Thursday, 30 June 2011

X-Men:First Class (2011)

So after hearing some excellent reviews about the latest installment of the X-Men franchise I was keen to see it on the big screen, throw in James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender and I was sold on seeing it. I really enjoyed it there were enough mutant powers with enough weaknesses that you did not think well they would rule the world. The performances in the film from the other characters was also very good with January Jones as Emma Frost, Rose Byrne as Moira McTaggert, Nicholas Hoult as Hank all standing out to me and Kevin Bacon as Sebastian Shaw was truly brilliant.

The only flaw in the film for me is the fact that it is a prequal, you suffer in the fact that you know where it is going to end up so the story is fully reliant on the journey and often that is not enough. This manages it well enough for me, I think that it is probably because i do not know that much about the X-Men except from the cartoon and the previous films, but I hope that it leads to other films in this world, even a continuation from the end of this film ignoring what happened in the original 3.

So I am saying 4 stars for this, the 1 star taken off as I was not that gripped, the threat scenes lose a lot as you know who survives to the end as it is a prequal.

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

The Green Lantern (2011)

Firstly I am a massive Ryan Reynolds fan I have to say that apart from some of the writing surrounding his previous characters I have enjoyed his performance in everything he has done. I am not a big Comic book fan and have no knowledge of the Green Lantern at all, so going in cold I was interested to see what it was all about. I think that as a stand alone film it is alright, there is nothing that startling or original in it and as with all origin movies there is a lot of set up and a couple of bad guys with little development thrown in.

My biggest problem with the characters which were played by Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively, Tim Robbins and Peter Sarsgaard which were all played pretty well, the characters all knew each other really well with no explanation about who knew who for what reason. The performances in this were good and I enjoyed what they did, however overall the film lacked something for me. Possibly it was my lack of knowledge of the universe or maybe just the predictability of super hero films that you know where they end up.

This is enjoyable but only worth 3 stars from me, I think that had it been darker and really not just aimed at the kids then this could have been pretty interesting.

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Blades of Glory (2007)

I am not a fan of Will Farrell, I feel it is only fair to put that out there, I have seen a few of his films and to be honest none of them hit the spot with me, I just do not appreciate his comedy so I watched Blades of Glory with this in mind. And it did not disappoint me, it was predictable and I would be lying to say that it was not funny, there were some good jokes but some ridiculous scenes and concepts that just felt were done by Will Farrell to say, look at me I am Will Farrell laugh at me.

Jon Heder and Jenna Fischer are the love story of the film if you do not count Will Farrell being in love with himself and they are fine if a bit over shadowed by the Will Farrell performance. The story itself is engaging enough with two individual sport stars coming together as a duo to continue doing what they love.

It is hard to say it was disappointing as it met my low expectations but unless you are a fan of Will Farrell I would avoid this 2 star rubbish.

Monday, 27 June 2011

Gulliver's Travels (2010)

So this film was the second film to carry the Orange sponsorship before films where the actors did a bit about phone advertising with the slogan don't let a mobile ruin your film in UK cinemas. I used it as timing to go to the toilet and so the joke with this film when I watched it was that I would need to go to the toilet all the time when i saw Jack Black. To be honest I would have been better going to the toilet several times during this film. So you have Jack Black taking on the titular role and doing what he normally does with the zany comedy that you either like or loathe.

I seem to loathe it, however I did not hate all of this film, there were some good performances by some good British actors including Catherine Tate, Billy Connolly and James Corden you also have good performances from Jason Segel, Emily Blunt, Amanda Peet and Chris O'Dowd. This is a kids film though and you get that from the jokes and the nature of what Jack gets up to. To be honest I did not really enjoy it and would not recommend it.

So only 1 star for me and even for the kids it is not worth the time.

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Home Alone (1990)

This to me is a Christmas classic, inspired by seeing the second one I chose to re-watch the original and have to say that it is still the best. Yes you have to be honest and say that the chances of any family forgetting a family member is highly unlikely and that surely they would notice pretty early on. But they do a good job of setting the Kevin character up well within his rather large family.

