Saturday, 3 April 2010

The Blind Side (2009)

Format - Cinema
Date - 2 April 2010
Director - John Lee Hancock

Based on the true story of Leigh Anne and Sean Tuohy who take in a homeless teenage African-American, Michael "Big Mike" Oher. Michael has no idea who is father is and his mother is a crack head. Michael has had little formal education and few skills to help him learn. Leigh Anne soon takes charge however, as is her nature, ensuring that the young man has every opportunity to succeed. When he expresses an interest in football, she goes all out to help him, including giving the coach a few ideas on how best to use Michael's skills. They not only provide him with a loving home, but hire a tutor to help him improve his grades to the point where he would qualify for an NCAA Division I athletic scholarship. Michael Oher was the first-round pick of the Baltimore Ravens in the 2009 NFL draft. Written by garykmcd

Thanks to IMdb for the plot summary.

This is the true story of Michael who has nothing but athletic ability and a willingness to learn. The film follows him getting a family and making it through life and football.

I went in to this film thinking, I don't like true story films however a review from a blogger stated it was very good, so I thought when I was going to the cinema fit that film in. And I was so glad I did it was really enjoyable film, I went in with no knowledge of the film or who it was about but it gripped me from the start. There is no real suspense in the film but it tells the story of how a upper class white republican family take in a homeless Black teenager. Now there is some talk in the film about their motives but genuinely it just seems to be a families willingness to accept a stranger into their home and their acceptance of him into their family.

The acting in this was sublime and Sandra Bullock was well worth her Oscar win, she played the well to do white American house wife doing good charity work. Her husband played by Tim Mcgraw, while a lesser part was played to perfection. Quinten Aaron in the main role was quiet and subdued and gave of the appearance of being perhaps a bit slow but pulls it around when he needs to and puts in a sterling performance, looking forward to what he does next. The performances of the kids in this were also magnificent with Jae Head as SJ and Lily Collins as Collins giving believable performances.

I would so recommend this film to everybody the acting is strong and the story holds up very well, even as it is based upon a true story.

5 out of 5 big left tackles.

Let me know if you have seen it and your thoughts on it, also any comments on my thoughts greatly appreciated.

Here is the review that convinced me to go and see the film,

Clash of the Titans (2010)

Format - Cinema
Date - 2 April 2010
Director - Louis Leterrier

"The Clash of the Titans" is set in the Greek city of Argos where a war is about to explode between man and the gods. Perseus (Sam Worthington) raised as a fisherman, but is actually a demi-god. Perseus is the son of Zeus (Liam Neeson) who is about to take on the gods after the death of his family. Zeus' brother Hades (Ralph Fiennes) was the one who kill his family, and Perseus wants to kill him. However, it is Perseus's destiny to rescue the city of Argos from the ruthless rage of Hades and his Kraken monster. With nothing to lose, Perseus leads a band of soldiers on a quest to defeat the Kraken. In doing this, Perseus will prevent Hades from overthrowing Zeus and in turn destroying mankind. Douglas Young (the-movie-guy)

Thanks to IMdb for the plot summary.

I went in to this film with no knowledge about what the story of the film was and then I saw that I had seen it all before. It is your standard Greek mythology lesson with a son born to a god and a woman, they fight and meet lots of Greek legends, including Medusa (the ending of that part is shown in the posters). You have your standard heroes with a mission and their adventures as they try to complete it.

This film was enjoyable, nothing particularly special about it. It is what I would term a popcorn flick lots of action pretty people and big CGI effects exactly what it says on the tin (Poster or trailer). Nothing to unexpected happens in the film and you can guess most of how it will go.

The effects were as stunning as I am sure the budget can justify it looked really good and the monsters. The acting was a different matter altogether, I have to say there were no direct complaints but there were to many people in this film and they must have cut quite a bit of the character development just so they could shoe horn in some more magic beasties with their computers. Sam Worthington of "Avatar" fame was not bad he did seem to be channeling Russell Crowe from Gladiator in this role. There was also a bit of William Wallace in his performance or that may just have been the way the character was written. Liam Neeson was Zeus and he did all he had to do in the role, the character again was a bit strange seemed to jump back and forward and did not seem to me to know what he wanted. Ralph Fiennes plays Hades and he is charactiscally brilliant however I never seen him drop the ball. Perseus's companions on his adventure, now this is where the real problem came. Mads Mikkelsen as Draco was very good in the role as aged warrior with respect and contempt for Persius and the mission. Now this sums up my problem with the film the rest of the men on the mission with him all blended to one, you never really knew who was who and I could have sworn the King went on the mission with them. Finally if you like looking at beautiful women in filme then Gemma Arteton as Io fulfills this role and she is very easy on the eye through-out the film.

Now to a recommendation I have no idea what to say, the film was enjoyable for what it was if you like adventure effects and action then go and see it. If you like to be 100% sure about what is happening then give it a miss.

2/5 light sabre swords from the gods.

Let me know if you have seen it and your thoughts on it also any feedback on my thoughts appreciated.

