Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Goin away for a while!

Hey people who visit my site sometimes. I won't be posting any reviews for a while as I'm going travelling for a year in Australia quite soon, in like a week, so I'm just trying to sort out all that goes into planning a year long holiday, which cuts into my movie watching and reviewing time. And on top of that it'll be a couple of months before I start posting new reviews, as it would kinda be best to enjoy the new country as much as possible and all that, without spending the large amount of time that goes into blog upkeeping. So there it is. See you in a few months!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Serial Mom (1994)

OK, with my fine powers of acute observation, I have come to the conclusion that this film uses just one method to try and impress us: contrasting 50s style, middle class, suburban, normal, "happy" families.............with something that is shocking, murder. And comedy. That sums up the entire movie, for me anyway. Like it works up to a certain point, it just doesn't go that extra mile to be funny, like it's not trying hard enough. It's also as if they drew up a rough draft of the movie, and then just went with that. It doesn't feel like it got polished, or worked on. You feel like there's a gem of a movie inside there, OK we've seen these movies before, but if they only mulled over the dialogue and some of the plot points for a while, they might have turned something out that was genuinely funny. So the premise is interesting enough, even if we've seen it before. We meet our "happy family". It's ultra stylised. Mother: "Good morning darling! Hi kids! Don't forget your lunch Chip. Have a great day at school!". Ahhhh. A fly buzzes around the kitchen table, the mother flips her insanity switch, SPLAT! Awkward moment. The mother has a shocking secret...............she kills people in her spare time! Oh no. So the entire movie is just about her putting on this "loving mother" appearance, then snapping when people piss her off, then she offs them. And her family, and loving but really stupid husband, not putting two and two together, while friends and neighbours get wacked by psycho bitch. Kathleen Turner, who I now think is pretty cool, puts in a good performance and does the best with what she's got, which aint much. I had an odd feeling about Mrs. Turner before I knew much about her for some odd reason. But the more I see of her, the more I like her. Like, she played that stupid, but really hot blonde in "Romancing The Stone", but then I've seen her since in "The Man With Two Brains" and now this, and it seems like she's not afraid to go out on a limb, and take a risk with certain roles. Like, she doesn't mind looking silly, which I like alot. There's nothing worse than someone who tries their best not to look silly, but in control at all times. Just relax a little! And Kathleen doesn't seem to mind at all playing a psychotic serial killer. That's pretty cool. I haven't seen any of John Waters movies before, but from what I've read it seems like he relies on mainly being shocking. Now these days, in my opinion, it's pretty hard to impress by just being shocking alone. It actually gets really annoying and lame. And even around that ancient time of 1994 it would've seemed hard with the likes of David Lynch around doing well with that sort of thing, another guy who's movies I haven't seen much of , but by the sounds of it he was a total freak. Well this clip gave me a good idea anyway: Haha what a nut. Actually, lookin at Lynch's filmography, I haven't seen any of his films. SEE! I don't mind looking silly! Let's all do it! Come on guys and gals! Wouldn't eat panties on youtube though. Anyway this movie was eeeeeehhhhhhhh, alright. I don't want to hate on it too much, but it could have been better (insert condescending tone). Ricky Lake is in it. Ok I'm sorry if I've just put you off watching the movie altogether. Sam Waterston(stupid dad), Matthew Lillard(horror movie fanboy son, comments on horror movies while ACTUALLY being in a horror movie! Haha how awesome!), Susan Somers makes an appearance, Traci Lords is in it woohoo, and......that's it I think. I'll give it........................in my random movie that I actually give a score to.............................wait for it...........................wait for it........................6/10.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Bullit (1968)


Bullit, directed by Peter Yates, stars Steve McQueen as Detective Frank Bullit, a tough as nails maverick cop who drives a Ford Mustang. But wait there's more. His job is: protect a key witness whose gonna testify against a crime syndicate in San Fransisco. Walter Chalmers (Robert Vaughn), an ambitious politician, wants him looked after until the day of the hearing. It's gonna do wonders for his career. But things don't go to plan, an attempt is made on the life of the witness. Bullit must get to bottom of this mess, while being pressured from above by the slimy politician who's threatening to crucify Bullit in the media if his witness doesn't get to testify.

And of course there is the classic car chase. Ford Mustang vs. Dodge Charger. Warner Bro's, who distributed the film, actually stood to make alot of mula out of the their kind advertising of the Mustang. What could be better than McQueen screeching his way around San Fransisco for an advertisement. "I fuckin want that!" are my thoughts exactly. I want a Mustang. I want to be Steve McQueen. I want Jacqueline Bisset as my girlfriend. Why not? For the love of God why not??? Great advertising.

Anyway, that car chase is really good. Nothin too flashy, nothin is made to look better than it really is. It's just really real, and friggin cool. The scenes weren't sped up, and McQueen did most of his driving stunts himself. Apparently he came to work one day and found his stunt man, Bud Ekins, being filmed drivin the Mustang and he got pretty mad, and cussed everyone out. What a badass. And San Fran is a great place for a car chase, with those crazy steep roads. What a great location. I think there has been better car chases since, but before the premier this was sposed to be a really huge event in action film history. It supposedly reinvented the car chase. Nicely done.

The story is simple enough. There are moments that will have you questioning Bullit's motives, but for the most part it holds up really well. Robert Duvall stars in a minor role as a cab driver, and has a decent crack at it. Jacqueline Bisset is the eye candy in the film as Bullit's girlfriend. She makes the odd appearance here and there, doesn't have much to say, but I'm OK with that. McQueen kinda just plays himself, he doesn't get to involved with his character, like he's kinda detached from everything, but in a way it works. If you're a cop, eventually things aren't gonna effect you that much and you'd get detached naturally. Maybe that was his plan all along, maybe not. Any how good job Steve.

I thought that I'd actually be like "holy shit, this film is great!!" before writing this review, but I've kinda toned down my enthusiasm . It's got a 97% approval rating on RottenTomatoes, but I dunno. It's like an 8/10 in my opinion. Just a really solid film. It's certainly not all non stop, sick to you're stomach action. The car chase is like 10 minutes long. But the rest of the film is slow paced, but still really interesting. So give it a look if you wanna tick it off that list of classics that you need to watch.

Oh, and that moment that kicks off the car chase is done brilliantly. Silence...........................................brooooooooom! Hell Yeah.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Masters of the Universe (1987)


OK, so to be totally honest I wasn't too disappointed with this film. It's actually somewhat entertaining. I was planning on laughing throughout, pointing my finger shouting "haha how silly, like get a clue people" or something to that effect, which i did do here and there, but for the most part I actually just had fun going along with the craziness. Like the plot isn't that great, so what, it's He-Man for fug sake! Infact the idea is to keep the plot as simple as possible in my opinion, and up the hamminess. More hamminess please. It actually could have done with more ham. Totally over act He-Man and Skeletor's parts while keeping the earth beings playing it totally straight, like "What the fuck are monsters doing in California!!?? Woooaahh stop the boat! What the hell is going on??? What the fuck is that little midget troll thing?" Something like what Jay does in Dogma. "The fuck! Who the fuck?? What the fuck??"

So the plot goes: Skeletor(Frank Langella, guy who plays Richard Nixon in Frost/Nixon) has taken control of castle Greyskull, and has taken the hot Scorceress(Christina Pickles) prisoner with his magic powers. Woooooooo scary..... Outside in the land of Eternia there was one mother of a huge BATTLE! that just took place where Eternia's warriors were decimated by Skeletor's armies, which we never get to see. Extras are too expensive(even for a $17 million film) so we see like 5 of skeletors warriors ambushed by our hero, the one the only, Ivan Drago from Rocky IV, "I Have The Powerrrrrrrrr!!!".................HE-MAN!!!! Played by Dolph Lundgren. Who is possibly, scratch that definitely the worst actor in the film. He kinda says his line then looks at his muscles to reassure himself that he's got something to offer. "Jesus that line was terrible, but god almighty do I have great pecs".


