Friday, 27 January 2012

169, The Sitter

I was a little bit nervous about seeing this one.  The trailers made it look funny but with Jonah Hill heading up the cast I was hoping not to see him in yet another dull, stoner role that's been reprised way too many times, putting him into the stereotypical "Seth Rogan" genre of repeat performances.  luckily - this movie is so much more than that and to say I was surprised beyond belief, is an understatement.

Hill plays an over caring but lazy, out of work bum who cant hold a job and finds it even harder to hold down a girlfriend, however the opening scenes of this movie set the scene perfectly for what about to come and although he's "in" a relationship you quickly realise its very one sided.

Its only when he's asked to baby sit his Mums friends kids so they can go on a double blind date does he actually begrudgingly take some responsibility but when his dream girl invites him to a party on the promise of 'full on sex' providing he scored some drugs on-route does his selfishness take over and with kids in tow, set off in a minivan to get his perfect present!

In my eyes, this is Jonah's best performance to date.  Yes, he still has the Stoner look about him but hes far more charismatic and likable in this than most of his other flicks.  As with most films like this though he is copletely overshadowed by the three kids that accompany him on his whirlwind tour nightclubs, drug dens and back alleys and one in particular, the adorable Blithe played by total newcomer Landry Bender (about 9 years old?)  who completely steals the show.

She is portrayed as a celebrity loving, wannabe "IT" girl with her heart set on a life of parties and dancing but its here complete cuteness and naivety to the real world that makes this very funny character so totally lovable!  Mixed with her anxiety stricken older brother Slater and Mexican foster brother Rodrigo the three of them are side splittingly good with Rodrigo hell bent on blowing up lavatories with Slater discovering his true inner self.

These three kids mixed with Jonah's best performance make for a really good movie and if you can handle kids swearing on screen then like me, you should love this movie.

There are a few sub pots and some real heartfelt moments throughout but it races along quite quickly with car chases, dodgy cops, L.A Gangs, A fabulous Drug Dealer portrayal by Sam Rockwell and the now infamous, "Doublefisted Punch to the Nut Sack!"

I expected to be bored but it was the exact opposite - this was as captivating as Superbad and I just love movies where Kids get as involved in the violence as the adults do.  (Hit-girl in Kick-Ass being one of my all time faves!)

Very funny and engaging with some good morals thrown in for good measure - with the weekend coming you wont go wrong forking out for this one.

Thursday, 26 January 2012

168, Haywire

So after recent female assassin movies ticking so many of my "like" boxes, namely Salt & Columbiana I had very high hopes for this most recent female ass-kicking extravaganza.  The mixed martial arts femme fatale a.k.a Gina Carano is paired with male leads Ewan McGregor, Channing Tatum & Michael Fassenbender and the whole movie basically focuses around our leading lady kicking the ass out of these three colleagues. 

Its a movie about betrayal - set up for a fall by her boss, Mallory (Carano) works out her boss is trying to have her killed and sets about seeking revenge on her one partner in both home and work.

There is no denying that the fight scenes in this are not totally brilliant - Mallory certainly steals the show but its hardly tough opposition as she takes on one of the GI Joe's, a young Magneto and a Jedi Knight!  Michael Douglas also puts in a lovely little performance and its good to see him back on the big screen.

The only thing about this is it seems to fill time between the fight scenes - its all or nothing.  Lots of 'artsy' music plonks along with the storyline and then you get these three moments of brilliance where each of our male leads faces up to our heroine.  If only they could keep the attention span alive between the action it would have been far more appealing.

I don't really need to elaborate on the male performances - all are acceptable and no one really stands out.  For those who are unfamiliar with Gina Carano she was 'Crush' in American Gladiators, circa 2008 and also appeared in a host of Martial Arts movies and interviews as herself.  Shes a great looker, an even better fighter and if the story line slows you down then she definitely wont.

As I mentioned at the start, sadly it does not have the capturing elements of Salt or Columbiana which I had hoped for but it was a welcome break after some of the dross I've sat through recently.

