2 October 2010

It’s unthinkable to think of it being too thinkable (huh?)

Unthinkable –Gregor Jordan

Let’s start off right to the point: This is a really surprising hit, as i never thought this would be that good, especially a straight-to-DVD released, but with some great acting across the board, the film is a great watch. It’s a good dramatic thriller with suspense that seems to last the whole film and you really don’t know where the film will end up and it’s the first time I’ve felt that in the long time.

The film follows three people and how their lives clash in one instance when an American ex-soldier who turns into a different person after seeing death and destruction in the war zone and uses his knowledge and expertise to place three bombs around the US in major cities with the possibility of killing millions of people. Two people are brought in, Detective Brody, played by Carrie-Anne Moss who just locate the bombs and make sure they don’t go off and against the cool, calm collective nature of Brody, “H”, played by Sam Jackson plays a torture expert with many years in the field and is brought in to extract the information needed to find the bombs.

Having not seen Carrie-Anne Moss in a film for many years (well any decent ones), a great performance shines through here, even though you’ve a solid Samuel L Jackson playing a crazy guy and he pulls it off because he is pretty mental and Michael Sheen is intense in the film, one of the best performances from him that will shock you considering he was in The Queen and the Damned United. All three come to the film with experience and take a mediocre script and elevate to a level that really deserves to be released in the cinema. The ending is a massive surprise, which you won’t see coming at all and films that give away the ending or are over obvious actually bore me now, i want to be surprised, i want to sit down and not know what happens next, that brings me into the film experience. The film experience should be where you just switch off and you just watch and your brain just thinks about the film, the characters, the settings and the story. I don’t care about anything else just the film and the film puts me into the experience of torture and what might really occur behind closed doors and shows a normal person being pushed into an uncomfortable level with society. The mix of detective work from Moss and the crazy, mental


Simon Childs

The Fresh Prince of Persia

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time – Mike Newell

Video game adaptation’s in the medium of film always seem to lack the edge and story from the original source, with films such as Resident Evil, Doom, Bloodrayne, Max Payne, Far Cry, Hitman, DOA: Dead or Alive, Alone in the Dark and Lara Croft all failing miserably to use the great games to their strengths. Only a handful of films have actually worked with Silent Hill being one of the strongest so far, using the eerie and terrifying plot and setting and twisting it further to create a chilling film. And now with the latest offering, with help from Jerry Bruckheimer in the production and Disney offering the money, Mike Newell had the chance to take a well loved game franchise and put into the film context creating a series of films that might have some longevity. The reaction from the film may not suggest the film has another couple films waiting to be made, but it does show the growth of gap between the shit adaptations of the past and the over-the-top action adventure films like Pirates of the Caribbean that might make it a success. You’ll see the massive similarities of this film to Pirates with the production value, the camera work and the editing but that’s because it’s done by the same team with Bruckheimer and Disney. I’m not saying anything is wrong with it, but it feels familiar and you know what’s going to happen and what the story will be about in first ten minutes. And having Ben Kingsley as an actor in the film instantly makes him a villain, and even though it’s meant to be a twist so you don’t realise he’s the villain, it’s obvious because of his background and his typecast.

A story about a young orphan who becomes a Prince after being adopted by the king and along with his two brothers Tus and Garsiv, form an alliance, and off they go to war to capture rival lands and restore peace to many areas. The Persian army is unstoppable with the three brothers leading the attacks and at a celebration, Dastan, the adopted Prince is seen to have killed his father by way of a magical coat which burns him. A conspiracy then unfolds as Dastan is set up to take the fall whilst a city is invaded under false pretence. Now on the run, Dastan must save his name, find out who really killed his father and make a dagger, which he found, is returned to the rightful place by Nizam, played by Gemma Arterton, who plays the love interest/annoyance of Dastan. Throw in a comedic back up performance by Alfred Molina, and the plot is simple to follow with constant moving and action sequences, some which are imaginative and new but done in a classical sense. The action is something new to lead Jake Gyllenhaal and i think he pulls it off, it’s just a shame about the accent.

Good action, fast paced, funny dialogue and a shirtless Gyllenhaal, it will ensnare the ladies and keep the men relatively happy, even if they love the game and find that the film doesn’t follow the same rules.


