Film Watching Pt.4

January 14, 2008

28 Weeks Later
Blood & Chocolate
Edison Force
I Think I Love My Wife
Inside Man
Mr Bean’s Holiday
Perfect Stranger
V For Vendetta

Film Watching Pt.3

January 6, 2008

Continuing with the series of posts with me catching up with films from the last couple of years (yes, some are considered very old news now, but I missed them at the time)…

Brokeback Mountain – ‘Nice’. Worthy. A bit forced?

Flushed Away – Aardman done with computers not clay. And done so very very well. I actually prefer them using CGI like this, it gives them a chance to do more and explore new ways of doing things. Some excellent writing, lots of fun sight gags and in-jokes. It’s not quite ‘Ratatouille’ (the comparison is obvious, I know) but it’s a good watch nevertheless. Contains the line ‘my bum is like a Japanese flag’ which is just brilliant. Oh, and it has a Fatboy Slim track over the end credits, which is always nice…

Because I Said So – Some films just don’t need to exist. This is one of them – despite it starring/because it stars (delete as is your preference) Mandy Moore.

Barnyard – Not just the “‘Charlotte’s Web’ brought into the 21st century” it might appear to be. It’s actually rather good and extremely well animated (and there’s something amazing about all the backgrounds they’ve painted, the colours are so vivid). Despite that small issue of the boy cows having udders (I would have just told everyone they’d decided to give the boys 4 small penises to twist the minds of the viewers!) and it being another animated film (a la ‘Toy Story’) where the humans are just badly done, it’s a lovely little film for any animal-loving mini-human.

Acceptance – I’m a sucker for a good US teen comedy, and I’m happy to say this is certainly one of those. Yes, it’s all a little obvious and has been done before, but it’s got a good a level of intelligence in it which helps raise it above the crowd. It’s not just full of boobs for a change and it has some nicely subtle humour in it. Works a treat.

Happy Feet – Well, it’s easy to see why this was such a hit with the kids. Basically it’s pengiuns singing and dancing with an unchallenging ‘plot’ to string it all together. And that’s not a bad thing at all. Contains a pretty scary (to me anyway!) baddie seal – what is it with children’s animated films these days and just how scary they have the baddies?? The seal in this, the shark in ‘Finding Nemo’, even the fox in ‘Barnyard’ is pretty menacing. Perhaps adults find these things more scary than the kids do… Anyway, this is probably some sort of future kids classic. The animation is a bit patchy I thought, in close up it’s not great, anything wider than that though – especially the long shots of lots of the penguins on ice – looks amazing.

A Good Year – I was not expecting to like this, as I remember all the fuss about the Peter Mayle books in the 80s and the whole thing rather got up my nose. Well, I was very wrong. It’s a completely wonderful film and it charmed my socks off. The first film out of all these that I didn’t want to end, I would have been happy with 30 minutes more. Russell Crowe is surprisingly good at the understated humour, the script is clever, the acting excellent and Ridley Scott’s direction is just perfect. One of the best films out of the whole bunch. I am SO pleasantly surprised!

Film Watching Pt.2

January 5, 2008

Hollywoodland – Jeez, this biopic of George Reeves (the ’50s Superman) starts off SO slowly. The first 45 minutes could easily be squeezed into 10, something that would certainly help with the 2 hour running time. Once the film does finally get going though it’s an interesting enough film, although Ben Affleck seems to be just going through the motions in many scenes. Had the air of a TV movie about it at times (not normally a good thing!)

Deja Vu – A film that doesn’t quite know what it is. Part sci fi ‘Minority Report’ type thing, part basic thriller, part [something else]. Starts pretty well, and the last 25 minutes or so are really good, but the middle 45 minutes are a total mess. Once they start with the ‘Snow White’ stuff it trips over it’s own feet a good few times. For some reason Denzel Washington doesn’t look comfortable in this movie – the cop/thriller thing he’s good at and has done so many times but the added sci fi element in this one seems to throw him off course. At 2 hours it’s another film that could do with half an hour hacking out of it. Longer is not better when it comes to many films at the moment! It does contain the line “I need more cowbell” however.

Cashback – What a wonderful film. There is nothing I didn’t like about this one. Written, directed and produced by one person. Script written in 7 days. A masterclass in how to make a low-budget but high-quality 90 minute film. Mostly shot in a Sainsburys store. With Emilia Fox in it. If I did scores I’d give it 9.5/10

The Net 2.0 – Oh boy, I wonder if this film could actually be any worse. It takes elements from the first film (2.0 is directed by the son of the guy that did ‘The Net’) namely “Pretty Girl”, “Computers”, “Stolen/Erased identity” and then forgets to have a script around them. So many plot holes it could pass for a lump of Swish cheese (or a lump of something else perhaps). The lead (think an older Hayden Panettiere) does a reasonable job but that’s about it. Just terrible overall. A TV movie that doesn’t even stretch to being a good example of the genre.

