Thursday, 28 April 2011

112, Arthur

30 years ago, Dudley Moore reigned supreme as one of the silver screens comedy greats.  Arthur was a movie about a rich singleton, slightly eccentric with a passion for all thing immature and a love of booze, women and frivolous behaviour. 

Then its ultimatum time, marry up or lose everything - To Susan, an up and coming business elite who can run the family business and carry Arthur into his elderly days being kept in the life he is so accustomed, or check out.  No cash, no fortune. 

Constantly shielded by Hobson, the ever present Nanny, Arthur's relationship with his Mother is only a backdrop to the real parenting that comes from this ever loyal employee but, can our demur hero make the right decision to secure his own future happiness?

WOW! What a deep and meaningful description.  So, that's the 1981 version taken care off, now onto the 2011 one.  Well, please see above!

Its almost exact, one of the closest remakes to an original I have ever seen, even down to wearing Abe Lincolns hat in the bath tub.  Except, Hobson has moved from the late great (male) Sir John Gielgud to the ever so heavenly preserved (female) Dame Helen Mirren (who, by the way is by far the best thing in this movie, closely followed by the cars!)  Russell Brand replaced Moore as the British eccentric billionaire and Linda becomes Naomi, previously played by Liza Minelli, now Greta Gerwig.

Now for the brutally honest bit.  It was a bit Cheesy.  Especially the first 20 minutes or so.  Don't get me wrong though, this has Russell Brand written all over it and after reading his Booky Wook 2 recently the lifestyle is pretty well matched to the the man himself and currently, I don't think anyone could have pulled it off better.  But its obvious in my eyes that the only reason it was remade was because Russell Brand exists.  Its definitely not got a single scene with the leading namesake not appearing at some point.

I mentioned that Helen Mirren is the best thing in the movie.  And she SO is!  She switches between snooty Nanny and best buddy seamlessly and loving her as I do, she can look after me any day!

Due to the "lifestyle" portrayed, the movie has scope for the dream lifestyle and this was delivered brilliantly at the end where almost every dream movie car appears in a convey of greatness, even down to a very shiny Mystery Machine.  The Chauffeur, Bitterman is laughably the most visually funny with Brand bagging 99% of the one liner gags, most at the expense of unwanted bride-to-be Jennifer Garner.

Based on my love for all things "Brand" I feel obliged to endorse it.  It might not be every ones cup of tea but it keeps you amused and it tugs the old heart strings along the way.

Garner as a drunk pussy cat is a little scary and Nick Nolte as her dad appears old and frail but fair game to him.

Blog over.  Enjoy.

See this if.....................................its hard to believe that 30 yrs has already passed! but the classics remain.

Monday, 25 April 2011

111, Thor

Thor, God of Thunder and Son of Odin; King of Asgard.  Brother to Loki and keeper of Mjollnir, The Hammer. 

A story of Myth & Legend handed down through the ages, and now forever on the silver screen via Marvel? Who knew Stan Lee is creating Gods now, as if Super heroes were not enough.

Anyway, Here we are in a Hero movie of Historic proportions.  Thor is cast out of Asgard after, on the word of his treacherous brother defies his fathers orders and sets attack to the Frost Giants, an act that sees him wrongly cast out to one of the realms governed by King Odin.  Earth.

In Asgard, Thor is an arrogant dick and its only when he comes to Earth and bumps into Natalie Portman and her mini band of astro-physicists does he mellow out a bit and understand the true meaning that power is earned as with respect and not handed out lightly!

WOW!  This is a great movie.  Natalie Portmans 3rd since Black Swan? (how many movies in a short space of time?.... and she managed to get pregnant along the way!) she is brilliant in this one - definitely more credit worthy than "Your Highness" and hopefully one she wont be embarrassed by, she rocked in this.  The star through and through though is Thor, played by Chris Hemsworth (Home and Away? and Jim Kirks Dad in Start Trek?) is relatively unknown, however with two more movies due out this year, the Thor video game and reprising Thor again in the 2012 Avengers movie there is a bright future for this Aussie Beefcake (Much to my Mrs delight!)

He is very funny when dealing with the human element of Earth with no real understanding his demeanour shines through and coming into contact with things like Tazers and patio doors are laugh out loud funny.  Hollywood elite in the form of Renee Russo and Anthony Hopkins take their roles as Mum & Dad and what Marvel movie would not be complete with the godfather of comics, Stan Lee himself popping up for his guaranteed 3 words in every Marvel Flick.

