Thursday, 31 March 2011

Sean Penn On Shortlist For 'Gangster Squad'

Warner Bros. have announced a new gangster film called 'Gangster Squad' that traces the story of an LA mobster by the name of Micky Cohen. 'Zombieland' director Ruben Fleischer will head up this one and Deadline have revealed that Warner Bros. want Sean Penn to play lead male Micky Cohen. Ryan Gosling is also in line for a role as one of the cops trying to take Cohen down.

It seems rather strange to me that Penn be first choice for a lead in a serious gangster film. He's never really struck me a the gangster type and I think there are plenty of other Hollywood actors who could have filled the role and been more effective. The film however sounds like a interesting story and will probably be worth a watch when it is released. The pre-release material such as the trailer will make or break this one.

You May Also Like: Kevin Costner to play Jonathan Kent, Benicio Del Toro In Line For 'Savages' Role 

An American Werewolf In London (1981)

A Cult Classic - 4/5
So I saw this film just now called 'An American Werewolf In London'. After previously watching 'Logan's Run' I am beginning to get into retro sci-fi films and this film only added to my love of the genre. The film was everything I hoped it would be and more. It was retro sci-fi at its best and was extremely funny in places. This one had been on my 'to watch' list for an awful long time so I decided to sit down today and watch. I'm so glad I did. The film has become an instant favourite and I'm sure still carries a very strong cult following today. The director John Landis has dealt his hand in many of my favourite films including 'The Blues Brothers' and 'Trading Places'.

This is the first film I've watched containing David Naughton and I've got to say he was brilliant. He had a brash air to him and carried the film in terms of comedy throughout. However, when looking at the Thespians involved, I have to focus of the effervescent Jenny Agutter. Since I saw 'Logan's Run' she has become one of my favourite actresses and in this film she proved why. Not only is she beautiful but she manages to bring genuine emotion to a film. I enjoyed her role immensely. I could have sworn John Woodvine, who played Dr Hirsch, was the voice of Fozzie Bear (The Muppets) but after some research I haven't found anything to support this. Don't you hate when that happens; when you hear a familiar voice but you can't place it for ages and you spend the whole film wondering about it.

After seeing this film I am planning to watch a lot more retro sci-fi so keep a look out for that. As far as this film goes, it is a cult classic and I would recommend it in an instant.

You May Also Like: Logan's Run

The Happening (2008)

Ridiculous - 2/5
So I saw this film yesterday called 'The Happening' and it has to be one of the strangest and laughable plot lines I've encountered. I don't really even know what happened by the end but I think the film was trying to come to the conclusion that plants were to blame for everyone killing themselves. Now I'm no scientist but I think that is pretty far fetched. Throughout the film I felt like it was a mickey-take of another film and was taking the piss out of itself but then I released it was actually trying to be serious. The storyline was terrible, the acting was terrible and the film itself was downright terrible.

I think this has got to be Mark Wahlberg's worst film. I'm actually quite a fan of his films and particularly enjoyed 'Shooter' and 'Three Kings' but I found this to be one of the worst performances by a leading actor I've ever seen. There was a hint of desperation in every single line he said even before anything had happened. It was as if he was about to cry with everything he said and I found his performance very childish. Although I adore Zooey Deschanel she was no better and, like almost everyone in it, showed barely any emotion. It was nice to hear the vocal talents of John Leguizamo from 'Ice Age' and it's always a pleasure to see Alan Ruck who should have more major roles. John Leguizamo was probably the stand out for me as he showed some level of emotion.

For some reason, after I read many a bad review for this film, I decided to add it to my Lovefilm list. What a mistake it was. I assure anyone that if they are thinking of doing the same after reading this review that you will be disappointed. The film is ridiculous.

Chris O'Dowd Now On Board For IT Crowd Film!!

About a week ago I ran a story about the possibility of Richard Ayoade, director of 'Submarine', being up for a film version of the cult comedy TV series 'The IT Crowd'. Well it seems he is not the only member of the cast that feels a film could be on the horizon. MSN Movies have revealed that Chris O'Dowd, who plays Roy in the hit show, would be up for a film but doesn't quite know how it would work.
O'Dowd is reported as saying "I'd be up for it, but I don't know how they could string it up - we can barely make half an hour out of it, so I don't know what we would do out of an hour and a half,". Despite his admittance that a film may be difficult, the news will again excite fans of 'The IT Crowd' and make any chance of a film version that much closer to reality. Check out the story on Richard Ayoade in Movie News.

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Madagascar Penguins Get Their Own Feature

If you loved 'Madagascar' as much as I did you will surely love the four psychotic penguins too. Well now it has been revealed that thy are to star in their own feature length movie after only previously starring in a Christmas special and a kids TV series. Total Film have revealed that 'Megamind' writers Alan J. Schoolcraft and Brent Simons are again to team up for this one, although there is yet no word of a director.

 How excited are you about this? The penguins are surely the funniest result of the two Madagascar films so far so they will easily be able to sustain a full length feature. Give me some of your views into this news.

Mosters, Inc. Seuquel Title Announced!

The sequel of popular Disney Pixar family film 'Monsters, Inc.', released way back in 2001, has been titled and revealed. The film will be called 'Monsters University' and will actually be set before the 2001 film, charting Sulley and Mike's studies at the University Of Fear where they start off as rivals but soon become friends. I think this story sounds brilliant. I wouldn't have been too impressed if Pixar had continued where they left off with the last film and brought us a story based around the factory which was converted to capture laughs rather than screams. The leap back in time sounds like a genius idea and should provide ample opportunity for hilarity and adventure.

I've been looking forward to the sequel which has been rumoured for a very long time. This new announcement seems to set the ball rolling and will be a comfort to fans of the first film. More good news has been revealed in that John Goodman and Billy Crystal will reprise their roles as Sulley and Mike. The storyline sounds amazing and we have the voice talent to match. There is still a painfully long wait for a release but this news is a step in the right direction. Bring it on!

Robin Hood (2010)

Good Take On A Classic - 4/5
So I saw this film yesterday called 'Robin Hood'. This was Ridley Scott's take on the adventures of the fabled English character and is now among my favourite films of the story. Unlike many other Robin Hood films, this one focused on his early story before he became an outlaw. I was a bit disappointed that we didn't see much 'stealing from the rich to give to the poor' in this film but seeing the story from a fresh perspective was a nice surprise. This is not the only way Scott's adaptation differs from others such as 'Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves'. This version had a tangibly darker feel than the normal family films we are given. Although these types of films are enjoyable, seeing a more violent and overall more adult version was also refreshing. However, I think Scott could have taken this further. The film should have been bumped up to a 15 rating to enable more violence and blood. At times it felt a bit tame and I think if it was going to be a dark take on the tale Scott should have gone all out to make it so.

Russell Crowe made a decent hero in his usual monotonous way. He was effective but I don't think he made the perfect Robin Hood. Kevin Costner was definitely more suited to the role. Crowe's followers, including Scott Grimes and Kevin Durand, provided us with entertainment throughout and were a good addition. Cate Blanchett was a standout performance for me. She portrayed the less stereotypical Maid Marion in that she showed a feisty side to the role that is rarely reported. Another stand out was Max von Sydow who was evocative and moving as Sir Walter Loxley. His was possibly the best performance. It was a nice treat to see Mark Addy also who, since 'The Full Monty', has graced us on the big screen far too scarcely.

This film brought with it much more than I expected and I was surprised at how much a enjoyed the fresh take on a classic fable.

Bill Murray Will Star As Roosevelt

Vulture have revealed that Bill Murray will take on a much more serious role than we are used to seeing him in. He will reportedly star as Franklin D Roosevelt in the film version of 'Hyde Park And The Hudson'. The film is based on a radio play from 2009 by Richard Nelson and tells the story of the first visit by a British monarch to the US and the true-to-life story of an affair Roosevelt had with a cousin. It all sounds very intriguing but I'm feeling wary that Bill Murray is right for the role.