Anyway, makin this simple.......He-Man, along with Man-At-Arms(cool name I think) and Teela find this little troll midget dude, Gwildor, who fucked up and gave Skeletor a teleporting device, the cosmic key, but Gwildor kept a prototype. They enter the Castle to save the Sorceress, but have to leg it when they're outnumbered, and transport themselves to a totally random part of the universe............happens to be California, United States, Planet Earth. Low Budget.

Julie(played by Courtney Cox, very well I think) is planning on leaving town to start a new life. She's saying her last goodbyes to her boyfriend Kevin, when they stumble across the cosmic key, which got lost in He-Man and co's teleportation. Skeletor and co are able to track this device, and when they eventually do, all hell breaks out in the small Californian town. He-Man must retrieve the Cosmic Key, prevent innocents on Earth getting caught up in the mess, return to Castle Greyskull and save the hot blonde Sorceress. Skeletor wants to enslave He-Man, his eternal pain in the ass, return to Eternia with the last remaining cosmic Key, and become a super god when Eternia's moon aligns with castle Greyskull. Understandable.


It's a really easy film for people to hate on, but it's got it's good points too. Mainly, really cheesy characters who are fun to watch when they're not taking things too seriously. Courtney Cox was good to watch, as was James Tolken(Bald guy in Top Gun) who plays this "cop with an attitude". The effects are terrible, but you know they're "so bad they're good" in a way. As I said Dolph Lundgren was woeful, but he never had that much dialogue, other than "let's go!" or "come on!". The little midget guy was quite annoying. Other than that, not such a terrible way to spend an afternoon.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Radio Days (1987)


Radio Days was directed by Woody Allen, and is quite a hard film to explain. I haven't watched that many Woody Allen films, the reason being whenever I sit down to watch one, I seem to come up with a brilliant excuse not to watch it. I don't know why it is but they don't get me hooked in. Every character feels like they're Woody. Every character seems to just channel Woody's persona, and I just lose interest. Some people might say the same thing about Quentin Tarantino, that all his characters seem like replica's of himself, but his movies are still genius in my opinion, so it's hard to explain really.

So as I said this movie is really hard to explain, plotwise. The only explanation I can give of it is that it's more about just capturing the feeling and atmosphere of a Jewish family living in New York from the late 1930's to the mid 1940's and the Golden Age of Radio before those evil moving picture sets came to town. So Woody grows up listening to the radio, and imagining all these great shows like "The Masked Avenger" in his head, as you would with radio, and there seems to be some great benefit to doin it this way, rather than actually watching TV. I don't know.

Anyway, it's an Ok film. I personally could not relate to any of it. It's a nostalgic film, for people who once lived similar lives to Woody, and for the rest of us it's just an interesting thing just to observe and try appreciate for what it is. I thought it looked, and sounded great, like if I saw a small clip of it I'd think that it was something really special. But when you add all the parts together, it just doesn't do much. The obvious reason being that it doesn't really have a plot. It's more like a bunch of comical little scenes stitched together, with snappy screwball dialogue, but what it all amounted to was just a bit random in my opinion. I wish I could "get" it but I just didn't. Maybe it's coz i'm just a big stupid head.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The Pawnbroker (1965)


The Pawnbroker is one of the greatest character studies I have ever seen. It tells the story of Sol Nazerman(Rod Steiger), a German-Jewish university professor who survives imprisonment in a Nazi concentration camp, only to see his wife, children, friends, everything that he ever loved taken away from him in the most brutal and terrifying ways possible. We observe Sol, twenty years on, living and working in Harlem, New York City.

He runs a pawnshop, and encounters every sort of scumbag and cretin around. A coke head selling his mothers radio for a lousy two dollars for his next fix, a racketeer who uses Sol and his business as a front for his own shady dealings, and then there are people that basically visit Sol just for the conversation, just to hear themselves talk, and feel connected to someone. But Sol is on his own planet altogether. What he has done is subconsciously rid himself of any emotion whatsoever. He's gone totally numb from the experiences he's had. If you can imagine having everything you ever knew, everyone you ever loved being, witness the death of all of that, and to survive it all, just try and imagine how in the world someone could cope with that. What would you do? You now run a pawnshop, a guy comes in to your store, tries to start up a conversation about the weather or some shit, and you're thinking about that day you saw your wife raped by German officers. Or seeing your best friend chased by Alsatians then beaten to death with clubs. You'd be living in hell for the rest of your life. I can't begin to imagine how it really feels, but I can understand on my own basic level.

Basically this movie is seriously depressing. It's brutal. There's no redemption or salvation from his life and it's terrifying to witness. And just thinking about the fact that there are millions of Sol Nazerman's out there in the world who have their own stories to tell is just frightening, and really scares the shit out of me. And the way that life has that tendency to repeat itself over and over again throughout every decade and century is just.....oh my goooooood.......aaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhh! I know this is just a movie, but it really effected me on a personal level, OK to a waaaaaaaaaaay lesser degree than Sol Nazerman, but I can still connect enough with the basic feelings of it. It's one of those movies that just really hits you with a ton of bricks, and leaves you shattered. The movie that comes closest to it in my mind is American History X, or in terms of the study of loniless would be Taxi Driver. That kind of film. Really makes you think. So if you wanna be depressed for the next month or so, watch the Pawnbroker! But honestly it's one of the best movies I've seen, with one of the most convincing performances I've ever had the privilege to witness thanks to Rod Steiger.



Friday, April 30, 2010

Attack! (1956)

Attack! is an American war film directed by Robert Aldrich starring Jack Palance and bad boy Lee Marvin. It's about courage, honesty, standing up for what is right, and condemning to the depths of hell cowardly and dishonest behaviour, and it's just the kind of movie I like. It's easy to get real worked up about some of the bastards in this movie, while also cheering on the heroes. So it tells the story of an American front line combat unit in Belgium, during WWII. Col. Clyde Bartlett(Lee Marvin) runs the show, and he's placed Erskine Cooney(Eddie Albert) as Captain to help his post war political career. See, Erskine is the son of a top judge in the states, and the judge wants to make a war hero out of his cowardly son. Bartlett can use the judge's help after the war, two agendas meet conveniently as one, and you have a fuck up of a situation that follows. The opening scene shows a platoon get shot to pieces, and we learn later on that Cooney could have saved the men and provided support but he's too yellow! The sniveling little runt. See what I mean about getting worked up! Lt. Harold Woodruff (William Smithers) and Lt. Joe Costa (Jack Palance) are two brave fighters who are fuckin pissed off that a snivelling runt such as Cooney is in charge of the troops. Moral is low, so Woodruff tries to reason with Col. Bartlett to get rid of Cooney. But Bartlett is one step ahead. He's fairly frank with Woodruff, being unpretentious he knows that Cooney is nothin but a yellu belly, but he's heard from above that the chances of this unit seeing combat again is 100/1. So he's willing to play the game to get what he wants. Woodruff doesn't like the sound of Cooney staying on, but the news of the unit's slim chances of battle again lifts his spirits enough for him to go along. Then UH OH! seems like there's a new smell of Nazi around the place, Lt. Costa must send his platoon into a small neighbouring town for a reconnaissance mission. Costa must obey, but warns Cooney that if he fails to provide support and chickens out again, he'll "stick this grenade down (his) throat and pull the pin!". Hell yeah. So, the platoon get sent into the small town that low and behold is ridden with SS and fuggin Panzers. Costa's unit is torn to shreds, and where is Cooney? Downing whiskey because he's too scared to enter combat. He tells them to pull out instead and just basically run back, that's the best thing to do. I know situations in war get exaggerated in movies, but I was out of my seat punching at an imaginary Cooney in my living room, yelling and screaming. What a bastard. Anyway, before I reveal the entire movie, I'll just say that this is one hell of a movie to get riled up about. And the way in which the heroes deal with the crummy situation is great to be apart of. It's like a lessons of life movie. Lotsa great examples of how to deal with sonsabitches.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Boxcar Bertha (1972)

So this was an interesting one. Martin Scorsese directed this just a year or so before directing Mean Streets. It was produced by Roger Corman, a dude who was famous for his Exploitation B-Movies, so what you get here is a few sex scenes every so often, mixed with bright coloured bloody violence to keep the audiences at the drive-ins interested enough while they waited for the main feature to start. Added to the mix is Scorsese's very personal touches, like the exploration of themes of loneliness and religion. Include his wacky editing techniques. You get the feeling that he's still learning his trade, while trying to impress with his choppy editing, especially in the opening scenes.

