Friday, 29 April 2011

Cemetery Junction

Gervais and Merchant should do this more often

Lover: Taken from IMDB
“Though I knew Ricky Gervais and Steve merchant directed it, I had no prior expectations about this movie. I did not know what it was about nor did i read any reviews before watching. Trust me, that is the best way to watch Cemetery Junction. Don't listen to the reviews of jaded film critics who over-analyze and complain about other movies being similar. This is a movie that make you feel good without explicitly being a feel-good movie. I came out feeling nostalgic for 70s Britain though I grew up in 90s USA. The dialog is witty, smart, often funny and sometimes touching. It deftly touches on themes of loss, regret, friendship, love, and following one's dreams. This is my favorite British film in quite some time. You will not regret watching this movie.”

There’s nothing here to back up their points however they are completely right.

Hater: Taken from IMDB

“This film isn't funny. It's just not. And without the excuse of comedy, it's simply lame. In the September issue of The Word, Andrew Harrison, discussing the way popular culture eats itself, describes yesterday's cutting edge as "...impossibly tame and in fact cloyingly wholesome, the components of Heartbeat." And that's exactly this movie. Bland nostalgia, the trappings of kitchen sink reality and none of its truth. Twee love wins out and the lovers eventually escape the deadening boredom of their hometown existence (which isn't so bad really, so their ambitions are fuzzy and vague). Nothing we haven't seen before, and no drama to make it interesting. Cemetery Junction is just an episode of Heartbeat - the easy view, rose-tinted version of a bygone era churned out in inoffensive weekly installments for a family audience who want reassurance rather than insight. A few laughs would have made it bearable. Pity that Gervais and Merchant should squander their opportunities on inconsequential twaddle like this.”

Describing it as an episode of Heartbeat is very wrong, all it really has in common is the era its set in. The point of cemetery junction I like to think is that life and that particular moment in time was mundane, hence no big drama this would-be critic clearly wanted. Just think of The Office, apart from the superbly written and performed comedy its actually just a mundane series about life in an office and look how that turned out.

What I thought:
What I like most about Cemetery Junction is that Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant have only a bit part and cameo respectively. The reason I like that is because the performances of Gervais and Merchant (Gervais more so) are just getting plain dry and repetitive. After his trips to America in which he played David Brent in some shape or form in EVERYTHING, it was important that he wrote material for someone else. To prove me right just watch the moments he’s in, exactly the same!

His usual spiel works fine for stand up but when you start using that as a crutch when you’re trying to act; it’s best left alone. So that aside what are you watching, well a coming of age tale set in Reading, Berkshire. Reading or more precisely Cemetery Junction home of a fine music festival, Gervais himself and my sister-in-law is a great setting for this. Whilst there is nothing quintessentially wrong with the place (I love visiting) It’s one of those places that if your born and raised there you’ll spend half of your youth moaning about getting away from it (I empathise as I’m from Croydon another place like this). That’s basically what this film is about, going through that stage in your life where it feels that if you don’t get away now you never will.

That’s What Cemetery Junction is about and the way it does it so well is in its casting, our three heroes are unknowns who take on the rebellious young upstart roles with brilliant gusto. They are also brilliantly written, Gervais and Merchants usual humour coming from some you up and coming actors is brilliant and fun to watch. In those respects its refreshing and hopefully will usher both to move behind the camera more often.

Monday, 25 April 2011

My first ever book review: Nighmare Movies by Kim Newman

Nightmare Movies

I’ll be honest when Bloomsbury offered to send me a book to review, I was little apprehensive. Of course Beeonfilm only reviews films and DVD’s, however Kim Newmans updated labour of love Nightmare Movies is an exceptional case. Not just because it is film related albeit the horror genre, but that it is also so concise and chock full of interesting facts and obscure movies you’ve never heard of.

That was my first thought, my second was a little unfair I’ll be honest. I’m a writer and I love writing about films, if I were to be doing a dream job it would be the job that Kim Newman has now, writing books like this and writing for Empire magazine. So jealousy is an issue and may affect my opinion of this book, I say this now because I do have some criticisms and I think the reader deserves to know that they may be a little biased and nit picking.

