Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Film Review: THE FRIGHTENERS (1996)

TheFrighteners_poster Co-Writer/Director: Peter Jackson
Running time: 110 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 15

Genre: Comedy/Horror
UK Release date: 24th January 1997

Watched on Sky+ Monday 27th June 2011.

PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.

I hadn’t heard of this film before I got more involved in reading and writing about films. I became interested in the work that Peter Jackson did before he embarked on the ‘Lord of the Rings’ epic trilogy. So, when I can, I’m slowly going through his back catalogue. This is quite an interesting film with some nice ideas and some really great effects (for its day) but it does suffer from a slightly over-complicated plot and being a little too long. But more of my thoughts later, here’s a brief summary first.

the_frighteners_3 Frank Bannister makes a living as a Psychic Investigator. After an accident five years ago, he can see and speak to ghosts. One of his clients is Ray Lynskey, who he had had a run-in with recently. Just before he leaves, after removing some troublesome spirits, he notices a mystical number on Ray’s forehead but thinks nothing of it. The next day Ray is dead. His wife, Dr. Lucy Lynskey, asks Frank to communicate with Ray and from this they form a friendship. More people die and it begins to look like Frank is the culprit, but he claims he’s innocent. The FBI even get involved in the shape of, the very strange, Milton Dammers. Eventually Frank and Lucy link it back to a serial killer, Johnny Charles Bartlett, who went to the electric chair many years before. Will Frank be able to stop Bartlett before he claims Lucy as his next victim? Well, you can probably guess, but you didn’t hear it from me right.

300full As I said at the beginning, this film does suffer from a rather over-complicated plot. The first-rate special effects go some way to making up for this, but not quite. Having said that, it’s still quite watchable with some decent performances; chiefly from Michael J. Fox as Frank Bannister and Trini Alvarado as Dr. Lucy Lynskey. Also worthy of note are Peter Dobson as Ray Lynskey, John Astin as The Judge, Jeffrey Combs, who was really off the wall, as Milton Dammers,  Dee Wallace as Patricia Ann Bradley and Jake Busey as Johnny Charles Bartlett. Oh, and worthy of a special mention, it was nice to see a small cameo from R. Lee Ermey as Sgt, Hiles.

2411 I must admit I did quite enjoy this film, there were many sight gags that I found amusing and the musical score was pretty good too. A very well made film with some decent cinematography and, as I’ve already mentioned, some excellent effects, both CGI and animatronic. It does suffer though from the very complicated plot and it does seem to drag a bit towards the end, probably because it’s too long. Having said that though, it’s worth a viewing for some very interesting ideas that you might recognise from Jackson’s later works… Recommended.

My Score: 7.1/10

the-frighteners-poster LINKS:
(RT = Rotten Tomatoes)
IMDb Page: http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt0116365/
RT Page: http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/frighteners/
Trailer:

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Film Review: SALT (2010)

Salt_poster Director: Phillip Noyce
Running time: 96 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 15

Genre: Action/Thriller/Espionage
UK Release date: 18th August 2010

Watched on Sky+ Sunday 26th June 2011.

PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.

I remember when this one came out it got a lot of very mixed reviews. It has finally made it to the small screen and so I thought I’d have a look. It’s certainly not as bad as some have said, but equally, it’s not all that great either. I think it suffers from what I call the ‘Bourne Effect’, in that the ‘Bourne’ films are a pretty hard act to follow and just about every film of that ilk since has failed to hit the mark. Don’t get me wrong, it’s perfectly watchable but it just falls a bit short of the mark at those all important moments. Here’s a brief summary.

