Sunday, January 31, 2010
Friday, January 29, 2010
Troll 2 is one of those truly awful films that ends up being brilliant! It is so stupid and it makes no sense it is so hilarious. This is a film named Troll 2 and there is not a single troll to be found. It has nothing to do with Troll, and it in fact features Goblins.
The dialogue for this film is truly atrocious that it will have you in stitches, the acting is equally as bad and again you will laugh so hard. This is a special film, and there is not anything else like this out there. Sure there are a lot of so 'bad its good films 'but they aren't like Troll 2.
Folks I will leave you with this fantastic line delivery below ...
It isn't a secret that I have an interest in true crime, and serial killers. Now that interest lies in that I am fascinated with the terrible acts people do, how terrifying these things are, it just boggles the mind how people can do the things they do. And what happens in real life is more frightening then anything you will find in fiction. Which leads me to this film, Dahmer. Obviously this is about the serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer who was as sick and sadistic as they come. Judging by the cover you'd expect this film to be some sick film exploiting the murders he did. However it is not like that at all, this is not the typical serial killer direct to DVD effort.
Dahmer does tell a story about Jeffrey Dahmer, but this film attempts to give a face to the man. This does not show the side of him which murders and eats his victims, this shows a man who clearly has been confused a lot of his life. He has urges different then everyone else and he cannot bring himself to satisfy those urges without doing the wrong thing. He is a man who is full of self loathing, he can't please his parents and his grandmother seems to be the only one who cares at least a little. Dahmer comes off as a quiet man, a shy man, he has trouble talking to others. He lures his victims in, and he drugs them, he can't bring himself to be with them unless they are unconscious. This is explorer more via flashbacks as he figures out his homosexual urges and can't sexually be with them unless they are unconscious.
There isn't much of a plot to speak of, this film is done via showing Dahmer during his reign of capturing victims and flashes back to different points in his life (his first murder is one) and maybe what led him to do what he did. The cannibalism is not explorer what so ever and it is strange they mention it on the cover. This film works because of the casting, Jeremy Renner is simply flawless as Dahmer. He brings a strange innocence to the character while remaining creepy and terrifying at the same time. At first it was a bit difficult to accept him playing this monster as he truly looks so adorable at times, but the way he actually goes about portraying Dahmer makes you look passed that. In a lot of cases serial killers (murderers) look like the person next door and that really worked here. You could believe he managed to lure these men back to his apartment, and then take control of that situation. Renner shows what a strong and capable actor he is, and if you are a fan of his this film is a must see.
This is a different entry into the serial killer sub genre, as it tries to show a different side to a monster and it isn't typical. I can't remember if this film was covered in the book I read Celluloid Serial Killers, but I would say it is a must see for something different. I thought for the most part this had a really decent script, some scenes come off really well and show what they need to. The direction is really good too, I was impressed with David Jacobson's work here. This is an above average direct to DVD effort, with strong performances and leaving out that exploitation element. I do believe that was a smart move for the story they wanted to tell.
Lake Mungo is an Australian film which goes for the documentary style, telling the story about a young girl who while out with her family goes missing and suspected to have drowned. Her family recounts the events leading up to her disappearance and what happens after her body was recovered. This film is played out by 'home made footage', 'news footage', 're-enactments' and 'interviews' and it tries to show how the family deals with their grief and how the supernatural plays apart in it all as they try to understand what happened to Alice and what secrets she may have been keeping.
It is hard to really go into more detail without completely spoiling the film, the less you know the better it is. The actual home footage and interviews are really well done and quite convincing. I thought the actors for the most part did a stand up job. The news footage looked authentic which really added to the style and I think the only low point is some of the supernatural stuff was a bit hard to understand and see. The twists and reveals sometimes felt out of place and didn't make much sense at first. They establish Alice had secrets, and some were rather startling but in some ways it added nothing to the story.
This film I would say is not so much horror as it is a film about grieving with a supernatural twist. It is a rather sad film, as I cannot imagine what it would be like to be a parent losing a child (in this case a teenager) in the way that Alice was lost. The things they find out and of course a revelation at Lake Mungo which is actually rather creepy and disturbing. Things like this really sit you hard, however there was so much potential to do more here and it falls flat. At times the film can be a bit slow and it isn't until the second half it feels like the pace improves and it really grabs your interest.
It is hard to tell what the film makers wanted to say here, but none the less it did make for a somewhat interesting film and something a bit different from this country. The positives with this film certainly out-weigh the negative and it is actually a well put together film a side from pacing issues in the first half. They wanted to establish the family and what had happened but some scenes could have been left out to tighten up the pace. This was a pretty good effort and I liked the film for what it was.
Thursday, January 28, 2010
Paranormal Activity ended up being one of the most talked about smaller films towards the end of last year. It was the little film that could, made for basically nothing it grossed millions at the box office and got a wide release. The film was being called one of the scariest films ever made, and needless to say it did not live up to that for me. But my issues do not only stem that I was not scared (rarely do films scare me these days) but I found this was a really badly made film.
Paranormal Activity had a good idea behind it, there is a couple who have moved in together and the woman since she was younger has had strange experiences with the paranormal and it has started again. Determined to get to the bottom of it, her boyfriend buys a video camera and they plan to tape every day in the hopes of picking up something on camera.
Now that does sound like a good idea, a creepy premise, adding realism by using a hand held camera Blair Witch style. Well good idea, bad execution I am afraid. I found the two characters to be extremely unlikable and very irritating and annoying. In a film like this I want the characters to be people I like, people I can relate to. I really did not get that at all and I wanted to really just grab a baseball bat and smash them one! Not only were they irritating, they were extremely stupid as well. Sure there are things that were done to serve the plot but it made no sense and it came off stupid and annoying. I am sure they could have written something better, no much potential down the drain.