This carries the same story as the sequel but is the original, it has all the Christmas values about being alone and the importance of family. It has some awesome comedic moments with the bumbling criminals in Harry and Marv played by Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern to great effect.

I have to say this is 5 stars for me, yes there are a few realism flaws within the plot but they get where they need to be and the comedy can still make me laugh even after all of these years, make it one of your Christmas movies this year if you have not seen it.

Friday, 24 June 2011

The Mechanic (2011)

This is the remake of the 1972 film of the same name starring Charles Bronson, I have never seen the original so no idea if this is a good remake or not. So taking it as a film on it's own it is an interesting piece about a contract killer who ends up with a conscience. Jason Statham is as awesome as ever, I just love him in everything he does, however it is not really enough to save this film from itself. There are a couple of scenes that if they just gave you enough credit they would be awesome but it has to spoon feed you.

The supporting cast including Donald Sutherland and Ben Foster is good and the story itself is fine, there is nothing special or mind blowing and I do not think anything within the film would be classed as a twist so it becomes a fairly run of the mill film. Now it might be because I have seen so many films what it does is fairly special just with my movie mind I have seen it all done before or I can just see what is happening.

This is a 3 star film, not truly disappointing and worth seeing once but I will probably not revisit in the near future.

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Swinging With The Finkels (2011)

Went to the cinema to see this film without really knowing that much about it, had already decided to see it when I saw the trailer and thought "hope that is not all the funny bits from the film." This was very funny in parts it is a British comedy with Mandy Moore and Martin Freeman who are a couple that have been together for 9 years and they are both getting to the point where they are getting bored with each other. So they decide to investigate swinging and progress through some interesting meetings.

Now the premise is quite fun and the jokes about relationships are quite funny and it is quite bawdy and slap stick and well done. However as the film approaches the end it takes a turn that I did not like and went in a strange direction, it was really almost as if half way through filming somebody else became involved in how the film should end. The ending came around and I was happy enough with the conclusion. The performances were brilliant with a good turn from Mellissa George as the dowdy mother and Angus Deayton as the swinging partner.

Overall I am going to say 3 stars, worth seeing but no more than a rental at best or taking advantage of cheap cinema tickets, check out the trailer for a couple of the best jokes though.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Monster Squad (1987)

Another film that after I started watching I realised that I had seen it many years before, this film is much loved especially amongst the Horror fans who see themselves as the protagonists and I have to say that while I was never that way as a youngster would love to go through what they do in this film as it is awesome.

They have all the bad guys from the Universal Classics with Dracula, Frankenstein, Wolfman, the Mummy and the Creature from the Black Lagoon. The Monster Squad itself is a strange group with what we would today class as nerds the youngster, the fat kid and the geek leader, strangely with the school cool guy thrown in as well.

This is an awesome film with many references to the classics including and awesome scene from Frankenstein with the little girl, there are also a couple of awesome quotes from the film with the T-Shirt at the start "Stephen King Rules" and "Wolfman has Nards" two classic quotes for me and make the film even more enjoyable as fans can throw them at each other long after the film has finished.

I am going to say 4 stars for this film, while I had a blast watching it there were a few issues with effects and some of the acting, however on the whole a film well worth seeing and a recommendation especially if you have any love for the Universal Classics or wanted to be in a cool gang as a small child.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Twilight Zone the Movie (1983)

Having had the chance to see the first half of the original season from the 1950's I was interested to see the 1983 film. I have to say that I was seriously disappointed, I have seen this before but it was actually that bad i had forgotten I had seen it. So the film is split in to 4 with separate stories that do not interlink and there is also an opening scene starring Dan Ackroyd which was a highlight even though it was not very good.

The Twilight Zone to me has been about this is the world the characters live in, whether it is real or not and the twist at the end is based upon the audience perception of what is normal. However each of these segments seems to be a normal person in our world gets either moved or finds themselves in a weird and wonderful world and they are all quite drastic, obviously what you need for the big screen.

