Saturday, December 29, 2012

In Cinemas This Weekend: Tom Cruise is Jack Reacher

I'm a bit behind this week on delivering you the new releases of the week. All the booze and turkey is making me lose track of the days. The films I am bringing to you then were actually released on Boxing Day and have been showing for a few days already. Well you do have a good week to see these films and if you have plenty of time in-between Christmas and the New Year then there are some decent ones for you to go and see.  None of them are particularly Christmassy but there is the usual Tom Cruise action flick that seems to be released at this time of year, and another is a family comedy that may remind you of some of the antics taking place within your family during this Holiday time. Anyway take a look at the few films out now that may keep you preoccupied whilst you take a well earned break. Merry Christmas.

1. Tom Cruise is JACK REACHER in the film adaptation of Lee Child's book One Shot. Reacher is former military turned homicide detective who is called on to a case involving five shootings carried out by a trained sniper. When the police make an arrest Reacher argues that he has been framed and sets out to track down the real killer which brings him to uncover an even bigger conspiracy. Also starring: Rosamund Pike, Richard Jenkins, & David Oyelowo. Have you done something wrong?

Jack Reacher trailer

2. Billy Crystal and Bette Midler play the parents of Marisa Tomei who needs a babysitter when she and her husband are called away in PARENTAL GUIDANCE. Call in the Grandparents who struggle to deal with the children's 21st Century antics and refuse to be disciplined by old-school methods. Expect a visual comedic film pitting an ageing Crystal against some feisty children. Also starring: Tom Everett Scott. Who will win the war?

Parental Guidance trailer

3. Finally is SAFETY NOT GUARANTEED which follows three magazine employees whose latest assignment is to interview a guy who has placed an advertisement looking for a companion for a time travel expedition. With the trio refusing to accept this time traveller's expedition as real they begin to question their own issues in life and try to right some of their wrongs which means this time traveller may come in handy. Starring: Aubrey Plaza, Mark Duplass, Jake Johnson, & Lauren Carlos. Want to travel through time?

Safety Not Guaranteed trailer

So there are your Holiday films to pick from. They all seem particularly mindless as no one wants to have to think too hard when they are full of Christmas goodies. You have action, comedy, and absurdity and I think whichever of these films you see you will quite enjoy it. Have a good New Year.


Wednesday, December 26, 2012

LIFE OF PI - A nice story on a big scale

With The Hobbit also being in cinemas at the minute, people have a choice of two fantastical stories to go and see. Both are adapted from books, both have top directors adapting them; with a cast full of future potential, and both display fantastic visuals. The one we chose to see out of the two then was Life Of Pi which we decided on having never been big fans of the Lord Of The Rings trilogy. Life Of Pi is the apparent 'unfilmable' book from Yann Martel about a young boy's adventure when he is cast adrift at sea with only a Bengal Tiger for company. If this is classed as unfilmable then I believe director Ang Lee deserves huge credit because he has given this film some breathtaking visuals that show that if you employ the correct people then anything is filmable.

The film begins in present day with an adult Pi, played by Irrfan Khan, sitting down to dinner with writer Rafe Spall. Rafe's writer, who remains unnamed in the film, is looking for his next big story and he has been put onto Pi who potentially has the greatest story ever told. One so amazing that it will make people believe in God. The pair begin to talk about the story which is an experience that happened to Pi when he was younger. He begins by explaining the origins of his name (after being unfortunately being named Piscine he abbreviated it to Pi and convinced those by memorising the numerical equivalent) and continues on to connections he made growing up with his family, a potential love interest, and a new addition to his Father's zoo. With life starting to shape to the way Pi intended to live it, his Father announces that they are to move to Canada and sell their animals whilst there. Pi is unhappy at this but must move with his family and it is on their voyage across the Pacific that his great journey begins. The boat is sunk during a terrible storm and only Pi is lucky enough to survive, despite his attempts to fight for his family. When the storm settles the ship is gone and Pi finds himself in the middle of the ocean in a lifeboat occupying a zebra, a hyena, an orangutan, and the Bengal Tiger he attempted to befriend at the zoo. As the days turn into months the animals become hungry and eventually just the tiger, named Richard Parker, and Pi remain. Pi begins to understand that Richard Parker's presence is keeping him alive so he does all he can to keep the tiger living on whilst learning to understand the unpredictability of the sea and remain uneaten by the hungry carnivore.

The story is certainly inspiring and told very well. The shot choices, cinematography, and effects are absolutely beautiful and they really add in putting a smile on your face as you watch. Shots when the lone boat floats on a still, placid sea that reflects the stars in the sky just look astounding, and really add to the tone of the film. The connection between man and animal is a slow burn but when it gets there it is full of heart and you really believe in their relationship. As Pi tames Richard Parker the emotion between the two alters and a hungry beast soon turns into an ally that is keeping each other alive. Richard Parker is played by a mixture of real life tiger and CGI effects. The tiger is used for the scenes of Richard swimming through the ocean but a CGI rendered alternative is used for the up-close scenes with Pi. Either way Richard Parker looks breathtaking. The graphics for him look highly realistic and you could, at times, mistake him for a real tiger. You can tell a lot of effort went into him alone. Alternatively there are a few scenes which switch to different animals or mammals that look highly computer generated and they don't look anywhere near as good. This is a shame when others look so realistic. As well as the animals, and effects, the actors also play there parts very well. Newcomer Suraj Sharma is impressive as Pi who must have spent a lot of time acting alone. Along with him Khan, as the older Pi, brings plenty of wisdom as he tells his story. The positives in this film evolve around the story, which by the end brought a huge smile to my face and I left the cinema feeling very pleased indeed.