The acting was hard to watch at times, it made me laugh at times I really shouldn't have been laughing. No offense to the actors, I am sure they tried their best. But it came off so bad at times and the more intense it was supposed to get the worse the acting got. Some of the things that happened were supposed to be scary, but again I laughed so hard, it was really that stupid. Now this review is going to go into *SPOILER* territory so you have been warned. There was a scene where the boyfriend is in the bedroom and the girlfriend is screaming, he goes to help her but he runs back to grab the camera. Now I understand without the camera we can't see whats going on but really? She could be in danger but apparently its more important that it be filmed ... stupid, stupid, stupid. It wouldn't have hurt this film to have had hidden cameras around the place and have the hand held stuff doing other things. Then there are the things that are meant to scare, a door slightly moving, um no not scary. The girlfriend apparently being possessed and spending hours at night watching the boyfriend sleep, um no. I laughed so hard watching it, it looked really silly! I can see some people might be freaked out, but sorry it didn't work for me. Power footprints, silly! A Ouija board working on its own and then catching fire, man that was the dumbest and most hilarious part of the film! It did not work and it looked so stupid and fake (again hard to do on a small budget), and even worse the boyfriend was told not to do it, so what does he do? Find an Ouija board! Back to the stupidity of this film, the boyfriend! He is an idiot who does not listen and basically because of him the shit hits the fan. Why did the girlfriend put up with such a dick??
The psychic they call recommends they call this demon expert immediately, and that is what they should have done. But no, the boyfriend says no and it isn't until this demon thing has taken over that they call him and he isn't available, yes of course he isn't. All this stuff is introduced and it goes no where. This film has three different versions and I watched the theatrical cut, the ending of the original version was changed at the suggestion of Steven Spielberg apparently. The ending in the theatrical cut just made this already terrible and stupid film even worse. It did not fit in with anything going on and obviously left open for a part 2. The original ending which I watched worked better and fit in with the film, and it was probably one of the only decent things the film did. I didn't see the third ending but I read what happens and even that seemed better then the theatrical one.
I can't recommend this film at all, it is really terrible I'm afraid. One of the worst films to come out of 2009 yet it managed to be one of the most hilarious and very unintentionally.
This film goes for that whole documentary style approach, with interviews from various people explaining the situation. Tapes were found in a house in Poughkeepsie which show a serial killer at work, documenting all of the moves he has made over the years. They show bits and pieces of the tape to fit in with what they are talking about in relation to the killer and how he has worked over the years.
Now this is a low budget affair and it shows, in way does this look real. Some of the people who play characters from various law enforcement do come off more realistic then others. Each actor is on their own level, some come off and rather unconvincing and others come off a lot better. I thought one of the stronger ones was the man who plays the profiler who shows the Tapes to his class. The man playing the killer I thought actually had some of the worst acting in some intense scenes and that killed some of the moments for me.
The idea of a serial killer who changes his MO, moves from place to place and hides his identity tricking everyone, yet documenting it all on tape was a really good idea. I really dug that and was curious to see how it would play out. The way of doing this like a documentary I thought really worked with what they were doing. Some scenes on the actual tapes were really unsettling, especially ones that involved him with young girls (nothing was shown, rather implied) and one involving him stalking a woman in the house who he then keeps as a slave. Other scenes on the tapes did not come off as well and because of the bad acting from the killer were almost laughable.
Unfortunately due to these elements this is a bit of an uneven film, it would have benefited from some better capable actors. The effects used however were rather affective and with the budget they had I thought it went over pretty well. I had heard mixed things about this film, and it is easy to see why. Some would write this off as a rubbish low budget affair, and others I think would get a lot out of it too. I wasn't disturbed or creeped out by this, but I really as I said dug the idea behind it. This film is a really strong effort, you can feel the amount of work was put into this and you got to appreciate that. There are some good twists and turns and a lot of things to do with the story actually work really well. The script is pretty good, I was rather impressed with how this all played out and the ending I thought was great too.
This was something different for the serial killer sub genre and having him tape everything was a good plot device, I can't imagine watching tapes like this if they were real. It doesn't explain the actions of this man, it is too hard too. The monster created here really is something nightmares are made of.
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Welcome to the landmark Episode 20 of the Super Podcast! Yes folk we have hit numero 2-0! I can’t believe there are 20 episodes already, time flies when you’re podcasting! Once again I am joined with my good mates Bede Jermyn (Terror Australis, JoBlo Schmoe) and Pat Torfe (AITH DVD Pub Critic). We decided to delve into the world of Video Game Adaptations and we ponder whether there are actually any really good ones out there.
- We have a good laugh at the early adaptations and admit we did like them as kids.
- Yes there is Street Fighter talk, and yes I do my Van Damme impression.
- We talk about the film I consider to be the best adaptation.
- No pokemon films get discussed however Lara Croft does get a mention.
- Which one of us three is the sad sake who has seen every Uwe Boll film?
- Resident Evil films and Silent Hill, were they worthy?
- Is anything Uwe Boll made remotely decent?
- And much, much more!
Again I would like to thank Bede and Pat for joining me, it was a blast to chat to them and about such a great subject! I would like to thank all the listeners for making this podcast such a success, without you I doubt I would have gotten to 20 episodes! Of course you can find me on Twitter, @SuperMarcey and you can find Bede @BedeJermyn and of course Pat @PatTorfe. If you have any comments, suggestions or general feedback please do not hesitate to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Monday, January 25, 2010
Precious is the story of a teenage girl, she's over weight, illiterate and she is pregnant with her second child (she got pregnant both times because her father raped her) and she has enrolled in an alternate school in the hopes of turning her life around. Meanwhile she has to deal with her abusive mother who just wants to get as much welfare off her as possible.
Precious is not exactly a happy film, in fact after I watched this I felt like my soul had been sucked out. That isn't to say this is not a good film, it is an excellent and well made film, it just isn't exactly a happy one. Precious is a sad story, but unfortunately her situation is not one of fiction. There are many teens out there in her situation or in a similar situation and something like this really aims to bring light to that and make people aware. I honestly can't imagine what I would do if I was in the situation that Precious was in. Her life really does suck, she has a horrible mother and her only escape is her fantasies. That really is until she gets kicked out from school (for being pregnant no less) but she gets recommended to go to an alternate school. She wants to learn and she wants to go to school, so behind her mothers back she goes. This is where her life starts to turn around, as she hesitantly learns to read and interact with others and come out of her shell.
