Sunday, 30 May 2010

38, The Losers

When a film hits the cinemas and you read the cast list and say WHO?, or 2 days before it gets released and you see a trailer and go WHAT? I always wonder one of 2 things - firstly, is this film that bad that no one has been talking about it and secondly, and most hopefully you discover a hidden gem that creeps up on you and covers all the basis for a great film - a total unexpected joy to behold.

And The losers definitely scores in the latter!!

On a closer look a few faces start to become familiar. The first is Clay, the lead character - he starred in "Watchmen" as Eddie Blake (The Comedian) and a few episodes of Grey's Anatomy and also Jensen, The Human Torch from Fantastic Four and the pre-announced "Captain America" due out in 2012. Add in Mr Jason Patrick from "Speed 2" and a leading lady who looks more like Thandie Newton than Thandie Newton does but isn't and all of a sudden you have an A-List to brag about.

You would be easily forgotten for believing this is a poor mans A-Team and the soldiers of fortune, wanted by their own government looking to clear their names definitely puts it in the same league but I thought this was great and should be considered not as a cheap imitation, but as a pretty good film in its own right.

It is full of action, humour, some nakedness and not forgetting some big ass guns. There is also and an egg shaped device that disintegrates land mass which is cool, albeit a little O.T.T

Easy plot, 5 guys in Bolivia call in an air strike on Mr Nasty Baddie before realising that 25 kids are in-house. A brave 8 minute rescue and 1 execution later the kids are free and the place is annihilated with seconds to spare.

Due to limited space on the evac chopper the kids go first leaving our heroes behind but sadly a devastating call of an air strike designed to take out the "losers" end up with the murder of 25 innocent kids by Max, a nasty CIA black ops dude hell bent on global destruction / domination.

Revenge takes it toll and when an opportunity rises for a return to the states to clear their names the plot races forward with a surge of brilliance through about 8 global cities to hunt down those responsible.

That's the action covered so onto the comedy. It does all of the above with a distinct hint of sarcasm and one of the funniest bits by far is Jensen's escape though a tower block, aptly set to the soundtrack of "Don't Stop Believing" by Journey. Chris Evans (Jensen) is responsible for 90% of the humour in this and by far one of his best roles to date.

Another comic book re-make? You would think so. The the animators, especially in the title sequences have added a slant of Marvel meets DC with a slice of 2000 AD added but it does not carry the cheese of a Marvel movie, and the absence of Stan Lee confirmed it. So was it a comic book?

Yes. After a bit of web-searching the "Losers" comic book was published in 2004 under the "D.C Vertigo" label. Nerd Alert !!! (sorry!)

If, like me you cant wait for the A-Team then this is a great warm up to it, but it easily stands on its own too feet.

A hidden Gem, definitely.

See this movie if...............BOOM!

Saturday, 22 May 2010

37, Prince of Persia

A huge percentage of movies we see today come from book adaptations, and that's fine, if you read. But if you are like me and not a certified book worm it takes the movie to open your eyes to what is going on - and I never hear myself uttering the immortal words "The Book was Better!?!"

But as I am not a reader, what am I.....easy. A Gamer.

So when I first saw the trailer for "Prince of Persia, Sands of Time" I knew exactly the plot, characters, settings, names - the works. And I could not wait.

Last year the game re-invented platformers with a cell shaded animation unlike anyone had seen before in a game. The fluid movement of the Prince, leaping from roof to roof, wall-running and swinging from ropes and lights was enough to hook me from start to finish. And I hoped the film did it justice. And it did.

Firstly, the action is immense. Really well done and then a hidden gem, well two hidden gems actually. Firstly, it was Funny!!! everyone had British accents even down to the cockney prince himself. The 2nd was Gemma Arterton - with each movie she gets less wooden, more attractive and as the leading lady in this one - nailed it!!!

I am not the greatest Gyllenhaal fan but this kind of changed my opinion - he played the role great and if, like me you loved the game they have managed to capture all of the movements fantastically and you notice very quickly the leaping from beam to beam, wall runs and flips up and down walls that made the game so appealing.

The story also holds up with a great plot line and Arterton & Gyllenhaal are perfectly matched with the rest of the cast and with Ben Kingsley playing the nasty uncle and Dr Octopus from Spidey 2 popping up as the Sheik, with a passion for Ostrich racing the whole thing is a great watch!

I hoped this would be a great film - and it turned out to be an amazing one - it was action packed, funny, believable (if Persians going back in time and the chance of the gods raining down apocalyptic devastation can be believable!!) and well worth a Saturday morning indoors when the rest of the UK hit fete's, beaches, Beer Gardens and Theme Parks.

My wife was pleasantly surprised, coming out entertained when she thought she would be watching a swashbuckling tale of fantasy - not really her cup of tea.

Its a 12a I think and apart from the snakes, any kid over 8 should love the action and swordplay. The special effects are great and finally, maybe most importantly - I will never say another bad word against Gemma Arterton. She Rocks!!

See this if.........Games beat books - EVERY TIME!!!

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

36, Furry Vengeance

Please accept my apologies, I saw this film 7 days ago but its taken until now to write the blog. And here is the reason why....

Think of the worst film you EVER saw...times it by 1 thousand...add a fat leading man and a wooden leading lady...add some dreadful special effects...take out all of the humour...make up a pointless plot...and you are still no where near to the apocalyptic mess that results in furry Vengeance.

This is the worst film in the last 10 years. Un-funny, dull, laborious, pointless, waste of time!!!!!!!!!!!!

I was going off Brendan Frasier since the Mummy III but in this he really does take it one step too far, and as for Brooke Shields......Wooden, old, dull, YAWN!!

The kids are pointless, my PowerPoint presentations hold more interest and thank god I saw it for free!!!

