Monday, 26 March 2012
Film of 2012 #54
One of my all time favourite films based on the novel by Robert A Heinlen which I reviewed here. This film is very different from the book but they both follow Johnny Rico as he goes from High School in to military service with the mobile Infantry, through his training and the war with the bugs. The book is a much smaller narrower story with the only focus being on Johnny and his position within the war, the film as it probably has to takes a larger look at the situation of the war.
You have an interesting cast as there are quite a few well known actors, even if they are not the best in the world. Johnny is played by Casper Van Dein, Denise Richards plays Carmen, Neil Patrick Harris plays Karl, with Michael Ironside playing Lt Rasczak, Dina Meyer as Dizzy and finally Clancy Brown as Sergeant Zim. The actors are nothing special but they fulfil the role required and are all campy enough to carry the feeling that Paul Verhoeven was going for in his direction. The film plays like a recruiting video for the Mobile Infantry and throughout the film he goes with a similar idea as he did with Robocop in cutting to the idea that you are watching infomercials 'Would you like to know more?'
This film is not perfect it has it's flaws but overall it works really well for me and is a film that I try and watch at least once a year. There is talk of a remake and I would be interested to see what they can do with the material and hope that they perhaps try and go more for what the book did. Make it more of a study of the individual rather than the set piece of the war and would also love to see what they do with the suits. This is a solid 5 star recommend with the understanding that i know not all of you will enjoy the film.
Sunday, 25 March 2012
I have now seen this film several times, it is a Dragon fantasy brought into the real world and really it is a post apocalyptic world. Where Christian Bale and Gerard Butler are trying to keep a group of survivors alive after Dragons are released into the world and they have taken over. It is set about 15 years after the destruction of the world and is part of the struggle to survive and does some interesting things with the young children. The action kicks off when an American GI comes in played by a shaven headed bearded Matthew McConaughy playing what is essentially the bad guy of the piece.
This is by no means a classic film and has many flaws but I have to say that I really enjoy it and it is a film that I will go back to watch again, it possibly comes under the guilty pleasure category. The story is like a classic story brought in to a modern setting, Christian Bale's character is only looking to survive and outlive the Dragons, and Matthew McConnaghey is your Dragon Slayer, he is hard and brutal but in the end it is only because to survive he needs to be, the hip flask is a great example of this. The fact that Christian Bale's character is there at the start and sees the first Dragon and he does not want to be the leader but he is there and needed so he does it.
This film I think is trying to do something more than the material and the people involved can achieve and I think as a book it would work really well. They needed to focus either more on the dilemma and the difficulty of the Christian Bale character or they needed to go all out action, they get caught in the middle and it just does not work like they want it to. I can watch this and enjoy it and will revisit it again in the future I know this as it is a film I like to go back to, it is a strong 3 star recommend but you have to know it has flaws when you go into it.
Saturday, 24 March 2012
Film of 2012 #52
The third film in the Jaws series, filmed in glorious 3D is a terribly produced, bad story, poor continuity enjoyable piece of entertainment. This is by no means a good film and without the 3D effects the film looks really poor with floating fish heads and arms looking really out of place as they are supposed to be sitting in front of your red and blue glasses. The story follows the Brody brothers Mike and Sean played by Dennis Quaid and John Putch. Their romantic interests Kate Morgan and Kelly Ann Bukowski played by Lea Thompson all work or are visiting the Florida Sea world run by Louis Gossett Jnr. Their man made sea world is invaded by a 35ft Shark and it's offspring.
This film is a monster movie that plays on the popularity of the Steven Spielberg original and the brothers while carrying the names and having a few after effects are not the emotional wrecks you would imagine after they went through what they did when they were children. Apart from the name there really is very little correlation between this and the original 2 films other than it is a shark attack film. The most surprising thing to me is the fact that Richard Matheson actually helped write this story, you can see glimpses of what they were trying to get with the story but they really needed to do their research on sharks.
I enjoy this film when I watch it, it really is one of the most guilty of pleasures and I think it actually get's an easy ride as the 4th film is terrible so people remember this film more fondly. I give this film 3 stars knowing full well that many people will not enjoy watching it.
