13 December 2010

This year’s best teen comedy award goes to...

Easy A – Will Gluck

Nearing the end of a year with big blockbusters, breath-taking documentaries, sequels, prequels and many remakes, an original comedy is rare. Like finding a needle in a haystack or finding a diamond in the rough. Easy A, an American teen comedy would seem on the outside like a smarter version of American Pie with catchy dialogue similar to Juno and starring a perfectly good looking cast. Well it does take the good points of those films but takes it in a new direction. Of course you’ll have the main character get what they want in the end and you’ll have the typical stereotypes of a teen’s life, a loser, a fat kid, a slutty girl, a rival and a heavily religious person. But it’s the journey this film takes, the genuine connection the whole cast have, especially the parents, Stanley Tucci and Patricia Clarkson who play the leads father and mother. The star of the film reservedly goes to the wonderful, talent and clearly on the rise of being one of the best young female actors out there, Emma Stone. From Superbad to Zombieland to Paper Man and now to this, her first lead role and she kills it.

Stone plays Olive; a troubled school girl who accidently lies about sleeping with a guy and the rumour soon begins to float around her school. People soon realise that she is a girl that if you say you sleep with, you’re instantly branded “cool”. The other students soon begin to torment her into spreading rumours about getting with Olive just to be reckoned as straight or likeable. She soon finds that she must keep this up by acting and dressing sluttier to keep up with the rumours until she finds a guy who doesn’t want to sleep with her but has a genuine interest in her. Along the way she has a run in with a group of Christians, a falling out with her best friend and finding out about a teacher’s wife cheating on him and going on to tell him. It has a great plot and it’s played out really well, it doesn’t feel forced and it doesn’t feel reused at all because of how Stone portrays it. The style of the film is something different and quick, which remembering from Gluck first picture Fired Up, it had the same similar style which i enjoyed, but this time, the script and acting on great form.

This will be the moment where Stone will be the cusp of being one of the best female comedy actors who will go onto great things and possibly move into the acting game as well. She has a couple of films coming up as well, so go check this out and check out her next films: Friends with Benefits, The Help, Crazy, Stupid Love and the next Spider-Man reboot!


Simon Childs

Ice, Ice, Baby...OH MY GOD!

Frozen – Adam Green

OH MY GOD! OH MY GOD! OH MY GOD! Did you see his knee? The bone just going straight through his leg? Oh fuck that shit! I hate films that have any type of injury, especially ones around the knee, and i hate when they continue to show it over and over again. Just the whole notion that your leg bone could pop out and pierce your skin to be showing on the outside just makes me sick. And when horror films do it, it’s one of the only things that really freak me out; i don’t normally get scared or freaked out, only by realistic injuries or Paranormal Activity 2. So with this, low key release of a horror film that received some good praise, i thought i would check it out and let you know if it’s any good or not. And you can see it hasn’t got a massive budget and it’s a very well crafted horror film all set around the same place, with most of the film set in a particular abandoned moving chair which the three main characters are stranded on. Throughout the film their health worsens and you can clearly see where it will end up, but the journey is where the story really shines.

Starring three friends who go on a skiing holiday to have some fun and i guess, ski, and it all goes horribly wrong when they pay a worker there to use the ski lift on the cheap but at the end of the day. A mishap and the machine are turned off with the three friends stuck in the middle of the lift, high above the ground and with no one in sight. They soon begin to realise what’s happening and they become angry and upset and soon begin to think of ways to survive. A fall from the lift, a pack of wolves and you get the idea what might happen. It stars Emma Bell, Kevin Zegers and Shawn Ashmore as the three friends and they all do great in their parts, showing some great acting chops considering its all set on a ski lift. The end 20 minutes will have you screaming and shouting at the screen for what you see, it’s graphic and horrible but very cool.

A strange hit and considering the director has only made small horror films, this seems to be the one that pushes his name into a good place where his next couple of horror films could be great to see. A good script and a good pace, it’s worth peeking it out.


Simon Childs

Janet Bourne in The Bourne Kinda-Ultimatum

Salt – Phillip Noyce

A female action hero, in the same vein as the latest James Bond films and with the style and substance of the Jason Bourne series, sound familiar? No because no one has successful pulled it off with looking like a ridiculous rip off of the Bond or Bourne films. And with Angelina Jolie trying to make sure it is steered in the right direction, Salt is the latest in line to get those girls rallying over a female hero who doesn’t use her looks and her sexuality to conquer evil. Only one film comes to mind when thinking about strong female characters and it certainly isn’t Sex and the City. Kill Bill is one of the funniest and most action packed film that has a female lead as it’s hero and it’s done without making her look weak or making her to be less of a human compared to the males of the movie. And i like that, when a woman isn’t just a sex object for men in films. Jolie here attempts to take what she saw from Kill Bill and use it in a more realistic sense, having her change her hair and making her change her mind about certain terrorist groups. It’s all very confusing!

