Friday, 11 November 2011

The Kid with a Bike (ordinal title: Le Gamin au vélo)

The basics   
‘The Kid with a Bike’ is a Belgium film that came out in 2011. It is a realistic drama that is set in Seraing, Belgium. (French spoken part of Belgium) and was written and directed by the Dardenne brothers (Jean-Pierre and Luc). This film is about rejection, parental figures, choices in life and the paths that we take when we make them.

What is this film about?

The film starts with the main character, Cyril a boy of only 11, repeatedly try to call his father’s on the phone from the children’s home where he is only meant to be staying temporary.  Everyone there is trying to explain to him that his father has left but in disbelief of this, he plans on escaping and running back to his father’s old apartment to see him and to get his bike. After a few attempts he manages to escape and get to his father’s old apartment block. As the children’s home workers find Cyril, and try to take him back, in his last attempt to stay there he holds on to a random woman with all he’s got, but eventually they break him free from her. To prove to Cyril the horrible truth they let him take a look around at his father’s apartment, only to find it empty.  

Later on back at the children’s home, Cyril gets a visitor and it’s the lady (Samantha) that he held in the apartments. She has come to drop something off for him, his bike which she brought off somebody who claims he brought it from Cyril’s dad. Still in disbelief that his father is would do something like that he presumes that it must have been stolen. Due to this act of kindness Cyril asks Samantha if he can stay with her on weekends and she says yes.  

My views on it

In all parts of this film (story, characters, editing etc.) there is something I like to call a beautiful roughness to it which makes the experience of this film feel more real and because of this it connects with the audience on a deeper level. For example the reason why Samantha fosters Cyril on the weekends is not explained. In most films this motivation would have been explained because they would want something to justify it, they would want A, to clarify B, so that everything is explained, Luc Dardenne comments on this in an interview ‘We were adamant that the audience would never find out why Samantha is drawn to Cyril. […] We didn’t want the past to explain the present.’.  So there are things in this film that are not explained, the editing is not really seamless, the camera is a bit shaky, but this creates that beautiful roughness. Due to this beautiful roughness it goes against most cinema norms (mainly Hollywood) and it almost stops feeling like you are watching a film and it becomes more of a gate way into these people’s lives. When you start viewing it like that the characters become more real to you and you can really connect with them. Because of this connection you have with the characters and the highs and lows they go through, this makes a film that really pulls at you heartstrings and for a drama that’s a good thing.

The acting in this film I must say is amazing. Cécile De France who plays Samantha is perfect for the roll and pulls it off ‘to the tee’ but the star of the film has to be Thomas Doret who plays Cyril. His acting quality surpasses his years and his portrayal of a kid going through this situation could not have been done better. It almost seems like the Dardenne brothers found a kid going through this and just put a camera in front of him without him noticing.  

I would recommend this film as it is moving, powerful and an emotional roller-coaster where you do not just watch it, you experience it. You can definitely see why this won Grand Prize of the Jury at Cannes.    
Favourite Quote 

Guy Catoul (Cyril’s father): ‘Don’t try to see me again’

Rating 4/5 stars  

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Midnight in Paris

The basics   

Midnight in Paris is an American film which came out in 2011. It is a romantic comedy which is set in Paris and was written and directed by Woody Allen. This film is about romance, art, writing, wanting to be born in a different time, Paris, and time travel.
What is this film about?

This film starts off with a wonderful montage of all the iconic places in Paris. In this montage we see Paris in the sun, the rain and at night and this set up one of the main questions of the film to the audience, what setting do you think Paris is at its most beautiful?
We get introduce to are protagonist (Gil) as he proclaims his love for this city and his wish to have been in Paris in the 1920’s with all the famous writers, artist and to be in the rain. Gil is an American who has spent his literature career writing for Hollywood movies but now wants to see if he is good enough to write his first novel. On a trip to Paris with his fiancée (Inez) and her parents, one night after some wine tasting Inez goes dancing with some of her friends and Gil takes a night walk around Paris to clear his head. After getting lost and sitting on some steps a bell chimes that it is midnight and Gil is picked up by an old fashioned car by people dressed from the 1920’s.

My views on it
American comedy at the moment seems to fall in to only three categories crude humour like ‘The Hangover 1 and 2’ , randomness like ‘Family Guy’ or popular culture references like ‘South Park’. So when I watched this film it was great to see humour that did not have to be crude, random or just a references to be funny. There are references in this film but it’s all to 1920’s artist and writers, not just whatever just happened in the news. So Culture references are used, so you can say that this element of modern American comedy is presented but since they are mainly used when the film is set in 1920’s Paris you are not really able to class this as being popular. The comedy in this film is very witty, subtle and clever and for a film that came out in 2011 this is very refreshing to see.