Friday, 23 March 2012
So if you found a board game in the dirt and it sounded like it was playing the drums would you play it? This is the basic premise of the family comedy starring Robin William, Bonnie Hunt, Kirsten Dunst and Bradley Pierce. Who all end up playing a game that has disasterous effects and they have to keep playing to reach the end. I do not remember this film coming out and do not know if it was a massive success but it has a small place of family joy in my heart. You have a story of a bullied school boy, Alan who fancies a girl and gets her to come over to his house and they play a game that he finds, there is a nice joke as it is in the 60's that ther must be magnets which in the 90's it is suggested it must be micro chips. Anyway Alan gets sucked into the game and when he comes out he is Robin Williams.
This follows the story as Kirsten Dunst and her younger brother whose parents have died recently find the game and continue where the sixites kids left it. It is a family film with plenty of action some dodgy CGI and a fun fast paced stoyline that makes little sense but is still alot of fun. There is a nice epilogue to the film as well that really brings home the family nature of the film.
This is a film I have seen several times and would re-watch it and I am happy to reccomend it, there are some slightly dark scenes for the younger audience but at the heart it is a coming of age film that gives the main characters a second chance at life. This is a solid three star recommend if you have not seen it yet.
Monday, 19 March 2012
The Michael Bay asteroid movie, written by J J Abrams and starring Bruce Willis, Ben Affleck, Liv Tyler, Billy Bob Thornton, Steve Buscemi and William Fichtner, A massive asteroid is heading towards the earth and the best plan is to send a band of unfit oil drillers up on two shuttles to drill and drop a Nuclear bomb. Now the science behind this film is ridiculous and is in no way plausible at all. It is however a roller coaster ride of emotions and action and does tug on your emotions and is really a paint by numbers emotion roller-coast trying to get a gut reaction from you.
The characters are very basic and for a long film they really do not focus on the characters that much, there are some nice touches but some that are ridiculous, like the kid remembering the salesman when he appears on TV. But to the meat of this film and what Michael Bay likes the most....Special Effects now he knows these and he gets them right this film is visually stunning and beautiful to look at. The set pieces especially when the mini asteroids hit are stunning and I found them very believable. The set pieces on the Asteroid itself whether they are plausible or not you do feel the tension of the situation and everybody knows how this film as a Summer blockbuster is going to end you don't know who is going to survive.
This is an enjoyable romp however if you have not seen it yet then you probably do not need to see it, I will re-watch it when I need some easy watching guff. This is a 3 star worth seeing for the visual effects but overall it really does not need to be seen in any real sense.
Sunday, 18 March 2012
The 1994 film from Quentin Tarantino that launched his career, that launched Uma Thurman and re-launched the career of John Travolta. This film is a genre setting film that showed what Tarantino wanted to show on film and made everybody think about what they could and should see in film. The film is non-linear which must have been quite jarring to see when it came out and it said "people you do not have to do what is expected in film."
The film is a series of vignets that inter link and cross over, you have The Coffee Shop scene, Jules Winnfield played by Samuel L Jackson, Vincent Vega played by John Travolta as gangsters who are going to collect something for Marsellus Wallace played by Ving Rhames. And you have the boxer storyline with Bruce Willis as Butch Coolidge. These storys cross over and you have some excellent smaller parts playe by Amanda Plummer, Tim Roth, Eric Stoltz, Rosanna Arquette and Harvey Keitel as the Wolf the ultimate cool Mofo. There are a lot of the scenes in this film that are iconic for their time from Uma Thurman and John Travolta dancing to the gimp in the shop.
I enjoy this film, I think it is a peice of cinema history and can almost be a landmark for 1994, it is however a very styilized film that will not appeal to everybody I would say that if you want to watch modern classics then this is definetley one that you should watch, I give this a solid 3 star film, worth seeing.
Saturday, 17 March 2012
Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan in a romantic comedy from 1998, I was aware of this film as they were a big on screen couple at this point but I really don't do romantic comedies. So I saw this on a whim when it came on to the TV, Meg Ryan owns a very small family run book store and Tom Hanks is the owner of a chain of giant book superstores and they clash over this. Behind this is the start of the on-line communication where you can contact people you do not know and speak to them and exchange emails without any personal details. So there is the interesting fact that they are in love with the idea of each other online and in real life cannot stand each other. As a romantic comedy from the era with Meg and Tom being very popular you can guess how this is going to play out. What is worth seeing is what they do and how they go about it and seeing the beginning of the world I think everybody reading this is part of.
