23 October 2010

Death of many careers?

Death at a Funeral – Neil LaBute

Staring a cluster fuck of actors and comedians, Death at a Funeral appears using the same mentality of the film that i had reviewed before named Grown Ups; stick a few names and faces you recognise into the most boring story with a boring script and people will just see it for the names. And it doesn’t work. This film is horribly not funny, a filler film you’ll see in bins in supermarkets at the price of £3. And this will happen probably in the next couple of weeks, even though it’s just come out. I’m a massive fan of Chris Rock, Martin Lawrence and Tracy Morgan, all for different reasons, but here, they are underused, they are given a shit script to work from, the ad-libbing isn’t comfortable enough and their presence just seems to be about money. Directed by a complete unknown, and throw in a couple more cameos from Zoe Saldana, who is a pretty fucking good actress, who stole the show in Avatar, Luke Wilson, a favourite of mine in pictures by Wes Anderson, Danny Glover who is fucking Danny Glover and a few other people that you may know, this film sucks. Clearly made by the same studio that created the Adam Sandler suck fest Grown Ups don’t spend your money watching this or even waste your time watching it.

Because of my clear hatred of the film, here is a little lazy writing by taking the plot from the famous site Wikipedia, who describe it in such an enthusiastic way. The film revolves around the funeral ceremony for the father of Aaron (Chris Rock) and Ryan (Martin Lawrence). Aaron, the older son, lives with his wife Michelle at his parent's home. Aaron envies Ryan because Ryan is a successful writer, while he has not had his novel published, and resents his brother. Elaine (Zoe Saldana) and her fiancé Oscar (James Marsden) are on their way to pick up her brother Jeff (Columbus Short) before heading to the funeral. To ease Oscar's nerves, she gives him what she believes is Valium. Jeff later reveals to Elaine that it is actually a hallucinogenic drug he's concocted for his friend. Aaron is approached by an unknown guest, a little person named Frank (Peter Dinklage), who reveals him to be the secret lover of his deceased father. Frank shows Aaron photos as proof and threatens to reveal them to Aaron's mother unless he is paid $30,000. Comedy ensues.

Don’t go see this film or even waste your time thinking about it.


Simon Childs

The Harry Potter Retrospective: Part II

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets – Chris Columbus

Hello! Ready for another slice of Potter? Can’t get enough of that four eyes dork? Can’t get enough of the little bits you may have missed out on or the sexual based jokes that i unload onto your face? Not the jokes? Okay, well I’ll try to skim on those for you a little. But any who, back on track, here is the second in the series. The Chamber of Secrets. Even the name is lame. This film is my least favourite so excuse me as i either rip into the film or not even waste time writing enough about it compared to the first and compared to the next in the series which is one of my personal favourites. So Chamber of Secrets released one year after the first film, you’ll see that these two have the same style as they are directed by Chris Columbus and filmed back to back. It shows. The actors haven’t grown that much, they still feel jaded and not really there. Especially Potter. Who again, was using his 4 face range to make nearly every scene cringe worthy. But one shining star who will instantly make you happy in the pants, RON WEASLEY! Yes the ginger ninja is back and with more capers and jokes that will make you laugh no end, especially if your 20 years old and a university student. It just captures your imagination and runs with it. So the film tries a new direction, instead of being cute and cuddly, it goes dark, not like The Dark Knight dark, but dark enough. A big fuck off Snake, big fuck off spiders, a phoenix who carries a talking hat who holds a big sword, a flying car, some broken limbs. It’s all going off. Unfortunately, it’s boring as life itself, I’d have more fun watching paint dry then to continue to watch Radcliffe stumble into every scene and gaze unhappily at whatever is going on. Even Hermione is growing to annoy me, always being right, and never changing her hair. AHHH!

