Thursday, 19 July 2012

208, The Five Year Engagement

If any film had an obvious plot line then its this one.  The whole movie is basically explained in the title so I wont need to go into depths about the ins and outs of the story line which means we can get straight onto the cast.

I'm an avid Emily Blunt fan - as a Brit and movie buff she tops many a list in my mind and in this again - she breathes life into what could be quite a hard role to play opposite Jason Segal.  I say a hard role but in gest its a role anyone could pull off - fiance' to a successful chef gets a break as a lecturer at a University on the other side of the country so she ups sticks and moves with a reserved but understanding Segal who gives up on his dream of becoming his own Head Chef to follow her to the back-woods.  Something he soon comes to regret.

With Blunts career blossoming its Segal who ends up having to endure the loathsome locals, dodgy jobs in sandwich bars, because his fine cuisine San-Francisco restaurant experience is laughed out of town and the comedy element comes mainly from Segal and his new band of very odd buddies as he tries so hard (with little success) to come across the loving partner and supporter to his future wife's ambitions to the point where (and I'm sure you have guessed) puts strain on the relationship.

And somehow I've managed to make the plot sound somewhat interesting and much more than the title initially predictable title.  I did enjoy this movie but sadly, I have one reservation - Jason Segal.

I just don't get him!  Some people find him hilariously funny - I just seem to think that he's somehow fluked his way into a Hollywood career and as a leading man - just lacks the power on screen to make his movies stand out.  He's cheesy in the Muppet's (I know everyone was but him especially) and in this, as co-writer he seems to only get roles he writes himself into - bagging two beauties in this (Blunt + a 23yr old waitress) I just think he;s the wrong type of person for this role.  I sadly don't even find him that amusing but I said the same about Jack Black at one point I recall and look how that turned out - He's a legend!

There ARE some funny moments - quite a lot of them in fact and blunt shines throughout. Ii only really laughed at Segal when he injured himself or went all 'Deliverance' about two thirds into the movie and the end is romantic, expected - but sweet.

I wish I was able to put my finger on exactly whats holding me back from sincerely gushing about this one, the Parents of Segal are both familiar faces and have lovely little cameos (similar in my mind to Hoffman and Streisand from Meet the Parents) and Blunts family quite comically, but sadly pass away throughout the movie but its written into a number of the gags so its accepted.

As a one off I suppose its worth a giggle - I cant see any scope for a follow-up here so if this is your cup of tea catch it while you can - its again not anywhere near the comedy value of Bridesmaids or even What to Expect When You're expecting and as I missed Friends with Kids I can only guess that this was also better.

Keep going Segal - I'm sure there's a movie coming up from you soon I'll love (Muppet's aside - but that was only Animal on the big screen that made me smile)



Friday, 13 July 2012

207, The Amazing Spiderman

What is so Amazing about the Amazing Spiderman? 

Sorry, but the Toby Maguire outings didn't do it for me, much like the Val Kilmer and George Clooney attempts at Batman made me chortle but then something happened.

Chris Nolan and Christian Bale took over and they became awesome, the final instalment being my most anticipated release of all time (ready D.Shields? - its on me!) - and I have to admit - a similar thing has happened here too.

Firstly lets take Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield, Social Network Dr Parnassus) He's brill.  He has the geeky adorability of Parker but without the nerd kicking in - Maguire was nerdy - Geek is 'chic' and the hoodie and skateboard element make intelligent 'street' once more - you could not have cast a better Parker.  Now for his love interest Gwen (Emma Stone)

Well, I wont deny I'm a fan - Zombieland and House Bunny - (not seen on many matching DVD shelf's but both in my household) a regular hottie, made out more often to be the geeky girl turned good shes a perfect match for Garfield.

Uncle Ben and Aunt May are played by Sally Field and Martin Sheen (brilliantly) and being 8th Welsh - Rhys Ifans is a household favourite.  Add in Dennis Leary in the role of the Police Chief (Spidermans equivalent of Batman's Chief Gordon if you will) and father to his love interest and things start to notch up a peg or two.

You cant fault this movie as far as Marvel heroes go - it needed a royal kick up the arse and with the 'Man of Steel' getting a re-do (again) Spiderman needed to catch up to Batman's prowess.  Sadly, its not as good as the Dark Knights control of the box office records but for a quirky little adaptation it doesn't go far wrong and with the sequel penned in for 2014 already it looks like success is expected.