I was very disappointed with this film, with none of the segments being very good for me so a 1 star film and well worth avoiding. I would recommend the original TV Series as so far it is awesome and most of the 15 or so episodes I have seen are worth watching.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Forrest Gump (1994)

Have not seen this film since it came out back in the mid ninties, always thought of it as a great film that I must revisit, and lucky for me it was on the TV at the weekend. So I sat down to watch it and I had forgotton just how good a film this is. Tom Hanks in the titular role is epic and was so worth his Oscar that year, he portrays the character as loveable and just from his stance you see the feelings that he is showing.

The story itself is epic and a wonderful flight of fantasy, it is lovely to think of this caring loveable man going through life affecting so many people in such a positive way and you see what he gets from life as well. You see that life is hard but it is worth fighting for. I find it hard to believe anybody has not seen this film but if for any reason you have been putting it off I would recommend that you see this as soon as possible and be prepared for a little tear near the end.

This is another 5 star recommendation and I will not be leaving it as long before I see it again.

Monday, 13 June 2011

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971)

The original film that is so much better than the Tim Burton remake with Johnny Depp, the original is very close to the Roald Dahl book which is awesome, you have to love Roald Dahl and his stories. So this film is from 1971 and is probably one of Gene Wilder's best known performances as the eccentric chocolatier. I would hope that everyone will have seen this film or at least read the book. It is a child's dream the idea that it portrays a world of edible chocolate and sweets.

The film itself does have some flaws it is very childish as per the story written by Dahl and the Dahl names are very descriptive and as a classic film it ticks all of the boxes, being 40 years old and it still stands up to close inspection, also the Oompa Loompas are awesome with their songs.

This is a classic film that I can re-watch all of the time so it is a 5 star film for me that I think everybody should watch at least once.

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Home Alone 2:Lost in New York (1992)

Saw this on the TV when it was on, in June, now that is funny as this is one of the best Christmas movies of all time, it covers the morals of family, giving and doing good for others. This is another sequel that is very similar to the original it is the same story re-told in a different setting. I have to say that I do like how they manufacture the situation for the film and you always have to give a sequel a gimme and that is it for this film.

The down side to the film is if you think about it to much you can raise so many questions that it will distract from the comedy that this sparkles at. There are a lot of funny things in this, not as good as the original and some of the jokes are repeated but then there are extensions of the jokes from the first including the paint pots. Like any films that are made for kids there is a level of suspension of disbelief to wonder why the crooks played excellently by Daniel Stern and Joe Pesci do exactly everything that Macaulay Culkin sets up.

I love the original 2 films in this series and have stayed away form the fact there are a 3 and 4, this film gets 4 stars, it is funny and loses a point as it is a rehash of the original, but well worth a watch especially if you have seen the original and enjoyed it.

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Battle Royale (2000)

Have been waiting to see this film for a few years, it was on the TV so I set the recorder and managed to sit down and watch it, I was not fully disappointed, I was not blown away as I was expecting to be and I think that this was the high expectations I had for this film. I did enjoy it and the action and effects were awesome, the idea while highly implausible was carried out with great belief and you had a reality within the film. The main issue I had was possibly a cultural or attention thing because I missed how the story got to it's conclusion and the real point of it, but I think that was more to do with me and in a re-watch which will happen shortly I will endeavour to pick up what I missed.

I the idea while interesting is very implausible and I did think that the world they showed did not show how they got to the state that they had to instigate the BR Act, also it had been happening for a few years but the whole class were all very surprised when they woke up so the set up of the film was a bit lost on me.

I will give my first watch of Battle Royale 3 stars, I get the hype and did enjoy it but there were some flaws that I could not get over in my first viewing.

Friday, 10 June 2011

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (2011)

I loved the first of this series, I suffered the second and the third was absolutely dire so I went to see this with quite low expectations. Johnny Depp is back as captain Jack Sparrow with a couple of the original cast including Geoffrey Rush as Barbosa and Kevin McNally as Smith. You have new characters with Penelope Cruz and Ian McShane, I felt there was a lot of character development that did not seem to go anywhere with them and what happened at the end was actually pretty obvious. But back to my thoughts and my low expectations, I was not overly impressed with it, the idea was very simple but was really hard for them to get to, the fountain of youth get there and become young.

