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)