The story starts a fresh so again - an hour of self discovery before the suit is donned and the webs start a flinging but I just loved every minute - 3D in my mind is maybe not worth the money its printed on but for my money - 2D was more than pleasurable.

Stone, Garfield, Ifans, Field & Sheen are all great - Cant wait to buy it - cant wait for the 2nd outing - if you re a Marvel fan then Stan Lee of course pops up (as if he wouldn't!) and I just believe if roles were written for anyone then Garfield was destined for this one since birth.

Well done Marvel - this one was worth the re-boot!

206, Chernobyl Diaries

Hands up all the Call of Duty' gamers in the house?  Well, a few thousand of you I'm sure have picked that fabulous control pad and shouted the immortal words 'FRAG OUT!' but if, like me you looked at the scenery and though "Hmm, that looks a nice place to go, Prypiat" then let me assure you - this will change your mind.

YES - you can actually go to the town just outside of Chernobyl where the workers and wives / children of the nuclear power plant lived and YES - you can only spend a short time there due to remaining radiation poising but come on, wouldn't it be cool?

I thought so too and I know this is only a movie but there is no way in hell you are getting me to Russia now - Red Square and Standard Vodka? Yes, Prypiat - Not a chance!

We follow a group of American backpackers - on their world tour which obviously includes a few hotties and idiot American blokes who decide to take Yuri (odd Russian tour guide) on his word and head off to the Nuclear site.

Brain power tells you that when the guard on the gate turns you around you take his advise and head back to the Vodka bar but not Yuri - he stupidly takes the back road and our band of holiday makers end up in the desolate and deserted site of the disaster that to this day is still considered one of our biggest screw ups.  Its got everything from the spooky woods to the radioactive fish and it doesn't stop there.

Things go really bad when it turns out the residents are still alive!  Yes my friends - its Zombie meets radio active freak show with demon dogs to boot but honestly, too its credit.  Its jumpy as hell.

There is no point in giving away the end - they either all die, all get out or only a few survive and I wont spoil it - but with radiation levels dangerous after 30 minutes and our intrepid bunch staying the night - what do you think?

Its a bit scary but probably not the worst you have seen this year and one of these movies where you think in real life - you'd have turned around!  Muppet's.  A pretty un-famous cast (similar to Skyline) but thanks to this movie - Prypiat wont be getting my hard earned dollar in the near future.

205, Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter

OH MY GOD!

I agree, sometimes stupid movies names come along - Hot Tub Time Machine was a classic example, so was Mega Shark V Gian Octopus but every now and again you just have to take in your stride the thought that maybe, just maybe one may ooze utter brilliance.

And here it is!

Abe Lincoln, maybe America's most beloved President - saviour of the Western world - Legend.  Vampire Hunter?

Well, not as we knew it but who gives a flying fox, this movie is drop dead brilliant with a side of gorgeous added along the way.

Firstly - forget your Twilight sloppy soppy love stories - in this, Vampires are mean, bad and eat people, violently!  Then add in Dominic Cooper, loved him in Devil's Double and now the bad-ass himself hunts Vamps!  Then, Abe himself - relatively unknown Benjamin Walker (only been TV since now) and the great Rufus Sewell (who I loved in Eleventh Hour - even though the TV network didn't) both brilliant.

I cant gush about this movie enough - the premise is epic - future American President cutting his teeth on evil Vamps in the light of the American Civil War - and an AXE!  - that just oozes hardness, not a gun or long sword but a woods mans axe coated in Silver.  Wicked!

But the best thing about this isn't the cast, or the plot or even the thought that America was saved from Vampires during the American Civil War but the look of it. 

Most of the modern world now have access to instagram - that cool app that lets you tweak photos so we can all pretend to be the David Bailey of the Millennium - well you know the Sepia look?  That slightly 'off' brown with a hint of colour, this movie has that embedded throughout - making it look as realistic as the 'wanted' posters of its time and on screen - in magnificent colour with jaw dropping special effects and an Axe wielding President, it just makes this movie the prettiest I have ever seen , EVER!

Yes its got blood and gore and yes - the final third of the movie has Abe as an old man with the iconic Beard and hat but the guy still kicks Vamp butt with amazing ease and the nice little twist at the end bringing bit back to modern times is well thougt out - there will be no prequel, sequel or re-make of this - its a one off and bring on the Blu-Ray - No excuses - go and see it!  