Kick-Ass (2010)

Format - Cinema
Date - 2 April 2010
Director - Matthew Vaughn

Dave Lizewski is an unnoticed high school student and comic book fan with a few friends and who lives alone with his father. His life is not very difficult and his personal trials not that overwhelming. However, one day he makes the simple decision to become a super-hero even though he has no powers or training. Written by Daniel J. Leary

Thanks to IMdb for the plot summary.

The film starts with the premise of why has nobody ever tried to be a super hero before? You then have Dave who gets a wet suit some baton's and becomes a costumed hero. You have him meeting other costumed heroes and facing off against the big crime boss.

I loved this film it is comedy gold in some parts, a lot of which you get from the trailer but there is a couple of massive laughs that rolled around the cinema which does not happen very often when I go to the cinema. The characters were excellent I did not know going in that this film was based upon a comic book however it worked really well as a film.

The acting in this film was top notch from Aaron Johnson who took the title role, now I am not overly fond of films that go with the geeky teenage boy in the lead role but he plays it very well from his interactions with his friends and the hot girl in the film. Nicholas Cage plays Big Daddy and this would normally have been the lead role but the story is approached at from Kick-Ass point of view. He is almost a cameo but plays it quite well, I do think that a different actor would have got it better as all I thought was oooh Nic Cage and he gets to play a super hero. The best turn for me came from Chloe Moretz as Hit Girl she was sassy and well suited for the part, I have to say that her performance in this does give me hope for the upcoming remake of "Let the Right One In".

I would totally recommend this film to everybody, the only warning I would give is that there is some pretty extreme violence in it and some strong language but I think everybody is aware of that from the attention it has been getting.

I would give this 4/5 Kick-Ass costumed heroes.

Let me know if you have seen it and your thoughts on it, any feedback on my thoughts greatly appreciated.

Sunday, 24 January 2010

Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)

Format - BluRay
Date Watched - 9 January 2010
Director - Gore Verbinski

Pirates of the Caribbean is a sweeping action-adventure story set in an era when villainous pirates scavenged the Caribbean seas. This roller coaster tale teams a young man, Will Turner, with an unlikely ally in rogue pirate Jack Sparrow. Together, they must battle a band of the world's most treacherous pirates, led by the cursed Captain Barbossa, in order to save Elizabeth, the love of Will's life, as well as recover the lost treasure that Jack seeks. Against improbable odds, they race towards a climactic confrontation on the mysterious Isla de Muerta. Clashing their swords in fierce mortal combat, Will and Jack attempt to recapture The Black Pearl ship, save the British navy, and relinquish a fortune in forbidden treasure thereby lifting the curse of the Pirates of the Caribbean.

Thanks to IMDb for the plot summary.

An film from 2003 that is based upon a ride at Disneyland of the same name, now I have no idea if there is a plot to the ride so if there is any correlation between the film and the ride. However you basic story is Man loves woman, woman loves man, but they do not tell each other. Woman kidnapped by pirates, man goes to rescue woman with Pirates old captain, turns out kidnapping pirates are cursed, and hilarity ensues.

I like this film it is a solid family film with some excellent laughs some good effects and a fairly coherent story. It is a fairly straight forward film with some nice little sub plots and characters and it is a really good ride. The biggest drawback to the film is that it is nearly 2 and half hours long and they made 2 more, third sequel is apparentley in the making. The sequels are terrible in my opionion and at least Pirates was made in a time when sequels while common were not guaranteed therefore you get a nice finish to the story, it is open for a sequel but not needed.

So it is a huge film with a large cast your main players are Johnny Depp playing Captain Jack Sparrow and he has spawned a phenomenom as he is a much loved character with his quirkyness and the way he plays it. He apparantly based his performance it on Keith Richards from the Rolling Stones, a very good impression from what I have seen. Your loving couple from the film are Keira Knightley as Elizabeth Swann and Orlando Bloom as Will Turner, they are adequate, they are pretty enough to make a good couple but their acting skills while not great are good enough for the family fun that this film is. Geoffrey Rush plays Captain Barbossa and he is immense in my opinion he plays the bad guy with humour and campiness but when he threatens someone you actually believe that he is dark enough to be a feared Pirate Captain. The supporting cast are good enough with some good comedy between McKenzie Crook and Lee Arenberg as 2 bumbling pirates. The effects are impressive, no less than you would expect from a Disney film, the obvious CGI that is required to pull off what they required is very good, you know it is CGI but it is good enough that you can see past that fact.

If you have not seen this film, I would recommend it, it is family entertainment at the best Disney can produce live action and the music will run around in your head for days afterwards, the quality on the BluRay is impeccable and well worth viewing. However do not bother with the sequels, I may re-watch them at sometime but the twice I have seen the second it did nothing for me at all and the third is only memorable for the reasons I do not like it.

I give this 4/5 swashbuckling pirates.

Let me know if you have seen it and your thoughts on it.

Thursday, 21 January 2010

Bolt (2008)

Format - BluRay
Date - 21 January 2010

Bolt tells the story a dog who plays a heroic dog in a hit TV show and has some trouble recognizing that he doesn't even have superpowers. This becomes something of a hindrance when he is accidentally shipped from Hollywood to New York City. From there he has to make his way home with the help of a manky old cat and an overweight hamster in a plastic ball. Written by wolf_stoned

Thanks to IMDb for the plot summary.

