Friday, 25 February 2011

96, I Am Number 4

Hands up who like superhero moves?...ME!  Hands up who though this was one?...ME

But its definitely not so pay attention!!!

Like you, I watched this trailer and thought that our young hero, previously only really famous for appearing in Storm breakers was some kind of Superman for a new millennium.

In reality, he's on the run from a group of badly tattooed villains from his home planet, seeking asylum on Earth with a warrior / protector and a lizard / puppy / big nasty pit bull monster for company.
(You will see what I mean!)

Plots simple, 1,2 & 3 have been hunted down and killed - Number 4 is next and to gain strength he has to identify his true powers and track down 5,6,7,8 & 9.  In this movie, only Number 4 & 6 turn up (but 6 is pretty hot!) which leaves room for a Police Academy's worth of sequels if they want too!

I wont lie, the first hour is pretty slow - its all about getting to know our hero, getting to know his powers and  jumping from town to town until he meets a girl that makes him want to stay and fight rather than run and hide.

The lead is played by Alex Pettyfur who as mentioned above is relatively unknown but for me it was "Die Hard 4" & "Hitman" legend Timothy Olyphant and the lesser recognisable Kevin Durand (Frank Dukes / Blob from Wolverine / Little John from the new Robin Hood) that steal the A-list limelight.

And Kevin is hilarious as the evil Alien commander.

This film has its chuckles, its sexy chicks and its slightly scary moments allowing it the same 12a Rating given to "The Hole" which in my eyes should have been a 15.

Number 6 (played by Teresa Palmer / Violet from Bedtime Stories) easily matches Pettyfur's male presence for eye candy and we have the expected Nerd, Homecoming King & geeky girl all in tow as well.  Imagine Twilight for the Ferris Bueller Generation?

Although a slow starter the story keeps you interested and entertained as Number 4, aptly given the generic name of John Smith learns his true meaning in life and experiences slight humour in discovering his powers.  Basically, he is hidden from a destroyed planet with the hope of rebuilding it at some point.

Granted, he is no Superman but I really enjoyed this movie and think by leaving it open for a few sequels may spawn a pretty good trilogy - although nothing appears planned so far!!

Its the last 40 minutes when the pace really kicks off and then its non stop action, explosions and awesome fight scenes right up until the credits.  Kevin Durand is awesome as the High Commander (I know, already said that!), seeking out Smith and with the "gill" like nostrils and slightly sarcastic sense of humour, along with not quite getting Earths take on reality he makes for a great baddie.

Maybe not one for the under 13's due to a slightly jumpy ghost train scene, this movie was a little ray of unexpected happiness - a bit of a dark horse and definitely a must see.

See believe its not only Marvel & DC who can create Heroes!

Sunday, 20 February 2011

95, Paul

To understand this film properly mean understanding the real Pegg & Frost.

They are genuine Sci-Fi geeks who have not only managed to capture what an alien movie is should really be all about but have tipped their cap to a number of front runners before then and if you look carefully, there are plenty of Star Wars references.  Two that immediately spring to mind is the music that the band are playing in the roadhouse - instantly recognisable, and secondly and not so easy to spot is the Han-Solo reference, shooting the intercom after breaking into the death-star - that's in here too.

There are nods also to Star-Trek, Alien and a great E.T conversation with Spielberg - watch out for them - I am sure there are more that I missed!!

And that's the beauty of this - this is not just some random Hollywood studio making an alien comedy - its two genuine sci-fans who have made this movie a true labour of love, aimed specifically at people just like them and its works brilliantly.

As far as plot goes its pretty basic - Two best (British) friends are on a road trip - taking in the Comic-Con (which I would love to go too) and then heading to some alien hot spots, ending in Roswell.

On-route they bump into Paul, a little green man who has been held in a facility for the best part of 60 years - unbeknown to us the government and Hollywood have used him for ideas and merchandise over time but now, with the help of a government mole he has escaped and uses Pegg & Frost to assist in getting him home.

I have recently criticised Seth Rogan as being the same character over and over, a Stoner / Dude who swears and seems to be cast in the same no-brainer role time after time - so surprise surprise when once more he is playing a smoking, weed loving, swear box of a character however this time its a little different - being a 4ft green alien somehow warms you back to Rogan and I am afraid to say that I don't think anyone could have done this any better.  He is funny, witty and loud and the reason this movie was rated a 15 is purely down to the swearing - which is excessive but funny with it.

