29 December 2010

Trailer Watch XX

Hey you loyal readers, here is a massive collection of the trailers of the last month all for next year, which should be a massive year for cinema. Get your tickets ready as it seems we are in for a treat!

1. 127 Hours

2. Cars 2

3. Winnie The Pooh

4. No Strings Attached

5. Barney's Version

6. Cowboys and Aliens

7. The Tempest

8. The Other Side of Paradise

9. The Roommate

10. Another Year

11. Mars Needs Moms

12. And Everything is Going Fine

13. Hop

14. The Beaver

15. Rio

16. Real Steel

17. Hood to Coast

18. Sucker Punch

19. Summer Wars

20. Take Me Home Tonight

21. Prom

22. Transformers: Dark Side of the Moon

23. Bad Writing

24. Pirates of the Caribbean 4: On Stranger Tides

25. The Fighter

26. Limitless

27. Casino Jack

28. Thor

29. Rango

30. Your Highness

31. Somewhere

32. The Green Hornet

33. True Grit

34. Cedar Rapids

35. I Am Number Four

36. I Am

Through the Wardrobe onto a boat?

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader – Michael Apted

To end the year I’ve chosen a film series dear to my Mother’s heart, but not as close to mine, just the tradition of course of going to see the latest instalment, very much how we go see Harry Potter and i am equally in love with Potter as is my dear ma ma. So paying for the tickets and the refreshments too, i sit down with my 3D glasses to the latest Narnia adventure probably involving the children, a wardrobe and an evil queen; it will have over the top battle sequences, magical creatures and distant lands and will also have some British cast members I’ll obscurely know of. And was i right? Sadly i missed a few things out and also over sold the film. Having walked just feet from the film, i realised that the 3D glasses that i had brought were useless in the film, utterly useless. It wasn’t Tron Legacy, it wasn’t Avatar, it was a gimmick they thought to jump onto to gain more money and for that i shake my head in disgust, taking money from innocent cinemagoers like families who just want to get their children happy over Christmas. I sat there along with young children and families and just wished the filmmakers and studios would be honest and just not make people pay an extra 3 or 4 pounds for essential the privilege of wearing glasses.

Set around the war still, wear near the end, two of the main four children from the first two are back, Edmund and Lucy who hate living at their cousins house Eustace, discover a magical painting in their room is a portal into Narnia. They end up in the sea where the massive ship Dawn Treader is floating and the three of them end up meeting up with Prince Caspian again along with Reepicheep, formally voiced by Eddie Izzard now by the wonderful Simon Pegg who is clearly the best thing in the whole film. On this ship they realise that all is not right with Narnia and that the 7 lord of Narnia have gone missing and they must find them. This leads to magical lands involving invisible creatures, terrifying treasures, villainous sorts and would mean epic fights for the crew of the Dawn Treader. It’s a pace which just plops along not really getting any better. It’s deeply religious but the whole book series is and it tries to throw several deep meaningful lessons your way, but when your 21 these lessons aren’t really gonna affect you. From the reaction of the children around me, they did love seeing Aslan again and they loved Reepicheep, so i guess just showing animated creatures amazes them. The special effects are okay, they won’t blow you away but it’s clear that the transition to 3D was just a process that wasn’t needed.

I’ve seen many reviews about this being the best so far, it’s not, the first is much better than this, and i don’t know where the series will go to next.


Simon Childs

I'm so small, so very very small

Gulliver’s Travels – Rob Letterman

Christmas films around this time of the year tend to be horrible horrible pieces of filmmaking but because it’s Christmas it’s allowed just to grab as much money as possible but this year the games totally changed. With films like the new Narnia picture, Tron Legacy and Harry Potter still in the cinemas, it seems as though Christmas themed films have been left out for big budgeted family feel good movies and Gulliver’s Travels follows this trend but unfortunately isn’t as good as the films mentioned. Sure it has it’s values in how every person has there day and without the confidence to stride into what they want to do, they will end up nowhere, have the courage to get the job you want, the girl you love and the life you want to lead. That pretty much sums up what the message is, the hidden message but it’s told through Jack Black being Jack Black, which by now has become somewhat stale.

The film follows Gulliver, a mailroom loser who one day after hiding his crush on the travel writer, played by Amanda Peet decides to take the initiative and take an assessment which leads him travelling to the Bermuda Triangle where he falls into a crazy whirlpool. He lands up on a small island, and where i mean small, i mean everything is small including the people. He finds himself under the control of the general of the army played by the funny Chris O’Dowd in his breakthrough villain role which a really funny moustache. He is taken to the King (Billy Connelly) and Queen (Catherine Tate) of the world and is seen as a large beast been sent to the destroy them and after saving the princess, played by the amazing and beautiful Emily Blunt, they change their perception of him into a god. He also becomes chummy with Jason Segel which is strange, it’s mostly a British cast but with these two in it, just seems off. And the script is mainly to blame here, under using all of the characters and having some really dodgy special effects to capture Black being bigger than everyone.

It’s funny in places as in you’ll laugh out loud at some of the silly stuff, particularly the advertisement boards they put up using Gulliver’s name and face, really funny. But some parts just are boring, so boring in fact you wonder why you’re watching it, when you know Black is hilarious in School of Rock, Segel is immense in Forgetting Sarah Marshall and Blunt is amazing in everything she’s ever done (i have a bit of a crush on her, as you can tell). It’s an okay watch, not boring but not outstanding, a mid range comedy.


Simon Childs

i Am Motha Bleeping Machete

Machete - Robert Rodriquez

Robert Rodriquez’s latest comes from the cleverly pieced together “fake” trailers that were attached to the Rodriquez-Quentin Tarantino joint venture Grindhouse where both directors created a film that symbolised what they loved about 70s and 80s B movies. Full of cringey acting, blood splattering over-the-top violence and trademark B movie dialogue, it was fun to reminisce with the two great directors and it showed they can have some fun too. Of course, the films they have created before this did contain all three of those aspects but because it was plots involving chemical warfare, women with guns for a leg, and a madman using a car as his weapon you just tended to think it was a joke. I loved the Grindhouse pictures, they were silly and enjoyable and had a lack of what people would think, and it just seemed like two guys who loved that era try to recreate what they loved. And the skills used were perfect too having the picture faded in places and having the scratches too where the print would be scratched from handling but they’ve used it in the post-production instead. And Machete is from Grindhouse, well one of the “fake” trailers that was created; it gained such a fan approval that Rodriquez instantly wanted to make it.