Simon Childs


The Runaways – Floria Sigismondi

A film about a band/musician. A common theme this year with a couple of British releases looking at famous artists, and Hollywood throws their effort into the ring, and it’s about the all woman band The Runaways. A band i don’t know much about, just that the lead singer was Joan Jett and she went onto to write a couple of songs i know about, and that’s it. Going into it not knowing about the band, i wanted to relive their era, their presence and what they are all about. And i think for the first time this year, it delivers. With a different art style which seemingly combines the era and the fascination of the band together to form a bubble gum pop/rock and roll biographical film about an all woman band playing in a male world. It has some decent performances with the lead two actresses which you wouldn’t suspect, but the film stealer goes to the great actor Michael Shannon as the band manager who teaches them that sex sells. In the 70’s, the band exploded onto the scene, showing woman and how damn sexy they can be whilst not giving a total fuck about anyone else but the music. It was dangerous but at the same time, people fucking loved it, men and woman both. The band drummed up the first female success that led to many female musicians learning from this band and using that same style and pushing it to the next level. The Runaways have defiantly influenced a lot of people but at the same time, the band also showed some of the wrong choices to do with rock and roll band.

Following the plot of the film, the fall and rise of the band, it starts with a young female singer and guitar player Joan Jett meeting a famous producer outside a club and he introduces her to a drummer named Sandy West and this is how the band is made. They bring in a bassist and a guitarist and the band seems to be complete. Until Kim tells them they need a vocalist that will bring in the crowds. The songs are written by Joan and the band whilst the new singer will just be the face (and body) of the band, to symbolise the woman’s strength and their sexuality. They find the young and innocent Cherie, played eerily by the seemingly older Dakota Fanning. Seeing the young actors from years ago now older to play adult characters is very strange, it will take a little while to adjust seeing Fanning this way. So the band is made, the songs are complete and they cause a stir with their energetic live performances and catchy songs. The bad soon make wrong choices, mainly with Cherie, who leads the band into the wrong direction. They soon split but in a good way.

The film is enjoyable in parts and isn’t as annoying as I’d thought it is, so it’s worth checking it out, defiantly captures the style of the era, and makes it a fun watch.


Simon Childs

I see naked dead people

After. Life – Agnieszka Wojtowicz-Vosloo

A straight to DVD release, the latest horror/suspense/mystery film named After. Life, spelt in a horrible way, is about Anna (Christina Ricci) dying and being in the care of Eliot Deacan (Liam Neeson) who tells her that she is died and that he can talk to dead people and must help them on their passage onto the afterlife. Some investigative skills and freaky dreams, Ricci’s boyfriend, Paul, played by Justin Long tries to come to terms with it all but soon finds out that something is wrong with the death of Ricci.

Here is my WTF Moment of the whole film: Justin Long’s dream when he sees her pull out her heart and a bit of blood dribbles out of her. Sick! Justin Long has recently been staring in horror films, but he’s better as a comedic actor, i personally feel, maybe you’ll feel different after his performance in this, but i doubt it. But i do love the fact that he punches children in this film, something you rarely see, but totally fucking awesome! Seeing Christina Ricci topless and in a sex scene, selling her soul or making it alright to look at a naked lady in a film? And yes more bare booby. It’s great you know sometimes to see boob but when there is too much, it gets a bit over baring. I’m sure younger people will love it so they can pause it and you know, do stuff to it, but getting to the age and with more professionalism, it just brings a movie down a bit. Sure it can used sometimes in the right way and enhances a scene, the over use of it, the fall back of seeing a bare nipple becomes boring after the fifth or sixth time in a film. Liam Neeson turn as a horrible villain that works because he can turn sinister at any moment. The Neeson slow walk will now become a common trait in horror films where the hunter stalks their prey in his kind of walk. Quite terrifying in the way he does it without moving any other limb in his body apart from his feet and legs.