However.........There is one saving grace.

It stars Ken Jeong who for those that don't know, he is the funny Japanese man in "The Hangover" - the one with the funny voice - he is hilarious, its only a shame that everyone else was so dull that all his jokes were lost on the moans coming from the other cast members.

so that's it - There will be no spoiler here, believe me...there was nothing to spoil. My daughter laughed loudly, but only because she is yet to develop a sense of humour that exceeds farts and knock knock jokes.

Save your time, money and life. spend your £8 getting a tattoo on your eyeball that says MUPPET!!!

See this if..............CANT YOU READ!!!

Sunday, 9 May 2010

35, Hot Tub Time Machine

When I first heard Scott Mills on Radio 1 talking about this a few months ago I thought it was a wind up.

Then I saw a trailer with Chevy Chase and John Cusack and realised that this was actually going to be released.

When the 1st trailers hit the cinemas the outlay was a very cheesy step back in time with a dodgy soundtrack and the stereo typical tough guy, black guy, loser guy & geek.

So I was extremely surprised when what I actually saw made me laugh out loud more times than I can remember, even nearly losing a mouthful of Pepsi in the process!

3 Guys, A loser who watches his ex-girlfriend and all his stuff walk out on him, a suicidal alcoholic and a completely under the thumb ex-musician who grew up together and although still friends, have slightly lost contact rally round the alcoholic after a botched suicide attempt and decide to re-bond by a trip to the mountains, with a nephew geek in-tow where they had some of their best Summers as teenagers.

When they arrive time has not done the resort well until and after dealing with a moody bellboy (George McFly from Back to the future) with one arm decide to get wasted in the hot tub and after spilling some over juiced energy drink into the electronics they get sent back to Winterfest' 86.

Okay - the plot seems extremely ropey but there is something about this that makes it worthwhile.

Firstly, I am no prude but there was a hell of a lot of swearing in it and most of it seemed like the film makers thought they needed the swears to make it funny, which in places it did but the script came across as strong enough on its own.

The basic story is that this was this trip they all made in 86' where decisions were made by all 3 of the guys leading to somewhat not so great futures and now back in their old, younger bodies but with their 40yr old minds well in-tact they set out to make the right decisions 2nd time round - and in true Hollywood style - for the better.

There are loads of sub-plots, side stories and F-words but on the whole it pans out beautifully and is well worth a watch.

Some of the highlights were the constant "near misses" of the bellboy losing his arm, the abusive phone call to the 9 year old girl and the Black Eyed-Peas cover which was very different to the Wham & Bowie tunes that the 86' audience was used too.

Its a cert 15' so you wont take the (younger) kids but don't think that this is a cheesy crap 80's movie. Chevy Chase plays the Hot Tub Repair Guy and although only a cameo, any fan of Chevy's will love his return to the silver screen. The Geek is experiencing it all for the first time and there is the whole space time continuum of him not existing yet and phasing in and out of visibility which is also another sub plot.

This is a great movie, I found it hilarious from about 15 minutes in until the end and no one should be put off by the title - Cusack is still, in my eyes a great actor and the rest of the cast hold up well. Especially the chicks rocking the leg warmers and full on perms!

See this movie wanna step back in time!

Monday, 3 May 2010

34, Iron Man 2

With any Marvel movie its the same, the first one is all about "becoming the hero" and we go through an awesome / horrendous re-invention of an individual, defining their fears and focusing on one true goal - if this works and the audience love it (Batman) then we are blessed with more. If it doesn't (Hulk) then Hollywood kindly put it to bed. So where does Iron Man sit, luckily the first one was excellent so it was only a matter of time until we were given another helping and it does not disappoint.

Whats great about a Marvel sequel is there is no need for messing about - it can get straight in there, we know the characters, the story, that Stan Lee will make a tiny cameo, everything, so its easy to jump in and get directly into some Iron Man action. Downey Jr is excellent in this, his character of Stark is as egotistical and arrogant as you want him to be with Paltrow picking up the Pepper Potts role beautifully and she is may favourite in the film by far. Sexy, Smart and grounded. Everyone should have one!!

Sam Rockwell is great as Hammer, Starks "rival" to put it plainly, not quite as rich or clever but just as cocky and in parts, quite cheesy. Similar to the role he played in Charlies Angels many moons ago but where in Angels he was Mr Main Villain in this, that honour goes to someone completely different.

Micky Rourke has had praise since a return to form in the Wrestler and this is a wicked performance. Playing a Russian Scientist, bent on destroying the Stark Legacy.

The plot works, Ivan (Rourke) manages to recreate the Iron Man Tech using the original plans handed down by his own father (Stark's dads original business partner)and shows it off with devastating effect at a Monaco Grand Prix. This comes only days after Starks own admission that no other government / agency is anywhere near recreating his own tech, demonstrated by Hammers useless attempts! Add in the factor that the toxicity in the suit is now entering his blood stream Stark is forced to work with the government while actually finding out his fathers hidden secret, a new element and blah blah blah, save the world! Superhero stuff, obviously.

Add in Nick Fury (S.L Jackson) and a few other agents of "Shield", namely Scarlett Johansson for some added good guy backup, a 2nd Iron Man suit for Don Cheadle (Starks closest pal) and all of a sudden we have a big old robot fest of explosions and kick ass guns (keep an eye out for the "ex-wife", got the biggest laugh of the day!)

No plot spoilers at the end though - its a Marvel so obviously the good guys prevail but Rourkes & Paltrows performances definitely stand out.

There is a lull for about 20 minutes in the middle when the characters all do a bit of soul searching but other than that is high octane action from start to finish - I loved this, Defiantly worth a watch.

Plus the AC/DC soundtrack throughout is awesome!

See this if.................You want a really good time!