As I have said before Nightmare Movies is a concise history of the horror genre right from the classis monsters through the glory days of the slasher film to recent years of torture porn and found-footage. It’s a heavy read, spread out through 650 pages but like Newmans writing for Empire it’s full of wit and dry humour that does make it a little less laborious.

My biggest criticism is one that is really only an issue for people who aren’t avid fans of horror films, so saying this may be a bit pointless as everyone else would never think to read it. During the reading time, (it took me over a month to get this finished!) There are a few paragraphs, pages and even chapters that are full of not just films I have never heard of but films I have no invested interest in at all. These chapters are tough and the temptation to pick up something else is huge, getting towards the end was immensely easier. Because I’m a little younger than Newman I’m of a different generation, for one I am immensely cynical about the horror genre. Unless it has something interesting to say like Romeros social commentary in the ‘Dead’ films, the majority of them can only do two things; make you jump or make you paranoid.

I’m a fan of the latter, films like Blair Witch and Paranormal Activity stayed with me long after I watched them and I love them for that reason. Everything else is full of jumps, false jumps and gross out scenes of blood and guts. My point being that the later chapters which are the updated part of the book were a lot more fun for me. It didn’t matter if I disagreed with some of the things Newman wrote, what mattered was that I had heard and in most cases seen the films he mentions

This book is an essential for anyone who loves horror films, it cannot just give you great insights from a man who clearly knows what he’s talking about but also give you a basis for a superb DVD collection.

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Burke and Hare

More Silly killers than Serial Killers

Lover: Taken from IMDB

“Can't believe some of the negativity on here and in the press. And I really don't why people are saying that it isn't funny. This is a very funny, charming film in the tradition of the old Ealing comedies. The cinema I went to see it in was packed and was laughing all the way through. How anyone can say that Landis has delivered a turkey is baffling. It's witty, well shot, got great performances and it has Ronnie Corbett! Hilarious. I think this is a film that has suffered from all of the expectation and the mass marketing. I don't think it is consistently laugh out loud movie but it is consistently funny. I'm so glad that I got the chance to see something different, other than all of the franchise crap on offer at the moment. Two thumbs up to Landis, Pegg and Serkis and of course, Mr Ronnie Corbett, long may your career continue! 4 stars!”

It was a very funny film and some of the negative press was horribly over the top, Burke and Hare is an essential for anyone who has an appreciation for British comedy.

Hater: Taken from IMDB
“what a load of 'fookin sh*%e' man'. My wife and i are both in agreement, this is without doubt the worst film we've seen this year, and almost the worst ever. Utterly awful, dreadfully dreary tale with zero soul, passion or enthusiasm. Avoid like the hangman's noose or you'll just be wasting an hour of your life. I can't believe this website is actually forcing me to write 10 lines - it's just not worth it IMDb - you're being cruel to me man, rubbing my face in it - this is adding insult to injury - I only wanted to warn the world that plague lies within this tosh, masquerading as a serious film - you' should be encouraging this.”

IMDB forces you to write 10 lines for a good reason, in the vague hope that you might write something productive. It is not so that you can un-ashamedly rip a film to pieces without thought or indeed reason! Ignore these kinds of reviews like the plague, if a film isn’t for you then you’ll know before you see it, otherwise we all know that every now again we get a turkey but by the same rule we also may stumble upon a film that becomes an instant favourite.

What I thought:

As a HUGE fan of Mr Pegg myself I was looking forward to this film, honestly it did disappoint me and that’s solely because of the press beforehand. Even Simon Pegg himself was guilty of singing the line about “daring you to like two despicable people”, It is true that mesas Pegg and Serkis are superbly likeable as Irish Entrepreneurs come serial killers. However it’s not them that are the problem, whilst understandably the body count is quite high; none of their victims even a cameo from Christopher Lee are really that likeable or given any screen time.

What that means is a complete dis-association with their crimes, the people they ‘knock off’ to make a living you don’t really care about and because every time they do take a life they do it quite ineptly it’s all a bit silly. So once again the press has over played the film a bit, you’re not dared to like despicable men your dared to take their crimes with a pinch of salt (even the lines on the screen at the beginning tells you that this is a true story apart from the parts that are not).

