Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Never Say Never 3D: Review

Honestly, I wasn't going to review this. Then I looked at the paper I really need to finish today and just didn't want to do it. Today is also Justin Bieber's birthday (yes, yes the big 1-7) so I guess it's kind of fitting, appropriate etc.etc..

As I've said before- I love cheese. I love trash. I do. Unfortunately this extends beyond film in to music and I suppose one might label me a 'Belieber'. I'm not ashamed. He's cute, he's talented and he's cocky as shit. Occasionally he'll sit down with the Rolling Stone and give his views on abortion (because what 16 year old boy hasn't seriously considered such a subject and would be readily prepared to answer such a question on it?) and makes everyone hate him for a while. But anyway, on to the film..

First off: You're not going to have any interest in this film whatsoever if you do not like Justin Bieber. That should go without saying but I've been reading quite a few twitter and facebook status updates from the man (child) himself encouraging people to watch the film so that they can see what he's really like. Don't.

It's a kindof cutesy, slightly cheesy look at Justin's growth from little toddler banging on drums to super-duper-madison-square-garden-selling-out-mega-star at the age of 16. Awww. Of course the film is about 'Never giving up', which is you know, a nice message to put out there? I find it kind of hard to swallow though, when it comes from a 16 year old boy. He never gave up? Over the period of may be two years, he never gave up. Who knows? May be two years feels like a long time when you're 16, I can't remember. 

All of that trash aside it's a well-made documentary with interviews from his family, home move footage, Justin hanging out with his friends, somewhat moving moments with fans etc.etc.

Watch it if you like: his music, stories about 16 year old boys and their fabulous wealth

Don't watch if.. you're not a 'Belieber', you have better things to do with your time

Monday, 28 February 2011

Drive Angry 3D: Review

Yes, I did pay good money to see this movie. Yes, I did already had my 3D glasses so I didn't have to spend so much money. And yes, I really am going to review this.

Obviously my expectations for this film weren't, let's say, 'ridiculously high'. Some reviews have been favourable, some.. less than. Here's a mixture of some from Rotten Tomatoes:

The bad:

"Aspires to be absolute trash, but of the exhilarating sort. Unfortunately, it misses by a mile, winding up oddly dull and ponderous."

"Trashily amusing at first, the picture becomes repetitive and tiresome."

"Drive Angry is such an outrageously overblown experience that it almost feels redundant to flag up its obvious shortcomings in the most basic areas: a hopeless lack of logic, dismal dialogue, characters with less personality than the average roadkill."

The better:

"Drive Angry is pure grindhouse, so committed to its own junkiness that it is, in its way, a pleasure to behold."

"Drive Angry is meant to entertain at the lowest level. But the fact that it knows its place in the cinematic landscape makes it fun to watch."

"In one astonishing scene Cage has sex with a naked cocktail waitress while swigging from the bottle of Jack Daniel's in one hand and killing six assailants with the gun he's holding in the other. Now that's real multitasking."

Looking at these reviews I think everyone can agree that this film wasn't taking itself seriously. It is what it is- a little (a lot?) trashy, cheesy, action-packed, unmoving, brash look at.. driving angrily. It isn't high art and so it would be unfair to hold it to any high or moderate standards. 

I liked it. I didn't love it. But it is worth a watch. Here are some of the highlights for me:

Nicolas Cage (the reason I watched the film obviously)- if you're a Nic fan who wants to watch anything which he will sink to in order to work out his problems with the taxman (although maybe drawing the line at 'The Wickerman' after half a viewing) then obviously you're going to want to watch this. For some reason Nic has bleached his longer-than-lovely locks for this film and I'm not sure why?!?!? Anyway, this is obviously not Nic's strongest performance, he isn't playing an alcoholic in love with a hooker living the highlife in Las Vegas, or a baby-stealing hillbilly or, thankfully, a detective researching something about bees and honey and creepy women on an island. Milton isn't a deep or excessively-developed character: He broke out of hell to find his murdered daughter's baby and he does so driving angrily with a hot babe in tow. 

Amber Herd- very attractive in this movie. She wears Daisy Dukes for a brief time, punches men in the face and on one occasion even grabs some balls. Nice. Her performance isn't going to turn any heads at the academy but she is okay. Realistically she is eye candy, and she performs that role just fine.

The sex scene- this scene is mentioned above and may be one of my favourite sex scenes along with Pedro Almodovar's hilarious rape scene in 'Kika'. Nic appears to be shagging the brains out of a hot, naked blonde whilst sitting casually chugging from a bottle of JD, in come 6-or-so men with machetes, guns and blood-lust for Nic's character. Of course, Nic continues with intercourse as he roles around shooting off the heads of various assassins. Luckily for his barmaid lover, Nic is subjected to a stun gun by one assassin and those vibrations really seem to help her out. I won't ruin the rest (that's really it), but it's definitely worth watching, even if it's only on youtube at some point.