Precious is played by new comer Gabourey Sidibe, she puts in such a fantastic performance I had a hard time believing this was her debut role. This girl just had all the right elements for the character and she embodied them. What a great find from the film makers, I really hope she goes on to other things, I would love to see more of her. The best actress nominations she has been receiving are certainly well deserved. She really does show this strong will with the character, something strong deep inside which keeps her going. Precious was not an easy role to play and it is awe inspiring that this newer did such a fantastic job. Paula Patton plays the teacher Ms. Rain at the alternate school, she was just a shining light here. Her relationship with Precious is a very important part of this story, and they had this perfect chemistry together. I don't think I have seen Paula in anything else but I sure would like to, again what a find she is! I really loved her in this, and her character brought a nice balance in.
Mo'Nique I am used to seeing in comedic roles, and I didn't mind her. But I certainly haven't seen her like this before, the character she plays as Precious mother Mary is one of the most disgusting characters. She is a brutal and vile woman, and I can't imagine this was an easy role to play. But boy does she pull it off and then some, you really want to smash this woman upside the head and take Precious away. Her final scenes in the film are really well done and Mo'Nique really blew me away. I have to say the awards she has won are well deserved. I really liked all the girls who played the classmates, they all came off as real and they had their moments. Mariah Carey has a small role, and she is alright. She wasn't in it much and she didn't have much to do but she at least proved she can do a decent job. I am not a fan of hers but I can admit when she does something right. Lenny Kravitz was also alright for the small role he had, but again it wasn't anything major and I can't imagine anyone screwing that up.
Precious is not an easy film to watch, but it is a reminder that life isn't always peachy. There are messages to be said here and there is something strangely uplifting about the film upon its conclusion. Be prepared to sit through something that really is sad, emotionally it is a draining film. However it is an extremely well made film, there is a fantastic use of colour and imagery. Some great direction by Lee Daniels, I was pretty impressed, especially how some of the more brutal scenes are handled and some flash backs as well. This is an impressive film and for me I think it set out to achieve its goal, I was moved by it. I haven't read the book it was based on, so I am not sure how it does compare. I felt it did have a strong script and the material was handled rather perfectly. Like the tag line says 'Life is hard. Life is short. Life is painful. Life is rich. Life is....Precious.'
I actually sought this out after I saw the pilot to the TV series, I had found out it was loosely based on a sci-fi novel. The ideas presented in the TV series were interesting, and I searched high and low for this novel.
If you are familiar with the TV series, the novel is completely different. To be quite frank, the TV series has been dumbed down quite a lot. The novel's main characters are in fact scientists, to be more specific Physicists. We have Llyod Simcoe and Theo Procopides as our main two characters who are conducting an experiment to find the Higgs boson. At the exactly 5pm (Geneva time where they are located) the entire world blacks out. As they wake up they soon discover that they have had visions 21 years in the future.
The novel is set in a different 2009 (this was first published back in 1999), and the first part of the novel focuses on the fall out of the flashforward and the need to discover how it happened, and whether the experience they were running is in fact responsible. Much like in the TV series, one of our characters does not have a flashforward and they find out they will be murdered. The search to solve that is a major plot device in the novel, and it really works too. I thought this novel was just fantastic, it cleverly mixes sci-fi and the element of fantasy and personal drama and relationships extremely well.
I really felt strongly towards the characters, I really got caught up in their situations and their heart breaks. The ideas presented really make you think, whether or not the flashforwards are destined, can things be changed, is the timeline fixed? It makes you wonder and really is something that is thought provoking. I felt Robert J. Sawyer constructed something extremely intelligent, and it made me walk away with a new out look on things. I feel it is such a shame they made so many changes to the TV series. I think a faithful adaptation of the novel would have made for a compelling sci-fi film.
I would highly recommend this book, even if you aren't much of a sci-fi reader I think this novel does have something for everyone. Sure it has a lot of science in it but you can always use google if you do not entirely understand something. The characters are extremely well written, and the scenario's they are faced with as I said will make you think and wonder.
You can purchase the novel on Amazon or Borders Australia.
Saturday, January 23, 2010
Thank you Spanish horror, you have given us a really awesome entry into the genre. I had head a lot about this film, and I actually didn't even see the trailer. Then the American shot for shot remake came out and I didn't bother to see a trailer for that either. So what took me so long to see this? I have no idea, availability I guess would be the main factor. I had heard so many good things but this one just going under my radar. I am sure glad I waited and watched the original, I can't imagine Quarantine holding a candle to this despite starring Dexter's own Jennifer Carpenter.
[REC] is a simple story, we have a television show host and her camera man shooting a piece for the show on a Firehouse and the firemen and what a typical night is like for them. Things go as they normally would, our host Angela (played wonderfully by Manuela Velasco) interviews different people as they go about their duties. A call comes along and Angela and her cameraman get to tag along. It isn't clear as to what the emergency is, but they head into an apartment complex and we hear some lady is unwell. They head to her apartment along with other officers on the scene. The horror and terror then really begins as there is clearly something wrong with this woman and the occupants in the building find themselves trapped inside by the authorities.
This is the type of film that throws you into a situation and you have to fend for yourself and work out what is going on. It is all shot hand held camera, from the point of view of the cameraman as you would expect. You can look at it as if the tape from that night was found and you are reviewing the footage. This was a low budget film, but you can't really tell, the effects were actually really well done and there were some top notch performances. You especially really relate to Angela, and you kind of need that connection with her. Manuela Velasco put in a great performance, she's a spunky woman and it really worked. The situation they are in, is a terrible one and you really would hate to be stuck in it. Part of the horror is the situation and what would you do if you were in there. Would you make the same decisions as these people? It is a very bleak situation, they are stuck there and they really can't get out and something is on the loose.
You don't fully get an explanation, you only know what is shown and what Angela finds out. But you don't need any more details, you can figure things out and make up your own mind. I like films that do this, sometimes it is okay not to be spoon fed everything. I know there are people out there who are not big fans of films shot like this, but it worked perfectly for the story being told. It was an affective device, and it felt more real (thanks to the effects and acting) and it hurts when things take a turn. It was an engaging film, the pacing was really well done, and it worked in such a way it suited each turn the film made.
The only let down I felt was the way it wrapped itself up, yes you can decided on certain things but it wasn't entirely clear. I actually wouldn't have minded if this was a little bit longer, so expand upon things, but even without that it did work pretty damn well. It isn't often you get a film like this, it is genuinely creepy and scary (scary would be the situation, I wasn't actually scared watching it but it had good jump scares that were affective). I can't imagine how I would react in the situation they were in, and I sure as heck never want to find out. It is nice to see a film like this in the genre, something that works really well and doesn't let up. It goes to show you don't need a massive budget to make a good film.