We're used to seeing him in ridiculous comedies mainly and now he will star as a U.S President in what I take to be a very serious film. How do you think he will fare in this one?

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Chaos (2005)

Waste of Time - 2/5
So I saw this film yesterday called 'Chaos' and I have to say straight from the off that it is certainly one to miss. At the start we get some hostage scenes that are exactly like every other hostage film. However, what sets 'Chaos' apart is that so many other hostage films were made before it. We have seen this type of thing before and it displays not a jot of freshness or imagination. It is just too similar at the start to films such as 'The Negotiator', 'Speed' and 'Hostage' and at times 'Along Came A Spider'. So right there is a list of four films, all made before this one, that have already done what 'Chaos' tried to do. The start of the film therefore was rather boring.

As the storyline progressed director Tony Giglio tried to incorporate new elements to the film but most of these were ineffective. The twist at the end was unexpected but I didn't really care by that point. When it came to acting the film managed to go downhill even more. I used to look forward to anything with Jason Statham in but now I've seen so much of his work that I've realised he always plays the same character. That husky London accent has become grating and nothing he does seems fresh anymore. As for Ryan Phillippe, I see him popping up all the time taking on a role that his baby face just isn't suited to. By the end we are supposed to be in awe of what he has achieved despite seemingly being a total rookie, but I wasn't. He isn't right for these roles.

What really ground my gears about the film was its title. All the way through they tried to link everything to the Chaos Theory, thereby reinforcing the choice of title. How was this related at all to the Chaos Theory?!? It seems like they finished the film and had no title to it so just linked in something that most people don't understand and named the film after it. There was absolutely no link. I felt the film was a waste of my time and I certainly would not recommend it.

Monday, 28 March 2011

Rocky (1976)

Inspirational Moments - 4/5
So I saw this film called 'Rocky' for the first time the other day. Yes, you heard correctly, for the first time. For some reason I have dismissed anything staring Sylvester Stallone or Arnold Schwarzenegger my whole life as the whole muscle man beating everyone up really didn't appeal to me. But after watching the three 'Rambo' films recently and finding them reasonably enjoyable, I though it was about time to start on 'Rocky'. With three Oscars to its name, including Best Picture, I chose a good starting point. As of this moment I have not begun my Schwarzenegger viewing, but Stallone has now begun to appeal to me. Anyone else feel like this about actors such as these? Probably not.

Anyway on with the review, and I can see why this won Best Picture way back in 1977. Although the storyline was not the most exciting thing I've ever watched, the film captured some extremely emotion evoking and inspiring moments. Obviously I have to mention Stallone's run to the top of the stairs followed by fist pumps over a beautiful scene of Philadelphia. I know I'd never seen any of the 'Rocky' films before this, but that scene's reputation proceeded itself. It was a truly memorable moment and surely rates among man film lovers top 100 scenes ever. It has certainly made its way into mine.

The ending of the film was another truly inspirational one. I enjoyed how the result of the fight was so played down. It wasn't one of those attempts at not being cheesy by losing the final match (Dodgeball) that really are cheesy. By barely focusing on the result of the fight at all the film managed to capture the love between Rocky and Adrian, played well by a young Talia Shire, and capped a perfect end to the movie. I feel ashamed that I have waited this long to see one of the most famous films of all time but I can say it was definitely worth the wait.

Amy Adams Bags Lois Lane Role In 'Superman: Man Of Steel'

Amy Adams has become the latest addition to Zack Snyder's 'Superman' revival as she bagged the role of leading lady Lois Lane. This comes amidst news that Viggo Mortensen may be up for the part of evil villain General Zod and that Kevin Costner will play the part of Jonathan Kent. Adams will star opposite Henry Cavill as Clark Kent himself and it will be interesting to see the on screen romance blossom. This marks another step in the right direction for Adams, who is coming off the back of an Oscar nomination for 'The Fighter'.

It seems many young actors and actresses are simply coming up out of nowhere these days. Even Superman will be played by a fairly unknown actor in the form of Henry Cavill and we have seen similar situations with 'Thor', which is set for release in April this year, in which the relatively unknown Chris Hemsworth was cast as the leading man. Another similarly swift rise to fame was evident with Andrew Garfield who now seems to be cast in everything. We'll see if this will happen to Amy Adams but it's beginning to look likely that the 36 year old will be gracing our screens much more often.

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Armie Hammer cast in 'The Brother's Grimm: Snow White'

It has been revealed that Armie Hammer, who you will remember from 'The Social Network', has been cast as The Prince in Relativity's 'The Brother's Grimm: Snow White' alongside Julia Roberts who nagged the role of the Evil Queen. This version of the children's fantasy is one of a couple in the pipeline, with 'Snow White and the Huntsman' also being planned out even though it recently lost Viggo Mortensen.

This version of the classic tale, which will be directed by Tarsem Singh, is alledgedly a dark twist on the Disney classic which involves Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs fighting to get back their kingdom. It all sounds very mysterious and intriguing. A dark take on a childhood classic would make anyone raise their eyebrows and I'm sure it will make many go out and watch. As for 'Snow White and the Huntsman' things aren't looking so good. After losing Viggo Mortensen from the cast Universal have a tough fight on their hands to come anywhere near to Relativity's attempt.

Disturbia (2007)

Surprisingly Good - 5/5
So I saw this film a while ago called 'Disturbia'. It is a sort of mock-horror film that doubles as a rom-com in places. I'm confused at what genre the film really is, but what matters is how good the film was. It is basically the story of an average teenage boy (Shia LaBeouf) who is under house arrest. This film would be good just on this premise, but in addition his neighbour, played by David Morse (who is capable of being pretty scary at times), has been murdering people. To top this off, his other neighbour is a gorgeous girl (Sarah Roemer) who joins up with LaBeouf to expose the goings on next door. Now I know all this sounds ridiculously fake, cheesy and very predictable, but honesty the film doesn't come across that way. If you're a fan of Shia, which I am, you will love it. He plays the role so well, evoking memories of 'Even Stevens', and brings his own brand of humour to the fore.

The horror element of this film, which most would describe more as thriller, is less appealing but is still effective. It is done it the style of the film. In a way the film reminded me of both 'American Beauty' and 'The 'Burbs', two classic films set only in one street that deal with the relationships between neighbours. Whilst it may not be a classic like the two aforementioned films, 'Disturbia' punches well above its weight. What I mean by this is that I was not expecting to enjoy the film and I was therefore pleasantly surprised by the outcome. It's one of those films that you can just lie on the sofa and laugh along with. Ok, so the storyline isn't the most ingenious thing ever written, but if it makes you laugh it can still be considered a good film. I can imagine many of you will disagree with me on this one so please leave a comment. Don't bash me too much though.

Personally I would recommend this one to anybody, especially fans of Shia LaBeouf or the two similar films I alluded to earlier. It is one that will surprise you and which deserves more recognition.

Cowboys & Aliens Trailer

Preview: Cowboys & Aliens (2011)

With the cleverly worded title 'Cowboys & Aliens', this film was in my good books from the start. The film tells the story of an alien craft landing in Arizona in the 19th century who can only be stopped by a band of cowboys. How absolutely awesome does this sound!? I sort of wish this came out when I was a kid; the wonder and excitement would have been ten times greater. But being as I am not, I can get excited about the casting of Harrison Ford and Daniel Craig, who I think will go perfectly together. Ford does play the part of a colonel however so I'm thinking he initially dismisses the cowboys but then has to use them to help against the aliens? 'Moon' leading man Sam Rockwell will also have a part in the film.

