Monthly Archives: May 2016

Bad Neighbours 2

The Girls Next Door

In case you haven’t been paying attention Hollywood is having a crisis of identity right now.

It seems like every major blockbuster opens up this patriarchal industry to criticism of systemic white-washing and disparities in gender representation.

It’s a very real problem: Marvel changed Iron Man 3’s villain from a woman to a man over fears that toys wouldn’t sell and the likes of Gods of Egypt may as well have been called Gods of Eurasians.

Bad Neighbours 2 is a clear attempt to better represent women by shunning the misogyny that swills around bro culture like a turd that won’t flush. There’s even a line in the script where Seth Rogen even states, in no uncertain terms, “I’m not fist-bumping that!” after a derogatory comment is made about the fairer gender.

Whilst Bad Neighbours 2 should be applauded for essentially not being a dickhead it still feels like something written by men, for men, whilst trying to sidestep the sexism row.

The film shows a group of young women who want to set up their own sorority to do what they want and party how they want but we don’t spend enough time with the girls to believe that they are a close knit sisterhood. Therefore proclamations about how the girls can’t live without their sorority fails to resonate.

The sorority parties seem almost exactly the same as the frat parties – only with less idiots painting smiley faces on their johnson. That said; I’m a big dumb man so I can’t judge what women want but to me the odd pyjama party didn’t feel overly convincing.

Don’t let that put you off though because Bad Neighbours 2 does everything Bad Neighbours did with equal aptitude. There are enough outrageous moments to keep you chuckling which is the most important part of a comedy.

The cast also look like they are enjoying themselves whilst filming which makes the synergy between the characters feel natural. This is most notable between Rose Byrne, Zac Efron and Seth Rogen.

The chemistry between the sorority members is not so convincing and in fact it’s only thanks to Zac Efron that the sorority can gel together in the hollow way that they do which only lends credence to my previous concerns.

I didn’t enjoy this as much as the original but it is still an enjoyable watch with another brilliant airbag scene. One word of caution though: if you are expecting a show of girl power from the ladies next door you might want to check if the spice girls are still touring instead!

The Good, The Bad and The Outcome:

+ Outrageous comedy moments
+ Good cast
+ Airbags!

– Feminist agenda feels tacked on
– Sorority don’t feel like sisters



Angry Birds

Angry Management

How old are you? Probably over 17 because you are reading WordPress rather than snap-chatting pictures of your junk.

Have you ever had Angry Birds installed on your phone? Most likely. I mean how else did you make your morning bombing raids of the super-bowl more interesting?

How many people are still interested in Angry Birds? Less than ever? Probably… it is a bit like left over cake: it looks inviting but you know you will hate yourself for indulging.

I’m not some wart infested mystic living in a tent this is just the way things are. The point being that Angry Birds has a wide audience even if it’s past its prime.

The Angry Birds movie should therefore cater to both a younger and an older audience, which admittedly it does, but at the detriment of the latter.

It’s become the most mind-numbingly generic and cliché aspect of modern animation – especially ones involving animals – is that there has to be a dance scene. Angry Birds takes this to the Nth degree by having flagrant disregard for where these scenes occur and why they occur.

Rovio Animation must have had a memo saying that dance scenes were what kids want from a film so they kicked together some garbage and threw it in the final film only because they had to – not because they wanted to.

There is an incredibly poor choice of songs that has been selected precisely because young people will recognise them. With their sparkly lights, colours and noises the only thing that would make this more appealing to those under 5 is if it came with jelly and ice-cream.

I realise this comes across as me sounding like a grumpy old man – to be fair; I fucking am – but these atrocious dance scenes stand out amongst the rest of the film because this adaptation of a phone game has otherwise been incredibly well realised as an animated movie.

The animation is actually better than it should be yet the most impressive part of it is how they have built well rounded characters from 2D weapons that happen to be in the shape of birds.