Salt-movie-photo- Evelyn Salt is a CIA agent who is accused by a defector, known as Orlov, of being a Russian spy. She immediately goes on the run trying to get to he husband, Mike, who she believes is in danger. The defector also said that she would assassinate the Russian President at a funeral in New York. Her boss, Ted Winter, and the head of another department, Peabody, are in charge of tracking her down but she gives them the slip… more than once. She has a plan and in order to carry it out she may have to compromise herself. I’m not going to say any more because I don’t want a sniper picking me off while I’m eating a sandwich.

angelina-jolie-salt-movie First of all I must say all of the stunt work on this film was first rate, I really enjoyed this aspect of the film very much. Performance wise, I thought Angelina Jolie did a great job as Evelyn Salt, considering the part was originally written for a male (Tom Cruise), I thought she was excellent. Liev Schreiber did a good job as Ted Winter, as did Chiwetel Ejiofor as Peabody and Daniel Olbrychski as Orlov.

salt-0 There are many twists and turns in the plot and, of course, a big twist at the end that I’m afraid I saw coming from a mile off (sorry, no spoilers today). There were a couple of moments where the film did fall a little flat, but the pace was pretty much kept at a fairly high level throughout. I guess where it fails, in comparison with the ‘Bourne’ films, is that the plot just isn’t quite clever enough to give it the edge it needed. But as I said earlier, it’s perfectly watchable and suitably entertaining. I also like the fact that it has a female lead that is believable, so many of these films fail in that respect too. So, over all, great action sequences, a believable heroine and quite entertaining, if slightly flawed… Still though, recommended.

My Score: 6.5/10

salt_movie_photo_3-535x225 LINKS:
(RT = Rotten Tomatoes)
IMDb Page: http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt0944835/
RT Page: http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/1213717-salt/
Official Site: http://www.sonypictures.com/movies/salt/
Trailer:

Film Review: [Rec]2 (2009)

[Rec]2_poster Writers/Directors: Jaume Balagueró & Paco Plaza
Running time: 82 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 18

Genre: Horror/Thriller
UK Release date: 28th May 2010

Watched on Sky+ Sunday 26th June 2011.

PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.

Having watched the first film, [Rec], I was intrigued to see how the sequel would make out. The story follows on directly from the first and it tells us about a SWAT team who escort a medical officer into the sealed off building.

rec2 quarantine Their mission is to find evidence of the original victim of the infection in the penthouse. Of course things don’t quite go according to plan and after much running and shooting they still don’t have the evidence they need. Enter a group of three kids and a fireman. The kids have followed the fireman in through the sewers and they’re just there for kicks. Eventually the two groups meet and as the doctor still tries to locate the original victim, a familiar face from the first film turns up.

rec2b It’s quite hard to judge a performance in a language you’re not familiar with, but Jonathan Mellor did a decent job as Dr. Owen. Also worthy of note were; Óscar Zafra as Jefe, Ariel Casas as Larra, Alejandro Casaseca as Martos, Pablo Rosso as Rosso and Andrea Ros as Mire.

REC-2-2 I did like the way the stories of the various groups of characters tied together, this was well done. The technical side of things, the blood, the guts and the gore was also very well done. What I did find hard to swallow was the reason behind the infection, it was hinted at in the first film but I just found it quite ludicrous to be honest. I won’t say what it is… spoilers. Of course I have to draw comparisons with the first film and I’m afraid this one isn’t nearly as good. Unfortunately it does also look like a first person shooter video game, which does get kind of repetitive after a while. It may have been more watchable if I hadn’t seen the first one, but even so I did find the plot a little weak. I guess if you have seen the first on and are intrigued to know what happens next then by all means give it a go, it’s not quite as bad as it might have been.

My Score: 6,2/10

rec_2 LINKS:
(RT = Rotten Tomatoes)
IMDb Page: http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt1245112/
RT Page: http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/rec_2/
Official Site: http://www.rec2themovie.com/
Official Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/rec2movie
Trailer:

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Film Review: HITMAN (2007)

Hitman_poster Director: Xavier Gens
Running time: 89 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 15

Genre: Action/Thriller
UK Release date: 30th November 2007

Watched on Sky+ Saturday 25th June 2011.

PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.