I do not know where the internet was in 1997/98 when this film was made and I do not think that the makers of the film appreciated at the time just how much foresight on where the world was going when they came up with this idea. The way they contact each other from what I can see is what we consider basic email now and I get the impression that they met in some form of online chat room. And while Twitter and Facebook have taken over from this the idea of chatting with people you have not met it is now very common and widely accepted, there are still people that would never do it.
This is a fun family friendly film that looks at a world that is more up to date than you think, other than the fact that books are now being challenged with the e-reader. Overall this is a warm and fun film that I would recommend that you catch, perhaps not worth going out of your way to see but worth watching, strong 3 stars.
Friday, 16 March 2012
The 1986 John Hughes film considered by some as a classic got dusted off for a revisit and I was impressed how well it holds up. This is one of the first films I am aware of that clearly breaks the 4th wall and it is very much an extreme film that pushes the boundaries of realism and believability, it is a comedy and if you accept it, it really works well. The story follows Matthew Broderick as Ferris Bueller the ultimate teen, whose view on life is that while in his teens he wants to enjoy himself before he grows up. You have parts in this film for Jennifer Grey as his sister, Charlie Sheen as a cameo in the police Station, Jeffery Jones as the Principal trying to catch Ferris and Sloane and Cameron (insert friends) that go on the adventure with Ferris.
Some of the good things about this film, as with the breaking of the fourth wall you also have little back story to Ferris and his situation. You do have the cartoonish fact that his parents and everybody at school loves him including the fact that a running joke through the film is Save Ferris all over the place. The only people that hate him are his sister and the principal who are constantly trying to catch him out. You get the feeling from the film that they have been at this for a while and it almost plays like a series with this just being an episode. The thing I really like about this is the fact there is no apology for it and I actually wonder that if you approached the studios today with this idea whether they would actually go for an idea that is out there and different.
This film could be remade or a sequel but I think that in today's age they would struggle to capture what the film was. It is almost like an experiment in film making without being so obvious and when you watch it you can just enjoy the teenage rebel who is not evil if he is a little selfish. And really what I think John Hughes was trying to say was enjoy life, the principal and his sister end up in trouble trying to catch out Ferris and yet he is not really doing them any harm. All I can say is SAVE FERRIS and watch this film a solid 3 star recommend.
Thursday, 15 March 2012
The Italian version of Hercules dubbed into English, quite badly is available as a Public Domain film and can be download free as a podcast. It is not really worth it, the dub is terrible and at times what is being said is hardly reflected in what you are seeing on the screen. I think for the time this was probably considered pulp and was churned out it is the story of Hercules but just covers the tasks that they want to. For the time it is very good yes there are some errors and being a more modern film fan I have seen lots of these stories told with Jason and the Argonauts, the Golden Fleece, the twelve tasks of Hercules, this is simply an early version of it.
Overall this film is not really worth seeing unless you want to view all forms of cinema and for it's day i think this was considered quite successful but again there are better versions of this story and I would recommend looking for them first, a 2 star film.
Wednesday, 14 March 2012
Dustin Hoffman, Rene Russo, Cuba Gooding Jnr and an Infected monkey, what is not to like about this film? If you have seen the recent Contagion which I looked at here, then this is the predecessor to that done on a different scale. It takes the idea of a monkey illegally brought into the country and given to Patrick Dempsey and subsequently released into the wild and the fact that this monkey carries a highly infectious, highly deadly disease that through the course of a serious of unfortunate events goes airborne and spreads through a small US town. You follow Dustin Hoffman and Rene Russo a recently separated couple, he works for the Army and she is at the Centre of Disease Control and they are both involved in doing the same job, identifying, curing and controlling Infectious diseases.
This is small scale compared to Contagion as it focuses on a small town and only a few characters and does not explore the larger implications but does have a slight feel of the Crazies as you see a lot from the military's point of view and the lengths they are willing to go to contain the disease. You have an excellent supporting cast with Donald Sutherland, Morgan Freeman and Kevin Spacey. Another film that has flaws and falls in to the trap of if you think about the timescales too much you realise it is a movie based requirement to make the timescales impossible and the likelihood of success impossible which makes it more tense and exciting from a film watching perspective but logical brains cannot always accept this and just think of as ridiculous.
