Wednesday, 31 March 2010

25, Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang


Family Fun time, Easter is here and the run of kids films commences.....From memory the first film was funny so does this sequel live up to the hype?

Not to begin with.

Set during the first world war the film revolves around a mum with 3 kids who's husband is at war. With the snotty cousins on their way over from London to escape the bombs we are faced with 5 kids, a struggling mum, a ditzy old shopkeeper and her military copper husband, a farmer, a money grabbing uncle, a moody war office official, 2 slightly odd debt collectors, a wart ridden nanny and a bomb.

Those that have seen the original know the plot, 5 rules - Nanny's looks improve each time the kids take a step in the right direction. Happy Ending.

In comparison the kids in this are no way near as good as the ones first time out - They were more scheming, more obnoxious, far from annoying and basically like you wanted to be at 11. To top it off the lead kid in the first film is the only actor responsible so far for bringing a lump to my throat during a film (Airport Scene in Love Actually!! - SHUT UP - you loved it too!!) The problem is that the new kids start out as annoying, irritating and boring and for me this was the whole outset of the film until the pigs escaped. Then it started to get funny.

Very funny.

don't expect ground breaking CGI here but synchronised swimming and tree climbing by piglets was cute and had my 6 year old in stitches. Maggie Smith sat in a cow pat, Bill Bailey discussed intelligent pigs and Katie Brand played a blinder as a slightly mental psycho. Ryhs Ifans was smarmy, Ralph Feinnes was rude and Ewan Mcgregor stars in his shortest cameo EVER!!! so the names are there for the British talent and without them it would have died on its arse.

Maggie Gylennhall was her usual standard self - she is not impressing and I fail to see why she's famous - Her brother does a better job on screen but both lack charisma, my only hope is that his upcoming portrayal of the Prince of Persia is good as I am loving the games - but moving off point - back to McPhee.

The star as always is the writer and lead, Emma Thompson. Ugly, Hairy, Overweight she improves as the film progresses but given the choice, even in her best state I would take Mary Poppins every time!!

Two Characters make it into the sequel from the original, Nanny McPhee is a given but the 2nd only becomes apparent at the very end and I'm not going to spoil it.

It starts slow - get better and end quickly. Kids will love it but considering its not been that long the cinema was only 1/4 full - the lure of Training Dragons proved too much for some people!!!

Worth a watch? - for the kids maybe but for adults, skip it and watch Kick-ASS!!

See this if...............you can handle being DRAGGED!!

Monday, 22 March 2010

24, Shutter Island

When you think of Scorsese you think Casino, Goodfellas, Raging Bull...the list goes on and on but its been 3 years since his last proper film and his last directorial outing was a Rolling Stones documentary so what was the master of the mobster thriller going to present me today, A Horror as I thought it would be?, No. A Gritty Cop Drama?, Uh. No. A Comedy - PLEASE!!...So what is Shutter Island??

It starts with a boat appearing from the fog carrying 2 FBI agents heading for Shutter Island to solve the mystery of a missing mental patient / inmate. For the first 20 minutes or so you think it is any other dated, old school, fedora based FBI Drama. Set in 1954 it follows DiCaprio as an ex WW2 vet who witnessed more than his fair share in the Nazi death camps where as the American Troops, saved Jews from the Germans.

Then it gets all weird.

With sporadic musical interludes that would look at home in a 60's hammer horror movie it mighty weird!! I WANT to tell you then end but its got that "Sixth Sense" factor where if I do spill the beans it will be spoilt for ever and now I've seen it I wont watch it ever again. Not because its bad but I don't see the point now I know the ending.

It does not have that appeal of an Action Blockbuster and its not violent enough for a prison drama. Its got no humorous traits and will be in the "2 for £10" bin at HMV before the end of the Summer Holidays, so why see it?

Because you never really know until the end whats going to happen. Its not scary, jumpy or gross, however if you have daughters under the age of 10 it may be slightly upsetting to watch due to some of the scenes but its all part of the plot. There are flashbacks that occur randomly but believe me...it does all make sense at the end.

I went through 3 phases in this film, trying to work it out.
1st Third - I thought it was very Bugsy Malone meets Shawshank.
2nd Third - I was CONVINCED it was copying the Wicker Man (watch it to see why)
3rd Third - It had "Sixth Sense" written all over it - but NO - He's not dead!!!

