Finally though, I have to just mention that as we all did with Jessica Rabbit, you have to admire how great Tina Fey's Character looks.  I don't care what you say.  She is proper cute!!!

Great Film, Great laughs.


See this if...........................................You have ever felt like the underdog should win (at least sometimes!)

Sunday, 5 December 2010

74, Monsters

Let's face it.  Times are changing.  Gone are the days when Aliens did not stand a chance against the might of the U.S.  All it took was a smart scientist and a renegade pilot to upload a virus into a Mother ship or a single white female to bring down a face hugging race of acid bleeding critters.  Without Arnie around to beat the crap out of Ruud Gullit looking acrobatic bounty hunters or in fact something as simple as a hockey stick to scare those Aliens in the Attic what chance do we have?

And that's the point.  Gone are the good old movie days where we actually WOULD stand a chance against an invasion.  Now its all about just how devastating an attack would be, and indeed, how brutal the aftermath would be.

So if you are planning on seeing this film, don't read on - I am about to spoil it for you.

Since "Skyline" my faith in a good Alien / Monster movie making it back on the big screen has disappeared faster than the chance of seeing Clooney star in "The American 2".  But whats most annoying about this one in particular is the title.  Monsters?  Where? to be honest - Jaws set the trend.  74 minutes until the title role actually made a proper appearance and the sad fact is that this one goes one step further.  I would say it takes pretty much 98% of the film until a fully fledged "actual" sighting happens, not just in background shots of CCTV & Camcorder footage and then its over without any form of battle - and it ends!!!

So disappointing.  So what is this film actually about? Well, its more the trek across the "infected zone" that this film focuses on rather than the actual encounters.  The film starts 6 years after the first Alien landings and most of Mexico & South America is cordoned off from residential population.  So, we have 2 individuals who after losing a passport (and that takes about half the film just to get to that bit) end up having to trek across land to get the America rather than taking the last £5k per ticket Ferry. 

The whole film is based on anticipation of Alien intervention, rather than actual intervention and when you are expecting monsters from start to finish it get a little tedious and quite boring very early on.

As far as the actors go, these two are quite good.  A Sarah Harding look alike and a nerdy photographer are well suited together, both in troubled relationships it again is a shame that it takes until the final scene to finally get it on, but as with the Aliens you could happily watch the last 10 minutes alone and understand the whole plot.

Slow, Unimpressed and Dull.

The one shining light in all of this was just as the credits roled I bumped into an old school mate who I have not seen in 15 years.  So Aaron, this one is for you.  See you on X-box / Facebook - very soon!!

And for all my readers on X-box live - I am "The Stig 1976"  See you on-line.

See this if..................you like your Monster movies, without Monsters!!!

73, Unstoppable


What makes a great movie?.  The suspense of not knowing whats around the corner? the nail biting action that has you sitting on the end of your seat? The sweaty palms that occur not even 20 minutes into a story?.............A Train?.

Well, Unstoppable has all of this and approximately 1000 tonnes more!!!

After the disappointing "American" I wanted my faith renewed in the cinema....and quickly! 

Feeling I had wasted two hours of my life watching Clooney plod aimlessly through an Italian village I was hoping that the legend that is Denzel would captivate me in a way, unheard of since...I don't know.......time began?

So what makes this movie so great.  After all, it is only about a runaway train.  Well, in my eyes its the way that it makes 30 miles an hour seem like 100!! and the logic and thought process into how do you actually stop a missile the size of the Chrysler building heading through rural America, uncontrollably on rails?

Based on true events (and honestly, most of the best suspense thrillers are..........just take Harry Potter!!) this story starts almost immediately when a slightly idle rail worker takes a quick shortcut with a safety protocol resulting in a 1/2 mile long freight train, carrying lethal toxic chemicals careering its way along about 80 miles of track which can only result in total devastation unless the combined forces of the local communities and train company employees can bring it to a halt.

Our two heroes, Washington & Pine are two unlikely matched rail workers, paired up on their first outing together when they end up on a collision course with the runaway train and between them have to settle their differences and stand together and bring down the locomotive, albeit initially without the support of the governing board of Directors.

The plot is simple, stop the train.  But there is just something about this movie that draws you in from the 1st five minutes and it does not let up throughout its entirety.  I don't know if its the brilliantly cast duo of Denzel Washington and Chris Pine as the old dog and rookie wannabe that make this movie so special but I can promise you that I had sweaty palms, baited breath and a sense of anxiety as I was thrown into this high speed action flick.  Take "Speed" with Sandra Bullock and ramp up the anticipation and thrills and you are getting close to what this film delivers.

It's Awesome, so much so that I am using this current wave of good vibes and heading off again tonight for an 2nd helping of movie magic with Monsters, and if it is half as good as this one, I wont be left disappointed!!

See this if............................You are happy gnawing off all of your fingernails!!!

Saturday, 27 November 2010

72, The American


Sometimes it's nice to catch a real gem. A movie that sneaks into the cinema under the radar allowing the cover and hype of a recent blockbuster to shield its popularity. A tiny treat that captivates the small audience that braved the frost to watch something other than Harry Potter and revel in wonderment at a cinematic masterpiece that really should be given more praise than it has...............

Sadly, The American is not this film. in fact, it could not be further from it!!!

I could not have been more disappointed. Photographer turned Movie Director Anton Corbijn takes a break from Metallica, Depeche Mode & U2 Documentaries and teams up with Clooney (who produces) to make a movie about an American Assassin.

An A-List name and beautiful location, this film should have had future classic written all over it. There is no denying that Clooney is smoother than Sinatra in Chiffon and Oceans 11 & 13 are two of my favourite movies (Oceans 12 took a beating in my opinion) but this film would have looked more in place with subtitles.

It had "foreign film" written all over it and the atmospheric moments of silence between screen shots were too lengthy and drawn out. Add to this that nothing really happened. AT ALL!!

American Assassin moves to Italy to lie low. Is hired to make a gun for another assassin that turns out to be for his own execution. That's it. Plot over. Add in some hot naked Italian Prostitute and a righteous catholic priest and other than a few cafe owners that's the cast covered!!!

It was slow and laborious. It did not pick up pace at any time apart from a few sexy scenes where our Italian hooker / girlfriend goes full nude but other than that. Nothing to write home about.

But there are always two sides to every opinion and if foreign cinema is your thing then this might go down quite well. Very arty & atmospheric, the silences draw attention to the cinematography which given the Directors background is understandable. The script is well written, Clooney is his normally sultry self, albeit looking a little rough around the edges and there is no denying that the girls are hot.

So if this is your cup of tea then accept my apologies and please, knock yourself out.

But if you prefer your "Clooney" when he is mixed in with a bit of Pitt & Damon, steer clear.

You have been warned!

See this if...........................You love being underwhelmed!!!

Saturday, 20 November 2010

71, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1


Film Number 7 and to be fair - if you have not heard of Harry Potter until now then you don't deserve an explanation.

No one can deny, that love it or hate it, J.K Rowling has captivated an entire generation and its relatives.

From a small child we have watched Radcliffe develop just like his character and who cares if after these 8 movies we never see or hear from them again - stereotypically typecast as Hogwarts students, forever in our memories - they have made enough money from the franchise to remain comfortable for ever - it just would not be right seeing Ron Wesley pop up in M.I5 or Hermione in a college chick flick.

