Monday, 17 October 2011

151, Johnny English Reborn

Its been 8yrs since Rowan donned the Tux for Johnny's first outing in 2003 and believe it or not the story, character and general daftness of the whole escapade has not dated a bit!  This is definitely a movie for Rowan Atkinson fans and if you're not a fan it will come across as pretty mediocre slapstick and probably not for you.  Love Rowan on the other hand as apparently most of the audience did when I saw it and you will be rolling about in aisles.

The original character came from a string of Barclarcard adverts starring Atkinson as a bumbling British MI7 officer abroad and caught up in many compromising eventualities, saved each time by sidekick Boff who made a stellar appearance in the original alongside Atkinson.  Boff has since long departed and our new sidekick is as together and organised as you could hope for, keeping English out of  those compromising circumstances, most of the time!

Yes, there were definitely some funny "chuckle" along moments but I am convinced I was watching this alongside the Black Adder faithful as the volume of belly laughs echoing around the multiplex seemed a little over the top for what was going on on-screen.  The "Chair" scene is one of the highlights but its the Mr Bean awkwardness of Atkinson that get you laughing along, more at him than with him but this is paired with a sense of warmth towards the character and you just want to look after him and keep him safe from the big bad nasty world he lives in.

As always, its his completely trusting outlook on life that gets him into trouble and this time he's assisted by MI7 counsellor and one time "Bond" bad girl Rosamund Pike as the unlikely romantic interest and a very overacted Gillian Anderson as the "M" character who's relationship with English does not initially get off to much of a rosy start.

Its got a lush Rolls Royce as the new gadget mobile and his unwillingness to pay any attention to Black Adder pal Tim McInnerny leads him to misuse a number of awesome gadgets with very funny results in deed.

Its more "Benny Hill" meets "Carry on Spying" than "James Bond" meets "Austin Powers" and although its got some stand out scenes its definitely not as laugh out loud funny as some of the audience made it out to be.

Maybe its just me, 2011 is a little beyond slapstick humour in the cinemas but that being said and me not wanting to be a party pooper this movie made all ages laugh from my 8yr old daughter to the grandad sitting in front of us so maybe its cheesy and predictable, maybe it is daft and pointless but it bought an audience of all ages together for 2hrs and that's noting to be sneered at.

If you saw and loved the first one then this is for you, if you hated it then this one wont change your mind.

I would say they will make a nice "2 piece" collectors box once they hit the bargain bin but as far as world changing comedies go, well there a bit far off that for me.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

150, Real Steel

I was expecting absolutely massive things from this movie.  I loved everything about the trailers.  Its got Jackman (Wolverine) who is brilliant, Robots (Amazing), Big Stadium Sports events (Epic!), a troubled Father / Son relationship (Cute), Laughs (Needed!), Tears (Not so needed!) but most importantly its an underdog movie and how I love those...

So when a few of my facebook friends said they saw it and it was rubbish I was shocked, all my expectations had just been flushed down the toilet and I was now starting to doubt if my own thoughts of greatness would be tarnished, well luckily for me they were wrong!  This movie is Amazing, Fact!

It just does not disappoint on any level.  Firstly, its in the future but not a "space age - never going to happen" futures, a quietly reserved, not too distant future where houses, cars etc are pretty similar to now but "sport" as we know or in fact a combination of Boxing and Wrestling has been swapped out for remote controlled, full sized "robot wars" with hi-Tech, remote controlled warriors doing awesome battles in everything from the underground black market battles to the undisputed world championships.

The Special Effects are awesome - the smoothness of the CGI working with the robotics of these impressive fighting machines completely steal the show and the best thing is, it more than imaginable that in 20 years we could easily be taking seats at the RBC World Championship bouts ourselves.

Okay, so the Robots are great but lets bring it all back down to earth, the story is easily one of the best in a while and matched with some great acting performances we are blessed with a tale that will tug the heartstrings of the toughest movie goers with the Father / Son relationship being exploited for every crack it has as well as a behind the scenes love story, a family crisis and a definite portrayal of Who knows best.

Jackman is brilliant, an arse of a dad at the start but as expected he warms up gradually throughout the movie but its the performance of the kid, played by Dakota Goyo who steals the show.  He's brilliant.  From the first encounter he's got Jackmans character totally sussed and the "flair" shown at the battles with the "shadow function" dancing with Atom are real scene stealer's. 