The plot follows the misadventures of Harry Potter as he tries to get laid in the years of college, someone gives him the idea of using a pie for masturbation and the scene where he sticks his...oh wait, sorry, i was describing American Pie. My bad. Chamber of Secrets, opens with the same relatives house that Potter once lived in under the stairs, now he has his own room but is continually abused by the family. After a strange visit from a house elf named Dobby, Potter escapes with Ron’s help and a flying car to go to the Weasley’s house to stay over in the summer until boarding time. Some capers ensue where the boys must fly the car to Hogwarts after a portal not working and after meeting the new Defence against the Dark Arts teacher Professor Lockhart, who seems to be very arrogant about his looks, but he does attract the ladies. The comedy capers aside, more stranger goings on occur in the school with Potter uncovering a serious of “frightenings” where people are being stopped cold in their tracks causing them to go into a coma state, and Potter and co go on the adventure to find out who. Along the way, more talk about Potter and his family’s past are thrown up revealing little bits about him and who he is. The big climax sees Potter facing off against a giant snake who is working for Voldemort under the guide Tom Riddle who was found in a book planted to Ginny Weasley, Ron’s little sister. All the secrets are revealed and the snake and Harry face off, Potter wins and the school is save again. But the next film, that’s where shit really goes down.

This film is utterly boring, even though it has mega spiders, mega snakes and other some shit, but it just seems forced. It seems like it’s trying way too hard. Plus it’s a kid’s film, it would surely scare the shit out of them. I know i would be having nightmares if i had to watch the film at night, wondering if massive spiders will come and eat my eyes out. But i have nothing funny to comment on the film about because it doesn’t allow me to. It just bores me into sleep that i really wanted to skip this film altogether and get to Prisoner of Azkaban which will be the film I’ll be looking at next time. And trust me, it’s a belter.

Simon Childs

The Harry Potter Retrospective: Part I

Harry Potter and The Philosophy’s Stone – Chris Columbus

Welcome to the first of the series where we look back at the wonderful film franchise that is, Harry Potter. And try to say the name without using Snape’s or Voldemort’s voice. It’s quite difficult. But anyway back to the retrospective of the young wizard’s journey from being a little boy into being a little taller boy. Not much of transition compared to others in the film, Potter doesn’t grow balls until the fourth or fifth film and by then Ron Weasley is having his licked. Don’t worry, sick jokes like those will be thrown in for fun, so the next time you watch a Harry Potter film you’ll be thinking of some parts you may have missed or just didn’t want to think about. Starting with the 2001 epic that is The Philosophy’s Stone, strangely named The Sorcerer’s Stone in the US because of them not understand what a Philosophy is, and it marks the beginning of a trend. Released in November, for the next couple of years, with a year in between, the films would be released in the Christmas period where kids are off from school and the parents can take them. This proves to be great strategy with millions, billions even, going to see these films every time. And with the film being set at a snowy castle in the middle of forests and a lake, its winter feel is a great match for the colder and darker times of the year. A great memory of mine, being 12 and going with my mum to go see the first film and loving it and from then on, having a tradition to see the films with my family, it’s just a given, it may seem childish and sad but fuck it, not many other films you can have the bond with. And with two films still to be released, i shall cherish those moments and secretly miss them when they stop making the Potter films.

Let’s begin with the plot, with a young boy named Harry Potter, his real parents Lily and James both killed in a murder by a man named Lord Voldemort, or He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, and Potter s then taken to live with relatives named the Dursleys. He isn’t treated the same, with living underneath the stairs and being a slave to the family. But after his 11th birthday, he is sent a letter that turns his world upside down. He is revealed to be a wizard and that he will be attending Hogwarts School of Wizards and Witches in a few weeks time. He is then picked up by the giant named Hagrid who saves him and helps him collect his school equipment. After reading the train to Hogwarts from platform 9 ¾ he meets Ron Weasley, a ginger boy also going to the school, along with the uptight and very talented Hermione Granger, and the three of them form a friendship that will last the entirety of the film and more. After being placed into his house, Gryffindor, he meets more wizards like his teachers, Albus Dumbledore, Professor McGonagall, Professor Snape and Professor Quirrell. He learns that he has a natural ability for the Wizard game called Quidditch and becomes a member of Gryffindor’s team. The three of them soon find themselves uncovering a secret in the castle where a large dog guards a door leading into a secret area. A stone that Harry first saw with Hagrid under much debate and after a troll attack which the three of them fight off, they go in search of clues. The answer leads to Snape who seems to be hiding something underneath that dog and after going past it, defeating a massive chess game and other challenges, it is revealed that the killer of Harry’s parents lives, Lord Voldemort and is a part of Professor Quirrell who is the culprit all along. They fight and Voldemort is somewhat defeated. Everything goes back to the normal and you have yourself a cheesy ending to go with it too.

