Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Iron Man - Heavy boots of lead fills his victims full of dread

Hit my second viewing of Iron Man over the weekend and am still left bewildered by the hype that this movie gets from my popcorn loving friends. In the modern world of Superhero summers, it just feels like more of the same. It follows the same establishing line of all the origin movies and because of that it might as well BE the same movie.
There seems little you can do with a Marvel movie, it's eternally trapped in a set of rules like Disney. You can rarely break enough of these rules without falling into a trap. Namely turn into a camp kids movie like Fantastic Four or alienate those that don't want to think like Batman Begins or Hulk. I suppose Iron Man sits nicely in the middle like Spider-man or X-men. Visual enough and clever enough and adult enough to appeal to everyone. But that said, it's still a franchise setting movie that has to drop in an obligatory appearance for Stan Lee (A flawed genius who knows what he likes and it ain't a lot of variety) and so never challenges the grey matter or comes close to surprising you.
Iron Man has a great soundtrack, some great set pieces and is better acted than most, but give me Blade or Hellboy any day of the week.

Iron Man (Ultimate Two-Disc Edition + BD Live) [Blu-ray] 

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Zu Warriors from the Magic Mountain - Loses a little something in the translation ....maybe


Take the worse episode of Monkey you ever saw, add the fact that your not a kid anymore and you never saw this when you were and then multiply by the fact that you never even liked Big Trouble in Little China let alone foreign cinema. Then decide if you want to watch this.

For students of Asian cinema only.

Zu - Warriors From the Magic Mountain 

The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus - Terry & Jude

This film is probably best known for being the film that Heath Ledger was in the middle of making when he died.  It was probably the only thing left that could happen to film maker Terry Gilliam to scupper his latest movie.  Okay, it was a worse deal for Heath, but Gilliam really does get a bum deal with his visionary movies.  He seems like a nice guy, but I can only assume he's a complete bastard as karma is clearly not this mans friend. Read up on it.

I'm a fan though.  Ever since his crazy animation work in Monty Python caught my eye as a kid.  And It's transferred to all his films, Time Bandits, 12 Monkeys, The Fisher King (easily gets into my Top Ten films ever every time), Brazil.  The man is a visionary genius who makes films that live long in the memory but are very much off base.

This film is no different than the rest. It's instantly recognisable as his work. There is a lot going on, the characters are uniquely Gilliam, it's got all his crazy camera angles, the Sets are messy and detailed and the story is a dream like fantasy straight from the pages of child's book (well the kind of book that got released in 60s and 70s before the Nanny State got involved).
It's interesting to think how this film would have panned out if Heath hadn't died.  I'm not sure if re-writes were required or if the addition of Johnny Depp, Jude Law and Colin Farrell as the same character in a fantasy world just slotted in with less make up required.  Will probably make a good making off to match Lost in La Mancha.  It seems to work naturally anyway.

But as with all his work, and like The Matrix, it can't be explained, you have to experience it for yourself.  This one especially as I will have to watch at least once more before I can figure out what was going on.  

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Aliens - I say we grease this rat-fuck son of a bitch right now!

So if you have to go to the Queen to ask to form a government, can she then step in when you start fucking up the country and blow your ass outta town???  We may have to rely on someone else.

"Up and to the left"  

Too Soon???

Monday, 10 May 2010

The Taking of Pelham 123 - To the swingers and the roustabouts and the carnivore queen

I never thought that the words 'Underwhelmed' and 'Tony Scott' could go together. But it appears that they can. He is one of my favourite directors with movies such as 'Enemy of the State', 'Spy Game', 'Last Boy Scout' and 'Man on Fire' to name a few. Yeah he's a stylised director with his trademark blind light and his ever increasing MTV hyperkinetic editing. But his films are good. It seems though that with this remake he has ran out of steam.
It contains all of his said TM's, but it all comes across as more of the same. It isn't helped by everyone else seemingly going through the motions as well. Washington's perfect teeth everyday joe churning out the same old stuff. Travolta's camp bad guy that we've seen far too many times before and were never really scared of in the first place (although never with such unbelievable make-up, and that includes Battlefield Earth). And there's more New Yawking than you saw in Die Hard with a Vengeance.
So there you have it. A superb high octane thriller for those of you that have never seen any similar work from these three power hitters before. They should be less proud of themselves though as it appears they were just fulfilling contract obligations.