The film is set to be released in August 2011. So come on guys, are we getting as excited as I am about this? It just feels like such a childhood movie in a way, evoking memories of playing cowboys and Indians but then with 'E.T' thrown into the mix. If that doesn't get you excited, nothing will. I'll post the trailer above this post so check it out.

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Daybreakers (2009)

Didn't Deliver - 3/5
So I saw this film just now called 'Daybreakers'. The vampire thriller from the Spierig brothers stars Ethan Hawke and Willem Dafoe and is set in a world controlled by vampires. We are so used to humans controlling things in film nowadays that it felt strange to see a film where humans we so out of control. However, by the end they inevitably began to regain it. In some senses then the film had a fresh edge to it but there were some elements of the storyline that either made little sense or were not fully explained. For instance, why is it that the vampires changed to human after being exposed to sunlight or after drinking blood of ex-vampires? I felt slightly confused at these points and in some ways this hindered my enjoyment of the film.

The special effects meant that the film was visually appealing, especially to fans of gore and blood. The violent scenes of vampires feasting on bodies did not make you realise you were watching a film. They were done effectively and certainly will appeal to fans of the genre. As far as acting goes, well it won't be remembered as the best film any of the leading talent has appeared in. I recorded this film because of the presence of Ethan Hawke who remains one of my favourite actors. He is so good at playing gritty, emotional characters, in particular those he played in 'Training Day' and 'Staten Island'. This role however did not suit him. He simply shouldn't do films like this.

As is the case with many films nowadays, the trailer got me very excited about the film but the film itself failed to deliver. Of course this is because they pack the best clips into a 30 second slot so it seems fantastic and of course this can't be replicated for an hour and a half but I still felt disappointed. It was good, don't get me wrong, but again I felt it was a movie that didn't deliver as much as it could have.

Bill Nighy on board for 'Clash Of The Titans' sequel

The as yet untitled sequel of 'Clash Of The Titans' has gained a huge name in the form of Bill Nighy, who will play Hephaestus according to Empire. He joins names such as Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes who were of course in the first film. The film will reportedly move us forward 10 years from the first film with Sam Worthington as Perseus trying to get away from his heroic image. He finds however that he cannot escape his past and is brought back into the fight for good.

Now, while the addition of Bill Nighy is an excellent one, I am fairly certain the film will be as forgettable as the first. I reviewed the first film fairly recently (check it out after this) and I had major criticisms of the storyline and the acting. I very much doubt that adding Nighy will enable this film to escape the poor reputation of the first. It would take something very special to do that. What are your views, will this film be able to better the first?

Friday, 25 March 2011

Captain America: The First Avenger - Trailer

Dominic Cooper frontrunner to play Bourne in 'The Bourne Legacy'?

Yes, I'm sure you've heard by now that Matt Damon will not play his famed character Jason Bourne in the fourth of the Bourne films, 'The Bourne Legacy'. What a great blow this is to lovers of these films; Damon was perfect for the part, he was Jason Bourne. The fourth film will certainly suffer from the fact that he will not feature. But reports from Deadline have suggested that a host of other stars are being considered for the role, including front runner Dominic Cooper, who you will remember from 'An Education'. He is among a group of men in line for the role, which also includes 'Clash Of The Titans' star Luke Evans.

Unfortunately, to me whoever is picked will have no chance of delivering as well as Matt Damon did. I'm sure other fans will be of the same opinion. I'm finding it very hard to even picture a Bourne film without him, and it will be interesting to see if ticket sales go down as a result. In an effort to boost the acting prowess, there are rumours that Shia LaBeouf is being considered for the film. It will need a well known name to bring in viewers and Shia will make an impact. Fans will go to see the film, if only to see how the new leading man does. But I'm sure they will go in with at least some trepidation.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Benicio Del Toro in talks for role in Oliver Stone's 'Savages'

Benicio Del Toro, star of '21 Grams', 'The Usual Suspects' and 'Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas' is the favourite to play to boss of a Mexican drug cartel in Oliver Stone's adaptation of the Don Winslow novel. The film is also set to include Aaron Johnson ('Kick-Ass') and Taylor Kitsch who plays two small time pot dealers interested in the same girl. The film will be a combination of violence and comedy and seems, although probably more serious a film, to be similar to Johnson's previous blockbuster film 'Kick-Ass' where Johnson stands up to a major criminal organization. If I know drug films with Del Toro however, this should be a much more powerful and emotionally charged film even with Johnson's addition of comedy.

Other rumours reveal that Salma Hayek may join Del Toro in the film but these are as yet unconfirmed. The film seems like one not to miss and most things that Benicio is involved in turn out pretty damn good.

Elizabeth Taylor dies at 79

One of the biggest icons of 20th century film and cinema has passed away today at the age of 79. Elizabeth Taylor was known as possibly the last major star to come out of the old Hollywood system and was the winner of two Oscar awards in her career, which began at the age of 12. Best known for her roles in 'Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?' and 'Cleopatra', she was an iconic figure who will be sorely missed. She will be remembered as a woman who thought only of others through her charity work and who lit up the screens.

Preview: Cars 2 (2011)

With the release of 'Cars 2' only four months away I thought it prudent to take a look a the new feature looking to build upon the success of 'Cars' in 2006. It seems incredible to me that it took Disney Pixar this long to create an animation featuring talking cars because the characters were so loveable. I especially loved the rusty old hick van Mater who will be making a comeback.There is also a whole host of stars to look forward to including Owen Wilson, Michael Keaton, Emily Mortimer  and surprising new edition, Michael Caine.

The film follows the friendship of star Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson) and Mater (Larry The Cable Guy) as they head overseas to compete in the World Grand-Prix and determine the world's fastest car. The film also follows a side story with Mater who reportedly gets embroiled in international espionage! This sounds like comedy gold to me. Mater is torn between helping McQueen and a secret spy mission that will take him through Europe and to Japan. With a ton of new characters and a storyline that sounds far fetched but exciting, I doubt whether this will be another forgettable Disney sequel. So put the release date, 24th June 2011, in your diary and prepare for some laughs.

Kick-Ass (2010)

Surprisingly Real - 4/5
So I saw this film just now called 'Kick-Ass'. This film literally blew any expectations I had of it out of the water. The violence was so real and extreme! In a way the fight scenes reminded me of 'Repo Men' in the sense that they were bloody and very visually based. The viewer was allowed to see, in slow motion in many cases, exactly what took place in the fight and there seems to be a market for this type of violence in films recently. In terms of the Superhero element of the film, it was unlike any I'd ever seen. At the start we saw how the feel was not taking it too seriously and was not based on some guy caught in a nuclear reaction or anything but simply a normal nerdy teenager looking to do some good. Superhero movies never acknowledge themselves as such but this one did; I think this is the reason I found the story so fresh. Underneath the main story was one about the nerdy boy trying to get the beautiful girl. Now, this may sounds like the cheesiest storyline ever, but somehow I managed not to be. I think the level of violence and the addition of comedy were behind this.

In terms of acting, main man Aaron Johnson was superb. He pulled off the nerdy teenager well, as many actors can do these days (Jesse Eisenberg) but managed to bring a different dimension with his emotional scenes. I feared some of Johnson's scenes where he is learning to become a superhero would be similar to those nerdy fight scenes from 'The Sasquatch Dumpling Gang' but again Johnson made them his own. Christopher Mintz-Plasse's performance was largely forgettable, as was Johnson's love interest, Lyndsy Fonseca. Nicolas Cage was brilliant as Big Daddy and Chloe Moretz must have studied 'Leon' because she was awesome. I tell you who else was good, Clark Duke. This is my second Duke film in as many days and I wish I had only watched this one. I watched 'Hot Tub Time Machine' yesterday and it was pitiful. After watching it I instantly forgot about Duke and didn't think I'd ever see him in anything again. Then he pops up in this and with every line is totally hilarious. Why couldn't we have seen this Clark Duke in 'Hot Tub Time Machine'? To be fair it wouldn't have made that movie much better.