Willaim Fitchner- You might know this guy from 'Entourage' or some other things like 'The Dark Knight' where apparently he played the bank manager? I don't. Very funny in this movie, and dare I say it.. playing a better character than Nic. Possibly the only good lines in the film come from him, and I won't spoil you in case you do intend to watch. 

The soundtrack- Some pretty decent tunes in this film which I feel like you could, yourself, drive along angrily too. There's a nice little bit of contrapuntal sound accompanying William Fitchner's character in a certain scene.. I shan't spoil it. Look out for that though. 

I'm still undecided about 3D. Do I like wearing a second pair of glasses? No, I feel like a dick. Did it make a difference to this film? Not really. Would it be annoying to buy a pair of them to see this film? Probably. I've heard some people loved the 3D in this film though so may be check it out if you're a fan.

RATING: 6/10 (for: fun, not being serious, having Nicolas Cage, having sex and violence and some nice cars)

Watch if you like: Nicolas Cage movies such as 'Con Air' (I'm not sure if anyone really likes that film), being entertained without having to think, hot girls beating on men, a little bit of sex to break up your movies.

Don't watch if... you want a deeply-compelling film with relatable, developed characters with witty dialogue and exchange.

Post-Oscars roundup

Since I have a couple of papers I really need to hand in which bare some degree of important to me achieving any resemblance to a qualification which I'm paying through the ass for, I thought it would be a good time to do an Oscars roundup instead. So, for those living under a rock, here are the winners in the categories which people find most interesting:

Best Actor: Colin Firth ('The King's Speech')
Best Actress: Natalie Portman ('Black Swan')
Best Picture: 'The King's Speech'
Best Supporting Actor: Christian Bale ('The Fighter')
Best Supporting Actress: Melissa Leo ('The Fighter')
Best Animated Film: 'Toy Story 3'
Best Director: Tom Hooper ('The King's Speech)

A few Categories which I care less for are- Cinematography- 'Inception' (which also won sound editing, sound mixing and visual effects), Editing- 'The Social Network', Make-up- 'The Wolfman'.

Ok, so, let's see how accurate those IMDb polls were. Hmm, they were OK. Thankfully 'Inception' did not win Best Picture but Christian Bale DID win 'Best Supporting Actor', excellent news all round. I don't really think the results were too surprising.

All in all, it was a good night for 'The King's Speech' and now when I do eventually get round to seeing it maybe my expectations will be sky-high and well... Colin had better impress.

Monday, 21 February 2011

TV- the good, the bad and the.. just Okay.

I watch an awful lot of television. Some of it is high quality and I feel that I'm experiencing something original, cultured, informative (amongst other positive and complimentary descriptions) and some of it is just so poor that I feel a little ashamed of myself every time I get sit down excitedly to watch it. At the end of the day, I love it all. But I thought I would give a quick brief list of what I consider to be 'good' right now, and what I consider to be 'bad' (and may be embarrassing to admit that you watch).


'Boardwalk Empire': Yes, yes I am going to hop right on the 'I heart <3<3<3 'Boardwalk Empire'' bandwagon and sing its praises all day/night long. I'll probably do a separate post about this show so that I can fully dedicate a good amount of time to listing the things I love about the show and what makes it so wonderful. For now, I'll keep it brief. Great acting (read: Pitt, Shannon, Huston etc.etc. just the whole cast actually), great cinematography, brilliant costumes, funny lines, Martin Scorsese, Michael Pitt with a gun and a suit (occasionally a knife too), lots of violence, lots of sex, lots of nudity, lots of rude words. Ooooh I love 'Boardwalk Empire'. At first I was hesitant and the first time I sat down to watch it I switched it off after a few seconds because I was probably hungry and needed food and didn't get back to it for a few weeks. Now I regret those weeks in which this TV show was not in my life, enlightening me about what it is to be a bootlegger, a mobster, a lesbian in 1920s America. Not to dwell though because in two weeks when I have a little more free time I am going to re watch the whole season and then probably do a post about it...

'Jersey Shore': I was undecided about which category this should go in and I'm not saying I'm psychic but I feel like a lot of people would maybe put it down there with the baddies. Never mind. It's a show that I think is 'honest' in some respects. It depicts an accurate portrait of the 'clubbing scene' as the guys go out 'creeping' on girls and avoiding grenades. At least three remembers of the cast have released their own 'books' so everyone is definitely cashing in on this show. Any why not? If I could get paid to spend the summer on the Jersey Shore, getting wasted and pulling guys every night.... Sorry, went off in to a little day dream their. Basically, it would be good. Yes, the cast are trashy and may be fame whores- but they just seem more genuine than say.. The Kardashians, who make an appearance further down the list. ahem.