I have seen this film before, but it’s one of those films that isn’t exactly memorable whilst at the same time it’s not exactly rubbish either. It’s kind of hard to explain really, but I think it’s a lot better than some ‘scores’ you’ll see on the internet might suggest. It’s based on a video game and as such, like many others of its type, it suffers from trying to be too much like the game. I thought it was actually quite good in patches, it just failed to deliver at the crucial moments. Here’s a brief summary before I give you more of my thoughts.

hitman-mirror Our Hitman, Agent 47, was brought up from an early age to be a Hitman. He is hired to assassinate a Russian politician, Mikhail Belicoff, and he carries out his instructions to the letter. Imagine his surprise when the same politician appears live on TV the very next day. Add to this the fact that he is being pursued by an Interpol Officer, Mike Whittier and the Russian Secret police are also getting involved. He discovers the politician has a lover, Nika Boronina, who he kidnaps, hoping to get more information from her. He finds himself drawn to her in ways he’s not used to. A hit is put out on Agent 47 and people from his own employers, ‘The Organization’ are now also after him. It’s time to strike back and this is where I leave it. I don’t want to find a mysterious bald man sitting in my armchair when I get home one stormy evening.

Hitman-bedroom As I said at the beginning, this film suffers from trying to be a little too much like a video game. There is quite an over-complicated plot that really doesn’t have a strong narrative which doesn’t help matters. Performance wise, I thought Timothy Olyphant did a decent job as Agent 47, he certainly had the look. Dougray Scott was adequate without really breaking a sweat as Mike Whittier and Olga Kurylenko did a decent job as Nika Boronina. Also worthy of note were; Robert Knepper, sporting a natty Russian accent, as Yuri Marklov, Ulrich Thomsen as Mikhail Belicoff, Henry Ian Cusick as his brother, Udre Belicoff and Michael Offei as Jenkins.

hitman-gun Unfortunately this film did have a bit of the look and feel of a ‘Jason Bourne’ film… and we have already seen at least one of those. The fight scenes were all very well done and there were some spectacular explosions to keep the kids happy (that’s a joke by the way). An over-complicated plot didn’t help matters, but at the end of the day I did find it entertaining, if not very memorable (and I’ve seen it twice!). Over all, recommended, but for just one viewing.

My Score: 5.7/10

hitman 2007 LINKS:
(RT=Rotten Tomatoes)
IMDb Page: http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt0465494/
RT Page: http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/hitman/
Trailer:

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Film Review: DUCK SOUP (1933)

DuckSoup_poster Director: Leo McCarey
Running time: 66 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): U

Genre: Comedy/Musical
USA Release date: 17th November 1933

Watched on Sky+ Thursday 23rd June 2011.

PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.

I’m not a great fan of most modern comedies and so I thought I’d go back a way to see if there was anything funny back in the 1930’s. Well I’m pleased to announce that the Marx Brothers were definitely on the right track (IMO). I remember their old films being shown on TV when I was young and I also remember finding their mad-cap humour very entertaining. It was interesting to see them again quite a few years later to and still enjoy them just as much. Here’s a brief summary before I give you my thoughts.

duck-soup Rufus T. Firefly has been appointed ruler of the cash-strapped state of Freedonia. This tiny country’s benefactor, Mrs. Gloria Teasdale, believes passionately in Firefly’s abilities. The ambassador of the neighbouring state of Sylvania, Trentino, wants Mrs. Teasdale’s money and will go to any lengths to get it. He has one problem though, Mrs. Teasdale only has eyes for Firefly and to this end Trentino sends in his spies, Chicolini and Pinky. This only causes more mayhem and Trentino ends up insulting Firefly who challenges him and it all ends in a declaration of war! Mrs. Teasdale tries to calm things down but they are determined to fight. I’ll leave it there so as not to enrage the Spoiler Police.

Film: Duck Soup
Dir: Leo McCarey
Date: 1933

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http://www.bfi.org.uk/ Of course the stars of the show are the Marx brothers; Groucho Marx as Rufus T. Firefly, Harpo Marx as Pinky,  Chico Marx as Chicolini and the lesser known Zeppo Marx as Lt Bob Roland - Firefly's aide-de-camp. They are ably supported by; Margaret Dumont who is excellent as Mrs. Gloria Teasdale, Raquel Torres as Vera Marcal and Louis Calhern as Ambassador Trentino of Sylvania.

duck_soup_movie_character-10646 Now, as a coherent story with a narrative, it’s all over the place, but I believe this is deliberately done to keep the story moving. Of course, the story is just a means to get to the next one-liner, or sight gag, but it kind of works. Looking deeper into it, the film has quite a satirical message about wealth and power. I really enjoyed it, there were elements that you might see in a more modern Mel Brooks film and some of the routines are truly great, particularly the mirror scene. Over all, recommended.