This story is an animated story of a dog trying to go home to his person, Penny. Now this is a kids film and there are a lot of references I picked up in the story, you have "The Truman Show" elements, Bolt does not know his life is not real. "Homeward Bound" never seen this but it is an animal crossing the country story, unlikely allies. And the final reference I get is "Inspector Gadget" to me it really is paying homage to those cartoons with a slight difference, even in the name of Bolt's person.

I was aware of this film when it came to the cinema, however at the time was not inclined to go and see it. I knew the basic concept without the detail and i am unhappy I missed this, I think that the 3D while not needed is great when viewing animation in the cinema. The film is a riot of comedy with some great lines and some good gags, there is a lot of sentimentality and as a n adult you can predict how it will go, but still a great film.

The voice acting was actually quite subtle I was not aware who the main cast were so it did not draw me out of the film. Bolt is played by John Travolta, but he is simply in the position of saying the lines, at no time did I suspect that it was Travolta's voice. Mittens the cat is voiced by Susie Essman, Rhino is voiced by Mark Walton, Penny is voiced by Miley Cyrus, there are also a couple of other big actors including Malcolm McDowell and Greg Germann. The acting is great, the writing is superior and BluRay quality is sublime to view.

I have to recommend this film, especially if you like animation, it is not as good as say the Incredibles, Monsters Inc or UP, but still a masterclass for children.

I give this 4/5

The Road (2009)

Format - Cinema
Date - 15 January 2010
Director - John Hillcoat

A father and his son walk alone through burned America. Nothing moves in the ravaged landscape save the ash on the wind and water. It is cold enough to crack stones, and, when the snow falls it is gray. The sky is dark. Their destination is the warmer south, although they don't know what, if anything, awaits them there. They have nothing: just a pistol to defend themselves against the lawless cannibalistic bands that stalk the road, the clothes they are wearing, a rusting shopping cart of scavenged food and each other. Written by Sean Pollock.

Thanks to IMDb for the plot summary.

Your basic plot for this film surrounds a father and son walking through ruined America, approximately 10 years after an undetermined apocalypse. You have them seeing the land and the survivors. For the bleak concept and outlook the visuals are really well produced, the characters are believable and the situations are desperate and realistic.

I went to this film with a friend and it was not a film I had considered going to see at all. The source material by Cormac McCarthy is not a book I had ever thought of reading and to be honest after seeing the film not one i will be looking up in the near future. I have no idea if the film is a fair adaption of the book or how well the material has been transferred to the big screen, I went in being told that it was the book you could not filmed. This film was not for me, there were some good points, the best being everything is from the point of view of the Man and Boy, if they did not see what happened either did you, it was very clever.

I have to say that acting was excellent and the visuals were stunning. Viggo Mortensen was powerful as Man, he was a man on the edge looking out for Boy who has known nothing but the world in which he now finds himself. Boy is played by Kodi Smit-McPhee he is very good in the role and I think you will see him again, from an interview with the director John Hillcoat he knew he was the one to play Boy. You have flashbacks through the eyes of Man to Charlize Theron, Woman, his wife and Boy's mother and you get an insight into where and why the Man is doing what he is. There are also cameo's by Guy Pearce and Robert Duvall which are played really well.

I have to say that i would not go and see this film again, I could not recommend it to you if you like the films that I do, I have to say that it is well made, well shot and great acting but it depressed me, this film was not for me.

I would give this 2/5

Let me know if you have seen it and your thoughts on it.

Daybreakers (2009)

Format - Cinema
Date - 15 January 2010

In the year 2019, a plague has transformed most every human into vampires. Faced with a dwindling blood supply, the fractured dominant race plots their survival; meanwhile, a researcher works with a covert band of vamps on a way to save humankind.

Thanks to IMDb for the plot outline.

So your basic plot is that 95% of the world's population are now vampires, the streets are empty during the day and at night it is a thriving metropolis. You get some interesting visuals from the credit scene, where you see a no parking sign 2am to 3am. You have 5% of the population that are still human and are being hunted for food. The opening scene is brilliant and an early nomination for best opening scene and gives one side of the vampire's story.

I went into this film having seen the trailer and due to my love of films and specifically horror thought I might enjoy it. The concept is fantastic, the execution is a bit weak, I enjoyed the film but there were some gaping plot holes, they did not spoil the film as entertainment but you will have questions when you have seen it. The acting is solid, the main idea is really good, but it still just fails to work for me on the whole.

The acting is good, you get creepy from Sam Neil as Charles Bromley the Vampire in charge of Blood distribution and the company trying to find a viable blood replacement. You have nervous and jittery from Ethan Hawke the main scientist trying to and find the blood replacement source. You have good looking human lady in Claudia Karvan playing Audrey and finally Willem Dafoe as the mad, car driving human as Lionel 'Elvis' Cormac.

I would recommend this film to anybody that likes vampire films and good ideas, but if you would not like to be disappointed then possibly just go for a rental.

I would give this 3/5

Let me know if you have seen it and your thoughts on it.