I enjoy this and wish that Cuba Gooding Jnr had done more roles like this as he is really likeable and I always want him to succeed in whatever role he is in. This film in itself is good if you like the idea of an outbreak and seeing where it can spread to and if you enjoyed Contagion it is worth revisiting this film which I give a 3 star recommend.
Tuesday, 13 March 2012
The Stephen Soderbergh ensemble piece starring Gwyneth Paltrow, Matt Damon, Laurence Fishbourne, Kate Winslet, Jude law and a multitude of other characters. It takes a look at the impact of a deadly global pandemic and what would happen within society if such a thing was to happen in our world. It is very clever in a lot of ways as it mixes the small story following people such as the Matt Damon character who is just trying to survive with his daughter and cope with what is going on around him but just trying to survive without needing to know what is happening. You have the Laurence Fishbourne character as the lead American trying to find a cure and to also track what the disease is and where it came from. The Jude Law character is a blogger that is popular enough that he takes an on line lead in exposing what he sees is happening, his character goes on an interesting story.
This is a difficult story to tell as they are telling it from so many angles and there are a lot of details that need to be picked up to get all of the points they are trying to make. Paying attention is well worth it and I think that on a re-watch this film will be quite interesting to see if you can catch all of the references. I think the way it is sewn together you are not bothered by any story lines, there is none I was thinking, too much time on that person what is happening with such and such. So it shows that the pacing is excellent and they got the split across each of the stories really good.
I have heard lots of good things about this film and can only really add my recommendation to the pile, it is 4 stars and well worth seeing. If you get the chance to watch it or have seen it then let me know what you thought of it, do you agree with me or am I wrong.
Monday, 12 March 2012
The Shark Night film is another film from the stable of the OTT extreme 3D horror films and is designed around the shock value of being seen in the cinemas with the glasses on. I did not see it in the cinema with the galsses on so missed out on this experience but I have to say that I still quite enjoyed this film. If you like the Final Destination films of which I have previously reviewed 1, 2 & 5 and the Piranha 3D film which I reviewed yesterday then you will enjoy this film even without the gimmick of the 3D.
Essentially this film is a slasher/monster film with Sharks as usual with this style of film there a certain holes in reality and requirement but overall if you go with the film you can watch it, enjoy the kills and where the story goes. There is some interesting character development at the start they sort of try to make you care for the characters in a strange way by giving them something to live for but really you have a rich girl, her family owns a house on an island. A Basketball player who is commented on as a top 10 draft pick and someone applying to be a Dr. I wonder if they are trying to get you to appreciate what they have to lose but also you cannot necessarily relate to them and you look forward to watching them die, as some of them are bound to do based even on the trailer which i reviewed here.
Overall this is a solid 3 star recommend for me, especially if you like the other films I mentioned earlier then this film is right for you, I do think that there will be some level of dislike and even hate from people that are not into this sort of film. Let me know if you liked it or if you want to see it now, I am keen to hear other opinions.
Sunday, 11 March 2012
Film of 2012 #42
The 3D spectacular from Alexandre Aja that sees a remake of the 1978 fish horror film that I previously reviewed here. They take the basic idea of the Piranha in the water and use it as a natural monster spectacular. This film is basically your fun horror movie dark comedy with bloody gore and boobies used to comedic effect and it could be considered a bit campy but it really is enjoyable fayre. While the original film worked on the principle that the fish were genetic creations and were released in to the water, this idea works as the prehistoric fish have been living below a lake and a natural earthquake releases these fish into the water.
Your main cast is Elizabeth Shue as the sheriff, she is looking might fine in this film, you have her son played by Steven R McQueen who is on a different story line with Jerry O'Connell, Kelly Brook and porn star Riley Steele. You have a seismologist played by Adam Scott and Christopher Lloyd playing the expert, the characters are a means to an end and are not that well developed. There is no back story for any of them and really you do not need a back story you are simply watching this for the gore effects and the cool kills. You also have Richard Dreyfuss and Ving Rhames making appearances and you have several Jaws references which were really fun to spot.