Bertha Thompson, played by Barbara Hershey, was supposedly an actual person, an outlaw folk hero around the time of the great depression. However, as far as I can tell, this movie bears very little resemblance to her real life besides her name being Bertha and her freight train exploits in the Southern Territory. When her father dies tragically in an airplane accident, she decides to head off into the world on her own riding in boxcars, where she meets David Carradine's character "Big" Bill Shelley. Bill is a union man, and he's fed up with the railway establishment, and all that goes along with that. There's riots, angry speeches to workers, violence, all that sort of thing. So Bertha falls in love with Bill, and what we see from here on is a sort of Bonnie and Clyde relationship develope. They rob trains, rich people, run away from the law, get jiggy with it, get caught, break out of prison and so on so forth. Exciting stuff, but it's still a small bit of a rip-off of the original. But Scorsese makes things interesting with his personal touches, like the violence, it's quick and to the point, kinda grim. There's nothing glorious about dying. Well done in my opinion.

It's really not like any of his other works in certain ways. Like the tone of it all. There's an upbeat kinda feeling to it all. And then suddenly you're hit with terrifying scenes of extreme violence and racism. But for the most part it feels like you're watching Starsky and Hutch. It's an exciting adventure, then smack! you're presented with something terrible. Alot of great directors seem to use juxtapositions like this quite well. In his other films you're kinda always expecting the violence, whereas here it's totally out of the blue, and done in sort of a comical way almost, but grim at the same time, quite hard to explain really.

Anyway, this is one of his films that seems to get overlooked, but it's really interesting seeing his progression from this to Mean Streets and so on. There's some mediocre acting (Hershey and Carradine are quite good, but alot of amateur acting), poor sets, overly choppy editing in some parts done to impress, scenes thrown in to keep Roger happy( required sex and violence scenes). But then there's also some really great aspects to it. So give it a watch if you're a real fan of the director.

Carlito's Way (1993)


Ok so Carlito's Way was directed by Brian De Palma roughly I think 10 years after he directed Scarface. Both star Al Pacino as the principal character, but differ alot story wise. Scarface was about an immigrant criminal climbing the ladder of gangster life, and ultimately flushing his success down the crapper with his drug habit. Whereas Carlito's Way is about an immigrant criminal who's had enough of it all, basically he's just run out of steam, but he's finding it hard to leave the "life". Crime follows him around like an old mangy dog that follows you around alot, you know what I'm talkin about? Ya I don't quite know myself.

Sean Penn(frackin brilliant in this) plays this hot shot lawyer who's clients are all mobsters, and he gets Carlito out of a 30 year sentence after only 5 years served. So Carlito is obviously over the moon and basically in love with this guy. But now that he's out he wants to go straight. Once he ran a huge drugs operation on the streets and was in charge of like 90 guys, so he's a legend around the streets. But now all he wants to do is get some money together, $75 000, so he can set himself up as a used car dealer in the Bahamas. His old crime buddies laugh their asses off when they hear about this, but Carlito is determined.

First he's gotta get the money together, so he takes charge of a club who's customers are basically all Mafia "made" guys. And slowly but surely, he lands himself straight back into his old lifestyle, but he's willing to pay the price for his dream. But soon he finds himself too far in, "past the point of no return" as he says. Will he ever get to where he wants to be? Will he get the girl?(there's a bit of romance, underwritten in the script really) Will he sell cars one day? Will his past fatally catch up with him? Watch and find out!

So this is a really well made film, and it really has a terrific ending, it just seems to hit the right note perfectly. You've probably all seen this, it's really well known and all, but I just thought I'd give it some more praise.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

My 10 amazing movie facts about me!

Ok, Aiden over at Cut The Crap Movies tagged me, I'm tagged, I have to reveal my most personal movie related secrets about myself to the three people that read my site. 10) I don't know much about movies. I've seen what I've seen and I'm happy with that. I think I've seen alot of movies, but I can't quite gauge where I am in the spectrum of movie knowledge. In my daily dealings with people, I don't come across many genuine movie buffs, so it's hard to say, but if I ever ended up in genuine movie geek company I reckon I'd have to BS my way through most of the conversation. 9) My earliest memory of watching a movie was going to a drive-in in Durban, South Africa (born and bred there now living in Ireland) I think to watch one the Ninja Turtle movies. Can't remember which. All I remember was Ninja Turtles, and falling asleep before it started, and I think I just woke up to catch the ending. Oh and Michelangelo was my favourite. He's definitely cooler than this dude 8) Cool Hand Luke changed my life. You know when times are tough, your toast falls butter side down, you can't find your keys, things just don't go your way, you just put up with things. Well watching Cool Hand Luke was like waking up and saying "f*&%K it!" I'm not gonna put up with this crap no more! Like Luke did. He wasn't gonna let Dragline beat him, and just basically not take any crap from anybody, especially no Boss's! 7) I've never met anyone in the movie making business who's famous. The most famous person I've seen in close proximity is probably Stephen Hunt who was playing for Premier League club Reading at the time. Don't you wish you were me. 6) I loved The Neverending Story when I was a young. Why? I cannot even begin to imagine, and I'm actually quite pissed off now that I liked it so much. Why couldn't I have been cooler as a kid???? 5) I prefer watching the classics but I watch new crappy releases just to be in the know. 4) I actually liked Avatar alot. Just didn't like the way Cameron threw alot of money at it kinda expecting an Oscar from it. But liked the movie alot. I think the characters were very complex! 3) I want to be Quentin Tarantino! 2) I have about 40 dvds in my massive, huge movie collection. I can't even get in and out of my room it gets so cluttered. But mostly I watch my movies on Sky Movies. 1) Drumroll.........................and now for Jimbob's most personal movie related secret.....................I think John Wayne was better than Clint Eastwood. Clint is awesome as hell, but no one can top a character like John T. Chance in a western in my opinion.

Friday, April 9, 2010

The Misfits (1961)


The Misfits is a film directed by John Huston and is quite an odd film to watch, but for the most part it keeps you glued to the screen. The cast is just brilliant: Clarke Gable(his last film), Marilyn Monroe(her last film), Montgomery Clift(he was awesome in Red River and quite good in this) and the crazy dude from The Good the Bad and the Ugly, Eli Wallach.

So what we have here is: Roslyn Taber (Monroe) is this kind of character who is fed up with the way life has turned out for her, and is lookin for meaning in life and blah blah all that. She's in Reno to divorce her rich businessman husband who was never "there" for her. "There" meaning that he never talked to her or they never really got to know eachother boo hoo. Gay Langland (Gable) and Guido(crazy fella from The Good the Bad and the Ugly) are these aging cowboy types. "The west has gone! The east has arrived! Now we'll have to earn wages! Goodbye to the cowboy lifestyle! No more cattle drives! Oh no!" That kind of thing.

So the aging cowboys get by in life by catching wild mustangs that are too small for rodeos, so they get made into dog food. Pretty sad actually. In thier younger days they would have sold the horses for actual transport purposes, but with the arrival of the demon machines, gasoline engine mechnaical beasts, horse transpotation soon became obsolete, and the horses soon became dog food. So what was once exciting and a decent living for the two cowboys has now become something terrible, horses->dogfood.