Pegg & Frost are on fine form but ever since Spaced I am convinced they have not put a foot wrong, definitely together but even on solo exploits with Frost in "The Boat that Rocked" and Pegg in Star-Trek, MI3 and the currently in production MI4 they are my English heroes and I love them dearly!!

There are some great cameos in this though, Jason Bateman and Sigourney Weaver put in cracking, funny performances and Kristen Wiig as the Darwin hating, god loving disbeliever is hilarious.  Jane Lynch from Glee pops up for a few minutes in a role that could only have been written for her and finally, Bill Hader (who is also rumoured for Ghostbusters III next year along with Weaver) is laugh out loud funny as one of the bumbling FBI Agents.

Stay through the credits for some extra giggles but predominately if you love Sci-fi and the comic books that stem from the late 70's onwards then this movie is definately for you.

Play the game - look for the old movie references and make a point of pointing them to your partner when they pop up, most probably to her annoyance as I did!!

Not a bad word.  Great movie.

See this if.......................................................Sci-Fi RULES!!!

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

94, Gnomeo & Juliet

Possibly the oddest movie I have ever seen, this has taken a Shakespeare classic, already filmed a dozen times and re badged it with Gnomes!!

Actually, the story is pretty true to the original - two warring Neighbours, Capulet and Montague live in Verona Road.  One is a dedicated Red, the other Blue and this is mirrored in their house paint, garden layout and Gnome selection.  So, everyone knows the plot - star crosses lovers etc so basically this is all going to boil down to the cast and animation.

Animation first, its good - Very good.  The 3d is pretty impressive throughout and as I mentioned with Tangled, its going to be very hard nowadays to pass off a poor animated movie.

Plus its very funny - pretty much from the outset.  The comedy comes from Lucas and Jensen as well as the Flamingo, who was the only unrecognisable name for me (although after a bit of research he has voiced more cartoons than you would actually believe and is the voice of many a famous animated creation including Tigger & Pooh, Dick Dastardly, Taz & even Shredder from T.N.M.T!!)

And that leads me onto the rest of the cast list.

Firstly, Elton & David Produce and Executive Produce this movie with what I assume is Elton's production company behind it.  Its riddled with Elton tracks and even a gnome version of the rocket man himself pops up for a quick "Your song" rendition.

Ready, Here goes.............James McAvoy, Emily Blunt, Maggie Smith, Michael Cane, Jason Statham, Matt Lucas, Ashley Jensen, Ozzy Osbourne, Stephen Merchant, Patrick Stewart, Julie Walters, Richard Wilson and Hulk Hogan!!! all I can say is that's a lot of salaries to cover so I hope this goes well!!!

Its a stellar movie, and its actually only 75  minutes long so just as you have worked out who everyone is, its over!! which is not a bad thing - because its so quick it does not feel drawn out and you would expect that with that many names they would have strung it out for maximum effect.  In reality, it takes a classic story, adds in a few comedy characters including a Ninja Juliet!! and makes adults and kids of all ages smile!!

Sometimes its nice to be in and out of a cinema in less than 90 minutes - plenty of the night left, kiddies happy and home in time for NCIS!!

Half Term is coming, its this and/or Yogi Bear so splash out this holiday and take them to see both!!

See this if.........................................Kids are driving you mad!!!

Monday, 14 February 2011

93, True Grit

I have never been a Western kind of movie buff.  I know they have been around since cinema pretty much began and drew some of the biggest audiences but recently its just not been my bag.  I might be wrong here but I think the last Western to hit the big screen was the "3.10 to Yuma" but alas I missed it.  The last one I saw and loved was Tombstone with Kurt Russell and since then either they have not been around or I have just avoided them.

So, how was True Grit going to be, well for a remake of a supposed John Wayne classic I was utterly blown away from start to finish!!

This is a Cohen brothers Movie and captures all of the essence of an old school Western.  There are no signals, (barring the modern cast etc) that this film is not from the classic age.  The un-educated cowboys who are constantly put in their place by an extremely well spoke 14 year old girl who wants to track down her fathers killer.

A Nice and simple plot, a great cast and some on-liners that make you chuckle along merrily that are mixed in with a close up "shooting in the face" and some hacked off fingers.

You have cowboy violence and a jovial road trip all in one place and even for those of you who, like me normally avoided Rawhide as a kid you should be easily impressed with this one.

Jeff Bridges is brilliant - drunkard, eye-patched and moody he speaks in an almost confusing tone with Matt Damon being about as different as you will ever see him.  Josh Brolin is only really in it for a short while towards the end but in this its the performance of Hailee Steinfeld that steals the show.

