11 September 2010

Sly Stallone teaches old dogs new tricks

The Expendables – Sly Stallone

I had low expectations coming into this film, i know many people had high hopes but i just didn’t feel the need to see it at the cinema as soon as it came out, but in the end, i gave in and finally sat down in my seat to be pleasantly surprised. The cast is pretty awesome with some of the best action heroes of all time being thrown in there, kinda wondering if Expendables 2 is made who will be in it, I’ve heard rumours of Steven Seagel, Jackie Chan, and Bruce Willis as the main villain and Carl Weathers. All of whom would make the next one a one to watch.

The plot of the film breaks down as followed: a group of mercenaries are called upon to kill a leader of a military unit on a small island on the Gulf but all is not well with the mission, where the leader seems to have back-up by a group of Americans who seem hell bent on causing destruction and getting in the way of Stallone’s gang of rough and tumble men. Throw in scenes of explosions, fights, angry shouting, funny quips and dodgy looks, and you’ve got a somewhat successful summer action film. Stallone’s directing is actually one of a high calibre, sure the action is fast, the fights are rough, but overall, he shoots it well. The camerawork was the main feature here because of the script not being great, Stallone had to rely on him capturing all of the awesome explosions and deaths to pull it off, plus to be able to capture all of the egos of the actors all on one screen is hard to do, just look at the Arnold, Bruce and Sly scene where all 3 can’t be shown on the screen at one time. It’s almost too weird to see Arnold and Sly in a scene together talking shit about the other. Willis steals it though as playing a bit of a dick, would be good if he does become a full blown villain in the next one.

WTF Moment: Quite a few to call upon, but i think the winner is, within the first ten minutes, some random dudes head and body just gets blown apart, and you fucking see it, it’s disgusting but at the same time, fucking awesome. Very Rambo-esque. Another moment that nearly steals it is Stallone slicing a dudes head off near the end! Also to add another level to the preceding, the OMFG moment goes to the whole sequence in the tunnel where Jet Li breaks a few bones (including someone’s neck), Terry Crews shotguns about thirty people but sadly a stone cold stunner is not seen!


Simon Childs

A pick and mix bag of shit sweets

Centurion – Neil Marshall

The Lord of the Rings films have had a massive impact on the film industry in how films look and how certain historic events are told through the same way, but i never thought that films would then try to capitalise on the success as much as the latest British film, directed by Neil Marshall, Centurion. Described as a historical thriller, the story of a war in Scotland, leading the Ninth legion to wipe out the Picts has a strange mix of Lord of the Rings-esque scenery sequences mixed with casual violence and fighting seen in Robin Hood or Apocalypto and throw in themes seen in 300 or King Arthur. It all seems to be mixed to create a violent film about soldiers that we don’t seem to care too much about. Of course i don’t want to know their whole life and back story, but i still need to know something about them to actually care. That’s why LOTR works because we care about each individual character and their outcome in the war of the rings. Featuring a cast full of familiar British faces such as Michael Fassbender, who had a recent turn in Hollywood with a great performance in Inglorious Basterds, Dominic West, Noel Clarke, as a black athlete pushed into the war (is that racist?) and David Morrissey, plus featuring the attractive but somewhat psychotic Olga Kurylenko.

It’s a ensemble cast which features a mixed bag of shitty actors trying to be in a film that is lacking in script and emotion but makes up for it in mindless violence. The story, set in A.D. 117, sees a war between the Romans and the Picts, the Celtic’s who roam the Scottish Highlands and use guerrilla tactics to eliminate the Romans from different places, one by one. The main character is Quintus, played by Michael Fassbender, who is taken hostage after a Pict raid, but is soon saved by Roman legions that are brought in to demolish the terrifying and brutal Pict warriors. After a twist in betrayal from a Brigantian scout, a mute female named Etain and played by Olga Kurylenko, who marches the Roman legion into a trap killing nearly everyone in the legion, leaving only Quintus and six other men who have joined the fight late. Several brutal fighting scenes follow and one by one, the men are killed leaving only a handful at the end. It’s a revenge story for Etain who tracks these men to kill them for what the Roman soldiers did to her family.

With a lot of names and a lot of different characters, it’s hard to follow and grasp what’s going on and the scenes in-between the fight sequences aren’t paced right and the script is poor, overall, just a boring, over-violent, poor scripted film.


Simon Childs

Got to pick a pocket or two!

