Thu, 27 Aug 2009
Moon - Short Review
If you've not seen or read much in the way of Scifi then Moon may be an innovative movie that surprises you with its plot twists, (a film with a plot? Quick, change screens, Transformers is on next door) surprises and human/machine interaction. If you're reading this blog then I'm guessing you'll find it slow, predictable and a bit meandering.
5/10. Very average.
Mon, 09 Mar 2009
It's been a good few years since I read the original graphic novel so I'm not as likely to pick out little errors and omissions (like the Silk Spectre looking for a lighter in the book and just being nosy in the film) but I thought the story was a very good, and close, adaptation. The fight scenes were well done and extremely short, sharp and brutal and the film utilised its 18 rating well.
I'm interested in how easy to follow the film will be to someone who's never been exposed to the source material. There were lots of little bits and pieces that might not fit together that easily. I thought the pacing was decent, I was never bored and didn't get too fidgety.
I thought the idea of using Dr Manhattans power as the basis for the destruction was an acceptable alternative to the novels ending. Trying to stick to the novel would have required a lot more leg work and slowed the pace. I was a little surprised at how most of the heros seemed to have some degree of super-strength but that's artistic license. As for the killing of Rorschach I can see why they did it that way and increased the drama but I didn't like it. The original handled it much better and without all the over the top responses.
Although I missed the giant squid I'll still give it 8/10 for fans of the novel, 6/10 for others.
Fri, 30 Jan 2009
Tinselworm DVD (Bill Bailey) - Short Review
It took me a while to warm to Bill Bailey as a comedian. His slower, more laid back humour is a change in pace from what I normally like but Tinselworm, like all his live shows, is an excellent mix of music and mirth. If you like Bill Bailey then it's another must have, if you've never watched him then go for a little trawl through youtube (start with this) and if you don't like him then you're just weird.
Fri, 15 Aug 2008
The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor - Short Review
It's been the summer of returns, from the very enjoyable Dark Knight to the should have been left buried 'plot' of Indy and the Crystal Skull. Unfortunately most of them have been rubbish - and the The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor doesn't do anything to address this.
The special effects are good but nothing ground breaking, the new Evelyn O'Connell is a masterpiece of terrible - how such an uninteresting character can steal and kill so many scenes baffles me. The story is predictable, boring and lacks the hammy goodness of the first two. At least they didn't cast Shia LaBeouf. 3/10.
Now roll on Hellboy 2!
Thu, 17 Jan 2008
This years blockbusters?
I've just had a skim through the Times onlines 50 movies of 2008 and while I was picking my handful of must sees (Cloverfield, Indy 4, and Hellboy 2) I noticed a couple of interesting comments
While I'm actually very fan boy about the idea of an Avengers movie (mentioned in the "The Incredible Hulk" comments) I felt a cold shiver of dread when I read 'Hayden Christensen, who has also just signed to star in the long-awaited movie version of William Gibson's prescient sci-fi classic Neuromancer,'. Nothing good can come of this; unless we get Dina Meyer back as Jane nee Molly.
Tue, 15 Jan 2008
Short Review - Hellboy Animated: Sword of Storms
I liked the original Hellboy, it had great casting, an OK story and Selma Blair being hot. Well, technically on fire, but we'll let that slip. I was expecting great thing from the first of the animated Hellboy films - special effects are great but you can go completely overboard with the monsters in an animated film.
Instead I spent a couple of hours watching Hellboy Sword of Storms plod along at a very slow pace. The story was dull, the animation was fine but nothing exceptional and the only highlight were the occasional witty one liners. Wait for it to hit TV
Score: 3/10 - bring on Hellboy 2
Tue, 08 Jan 2008
The plot is mostly unchanged (although explained through flashbacks), the pacing is decent and the feeling of being alone is well conveyed - the DVD store scene is a great glimpse of a man about to lose it.
The zombie/mutant hordes are a lot more visually impressive than those in the Omega Man (20 years of special effects and it shows) but their near mindless nature does change the tone and pace a bit. Score - 6/10
PS: there was also a version (The Last Man on Earth ) with Vincent Price which I'll be adding to my rental queue.
Tue, 17 Apr 2007
Sunshine - Short Movie Review
I wanted to like Sunshine, I really did. A new sci-fi film by the writer and directors of 28 Days Later (a very entertaining film) should have been enough to keep me going until Spider-Man 3 is released. Instead it was a seriously dull and predictable two hours.
The sun is going out (hip hip hip hurray?) so a small group of scientists are sent to detonate a bomb that'll kick start it. They don't make it. So we send a second batch; "Are you the saviour of the human race?" "No, I'm the second choice". The film starts off mid-trip and quickly goes downhill. The psych officer is obvious a fruit loop, the crew are sloppy as hell, the twists are predictable, the on board security system is nearly as comprehensive as an unpatched Windows 3.1 machine and Rose Byrne has An Accent; we're just not sure where it was supposed to be from.