So, Deathly Hallows Part 1. The only film so far that plans to leave nothing out from the books - hence part 1 is nearly 2hrs 30minutes long. And it delivers on everything.

From memory, and I had to check with my own son on this one - we believe nothing has been missed. Previously I have stated I am far from a "book person", but these are the only ones that, as an adult I have actually read cover to cover and enjoyed. I never thought I would hear myself say this...But, the books were better on the previous 6 outings. However, this one captures every angle, story plot & character portrayed in the book. Well done Mr Director.

There is no Hogwarts in this, its all about the Horcruxes and the search to bring down Voldemort.

The time flys by so fast I could not believe it was over so quickly!!! 2hrs 20minutes felt like a brief 90 minute interlude and my M&M's were emptied before I knew it.

I was captivated from start to finish - this is predominantly all set on the run from the overwhelmed Ministry, now infiltrated by the Dark Lord and seeking Potter & Chums to wipe them out - lots of time hiding in tents in the woods and lots of dialogue.

It finished abruptly, slap bang in the middle of the book with 3 Horcruxes left to find and Voldemort discovering the Elder Wand, one of the 3 Deathly Hallows.

Part II is set up so well and I cant wait until next year - its been 9 years since the first movie landed and will only another 6 months until its all done.

7 Books, 10 years worth of movies, 1 Billion in the bank and her own Florida Theme Park. Ms Rowling did what dreams are made of - create a storybook that controlled a decade.

Well done You.

See this if..........................finales make you slightly excited!!!

70, Jackass 3D


I love Jackass - I loved the TV show and the first 2 movies. I don't know why, maybe its the sick toilet humour of it all that just appeals to my darker side or maybe its just the love of laughing at other miss-fortune but either way in my eyes I was expecting alot!!

And I was not disappointed.

I have to honestly admit that I have not laughed out loud with such side splitting vengeance at any film in my entire life EVER!!! It is categorically hilarious - too many stunts to mention from Duck Shoot to Bull Ring Rollerskating & Tazer Alley to Rocky I,II & III. But I have to warn you - 90% of humour is matched with 10% of completely gross stomach churning sickness!!! But even that's funny.

I dare the strongest of you not to experience a gag reflex at stunts like Poo Cocktail Supreme & Sweatsuit Cocktail - and who can forget the Poo volcano!!! Awesome in slow motion and as you can guess - the words "Poo" and "Cocktail" never go well together and when these ones come on just keep in mind who is behind you and hope to god the are not fresh from Mac D's!!!

Do not expect plot or storyline here. Your favourites are back with Knoxville, Steve-O, Chris Pontius, Wee-Man, Preston Lacey, Dave England and the rest of the gang going deeper into the realms of pain and self sacrifice for the joys of the paying public.

My favourite - too many to mention but the one that stands out is Lamborghini tooth Pull - the title says it all - and the Slow Motion is one of the most amazing pieces of film I have ever seen.

Maybe too much gushing on this one - but its worth it. It my level of humour, dealt brilliantly.

Many have copied like Dirty Sanchez and The Dudesons - none equalled - Knoxville Rules...........Jackass forever!!!

See this if.....................you ever laughed at someone falling over - ALOT!!!

Saturday, 13 November 2010

69, Skyline


Firstly, I would like to thank all my readers who have supported this blog as it just passes its 1st birthday!!! What started out as a simple facebook link has spread to 9 countries with as many U.S readers as U.K and whats great is its reached China, Korea and Russia along with a host of European destinations. 69 Movies seen in 52 weeks. Some good, some awful but all honestly reviewed and for those that commented and gave feedback, you are welcome. Thank you and long may it continue.

So...............Year 2 begins and I kick off with Skyline.

A massive budget Alien invasion movie which reads like an Independence Day for the new generation. but its lacks an A List cast? no Will Smith in this epic so who is starring in this much hyped movie of epic proportions. Well, for me the only recognisable face was DiNozzo's girlfriend from NCIS and Murry from 90's classic, Clueless.

I know right? nothing special here so maybe the plot would be better. if I said this is a mixture of "Alien" meets "Starship Troopers" meets "War of the Worlds" meets "Independence Day" meets "District 9". Sadly, each of these films is better that this one and I would watch Starship Troopers over an over rather than sit through this one again.

It was just slow, dull and dreary. The alien special effects are good but due to their shear size and power its obvious from early on that Earth dopes not stand a chance. To give it a little credit though the action does start from about the 3rd second of the movie with the Aliens landing, then it back tracks by about 15 hours so we get introduced to the characters. After that it is broken into Days 1,2 & 3. Days 1 & 2 are game on for battles and to be fair this is when it picks up pace a little bit but as for day 3, well not wanting to spoil it for all of you but remember the movie "Knowing", well......... same ending. Sorry.

With the cost of movie tickets now, for 2 people this is £16 badly spent. Take the money and buy the "Back to The Future Trilogy" on Blu-Ray. Much more fun.

so, its a bit disappointing but look on the bright side, on Wednesday I am off to see Jackass 3D and then come next weekend it's Harry Potter time once again so hopefully, 2 awesome blogs coming soon.

Sorry the 1st blog of Year 2 was a bit crap. But they will continue and once again, thank you to everyone for your support.

See this if........................you are blind, deaf and want 2hrs of peace!!!

Sunday, 24 October 2010

68, RED


On the surface this movie has it all - Guns, Explosions, CIA Operatives, Helen Mirren packing heat!! The first trailers looked fantastic but yesterday I read an article by the Daily Mirrors movie critic slating it with 2 stars and a dull and dreary review. So, as always do you believe the write, or the hype!!

HYPE!!

It was an awesome movie - Bruce Willis plays the straight talking retired CIA operative who is targeted by a hit squad due to previous black ops missions. The reason he is being hunted and by who is a mystery to start but he soon seeks out some of his old running mates in the form of retirement home veteran Morgan Freeman, slightly paranoid John Malkovich, Gorgeous sniper Helen Mirren & Russian "fix-it" man Brian Cox.

Once all together, along with Bruce Willis' squeeze he picked up in a Kansas call centre (too much to explain how that came about) they set about on a mission to find out who is trying to kill them off and why. What follows is a roller coaster of CIA Vs. RED (Retired, Extremely Dangerous) and you are not sure who is pulling the strings, who is the good guys and if the CIA is working on the right side of the law. Old Good Guys need an Old enemy and Richard Dreyfus steps up and is on fine form.

Its an odd movie though, the plot seems quite padded out between action scenes and for once, Malkovich plays the funny guy! Morgan Freemans appearance is short lived in relation to the rest of the team and Helen Mirren plays sultry sniper better than anyone you could imagine.

That said, even though some bits seem drawn out it is more than covered off with witty one-liners and an A-list that would make any Director proud. It takes a while to get going and until Malkovich turns up its a bit slow but bare with it. RED is a great movie matching a good story with some screen legends and even though Bruce Willis looks like a little Young for the line up, take heed that Malkovich is funny, Freeman is adorable, Cox is smooth & even at 65, Helen Mirren is still hot!

Keep your eyes open for a great cameo from an "Airwolf" legend of 80's TV. Ernest Borgnine as Henry the Records Keeper.

I am going to keep the end of this one under wraps, not giveaways - that would just spoil it.

See this if...........................you disagree with growing old gracefully!!

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

67, Despicable Me


3D Animation time again!! only this time we missed the 3d show so it was good old fashioned 2d. Question is, were we disappointed?

