Wednesday, 24 April 2013

#39 & 40 IRON MAN THREE (25.4.13)

Directed by Shane Black. Starring: Robert Downey Jnr, Guy Pearce, Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Sir Ben Kingsley, Rebecca Hall and about 400 hundred special effects people.

Evil terrorist, The Mandarin is here teach the President of these United States a lesson, well several televised lessons to be precise, and only one man and 42 suits of Iron Man Armour stand between him and dominance.

This is the third in the Iron Man series and probably the last to feature Robert Downey Jnr, which is a shame because he owns this role much in the same way as Sean Connery owned James Bond. No matter who comes next to fill those yellow and red rocket booties, it'll always be Robert they compare him to. But don't fret he still has one more Avengers movie to do.

It's obvious that Robert Downey Jnr was born to play the role of billionaire, ex-alcoholic, genius inventor and so good is he in the role that you forget the actor and completely accept him as Tony Stark. And believe me there is a LOT of Tony Stark in this movie. It's almost as if, Shane Black wanted to make a Tony Stark movie to such an extent that Iron Man becomes his side kick. However this isn't a criticism, the Iron Man suit is actually the dullest part of Iron Man, it's Tony that's interesting and provides the heart to this movie. So Black orchestrates the proceeding in such a way that Tony's supporting cast, led admirably, but not solely, by Gwyneth Paltrow is successfully side-lined, allowing Stark to be the main focus of the film.

But a super hero is only as good as his super villain and with the Mandarin, Iron Man gets his best villain to date and Sir Ben Kingsley gives us an unique super villain to rival the Joker in memorability. In the past, when a super hero franchise gets up to number three the film makers feel it prudent to throw as many villains as it can at its hero, but Black wisely avoids this, by sticking to just one villain and providing him with a battalion's worth of henchmen to back him up.

This is a very dense film, no flabby middle, just a film packed with incident, action and a proper plot that actually has a beginning middle and, god forbid!, satisfying ending. That said, it's not perfect, the final act showdown surrenders a lot of what went before to the special effects and an over reliance on all 42 suits of Iron Man armour which makes it hard to root for just one, it's also a tad overwhelming visually and difficult, at times to follow.  However, the preceding fight onboard Air Force One, glimpsed in the trailer, is utterly stand out and well worth the wait!

Overall, a thoroughly satisfying and enjoyable experience that ranks up there as one of the best super hero films so far made.


There is no reason at all to see this film in 3D, it adds nothing to film, in fact it just makes it all murky.

Monday, 22 April 2013

#38 EVIL DEAD (22.4.13)

Starring Jane Levy, Shiloh Fernandez, Lou Taylor Pucci, Jessica Lucas and Elizabeth Blackmore Directed by Fede Alvarez.

Five kids drive deep into the woods to a spooky cabin to take part in a drug intervention. Unluckily for them one of their group, a bearded, four-eyed, hippy teacher finds the book of the dead and stupidly starts reading aloud from it, perhaps not the smartest thing to do when you've found the book in a basement room filled with the rotting carcases of dead cats. After that, it's lights out, Vienna as one-by-one the kids are butchered by demons.

The original is a classic that has stood the test of time admirably, this won't even last the year as a memory.

For some unknown reason, the writers of this modern version have dumped the black humour and tacked on an utterly unnecessary prologue, they've left in some nods to the original to appease the fans and shoehorned in a post credit bonus to really get them whooping. How sad then, that the audience I saw this with had no idea who the man at the end was.

It's a gory, sadistic and vicious film filled with stupid characters doing stupid things. You'll come for the legend, stay for the gore and leave wondering what all the fuss was about.

Saturday, 20 April 2013

#37 & #42 OLYMPUS HAS FALLEN (18.4.13)

Gerald Butler, Aaron Eckhart, Morgan Freeman, Angela Bassett, Rick Yune directed by Antonie Fuqua. 

The film, in a gun shell. North Koreans attack the white house, capture the President of the United States prison, kill everybody and take control of America's nuclear arsenal. Now only one Scottish bloke with a shit, lisping, American accent stand between truth, justice and the American Way and a global nuclear apocalypse.  

Every now and then you go to the cinema and come out inspired by what you've just seen. For example, when I came out of Starship Troopers I wanted to join the space marines and kill intergalactic bugs and after Mad Max I wanted to be chase down nomadic homicidal brigades in a V8 Interceptor. Now, after Olympus has fallen I want to join the American Presidential Secret Service Security Detail and kill terrorists, in fact, I've already got my Gerald Butler accent down to a 't'.
All the reviews I've read of this film are written by critics too embarrassed to admit they enjoyed it and whinging on about the lack of irony, stereotypes and all sorts of guff as if it's not acceptable to just sit back and watch a balls-out two-hour long action film where a Scottish bloke with a shit, lisping American accent goes about killing 60 odd North-Korean terrorists with an assortment of knives, guns, fists, missile launchers, chain guns and rocket-propelled chainsaws (actually I made that last one up, but wouldn't it be cool if he did! I bet you'd go and see a film where someone used a rocket-propelled chainsaw!) all while spouting out a delight choice of classic one-liners like: 'Let's play a game of fuck off.' and 'I liked your friend. He was funny.'

This is the Die Hard film that Die Hard 5: A Good Day to Die Hard wasn't. If Bruce Willis had made this film instead of that one then no one would be going on about stereotypes, the lack of irony or any other such nonsense and would instead be praising it for being what it is. A big-bollocked, hilarious and gloriously violent, 15 certificate action film which goes from an 8/10 to a 7/10 thanks to the God Bless America bit right at the end.

Exactly what it says on the tin and for the first time in an absolute age a film not ruined or betrayed by the trailer.


