Monthly Archives: July 2016

Ghostbusters

Girlbusters!

When women got a little too over-excited by the sight of babies I used to say: “Ok… put your ovaries away!” but I think I need a new similar saying for those people who are needlessly sexist and/or defensive about things.

If you haven’t heard there was a LOT of buzz about this Ghostbusters film. So much so that the trailer was the most disliked trailer on YouTube. Was it really worse than Gangnam Style or the guy being amazed by a double rainbow? No. Of course not.

So why was it so hated? Well, there’s three main reasons. One: Some people simply didn’t like the trailer – fair enough. Two: Some people are fucking idiots. Three: Some people are fucking arseholes.

Those who fall into group 2 love the original Ghostbusters a little bit too much and probably want to wed Bill Murray or make gloop babies with Slimer. Anything that touches the hallowed ground of the original film is sinful whilst casually forgetting that Ghostbusters 2 is actually pretty bad.

Those who fall into group 3 are those people who think women can’t be role models whether they admit it or not. These are the sort of people who would gleefully look back at colonial times proclaiming them to be “the good ol’ days” and casually forgetting about the destruction of national identity, widespread theft and exploitation. You know, generally being a fucking arsehole!

What makes groups 2 and 3 even more frustrating is that half the damn population are crying out for this sort of positive representation  and more importantly the film is totally fine.

Writer director Paul Feig does an excellent job of keeping the film light-hearted and fun and I found myself laughing a lot more than I was actually expecting. Thankfully these comedic moments are mostly script driven so it avoids coming across as too cheesy.

The first half of the film is the funniest with some of the best moments coming from the sheer stupidity of Kevin who is effortlessly played by Chris Hemsworth. In my opinion though it is Kate McKinnon who steals the show as Jillian Holtzmann.

Holtzmann is effectively Egon from the original film only so much cooler. She has a devil-may-care attitude, underpinned by fierce intelligence and an engineering prowess that gives her a steam punk kind of vibe that I don’t think I’ve ever seen before in a film.

She also has a sexual confidence which will make many men want to be with her and many women want to be her. Such a strong and unique character can only be a good thing for equal representation in films.

Holtzmann isn’t, however, a one woman band and has to rely on her fellow colleagues Erin Gilbert (Kristen Wiig), Abby Yates (Melissa McCarthy) and Patty Tolan (Leslie Jones) who all gel really well as a team  and is something you’d undoubtedly expect from Paul Feig.

Appearances from the likes of Charles Dance and Bill Murray keep the film feeling fresh yet weirdly, after Bill Murray’s entrance the film really grinds to a halt.

It’s here that the film feels more fractured and unsure of itself. Slimer and the marshmallow man are part of an unrelenting desire to reference the original work and makes you question whether this is a sequel, a remake or a re-imagination.

Make no mistake this film isn’t perfect. Not all jokes land as well as they could and It doesn’t have the same magic as the original but an abomination it’s not. However, if you still don’t want to at least give it a chance then I suggest you take your prejudices, proton-pack them in your anal cavity as tightly as a spectre in a ghost trap and just chill the hell out.

The Good, The Bad and The Outcome:

+ Kate McKinnon
+ The first half
+ Chris Hemsworth


– Is it a remake, a reboot or a sequel?
– The bit after Bill Murray
– Doesn’t have the same magic as the original

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The Legend of Tarzan

Trailer Trashed

AAAAARRRRAAAAHHHAAAHHHAAHHH – OHHHOHHOHHHHH GOD!

That’s probably what you thought (and rightly so) when you saw the Legend of Tarzan trailer. After all; the last film in the cinema to star monkeys was The Jungle Book you really have to bring your A-game when showing off CGI  and not resorting to pre-alpha footage.

In the world of computer games there has been a recent spate of incidents where games are previewed as graphical powerhouses sparking huge sales numbers upon release. This was quickly followed by equally huge rates of criticism, drop-off rates and even falls in company share prices as the final release saw considerable graphical downgrades.

In the movie world we are potentially seeing the opposite. I couldn’t help but think the Ghostbusters trailer looked pretty ropey as far as CGI goes, the same was true for Tarzan and even Jurassic World so how much does this go to damage a films reputation before it’s even had a chance.

It’s an understandable trail of thought. If a CGI heavy film hasn’t put in their best efforts into the special effects then how much effort are they going to put into the story or the acting or any other aspect of a film?

So what’s the actual film like?

Well, some of the CGI is still a bit ropey but overall the film is a lot better than the trashy trailer suggests because it’s not just an action fest, it’s actually a lot more introspective and quiet and that’s a good thing.