It follows a Mexican played by the famous Danny Trejo, the man who has pretty much appeared as a Mexican in all action films ever (i’m sure that last fact is true!). This Mexican isn’t an ordinary Mexican, oh no, he’s a Mexican Federale, one of the best who’s turned renegade after being doubled crossed and witnessing the killing of his mother and daughter by the corrupt chief and drug lord Rogelio Torrez played by the awesome Steven Seagal. Now as an illegal immigrant he runs into some trouble involving some corrupt politicians and is asked to make one last kill, assassinating a senator which back fires and he is set up and now on the run from all kinds of trouble. He uses help from an immigrant officer with a soft spot for him played by Jessica Alba and an underground fighter played by Michelle Rodriquez. After several fight sequences, Machete becomes Machete when he is given; you guessed it, a fucking huge Machete. That’s when shit hits the fan, body parts flying all over the place, limbs and blood, people screaming, intestines being used as rope to swing on, it’s all going off!

It has some awesome action sequences, over-the-top violence and some great cameos which i won’t spoil, sure it has some naked and topless scenes but if you’re watching it with a group of friends they will love it, especially if you were a fan of the original Grindhouse pictures. Now we just have to wait until Don’t is made!


Simon Childs

A Piranha to the Crotch...

Piranha 3D – Alexandre Aja

It had to happen, having a really brutal 3D film come out using the technology to scare the shit out of people. Of course we’ve had it with Saw 3D, My Bloody Valentine 3D and The Final Destination 3D, but they all came out like shit, having the typical knife pointed at the screen moments. But taking a franchise originally made by James Cameron, strangely enough, and rebooting it for the newer audiences, it’s worked, but only because we can laugh at the madness and see it as a B-Movie rather than a serious horror. It contains blood, guts, naked women, naked men (yes that’s right, naked men) and some really funny humour. It’s not the perfect date movie sure, but it’s defiantly the perfect drunk movie. Watching it with a group friends laughing at how gruesome it is, it’s what this type of cinema is made for and i salute it.

It’s an easy plot about a group of pre-historic piranhas which are set loose after an earthquake shifts the plates on the sea floor where they’ve been trapped for centuries; go on a mega killing spree. Thousands of eggs and piranhas waiting for food after going through several cycles of cannibalism, you can see that they are both pissed and extremely hungry. Very reminiscent of how i am at a buffet, but i digress. Of course you have to have some sub-plots to fill the void and we’ve a couple of great ones. A son who wants to break out and have some fun, a porn producer who wants to film in the local area on a boat, a mother and police officer of the area who wants to make sure no one is harmed, a girl who wants to impress a young guy by going on the boat with the porn producer, two young children who go out fishing but break their promise by going out and Ving Rhames, just you know, him as a storyline. It’s all quite easy to follow and it’s an easy pace. Oh and i forgot, Doc Brown from Back to the Future makes an appearance to tell them about the ancient piranhas and to warn them. Through in some cameos from the likes of Adam Scott, Richard Dreyfuss, Kelly Brook, Paul Scheer and Eli Roth, and i’m guessing from those names you’ll know of two or three and you’ve got a decent little horror flick.

It has some proper fucking gruesome moments and a good soundtrack. The way the film continues along at a good pace makes it more interesting and won’t bore you to death or be too quick to annoy you. And yes before this ends, i will mention, you will see a penis be bit off by a piranha and thrown towards the screen which will then be later eaten by more piranhas. Lovely.


Simon Childs

27 December 2010

I'd rather get Hexed!

Jonah Hex – Jimmy Hayward

This film is horrible, truly, truly fucking horrible, this is one of the worst films I’ve seen this year and its surprising as i thought, you know, 2010 is coming to an end, all of the bad films won’t be appearing we’ve got Tron, we’ve got new Narnia and we’ve got some great DVD releases too. And when i finally gotten round to watch this horse shit, i realised that this is so badly mad, it makes me angry they’ve taken a great graphic novel and shat all over it. I love some of the actors in this film too with Josh Brolin as the lead, John Malkovich as the villain, Michael Fassbender as the villain’s sidekick, Will Arnett as a funny government official and small cameo from Michael Shannon. All of them are great actors/comedians and you’d think they’d use them to the best of their ability but they don’t. I don’t even want to mention Megan Fox as the female lead because she barely leads and she’s barely acting. Clearly she doesn’t give a flying fuck about films anymore, clearly just cash.

Jonah Hex is loosely based on the graphic novel where a man is forced to watch as his house burn down containing his wife and child and then is branded with QT on his face as he watches them die and is left to die himself. All of this is done by Malkovich and Fassbender because of when Hex was in the army with them together and Hex didn’t take an order from Malkovich and also killed one of his son’s. It’s all about revenge. Left to die, Hex is saved by a local Native Indian type using mystical powers and soon finds out he has the ability to reanimate the dead and communicate with them by touching and holding onto them. Quite a freaky ability if i’m honest. But anyway, Hex now lives an outlaw life, taking bounties and bringing down bad guys. He’s asked by the government to find the now evil Malkovich as he plots to do something bad. Through in the whole prostitute love interest story with Megan Fox and you’ve got the whole film summed up for you.

I don’t know if it was the script or the direction or maybe even the way the film has been edited, but it’s clearly lacking all 3 of those aspects. It just makes for a cringe worthy film which you know could be better. Sure it has some cool aspects to it like the magical powers and the fight sequence at the end but you never have any real danger to the Hex character and all of it just feels forced. Fassbender tries to copy Heath Ledger’s Joker and it might have worked if everyone else had copied The Dark Knight characters. Don’t watch this.