There are plenty more great scenes dotted throughout the entire movie though with the Zoo, the Junkyard and countless more that mean this movie does not really slow down.  Its definitely and underdog "feel-good" movie from start to finish and I challenge anyone to give reasons why they don't like it - there is something for everyone!

The Robots are somewhat human and although just a barrel of bolts manage to define their own characters throughout which really bought some depth to them, very impressed.

For me, this definitely lived up to the hype, not too unbelievable while in the same breath futuristic and brilliantly animated.  It had the passion of a love story, the action of a fight movie, the relationships of a drama and the scenes in the arenas just manage to draw you straight into the ambiance of the whole thing with the rousing music and cheers from the crowd.

One of my favourite movies all year.

149, Killer Elite

I actually saw this one about a month ago but completely forgot about it!  That's not to say the movies forgettable though as regulars will know I'm a Jason Statham fan who would watch him paint a fence if they filmed it and stuck it in the cinemas, so how does Killer Elite compare to his other recent outings?

Well, back in the 80's we find ourself with Statham and mentor assassin De Niro picking off hits like they are cup cakes until Statham decides enough is enough and wants out of the game.  Initially let go its when old friend De Niro takes an almost impossible job on and get captured by an Iraqi warlord does Statham have to re-load his guns to complete De Niro's hit and allow the Iraqi prince to release his old friend.

Quite sweet really, for Assassins that is!

Initially the plot is Statham has to take out four ex SAS personnel responsible for the brutal torture and murder of the Iraqi's eldest sons, with his youngest holding the fort at home, too scared (or too lazy) to do anything about it himself.  Ethically, Statham as a Londoner takes all of two minutes to work out if its right to "off" British service personnel for the Iraqi's but does manage to slowly start picking them off with the help of a few acquaintances.  What does make it easier, the SAS guys are complete idiots. 

Hot on Stathams heels is Clive Owen, an ex SAS guy himself working partly for the police but also for the Feathermen, a top secret band of money men who secretly protect the ex armed forces.

But not is all as it seems and each soon to be dead serviceman keeps giving clues away to the actual culprit, someone who remains elusive until near the end and that's where fact meets fiction as you have to wait and see who the main culprit actually is! 

Wether this is a fictional movie made from a factual book starring a factual character or a factual movie based on a fictional book also written by a factual character is debatable - having never read the Feathermen I can comment - but its very very good nevertheless.

Statham is his normal chiseled self, De Niro is looking slightly too old to play an Assassin and Clive Owen pulls off 80's SAS moustache brilliantly.

The cars are great, the language is gritty and the action could easily have been taken straight out of the Sweeney.  Just as you think its over it changes direction again, then again - oh, and again so you never actually know when its going to end.

I am starting to warm to Clive Owen more and more, he still has not really nailed it for me but that's because I am not always a great fan of the movies he has been in, not necessarily him.

If you want down and dirty action using fists and cars rather than hi-tech weaponry then this is a must see.........or by now, probably a must rent!

Thursday, 13 October 2011

148, Shark Night 3D

Lets make this completely simple and clear from the start.

This is by far, without doubt or indeed question the worst ever movie I have seen make it onto the big screen.

I promise to take up as little of your time as physically possible with this blog as it actually bores me to write it but there are some things you should know if one of your mates says, "Who fancies watching Shark Night Tonight?"

Pay Attention!

Firstly, the only high point.  It has got Joel David Moore in it (Bones, Avatar) who I love!!  But that's it.

The rest of the cast, albeit cute - are useless.  As with Piranha 3D, they focused on looks rather than talent but being a cert 15 - in Shark Night we get to see neither!

Now the Sharks.  If I said Mega Shark Vs Giant Octopus had better special effects I would not be far wrong.  Lame, dull & boring.  This belongs on the "Movies 24" channel or at a push, Sy-Fy.  Certainly not on your multiplex and I am ashamed at you Mr Cinema Manager for letting this replace Warrior!!!  Bad Cinema Manager.  You should resign immediately!

Now the plot.  You guessed it, Poor.  I cant even begin to explain it but lets just say a few of the swamp locals feel that "realising" Shark Week on the discovery channel can make them some quick cash so breed, feed and raise sharks to hunt on unknowing holiday makers.  Oh Dear.