Some of the best moments in the film are where there isn’t any talking such as when Tarzan comes face to face with some lions or when he fights the head of the Gorillas for safe passage through an area of the Jungle.

At these moments we are placed fully in the seat of the spectator left to speculate about what Tarzan is thinking or how he knows what he knows. In a sense we become George Washington Williams (Samuel L Jackson) who has no choice but to follow and obey Tarzan who’s aloofness and conviction is played with ease by Alexander Skarsgård.

The pace of the film is monotonous – but don’t take that as a criticism – it knows exactly where it wants to go and steadily rolls through the storyline to get there. In many ways it has a similar feel to The Revenant or even Apocalypse Now

Tarzan is simply not of the same calibre as those two films because it has too many flaws. Even though Samuel L Jackson’s character is a proxy for the audience it doesn’t make sense that he is able to keep up with Tarzan.

There are also some poor dialogue especially the scene where Margot Robbie is picking out different animals mating calls but more than anything I wish that some of the overarching plot was stripped back to make the film feel even more hostile, isolated and alien than it already is.

From start to finish The Legend of Tarzan is a completely acceptable film and one that is surprisingly better than it’s trailer gives it credit for. It’s not your average Hollywood thrill ride yet it does hold some competent action scenes and if all else fails you can ogle at Jane or Tarzan’s ab muscles. I still have the bruise where my girlfriend’s jaw hit my arm!

The Good, The Bad and The Outcome:

+ The quiet moments
Alexander Skarsgård
+ Decent action


– Samuel L Jackson’s character
– Some cringe-worthy dialogue
– Could have leaned harder into a feeling of introspection

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Liebster Award!!

liebster-blog-award

So, the other day I had a bit of a surprise. Someone had tweeted at me! Incredibly novel in itself but even more amazing was that the tweet was nominating me for some sort of award.

Haha I actually woke up and immediately checked my phone – still bleary eyed – like a true millennial and thought I’d be nominated for a Lobster Award until I looked a little closer and it turned out to be a Liebster award. Never heard of it? No me neither!

The Liebster Award works like this:

  1. Post the Liebster Award graphic on your site
  2. Thank the blogger who nominated you
  3. Answer the questions posed to you by the nominator
  4. Nominate other blogs to receive the award
  5. Write questions of your own for your nominees to answer

So firstly a massive thanks to Reel Red Reviews for nominating me for the Liebster Award. I genuinely honoured when anyone says they enjoy reading my posts because to be honest I don’t know I’m doing and just make this up as I go along.

My Answers to Reel Red Reviews’ questions:

1 – What’s the best movie you’ve seen in this year (so far)? – Difficult one. It’s got to be The Revenant although funnily enough I didn’t think it should have won Leo an Oscar. Runner ups go to the hilarious Deadpool, The Nice Guys which was surprisingly good or the wonderful 10 Cloverfield Lane.

2 – What’s the worst movie you’ve seen in this year (so far), and what made it so awful? – I could easily say Gods of Egypt but now it’s one of those films that’s so bad it’s almost good. Alternatively I could vote for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice for being hugely disappointing but no! my absolute worst film this year is The Forest which is an unmittigating disaster in almost every regard. full of plot holes and bad acting and it’s not even scary. Just awful.

3 – What’s the worst remake you’ve ever seen? – Old Boy. The original Korean film is an incredible psychological journey with one of the best one-shot scenes of any films. Old Boy didn’t need to be remade… then in steps Hollywood.

4 – Which actor/actress could you see yourself being best friends with? – Sam Rockwell. Ever since watching Moon I have had a bit of a man crush on him. Alternatively Margot Robbie because I have a bit of a man crush on her! 🙂

5 – Pick a director to helm a movie about your life. – My life has been quiet ordinary really so I’d need someone to jazz that boring shit up. Maybe Luc Besson.

6 – What’s your favorite iconic movie line? – I don’t think I have one. One that seems to have sprung to mind as I type is “lllllllllllllliiiiike a glove!” from Ace Ventura – still makes me chuckle.

7 – If you were to work on a movie, which role do you see yourself best performing (i.e. writer, director, producer, actor, or…)? – I definitely have a face for radio and about a year after I finished a documentary module my teacher stopped me in the corridor and said “I remember you… you had some really great cinematography work”. So there it is: cinematographer.

8 – Who would win in a fight – Voldemort or Kylo Ren? – Kylo Ren. Never understood the whole Harry Potter thing.

9 – Do you believe in aliens, ghosts, and/or the Loch Ness Monster? – No no and no although I really wish that all of them existed.