As a time filler its fine - but none of the guys really make a lasting impression and it seems they are just there for same famous fodder for Carano to kick about.

If high kicking hotties are your thing then this is the movie for you, if not - it does not leave much for you to take away.

167, The Darkest Hour

Here's my guide on how to make a poor, lame, cheap imitation of an Alien movie. 

First, hire a cast of nobodies but make sure one of them is mildly famous, let say the kid from Speedracer and a few cute TV actresses.  Add in an Alien force that we 'cant' see as its only energy and feeds off of our Electric supply.  Then borrow some special effects from Blade, mix that with the fact that nobody really survived an initial attach globally, reducing the need to pay extras, hire a dodgy crew of vigilantes with an armoured horse as transportation then kill off three of the main characters and end the movie with them escaping on Russian Nuclear submarine.

Well, that's what they've done with this movie.  Its so DULL!

I'm sorry,  I do try my best to find the good in most of the movies I've seen as hundreds of people have gone to the trouble of forking out hard earned cash to source locations, special effects and a B-list cast but when none of the above seem to gel together it does make out for a real waste of time.

I would have loved to love this.  its got all of my favourite movie credentials.  I adore a good Alien flick,  I'm a special effects nut and more importantly - After Ghost Protocol (a third mention in as many blogs!) Russia is my current favourite movie location but even that was not enough to swing it for me. 

Most of the acting was as wooden as that in 'Skyline' (Blog 69) and that's saying something! and it had less appeal than Attack the Block!.

Sometimes Hollywood get its bang on - Battle: Los Angeles is one of my favourite Alien flicks since independence Day (Don't moan - I love it!) but other times it just all goes wrong.  Don't spent £9 each seeing this one, Save you cash for the Muppet's Movie - Now that's going to be Amazing!.

166, Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows

I had to trek right back to Blog 13 in January of 2010 to find the first instalment of this modern classic and to make sure i didn't totally contradict myself read it back to re-enlighten myself with my thoughts and comments so many blogs ago.

Well, luckily nothing has changed.  London has evolved, Law and Downey Junior are even more comfortable in their newly adopted alter egos and with a new love of the character through BBC's 'Sherlock' I really felt i knew a little bit more about him this time round.

For those in the UK who have seen Sherlock, the BBC adaptation just finished its second series you will instantly recognise one has definitely decided to copy the other, I'm just not sure which way round it goes.  The introduction of Sherlock's brother (Mycroft Holmes) in both adaptations is well received and the movie version hails the legend that is Stephen Fry, albeit slightly disturbing as a 'Qi' regular to see my favourite academic almost baring all for the viewers in a performance that's only bettered by my favourite character of all time, Melchett (in whatever Black Adder guise you care to mention).

We have done away with Mark Strong's wizardry and its a far more sinister Professor Moriarty who lends his hand to the villain in this movie with a great plot which sees Holmes and his newly married sidekick have to find the missing brother of a Romany Gypsy who is believed to be part of a evil scheme to assassinate most of the European Government officials (I think?).  I say ? as again, although brilliant & riveting I don't know exactly why but as with the first movie - I dozed again!  and it wasn't even on that late.  Very annoyed as I seemed to miss the killer 10 minutes where all got explained.  Maybe it was just a little too long or maybe there is only so much 'fisticuffs' I was able to stand.  i suppose its a bump to reality after the high flying antics of Ghost Protocol but nevertheless I cant fault the actual movie.

Fry is brilliant, Moriarty is devious, Holmes and Watson are again as close to your two best mates as you would care for and the sad departure of of the beautiful Adler (Rachel McAdams) was more than made up for by the introduction of Madam Simza.

Guy Ritchie played another blinder.  Jolly good show!

Thursday, 19 January 2012

165, Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol

Can you actually believe it was 15 years ago when tom Cruise first hit our Screen as Ethan Hunt in the movie adaptation of Mission impossible!  From the first outing I was hooked.  it had a level of gadgets and gizmo's that rivalled Q-Branch and the stunts and effects were jaw dropping throughout.  15 years on and nothing has changed, if anything, its just got bigger and better.