Goemon – Kazuaki Kiriya

The young Japanese pioneer director Kazuaki Kiriya returns for his second film using the same technology and art of blue screen from his last film, Casshern, to create a crafted and mesmerising action adventure film loosely based on a real person, Goemon Ishikawa. The story tells of Goemon, a legendary ninja who turns bandit and steals from the rich to give to the poor, like the Japanese equivalent of Robin Hood, but centuries and centuries ago. Kiriya is famous for being one of the first directors to use digital lots where they shot the whole film using green screens where the environment is digitally added in and the end of the production. It’s been used in such films as Sin City, and can be used in an amazing way, like Sin City, recreating the feel for the graphic novels which they were adapted from. Here, the technique is used to create vivid and colourfully backdrops to the fast and furious action set pieces that have been advanced on since Casshern. Setting the film in the past instead of the future, mixing the historical context with out-of-this-world choreography, the fights are reminiscent of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon in the sense of the absurd nature it turns to, but in the end, it’s an exaggerated story to start off with.

As I’ve mentioned it’s loosely based on the historic story of a ninja bandit who steals from the rich and gives to the poor and within the first twenty minutes, the action that shows this is truly spectacular, with a great performance from the lead who plays Goemon, mixing good emotions with a level of likeability in a film where the script isn’t that great and that you can’t really connect well to the characters, it all seems out of reality. Missing a great script and some great acting, you step away from the fact that it’s meant to be serious and you can’t believe in the characters, you just take it for face value. I do recommend seeing this film if you loved Casshern, silly action films, great martial art sequences and love looking at beautiful settings for most of the film; you’ll probably love this film. Sure it takes a little while to get into with the amount of twists and turns and the amount of characters there are in the beginning, you’ll soon find the basic plot of betrayal and revenge leading to a great final thirty minutes of out of this world fighting.


Simon Childs

British romantic comedy with a Hugh Grant impersonator

My Last Five Girlfriends – Julian Kemp

The title sums up this latest offering from the British film industry, a film that centres on one man’s past relationships and going through each one told in short story form in way of different chapters in the man’s life. Each relationship has its ups and downs and having the man examine every detail trying to create a bond between him and the audience and unfortunately, it fails miserably because the guy, who plays him or the character in general, is a massive dick. He’s smug, middle class and up his own arse it actually makes me angry that someone would think this is a great idea for a film, it’s almost marketed at the middle class where they talk about great restaurants and have fine wine and experience exotic holidays. It makes me anger that people would think this is entertaining, to be constantly reminded of our poor, shitty existence. Yes, as you can see the film has enticed me into being angry, into thinking that the film wants me to be angry, but alas, i must carry on with this review, giving you the plot and giving you my opinion of this, but bare this in mind: i hate this film and hate films like this.

So you know the plot already, a guy travels and back explores his past five relationships, all of them ending in heart break one way or another and from these relationships, small scenes of humour and emotion are used to show the differences of the woman he has dated. Sure he’s charming and he has his ways, but really, the way he acts in all the relationships is dickish, and we are meant to support him? To find him likeable? Fuck no, i hate this dude, i want to punch him in the throat. I’m not going to continue to review this film because it seems to discourage the fact that only middle class people watch movies or will understand this movie. I don’t see anyone under the age of 20 going to see this film and it’s clearly not marketed for me. So fuck it. Don’t go see it, it’s a pile of shit and isn’t worth your time. And the only reason I’m giving it a 2 because of Naomie Harris, who is utterly adorable in it and very good looking.


Simon Childs

7 September 2010


Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Video Game - PSN and XBLA

You may have heard of small movie called Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, we reviewed it last week and we gave it a low score, i say low score, we gave it a 10, because the film is fucking AWESOME! So as preparation for the film, i got to grips with the film-tie in video game for Playstation Network and Xbox Live Arcade, which was released a week before the film came out. The only reason I’m reviewing it now because it took a long time to get far into the game, it’s a classic side scrolling beat ‘em up in vain of Streets of Rage and classics like that, but with a twist. You play as Scott Pilgrim, Kim Pine, Stephen Stills or Ramona Flowers if you’re by yourself, but you can also play it with three other people, creating a fun multiplayer beat ‘em up, a type of game that i haven’t played since the 90’s. It has a different art style which fits considering that the game is based on the film and the loosely based on the graphic novels which had the same feel of 8bit graphics. It suits it very well and with the music creates a different game atmosphere from ones seen this year in ultra violent God of War 3, the stunningly realistic Final Fantasy 13 and the extended gameplay of Red Dead Redemption. And added bonus is that the game is cheap and available through the Playstation online store and the Xbox online store, which makes it extra sweet considering the amount of hours and fun you’ll have with it at such a cheap price. Created by Ubisoft, a great games making company that seems to have listened to the fans and to the maker of Scott Pilgrim, Bryan Lee O’Malley, has created something that bonds the books and the film together to create an original game.

