Friday, 16 September 2011

Grown Ups

About as shallow as a puddle

Lover: Taken from IMDB
“There is nothing wrong about this film... there is nothing right about it either. It's just another Adam Sandler feel-good movie, and if you like these (I certainly do), you will like this movie too. If you hate them for a lack of plot or the shallowness of the jokes, you won't. I just know I laughed a numerous amount of times, and I felt good after having watched it. And no, I'm not a stupid guy; I like a good plot, good acting, directing and well-thought-of puns as does the next guy. But there are times when you feel like watching a complicated drama, and there are times when you feel like watching a no-brainer. This is definitely a no-brainer, which will make you feel good from time to time. That's why Adam Sandler makes these movies, and that's why they keep doing so well.They will make you feel good :) “

I would agree if they hadn’t tried to shoe horn in some ‘We’ve been on a journey and all learnt something’ scene in at the end.

Hater: Taken from IMDB
“How is this crap at 5.9? one of the worst movies that I have ever seen. Now before you say that I have no sense of humor, I will say that I'm a big fan of some of Adam Sandler, Kevin James, and Chris Rock. David Spade and Rob Schnider? Not so much. I loved The Waterboy, Hitch, Madagascar, Funny People, Dogma, Good Hair, The King of queens, Spanglish, Punch drunk love, happy gilmore etc. So I do like these actors. That's why I was so disappointed. This films a mess. No plot. No characters. The jokes are dull as hell. The humor is so lowbrow. The script is so flat. The actors do their best with what they're given, but it's not enough. and to make things worse, the film is just boring. From the very beginning, I was checking the time. I maybe chuckled twice. That's not enough. These guys probably had a lot of fun making this movie and they probably thought that they were being really funny, but I just didn't feel the same way. I was bored, irritated, and disappointed. “

There are moments in the film that are funnier than this critic has made out, clearly adlibbed scenes and sketches straight from the actors heads work well enough to force out a giggle, or two.

What I thought:
It would appear that Adam Sandlers man child comedy is infectious, the man who brought us such gems as Billy Madison, Big Daddy, Waterboy and dare I say Little Nicky is the master. The master of acting like a moron and for the most part *cough* Little Nicky*cough* get away with it. In Grown Ups he has found the actors born for his sense of humour, even the sometime hard edged comedy of Chris Rock is dumbed down. It could work for fans of this comedy but are there too many man children in this clearly self indulgent tripe?

In short yes, there are moments when they are in a big group that are so random and funny you can tell it was ad lib. These are the funniest moments and if they were video shorts or a larger part a sketch show or something they would be funny. However they don’t tie up all the other mundane moments of supposed family drama and the usual silly slapstick / gross out comedy that plagues Sandlers films.

It’s disappointing really, had the film been like the scenes of improvisation it would have at least been a very funny journey if not one with any meaning. That brings me to my biggest gripe with the film, the script doesn’t really go anywhere in particular with the characters, you can sort of tell they were trying to get some depth into them and it never works. When at the end all the characters are gathered at the lake having the tender heartfelt moments you wonder where the hell it came from, It’s as if they got to the end having too much fun taking the piss out of eachother and all of a sudden thought “hey wait, what have our characters learnt from this journey?”.

Hopefully that this kind of comedy is old for the actors doing it, move onwards and upwards because you’ve all done and been in better.

Available on Blu Ray and DVD
Running Time: 102 mins
Cert: 12

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

One of the best films this year

Hater: Taken from IMDB

"I was in Venice last week so saw this film before its general release. I've been inspired to write the review because of the sheer volume of PR the producers are throwing at this movie ahead of its UK release, making out that it the greatest thing since Citizen Cane and a sure-fire Oscar winner. My main feeling at the end of the film was, "What was the point of that? Why on earth would someone want to remake a 70s spy drama as a carbon copy of countless BBC efforts". There was no attempt to bring anything new to the genre, no hint that they might be making some comment about the modern world (or even the Cold War world) or telling us something we didn't know. If you are over thirty (and you're the target audience) you have seen this all before. The roles are not exactly taxing for the actors who get to speak in their usual RADA accents and be as stiffly upper-lipped as possible. The plot itself is pretty silly (yes, I know it's based on all the Kim Philby type cases but I'm referring to the specific twists and turns of the storyline) and the pace of the action plodding. It's by no means the worst film ever made, just completely unnecessary and on the whole not entertaining."

Too much opinion really, completely unfair when you consider the shed load of positive reviews it’s had.

Lover: Quoted from Anthony Quinn (Film critic for the independent)

"With this new adaptation of John le CarrĂ©'s Cold War classic we could be looking at the most unglamorous spy movie ever made. It is set (almost inevitably) in the early 1970s and comes wrapped in about a hundred different shades of brown. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is the anti-Bond movie par excellence. Instead of sex and speedboats we get a dinosaur museum of predigital telephones, drab duds and anonymous office space. A dab of colour in this setting is like a party balloon emerging from an ash cloud.”

