Saturday, 30 August 2014

#60 SIN CITY 2

Starring Mickey Rourke, Jessica Alba, Bruce Willis, Eva Green, Josh Brolin, Rosario Dawson, Powers Boothe, Denis Haysbert, Ray Liotta, Christopher Lloyd and Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

Directed by Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller, 120 minutes long.

So, here we are, nine years after the much hyped and well-received first installment of this two film series, cos after this there sure as shit ain't going to be another one, or to put it another way, there sure as shit shouldn't be, cos as franchises go, this one has already burned through everything of merit it might once have had, and there's nothing new left to offer. Indeed the sound you can hear is that of the barrel being well and truly scraped dry.

Once again, one trick ponies Miller and Rodriguez go back to Frank Miller's Sin City comic noir world to convert Miller's once ground-breaking comics into short, black and white, vignettes of 'gritty' crime stories filmed against a green screen.

The stories are all 21st Century Noir in style, with fem-fatales, hookers with hearts of gold, hit-men gone good and every other cliche you can shake a stick at, which 9 years ago seemed quite fresh and rewarding, but this time, oddly enough all smacks of a huge pile of 'Meh'. It's not a bad film, it's just a lot of 'been there, done that', but sadly better. Sure the 9 years might have seen great advances in the CGI and effects department and the 3D works well (assuming the cinema gets the right filter working of course), but overall this just feels like 2 hours of the same tricks, the same beats and nothing new - the hookers team up to take down the bad guys, Marv, the always excellent, Mickey Rourke does his unstoppable one-man war machine schtick, Eva Green, does the whole film nude, ensnaring man after shallow, man with her admirable assets and nothing else. while in other tales, Josh Brolin (playing Clive Owen's character before the plastic surgery) bugs out and goes postal, Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays poker twice with Powers Boothe and Jessica Alba dances herself into a homicidal, alcoholic frenzy. All accompanied by a gutty, dirty guitar rifts and the obligatory gravely voice over.

While the male characters manage to portray a vaguely wide range of types, the female characters fare less well and are indeed all staggering generic, portraying either sex workers, strippers or naked fem-fatales. Oddly enough it didn't seem that jarring in the first film, but this time I have to say it all started to scream, sleazy and not in a good way, but a sort of wheezy, grubby old man oggling naked young women will smirking sort of way. Before today, it had been nine years since i last saw Sin City, I seriously doubt I'll ever see this one ever again, even in nine year's time.


Monday, 25 August 2014


#59 SIN CITYStarring Bruce Willis, Micky Rourke, Jessica Alba, Clive Owen, Rosario Dawson, Benicio Del Toro, Brittany Murphy, Michael Clarke Duncan, Elijah Wood, Rutger Hauser, Powers Boothe.

Directed by:
Quentin Tarantino, Robert Rodriguez, Frank Miller. 147 minutes long and first released in 2005.

Set in the gritty, black and white, modern Noir world of Basin City and based on the black and white Noir comics of Frank Miller, never before has a comic ever been brought to life with such loving attention and care. The only sad aspect of this is it gave Frank Miller a taste of directing and he went on to utterly ruin The Spirit.

When it first came out it was ground breaking and offered a fresh take on a comic-based film, it was edgy and treated it's subject matter with a knowing appreciation. I've not seen this film since the year it first came out when it ended up as my 5th favourite film of that year.
I was surprised at how clunky some of the dialogue was, but regardless this was still as enjoyable as it was the last time I saw it.
Made up of the four short films, the one starring Micky Rourke as Marv the unstoppable lug is my favourite segment, closely followed by the Bruce Willis one.


Sunday, 24 August 2014



Starring Daniel Radcliffe, Zoe Kazan, Adam Driver, Mackenzie Davis, Megan Park and Rafe Spall.

Directed by Michael Dowse, 102 minutes long.

A nice gentle rom com that follows UK medical school drop-out and broken-hearted Daniel Radcliffe as he meets 'happily-in-a-relationship' Zoe Kazan, who's an animator at a party and then again at a day-time performance of Princess Bride, they become 'friends', without benefits although he'd like, maybe something more, if it were possible, but not if it means harming her relationship with her charming and sincere boyfriend. And because he's the product of a divorced family and an unfaithful ex-girlfriend, he's not prepared to push for Zoe when it becomes obvious that they have a great deal in common.

This follows the tried and tested rom com template - boy meets girl, falls in love, loses girl at the beginning of the 3rd act before the happy ending.  Daniel Radcliffe fits in well to the rom com mold and his chemistry with Zoe Kazan is charming and delightful. Similarly his friendship with Adam Driver's character is equally as funny and enjoyable.