Well the cowboys and Roslyn(and her friend) meet in a restaurant, and strangely they all just decide to go live in Guido's(Wallach) house in the desert for a while. Well with Marilyn Monroe being amazingly hot, the two cowboys just want to get it on with her, and she being really naive this is what happens. The rest of the film is just about how terrible their lives have become, them trying to "find" themselves, and Roslyn getting hella pissed off at what the cowboys do for a living. It's worth a watch, but it is quite depressing at the same time. It was suppose to have been a classic, what with he great cast and director and good writer and all, but never really lived up to it's potential. Marilyn Monroe is hot.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Real Genius (1985)


Well this was OK, not the greatest thing I've ever watched but watchable enough. You could get slightly tempted to reach for the remote and switch the channel, but the movie never really pushes you that far. It's got Val Kilmer, an actress who I was convinced was Selma Blair who's not Selma Blair, and.....that's about it. There's a few other actors who I just won't care to mention, since I really haven't a clue who they are.

OK so this is a "college kids having fun with science" type of movie. Yay how fun. I don't know. I can't understand the idea of science being fun, at all. Unless there was some huge chemical disaster turning people into zombies, I am just not interested. More lab disasters in school would have spiced things up alot. But alas it just wasn't meant to be.

So as simply as possible, the plot: There's a 15 year old kid genius, there's a college professor who's been hired by the CIA to build a laser beam that zaps people from space, and there's Val Kilmer's character who is a genius but says "heck I want to be cool!" so goofs around alot. A genius who's hip with the young crowd. So the professor wants them to build this Laser beam contraption all under the pretence that it's their course work. But soon they find out they're building a device that is designed to kill and the rest of the plot is shaped around that.

It's OK. Val Kilmer's character was just too hip for my liking. I got the fact that he wanted to be cool, doesn't everybody, and not such a stressed out academic type, but most of the time he just tried too hard. Like, he'd be an OK guy to hand around with once in a while, but hang around him too long and I'd really just get annoyed that he was trying to be cool all the time. Take a rest, just be normal!

Overall, I couldn't care less, watch it, don't watch it. It's just OK.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Kick-Ass (2010)


Kick-Ass, ya another comic book adaptation, is directed by Matthew Vaughn and is really, really good. Watching the trailer we see Mclovin dressed in his Red Mist costume jumping off of a dumpster hurting his foot "ow, that kinda hurt!", and we get the feeling that this is gonna be one long superhero movie piss take. But that's really far from the truth of it. It actually takes itself seriously.



Another line from the trailer :"How come nobody's ever tried to become a superhero?" to which his buddy replies "Dude, if anyone did it in real life they'd get there ass kicked. They'd be dead, like, in a day". Ok so we get the feeling that this film is based in real life, and this guy, Dave Lizewski, is gonna try his hand at costumed crime fighting. So we're interested from the get go. Maybe we'll get to see how this would work if someone actually tried it. It would be really cool to see. And what happens? He gets his ass beaten again and again, and it's quite funny, but at the same time you feel kinda sad for him. Like he's so sick of being mugged all the time, that he invents the superhero character for himself to fight back at "life", but life just kicks his ass even harder.

But it's really cool the way that he trudges on. He's stabbed in the stomach(ya this is real life buddy) but he just says "F*&$K it!" and carries on the dream. While out on a major superhero mission to find a missing cat, he unwittingly gets involved in a gang brawl. At first he reacts like any normal human being would, he's afraid to do anything while one guy gets punched and nearly kicked to death. But after a moments thought(or moments insanity) he turns into his superhero character, Kick-Ass. And for the next two minutes he gets his ass whooped. But after a while he kinda gets into the swing of things, and delivers his own ass kicking moves on the thugs. Someone in the diner yells "Hey there's a guy dressed up as a superhero fighting a bunch of guys!" and everyone in the diner rushes out to watch the craziness, recording the action on their mobile phones. Kick-Ass actually drives the thugs away with his crude crime fighting techniques (just him swinging sticks around wildly basically). The video appears on YouTube: an Internet sensation is born!

From the reviews I had read before watching the film, I had heard that Hit-Girl was really the star of the show, and I kept waiting and waiting for her appearance. And finally she arrived. So Hit-Girl is like twelve years old, and cusses like a person that cusses alot. Now she's the real deal. She actually IS a superhero, no super powers, except for her unnatural ass kicking ability which works just fine. Her father, Big-Daddy(Nick Cage-quite good in this actually) has raised her to kill. He himself dresses like Batman and actually kills lots of bad guys. So from the realm of reality that we thought we were in, here are two genuine superheros who enter the picture. "What the hell?" I asked.

This is where alot of people had problems with the film. Wasn't it supposed to be about a real guy tring to become a superhero? And failing? Suddenly it turns into an actual superhero movie. People start dodging bullets. Wasn't this all supposed to be plausible? No. The thing is that it was always a superhero movie. Kick-Ass, real name Dave Lizewski, is a normal guy IN A SUPERHERO STORY! It still turns out to be really entertaining, and Hit-Girl IS the star of the show.



It might have been nice to go with the Dave Lizewski turning into Kick-Ass as the main focus of the story, and have it end on a realistic note, and that would have been a great movie to see. However the way it really turns out is still really good. The dialogue is really funny. It's like watching Superbad again. The action is really impressive for an Indie film on a budget of only $28 million. The music is great! The theme music from For a Few Dollars More rears it's melodic head, and is really well done, and I felt that it really fit the scene well. There's Joan Jett's "Bad Reputation", and again it gels really well with the scene. Throw in some Prodigy as well and you have a classic soundtrack. And a really good film.

Friday, March 26, 2010

The Last Emperor (1987)


This film was directed by Bernardo Bertolucci in 1987, six years after his previous film. It's about a boy named Puyi who was made emperor of China when he was 3 years old. And it's really good. It was the first time ever that a film was given permission to shoot footage inside of the Forbidden City, the actual place where this guy lived.

Puyi is made emperor of China in 1908, when he is just three years old. But it's just out of convenience really, China now has a president who controls the show. Puyi can do what ever he wants except leave the grounds of the Forbidden City. Why? I don't know. Powerful people like to make rules like this. So at 7 years old (big word alert) he abdicates the thrown. So he gives up what little power he had, which was like none. A Scottish tutor, played by Peter O'Toole, arrives to educate the boy on all of life's lessons. He's a worldly knowing type, whereas Puyi only knows about the goings on of his prison like home. So Puyi is impressed by the tutor, and now wants to "spread his wings" and fly the coop. He wants to be a modern man with a modern wife who can dance.

When Puyi is in his 20s he is forced to leave the Forbidden City. So happy days, that's what he wanted. He moves to Japan, because the emperor there is the same age as him and they become buddy buddy with each other. Puyi turns into that "Asian trying to be a Westerner type" and we see him with a western style haircut, he refers to his wife now as Elizabeth, and we see him in a tux leaning against a piano crooning to some hip western tune.

Japan has an agenda going meanwhile. They want to take over Manchuria from the Russians, as a strategic base for when they bomb the Chinese. They're gonna set up Puyi(Manchuria was his birthplace) as a puppet ruler. Puyi thinks that the Japanese are just doing him a good turn. When this happens(alot of Chinese are killed under Puyi's "return" in the process), the Japanese slowly start to take more and more control of the running of things. Puyi got played. Then the Russians land and take Puyi as prisoner. Things rapidly go downhill for ol Pu man. He's transferred as a war criminal into Chinese hands, where he will enter a re-education camp.

So he's being re-educated as well as being interrogated in this camp, and the story of his life is told through these long flashbacks that make up the entire film. It really is brilliantly done. John Lone does a great job portraying Puyi from the age of 20 or so on. The scenery is really amazing. The constant yellow and red colouring of the Chin Dynasty is seen throughout his childhood, and the flushed out colour of his time in the prison camp gives you that depressed, sick of life, everything is terrible feeling. The costumes are brilliant and really make you feel like you're seeing the real thing. The only complaint is that the Chinese spoke plain English. I can read subtitles! Make them talk Chinese and let it be authentic!! But I got over that soon as this is a really awesome film!

Tony Manero (2008)


Tony Manero is a Chilean film directed by Pablo Larraín, and it's about a guy who's obsessed with John Travolta's character in "Saturday Night Fever". It's one odd film. But brilliant at the same time.