Just because I couldn’t put it better myself really.

What I thought:
It’s very telling that at the time of writing this I cannot find a single bad review of this quiet masterpiece of a film. Just watch the trailer and you know you’re in for a treat, just look at the cast headed by Gary Oldman; you have Colin Firth, Mark Strong, Tom Hardy, John Hurt and Benedict Cumberbatch and that’s only touching the surface of the talent involved. You’ll be happy to hear that everyone one them performs at the peak of their abilities and tying it altogether is Tomas Alfredsons sublime subtle shooting style, tying many a thread together to make a web of intrigue that is the best who-dunnit in years.

If it sounds like I’m gushing it’s because I am, it’s not too often a film like this comes along. I like the fact that I haven’t read the book or even seen the ever praised series with Alec Guiness. It made this adaptation the first time I have seen this story and I was blown away by how simple they made it to follow what could have been a complex story with more questions than answers.

That’s not to say there’s no reason not to concentrate, making sure your watching this film in detail will only reward you more. As the plot thickens and the chess pieces move into place, it’s such a delight watching all the strands come together. Gary Oldman is as good as you may heard, the power he holds in words is worth a 100 folded up newspapers wielded by Jason Bourne or even laser watches put to good use by Bond.

I’m not completely full of praise, though there are some stand out moments during the film that are nail biting as you would expect, the rest just serenely trickles past in a flow of superb acting and great shooting. I’m trying to say it’s not as much a nail biter as I was expecting basically but that’s small criticism of what is easily one of the best films of the year and surely at least an Oscar nod For Oldman.

In Cinemas now
Running Time: 127 mins
Cert: 15

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Attack the Block

Joe Cornish couldn’t predict the riots.

Lover: Taken from IMDB
“I wasn't quite sure what to expect from this. It is dark, but in a light hearted way, both visually and in terms of the story line. Some small gems of particularly good humour. The aliens were presented in a non- stereotype and quite interesting/clever way. You really get a feel for the street city scene, which enhanced the experience and made it enjoyable with a few moments of pure humour. This film was well made, dark, funny, jumpy, and gripping. Overall a fast paced experience that will keep at you at the edge of your seat and fully entertained for the duration. Definitely work seeing - go and see it. Good job cornballs!”

Not sure about the gripping part but dark, funny and jumpy are words I would use, not to sure about cornballs?

Hater: Taken from IMDB
“There are many great films and with an IMDb rating of 7.5, there was a real expectation this could have been one. It isn't. It is poor in every respect. It is not imaginative, humorous, tense, clever or interesting. The acting is amateurish and forced, the script is boring, the music poor, the pace slow and the action unexciting and old fashioned. It is something of a surprise to learn some of the people involved were also involved with the excellent Shaun of the Dead. Despite a desire to walk out part way through, there was always the hope the film would improve or at least have a great ending. It didn't. There are many other IMDb reviews including many from critics who have praised the film highly so I must be missing something but I wish I had been forewarned not to expect much.”

Why would you have been forewarned after all those good reviews? Lots of opinion no points, sad but true.

What I thought:
I find it interesting that I watched this film after the London riots; I live in Croydon and have no sympathy for the morons who wreaked havoc on our town centre. I won’t go down into that big debate as all I’m here to do is review the film, but when our heroes are the same “youths” that burned down landmarks and looted shops I thought it would be hard to route for them. It’s a basic idea but a very good one, Aliens land in London and a gang of hoodies have to take them on. The idea apparently came to Joe Cornish after he was mugged; he asked the question why are these kids doing these things, what if they were called upon to do the right thing?

Of course using Aliens to explore this again is a good idea, an almost faceless creature more comparable to primates than humanoid are excellent cannon fodder when trying to route for the wrong crowd. Of course a lot of the sympathy your supposed to feel for them is based upon living conditions, parenting etc (The latter if your interested is what I think is the main problem), but only one character really gets explored in that what way. Leaving the rest to baffle you with “street talk”, get their funny but obvious one liners and of course fight.

Ok so the street talk isn’t really that bad, even if you haven’t heard some of the things they say it doesn’t take a genius to work it out, the one liners however have been ruined by an awfully constructed trailer which reveals all the biggest laughs. The fighting however I think saves this film hugely, from digging out their “blades” to using fireworks and kerosene filled water pistols it’s ingenious and very entertaining to watch.

Of course it all comes back to whether you’re routing for these kids or not, it’s essential to the success of its entertainment. Personally I found the kids annoying and felt indifferent when they were in trouble but like I’ve said before, maybe that’s because I’ve seen the burnt buildings and looted shops. That aside though Attack the Block is a sure footed approach to the big time for Joe Cornish, with some great camera work getting the best out of a grim setting. Joe Cornish may not be the next John Carpenter but he’s on his way.

Available on DVD and Blu Ray 19th September
Running Time: 88 mins
Cert: 15

About Me

My photo
"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.