The film follows Red (Jason Sudeikis) who is the approximation of the original small red Angry Bird. He is “angry” at a society that is always naively happy and as a miserable old bastard I enjoyed sharing in his misanthropic frustration.

After being forced to go to anger management he meets two good friends who are also on the fringe of society. Chuck (Josh Gad) is our resident ADHD afflicted, most likely drug addicted, yellow bird whilst Bomb (Danny McBride) is our black bird with a tendency to explode when nervous or scared.

The only problem with the characters is that they only ever get angry in the closing section of the film. Even Red seems more cynical in his contempt for the world around him rather than angry.

It is genuinely surprising that Rovio Animation has made a film that makes sense of the game and even more surprising that most of the on-screen characters are likely to share traits with someone you know: proving that underneath the formulaic kiddy bullshit is a surprisingly deep film that was nearly catapulted to greatness.

The Good, The Bad and The Outcome:

+ Great animation
+ Innovative depiction of each bird
+ Good characterisation

– Terrible song choices
– Abysmal dance scenes
– They were never really angry


Captain America: Civil War

Civil War. Huh. What is it good for?

If you are a fan of the comics and are expecting Civil War then think again. Civil War is Civil War more by name than by nature but thankfully that doesn’t make it a bad film. In fact it still miraculously manages to bring something fresh to the table even after what? Like 12… 15 Marvel films in?

One of the things that keeps it feeling fresh is that many of our intrepid heroes have been given upgrades. Hawkeye for one employs a wider range of trick arrows than we’ve seen before whilst Captain America has some sort of grappling hook and Falcon finally has his trusty Redwing only this is a miniature drone instead of a real falcon – A wise move for the cinematic universe.

These are small changes that keep the action of all too familiar characters feeling new and exciting but perhaps the biggest and most exciting change is the introduction of two special guests; Spiderman and Black Panther.

I’m sure you will hear a lot of chatter about whether this web slinger is the best incarnation yet – I have my doubts as I found him a bit annoying – but for me Black Panther was the real stand out. Sure, the action scenes were great but there is an incredible stage presence that commands your attention whenever the Panther is on screen. There is certainly a lot of promise, and now expectation, on the upcoming Black Panther movie.

These new characters add an extra dynamic to the inevitable battle between good and err… gooder in what is probably the best superhero brawl ever depicted on film.

The airport scene, where the main clash of the clans takes place, is chock full with innovation and moments for comic book geeks to fap over.

Moreover this scene is genuinely fun to watch and manages to balance all of the main characters without any of them feeling like a novelty act.

Now, if you are thinking this might be another avengers movie then think again, this is very much Cap’s film and very much his internal squabble with Iron Man. This means it lacks the grandeur of the Civil War comic. It’s a shame because this could have also been a truly great avengers film.

However it is good for setting up an interesting dynamic for future Marvel films in what has become the most amazingly well planned road map for a film franchise; continually dazzling audiences with apparent ease.

The aforementioned conflict between Cap and Iron Man needed to have driven a much wider wedge between the two characters. Sure, that relationship is fractured but it doesn’t feel like it is beyond repair. If they had gone further to break the trust between the characters it would provide a fantastic backdrop to Infinity War which promises to be the Avengers biggest threat yet.

The growing conflict between our two heroes means that Robert Downey Jnr brings a performance that is much more sullen than we are used to leaving the light hearted humour to be injected by Spidey and Ant-Man. It’s a bit like talking to your funniest friend after they’ve had a car crash.

This dower personality is exposed the more that Cap goes against him and similarly the more the film goes on which means that the ending is an anti-climax, especially after the spectacle of the airport scene.

Captain America: Civil War doesn’t hit the heights of The Winter Soldier but it does bring some fresh new faces and promises fans that there is a whole lot more fun, excitement and eye-blistering action to come. I for one cannot wait.

The Good, The Bad and The Outcome:

+ Superhero upgrades
+ Black Panther
+ The fly airport scene

– Rift isn’t deep enough
– Finale feels a bit bland compared to earlier scenes
– Spidey was a bit annoying