Sunday, 25 April 2010

33, Date Night


There have been many American sit-com's that I love - In its day, Friends was great, more recently, Modern Family actually makes me laugh out loud and I have watched 2 and a half men, My Wife and Kids & Family Guy. But so far I have never seen 30 Rock and think I have been missing out. I have quotes of Tina Fey being regarded a TV comedy genius and I think who ever said it, was right.

So, Steve Carell. From Anchorman to Evan Almighty and who can forget 40 year old virgin, the guy is a legendary comedy performer. However, does putting two comedy greats on a bit screen result in genius. Maybe.

I heard the Radio 1 review of this and James King nailed it. The ad lib between Carell & Fey is amazing. Very funny. They work together as well as salt and pepper but you do feel that they are held back by a script that could have been so much better.

Mark Whalberg stars in a small cameo role which is unusual for him but plays an absolute blinder as the special ops gut who helps out the Fosters as they battle dirty cops, sleezy D.A's and a mob boss, Hmmmm.. Lets see... Mr Stereotype himself....Ray Liotta (who only get about 8 lines) Also, the chemistry between Whalberg & Fey is dynamite. The "glances" between the two say it all - and Carell does his best to "Man-Up"...Bless him!

Whats good about this is it is all about Carell & Fey. They are in it from the start and they carry it beautifully. The scene in the "escape" boat is funny, albeit for only a few seconds, as is the pole dancing scene in front of the DA, Laugh out loud humour.

This will not go down as one of the great comedy movies of our time but its definitely worth a watch and maybe a DVD Purchase. The story is a bit ropey with so much emphasis on the fact that a reservation was stolen? apparently in the states this is a huge misdemeanor, must be an American thing!

Anyway, This IS a funny film, so if you fancy a giggle then definitely give this one a go, even if it is only as a warm up to "Hot Tub Time Machine" due out soon!!!

See This if..............You have ever "done the dance"!!!

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

32, Whip It


Sometimes it is nice to be surprised. I remember watching Juno, swept up in the wave of praise it was getting but not really expecting to enjoy it, and then understanding and agreeing with the hype. So, Ellen Page is back, 2 movies and a Simpson's episode since Juno and is is a continuation of form.....

Definitely!!

Drew Barrymore directs a ensemble of female talent including Page, Juliet Lewis, Eve and a welcome return for Daniel Stern from City Slickers and Home Alone fame playing the "under the thumb" dad.

The outset plays out like Dodgeball, without the visual jokes. Small town sport turn global phenomenon but this stays local - entirely set between Austin & Bodeen, Texas the roller Derby is a female led grudge match on wheels - like Bulldog on skates. Set in an old warehouse this does not claim to want to change the world - but pits small teams of angry, fish net clad beauties with attitudes against each other in a non funded, non rewarded sport of champions!!

So whats so good about this. It does not claim to be anything its not - its believable - this could be happening in towns all across the states - swigging beer and driving trucks, eating in diners and moaning about senior college. Its don to earth and fun.

Drew takes a back seat in the acting role and leaves the performance work to Lewis & Page with excellent performances from "Mum & Dad" and the best friend.

I knew nothing of Roller Derby prior to watching this and probably wont ever again but for 90 minutes it was great to see the story unfold and by the end of it you are urging them on in true Underdog style. It does not disappoint - set with a 12A rating we took Leah (6) but a few of the scenes were beyond her - an even though she loved the racing and the jokes it should of have the "A" removed, a 12 Cert alone would have sufficed.

Its a date movie for Teenagers, its a step back in time for Mums & Dads and for the general viewing audience, Ellen Page proves again she is destined for greatness and at 23, stills manages to pull of 17 beautifully!!

See this if......................Juno made you smile!!

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

31, How to Train your Dragon


Its pretty much a given that if you have kids under the age of about 9 then at some point they will be tugging on your trouser legs, asking to go and see this movie.

And they should be.....

There are plenty of kids movies around this Easter, there are more than a few 3d ones currently on release but this one has something special about it.

The animation is better than almost anything else around currently and the story is unique and holds up. A village of Vikings, situated below the northern lights. For 7 generations they have battled Dragons on a day to basis until Hiccup, the chiefs son, manages to catch the un-catchable dragon, injuring it and then nursing it back to health and in the process manages to discover that the dragons are not all fire and teeth but like a tickle & the occasional fish.