Although the visuals and acting make for a fantastic story some of the slow paced build up can make your mind wander as opposed to keeping you entertained. The film is fairly long at just over two hours considering it spends the majority of it with a child and tiger alone at sea and at times I was willing the story to move forward quicker as there is only so much of a boy taming a tiger I can take. Also in the build up to the sinking ship I got a little bored with Pi's back story. It was all very nice but some of it failed to seem necessary and didn't help me strike a connection with him, meaning that when the ship sunk I didn't really feel for him. Other moments that let the film down involved odd scenes that had very little place such as Pi 'painting' the ocean and a whale leaping from the depths. The scene looked very nice but didn't really add to anything.

By the end I understood I had been on a nice journey. It was a story that you would always want to tell but the issue is that this was all it was. At no point did I feel much suspense or worry that Pi was going to suffer at the paws of the tiger, meaning it is easy to become underwhelmed by the entire experience. When we left I had a nice smile and felt I had been to see a gentle movie with lovely visuals with an ending that had me nodding in inspired appreciation however my partner left unflustered by it all and failing to believe there was any point to it all, and she loves stories involving animals. To her it never really gripped and at times became repetitive. Despite me thinking it was a very good film I still understood where she was coming from and there are many scenes that could have been cut. It is a nice film to see but only if you make the effort to see it on the big screen as it is the visuals that make all the difference. Ang Lee has definitely brought to life the visuals the book painted in his imagination as they are very dreamlike and surreal. Definitely see this film once as it is a good watch but don't expect anything tense or overly dramatic, simply expect to be taken on an incredible journey with some astounding visuals that you can only gawp at in appreciation.

Pros: The visuals and acting are strong and aid the telling of a gentle story

Cons: Can be repetitive resulting in some underwhelming scenes.

6.5 / 10

Top 10 of 2012 so far:

1. The Dark Knight Rises     10 / 10 
2. Argo     9 / 10 
3. Skyfall    8.5 / 10
4. Silver Linings Playbook     8 / 10
5. The Hunger Games     8 / 10
6. Snow White And The Huntsman     8 / 10
7. Avengers Assemble     7.5 / 10
8. Looper     7.5 / 10
9. Ted     7.5 / 10
10. 21 Jump Street     7.5 / 10


Friday, December 21, 2012

In Cinemas This Weekend: An unbelievable life story of man and animal

So we are at the last weekend before Christmas and two new films are being released for you to cram in before the day arrives. Neither of the films are Christmassy but you have one filmed on a large colourful scale and one a comedy based in the world of singing, and no they're not Christmas Carollers. Both of these films in a way could be inspiring which is exactly what you need on the build up to the festive season, if a boy's lonely journey in the wilderness or a freshman at college unveiling herself as a top singer doesn't make you feel good then your family may be in for a miserable Christmas. Anyway with that stress of Christmas nearly ready to leave you get yourself down to the movie theatre and start your festive break. Your new releases are below:

1. Revel in the remarkable story of a young boy who survives an incredible journey in LIFE OF PI. Whilst transporting their zoo across continents, a family strike disaster when their boat sinks with only their son, Pi , and a Bengal tiger being the only two survivors. Cast away the man and animal strike an unexpected connection that could ultimately keep Pi alive instead of being prey to the carnivorous animal. Beautiful cinematography means this is one to be seen on the big screen. Starring: Suraj Sharma, Irrfan Khan, Adil Hussain, & Ayush Tandon. Is inspiration what you need this Christmas?

Life Of Pi trailer

2. The other release is PITCH PERFECT, the story of a freshman at Barden University whose singing abilities cause her to be recruited by an all-girls singing group called The Bellas. With their new recruit bringing them much needed energy, The Bellas go head to head with their all-male rivals in a University Competition. Think Bridesmaids crossed with Step Up. Starring: Anna Kendrick, Brittany Snow, Rebel Wilson, & Skylar Astin. Can the girls beat the boys?

Pitch Perfect trailer

Doesn't seem like much for a Christmas release but they are two films that will attract a vast range of audience members, meaning a cinema isn't going to need to show much else. With The Hobbit in cinemas and Twilight and Skyfall still going strong the cinema is going to be filled with many films that many want to see. With Christmas round the corner then I will say Happy Holidays. I will be trying to continue my updates over the next week but I can't guarantee the extra stone I'm about to put on won't weigh me down. Have a good one.


Thursday, December 20, 2012

NEWS - Ricky Gervais in talks to star in 'Muppets' sequel

With Christmas right around the corner I thought it would be good to bring to you some potentially light-hearted movie news. The news is basically that a top British comedian has been in talks to star in a World known comedy franchise movie, and today it has been confirmed that it is not simply talks and instead the comic will be starring in it. The news is of Ricky Gervais playing the lead in the sequel to 2012's The Muppets. Now the Muppets are a World known established unit and over the past decade Gervais has become the same, meaning this can only be a match made in heaven.

Most would have thought it would be merely for a cameo but reports suggest that it is in fact for the lead role. That unfortunately means Jason Segel will not be returning to the action. Nothing else has been reported on what Gervais' role entails but I presume it will be to do with him teaming with the Muppets as they travel across Europe, considering the movie has been described as a 'European-set caper. Gervais had filmed a cameo for the first movie which ended up being cut, perhaps it was such a good performance they didn't want it to be seen until they could base a whole movie on it. Who knows?

Despite setbacks in the shooting schedule due to Christoph Waltz dropping out from playing an Interpol Agent, the movie is set to shoot in the UK in January 2013. Now with a lead actor in place the wheels will begin to turn on this project.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

THE BOOK OF ELI movie review

The Book Of Eli

Starring: Denzel Washington, Mila Kunis, Ray Stevenson, & Gary Oldman

Running time: 118 minutes

Year: 2010

Directed By: The Hughes Brothers

Written By: Gary Whitta

From 2009 to 2010 Denzel Washington stared in The Taking Of Pelham 123 and Unstoppable either side of making The Book Of Eli. In those films he gained weight in order to play an everyday man and one who works closely to trains. The Book Of Eli must have been a welcome break then as he had to shed the weight to play a loner walking the post apocalyptic world without a train in sight.  We are used to seeing Washington in a variety of lead roles but here we manage to see a different side to him; he's quiet, he's lonely, and he's hard as nails.