Two of the main things I like about this film are how clever and charming it is. For example Gil finds himself talking to Salvador Dalí, Man Ray and Luis Buñuel in a bar and he starts to talk about how he is from the future. They just seem to think its normal and Gil reply’s ‘Yes, but you're a surrealist! I'm a normal guy!’. Jokes like that make this film so clever and if you understand them they are really funny but if not, the film is so charming that it can get away with. I must say I know a bit about artist’s and writer’s in the 1920’s so I did get most of it, but there where a good few things that went over my head but I did not mine at all. If you look at the character Paul, he talks about art and history and he get it wrong every now and then. For me this reflects that we are not meant to know about everything we see in this film as it does not punish us for not knowing. Besides as you watch you start to learn more about this time and the artist anyways.
One of the most surprise things I enjoyed about this film is actually Owen Wilson for his acting. For the role of Gil I think that Owen Wilson was the perfect cast, as they needed a charming, classic romantic almost cliché American writer and he is great at this role.

Favourite Quote 
Ernest Hemingway: If it's bad, I'll hate it. If it's good, then I'll be envious and hate it even more. You don't want the opinion of another writer.

Rating 4/5 stars  

Friday, 4 November 2011


The basics   
Contagion is an American film that came out in 2011. It was directed by Steven Soderbergh and written by Scott Z. Burns and came with a star studded cast including Matt Damon, Kate Winslet, Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow and more. This film is about outbreaks, fear, people’s lives, journalism and people just not washing their hands.
What is this film about?
The film starts on day two of the outbreak as we see Beth Emhoff, a business woman on a layover at Chicago airport as she has just came from Hong Kong and going to Minnesota. She seems to have flu like symptoms as she talks to her Chicago lover on her Phone as she waits for her flight. Next we get a slightly patronising montage scene with good long close ups of ill people all across the world touching things just so we know as an audience member that ill people still touch things and this is how a disease maybe spread.
After this we go to Minnesota and we see the disease spread as Beth’s son (Clark) gets pull out of school for being a bit ill like his mum. Then the family takes a turn for the worst as Beth start to have seizure and when she gets to the hospital she unfortunately dies, even though you would not be able to tell this by her husband’s (Mitch) reaction. It seems more like he just got told his car had been clamped not that his wife died. After this Mitch’s step son (Clark) dies and yet again Mitch’s reaction seems off, as he is a bit angry, but more like he just dropped his laptop, not that his step son just died. From here the infection spreads.
My views on it
Well at the start, besides some bad acting and being a bit patronising it had a lot of promise. The almost documentary style of filming was interesting and engaging at first as we follow people lives and how the disease spread. Also with the main protagonist (Beth) at the start of the film dying as well as her son it showed that this film was willing to be edgy and taboo. Sadly after this the film stops being good.
Due to the style of which the film was made (editing, cinamtography, ect), it started to grate on me after a while, it seemed like it did not know what it wanted to be. Part of it wanted to be a normal film and the other half wanted to be a documentary and this gets really annoying as the film drags on. As they tried to integrate these styles it did not seem to work. An example of this is when they are looking through some CCTV footage at a casino, they portray that they can see only what the cameras see, but the footage we see is a stylized version; as we see it like we are there in the casino and not the cameras on the celling. They should have just shown us the CCTV footage as it would have been and not make a stylized version of it for us; as that breaks the reality that the documentary style try’s to create.
After the beginning, the level of interest that this film sets up starts to decreases very quickly. This is because nothing interesting really happens and nothing is made to be dramatic. The pace of the film becomes very slow and as nothing is made to look really dramatic and it becomes monotone, just riding along on the same level of just ‘kind of interesting’. And that is what the film just become, just kind of interesting. Because it sticks to this one level for the rest of the film its gets really dull and it drags out. The film is only 1 hour and 46 minutes but it felt about 2 hours and a half. Even my friend John said after the film ‘that film was long, over 2 hours’.
As I am getting over my limit in the review I am just going to list a few over issues that I did not like, quickly for you.
*The film jumped from character to character all the time so you could not make a connection with them really.
*Acting was bad
*The disease itself was dull
*No twist
*The Ending was insulting and not needed
Favourite Quote 
Alan Krumwiede: It's a bad day to be a rhesus monkey.
Rating 1.5/5 stars   

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy

The Basics 

Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy is an American film which came out in 2004. It was directed by Adam McKay and written by Will Ferrell and Adam McKay. It also stars Will Ferrell in the lead role as Ron Burgundy himself. This film is a comedy which is about the local news, a male dominated world, street gangs, feminism, quotes and good looking hair.

What is this film about?