The cast are great. Gerard butler as the Chief viking puts on his broadest Scottish accent and still manages a better performance off screen than he did on it in the Bounty Hunter. Ugly Betty is cool as Astrid, the object of Hiccups desires and Hiccup himself played by one of the "Knocked Up" crowd is funny. The current wave of young American talent that seems to be forever present again rears up with Superbad stars Jonah Hill and fresh from Kick-Ass, Christopher Mintz-Plasse (McLovin) playing absolute blinders.

The 3d element is almost on the same level as Avatar and the best so far in a complete animation movie. There is not much more to say. After all its a kids animation film and nowadays its hard to come across a crap one.

We are at a place now where they all look as good as each other, in fact even improving one after the other. The new 3d element brings them to life but far more subtly than the 3d of old. nothing really jumps out at you and I am yet to see one as good as Pirates 4d (used to be on at Thorpe Park) but I am sure as the tech improves over time they will get more "in your face".

Anyway, to sum up...can't complain. I laughed, My daughters loved it & the mother-in-law gave it the thumbs.

Fun for the whole family.

See this if................The kids make the rules!!

Monday, 5 April 2010

30, Clash of the Titans


I love going to see a film that gets slated, I love even more that the fat kid behind me was overheard saying what a crap movie it was going to be, yet he was still sitting there.

I love it when movie studios spend millions of a film, If I was a Hollywood Exec of course I would spend buckets of hard earned cash making a turkey, sometimes it happens but when we are talking CGI, 3d and Mr Avatar himself is it really going to be that bad?

In fact that's what I love about cinema - who cares what people think - you make up your own mind. You might not agree with what I say on these blogs but you will have your opinion as to what you believe. And that's what its all about.

Firstly, before the film, lets talk Sam Worthington. His 1st acting role was in TV drama JAG in 2000, since then he bowled around in "For Television" dramas and a few low budget films but made his mark in Terminator Salvation in 2009, Soon followed Avatar and now this. 4 months passed between release dates of Avatar and Titans and did you know he starred alongside Helen Mirren in a film called "The Debt" between the two? No, neither did I. He's no Oscar winner but still manages to play a blinder when surrounded by CGI and awe inspiring special effects, not to mention being part of 3d back to back blockbusters but time will tell if he can stand on his own two feet. (at least the wife thinks he's fit!)

That leads me to the leading lady - Gemma Arterton. Cute?....Definitely (and she looks great in this). Leading Lady?...Defiantly not. Bless her though, she is not as wooden in this as her other outings (Trinians & Bond to name two) but she is better than usual.

So the film. Whats good about this is that it is only 90 minutes. $32 Million Dollars spent on CGI & 3D averaging £350k per minute - worth it - MOST DEFINITELY!!

Whats great about Avatar, Gladiator & Lord of the Rings is they are all expensive and look amazing but are 3hrs long!!! Even the best films got a little twitchy about 2hrs 20 minutes in but this is over in a heartbeat and does not let up throughout its entirety.

The 1st 30 minutes is a history lesson, but it's the same story I heard at Percy Jackson & The Lightening Thief. Zeus, Poseidon & Hades, Demi-gods, Titans blah ramble blah ramble - lets get with the action!!

The special effects are awesome, the rest of the cast are also brilliant. Keep a look out for Jason Fleyming (Lock, Stock) & Le'Chiffre (Mads Mikkleson) from Casino Royale, who between that and Titans has only starred in a few small foreign films. These two are brilliant.

If I had one moan it would be the Kraken was disappointing - it only actually appeared for about 4 minutes and only really roared and smashed some buildings up before our hero Perseus showed it Medusa's head and ended its days by turning it to stone. The Problem is that we discovered earlier that it only worked on Man - so by definition the Kraken is human..don't think so!!

For £350k a minute you cant ask for much more. Its fast moving, the special effects are awesome and if like me, you grew up reading Myths & Legends you will be sucked right in.

Hollywood are looking closely at this and if successful then expect to see a barrage of new movies in 2012 based on Gods, Demigods & Demons. And I say bring it on... If someone is prepared to pay over £30 million to make me happy all for the cost of a set of cheap 3d glasses, a movie ticket and some M&M's I will keep coming back, over and over again.

See this if.............You liked Avatar but only have half the time!!

Sunday, 4 April 2010

29, Kick-Ass


This is going to be the hardest blog to write yet, and let me explain why. The premise of this film on the outset is simple. Teenage vigilante's dressing up in cheesy costumes playing wannabe superheroes.

Sounds simple - it's been done before right....Remember "Mystery Men", one of the worst films ever made? That's what I thought. But then I read the "See this if you like" section of the mag. Its described in the same breath as "Watchmen" and "Wanted", both 18 certificates. And this was billed as a 15, so what was so violent and gory that it was compared against the only 2 comic book movies to be awarded the 18 flag. Let me tell you.