It wont make you laugh, it wont make to scared - in fact it wont make you anything - you will watch it, get confused by it, work it out and then say - That was okay. And that's it - It was okay.

DiCaprio, as normal, still looked too young for the part he played, Ex WW2 vet turned FBI father of 3 - still looked 21 years old!!! He is becoming the Mr Michael J. Fox of the Noughties!!

Do you still want to see it? its worth one view - after that, like me you wont see the point in watching it again. Its a standard film with a massive twist - don't panic - I'm not giving it all away.

See this if................You're bored of predictable plots.

Saturday, 13 March 2010

23, Green Zone

There is no messing about with this one - The action starts about 15 seconds in and pretty much does let up throughout its entirety. It is non-stop from the get-go and as you know is set in Iraq, 4 weeks after the 1st shock and awe insertion by the coalition forces. The Scene, Saddam has fled and his generals are in safe houses scattered around the city. Damon is part of the WMD team (Weapons of Mass Destruction) and they are following Intel to find the hiding spots but each time coming up empty handed, Damon's frustrations at constantly being sent on wild goose chases become apparent and lead him to seek answers in the form of CIA agent Marty and a New York reporter.

That's It. What plays out is the fact that America should have never invaded and the whole war was started because of a fabricated statement.

So, That's about as "GMTV" as I am going to get. Plot explained so, onto the cast. I think that with every film Matt Damon just gets better and better. He is Ace in Bourne, Cool in Oceans & even back to the early days of Dogma he manages to hold up as a leading actor. Mad Eye Moody plays the CIA Agent Marty exceptionally well and there is an unexpected performance from Mr Malfoy, Jason Isaacs.

Geg Kinnear plays a blinder as Poundstone, The US Military Suit who is pushing for the return of a new regime and turns out is the key to the whole war.

Is it political - maybe, most definitely. A Film openly stating the war was unjust and should never of happened, based on one mans lies to crack an infrastructure and bring a new order. But WHAT A FILM!! The camera is with the soldiers from the start and is jerky for realism but you really get the feel of being part of the action. It's a good old, down to earth war film for the modern era. Current, Important, Beautifully acted and definitely one to watch.

I'd watch it again tomorrow, and again and again.

See this if.............No Excuses (only being under 15!)

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

22, Alice in Wonderland (3d)

It's been a while !!! Sorry there is no Wolfman or From Paris with Love - Time got the better of me.

So, it's back to PG kids flicks and another Burton masterpiece?? sort of...

As you all hopefully know, this is not a re-make. Its a sequel to the original. in 3d. By Tim Burton and his usual suspects and its a down to earth, non-scary kids film that they will love!!! I heard the animation was great but the plot was confusing.Uh NO!! Its a no brainer.

Plot Spoiler - Alice (13 years on) believes Wonderland is only a dream, she has no actual recollection of being there, so when she goes back (about 10 minutes into the movie so no hanging around) she believes she is dreaming, one thing leads to another, she discovers its real and has been summoned back as the White Queens Champion to Defeat the Red Queens Champion and win the crown back for the White Queen - kept up ?, Good. The Hatter (Depp) and March Hare (CGI) are the best characters by far but Matt Lucas as Both Dum & Dee Twins is very funny, Stephen Fry as the Cat is good but keep an eye out for Peggy Mitchel as a Mouse, not expecting that one!! Bonham-Carter as usual heads the female cast with Anne Hathaway playing the younger, more attractive sibling, The White Queen to Carter's Red One. Chess Pieces vs. Playing Cards make up the army and the "hero" is the sword, wielded by Alice. Simples!!!

There are NO Spiders (to my daughters delight) & NO Jumpy bits. It deserves it's PG rating and for a Burton Film, pretty normal.

The £d Animation is great, Avatar is better but on the whole, "Wonderland" is very well done, slightly run-down due to bad Queen management but that's to be expected. Bonham-Carters character is funny throughout and the effects for her head are good. Keep an eye out for "Back to The Future" George McFly and for the adults, spot the voice overs - I got them all but Timothy Spall.

No Bad remarks - Standard Kids film. fine for a Sunday.

See this if.................you wondered how the original "could" have ended.