Thursday, 31 May 2012

200, Men in Black 3

So here we are.  Blog 200!  Approximately 400hrs, £1600 in tickets (if I were paying full price),  & approximately £600 in M&M's and Coke bottles and I find myself amazed I made it this far.  Yes there are a lot of movies and some have been good, some bad, a few intolerable and happily, some real gems but with over 20,000 hits - followers in many European and and International countries and a solid UK audience its good that you've stuck with me and here's too the next 200!

MIB 3.  Cant wait!  MIB 1 was legendary and Will Smith as normal has continued to convert a simple kid from the Prince of Fresh into a global megastar who is responsible for one of my favourite movies of all time (I am Legend) so I had high hopes for this reincarnation after a break of 10yrs since the 2nd instalment.

J & K are back and after being partnered for what is about 14yrs now and still as dry witted and comedic as they ever were.   This time we find our two suited and booted alien officers come across an escaped villain from the newly created 'Moon' prison hell bent in jumping back in time and seeking revenge on a younger 'K' for taking his arm with the cost of his life.  Sadly, he succeeds and on a normal trip to the office, J realises something has changed.  Luckily the new commander and chief (O, sadly Z passed away) quickly believes his story (why wouldn't she!) and dispatches him back to 1969 so he can find K, kill 'Boris the Animal' and return the time line to its actual state.

They plot may easily lose some of the younger audience as this has been given a PG rating as its is easily kiddie friendly, albeit Boris is a bit scary to those under about 6ish but its all childish fun.  The time jump thing always needs explaining in some circles - I'm convinced I will at some point have to explain the mechanics behind the Back to the Future Trilogy and it doesn't get any easier but its one I'll happily continue to explain - as I love it!

This one however is explained pretty simply with no time space continuum ruined if future selves meet older selves and because of that it keeps it easy to read, act and understand.  Will Smith again is on form as previously mentioned but I found a new adoration for Josh Brolin - many of you wont identify him with his role as Mikey's older brother in the Goonies (I didn't) and in True Grit he just seemed a little creepy but this role was perfect - the Tommy Lee Jones accent, well he matches almost to a complete tee and even manages the brow, wit and charm of his alter ego only this time, a little more relaxed and comedic.

The special effects are pretty impressive - easily up to date with modern requirements and the soundtrack is back with the same beat and vigour as it always had.

In my mind - this is the best of the three, proving that if you take a classic, don't rush it - add the same brilliant ingredients but with the added extras of extra cash, computer technology and a new twist you'd have to be pretty stupid to fail.  Not only did they manage to combine all the above but they added one of the cutest twists at the end and this one will bring tears to your eyes - no matter who you are!

This is a brilliant third instalment and from this alone I hope they make a 4th - shame is, Brolin wont be involved as surprisingly enough Will managed to sort everything out in the end but I'm sure you guessed that.


Wednesday, 30 May 2012

199, Dark Shadows

Here we go - another totally 'original' Tim Burton movie which previews relative Burton newcomers Depp and Bonham Carter in what looks on the surface like a spooky romp through a ghostly looking house with a few vampires thrown in for good measure.  What a nice change! 

Okay, so I'm being sarcastic and in the main - Burton, Depp and Carter collaborations are expected every few years but for me, the franchise is wearing a little thin. 

I'm sorry guys - but I'm getting a little bored with what is now a repetitive and pointless romp through spookyville and Depp has proved in recent years he is capable of sooooooooo much more. 

Dark Shadows introduces us to the live of Barnabas Collins.  A son of a business leading aristocrat living in the 1700's.  As heir to a the Collins empire, so vast the town was named after them a young Depp ignores the lusting allure of a housemaid only to be cursed as a vampire and buried alive for 200 years when the alluring maid turns out to be a witch.  Skip forward to the 1970's our hero's coffin is located and Depp is dug up only to seek return to the family home and request solitude alongside the slightly odd Collin's dwellers now in residence.

The issue I had with this movie was the actual point of it - Burton seemed to chuck his entire arsenal at it with Depp having to switch from comedic vampire, stuck in the future and having to deal with life's little upgrades which added a chuckle and a skip along to the Addams family ensemble but a few seconds later he goes all 'Hammer Horror' and rips the throats out of some hippy dudes just chilling with a simple spliff.

The other thing was the speed of the movie.  I reckon if could of been over in 45 minutes if they all spoke normal speed but its just which I'm sure is the vampire way but it was slow, dull, uninteresting and repetitive.