Simon Childs

This has a good taste to it surprisingly

Dinner for Schmucks – Jay Roach

Based on the French film Le Diner de cons or The Dinner Game, and teaming up again for the screen are the comedy duo of Paul Rudd and Steve Carrell, last seen in two of my favourite comedies of all time: Anchorman and 40 Year Old Virgin. Using the bases of the film, it defiantly has a European feel to it, and i don’t know if that’s also because of the direction with Jay Roach, director of the Austin Powers films and the original Meet the Parents and Meet the Fockers. Sure, his track record may show that he isn’t that great. I like the Austin Powers films but i wouldn’t say they are the best comedies ever, and i can’t stand the whole hysteria wrapped around those films. So many people go to see them and i just can’t figure out what’s funny about them. Even the title grates me. But anyway, less of those shit films and more about Dinner for Schmucks!

Set around the premise of where people bring “entertaining” guests to a dinner party to laugh and mock them, each member must outdo their brethrens and this leads to some of the most eccentric characters turning up. But before the party, we are introduced to a story in which can revolve around the end conclusion of the party. Tim Conrad, played by Paul Rudd is a mid-level employee at a financial company and he wants more, so after impressing his boss by being able to sell a deal with a wealthy Swish business man he is invited to the dinner. He must now find someone to bring otherwise he will be shunned by the group. He stumbles across Barry Speck played by Steve Carrell, an IRS employee with a fascination with mouse’s and using their dead bodies to create pieces of art and dressing them up. Seeing the opportunity, Tim strikes a friendship and they begin on their journey towards the dinner, hitting a few bumps with Tim’s girlfriend not agreeing to the dinner’s principle, a local artist who is very sexual and an ex who is very possessive. Barry seems to enflame these situations including taking Tim to see a friend of his who turns out to be a mind-reading lunatic, played by Zach Galifinakis. It does throw in some great cameos performances from really funny comedians like Jemaine Clement, Andrea Savage, Lucy Punch, David Walliams, Chris O’Dowd and Kristen Schaal.

It’s funny but not in an annoying way. Some scenes will make you laugh out loud whilst others will have you chuckling, but mostly inside. Both Rudd and Carrell are likeable and Galifinakis in particular steals the show here with his hysteric performance.


Simon Childs

A Town Called Awesome!

A Town Called Panic – Stephane Aubier and Vincent Patar

Stumbling across this small French stop animation film by gazing at its spectacularly funny trailer which i saw at a local picturehouse, i knew instantly i had to see it. And finally after a long long wait, it was released and shown at that very picturehouse. They knew they had to, it’s the type of film they would show for a weekend, where you’ll have to come in at ridiculous times to see this very European but very funny mad house of a film. I love this type of animation, similar to the Cravendale milk advert i’m sure you’ll call out for, but this was originally a set of small sketches made by the team in the form of a TV show quite a few years ago before the adverts. They decided they wanted to make a feature length and here we are. If you didn’t get chance to see this at the cinema, then you have to see it on DVD when it’s released. I promise you won’t be disappointed!

The film stars three plastic models named Cowboy, who is a cowboy, Indian, who is a Native American and Horse, who is, well you can get the picture. They all share a house in a rural village along with some colourful characters. The whole premise starts when the Cowboy and Indian want to get Horse a great birthday gift in the form of a new BBQ set and they order the bricks to build it. Unfortunately they buy 50 million instead of just 50. This has a chain reaction where they travel to the centre of the earth, a frozen tundra, and an underwater lair where a group of horrible looking creatures keeping stealing their efforts to deal with the bricks. It’s all crazy and fast paced and to try to describe half of what happens is different. I just about did it without going into too much detail. It’s the little things you’ll notice about this one too. Just look in the scenes and even the background characters are probably doing something hilarious. It’s cleverly made with some real emphasis on filmmaking and clearly made from a passionate place.

GO and watch this brilliant French animated film now because you’ll laugh a lot and it’s great to watch with friends, the kind of film to tell friends about and they’ll instantly think you’re cool. *Thumbs up*!


Simon Childs

Nic Cage's Harry Potter Impression

The Sorcerer's Apprentice - Jon Turteltaub

The title of this review is probably way off if Cage is really doing an impression, maybe closer to Gandalf in Lord of the Rings. If anything this is Cage in another Disney film which is strange when you’ve seen him in such adult roles like in Face/Off and this year’s film Bad Lieutenant which is a total departure from his latest offering in the teenager/children market. The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, a magic based teen comedy with action, comedy and life lessons. A typical Disney film behind The National Treasure films and funnily enough it’s been made by the same team with Turteltaub directing as well. Now i’m gonna be honest here, i have never seen a National Treasure film, I’ve heard good and bad things but it just doesn’t excite me enough to watch it. I’m sure i will at some point, but if i wanted to watch an action film about espionage, hidden treasures and exotic lands, I’ll watch the Indiana Jones, minus the fourth one (i’m lying here, i actually quite enjoyed the last one, there, i said it!)

Instead of having a young child actor who would constantly be in danger and give strange looks to the Nic Cage character, instead we have a much older guy, someone who we should feel sorry for and put him into our relatable world. And it kinda works. Jay Baruchel as starred in a lot of movies this year to push him up a couple of levels of the actor pyramid, ever closer to the heights of Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon and George Clooney. But it’s hard for a comedic person to do those heights, maybe the height of Adam Sandler, Mike Myers or someone similar. Maybe going that route isn’t the best idea. Anyway back to the film, here we have Balthazar Blake, played by Cage who after many years stumbles across this small boy, who is chosen by the ring given to him by Merlin who will become the next great wizard. The boy rejects this and runs off, leaving Blake to fight for himself after the release of a very dangerous wizard. Now bring it forward in time where the small boy is now a young man and again, he finds himself bumping into Blake again, but this time realising his potential. An evil urn is the villain of the film where several layers, similar to a Russian doll contain different evil wizards, one being the bastard Alfred Molina who constantly plagues the two in helping releasing the bottom layer, an evil witch who killed Merlin. Set in modern times, this whole wizard business is best not seen so they must train secretly whilst fighting off Molina. Also throw in the whole bit about Dave, Jay Baruchel, becoming a man and seizing what’s his along with the girl he’s always fancied and you’ve got a decent movie.

It has some great chemistry between Cage and Baruchel and has some great action sequences aimed at the younger audience. If i had to take a kid to see it i would enjoy it, it wouldn’t be a chore like most children’s films these days.


Simon Childs

Entertaining, it will be...