'Cougar Town': Obviously with this title- which the producers themselves have attempted to change, due to it being rubbish- I had avoided the show for a while. Why do I want to watch Courteney Cox and the rest of the middle-aged women in her town chase around young boys? I didn't. I'm  not sure what we made me watch it but whatever it was: thank you. The story line may sound a bit cheesy- it's about a divorced woman and her group of friends who hang out in her kitchen every day, including her son, her ex-husband, her best friend blah blah blah. Whatever, it is may be the funniest show I have seen in years. It was created by Bill Lawrence and is MUCH better than 'Scrubs'. The dialogue is witty and funny and sometimes I feel that it could almost fill the void that 'Gilmore Girls' left behind. Courteney Cox's face is a little scary is close ups because of all of her surgery but I'm willing to look past that. If you've been putting this show off because of the title, STOP, and watch it now!

'True Blood': This show is on hiatus right now and that always makes me sad. Vampires are (or  maybe 'were'?) hip, trendy, cool and in some cases sparkling vegetarians. 'True Blood' is definitely my favourite example of cashing-in on the revived popularity of out nocturnal blood-thirsty friends. 'Vampire Diaries' on the other hand made me cringe in its first episode so I stopped watching it, I have heard that it greatly improves from that point on though. Anyway, 'True Blood' has everything that its fellow HBO brethren 'Boardwalk Empire' has- Sex, blood, violence, good-looking men (Alexander SkarsgĂ„rd needs to get naked more often) and the dialogue is pretty good. Yes, there are some naff aspects to this show which are beginning to grate after three seasons- Sookie and Bill namely. I like to look at it as a 'Buffy: the Vampire Slayer' meets 'Sex and The City', and I love those shows so it's a big, fat juicy human neck thumbs up from me.


'Kourtney and Kim Take New York': I'm not sure if I love or hate this TV show more. As you can understand, it's a very conflicting position to be in. On the one hand- the Kardashians are pretty foul, filthy rich, fairly slutty, increasingly cat-faced beyatches whose shallow scripted lives I have no interest in watching. On the other hand... well, all the things I said before minus the thing about not wanting to watch it. I guess, it is great. What I do love about the Kardashian shows ('Keeping up with the Kardashians', 'Kourtney and Khloe take New York', and now this tripe) is how crude and funny they can be- like when Kourtney waxed Khloe's.. lady parts. It wasn't "good" TV, but it kept me entertained. May be if I'm watching lady part-waxing to be entertained this show is effecting my life in a worse way that I originally thought... What I also love is the structure of each episode: an idea is introduced, some big event happens, someone questions their life, everything is resolved nicely with someone learning something about themselves or someone else. Isn't it brilliant how their lives are so neatly wrapped up in to 20 minute little slots? It's wonderful and neat and yes, at times the acting can be a little stale and if I have to watch Kim's plastified cat-face cry fake crocodile tears one more time, I might barf but I guess it's entertaining?

'90210': I love the 'beautiful people with ugly lives' plot just as much as the next girl, but occasionally this show can be too shallow, poorly-written and abysmally-acted even for my tastes (truly, that is saying something- I love a bit of cheese). The actors aren't even that hot and often their annoying vapidness can grate on what good looks they do have. The first two seasons were, not good, but entertaining enough for me to watch and dare I say.. enjoy. There really is very little else I can say about this show. I will probably keep watching it until it is cancelled without much anticipation each week.

Other shows right now that neither excite me in to a frenzy each time I sit down to watch them or make me cringe as I do so are:

'Bones': It's been quite a few seasons now and it feels a little like things are slowing down. Also, the show was once about Science. Now they have a computer program which I'm pretty sure will be able to solve crimes all o its own any episode now..

'The Big Bang Theory': It makes me laugh.. occasionally. I can relate to he geekiness of it, I can relate to Penny.

'How I Met Your Mother': It's just gotten a bit boring. Too much Ted may be? And I HATE the laughter track. I still enjoy it and I think it's funny, but it's no 'Cougar Town', not that it should be.

'Pretty Little Liars': Suspending your disbelief is important during the 40-or-so minutes in which this show is on. It's about 4 ridiculously beautiful girls (Ok, may be three- Spencer doesn't do it for me) whose lives are full of seeeeecrets and lies. It's pretty gripping. Who is 'A'? The person sending them horrible SMS messages, emails, notes, threats etc. a year after their friend Alison goes missing and is found dead. Also worth it for the eye-candy which is Mr. Ezra Fitz. mmm..

