6 November 2010

Oh no she didn't! *Wags finger around*

The Girl Who Played With Fire – Stieg Larsson

The second in the famous Millennium trilogy and the film adaptation of Stieg Larsson books, The Girl Who Played With Fire ups the stakes of the first and puts us again in the shoes of Lisbeth as she goes about trying to clear her name with the help of her good out friend Mikael, an investigative journalist. I surprisingly enjoyed the first film without knowing what they were about and the success of the book series. It’s like someone showing you Harry Potter without knowing anything about The Boy Who Lived and seeing that the films are great, but once you know the books and some of the things they miss out, it may change your view. I haven’t read these books, but there are a lot of people out there who enjoy them and enjoy the films. The second in the trilogy had a lot of hype going into it, it seemed as though they have knocked out all three films in one go as not to change the mood or the style of the whole piece. The third has just recently been released in cinemas, so check out the first two before you do that otherwise you won’t get certain connections or call-backs to previous things such as the relationship between Lisbeth and Mikael. This film is certainly European but it doesn’t feel like it’s trying to be European like some foreign films do, it feels natural, taking elements of Hollywood cinema and making them accessible to European audiences who are maybe more adjusted to more sophisticated work.

Following Lisbeth Salander, the mysterious black haired, Goth-looking millionaire as she comes back to Sweden to find herself in the middle of allegations she was the culprit of a journalist and his wife’s murder revolving around an article about human trafficking and prostitution. She is quickly spread around the press and media being the lead in the killings and goes on the run whilst at the same time being on the run from dangerous men who have been hired to kill her including a tall blonde guy who can’t feel any pain and some hidden people behind the scenes pulling the strings. She contacts Mikael to help her clear her name and he soon goes onto investigating who really did uncovering, well let’s say, it’s a good ending which you will properly see, and it doesn’t have the pay off of the first film’s twist but it’s decent.

A good film, not as great an impact as the first but it should be good to see how they end the whole saga, and if Mikael and Lisbeth will ever settle down or continue to be strangers but contact through internet piracy.


Simon Childs

3 November 2010

The Harry Potter Retrospective: Part IV

The Goblet of Fire – Mike Newell

On to the next one and now the series starts to pick up steam, and punches you directly in the fucking face. FUCK YEAH! The Goblet of Fire, the hardcore adventure picture of the franchise where it sees Potter face off in a dangerous wizard tournament where death almost seems realistic. But it never is seeing as they are wizards who like 15, that would seem really cruel, oh wait, a kid does die, and it’s not just any fucking wizard, it’s Robert Pattinson he gets killed, it’s Edward Cullen coming into the world of wizard’s and getting done in. I love that scene, i could watch it over and over again, i know it’s meant to be sentimental and you feel sorry for what’s going on, but i loved every second, seeing Pattinson’s face as he got killed by none other than the shittest person in the whole franchise, Wormtail. Ron’s rat kills Edward Cullen. I would seriously have that on a t-shirt if i had the money, and have a picture of Wormtail and Cullen face to face or have a massive photo of Cedric Diggory’s face as he dies. FTW! The film is one of the coolest with fight scenes, dragons, underwater creatures, killer mazes, a bit of sexy loving, and a band. It’s the middle years of Hogwarts, where the hormones take control, and now you get to see the real teenagers as they act like normal people. Plus there’s even a weird paedophile like character in Mad Eye Moody who appears every so often to make the rest of the characters feel really uncomfortable. The acting has gotten better, it doesn’t detract away from the story or the plot, in fact, compared to past three films, the acting is a step above in Goblet, but it had to get better at some point. Sure the artistic style isn’t the same considering it is different directors with Mike Newell takes reign. You may know Mike Newell from directing Four Weddings and A Funeral. Yeah weird isn’t it, Newell directing this, he doesn’t seem have to have a back catalogue that really connected with the Potter films. But recently he did direct Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time which shows he loves a bit of money.