Star Wars: The Clone Wars Season 2

Yes, for my final DVD Boxset, season/series review, I’ve gone for a show that i barely watched in the beginning but now find myself looking out for whenever i go too far on Sky Plus and end up on the kid’s shows (i promise i don’t just go straight there, i don’t know the number of Cartoon Network or Nickelodeon off by heart, i promise!). Using Lucas’s cleverly orchestrated world that is Star Wars to create a TV isn’t the newest thing, we’ve had several alliterations about various characters from the series, especially looking at the missing years between the first trilogy and the latest trilogy. And this follows that same trend but adds a new spark to the whole thing, it’s great in how it aims itself at the younger audience with funny looking characters and cool action sequences but at the same time, give it to the fans who really enjoy the Star Wars universe or like animation done well, then your guaranteed to see their faces light up when they come to finally sit down and watch. I found after a massive hump in the first season where sometimes i would be amazed at what i saw then cut to times when i wondered why this was happening, season number 2 on DVD drops into my lap and i just have to smash through it in a week. Because being that excited about the latest instalment of a young, but not annoying Anakin Skywalker is not geeky at all! And the animation style itself is a massive draw to me, i think if you just watch the backgrounds and how detailed everything is you appreciate the hard work and graft gone into creating these immersive worlds which just make the show a joy to watch strictly from a filmmaking process. The storylines going through this season have changed dramatically from the first season, they’ve listened to the fans and added characters they want to see and dropped the one we don’t, mainly fucking Jar Jar Binks. Any who, onto some of the storylines from this season:

Cad Bane becomes a massive trouble for everyone, the crafty bounty hunter by stealing holocron’s with important information from the Jedi’s and selling it to various powerful groups. Even Mace Windu and Obi-Wan must help Anakin and Ahsoka to bring him down. It then moves onto a bit of spying using Padme to spy on a senator who is working for the Separatists but turns sour for Anakin as they might have a romantic history. The information from the senator leads to an assault on a massive droid factory. And after using the padwan’s to infiltrate and destroy the factory, one of them is captured and the others are lead to fight zombies, well kinda like zombies. It then moves onto a new battle where Ahsoka must transport critical supplies to a medical station but the zombie virus has spread!

One of my favourite characters returns too, the awesome General Grievous returns for a little adventure. He fights Obi-Wan, narrowly escapes and seemingly gets away. Meanwhile Rex, one of the main Clones is deserted in a farm meeting a runaway clone who doesn’t want to fight. Ahsoka also has a side adventure too when her lightsaber is stolen and meets an elder Jedi. One of the least interesting storylines involves a really annoying Duchess who is protected by Obi-Wan with a weird sexual tension. It’s a four story arc which doesn’t interest me compared to the other parts of the series. But luckily it moves into better ground with a poisoning and betrayal leads to a space fight where Anakin uses a prototype stealth ship which helps supply supplies to soldiers on the planet surface. They meet pirates and then a massive monster is unleashed called a Zillo Beast; which they bring back to Coruscant. A bad idea!

Having impenetrable armour, it’s used as a science experiment to use the armour for clones, but goes badly when it destroy its holding cell and the research lab and wrecks havoc on the city leading to the Jedi’s killing it. The final storyline should be good to see where it leads where a young Boba Fett infiltrates a group of young clones on the ship where Mace Windu and Anakin are. It’s great and it shows a good side to Boba but doesn’t end well when he is chased by the Jedi’s to a planet where he has a gang of people putting him up to this. It’s a great end to a series featuring the fans favourite characters. I’m really looking forward to season 3 and what will be on offer!


Simon Childs


Call of Duty: Black Ops – Xbox 360 & PS3

The most anticipated game of the year? The most hyped game of the year? The best game of the year? Many will herald these titles to the new Call of Duty in the long line of the franchise and after finally playing it; i can see why it got given these king-like statuses. The game is truly spectacular in all areas, i don’t think I’ve come across a game so realised and so evolved that it scares you that you’ve only played about 10% of the game. There’s a fantastic single player, hidden games, the inclusion of the fan favourite Zombie mode and of course, the big hitter, the multiplayer, which i can officially say i’m addicted to. Thanks Call of Duty! Playing it solidly and only getting to level 20, only unlocking about a tenth of the weapons and extra things, you just think that you could spend weeks and weeks doing this. The prestige levels both that are there for the hardcore fans that only plays this game. Its crazy how many people have just gone from Modern Warfare to Modern Warfare 2 to now Black Ops. Millions of people. And millions of people can’t be wrong.

Starting with the single player, sure it’s not long and it does fly by pretty easily but it never feels repetitive and regarding your skill levels, you’re never continually killed over and over again to the point where you hate the game and you put it away. It’s smooth and the varied mission types are great, from flying copters, boats to sneaky missions, all out wars, tunnels, prisons, empty ships, it keeps changing and these varied areas make Call of Duty, what it’s always been labelled. The best war game on the market. Sure it’s not tactical and doesn’t involve that amount of skill, just shooting things until they die. You could easily breeze through the game if you were a newcomer, and if you’ve played COD before then this will be easy. The settings from Vietnam to Russia, its more focused compared to Modern Warfare and the story of twists and turns will keep you guessing. You always get a great ending with a COD and this one delivers. The whole game is told through the perspective of the imprisioned solider which you’ll meet in the start up menu. I don’t want to give too much away as it ruins the game. But trust me, the inclusion of the numbers and the psylogical impact on the main character only adds to the tension and the importance of what you’re doing. You’re not just killing tens of soldiers because they are there, your killing them to save someone, your killing them to help the world. It may sound weird, but you get engaged pretty quickly.

Now moving onto the bonus parts of the game, the multiplayer and the zombie mode, both are fantastic in their individual way. You can now play with friends online with other players across the world and it’s a great addition. Plus having the zombie mode, something I’d play with friends until the wee hours back in World At War, you know it’s one of those things for a drunken play at 3 in the morning. The multiplayer has some fantastic maps and some fantastic new types of game, including wager matches where you gain experience and points and you can gamble those points which are used to buy items against other players. So for instance if you win a wager match, which you pay 10 points to play, you can get 30. It’s an added incentive to play, plus a certain game type in this area is one of my favourites: Gun Game. Where for every kill you move up the ladder of weapons, starting with a horrible pistol and ending with the Tomahawk. It’s a great great game and it’s a shame it’s not included without the wager aspect. But i’m a big fan of Team Deathmatch any day and have spent many hours playing it.