They seemed to want to take for ever getting there and I was actually quite bored with it, there is only so much of Captain Jack going 'savvy' that is entertaining. It was not truly terrible the performances and cameo role are entertaining and some of the action scenes were interesting but there were 4 or 5 other bit players that had quite large parts but not enough time to fully explain who they were or develop them so you really didn't care that much about them, overall it could have done with being trimmed down by about 30 minutes and 3 or 4 of the characters either cut out or slimmed down so you were not left wondering about them.

Overall I am going to say 2 stars, mostly they are for the performances and the production values which as always were excellent but it is no masterpiece and really not worth seeing.

Thursday, 9 June 2011

The Hangover Part II (2011)

I had high hopes for this film after seeing the original film a couple of times, I have to say that I was slightly disappointed with it. A couple of the best gags are shown in the promotional material and the trailer. Also it is made clear if you see the material and the trailer it is basically the same film done again.

How they do it is very clever and the formulae for the first one is so good so why change a winning formulae. The premise is obviously a bit further from plausible as they are wary of what happened the first time. To me the comedy is a lot darker than the first and actually very close to the bone and if you like a bit of cringe then it will do for you. Some of the jokes are absolutely hilarious and will have tears running down your face but some do make your toes curl.

I give this 3 stars it is a darker rehash of the first film but if you liked the first then you will love it.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Friday the 13th - Recap *Spoilers for the series*

I have finished watching and reviewing the franchise and wanted to summarise my thoughts on the overall series and this will contain some series spoilers.

From the highs of the first film when Mrs Vorhees is the killer to the low of Jason taking Manhattan when he sort of waved at Manhattan and decided in a city of probably more than 10 Million people he is just going to try and kill the 2 people he randomly followed all the way from Crystal Lake for no apparent reason. This is an awesome series of films that are there to be enjoyed in the context they were designed for and in the form of a Marathon it is a lot of fun.

The Jason as a killer is awesome he really encapsulates the slasher genre, the biggest issue is that they try to come to some conclusion as to why he is a killer and why he has to go after teens and people when just making him a zombie killer that has to be stopped would probably be enough. I think that as a series of films they are all worth watching some more than others but over all a worthwhile series to invest your time in if you enjoy films especially from this era and genre.

I will give the overall series a 4 star pass mark, the weaknesses in the film being certainly 8 and 9 but think that with Jason x and Freddy vs Jason the series is redeemed, I think that we can honestly say though that the remake does nothing for the series and hopefully if they do produce another sequel they decide to take it along a different route from the Michael Bay story line. 

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

The Hangover (2009)

As the second part has recently come out i decided to re-watch the original film, what a riot it is. I have to say that as a concept it has been done previously in Dude Where's My Car. The fact that they had a wild night and cannot remember anything that happened.

The comedy timing of the film is awesome and the actors and characters in this film are brilliant there are so many jokes from Stu's missing tooth to the Tiger and the cameo by Mike Tyson is fantastic.

I give this film 5 stars it is funny if not original but will make you laugh several times, re-watching it has really set me up for seeing the sequel now.

Monday, 6 June 2011

Friday the 13th Remake (2009)

So Michael Bay decided to remake one of the most famous horror films, and he sucked at it. This is a major disappointment apart from the fact that it is a remake, why not just continue the series, there has been no continuity so far so why not just ignore from 3 or from 7, whatever he chooses but they decided to remake the original. Now this is more an amalgamation of the first 3 films apart from the fact that they have Jason break his MO by taking a prisoner and they have a story about someone searching for the captive person.

They looked at the franchise and decided that it was all very silly so they decided to make it up as they went a long and they could of actually done a lot with the set up and the characters but decided to ignore it all and they made a slasher film that sort of paid homage to the 80's classics in a modern setting.

This film is not okay it would be fine if it was not linked to the Friday 13th Series and would probably be 3 stars but as a remake it only gets 1 star as it does nothing new for the franchise and should only be watched as part of the marathon, my recommendation though is do not watch it last as it will leave a bitter taste from the series.

