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!!