Filled with funny moments, some great gags and a lovely, fuzzy, warm, soft-centre this is a hard film to hate and blessedly it doesn't outstay its welcome either. This doesn't break any rules nor create anything radical or fantastically original, but it's not hatefully sentimental either.


#57 LUCY

#57 LUCY
Starring Scarlett Johansson, Morgan Freeman, Choi Min-Sik and Amr Waked.

Directed by Luc Besson. 89 minutes long.

A rather enjoyable Luc Besson Euroaction flick that starts off all Limitless, becomes Taken before morphing into 2001 a Space Odyssey.

Scarlett can do no wrong in my book and as she doesn't disappoint in this, silly but enjoyable action flick which see Scarlett's press-ganged drug mule getting her brain power boosted to 100% thanks to an experimental drug. After that it's a whistle stop tour of Asia and Europe as Scarlett takes on an Asian drug cartel and goes all metaphysical on yo ass.

After that it's an entertaining, but not perfect, action flick which doesn't outstay its welcome and offers a satisfying and unique action flick with a splendid soundtrack and some nice special effects and amusing stock footage.

Personally I'd wish it had a tad more action, but what it lacked in that department it made up for with a nice line in humour, some entertaining set pieces and an enthusiastic and, at times, bat shit crazy plot.


Sunday, 17 August 2014


#56 THE INBETWEENERS 2Starring: Simon Bird, James Buckley, Joe Thomas, Blake Harrison and Daisy Ridley.

Written and directed by Iain Morris and Damon Beesley. 96 minutes.

The chances are you've watched the TV show and seen the first film so you know what you're getting. Likewise if you loved those you're going to love this, upping the anti in more than just location, this takes the Inbetweeners to a whole new level of glorious, gross out humour. It's at turns purile, brilliant and utterly stupid. Luckily no life lessons are learned, nor emotional depth discovered and neither have the writers tacked on some stupid plots about drugs or mistaken luggage or gangsters that normally drag down TV to Film comedy show transfers, it's just the same old formula but in a different environment. What with this and Alan Partridge: Alpha Pappa we're in a golden period of British comedy films.

The plot, for what it's worth, follows four school friends as they meet up in Australia on summer holidays and go traveling in search of true love and a shag. What follows is 96 minutes of disgusting, hilarious and almost non-stop laughs, that will have you squealing in embarrassment, howling with laughter or just gasping in gross-out shock at some truly inspired gags.

It helps if you loved the series and if you did this won't disappoint. if you've never seen it, go and see it regardless it doesn't matter if you don't know the characters, after five minutes you will.

However be warned, if watching ball sacs getting licked by a dog, a man drinking another man's piss, or a runaway poo in a water park aren't your idea of funny then it's probably best if you stay at home and watch This is Forty again.

If only American comedies could be this brave or stupid, Judd Aptow should watch this and learn how to do comedy proper.



Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Harrison Ford, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Mel Gibson, Antonio Banderas, Dolph Lundgren, Wesley Snipes, Terry Crews, Randy Couture, Kellen Lutz, Ronda Rousey, and Kelsey Grammer.

Directed by Patrick Hughes. Based on a story by Sly. ONE HUNDRED AND TWENTY SIX MINUTES LONG!

I think the reason why this film is so long is because all of the above named actors had an allotted period of screen time as guaranteed by their contracts.  

Right, this is the best film of the series and quite likely the last judging by it's opening weekend haul in the states. The story follows Sly as he sacks the old guard of Expendables and hires the next generation of young mercenaries, while dealing with his old business partner - as played by Mel Gibson - who's returned from the dead, despite having never been mentioned ever before by anybody, ever, in these movies, almost as if he's been invented just for this film.

The action is bloodless, endless, and effortless and the explosions are nearly all CGI or enhanced by computer. The body count is way up in the thousands and utterly without effect, gore or emotion. Much of the film follows the Mahogany-coloured Stallone as he drives around the world with Kelsey Grammer chatting about the stuff including a hilarious gag about cancer while recruiting a selection of pretty young murderers, killers and psychopaths for his gang of 'no women, no kids' shell-shocked killers for hire.

Then it's back to the action, indeed the chatting bits nicely punctuate the action allowing the audience's hearing to return to normal or at least to lose the high pitching buzzing just in time for the next round of explosions.

The new guard get powned by Mel, naturally, and taken hostage so the old guard come back, team up and take on Mel's army of mercs in a huge building which you just know is going to explode at the end of the film and collapse (it's in the trailer), but not before Sly and Mel have had one last mano-a-mano fist-fight to the death.

This time round the film's been given a helpful 12a certificate which means that under 12s can go along and see this if accompanied by an adult, which I for one think is a good idea. I'm much happier to watch this sort of thing with all blood  removed, I don't want 8 year olds to see what actual violence looks like! My god, what sort of sick fuck are you? You want children to see blood spurts and knives going in? My god!