At certain points the film feels like a college made horror film with slow mo pieces of stuff smashing or the shot composition. But it does a lot of suspense, especially when she holds the knife in a “gangsta” way. Why in horror films can’t people use doors properly? I know it sounds weird, but really, it’s quite easy to kick a door down or use the knob to turn the door or use a key you’ve found. It seems it’s a common thing nowadays where under pressure door handling is shit. And why do most horror films contain a strange looking boy? One that looks like he is going to rape something when he is older. It’s pretty fucking weird, not everyone knows a weird looking kid, especially ones that follow you and have a strange crush on you that in the end saves the day. What am i saying; i need a kid like that, so he can save me from the clutches of a villain. Any suggestions write them on a postcard and send them in.


Simon Childs

29 September 2010

“This may be the last thing that i write for long...”

The Last Song – Julie Anne Robinson

This week’s DVD releases include a film that i wasn’t particular happy in viewing because of the lead actress and the whole hysteria around her. I know it stars other good actors like Greg Kinnear and Liam Hemsworth, brother of Thor, but even if these good actors and a seemingly “adult” story have been thrown in to make her act better, i will never see a good performance from Miley Cyrus. She’s over hyped and liked by so many people that it actually frustrates me that people would find her entertaining or good in any fashion, be that music, television or in movies. Across the board she is shit, with people writing her music for her, people styling her career to fit the mould and the films that have been made with her in them, well let’s say they lack a certain thing: talent. Sure most young actors from the Disney and Nickelodeon generation haven’t done great jobs, well perhaps maybe Zac Efron seems to be pulling away from that image, but for a majority, they pamper their audience knowing that the money will flow in if their name is included. This may seem harsh to say, but if i ever have a kid and they love Miley Cyrus, and want to listen to her music, watch her acting skills, I’ll probably go insane and abandon that child. Yes, that’s how much she angers me. (I apologise to anyone that finds that last statement too much, it was an imagery child, its okay, nothing bad will happen to them as they are imagery. Well except for imagery diseases they can contact, but its okay, we’ve had the imagery vaccination injection.)

The film follows Miley Cyrus and her younger brother going to visit her dad, Greg Kinnear in a beach like town where only a few thousand people live. Along the way she meets Liam Hemsworth and they form a new relationship, a summer love, but because her being alternative and that people in the world are “against” her, the relationship doesn’t end up as smooth as she’d like. Throw in a storyline about a sick dad, turtles on a beach and middle class families not liking mud and you have this shit fest of a film. I can’t believe i sat through watched this. I’m almost tempted to send a letter to the makers just so i could ask for my time back. The reason I’ve reviewing it is because it helps vent the anger and it stops you lovely people from ever watching it. And if anyone ever says this film is good, punch them in the face. Thanks.


Simon Childs

Defending Woody Harrelson

Defendor – Peter Stebbings

If you’re an avid reader, which i doubt you are, you may know that i have a massive love for Woody Harrelson, especially detailed in the Zombieland review where i basically gave 400 words to the one and only man who stole that film. So now reviewing a new film by the actor, i again have to point out how truly amazing this guy really is. He can take a small indie flick and turn into something that would crown the top of someone’s career; this film is just a small part of the whole overall picture. Defendor is a cross between a dark comedy with real drama set pieces where the audience is undecided whether or not to laugh or to cry and that’s what i really like about this film, it has a different pace to anything I’ve seen this year, sure it has it’s boring moments and sure the script may not be great, but when you’ve got Harrelson steering the film into a good direction and also have the incredibly cute and talented Kat Dennings as the female lead, you know you’ve got a good watch on your hands.

The story is about a somewhat delusional man with bad upbringings where he turns to crime fighting to better his life after his mother leaving him at an early age and his father dying. He wants to kill “Captain Industry”, his arch nemesis who continues to pollute his city with crime such as prostitution, violence and drug smuggling. Along the way he gets help from Kat, a local prostitute, and a family who helps him after he gets several beaten up by a police officer who is corrupt. Whilst this story is played, it cuts to a therapy session between Defendor and a physicist who wants to find out if he is able to live back into society or if this whole thing was brought upon by his mental instability. It has some moments of humour, especially with Defendor and moments of sadness, where you begin to wonder if the character really is losing their mind or not, but in the end, things do get resolved and you begin to understand the character and his motives, even if they are somewhat confused.

Overall, a decent film for a boring weekend, which can be watched with family or friends, i wouldn’t say it’s the greatest film to come out this year or even this month, but it certainly deserves a quick viewing to fully grasp Harrelson’s range as an actor and to see Kat Dennings in another film again before she graces our screen with a quality performance (let’s hope!) in the upcoming Thor film.