The DVD for 'Kick-Ass' has only recently been released, and if you are wondering whether to buy it, I think you definitely should. It's a film that will surprise you, make you laugh, shock you and make you smile.

Limitless Star Bradley Cooper denies a cameo for Charlie Sheen in The Hangover 2

Bradley Cooper, star of the new film 'Limitless' with Robert De Niro, has denied any rumours that Charlie Sheen was to make a guest role in the upcoming film 'The Hangover: Part 2'. How disappointing is this?? He could have had a few minutes either acting like a drug addict, which shouldn't be too hard, or coming out with some of his new phrases we see on Twitter every day. It would have been so funny, and not because I like Charlie Sheen in any way, but because I could laugh at him for being so pathetic.

Despite the news, Cooper stated that the script was solid and in some ways better than the first. This all sounds very promising, but will the backdrop of Bangkok enable as much comedy as the first? The inclusion of a drug dealing monkey and the return to the film of the other three members of the wolfpack make it entirely possible. The film is set for release on May 27th and I would advise you book your seat, it looks like it could be a popular one.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Submarine Director Richard Ayoade on a possible IT Crowd film?

Richard Ayoade, star of Channel 4's 'The IT Crowd' and director of 'Submarine' which is in cinemas now, has jokingly revealed his desire for an IT Crowd film. Richard joked that it would be like a comedy version of 'Inception' and said that it would be down to series writer Graham Linehan. All this seems likely to be a joke, but how utterly cool does the concept sound!? To me it would be a no brainer of whether to see it or not.

The Channel 4 series, known for its dry wit, has created quite a cult following in the UK. It has survived four series, not something that can be said about every comedy series these days, and also features Chris O' Dowd who you will remember featuring in 'The Boat That Rocked', which also featured the female star of the trio, Katherine Parkinson. I would imagine that all three would be up for a film, and I'm sure they would do a fine job with it too. One thing that is certain is that any possibility of a film seems very far off and, at this point, just a rumour.

Star Trek (2009)

Totally Unconvincing - 3/5
So I saw this film just now called 'Star Trek' and first I would just like to mention that I am a total noob to the Trekkie world and because this film is my only experience of it if I write something that doesn't make sense it's only because I don't know what the hell I'm talking about.

For me, the film was a total hotch-potch of different genres. It was a sci-fi action adventure thriller fantasy comedy. And before you ask, yes that is way too many genres for one film. It felt overly busy and rushed the whole way through. The film didn't have an identity due to this. The efforts at comedy throughout annoyed the crap out of me. I've just been watching Spok lose his entire planet and his mother and then Simon Pegg comes in with a quick joke. It just doesn't tie in together. How can this film pertain to be believable when it pulls stuff like that? If I was a 'Star Trek' fan I would have felt slightly put out that my favourite TV series had been turned into this rubbish. I think J.J.Abrams, who personally I really admire, got something very wrong with this film. The only comedy that should have made it into this film was Simon Pegg's part, everyone else should have been more serious and then it could be called a credible adaptation.

Main man Chris Pine was, at times, genuine and effective but then again the script would spoil it and he would make some stupid quip. His character would have been perfect as the main character from 'Employee Of The Month', that's how dire it was at times. Does anyone agree with this?

The one thing I would say that I enjoyed about this film was the visuals. In this sense the film was stunning. The special effects were convincing and they managed to wow me on occassion. Unfortunately for J.J.Abrams, special effects are no substitute for a coherent storyline and a believable cast. For these reasons I would advise you to stay well clear of this one.

Andrew Garfield and Robert Pattinson in line for Akira

A whole host of young British actors are competing for a chance to star in the new adaptation of Manga 'Akira'. Stars such as the talented Andrew Garfield ('The Social Network'), James McAvoy, star of 'The Last King of Scotland', and Robert Pattinson have been revealed by Deadline to be among this list. The film, written by 'Harry Potter' screenwriter Steve Kloves, follows Kaneda as he fights in Tokyo where a government project has created superhuman beings.

When I read this story I found it hard to believe that actors such as those listed above would have anything to do with a Manga film. However, the news has now been widely reported and it seems as if Warner Bros are making a big push with this film. I'm shocked by these announcements and I'm sure others will be too, so I must say well done to Warner Bros for whetting our appetite so.

Monday, 21 March 2011

Joseph Gordon-Levitt Not Playing Alberto Falcone in The Dark Knight Rises?

After widely distributed reports that 'Inception' star Joseph Gordon Levitt was to star as Alberto Falcone in 'The Dark Knight Rises', it has now been revealed today that he will not be taking the role and will possibly be playing Black Mask instead. Time will tell what role, if any, he will take on as unconfirmed reports spread through the Internet.

What we can be sure of? 'The Dark Knight Rises' will be an absolute epic. I find myself saying that in a lot of previews at the moment, but this one surely will top box offices. How will this one fare without the Heath Ledger touch though? Comment below to give your opinion.

Sylvester Stallone steps out of driving seat for Expendables 2

The LA Times has reported that movie beefcake Sylvester Stallone will take a less active role in the follow up to the star studded 'The Expendables'. He has reportedly approached a selection of directors to sit behind the camera for the sequel and is planning to concentrate more on his performance.

I think this will prove to be a wise choice from Stallone, as it seemed he had too much going on to produce a decent action movie the first time around. 'The Expendables' was lacking in many areas needed for an effective action film, something you wouldn't expect from Stallone. By taking more of a back seat I'm hoping he can let the directors and writers do their thing so he can do his. Lets hope the sequel is more exciting than the first, and by a long way too. Reports also rumour that Jean Claude Van Damme and British boxer David Haye could feature! We'll have to wait and see.

Peter Jackson begins prodution of The Hobbit

Warner Brothers have announced today that production from the new film 'The Hobbit', which will chart the journeys of Bilbo Baggins and be brought to us over two parts, has begun in New Zealand where the famed 'Lord Of The Rings' trilogy was also created by the famous director. So what can you look to expect from the film which won't see release until December 2012?

Long time 'Lord Of The Rings' actors Orlando Bloom, Elijah Wood and Ian McKellen are reported to be featuring but you can also expect to see some of a number of rumoured new stars including James Nesbitt, David Tennant and even the great Leonard Nemoy! We'll have to wait and see just how many of these new stars get on board but even with just a few of them this film looks set to make huge numbers at the box office.

Pirates Of The Caribbean On Stranger Tides NEW TRAILER

Preview: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2

Set to wow us on big screens in July 2011, the final installment of the Harry Potter series looks set to be an epic. Whilst I would express my annoyance at it being split into two films for profiteering reasons, it does help to add detail to the final book which certainly deserves to be shown in film form in its entirety.

I have heard endless positive feedback for Part 1 of the seventh Potter film but personally it didn't strike me as the best thing I'd ever seen. Neither did the sixth film which I though was a total waste of time and only made to set up these final two films. However, Part 2 possesses something that neither of the previous films did, it has the ending of the mind blowing series ready for us. I will be stunned if this is not the biggest grossing film of the year and I'm sure it will be in the running for some success at the Oscars.

Both the cast and the crew have been through an epic journey beginning with the creation of 'The Philosopher's Stone' way back in 2001 and indeed have found little time to do too much else. The stars have become ingrained in our minds as the characters they perform as which is why the films have had such huge success. That combined with obviously the mass sales of the books by J.K.Rowling. But have these stars become so related to their characters that they will struggle to come up with anything to match these films after the release of Part 2? It must feel a bit restrictive to stars Emma Watson, Daniel Radcliffe and Rupert Grint who are recognised around the would for these parts. Do you think they will continue their success after this film is released.