It opens then with Washington trawling the post-apocalyptic land alone. He shoots a cat for food later and hides out, listening to his IPod, in an abandoned house. In the morning he sets off again on his journey where he is ambushed by a group of hijackers who want his possessions. This is the first moment in the film where dialogue is really spoken, some eight minutes in.  He manages to defeat this group with ease and continues on his way, arriving at a small town run by Gary Oldman's Carnegie. When Washington (his name in the film as of yet unknown) enters a bar he argues with one of the locals and again manages to defeat a large group of people who intimidate him. Witnessing this Carnegie asks to see him and offers him a chance to join his mob, throwing in his hot step daughter Solara (Kunis) as a sweetener. Washington however still rejects and the following morning heads back on his way but his short stay in the town has brought to Carnegie's attention that Washington is in possession of a book that he has been searching for since the apocalypse. When Carnegie's men fail to stop him, Washington goes on the run with Solara trying to keep this good book that has guided him through the apocalypse. Whilst on the run we learn Washington's name is Eli and that faith has lead him this far. This book he possesses could start wars and makes people God-like which is why he believes he has to protect it. This book is the Bible.

In my eyes the plot is very thin. All of this in search of a book so that people can become the 'Messiah'. Being an Atheist I fail to really understand the importance of all this but I suppose if it is in your belief system you will get it. The film seems to be religious propaganda and trying to remind people that religion is not a bad thing. This is overly stated in the end which gives off a clear message of 'to have faith'. I will come back to the end in a minute as I do think it is a big talking point of the film but first I want to continue with the plot. It opens strongly but it is something we have seen before. Washington shines in these opening few minutes and his presence made it all feel different. However when he reaches the town it all seems to go downhill and becomes a shoot out in a post apocalyptic world. This wouldn't be so bad if it was done well but it takes so long to set up that all the shoot outs feel rather rushed and the pace changes drastically.

Character motivations are also highly flawed especially with Solara. Why would she leave her blind Mother in the hands of an evil gangster to run off with a loner? She reckons she will be safer but how wrong that turned out to be. Oldman's Carnegie, although performed very well by Oldman, doesn't feel mean enough to really be hated. All he wants is a book and that motivation just doesn't seem enough, but that is probably my thoughts regarding the importance of the book.

The ending then was God-awful. It took me a while to grasp it as I worked out the twist and then decided that it can't be right because the rest of the film would make little to no sense. Turns out I had got it right meaning the film became implausible. I took to forums to see what other people's interpretations were and saw that people had devised theories to how it is plausible but I'm sorry, watch it again and you will see that it just doesn't work.

The ending is not the only thing that brought this movie down; there were many issues I had throughout. The shots and visuals were too much like a music video and it was very distracting, the plot was weak, characters had unbelievable relationships and the music started well but become repetitive. Oh and Mila Kunis' Sarah Connor impression at the end really didn't work. It was a film that just lost me after about thirty minutes and it just got worse until it hit that poor ending.

Washington and Oldman are the respectable entries of this film. Everything else may as well just accept defeat. Washington brings a feel of isolation to the role, he may not be the most likeable character, but we really believe he is a loner whose only hope is this book. Oldman brings a sense of menace to a badly drawn character and in a lesser actor's hands the villain would have been worse. I had been looking forward to this film for a while but it had too much religious propaganda for my liking and some fairly flat action sequences meaning that despite some decent performances this is one left unwatched, unless of course you want your own view on that ending.

2 / 5       

QUESTION: Who would be your favourite 'Guardian'?

Rise Of The Guardians got me back thinking in the ways I did as a child, especially towards the mythical characters that lead the movie. I remember the days when I believed in the Tooth Fairy and Santa Claus and I really think the movie established these characters in a new light for children today. It really was great to see these characters interpreted differently to what we normally expect. We have seen plenty of movies involving Santa but none that team him with imaginary personnel who have mythical origin stories like he does. This is what made Rise Of The Guardians so fun, and why it will have children in awe of the spectacle. What I want to ask then is which one of the 'Guardians' is your favourite? The one you believed in most as a child? The one you wished was real even now? Which is the one you will convince your children is true?

1. EASTER BUNNY - The animal who brings the joy, and chocolate eggs, to Easter. Hiding them in your garden the Easter Bunny will continue to watch as you rummage through the outdoors in search of the colourful eggs he had left for you to collect.

2. JACK FROST - Was never so much a person as an expression, but Rise Of The Guardians may have people thinking differently. Jack Frost is the term used when it is bitterly cold outside and you wrap yourself up warm in the hope that the frost doesn't get you. For adults he may be a pain but for children nothing makes you happier than a garden full of snow.

3. SANDMAN - The creator of dreams, the Sandman will infiltrate your mind and release wonderful thoughts of wonder and hope that you dream about until you wake the next day. The Sandman keeps your imagination alive.

4. SANTA CLAUS - The most famous out the lot. Wearing a big red coat and a fluffy white beard, Santa travels the world in his sleigh on Christmas Eve delivering presents under people's Christmas trees, as long as you've been good of course.

5. TOOTH FAIRY - When those baby teeth fall out, stick it under your pillow and in the morning you will find a gold coin. Why? The Tooth Fairy that's why. She enters your room and replaces the tooth with gold so she can keep it for something to remember you by.