There are however some great performances from some of the cream of British comedy talent, clearly when word was around that John Landis was coming back to the UK to make a “Dark Comedy” they were queuing up. Simon Pegg and Andy Serkis excel at those Irish accents and excel at making two of the UK’s biggest serial killers actually likeable, they do that by playing them just a little bit on the dim side which I thought was a bit disappointing I thought they would be less bumbling more calculating. Jessica Hynes joins her Spaced co-star to play Lucky, William Hares wife? I don’t know? She is great and gives massive laughs to possibly the funnies sex scene I’ve ever seen. They are also joined by more Spaced alumni Bill Bailey, Michael Smiley and British thesps like Tom Wilkinson, Christopher Lee, Tim Curry, David Schofield and of course Ronnie Corbett. The shorter half of the two Ronnies is the cherry on top and his usual bumbling schtick fits into this story near perfectly, The rest flesh out a story that is as silly as it is macabre.

Those expecting An American Werewolf in London should look away now but those with an appreciation for the sillier side of traditional Ealing comedies should lap it up.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Hot Tub Time Machine

“It’s like some kind of Hot Tub Time Machine!”

Lover: Taken from IMDB
“Just watched this flick on DVD. What great FUN!!! It was funny, the comedy was in perfect timing with the gags. A retro ride to the 80's specifically 1986, now what were you 40 somethings doing in 1986. Oh yeah, the plot is so classic 80's movies that it is predictable.Like any comedy movie in the 80's, to think to much, go with the flow and don't spill the "Tab" soda (that is for those who remember). During the time vortex in the movie see how many stars you can name, I was able to recognize about 12 of them including the late great King of Pop. So see the movie to be to serious about it and enjoy the popcorn and the Tab soda.”
It is important to remember to have your tongue solidly in cheek for this on, done just right this is a very funny film.

Hater: Taken from IMDB
“This movie is absolutely the worst movie I have ever seen in my life. I left the movie later than I should have because it never got any better. If you want to see guys throwing up, peeing, and discussing disgusting things with the f-bomb every other word...this movie is for you. It really makes me sad that nobody in Hollywood is intelligent enough to make a real comedy. It isn't funny, it isn't a movie you would want a child or teenager to see, it isn't a movie than anyone with any kind of values would want to see...just terrible. I don't even normally write reviews about movies, but if I can keep one person from paying to see this movie...I will feel okay that I paid to see it.”

A highly mis-guided review, almost every hater review I read states that they don’t normally write review using IMDB. I personally feel there is a reason for that, because your reviews are not reviews, they are just a chance to slag off a film you didn’t like.

What I thought:
Each time I have spoken about this film since watching it I have mentioned one laugh out loud moment, when one character hilariously breaks the fourth wall to admit to the audience what a silly name the film has. It’s mentioned a LOT during the film and it’s this kind of un-ashamed honesty that sets this apart. Most 80’s focusing comedies (that weren’t made in the 80’s) are chock full of references to the 80’s that they forget the characters themselves. What I like most about Hot Tub is that the characters take centre stage.

Everything else just winks at you, from references to old pop stars to cold war hysteria all used to move the story along instead of a focus. What this means is that the characters are given chances to really shine and all get an opportunity to make you belly laugh. John Cusack doing the kind of down and out on life that made him so watchable in things like High Fidelity and Grosse point. Clark Duke, forcing his way into a film that could have made him nothing more than a bit part. Craig Robinson timing in this film is near perfect and he has the honour of the fourth wall breaking I mentioned earlier. Rob Corddry is the fall guy and the butt of a lot of the running humour, though he is just as funny as the rest, you’re supposed to follow his arc from an act of suicide to great success and you just don’t care.

Ok so the character development is a little thin on the ground and you won’t really care anyway but it does have a cameo from Chevy Chase. It’s a predictable mess of a movie but a loveable postcard to the 80’s with just the right amount of laughs.

Monday, 11 April 2011

Due Date

Not as funny as it should be

Lover: Taken from IMDB
“There had been in my humble opinion a major lack of entertaining and good comedies in the film market, but then out of the blue I stumbled upon The Hangover. A film I didn't know anything about before I went to see it in the cinema. Just a few seconds into the film I started smiling and laughing, and they kept on pushing it, and I think there wasn't one single dull nor boring sequence throughout the whole movie. The reason why I'm telling you this is because watching Due Date gave me the exact same amazing comedy experience as The Hangover, and that speaks for it self! Another thing, the acting by especially Robert Downey Jr. and Zach Galifanakis were both top notch, and I thoroughly swallowed every word they said. If you're in for a treat and hunger for laughs go watch Due Date as soon as you can! I honestly feel like I don't have words to describe it as well as it deserves, but I gave it my best shot and I hope you've got the message!”