I will certainly be watching this one, and not because I had to watch it because I was following the series like the last two, but because it promises an epic end to an already epic journey.

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Billy Bob Thornton ready for Bad Santa 2

Billy Bob Thornton is set to return to his role as the foul-mouthed Willie in Bad Santa 2. While the film may be a long way off it seems a deal is close to being written out, revealed The much loved Christmas comedy will certainly make waves if and when a sequel is released and there seems to be much fervour surrounding the news.

So what are your thoughts on this news? Are you looking forward to another look at Thornton playing a foul-mouthed Santa? Or is one film on the subject more than enough?

Comment and let me know.

A Serious Man (2009)

Genius True to Life Comedy - 4.5/5
So I saw this film a couple of days ago called 'A Serious Man'. This film is the latest comedy from my favourite directorial duo, The Coen Brothers. Recently I have lost my faith in them slightly as I wasn't a big fan of 'Raising Arizona'. However, for me they pulled it out of the bag on this one. I felt the warm touch of the Coen's comedy genius throughout; their classic witticism made this a success and a hint of an indie feel made it hugely watchable. The film was classically funny throughout and combined absurdity with real life drama.

Before seeing this film I had never had the pleasure of seeing Michael Stuhlbarg in action before and I feel I have severely missed out. His performance was absolutely sublime. He managed to epitomise the average 40 something male in a loveless marriage with annoying kids who gradually descends into a form of mid life crisis in an extremely comical way. I take nothing away from the scriptwriters but Stuhlbarg made this film for me. He managed to be stereotypically Jewish in his nature but with the Coen touch that meant it was not offensive. I simply cannot praise this performance enough. This film is the type of film that comes up out of nowhere and grabs you in a very unexpected way. I took a shot with this film based solely on its directors and I am hugely glad I did.

What else did I love about the movie? I enjoyed the way that Stuhlbarg's character was utterly helpless against bad things happening to him. It one particular scene he is told that he will have to pay for the funeral of the man who his wife has run off with! Of course, he does it with little argument because he wants to be a good citizen. It is elements of the film such as this that make us empathise with his character. We want him to have something good come into his life but at the same time we enjoy the fact he can't catch a break because it is relatable. The Coen brothers are mean to this character. At the end of the film he finally has some good news but this is snatched away with a serious phone call from his doctor. I think this is how the film had to end; it was the characters utter helplessness that we as an audience enjoyed.

The only problem I have with this film is that the ending was far too abrupt. I didn't expect it to come and I was disappointed that it had come around so soon. Aside from this fairly small criticism, the Coen brothers have released another comedy of genius.

Hot Tub Time Machine (2010)

Cheap Rip-off - 2.5/5
So I saw this film a minute ago called 'Hot Tub Time Machine' and I think the film epitomises the word 'unimaginative'. For starters, its a buddy film about some guys trying to reconnect by going back to their teenage party hot spot (images of 'Grown Ups' were already in my head by this point) who then manage to go back in time due to some illegal Russian energy drink and have to try not to change the past but do anyway and somehow all come off the better. And breath.

What made this film even worse for me was the stupid links to the brilliant 'Back To The Future' which I found simply shameful. The film features the talents of Crispin Glover who you will remember as George McFly in the film from 1985. This was a pretty poor role for Glover who, if he had any sense' should have stayed well clear of this one. Add to this the inclusion of a teenager who begins to fade away because he may not have been born by the end of the film and Craig Robinson performing a song from the future and you will see where I'm coming from.

The only part of this film that I actually enjoyed was that it didn't take itself too seriously and, at times, it made jokes at its own expense. But then, if you're going to make a film that you yourself would take the piss out of for being predictable and unbelievable at the same time, why make it? I was expecting the like this one, mainly due to the main man being John Cusack who I have been a fan of since the days of 'Grosse Pointe Blank' back in 1997 in which he played the timelessly cool character Martin Blank. I find it such a shame that his career has descended to the point where he has to star in a very poor 'Back To The Future' rip off. '2012' didn't do too much better either. I hope he comes back with something that will blow us away again because I want to like everything he is in. Unfortunately it was impossible to get on board with 'Hot Tub Time Machine'. It was a cheap rip-off and a joke.

Would I recommend it? Not for one second.

Friday, 18 March 2011

Preview: Thor (2011)

So as the release of 'Thor', the story of a magnificent warrior sent down to earth as a punishment who comes to defend our planet, draws near its seems appropriate to take a closer look at this one. The element of this film that excites me most is that Kenneth Branagh directs it! It is a rather strange match and I will be interested to see if Branagh can pull a first class fantasy action out of the bag. Here's to hoping.

The film also includes an as yet little known actor as its lead man. Chris Hemsworth plays the mighty warrior in this one, but will it prove a gamble to employ a relatively unexperienced actor to such a major role? We all have to start somewhere though and I am hoping his performance will put to shame many of our 'action' heroes who, at times, lack any pretences of being macho. Hemsworth could provide a breath of fresh air in this department. If not we will be well spoilt with the talents of both Anthony Hopkins and Natalie Portman, two characters who have been very active of late in the movie scene.

What I hope most that this film will achieve is not to be nearly as cheesy as the description makes it sound. A mighty warrior sent to earth as a punishment who ultimately comes to love our fair planet and defends it with all his might. Unfortunately it all sounds slightly predictable. I'm sure a love interest with Portman will also be included. This film has plenty of potential to be a huge hit as it touches upon a fantasy character we have seen little of in film. However, it could end up being as one-dimensional as 'Clash Of The Titans'. Now we don't want to go down that road Kenneth so make sure it doesn't!

Kevin Costner to play Jonathan Kent in new Superman Flick

Kevin Costner, star of such films as 'Dances With Wolves' and 'The Company Men' has been confirmed to play the adoptive father of Clark Kent (Superman) in the new movie set to be released in 2012. The film also features relative new kid on the block Henry Cavill as the main man and is rumored to contain Viggo Mortensen although this has not yet been confirmed.

How about the inclusion of Costner huh? He is an absolutely perfect pick for a superhero film in a father role. It is actually surprising he hasn't been thought of for a role such as this before. I am certain he will have success with this movie. The movie itself sounds as if it will be a fresh addition to the franchise, apparently having little to do with the previous films. I think this will be one of the reasons that this film does well upon its release. Without a well known front man the film has caught a big break with Kevin Costner and will without doubt benefit from his inclusion.

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Date Night (2010)

Carell's Best Film - 4/5
So I saw this film yesterday called 'Date Night' with the ever wonderful Steve Carell. I've got to say, I think this is my favourite Carell film to date. When you think about it, Carell has really not been on the big scene for very long. The first thing I saw him in was 'Anchorman' and that was only in 2003. For the amount of time he has been around it is amazing at just how successful he has become. The reason why I say 'Date Night' is his best film yet is that it differs somewhat from everything else he has done. 'Evan Almighty' was exactly like 'Bruce Almighty' which didn't differ enormously from 'The 40 Year Old Virgin'. In fact the only two films other than this one that I found him memorable in were 'Dan In Real Life' and 'Little Miss Sunshine' again because these were films unlike what we had seen from him before. Although Carell brings his normal brand of outlandish comedy to us again in 'Date Night', he manages to do so with much more emotion and a more genuine feel to his performance.

The stand out for me in this one was Tina Fey's role as Carell's wife Claire. I never knew she was so funny! Her quirkiness and alternative style to comedy fitted this film so well. We normally see Carell with wife that a man of his personality would never get but here we get a perfect match in which they were both able to bounce off each other and come up with some very funny stuff.