The game is quite difficult for those who aren’t hardcore gamers who can throw a massive amount of time into a game. You can’t have one run through and expect to complete it. It’s about gaining more experience and levelling up so that when you return, you can defeat the enemies. It’s a great premise with great music and cool graphics with an entertaining story and defiantly worth playing with friends. I highly recommend buying it because it has a great longevity to it.

VISUALS: A different visual style that is very cool but obviously can’t be compared to other games that use realism 15%

SOUND: A real band has been used to create the whole soundtrack which is homage to the 8bit soundtracks of yesteryear 18%

GAMEPLAY: Does become slightly repetitive in parts but overall, fun 14%

LASTING APPEAL: You have to keep coming back to the game to level up to go to other levels and such, it does take a long time to do 15%

SPECIAL FEATURES: Only a few trophies and achievements to collect, not massive amounts 10%


Simon Childs

5 September 2010

An unusual British comedy about being Jewish...

The Infidel – Josh Appignanesi

A British comedy about a man being grown up in a Muslim family and adorned to the Muslim religion but finding out he was actually born into a Jewish family. It’s something not seen in this climate, especially about this subject matter and it’s been a very long time since we’ve seen a decent British comedy, well this year anyway, with only one exception being Cemetery Junction. Starring the funny Omid Djalili, the annoying guy from the price comparison adverts, but in real life and through his stand-up, a very funny comic; he plays Mahmud who finds out that his biological parents were Jewish and he begins to wonder about his religion and which he should follow. It’s refreshing to see a film about this subject without being overtly racist or demeaning to the audience, without holding back on what could or might happen, what the person might actually feel especially with a family of their own and having the personal situations that would take place revolving around it. It’s different and new and i like it. It’s a shame the film isn’t that great, it doesn’t have many laugh out loud moments, sure it’s good, but it’s not. Omid is funny in many of the scenes and you can see this film was a vehicle for him and not many other people could fill those shoes, it’s just a shame the script isn’t great, sometimes fumbled and that the other actors around him lack a certain spark and charisma Omid has in buckets.

Mahmud finds out he was born from Jewish parents and goes out to find out more about the religion after being brought up Muslim and hating the Jewish people because of a local neighbour who seems to terrorise him. But after meeting the neighbour and learning more about it, Mahmud travels to a bar mitzvah and get’s involved in protests against the Jewish people and with different situations finds himself both in the struggle between the two perspectives and finds it hard to decide between the two. It’s a decent plot, that does strike up some funny scenarios but as I’ve said before it lacks something, something that pushes it above the feel that it could easily be seen on Channel 4 as a film made for TV. It has that look and for that i can’t give it a great rating or give it the necessary “big up” that i make for other films on this review site.


Simon Childs

Adam Sandler, will he ever grow up?

Grown Ups - Dennis Dugan

Happy Madison, Adam Sandler’s production company has been releasing Sandler’s films for the past twelve years from the very beginning successful phase of Sandler’s career with the release of The Waterboy and The Wedding Singer, two of the best performances from him and you look at the list of films that have been released and you realise that Sandler has produced a great film on that level in a long time. Now with the latest cinema release of Grown Ups, can Sandler match that quality standard from the 90’s, with a mix of humour and teaching life lessons? Sadly, no, it’s quite the opposite; you almost begin to wonder if he really cares anymore. Sure, Little Nicky was funny and Click had moments of true emotion but let’s look at the rest of the shit that has been made and has been continually funded: The Animal, Mr. Deeds, The Hot Chick, Anger Management, 50 First Dates, The Longest Yard, The Benchwarmers, I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry, You Don’t Mess With The Zohan, The House Bunny, Bedtime Stories and Paul Blart: Mall Cop. I think that stellar line up speaks for itself and it just shows that the kinds of films that Happy Madison produces uses the same actors and the same jokes, and it’s been old for the past ten years, trying to rekindle the kind of humour they used to have. I really would love to see it move in a different direction, like Sandler’s performance in Funny People, it brought back the notion that he is funny and he can act.

So moving onto the screaming heap of shit that is Grown Ups, i never expected it to be a great watch, and sure i had a few laughs but the laughs were more strained through grinding teeth watching a couple of great comedic actors just waste their talent. The film has Chris Rock, who is one of the best stand-up comedians of our generation and he is fucking awful, he seems to be only there for name sake and the amount of lines he was given were shocking. Sure the other three leads are just friends of Sandler who have used his success to fund their own with Kevin James, James Spade and Rob Schneider, holding on for dear life of their careers. The film follows five best friends who go on a vacation together, cue hilarity and mishaps and learning about their different lives and how special they are. It’s bullshit that will anger you. It’s so disappointing in mostly every category but really threw me off was that there was no danger, no suspense, no evil force against them, it was just, look at us, we are amazing, we have great lives, we have loads of money, none of them are in any serious, realistic human danger.


Simon Childs