Of course not!!! Steve Carell in with a funny accent, 3 of the most adorable orphans you could ever meet, a league of hilarious minions & Russell Brand as a disabled old mad professor - whats not funny about that lot!!!

Even without the 3D this is a great family film. I totally left my dignity at the door and "guffawed" with the rest of the crowd as time after time Carell delivered comedic genius worthy of a nod from any self obsessed comedy fan.

The plot is brilliant - the 1st in a string (2 at least) of movies that focus on the villain as the main lead, identifying a softer side of evil and the "hero" being a bit of a tit. But it works. The 3 Orphans are totally lovable and had they been real I think we would have adopted all of them ourselves. Gru is a typical villain and fab with his slightly random plans of global domination but the real heroes are the minions.

Hundreds of tiny yellow walking, talking tic-tacs, each with a combination of 1 or 2 eyes, funky dungarees and thick cut goggles. 3 Actors in total voice all of them and the most notable is Jermaine Clement who recently appeared as Kieran (The Artist) from dinner for Schmucks. Their high pitched voices really make you laugh and its their complete adoration and trust for their master that makes them one of the most lovable set "followers" I have seen in a while - dare I say it.......more appealing than Oompa-Loompas?

There is no real Good Guy vs. Bad guy, more Bad Guy vs. Badder guy as Gru sets about trying to outwit his arch nemesis Vector, son of the evil bank manager who approved loans to fund world domination (only in a comedy!!).

The weapons are awesome, ranging from planet dwarfing shrink rays to freezing customers in the Starbucks queue. He whoops a theme park stand for a cuddly toy and is annoyed that someone beat him to stealing the great pyramid.

Believable???...............come on, its a cartoon!! But one of the funniest in a while.

Carell rocks in this and as a build up to "Megamind" starring comedy legends Ferrell & Pitt (?) - Yes, Brad Pitt.......this is a cracking warm up.

See this if...................You always wanted to know how to win the BIG toys at Thorpe Park!!!

Monday, 11 October 2010

66, Wall Street. Money Never Sleeps


23 Year ago (I know...23!!!) We were introduced to Gordon Gekko. A nasty, greedy Wall Street investor who buys as many people as he did businesses with his obsessive lust for power.

Eventually, after a bit of Daryl Hannah and a small airline company called Blue Star get involved, Gekko gets taken down by Bud Fox (Charlie Sheen) and banged up for insider trading.

Roll onto 2010 (ish). Wall Street 2!!!

So, Gekko gets released and the characters are true to the original story however this time the ex-wife is gone, Rudy (son) has died of a drug overdose and daughter (Winnie) is shacked up with broker Jake Moore (LaBeouf) and has no care for the release of her father.

Lets make it clear from the start. There is no sex, no violence, no guns, explosions or fights. This is an out and out drama based on greed and manipulation. Oliver Stone directs what in my mind is a scripted masterpiece and if you have no care or interest in the plot, don't bother seeing this film.

But has Gekko changed? - 7 years after his release and now a successful author and public seminar speaker, Gekko is contacted by Jake in a bid to get him talking to his daughter but secretly, he goes behind her back, trying to gain favour and advise from Mr Backhander himself. Even I could have told him that Gekko could not be trusted but would he listen? - of course not!!!

Its over 2hrs long but I loved it. Keep your eyes open for a brief appearance from Mr Oliver Stone himself and also a well deserved cameo from Charlie Sheen as the now "loaded" Bud Fox. Its short lived but again, I felt it had to be there, just to keep in line with the first one.

If you have seen the 87' movie then this does roll on very smoothly, keeping the origins alive with the characters and plots. If you have not, then it should not take too long to catch up. I am not going to give anything away, only that everything that you would expect to happen, happens and then some!!

In what could quite easily be Douglas's last movie (barring "Haywire", which is already in pre-production for 2011) I think this is excellent. He acts it with the smooth charm and integrity of the shrewdest of businessmen, lumped in with a taste of revenge for those that put him away and the same greedy edge that made him a formidable opponent as the original Gekko.

If Wall Street was your cup of tea then this just adds sugar!!

See this if..................You love sequels!!! Especially great ones.

Sunday, 10 October 2010

65, Life As We Know It


Was not quite sure how to approach this one - I have been moaned at by anonymous Americans on this blog in the past for putting down Miss Heigl in previous posts, labelling her as a poor mans "Cameron Diaz" but in this one she really does shine through.

Paired with my wife's (and her work colleagues...Laura?) new "hottest" crush, Josh Duhamel who apart from Transformers 1,2 & (2011 due) 3 and TV drama "Las Vegas" has done little else in the movie world the unlikely coupling are thrown together when their married best friends name them as guardians to their adorable toddler after their sad departure in a car crash.

Initially hating each other after a botched blind date a few years earlier they soon discover that 1st impressions don't always count as they discover a deeper relationship than "looks" and together discover the joys of parenting.

Okay, stop there a minute. The Joys of Parenting......Bring on the comedy!!!

As a relatively new parent myself, albeit 7 years ago the jokes in this are all too familiar. And that is what makes it hilarious. If you don't have kids its every cliche you could ever imagine when bringing up kids and if you have been there then its not too far from the truth. Its what makes this movie great for everyone. It takes "single playboy" and turns him into doting dad, fancied by gay and straight neighbours alike and josh plays this role brilliantly. Heigl also plays a blinder in this one and in my mind, maybe her best film yet. She is very funny and is the recipient of one of the funniest movie lines I have heard all year.

It takes Three Men and a Baby and brings it bang up to date with the "unprepared parents" but it also identifies the joys of childhood, the fun of the first steps, the nappies, the baby carriers and the sleepless nights.

If you have kids then this will bring back great memories, if you don't, it may easily make you wait just a few more years!!!

Either way, its a great movie.

See this if......................you want a proper good chuckle!!

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

64, Eat Pray Love


Chick flick time again and this time we head off with the "Pretty Woman" herself, Miss Julia Roberts.

Other than a small(ish) part in "Valentines Day" its been almost 2 years since Julia graced our screens in Duplicity and does she look older? haggard? past it?..................not a chance!!!

Julia still carries of leading lady amazingly well, its just in my eyes its a shame that she was leading such a turd of a film.

This film is about a woman who after a getting divorced decides to "find" herself with a 1 year trip taking in Italy, India & Bali. A journalist / writer by trade, she finds her self at the start of the film visiting Bali and a wise medicine man who predicts the outcome of her life, a long & short marriage (at the time she does not know which one she is currently in!!) some time to rediscover herself and then a return to him where he will teach her everything he knows. At the time Liz (Julia) laughs it off but after her return to normal life things start to play out as predicted and the journey begins..............

EAT.
The eat part of this film is in Italy. Great friends, great food and wine and a disregard for her increasing jean size. Along with a tight group of friends she spends a few months totally chilling out and realising that life has no troubles or strife's and the words "Party On" ring true with every turn she takes.

PRAY.
Pray means heading off to India, a voyage of discovery and medial work for no money to come to terms with ones own being.

LOVE.
Back to Bali and a return to the Medicine Man who, as promised teaches her all he knows, Of course, roll on love interest which sees the rest of the film out.

So, why is it crap? - The story is a good one but it is SO SLOWWWWW!!! she plods from country to country and you end up twitching and yawning before she even leaves Italy!!!