Alfredo Castro plays Raúl, a guy that has a one track mind. To the escape the brutal realities of Pinochet's Chile in 1978, he tries to become his idol, Tony Manero. At the start we see him waiting outside of a local television set. He's there to become Chile's next "Tony Manero" in a dance off competition, the top prize is a blender. But he's got it wrong, this week is the best Chuck Norris lookalike competition, the Tony Manero Dance Off is next week. Now this guy is a walking zombie. There's no emotion from him. He doesn't get angry, but is just like "OK" and walks off. You never know what he's really thinking, or if he's even thinking at all. There's no emotion whatsoever.

So he's got a week to kill before his television appearance. He's got no job. And I assume that he just sponges off of people to get by. He is one seriously dislikable character. Sitting in his apartment, he hears commotion outside. A couple of thugs have robbed an old lady. Raúl runs downstairs to help, or so we think anyway. She's so grateful to him that she invites him for tea. After a while, having eyed the colour television set, he bashes the old lady's brains in. Seriously this comes straight out of left field. I never saw it coming. It is seriously disturbing.

What Raúl does for a living is dance. He's in charge of a low rent dance troop that practices Tony Manero's dance routine. Two of the dancers show him a couple of original moves that they have come up with to add to the show but Raúl replies "That's not in the movie!". He's got a serious case of assholeness. So they practice and practice and now they get their chance to perform for like 8 or 9 people lookin for cheap entertainment. Raúl has constructed a glass dance floor that glows from beneath just like in "Saturday Night Fever"(well not exactly alike but that's what he thinks) as well as his own disco ball(a soccer ball with broken bits of mirror stuck to it). You just have to applaud the guy for his effort.

But there's that really, really dark side to Raúl. He'll do anything to improve his standing in the world, including murdering an old lady as I've already said. When his local cinema starts showing "Grease" instead of "Saturday Night Fever" he flips his carrot and murders the projectionist. When he's buying the glass for his dance floor, he murders the seller because he hasn't enough money. And there is absolutely no emotional reaction at all when he does these things.

There's also a really great parallel drawn by the film. Raúl represents Chile in a way, and the search for it's identity. In the film notes the director talks about the way in which "Chile has blood on it's hands, but tries it's best to be trendy and stylish, dancing under flashing strobe lights all in the name of progress". Raúl never reflects on the things he has done. He's always on the lookout for the next best thing to improve his standing. He thinks that by pretending to be Tony Manero, that all his problems will disappear. But they're all hollow dreams. He lives in fantasy land, and never deals with reality.

Overall this is one seriously interesting film. There's very few things to laugh at, but I'd say after a while when you think back over it you'll be in stitches laughing. It's like experiencing a really horrible incident, but thinking back over it a month or two later it sounds hilarious. But very, very, very disturbing at the time.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Shutter Island (2010)


Well, well Shutter Island. I love this film. I am actually in love with it. Everything about it is pure genius. Martin Scorsese is the effin man. Can I praise it any more? Will I praise it any more? Yes and yes. Scorsese is simply a master at storytelling. There's few films that have this sort of effect on me. Chinatown, There Will Be Blood, Kill Bill 2 were examples and now I'll add this mo foer of a masterpiece to that list. Everything about it blew me away and I'm not being pretentious about that.

Where to start? Honestly. It's fantastically amazing! OK I'll try and tone down the excitement already. Leonardo DiCaprio plays Teddy Daniels, a U.S Marshall sent to Shutter Island. On this island is Ashecliff Hospital, it houses the criminally insane. Apparently, one of the inmates(a woman that drowned her three children) has escaped, or more to the point seems to have vanished into thin air. He has been sent here along with his new partner Chuck Aule (Mark Ruffalo) to investigate her disappearance. The head honcho on the island is Dr. John Cawley (Ben Kingsley), this smart academic type who has a smell of Nazi about him. As Teddy interviews some of the nutters, he begins to grow more and more suspicious of the hospital's psychotherapy treatments. But there's another reason for Teddy being here. He's here to find a man that he believes has killed his wife. Along the way Teddy starts to doubt his own sanity. More and more he starts to distrust everyone around him. And then there's one mother of an ending to top things off.

I'm reminded alot of Hitchcock's movies when I think about this film. Films with great stories and great characters, that delve alot of the time into psychological territory, and shine a light on the madness and violence that live in some people's minds. You start questioning everything in Shutter Island. What's real? What is not? What the hell is going on? But you're always in very safe hands with Scorsese. Sure there's lots of twists and turns along the way but for some reason there's no feeling of total confusion. The basics of it are easy enough to grasp. Well I might be blowing my own trumpet a bit but I found it easy enough to follow. This is one great, great movie.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Home Alone (1990)


Home Alone is one of the most entertaining movies I've ever seen. It's directed by Chris Columbus, written by John Hughes(Ferris Bueller's Day Off) and stars Macaulay Culkin as an 8 year old kid left at home alone. There's alot of mixed views on this one, and you'll either love it or hate it. I can't believe that someone could actually hate a film like this.

Kevin McCallister(Culkin) is left behind accidentally as his parents and 8 other siblings fly out to Paris for a holiday. He hasn't been getting on with his family recently, and is over the moon about being left alone for once in his life. Two bumbling burglars Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern pay a visit to the neighbourhood, aware that there'll be a few empty houses over the festive period. Kevin decides to take a stand and defend his house at all costs. Why didn't he just ring the police you say? Who'd really like to see that film?

Ok, now for some of the arguments against the film. "The film is contrived in every detail". What films aren't contrived? Films are inherently unnatural due to the fact that.........they're not real!!! So the tarantula is conveniently placed on the stairs in front of Kevin when Daniel Stern is pulling at his leg. So all the realist boring people out there are saying "That would never happen!!!! How convenient!!! So contrived!! OOooohh I hate it so much!" Come on.

Another one: "The film is incredibly violent". An iron hits Daniel Stern on the head "Oh my God!!! It's just too horrific for my eyes!!" Wait a minute, Wile E. Coyote gets flattened with a giant boulder in nearly every episode. "Why wasn't that show pulled from kids television, it's so violent!" Why not? Because this world would be an incredibly boring place if these people were in charge.



"Macaulay Culkin's acting was unnatural" another person said. He was like 10 years old!!!!! I can't believe that someone would take a person of that age's acting so seriously.

The reason that I haven't concentrated on the actual film, and rather on the reactions to it, were most of the reviews posted by super highly, intellectual people who look for the bad in everything while trying to impress people with negativity. Rather than just giving an honest opinion on something, they have to intellectualize it to death. And now I'm just extremely bitter because of it!!! Approved Tomatometer critics at Rottentomatoes gave the film an aggregate score of 47%!!! Read some of the reviews. They're hilarious.

The reasons why I loved the film? The film is honest with itself. It knows that it's being sentimental, and it's aware that it looks contrived and says to hell with it!!!! Let's just believe in it as long as the film lasts. Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern are magnificent. The theme of everyone being against Kevin, and Kevin taking on "the world"(well I think that's how he sees it) is brilliantly done. The slapstick comedy is hilarious!! The tarantula on Daniel Stern's face is one of the funniest scenes I have seen in my entire life!! Daniel Stern's performance was the icing on the cake to this already brilliant film. The tone of it all is just fantastic. It just seems very optimistic, an innocent blah blah blah. It really is just a great, great film.



Absolute Brilliance!

Jerry Maguire (1996)


Jerry Maguire is directed by Cameron Crowe, and has a stellar cast consisting of Tom Cruise, Renée Zellweger, Cuba Gooding, Jr. and Jonathan Lipnicki. This is a great movie with a few moral lessons thrown into the mix without being all preachy about it.

Tom Cruise plays Jerry Maguire, a hot shot sports agent who one day developes a conscience. He's tired of being just another "shark in a suit" and he wants to feel the way he did when he first started out in the business. So he writes a new mission statement for his company: "The Things We Think and Do Not Say: The Future of Our Business". It's his brutally honest thoughts on the state of the agent trade. So everyone's so impressed with his memo, but a week after writing it he's fired by Bob Sugar (Jay Mohr), a man who's career he helped build. Adding to the insult of it all, Bob Sugar steals most of Jerry's players except for football superstar Frank Cushman, and the lesser known, trash talking Rod Tidwell (Cuba Gooding, Jr). Jerry starts his own agent business with the help of Dorothy Boyd (Renée Zellweger), and a bit of romance developes. Jerry must fight to keep his career alive, and keep his players from abandoning him.

