Saturday, 30 June 2012

Tango & Cash (1989)

Starring Kurt Russell and Sylvester Stallone as Los Angeles Cops this is a Buddie Cop movie that does not start out in the traditional way. You have Sly Stallone as the distinguished well dressed rich cop that does the job for the love of it and the Kurt Russell character that gets the job done however he has to, even if he is a total slob. With Teri Hatcher as Stallone's sister and Jack Palance as the bad guy that arranges for Tango and Cash to be set up for a murder. You follow the comedy as they have to come to terms with working together to clear their names.

This film comes at the height of the action police comedies from the late 80's and early 90's and stars two of the bigger action stars of the time in Stallone and Russell. They have a really good chemistry with them both showing that they are really good as comic actors with some good timing, Stallone particularly is not thought to highly as a good actor, simply getting by on his bulk and early success with Rocky and Rambo. I have to say that I think in this he pulls off the distinguished officer with a portfolio really well. 

This film is fairly generic with little to put it above other cop films but with Russell and Stallone it certainly worth seeing if you enjoy the action comedy films such as Lethal Weapon or Beverley Hills Cop, this is a strong 3 star recommend from me.

Friday, 29 June 2012

House of the Devil (2009)

From director Ti West this 2009 film is a bit strange as it is based in the 1980's and without any preamble or real setting and you meet Samantha played by Jocelin Donahue and her friend Megan played by Greta Gerwig. You meet Samantha and she is moving into a new flat and needs a job and it turns out that the babysitting job she goes for is a family's elderly mother rather than a child. I watched this not knowing it was based in the 80's and the decisions made are a bit strange and the girls make decisions that are out of date in today's world.

This film is really slow to begin with I think it is sold as a horror film so it plays on the fact that you are expecting something to happen and it plays it out again and again with nothing really happening. Anyway you reach the conclusion and it explodes into action but by this point it had lost me completely I could see what it was going to do and nothing it did was that impressive. There is also a total lack of exposition or explanation as to how and why what is happening is happening and you really do not care by the end of it.

The ending has a nice little twist of sorts but really by then I did not care enough to pay that much attention and I think if the story was better paced and kept you in it for longer then the ending would have been very good. Overall this is a 2 star avoid, another of the horror films to stay away from unless you are a hardened fan.

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Merlin and the War of the Dragons (2008)

One of these film titles that sounds fascinating, intriguing and makes you want to see what they have done with this story. So what they did was they got two school boys who said they wanted to act and put them in charge of actually half decent CGI dragons and made them battle. This is in the vain of the SyFy channel horror films but this time they have gone back to the 5th Century to when Merlin was a a boy and pretended that he an his friend fall out and become Dragon Masters.

The acting in this film is awful with little to no stand outs, Jurgen Prochnow is the only name of anyone that you might have heard of and even he cannot carry this story. The story itself is not terrible but with the amateur acting and the low budget effects, there is a crowd scene where it just feels like there is nobody there. This really is more dreadful guff from the world of terrible films, it is so bad quality it does not even touch on the good side of bad film making.

This is a 1 star drivel avoid, there are no redeeming features at all and I would recommend that avoid you watching this.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Orphan (2009)

The ending of this film was spoiled for me and all I will say is there is a twist in the ending that makes the whole film make sense, it is all in the advertising. You join a family of Vera Farmiga and Peter Sarsgaard who lost a child and even though they have two children decide to adopt a Russian Orphan, Esther played expertly by Isabelle Fuhrman. There is something going on with Esther and as the story progresses you get a picture of her and what she is like and you know from the promotional material that there is something not right with her.

This is a thriller with an interloper coming into a family, a family that you soon discover have their own set of problems and you even wonder if they should be adopting at all, even if they are taking the older child out of the system. This story is well done, even if you do have some sort of idea about what is happening. What would have been really good would be seeing this film totally from the Mother's point of view and you as the viewer could consider that perhaps she is just going mad and you can watch the breakdown as the husband would see it.

However apart from some flaws and delivery and really needing to see it unspoiled by not knowing the ending, this film is passable and an enjoyable enough thriller and even knowing the ending there is some joy from watching how the film is put together. Overall this is a 3 star recommend especially if you enjoy thrillers and some horror and a very dark element.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Funny Games U. S. (2007)

Shall we begin?

Michael Haneke remade his 1997 film Funny Games for an American audience, starring Tim Roth and Naomi Watts. It follows an upper class family as they holiday in their lakeside home and then you meet Peter and Paul. This film is designed to disturb and upset you and is violent without being gratuitous but it is uncomfortable to watch. This is the aim of Michael Haneke and to be honest he achieves this to the point that while watching it as it approached the end, being in a position to look I looked up the ending as I needed to know and could not handle the tense feeling and I very rarely ever do this while watching a film.

This is not normally the sort of film that I choose to watch but I have also come to the conclusion that I cannot judge a film by what others say and really have to watch these things so that I can judge all of the films that are there. It does fall in to the Horror/Terror category so this is one of the reasons when I saw it on the TV I decided to give it a watch. The feelings it evoke are hard to bare and then Haneke in his wisdom rams it down your throat that he only made this to show you what you want to see. The fact that this is a shot for shot remake means that I do not have to watch the German original and while I actually appreciate what he achieved with the tension I do not need to see this film again. 