Sunday, 14 April 2013

#36 SPRING BREAKERS (14.4.13)

Selena Gomez, Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Benson, Rachel Korine and James Franco. Written and directed by Harmony Korine.

 In case you don't know, Spring Break is a uniquely America religious festival that takes place during the Easter half term, in which sexy collage kids celebrate the crucifixtion and resurrection of our Lord, Jesus H. Christ by wearing skimpy bikinis, getting truly shit-faced on every alcoholic beverage and drug known to man and flashing their tits in one grim, week-long orgy of hedonistic excess.

Now i know that most of us, given the choice between that and eating Easter Eggs would probably settle for oggling beautiful, semi-clad, young girls but after sitting through Harmony Korine's sleazy and voyeuristic gun and tits 21st Century Morality Tale I, for one, will be sticking with the empty calories of chocolate.

Beautifully shot in glorious neon and saturated sunlight but utterly empty and devoid of an emotional core. This is a strange film that feels like a horrible, hyper-real dream or nightmare. With a cast as horrifically ugly - morally as it is beautifuly clad in skimpy bikinis and shot by a camera that lingers lustfully on each and every gyrating crotch and pert nipple, and believe me there are lots of those!

The story follows four college girls who fund a spring break trip by robbing a late-night diner, and what starts as a consequence free party slowly unravels as the girls are rescued from prison by 'Alien', a sleazy drug-dealing DJ played by James Franco who recruits three of the girls to be his own private army in a drug war.

Filled with repeated sequences, a throbbing sound track, James Franco saying 'Spring Break, Bitches.' over-and-over again and over use of slow motion to convey the unreality of it all, Spring Breakers offers no comment or judgement on the action of its four female stars. And ultimately it all feels rather flat, exploitative and pointless.


Saturday, 13 April 2013

#35 IDENTITY THEFT (13.4.13)

Jason Bateman, Melissa McCarthy, Amanda Peet, Jon Favruea.

I'm tired and I've just got back from watching this piece of shit, which stole 111 minutes of my life.

If you must know, the plot of the cinematic abomination is an exercise in lazy tedium. Bateman has his identity stolen by McCarthy and his life is ruined. He tries to get the police to help. They can't be bothered so he does it himself. He finds McCarthy and convinces her to return home with him and tell his boss that he's innocent of drug dealing, fraud and a whole lot of other crimes, along the way they tangle with a psychotic bounty hunter, a couple of gangsters and a lonely widower in search of love. Bateman is continuously held up for ridicule, he is the one person who needs to grow in this movie, not her. He is the one for whom all the bad shit happens. He is the one who learns the valuable life lesson. Because he is the straight-arrow, family man who is decent, moral and upstanding. That is until he partakes in a spot of identity theft himself and steals his bosses details then goes on a mad spending spree. But that's okay because his boss is a greedy dick.

There is not one single thing to recommend or justify this wretched wreck of a movie. It is an utter laughter free zone. No one in the cinema laughed, not once. We all sat there, all ten of us, stony faced in silence. Each of us joined in shared bewilderment. Had we accidentally strayed into the wrong screening?

Sadly not.

Stupid, lazy, shit and crass. Just don't bother. Don't do it! Don't waste your time or money on this one. It really is awful. Horribly, horribly awful. In fact even reading my bile filled review is giving this film too much of your time. Save yourselves, stop reading now!


#34: OBLIVION (11.4.13)

Starring Tom Cruise, Andrea Riseborough, Olga Kurylenko and Morgan Freeman and directed by that bloke what directed that other Science Fiction vacuum, Tron Legacy.

It's the future, 60 years after a failed alien invasion that destroyed the moon and left the world in stylish and iconic ruin. Most of mankind have pissed off to Titan (Come to think of it, I think this film  might actually be a live-action sequel to animated non-classic, Titan AE) leaving behind huge machines that are mining the world of its natural resources, and two people whose job it is to monitor, repair and protect those huge machines. (oh no, wait. The Earth got destroyed in Titan AE, so this can't be a sequel. So, please ignore that reference and move on.) These caretakers have had their minds conveniently scrubbed of memories so as to protect them should they fall into the hands of any alien survivors. However one of the caretakers, Ethan Hunt is having strange dreams of a time before the invasion, when he was head of a covert, super-secret team of secret agents tasked with conducting missions that are classified as 'impossible'!

Now he has 7740 seconds to save the world before it self destructs!

What a pretty looking film, I for one can't wait to live in a world so elegant, so beautiful in its splendid isolation, or one so rich in still functioning 20th entertainment technology like music centers and unscratched LPs.

This is a film looking for it's twist, a twist to leave you gasping and stunned, shocked and surprised, as audiences were back in 1968 when the first Planet of the Apes film opened and the Planet of the Apes was revealed to be the Earth! Oh, shit I forgot to add a SPOILER ALERT! before that.

In recent years, there seems to have been a move to shoe-horn some shocking reveal into every science fiction film as if that in itself is more important that an a decent plot or story. Something so shattering, so amazing you'll want to tell as many of your friends as possible to go and see it for yourselves!

Well, don't go this for that reason. It's really not that shocking or surprising and not worth hooking a whole film around.

This is from the man who made Tron Legacy another beautiful looking film utterly bereft of anything approaching a good story, but at least that one had a great sound track. Oblivion has that lovely booming BWAAAA!!! sound made famous by Inception. Boy, that trick got old quickly didn't it? However I don't think it'll last as long as that awful shakycam crap that the Bjorn films introduced.

So, in a nutshell Oblivion is, on the surface, a great looking and stylish film with some superb design work and special effects but beneath the surface, it's sadly an empty husk filled with scruffy looking Mad Max 2 cast offs wearing Predator masks and smoking Huge Cuban cigars (another surprising survivor of the apocalypse). 

Still it looks great up on a big screen.