The king of vampires Christopher Lee even managed to snag a cameo but even he was under used and relative pointless.  Bonham Carter seemed to be there just because her hubby was directing in a role completely insignificant to the plot and in the worst latex body suit ever perceived which made her more look like the trunk of a tree with boobs resting under her chin than the seductive demon'ess' we have grown to love in the Potter movies.

Then there was Johnny Lee Miller - Lets just put it this way - Johnny, I still (to this day) love you as Sick-Boy in Train spotting and I for one will never forget your stunning role in my favourite movie of all time (Hackers) but you came across weird and unimpressive.

The final disappointment was Chloe Moretsz (Hit Girl from Kick-Ass)  I REALLY want to like you, honest - I really do - her portrayal as the knife wielding psycho kid in aforementioned movie was awesome but its all gone Pete Tong and for some reason at the end of the movie she 'transforms' (no actual spoilers) but there is no explanation and it just automatically didn't fit!


Pfeiffer and Depp were on top form - proof again that talent is what talent does and these two have more than made their mark in my mind and regardless of plot, supporting cast, story, Director etc still bring their A-Game at each occurrence.  Depp was funny, suave, gruesome and I feel that if this does well then its him carrying Burton and the day Johnny says no to Tim is the day Tim's stops to make movies.

Pfeiffer is always a goddess - regardless.  Love her.

So - its repetitive, boring and slow - if you've seen one you've seen them all.  I hope, should anyone of note read this they can take constructive criticism well as Burton and Carter reside in the same village as my Mum and I'd hate for her to be ignored at the Bakers. :)


Saturday, 26 May 2012

198, Safe

For most of you, this will have already been and gone by the time this blog hits the Internet but that's only because I've taken a while to write it but sadly, (and as a Statham fan I cant actually believe I'm saying this) in my opinion - it wasn't one of his greatest.

The Statham I know and love is responsible for some of my favourite movies such as Death Race and Snatch and even the totally O.T.T Crank movies make me smile, his performance in The Expendables is perfect, he does London 'Hard man' better than Vinnie Jones and with a string of ex-beauties including Kelly Brook in his wake he pretty much gets the 'Lads' vote time after time.

This movie seemed a step back for him and in what seemed a very over exaggerated storyline it was just not as believable as it could have been  A child genius is used by the Triads to memorise a very long number of which she quickly deciphers its a hidden code.  After escaping her Triad 'fake' dad she is chased down by the Russians, the Triads and NYPD and Statham witnesses her being chased through a subway station by some familiar mobsters so steps in and becomes guardian angel to our little phenomenon.

The thing that got me was there was not a straight, decent cop in the whole movie! Normally there's at least one or two but his entire ex-department, their chief AND the Mayor were all on the take and I just wondered how N.Y had not collapsed in on itself with so many enforcement officers taking back handers?  I know its being picky but some form of realism normally plays out that one or two are dodgy but he whole department?  Come on guys - you can do better!

Statham himself offered nothing really new and exciting - this just seemed like a time time filler to build up to the Expendables 2 launch but even Statham could have picked something slightly better.  The fighting was basic and the finale was over all too quickly with what seemed like a bit of a wuss out.

Its a short blog because there is really nothing much to say.  Its not 'shockingly' bad but its certainly not one of the best movies you will see all year and with so many great movies hitting the screens over recent weeks there is plenty more to spend your money on.

197, The Dictator

So this blog is really going to set the cat among the pigeons - as I'm sure in certain circles the movie also manages to do.  Ali G, Bruno & Borat all managed to set Sacha Baron Cohen away from the rest of the pack - daring to go into areas and subject matters that very few others would and for most of the time its worked.  there was slightly odd incident with the Khazakstan government basically declaring themselves outraged but then I read it saw an increase in their tourist trade by something daft like 300% so it seemed to all work out in the end.

This one however is a little closer to home with his character (Aladeen) being portrayed as an Eastern Dictator with a loathing for the Western world and not only is it current, but when the whole movie is dedicated to the loving memory of Kim Jong-il then you know its going to be one of those marmite movies!

Well, lets start with the most poignant bit - John C Reilly as the American Security officer is responsible for looking after the unwanted visitors and drops the line about him taking down the Empire State Building and there is a whole helicopter scene that with subtitles is completely innocent but for the American tourists also on board - plays out like a 9/11 re-enactment and this could obviously strike an offensive chord with many of the viewers but if you take it for what it is - and that is definitely more of a dig at what Aladeen represents rather than an American slating you should be fine.