204, Red Lights

Here was I, hoping Red Lights would be a great little spooky thriller starring Robert DeNiro that focused on the goings on of the supernatural world - soon to be uncovered as fraud by an inquisitive and relentless Sigourney Weaver and Batman baddie Cillian Murphy who in their spare time expose supernatural nitwits while holding down university lecturing roles and show the world the underbelly of mass American hysteria against these righteous preachers who not only claim to heal the sick but speak to long lost relatives from beyond the grave.

Well, to be honest - my description of the movie above is already better than the result that has ended up on the silver screen.

Firstly, this is one slow movie.  It just randomly plods along with lecturer Weaver and sidekick Murphy taking slow steps to explain the actions of these fraudsters and this is then shown out with them bringing down an aforementioned wally who literally has spy's in the crowd while they are chatting and waiting in the queue taking notes, then having it fed to an ear piece and unsuspectingly automatically knowing every ones darkest secrets and feelings.

As you can tell - I'm not a fan of this stuff in reality or on screen - sorry!

Had this have been a non-stop gripping thriller with danger at every turn then maybe, just maybe I'd have been positive but it wasn't.

Each of these actors have excelled in roles - Murphy as Scarecrow (Batman), Weaver and DeNiro in too many to mention but think of them as flavours - Coffee, Real Ale & Chips - amazing individually but too much all on one plate!

There just wasn't the scope or depth in this to make it appealing and give the cast the chance to shine - what made it worse - the end was dull, quick and with no real explanation.

I hate slating films as I don't get paid for it and feel bad should the actors / cast etc read my blog (as I know a few have!) so please forgive me - I don't hate you personally - in fact, I love you all! but everyone has a bump along the way, hopefully this is yours out of the way (that is of course until DeNiro makes another Fockers movie, then its game over!)   

 

Sunday, 8 July 2012

203, What to Expect when youre Expecting

Dont be fooled!  Like Bridesmaids, this movie was automatically be rolled out as a chick flick but for those brave male souls prepared to do whats right for the sake of their relationships and mutter the words, "Yes dear, I'd love to see that movie" you wont be dissapointed!

Although way past cinema release date, this blog is more for the DVD release but its taken me a while to find some time for the last batch of write ups.  Luckily, movies like this are simple to explain with  an easy plot, loveable characters and a funny outcome.

This movie charts the pregnancy of a handfull of couples who are all loosely linked to each other by 6 degrees of seperation in one form or another and although none rarely come into contact with each other - live out quite heartwarming stories that pretty much show off all tributes of pregnancy and whats endured by both the women and their hubbies involved.
We have the celeb mum, the expert mum, the golddigger mum, the young mum & the adopting mum who each play out their nine months of anything between endless joy and never ending trauma through the eyes of the viewer, each experiencing highs, lows and indifferences that really set the characters apart from each other.

All Mum's watching will at some point be able to relate to something that our female cast go through but never fear - theres something for the blokes in the audience too - The Dudes.

The Dudes are a goup of stay at home dads, linked to the J-Lo couple who have shunned the city life to allow their breadwinning wifes the chance to put food on the table and cash in their pockets while they take to the park on a daily basis and chew the cud with what would normally be gossip around a coffee table.  The magical phrase 'whats goes on in the park, stays in the park' sets up for some hilarious quips and quotes and led by Chris Rock, the Dudes manage to tick all marital boxes just as smoothly as the ladies in their lives could and it makes for a refreshing steriotypical rolem flipped firmly on its head.

To be honest - most of the characters are well acted, the story runs extremely smoothly and I don't really have a bad word to say about it but inbetween all of this there is a shining light, a stand out performance if you will by the best character in the whole movie - Jordan. 

Vic's (Rock's) son Jordan will have you in stiches each time he's on screen - the accident prone child who happens to be on the wrong end of many a tough tumble but even though its very wrong to luagh at kids falling over - you just cant help yourself.

Pair the above with some great stories including the rivalry between Dennis Quaid as the 'Alpha' dad and his underwhelming son who are both having kids at the same time, Quaid with a far younger model and his son, Falcone, who is hithced to a pregnancy expert who finds out that all the books stand for nothing just make this one a few great little plots that should keep many of you entertained.

Not a chick flick but at the same time, not one for a lads night in either - a nice little one for the lovebirds out there and for those of you who have had kids, you'll take pleasure knowing you dont have to go thorugh it again but appreciate the 'Aaaahhh' moments but for those comtemplating further additions to their famly - there may be a couple of game changers in this one!