The film starts out with some interesting psychological ideas and quickly becomes a very dull and done before space slasher. This film left me cold (haha) 2/10 - visually impressive but boring.
Mon, 26 Mar 2007
Frank Miller's 300
I've never read the comic, I didn't recognise any of the cast and quite enjoyed 300 as a not very challenging film. Lots of very cool fight scenes, an acceptable amount of plot and a great 'arrows blotting out the sun' scene. Oh, and a war rhino.
What else is there to say? The fight scenes are bloody but not especially gory, the Spartans are portrayed with the right amount of bad-ass nature and it had a number of Sin Cityesque deformed villains in it. 7/10. Don't think I'll re-watch more than a fight scene or two though.
And it had a cut down (and Venom free) version of the Spider-man 3 trailer before it came on. OH YEAH! Come on Spidey!
Mon, 12 Mar 2007
Outlaw - Short Review
Tonight I saw Outlaw. It starts out showing how people feel let down and abandoned by the law and the fact it seems to treat criminals better than the victims. It's a great idea, the topic is perfectly timed and it's only spoiled by a shoddy execution (no pun intended).
It soon turns in to a badly plotted gang film that is amazingly one sided - the outlaws are never really developed so their point is lost, it is full of cliches and pretty dull. 3/10 (and those points are for the concept).
Sun, 11 Mar 2007
Ghost Rider - Short Review
Ghost Rider took a lot longer to reach our screens than it should have, and considering the amount of re-work involved it isn't that good. Very middle of the road (haha), only see it if you're a comic book geek, bored or want another chance to see Nicolas Cage not have expressions. 4/10.
Fri, 29 Sep 2006
Clerks 2 - Short Review
I'm a big Kevin Smith fan and Clerks 2 more than met my expectations. Great dialogue, some top-notch one liners, inside jokes (for both comic and View Askew fans) and more story than he's usually given credit for. A couple of things stood out in a bad way though, the choice of music seemed very slapdash, some of it really hit but a lot of it seemed to detract from the scenes. I was also a little surprised by the big dance number. Although watching Rosario Dawson get her grove on wasn't exactly hard to sit through.
Score: 7/10 if you've seen Clerks, 5/10 if not - the less than dynamic duo of Randall and Dante make a return, leave a mark and end on a high. Well written and great fun.
Children of Men - Short Review
I ended my sudden bout of cinema going with Children of Men, a very British Sci-fi films about a world that has no children. No screaming on buses, running riot in restaurants or being herded along the street in an annoying and impossible to pass snake of tiny, whiny voices. But the film paints it as more of a bad thing.
Includes Spoilers: As you'd expect this changes during the course of the film and it turns in to a woman (and unborn baby) hunt through a Britain that's known terrorism, treats immigrants a scant few steps above how the Nazis treated Jewish people and has some freedom fighters / terrorists that don't know where their line is anymore.
The story's good, the cast all turn in solid performances (including a great appearance by Michael Caine) and the film is incredibly well shot. It feels gritty and I really enjoyed watching it, but I didn't come away with much once I got away from the slick visuals and editing. I was also disappointed with the end, it was tied up a little too neatly and wasted a chance to screw with peoples heads.
Score: 6/10. A good 90(ish) minutes but I won't be buying it on DVD.
Sun, 17 Sep 2006
DOA - Short Review
I was completely unprepared for DOA, I'd heard nothing about it, seen no trailers and didn't know it was based on a game (which I've never played) - if I'd have known anything about it I'd have stayed well clear. Which would have been a shame.
I missed the first five minutes or so of this film so I'm not sure if they actually explained the, um, plot? In essence there is a fighting competition where "the best representatives of each style" come together and kick the shite out of each other. With lots of wire work and some very attractive actresses in skimpy outfits. And one scene, featuring Holly Valance and Sarah Carter, which is essentially a wet t-shirt competition pretending to be a fight.
It's well paced, there are actually a couple of plot threads woven in and most of the cast perform above and beyond the call of duty; these all combine to make the film more enjoyable than it sounds, doubly so if you leave your brain at the door and you're male.
One of the best scenes in the film is a staircase fight featuring Kane Kosugi, it was actually spoiled by some of the wire work, the actor seemed to be able to hold his own without it. Score: 7/10 - because any film featuring Holly Valance in a bikini, wrestling, deserves some extra points.