THIS IS AN AWESOME MOVIE!!

I was totally taken back by it. In the first 5 minutes we meet our geek hero. And within the first sentence he has dropped 3 F*cks and its normal!

So, we are definitely not watching a kids comic book fantasy here, this is in the realm of American Teen Comedy, Superbad meets American Pie. The actors are familiar, maybe not to look at but the type is all too recognisable. Teen Geek fancies hot college girl & nasty mobster and his goofy henchmen own the city, cops and everyone else. That's the comic book part - it will make you laugh out loud.

And then something happens that will decide if you love or hate this film and believe me, there is no middle ground. its is definitely either love it or hate it.

This is full on brutal violence meets sweet teenage comedy. Kick-Ass is a geeky comic book obsessed kid who is sick of being pushed around. Deep in a world made up of fantasy girlfriends and slightly fat friends he feels there is more to life and set out to buy a costume and take on a couple of local street thugs. His 1st outing goes badly, getting stabbed and then run over but the full body surgery he undergoes to fix his broken skeleton requires the addition of some metal plates, and although not indestructible, he can at least take a slightly longer beating than most.

But then you meet probably my newest, most favourite movie character of all time.

She is 11

She uses the work Cu*t - (which made the whole audience look at each other saying..."did she just say...?")

She is an expert using butterfly blades

She packs every kind of weaponry

She is HIT GIRL

Okay, lets get this straight from the off. Depending on if you think its right for kids to swear and brutally kill in films, after all - in real life she is still in year 7! will pretty much set your tone for the rest of the film. for me - it was one of the best movies seen in a while, for you, you may want to walk out...read on.

I do not know who this kid is but I think she was the best thing about it. Kick-Ass pretty much fumbles his way through battle after battle but basically she is the star, her and her dad played by Nic Cage. (He is a little cheesy though)

Where Kick-Ass gets by using a green Lycra suit with padded cheerleader batons and pretty much just sets out to ruff up the bad guys, Hit Girl & Big Daddy Pack leather and metal suits, mini sub machine guns, swords, knives and much more, what's even better is that they don't hesitate is slashing and dissecting their way through henchman after henchman - and nothing it edited out - you see it all.

There are bullets though the face, blades in the throat, even a bazooka in the chest but you cant get away from the fact that an 11 year old girl beats the living hell out of everyone including half the cast of Lock Stock and Archie from rock'n'rolla. The scene where Hit Girl goes one to one against Mr nasty mob boss (Archie from above) is one of the best in the film and its full on headbutts and closed knuckle punches. It's amazing to watch.

I cant tell you go and watch this if you loved Bat, Super or Iron Man movies, I cant even say watch this if you loved every American teen comedy ever made - it takes both of them, adds some awesome fight scenes, brutal murders and no holes barred action, mixes it with some sentiment and a little bit of the "Awwww" Factor and what comes out the other end it amazing.

I would watch this again tomorrow, and then again until the DVD is available. you will need an open mind for sure but its a film and if you take it with a pinch of salt then you should be fine. Leave your morals at home and enjoy!!

It makes you wonder. Kick-Ass has a point. All you need is a suit, some basic fighting skills and a form of weaponry and anyone can do it. Real superheroes don't exist (apart from Batman...obviously!!) but average Joe, making a stand...why not??

Personally, see this film - soon. But if you hate it, sorry.

See this if............... You have agreed with my views ion the last 28 blogs, you wont be disappointed.

Saturday, 3 April 2010

28, The Blind Side


After 2 dull trips to the cinema I was hoping for something captivating, funny and enjoyable and hoped the Oscar winning Performance in this film by Sandra Bullock would be worth the watch.

And it most definitely was...

I do not have a single bad word to say about this one. Its billed as a heartwarming, upbeat comedy and it totally lived up to the hype.

Its a true story and it makes you wish you were part of this family, the school, the town, the team...everything! not that our own families are not enough but you really wish you loved in Memphis, Tennessee. Well, the posh bit anyway!!

Nearly Homeless Michael is picked up by our endearing "mom" and taken under her and her families wing so he can develop an education, a family & friends and a Football Scolarship. There a bits that will make you laugh out loud and bits that warm your heart. Normally in films like this there is a time where either the pace drops off and it goes negative, only to be resurrected at the end but in this...It just stays happy - until the end.