Arthur And The Invisibles – What a strange film. Obviously I’m a little old to be the target audience for this one, but still it has some things to enjoy it in. Madonna’s voice is not one of them however. The part live action/part animation style works fine, but it’s the style (type?) of the animation itself which is a little hard to watch. I’d imagine animating mouths when they’re talking is very hard to do but to be honest it’s normally done better than it is here. It almost looks like a badly-dubbed foreign film at times, and this is distracting to say the least. The story seems fun enough for this sort of fantasy adventure thing. The 2nd Unit director was a certain Stephanie Gluck, which somewhat amused me, being an Adam Ant fan…

300 – Awesome. Literally inspiring awe. I haven’t seen that many films based on graphic novels, but I’m thinking this is probably the best one ever made. Visually stunning and not a bad little story either if you’re into classic myths (which I certainly am!)

Film Watching Pt.1

January 5, 2008

I’ve been catching up with a load of films over the last couple of weeks, for reasons I won’t go into right now. And as blogs are the perfect place to spurt out opinions whether anyone wants to hear them or not, here’s what I thought of all the aformentioned flicks:

Fun With Dick And Jane – Better than I would have imagined – quite a fun movie. Tea Leoni is as gorgeous as ever, and Jim Carey is not being too annoying.

Atonement – Surprisingly good, although I’m not sure it should really win a clutch of oscars. Amazing wardrobe, but would someone please force-feed Ms. Knightley some pies.

Death At A Funeral – Completely and utterly terrible. The very worst kind of ‘britcom’. A waste of talent, money and time.

Employee Of The Month – Once you get over the fact that one of the lead roles is NOT Zack Braff with blonde hair (no really, it’s not, but it sure looks like him) the film is an entertaining enough watch.

Evan Almighty – Despite the complete panning it got, I rather enjoyed it. I wouldn’t have been angry to pay 6 quid to watch it in a cinema.

The Heartbreak Kid – One of Ben Stillers’ better efforts, a good bit of fun – with a few of the trademark Farrelly brothers moments.

Gone Baby Gone – Thriller type thing directed by Ben Affleck. Disturbing in that the lead guy actually looks very much like Affleck. Sort of standard ‘who dunit’ stuff (at some points felt like a movie-length episode of Law And Order) but pretty well done nevertheless.

I Am Legend – Complete and utter rubbish. No idea why someone as good as Will Smith got involved in this. Surely everyone knows it’s terrible? Oh, they don’t? Eh?

I Now Pronounce You Chuck And Larry – Despite not really liking Adam Sandler’s stuff that much, I enjoyed it more than I thought I would. Not sure many people actually ‘get’ the message tho.

King Kong – A bit long and a bit dull to be honest. Expected and wanted better. Some of the special FX are quiet poor. Naomi Watts is beautiful though, so that helped a bit – but not enough.

American Pie: Betahouse – Almost as terrible as these things can do, thought it pulls itself back from the brink just about. Doesn’t really share any of the ‘American Pie’ series’s quality of writing. Watchable. Lots of boobs. Not saying it’s watchable just because of the boobs….OK….

License To Wed – Why?

Knocked Up – Loved it. Way more intelligent than people may realise – for a seemingly basic comedy idea, it’s very well written and acted. One to watch again!

The Magicians – Should have been good, really wasn’t. A nice idea, with some fun scenes, but Mitchell and Webb can – and should – do better than this.

Man Of The Year – Robin Williams is always watchable (except in ‘License To Wed’ perhaps!) and it’s kind of OK – not terrible, not great either.

Mission Impossible III – So so so dull. I loved the first two, but this one is just nonsense.

Snakes On A Plane – Shit.

Shoot ‘Em Up – Reasonable for this sort of film I guess. Must have taken all of 30 minutes to write.

Superbad – Almost a really good film, but not in it’s current version. There’s a fun Kevin Smith-eque 1hr 20min flick hidden inside the nearly 2 hours of running time – a good quantity and quality of jokes (and swearing) and good performances. Needs a really good re-edit to bring out the film that it should have been.

The Invasion – Very good. it’s all the sort of ‘end of the world with lots of zombies’ film that ‘I Am Legend’ so obviously wasn’t. Nicole Kidman is very good (and fit!) in it.

The Pink Panther – I so wanted this to be good, but really it wasn’t a surprise that it was just a big pile of poo. I think Steve Martin did all he could, but it didn’t work. No more please.

Bee Movie – Brilliant. Watch this. Lots and lots of fun, and some very clever writing.

Resident Evil: Extinction – The first one is the best, this is just another basic sci fi/zomie/apocolypse re-tred. Avoid.

Behind Enemy Lines: Axis Of Evil – Oh dear, no.

Surf’s Up – Got 12 minutes in and stopped it. Dreadful.

The Da Vinci Code – I didn’t realise a film could be this bad. Everything about it is just awful. Bad script, bad acting, bad basic idea (whether you like the book it’s based on or not), bad casting, bad editing, bad lighting, bad special FX. Just a car crash in movie form. Urgh.

Music and Lyrics – Surprisingly very good – and who knew that Hugh Grant had a nice voice? Nothing too challenging, but nicely written and acted.

Happy New Year

January 1, 2008