The tag line kind of says it all I guess, the story of a man ready to make a connection, or is he? Our main character Ryan Bingham (George Clooney) is grounded a very limited number of a days in the year, he's always on the move, travelling from city to city having been hired to fire people from their jobs. Basically because the person meant to do it is too much of a coward, which Ryan explains of course. He lives life out of a bag, not connected to anyone or anything. All that changes however when his company hires a new young hot shot Natalie (Anna Kendrick) who has new ideas for the company which would see the employees grounded. This does not sit well with Bingham, and his boss (Jason Bateman) in turn asks Ryan to show Natalie the ropes before they go ahead with her plan. Of course along the way Ryan meets his female counter part Alex (Vera Farmiga) and those connections start to get made. Throw in some side story about Ryan's sister getting married, and you have yourself Up In The Air.
This is the third film from Jason Reitman (the son of Ivan who has directed such classics as Stripes, Twins, Kindergarten Cop and Dave), and I must say I think Jason just keeps on getting better. I really enjoyed Thank You For Smoking and this film is in the same vein as that. I liked Juno as well, but this film is an improvement from that. I haven't read the book that this is based upon, so I can't really compare but what I found here was a really enjoyable and some what truthful film with certain elements. Each of our main characters had their charms and quirks and you enjoy spending time with them, and you want to reach out and help them.
George Clooney was made for this role, I can't imagine anyone else as Ryan and nor do I want to. This fit him like a glove, he hit all the right notes. George just had all the right elements, even his age fit the bill perfectly. His chemistry with Anna and Vera was spot on, you couldn't really ask for a better trio. You really get into the relationship that forms between Alex and Ryan, and when certain things happen you really feel it. The relationship between Natalie and Ryan works so well and they play off each other perfectly. There are some scenes which were just so fantastic you didn't want them to end. I mentioned Anna Kendrick being the stand out in The Marc Pease Experience and she is a stand out here, I really hope to see more of her (And no not in the Twilight-Saga she is far too good for that), she is fast becoming one of my favourite young actresses. Vera Farmiga is quite charming in this, she looks stunning as well. She had great chemistry with George, which all played out really well. As I said they made a great trio, and when they have scenes together it is so funny in how they played out, I really loved it.
Jason has a great style and it works for a film like this. He knows how to get these great performances from his actors and he picks some great names for smaller roles (J.K. Simmons for example who was also in Juno and Thank You For Smoking). The messages in the film are obvious and I think the only thing which let this film down was the way it actually concluded. It really is a relevant film for the way things have been over the past few years, with more people losing their jobs and such. I can see looking back at this and saying it was a product of its time, but it certainly wont feel dated. This is one I do want to see again, like with Thank You For Smoking it feels like it has that re-watch value. I am really looking forward to what Reitman comes up with next, in my opinion he is three for three.
Friday, January 22, 2010
Kathryn Bigelow has given me two of my all time favourite films with Near Dark and Point Break, and I will watch anything she directs. When I heard about this film, it seemed like something rather different from her and I wasn't sure if it was really going to be my cup of tea. But damn was I ever wrong, what she has crafted here is probably one of the most intense and suspensful films I have ever seen. This is a film set in Iraq, with a group that makes up the bomb squad unit. They get sent in to dismantle and disarm bombs in the most dangerous of situations.
Now I have no idea how acurate the portrayal of this actually is, I am not going to pretend to know what it is like being smack bang in the middle of a war and what it is like being there. I can only look at this as a film, and what I got from it. You are basically put into a dangerous situation from the start of this film, you see the people involved and what they have to deal with. They are dealing with a bomb that could go off at any second, potention enemy could be anywhere waiting to detonate. The intensity of it all really got to me, and I was glued to the screen, and actually fearing what may happen. We get to know our characters and their situations and how doing this particular job has affected them. They try and deal with their every day lives out there, trying to keep themselves sane while the place around them crumbs (so to speak). They do not want to be there, but they get that call that there is a bomb and they have to go out there.
You get a really strong feel for everything going on, Kathryn's direction here is nothing short of fantastic and I don't think I saw a film in 2009 with better direction. It brings you right in, and it does not let up until the final frame. The look of the film is fantastic, you feel like you are right there with them. The washed out look, the cinematography, it just all feels very authentic. Acting wise, our three main characters are all just fantastic and they all excelled in their roles. Brian Geraghty as Owen did such a great job as the young and disturbed one. Anthony Mackie as JT was just so damn good in his role, he wants to take charge of the situation he knows how dangerous things are. Then we have for me the stand out with Jeremy Renner as William, the new guy to the team who seems rather wreckless and of course has his issues with JT. Renner certainly gave one of my favourite performances from 2009, he played all the right notes and just seemed to fit this character perfectly.
I can certainly understand all the praise for this film, it really does deserve it. It is a slow burn film, which worked really well for it. It certainly wouldn't have been as intense if it was done differently. It has some nice cameos from a lot of familar faces and they all do pretty well. Some interesting sub plots, one which kind of left me a bit confused but after thinking about it, I understood what was going on and it made perfect sense. I really want to watch this again, because I am sure I will get even more out of it a second time.
Carriers is one of those disease out break films, it does not actually give you much detail about the disease, but you just know there is no cure and it has spread rather quickly. We basically start the film in a car with four young people, two brothers Danny and Brian played by Lou Taylor Pucci and Chris Pine and two girls Bobby and Kate played by Piper Perabo and Emily Va Camp with Perabo being Pine's girl. We find out they are headed somewhere to get away from the outbreak. Of course they come across a broken down car with a father and daughter and the daughter we see is infected. Things do not look good right about now.
So what sets this film aside from the similar ones in this genre? This had less gore and it didn't have hundreds of disease infested people running around trying to kill everyone. This was more of a slow burn, character study of people in this terrible situation. And for the most part it all really worked. The horror element was the situation they were faced with and the tough decisions that followed. You really do not want to be in their situation, and you feel for these people. They are trying to avoid this disease but it is around each corner, and the decisions they are faced with are tough ones. You do not want to leave anyone behind, you don't want to risk getting infected.