So that's the political views out of the way - now onto the actual comedy element.  This movie is a very funny and completely inappropriate laugh-fest which is executed brilliantly by Cohen.  The additional castings of Ben Kingsley, John  C Reilly, Anna Faris along with many other sees he has possibly moved himself up the food chain a little and the cameo from Megan Fox is one of the best personal send ups any celeb could ask for.

In Wadiya, Aladeen's home country he as much revered as he is feared and there are some very funny moments, mostly already seen in the trailer from the Wadiyan Games and the hoard of virgin female guards at his beckoned call but underneath it all Aladeen is seen to be a lonely and deluded individual who's trip to America not only helps to slightly calm his loathing of the Western World but even fall in love with one of its residence, albeit a tree-hugging humanitarian which on the surface is as far removed from Aladeens beliefs as possible but strangely it works - brilliantly!

Obviously, this movie certainly wont appeal to everybody in the same breath as Ugg's for men is deemed cool but nevertheless - if, like me you are pretty much open to a full blown 'leave your conscience at the door' and take it with a pinch of salt then you will definitely see something unique and extremely funny but I know that those who find it hard to see how someone can take the tragedy's of many recent events and base a movie character around them ,especially one who's hiding Bin Laden in his back bedroom then maybe I suggest you give this one a wide birth.

Funny for some - not for all but if you can separate your emotion then you may find something worth watching.

Thursday, 24 May 2012

196, American Pie Reunion

Growing up when I did, by the time American Pie 1 came along I was able to easily relate to the antics of Jim, Stiffler, Kevin, Finch and Oz as I think most of us can.  Who cant remember a time in their past when they've been caught in an embarrassing situation or got all over-romantic with a girl.  There are even the times when our confidence has been at an all time high or sometimes we even let the inner geek out for a while.  If so, then you too can see why the American Pie movies (not including the Band Camp one) appealed to so many people.

Jump forward over a decade and again I easily managed to relate to the now adults our once high school kids had become.  Kids are on the cards, jobs are taking over and we attempt to seek some form of link to yesteryear, maybe deep down wishing we could still keep up the pace of our younger rivals but in actual fact - probably just better off sitting the occasional all-nighter out once in a while.

Well, The American Pie Re-union is everything mentioned above.  The whole cast from the original movie return and each turning out pretty much as expected.  I wont give away any secrets about our leading lads but lets just go to say there are no real surprises. 

The coming together for the reunion is a fitting tribute to their antics of old and now seemingly rivalled by the current throng of teenagers taking over, our slightly older and obviously comedic crew end up throwing their own style on proceedings with some old school humour and actions that only seem good at the time but as with the American Pie tradition - nothing really seems to go as initially planned.

At the start though its nice to see them all in their new surroundings but from the outset its Stiffler I was disappointed with.  His 'jokes' and actions made me feel that although trying to keep with continuity from the originals they hadn't cleverly moved on and he seemed dated and out of touch with the rest of the movies pace but its only a glitch and pretty soon he'll have you chuckling along with the 'ice-box' incident and the finale of the movie is so rewarding for him (you'll see!)   

As expected - there are some great scenes between Jim & Jim's dad that are as awkward and 'wrong' as any father / son chats should be but brilliantly written and acted to show a turning of the times with the advice now being dished out by Jim himself after the sad death of his own Mom, helping his dad try and move on with his life but the chemistry between them is as fresh today as it ever was - they've even rolled out Stifflers Mom again and her and Jim's dad could easily be Hollywoods most adorable couple!

For the new breed of viewers for this movie you really do need to go back to the original and familiarise yourself with the plot, cast and characters otherwise so many of the in-jokes will be over your head but if like me you saw these when they were made then this brings it all rushing back and I felt no need for any form of refresher outing to dig out the back catalogue and re-identify with them - the movie does that for you.

Its 'gross-out' American Pie fun, exactly as you'd expect it to be and with the entire cast returning including Sherman, the Milf Boys and even Jim's (now viral) sex tape getting another outing it just reminds you of how good the originals were and this just brings it all back home nicely.

Don't bother if you've never seen the first batch but if you have - this is a must!