The acting is good and it is a funny film, however it is not as good as The Hangover.

Hater: Taken from IMDB
“After R.D.J.'s excellent performance in Sherlock Holmes, I thought it would be a pretty safe bet that he wouldn't be into making turkeys.Unfortunately ,I was wrong. This film is everything a movie shouldn't be.It is gross, offensive and totally without merit.One can only ask Why????? Robert Downey Jr chose this dross to perform.The comparison to Planes,Trains and Automobiles is all too clear- but that was an excellent piece of film making and Due Date just isn't.The 2 characters don't mesh, there is no growing bond which you see in Planes etc it's too unbelievable that R.D.J's character who has some intelligence would ever stoop to find worth in anything his overbearing unstable road partner would do.Suddenly in one leap- he confesses he "loves" the guy.And wants to stay in touch. The charm and poignant detail of Planes is sadly lacking.There is no character development,we don't have emapathy for the nerd character,and by the end of it,I had none for R.D.J's character either.An embarrassment to R.D.J's great track record, a bitter blow to your pocket and expectations of an entertaining night out.This film sucks.”

Some good points but a little over the top I personally feel, the chemistry is questionable and as far as gross and offensive goes; there are some far grosser and offensive movies out there.

What I thought:

Due date is a big example of too much hype for not enough quality. Before it came out we were told things like “from the director of The Hangover” to “It’s like Planes, Trains and Automobiles” , both of which whilst being true were abused when marketing this movie. You hear it’s done by the guy who directed and has a star from the highest grossing R rated comedy, you naturally think; this has got to be a hit surely? You hear that it’s a bit like that 80’s comedy that had John Candy and Steve Martin trading blows in a touching and hilarious film.

The film itself does not live up to these claims, its funny sure and even funnier if wanking dogs and highly unlikely escapes from Mexican border police are your thing. So there is definitely a need to suspend your disbelief and accept some characters and moments that don’t seem at all real. There’s no problem with doing that if the film is side splitting or if the characters are hugely likeable.

Even Robert Downey Jnr who hardly ever misses the mark comes across as a completely unlikeable douchebag, who despite being a straight talking smart man doesn’t see fault with any of things that happen to him with the weirdo he’s tagging along with. Zach Galifianakis turns up his usual weird guy role complete with camp walk to make it funny but not appealing. In a film that asks that you watch two guys on a road trip it’s important that you like those guys, I’m afraid Due Date misses the mark on that one.

So as disappointing it is because of the hype it does have some funny moments my favourite of which involves someone’s ashes beings used and abused. So it’s not as good as The Hangover but is a decent enough stop gap before The Hangover 2.

The Woman in Black teaser trailer and releasem date anouncement


FEBRUARY 10th 2012

10 April 2011, London, UK – Momentum Pictures, an Alliance Films company, are proud to announce that the highly anticipated big screen adaptation of THE WOMAN IN BLACK will be released in UK cinemas on 10 February 2012.

Based on the classic ghost story, THE WOMAN IN BLACK tells the tale of Arthur Kipps (Daniel Radcliffe), a lawyer who is forced to leave his young son and travel to a remote village to attend to the affairs of the recently deceased owner of Eel Marsh House.

Working alone in the old mansion, Kipps begins to uncover the town’s tragic and tortured secrets and his fears escalate when he discovers that local children have been dying under mysterious circumstances. When those closest to him become threatened by the vengeful woman in black, Kipps must find a way to break the cycle of terror.

THE WOMAN IN BLACK also stars Ciaran Hinds (TINKER, TAILOR, SOLDIER, SPY) and Janet McTeer (TUMBLEWEEDS), was adapted from Susan Hill’s novel for the screen by Jane Goldman (KICK ASS) and directed by James Watkins (EDEN LAKE).