The script was very solid, aside from a few little flaws it worked pretty well. It isn't until later on that you get a feel for the relationship between the two brothers and it would have been better if they had really played this more from the beginning. Chris Pine plays a-hole to a T, you don't like him too much at first but you can understand his motives and you do actually like him later on. Piper Perabo should take on more roles like this, she is very likable and a strong actress. You feel for her situation and as things progress you really feel that pain. Lou Taylor Pucci was the stand out for me, he really grew as a character in this and you do relate to him. He put on a great performance here, and I felt he probably had the toughest role to play. The weakest of the four was Emily Van Camp but that isn't to say she wasn't good, she was good just not great. And keep an eye out for Christopher Meloni in a small role, he can do no wrong.
This was a really strong effort in my opinion and I really liked this film and the fact that while the material isn't new what they tried to do was. The direction by Alex and David Pastor is rather impressive, they also wrote the film and I'll be keeping my eye out from more from them. I thought it was shot really well, the use of colour and location was spot on for this type of film. They made all these elements work, and while this film certainly wont be everyones cup of tea it certainly was mine.
Thursday, January 21, 2010
So there are these terrorists who are looking to cause a nuclear holocaust unless the President releases prisoners, if not his children will die and the Chernobyl nuclear reaction goes bomb! These terrorists are ready for what they might throw at them as they have a bad ass UniSol on their side in the form of Andrei the Pitbull. He isn't a normal UniSol, he is a Next Gen UniSol, an elite fighter who is unstoppable. So what do the good guys do to stop the situation? They want to reactive the apparently only one who can stop them, Luc Deveraux (Jean-Claude Van Damme). And as if that was not enough, the bad guys have managed to get a hold of his arch-enemy Andrew Scott (Dolph Lundgren) to try and stop him.
Phew that is a long description, and it probably sounds a little on the dumb side? Well it kind of is, but Universal Soldier wasn't exactly a film you were to take seriously in the first place. What set the original aside is it had great action, the story wasn't bad, it was actually engaging at times and it had two awesome leads in Van-Damme and Lundgren and they delivered some of their best performances. I wont mention Universal Solider: The Return, we will pretend that does not exist. I consider this to be the real sequel to the original.
Now the plotline is average, the story is average, but it does work. What really made this such an enjoyable and engaging film is the amazing action and really good cinematography. This film is a direct to DVD effort but it is just too good for that! I would have loved to have seen this on the big screen, it really does belong there. The action is really mind blowing at times and it is done so well. Now Van-Damme isn't exactly in this a lot, he comes in more in the second half. But the first half really does a good job of setting everything up and it is really good. Andrei is a great badie, he has a good presence and he really kicked some major ass. Van-Damme was awesome, his acting was good, and there is this one long sequence where he does VANDAMMAGE! It was awesome, and it really delivered! The entire film was worth the watch for just that. When Lundgren shows up for his cameo, the excitement is there. They have a fantastic showdown, they both looked to be in good shape for their age and they delivered the goods as I knew they would.
The only real cons here are some plot holes which show up, and the fact that it would have been nice to have more of Van Damme and Lundgren. But this really is an above average direct to DVD action film. It looks like it had a bigger budget then it did, it really is just too damn good. As a fan of the original, this was a great sequel and it made this UniSol fan very happy. It was nice to see a film that felt like it was made for me. As I mentioned the action is fantastic and I gotta say this film is better then some action-equse stuff that gets released in the theater. It was left open for another one and if they do the same things right, I am on board.
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Summit Entertainment (Yes that Summit behind Twilight) has acquired the rights to 'Warm Bodies' which is book written by Isaac Marion (Atria Books will be publishing it soon). 'Warm Bodies' is about a zombie, who tells his story. He winds up befriending the girl of one of his victims. Now the book I must say is excellent and I really encourage everyone to check it out when it has been published.
Now you're probably wondering, why am I excited about this news? Well the film is being Produced by my sister Bruna through Make Movies her company! Yep this is really exciting and I look forward to hearing more about this as the news comes out.
Summit have gotten Jonathan Levine on board to write and direct. Levine wrote and directed 'The Wackness' and he directed 'All The Boys Love Mandy Lane' which I reallly loved! I haven't seen 'The Wackness' yet but it is sitting on my to see pile.
So I say congrats to Bruna, this is really exciting!
Monday, January 18, 2010
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Now I like me some exploitation films, and one I have heard about for many, many years is Ilsa She Wolf Of The SS. This is a cult classic exploitation film, and after many years I managed to track down the unrated version to finally watch and see if it lived up to its name.
This is a nazi exploitation piece, set inside a Nazi death camp where they conduct medical experiments. Ilsa the warden is looking to find out that women can withstand pain and torture in order to fight, but she also has a problem that no man can satisfy her and she sets out to find one that finally can.
Alright so that sounds awfully strange doesn't it? Well it actually really is! Ilsa has a lot of sex, but she doesn't quite reach that climax she is looking for, and when that happens the man she has had sex with, loses some of his manhood if you get what I am saying. This sub plot goes on and on and it is really just excuse to show naked Ilsa and sex scenes. The torture scenes with the women are mostly implied, I had heard how gross and gorey this film is, but it actually isn't. Some of the worst kinds of torture are shown off screen, but it does make you squirmish because you know what they are doing. The acting isn't too bad either with our leading lady Dyanne Thorne as Ilsa owning the role and owning the film. Without her, this wouldn't have been anything to even give a second thought to.
This has all the things you want in an exploitation film, there is no lack of big breasts, bush and sex. There is blood and gore, and it is actually quite well done when it is shown. This actually has a coherent storyline, and it isn't too bad. I actually think Martyrs might have taken some inspiration from the torture stuff with a certain woman in this film. I can understand a lot of people hating this film, and saying how awful it is and what it portrays. But it is after all just a film, and it is an exploitation film, its goal is to disgust and show naked women. I guess if you are sick of seeing fake breasts and you want to see some real ones, check this film out.
Sam Rockwell as Sam Bell in Moon
I really can not picture anyone else in this role, and I honestly do not think anyone could have pulled this role off the way Sam Rockwell did. Sam Bell is a complex character, and the role is a challenging one. Here is a man who has been alone with just a computer voice for three years on the moon. If that was me, I would have gone crazy after a few weeks. You can see the cracks starting to show. The way Sam shows this in his performance it really does affect you as a viewer. You feel his pain, you really feel his longing to get off there and go back home. It isn't often when an actor can really make you feel what he feels, and it isn't just once off, it is through out the entire film. From start to finish he is this character and you feel every second of it.