Of course these films need to be 12a, cos most children given the choice between watching a film about men older than their grandfathers kill people or watching Guardians of the Galaxy, Transformer 4 or Turdtles is going to want to watch this over those!

I just wish Sly had had the guts to do a balls out 18 cert action film like the good old days, like Predator, my god that would have been amazing.

Anyway, I'm rambling, it's the shell-shock. This isn't all bad, it's rather fun, the action's okay, the banter is funny and Mel Gibson is fantastic! He just turns up and walks away with the whole film with the best lines and a face that looks great in close up. But the wooden ham hock award goes to the jowly Harrison Snored, sorry Ford who growls through his lines, looked terrible in close up and reading his lines off a cue board just behind the camera.

Beyond that, this wasn't that bad. I quite enjoyed it and look forward to watching the harder cut when it's released on Blu Ray.



Starring Richard Armitage, Sarah Wayne Callies, Matt Walsh, Alycia Debnam-Carey and Arlen Escarpeta. 

Directed by Steven Quale. 89 minutes blissfully short.

This is the remake of the 1996 Jan De Bont directed
movie, Twister starring Helen Hunt, Bill Paxton, Jami Gertz, Cary Elwes and Phillip Seymore Hoffman, which was green lit because it was decided that the original movie was far too complex, plot wise, to be properly understood by a 21st century audience.

Luckily Steven Quale's epic movie is perfect for the 20tweens, a plot-less, character-less, story-less series of CGI special effects storms destroying towns and killing only a select handful of characters. Naturally because all modern blockbusters have to have a hook, this films 'USP' is that fact it's supposedly shot by the actual characters themselves with their own phones, cameras and watches, obviously except for the best scene in the movie, shown in the trailer, when the tornadoes tear through an airport. Apart from that, it's the trailer but with all the boring bits in between put back in.

The film's series of events strung together in an order follow a three groups of people as they deal with the biggest storm - EEE-VEER! after that it's just various character types emoting while standing in a wind tunnel as members of the crew chuck debri at them.

Luckily it's briefer than summer storms used to be before climate change screwed up the whole planet's ecology.

Not terrible, not as hateful as the 90s version and mercifully Helen Hunt free so it's not a total 'disaster' movie. Plus it has two comedy red-necks to provide comedy beats and one utterly hilarious scene that had the entire cinema howling in laughter.


Sunday, 3 August 2014



Starring Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Batista, Vin Disel, Bradley Cooper, Karen Gillan, Glenn Close, Michael Rooker, John C. Reilly and Djimon Hounsou.

Directed by James Gunn. 122 minutes short.

Wow. Just wow. Fun, exciting, thrilling and above all fun, with a captial F.

Set entirely, apart from a brief start on Earth, in a galaxy far, far away, Chris Pratt plays Peter Quill, aka Star Lord - a thief with a heart of gold - who, along with a band of thieves, assassins, bandits, rogues and a talking tree team up to save the galaxy from the advances of a diabolic villain and an orb of unbelievable destructive power.

Doing away with the need for some tedious origin story and just dropping us slap in the middle of a plot was a delight, why waste the whole first third of a film trying to cram in too much back story when you can just get right to the point. This was a terrific introduction to a band of originally disperate Marvel comic characters brought together by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning into an inter-galactic superhero team known as the Guardians of the Galaxy, a band of brothers wholly unknown beyond the comic world and yet that mattered not one jot. None of us knew who Princess Leia or Luke Skywalker was before Star Wars.

Seriously can't think of a fault worth pointing out with this film, every character had a personality and an attitude and even Groot, the talking tree whose only line of dialogue is, "I am Groot." managed to come over as well rounded. Can't help thinking this film is going to be game changer, it's by far the best Marvel movie so far, narrowly pipping this year's equally as good, but not quite, Captain America: The Winter Solider and is without doubt, my favourite film of the summer. It has a brilliant sense of humour, a fantastic lightness of touch and a fresh energy, that puts James Gunn heads and shoulders over the likes of Michael Bay and his, polar opposite Transformers 4, which is everything that this Galaxy isn't.

Special praise must go to Chris Pratt whose leap from TV actor to full-blown movie star is assured, his easy charm, and charismatic performance is the heart and soul of this film. Likewise special thanks to the makers of the trailer who successfully piqued our interest without revealing too much of the good stuff, because this is a film that you need to see before high praise builds it up too far. All in all an absolute delight, a treat and a glorious, funny, exciting and utterly enjoyable romp!

Can not wait to see it again and again and again!


If you know your Marvel comics, it's worth staying to the very end and catching a rather surprising end credit sequence and the return of an unusual superhero.