Nothing goes wrong, nothing gets in the way. It is just a good old fashioned feel good movie. The Dad is understanding, The Team supportive, The Daughter sweet, The Coach manipulated, The Teachers protective, The Son - AMAZING! The Mum - Well, Bullock does good.

The best thing about True Stories is at the end you sometimes get to see the real people its about - in this one you see the real NFL draft footage from CNN in 2009 where Michael gets drafted to the Pro's and is makes the hairs stand up!! The real mum is about as southern as Mrs KCF and Bullock portrays her brilliantly.

Worthy of the best actress Oscar....Definitely.

See this if..............you want to smile!!

27, Remember Me


R-Patz. ??? 1 Harry Potter film and a Vampire Saga. Now a worldwide phenomenon and sorry, but I don't get it and I'm not that old.....yet.

He is great in Twilight but its the same role over and over (minus the teeth). Emo, dark, moody romantic. Pale skin, floppy hair & soft voice. Action hero....not a chance but for soppy teen idol - He's got it sewn right up.

Remember Me?, Remember What!!! The films started with the murder of a mum on a platform in front of her 9 yr old daughter, if you look closely the Mum is the girl with the glasses from the Goonies. Police arrive on the scene and the New York Detective who arrives is the husband / father.

Jump forward 9 years and we meet Patz who is running late for a cemetery gathering with his sister, mum & her new partner & his Dad, played by Pierce Brosnan.

It bowls along with no real explanation as to why we saw the murder at the start until Patz and his roommate go out on the lash and get in a fight. The copper on scene is the dad from the start then it clicks. What then plays out is the Dad takes a heavy hand to Patz and a few days later his room mate spies the copper and his daughter (now 19) and as payback get Patz to chat her up to get back at the dad. OF COURSE they fall in love for real and blah blah blah blah.

It is SO SLOW - nothing happens.

Parts of the story drip through sporadically. The Dad (Brosnan) is a tycoon arsehole, the sister is a bit geeky with zero mates (but adorable) but the main point is Patz brother commits suicide at 21 (the reason for the family gathering).

There is loads going on but it all kind of just gets misty between scenes. Basically it is Patz that seems to be the main link between the multiple story line. The "Remember Me" title, His Brother, Her Mum, maybe. But its only at the end that you get the plot.

The teacher steps aside of the chalkboard and the date is showing,

September 11, 2001.

It all falls into place. Its a shame that a film that carries so much meaning and sincerity had to be so dull to get there. I felt bad at the end once I realised the true meaning. The last 10 minutes should make up for the u-turns it took in getting there but then you think a little. You understand it.

Its just unfortunate the film was crap.

See this if............you love R-Patz, are 14 & female. Otherwise - bin-it.

26, The Bounty Hunter


This one has been out for a while but with an evening to spare and all the other films on at the cinema either already seen or planned to see this was all that was left.

Gerrard Butler in 300...Awesome. Gamer...Awesome. Law Abiding Citizen...Awesome. Even Nim's Island, which is my wife's favourite he is funny. Rock'n'Rolla...Awesome. But when it comes to Romantic Comedy's he falls apart. The Ugly Truth was dull and in this - Sorry but dull all over again.

So onto Jennifer Aniston... Will she always be "Rachel" from Friends? Probably. She was pretty good in Marley & Me but this one - again, dull.

That sums up the whole film. Radio One slated it giving it "1 Star" and said the best two things about it were on the chest of Jen and he was right!!! It was some pretty impressive under-wiring by her wardrobe department but the film was no where near as buoyant!!

The plot was slow, predictable and never really managed to get going. Butler was cheesy and Aniston managed to get through the entire movie in the same mini skirt, vest top and heels. She managed to totter around for 90 minutes not even breaking a sweat, a strap or a heel.

Gerrard played the goof ball ex-husband who met, married and lost Aniston all in less than 2 years and after leaving the police became a Bounty Hunter to bring in parole violators. Aniston, a journalist gets arrested for driving into a police horse and on the court hearing gets a lead to follow a suicide case she believes has dirty cops involved. Butler picks up the tab to bring her in once she skips bail and pocket the £5k reward, as well as get the personal resolve of dragging his ex-mrs back to Jail.

What comes next is SOOOOO predictable - couple fall in love again, retrace initial wedding steps and solve the dodgy cop case.

When it ends you wonder how it managed to get you there in the first place. The actual villains were in it for only a short time at the end and it could have been so much more but sadly managed to successfully fail on every level.

Disappointed, an understatement. And it was in screen 4, so uncomfy seats. Radio 1 was right. Anistons boobs were the best thing about it.

See this if.................See above