Now this is going into spoiler territory but Sam Rockwell successfully played the multiple characters as well, and you actually believe that there is more than one of him. We've seen the one actor play different roles in a film, and their interaction between the characters can make or break a film. If you aren't convinced it does not work (I think back to the great performance of Cate Blanchette in Coffee and Cigarettes), but it works just too well here and I really thought they had cloned Sam Rockwell and he was playing the different roles. It is truly amazing what Sam Rockwell and Duncan Jones achieved with Moon, and I do believe this performance is going to be one that will stick with me for a long time.
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Welcome to Episode 19 of the Super Podcast, only one more episode before we hit 20! Quite the achievement I must say! This latest episode is a little bit different from the norm, the format for this episode has changed. This is the Avatar edition and I decided to find a few different people to discuss the film with, and instead of having everyone all talk at once, it is split into 3 rounds with the discussion on the film being different for all 3 rounds.
Round 1 guests include my MGR buddy Matt Denton who joined in, despite the fact he hasn’t seen Avatar. Ching-Yao Yu, who is a good buddy of mine from the Twitter-verse and who gives me funny feedback on my blog posts, and from Veracity Nation John D’Agnese.
Round 1 highlights include:
- The difference between seeing the film in IMAX and on a regular cinema screen
- How the Box Office was doing, and what we think contributed to that
- Do we want to watch it in 3D at home and what we think of the up and coming 3D TV’s
- The issues with had with the film, but did it ruin the experience?
- And much, much more for Round 1!
Round 2’s guest is my fellow schmoe from JoBlo (forums) Bede aka Terror Australis (the Terrible Australian). Why is he so terrible? You’ll have to tune in for that one!
Round 2 highlights include:
- Unlike everyone else on the planet, Bede watched this in 2D, how did it hold up?
- What we think of this in comparison to Cameron’s last film Titanic.
- We discuss the craziness that is people needing therapy after finding out Pandora isn’t actually real.
- Is James Cameron King of the World?
- Of course there is much, much more!
Round 3’s guest is my buddy in crime Steven from Empire forums AKA Big Bada Boomba AKA CokedUpBabyBoy, so many alias’s perhaps he should have starred on the show instead of Jennifer Garner?
Round 3 highlights include:
- What we thought was the best thing about the film.
- The over all experience of seeing the film in IMAX.
- What we thought of Sam Worthington, and which one of us doesn’t find him all that attractive (hehe)
- We ponder why people have become so obsessed with the film.
- As usual there is much, much more discussed!
I would like to thank all my guests for joining me for the show it was a real pleasure to have them all on. It was great to discuss the film with different people and get different opinions and views on it. You can find and follow all my guests on Twitter, they are all excellent peeps! For myself you can find me @SuperMarcey, Matt Denton @TheMattDenton, Ching @nutzareus, John @Physboy, Bede @BedeJermyn and Steven @CokedUpBabyBoy
I always encourage feedback, suggestions and of course if you would like to be on the show, you can contact me via Twitter or through my email email@example.com or via the many forums I frequent and Facebook or through the blog!
This film is about a high school cheerleader who gets possessed by a demon who feeds on males. It is up to her best friend to put a stop to her. Sounds simply enough right? Well it really is!
Based on the screenplay by Diabolo Cody (best known for Juno), this attempts to be a sort of new wave horror for this generation. Now I think Diabolo did a good job with Juno, I liked the film for what it was. Her script isn't too bad, I thought some of the dialogue was really, really stupid whilst other parts were actually really funny and quite clever. It was very hit and miss for me, and sometimes it was a little too distracting.
The character of Jennifer isn't really all that likable, it feels like she keeps her friend 'Needy' (Amanda Seyfried) around because it made her look more attractive and 'Needy' just does whatever she says. Their friendship seemed really force, and I don't think it worked all that well to be perfectly honest. I thought Megan Fox was pretty well suited to the role and she was quite good. She looks hot, and she knows she looks hot! Amanda Seyfriend was really good as 'Needy', I thought she really stood out with her performance. I liked Johnny Simmons as Chip her boyfriend, their little relationship was really cute and it leads up to the final showdown as well which I thought was good.
As a horror film it is a little bit too tame but its perfect for the younger teen audience and I found it enjoyable and fun for the most part. It does have its flaws as I mentioned earlier, I thought the pacing could have been a bit tighter, but it wasn't a bad way to spend the evening. I thought giving Amanda's character the nick name of 'Needy' was just a little too obvious and silly. I probably would watch it again though, I can see this becoming a future guilty pleasure actually.
Monday, January 11, 2010
I have to say that this film really is fantastic! I honestly cannot remember if I read the story by Roald Dahl, as I used to read his stuff quite a lot in my younger years. So I can't really say how faithful it was to the source material. But what I got here was a highly enjoyable and really fun film. I enjoyed every second of it, I really just loved everything about it, it was great!
The story is about a trio of nasty farmers who want to get rid of the fox who steals from them. That fox is Mr. Fox (voiced by George Clooney) who is not satisfied with his life and he wants to go back to doing what he used to do before having a son, stealing! Of course chaos and fun play a big part in all of this and lesson are learned.
The voice casting for this was just great, George Clooney was so perfect for Mr. Fox he had all the right elements and it worked so well. Meryl Streep as Mrs. Fox was another case of great voice casting, she was divine in the role, just loved her. Jason Schwartzman also worked really well as their son Ash who really is quite the adorable little character. Bill Murray as the badger was another really nice choice, I really enjoyed what he brought to the table. Other notables were Wally Wolodarsky as Kylie, who was Mr. Fox's right hand man so to speak. He was great and Kylie was just a great character too. Eric Anderson (Brother of Wes) was quite awesome as cousin Kristofferson, I loved the chemistry he had with George and Jason, it all worked so well. I just loved the casting of Michael Gambon as our main bad guy, he was just fantastic. Also keep an ear out for Willem Dafoe as the ugly, nasty rat. He played that part well, and I actually had no idea he was a voice in the film, so that was a surprise.