So the Goblet of Fire is pretty self contained, there are no massive cliff-hangers or changes to the characters, sure you have more Sirius Black and you have the full return of Lord Voldemort who we haven’t seen or heard of since good old Tom Riddle, but it wasn’t a game changer like Prisoner of Azkaban. The twist that the whole tournament was a way of getting Potter in the same place as Voldemort was really clever and you don’t realise it until right at the end, and i found it was one secret that worked really well and you never knew this was going to happen. The whole tournament was fun and entertaining, it felt like a canon film instead of being standalone, they really took what happened in the last film and amplified it. Like the relationships between Harry and Sirius, Harry and Dumbledore, Ron and Hermione, the interesting relationships we want to see more of. Having three wizards or four in this case battle it out in a tri-wizard tournament involving three different schools is great, having Victor Krum from the school of Viking wizards, Fleur Delacour who is from a French school of witches, who make the guys go hard, and the lovely Hogwarts. Cedric Diggory, the arrogant, smug bastard who has his hair in a certain way. He gets his later on, don’t you worry. And that’s pretty much the plot, having different challenges for these wizards to face leading to a standoff with Potter and Lord V.

It’s a great film, and it shows the right progression from Prisoner of Azkaban into a good place where the films are entertaining but at the same time tell the sad story where at some point either Harry Potter or Lord Voldemort will die. It’s going to happen sooner rather than later, but it’s the journey to that place that matters. The next film is the somewhat subdued The Order of the Phoenix which you can read all about next week!

Simon Childs

Can a zombie eat my brains now?

Resident Evil: Afterlife – Paul W.S. Anderson

Adapted from the very popular video game series Resident Evil, the latest instalment in the seemingly downtrodden franchise is Resident Evil: Afterlife. Not based on any of the games plots, this sees a totally unknown plot and canon that continues from the last Resident Evil film. They use the same characters and some of the same locations but it’s not really a Resident Evil-based film anymore and for that reason alone, this film is utterly pointless. Made to feed those violence-hungry audiences that love to look at shit getting killed but people flying through the air shooting everything in sight, it doesn’t have any plot, any script and any soul. It’s a money adventure that the studio has made because of the audience still going in masses to see it and i’m disappointed that audiences still want to see this. I would rather see an adaptation that sticks really close to the video games because they have wonderful plots and epic storylines that draw you in and then leave you wanting more. If you have played any of the video games you would also agree with this view, just think Resident Evil 4 as a real movie would be awesome, it has the feel of a great movie and has one of the best characters of the whole series: Chris Redfield. Redfield is also introduced into this film for the first time and like how the film is, they’ve done a terrible job. Chris Redfield is the ultimate male in the video games, strong, quick, intelligent and devilishly handsome, but in the film he’s cowardly and pointless and it shows they’ve thrown him in to please the fans.

Again starring Milla Jovovich as Alice who doesn’t appear in any of the video games after the last Resident Evil film we find that she is somewhat immortal and has now hundreds of clones at her disposal and in this latest film, the Alice clones go on a mission to kill the head of the Umbrella Corporation, Albert Wesker. Starting with a wonderful opening, it seems to go downhill from there with an underground base for Umbrella being attacked by the Alice clones on a mission to find and kill Wesker. The building is then blown up to kill the remaining clones and leaving the original Alice chasing Wesker. They then go on a hunt to find each other with Alice finding old friends along the way in the form of Claire Redfield and later on, Chris Redfield who must help her defeat Wesker and the zombies and monsters that attack them. It’s a pretty basic plot, very thin across the ground, and using the 3D technology they just want to throw some interesting shots and experiences at you rather than keep to the origins of what Resident Evil is, a horror film which is meant to scare you and make you jump, not once was i scared.

A pretty poor film with nothing in it to interest you until the end, sure it involves characters you may have played with but it still doesn’t make for the fact it’s not what Resident Evil is.