If you have an Xbox or a PS3 and you don’t have this game, go now, stop reading and go buy that game. Sure it might ruin your life, but it’s truly worth it.

VISUALS: Sure it’s not as crisp as Final Fantasy or Drake, but cinematically, it’s bar none. 18%
SOUND: Easily on form with sounds again with the whole department of gun sounds, environment and even including music heard during that time. 20%
GAMEPLAY: Doesn’t feel as repetitive and easily one of the best FPS out there. 19%
LASTING APPEAL: You have everything you could want; it’s pretty much having 4 games worth of material in there. 20%
SPECIAL FEATURES: Where do i start? Single Player, Multiplayer, Zombie Mode, Zombie Arcade? 20%


Simon Childs

It's clear as...Knight?

Knight and Day – James Mangold

Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz join forces again to bring a new film which will make you laugh and cry, but not in a good way. Cruise known for having a career of ups and downs, an up being a very funny turn in Tropic Thunder and the wondrous acting in Rain Man whilst the downs would be the career choices in-between those two films. And now the films after Tropic Thunder again seem to fall short of portraying the sometimes decent actor in a good light. Let me make this clear from the get go, Knight and Day is a really bad film, so bad that i thought it would be a step up from Killers, the Ashton Kutcher, Katherine Heigl picture which failed in both humour and action. Knight and Day has the same problems, lack of chemistry, lack of storyline, lack of acting, lack of enjoyment. I thought having A game actors in the mix would at least push it above the standard set by Kutcher and co, but it just shows that the teams behind both thought it would be a great idea to drop a non-action action film into the array of films this year. Did they look around the market in how an action film can be made?

Surely not! The development process was clearly tampered with, by having people leave the project, call it a failure and have many different script writers; it feels convoluted and detached from what it should have been. It seems many cooks do spoil the broth, but it’s a shame as the broth could have tasted nice. A spy on the run, Roy Miller, played by Tom Cruise, accidently bumps into June Havens, played by Cameron Diaz at an airport and uses her to carry over an important item to the next destination. The plane itself holds secret agents who attack Miller and Havens are then taken by Miller to make sure of her safety. She is now involved in whatever is going on with Miller as more people come out of the dark to try to kill him, it seems as though the FBI are also after him too. It does involve an invention which is the first battery that can never run out, invented by the awesomely hairy Paul Dano (Yes Mother Fucking Paul Dano!). Miller and co are being tracked by an agent, played by Peter Saarsgaard who was clearly blinded by the amount of money given to him for the role. It basically a chase for the group to get the battery into the right hands after Miller stole it from the grip of the wrong people. It has a couple of twists but its obvious what happens.

There have been so many good action films this year, so don’t waste your time and money on this film, just wait until it appears on TV and casually watch it on a Saturday night.


Simon Childs

You’re not here at all, are you Joaquin Phoenix?

I’m Still Here – Casey Affleck

One of the biggest documentaries of the year anticipated by many, dumb-founded by many but liked by little. I’m Still Here, the journey showing the famous actor Joaquin Phoenix move from the acting game to the rap game, yes, i said that correctly, the rap game. Throwing some rhythms on some tasty beats, Phoenix has lost his interesting in being one of the best actors out there and now is focused on making a solo record using great producers like P Diddy, who appears in the documentary listening to Phoenix’s songs and well, you’ll see, he isn’t a massive fan. This documentary has been in the press for a very long because the years long events of Phoenix quitting acting and becoming a rapper has stages where it progressed into strange places. From him growing long hair and a crazy beard to his appearance of David Letterman to not showing up to the press of his last film Two Lovers to finally having fights and falling off stage at his first gigs. It was all recorded and publicised and after a little while people soon began to believe this to be true, but many weeks after the release of the film in the cinema, it is found that the documentary is a fake.

Following Phoenix from the very moment he announces his retirement to his biggest gig in his career, which doesn’t turn out the way he’d hoped, it shows the highs and the lows, but doesn’t feature many highs, just constant lows. It’s really well crafted in how the audience is submerged in this fake story without knowing if Phoenix is really like this or not. You question the whole film, sequences that seem fake to the ones where it shows a glimpse of what Joaquin is going through, which almost seems like a mid life crisis. It’s sad, it’s depressing in places and in others just cringe worthy to sit and watch as Phoenix ruins his career. I don’t know where he will go after this film but it will be interesting to see what his comeback will be like. Certain scenes will stay in your head for a long time, seeing a lot of nudity along with a scene featuring someone pooing on someone, yes pooing; you can see why this film has mixed reviews where critics are trying to establish what is real and what is not.

I love Joaquin Phoenix and was fascinated by this project to see what would happen and for a guy to throw himself into a role like this, taking his established career and throwing it down the drain; it shows he has the heart and passion for acting. But will he be able to get himself out of the hole in time?


Simon Childs

Hit The Road Jack!

Casino Jack and The United States of Money - Alex Gibney

With the recent release and critical acclaim for Casino Jack, the re-telling of the story about Jack Abramoff, a Washington lobbyist, business man and con man, who is sentenced to prison after many cases about him around corruption in the White House, this documentary won’t get the same amount of press or acclaim and it’s a shame as this new piece by the popular Alex Gibney is interesting and entertaining even to a British person like myself who doesn’t know a single thing about US politics. Seriously, i know nothing about what happened by the way the documentary is put across, it covers all the important areas and includes interviews that keep the details short and precise whilst at the same time explaining the overall story. It’s a great tale, and if your fan of these types of documentaries, like the Michael Moore types, looking at an error in the US government or about a smaller subject you may know nothing about you’ll enjoy this. I also like Gibney’s past documentaries: Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room, Taxi to the Dark Side, Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson and Freakonomics, all of which show a particular style and each acclaimed as much as the others.