My Score: 7.5/10

ducksoup LINKS:
(RT=Rotten Tomatoes)
IMDb Page: http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt0023969/
RT Page: http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/duck_soup/
Trailer:

Monday, 20 June 2011

Film Review: [Rec] (2007)

[Rec]_poster Writers/Directors: Jaume Balagueró & Paco Plaza
Running time: 75 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 18

Genre: Horror/Thriller
UK Release date: 11th April 2008

Watched on DVD Monday 20th June 2011.

PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.

I first have to admit to having seen the Hollywood treatment of this film in the guise of Quarantine (2008). To be honest, this telling of the story is far better in just about every way! It is very very creepy and I’m really glad I didn’t watch it in the dead of night. It is a Spanish film (with subtitles) and it looks almost like a home movie, so I guess if you can’t handle ‘shakeycam’, as I call it, then this is definitely not for you.

captureD-4 A TV reporter, Ángela Vidal and her cameraman, Pablo, are doing a programme about what the Firemen do during the night. It all starts of light-hearted enough with a tour of the station and introductions with the two Firemen they will be following, Manu and Álex. Just when boredom was about to really set in they get a call. A woman has become trapped in her apartment and the Firemen are called to get her out. They arrive at the building and eventually open the door. The woman looks very distressed and an ambulance is called for. At this point she attacks one of the Policemen there, biting his face. They take him downstairs only to find the building has been sealed from the outside and the authorities will not allow anyone out. I’ll leave it there so as not to incur the wrath of the ‘Spoiler Police’ and hope it’s enough to peek you interest.

rec It is all shot on one hand-held camera and so does suffer a little from ‘shakeycam’ as I mentioned earlier. This does not detract from what is a very atmospheric and genuinely scary movie. I can see why Hollywood remade it… I just wish they had done half as good a job as these guys did. Good performances all round, particularly from; Manuela Velasco as Ángela Vidal, Ferran Terraza as Manu, Jorge-Yamam Serrano as Policía Joven, Pablo Rosso as Pablo and David Vert as Álex.

Rec_stairs I did find that the story did start to briefly fall a little flat in the middle, but it’s only 75 minutes long, so it didn’t last long. It is definitely one of the scariest things I’ve seen in a very long time. A really well thought out plot combined with some great performances make for an experience you won’t forget in a hurry… For those that like to be scared witless, highly recommended… the rest of you… watch at your peril.

My Score: 8.6/10

REC234 LINKS:
(RT = Rotten Tomatoes)
IMDb Page: http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt1038988/
RT Page: http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/10009132-rec/
Official Site (Spanish): http://movies.filmax.com/rec/
Trailer:

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Film Review: ZATOICHI (2003)

Zatoichi_poster Writer/Director: Takeshi Kitano
Running time: 116 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 18

Genre: Action/Comedy/Crime
UK Release date: 19th March 2004

Watched on Sky+ Sunday 19th June 2011.

PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.

I had not heard anything about this Japanese film before I spotted it in the TV listings. It looked kind of interesting and so I decided to give it a watch. I wasn’t wrong, a very interesting blend of martial arts, comedy and even dance are put together in this tale of a blind masseur/swordsman. He travels the land putting right all the injustices he finds, we are never told exactly why he does this, but many are grateful for his help.

Zatoichi Our masseur, Zatôichi, arrives in a small town where local gangs have made life very hard for the local residents. He stays with a farmer, Aunt Oume, whose nephew, Shinkichi, has a gambling problem. Zatôichi decides to help out and at the same time look into the gang problem. One of the gang leaders hires a Ronin, a Samurai mercenary, called Hattori Genosuke as a bodyguard. Whilst in town, Zatôichi meets two geisha’s who have a connection with some of the gang leaders. Their parents were murdered by them ten years ago and, again, Zatôichi decides to help them out. With all these problems in the town there is eventually going to be a big showdown and the question is, who will come out on top? Of course I’m not going to tell you here or I’ll have Samurai knocking on my door.