Sunday, 5 June 2011

National Treasure (2004)

After watching the sequel to this film I decided to revisit the original with Nicholas Cage, I seem to have watched a lot of his films recently, however i am not enjoying as many of them as i thought I would. This is a rip-off of Indiana Jones without the Nazi's instead you have Sean Bean who is funding the search for a treasure. He has unlimited resources but wants more in finding the treasure.

Okay so there are many holes in the plot there are many scenes of unbelievably silly things but I cannot help but like this film, there is a level of enjoyment from it that makes me smile and you switch your brain off at the door and enjoy the shenanigans as they happen.

This is enjoyable fluff worth watching if you like that sort of thing, only worth 3 stars from me though.

Saturday, 4 June 2011

Freddy Vs Jason (2003)

The film so many fans of both series wanted to see after is first raised as a possibility in the late 90's and the highly anticipated film of the genre. And to be honest it did not disappoint me, I had my doubts on it working however it worked in so many ways. It covers the best parts of both series and has an interesting battle between Freddy and Jason and some interesting uses of their respective weapons and strengths.

They have an interesting story and you do not need to know the full history of either franchise to enjoy this film, it does help if you have an understanding of the mythology of the franchises. They still struggle to create characters outside the bad guys that you care about enough to not want them to die but it is part of the fun of both series.

This is a 4 star film it goes up if you enjoy the genre and either of the franchises, I will say that it is more Jason in a Nightmare on Elm Street than Freddy at Crystal Lake but well worth checking out. 

Friday, 3 June 2011

Cutthroat Island (1995)

A strange film it has been on my want to watch list for a very long time and on countless occasions I nearly went with it but never did. However I have instigated a new viewing policy and added it nearly at the top of the watch pile so when it came around I just watched it. I was probably very disappointed as I seemed to have from nowhere developed very high expectations from this Pirate film before Pirates of the Caribbean. Geena Davis, Matthew Modine and directed by Renny Harlin about the exploits and treasure seeking of a female pirate in Geena Davis. 

There was not an awful lot wrong with the film but again nothing really right about it, the story was quite complicated in a simple fashion with really obvious cliches and results. You knew what was going to happen and how it was going to happen so very little in the way of surprises. The performances were adequate with Davis trying to pull off the hardened pirate rather than the helpless woman and she failed at it quite badly but I think it was more to do with the story and the direction than her. 

This is a 2 star disappointment I have to say that the first Pirates of the Caribbean film is the film that this wishes it was even if it was made years before, I would love to know where my determination to see this film actually came from, maybe one day I will remember why I wanted to see it so badly. 

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Jason X (2001)

Now we are getting to the point where the series has gone to the outer limits of weirdness and it works so well because the makers know this and really push the boundaries of the series. This is a comedy with horror elements but the main focus of the film is definitely comedy and there are one liners thrown out with abandon.

The performances from Jason and the 'victims' are all very good and to watch this and give a spoilerific review would simply be to go through all the jokes and repeat the one liners. It is funny and given the right atmosphere then there would be raucous out loud laughing.

This is 4 stars of Space bound horror comedy for me, there is an excellent cameo at the start from David Cronnenberg who comes from nowhere and there are some excellent jokes in this film. If you watch 2 Friday films, watch the first one and this one.

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Lara Croft Tomb Raider 2: The Cradle of Life (2003)

So I progressed after watching the first Lara Croft film to the sequel and it was much the same as the original, this time there was more of a love interest involved with Gerard Butler playing that role also you had Angelina Jolie being asked to follow the crusade by the British Government moving her into the James Bond role from Indiana Jones. Again there was nothing wrong with the film it was easy enough to follow with some good fight scenes and some interesting ideas.

Angelina Jolie is actually a very good actress in my opinion she carries this role off really well, again I have no knowledge fo the character from the videop game so no idea if it is a good portrayal but she carries the emotional scenes off and I believed when she had teasr they were real.

The story is nothing mind blowing and is of interest so I will give this 3 stars it is enjoyable but would be a guilty pleasure to watch more than once, I probably will re-watch both these films in the future.