In the 70’s there is one local news team in San Diego that is miles above the rest and this is the KVWN-TV Channel 4 Evening News team and there lead anchor is none other than Ron Burgundy. After being given the status of highest-rated news program in San Diego again, they go back to the same party they do every year to celebrate. This time there is something different. There Ron meets a beautiful, blonde woman who has no idea who he is and does not fall for his charm. The next day we find out that the woman at the party is Veronica Corningstone, the new ambitious newswoman at the station.
Will her ambition change this male dominated world and as the men see her as fair game, will any of them woo her?  
My views on it
Every time I use to think about this film I was able to pull out all the best quotes from it and look back on it with happy memories. If you have watched this film then I bet you have quoted it in your everyday life; from saying to a girl ‘I want to be on you’, when you wanted to descried your feeling towards lighting features ‘I love lamp’ or just when you want to talk about figures ’60 % of the time, it works every time ‘.
When I watched this film again recently I am a little sad to say that it didn’t reach up to the expectations that I had of it in my memory. Yes all the funny quotes where there and I did giggle at them but that was about it. In my recent viewing of this film I was trying to look for something deeper than just the jokes but there isn’t anything really. Yea you can say that there is the theme of the "second-wave" of the Women's Movement that happened between the 1960’s to the 1990’s in this film with Veronica trying to become a success in this man’s world. But in this film it seems like this theme is there more so they can make sexist comments then have a strong insight or opinion on this political movement .so when you look past the clever quotes and funny situations there isn’t much to this film, but is it enough? Mmmmmm……. Yea. I think so. This film isn’t going to leave you thinking or change your view on anything but as a comedy it fulfils its number one objective, it makes you laugh. The comedy in this film is great and after the film you will still be laughing at the quotes that are rolling around your head and you will be singing afternoon delight as well.
As for the characters they are a reflection of the film itself, there isn’t much to them but they are well acted and funny. The film did have a great comedy cast with Will Ferrell, Steve Carell, Paul Rudd and more and this did add a lot to the film.
So if you want to see some great comedy performed by a good cast and that’s about it then this is the film for you but if you wanted to watch something with any kind of depth then best look somewhere else.
Favourite Quote 
Ron Burgundy: Oh Audrey - I look like hell! I got bags under my eyes. What's that? Well if you were a man, I'd punch you. Punch you right in the mouth. That's bush. Bush league. YOU HEAR ME? AUDREY! LOOK AT ME! I'm sorry. I'm sorry. Alright?
Rating 3/5

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Watership Down

The basics  
Watership Down is a British film which was made in 1978. It was first a novel by Richard Adams and was published in 1972. It was directed by Martin Rosen and it is about tyranny, freedom, bravery, death and violence.
What is this film about?
At the beginning we get to meet two rabbits, Hazel and Fiver. Fiver starts to have visions of a soon coming doom to their warren and they go to tell their chief. The chief barely pays attention to what they have to say and dismisses their advice to move all the rabbits to somewhere else. Because of this Hazel and Fiver and a few more rabbits run away together to find a new home.      
My views on it
Do you remember when you were about seven and you sat down to watch a cartoon film about rabbits (rated U), then after the film you cried and then you had nightmares for about two weeks? If you do it was this film, Watership Down.
Coming across this film again (now in my twenties) I was interested to see my adult view on one of the most horrifying films in any kids childhood. In three simple words ……….. I loved it. Now I am able to appreciate this film on so many levels but I can still see why this film would be terrifying to a young audience.  In most cartoons there is this feeling of hyperreality, for example in Roadrunner you can watch Wile E. Coyote blow himself up or fall of a cliff numerous amounts of times and still laugh because it funny and you know he will be fine in the next clip. Watership Down does not really have this feeling of hyperreality, it all feels very realistic and when two of its main themes are death and violence it’s not hard to see why this film could be scary for a child. As an adult the sense of reality in this film is great, knowing that the consequences for the characters are real it makes you care for them more and it makes it more dramatic when it happens. Also because the theme of death is about as subtle as a brick to the face, it gives most of the film a wonderfully haunting feel as you watch.
Also there is underlying meanings that you can pick up.  One that most people seem to talk about is its view on totalitarian regime, mainly looking at Nazism (looking at the Efrafa warren and General Woundwort). This meaning wasn’t put in by the writer ‘Well, I don't think there's any pro or anti-society in Watership Down, it's simply a tale. […] It's only a made-up story, it's in no sense an allegory or parable or any kind of political myth.’ (Adams. R, 2008). He just wanted to write a story about bunnies, with knowing that it just makes me like it more.  But art is up for interpretation and if you wish to read into the political themes then go for it.
The animation in this film itself is another thing I really enjoyed about it. It is a bit too old to have had CGI and it didn’t have the budget of Disney but what they have done I think is great. The artwork in this film seems hand draw and painted and you can tell a lot of effort went into it. It is almost like watching a painting and there is something charming about that.
I would really recommend this film, especially to the people who seen it when they were young so they can watch it again and this time enjoy it. Just don’t show it to your kids.  
Favourite Quote 
Narrator: All the world will be your enemy, Prince with a Thousand Enemies, and when they catch you, they will kill you... but first they must catch you.
Rating 4/5

