26 May 2011

THE HANGOVER 2- Review

'Four friends go and have a bachelor party ahead of (Name)'s wedding, and wind up having a wild drunken night in (Location). When they wake up the next morning, they have the mother of all hangovers, and find some gangsters are after them, looking for their (Noun). Worse still, they've managed to misplace (Name) and have to find him before the wedding. Oh, and there's a (Animal) in the bathroom.'

The Hangover Part II is, in every respect, mad-lib filmmaking. The structure of this sequel is practically identical to the original film, but this time it's mild-mannered dentist Stu, getting married in Thailand. He reluctantly invites along his best friend Phil and giant man-child Alan, and lives to regret it when they all wake up in Bangkok. Stu's future brother-in-law is missing, and apparently, "Bangkok has him now."

25 May 2011

WIN WIN- Review

While smaller British movies about family situations seem to range between the televisual and the brand of urban cinema sent up in Attack the Block, American movies somehow seem to make such stories wholly cinematic. Without getting into cultural differences, that cinematic quality is part of why I quite enjoyed the simple story of Win Win.

Maybe simple is the wrong word, because the plot kind of centres around an escalation of circumstances. Paul Giamatti is Mike Flaherty, a private practice attorney who's having financial difficulties and health problems involving stress. To ease the strain on his bank account, Mike takes on paid guardianship of an elderly client, who he promptly deposits into a care home. However, matters are complicated when the man's troubled grandson, Kyle, turns up on his doorstep.

23 May 2011

BLITZ- Review

Ali Plumb wrote a blog entry last week on Empire Online, praising Jason Statham. The point that really stuck with me, from that entry, was that "he is his own genre". People know what to expect from a Jason Statham movie, and unless that movie is Gnomeo & Juliet, they're certainly going to get it. Blitz is what happens when the satisfaction of those expectations collides with an adaptation of a Ken Bruen novel.

Statham plays DS Brant, a bullish copper who treats South East London like his very own china shop. His station is currently under scrutiny from the press as a result of Brant's very public displays of police brutality towards criminals. While trying to lay low, a murderer calling himself Blitz begins a killing spree, picking off police officers methodically. Teamed with a strait-laced inspector, Brant seeks to bring Blitz to justice, through fair means or foul.

20 May 2011

The Zero Room #8- Trouble and Strife

This time, we've got two episodes juggled out of their original place in the Series 6 running order, and yet still perfectly suitable for the third/fourth episode region of the series. It'll get moodier later on, but for now we have the historical rompage of The Curse of the Black Spot and the gorgeously challenging romance of The Doctor's Wife.

Reviews will contain spoilers, so if you haven't seen the episode yet, toddle over to the iPlayer, or watch BBC Three at some point in the next century's worth of repeats.

19 May 2011

ON STRANGER TIDES- Pirates 4 Review

There's a strong argument, mostly being made by myself, that Pirates of the Caribbean- On Stranger Tides is the sequel we always should have had to the 2003 swashbuckler that started it all. I don't mean that it's the best sequel possible, but that it's following the formula of the Indiana Jones films by bringing back one or two characters from previous instalments and telling a new adventure, rather than going for cod-epic storytelling.

It's not completely without ties to the impenetrable mush of At World's End, as it picks up with Captain Jack Sparrow having seemingly given up on his search for the Fountain of Youth, on which we left him sailing into the sunset. As he arrives in England, it's revealed that an impostor is posing as Jack, with plans to recruit a crew and mount a search for the Fountain themselves. Jack is soon drawn into a race for eternal life, between a Spanish Armada, his old foe Captain Barbossa and the legendary Captain Blackbeard.

17 May 2011

JULIA'S EYES- Review

The thing about appreciating foreign films like Julia's Eyes is that my enthusiasm is immediately tempered by the dread of a boneheaded American-language remake if it becomes any kind of box office success. We're fortunate that Pan's Labyrinth and The Orphanage, which also had Guillermo del Toro involved in some capacity, haven't yet been dumbed down for the PG-13 crowd, but I can't help but wonder if his latest production will be pillaged.

Perhaps the rubbish Jessica Alba flick The Eye will put them off, as this one also gets under the eyelids of sight-related horror. Twin sisters Julia and Sara share a degenerative sight disorder, which has already made Sara 100% blind. At the opening of the film, Sara hangs herself in her basement. Julia isn't convinced it was suicide, as Sara was optimistic about an eye transplant operation, and much to the chagrin of her doting husband, she needs to find answers.

16 May 2011

BlogalongaBond- YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE Review

This is at least as funny as looks.
After the soggy escapades of Thunderball, this fifth outing for James Bond goes back to basics. This would be a good thing, if it weren't for the fact that it goes back to basics by lifting plot points out of From Russia With Love wholesale. And so You Only Live Twice is where the Connery era finally slumps into an unyielding formula.

As in From Russia With Love, we open with the sight of Bond being assassinated. Once again, he's not really dead, but this time, it's in order to restore Bond's effectiveness as a secret agent by faking his death and convincing his enemies that he's no longer a threat. This allows him to operate with the Japanese secret service as they investigate the inflammatory actions of SPECTRE that has led to a diplomatic crisis between America and Russia.