The film is a childfest with jokes aimed at them and acting that just screams amateur hour but you have to take credit for it as it is acted by 11 year olds and a film about wizards. You can’t be that harsh, but what the hell, that’s what i’m here for. Just watch Daniel Radcliffe’s facial expressions (Harry Potter) in every scene and you’ll see he has 4 stock faces: scared, sad, happy and expressionless. There are no other faces he makes, just those. It’s really weird and strange. I paused the film over 10 times just to laugh at some of the expressions made. Also another thing you might want to pick up on, the music. Two points where the music is quality, especially the chess scene where it really gets into your head. I know it’s a child’s film and it’s aimed at them, but it’s laughable in parts and it’s different compared to the rest, but we’ll talk about that some other time. For now, that was part 1 in the retrospective. Look at next time for part 2, The Chamber of Secrets.

Simon Childs

19 October 2010


Mother – Bong Joon-Ho

A film conceived in the deepest region of someone’s imagination which seems to have been pummelled with strange images and unusual influences, Mother, the latest piece from the South Korean auteur Bong Joon-Ho, famous for The Host. I was really looking forward to this as I’m a massive fan of The Host, a really underrated film that’s reminiscent of the Hollywood Sci-Fi flick but bases itself on South Korean black comedy and style. It’s a great mix and a really entertaining watch, and once i saw the trailer for Mother, i saw it to be a bit different to what i was expecting. It’s a thriller about a mother trying to get her son out of jail for murder, which he didn’t commit. It’s a simple premise but done in such a strange way that the humour is almost primary and the story is secondary. And the humour is very dark, a certain type that only certain audiences will appreciate. The style is great, don’t get me wrong, i love the camera movement, the shot types and the cinematography, it elopes sadness and despair the Mother character is feeling about her only son.

As mentioned above, the story tells of an unnamed widow living with her son, selling medicine and giving out “illegal” acupuncture after not being licensed. After an eventful night, the son, Do-Joon, finds himself in the middle of a murder scene with a girl was strangled to death. After having no evidence to say where he was at the time of the murder, he is wrongfully placed into custody awaiting a trial. His mother meanwhile goes on a quest to find answers into who really did and uncover some strange goings on in the small town. She covers the whole town asking people and even upsetting a few along the way. It’s a good premise told in an unusual way which you might enjoy but i found myself becoming bored very quickly. I think it may be because of the pacing, it’s off, and you’ll notice it very early on.

I recommend seeing The Host and possibly skipping Mother, sure it’s good in places and it has great flair and style from a director, who will become a massive success, but it’s just not entertaining enough to hold your attention, it’s almost like watching it just because it’s made by the famous director or because it’s “different”.


Simon Childs

Nic Cage returns!

Bad Lieutenant – Werner Herzog

The name, the look, the marketing all pointed towards a horrible, straight-to-DVD piece of shit that wouldn’t deserve any praise or audience to love but Werner Herzog’s new film Bad Lieutenant surprises you on many levels and shows that you can’t judge a Nic Cage movie by its...well, it’s Nic Cage. The rubbish poster for the film is littered with great quotes of how surprisingly good the film is but in an unusual way where you’ll try to want to pin point why this film is good and why it’s a great performance from Nic Cage. Nic Cage at the moment seems to have a vendetta against everyone who calls him out for his shocking performances and his horrible hair, but lately he’s been shouting up the critics with some ranged and amazing performances including Kick-Ass and this film. Here he shows his freedom to take a role that probably didn’t have much and take it to the next level, one where you’ll remember him here for his badass-ness. Sure his hair looks a mess and sure he may lack the certain charm he used to have, but Nic Cage is mother fucking Nic Cage, that dude just is awesome. The story just uses his awesomeness to further the fact how fucking cool he is. Nic Cage plays Nic Cage as a police lieutenant who breaks the rules by sleeping with prostitutes, being heavily involved with all sorts of drugs and with making deals with gang leaders. You’ll want to see this film just for him.