Its just wrong, not only to charge to upwards of £7 to see this but another £1.50 for 3D and even more if you don't have glasses - plus drinks and sweets that's an easy £15 each to sit through complete dribble.

That's it - no more.  See it at your own risk. 

147, Abduction

So incase you have been living in a hole for the past few years and missed a little known movie called Twilight you can easily be forgiven for not knowing who Taylor Lautner is.  My 13 year old daughter reminds me constantly that he is the man of her dreams and the posters on her bedroom wall confirm it - so it was quite a smug moment when I got to see this movie before she did, even though I was sworn to secrecy about its content!

After Twilight I was not sure if he could survive in other roles - setting himself up as the next all American Action Hero but in all reality, he did a pretty decent job.

Okay, so his acting for me is a little wooden but this movie is packed with action, fights, car chases and the supporting cast making Taylor look good is pretty impressive including Maria Bello (Coyote Ugly), Jason Isaacs (Harry Potter), Sigourney Weaver (Alien) and Alfred Molina (Sorcerers Apprentice).  Mix that in with the young up coming talent of Lilly Collins (Phil's daughter!) and this move manages to barrel roll along without any problem whatsoever.

Simple premise - Kid discovers his photo on a missing persons website and instantly believes he is abducted - not so much kidnappers but protectors, his parents (or so we believe) true identities are revealed as under cover agents keeping an eye on him as this real dad turns out to be one of Americas most important undercover assets.  Like father like son, Taylor then goes on a mission to escape the guys hunting him down and find out his true origins.

This movie is definitely all about launching Taylor to a wider market of fans and trying to cement him as the next action star - he is in every scene with biceps and one liners to boot and by the end of it I was actually quite convinced that if he loosened up a bit I could easily seem him as a young Ethan Hunt!

Obviously the immediate audience is his twilight following, and my daughter for one would have boycotted this movie had he not been in it - the producers have recognised this and its not long before my besotted daughter caught a glimpse of the six pack and felt satisfied that her "I Love Taylor Lautner" T-shirt was definitely worth the purchase price!!

Is it a kiddie action flick?  Well, not entirely - I was kept entertained and the supporting cast added depth and class without taking all of the attention away from our stars.

Don't let the "Wolf" put you off - 2hrs well spent.  

146, Crazy Stupid Love

So I am really running behind on these, so much so that Google have changed the entire blogger software and I spent 10 minutes learning how to use it again!  Anyway, a few to catch up on so here goes....

I am a bit of a Carell fan.  From Anchorman to Date Night I think his naive charm is really something to behold and totally look forward to seeing him pretty much anything.  Crazy Stupid Love is a movie that follows Carell as his wife decides, after plenty of years of marriage to go for a divorce and Carell, who has not been without the love of his life since college is left to fend for himself and re-enter the dating game some 20 years out of practice.  Enter Ryan Gosling (to much of the female audiences delight) who is pretty much a wealthy playboy who never fails to succeed in the pulling stakes and leaves clubs night after night with a bevy of beauties.

After seeing Carells lame attempts at ice breakers he decides to take him under his wing and pimp him up a little bit, giving him confidence and raising his levels of self esteem (with a few hilarious side effects) but eventually Carell realises that his true sole mate is the one he spent all of his life with and sets about trying to win her back.

This is a great movie - there is a brilliant twist which also comes to pass in the movies funniest scene in the Garden and you really have to keep up at this point as the lines and camera cuts come quicker than expected with literally the whole movies premise being explained in a matter of minutes.

Julianne Moore plays Carells wife brilliantly and manages to pull of caring, seductive and sexy all in one go.  The shining performance is the amazing Marissa Tomei and what starts as Carells first one night stand soon ends up with hilarious repercussions with yet another twist brilliantly executed.

Its got the laughs, it got the tears and most importantly (for the ladies) its got the Gosling! 

If anything, it could have got the end a little quicker, there were scenes that did drag on a while but its worth it in the end.

Definitely not Carell at his finest but the same brilliant awkwardness as 40 year old virgin, just not as many laughs.

If you didn't get to see this at the cinema definitely go for the DVD rental - you wont be sorry!