The stop motion animation in this was really great, I loved the style of it. It brought this great humor to the story and characters, it worked so well. I loved the scene where we first see Ash and his expression and body language just worked so well for the scene and his character and it was portrayed in the voice as well. All the elements for this film just came together so nicely. It was nicely paced, it had such a good amount of humor and a nice running time. I really could easily rewatch this quite often, a fantastic film and easily one of my favourites from Wes Anderson. This was something different for him, and it worked, I wasn't sure what I might think of the film initially when I heard about it. The trailer was really good, and the good reviews started to come in and I was confident I would like it, but I didn't expect to love it! I am glad to be surprised by a film, I highly recommend this one folks.
Sunday, January 10, 2010
A direct to DVD film here, I had no interest in actually watching this however someone hired it and I thought eh lets see what post OC Mischa Barton can do. The film actually turned out to be alright but for all the wrong reasons. It was full of plot holes and oh so far fetched but that turned out to be part of the fun.
This was made before Mischa got really bloated, she actually looked fine here and didn't really look drugged up. She plays Shelby a small town girl who seems to have a few issues, she still believes her High School boyfriend is dating her, even though he moved away to college and dumped her. Said ex boyfriend Mike (Matt Long) is dating someone else, Elizabeth (Jessica Stroup). He has to go back to his home town to retire his football jersey number and introduce Elizabeth to his parents. Shelby does not take too kindly to all of this and after a road accident she holds Elizabeth captive.
This is like Fatal Attraction meets Misery for the younger crowd. We have the obsessed woman with Shelby, and the held captive part when she accidently runs Elizabeth over and keeps her in her house. While she does that, she aims to win Mike over, as you would expect. What really was rather annoying but also really funny and it made for some entertainment was that Mischa is not exactly threatening. Yes Elizabeth was hurt but it wouldn't take much to over power Shelby and she had so many chances to escape but apparently her character is extremely stupid. Oh yes the film is littered with stupid characters, but some how they manage to work anyway. Shelby seems to have some super human powers, super speed and super strength it seems awfully silly. They clearly did not think about these things when filming the movie, they just figured it would add to the suspense. I found it rather amusing, which made the film fun and silly.
Performance wise, everyone actually does a decent job. Mischa played a psycho pretty well, you really wanted to just slap her through the entire film. Jessica Stroup was alright as well, she did well despite having to play a bit of a stupid character, you actually care for her and don't want anything to happen. Matt Long was good as well, again he did the best he could given a stupid character. Michael Landes who you might remember from Final Destination 2 also playing a character in law enforcement was good too, he seemed to have fun playing this character.
I mean not an altogether bad way to spend an evening, just don't expect anything special. It is an average thriller, and its flaws actually made it enjoyable in the so bad it is good way. Probably one of the better direct to DVD thrillers out there too.
Saturday, January 9, 2010
Peter Jackson is an interesting film maker, he has made films of different genres and for the most part I've enjoyed them a lot. He has a unique and beautiful visual style, which is present in all his films (Yes even the early ones), and watching the trailers to this it seemed this was no different, it looked like a visual delight despite the sad subject matter. It looked like a return to the style of Heavenly Creatures, in some ways it was. After reading a lot of reviews for this film and seeing the negative reaction it has gotten, I can understand it however I felt very differently. I really liked this film for the most part.
The Lovely Bones is based upon a book of the same name which I haven't read, about a 14 year old girl named Suzie Salmon who is murdered. She watches as her family struggles to cope with her loss, she looms around the inbetween. Her father becomes obsessed with finding out what happened and who did it to her, the family basically falls apart.
I don't think this book would have been easy to write a script for, it seems like something that was rather difficult to translate to the screen. I do believe Peter Jackson did a good job with it, it is a hard subject matter, considering what happens to Suzie and the fact that she is telling the story from beyond the grave so to speak. The scenes we see of Suzie in the inbetween are quite stunning, very gorgeous to look at. Almost reminded me of some of the scenes of The Imaginarium Of Dr Parnassus (Both Jackson and Gilliam have their unique styles but they are both very visual film makers), there is a strange beauty to them even in the sadness.
The stand out performers were Saoirse Ronan as Suzie and Stanley Tucci as Mr. Harvey the man who kills Suzie. Saoirse Ronan is an amazing young actress, she already has an Oscar nomination under her belt and I do believe we've just seen the start of a great career to come. She really embodied Suzie and you really just fall in love with the character and it hurts when she is gone from her families life. One of the most disgusting and creepy characters Mr. Harvey was played flawlessly by Tucci and this was quite a different role for him. I would put this up there with Jackie Earle Haley's performance in Little Children of pedophile Ronnie. Both characters were genuinely creepy and pretty much flawless as well. Tucci disappeared in this character, and you basically just want to beat him up badly for what he has done. As the story progresses you come to realise just what a disgusting person he is too.
Everyone else was pretty solid as well, I know Mark Wahlberg has developed this reputation of being a bad actor after The Happening. I have always thought he was a decent actor and I've enjoyed him in films like The Italian Job and Shooter which I think he is perfectly suited to. I thought he was just fine in this, maybe he wasn't the perfect choice but I thought he tried and he made it work for the most part. I felt his pain of losing a child, and I did relate to his character. Rachel Weisz had a small role as the mother, she was fine when she was there but it felt like a wasted role. I really liked Susan Sarandon as the alcoholic grandmother, I thought she did just fine too, not so much of a waste role. At least you felt she was there, whereas with Weisz you didn't. Michael Imperioli was quite good as well, it was nice to see him in a film.
I thought the direction was pretty good, the pacing worked as well, there were maybe a few slow parts but that didn't really affect the film too much for me. Now this is headed into spoiler territory however the ending just did not sit too well with me. Now this is a sad and depressing film already and I think the way things wrapped up for certain things just made it even more sad and upsetting and I felt that the audience deserved something better. I am not sure if this was how it was wrapped up in the book, and obviously things in life aren't always happy, but it felt as though we all deserved something happy. Certainly not Jackson's best film but a pretty solid effort, I hope that the subject matter (religious elements) don't put people off. We all believe in different things and this is just one interpretation of that. Have an open mind.
Did You Hear About The Morgans?