The epic story shows Terrence, a New Orleans Police Sergeant, addicted to pain meds which leads to being addicted to heavy drugs such as cocaine and heroin, he is assigned to a murder case that involve immigrants from Senegal who end up being killed because of drug leaders in the local neighbourhoods. Along with the murder case, Terrence also sees himself in the middle of trouble with a bookie that he owes money to, along with a relationship with a prostitute that leads to double cross of a very popular and influential man and Terrence soon turns to his dysfunctional family who also throw him some problems. A lot is going on but it never seems too much to take and is a welcome return for a film to be packed of action and adventure and not to slow down. The humour is dark, the acting is sublime and the whole film just is very entertaining on a basic level.

Nic Cage makes this film worthwhile is watch alone, along with the fact that it’s a very well written story told in an artistic and stylised way.


Simon Childs

I like this...

The Social Network – David Fincher

Sitting down at the local cinema by myself at 9 in the evening, a lovely feeling whilst chewing on some sweet popcorn and some 7up, i notice the crowd that starts to form around me in the small theatre. Annoying couples and strangely older people litter the sits as the show begins which takes me by surprise. Not the annoying couples part, they are a given for cinemas nowadays with people being way too openly affectionate in public, it actually angers and annoy me; there is no need to act that way. I was surprised by the age of the people who have come to see a film about a modern website on a tool that is normally used by people under the age of 40. Facebook. You shiver when you hear that word if you don’t use it because you probably don’t use it for a reason because so many people use it and you laugh when people mention it because you have it and it’s used way too much. People easily older than 40 were there and not just a handful but made up a large amount of the crowd. Maybe they’ve come to see the legendary director David Fincher’s latest released or maybe they are big fans of Trent Raznor, the lead singer of Nine Inch Nails who composed the soundtrack or maybe they are fans of the acting of Jesse Eisenberg? I’ll never know. But, all of these factors lead to the whole cinema (well maybe I’m just presuming) having a great night, as The Social Network is a beautifully witty film that packs the punch with both great dialogue and some superb performances.

Following the heart breaking and betrayal origins story of the website Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, who is known to be the face and owner of Facebook, creates a website with some help but soon tries to get rid of that “with help” label to gain more money. The main plot of the film is the relationship between Zuckerberg and Eduardo Saverin, who was a good friend of Zuckerberg who gave him codes and more importantly, gave him money for the website. The relationship is constantly strained throughout and with a great use of flashbacks, the story flips from being in modern time and to being at the beginning of the creation. Through in some really funny sequences with two geeks trying to deal with the pressure of being known on their campus and having people who dig their work and Jesse Eisenberg and Andrew Garfield are perfect in the two roles with Garfield particularly stealing the show. I really am looking forward to him being the new Spider-Man. Justin Timberlake also holds up and comes across as a dick which he is meant to be, so the whole ensemble cast works really well with the deep soundtrack with the weird and wonderful sounds which connect with the fantastic direction of Fincher who’s long shots of the setting with great angles and lighting. This film is truly a great film, don’t believe the negativity placed onto to this film because of the subject matter.


Simon Childs

17 October 2010

You’ve Been Framed: The Horror Movie

REC 2 – Jaume Balaguero & Paco Plaza

Following on from the successful and different horror film from 2007, REC, this sequel is literally following on mere minutes from the events of the last film and doesn’t stop with the relentless tale of infection and killing. Full of blood and guts with hell lots of suspense and creepy settings, REC 2, the Spanish horror film using a new technique of filming, using shaky camerawork to try to emulate the feeling of being homemade, similar to The Blair Witch Project. Using that same technique, the directors have created a claustrophobic, tense zombie film that really puts you in the shoes of the survivors who are trying to escape or figure out what’s going on. With the sequel, supernatural explanations are used to describe what’s really going on in the block of flats, the same setting as the first film, with a disease that was manmade being passed down to small children who are then grown in a small laboratory in the penthouse of the building. It all sounds a little farfetched, true, but it’s clever in its description of it, in how it explains the how process and why this occurred. I won’t give away the whole surprised or give away too much, but the ending feels right, and with the film only being just over an hour long, it feels like it doesn’t get too ahead of itself with using the gimmick for too long. Also it uses a new technique in having multiple cameras with different people to cut from one to the other. It’s a good way of forwarding the story and not becoming repetitive of some of the material we’ve seen before.