Jack Abramoff is basically a right bastard who lobbied money in congress to make sure himself and his friends would benefit, getting tonnes of money from backhand deals with dodgy characters and involving businesses wrapped around money like casinos. He was found guilty of trading holidays, expensive gifts and other items for favours and especially involving Indian casinos in which laws were meant to be made to make sure they weren’t ripped off but because of this pressure by Abramoff, the casinos just seemed to have continued trouble especially in paying millions in fees to Abramoff. It’s a horrible story to hear about, just one man ruining so many other lives and continually you really see how slimy and fucking selfish the guy is. Along with a core group of friends who help him out when he needs it, it just shows the rich winning over the poor. The well educated pissing all over the regular Joes.

A great little documentary about the whole saga, and not having seen the latest Casino Jack film, I’ll be recommending this before i say about how great Kevin Spacey’s performance of Abramoff is in the other film. I’ll look forward to Gibney’s next big film!


Simon Childs

Tron 2: The Mellow Years

Tron: Legacy - Joseph Kosinski

Hark the angels, the return of one of my favourite characters and worlds and it seems to have come at the right time in terms of the technology advancements of the last twenty years. Tron is one of my favourite Disney films, hell maybe even one of my favourite films of all time, let alone it being a Disney film, which many people are surprised to find out, there aren’t well known for live action films. Released back in 1982, it was defiantly “far-out” in how it took a concept about being inside a computer and pushed it to the boundaries of understanding. Sure it was fun, it had action and it had a young Jeff Bridges but it was much hit and misses with audiences, many not seeing the cult status the film instantly caught on. It looked horrible and sometimes felt it, but it was still embraced by the geek community as a film aimed at them and at that time was a risky manoeuvre for Disney, known for their children’s animation. A funny story about the release of the latest Tron was that normally studios would re-release the DVD with some new features, maybe in Blu-ray but Disney didn’t because they didn’t want audiences associating the two. They are ashamed of how bad the film looks and don’t want audiences to think that about the latest one. It’s dedication if anything.

Following many years after Tron, Legacy is about the story of the son of the missing Kevin Flynn, a software engineering genius who is the CEO of Encom, a large computer company, who goes on to find where Flynn is. Played by the newcomer Garrett Hedland, Sam after being tipped off about a page from Flynn’s old office is suddenly transported into the world of The Grid, the world created by Flynn in trying to create the perfect world. The Grid is a world where programs rule and where these programs live their lives but there is a hierarchy where rogue programs would either be destroyed or put into the games. This is where the action starts. In 3D too, it only appears in 3D where we are transported into The Grid which works really well and you see the massive difference in style suddenly come to life. It’s dark for the first 20 minutes but as soon as the light cycle fights happen, it’s really bright and looks wonderful. It doesn’t skip on the action where programs dying in disc fights, and Sam showing how trained he is in various arts. A villain is shown pretty quickly in the form of the carbon copy of Flynn, named CLU who rules over the Grid and also has some problems with the original Flynn. A constant war between the two causes Sam to be sucked into the world to become a pawn in the chess game these two men are having. It has great philosophical aspects along with spectacular 3D action sequences and zips in a good pace.

You may be put off by the subject matter about computer programs and such but for pure action in 3D this is clearly one of the best this year and if anything, i’m looking forward to the next in the series which was defiantly alluded to in how it ended.


Simon Childs

13 December 2010

This year’s best teen comedy award goes to...

Easy A – Will Gluck

Nearing the end of a year with big blockbusters, breath-taking documentaries, sequels, prequels and many remakes, an original comedy is rare. Like finding a needle in a haystack or finding a diamond in the rough. Easy A, an American teen comedy would seem on the outside like a smarter version of American Pie with catchy dialogue similar to Juno and starring a perfectly good looking cast. Well it does take the good points of those films but takes it in a new direction. Of course you’ll have the main character get what they want in the end and you’ll have the typical stereotypes of a teen’s life, a loser, a fat kid, a slutty girl, a rival and a heavily religious person. But it’s the journey this film takes, the genuine connection the whole cast have, especially the parents, Stanley Tucci and Patricia Clarkson who play the leads father and mother. The star of the film reservedly goes to the wonderful, talent and clearly on the rise of being one of the best young female actors out there, Emma Stone. From Superbad to Zombieland to Paper Man and now to this, her first lead role and she kills it.

Stone plays Olive; a troubled school girl who accidently lies about sleeping with a guy and the rumour soon begins to float around her school. People soon realise that she is a girl that if you say you sleep with, you’re instantly branded “cool”. The other students soon begin to torment her into spreading rumours about getting with Olive just to be reckoned as straight or likeable. She soon finds that she must keep this up by acting and dressing sluttier to keep up with the rumours until she finds a guy who doesn’t want to sleep with her but has a genuine interest in her. Along the way she has a run in with a group of Christians, a falling out with her best friend and finding out about a teacher’s wife cheating on him and going on to tell him. It has a great plot and it’s played out really well, it doesn’t feel forced and it doesn’t feel reused at all because of how Stone portrays it. The style of the film is something different and quick, which remembering from Gluck first picture Fired Up, it had the same similar style which i enjoyed, but this time, the script and acting on great form.

This will be the moment where Stone will be the cusp of being one of the best female comedy actors who will go onto great things and possibly move into the acting game as well. She has a couple of films coming up as well, so go check this out and check out her next films: Friends with Benefits, The Help, Crazy, Stupid Love and the next Spider-Man reboot!


Simon Childs

Ice, Ice, Baby...OH MY GOD!

Frozen – Adam Green

OH MY GOD! OH MY GOD! OH MY GOD! Did you see his knee? The bone just going straight through his leg? Oh fuck that shit! I hate films that have any type of injury, especially ones around the knee, and i hate when they continue to show it over and over again. Just the whole notion that your leg bone could pop out and pierce your skin to be showing on the outside just makes me sick. And when horror films do it, it’s one of the only things that really freak me out; i don’t normally get scared or freaked out, only by realistic injuries or Paranormal Activity 2. So with this, low key release of a horror film that received some good praise, i thought i would check it out and let you know if it’s any good or not. And you can see it hasn’t got a massive budget and it’s a very well crafted horror film all set around the same place, with most of the film set in a particular abandoned moving chair which the three main characters are stranded on. Throughout the film their health worsens and you can clearly see where it will end up, but the journey is where the story really shines.