Dungeons and Dragons 2: Wrath of the Dragon God - Short Review
When I was at school I was an avid Dungeons and Dragons player, over the years I've lost contact with most of it (the occasional novel, issue of Dragon or, very rarely, a source book is as close as I get these days) but one of the few things I did see was the first Dungeons and Dragons film. Which was BAD. But I'd waited so long that I watched it. And I own a copy on DVD that I one day plan to watch again. Honest. Tangent: how the hell did they get Jeremy Irons in the film? That's magic!
I didn't even know they'd done a sequel until a friend of mine came back from the US recently, and I'll be honest, the idea of another one didn't fill me with joy. Fortunately, this time none of the behind the scenes crew survived from the first one and only one of the cast (Bruce Payne as Damodar) carried over. And to be honest his character is completely different so they might as well have recast and renamed it.
So is it better than the first film? Yes! Do you need to have seen the first film to follow this one? Nope, it's completely stand alone. Is it worth watching? Yes. It's a pretty enjoyable adventure that will feel familiar to anyone who's played the game (the characters are all class stereotypes) and will tick enough of the fantasy film boxes for most moviegoers to tolerate it. The cast are pretty solid (although nothing special) and the story has enough depth to carry it through some not very special effects.
Score: 7/10 - best of the films I've seen this weekend (it's been a long weekend!) and the best D&D film I've seen. Although I'm an un-ashamed fan boy. I'm still waiting for a really cool on-screen dragon though.
Crank - Short Review
Jason Statham has found himself a Hollywood niche, action films that don't set the box office on fire but provide a decent level of "leave your brain at home" entertainment. The Transporter movies and now Crank are shining examples.
Despite the trailers (and my expectations) Crank isn't as action packed as I'd expected, in between a number of fight scenes there is a surprising amount of plot and amusing dialogue. While the plot itself isn't exactly original the films constant changing from one scene to another and some decent dialogue makes it a lot less painful than it could have been. It's worth pointing out the visuals; a lot of the film looks like it was shot by someone with ADD, a background in short music videos and on a decent amount of drugs. From CISesque internal body shots, head banging in the back of cabs and some "medical assistance" from Amy Smart. This'll drive some people nuts. I liked it here but hope it's not copied in too many other places.
Chev Chelios: "I'm looking for something.. begins with E..."
Score: 6/10 - unchallenging with some decent action, a couple of smart one-liners and some nice set pieces.
Severance - Short Review
Severance had a lot of potential, it could have been Dog Solders meets The Office, but this time with The Office actually being funny. Instead, it's an OK paced generic slasher film with a lot of attempted humour - only a handful of which hits the mark.
Laura Harris puts in a decent performance, Tim McInnerny is completely wasted (if you've seen him in Spooks or Blackadder you know he can act when given decent material) and Danny Dyer does an acceptable job as the very two dimensional everyman. I'd give it 4/10 for a couple of nail-biting moments and a few cheap (but funny) gags.
Tue, 22 Aug 2006
Snakes on a Plane - Short Review
How could I resist a film called Snakes on a Plane, featuring one of the masters of over acting, Samuel L. Jackson, that had some of its scenes re-shot to be funnier, yes, funnier, based on anonymous internet posts on movie forums? Well, obviously I couldn't.
I'm honestly not sure why I bothered. I like good films, I also like REALLY bad films, I have a soft-spot for the old Godzilla movies for instance, but this film wasn't good and it wasn't that bad. The over acting wasn't as extreme as I thought it would be, the pacing was OK and none of the actors either redeemed or destroyed their careers with their performances. The film was pretty much middle of the road. Rent it on DVD if you're really bored. 3/10.
An Evening with Kevin Smith - Short Review
I've been watching my way through Kevin Smiths back catalogue of work recently and one of the forgotten highlights of my DVD collection is An Evening with Kevin Smith. Although the format's pretty simple, Kevin Smith engaging the audience in Q&A sessions in a number of American colleges, the material is polished, the delivery near perfect and the speaker charismatic.
Over three hours of footage he fields questions on pretty much everything, his films, loves and life. All tied together with a number of entertaining stories and anecdotes. If you like Kevin Smith films and his style of dialogue then buy this now. 9/10.
Wed, 16 Aug 2006
Azumi 2 - Death or Love Short Review
Azumi 2: Death or Love is a pretty standard Japanese sword fighting film with impressive wirework, well choreographed action scenes, very little plot and a pretty lead, in this case Aya Ueto.
It follows on directly from the first film, between the continuation of the plot, a number of the same characters and, aside from a few small flashbacks, it makes no attempt to welcome new viewers. Although as a sequel why should it? While it ticks all the same feature boxes as the first film this one seemed to have more (at least more noticeable) bluescreen backgrounds and the pacing didn't seem as well thought out as the first film.
It's watchable and has a couple of great katana fights but it's not as good as its own prequel. 6/10.