Monday, 10 October 2016

Don’t be afraid of the Dark (2010)


Guy Pearce and Katie Holmes work quite well together in this run-of-the-mill haunted house remake of a 1973 made-for-TV movie.  Bailee Madison does well as Sally, the daughter who is harassed by the little critters, and manages to create a bit of empathy for the character; not bad for an 11 year-old.  Fun to see serial cameo Alan Dale pop up, otherwise this is really a by-the-numbers horror that isn’t especially scary.

Produced by Guillermo del Toro (the critters aren’t filled with eyes though) and directed by a comic book artist for some reason (Troy Nixey), not that he does a bad job, it just seems an odd choice.  The creatures themselves are quite fearsome little hunchback things and their scuttling puts me in mind of facehuggers, but otherwise there is nothing special about this standard haunted house fayre.  But, you know, that’s just, like, my opinion man.

from WordPress

Thursday, 15 September 2016

I, Frankenstein (2014)


Pseudo Underworld, stitched together from the corpses of various horror actioners and given unholy life.

from WordPress

Friday, 3 June 2016

Singin' in the Rain (1952)

Almost 65 years on and Singin’ in the Rain remains timeless, a real classic, not only because it tells of an important point in movie history (in that way it almost sits alongside Cinema Paradiso (1988) or Hugo (2011)), but because of the empathy we feel for the characters, and of course because of some tremendous dance numbers.

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Monday, 30 May 2016

Robocop (2014)

Formulaic and derivative actioner which lacks the bite of the original, and for which there was no need.

Where was the tongue in cheek jibe at modern day excesses? Where was the finger given to the MTV (I guess now YouTube) generation? Where was the commentary on the fact that huge corporations are inherently evil? Paul Verhoeven’s original had all this and more.

For one, it had a believable lead role, not even Michael Keaton or Gary Oldman could rescue this. Jackie Earle Haley’s character was fun, but Samuel L Jackson’s talk show spots didn’t really work as a prop to hang the plot on.

Not to mention that the way that Alex Murphy becomes Robocop has changed, the EDs are never explained – they’re just there, and Robocop never says “Serve the public trust, protect the innocent, uphold the law.”

I suppose comparisons with the original are unfair and shouldn’t really be made; but when a “reboot” is this poor it’s hard not to. A missed opportunity, and a waste of everyone’s time.

Monday, 16 May 2016

Zootopia (2016)

On the one hand this is a cartoon about a bunny wanting to be a cop, with lots of fish-out-of-water gags as the naive rabbit is variously patronised. On the other hand, the main themes of standing up for what you believe in as well as cultural/racial tolerance are really quite serious.

Of course this is a Disney animated kids film though, and as such it does everything right. The jokes are thick and fast, the creation of the utopian animal world is excellent with so much detail that repeat viewings will doubtless reveal ever more unnoticed touches, and the voice cast it excellent.

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Monday, 9 May 2016

Gone too far (2014)

With themes of identity and finding your place in the world, Gone too Far is a hilarious window into the young ethnic diversity of London.

When his brother arrives from Nigeria it threatens to upset Yemi's comfortable existence. Events force him to assess his heritage and struggle with local bullies and the girl of his dreams in the midst of racial prejudice between Africans, Jamaicans and second generation residents of Peckham.

Very witty with sharp dialogue and very very funny.

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)

Dawn of Justice?  Still in the dark if you ask me.  There was one good scene, about halfway through I guess; but otherwise there is too much plotting, and when we finally get to the final showdown, it’s all wham, bang, bash, explosion!  A a rather run-of-the-mill affair with little to recommend it.  Still the creative genius behind the Dark Knight trilogy (Christopher Nolan and David S. Goyer) can’t help this turgid series.

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Monday, 4 April 2016

Paddington (2014)

I’ve not heard of director Paul King before, but what he’s done with Paddington is craft a clever, witty and heart-warming film.  With a plot which contains a couple of stories from the first of Michael Bond’s book about the bear from Darkest Peru, the main theme is that of wanting to belong and finding one’s place in the world as Paddington comes to London to find somewhere to live.

A hugely enjoyable film; the cast are all super, there are brilliant bears and there are some wonderful bits of film making.  Great stuff.

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Wednesday, 24 February 2016

The Hateful Eight (2015)

Quentin Tarantino’s eighth film (not just setting the historical context, it actually announces it at the beginning of the film) continues his love for the Western. Set against the backdrop of the American Civil War, in a similar way to The Good, The Bad and the Ugly; but rather than depicting the dynamic between three main characters, The Hateful Eight tries it with, well, eight. Not as successfully IMO.

A further link with Sergio Leone’s masterpiece is the Ennio Morricone score, which incidentally also links it with The Thing (1982). That’s not all; let’s face it OB’s character is essentially MacReady (Kurt Russell’s character in The Thing) complete with corks hanging from his hat and snow glare sunglasses. Morricone score is generally excellent, but occasionally strays into odd Hammer Horror territory, particularly in the very first shot.

The Revenant (2015)

Wow, just wow! Following on from the critical success of Birdman, Alejandro González Iñárritu presents us with another Oscar-baiting film. I have never seen Birdman, but if the Revenant is anything to go by then the 2014 film must have been tremendous too.

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Saturday, 9 January 2016

Waterworld (1995)

So, one of my New Year's Resolutions, well challenge really, is to watch a film relevant to specific dates. Eg, Halloween on Halloween, V for Vendetta on 5th November etc. I fear the hard part will be trying to track these films down.

Just watched Waterworld which I thought was appropriate to all the water in Aberdeenshire just now.

So, here is my list. Any other suggestions for my list would be appreciated.

And now my thoughts on Waterworld.

Kevin Costner is Robin Cod, Prince of Waves in Mad Max on water: Beyond the Floodedzone.