Saturday, 2 April 2011

The Green Lantern footage...

ok, so this actually looks rather good, they have made up for that first awful trailer

Bedtime Stories

One for you nippers

Lover: Taken from IMDB
“This movie is super entertaining. I honestly don't understand why some people don't like it. Adam Sandler and everyone else in this movie were great. Adam Sandler can definitely act in any kind of movie he chooses to, he's a great actor. I recommend everyone who is a fan of comedies and/or children movies to give this a try. I didn't expect this movie to be this good but I was very very surprised! Disney has done it again, they almost never disappoint. Go out and see this movie with the whole family! But, if its out of theaters make sure to rent it when its available because this is a great modern family film the whole family will enjoy!”

At least they have one thing right, it is a very fun film of the very silly variety!

Hater: Taken from IMDB

“This movie was weak- very sub par. The characters were mainly annoying. Sandler once again plays a tough guy underdog wannabe who comes out on top in the end (ho-hum). Most annoying were the two Russels: Keri Russell and Russell Brand. Keri is as vacuous as ever; her role could have been played by a mannequin. She deserves to be blacklisted for her role as a self-absorbed college student in "Felicity". I used to run out of the room whenever my wife had it on. Russell Brand has no business being in show business. He is a boring pseudo transvestite who makes a living off of a contrived Cokney accent. The children in the film were cookie-cutter clich├ęs that added to the boredom. Courteney Cox needs to give it up. She resembles an anorexic hooker looking for her next fix. Her character was stuck on "bitchy". I've got to say that Lucy Lawless never looked better. She needs to stick with that short black hairdo - very hot! Guy Pierce stole the show as the obnoxious yuppie type - great characterization. The plot was childish and predictable. It seemed that they made it up as they went along. There were so many implausibilities as to not waste my time listing them all. I will give credit to the director, though - the scenes where the ancient Greek arena is depicted and the "Star Wars" set were professionally done, displaying the awesome ability of modern-day movie technology. Otherwise, this movie was pretty much a waste of time and money.”

Now this review is a shame because it’s basically just a chance to slag off the people they hate that were involved in this movie. Why bother watching it in the first place!?

What I thought:

It’s very much a case of “does what it says on the tin”, Bedtime Stories as you would imagine from the name and the DVD case this is very much a kids movie. So much so that there isn’t much for an adult to enjoy here, as the hater pointed out it’s very predictable with some corny dialogue and an ending so cheesy you can smell the stilton! However as I have already pointed out this is a kids film and for kids there are a lot of laughs to be had, being a father and writing reviews for kids film means I like to test these films on them before I write one.

With Bedtime Stories their opinion isn’t very valid and I think that’s because it’s for older kids, that aside they did laugh when they watched this and did seem to like what they did watch. It’s just a very silly movie which for the right age of kids should work just fine in keeping their attention. I think that the sense of humour is very silly for the majority of the running time, only certain actors seem to realise just how silly though. Adam Sandler is used to playing the man child but even here seems to take this film a little too seriously at points. The only two who seem to be treating it for what it is are Guy Pearce with an outstandingly hammy performance as the bad guy of the piece and Russell Brand, whose silly best friend feels more like one of the kids than a sidekick.

Its USP however is those fantasy sequences, they are done very well and look fantastic, this amount of effort is nice to see in a kids film and does help the running time skip by quite nicely. However if kids films aren’t your thing and you don’t have kids to keep busy then probably best to avoid this. Saying that it’s not half bad, it’s imaginative and fun and perfect for the sprogs. Easy to follow plot and characters just bizarre enough to get the belly laughs.