According to the film these are the five 'Guardians' who protect children's imaginations across the globe from the notorious Bogeyman. I remember believing in the Tooth Fairy and Easter Bunny and hearing the term Jack Frost but it wasn't until the film Halloween that I had ever really heard of the Sandman. Strange film to get you thinking about dreams I know. And Santa Claus, well I'm still a believer.


Monday, December 17, 2012

RISE OF THE GUARDIANS - Jack Frost will be believed in after this.

Rise Of The Guardians could have easily been pitched as The Avengers for children. It brings together many of the character/mythical creatures that children choose to believe in, and uses them as protectors of this imagination. Without belief they cannot exist. This crew are the Guardians and they are Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, and the Sandman but in order to protect the children from the Boogeyman they must bring a new Guardian into the fray, Jack Frost. Alongside the famous imaginary characters we have some famous 'A-List' actors willing to lend their voices. Alec Baldwin voices Santa, Hugh Jackman the Easter Bunny, Isla Fisher the Tooth Fairy, and Chris Pine is Jack Frost. The Sandman doesn't speak and simply communicates via thought bubbles. The villain of the piece, the Bogeyman, is voiced by Jude law. In my eyes that is a pretty stellar cast and a film with this top talent and some imaginative characters can only mean one hell of a movie. Right?

Jack Frost is the character who leads this movie and in the prologue we see him surfacing from an iced over lake and learning that he now has powers to create ice and snow. However when he ventures to a nearby town he realises no one can see him and he is isolated and alone. Moving forward 300 years later we meet the four Guardians of the children, lead by Santa, who have just learnt that Pitch Black, the Bogeyman, has returned and intends on bringing fear to the children of the world, causing them to cease in believing in their heroes and instead believe in the Bogeyman. With the Guardians looking to the 'Man In The Moon' for help (the moon highlights solutions and meaning via shadow) they are given the one mythical character that can help them; Jack Frost. None of the Guardians are happy with this solution, especially since Jack causes more trouble than he is worth, but set out anyway to find him. Jack has turned into a fun loving character and creates snow days for children to enjoy themselves in regardless of the time of year; however the children don't believe in him which means he ultimately fails to exist. When the Guardians find him and take him to the North Pole he makes it clear that he isn't interested in working hard like the others do and simply wants to continue having fun. He gives in when Santa offers him a ride in the sleigh, now what fun loving child wouldn't want a ride in Santa's sleigh, and on route they find Pitch has removed all the teeth (which carry children's memories) from the Tooth Fairy's mountain meaning the children are beginning to not believe in her. With Tooth now disappearing the Guardians must fight to keep children's imaginations afloat whilst also stopping Pitch from turning Sandman's dreams into nightmares, and all can only be done by the one uninterested party and the one the children fail to believe in; Jack Frost.

Now I have to say I think the plot sounds marvellous. It is fun, original, and brings together all the characters we all believed in as a child. What more do we want to see at Christmas? The Guardians all group together well and the banter between them all is a lot of fun. These aren't your usual interpretations of the characters though. Santa is called North, covered in tattoos, and Russian. The Easter Bunny is called Bunny, is Australian, and grumpy. The Tooth Fairy is an avatar looking creature who sends smaller fairies out to collect the teeth, and the Sandman is a mute but tough as an ox. These different interpretations are simply splendid and create a whole new world for a child's imagination. It isn't just the children in the film who are inspired it is also the ones in the movie theatre. One of my pet hates is children in the cinema as they usually can't keep quiet or still but in Rise Of The Guardians they were mesmerised and not a peep was heard. That can only state that this film really did capture the world of a child's imagination. My initial worry would be that the darker sides of the film might have frightened them but it didn't in the slightest. The film even opened on a dark tone, an opening that I thought was excellent, where the first word is 'darkness' and the floating body of Jack Frost is the first image. For me this opening completely gripped me and by the sounds of it, it did for the children.

Unfortunately though it did go slightly down hill after this fantastic opening. From the trailer I was expecting to see something darker than your typical children's movie but instead this is closer to an all out children's movie than the likes of Shrek, Monsters Inc., and Finding Nemo are. Those films at least had some adult references in there which made the parents love them as much as the children. This film though is pushed mainly toward children with the humour coming from typical visual gags as opposed to any quirky dialogue. For a child this won't be a problem but for me it was as animated films have become aimed toward children and adults over the past few years but I feel like this one was not. The writing was also very generic and you could guess at each point the certain arcs and story twists were coming, and as it was aimed at children they felt no need to explain random moments that take place in the film. It was as if to say the kids won't know any different but I beg to differ, I reckon they do. I'm sure they will be asking why it was snowing at Easter, considering the film is set around Easter and not Christmas which I found slightly odd, and they may even ask why the Easter Bunny is so grumpy. Certain aspects of the film just seemed out of place, like it was weird it was set at Easter and not Christmas considering the time of year it has been released, and that Santa begins as the leader of the Guardians but ends up being the buffoon of the group and is the only Guardian who is never really characterised. The ending is also far too easy and too many tired cliches are used. By the end it has moved from a fantastic opening visual, with great direction to a tired script and a film made abundantly for children.

For kids this film will blow their minds, and it will hold their attention span. A parent will only be going to keep them happy as, although it is enjoyable, it isn't as amazing as other films DreamWorks has made. The visuals are good but again aimed more for children with the 3D and the characters being a lot of fun. I would recommend this film; I think people should see it at least once. It has some great moments, especially visually, and it is a film many will enjoy. Just don't expect the next Toy Story as you will be thoroughly disappointed. For a young child however this film will be the best they have ever seen and taking them to see this could be an early Christmas present by itself.

Pros: Great visuals and a great idea. The opening five minutes are particularly well done.

Cons: Too much of it is aimed towards children resulting in some poor plot devices and tired cliches being used.