Anyway, Salt sees Evelyn Salt, a CIA agent who is accused of being a KGB sleeper agent, someone who after many years realises that her childhood had been the process of being trained to kill certain figures in the world. They planted children in the US to one day become killers but remain hidden in the shadows. After seeing that she will be prosecuted for it, she goes on the run to try and clear her name by going to various people to help her out. She finds out she was a KGB sleeper agent but she tries to change her motives to help the CIA, but in the end, runs away again. Certain scenes will be reminiscent of the Bourne films which will annoy you because you might as well just watch those to find the enjoyment because here it’s lacking the drive and the charisma of the excellent directing, the forward script and superb acting from Matt Damon. All of those aspects together make for a brilliant film and here it just seems to be the B-team to Damon’s A-team.

It’s fun for a little while but quickly becomes boring and seems to have a path that is long and winding and not focused on the end point. Sure it had a bit of success but that’s because it has Jolie in it, any film with Jolie will have hundreds of men wanting to see it, even for a glimpse of boob action.


Simon Childs

The little film that won in life, and the Oscars!

Winter’s Bone – Debra Granik

Could there be a winter theme for this weekend’s reviews considering the amount of snow pouring over the whole country? Strangely this wasn’t on purpose but a complete coincidence. Winter’s Bone, Frozen, Salt and the Chronicles of Narnia are all snow based, Winter being in the title, frozen because of the snow, salt being used on the snow and the fact that Narnia is always released around Christmas and contains a lot of snow, it all makes sense. But strangely with a name like Winter’s Bone, you’d think it is about snow or the winter time, but it’s much more depressing than that. Well i say depressing, the film is very uplifting, it does tell the story of a girl from a poor family, just trying to help her family out and find her missing father. It has some twists and turns where you want to help out this girl, but you realise she’s just an imaginary character in a fictional film; but somewhere out in the world, people are really like this and it’s just sad to think this could be real.

Following a 17 year old girl named Ree Dolly and played by the fantastic and massive up-and-comer Jennifer Lawrence, it shows her trying to take care of her family which consists of a mother so drugged up on medication she can’t talk or communicate, along with two younger siblings, one brother and one much younger sister as they live in a shack of a home. They live in the middle of what seems like forests with other families who also come from this poor background. She is forced to look for her fugitive father after being told that the house they live in has been tied to the Father’s bond, so they must find him or his dead body within the next couple of days otherwise they will be living on the streets or in the forest. Along with the way she meets up with meth addicts, some shady characters and women who won’t give a fuck and will beat her up. It has a great setting and pace for the story, where it continues to move on when things couldn’t get worse. The shots of the children playing, being innocent cuts at your heart strings, even for a grown man.

A fantastic film with heart and soul and a drive to impress, you can easily see this film winning big at the next award ceremonies, with many people and me calling Jennifer Lawrence’s performance spellbinding. A truly magnificent piece of film, even if it’s hard to swallow.


Simon Childs

The Super Elric Brothers Returns!

Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood Vol 2 – Yasuhiro Irie

Following on from a great first volume, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood returns with the latest smatterings of science based action and adventure about the tortured but brilliant Elric Brothers. Episodes 14 to 26 are displayed here so it shows the great change within the show, bringing together the main storylines and twists which took this mediocre show into the heights of one of the best anime TV shows I’ve watched since Death Note, and that’s a massive compliment. Edward and Alphonse see themselves in a plot by a group of un-killable people named after the six rings of hell: Greed, Wrath, Lust, Gluttony and Envy have been shown so far to be a part of the group with two still remaining, when will they show up?

Here are some of the storylines that happen throughout these episodes on volume 2: Ed wants to find the philosophers stone to help himself and his brother get their full bodies back which leads to many places where scientists, who happen to be kidnapped, dead or missing. Along the way, many people try to kill them to stop them doing this, which brings the group with strange names, lead by a mystery character who does reveal himself in this volume, you’ll be shocked. Gluttony and Lust are both on the wrath (get it!) and will stop at nothing to kill them. They also have to deal with Scar, an alchemist who goes on a rampage to show that alchemists are nothing but cowards. I could go on and on about the storylines but there is a lot to talk about, seriously, a lot.

The animation is great, if anything it gets better because the animator are clearly given free-reign to represent the scripts the best of their abilities and the action sequences seem to have been given more time and structure to them. Even the way the characters emote reaches out to the audience in an extraordinary way to make you connect with them and really feel their pain or their joy throughout many of the sad situations. A lot of people die in this volume, so you’ll be going up and down a rollercoaster of emotion many, many times. Actually, if you’re above the age of 22 you probably won’t feel too attached, as it is just a cartoon after all, but if you love this kind of shit, you’ll properly dig it, like really hard. I recommend starting at the beginning as most of the storyline will fly over your head, but if you just want to watch casually then pick this volume up, as it’s the best so far.


Simon Childs