13 May 2011

ATTACK THE BLOCK- Review

Nestled into a cushy niche in the hectic release schedule of summer 2011, Attack the Block arrives in cinemas and immediately announces itself as the film to beat, between now and September. I've made no secret of the fact that I've really been looking forward to this feature debut from Joe Cornish, of Adam and Joe fame, and happily it measures up to expectations.

The bones of the story are essentially like the basis for a Battle: Brixton movie, as an alien spore containing a vicious man-eating beast plummets into the midst of a South London council estate, interrupting a mugging. The muggers, five teenagers who live on the block, are attacked by the beast, but are able to overpower and kill it. As the kids celebrate their trophy, they don't realise that more spores are on the way- much bigger spores.

12 May 2011

SOMETHING BORROWED- Review

Not since Vampires Suck has there been such a momentously shit film as to prompt a Lolcats style banner to the effect of "FUCK THIS MOVIE". This is a film that slightly deviates from the predictable romantic comedy formula but in all of the wrong directions. A film that is a torturous and toxic viewing experience. A film that happens to star Kate Hudson. This is the neutron bomb, folks- this is Something Borrowed.

The premise itself is not entirely uninteresting. Two best friends, Rachel and Darcy, are in love with the same bloke, Dex. Dex and Rachel were study buds, and had a painfully shy mutual affection for one another all through law school. He ended up engaged to Darcy, and after a drunken surprise birthday party, Rachel winds up sleeping with Dex. Interested? Here's where they go wrong.

10 May 2011

13 ASSASSINS- Review

It was announced last week that the director of The Tournament, Scott Mann, who hails from my hometown, has signed up to direct a modern remake of Seven Samurai. Yeah, that Seven Samurai. It's not to say it won't turn out perfectly fine, but it's difficult to discount that we've already had The Magnificent Seven and even A Bug's Life, as well as a period piece set in Japan that owes a debt to Kurosawa's original, 13 Assassins.

Young Lord Naritsugu enjoys a position of privilege above practically everyone else, because he is the younger brother of the Shogun, and so his life is sacred. Unfortunately, he's also a sadistic monster who murders and destroys at will. As the age of the samurai is on the way out, an old samurai named Shinzaemon is hired to assassinate Naritsugu. He discreetly recruits 12 more assassins to his suicide mission and prepare for a confrontation.

9 May 2011

HANNA- Review

Hanna may be seen as an unusual outing for director Joe Wright, who has in recent years given us Pride and Prejudice, Atonement and The Soloist. But nevertheless it's an action-packed antithesis to several recent rubbish films that purportedly had themes of female empowerment and independence, like Sucker Punch and Red Riding Hood.

It’s a modern fairytale that sees a young girl rescued from a wicked witch by her kind father. The modern part is that they hide in the North Pole. And the witch is ruthless CIA Agent Marissa Viegler. And the kind father, Erik, has been training Hanna’s body and mind to be the ultimate killing machine, to wreak revenge upon "the witch". When she's unleashed upon the world, and Marissa and her cronies begin to hunt her, she begins to adapt to life outside of her spartan existence to discover culture and companionship.

6 May 2011

Summer 2011- Preview

Your Mad Prophet heads out into the Glorious Sunshine to talk about five films that he's looking forward to this summer, and inevitably becomes a little bit cross when the topic of Transformers comes up...


Which films are you most looking forward to as we head into blockbuster season? Leave your comments/debates below!

5 May 2011

WATER FOR ELEPHANTS- Review

Water for Elephants arrives in cinemas with the Robert Pattinson train still rolling along. I hate to ascribe locomotion to a bloke so utterly incapable of motion or emotion in his films, but hey, teenage girls will have their figures of hype. Pattinson is just one of a number of elements that come together to be better than they really should be, but he's easily the weakest link.

The story is framed a la Titanic, with nonagenarian Jacob Jankowski telling the story of the biggest circus disaster in history to the manager of a modern day circus. Then we flash back to 1931, as the fresh faced but recently orphaned Jacob runs away from the final exams of his Ivy League education in veterinary science to hop on board a train that houses the Benzini Brothers' Circus. He's soon recruited by August, the ruthless and charismatic boss, to act as a vet for the menagerie of animals on board.

3 May 2011

CEDAR RAPIDS- Review

Cedar Rapids is set in 2009, which perhaps indicates that the film has been bounced around in release schedules, or simply held back for a little while, until its recent release. Its limited release in the UK comes accompanied in multiplexes by an unwholesome trailer reel of the summer's upcoming bawdy comedies, most of which look a tiny bit shit. On the other hand, this one ain't so bad.

As the story goes, Tim Lippe is an altruistic insurance salesman who gets booted up to the big time when his company's golden boy passes away in an unfortunate auto-erotic accident. Anyhoo, he's dispatched by his boss to the industry's annual conference and back-slapping jamboree in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He's taken under the wings of three veterans as he's pressured to win the industry gold standard, the prestigious Two Diamonds award.

2 May 2011

The Zero Room #7- Blimey Wimey

It's been a while since we've been here, but I've since found that Steven Moffat's timey-wimey storytelling is slightly less impressive to me than it used to be. Here's a belated review of the festive special A Christmas Carol and a more current review of the opening two-parter, The Impossible Astronaut and Day of the Moon, (to be referred to henceforth by the latter name, to save time.)

Reviews will contain spoilers, so if you haven't seen the episode yet, toddle over to the iPlayer, or watch BBC Three at some point in the next century's worth of repeats.