6.5 / 10

 Top 10 of 2012 so far:

1. The Dark Knight Rises     10 / 10 
2. Argo     9 / 10 
3. Skyfall    8.5 / 10
4. Silver Linings Playbook     8 / 10
5. The Hunger Games     8 / 10
6. Snow White And The Huntsman     8 / 10
7. Avengers Assemble     7.5 / 10
8. Looper     7.5 / 10
9. Ted     7.5 / 10
10. 21 Jump Street     7.5 / 10 

Friday, December 14, 2012

In Cinemas This Weekend: The Baggins' family prequel

I'm sure most people will be aware of the film being released in cinemas this weekend. It has come with a lot of promises and expectation, especially since it is the prequel to one of cinemas biggest ever trilogies. Director Peter Jackson has also released the film in many different formats; 2D, 3D, 24 frames per second, and 48 frames per second, and by all accounts it feels very different depending on which version you see. Also he has made this singular book into a trilogy, emulating his previous work on the first trilogy which was actually three books. The question though is can he emulate the success? I'm sure you know what the film is so take a look below to confirm. Also there is a cartoon flick for the children on the build up to Christmas.

1. Peter Jackson takes us back to the World of the Baggins family in THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY. The first of a trilogy based on the J.R.R. Tolkien book, and prequel to the Lord Of The Rings, this film follows Bilbo Baggins as he teams with a group of dwarves travelling to Lonely Mountain to reclaim treasure stolen by evil dragon, Smaug. Be prepared for a long film that will set up the rest of the trilogy. Starring: Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Richard Armitage, & Ken Stott. How did he become barer of that ring?

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey trailer

2. The other film released this week is TINKERBELL AND THE SECRET OF THE WINGS, a nice little tale for the children. The story centres on Tinkerbell and another fairy called Periwinkle who enter the winter woods to find the secret behind fairy wings. Starring: Timothy Dalton, Lucy Hale, Megan Hilty, & Anjelica Huston. Want to enter the world of magic?

Tinkerbell And The Secret Of Wings trailer

Only the two releases then which seems quite sensible considering The Hobbit will probably make a lot of sales. As someone who wasn't particularly a fan of The Lord Of The Rings trilogy (I'll be ridiculed now won't I?) I can't say I am overly excited about The Hobbit. I think if you are a fan of the films it will be your film of the year but if you're not it may be best to wait for DVD so you can pause it when you fancy a break. Either way it will be the big release for the week but at least there is a nice calmer film if you are just looking for something to pass the time. The Tinkerbell film could actually be watched twice before The Hobbit would be finished once, now there's a fact that might sway your decision, especially if you're taking the kids. Enjoy whatever you see this weekend.


Thursday, December 13, 2012

NEWS - Martin Sheen confirmed for The Amazing Spider-man 2; First trailer for Guillermo Del Toro's Pacific Rim

Many trailers have hit the web over the past week, all for films with Spring/Summer release dates next year. Despite them all being fairly anticipated films and starring some pretty big names, not one of them has been particularly raved about or cropped up in many news reports. You can find a whole host of new trailers on IMDB, so have a look on there if you wish to see them. I have though posted about one new film released next year that has had a rather cool trailer brought out so look below for that one, and I've also posted about a confirmed cast member for the sequel to Marc Webb's version of Spider-man.

Martin Sheen confirmed for The Amazing Spider-man 2

At the beginning of this week Martin Sheen officially announced his return to the new Spider-man franchise. In The Amazing Spider-man Sheen played Uncle Ben who, as you all know, is killed, causing Peter to become a superhero. Well if you haven't seen the new version it is still safe to know that you guys surely are aware that once again Uncle Ben is killed off in this origin story so that Peter can gather inspiration to fight crime. So with Sheen's character having already been killed off I presume we will be seeing him in some kind of flashback. Den Of Geek have Sheen quoting that he has been called back to the franchise and that the film begins shooting in February.

With this new version failing to really hit the sweet spot with me I am still struggling to really become enthused by this new version of the superhero character, despite some great cast members. Let's just hope that the other confirmed news of Jamie Foxx being cast to play Electro, can bring something fresh to proceedings.

First trailer for Guillermo Del Toro's Pacific Rim

This week there have been new trailers released for Oblivion, After Earth, The Lone Ranger, and Man Of Steel, but the one that seems to be attracting the most hype is the trailer for Del Toro's new film which pits Charlie Hunnam as a soldier controlling giant robots to take down a monster that has risen from the sea. Take a look at the it below:

Pacific Rim trailer

So what do you think? It is very different from what I expected of it, and it looks like a cross between Godzilla and Avatar. It does look rather cool and also boasts some strong British talent in Hunnam and Idris Elba. I think this has gathered more interest than other new trailer releases because of the status of Del Toro but I fail to see how this looks better than other movies coming out next year. It does look cool but it looks like it has the slight potential to be a bit of a CGI mess. Let's hope not though and instead add it to the ever growing list of anticipated films for next year. 2013 is going to be a fantastic year for movies. Pacific Rim hits UK theatres on 12th July 2013. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

QUESTION: Who is the scariest movie psychopath?

Trying to keep to some kind of connection with last week's film release, Seven Psychopaths, I thought I would ask who you thought is really a psychopath in the movie world. Seven Psychopaths is more of a satirical comedy with the nutcases, although still being nutty, more comical then really psychotic. What I want to know then is in your eyes which character is the nuttiest, and the one you would least want to meet in a dark alleyway? Total Film has also done a feature on this topic and I'm going to use five of their top ten choices as examples below. So have a think, which one of these would you not want to be alone with? 

1. HANNIBAL LECTER (Silence of the Lambs) - Imprisoned for murder and then eating his victims, former psychiatrist Hannibal is interrogated by Clarice Starling who needs his help to catch a serial woman killer. You wouldn't want this guy getting inside your head mind you. Played by Anthony Hopkins.