2 Shot in very muted colours it’s not the most appealing film to watch, but it does have some good moments. I like the way the sounds of tools are moulded into the music and there are some pretty funny moments too. Good performances all round, particularly from; Takeshi Kitano as Zatôichi, Tadanobu Asano as Hattori Genosuke, Gadarukanaru Taka as Shinkichi, Daigorô Tachibana as Geisha Seitaro 'Osei' Naruto, Yûko Daike as Geisha Okinu Naruto and Michiyo Ôkusu as Aunt Oume.

asd2bu Quite a lot of the story is told in flashback and, at times, this made it quite hard to follow the narrative. I guess this has a lot to do with it being in a foreign language with subtitles. The fight scenes are all very well done, but are quite graphic, so it’s not one for the squeamish. It all ends with a big dance number that the old-school Hollywood musical directors would have been proud of. As I said, an interesting film, but one you have to watch. I quite enjoyed it but found it a bit hard to follow at times, even so… Recommended.

My Score: 7.1/10

vlcsnap2011010510h13m32 LINKS:
(RT=Rotten Tomatoes)
IMDb Page: http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt0363226/
RT Page: http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/1217686-zatoichi/
Official Site (Japanese): http://office-kitano.co.jp/zatoichi/
Trailer:

Film Review: THE KARATE KID (2010)

TheKarateKid_poster Director: Harald Zwart
Running time: 135 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): PG

Genre: Action/Drama/Family
UK Release date: 28th July 2010

Watched on Sky+ Sunday 19th June 2011.

PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.

A long long time ago I saw a film called ‘The Karate Kid’, all about a young man who is trained by a master in martial arts so he can stop living in fear of the bullies around him. During his training he learns, amongst other things, respect. This is a remake of that film and despite a lot of dollars being thrown at it and moving the action to China, it’s not as good as the original by some way. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not all bad, there is at least one good performance in there, there is some nice cinematography and the final scenes are quite exciting. Unfortunately though, I have seen it all before.

taraji-p-henson-and-the-karate-kid-2010-gallery When single mother, Sherry Parker is transferred to China for her job, she takes her son, Dre with her. Now Dre finds it hard to fit in in a new country, but does his best. Unfortunately a group of bullies start to pick on him and these guys are very good at Kung Fu. Eventually Dre decides he must learn Kung Fu in order to beat them and to this end he persuades the maintenance man for their building, Mr. Han, to help him. It is agreed with the bullies’ Kung Fu master that he will be left alone to train for an upcoming tournament. Mr. Han starts training and Dre doesn’t feel it is going well until he is shown just what Kung Fu is all about. The training then progresses at a pace and the day of the tournament arrives. Has Dre learned enough to beat the bullies? Well you can probably guess I’m not going to tell you here.

kung-fu_karate_kid_set_photo_jackie_chan_jaden_smith_01 As I hinted at the beginning the film is beautifully shot with all of the famous Chinese sights on full display, everything from the Great Wall to the Forbidden City. Performance wise, well I always find Jaden Smith, who plays Dre, a little too precocious and, in this case, a little too small for the role. On the other hand I thought Jackie Chan was excellent as Mr. Han. He handled the role really well even the dramatic parts. Also worthy of note were Taraji P. Henson as Sherry Parker, Wenwen Han as Meiying, Rongguang Yu as Master Li and Zhenwei Wang as Cheng.

karate_kid_movie_02-550x365 I can’t say I disliked this version, let’s say I didn’t dislike it quite as much as I expected to. That isn’t to say it’s particularly good. For one thing it’s way too long and there are quite long periods where not a lot happens. There is a love story thrown in which I found quite laughable and didn’t really add anything to the narrative. Over all, not a great film but not a total loss either, if you’re going to see it Jackie Chan is the best thing in it (IMO). If you’re not inspired to see it then I don’t suppose you’ve really missed all that much.