This movie starts off where most movies end. It explores the aftermath of making the breakthrough of deciding to stay true to oneself, and being honest and all that saintly, heavenly stuff. It's saying that it's not a walk in the park once you decide to do it. People take advantage of honest Jerry. So Jerry must learn how to play the game, while still trying to be "Jerry". What happens is that there isn't a complete transition from slimey, money worshipping Jerry to upstanding, do the right thing all the time Jerry. He becomes a slightly better person, but he's still a money hungry agent. He's just trying to be very successful on his own terms.

The casting is excellent. Cuba Gooding, Jr. is brilliant as the loudmouthed, cocky Rod Tidwell, and his award for best supporting actor was well deserved. Renée Zellweger has her usual charm. Tom Cruise was an excellent choice. He normally plays that asshole that gets everything that he wants, but here he's at his best where he's that asshole who has come to the realisation that he's an utter moron, and decides to change. All in all, I'd give it a 8/10.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

The Man with Two Brains (1983)


The Man with Two Brains is directed by Carl Reiner and stars Steve Martin and Kathleen Turner. It's a spoof of mad scientist movies. If you're not a fan of those types of movies some of the jokes will fly over your head, but there's still enough non- referenced humour to laugh at.

Steve Martin plays Dr. Michael Hfuhruhurr, a mad scientist that has developed a new type of brain surgury. He screws off the tops of his patients heads to make things easy peasy japaneasy while he works his magic on thier brains. Kathleen Turner plays a gold digging biatch from hell, Dolores Benedict. Hfuhruhurr knocks her down with his Mercedes, and has to perform brain surgory on the lovely Dolores. The operation is successful and the two fall in love and get married, and everything is hunky dory, ....or so it seems. Dum, dum,duuuum. Dolores is only after his money, Hfuhruhurr falls in love with a brain in a jar, and somewhere thrown into the mix is an elavator serial killer who injects people with window cleaner. Will we find out who the serial killer is? Will Hfuhruhurr and Dolores's relationship last? Will Hfuhruhurr's love affair with the brain in the jar be found out? Dum, Dum, Duuuum.

It's actually really, really funny for the first hour or so. Then the laughter peters out but it's still interesting enough to watch. This is the funniest I've ever seen Steve Martin. Kathleen Turner is savagely sexy, and spoofs her sultry image of that time quite well. It's just very enjoyable and there's nothing to really hate about it. I'd give it a 7/10.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Kingpin (1996)


Kingpin was directed by the Farrelly brothers, and stars Woody Harrelson, Randy Quaid, Vanessa Angel, and Bill Murray. It's hilarious at times, and at other times the jokes just bomb. Maybe the intention was that they knew that some of the jokes would be so bad that they'd turn out funny in a camp sort of way, while really the fact is that some were just terrible. But, as I said, there were some really funny moments as well.

Woody stars as Rory Munson. As a kid, he's taught the ins and outs of bowling by his dad. Rory developes amazing bowling skillzzzz. When he's around 19 he plans to go on the Proffesional Bowlers Tour, after winning the 1979 Iowa state amateur championship. He wins his first tournament on tour by beating Ernie McCracken (Bill Murray). Soonafter, he teams up with McCracken as they try thier luck at bowler hustling. After beating a redneck priest, they are found out and McCracken ditches Rory. The rednecks stick Rory's hand into a ball retrieval mechanism, and he looses his hand. Cut to 17 years later, and Rory is an alcoholic with a comb over, and a hook for a hand. He makes up for unpaid rent by having sex with his disgusting landlady. He comes across amish Ishmael Boorg (Randy Quaid) bowling with a 270 average. (I don't bowl but I'm guessing that's good). Rory convinces Ishmael to go along with him to a $1,000,000 winner-take-all tournament in Reno, Nevada. Along the way they pick up the super sexy Claudia (Vanessa Angel). Ishmael must win to save his amish land, and there's a bit of a love story that developes between Rory and Claudia.

As I said, at times it can be hilarious(Claudia to Rory,refering to his hook hand "Must be hard when you're spanking your monkey". Ishmael to Rory "You've got a monkey?"), and at other times the reliance on the disgusting jokes are nothing but disgusting and far from funny. There's homages to films like "the Hustler" which I found quite interesting, having LOVED The Hustler. Bill Murray is quite good as the arrogant, slimey, cocky, king of all assholes Ernie McCracken. As others have commented, more Ernie would have done the film alot of good. The film also feels very disjointed at times. Characters dissapear for ages then return and you're like "where the hell was he for the last half hour??"

Overall, this is a movie with a few decent strikes, but a lotta gutterballs.(hahaha............)

Monday, March 8, 2010

The Oscars 2010


I've got to admit that I never really watch the Oscars. I mean I've seen bits and bobs here and there but I've never really sat down to watch an entire show. Well I did now and here are my thoughts on the whole affair: Entertaining enough. Better than I expected. You've got to take the good with the bad.

The Red Carpet
Well I watched E! for all the red carpet stuff, and Ryan Seacrest is a bit of a twit, but I got over that. Some of the jibber jabber is quite entertaining once you start to take an objective look and just observe the craziness as it's presented in front of you. Giuliana Rancic and the gay guy(can't find his name anywhere) commentary is hilarious, and not because they're funny themselves. When they spot an actress it's "Ok, Ok freeze the frame right there. Loooovin her, looovin this right here, all this bit here, the way it starts off small and then goes around the back....loooovin it" and they can both start to disagree, before sussing each other out and finally coming to the same conclusion. Normally "she's loookin stuuuuning!" while really it's far from the truth. Keepin it real alright.

The Show
George Clooney looked a bit drunk, and there's a debate going on whether he was in on the act when Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin were taking shots at him. I myself think he was in on the act. And if not, who gives a crap.

The Presenters
Steve and Alec as mentioned above were really entertaining in a "we can't present!! what are we doing here???" sort of way. Some of the jokes bombed, but you'd still had to laugh.

The Interpretive Dancers
Who the hell are these guys???!! Sure they're good at what they do, but what's it all about really?? If you just stopped for a second and said to yourself "what the hell is really going on??" without getting caught up in it all, you'd see it's just a bunch of people jumpin around doin their own cool little moves. There were moments when there was synchronicity(hope that's a word) but the rest of the time it was just absolute madness.

The Awards
Well The Hurt Locker cleaned up, and to be honest I was quite surprised. I mean I loved The Hurt Locker, but Avatar did shockingly bad. It got best make up(whatever the award is for that), best special effects(no brainer) and Best Cinematography. Hurt Locker, after taking everything at the Baftas, continued the form with best director, best picture, two awards for sound, best editing, and best original screenplay. Nothin for Tarantino! Where's the justice?? Well I.B was never gonna win much, but I'd have liked to have seen a bit more appreciation for it. Christoph Waltz did win for Best Supporting actor though. And he deserved it.

Overall, not a bad night's entertainment.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Ben-Hur (1959)


Ben-Hur(1959) is an epic film directed by William Wyler starring Charlton Heston, and it's 3 hours thirty two minutes long. It's incredibly long, but somehow it's not quite the bore that I thought it might turn out to be. The thing that really stands out in this film is not the performances, and certainly not the dialogue, but there are some great action scenes and incredible set designs.

Charlton Heston plays a well off merchant Jew, Judah Ben-Hur. His childhood friend Messala(Stephen Boyd), originally a jew, has returned as a Roman Tribune(one of the higher ups in the army). They're all buddy buddy happy to see eachother once again, but things soon turn sour when Messala asks Judah to basically become an informant, and turn in some of the Jews who are rebeling against the Roman occupation of thier land. Judah refuses and Messala is very angry about this, boo hoo, and they both go thier separate ways. When a Roman Governer visits the town, Judah's sister accidently knocks over a loose tile from the roof, and it falls hitting the Governer and killing him. Messala arrests Judah, even though he knows it was an accident, and sends him to the galleys. Judah's mother and sister are also arrested for no reason and are sent down into the dungeons. Judah vows to return and take revenge on Messala and reunite with his family. Revenge! Hell Yeah!