2. NORMAN BATES (Psycho) - A deranged motel owner who dresses up in his dead mother's clothes and murders occupants when they're in the shower. Don't think I would like to stay at the Bates Motel. Played by Anthony Perkins.

3. COLONEL KURTZ (Apocalypse Now) - A top Colonel turned insane by the trauma of war and now hiding out in the Cambodian jungle as the head of a small village where he plays God to the tribe and kills anyone who gets in his way. Played by Marlon Brando.

4. LEATHERFACE (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre) - Severely disfigured living within a psychopathic family, Leatherface kills or kidnaps anyone who comes near their property and introduces them to a family that kill for sport. His weapon of choice; a chainsaw, mask of choice; victim's faces sewn together. Played by Gunnar Hansen.

5. ROARK JUNIOR (Sin City) - Roark is nicknamed the Yellow Bastard and in the comic book film noir he is highlighted as bright yellow and tremendously ugly. He gets his kicks from kidnapping and torturing children, especially the ones that got away years before. Played by Nick Stahl.

Now there is several more that could have been added to that list, John Doe (Seven), Jack Torrance (The Shining), Annie Wilks (Misery), Joker (The Dark Knight), but I decided to go with the ones above as they were the ones Total Film put at the top of their list. I personally don't think any are worse than the other but that's because I wouldn't want to be left alone with any of them. On second thoughts I think it would be the oversized chainsaw wiedling, dead skin wearing freak from Texas who would have me running the fastest. Now if you've seen Seven Psychopaths you'll know what I mean when I say these guys make the ones in McDonagh's new movie look sopping wet behind the ears. 


Tuesday, December 11, 2012


A random set of films are available to watch in the warm comfort of your own home this week. Each of these films involve characters or actors that are highly popular at the moment, but despite that all of these received mixed reviews when they hit cinemas a few months back. That's not to say they won't be good though as the one out of these three that I have seen is one of the better films released this year based on entertainment values alone. This is a key ingredient I think all three of this week's releases have and with the cold nights drawing closer to Christmas, what more do you want than to snuggle on the sofa and be entertained? I'm sure one of the three below could help you.

ICE AGE 4: CONTINENTAL DRIFT - Manny, Diego, and Sid return for their fourth outing. After surviving dinosaurs, the end of the ice age, and a lost little girl, the gang now have to contend with being cut adrift from their home land. Using an iceberg as a ship the clan attempt to navigate themselves home but must first do battle with deadly sea creatures and rebellious pirates.

Ice Age 4: Continental Drift trailer

THE EXPENDABLES 2 - Sly Stallone brings the all star action cast back for round two of hard-ass men blowing ten bells out of each other (I mean in action term, honest!). Stallone's crew must recover plutonium which has been stolen by Jean Claude Van Damme's ruthless villain. However when one of Stallone's crew is murdered the mission becomes personal and you don't want to p*** him off!

The Expendables 2 trailer

KEITH LEMON: THE FILM - A film which sounds and looks awful but I still want to see as, after all, it's Keith Lemon. Keith becomes an overnight sensation when he devises a new invention; the Lemon Phone, however struggles to deal with the fame and fortune being thrust upon him.

 Keith Lemon: The Film trailer


Monday, December 10, 2012

SEVEN PSYCHOPATHS - Too random for its own good

We had a tough choice of what to see this week but we stumped for the film brought by the makers of the great, In Bruges. With that film, about two hit men sent to Bruges when a job goes wrong, director Martin McDonagh created a story that was highly original and humorous to watch. Seven Psychopaths is very much the same. It is shot the same, looks fairly low key, stars Colin Farrell as an Irishman, has a random plot, and is humorous in a quirky kind of way, however to me it failed to live up to the standard set by In Bruges. This film will certainly have its lovers, I've read many reviews that have raved about it, but there will be some viewers that just won't get it, I've also read plenty reviews that aren't so sure, and others who just sit on the fence, I am one of those people. There are moments that work, and work well, but there are too many that are just too random for their own good. It could be seen as a bit of a mess and as if the writing is just that bad or trying to be far too clever.

Farrell plays Marty, a screenwriter behind on his latest project. His new script is called Seven Psychopaths but he is struggling to come up with the seven. So far he has one; the Jack O'Diamonds who kills gangsters. His best friend Billy (Sam Rockwell) wants to help on the script, much to Marty's reluctance, and tells him a story for psychopath number 2, a Quaker who stalked the man who killed his child for many years before slicing his own throat. Billy's business also unwittingly gives them psychopath number 3; a remorseless gangster who will do anything to get back his missing dog that Billy has kidnapped. Billy and his partner in crime make up 4 and 5, whilst 6 and 7 come from Billy's advert he places in a Hollywood magazine looking for psychopaths. They find one in a man who spent his life travelling the world with his wife and killing notorious serial killers. Now he has his seven he ventures into the desert to put together his story with Billy and his business partner Hans (Christopher Walken), who are also on the run from gangster Woody Harrelson. Whilst in the desert the trio attempt to come up with a way to end this story, from shoot outs to dialogue heavy scenes to subplots involving a Vietnamese war veteran, at the same time realising that this story isn't far off from the truth taking part in their everyday lives.