Simon Childs


Paranormal Activity 2 – Tod Williams

Having just seen this film mere minutes before i start this review, i must reveal that i’m still shell shocked from its effects and also the effects of the multitude of rum and cokes i have before the screening. Yes dear reader your reviewer is slightly drunk whilst reviewing this film, don’t worry, my judgement isn’t impaired nor is my spelling because of the wonderful Microsoft Word. This is the first time I’ll be doing this review under the influence and i hope it pays off. So Paranormal Activity 2, a sequel to the hugely successful Paranormal Activity which saw a small budgeted film make its way into cinemas and prove a hit with audiences worldwide due to its unusual style of using hidden cameras and strange pacing that kept the audiences hooked. Sure it wasn’t exciting for most of the film where only the last ten minutes scared the shit out of people, but it worked. The realness aspect of it really had an affect over people which saw many scream and shout out loud, which rarely happens for horror films nowadays. So the second instalment was green lit even before the release on DVD because the huge success, and using the characteristics of the first film and building upon it, here we are with Tod Williams attempt at grabbing the same audience and shaking them furiously again. And to put it bluntly, he fucking does it.

Not much is known about the plot, but i will reveal as much as i can, this is a prequel to the events of the first film and follows a family in a home which begins to get haunted by a spirit. The family has a newly born boy as they try to live with fear growing in their house. After a major mess happens in their house whilst away, the family install cameras in all of the rooms to see what might happen. What they find is not burglars but strange goings on. Doors opening and closing, pots falling onto the floor, strange voice, foreboding shadows, it has it all. But i must warn you, three sequences in particular even had me shouting out loud at how scary it is, one involving the kitchen, and two at the end involving a certain someone. I won’t reveal too much, but i’m sure you’ll enjoy the plot twists and turns it throws at you along the way.

A thrilling horror film for the modern age where over use of gore doesn’t scare, but realistic noises, visuals and the feeling that this could happen to any regular person and Paranormal Activity 2 pounces on those nights of hearing something downstairs, or having door open and close by themselves and defiantly makes you think of every occasion where you thought someone was behind you but really wasn’t. I highly recommend.


Simon Childs

1 November 2010

The Dead Will Walk to see This!

The Walking Dead – Frank Darabont

The big Halloween weekend has come and gone and with the latest releases in the cinema, it seems as though one of the biggest things to have been on show was the new zombie drama from the States, The Walking Dead. Adapted from a popular graphic novel series, The Walking Dead sees the world savaged by zombies and a man in a small Texas town awakening to find himself in the middle of it. This does sound very similar to movies involving zombies like 28 Days Later and such but here it’s told in more heartfelt way and it should be interesting in the direction of how the character goes from being on his own to finding other survivors. Using influences from good zombie films like Dawn of the Dead, this could be one of the most entertaining shows in recent memory and hitting the screens at a great time where shows seem to become dull, well UK television that is, with Friday Night Lights, Boardwalk Empire and other massive shows in the US, you can see why we desperately need The Walking Dead broadcast soon. Hopefully it will be picked up by the BBC or FX which most of the time good programs from the US are picked up by. And by having a great legendary director and write Darabont take the reins for the beginning of the show makes sure it has a great foundation to build on, the guy made The Shawshank Redemption for god sake, and he deserves massive amounts of applause.

So let’s get down to the nitty gritty, The Walking Dead is about the aftermath of a zombie apocalypse and so far only a handful of characters have been introduced including the lead Rick Grimes, played by the brilliant British actor Andrew Lincoln who you may recognise from Love, Actually but more importantly, from the wonderful TV series Teachers. In the first episode, Grimes awakens to find that the world he lived in before has changed. He soon finds out that zombies now rule and luckily he runs into a father and his boy who are trying to survive and they tell him what’s happening. Grimes have a wife and child and after searching his home cannot find them. Later in the episode it is revealed that they are still alive and with a band of survivors who is lead by Grimes former work buddy, (as they were sheriffs before). Grimes after finding a deserted horse rides into the nearest big city to find thousands of the undead waiting to eat him. The suspense of the episode is great and you never quite know where it will lead to next. The ending is great too and leaves open some questions for the next episode.

A wonderful start for the series hopefully will pick up with more action, and considering it’s very violent, it will be a good thing. More decapitation and gore would really push this into fame.


Simon Childs