That's not to say its not well acted or even beautifully set, it is, but the problem is that chick flick or not, even the chicks were bored!! mine was. There were two walk outs, a dodgy cough and a few smelly oldies in front of us and that made it seem even more arduous then just having to keep your concentration levels on the screen.

I wanted to love this - I like a good action 3d blow em-up as much as the next man but even I like a good kick back and smile film. Its a shame this was not it.

Don't quote me but I think this is based on the true memoirs of Liz Gilbert, although its been adapted/written by Sony for the cinema. If it was a true story and Liz Gilbert does exist I would ask her one question. Next time, just do the LOVE bit, head to Bali and stay there - her house on the beach was AWESOME!!!

Please don't see this - Julia's got enough cash in the bank. I am sure she will understand.

See this if..........................EAT PRAY SLEEEEPPPP!!

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

63, The Town


IMDB states that this is Afflecks third time out as a Director but nothing stood out to me as anything that required heaped praise..........until now!!

Ben Affleck co-wrote, stars and directs "The Town" which is a movie set in the district of Charlestown, Boston. Home of more bank robbers than anywhere else in the USA.

Affleck plays the son of a convicted criminal who, with his own crew are responsible for a number of high profile robberies resulting in the kidnapping of a beautiful bank manager.

Quick flash forward, Affleck falls for the hostage and they hook up (obviously she has no idea) and he decided to get out of the game, much to the displeasure of one of his partners in crime, James (Jeremy Renner from Hurt Locker fame).

What plays out is a totally gripping suspense drama surrounding the "will he/wont he" battle between love and honour, deception and greed and results in a few make or break decisions which end up probably for the best, for everyone concerned!! But I'm not going to tell you what.

In my mind, Affleck has always been the not so hard, hardman. Always appearing a little too softly spoken for real gritty roles but in this one there is no question, he is ace.

It's well written, greatly acted by everyone and includes memorable performances from Renner, Pete Postlethwaite as the Florist and the lead FBI Agent Jon Hamm is brilliant - finally and FBI agent who actually is not a complete muppet and part of you wants him to catch Affleck!!!

This is a 15 cert and only really because of the language and some basic sex scenes but on the whole, hugely enjoyable and well worth a watch. A nice break from the 3d phenomenon currently sweeping the nation with The Hole 3d, Piranha & Resi Evil. This is a good old fashioned cops and robbers drama with some great lines, great actors and a great plot.

Rain or shine, take yourself down to the cinema and check this one out.

See this if....................Cops & Robbers rule!!!

Sunday, 19 September 2010

62, The Other Guys


Its comedy time! and who better than legendary Will Ferrell to lead the way with this buddy cop movie turned action fuelled giggle fest along side co-star "Marky" Mark Whalberg..................

Sorry, nearly forgot myself there - was hoping that the BBC were reading and were planning on asking me to replace Connie Huck on Film 2010. Where was I?

But really, this has all the expectations of a great film. The Rock, Samuel L. Jackson & Mark Whalberg. Three Action greats teaming up with Farrell for what is a geeky cop movie where zero turns hero in the most unexpected way.

What's great about this film is (flashback) Steven Segal received top billing for "Executive Decision" but only starred in the first few minutes the same can be said for Johnson & Jackson. Their brief parts are hilariously received and their convenient demise opens the door for two, not so well received heroes to take centre stage.

Ferrell is back to his sarcastic best in this with Whalberg as the slightly moody recipient of his dry wit and distinct anal approach to police work. Ferrell is the admin loving, data analysing, accounting department mis-fit who is paired up with fiery wannabe action man Whalberg, busted down to office duty after accidentally shooting one of the city's finest baseball players.

Ferrell falls upon a case regarding illegal scaffolding permits which quickly opens up into a global fraud campaign for £37 Billion Dollars. It is down to our two cops to defeat the bad guys, gain the trust and belief of their department & captain (Michael Keaton) and save the day.

Every actor in this is played amazingly. Keaton is great as the department police captain, holding down 2 jobs as a cop / bathroom salesman funding his transsexual sons conquests & Eva Mendes is cracking as Ferrell's completely understanding, loyal, sexy wife (much to the disbelief of Whalberg). Even Johnson & Jackson manage to pull off "arrogant asshole" with a fabulous flair!! Steve Coogan stars as the money man heading the fraud and his surrounding heavy's are the only sore point - just a little bit slow!

Comedy comes in many forms. Farts and Falls get some people roaring in the isles but its the little witty sidelines in this that get the real laughs - keep an eye out for all of the T.L.C references, listen out for Ferrell going into too much detail in his cuss comebacks and most importantly, watch Whalberg melt in the presence of Ferrell's current and past female conquests. Very funny.

This film is great. Its got the action and explosions of any up to date cop action film thrown together with the laughs of, dare I say it, Anchorman?

Those more astute will easily pick up the legendary Ice-T as the narrator and if you stay right to the very end...........and I mean the very very end, past the end credits and music then there is a small, reasonably good joke/outtake between Ferrell and Whalberg regarding a Moose - but to be honest, if by this time you are busting for the loo and cant hold on, call me and I'll tell you in person. it's not that funny.

Great Film, Ferrell back on top form. Love this.

See this if......................Secretly, you're an un-sung hero!!

Thursday, 16 September 2010

61, Resident Evil: Afterlife


If my memory serves me right it was about 1996 when Capcom released Resident Evil for the PS1. Since then the franchise has grown to include game sequels and movies which have culminated 14yrs later with the all new 3d version - Resident Evil: Afterlife

The plot has pretty much remained the same from day one. The "Umbrella" corporation is responsible for releasing a virus that pretty much turns everyone into a mind numbingly stupid Zombie's, hell bent on chomping down on any human pockets left fighting for survival. Then we meet Alice. A Supermodel / Zombie bashing heroine who, without much urgency or care seems to take out the living dead with considerable ease.

Over the course of a 3 other movies (I think), Alice goes through transformations of her own resulting in the beginning of Afterlife, appearing as a cloned, bulletproof "Kill Bill" style samurai but early on she gets a rude awakening and a retro-virus jab making her human again.

Then one thing becomes clearly apparent - This film is all about the 3D.

This film was made for 3D in every way. There are more slow-motion fight sequences than in all 3 Matrix films combined and each one is full of 3D baddies, 3D guns, 3D bullets, 3D broken glass, 3D weird Zombie Face sucking wotsits & a 3D, 9ft masked warlord with a stupidly big Axe / butchers mallet. Oh, and did I mention its in 3D?

Okay, I know I am taking the piss a bit but it works!!! DO NOT SEE THIS FILM IN 2D! and that's an order - the entire point and claim of this movie is the 3D element and I feel that without it, on standard DVD the "WOW" factor will be lost and it will just be 90 minutes of slow motion fighting and hot zombie slayers.

Alice (Milla Jovovich) is joined by a few familiar faces this time, namely Mr "Prison Break" and Miss "Heroes" (not the cheerleader, the other one) and for their part the acting is pretty good.

The plot this time is escaping a zombie laden Tokyo to find a hidden city that claims to be virus free. Once Alice has single handedly destroyed much of Tokyo but sadly let the bad guy escape. She hears the distress message stating that there is a "safe city" and quickly heads to Alaska to find it but on arrival its not there. She then meets up with Claire (Ali Larter) who knew her previously but due to a metal beetle thingy strapped to her chest has full blown memory loss. The pair of them manage to hijack a two seated light aircraft and fly down to L.A in search of the city where they meet up with another bunch of survivors which include Claire's brother (who she of course does not recognise) held up in an L.A prison surrounded by about 10,000 blood thirsty zombies. Lots of guns, explosions and zombie crushing then takes up the last 40 minutes of the movie as our team discover the "safe city" is actually an tanker ship just off the coast and they set out to reach it.