It cuts between hick U.S town and marble & gold clad Heavens with complete ease and the story jumps around at the start but easily manageable and a joy to watch.

This is a 12 movie, nothing scary - no sex or bad language just great action, special effects and laugh out loud jokes.  Saw it in 2D so cant really comment on if I felt i missed out but the film was great in 2D so my recommendation is not to bother.

Marvel Hero? - Well I did not think so, Stan is working off of someone elses creation here unless Thor was an Avenger (and he probably was in some form or another).  There is a great Iron Man / Stark quip which most may miss but its there and you will be easily forgiven if like me you were convinced that Gerard Butler played on of the Warriors; Three.  It isn't.

See this if...............................................you like your Thunder with a hint of Comedy!

Thursday, 21 April 2011

110, Fast Five

Very rarely (with the exception of Crocodile Dundee II) does a sequel outshine its original.  By the time your to installment 5, those movies that have made the distance have normally lost all the original cast, defied all plot logic and are purely expecting attendance based on previous glories (Just watch Police Academy: Assignment Miami to see what I mean).

Luckily, this is about to buck the trend!

Not only did they call back all of the original cast members from all 4 of the previous movies (that who survived at least) but also managed to add some extra big names to the already impressive list to deliver in my eyes what is an awesome movie.

There is no denying that since The Fast and the Furious came out back in 2001 I have had a thing for these movies.  I love the cars, the action, the sheer greatness of the stunts and Messrs Mark Sinclair Vincent & Paul William Walker just seem to get better with age. 

Fair enough, I genuinely feel they only truly shine is these movies, Sadly I don't rate Walker in much else and Vin's showing in the Pacifier was easily forgettable, luckily though he is set to come back in XXX the Return of Xander Cage later this year so look out for that one!

First off then let look at our likely rabble of hoodlums.  We have Dom & Brian along with sister Mia & Vince from movie 1 who make an appearance, then Roman & Tej rock up from the 2nd outing, Tokyo Drift star Han is a pleasing addition and there are some new additions in the form of some comedic Brazilians and a hottie biker chic.  Sadly its missing the lovely Michelle Rodriguez (due to an untimely death in No.4) however she is referenced throughout.  As a crew they seem unstoppable and all play absolute blinders.

Then the backdrop - Rio is awesome.  Fans of C.O.D will instantly recognise the Favellas as our unlikely Heroes bounce of rooftops and rip up back alleys to deliver a mind blowing, jaw dropping action flick that does not let up from start to finish.

Now the Cops / FBI.  Dwayne (The Rock) Johnson looks bigger and tougher than ever as Hobbs, the agent tasked with bringing down Dom & Brian and surprisingly enough, only David from "Numbers" was the other recognisable face.

The action is better than you can expect with chase after fight after chase taking place and the way the director draws you into the action and car chases is breathtaking.

I know movies like this never get the recognition from the Academy or Awards ceremonies but this one should.  Its an all out action entertainment fest - the 2hrs flash past as quickly as the cars in it and the explosions and guns fire off more rounds, both for and against our heroes from end to end.

The comedy element is strong throughout with Roman and Tej bouncing off each other like a modern day Two Ronnie's and the subtitled Brazilians get more laughs than everyone else put together.

I could go on and on about this one but I think this is enough - For me, its got everything I love in a great movie.  Normally by now I would say enough is enough but please please please, make a 6, 7 & 8 - I will keep paying!

See this if...........................................any of the previous films made you smile, this one will blow your socks off!

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

109, Scream 4

Scream 4 or "Scre4m" as its billed in cinemas is probably the first "horror" movie blogged since this pages inception back in 2009.  There is no particular reason for this only that on the whole, horror's just are not my thing - not that I'm scared (as I man-up for you all) just feel they are repetitive and have the worst story lines, action, budgets etc of modern genres and if like me you like your movies big budget with guns, explosions and cars then Fast & Furious 5 has far much more appeal...........................

However, Scream 1 holds a special little light for me.  Don't know why, maybe its the casting of some of my favourite actors, Neve Campbell, Drew Barrymore (albeit a few moments), Matthew Lillard, Skeet Ulrich etc and most iimportantly, led by Wes Craven this movie kind of poked fun at all horror movies, not in a "Waynes Bros" style way but in a genuine "this always seems to happen" sort of way.

So going back to see Scream 4 after not even remembering if 2 & 3 were any good was like a Horror homecoming back to 1996 and one I was really looking forward too.