Friday, January 8, 2010
I have to say this first off, this film is extremely far-fetched and some what silly. But you know what, even with that, I had a blast with it! I enjoyed myself with this film and I was smiling ear to ear to see Gerard Butler in a role like this and away from the Rom-Com scene. This suited him so well, and I want him to take on more roles like this.
The film is about a man Clyde (Gerard Butler) whose wife and daughter get killed in a home invasion and the DA Nice Rice (Jamie Foxx) makes a deal which sees the real culprit not do much jail time. Clyde does not take too kindly to this and years later he decides to get his own justice.
This is a revenge film, a different kind of revenge film though. We have a character who I guess we are supposed to think of as the bad guy with Clyde but we do feel sympathetic for him at times and what he has to say makes a bit of sense. You do feel he got the raw end of the deal, but you do also feel for Nick and the cops and the others who were involved. While Clyde is supposed to be the bad guy, you can't help but like him. Gerard Butler plays such a bad ass character, and it suits him so well, he really made the character his own. Jamie Foxx is also good but the character he plays isn't anything challenging and he doesn't really do much else with it. The two share a good chemistry together and their scenes work really well.
The look and feel of the film I really liked, the pacing as well worked for me. It felt like it took the right amount of time to get where it was going. The violence at times was brutal and it does not hold back on certain things. You think something wont happen but it does, and there are a few shock bits as well, which I think worked really well. Where the film does fail is how far-fetched it is and you really have to suspend belief. But part of the fun was seeing just what sort of things Clyde was going to come up with, and some of them actually worked pretty well.
I had a good time with this bad ass film, I enjoyed it. As I said I enjoyed seeing Gerard Butler in this bad ass role and seeing him naked went down well too. It was a good thriller, despite its flaws, Gerard fans should definitely check this out.
Welcome to Episode 18 of the Super Podcast, in this installment I am finally joined by my MGR Podcasting crew Matt Denton and Will McCaskie. The first ever British and Scottish guests on Super Podcast, I am branching out! Being that it is a new year we thought we would go over the films of 2009, what we saw, what we liked, what we didn’t like and what we did not see. As it turned out we had not seen quite a few films of 2009, and felt we were probably the wrong trio to be talking about it hehe.
- As we delve into 2009, I ask the boys whether they had seen certain films, they had not.
- There turned out to be some films we had seen, but did we like them?
- The boys pretty much can offend anyone and everyone, so beware!
- Apparently I pronounce the name Megan Fox wrong, and this becomes a discussion.
- Which person actually liked Transformers 2?
- We chose our top films and worst films.
- And of course much, much more!
Okay truth time, I did enjoy having the boys join me for the podcast, we always have a blast when we get together. Something different for us all, as MGR has a different format. You can follow the boys on twitter of course, you can find Matt @TheMattDenton and you can find Will @The_Partys_Over and if you wish you can follow the MGR Podcast @MGRPodcast. If you have any feedback, suggestions or you just want to send me dirty photos you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and send all hate mail to Matt Denton.
I went into this film not knowing anything about it, just that it was British and it featured Michael Fassbender, I had not even seen a trailer but I had seen some good ratings around the forums I frequent so I thought I would give it a shot. I am sure glad I did, I really thought this was an excellent film.
What is Fish Tank about? What do you think of when you hear the words fish tank? Small environment, trapped maybe? Well that really does sum up the film, our main character is Mia (Katie Jarvis), she is a 15 year old who dreams of becoming a dancer. She is being raised by her alcoholic single mother. Things change when her mother gets a new boyfriend Connor (Michael Fassbender).
From the start of the film you see Mia shouting and being abusive as she walks around the local neighbourhood. It is obvious she does not really have any friends, and her abusive behaviour easily stems from her mother. Her younger sister shows the same traits and the mother does not seem to care. These early scenes are shot so well, there is a strange beauty to them, and you just can't take your eyes away. Our lead Mia played by new comer Katie Jarvis is nearly flawless in this film. She becomes her character, and she feels awfully real and true to the story being told. This girl wants an escape, she craves a father figure and she craves love and attention.
The relationship we see form between Connor and Mia seems rather harmless at first but you can feel the sexual tension between them both and the feeling that it will lead where you don't want it to sets in. Despite the way she acts, I really wanted Mia to get away from her environment and have a better life. I am not sure if anyone else who saw this felt that way for her, but I really did. I almost felt as trapped as she did at times, especially in certain scenes. There are times where you will feel uncomfortable, but it works too. As I mentioned this film feels very real, and the way it was shot really adds to that feel, it almost feels like sad poem.
As I mentioned Katie Jarvis gives a great performance and Michael Fassbender does as well. There is a certain charm about him but also something strange with Connor, there is always that uncertainty about what his motives might be. Fassbender plays it all so well, I just want to see more of him. The direction by Andrea Arnold is just done so beautifully and truthfully, she has painted a picture of something real and something sad. Definitely one of the best films I got to see in 2009 and I would highly recommend this.
Thursday, January 7, 2010
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
I sat watching this and I just thought, what in the world is this? A mess? Unfortunately yes it is a huge mess. What went wrong? I think this had some potential to be quite good, a bit of a musical and something fun, but it was anything but that.
The film is about Marc Pease (Jason Schwartzman) who loves to sing and during his High School muscial of The Wiz he runs out when it is his turn to perform his solo. Eight years go by and he still is basically acting like he is in High School, trying to get his group of singers to do a demo tape and annoying his music teacher Jon Gribble.
That is basically what it is about, and the character of Marc Pease is not exactly all that likable, I really just wanted to punch him out and tell him to grow up. I just found Jason Schwartzman to be extremely annoying in the role. He did not suit it, and he basically slept walked through it, I was not a fan. The only thing I thought was decent in the film was Ben Stiller as Jon Gribble. His character is supposed to be the one you don't like and he makes it work. I mean this wasn't a role that required Ben Stiller to do much with, but he was good. Anna Kendrick as the love interest Meg she was alright as well, she had little to work with but she makes sure you remember her. I do believe she will be an actress to expect big things from.
I really just cannot recommend this film, I found it boring at times and just extremely annoying with how things worked themselves out. At least the end performance of The Wiz actually looks really good and it was performed well. But sorry to say this film does not have a lot going for it, and it was really disappointing. It started off in such a way I thought maybe it would be alright but it just got messier and messier as it went on. Below average film, which is a shame. Not sure what the director might have been smoking ...