17 September 2010

Hot Tub Mother-Flipping Time Machine!

Hot Tub Time Machine – Steve Pink

One of the biggest hyped films of this year and it was comedy if you would believe it, a film advertised to the “younger” audiences with crude jokes, well known comedy actors and a sense of summer fun. Unfortunately the press was one of the best things about this film where the title alone is funny, it seems as those the title was thought of first and built up from there and not very far by the looks of things. It’s something a bit different, sure, it has its moments but at the same time, it tries too hard to both laugh-out-loud funny and has a sentimental side. I don’t want to watch a comedy about four dudes and a hot tub and expect me to learn a lesson about friendship or about how family is important, not the place for it. I expect to be laughing all the time, loads of crude jokes, and loads of jokes about the time they are sent back to. You do get that in the first 5 minutes, and you will laugh a lot during that time but it slowly turns to a smile or sometimes not even a response as the film suddenly gets serious, which it should never do. The cast is of well known actors like John Cusack, harking back to his days as a funny guy in High Fidelity, Craig Robinson, someone fairly unknown to the average Joe, but if your fan of The Office, then you’ll love his performance in this, clearly the stand out one. Through in a crazy performance from (insert name) who also steals the show as the madman who just wants to party, and you can see this guy being type casted in the future, playing the crazy friend and the ensemble also includes the youngest actor (insert name) who after good strong performances in Kick-Ass and the lesser known Sex Drive, and you can see he can work a good shtick when needed to. It’s a shame he’s slightly underused. Throw in random appearances from the fucking strange Crispin Glover who brings a couple of the funniest sequences in the film and the beautiful (insert name) who i love, so i can’t say anything bad about her!

The film follows three friends who go back to a lodge they used to use when they were teens and they begin to reminiss about the good times and end up getting drunk and diving into a hot tub. This is where shit goes down and they are transported back in the time to the 70’s in their youth where it seems they must play out their teenage time their again, but this time with knowledge of the future. They figure out they must stick to what they did as not to ruin the future and unfortunately comedy mishaps occur and they begin to change the future. It has a great ending actually which will surprised you because normally they would follow the trend of being good but here it’s used really well.

It’s up and down in places; you’ll laugh out loud a couple of times but other than that it misses out on being a really great Apatow-esque film.


Simon Childs

Come on Baby Light My Fire

When You’re Strange – Tom DiCillo

Being that i knew nothing of the band The Doors, i came into the film not knowing the true legacy of the band, not knowing that they have a strange cult following because of the type of music they produced and because of their famous lead singer, Jim Morrison. A name famous for his wild rock and roll antics and his stage performances, Jim was one of the first real front men, a guy who took the charisma and energy and made a performance out of it, and some people still believe him to be the best still to this day. Coming into this documentary just being released on DVD in the UK, i wanted to find out more. I’ve always heard people talk about The Doors, saying the band influenced them in their music and that Jim Morrison is a legend even if he died at a very early age. Once i found out that the film would be narrated by Johnny Depp, having the interest of a mega star, you realise that The Doors haven’t just inspired musicians but anyone who heard their music or the band themselves in how different and cutting edge they were in the 60s and 70s. The archive footage they have of Jim paints two different pictures where the drugged out wild man who sometimes performs with a sense of danger and flair juxtaposes the sweet and lost boy who just wants to perform. The scenes where he talks to his fans and helps them out are miles apart from the image that Jim has had painted for him in the research i read before watching the film.

Showing the beginning and the end of the band, the documentary examines different peaks and falls in the band’s history from performing in front of packed out arenas, to meeting their inspiration in music to being embroiled in drug problems and being used as a scapegoat for the “problems” of society at that point with the youth uprising. The double ended sword ends tragically for Jim Morrison and the death of this musician really has an effect on the world. The film is well put together, the music fits the scenes and the true emotion of the band really shines through. It doesn’t over hype the band; it doesn’t make them out to be money hungry musicians who just care about getting paid, but really shows the compassion and drive to succeed in creating music that people enjoy. Even if that means pushing themselves to the brink of no return.

Since watching the film, I’ve become a big fan of their music and I’ll defiantly be recommending the film and their music to other people, because it clearly deserves it.


Simon Childs

Ron Burgundy and Marky Mark present...

The Other Guys – Adam McKay

A sleeper summer comedy, The Other Guys is finally released in the UK this week after a mild success in the US where it seemed that the career of one of the best comedic actors, Will Ferrell might have been over with the choice of films he’s career has had since his break out performance in the legendary film Anchorman. Luckily, this film quietens the critics and shows how great Ferrell really is, and of course, with his partner in crime in both directing and writing, Adam McKay, the partnership continues to be strong. An actor who isn’t necessarily known for comedy, Mark Wahlberg here shines in a different role he’s used to, swapping the tough guy image for something a little sillier. The combination of the two has a great chemistry and they work really well off of each other. You can see this film gaining a good audience here and on DVD because it seems the kind of film to have multiple views to gain new quotes, which both McKay and Ferrell are well known for. Also having a great ensemble cast around them each bringing different jokes and laughs with Dwayne Johnson AKA The Rock along with Samuel L Jackson as the perfect cops start off the film in a perfect way where you wish that another film be made for these two guys. Eva Mendes also stars as Ferrell’s wife who brings the looks to the film and defiantly surprises in being funny and bouncing off the two leads. Throw in strange appearances from Steve Coogan as the villain (kinda?) and Michael Keaton, the one and only Batman, as a police captain who rules over Ferrell and Wahlberg.