The plot is something I had an issue with. It is intriguing, it is different, but it was just far too random. Even trying to write a synopsis for it was hard as there are so many story strands that just don't connect or could be completely throw away. The film seems to be self-aware and highly satirical. Many of the lines are used to poke holes in the actual script of the film we are watching and at times it is difficult to establish what is supposedly real and what is an idea for the film Marty is writing. The dog-knapping thread has very little to do with the overall story other than to show that these people are psychopaths, where as the trailer lead you to believe that this was the through thread. The trailer also had you believe that Olga Kurylenko is one of the psychopaths, don't be fooled she is in it for about thirty seconds before being killed. This is then self referenced later on when Hans tells Marty that his female characters are poor. Another self referenced 'in joke' was with Hans talking about the pointless Vietnamese war sub plot. Marty is convinced it doesn't go anywhere and Hans suggests a way that it can. Turns out Marty was right as it has no impact on the story and it feels like this whole section was just McDonagh's way of ripping into himself for adding a pointless sub-plot. So much of it was trying to be too satirical about its flaws when it could have just been easier to create the film without them.

There are some positives though. Rockwell, Harrelson, and Walken really are on top form. Rockwell's Billy Bickle really is a random character that fully deserves the psychopath moniker and Harrelson is creepy as the gangster who is more worried about his Shih Tzu's life than his own.  Farrell is solid in another stripped down role but I still feel like we're waiting for something really good from him and haven't quite seen it yet. The humour mainly oozes from Rockwell, and at times Walken's dry approach. Billy Bickle's over the top personality and the way he allows random strangers who stroke bunnies enter his home are the sort of moments that tickle the funny bone, however many of these moments are seen in the trailer. Unfortunately other potential funny moments are lost due to the confusion as to what is really being referenced. For those who are drawn into the absurd plot these jokes will work but for those finding it all too random may struggle to see the funny side.

Billed as a crime, comedy Seven Psychopaths fails to live up to either. It isn't funny enough and the confusing plot devices could have people losing interest. It seems like a clever idea but as if they've tried too hard to show it and to me that hasn't paid off. I'm sure there will be people out there who really enjoy this film. It does have the quirky originality that many do like within a film but it will have those that just don't get it. Like I said before I am in the group in the middle who enjoyed some moments but just found it trying too hard to be something fresh and never made me feel engaged enough to understand the point of the self-referencing satirical plot threads. All in all a film this will only be remembered for being the film within the film without a film.

Pros: Some solid performances and neat ideas.

Cons: Tried too hard to get these ideas across and lost my attention because of this.

4.5 / 10

 Top 10 of 2012 so far:

1. The Dark Knight Rises     10 / 10 
2. Argo     9 / 10 
3. Skyfall    8.5 / 10
4. Silver Linings Playbook     8 / 10
5. The Hunger Games     8 / 10
6. Snow White And The Huntsman     8 / 10
7. Avengers Assemble     7.5 / 10
8. Looper     7.5 / 10
9. Ted     7.5 / 10
10. 21 Jump Street     7.5 / 10

Friday, December 7, 2012

In Cinemas This Weekend - Dogknapping is a mad man's game.

Four new films will be hitting cinemas this weekend and one of them is a return from the makers of the brilliant In Bruges. That can only be a good thing right. As well as that there is some Kill Bill style fighting, a Miley Cyrus comedy, and another comedy from Brit director Julian Farino. Not quite as much choice for this week then but I suppose cinemas are clearing the way for next week's mega release. I won't state what that is just yet (although I'm sure you already know) and instead I will show you what is to be enjoyed this weekend. Take a look below.

1. From the team behind In Bruges comes SEVEN PSYCHOPATHS. Colin Farrell stars again but this time as a screenwriter who accidentally becomes involved in his odd friend's business venture; kidnapping dogs. The venture seems to work until they kidnap a gangster's beloved Shih Tzu who will do all he can to get it back. Not even a screenwriter could write his way out of this one! Also starring: Woody Harrelson, Sam Rockwell, & Michael Pitt. How crazy can it be?

Seven Psychopaths trailer

2. RZA directs Russell Crowe in this Tarantino-esque film THE MAN WITH THE IRON FISTS. The film follow a group of warriors and assassins on the hunt for hidden treasure but when they stumble across a small village in China they meet a humble blacksmith who is desperate to protect his village and stages a war against the group. Also starring: Chung Le, Lucy Liu, & RZA. How much will it hurt?

The Man With The Iron Fists trailer

3. A kiddie's version of 21 Jump Street starring Miley Cyrus called SO UNDERCOVER also hits screens. Cyrus plays a private eye hired by the FBI to go undercover within a college sorority. Due to her leaving school at a young age and spying on cheating husbands, this is the one place she feels out of her comfort zone. Also starring: Alexis Knapp, Joshua Bowman, & Jeremy Piven. Will she remain undercover?

So Undercover trailer

4. Lastly is THE ORANGES, a comedy directed by Julian Farino starring Hugh Laurie as the father of the Walling family. They hold a strong friendship with the Ostroff family but when the Ostroff daughter returns home for the holidays she begins an affair with Mr Walling that tests the families close relationship. Also starring: Leighton Meester, Catherine Keener, & Adam Brody. How would you react?

The Oranges trailer

So they are your choices for this week then. Granted there isn't quite as much to choose from but I strongly advise heading to the cinema this weekend to watch one of these if they take your fancy. Next week will be dictated by this major film release and smaller film such as these may not get a look in. I haven't really heard much about these films, Seven Psychopaths having been the only one really marketed well, so I haven't got much to say on their potential. If In Bruges is anything to go by however I would possibly suggest Seven Psychopaths is the one to see.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

NEWS - Star Trek Into Darkness teaser poster and teaser trailer.

Over the past week or so I have noticed that Star Trek Into Darkness has started to gather some momentum in the marketing department. Firstly we had a teaser poster for the film and only this morning we have been gifted with a teaser trailer. Now many probably won't be that excited about this film because they are not 'trekkies' but I say pull you head out ya ass and see the version directed by J.J Abrams. I am not a fan of Star Trek but the 2009 version was one of my favourite films of that year and has wetted my appetite for this sequel. Trust me, watch that version and prepare for this one. Did I mention if will be starring Benedict Cumberbatch as the villain? Does that change anyone's minds? It should.