10 – In how many years do you predict that they’ll start working on a film about Brexit? – We’ve been seeing films being made nearer and nearer the event of late (The Big Short) so it’s probably being scripted right now.

11 – What’s the best vacation you’ve ever had? – Rome was amazing. I just love how picture perfect the architecture is and how you can walk down a tiny back street and stumble on a beautiful fresco or sculpture that isn’t even considered to be of importance.

I went travelling through southeast asia in early 2015 and that was also pretty incredible for so many reasons.

However, my best trip was to Japan in 2000 and something. I was alone, forced to break through my comfort zone and exactly the right age where I still found wonder in everything rather than being this grumpy old curmudgeon. What I loved about this trip was having experiences that were all mine so no matter what happens I can still look introspectively and smile on this period of my life.

My nominees:

1. Gareth Rhodes Film Reviews – I wish I could write like this guy.  Gareth manages to inject a bit of film theory to his reviews whilst keeping it concise, entertaining and informative.

2. Tazscribble’s Blog – My little lady friend likes to blog about our travels and has a much bigger readership than my film blog… not that I’m jealous. I’m not!!!

3. Slate the Silver Screen – Used to enjoy reading this film blog but seems to have gone quiet recently. 😦

 

My questions:

  1. You can pick one book/movie/tv series or computer game to make into a brand new movie. What would it be?
  2. What is the first film you remember watching at the cinema?
  3. What film would you remove from existence given the chance and why?
  4. Name one person who has been an inspiration on your life
  5. If you could be a professional anything… what would that anything be?
  6. Where is the place/country that you most want to go to?
  7. Chocolate cake and ice cream or apple pie and custard?
  8. What superpower do you want? (flying, invisibility and mind reading are not allowed)

Central Intelligence

Biggie & Smalls

I’ve spent much of my life being more of a chubby little porker than I needed to be and in fact it’s only been this year that I have been taking my eating habits seriously.

I consider myself to be a 20 stone, alcoholic, cake addict that’s waiting to eat himself free of the shackles that binds me to a normal life!

You wouldn’t know from talking to me but I am shy and lacking in self confidence yet like Bob Stone (Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson) in Central Intelligence I put on a show to hide all that.

Central Intelligence is full of brief but often poignant moments that show either writer Ike Barinholtz or director Rawson Marshall Thurber faced similar issues because they are too honest to be solely for comic effect.

Thankfully moments such as the Rock glancing into a mirror and seeing his younger, fatter, self also serve as comic effect. Seeing the Rock with jiggly bits is as funny (and disturbing) as seeing Belgium Blue breeds of muscular cows.

But these subtle nods to psychological issues isn’t what the film is about; it’s all about the chemistry between Bob and Calvin Joyner (Kevin Hart) and let’s face it that’s a winning formula.

You can expect Hart to inject his normal brand of humour whilst the Rock plays an overly energetic and playful yet naïve adonis and in this respect is much more willing to play the fool.

This almost works but the Rock just seems a little unnatural in the role to fully pull it off.

Weirdly – considering the film stars a wrestler – the action scenes are remarkably bad and is only slightly more exhilarating than slowly crying yourself to sleep.

But like I said, it’s all about chemistry and given that Central Intelligence stars Kevin Hart and Dwayne Johnson that alone makes it worth a watch in my book even if it isn’t quite the plus sized comedy you were hoping for.

The Good, The Bad and The Outcome:

+ Great chimstry
+ Overall a good fun film
+ Tries to deliver more than just a comedy

– Could have been funnier
– The Rock doesn’t quite nail it
– Pretty awful action scenes

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Gods of Egypt

Oh lord…!

 

In 5 or 10 years time maybe we will look back on Gods of Egypt and proclaim how forward thinking it was, how it manages to be a modern day pastiche of the superimposed or claymaytion monster movies of yesteryear and how effortless it is in doing so. Maybe.

For now though it is a certifiable geyser of trash, uncontrollably throwing turds in any random directions, but always in the direction of industrial strength fans.

There is almost nothing to like about this film. The acting is so wooden that Swiss people can build chalets from it whilst the on screen chemistry is about as magnetic as a depolarized creme brulee. Many of the film’s other issues could have been overlooked if there was at least some sort of connection between the cast but there just isn’t.

It’s not like the film is lacking in talent with Gerard Butler playing the main antagonist, relatively fresh faces such as Brenton Thwaites and the stunning Elodie Yung both showing promise and Nicolaj Coster-Waldau (Game of Thrones Jamie Lannister) being placed front and centre. Yet throughout the film these so-called friends, relatives, lovers and enemies consistently look like it’s the first time they’ve ever met.