Monday, 18 July 2011


The basics   
300 is an American film that was made in 2006. 300 was originally a five issue series of comic books which was written in 1998 by Frank miller. The film was directed by Zack Snyder and is about war, glory, honour, betrayal and military tactics.
What is this film about?
In 480 BC the Persians have raised the biggest army the world has ever seen and they are on their way to take over Greece. In rejecting submission the King of Sparta Leonidas visits the Ephors (priests) to obtain their favour before sending the Spartan army in battle. After Ephors consults the oracle he claims that Sparta’s army should not go to war as it would interrupt the sacred Carneian festival. Because of this Leonidas goes for a loop hole and he claims that he is not going to war he is just going for a walk up to the hot gates (where the Persians are) with 300 bodyguards at this side. Bring on the legendary battle of Thermopylae.
My views on it
I remember being sat in the cinema watching this film and I was thinking ‘these battle scenes are awesome’. Now thats was a few good years ago and since then I have gone through college and I have gone through university. I have become more intelligent, my knowledge on cinema has grown dramatically, my views on films has changed a lot and when I watch this film recently I was thinking ‘these battle scenes are awesome’. In the last few years I have changed a lot but my opinion on the fights in this film have not, it’s just the rest of the film I don’t like.
Back when I first watched this film I didn’t care for the Spartan Queen’s side of the story. You know, the side of the story that has her in, with the traitor and the council and all that stuff. All I care about was the action. Nowadays my view on the action is the same but now instead of just not caring about the queen’s side of the story, I am annoyed by it. Because the Queen’s story in this film is nowhere near as visually pleasing as the Kings story, also it is not on the same level of intensity, excitement or interest as the King’s story, it flops. Due to this it make the film feel very unbalanced and this is what really annoys me. It almost feels like the queens story in this film was only there to fill up time and I would say after watching this film once if you wanted to watch it again you could get the same level of entertainment from it by just watching the Kings side of the story and fast-forwarding through the Queen’s side and save yourself a few minutes.
Also before I sat down to write this review I did some research on the film and its context (like I do with all my blogs). Within minutes I had found out more about this battle then I did from the film and I found myself reading up on this battle for a long time and then I started to wonder ‘why isn’t this in the film?’. I know that this film came from a series of comic books so that they could not fit it all in to 117 minutes, but I would have loved to have learnt more about the history of this war in this film.  This is something that this film lacks and instead of getting this we get the boring Queen story line that no one will ever remember this film for.
All in all I would recommend this film. This film has some of the best use of green screen I have ever seen so far, the battle are amazing, you will not even remember the Queen’s side of the story after you have watched it and you will be shouting ‘this is Sparta!’ in no time.
Favourite Quote 
King Leonidas: This is Sparta!
Rating 3/5 (or you could say 300 out of 500. Woo for bad puns)

Tuesday, 12 July 2011


The basics
Akira is a Japanese Anime which came out in 1988. The manga was written by Katsuhiro Ohtomo and he also went on to write the screen play with Izô Hashimoto and direct it as well.  This film is, well……… about a lot of things really, too many to write down.  
What is this film about?
In 1988 an unexplained explosion happens and vaporizes Tokyo and world war 3 kicks off and then we jump forward 31 years to 2019. Now in Neo-Tokyo we meet Kaneda and Tetsuo, two teenagers in a motorcycle gang (Kaneda is the leader) off for a night of fighting a rival gang called the clowns. In this Tetsuo gets badly hurt crashing his bike so as not to hit a small blue child that looks old and when the army stops them they take Tetsuo with them for the top secret Akira project and that’s just the start of the film.
My views on it
Before the time where Animes were about children that could summon creatures for battle’s or just for fun (Pokémon, Digimon,  Yo-gi-oh, Beyblade, Cardcaptor Sakura etc.).  Or teenagers feeling uncomfortable near each other and it being almost pornography (Ecchi anima like Love Hina and B Gata H Kei AKA B-Cup Slut), and before Studio Ghibli could really make a name for themselves there was Akira.
Back in 1982 the original manga for Akira was only meant to be 200 pages long but due to popular demand in the end Akira went to more than 2000 pages and was a 6 issue epic manga. It wasn’t too long before this came out on the big screen and became a ground-breaking Anime and a cult classic.  Now I could go and talk about interesting facts about this film, or how awesome it is, or go in depth in to the story or any of the themes that this film has or what effect it had on anime itself or a number of things which makes this film a classic and not just in Anime but in cinema. I could do any of these things but that’s already been done so many times so I going to tell you some of the things I didn’t like about Akira.
Due to the fact that Akira was such a big manga it was impossible fit all the details from the manga in to the film. Now you can say this with any film that has come from a book but some do it better than others. In Akira because they had to try and fit in all the story line in to a two hour film, I feel that the characterization was let down a lot. Most of the characters had no back story to them and they seemed very two-dimensional, the only characters we mainly got to know were Kaneda and Tetsuo and that wasn’t really much. Also the relationships between characters was thin, yet again the only one we go to know a bit was Kaneda and Tetsuo’s relationship. Due to this I didn’t care for a lot of the characters, for example because the film only scratched the surface of Tetsuo and Kaori’s (his girlfriend) relationship, when she died I couldn’t of cared less.
Another thing I didn’t like was when Kaneda and Tetsuo where having one of their fights later on in the film I always was thinking ‘Tetsuo can stop tanks, take out an army and pretty much total Neo-Tokyo but a teenager with a laser gun can give him a hard time, mmmmmm that’s not right’.  I know that Kaneda is a tough character and that it is probably their friendship that holds Tetsuo back but still in the context of Tetsuo’s power, state of mind and the fact he is losing control of himself you would think that Kaneda would not be a threat on any level to Tetsuo.
Also if someone was to ask me ‘would you recommend this film?’ I would say ‘no’. Hear me out for this now, beside what I have said I do really like this film and it is a classic but the people who would love this film have already seen it and the people who wouldn’t, haven’t.  This isn’t the kinda film that people randomly pick up at blockbuster. The people who would watch it are film buffs and anime freaks and they have seen it all ready and this is why it called a cult classic.
Favourite Quote
Kaneda: He's not your friend, he's ours! If somebody's gonna kill him, it should be us!
Rating 4/5