Broken Flowers

One for the Bill Murray Elite

Lover: Taken from IMDB
“I am a film studies student fortunate enough to be at the Cannes Festival and somehow fenangled my way into the premiere of Broken Flowers, in fact sitting in the aisle diagonal to Jim, Bill Murray, Tilda Swinton, and Julie Deply. The movie was utterly satisfying for me. I had an avid fear that it would end up ANOTHER Bill Murray movie, which is practically a genre in and of itself these days, although Jarmusch already reinvigorated his classic demeanor in Coffee and Cigarettes. Much to my relief, Broken Flowers provides many a moment for Murray to shine, for it is truly a film centered around him. It is more of a return to Jarmusch's earlier films, rather than the second round of linked stories like Mystery Train and Night on Earth or the play with genre of the latter works. Unlike Stranger than Paradise or Down By Law, however, the focus is not on a trio but one man, which opens the door for more detailed character development than Jarmusch is normally willing to give. I don't want to say that it is his most accessible work, but a more mature and developed one. It has the most structured storyline to date but as usual, Jarmusch always remains restrained. Jeffrey Wright is a delight, and Swinton is unrecognizable. The scene between Murray, Frances Conroy (what a treat for a Six Feet Under Fan) in particular received applause from the crowd, as did the film as a whole. In many ways the film reminded me of About Schmidt, particularly the ending, but was much more minimal and appealing to all ages. The soundtrack, an ethiopoan musician's take on spy music, added a great touch and the whimsical play with mystery and clues is continuously weaved throughout. There is no closure, no emotional overtow, and no real payoff, but the film is very well crafted. I am still trying to articulate it and incredibly sleep deprived but feel free to contact me with any questions. I saw that no one had posted yet and i thought that as a complete Jarmusch dork, I should extend my knowledge. Later I'll actually provide a good review.”

He puts himself down for what Is a great review, great knowledge of this particular film maker and knows where the films faults lie’s as well it’s good points

Hater: Taken from IMDB

“Bill Murray plays an ageing Lothario, a formerly successful businessman (though from the dullard we see it's hard to believe) with enough money that he doesn't need to work, who consequently lives a pointless and empty life. One day he's contacted by an old girlfriend who tells him that the son he never knew he had might just turn up on his doorstep. Not knowing who sent the letter, he sets out to visit four possible candidates. After we've been invited to sneer at each of them in turn – their absurd jobs, their empty lives – he is back home, not knowing which one sent the letter, whether it was actually sent by a more recent girlfriend as a prank, or even whether a young man who's just arrived in town might be his son. The film's message seems to be that unless you're, say, an independent film-maker named Jim Jarmusch, your so-called life is a pointless waste of which you ought to be embarrassed. This kind of cheap and lazy nihilism is just so boring, and the non-ending suggests that even Jarmusch couldn't be bothered with it any more. This film is designed to impress the kind of people who assume that any film without obvious interest or appeal must therefore be "arty". No, it's just tedious, flabby, self-indulgent and a waste of the talent of Bill Murray, who might as well have been replaced by a waxwork for most of it.”
I think that is a fair point here, for all its indie trademarks it doesn’t really make any clear point. This can make for it a bit of a dull experience, however I personally think the comedy carries the whole film. It’s all down to Bill Murray’s trademark deadpan performance and his reaction to characters that are slightly larger than life.

What I thought:

Broken Flowers is at first an intriguing fun mystery movie where Bill Murrays past his prime Lothario is searching for his son he never knew he had. It develops well and everything slots into place, watching Murray react to what’s going on around him whether it be with a hint of melancholy (that has been a standard of recent Bill Murray films) or his dry wit is the best thing about the film. Coming into the final third however you realise all is not as it seems, you start to realise that the story will not be fully resolved. This is what spoils Broken Flowers, as you are given possibilities but no real answers.

The result of that is no real emotional payoff for a character you invested time in watching, not just that but a character that despite some terrible misogynistic character traits is very likable (What Bill Murray characters isn’t?). It’s a real shame and does spoil the film quite a bit, as the film ticks over the directing is simple, the soundtrack is indie by the numbers and every other role is played with enough gusto, enough to give Murray funny material and as many facial expressions as he likes.

Maybe it’s the fact that I’m quite easy to shock when it comes to films (years of watching blockbusters have made me forget what can shock) but there is one scene in Broken Flowers that always stick is my mind. The full frontal shot of who must only surely be a barely legal teen girl, I mean I failed to see the point of this shot and it’s so totally out of the blue that it almost made me jump and look away from the screen. I’m all for nudity if it serves the picture but I failed to see how it served Broken Flowers, though I’m sure the director does.

So I might be a bit of a prude but you are the judge, I’m a big fan of Bill Murray and that alone is a good enough reason to watch Broken Flowers.

About Me

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"Films are Loved, Films are hated. I'm here to help you decide where you stand..." I also do web work including a good knowledge of HTML, ASP, using the adobe web package and a strong understanding of SEO, Google Analytics.