Of course, it also doesn’t help that the script writing is terrible and actually does a dis-service to a fairly solid plot which, in short, goes as follows: Gods still live amongst us and Osiris (Bryan Brown) is passing his role as King to Horus (Coster-Waldau). Osiris’ brother Set (Butler) believes he should be crowned king as the most powerful God and usurps the throne. After losing his all-seeing eyes Horus is sent into exile. It’s down to Bek – a mere mortal – to help Horus stop Set’s dominion over the people of Egypt.

You can totally work with that. You can mix in how/why there are no Gods living among us anymore in an alternate/fantasy history. You can explore what it means to have Gods living amongst humans and how that benefitted or destroyed people’s lives… Or you could pull a Gods of Egypt and steam roller through all of that to focus on only 2 mortals and their trudge through uninspiring CGI.

If this film was made 20… 25 years ago then maybe this would have been a box office home run but guess what, we’ve moved on. We no longer enjoy a filmic depiction of 14 year old’s wet dream involving Egyptian superhero transformers. We have seen action films and fantasy films that are thought provoking, imaginative and genuinely excellent im quality over the last 5-10 years so something as hollow and vacuous as “woah, cool, Egyptian Gods played by white people who can are have super wicked robot armour and fly and shoot lasers and stuff” is simply not good enough in today’s filmic landscape.

Perhaps in a number of years we will get back to the stage where films can exist and be appreciated for the purity of escapism and at this point we might look back fondly on Gods of Egypt but right now it’s hard to think this film is anything other Horus-shit. Like my pun; it’s so bad… it’s almost good!

The Good, The Bad and The Outcome:

+ Reminiscent of old B-movies

– Wooden acting
– Lacking any depth
– Inept in almost every aspect

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Independence Day: Resurgence

Regurgence

So, I started writing this post about how Independence Day Resurgence was an unwitting parallel to the Brexit independence day in which  similarly unbelievable characters fought a war against illegal immigrants culminating in an embarrassing mess with massive plot holes that left people scalping themselves they were scratching their head so hard.

As funny as it would be to talk about how Michael Gove reminds me of shit pencil topper or how Boris Johnson seems to be the lovechild of the Tasmanian Devil and a cauliflower it was all too unoriginal and unnecessary . So for a long time I tried to find an angle for my review even though I’d just found it: it was simply unnecessary. There is literally no good reason for this film to exist.

I guess my biggest gripe is that there is no complexity behind the story. The aliens are back. There you go – you now know the entirety of the storyline. If you are going to make a sequel after such a long time you better have a fucking reason to make the film other than “hahaha…. give me your money!”

Even when dredging the depths of creativity you can still squeeze out an acceptable film with a decent script but again the film really phones it in. To be fair, it kind of has to as it still needs to feel like the original which is about as cheesy as Burger King’s Mac & Cheetos.

Although there is a line at the end of the film where Julius Levinson (Judd Hirsch) asks a group of orphaned kids if they want to go home with him. The kids say “I’d like that” to which he replies “… me too!” which I’m pretty sure is just grooming small kids. HOW DID THIS GET MADE?!

The acting is just miserable from almost everyone involved and there is an over-reliance on characters from the original film as if we couldn’t tell it was a sequel from the fact it has the same sodding name.

Jake Morrison (Liam Hemsworth) may as well be called mr generic white man whilst Rain Lao (Angelababy… yeah seriously, that’s a name!) is wedged in to make it palatable for the Chinese market. The only palatable actor was Jeff Goldblum but an over-reliance on almost every character from the original really holds it back from breaking free of its old chains.

If you can forgive all of that you still need to overlook plot holes that are as gaping as Nigel Farage’s ability to be sane, rational and courteous. Classic inaccuracies of “we only have 20 seconds” then 5 minutes later they are still faffing is overshadowed by ones such as out-running a tidal wave created by planet sized space ship on a 12 foot fishing boat.

This is Roland Emmerich simply trying to out-do himself once again. First it was severe weather, then almost every possible natural disaster, now it’s giant aliens next is a project called Moonfall. Someone needs to put a stop to this man before we get film about an intergalactic, planet eating version of Barney the dinosaur is released.

The best advice I can give you to get through this film is the same as with Brexit: get a few beers and just watch the madness unfold around you.

The Good, The Bad and The Outcome:

+ Probably a fun film to get drunk to

– Inconsistent
– Terrible script
– Over reliance on old characters

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