Archive | July 2009

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince (2009)

I feel forced to admit straight away that I am not the biggest HP fan. I have nothing against the franchise per say, it has just never grabbed me in the way that it has many others. I have to applaud J.K. Rowling as she has built a phenomenon that has not only engaged children with reading again but spawned a whole subculture which is allow people of all ages to mix and connect with media on an emotional level arguably lacking before.

So, my relationship with Potter? I originally was forced to read the first book by a girl (surprise!) whom I fancied at the time (bigger surprise!) while I was in high school. Since then I haven’t read any more, but have seen movies 1 and 2. This allowed me to be familiar enough with the franchise to not be coming in cold but not enough to be completely wrapped up in its unique universe.

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John Carpenter

John Carpenter


john_carpenter

I thought I’d go for a gamble on my first Directors review, just because I’m feeling slightly adventurous and even a little reckless. I can imagine some people spluttering in disgust over my choice of director when there are so many greats to choose from – and with very good reason. I mean, how could anyone say the guy who is responsible for Big Trouble in Little China and six Halloween sequels is a great director? Does this person need help? Well I’ll be the first to admit that John Carpenter has made some woefully dire films; some embarrassingly so.  So what do I see in him? The inspiration behind this came to me when I caught Carpenter’s Ghosts of Mars on some random sci-fi channel late at night. So blown away was I by its’ shoddy direction, terrible plot and Jason Statham factor that it made me think; where did it all go wrong for Carpenter? It sent me on a kind of nostalgia trip to some of Carpenter’s past offerings and a realisation that some of his early films were actually brilliant pieces of cinema. Seen as I could rant all day two of his films will be examined to re-discover some of Carpenter’s original cinematic vision. Hopefully once I’ve finished this we can look at Carpenter’s career with a much more positive perspective and learn not pigeon-hole him, as I once did, with the rest of the failed 80s horror/action directors that barely make the bargain bin of your local tescos. Read More…

Brüno (2009)

Vassup! I’m Doüglas :) At length, this movie borders on being sexist, racist, homophobic, anti-Christian, Nazi, xenophobic and sexually deviant. In short, this movie is absolutely hilarious.

After the run away hit that was Borat Sasha Baron Cohen returns with another undercover brother to exploit and unnerve all who come in contact with him. If you’ve seen Borat then you know exactly what you’re in for, uncomfortable silences and dangerous horseplay, pushing the buttons of not only the average Joe but celebrity as well. Cohen branches out geographically in Brüno covering not only America but parts of the Middle East and Africa. Unfortunately he doesn’t travel as many miles trying to make this a wholly original journey but rather takes the Borat blueprint and adds some lapels, a dash of colour and injection of balls out (at times literally) in your face gay pride.

Sasha Baron Cohens Brüno

Sasha Baron Cohen's 'Brüno'

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Ice Age : Dawn of the Dinosaurs – 3D (2009)

Welcome to the brave new world, a land of danger, daring and dastardly dianoetic disheveled dumbfoundery! Ok… so I hadn’t seen a film in the new 3D yet so upon receiving my glasses in the cinema (for an extra £1.50 I might add) it immediately filled Ice Age : Dawn of the Dinosaurs with added anticipation. Having seen the first two I was expecting something well constructed and fun without being particularly ground breaking and that was what I got, although with some extra spark from our last outing.

The first Ice Age gave Fox something to shout about in the playground next to animated bully Dreamworks and school geek Pixar. While the former always throw in plenty of action and big names (see Shrek, Madagascar, Monstars vs Aliens) you’ll find the latter in the corner with their perfectly crafted origami (see Wall-E, Toy Story, Finding Nemo). In the animated world of Rock, Paper, Scissors, Pixar‘s paper continues to smother Dreamworks rock, so Fox are left trying to cut in on the action.

Having pulled this off with Ice Age, the second outing was more of the same and so this time they have pushed the boat out a little to give us something a bit more fresh and exciting. As they prepare to do battle with new Pixar adventure Up and the recent Dreamworks Bolt, in Dawn of the Dinosaurs they are definitely looking good for the fight.

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Year One (2009)

I spent the entire time on the cycle home trying to think of another way to start this review other than this could be the worst comedy I’ve ever seen, but it appears I’ve failed. I’m probably being a bit harsh as I’ve seen a lot of really bad stuff in my time but Woody Allen once said “most of the time I don’t have much fun. The rest of the time I don’t have any fun at all” and that pretty much sums up Year One.

Awe man, that joke died hard... that is a better pun than anything in the movie, I kid yee not.

Awe man, we're in that movie?

The movie starts in prehistoric times where we meet bumbling would be heroes Zed (Jack Black) and Oh (Michael Cera) in their hunter/gatherer camp. Zed is quickly banished from the tribe for taking a bite of the ‘forbidden fruit’ in what is the first of many ridiculous set pieces. There is a distinctly ‘sketch’ like feel to the set ups aided by the exceptionally poor set and tackiness of the entire opening 15 minutes. One scene sees you confronted with prehistoric man eating a Biblically referenced fruit with a random snake ‘attack’ that all unfolds slower and more painfully than peeing with an inflamed prostate. It’s just a mess.

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Public Enemies (2009)

On the face of it Public Enemies appears to have all the ingredients of a good film. There is the promise of Michael Mann whose film Heat, which I recently re-watched, is one of the most iconic thrillers of the 1990’s. Combine that with the talented Johnny Depp and a big signing in Christian Bale for the supporting role and you have a pretty potent recipe for a decent film, at the very least. I entered with reasonable expectations, however as time slowly went by I was left feeling tired and a little ripped off. After the gunpowder residue dissipates what you are left with is a half decent story ruined by some very basic flaws that a veteran director like Mann should really not be making.

Johnny Depp is John Dillinger

Johnny Depp is John Dillinger

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