Starring three friends who go on a skiing holiday to have some fun and i guess, ski, and it all goes horribly wrong when they pay a worker there to use the ski lift on the cheap but at the end of the day. A mishap and the machine are turned off with the three friends stuck in the middle of the lift, high above the ground and with no one in sight. They soon begin to realise what’s happening and they become angry and upset and soon begin to think of ways to survive. A fall from the lift, a pack of wolves and you get the idea what might happen. It stars Emma Bell, Kevin Zegers and Shawn Ashmore as the three friends and they all do great in their parts, showing some great acting chops considering its all set on a ski lift. The end 20 minutes will have you screaming and shouting at the screen for what you see, it’s graphic and horrible but very cool.

A strange hit and considering the director has only made small horror films, this seems to be the one that pushes his name into a good place where his next couple of horror films could be great to see. A good script and a good pace, it’s worth peeking it out.


Simon Childs

Janet Bourne in The Bourne Kinda-Ultimatum

Salt – Phillip Noyce

A female action hero, in the same vein as the latest James Bond films and with the style and substance of the Jason Bourne series, sound familiar? No because no one has successful pulled it off with looking like a ridiculous rip off of the Bond or Bourne films. And with Angelina Jolie trying to make sure it is steered in the right direction, Salt is the latest in line to get those girls rallying over a female hero who doesn’t use her looks and her sexuality to conquer evil. Only one film comes to mind when thinking about strong female characters and it certainly isn’t Sex and the City. Kill Bill is one of the funniest and most action packed film that has a female lead as it’s hero and it’s done without making her look weak or making her to be less of a human compared to the males of the movie. And i like that, when a woman isn’t just a sex object for men in films. Jolie here attempts to take what she saw from Kill Bill and use it in a more realistic sense, having her change her hair and making her change her mind about certain terrorist groups. It’s all very confusing!

Anyway, Salt sees Evelyn Salt, a CIA agent who is accused of being a KGB sleeper agent, someone who after many years realises that her childhood had been the process of being trained to kill certain figures in the world. They planted children in the US to one day become killers but remain hidden in the shadows. After seeing that she will be prosecuted for it, she goes on the run to try and clear her name by going to various people to help her out. She finds out she was a KGB sleeper agent but she tries to change her motives to help the CIA, but in the end, runs away again. Certain scenes will be reminiscent of the Bourne films which will annoy you because you might as well just watch those to find the enjoyment because here it’s lacking the drive and the charisma of the excellent directing, the forward script and superb acting from Matt Damon. All of those aspects together make for a brilliant film and here it just seems to be the B-team to Damon’s A-team.

It’s fun for a little while but quickly becomes boring and seems to have a path that is long and winding and not focused on the end point. Sure it had a bit of success but that’s because it has Jolie in it, any film with Jolie will have hundreds of men wanting to see it, even for a glimpse of boob action.


Simon Childs

The little film that won in life, and the Oscars!

Winter’s Bone – Debra Granik

Could there be a winter theme for this weekend’s reviews considering the amount of snow pouring over the whole country? Strangely this wasn’t on purpose but a complete coincidence. Winter’s Bone, Frozen, Salt and the Chronicles of Narnia are all snow based, Winter being in the title, frozen because of the snow, salt being used on the snow and the fact that Narnia is always released around Christmas and contains a lot of snow, it all makes sense. But strangely with a name like Winter’s Bone, you’d think it is about snow or the winter time, but it’s much more depressing than that. Well i say depressing, the film is very uplifting, it does tell the story of a girl from a poor family, just trying to help her family out and find her missing father. It has some twists and turns where you want to help out this girl, but you realise she’s just an imaginary character in a fictional film; but somewhere out in the world, people are really like this and it’s just sad to think this could be real.

Following a 17 year old girl named Ree Dolly and played by the fantastic and massive up-and-comer Jennifer Lawrence, it shows her trying to take care of her family which consists of a mother so drugged up on medication she can’t talk or communicate, along with two younger siblings, one brother and one much younger sister as they live in a shack of a home. They live in the middle of what seems like forests with other families who also come from this poor background. She is forced to look for her fugitive father after being told that the house they live in has been tied to the Father’s bond, so they must find him or his dead body within the next couple of days otherwise they will be living on the streets or in the forest. Along with the way she meets up with meth addicts, some shady characters and women who won’t give a fuck and will beat her up. It has a great setting and pace for the story, where it continues to move on when things couldn’t get worse. The shots of the children playing, being innocent cuts at your heart strings, even for a grown man.

A fantastic film with heart and soul and a drive to impress, you can easily see this film winning big at the next award ceremonies, with many people and me calling Jennifer Lawrence’s performance spellbinding. A truly magnificent piece of film, even if it’s hard to swallow.


Simon Childs

The Super Elric Brothers Returns!

Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood Vol 2 – Yasuhiro Irie

Following on from a great first volume, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood returns with the latest smatterings of science based action and adventure about the tortured but brilliant Elric Brothers. Episodes 14 to 26 are displayed here so it shows the great change within the show, bringing together the main storylines and twists which took this mediocre show into the heights of one of the best anime TV shows I’ve watched since Death Note, and that’s a massive compliment. Edward and Alphonse see themselves in a plot by a group of un-killable people named after the six rings of hell: Greed, Wrath, Lust, Gluttony and Envy have been shown so far to be a part of the group with two still remaining, when will they show up?

Here are some of the storylines that happen throughout these episodes on volume 2: Ed wants to find the philosophers stone to help himself and his brother get their full bodies back which leads to many places where scientists, who happen to be kidnapped, dead or missing. Along the way, many people try to kill them to stop them doing this, which brings the group with strange names, lead by a mystery character who does reveal himself in this volume, you’ll be shocked. Gluttony and Lust are both on the wrath (get it!) and will stop at nothing to kill them. They also have to deal with Scar, an alchemist who goes on a rampage to show that alchemists are nothing but cowards. I could go on and on about the storylines but there is a lot to talk about, seriously, a lot.