Sadly though with the 4th instalment there are some noticeable absences and the team we have grown to love is without the brilliant Ving Rhames although its nice to see Simon Pegg as a fully fledged Spy, even though the plot means they are working with a host of dodgy second hand gear due to the IM force being discarded.

As for the plot, Mr Nasty gets his hands on some Russian Nuclear codes and sets about to start panic globally and after being framed for the destruction of the Kremlin its down to Cruise and his new team of undercover operatives to bring law and order (as well as their own reputations) back in line.

The action is spectacular with Cruise dealing with the high flying antics on the outside of the Burj Khalifa Tower himself without the help of a stunt double and to say its breathtaking is an understatement.  Jeremy Renner is a good addition to the team as his performances in recent movies is fast upgrading my liking of him and once paired with the legendary Cruise and the comedic genius of Pegg is a good "straight" man in this movie.

The plot gets almost forgotten as the villain himself is very much behind the scenes in my eyes but with the movie lasting a solid near on 2hrs 15 minutes you get plenty of time to work out whats going on among the explosions and  gadgetry. 

Being "rogue" in this and without the support of the IMF its quite comical as to how they blunder their way through most of the movie with faulty gear and Peggs adoration of "Masks" is extremely laughable, especially when his machine to make them shorts out but in the end its gold, old fashioned spy work that saves the day and if like me youre a fan of Luther, don't panic too much - he does pop up for a few minutes but you have to wait it out.
If Harrison ford is not too old to still play Indiana Jones then Tom Cruise in my eyes can play Ethan Hunt 2 or 3 more times over.  The best spy movie since Bond and not wanting to put down my beloved British Agent, IMF have better gadgets (and cars! the concept Audi? in this is spectacular!)

If action, thrills and spills, high tension and a few chuckles are what you look for in a movie then this ones got your name all over it - it might even be good enough for me to by the 4 collection box set on its release, especially as currently there is no MI5 announcement.

Enjoy - its Brill!

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

164, New Years Eve

Feels a little odd writing a blog about New Years Eve midway through January but due to on-going internet issues I'm running behind with my posts to apologies for the seasonal discrepency - apology over.

Remember Valentines Day?  Every Hollywood name you could mention coming together for a barrage of short and teniously linked batch of stories all based around February 14th and the trial and tribulations it can contain, well New Years Eve is in effect the sequal - with a number of the same names each taking up new roles - (simlar to Fish Called Wanda / Fierce Creatures!)

Ashton Kutcher was the central focus of this one and again he dons the actors cap in a far more reserved manor but this time the story is focussed on Hilary Swank as the organisor for the Times Square Ball Drop with all of the stories focussing around her and the location of Times Square.

The movie and plot line is pretty much non essential to the movie - its a cute, cuddly selection of love stories that range from love in an elevator to a bucket list all in one night and as with Valentines Day, the cast list is ever so impressive. 

There is no real stand out performance from the collection of A-Listers but if I had to pick a few favourites it would be the Heigl / Bon Jovi plot & the Pfieffer / Efron pairing.  These four along with Hilary Swank take up a huge chunk of the running time and its all done exceptionally well. 

I have to mention a small and perfectly formed performance from James Belushi who I love and although its a fleeting return to the big scrreen its well received.

In older blogs I would always end with "See this you like..........." so as we enter a New Year lets dispatch with an old favourite - See this if you like Michelle Pfieffer, Zac Efron, Robert De Niro, Halle Berry, Cary Elwes, Common, Jessica biel, Seth Meyers, Katherine Heigl, Jon bon Jovi, Sofia Vergara, Ashton Kutcher, James Belushi, Sarah Jessica Parker, josh Duhamel, Yeardley Smith, Hilary Swank, Ludicris, Matthew Broderick, John Lithgow, Ryan Seacrest (playing himself) and anyone else I forgot to mention!