The chariot race is obviously the best part about this film. It's simply fantastico. I don't need to go on about this. Most people know that there is an awesome chariot race that everyone needs to see once before they die. But it really is that good. The one thing that annoyed me about this film is the religion aspect of it. Spoiler! Judah basically gets kicked in the nuts at every turn he makes, and it's cool to see him rise up and take revenge against Messala. But just when he's about take on Rome(now that would have been cool to see), since Rome the empire is basically THE enemy throughout(it turned his old Jewish pal into an almighty prick), religion creeps into the movie and saves the day! Basically magic happens. Hocus pocus. Judah's family, who bacame lepers in the dungeons, are totally cured because they see Jesus being crucified! What the hell is that about?? So the message is that no matter what happens, believe in Jesus or something, and one day if you're a leper some sort of wizardry might happen and totally cure you???? I could go on about it but you really have to see it for yourself to make your own mind up about it. That part made no sense to me.

Anyway, overall this was not such a chore to watch, given the length of time and all. Charlton sucks as a hero(I think that he'd have suited the villain role much better, he's just that sort of asshole), but the action scenes and some of the revenge themes makes this somewhat enjoyable to watch.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Righteous Kill (2008)


Righteous Kill is a film directed by Jon Avnet, starring Al Pacino and Robert De Niro, and is seriously one big waste of time. It tries so hard, tries it's best to fit in with the cool kids of crime thrillers, but really there is no point to the film at all.

Two New York police detectives, Turk(De Niro) and his partner Rooster(Pacino), have worked as a team for years. They've grown tired of seeing criminals walk free because of lack of evidence and other such things. We get a sense that Turk especially is goin nuts. We are constantly interupted throughout the film with footage of Turk confessing to a number of killings. And when we join the pair throughout the working day, they come across murders that appear to be have been commited by a cop. Ok so we get the "subtle" hint that it's Turk. It's up to a rival duo of detectives who are suspicious of Turk to bring him down.

While the whole idea has potential to be interesting, the script, directing and editing of this film flushes that potential down the crapper. The ending is just so obvious it's beyond rediculous. Towards the end you get a sense that Pacino and De Niro are just having a laugh. They simply couldn't pull this one off by acting alone. This movie is an absolute waste of time.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Top Gun (1986)


Top Gun. Where to begin? Directed by Tony Scott. Produced by Jerry Bruckheimer. Starring the white toothed wonder kid Tom Cruise, Val Kilmer, Kelly McGillis, Meg Ryan, Tim Robbins(never spotted him at all!), and Anthoney Edwards. Well it's all laughs from beginning to end. It's one of the most entertaining movies I've ever seen due it's pure comedic value. You'd think that they were acually trying to parody the types of characters we see in this film.

I mean did people really think that Maverick was cool back then? I can understand kids liking a movie like this "Wow, planes! Jet-fighter jackets! Awesome!". But adults? Who were the ones forking out $353 million in theatres around the world in 1986, catapulting Tom "You're a Jerk! You're a jerk!" Cruise to stardom? Who's resposible for this!!?? I'd like to know! Questions need to be answered. People need to reflect, and take accountability. This is a very serious matter. Young kids were led to believe that this kind of behaviour was the way to go. "Ok kids, to be cool, to get the chicks, you need to learn cool technospeak, and you need a call-sign like 'Maverick' or 'Iceman', just something thats really super awesome sounding".

The plot is, and I really can't believe that somebody could write a script like this, is: Tom Cruise plays Pete "Maverick" Mitchell, one arrogant, cocky, sonofabitch jet fighter pilot. Him and his pal "Goose" are sent to a Jet Fighter school, where only the elite can attend and they're all in competition with eachother to win the prize of "Top Gun". And they're all really serious about it. It's hilarious. Maverick and Goose's biggest rivals to the Top Gun throne are Iceman(Val Kilmer) and Slider. There's plenty of macho "we're better than you"...."No you're not!" banter going on. Maverick meets a girl in the bar and acts like a jackass....IT GETS COMPLICATED!.......she's the Top Gun flight instructor! OH NO! And the rest of this stupid story just plays itself out with the odd scene of the pilots playing volyball with no shirts and only jeans on and Tom Cruise riding his super cool motorbike really fast whenever he reflects over his stupid life. It's just really, really funny to see people taking themselves so seriously. That's what makes this film so great to watch.

People who are fans of movies like "Fast and Furious" and such will love this film. It's all about going really fast, being the best, and lookin cool while doing it. People who strike poses, suck their stomachs in and lean against objects in a masculine sort of way. I really don't get it. But it's great fun to watch these people.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Notorious (2009)


I have to admit that I actually liked this movie. I fell for it. I could somehow relate to Biggie Smalls and the world that he lived in. He's a guy who has his problems, he wants to turn his situation around, he wants a better life for himself and his mom, move out of the streets, and live life on his own terms. It was great to see him get out of prison and make the choice to use his god given talents of amazing rap skillz(with a z, oh ya like the cool people do it) to make things happen for himself. I really liked the character of the man at the start. Sure he whored himself around the place, dealt drugs, carried a piece but who are we to judge? Who here hasn't dabbled in such business??? Anyone? Anyone?

You all know about Biggie Smalls. The rap dude who had a feud with Tupac Shakur. East side "you guys in the west suck at rap!" versus west "no way you suck!". Well Piff Paff Waddy Daddy "Sean Combes" produced this film along with Biggie Smalls' mother. I DIDNT KNOW THIS AT BEFORE WATCHING THIS FILM. I actually fell for the sensationalism of it all. I thought "hey, Puff is a really cool guy", the way he basically nearly single handedly elevated Biggie Smalls to stardom. "And Biggie's mom, well she is just a heavenly saint. And as for Biggie, well he has his problems but he's just really a big ol' loveable teddybear. Then I listened to one of his songs on YouTube. Honest to God I heard him say something about wacking a kid across their face on communion day. WACK! What a great guy. But then there's the argument "well geez get over it just a song!" Ya but it's stil kindof an odd thing to rap about isn't it?

So basically this film is totally biased. Tupac is portrayed as a raging lunatic who starts the feud. Biggie is the gooddie, Tupac is the baddie, and the record is set straight once and for all! Thanks Puff for sorting that one out!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Wayne's World (1992)


Eh, this film was ok. There were bits which I liked, and there's bits where I roled my eyes up to the ceiling like "god that's friggin stupid" but I still came away with the feeling that this film was quite unique. But then I've read in reviews that this film is basically a remake of Bill and Ted's Excellently Awesome Adventure. So there goes my theory on it's uniqueness. I still liked it anyhow for the most part. But some scenes were just so so stupid that I was looking for some hidden joke to it all where there was nothing.

There's alot of stupidity in this film. You know how The Simpsons are basically flogging a dead horse playing off of Homer's stupidity the whole time? That's how I feel about most of the humour in this movie. I kept waiting for a joke with a clever angle, but no it was just "these guys are stupid, stupid is funny, we'll settle with that". There's a scene where Wayne(Mike Myers) and Garth(Dana Carvey) bump into the local police officer. Wayne goes "Hey, what's that bacon I smell? He he. Someone cooking some pork hehehe" and the policeman goes "Oh I get it, it's coz I'm a policeman is it?". Why would they make the policeman say such a stupid line??? I thought that he might have followed it on with something but that was it. They pointed out the obvious and left it at that! I know I sound now like I HATE the movie but the jokes were really not that good.

What I DID LIKE about it was the idea of the story. Two "slacker" dudes run a cable access television show out of Wayne's parent's basement. That has funniness written all over it. There's alot that could be done with that. Think of Del Boy in "Only Fools And Horses". Del Boy tries to be so "cool" and really sophisticated but he's so stupid that he can never get anything right despite him trying his bestest. The thing is that Wayne and Garth think that their being stupid is funny, and most of the time it's not it's just really stupid. Whereas Del Boy is funny because he tries so hard not to be stupid while everyone around him is laughin their ass off at him. I'd have liked Wayne and Garth to be really serious about their cable show.