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

195, The Avengers Assemble

Here we go - a childhood dream finally immortalised on the big screen.  The culmination of the last however many years of Marvel movies, bringing together some of the greatest screen Super Heroes of modern day.  I could refer to the Marvel Chronicle and state that this movies origins date way back to the year 'dot' with the first comic of whoever or I could even say that start by saying this movie started the thought process off with David Hasselhoff donning the Nick Fury eye patch in the 1998 TV shows but that is just doing this masterpiece a huge injustice.

For me, the Avengers build up started with Iron Man 1 in 2008 and here's my thought process as to why.  This initial movie introduced us to Tony Stark, Pepper Potts & Agent Coulson.  Then, later that year The Incredible Hulk (with Edward Norton) had a non credited role with Downey Jnr again, opening our eyes to the first pairing.  Avengers 1 & 2 accounted for.  Skip forward 2 years to 2010 and Iron Man 2 hits our screen with Stark, Potts & Coulson back once again but this time Jackson dons the patch to play Nick Fury and Scarlett Johansson appears as Black Widow.  Here we know have our 3rd Avenger and their Leader on the register. 

Chris Hemsworth rocks up in 2011 as Thor where we also meet Loki, Skelsgard and Hawkeye (albeit briefly) and an appearance from Coulson opens our eyes up a bit more to 'Shield'.  Bad Guy, Scientist & Avengers 4 & 5 now on board which leaves Captain America himself, Steve Rodgers who launched onto the multiplex later that year and with a tag line of "The First Avenger" bought together the Shield / Stark Legacy with Fury taking a part alongside him.  Along the way there are some voice over roles including Paul Bettany as Starks speaking computer 'Jarvis' who maintain their posts and in 2012 The Avengers Assemble brings them all together with a new Hulk on board in the form of Mark Ruffalo and if you have managed to keep up with that lot, read on..........

This movie is Epic! on ALL levels.  The cast is awesome.  Downey Jnr and the rest of the motley crew show off their individual talents to mass effect and as expected, ego's flair for a majority of the movie until a moment of clarity brings them all together in one of the best end sequences captures on movie since, well - since forever.

Its not the just mind blowing action, plot or even the expected Stan Lee cameo that make this movie brilliant - there are moments of humour, surprisingly from the Hulk and keep a look out for the "Any Which Way but Loose Moment" between Hulk & Thor - "Right Clyde!"  I showed my age and sadly, laughed aloud - a little too aloud.

Until now we didn't know too much about Hawkeye and although we have met the Widow, her back story was vague but these two happily seem to come as one - working together under Shield as spy / assassin roles and fit in smoothly with the rest of the band of heroes, adding an element of humanity to the proceedings. 

Hulk in my mind is the best re-incarnation yet, seemingly carried on from the Ed Norton version they call him in from the cold to beef up the good guys and the Stark / Hulk 'bro-mance' manages to keep you entertained with Starks genuine admiration for the Dr as well as a cheeky need to see him freak out.

Thor as the "God" among the group initially finds it the hardest to fit in, with Loki being his brother n'all and the focus of the movie does seem to have more in common with these two than the rest, the rest of the Avengers involvement only seemingly required because of this Godly battle taking place on our dear old planet.

Captain America is the honoured Hero of the group with the history to back it up and manages to gather the most admirers in his wake, including Coulson but his lack of recent knowledge does put him at a slight disadvantage, played out comically with a few one liner quips against his more modern counterparts.

Nick Fury is Nick Fury, nothing much to talk about there - he doesn't really do much and as for Loki, He's brilliantly acted and a lot meaner and tougher than he was in his first outing.

The Army that descends through the space portal to destroy earth looks amazing in "Real D" so with huge Kraken like monsters flying around taking out building with a single swoop it takes all of the Avengers working together to actually start to make a dent in their armour but when the action really starts to take off about 45 minutes from the end it becomes a non-stop roller coaster ride of explosions, teamwork and overall awesomeness.

I hoped this would be the Superhero movie to end all Superhero movies and it was.  Stan can sleep well knowing if he didn't do another thing, this would be more than good enough to sign out of the movie business.  Luckily - there not going to do that and the Avengers 2 is already in discussions but before we get any where near to that we have announcements on Iron Man 3 & Thor 2 so its not planning on even slowing down to catch its breath before the Marvel circus comes to town once more.

Having following these characters as I have for pretty much all of my life I feel I can say the following in the company of friends.  Robert, Chris, Mark, Chris Scarlett, Jeremy, Tom, Clarke, Stellan, Samuel, Gwenyth & Cobie - Thank you.  You've been brilliant.