The animation is great, if anything it gets better because the animator are clearly given free-reign to represent the scripts the best of their abilities and the action sequences seem to have been given more time and structure to them. Even the way the characters emote reaches out to the audience in an extraordinary way to make you connect with them and really feel their pain or their joy throughout many of the sad situations. A lot of people die in this volume, so you’ll be going up and down a rollercoaster of emotion many, many times. Actually, if you’re above the age of 22 you probably won’t feel too attached, as it is just a cartoon after all, but if you love this kind of shit, you’ll properly dig it, like really hard. I recommend starting at the beginning as most of the storyline will fly over your head, but if you just want to watch casually then pick this volume up, as it’s the best so far.


Simon Childs

6 December 2010

Up, up and away Batman!

Superman/Batman Apocalypse – Lauren Montgomery

Now let’s start by my massive addiction to what DC Comics and Warner Bros. Animation are doing at the moment, taking the best characters from some of the best comics ever made and putting them in short and sweet direct-to-DVD films. It’s a great idea which has really paid off because all of them are being produced at a high standard and with people who really enjoy the franchises; they put their love and effort into each one creating outstanding adaptations. This latest release from the team is considered a sequel to Superman/Batman: Public Enemies in terms of the storyline with “The Girl from Krypton” and the art style is partly based on Michael Turner’s run of comics he did. With the voice actors who portray these mega characters, if you’re a big fan of the movies and cartoon series, you may recognise a couple of the voices, but these aren’t meant to have big stars but instead use voices that best represent the characters. Kevin Conroy has, for many years, been Batman and Bruce Wayne in the way of his voice, and here he isn’t used to the best of his ability heard in other films but he is Batman so you can’t complain. Tim Daly, a relative newcomer to the scene, he does well considering its Superman; it’s a hard voice to pull off.

Following the story of a girl who lands onto Earth, who turns out to be the cousin of the mighty Superman Kora Zor-El, she shows him that she has powers that are better than his which ultimately scares him realising that she may be too unstable for Earth. After she meets Superman, he invests in getting her to meet Batman and Wonder Woman and help her learn the way of the human race and earn humanity, but someone else has a better idea. Darkseid learns of Kora’s power and ability and wishes to use her in becoming the queen of the dark side of the universe. It’s a great little tale of overcoming adversity and the power of women. All of the heroes have a great part to play and they all seem to do what their powers allow them to. The fight at the end with Superman, Supergirl and Darkseid is pretty intense especially if you’re a massive geek like myself.


Simon Childs


The Twilight Saga: Eclipse – David Slade

Jacob, stay!...sit!.....rollover!

Now as vampire films go I am more of a Blade lover than a Twilight lover. I’m no “Twihard”, I don’t drool when Robert Pattinson sparkles or scream every time Taylor Lautner has his top off (which a bunch of girls did in the cinema, no joke). But I have read the books and seen the first two films, all of which are ok-ish, and I’d heard that this third film was supposed to be the best yet, so I kept my hopes up for a decent cinema experience. I was disappointed.

The plot of the film centres on the everyday problem of having to choose between a vampire who wants to marry you and a werewolf who can’t hold is temper. It’s pretty much New Moon apart from the fact that on top of this poor Bella has to deal with the crazy red haired vampire. Who has created a new born army to tear her to shreds. The way the love triangle between Bella, Jacob and Edward was portrayed just infuriated me, lots of close ups of longing looks and moody stand offs. Nothing really seemed to happen, It was the same thing over and over again. Close up, stand-off and annoying inner monologue, just in different settings. It’s not complex in any way, we all now Bella will stick with Edward so it’s just all rather flat. There is finally some excitement with the fight scene between the newborns and the Cullen’s and werewolves but it didn’t last long enough even though the effects were mostly good. But because all the focus is on Bella the threat of the newborns doesn’t really register, you barely notice them as a threat. This isn’t helped with the fact that any scene with them in makes them out to be more of a disorganised rabble than a horrifying army of blood thirsty beasts. Personally I feel the emphasis should have been on the newborns and Victoria the red headed vampire. It would have made for a more exciting and less annoying film. With the amount of cult followers it has this series should be up there with Harry Potter, but so far the Twilight films have just been lacking. At least with this one they have left you wondering what the Volturi are up to and what could happen next, sort of. And Dakota Fanning is quite fun to watch as a sadistic little vampire girl, but she’s barely in the film.

It’s not so much the best Twilight Saga film yet, more the least bad. With the likelihood that the last book is being split into two films I just hope that they actually let something happen, because so far nothing of interest has. Unless you count the young romance, which if you’re anything like me will annoy the heck out of you by the end if this film. If you must watch it, go ahead, but I’d recommend the soundtrack more.


Grace Cowie

Please die Vampire and Werewolf, please!

Well, well, well, look at what we’ve got here, another Twilight film. Coming out on DVD just in time for the holiday season and cleverly marketing to all those tweens out there who love a bit of vampire love and underage romance involving prehistoric monsters like Dracula and a werewolf, the third instalment in the series, perfectly named Eclipse (so emo!) can be called one of the largest makers of young girls scream since Justin Bieber. Featuring those young adults you may know, names like Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart and Taylor Lautner, three people who have been thrusted into the limelight under horrible circumstances, now people just can’t get enough of them, peeking into their private life’s and not leaving them alone. I was really sick of the whole coverage of the films and the actors in the films, it was plastered everywhere, does anyone realise there are millions of films out there that are better and need more coverage than this pile of shit?

It’s about some girl who fancies both a vampire and a werewolf like the other films but they are in danger from a war or something and there is this woman on a revenge mission to kill the girl because the vampire loves her. It’s all very stupid and over the top, fights between vampires and werewolves and then fights between the two factions and new vampires. I wasn’t really paying attention to what was really going on because it just seemed like over-the-top nonsense that i wasn’t going to get involved in. It doesn’t excite me, it doesn’t make me think about the characters and how they might be affected by their action. If anything i’m more incline just to listen because the soundtrack is easily the best thing about the whole series. Every movie i listen and not watch and i’m normally happy about this. I really can’t wait for the next one to be released and for the whole thing just to end and people to move on with their lives, but what will happen is that the writer of the whole of this will see that she can’t write anything else and will continue to add to the saga in forms of new books and new spin offs and of course the big studios will continue to pump them out just because they know money is clearly going to be gained.



Simon Childs