Monday, 4 July 2011

La Horde

The basics

La Horde is a French zombie film that came out in 2009. This one was their first feature film that Yannick Dahan and Benjamin Rocher had directed and had written as well, also including two other writers Arnaud Bordas and Stéphane Moïssakis. This film is about Revenge, being badass, zombies and working together against a common enemy.    
What is this film about?
At the start there is a funeral for a dead cop who was killed by a gangster, from this a group of cops set out on a revenge mission which leads them to a very run down tower of flats. They make their way to the top floor but end up being captured by the gangsters. Soon enough the dead begin to rise and the cops and the gangsters have to work together to try and get out of the tower alive.  
My views on it
When I come across French cinema, I don’t know why but my mind always starts to think about films such as À bout de soufflé (Breathless) and Jules et Jim (Jules and Jim). You know the kind, French new wave cinema from the 60’s that’s black and white, has jump cut editing, filmed by a hand-held camera, are really pretentious and are only watched by film students or critics. With this in mind I must say La Horde is a bit different than them (some sarcasm for you there).
As I watched this it seemed like the story line was only there so they could class this as a film and not just as a bunch of awesome zombie fight scene’s throw in together one after the other. I could just picture the writers creating the story line like this ………….
(Four writers sitting around a table drinking coffee)
Writer 1:         ok we all know how all the fight scenes are going down right?
All Writers:      yes.
Writer 1:         and we all agree that it’s going to be set in a tower of flats?
All Writers:      yes.
Writer 1:         soo…….. How do we get a lot of badass people to the top of a tower of flats?
Writer 2:         At the top of the flats can be a gangster hide out, full of gangsters.
Writer 1:         awesome that’s going in. And?
Writer 3:         cops could come to get them.
Writer 1:         There not badass enough.
(Writer 4 drinks some of his coffee)  
Writer 2:         Badass cops on a revenge mission.
Writer 1:         Great, just how do we justify zombies?
Writer 3:          Random, unexplained judgement day thing happens and zombies just turn up.
Writer 1:         Mmmmm... I don’t like it. (Pause) I love it. Let’s start filming.
Writer 4:         Can we throw in a crazy old guy with an axe?
Writer 1:         Yes, why not. Let’s do this thing.
End scene
If you haven’t guessed yet the story isn’t the reason why you would watch this film.  It is riddled with plot holes and it just there as a formality. The reason why you should watch this film is it gives you what you want to see, Gangsters working with badass cops VS a zombie horde. When I first watched this I didn’t care that the story only took five minutes to write, or that before the cops went in to the gangster’s room there was no blood anywhere and when they left there was blood on every wall in the whole building (which is strange as there was only a hand full of zombie on the top floors). There is many things wrong with this film but when you get to see a gangster blow a zombies head off with a shotgun or a female cop beat a zombie to the ground with her bare hands then drop a fridge on it, all you can think is ‘how awesome was that !’.
At the end of the day this isn’t a masterpiece of French cinema like À bout de soufflé or Jules et Jim, and it’s not going to be talked about in 50 years’ time like they are, but I would say if you’re a zombie fan, give this a watch It will not disappoint.
Some words of advice as well if you are a new comer to the world of foreign cinema or have never seen a foreign film before, this would be a good starter film. It’s easy to follow, there’s not much dialogue and there’s loads of action.      
Favourite Quote
Jimenez:   Tonight we came for a blood bath
Rating 2/5 (but if you are a zombie fan like me 4/5)

Saturday, 25 June 2011

The Hangover Part II

The basics
The Hangover part II, which came out in 2011, is the sequel of the American comedy The Hangover which came in 2009. In this film the wolf pack is back and set for another night out that they will never forget and a night that they will remember nothing of.
The film brings back all the favourite cast from the first one (including a cameo from Mike Tyson) and is directed by the same director Todd Phillips. Like the first one this film is a comedy about a bachelor party, friendship, investigation, hangovers and having to deal with Alan (aka Zach Galifianakis or more commonly known as ‘that guy from The Hangover’)    
What is this film about?
Well if you haven’t guessed already this film is basically the same as the first one but with a few minor changes. The film starts off with a phone conversation with Phil claiming ‘It happened again’ (because it has) then it shoots back to the beginning to show us story leading up to the phone call.  This time around it is Stu who is getting married (like I said minor change) and he is planning to do his nuptials in Thailand.
Due to what has happen in the past Stu’s bachelor party is ……………………….. A brunch at a IHOP before they leave America. Once in Thailand, a few days before the wedding, Stu gets convinced to have just one sealed bottle of beer on the beach around a camp fire with his friends and his soon to be wife’s little brother Teddy. They enjoy their one sealed beer and have a few marshmallows to roast over the camp fire.
Next thing we know they wake up in a dirty little room, Phil is hung-over, Alan has a shaven head, Stu has a Tyson like face tattoo, there is a monkey wearing people clothes,  Doug is safely back at the hotel which is good. But where is Teddy? This leads to the adventure of the wolf pack, retracing their steps around Bangkok trying to find Teddy as they have no clue of what they did that night.      
My views on it
The big question is not whether I liked this film, it is more did I like the first one and the answer is mmmmmmm yes, yes I did. This film has the same story line, cast and director as the first one but what did we really expect of this film. The film is called The Hangover Part II, how much variation from the original story line could they do. Most people do seem to put down this film a lot for being the same as the first one and I do a bit because it does seem a bit lazy but this is not what this film is about. This film is a laugh out loud comedy which you are meant to sit back just enjoy for its stupidity and its crude sense of humour. If you looking for a film that’s a thinker, is original and intelligent then this is not for you as this film was never trying to be nothing more than just a good laugh, which it is.
All in all I would say that this film is not better than the first one but, it is not off it by far.  In this film the humour dose seem to be cruder then the first one especially when it comes to the bit about the lady boy’s (its set in Bangkok you knew this was going to happen). This is one of the reasons why I prefer the first one as the first one is just as funny if not funnier and it doesn’t go that crude.
So I can say I enjoyed this film almost as much I enjoyed the first one and if the rumours are right I will be enjoying The Hangover Part III in 2014.
Favourite Quote
Stu [Part of the lyrics to" Alan town"]: I got fucked in the ass... / By a girl with a dick.
Rating 3/5