163, Happy Feet 2

It only took 5 years but nevertheless, 2011 saw a return to the big screen of Mumble the penguin, played again by Elijah Wood with regular names as Pink & Robin Williams also sliding back into their feathered roles with absolute ease.  A little but older and a little bit wiser its Mumble and Gloria now playing the part of the penguin parents with their own little offspring Erik who is also finding it hard to get along in the icy wonderland and when disaster strikes the Emperor penguins home its Erik and his team of slightly random buddies who have to set off across the icy landscape and initiate the help of a heroic "flying" penguin to save the ones he loves.

So that's the plot and story, very "cutesy" and the opening 15 minutes is a show tunes epic with Pink and a selection of lady penguins bashing out hits that will all be known to your own little cherubs and before you know it you too will be toe tapping in your seat.  But it does not end there - there is a second story line and one that for the older audience will far outshine the sickeningly adorable fluff balls skipping around on glaciers and that's the story of Bill & Will the Krill.

What the film makers have managed to do here is take the planets most insignificant life form, Krill and make a funny, adventurous and laugh out loud sub plot and whats even more impressive have ropes in ocean double act Brad Pitt and Matt Damon to voice them. 

Imagine the scenario - "Krill" on mass have no concept of the big wide world outside of their own swarm and one specific member (Pitt) decides enough is enough and wants to leave the safety of his swarm and face what is sure to be certain death.  What develops however is quite different and with friend in tow (Damon) they manage to break free of the swarm only to discover that on reflection they are merely food for Whales which distresses our minuscule mites beyond compare! 

They set off on a voyage of self discovery to take on the big wide world which involves trying to take down a Seal for food, attempt to survive on dry land and finally results in assisting the lovely penguins with their own issues so even though it takes the whole movie to get there - there's a great link, no matter how insignificant.

Pitt and Damon are the funniest I've seen in a while with Damon being the scared follower to Pitts Gun-ho leadership qualities and to take something so small and overlooked and make what could easily have been their own movie from it is sheer class.

Forget the penguin's - its all about the Krill!    

Monday, 2 January 2012

162, Chipmunks 3, Chipwrecked

Well, Even I cant see every movie that gets released and luckily, this was one I was quite happy to miss out on as unfortunately, Chipmunks don't really do anything for me.  so, not to let the kiddies down my 8 year old daughter Leah toddled herself along with her Mum to see Chipwrecked and decided she wanted to write the blog instead - so without further ado, here is Leah's first blog.  Enjoy!

"Justin long, Matthew Gubler, Jesse McCartney, Amy Poehler, Anna Faris and Christina Applegate all squeezed into one, big, joyful movie.

Dave takes everyone out on a nice family vacation, (family? their Chipmunks!!!) they go on a luxurious cruise called the carnival, there mascot is a pelican, alert, alert, Uncle Ian is back, (otherwise known as David Cross)

Ian’s the pelican!!! Anyway, let’s get back to the basics, Alvin, (the mischief maker) he’s gliding,   on sun cream!!! But now, it’s time to shake your tail because it’s time to take a trip to the casino.

Dave is having dinner with Captain Correlli to apologise for what everything Alvin did. But he didn’t know, did he? Before he exited the room, he said to Alvin he trusts him (has that man gone crazy!!!)

Dave said they could watch a movie. Instead of watching happy lolly (Theodore’s suggestion) Alvin put on jungle monster 2. After Alvin convinced Theodore to watch a horror film, he ripped of his hoodie and came out in white evening wear. When Alvin left the suite Simon ran after him yelling “Come back here Alvin!” But then the Chipettes wanted to hit the dance floor.

My best bits probably have to be when they were zip lining to Zoe’s hut, Brittany made a better hut than Alvin and at the international music awards when they sung firework by the amazing Katy Perry and born this way by the world famous Lady Gaga. Lady Gaga should be in this film because her songs are in it not 1, but 2 times!!! There are some other songs mentioned in the film like, firework by Katy Perry, and survivor by destiny’s child. But hey, let’s not forget Bad Romance sung one again by the world famous Lady Gaga." 

So there you have it - Chipmunks 3 written by an 8 Year old.