It opens brilliantly with great poke at not only its own franchise but that of the Stab movies, based on the factual books written by a fictional character outlining the fictional story that made the first movie factual? - got it - anyway, its tongue in cheek and a few celeb famous faces pop up for a few minutes each before getting their "Drew Barrymore" style exits and this get repeated a few times before the actual movie get going and these are quite funny. 

Whats great though is that the humour continues - there were more laughs than screams from the audience, not that's its not scary but when you are expecting someone to jump out from every wardrobe or leap out from every bush or closed door then when it happens you are ready for it! - the only actual jumpy bit for me was when a car nearly pulled out on a bus - Bet you do too!

So Sid is back, Neve returns to Woodsborough on the anniversary of the original killings, Dewey is now the Sheriff, still with Gail Weathers in tow and this time he has a cute deputy which - in true horror style is reflected in the rest of the cast - gorgeous babes, a few hunks and a couple of geeky movie buffs.

All the specific requirements for a Scream movie are back - even cheesier than before.  As expected - the audience is led to believe Ghost face is certain cast members but is it them really? - MMMWWWHHAA HHAAA HHAA !! (Evil Laugh?) I am not saying who the killer is but its a goodie!

Its not that scary, its quite funny - and I genuinely though an 8" blade through the forehead into the brain would result in instantaneous death, however Anthony Anderson (Who has lost a hell of a lot of weight since Transformers) manages to get out a car, stagger about 10 feet and talk before biting the bullet!  Legend, and that's the only spoiler you are getting.

Roger Jackson returns for a 4th time as "the Voice". Neve still looks fab, Courteney Cox and Arquette are now looking old and the rest of the "college girls" are as hot as you would have expected - yellow bras to boot! and Hayden Panettiere is quite sexy and grown up, even without the cheerleader outfit.

Sadly the Trailer does give away most of who dies and who does not so does Sydney finally get the death that 3 movies so far have yet to manage? Wait and see.

A great end to a franchise of movies (hopefully, no one wants another Saw epic) that have as much as a laugh at horror movies as they can without getting stupid and maintaining a slight element of surprise.

I loved it.

See this if..............................Do you like Scary movies? (Obviously!)

Friday, 15 April 2011

108, Rio

So here is Easter Kids Movie Number 2 and if you been to the cinema at anytime since Christmas by now the Rio "Orange" advertisement is probably driving you insane! Which is why having this movie rammed down my neck twice a week for the past 3 months was wearing thin and I could not wait for it to be over!!

But, its all about the kids and stuff so Orange annoyance aside, I settled down to live out the most anticipated animation of the year so far.

We saw the 2D version, purely as times suited and after seeing it in fully believe the 3D version would actually be quite impressive.  Getting a bit bored of saying this but again, animation and effects were breathtaking so as normal, its all about the voices and cast.

The leads include one of my favourite ladies, Anne Hathaway paired with Social Network & Zombie / Adventure land hero, Jesse Eisenberg who managed to seem even more nerdy and high pitched than normal as his namesake, Rio.

The stars though are Jamie Foxx and Will.I.Am as Nico & Pedro, the all singing, all rapping native birds who help Jewel and Rio escape the evil clutches of Marcel, voiced by Carols Ponce (or for those who don't recognise the name, the Yoga guy from Couples Retreat!) who is great.

The backdrops and music are fantastic, the kids will love it and the story is fast paced and punchy.  Okay, so its still only an animated kids flick and in my eyes, slightly better than Hop but seeing as its Easter, don't choose - take the kids to see both!  oh, and don't forget to buy Harry Potter on DVD this week also.

See this if.........................................There is no escaping this one! Oranges fault, Sorry.

107, The Roommate

When we realised this movie was not playing at Rochester we were gutted! Sadly, Rochester Cineworld is classed as a Family Cinema, so at times like these, Kids films take preference over sometimes better, grown up ones!  Ashford however is not burdened with this requirement so its 12 screens are normally filled with all manner of releases and the odd kids flick so off we went, all 26 miles to see a film both my wife and I had greatly looked forward.

What a disappointment!

All that way for what ended up being a low budget, badly acted rip off of Single White Female! (which by the way is 10 times better)

No famous names worth mentioning unless billy Zane as a pervy fashion lecturer is anything to go by and cheap, less attractive versions of Megan fox and Ferne Cotton taking the lead roles.