Monday, 6 June 2011

DR. Horrible’s Sing Along-Blog

The basics   

DR. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog is an American short film (or TV mini-series) which was created in 2008. During the writer strike in 2007, Joss Whedon set out to direct and write this 3 part musical which he co-writ with his brothers Zack and Jed and Jed’s Fiancé Maurissa Tancharoen. At first DR. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog was only meant to be shown on the internet but from there on it has been shown in a few public places like Comic-Con in Sian Diego and is available on DVD. This film is a comedy musical about super-villains and super-heroes, love, career ambition, revenge and the balance DR. Horrible has to find between them.

What is this film about?

The film starts off with our unlikely hero (the villain) DR. Horrible (Neil Patrick Harris) doing his own video blog where he is just replying to the emails that he has received. Soon on in the film we find out, through the medium of song DR Horrible’s two goals in life. One is to be let in to the prestigious Evil League of Evil which is led by the legendary thoroughbred of sin, Bad Horse and the second is to pick up the courage to talk to the cute girl in the Laundromat who he has a crush on. 

In this we get to see DR. Horrible struggle to balance both of these dreams at the same time. As he get repeatedly beaten up by his nemesis Captain Hammer (who is a cheesy super-hero and a jerk) and during one of this heist to get so Wonderflonium for his Freeze-Ray he accidently introduces his dream girl, Penny to Captain Hammer and they start dating as well. Will it ever work out for our loveable DR. Horrible?

My views on it

For a film, well TV mini-series if you want to be pedantic that is only 42 minutes long, written during the writers’ strike  and was only meant to be shown on the internet  its very good and lovable. This is a great little rom-com musical that will just make you smile all the way through it. Now I am not saying this film is fantastic, it does have its flaws but you have to take it for what it is and it was released as nothing more than just an internet video, not a blockbuster film, an internet video.

The main surprise about this film is that the songs and the singing in it are actually good. You will find yourself as the title suggests singing along to the songs as the story unfolds and singing them still after it has finished. Also who knew that Neil Patrick Harris could sing?

This film is defiantly heading to become a cult classic which will be enjoyed for many years, and may I suggest makes a great film for when you have got a hangover.

Favourite Quote 

Captain Hammer: 
It may not feel too classy
Begging just to eat
But you know who does that?
Lassie. And she always gets a treat

Rating 4/5 stars  

Monday, 30 May 2011

Human Centipede (first sequences)

The Basics

Human Centipede (first sequences) is a Netherlands film which was made in 2009. Tom Six is the mind that is behind this film as he directed, produced and writer. So all in all he gets all the blame for this film. This film is about a mad scientist, horror, concepts, god complex and why Americans should never travel across Europe, didn’t they learn anything from Hostel and Hostel: Part II.  

What is this film about?

Well the film starts off like most new wave American B movie where instead of the young Americans being lost on a dark road in American or at a very dodgy looking camp site there on their holiday traveling across Europe. Because as we all know there isn’t any killers left in America so their teenagers have to come to Europe to be killed.  

We meet our two travels, Jenny and Lindsay, just two girls having a good time in Germany who plan to go out to a club one night. So they get ready, get in their rental car and drive off to the club and if you’re like me you already start to question ‘why are they taking a car if they’re going to get drunk in a club?’. I like to think one of them was going to be the designated driver.  As they drive, their car gets a flat tire in the middle of some dark woods in the middle of nowhere. Now i have never been to Germany but if I was them and I think most people would do the same, if I was going to a club I don’t think I would take the road that goes through the woods as club are mainly in places with other buildings like city’s. As the girls run around the woods looking for help they come across a house where they are let in by an older man who seems a bit strange. I don’t think I need to say but those two girls end up being drugged and tired up in the basement /laboratory. After this the old man called Dr Heiter goes out and gets another victim to match the two girl’s flesh type and the rest of the film you can gather from the title really. 