Overall this film is not for everyone, there are scenes that are quite disgusting and are very gory, there is one sex scene that is in there simply for the sex scene. However that aside if you enjoy the campier, comedic side of gory horror then this films, this will be right up your street, it does not need to be seen in 3D however if you have the opportunity to see it in 3D then they use the gimmick of the 3D to good effect. A B movie worth seeing and a 4 star recommend for me, this is actually one of my films of 2011.
Tuesday, 6 March 2012
Film of 2012 #41
Cameron Diaz as a teacher, I know that I would have enjoyed that when I was at school and how she goes about teaching her students works for me to begin with and I know that I would have learned lots from her. This is comedy with several good jokes going on in it and there were several good laughs with Cameron Diaz trying to get the money, however she can to have a b**b job and to then woo the rich teacher in this case played by Justin Timberlake. And you have her battles with the well liked Miss Squirrel who is also competing for the affections of Justin.
This is a grown up coming of age and works quite well in the world where nobody wants to grow up and you have seen the basic story told so many times before, the difference in this film is that it is not portrayed by teeneagers. There is a nice scene when you have Cameron Diaz explaining something to a pupil and the light comes on in her eyes about her own situation. The real issue with the film is that it is not total slap stick so it borders on the unrealistic but reality and there were a lot of things that do not jar well with this and there is an obvious ending that has questionable morality.
Overall this is a light hearted comedy played well by the main characters and shows how someone will go as far as they can to get what they think that they want and it shows their coming of age. This is a hard film to recomend it is a weak 3 star for me some of the jokes are worth a giggle and if you saw it on, it is worth seeing but will not be a great miss if you do not see it.
Monday, 5 March 2012
Film of 2012 #40
This comedy from Shane Black was sort of below my radar, I was aware of it but not much about it. When I heard it was a comedy and the rough outline it intrigued me enough to give it a go and it was most enjoyable. It is a very styalised film with Robert Downey Jnr as the Narrator and speaking directly to you very aware that it is a film you are watching and there are scenes where the tape is rewound. There is a definite style within the film that could be a bit off putting for some people. I have to say that it is an enjoyable film with Robert Downey Jnr in his days before Iron Man showing a bit of the skill that we would see in later films. Val Kilmer as gay Perry an actor that was always a bit meh to me as I was never really sure if he was any good or not and I had not seen him in anything I really liked him in. He plays the gay private eye very well and then the female lead is Michelle Monaghan someone who has been around for a while but never really expoloded in to being but she played the part of Harmony very well.
The story is told in a sort of Noir style with the narrator telling the story and leading the audience and there is a hint that the narrator in this case might not be fully trustworthy. There are what appear to be plot holes but I think that this is all part of the telling and the fun of the film. However it could jar with you if not expecting something as strange as this. I think that it adds to the charm of the film and it actually makes me want to explore some real Noir films as I am not aware of actually seeing these films. I have seen several parodies done and it all leads me to want to see and learn more.
Overall this film is a bit different to anything I have seen recently and I would recommend that everybody sees it, a solid 3 star recommend, let me know if you have seen it and if you liked it or not.
Sunday, 4 March 2012
Film of 2012 #39
A British based romantic comedy from 2004 starring Jennifer Love-Hewitt and Paul Nicholls, who is known to me from a role in Eastenders. The story follows Sam and Ian through one day where a lot happens mostly wrong and it ends with the Death of Sam and Ian somehow gets the chance to experience the day again and to make a difference. This is billed as a romantic comedy and the there is some comedy but it is more romance, there is a super natural element with the chance to relive the day and the Taxi driver played by Tom Wilkinson who seems to know an awful lot about what is happening.
I have to say that with no real expectations regarding this film and I really enjoyed it, it is not mind blowing or fantastically done but it is is enjoyable. The main characters are likeable and well played by Jennifer Love-Hewitt who was in her popular cute look phase and I think that this was a vehicle for her and she does have a producer credit on it. There are a couple of gaping plot holes that are fairly obvious such as times and a couple of decisions that I think in real life would have gotten a totally different reaction and the ending goes somewhere that I did not expect and it ends the film on a different note from the fluff that you think it is.
I have to give this a very strong 3 star recommend, it is not for everyone and the plot holes could easily take you out of the film but for some good entertaining fun then it is very much worth a watch.