'V': This and 'Pretty Little Liars' came pretty close to making it on my 'good' list, but just missed out. 'V' fulfills my nerdy need for some Sci-Fi. It's got aliens, guns, a bit of sex, poor special fx and a pretty good cast.

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Pre- Oscars Suspicions

The award season is well and truly in the swing of things so I thought I'd take a look at the upcoming 83rd Academy Awards taking place on February 27 and discuss..
I haven't seen all of the films up for nomination so this isn't going to be a completely encompassing look at what I think might happen, but I shall try!
First of all I thought I would look at what IMDb visitors are voting for as their favourites. Right now, if the Oscars were handed out based on these results (eek), this is how the scene would look:

Best film: 'Inception'
Best actor: Colin Firth ('The King's Speech')
Best actress: Natalie Portman ('Black Swan')
Best Supporting Actor: Christian Bale ('The Fighter')
Best adapted screenplay: 'The Social Network'
Best original screenplay: 'Inception'
Best foreign language film: 'Biutiful'
Best animated feature: 'Toy Story 3'
Best Director: David Fincher ('The Social Network')

I'm literally just using these polls as one way of looking at how people think the Oscars might go this year. I can't remember how accurate IMDb polls have been in previous years, which may be useful, but anyway.. I would be very happy to see Christian Bale win best supporting actor and for 'Toy Story 3' to win best animated feature. Bale's performance in 'The Fighter' was one of these best I've seen in the last year and 'Toy Story 3' brought a tear to most audience member's eyes in the summer. I also feel that Natalie Portman deserves this level of recognition for her role in 'Black Swan' and whilst I thought that there were other brilliant performances this year (a favourite being Michelle Williams' in 'Blue Valentine', which is currently bottom of the poll), Portman really did stand out and hold her own in that film.
As for these others.. hmm. After spending several months eagerly anticipating the combination of Leonardo DiCaprio (whose better film was 'Shutter Island' this year, in my opinion), Tom Hardy, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and funky-looking special fx I was left completely underwhelmed, so I'd be shocked if the film won Best Original Screenplay and Best Film. I had medium expectations of 'The Social Network' (it would be cool to see a film about facebook... but how interesting could a film with this subject matter be?), which I would say were fulfilled, but not to the extent that it would win Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay. David Fincher in an excellent director but I think i preferred David O Russell for 'The Fighter' for that award.
Unfortunately I've still not managed to see 'The King's Speech', but have heard wonderful things from everybody about it. Honestly, the subject matter doesn't interest, but I'm sure I'll see it in the next two years, and even possibly regret not seeing it sooner. Probably not though. I do feel like Colin Firth has a good chance of winning best actor for it.
I can't really comment further on the above as there is a gap in my viewing experience so we'll brush over the foreign language section (next year I want some Almodovar in there).

In conclusion- it looks like 'The Social Network' and 'Inception' are big fan favourites but I feel that other films, including rival nominee 'The Fighter' were far superior this year. We will just have to wait and see.

Finally, I'll include my grumbles about this year's nominations. I'll keep it down to two though. 1) No 'Shutter Island' 2) No Ryan Gosling.
Now, I understand that 'Shutter Island''s release date (February 2010) put in an awkward position to be nominated in either year. It was too late for 2010 and now it seems like aaaages ago that it was released when it comes around to 2011. Still, this makes me unhappy. May be it wasn't Scorsese's best work, may be Leo wasn't completely in his prime, but it at least deserves a nomination- especially when films like 'The Social Network' (yawn) and 'Inception' (REALLY?) are nominated. I loved everything about that movie and honestly it's a travesty that my love for it alone doesn't garner it a nomination. Sigh. Marty, I've got your back.

As for Ryan Gosling, he carried that film. One of his best performances. Up there with 'Half Nelson'. He is very attractive. I digress. Poor Ryan though. First an interview comes out with him saying that he got fat for his role in 'The Lovely Bones' and then got fired and then he's not nominated for an Oscar for his performance in 'Blue Valentine' (btw can I add a 2. b) to this section and say: WHERE THE HELL IS 'BLUE VALENTINE' FOR BEST FILM?). In all honestly, I thought Gosling gave a better performance than Williams did in the film (yes I did say she was one of my favourite female performances this year.. but he was still better) and may be it's just because there is less competition in the female category that she got a nomination and he didn't. Oh well. At the end of the day he can rest assured that he's very good-looking and who needs an Oscar anyway?

Before I rattle off in to a foul-mouthed rant I will cut off now. I'll do a post-Oscars post (post, post, post) at the end of February to see how accurate these polls were (in some cases, I hope not very).