My views on it

I first came to hear of this film by word and mouth but not much and then I came across South Park’s parody of this film called humanentipad. From watching this I had to see the film. Form the start I accepted that it was going to be a low budget film that was based completely around one concept and that people only watch it for novelty reasons. So I am trying to say I didn’t have high exceptions for it. And even with all this I still thought that this was a rubbish film.

As you sit and watch this film you will notices plot hole after plot hole like why doesn’t the doctor who can speak German and English put one of the English specking girls at the front and not the Japanese guy? How does the Human Centipede get up and down the stairs? And the film is very medically inaccurate.

But the main problem I have with this film is that the concept of the human centipede is very poorly done. You wait about 50 minutes to see what you hope will be gross, messed up surgery that’s complex and in a very dark way is genius and this wired freaky abomination that is not three people but a being in itself.  But no its just 3 people in a line, stitch together by mouth to ass which is just dull and as we get to see the human centipede for the next 40 minute the idea of it just becomes mundane . So the only real hope this film had was to be a gross and to have shock value and it doesn’t even have that.    
Favourite Quote 

Jenny: [speaking on a hotel phone] Hi. Yes, um, I was wondering if I could get driving directions to a nightclub called Bunker. Yes, Bunker. How exactly would I get there ?

Rating 1/5 stars 

Monday, 4 April 2011

Terminator 2: Judgment Day

The basics
‘Terminator 2: Judgment Day’ is the sequel to the ‘The Terminator’ and is an American film made in 1991. It was directed by James Cameron and Written by James Cameron and William Wisher Jr. this film is about humanity, the fear of future, technology,   action, chase scenes, guns and family. It also has good bit of humour in there as well.
What is this film about?
At the beginning of this film we get to see what happens on judgment day and what the world turns into as the wars wages on between humanity and the machines .The first line in this film is narrated by Sarah Connor over this grim outlook of the future.  This line does the job for me in this part and because I don’t think I could say it any better than Sarah Connor I will let her fill in this part for me. Take it away Sarah……
Sarah Connor: [narrating] 3 billion human lives ended on August 29th, 1997. The survivors of the nuclear fire called the war Judgment Day. They lived only to face a new nightmare: the war against the machines. The computer which controlled the machines, Skynet, sent two Terminators back through time. Their mission: to destroy the leader of the human resistance, John Connor, my son. The first Terminator was programmed to strike at me in the year 1984, before John was born. It failed. The second was set to strike at John himself when he was still a child. As before, the resistance was able to send a lone warrior, a protector for John. It was just a question of which one of them would reach him first.
My views on it
After I watch this film I tried to think why I love it so much. Is it for the action? No. don’t get me wrong the action scenes in this film are epic and there is a lot of them which is good but you can get the same amount of action in ‘xXx 2: The Next Level’ (no as good action as ‘Terminator 2’ I may add) and does this make that a good film? Not at all.
The thing I love about this film has to be the humour behind it. The humour comes from the relationship that the Terminator (aka T-800/Arnold Schwarzenegger) has with John Connor. In this the Terminator has to look after john and at the same time do whatever he says. As the story goes on John try to teach the Terminator humanity and how to act normal but this is coming from a young teenager whose life is pretty messed up. For example early on in the film one of John’s instructions to the Terminator is to not kill. So when they come across a guard that hasn’t done anything wrong besides stopping getting through a gate, instead of killing this innocent man he chooses to shot him in both of his legs. He then turns to John and says ‘He'll live’ as if he done the right thing. Another example is later on in the film John try’s to teach him how to talk normally and in this case by using bad early 90’s slang.   
All in all this an awesome film and I can’t think of a better action film that came out of the 90’s.
Favourite Quote
The Terminator: Chill out, dickwad.
Rating 5/5

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

The basics
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is a bestselling book by Swedish author Stieg Larsson. He unfortunately died in 2004 before this book and the rest in this series (The Girl Who Played with Fire and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest) were published in 2005, 2006 and 2007. The film, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was made in 2009 and is a Crime/noir about investigation, death, rape, hacking and conspiracies.
What is this film about?
The film starts with a court case against one of the main characters Mikael Blomkvist, a middle aged journalist, who’s been writing an article involving damaging allegations against a billionaire. Mikael lost the case and he was given a prison sentence for 3 months which starts in 6 months. Also we get to meet private investigator Lisbeth Salander (the girl that has the dragon tattoo and is our other main character). She is a skinny, gothic, 20 odd year old woman who, from first sight, you can tell she has a very colourful history. She has been set the task to investigate Mikael and she does this by hacking in to his documents and in her personal opinion he is innocent and this triggers a personal interest in him.
In the 6 months of freedom that Mikael has he gets hired by ageing business man to try and solve the mystery of his missing niece that happened over 40 years ago. He was chosen for this due to his skills as a reporter and the fact that this girl was his babysitter for a time as well. As this goes on Lisbeth is following his progress through his documents whilst also taking care of her own problems with her new forceful guardian and his grip on her finances. As Mikael gets stuck on a clue he receives a very easy to trace email that solves this piece of the puzzle for him. I wonder who that could have been from?
My views on it
This film is a new age noir that will keep you guessing at every turn.  The structure, story and the characters are fantastically well written in a film that seems to involve every dark theme you can think of.
One of my favourite things about this film is that it really explores and takes to a new level the stereotypical character of the femme-fatal. Femme-fatal is a character mostly found in class noir films; a woman who is strong, dark, and sexy and manipulates men in to doing what she wants. Lisbeth is the new, grown up, bad ass version of this character that doesn’t rely on her charm or men’s stupidity to get her what she wants. She gets by with her intelligence, strength and her messed up history that somehow allows her to be darker and less caring.
The only problem with this film is that as the film goes on you start to get more interest in Lisbeth then the story line itself.  Because of this the resolution to the main story line isn’t as fulfilling as it should be. The later parts seem to be more of an intro to the next film rather than a conclusion to this one. 
Favourite Quote
Lisbeth Salander: [tattooing Bjurman] ‘I've never done this before. Hold still, or it'll get messy.’
Rating 4/5