Dinosaur - No Jurasic Park

A turn of the century movie from the Disney studio, that along with Treasure Planet, Atlantis, Tarzan and the likes, I have never watched because I am probably too old. But seeing as I got hold of the Blu Ray in a cheap 2for1 deal I decided to give up 80 mins of a Saturday morning.
And I'm glad I did. I'm a Disney convert. 6 times visitor to their various theme parks/worlds doesn't lie. And this movie is pure Disney. Ignore the genius of the Pixar movies and get down to the nitty gritty of Disney. Child separated from family, finds new family, big event will attempt to break up family, but we all live happily ever after. Hell, it's jungle book without the songs. Actually that astounded me. As a kid I loved most Disney movies but Jungle book aside I rarely liked the songs. They annoyed me. Toy Story 2 just misses out on ultimate movie status because of Jessie's song. Bleugh!!!!!
So what we have here is a fantastically animated (against Live action backdrops but really, really looks great) traditional Disney movie minus the songs. I think this is because the film was not even supposed to have dialogue. In fact when I saw the trailers years ago, I assumed this was the case. It's worth a watch if you like Disney and the soundtrack will have you chomping at the bit to get back to the happiest place on earth. Well I am anyway :)

The Descent Part II - Yep, that is what it's called

Let's get one thing sure from the start. The Descent sequel is ten times better than most of the horror $hit that gets churned out nowadays. Unfortunately though, much like a new recipe for Blackthorn, it's just not required.
Neil Marshall's original was a complete movie. It had the lot. A great cast, a great story, a claustrophobic setting, a truly terrifying horror movie. What it didn't require was a sequel. The directors vision ended, completed, finished, story over. The Descent in all its glory was Marshall's masterpiece. Alas, success and the US ending paved the way for the sequel......
...You see, for those of you that have seen the original, In the US it ended at the Jump sequence in the car. The classic standard affair, Carrie, Elm Street, Event Horizon et al horror movie underpants changing ending. Hence the missing of the real depth and undertone of the story and the green light for franchise.
So on a pure horror movie experience the sequel works. It's pulled to together pretty much the whole team (director aside) and returned to the settings of the original. It kicks off from where the original ended in the US and it brings the same style of pure terror that the original did. Unfortunately though, it lacks the characterisation and depth of the original and works pretty much on a base horror level. Which means a lot of gore and a lot of jumps.
So if you can ignore the cheesy 'Hell itself' line, ignore the fact that two slightly overweight members of the local sheriffs department can cope in this unexplored cave system, ignore the terrible ending and are happy to watch a watered down version of the original then you will love this. I can only hope that if they are thinking of making another one, that they go down the route of a Cameron's Aliens to Scott's Alien sequel. Otherwise they will be hammering a classic into the depths.

Harry Brown - Dirty Charlie

Not one to watch if your feeling a bit down. Michael Caine stars as Harry Brown in a dark, grime filled, dirty affair set on some rough looking council estate (Cue Sarf London even though I don't think it's mentioned). Harry kicks off on a revenge spree after his wife dies, his friend dies and he sees nothing but complete scum chavs running riot on his estate.

It's a bit like Gran Torino meets Death Wish but never really hits the heights of either of those two.(Death wish is a classic in its own exploitation way). That said, like Gran Torino it does have the added realistic benefit of it's classy lead playing a character of his age.
If it wasn't for the lack of humour, crappy plotted last twenty minutes and weak symbolism (yeah the underpass) then perhaps it might have challenged GT. Nah, not with that song as the credits roll.

Sunday, 9 May 2010

Centurion - Why are you not entertained????

Neil Marshall is one of the finest Directors/screenwriters in Britain at the moment.  He is the man that brought us Dog Soldiers (excellent), The Descent (Scariest film for an age) and Doomsday (Bloody good, shut yer face).  So it was with anticipation that I awaited the release of Centurion, his latest effort, to hit the big screen.  

Alas, it would seem that being a big movie director is not enough to get your work on the screen in your home country.  I missed the release week, I couldn't make the following weeks one stupid late night showing and then it was gone. Yes, it would seem that in the day of Multiplex cinemas, of which Bristol has FIVE, there is simply not enough space to showcase homegrown talent. So that's five multiplexes, average of 12 screens, plus half a dozen local flea pits and the film is effectively gone within a week.

Is it any wonder that millions of people download movies illegally on the Internet.  That is the only way I can now watch this awesome movie in the next three months before the Blu ray is out for sale.  Trouble is, typing the word 'Centurion' into a search engine is a bit like using 'Trojan' or 'Chariot'.  What is the fascination with roman terminology????

What a shizzle.  He who anticipates, hesitates, and in turn.....