Possibly the funniest moment of the film was a nice double act scene with James Franco and Mila Kunis. Kunis has made a very quick leap to stardom recently having only been involved in blockbuster films since 'Forgetting Sarah Marshall' in 2008. Franco has made an almost equally rapid journey to success and in this scene we can clearly see why. The two work so well with each other and even though it was just a fleeting moment of hilarity it was my favourite scene of the film.

This film brought to the table real life emotional events mixed with hilarity and absurdity and left me with a smile on my face. I would recommend this to anyone.

Men In Black III Loses Baldwin

Alec Baldwin has this week confirmed he has dropped out of 'Men In Black III' which is due for release in May 2012. Baldwin was set to star as the head of the agency but couldn't work in into his schedule. Will this really make any difference? I highly doubt it. At least the film hasn't lost Will Smith or Tommy Lee Jones. I'm sure it won't make much of a difference as I don't see Baldwin as the best pick for this type of role. I think the role needs an older star, possibly Max von Sydow, but I'm sure they'll put in some equally uninspiring actor.

Will this film be worth watching? I highly doubt it. The franchise lost a lot of esteem after the second film and it's been such a long wait for this one that I don't think its release will evoke much excitement.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

The Imaginarium Of Doctor Parnassus (2009)

A Good Homage - 3.5/5
So I saw this film yesterday called 'The Imaginarium Of Doctor Parnassus'. With this film I found I couldn't help but focus my entire attention to the great Heath Ledger's performance, due to it being his final ever film. With this in mind, I found the film got off to a slow and slightly confusing start. To me, it was only when Ledger's character Tony was revealed to us that the film began to take off. Ledger's performance was definitely a truly memorable one. It shows how far he progressed from the days of '10 Things I Hate About You'. He performs in a very modest way in this film and his little facial expressions were absolutely captivating. The only one out the the three other stars in the film (Jude Law, Johnny Depp and Colin Farrell) was Farrell, who incidentally would be my favourite actor out of the three. He was the only one to really capture anywhere near the magic that Ledger brought to the film. In saying this however, his small role was dwarfed by Ledger.

In terms of storyline I must admit that I get a bit lost at times. I couldn't follow Terry Gilliam's train of thought as well as I had hoped. The film brought back images of 'Pan's Labyrinth', a film that is, at times, equally confusing. I don't think Gilliam took enough time to fully explain the story to the audience. Of course this has to be put down to the extremely unfortunate death of its main man part way through filming. The film was a great homage to Heath Ledger's legacy despite its flaws.

Another stand out role for me was Andrew Garfield as Tommy. I saw 'The Social Network' before I saw this film and I just didn't realise he had this sort of performance in him. He was truly stunning. His cockney accent and cheeky personality was convincing and whereas I found him a tad one-dimensional in 'The Social Network', here he showed us his full range of talents.

This is certainly one to watch mainly due to it being Heath Ledger's final role. He will be sorely missed and he was a treasure to the film industry.

Preview: Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011)

Set to come out in July 2011, the third installment of the Transformers franchise looks set to make a big impact. The trailer is full on and we can see by watching it that the film will certainly not be lacking in special effects. In my opinion they look to dwarf those displayed in the first two films, which were themselves stunning. This film needs a storyline to go along with all the action however and it will be interesting to see how they run it, although by the looks of the trailer it seems they are aiming to latch on to the success of Battle: Los Angeles by portraying an invasion type scene taking place on earth. This may not be the best way to go but the trailer still looks stunning.

Die hard fans of the trilogy will however miss the talents of Megan Fox. In fact I'm sure just about any male viewer will too. I'm not entirely sure who will replace her as Shia LaBeouf's piece of stuff so if anyone knows leave a comment.

I think I am sticking my neck out a bit here when I admit I enjoyed Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. However, it seems it wasn't the most popular film ever released, so I'm sure director Michael Bay will be keen to remedy the mistakes made in the second installment. The trailer for this one added to by the fact that John Malkovich will feature has ensured that I will be going to see it, but it will be interesting to see if it falls by the wayside. Here's hoping it doesn't.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

A Possible Cloverfield 2?

As a huge fan of 'Cloverfield' and the whole hand-held camera genre I was just as excited when reading this headline from Total Film as you are. They reportedly interviewed original 'Cloverfield' director Matt Reeves about the possibility of a sequel and he is said to have replied in the affirmative adding that 'Lost' producer J.J. Abrams will be involved. How cool does this sound?!?
Although I have very high hopes for this film I cannot guarantee its success. I'm really not sure how they are going to do it. Will it just be a completely separate story shot in the same style with a similar storyline. Of course, the characters we adored so much from 'Cloverfield' died so I'm assuming it will be rather separate from its prequel. I hope the hand-held camera element is still in use and it will be interesting to see what new elements Abrams brings to the mix. IMDb tells me we will have to wait until 2014 for this one and I sincerely hope it is worth the wait.

Grown Ups (2010)

Straight Up Poor - 2.5/5
So I saw this film called 'Grown Ups' and guess what, it's another typical Adam Sandler film with relatively few genuinely funny moments and a whole load of really very little. Sandler plays a similar character to the one he did in 'Anger Management' as a fairly laid back, normal guy. In this one he is the most successful guy in his group of friends. Surely it has come to the time now where Sandler has literally played all the roles he is capable of playing. Watching this reminded me of the 'A.W.E.S.O.M.-O.' episode of South Park where Cartman comes up with thousands of movie ideas all utilising Adam Sandler. It made me think that this scenario wasn't far off. Maybe the only real difference is that the ideas aren't coming from an 8 year old boy dressed as a robot, although they might as well have been. If you don't know what the hell I'm talking about I'm sorry, but leave a comment if you do.

Back to the film and we see both Chris Rock and Rob Schneider in their worst roles ever. The only think I have ever enjoyed about Rob Schneider's performances are that they are unbelievably strage and full of character. What Dennis Dugan managed to do with 'Grown Ups' however is remove that element completely. What is left, you may ask? Nothing. I don't even know why he was cast in the film, he literally did nothing for it. It pains me to say it, but neither did Chris Rock. He was provided with very little material with which to make us laugh in the script and I would describe it as his least memorable performance.

When I picture the pitch for the making of this film, it seems like the plan was to combine five actors, all who have previously worked successfully with each other, and pretend they are all chums. How is this at all believable? The script was like listening to old friends catching up at a party, laughing wildly as they reminisce about all the fun they used to have. You find yourself bored out of your mind and you end up wondering why they think you will laugh when you don't have a clue what they are talking about. That's what this film was in a nutshell.
Would I recommend it? It's a straight up no.

Monday, 14 March 2011

The Ghost Writer (2010)

So I saw this film a week ago called 'The Ghost Writer'. Ewan McGregor plays a London based biographical writer brought in to finish the memoirs of Prime Minister Pierce Brosnan. That's really just about all I have to say about this film. It attempted to be edgy and vague in the way it portrayed the story but in turned out to be extremely boring. I don't even know what happened at the end; it was made out to be a huge twist and maybe it was just me but I didn't get how Brosnan's wife Olivia Williams being in the CIA affected anything. I was highly disappointed by the end which is normally not a feeling I get with Ewan McGregor films despite being my usual response to seeing Brosnan on the cast list. McGregor's accent was funny though! Yeah, clutching at straws here.

Really quite boring - 2.5/5
What is Roman Polanski doing directing a film like this? Why did he think it would do anything for his career? He has certainly gone downhill from the days of 'The Pianist'. So many films these days are on the subject of uncovering government conspiracies but what many of them include is a bit of action. This however had none. It was portrayed in such a serious manner with very little emotion. Olivia Williams was possibly the stand out performer in this one; she seemed to be the only one trying to act to an anywhere decent level. I must admit also that it was nice to see a glimpse of the ever wonderful Eli Wallach, who you will remember from 'The Holiday'. As you can surely see by now, this film has fairly little going for it.