The film follows the two “other guys” as they try to become “the guys” after the strange death of The Rock and Sam Jackson, with trying to investigate possible suspicious goings on with Steve Coogan’s character but they soon find themselves in a wild goose chase to find the truth. Along the way, the two police officers become better at the job, overcome fears and find themselves in sticky situations over and over again. These scenarios they find themselves in are very funny and the continued fuck ups they cause really bring out the laughs. The first ten minutes is magically funny but then throughout you’ll find themselves laughing in patches and then by the end sequence you’ll be rooting for the unlikely heroes and the film switches from comedy to action as it sees the characters become the men they want to be.

A thoroughly funny film which will be good on DVD, but if you’re not doing anything this weekend and have a couple of hours free, go check it out with friends.


Simon Childs

“It’s not a diary, it’s a film!” Really?

Diary of a Wimpy Kid – Thor Freudenthal

A kid’s film about a young, skinny, shy boy who moves into the next year of High School where it’s more important and has a higher social status and whom must overcome his over-confidence in becoming a popular guy to learn the lesson that close friends and family are more important. Heard of this before? Pretty much every children/teenager’s film for the last 30 years, but changed to suit the environment it’s released. That means a newer soundtrack, new cultural references, new human traits that have become unpopular in the younger audience such as braces or a certain colour of hair, and of course, because of the location of the plot, in an American High School, have certain occurrences that happen only in those schools. It’s a textbook coming of age story we’ve all seen before and unluckily it doesn’t break the mould, but only adds to the stock pile. And what’s even more discouraging is that the film is based from a well-liked book which includes cartoon’s that are very funny. These cartoons are used in the film, but not in the right way. From the adaptation of the book, the film stars Zachary Gordon and Robert Capron as the main two leads, Greg and Rowley, two best friends who embark on the journey to become popular. Throw in random cameos from Steve Zahn and Chloe Moretz, yes the girl from Kick-Ass, who as you can tell, feels strangely out of place in the film.

So the plot as mentioned before is Greg and Rowley, two young boys who join the higher rank of Middle School and so begin their journey into becoming popular through a series of hi-jinks like joining the wrestling team or joining the glee club. All of which ends in total humiliation for Greg but strange success for Rowley. Soon Rowley begins to become more popular than Greg and a huge falling out occurs. You probably know the ending where they join together to be best friends to defeat the common enemy. And it does happen. It’s a shame the film isn’t that funny, and only a couple of moments did i smile. It really is shocking that they can produce a teenage film where the market has grown and expanded since the 80’s where films like this were made. It just shows that some film production companies are still living in the past.

A massively poor attempt at a kid’s film that comes off lacking any structure or humour and the acting is wooden and sometimes annoying.


Simon Childs

16 September 2010

Trailer Watch XVII

Hey you sexy readers, here is the month's selection of new trailers for your glorious eyes, hope the show!

1. Unstoppable

2. The Company Man

3. Freakonomics

4. I Spit On Your Grave

5. Let Me In

6. Nine Nation Animation

7. The Next Three Days

8. Freebie

9. 127 Hours

10. Inside Job

11. Tamara Drewe

12. I'm Still Here

13. Life As We Know It

14. Hereafter

15. Black Swan

16. Never Let Me Go

17. My Soul to Take

18. The Fighter

14 September 2010

The Super Elric Brothers!

Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood: Vol 1 – Yasuhiro Irie

A new anime series to match the likes of Studio Ghibli likeability with the addictive nature of Death Note, called Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood, directed by Yasuhiro Irie, which is rare for an anime show, where only one director is used. The series follows the adventure of The Elric Brothers, Edward and Alphonse, who are alchemist, people that can use the science of alchemy to transform and move objects. After a serious event where the Brothers try to bring someone back from the dead, the young brothers end up being half metal and being placed into an armour suit. Ed has an arm and leg made of metal after the limbs are taken from the accident and Al’s soul is placed inside the armour after his whole body was taken. It’s very far-fetching to begin with, but you soon grasp the whole story. They both join the State Alchemist’s where they help the army of the world, and they soon begin the journey of trying to find the Philosopher’s Stone which can bring people back from the dead because of its power. Yes, it’s kinda complicated. The animation is a mix of Studio Ghibli, mixed with cartoonish expressions seen in manga and the violence and action of Ghost in the Shell and Akira. It’s used to create an original fast paced, great action packed series where every episode leads into the overall direction the series has. It may seem to drag in certain parts, but the action comes quickly and the twists and turns appear nearly every episode.

Each character feels fleshed out, having little side stories about them and the main two Edward and Al, the audience can relate to them on a strange level and can understand the pain they are going through and how difficult it is, even though they lost their mother to science and that they are both made of metal, well either a metal armour or a metal arm and leg. The music is fantastic throughout and never seems to dip in quality. Every scene, the right music is used to emit the right energy, where a sad scene is accompanied with sad violins and soft music and fight sequences have added “umph” where you constantly in the scene, and following the fighting. The series gets progressively weirder as it goes on, with episodes past 13 becoming strange and involving different, more interesting and varied subject matters plus bringing in new characters. The twists and turns of the series soon begin and the mix of action, adventure along with the subject matter of death, science, religion and the afterlife, it’s a children TV show but with much stronger and deeper meanings which might fly over the child’s head but the colour and the vivid art style will reel them in.

The first volume contains 17 episodes, with the next volume containing a further 17 too and a third one being released next year, with the fourth also being released later next year. There are 64 episodes overall, and with them only just being released in Japan, it will take a little while before the whole series is released in the US/UK with English dub. Normally i wouldn’t watch an anime with English dub, only certain films I’ve watched have better dub, like Spirited Away and Akira, but i found that i enjoy this with dub than subtitles as the voice acting is excellent.


Simon Childs