The poster then shows Cumberbatch's villain standing within the wreckage of destruction. Not much can really be taken from it other than he is seriously going to go to town on their world. I have read some online issues with people suggesting the poster rips of The Dark Knight Rises poster, with the crumbling buildings displaying the symbol of the hero but I say nonsense. Yes it may have been inspired by the Batman but let's be honest here, haven't many films begun to take some influence from the Nolan's version of the Bat. I think if you look closely in most films you will see a Nolan-esque influence. Regardless though I still think this poster looks seriously cool.

For the teaser trailer then look no further:

Star Trek Into Darkness teaser trailer

The trailer shows heavy emphasis on Cumberbatch's villain. We don't see too much of him in hand to hand but his devious monologue playing out over the top shows he will exude power over the Star Fleet, especially since everyone else is left speechless and to small cameos in the trailer. This teaser shows the villain for all his destructive glory although as of yet we still don't know who he is! The trailer is very frantic but still looks as action packed as the 2009 version. I am very excited about this film and to me it looks ace. A longer trailer is to be released on 17th December.

Oh and on the Total Film page it talks once again about Nolan's influence as the music sounds very much like Inception. Christopher Nolan's films have changed this industry by the looks of it so of course people will take influence, and besides the music for Inception and the poster for The Dark Knight Rises were excellent so it doesn't surprise me why people are willing to take a hint of inspiration. Anyway I don't care just enjoy this trailer for what it is; a sneak preview to a really bad ass villain. Oh wait didn't Nolan do that in Batman?!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012


Cemetery Junction

Starring: Christian Cooke, Felicity Jones, Tom Hughes, Ricky Gervias

Running time: 95 minutes

Year: 2010

Directed By: Ricky Gervais & Stephen Merchant

Written By: Ricky Gervais & Stephen Merchant

Ricky Gervais has mainly been known for his work on the brilliant sitcom The Office. He has attempted since to create new shows or dab his hand in film, mainly in the states, but none of these have been as much of a hit as The Office was. Gervais and writing partner Stephen Merchant generally write and direct their own stuff and more often than not cast themselves in one of the roles. In Cemetery Junction however the pair seem to have broken off from their normal devices and created something entirely different. For starters the film is a drama with comedy elements instead of an outright comedy and Gervais limits himself to more of a supporting role. Does it work then, knowing Gervais' usual style? The answer is a definite yes!

The film revolves around three friends, Freddie, Bruce, and Snork, who live in a working class area of Reading called Cemetery Junction. Growing up Freddie has always respected his Father (played by Gervais) who works hard to earn a small living at a factory, however when it is Freddie's turn to work at factory he decides he doesn't want to. Instead he takes a job selling insurance, where he earns better money and wears a suit to work, despite his friends and family mocking him for it. As he begins to work he realises he has grown out of the immature activities he and his mates usually get up to, such as criminal damage, fighting, and drinking, all of which generally end up with them in a police cell. Starting to dream of making something of himself, Freddie takes his job seriously and meets an old flame Julie, who he finds is engaged to his boss and daughter of the owner to the company. His new fondness for his job doesn't rub off on his better friends who accuse him of turning into someone who believes he is better than the area he was brought up in. However his attention to detail begins to be noticed by Julie and her Mother. After spending much isolated time with Julie he begins to realise how the men within the firm are highly chauvinistic and his friends are highly immature and will never chase their dreams. Julie inspires him to break free and never let anyone or anything hold him back.

The story of the film is a coming-of-age tale and it is highly noticeable within each of the characters. Despite some of the relationships seeming a little rushed, especially Freddie and Julie's, the characters are very well written and all undertake a very satisfying arc by the end. The three leads all face internal struggles where they fail to accept the moments in life that will ultimately make them better people. They use crime as a way to release their anger that builds inside them whilst promising themselves they will leave their downtrodden estate, knowing deep down that they never will. All of their internal conflicts are resolved by the end and each character's story feels complete when they come to the conclusion. The characters really do drive the story as the plot is rather bare and simple but it is the way the characters are written, presented, and acted that make you follow them on their emotional journey. All the actors play their roles very well. In my eyes the two stars were Emily Watson and Tom Hughes who both play their roles as if they were born to do it. Ralph Fiennes and Matthew Goode are also good as two chauvinistic men who believe money is more important than the women in their lives. Christian Cooke, who plays Freddie, also does a decent job but his relationship with Felicity Jones (Julie) failed to have much chemistry. In a stripped back role Gervais is also good but unfortunately Merchant is given a God-awful cameo that quite frankly should have been left out. And for Idiot Abroad lovers there is also a blink and you'll miss him cameo from Karl Pilkington.   

It is safe to say that Gervais and Merchant have produced a good first attempt at writing and directing a feature film. The directing isn't particularly outstanding but it tells the story, if anything it was the editing that felt a bit out of place especially with some of the jump cuts which were pointlessly used. The writing though was top class and some of the dialogue was laugh out loud funny. The words used were typical of their style of writing and at times very controversial. As the film is set in the 70's the pair have managed to write dialogue which could be classed as placing a statement in today's society but not even blinked at in the era of the film. Lines involving racism, feminism, and class derogatory were the norm back then and some of the issues raised highlight how different the world is today. It is as if Gervais has used some of the issues to spout off his own views. Not that this is an issue and instead it makes for some cringe worthy comedy.

Overall I was pleasantly surprised with this film. It does have a few pacing issues towards the end but it was a lot better than I was expecting. It is definitely a feel good movie that comes to a satisfying conclusion for all the major characters. By stripping back their work of sarcasm and in your face humour, Gervais and Merchant have produced a film many would believe they couldn't and I think if they continued with this type of genre they could make something even better.

3.5 / 5