However this is probably the hardest film I have ever had to recommend or rate, I would say 4 stars in film making, should you watch this film? This is something you will have to decide for yourself, I will say if you love film and want to see what can be achieved then go for it. If however you watch films for enjoyment then this is not the film for you, if you have seen either version or have any thoughts on them please let me know.

Monday, 25 June 2012

The Hurt Locker (2008)

The 2009 Best Oscar winning film from Katheryn Bigelow sees Jeremy Renner as a member of a Bomb disposal unit in Afghanistan and it explores how he and his team cope with the stress and pressure of the dangerous job. I have to say that this is another film when the I heard about it I was not that interested as I did not think it would appeal to me. It starts following Guy Pearce and after the opening scene then Jeremy Renner comes in and he has a bit of a cavalier attitude towards the bomb disposal and he seems to want to take risks.

It is an interesting film as it counts down their tour of duty and the time until they can go home, it also looks at several of the soldiers in the unit and how they are coping with the stresses of the war and a little bit about what happens. This really is powerful stuff I will be honest and say i do not know if it is worthy of a best Oscar nod however it really is a very good film and is well worth checking out. 

There are a couple of graphic scenes and while there is a constant feeling of danger there are only a few cases of graphic violence but it really is an exploration of the stress caused by war and the dangers that the brave men and women of the armed forces face everyday and what they have to think about when they come home. This is a solid 4 star film and is well worth watching.

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Casablanca (1942)

The classic black and white film starring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Berman, set in Casablanca during the second world war. It sees Rick Blaine played by Humphrey Bogart as the proprietor of Ricks a night club that is in unoccupied Africa in the early part of the war. You have the Germans and locals moving around freely and interacting with each other. While there and wanting to leave Rick runs in to Ilsa an old flame who left him in Paris without an explanation. You then follow them as they plan to flee Africa and war torn Europe to the sanctity of America.

This film is a classic and if you love film like I do even if you have never seen it you will know many of the lines and I cannot believe again that as with so many classics I have waited so long to see this film. It really is a great film and explores life and love with the backdrop of war and what you will actually do to for those you love and how what they do while it can hurt can also have meaning to you. The classic nature of the film has some slight flaws as you think you know what is going to happen but I recommend that you sit back and let yourself become immersed in Africa during the war.

This truly is a classic film and I cannot really recommend it any further than this, it is a solid 5 star recommend and everything good you have heard about it is true and it is well worth seeing.

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Rosemary's Baby (1968)

This horror film from the swinging sixites, follows Mia Farrow and John Cassavetes as a young couple who move to a new apartment. When they meet their new neighbours they discover some strange goings on and when Mia Farrow who play's Rosemary falls preganant she soon becomes paranoid and worried that her neighbours maybe after her baby. Through her panic and half remembered dreams you get a picture of what is happenineg and with her you try to piece together what is actually real and what is imagination.

This film is considered a horror film but as some commentators have said it is more dark thriller with a possible supernatural element, depends how you view the film. I felt tense when watching the film and was eager to get to the end to see how Roman Polanski would end the film, I have to say that the ending blew my mind and I was very happy with the way that story went. Adapted from a book I think I may actually look the book up and give it a go.

This film is hard to rate as I normally only ever give 5 star ratings to films I have seen many times and know I will go back to, or that I have a soft spot for due to more than just the film by itself. I think for the first time I will give a film I have seen for the first time a 5 star recommend. I think that anyone who enjoys the darker side of film should give this film a go and let me know if you enjoyed it as much as I did the first time I saw it. 

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Eden Lake (2008)

Starring Michael Fassbender before he really made it big and Kelly Reilly who most people will probably recognise as Mrs Watson in the Guy Ritchie Sherlock Holmes films. I had heard of this film and all I had heard was that a couple go to the lake and are terrorized by feral teens. It really is about this but is so much worse because of how it is delivered and how it goes as the film goes on. There is a reality within the delivery that actually disturbed me when watching it. You can believe the situation and when the escalation starts the reasoning is believable even if they are extreme, however you can see the reasons for the decisions being logical to the people making them.

You follow Steve and Jenny a nice couple who in very few words and actions you come to understand their relationship and their personalities and then you see their first few interactions with the youths. Before that you have also had a perception of society that can create children like those in the film. The pub scene and the beer garden are very important for the message the film is delivering. This film is disturbing in a tension building way as you know something is going to go down. When it does I think that it is delivered excellently and it is scary in it's reality.

The situation escalates for all involved, this is part of the story, how one decision leads to the next. There is the fact that being in a gang is cool but following a leader who you do not know where they will go can lead to many issues. There are some issues I have with what the main characters choose to do, I understand why they do it but it is not how I would have reacted and not the choices I would have made. Overall if you want to see a well made terror filled film with a disturbing message give this film a go, I would give this 4 out of 5 stars.