Saturday, 3 March 2012
A film that was recommended to me as it was on TV and being about Wolves I thought that it was worth a look. With Angela Lansbury as Granny speaking to Rosaleen played by Sarah Paterson about the things to watch out for in the woods and she tells stories. I have to say that this clearly draws on the Red Riding Hood mythos and it completely lost me as to what was happening and what the whole point of the film actually was. You start in modern times and you see a sister taunting a little sister who appears to be a sleep and you seem to jump to a dream scene and I got very confused about what was going on.
The stories in themselves were very basic if actually a bit pointless and I seem to have missed something very important about this film which means that I had no enjoyment in it whatsoever. It is clearly about werewolves and it is very dreamy and at times not very coherent, a bit like this review. The acting was fine Angela Lansbury is a funny actress as she has seemed to be old forever and I always find it funny to see her in films as i best know her for Murder She Wrote. The acting and effects are fairly effective in some of the scenes, to me there is just something wrong with the story.
I am going to give this another try and watch it again in the future, will see if this makes any more sense and is really worth a watch but after this first view it is a 1 star avoid, let me know if you have seen it and liked it I am possibly wrong in my opinion.
Friday, 2 March 2012
Film of 2012 #37
The TV adaption from 1954 starring Peter Cushing as Winston Smith, while I know the concept and idea behind 1984, I have never read the book or actually seen a version of the story so this was my first view of the story right through. Or was it, I have actually seen a Christian Bale film called Equilibrium which I really enjoyed and after seeing this film realised that it is a modern retelling of the same basic story. So while watching this I did keep thinking back to Equilibrium but it did not detract from the enjoyment of the performances from Peter Cushing and Yvonne Mitchell, there is also a supporting role for Donald Pleasence. So for those unaware of the story from George Orwell it is set in a future where Big Brother is an all powerful figure at the head of The Party and the society they have created is montired and the greatest crime is thought crime which results in brainwashing.
I have never read the story but presume as this is one of the first film adaptations that they have stuck pretty close to the source material and it still resonates as much as it would have back then. I think that in the 1950's and 60's when the Cold War was happening there will have been a greater impact and importance on the freedoms and i think that back then the fear that we could end up in a society like that portrayed in 1984 would have been more believable, In today's world while we worry that our freedoms are being infringed nothing like 1984 is likely to happen in the short term.
I want to see the John Hurt portrayal of the character before saying if you need to see this version as a recommendation, I think the story should be seen so if you can only see this version then you should see it and the story is worth seeing in some format, even if it by watching Equilibrium. This version gets 3 stars from me and is worth seeing how the story was told in 1954. It is available as a Public Domain download, not the best quality but good enough yo enjoy.
Thursday, 1 March 2012
A world I love is that of the Predator, I like the creature and the lore behind it and what it can do and when I saw the sequel on TV again I thought yes I have to watch this. Made in 1990 it takes the original idea of the hunter in the Jungle of South America and moves it into the Urban Jungle of down town LA. A concept and idea that I can get behind and think you can see why there would be excitement behind this idea. You have Danny Glover as a super cop, an idea that I cannot get behind, in an LA that is essentially ripping itself apart through gang war, it put me in mind of Detroit from Robocop. You have the cops fighting the gangs who are fighting each other and while the cops try to win this battle the Predator targets the gangs and starts following Danny Glover as the ultimate target, quite unbelievable really.
I would just like to say that I like this film even though there are several flaws that I know annoy lpeople. The biggest issue I have is the casting of Danny Glover he cannot carry what the role requires. The support cast of Bill Paxton, Maria Conchita Alonso and Reuben Blade as the cops and Gary Busey as the shadey Government official are good and work for me and the story line in essence is solid enough for me. However the Colombian and the Jamaican bad guys are very stereotypical and pull you out of the piece, there are also a lot of set pieces and side characters that could be cut and would not detract from the film.
Overall this is an enjoyable film that if you switch your brain off at the door, you can enjoy the action packed romp through LA as they fire guns all over the place and you get a really bad impression of LA through the 1990's. I give this 3 stars I think I see a lot of Nostalgia in this film and can enjoy it for what it is, let me know if you agree with me or have a different opinion.