Its Soooooooooo predictable and had it not have been in 3D it would have been a bit slow and pants but the 3D alone is enough to keep you entertained throughout and if you are one of the 1 in 10 people that cant see the 3D effects (how sad!) then there are enough hotties in this to keep Hugh Hefner entertained.

The cinema was full, its only a 15 cert and although a few jumpy bits I would not consider this a scary movie. It's Funny in places but unfortunately not all the acting is first class.

See this film if.................................Your tired of disappointing 3D movies

Sunday, 12 September 2010

60, Tamara Drewe


The trailers on this film are all about one person, Gemma Arterton. So it would be only fair to start off with a bit about her.

Quantum of Solace, Clash of the Titans, Prince of Persia. Our Gem has starred in some big budget American action flicks and it has to be said, improved with each one. Take out the two "St Trinian's" movies and "The Boat that Rocked" and its back to her roots and a small budget BBC produced film, funded by the National Lottery to get her first leading role.

And it could not be more British if it tried.

Set in Dorset, this film tracks the return of Tamara Drewe, a local girl turned London Journalist who returns to the family pile after the death of her mother. Spending her childhood with, lets say - a massive nose, this ugly duckling has returned in hotter than hot pants, a nose job and a flair for mischief as she sets about raising temperatures and renovating her Mum's old pad for re-sale.

Predominantly set in a Writers retreat, a collection of wannabe authors led by a bestselling owner and his family pave the way for a Brit rom-com where we get Rockstars & Handymen thrown together with depressive Americans and sex mad school girls.

Sadly, its just not that funny. Don't get me wrong - it not crap, just not that funny. It's a good, believable story....even though there are a few moments where you really get a feel of "I wasn't expecting that!!" but on the whole its a reasonably good film. It plods along for a bit not really getting going and it will never really set the Oscars alight but its a good Sunday afternoon sit down.

There is one shining light, and its not Arterton's wardrobe.

It's 18 year old Jessica Barden who plays Josie. Two years since she starred in Coronation Street and not having a single role since 2008, Jessica plays Josie. A 16 year old kid who, with her mate, seems to be one of the only two kids in the whole village who live in their School uniforms and between swigging Red wine, Swearing and throwing eggs at cars has an unhealthy "urge" for Tamara's Rock Star boyfriend.

She is hilarious.

Every line had me in stitches. From using the "F" word as candidly as an Eskimo goes ice fishing to breaking & entering with the ease of the Milk Tray Man this girl is absolutely brilliant. Well played Jessica.

So, to sum it up - its not as funny as the newspapers made it out to be, its not as fast paced as you really think it should be but for a small British movie with what should have been "MY" lottery win funding it, its not that bad.

No plot spoilers (as there a few twists) but its a standard, 3 star movie. "If Doc Martin" or "Saving Grace" are your cup of tea - then this will go down a treat.

See this if........................Kids swearing make you chuckle!!!

Monday, 6 September 2010

59, Dinner for Schmucks


I believe a comedy should make you laugh until you cry. If I want "mildly funny" I will watch my daughter attempt the washing up or at a push, even take humour from watching mums yell at their kids in public. But to spend money on a comedy that is "un-funny", well that's just a waste of time.

So, is dinner for Schmucks really that bad?

Well the critics seem to think so and sadly, so do I.

Firstly I would like to extend my sincere apologies to the few people I recommended this to, before I even saw it - I do hope you went to see Piranha 3d instead!!

Paul Rudd is mildly entertaining in "Role Models" but overshadowed by Stiffler and I will get to Anchorman later on. In this he is sadly underwhelming with his on-screen presence and even David Walliams's characters wife (Lucy Davenport) puts in a more memorable performance, even though a) her last role in "Alice in Wonderland" was credited as "Woman with big Ears" and b) she has the same welded expression to her face throughout.

So, a high point? Okay, I find it hard to slate any Actor who starred in my favourite all time comedy, Anchorman but as you will have read above - Rudd just bit the bullet, so onto Anchorman favourite No.2. Carell is mildly entertaining. Stupidly comedic you laugh at him rather than with him and a comedy that is based around high morale values always makes you look at yourself rather than allow you to switch off and laugh like your belly is about to burst. A comedy should allow you to switch off, kick back, forget the troubles and strife's of life and just chill.

This does none of that.

The plot is all about a Dinner for Schmucks (was it really that obvious?) but the "Dinner" is only the last 20 minutes. What leads up to that is a slow paced, slightly odd, "buddy buddy" movie where Rudd realises he is being a bit of an arse to Carell but nether the less goes onto ridicule him, against the better judgement of his overly hot girlfriend who he ends up losing (for a while) until he regains his senses, stands up for the weird guy and takes a hit for the home team.

It's just a shame its not that funny.

Even a taxidermist mouse collector should raise a few laughs on its own but I couldn't help thinking of multiple dead "Stuart Little's" rather than adopt the slightly odd culture they were going for. Steve Carell has a few class moments but not enough to carry the whole film and the character "Darla" is not only a waste of make-up and fabric but should spell then end of a career for Lucy Punch, sadly with roles set right up until 2012 she is not gone just yet.

I am so sorry, I would love to big this one right up - but honestly, I have had more impressive bowl movements.

See this if.................you like your comedies without comedy!!

Monday, 30 August 2010

58, Piranha 3D


I am going to lay this out straight from the start. This move is a gore fuelled blood fest with more focus on the tits than the teeth so pay attention.

So, first up is the "Teeth": Since Jaws there has not really been any good scary fish films, Deep Blue Sea came close and the easily forgotten Mega Shark Vs. Giant Octopus was total pants so it was refreshing to see an old school, gory horror film with a proper 18 cert hit the big screen and early on you realise that this has been made with one aim, to show horrific death on a scale not seen since early "Saw" or "Hostel" films.

And its great!!

Definitely not for the squeamish, its amazing how many ways the movie makers found to skin and mutilate a human including the poor girl who's hair gets caught up in an outboard prop, ripping her face off to the young player who loses the lower half of his body, including his manhood which end up floating towards you in full 3D, slightly odd but got a few laughs. There are a few deaths throughout but it really kicks off at the end where the last 30 minutes are full of Piranha's amassing on the party beach and a massacre on a level I have not seen EVER!.

Secondly, the "tits": sorry to say this but this films is definitely meant for the blokes. There is more gratuitous sex and nudity than anything I have seen in years and the Kelly Brook / Riley Steele synchronised underwater scene is definitely a high point of pointless full nudity. Wet T-Shirt contests, silicone implants being gnawed on and the aforementioned penis floating up to you in 3D are some of the funnier moments and we get everything from tequila body shots to dismembered parascenders to keep you entertained.

There is no real plot and there are as many famous faces are there are one-liners including Ving Rhames, Richard Dreyfuss, Elisabeth Shue, Jerry O'Connell, Christopher Lloyd & Kelly Brook.