She is brilliant - holding her own easily against the big names that this movie attracted and doing it with a touch of class.  Hats off to you Steinfeld.  Well played.

This does not necessarily mean I am going to go out and buy as many Westerns on DVD as I can find with a new love of the genre but if another one comes out I certainly wont be too hasty to dismiss it as previously I would have.  An epic.........No, But a good cowboy movie, Yes.

And a far better title than the soon to be released Cowboy's & Aliens!!

Very much approved.

See this ever wanted to be a Cowboy (or Cowgirl!!)

92, Just Go With It

I was slowly getting to the point in my life where all Adam Sandler Movies seem to be the same, over and over again!!

Okay so maybe the locations and leading lady's change but normally he plays a single, rich laid back dude who ends up winning over a mum and her kids etc etc etc, So I was not entirely surprised when this one turned out to be more or less the same thing as above until I realised that this one is actually an extremely laugh out loud funny movie!!!

Rich dude uses a story of a "pretend" wife who beats him as a ploy to get hot girls after a bad marriage encounter.  Sandler then meets a potential match winner and she discovers the "family lie" but wants to hear its over from the non-existent wife.  In launches Aniston as his PA/Receptionist pretends to be the extremely high maintenance ex and mistakenly manages to rope the kids into it as well.

We end up on a huge vacation to Hawaii with a German Dolph Lundgren in tow (the funniest guy in the movie and luckily, not the real Dolph!) an extremely sexy girlfriend, a stunning Aniston who proves you don't need to be 23 to look amazing, 2 hysterical kids and a sensational tongue in cheek cameo from Nicole Kidman sending herself up something chronic.  Add in a "blink and you will miss it" Sean William Scott right at the very end and this is an absolutely side splitting film.

The jokes are old, the girls wear very little and Sandler just does not look "good looking" enough to pull a muscle, let alone the Aniston / Decker combo but its the Kids and the Cousin who steal all the comedy in this one.

The daughter is hilarious as the fake English boarding school kid and Sandler's cousin playing a dodgy German does not get a straight line in the whole charade.

There is no defining moment - it IS predictable but it does not matter, the title says it all.  Leave your brain and logic tucked up in bed, get in the car, go to the cinema and Just go with it!!!

See this if.................................................Rachel was your favourite "Friend"

Friday, 11 February 2011

91, The Fighter

So I am falling a bit behind, sorry.  I only realised this when I got to the cinema and there were 6 releases not yet seen so will try and catch up.  1st - The Fighter.

I did not know what to expect with this one.  Was it going to be "Rocky Returns?" Well, not exactly.

This film is wholly based around a true story focusing on the lives of 2 brothers.

The movie opens with a film crew following around Micky Ward and his older brother Dicky Eklund.  We are led to believe its to track the comeback fight of once local hero Eklund (Bale) who hit the big time once by putting down Sugar Ray Leonard.  In the background is the younger brother (Wahlberg) a two bit fighter who practically is the lap dog to the Mum and 7 sisters of the apocalypse (you will see what I mean).

In reality - HBO are not tracking the comeback fight but the effects of Crack, an addiction that has Bale hooked and relatively overlooked and ignored by his family.

It takes Amy Adams to show Wahlberg that there is bigger and better opportunities out there than dodgy back-hand fights set up by his family and after an all out rumble with police, it takes the incarceration of Bale for Wahlberg to find his true self and start to hit the big time.

So - plot sorted.  Now the characters.

This movie is all about the performances.  They are some of the best I have seen in years.  Initially, Bale comes across as a complete dick.  He is unrecognisable as the crack addict Eklund and the mannerisms, accent and sheer presence is jaw dropping.  Its only right at the very end of the movie, when the credits role and you see a brief interview with the real brothers that everything falls into place - at this time you understand that Bale not only captured the look and attitude of the real Eklund but got it so spot on that you could hardly tell the difference.  Awesome!

Now Amy, again - almost unrecognisable with barely any make up, she stands strong and proud against the warring clan of mother and seven sisters, defending her man and making him see that he is trapped by a close nit family who's focuses are on the lesser talented and drug addicted older brother.  A new side to her and one she does with true presence.

Every one's heart goes out to the dad in this - seeing the truth but too scared to stand up against the female clan!!  He gets his moment of glory and the "escape"  in the van is one of a few laughs this movie gets.

This is a moving true story - one that tugs on the heart strings and is a battle of family vs. career.  Whats right and whats good.  Bale is phenomenal.  Mark Wahlberg, another solid performance.