Simon Childs

The Wonderful World of Street Art

Exit Through The Gift Shop – Banksy

This film has been on my one to watch list for pretty much most of the year since seeing the trailer in February/March time and i was instantly dumbfounded that a documentary like this hasn’t been made. It’s about a subject which has only been celebrated in the last ten years or so moving on from graffiti which offended people into it becoming an art form where people would pay for pieces of it for their own collection. The art form has come on leaps and bounds from when it first started appearing over the major cities in the world, especially in the US and London, where “criminals” would ruin walls or advertisements with writing or names which looked horrible and had no meaning behind it other than against the establishment. But now, because of the freedom of speech and the way these artists deal with current issues, many people believe in the guerrilla style tactics of artistic freedom which includes the images being placed around cities in any location they want. One of the main artists to emerge from this was the British born Banksy, an artist who led the graffiti art movement and someone who has made their name present in the press on many occasions with his wild antics like placing his own paintings in the National History Museum and stencilling political images around the streets of London. Now moving into a different medium, the legendary and unknown artist Banksy showcases a different form of art, creating a wonderful and genuinely interesting documentary about a guy who wanted to make his own documentary about the movement but couldn’t create a final piece. The story seems confused but it’s funny how real it feels in how a French guy wanted to film these graffiti artists at work and wanted to capture Banksy, but it was Banksy that ended up making a film about the French cameraman who feels in love with the art.

Using candid interviews with artists and friends of Thierry Guetta aka Mr Brainwash, along with an interview with the man himself, Guetta is portrayed as both a graffiti fanboy and a madman hell bent on what he wants to create. By the end of the film, you really see the transition from someone just merely interested in capturing the graffiti act into someone who wants to become the best in the world. Banksy also appears throughout to shed light on Guetta and his antics, using a weird voice and being blacked out, the mystery still remains. The voice over is narrated by Rhys Ifans and its informative and polite and works well with the images on screen. Some of the footage will blow you away and it’s truly amazing to see, an activity which is generally kept secret and not filmed being open to the eyes of the audience.

Being interested in this field, this film would seem to highlight the greats at work and would showcase a new side to what many people call “vandalism”. It’s a great pace, always interesting and offers new information about graffiti art. A great documentary that deserves a large following behind it.


Simon Childs

A couple of terrorists from Sheffield...

Four Lions – Chris Morris

The title doesn’t really give away the whole meaning or plot of the film but as soon as the film starts, you know that your gonna be in for an uncomfortable but hilarious ride where you’ll be laughing through gritted teeth. The film sees a group of British Muslim’s who become disjointed with the world and set to become prophets and plague terror upon Britain through a serious of events, either bombings, causing grief during public forums or terrorising local neighbourhoods, these stupid men set to do it in the simplest fashion and epically fail. This is a new type of comedy where it mixes both cultural relevance with slapstick humour that works really well. The script is really well written and combines a mixture of humour that is political and makes you either cringe or laugh hysterically and always challenges you which one it will be and sometimes it’s even a bit of both.

First time director here, with his first major film and he isn’t a stranger to controversy especially with his TV shows, including the infamous Brass Eye, where subjects that weren’t talked about on television before were brought up in mocking fashions bringing in experts or celebrities to show how they know nothing of the subject. The actors here all have a different quirks and that’s what makes it even more money with the different storylines they all have and how they seem stupid enough to do anything to become the men they worship.

The scene with the bomb strapped to the crow and for when one of them dies running across a sheep field are easily a couple of the best moments from the whole film and it’s difficult to not laugh out loud at how funny it is. And the scenes in Pakistan are startling with the rocket launcher because you begin to think if these places do really exist, but i guess that’s what this film is meant to do, bring some realism to the whole situation of suicide bombers and how “normal” these people are. Some people may be offended by this, but it’s good to see someone not shy away from that, it’s almost refreshing to see this type of humour nowadays. One of the favourite sequences involve the charity fun run costumes; i won’t spoil that scene for you, but the build up of it and the whole ending is quality and worth to see the film alone just for that.


Simon Childs