I believe a brief paragraph on Kelly Brook is required. Hailing from the same school my wife currently works at our "local girl" looks totally fab in this but cant act. Bless her though, she does go full nude and dies marvellously but with her wooden English accent and the acting prowess of my dead hamster it all seemed a bit too much for her however with two more movie releases set for 2010 releases I hope she gets better, quickly.

There's not much else to say - Its Jaws meets Porkies with extra blood and sex added for good measure. Don't go if blood makes you queasy. It wont be your thing. More people die in mass than in the entire Rambo saga (maybe a slight exaggeration) but they do is spectacularly and the 3d is awesome from start to finish - except the penis bit!! that's slightly disturbing.

This is the first of a string of "Adult" 3D movies including "Resident Evil" and "Saw 3D" and if they pull it off half as good as Piranha did then we are all in for movie treats after treats!

See this if...........................you can hold down your lunch!

Saturday, 28 August 2010

57, Grown Ups


Adam Sandler, Chris Rock and Kevin James get together in this comedy orgy of fart jokes and slapstick tom foolery as the three of them take to the big screen is this coming of age story of a basketball team, reunited after 30 years later to attend the funeral of their beloved coach.

With wife's, kids and pets in tow our stars embark on a story that sadly has a very weak plot, other than reintroduce a level of visual comedy such as falling over, bashing heads and innuendo.

Okay so it is VERY funny. Our 3 headliners are joined by "Sandler" regular Rob Schneider and relatively unknown David Spade. A Movie Agent, Earth Hippy, Salesman, Jobless Drunk and House Husband are the employment choices of our now "All Grown Up" basketball team who after the funeral decide to spend a few days getting to know each other all over again.

And that's the plot, pretty much done and dusted. This film certainly wont win any writers guild awards and each of the cast has each made far better films but add in some pretty cool / annoying kids, famous "wife's" in the form of Salma Hayek (official hottie) & Maria Bello (Coyote Ugly), a breast feeding 4 year old, a farting Granny, a weird Canadian, a Great Water Park Scene and a painful rope swing incident and plot aside, I was chuckling from start to finish.

Fart Jokes are still cool - official! and in this film its more about "Sandlers" family than anyone elses. He is the Hollywood Movie Agent with spoilt kids, model / fashion designer wife and oriental au-pair and this film becomes more about re-discovering the "great outdoors" for his "x-box crazed" brood and showing his wife that there is more to life than Milan Hotel Suites.

Mix all of that in with a "feel good" ending where Sandler gives something back to the locals from his school that never made it out of the "small town" in the form of a small 5 on 5 basketball re-match and all of a sudden it all becomes clear.....this is not a film that needs critics to slate comedy performances or moan about how much "cast potential" was overlooked and just focuses on one thing. This film was made to allow you to switch off, sit back and chuckle along to all the things that we should laugh at daily but never seem to find the time too.

Oscar winner.........nope.

Chuckle constantly.......YES!!

See this if........................You're not quite ready to "Grow Up"

Friday, 20 August 2010

56, Marmaduke


I never really like to dis kids films if I can help it - I am sure they are not made with me in mind - okay, so Furry Vengeance did get a proper slapping on this blog but when my daughter asked me if I enjoyed Marmaduke, seeing the joy on her face I had to agree!!

So lets try and find some good points.

The cast is pretty impressive. Owen Wilson, Fergie, The Waynes Brothers, Kiefer Sutherland, Sam Elliott - all known names putting themselves forward for this animation based on a newspaper cartoon for the past 56 years and counting.

That covers the dogs, the Human element not so impressive with William H. Macey being the only real recognisable face, along with Marmaduke's owners wife, who appeared in "What Women Want" as the file girl (Erin) and a brief cameo from David Walliams.

Marmaduke is a Great Dane going through his "teenage years". Badly behaved, smelly but with a big heart, Marmaduke and family move from Kansas to California for a life which they are hoping turns out like an episode of the OC. What actually happens is Marmaduke goes back to school at the Dog Park with the social network groups matching those in any American Teen flick to hit the screen in the past 10 years.

What we go through is a roller coaster of "being popular" and the trials and tribulations it brings. A quick reality check (from both the Dog & his owner) wrap this film up nicely and "doing the right thing" prevails with happy faces all round at the end.

Real dogs are used so it blends well with the human interaction and the CGI kicks in with the talking (animal to animal), dancing and surfing of the dogs only.

What I can say, honestly, is that your kids will love it - under 8's especially but I have to remember that that's who it's meant for & not me. Toy Story III it is not but its a fun little movie and a little weekend filler for when your little cherubs are running riot.

See this if.............The phrase "I'm Bored!" echoes more often than not around the home.

55, The Expendables


Imagine your favourite Action Movie of all time. does it have Guns?, Explosions?, Awesome Fight Scenes? Of course it does. Now amplify that by about 10, add in all of your favourite Leading Men since time began and you have nearly met the expectation that this film should deliver.

And deliver it does.

It has the best fight scenes I have seen in a long time, and surprisingly from Statham, not so much Jet Li - although Li Vs. Lundgren is very funny!! The last 20 minutes have more bangs, booms and broken legs, arms, necks & backs than most other Action films combined this year and the humour between the original Planet Hollywood founders (Willis, Schwarzenegger, Stallone) albeit for about 5 minutes covers off jibes at Presidency, Rambo & Cigars - laugh out loud funny!!!

So the plot. The Expendables are a group of Ex-Military Mercenaries under private contract for suicide missions that they manage to survive time after time. Sly, Statham & Li are the main characters with Dolph Lundgren playing an out of control member & two others not so famous. Mr Church (Willis) gathers Sly & Arnie together to offer them work - Arnie declines (Exit Stage Left) and Sly takes the mission. Roll on a bit of Recon, an old looking Eric Roberts, a nasty General, Drugs, Stone Cold Steve Austin and a seaplane escape that rivals no other and before you know it you have one of the greatest action films ever made.

I love this film. Starring, Written & Directed by Stallone this could easily have been his swan song before retirement, a definite high point in his career (even his acting was decent!!) but he is still going with "Death Wish" in the pipeline and a few animations.

In my eyes Statham stole the show - funny, hard as nails & witty throughout he is the catch here. I saw a new side to Jet-Li, a bit of humour and Mickey Rourke played the coolest guy on earth.

Dolph Lundgren looks no different to how he did in Rocky 4 except a few wrinkles and I don't think this film will re-boot his career after a few "straight to DVD" releases but its nice he was along for the ride.

Eric Robers & Stone Cold play the bad guys and the Stallone Vs Austin fight is as hard as anything you could imagine. The movie manages to tie in the wit and humour along with the fights and action and you just feel that Stallone wanted to spend a huge wad of cash on his mates and some big explosions and have a great time doing it. And they did!

If Massive Guns that take off heads / torso's with one bullet, Laughs, Awesome fight Scenes, bone crunching martial arts and some 80's references float your boat then this is the one-off must for 2010.

Its a 15 cert and not all sweetness and light as the special effects are pretty visual - heads and bones being crushed & slashed with blood flowing like a cracked dam, this is not for the weak or slightly squeamish!

I hate to admit it but better than the A-Team? - Maybe. Either way - SEE THIS FILM!!

See this if.........................Action Films RULE!!!

Thursday, 19 August 2010

54, Salt


Since I first saw her in Hackers along side then Hubby Johnny Lee Miller (Sick-boy in Trainspotting) I have kind of had a thing for this 1st lady of action.