I would love to have something positive to say about this one.  Its a cert 15 but in reality, a Stanley blade as a murder weapon and a dodgy shower scene do not make for the ranking, The Hole was scarier! and that was a 12A.

Normally by now I would have checked out the cast on IMDB to try and gauge some element of salvation in previous roles or upcoming movies that would make the Roommate look like a slight discretion on their CV's, however, with the lead role going to Blair from TV series Gossip Girl and the leading man being James in Twilight (slightly more reputable) Billy Zane is still the most recognisable!

Sorry guys, let down and disappointed.

See this if..........................you cant afford a £3 DVD of Single White Female!

106, Hop

Its Easter time and what kind of parent would I be if I did not get dragged along to at least one of the two big Easter Kids releases.  Hop focuses on the life of the son of the Easter Bunny.  EB has been told all his life by his dad that he is destined to take over as the Easter Bunny but when the time actually comes, all EB wants to do is be a drummer!

He escapes from Easter Island to seek his fortune where he meets a down an out bloke who cant hold a job, together and with the help of the Hoff they both realise their own potential, even under threat of capture by the Pink Beret's and what results is a voyage of self discovery and family values!!! Bless.

So, did that make it sound riveting enough for you?  I hope so as with most of the other animations around its hard to fully review them critically as the sounds, visuals etc are always fantastic and Hop is no exception.

Its only in 2D this one so no need to disappoint the kiddies with the cheaper option and as before with other movies, its visually stunning without the requirement for specs and with a great cast and soundtrack it makes this movie one parents wont mind sitting through as well.

Russell Brand and Hugh Laurie are fab as the father / son combo of EB and his dad and the human element, added by James Marsden is cheesy but well played.  But its the voice talents of Hank Azaria (Simpson's) who really takes the credit for the comedy element in the form of Carlos & Phil.  For those of you who don't know, Hank plays a number of voices in the Simpson's, including Chief Wiggum, Apu, Moe, Snake and many more so multiple roles are no new thing to him and with the legendary role as Gargamel in the upcoming Smurfs movie, 2011 & 2012 are going to be epic for him.

The real star of this though is whoever does the drumming.  From the Bongo's to the remix of Dynamite this is some of the best drumming I have heard in a long time.  I did not wait for the credits but whoever you are..........well done.  you made my toes tap constantly throughout.  I thank you!

See this if............................................Easter is the next best Holiday to Xmas!!

Saturday, 2 April 2011

105, Source Code

Whats going to be great about this blog is there is absolutely no guarantee of a spoiler!! but that's probably because even after letting it simmer for a few hours I still don't actually get what happens!!!

So its complex, i.e don't see it unless you are completely sobre and have nothing else rolling around inside your mind! - it needs that level of concentration.  Which for me was a little too much to ask after a full weeks work!!

We have our Captain (Gyllenhall) who wakes in a sort of odd chamber / capsule thing, its "Groudhog Day" (or Groudhog 8 minutes) as he keeps re-living the last 8 minutes of a Teachers life on a train, prior to it exploding and blowing everyone up - the mission, find the bomb, bomber and reasons to avoid further catastrophe.  So that's it really.  but how does it work?  Well, that's the source code - an 8 minute window when our time is up that captures the previous moments to the end of our lives, allowing another to re-live them and use them to our advantage - confused?  Good.  Then we get into alternative realities so if you think "Inception" was complicated - this is on another level.

For those who pay attention there may be questions at the end - my wife and I for example left with completely different ideas of what happened - and the car journey home was spent debating each others points across.  Both made sense, but in the end, take from this movie what you want to.  And that's a good thing.

The cast if pretty good - Gyllenhall takes most of the credit along with Michelle Monaghan as his leading lady.  Back at HQ (non-train cast) we have smaller roles from "Up in the Air" female, Vera Farmiga and new(ish) Bond CIA liasion, Felix Leiter - Jeffrey Wright who are standard in their parts.

Add in a dodgy bomber and an America's Got Talent comedian, plus a few normals on the train and that's the cast sewn up.

I not sure if recommending this is a good thing - probably because after reading this back i have confused myself as to whats happens at the end but without telling you my philosophy on the outcome, you see it and mail me with your ideas - if they match then I'm right!  if not - then we both are!!

Its intelligent, well thought out and was a close contender to sucker punch which was also on - I guess the girls from the orphanage will have to wait another few days yet!!

See this if..........................................Its time to engage brain again!!