The only drawback - it must be a British thing but a lot of the dialogue seemed mumbled which was right for the story, location & accents but not so great to listen too.

There has not been a great Boxing movie since Rocky and before you ask, 2 3 4 & 5 don't count!

So, Boxing fan or not - there is very little action in the ring but when it comes - it is filmed in the "TV" style and makes for a great atmosphere - plus, its well shot and captivating but there is so much more to this movie.  This is a story two brothers, a heap of ugly sisters, an understated but still hot Amy Adams and some cameos from the real people involved (the cop/coach is the real guy who trained the real Micky Ward, Mickey O'Keefe!!)

Stay through the credits and it will all make sense.

See this want to be inspired!!!

Sunday, 6 February 2011

90, Sanctum

There are two types of people in this world.  The first, well they will be the ones who do this - memorised by the beauty of the underworld, dreaming of getting down there and diving, climbing and traversing - feeding their adrenaline fuelled lifestyle and always looking for the next adventure.

Then there is the other kind.  My kind.  The kind who go to the cinema and watch other people diving, climbing and traversing and watch in amazement at the sheer madness of these intrepid adventures.

But, for those armchair wannabe explorers is Sanctum a good way to pass the time?

Hell Yeah!!

I thought this would be yet another disappointing 3D movie with a dull story line - I mean, trapped in a cave? come on - how is that exciting but how wrong could I be!!

The plot is simple, an expedition to the awesome Esa-Ala caves in the south pacific goes horribly wrong when a tropical storm hits, blocking the only way out - the mission, go through uncharted territory to find an alternative route to safety.

And that's it! All through the film you are guessing who is going to get out?, who dies and how? and don't panic, no spoilers here - its just too gripping to give anything away.

As for the 3D - I was completely blown away, its amazing.  The depth of the caverns is truly caught on camera and for me, the best 3D movie yet and probably for a while to come.

Cameron manages to mix jaw dropping action with trouser wetting suspense and you are constantly just expecting something else to happen, which it often does.

For me to watch this just confirms my praise for those intrepid explorers who do this for work and pleasure, you have guts and deserve glory - and I can confirm, there is no way on earth I would put myself in these situation.

Only a few familiar faces in this one but it does not matter an inch - I was hooked and for a James Cameron film to last less than 2hrs - well it get to the action quickly, and does not let up.  Before you know it its over and you wonder where the time went.

I cant praise this any further - Its a great, captivating, beautiful movie with awesome acting, special effects and settings.

See this're prepared to have your breath taken away.

Thursday, 3 February 2011

89, Tangled

For those of you that read this blog expecting a critical analysis of the movie in question, detailed, precise and accurate then I will apologise in advance.

My own personal preferences on this one are going to be ignored and completely overlooked and if you want a critics review, check out Radio 1.  So what exactly am I going to write?

Well - its a celebration.

This is Disney's 50th full animation picture.  All those years since Steam Boat Willie puffed onto the Silver Screen, Disney have been delighting audiences world  wide - each time leading advancements in animation and technology and here we are, 2011 and Disney's take on the classic story of Rapunzel.

So can I argue the animation? - of course not!! with the competition from Dreamworks & Pixar constantly battling down then door its going to be tough trying to get a movie made that does NOT look awesome!!!

So lets talk the 3D - its really good!!! even the Lanterns might draw a tear from the hardest of you!!

The cast - Brilliant - Disney have once again made a character, this time a chameleon (even without voice!) steal a show with its eyes, emotion and tongue?  As for the voices - look out for a Hellboy (Ron Pearlman) appearance as one of the Stabbington Brothers and the main 3, (all predominantly TV actors) are smooth, funny and........well, Disney!

So for a non-critical blog I am starting to get a little critical!!  Okay, so in my opinion its not as laugh out loud funny as I thought it would be but please don't let that put you off.  Its not for you............its for your kids - and they will love it over and over again.

Disney captures amazing animation, great 3D & toe tapping tunes like it does time after time and the stars of this one are easily the wannabe dreamers (you will know who they are) - even though one does sound very much like Vin Diesel (but alas, its not).  Just picture him in an all singing / all dancing number in the tavern and this alone should put a grin upon your face!

Celebrate February in style - take the kids to see Tangled - Its the first time Rapunzel has made the big screen and the "added" plot lines, inserted to beef out a relatively short tale make this a wonderful family movie.

Definitely go for the 3D - don't be cheap!

See this if...................................Disney ever made you smile!!! at any age. :)