One of the only actresses of recent times who can pull of "Beat em' up Bad Ass" like no other with roles in Wanted, Mr & Mrs Smith, Tomb Raider & Gone in 60 Seconds she never really gets the "Girlie Girl Love Story" roles and in my eyes she has set herself up as the only female that could probably carry off the 1st female Bond and seems to be the "go to girl" for a good action flick, so how does "Salt" fair?

Well, all the trailers carry the tag line "Who is Salt?" so the premise is they want to keep you guessing. This is all about the twist and if there even is one! so don't panic - there will be absolutely no spoilers here as its fun to keep you guessing - right up until the end of the movie.

Angelina is awesome - her body count in this is nearly on parr with Rambo and her delivery of stealth like spy action rivals that of Mr Cruise in Mission Impossible.

She is pretty much in every scene and it opens with her being beaten half to death as a prisoner and does not really let up throughout its entirety.

This film carries Deceit & Danger hand in hand with Espionage and Treason and is high voltage and jam packed with stunts, fights and guns from start to finish.

Liev Schrieber (Sabre tooth) is also really good in this as Salt's boss (CIA) and most of the cast in this put in great performances but even through all of that, it all comes back to Jolie.

As the plot to this is so critical it is impossible to write about it without giving anything away so I wont, its is a brilliant movie and definitely worth watching. A short blog but a great film.

Action, Suspense, Drama and a great story. All boxed ticked.

See this if...................You like your girls to Kick-Ass!!

Friday, 13 August 2010

53, The Last Airbender


A Quick Update - where are we on "books turned movies"? Harry Potter is nearly done, Narnia 3 has just started showing trailers, Twilight is almost done and who knows what ever happened the the rest of the golden Compass movies so maybe its time to get into an new set.

Avatar: The Last Airbender is a trilogy of books and a 2005 cartoon. The stories follow the resurrection of the last Airbender. A child with the ability to master each of the elements, Air, Fire, Earth & Water. By master I mean move, the skill to manipulate, create and use these elements to his advantage. The other 3 realms can only control their own elements and of those realms only a special few are known as Benders. I know, I still chuckle at the name but as a mature grown up I need to get over that!!

So, that's what its about. As you would have expected I have not read the books, nor even seen the cartoon but its very easy to pick up.

The first movie charts the 2nd coming of the Avatar, a child hidden for 100 years until 2 kids from the water realm discover him. It soon becomes apparent the the Fire Realm are the baddies and our little saviour bolted from training 100 years ago before he had the chance to master the rest of the elements other than Air. Believing he had only been gone for a few days he sets off on a mission to rediscover his true calling and with his 2 water realm chums he learns the Water bending bit whilst starting an uprising among the villages that are fire realm controlled.

Even before they are released I can pretty much guarantee that part 2 will be about mastering the Earth Realm resulting in the final installment focusing on Fire and a battle which leads to the defeat of the bad guys.

So, hopefully that wont spoil it for you.

Dev Patel (Slumdog Millionaire) stars as a the banished prince of the fire realm, hell bent on bringing the Avatar home to his dad to redeem his previous misfortunes and the Avatar himself is played by unknown actor Noah Ringer. We may not see part II until at least 2012 which may be a bit too long to hold interest but don't let that put you off.

The visuals of this movie are great - not so much full on fighting but lots of arm waving and element manipulation takes place instead which results in some pretty good special effects.

This could well be the greatest 3d movie ever made but alas, I cant confirm as I only saw this one in 2d, but even that was pretty cool. If you have seen the 3d version ant its worth a 2nd trip let me know.

It does pad along at a pretty slow pace though, there could easily be more action but this 1st installment is definitely all about the characters and setting the story for the next two films. Hopefully they will get a little more intense but with all trilogy's, parts 2 and 3 alone will not suffice.

Kiddie friendly, it should keep your little ones amused hopefully until the end but if they get a bit twitchy keep the cola on ice!!

See this if...............you fancy a new saga!!

52, The Sorcerer's Apprentice


So when my 6 year old daughter was given free reign over the cinema I was expecting either animated pets or American street dancers so when a Disney remake was chosen I was a little chuffed!!

Okay, so it's not a remake, more an adaptation but it's very cool. The team that bought us National Treasure 1 & 2 have got together again and this time delivered a bit of a blinder.

The story starts with 3 of Merlin's apprentices. Balthazar (Cage) and the 2 others end up in a bit of a battle and Cage manages to lock up a bad sorcerer and a few other nasties along with the love of his life (more trapped than locked up) in a magical urn until such time (about 1000 years or so) that Cage finds the one true apprentice and future holder of Merlin's ring (the source of all magic prowess) who has the ability to defeat Morgana (Evil Witch Lady) and her evil sorcerer's. So who is the magical saviour?......Dave.

Jay Baruchel plays Dave. A smart, slightly odd physics nut with very few social skills. His first meeting with the sorcerer's happens on a school trip at the age of about 10 when he runs down a back street, comes upon a magic shop and in a brief encounter with Cage manages to secure a magical ring, release and then lock up 2 sorcerer's in a 10 year prison jar, and heap ridicule upon embarrassment onto himself when the class thinks he wet himself.

Roll on 10 years, sorcerer's are released and "Dave" is hunted down, now a seasoned college grad who has put the whole kiddie incident behind him. After a brief "Do you know who you are?" speech from Cage comes some sorcerer training, shoes, a childhood sweetheart and a cracking star-wars pun which had everyone in stitches before it was even said.

So that's the plot - for those of you with astute hearing you will recognise Jay Baruchel as Hiccup from "How to train your Dragon" and Nic Cage we all know. Alfred Molina is very funny as the baddie Horvath and known from previous roles in the DaVinci Code & Prince of Persia.

The funniest bit is the only bit pulled from the Fantasia / Mickey's Sorcerer's Apprentice cartoons with the mop and buckets - the music is there (Dum Dum Da Da Da Dum De Dum etc....) and you really do chuckle along as 1 mop becomes 10, then multiplies until the Sorcerer puts an end to it.

The special effects are good and the Mercedes / Ferrari car chase it a highlight. Nic Cage plays his part well and Jay is a great Apprentice, a bit geeky but that's half the charm - and being a Disney flick you know it is going to all work out well in the end.

Not really a bad word here either, It's fun, fast paced, funny and magical.

See this if...................You want to be spellbound!

Saturday, 7 August 2010

51, Knight & Day


In a past blog I wrote about a film called "The Losers". A great film in itself but an obvious rip-off of the "A-Team" which turned out to be breathtaking and The Losers ended up being a fabulous warm up treat.

There was also a film called "The Killers" which unknown to me at the time appeared to be the same warm up to Knight & Day, but this time, I am sorry to say that although The Cruise / Diaz outing was good, Heigl & Kutcher easily beat off the A-Listers.

But Why? this film had the cast, the hype, the top gear celebrity lap! but it just seemed to lack something. Don't get me wrong, from a male perspective Diaz looks just as good as she did in "The Mask" and Cruise is his normal smooth self but something just did not feel right.

The action and story were okay - Spy uses blonde mule to smuggle something through passport control, cameras pick up the drop and our heroine is ushered onto a plane full of assassins where the superbly named super spy, Roy Miller? takes out the crew, passengers (f.b.i) and pilots all whilst Diaz powders her nose. Roll on explosive chase movie which becomes more an more cheesy as Diaz goes from dizzy nobody to gun slinging uzi pro in about 45 minutes.