Other things which I LIKED(I did like some of this film!) were the pop culture references. Spoiler. You have the T1000(Robert Patrick) from Terminator 2 show up looking for John Connor, scaring the pants off of Wayne. There's spoofs of Laverne and Shirley(which I've never seen but liked the idea of the spoof afterwards) and Scooby Doo. Meat Loaf and Alice Cooper make appearances. There's a great scene, which many may be aware of, of the "dudes" headbanging in the car along to Bohemian Rhapsody. Alot of phrases were started in this movie like "that's what she said","Shwing!" and (every review that I've read has incorporated this in some clever, original way)..."NOT!" Haha hilarious. Not so funny now but back then, before people had started using those sayings in every joke, I imagine they might have been quite funny.

So there it is. I liked the IDEA! of the story and the many pop references but the humour in it, FOR ME, was terrible. They were "Haha that's so funny....(while you look around to see if anyone else is laughing)" jokes that really weren't that good. I'd say overall...Eh, ok.

Monday, February 22, 2010

The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007)


I really liked this movie. I've read alot of reviews where people were were unhappy with the length of the film, with the pacing, and the fact that the actors seemed to take forever to spit their lines out. I know how they feel in this situation, having being bored to death recently watching "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button", but I've got to say that I was glued to the screen from start to finish with this movie. I love character studies for some reason. And alot of people might argue the fact that this might not be the greatest character study ever made, but these types of films generally draw me in quite easily.

The plot: Robert Ford(Casey Affleck) at age twenty is a keen admirer of the legendary outlaw Jesse James(Brad Pitt). He's practically in love with guy, you get the feeling that he wants to BE Jesse James. Most people have heroes, but this guy is obsessed. He wants to join the James gang in their latest escapade: a train robbery. Frank and Jesse run the gang of low level criminals looking to make an easy buck. Frank thinks Bob hasn't "the ingredients" to make it in the gang, but Jesse is flattered into taking in Bob. After the robbery, Jesse let's Bob stick around for his own amusement, and tells his other associates to leave. After a few days, Bob's obssesiveness creeps Jesse out, and Jesse tells him to leave. From here on out, Bob Ford starts to see his hero in a different light. On a few occasions when they cross paths again, Jesse taunts and embarrasses Bob. Bob developes a sort of love/hate relationship with Jesse. Meanwhile Jesse's former associates are planning on turning in him to collect a bounty. Jesse, the clever guy that he is, senses that his "pals" might be plotting against him. He surrounds himself with stupid people, guys that are too cowardly to "do something", namely Bob. We see Jesse struggling with depression and paranoia for the remainder of the film. He feels trapped, like he knows what's coming and it's just a matter of time before it happens. Being the smart guy that he is, he decides to groom Bob as his murderer. Suicide by another person's hand. He'll be remembered as a legend, Bob will fill the role as Judas. The title of the movie could nearly be called "The assassination of Robert Ford, by the Legendary Jesse James".

Brad Pitt is very convincing as Jesse James. For the most part, we listen into his posse's conversations. They're afraid, they're always plotting their next move behind his back, and it's great when we see Jesse confront them. He sits in the room and just observes them, while they fidget around, mumble their words, make up stories. Jesse sees straight through them all. Jesse James knows people. Like any great leader, his strength lies in knowing how people work. The dishonesty of their actions are as clear as day to him. And for the most part he plays along with their bullshitting, but quietly ticking away in the back of his mind, he's scheming, plotting and evaluating the situation. Then we have Jesse's fall into depression and it is well acted by Pitt.

It's not what you might expect out of a film made about Jesse James. Just one solitary train robbery. No great shootouts. And the point of the film really is Robert Ford's unnatural obssession with Jesse James. At one point Jesse says it out plainly "Do you want to be like me.....or do you want to BE me?" It's a film about the role of heroes, and about relying on them too heavily and not relying on yourself. The honest man in the movie is Jesse James, even though he plays along with the falseness sometimes. Every other person that he's around wears a mask. But Jesse sees through it all. The only exception to this is Robert Ford. But he's only honest because he's stupid. He hasn't the ability to put on an act. And his stupidity is his downfall.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988)


This film is exceptional. The animation? No CGI back then, and I couldn't care less. There's more feeling about the animation in my opinion when I can see that it has been drawn frame by frame by an artist. Some of the kids programs that I see these days are downright terrible. "Computers suck, damn new age technology, these futuristic demon machines will spell dooooooom for us allllllllll......". Alright I don't hate computer animation THAT much. When it's done right it's pretty darn good. But I miss seeing the old style cartoons: popeye the sailor man, donald duck, daffy and the rest. I'll say it right here, right now: I DON'T LIKE THE NEW COMPUTER GENERATED WINNIE THE POOH AND MICKEY MOUSE CLUB!!" There I said it. You heard me. But seriously there's no FEELING to it. Maybe I'm just way too nostalgic. Move on Jimbob. Gee wiz like.


But back to Roger. This film has feeeeling. It's fantasic. Animation, film noir, one of the most terrifying villains ever captured on film (he scared the pants off me!!), a great plot, terrific acting (taking into account that this was new at the time) all rolled into one helluva masterpiece of work. It's just fun to watch. Great entertainment. I'm sorry that I at one period of my life strayed away from these types of films alltogether. Thought provoking, intellectual films were the order of the day: A Clockwork Orange, Citizen Kane, 2001, Barry Lyndon (Ya mostly Kubrick!) blah fuckin blah all lacking in one vital ingrediant: Entertainment. They're great and all in certain abstract ways, but Who Framed Roger Rabbit is what I love about cinema: The ability to watch something and walk away feeling good about youself, and not go lookin for that nearest bridge to jump off. Am now I'm too tired to explain the plot so I'll just say watch this movie, it's friggin awesome.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Three Kings (1999)


Three Kings is directed by David O. Russel and stars Mark Wahlberg, George Clooney, Ice Cube and Spike Jonze. It's a film which explores the topic of America's involvement in the Persian Gulf War, for a few brief moments that is. The rest of the film contains elements of the Western Genre, slap stick comedy, and full on action. Throw in a few pop culture references for good measure.

The plot: It's the day after the Gulf War ceasefire, soldiers are celebrating with bubbly. During the day, the Iraqi soldiers are surrendering themselves over to the Americans. Army Reserve Sergeant First Class Troy Barlow (Wahlberg) finds a map showing bunkers, and instead of showing it to his superiors, he shows it to his freinds Private First Class Conrad Vig (Jonze) and Staff Sergeant Chief Elgin (Cube). Major Archie Gates (Clooney) finds out about the map, and decides to join the party. He believes that the bunkers hold Kuwaiti gold which was stolen by Saddam. Under the ceasefire, the gold is to be returned to Kuwait. The four soldiers plan on taking the gold for themselves. Under the ceasefire, the Iraqi soldiers will have no problem handing over the gold. But while this happens, the four soldiers witness cruelty and murder at the hands of the Iraqi soldiers towards Iraqi Shia rebels who have risen against Saddam's regime but were abandoned by the Coalition. The soldiers who had planned on taking the gold and running, are forced with a moral dilema.

I liked the brief commentaries in this film about the nature of America's involvement in the Gulf War. Bush asks the ordinary citizens of Iraq to stand up and fight Saddam, he promises that the army will be stand by them. They stand up to the tyranny, turns out the American army has turned it's back on them, now the rebels are being slaughtered. Not surprising. There's also a more realistic approach to portraying the soldiers. They're not exacly good, honest men. Some are looking for a quick profit, stealing gold bullion.

Overall, I liked this film alot. There's alot of great humour in it. It's not all preachy about morals and what not, but it does make you stop and think as well. Some good, and not so good performances. Great cinematography, well unique. Overall, very enjoyable.