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Touching the Void

The basics
Touching the Voiding is a bestselling book which came out in 1988 and was made in to a film in 2003. This film is a reconstructive documentary about mountain climbing, decision making, life and Death, giving it your all and doing it in a very British way.  
What is this film about?
This is a true story about two British mounting climbers, Joe Simpson and Simon Yates who try to clime the west face of Siula Grande in the Peruvian Andes, a mountain that nobody has been able to finish. The film starts with a fourth wall breaking interview where we get to meet the real Joe and Simon and they describe their reasons for why they do what they do and that is 'cause it's fun.’ Fair enough.  As the film goes on we get to see the actors start on this epic challenge as the real people give us a guided narration of what is going on through the interview.

The journey up the mountain is pretty uneventful but it over quickly and at this time in the film you are still just enjoying the awesome cinematography  and mise en scene to really care about how they did something well . When they make it to the top and start their decline this is when the film really kicks in.  As they start to make their way down the mountain, they face problem after problem. An eerie feeling begins to take over as these problems seem to be foreshadowing something. You feel as though at any moment, something is going to go horribly wrong and it does. One of the climbers (Joe Simpson) breaks his leg and no one can blame you if in this scene you get a bit squeamish, as this is a very cringe worthy moment. After this Simon has the plan to get him down by making him slide down the side of the mountain on a rope, what can possibly go wrong?         
My views on it
From the beginning you can instantly see how well this film is made. The cinematography is beautiful as we are given the visual delights of close up shots of the equipment which pays so much attention to detail, also epic long shots of the fantastic scenery and everything in between.

The story in this film makes you constantly question, is this really a true story? As the story goes from bad to worse, and to even worse still. It seems hard to believe that this could happen, but this is part of the fun.  You know a story is good when right at the beginning of the film you see an interview of the two climbers 20 years on from the event which the film keeps cutting back to every now and then, but there is still half of you that thinks that they are going to die.  This film is intense, dramatic, unbelievable, funny and griping with every second and the best part is it’s all true.           
Favourite Quote
‘I was thinking, "Bloody hell, I'm gonna die to Boney M".’
Rating – 4/5

Monday, 21 March 2011

Human Traffic

The basics    
Human Traffic is a British film that was made in 1999. It is about youth culture in 90’s Britain, clubs, drugs, friendship and living for the weekend.
What is this film about?
The film stars John Simm who you would most likely know from the fantastic T.V series ‘Life on Mars’ and Danny Dyer from loads of terrible films (but in this one he is not that bad). The film starts out with a “fourth wall” breaking introduction to the group of misfit characters that you will grow to love over the 95 minutes of this film. A group of friends that the only thing that they seem to have in common is that they are all as messed up as each other.
We get to see what there mundane 9 to 5 life is like which is nothing too great. Going from a shop assistant, university student, working a fast food joint to just being jobless.  But this is not the point we care about and they don’t either, it’s the weekend that’s important. 
It’s Friday night and the group are going in to town, following them from a pub, to club, to house party, to the come down, to Sunday lunch and finally back in the pub on Sunday daytime. During this film we get to follow what they think, flagging up there paranoia’s, theirs views on Britain, sex, drugs, friendship and for a small part Star wars too.
My views on it
If you have never taken drugs before, by the end of this film you will be jonesing for a fix. Even if this film dose show the darker side to drugs with Paranoia, not being able to get it up, come downs,  losing a grip on reality and a with a hint to mental illness, somehow it still looks like a good idea. After this film is the only time that you will think to yourself ‘mmmm I wish I was back in the 90’s, had a crap job and was going out to a club on the weekend to drop some E, smoke a joint, and take a line.’
The film itself feels like a bit of a drug trip as well, as it keeps braking out of reality to show how robotic work can be or to teach us a lesson in spliffology. And it is this mixture of randomness with the plotline that makes you feel the highs and lows as if you have been dropping pills with the character in the film.  And I’ve  got to say that I love the classic Hollywood ending done in a British way (but I am not going to say what it is).      
This is a clever and stylised comedy that is about how to blow off steam on the weekend after the boring, mechanical weekday. This shows the awesome side to drugs and the negatives they have as well.
Favourite Quote  
Koop - ‘when the come down's out-way the good times, you know the party's over ‘
Rating  3/5 stars