I really don't know what else to say about this one. I certainly wouldn't recommend it if you are easily bored, I can guarantee you will be turning it off in the first half an hour. For those who enjoy serious political thrillers then I guess this is for you and I can see why people such as this would enjoy it. I just wasn't for me.

Would I recommend it? See above.

Funny Grenade Kill/Suicide: Black Ops Gameplay

One Life, Two No-Scopes: Black Ops Gameplay

Sniper Collateral: Black Ops Gameplay

AMAZING 5 in 1 S n D Killcam: Black Ops Gameplay

AMAZING blind drop no-scope through wall: Black Ops Gameplay

Sweet Double Quick-hands Tomahawks: Black Ops Gameplay

Phone Booth (2002)

Mint - 4/5
So I saw this film on Channel 5 last night called 'Phone Booth'. I've seen this film many a time and, despite it literally being set in one single location, I never find myself getting bored of it. Colin Farrelll's performance is exceedingly arrogant and shovenistic towards the beginning but becomes hugel emotional as the film progresses, showing the diversity that Farrell can bring to any film. It's astonishing that Joel Schumacher managed to bring us such a captivating movie when the events unfolded in one single setting. In this way the film was a breath of fresh air to the 'hostage' genre of film. With previous films in this sub-type such as 'The Negotiator' and 'Speed' we feel a great tension building during the hostage scenes but when it breaks away to show some fairly pointless footage of the hostage taker or the police doing their work you lose the sense of empathy to those who have bee taken prisoner. By sticking solely to Farrell's character in this film, Schumacher enabled us to empathise during every second. This made Farrell's tearful scenes that much more emotional. I think the single location however was the reason for the short length on this film (81 minutes), which meant we were not beginning to be bored by the end.

What a good call the casting of Forest Whitaker was as Captain Ed Ramey. I seem to recall that, when I first watched this film, it was the first major role I had seen him in. I'd noticed his fleeting appearance in 'Platoon' but to me, 'Phone Booth' was the film that catapulted his career to where it is today. He was so genuine in the role. Now I'd be the first to admit that I'm a huge fan of Denzel Washington, but there was something about the role that actors such as this couldn't have pulled of. Whitaker was by far the right man for the job. This film was the film that tranformed me into a Forest Whitaker fan, simple as that.

I've never had a conversation in which somebody has said they dislike this film. It appeals to everyone and it is a British television favourite because it's a film that people can just sit and watch. They may not plan to watch it but when they see it on the TV guide it just leaps off the page.
Would I recommend it? Why haven't you seen it already?

Not Only A Film Geek: Part 2

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Shutter Island (2010)

Superb Thriller - 4.5/5
So I saw this film called 'Shutter Island'. After seeing this film I would describe as a psychological thriller with elements of horror thrown in set on a tortured rock in the middle of the ocean. I think that sets the scene in your mind fairly well. Leonardo DiCaprio is becoming more and more associated with twisted films and hidden meaning and has certainly come a long way from the days of 'Titanic'. With his inclusion in 'Shutter Island' and 'Inception' 2010 was a huge year for DiCaprio and it surely must be nearing his time for an Oscar win. I would argue that no actor made a bigger impact on the film scene of 2010.

When watching 'Shutter Island' after 'Inception', there are many clear similarities between DiCaprio's performances and elements of the films themselves despite there being no real link between the films aside from their leading man. What struck me most was the similarity between the music used, and I was shocked to find that the genius that is Hans Zimmer was not the controlling hand of the music for 'Shutter Island'. We can see further similarities in DiCaprio's performances; in both roles we see the characters confusion and anger brewing and in both roles DiCaprio excelled. Until the release of these two films he wasn't, in my mind, much of an action/thriller film type of guy. I still remember him in films such as 'Titanic' and 'Romeo & Juliet' and I found it hard to believe he would be convincing in either role. However, I was overjoyed at being proved wrong on both these points.

The screenplay for 'Shutter Island' was magnificent and at no point during the film did it hint too strongly and what was to happen at the end and thereby did not ruin what turned out to be a magnificent twist in the plot. The ending was pure genius; a wide-eyed moment of gasping in air as you come to realise the truth, followed by a long debate about the meaning behind the film and explanations of the plot to yourself and others. DiCaprio's final line was so beautifully written and portrayed in such a poignant manner that it left us only with empathy towards his character. I'm sure there would have been some less than dry eyes in the audience at this point. This film is truly stunning and is one of the best thrillers I have seen in a long while.
Would I recommend it? Duh.

Groundhog Day (1993)

WHYY?? - 3/5
So I saw this film two days ago called 'Groundhog Day'. As you will know, when watching any film with Bill Murray you prepare yourself for a few laughs. While this film may have provided a fair few of them at times it still lacked direction and overall meaning. My biggest question after seeing the film was WHY??? It is to my knowledge never explained why Murray's character Phil becomes stuck in a time loop. I was expecting at least that by the end of the film he would have learned some moral lesson and we would be able to assume it was to make him a better person. Give us something to go on! I just couldn't grasp the meaning behind it at all.

Aside from the less than spectacular storyline the film did provide us with some tear jerking moments as we see Murray stuck in a seemingly endless journey of the same day, attempting to kill himself numerous times and still waking up the next morning. Bill Murray has never been an actor I have really ever empathised with but to my surprise he managed to do just that. We as an audience could feel his pain and frustration which partially made up for the lack of direction.
I would also like to mention the skill shown by the actors and actresses who had to repeat their scenes over and over but adapt them according to what Murray said or did, most notably Stephen Tobolowsky who provided us with many laughs with his character Ned.

Overall I would describe this film as over-rated. There is such hype surrounding it and I think most of this must stem from the casting of Bill Murray. However, when you look into the film you see many holes. Unlike the many unanswered questions in the TV series 'Lost', these effectively ruined the film for me. I just wanted to be told why.
Would I recommend it? If you're up for some head scratching.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

The Informant! (2009)

Damon can't save it - 3/5
So I saw this film about a month ago called 'The Informant!'. You cannot help but be enticed by the advertising for this film. The DVD case itself leaves you with much anticipation, as does the trailer. To be frank, this film was a major let down. It's one of those films you have to concentrate on for every single second or you will lose any understanding of the storyline. The script, especially where Matt Damon's character Mark Whitacre is concerned, moves at such a pace that if you blink you will miss it. Add to this the fact that most of the dialogue concernes complex business speak that the average viewer will have little to no knowledge of and you have a film that will pass many people by. My girlfriend fell asleep during this film in what is probably a world record time. It is far from a film that you can just put on and enjoy.
Despite what you may be thinking this film is not all bad. The dark humor contained within provides the astute viewer with many a laugh. It is nice to see Damon in a quirky comedy such as this. To his credit he plays the proverbial nerd in a very entertaing way. It just goes to show that major Hollywood stars that we assume are relatively one dimensional, which to our fault we usually applaud them for, can produce performances that we really did not expect. Despite Damon's superb performane however, the film was nothing to rave about. I'm sure that if you have seen this film, you will know what I am talking about.
What I'm trying to say with this review is that I fail to understand the hype surrounding this film. Granted, It was funny, but this was in no way a saviour to the storyline which, to the average viewer, just didn't appeal. I must admit that there is little room to improvise within a film based on true events however. It is possible that Steven Soderbergh did as best as he could with the story that unfolded.
Would I recommend it? Only if you are in the mood to listen and are free of distractions.