With a new set of characters involving a government agent and a couple of swat team members, they bowl into the hell hole of death and try to find the virus and find out more information, leading to them finding out more information about the birth of the virus. A couple of twists later and half way through the film new characters are involved with a group of teenagers who break into the house along with a concerning father and a local fireman. It all ends horribly for some of them, not all of them. I won’t give away what happens but it’s a decent twist which ends nicely from both films. Watching both back to back might be a good experience if you haven’t seen either yet, it might show the whole picture. It should be fun to see what they do next with the franchise, which i know Quarantine is pretty much a rip off of, but will there be REC 3 or will it get too stale?


Simon Childs

Trailer Watch XVIII

1. The Dilemma

2. Jack Goes Boating

3. Gnomeo & Juliet

4. Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows: Part 1

5. Let Me In

6. 4192: The Crowing of the Hit King

7. Never Let Me Go

8. Paranormal Activity 2

9. The Tempest

10. The Four-Faced Liar

11. The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest

12. 127 Hours

13. The Freebie

14. And Soon The Darkness

15. I Am Number Four

16. Chico and Rita

17. Tiny Furniture

18. All Good Things

19. True Grit

20. Tangled

Simon Childs

This isn’t just any Football gaming franchise, this is Fifa...

Fifa 2011 – PS3, Xbox 360, Wii and PC

The greatest video game sports franchise returns with the latest incarnation possibly being the best ever produced, or, depending on your school of thought, this may not be your cup of tea. Forever in a tussle over the top sport with the former perfected football series Pro Evolution Soccer, these two formidable opponents have defiantly changed over the last couple of entries into their series with myself being a huge fan of PES up until i found my love for Fifa in Fifa 09. Since then, the last couple of years Fifa have unleashed the best football game in Fifa 10, a game i still play to this very day that combines the exciting nature of football along with the pick up and play aspect which gives it hours of fun with friends or with people around the world online. PES was the foundations for both of the games, creating a game that blew Fifa out of the water, creating a realistic, fun, serious attempt at a football game with combining the players who we want to play as with the grandeur of the event, in big stadiums, massive crowds and spectatorship that could very be beaten. That is until Fifa finally upped their game into creating a more serious contender with life like animations, a huge amount of real licenses of teams and leagues, along with different modes including Become a Pro and the Manager Mode and having a seriously addictive online section which was easy to use and made you within seconds of playing someone from half way around the world. And this year’s addition only takes these aspects and times them by 10 in quality.

Fifa 11, a game which seems to put PES to rest, finally, with its improved visuals with the changing of character builds where players who are slow or tall or small or skinny will act they do in real life with Crouch being great in the air but not being very fast, where Walcott is skinny being able to run very quickly but his control not being great. It’s just very detailed in how players are affected by their stats. EA use different names for their creations into how the players move and react in the game, but for someone who doesn’t normally know about video games and the termology, it just means they put a lot of effort into the individual player animations and spent time looking at the real movements of players. Along with the improved player physics, the modes have been simplified with the Manager mode now changing to include three different types with either you being a manager, a player or a player/manager, meaning that Becoming a Pro and Manager Mode have joined together to create an easy, enjoyable experience which sure is not the same as Master League from PES but it holds its own. Along with this, the online features have kept the same, and with them always being at an excellent level, you don’t need to change it. Presentation wise, it’s smoother and less jarring than before. The audio set up is much cooler, being able to put your own music into the game along with chants and things you would hear during the game. It makes for a lot of fun.

You’ll find yourself playing for hours with the game with friends or in different modes. It truly is a perfect game, sure it has improved its difficultly, making the game a lot slower but more realistic to the real game, where a 40 yard pass doesn’t always work. It will take a little while to get used to the new system but you’ll soon find a ten pass move will feel much more rewarding in the end when you score against a friend who keeps giving you stick about how your predictable. I don’t see the game improving much, maybe in terms of graphics when it moves to a new console or having lower league team’s players look aesthetically more pleasing.


Simon Childs