So this is a sweet movie but it just did not have the action / comedy element I was hoping for. Cruise is safe in the knowledge that with M.I.4 currently in pre-production and set for release in 2011 with another 10 movies in the pipeline his career is certainly not flagging, but in the case of this one - if it flops in the UK as it did in the U.S he doesn't have to worry too much, even though it it weren't for him and Diaz starring in it, people would avoid this like a fart in a lift.

In the A-Team I laughed out loud, in the Losers I felt sad about the little kiddies & In the Killers Tom Selleck ruled! but in Knight & Day...I don't know - may if it had a "the" in the title it may have been a bit better.

But its rude to completely slate it..... there were some good bits. The plane fight is pretty good and also the car chases are very slick.

Cruise wants "comedy" but tried to link it with action. The A-team reached new heights with the laugh/boom genre but if I were producing, I'd advise Tom that for laugh out loud roles he should stick to Les Grossman next time!

So that's it really. It can be fondly described as an action romp. But in my mind the Killers has a better story and Heigl plays bemused blonde far better than Diaz, even though Cameron is far hotter!!

See this if............The A-Team is sold out!

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

50, The A-Team


In 1983 there was no Internet, everyone had only 4 channels on their TV & Radio was a bit crappy.

Saturday nights for an average family was spent in front of the TV and with only 4 channels to choose from, viewing figures were easy pickings for some of the top shows and in its prime, The A-Team held an audience in excess of 20 million viewers and only recently matched by the X-Factor Final. It was one of TV's most popular shows and if you were, like me an 8 year old boy the following statement meant 1 hour of pure bliss was about to begin.....

"In 1972, a crack commando unit was sent to prison by a military court for a crime they didn't commit. These men promptly escaped from a maximum security stockade to the Los Angeles underground. Today, still wanted by the government, they survive as soldiers of fortune. If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find them, maybe you can hire... The A-Team."

INFAMOUS!!! so when I heard about a big screen movie some 27 years later I could not wait. And was it worth the wait!!

DEFINITELY.

Our movie starts with the A-Team meeting up for the first time, Hannibal & Face are already acquainted and they pick up BA & Murdock along the way. They complete 1 mission before the film leaps forward 8 years, still together and currently "not" wanted by the government and having completed about 90 missions together they set out on a gripping hunt to rescue some US dollar mint plates and tee off against / with (you can work it out) the CIA in a bid for truth, justice and the American way.

The star of this movie is far and away Murdock, if you have seen "District 9" he is the main guy and he is hilarious from the 1st second he starts talking. You can easily be forgiven for thinking the 1st hour of this is an outright comedy. Even the action sequences are tinged with hysterical laughter and it mixes it all beautifully, resulting in some great (albeit it slightly over the top) special effects and action sequences that set this film above pretty much everything else this year.

All the 4 main guys (and even Jessica Biel) is great, Lynch (CIA) is the funniest bad guy I have seen in years and my wife fancied the pants of of Face!! (but I think that's the way they wanted it!!)

BA is tough but sweet and Liam Neeson is a very convincing as Hannibal - it pretty much ends where the TV show starts so, a prequel is the mind set you need when you sit down but the ending leaves room for a sequel and I hope to god they make one (wait as I check IMDB....) nothing yet!!

The A-Team Van only appears at the start for a few minutes which is a shame but you quickly forget as the "warehouse full of rubbish / becomes utility vehicle of war" takes place a few times (an A-Team classic) and there is a few moments where the famous theme tune kicks in, only for a few bars but you get that tingle run through you.

Enough said, NEVER...I could gush for hours, I want it on Blu-Ray for the Flat Screen, DVD for the Bedroom and Digital copy for the ipod and I will be queuing from day 1 to buy this, might even take a 2nd trip to the cinema!!

If you remember the A-Team as a kid then see this film - it will make you laugh out loud at a funny South African man doing a Braveheart impression and if that is not reason enough, then read on....

See this if...(you guessed it) YOU LOVE IT WHEN A PLAN COMES TOGETHER!!!

Sorry, could not help myself!!

Thursday, 29 July 2010

49, The Karate Kid


First of all, lets get what we are all thinking out in the open.

The original Karate Kid, although now considered a cult classic was not the best movie ever made. Ralph Macchio never looked "hard" enough to be a karate champion and the shameful 2nd and 3rd follow-ups just made it even worse.

So when this came out part of me hoped it would be a "re-working" like The Italian Job or the soon to be releases Sorcerers Apprentice not a "re-make" like Wicker Man but believe me that barring all but two (or maybe three) differences this is an exact replica of the first film, even down to the damaged leg in the final fight.

But after 10 minutes it did not matter.

Change 1, it takes place in China. Change 2, the "Crane" is now the "Snake" and Change 3, they are all little kids.

In the 1st movie our hero had left college, was able to drive and was pretty dependant. This was okay but in the new movie our 12 year old mini "Will Smith" is totally adorable and what makes it even better is the 12 year old bullies look tougher than the adults did in 1984!! Add in the fact that he plays a part that is so familiar to parents with teenage kids I fully believe that barring the money and fame, he is no different to my own brood with their mess, cheek & humour!

The fight scenes are awesome, probably to do with Jackie Chan's input and after memorable Chan movies like Police Story, First Strike and Operation Condor you know that his fight scenes are quick, funny and completely unbelievable. This is replicated here and the laughs come as often as the ouches!!

You should know the plot, kid gets a kicking, mentor steps in, becomes teacher, honour is defended in tournament, film over. Don't think that knowing the outcome will ruin the experience as this is a thousand times better acted, shot, located & choreographed than the original and you actually believe that Jaden Smith could kick ass!.

It may have helped that "Mum & Dad" produced the movie with Will & Jade Pinkett on site in China to keep an eye on their "more than average" teenager and the first "screen kiss" for Jaden must have been a bit odd with the folks looking on, but there is a reason why this little "soon to be superstar" got top billing over Jackie Chan, he is amazing.

He acts well, fights brilliantly and the "balcony splits" make the best of us wince. Add in the fact that he is still just a kid and already has the swagger of Mr Big Willy himself shows that given the right guidance, scripts and helping parental hand this guy could go along way.

The "wax on, wax off" has been replaced with "jacket on, jacket off" and this did get a bit repetitive but the whole movie (all 2hrs 20 minutes of it) passes like lightening and the finale hits with a sweeping rush of joy and lump in the throat!! All I heard was praise from the crowd and for the first time in my cinema experience I heard a ripple of applause at the end!!

There is a bully, a baddie teacher, a girl, a kiss, a car, a fly swatting moment and more pokes at the original (in-kind) that you could ask for which makes for a funny, witty, fast paced, well written film that I dare you to dislike!!

Not a bad word on this one, I would see it again tomorrow and it definitely hits the blu-ray Xmas list for me.

Age?, 6 & 11 year old girls were hooked throughout and both my wife and I loved it. I don't think I have written a bad review since Brooklyn's Finest but I would watch this a hundred times over rather than a single re-sit of that one!!

If you have daughters that want to be the next "Mrs Bieber" then hang around for the end credits. The final song shows that Smith Jnr cant only just act but takes in daddy's footsteps with a rap as well!! alongside Mr Bieber Fever himself. Too much of the "gag" factor for me but what can you do!

See this if................You like to see old dogs learn new tricks!!