Preview: The Eagle (2011)

So I think I might see this film called 'The Eagle'. Released on the 25th March, 'The Eagle' brings us the story of Channing Tatum attempting to return a lost standard from the cold realms of Scotland. Now, although I was enticed by the trailer, I don't think the star of 'Step Up' will do much good as a Roman.Come on, are you serious? Yes he may provide a character for the girls to oggle, but for the male section of the audience what will he do? I am yet to see the film 'Fighting' so I'm not sure how Tatum will fare in an action movie such as this, but my prediction is that he will be swallowed up by similar performances which are far more memorable.
So as you can see, what we need is a manly character to hold this whole thing together, a character to make the whole 'Roman action film' believable. What do we get? Billy Elliot. That's right, you didn't misread that. We have been provided with Jamie Bell as a co-star. I can't tell you how much I would love to be surprised by Bell's performance but, as I have said about the casting of Tatum, I just can't see myself being blown away by it. Come on! What you need is a slightly older male actor who is not a stranger to this sort of film. I'm thinking possibly Liam Cunnigham or even Alexander Siddig. Alas, we are doomed to almost two hours of what will most likely be a dull experience. Won't be shelling out to watch this in the cinema. Bring on 'Battle: Los Angeles'!

How To Train Your Dragon (2010)

Family Funnies - 4/5
So I saw this film about three weeks ago called 'How To Train Your Dragon'. Now, as you can imagine, after being told of a film that it's the best film somebody has ever seen, you inevitably go in with high hopes. I was not disappointed. Perhaps it wasn't the best film I'd ever seen but it couldn't fail to be bordering on such realms. It could have been the magical, heart-felt storyline or the humor elements of the film that swayed me in this direction. It had everything a top notch family film needed and more. The story, I would imagine, would have been a difficult one to grasp during the early stages of the making of the movie. What it needed to bring it all together was a host of stars and awesome animation. We got enough of that alright. Stars like Gerard Butler and Jonah Hill lent their skills, and lead man Jay Baruchel, known for small roles in such films as 'Knocked Up' and 'Tropic Thunder', was extremely effective as the nervous and wimpish main character Hiccup. Did he go on to make a good hero towards the end? I'm bordering on the side of yes.
Although I would love to say this film amazed me, it wasn't quite all I hoped it would be. It just lacked something. I don't know what it is and I will not pretend to. I just came away with a feeling that something was missing. Despite this however, I don't agree on the Best Animated Film Oscar being given to 'Toy Story 3' over this. The 'Toy Story' franchise has received a huge amount of acclaim as it is so why is an Oscar going to the worst of the three? 'How To Train Your Dragon' surely has to rate higher than that.
Despite whatever I felt was missing, DreamWorks certainly know how to make a family favourite with humor that appeals to the more aged film fanatic. For this you cannot help but applaud this film.
Would I recommend it? Of course I would.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986)

Easy to Relate to - 5/5
So I saw this film today called 'Ferris Bueller's Day Off'. I had previously heard nothing but praise for this movie so I thought it was about time I checked it out. I'm so glad that I did. This was totally my type of movie, the type that brings you back to your childhood in the days of attempting to get off school. Matthew Broderick plays the undeniably cool Ferris Bueller and the film charts his antics during one day. Broderick could not have been better.  His little asides to camera were ingenious, it really brought the audience into the film and enabled the viewers to relate to the ecstatic feeling upon achieving a sick day off of either work or school. In this way his character was easy to relate to, one reason why he was so popular in the movie. The film adds in elements of absurdity to make sure this film isn't like any of its type. We see literally everyone in the neighbourhood supporting the apparently 'dangerously ill' Ferris and scenes such as the parade enable you to feel his charm. We must also recognise Alan Ruck for his superb performance as Cameron Frye. I must comment and ask the reason for Ruck's unpopularity in being cast in much else aside from cameo roles in crime dramas since. How did he not get the recognition he deserved after the release of the movie? His understated and nervous character contrasted perfectly with the cool of Ferris Bueller which is one of the many reasons this film was so perfect. Furthermore, it was also funny to see Charlie Sheen looking pretty similar to how he does at the moment!
So how about that parade scene huh? Do you get some shivers down your back every time you see it? I certainly do. The song choice could not have been better; you find yourself singing along and, if nobody else is around, dancing along too. I cannot fault this film and must view it on the multitude of merits that I found when watching it.
Would I recommend it? Well I don't normally buy DVDs of films I've already seen but for this, it simply had to be done.

Monday, 7 March 2011

In The Loop (2009)

Better than this sausage - 4.5/5
So I saw this amazing film the other day called 'In The Loop'. After previously seeing the trailer the fast-paced witticism that oozed from said trailer meant I knew I would enjoy this film. I was not wrong. The film contained an aggresive amaerican bully, played perfectly by James Gandolfini, and a rather smaller and less exuberant British alternative in the form of Tom Hollander. Metaphors such as this were packed into this film in an obvious and yet still highly enjoyable way. What I enjoyed most? Peter Capaldi's swearing! I've never heard anything like it! The Scottish accent was exceedingly effective in bringing the rage and frustration out in this part and Capaldi made me laugh out loud on many occassions. That's what this film is, a succession of main parts all played beautifully by a range of very fine actors.
As I sit here eating a good old english breakfast I think I want to watch this movie again. It's one of those types of film, the ones that you can quite happily re-visit after only a few days to pack a host more laughs into your day. The quick pace and quirky comedic style used by director Armando Iannucci means you don't have time to 'settle in' to this film. That it exactly how it should have been, you were supposed to get swept off into the realms of extremely funny political relationships and swearing on a whole new level. I highly suggest this film to anyone , with a slight knowledge of politics probably being an advantage. Even Steve Coogan made his way into the flick as an aggrieved constituant. All in all what this film manages to do is cram everything that is good about comedy into 106 minutes. You'll be laughing well after it finishes too.
Would I recommend it? Do you even need to ask?

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Not Only A Film Geek...

Youth In Revolt (2009)

Cera does dual personality well - 3.5/5
So I saw this film last night called 'Youth In Revolt'. The reason I had been looking forward to this film was because I thought I would see Michael Cera in playing a bad-boy image much unlike many of his other films. We only saw fleeting glimpses of this persona but it was enough. I enjoyed seeing Cera's dual personality and I think he portrayed the alter ego Francois with flair. I wouldn't have thought Cera would be able to pull off a moustache wearing, cigarette smoking womaniser for one second so it was a nice surprise to see him in a role such as this, even if it was only for a bit. His performance as the intelligent, witty, shy and understated character Nick Twisp also did him justice. This is the type of role we are used to seeing Cera in and I was worried it could become a tad repetitive. However, he manages to bring something new to this role; whether it was the inclusion of a dual personality that allowed him to achieve this.
The actual storyline I thought was slightly off at times, major events seemed to happen while passing us by in a flash. However, it managed to stay coherent and funny throughout. You do find yourself asking a lot of questions throughout the film about how Nick Twisp has escaped the law, but I suppose we are meant to thank the brashness of his alter ego for this. The inclusion of beautiful well animated scenes integrated into the film added an indie touch to the proceedings which I actually liked. Ray Liotta's cameo role, as do many of his smaller roles, left much to be desired however.
I feel as if I may be leaning to much towards male actors in this blog, so lets give a hand to Portia Doubleday's performance in the biggest film of her career so far. She was both charismatic and captivating and it seemed like it was meant for the audience to have the same reaction as Nick Twisp when she broke the news about having a boyfriend at the start of the film. Going back to Michael Cera for a minute; this is the type of audience reaction evoked by Cera's geeky and understated performances. We end up rooting for him. This ultimately led to the ending being just what we expected and hoped for.
Would I recommend it? If you're a fan of 'Juno' you'll love this. 

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