My Score: 6.5/10

902539 - KARATE KID LINKS:
(RT=Rotten Tomatoes)
IMDb Page: http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt1155076/
RT Page: http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/karate_kid_2010/
Official Site: http://www.sonypictures.com/homevideo/thekaratekid/
Trailer:

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Film Review: FULL METAL JACKET (1987)

FullMetalJacket_poster Director: Stanley Kubrick
Running time: 116 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 18

Genre: Drama/War
UK Release date: 11th September 1987

Watched on Sky+ Saturday 18th June 2011.

PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.

This film was on the TV in a pub I was frequenting last week. Being one of my all time favourites I was hopeful there was going to be a repeat showing. Fortunately the same channel obliged and I was able to record it for a viewing today. For me it is one of the three iconic films about the Vietnam war; the others being Apocalypse Now (1979) and Platoon (1986). I’m sure others will be mentioned in dispatches, but these are the three that have served me best. It is a film of two parts.

full-metal-jacket The first part deals with the training of a group of U.S. Marine recruits under the watchful eye of Gunnery Sgt. Hartman. Among the platoon are characters Hartman calls Private Joker, Private Cowboy and, the focus of much of his scorn, Private Pyle. Unfortunately Private Pyle isn’t really cut out to be a Marine and keeps making mistakes. It gets so bad that Hartman begins to take it out on the platoon whenever he screws up. This has a rather disastrous effect on Pyle and it doesn’t end well for more than one of them.

full-metal-jacket-PDVD_00901 With training over the focus now switches to the theatre of action in Vietnam. We follow Private Joker who has become a journalist working for ‘Stars and Stripes’ magazine as a combat correspondent. He is sent into the combat zone with his photographer, Rafterman, where he joins up with a platoon that contains his old friend Private Cowboy. They are sent into a built up area to clear out any enemy combatants hiding inside. Having been pinned down by a sniper, it’s up to Private Cowboy to figure a way out of the situation. I’ll leave you hanging there, if you have seen the film, you’ll know what happens, if you haven’t well, it’s just a little incentive for you to give it a look.

large_full_metal_jacket_blu-raysubs Stanley Kubrick had a great eye for detail and looking at this film you can see that every little detail is perfect. I love the look and the feel of it, even though it is of two very distinct and very different parts. Great performances all round; in particular Matthew Modine as Pvt. Joker, Vincent D'Onofrio (who some of you may know from TV’s Law and Order: Criminal Intent) as Pvt. Pyle and R. Lee Ermey as Gny. Sgt. Hartman. Also worthy of note were; Adam Baldwin as Animal Mother, Dorian Harewood as Eightball, Kevyn Major Howard as Rafterman and Arliss Howard as Pvt. Cowboy.

600full-full-metal-jacket-screenshot I will admit that I, like most people I know, enjoyed the first part slightly more than the second. I think it’s because it has many more memorable, even iconic, scenes in it. But in defence of the second part, it was a hard act to follow! Having said that, the second part does deal with the gritty realities of war and goes some way towards satirising it. I should note there is an excellent soundtrack and the use of various songs throughout is well balanced against the visuals. Over all, a near-perfect war film (IMO) and one which comes very highly recommended.

My Score: 9.6/10

Full%20Metal%20Jacket%20h LINKS:
(RT=Rotten Tomatoes)
IMDb Page: http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt0093058/
RT Page: http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/full_metal_jacket/
Trailer (concerning Part 1):

Trailer (concerning Part 2):

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Film Review: DISTURBIA (2007)

Disturbia_poster Director: D.J. Caruso
Running time: 100 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 15

Genre: Mystery/Thriller
UK Release date: 14th September 2007

Watched on Sky+ Tuesday 14th June 2011.

PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.

This is one of those films that I really didn’t know too much about before hitting the ‘Play’ button. I had a vague idea from the write-up, but didn’t expect what turned up on the screen. What I got was effectively an updated version of Hitchcock’s Rear Window (1954). It did have some good aspects to it, but over all I found it quite disappointing. I will explain why after this brief summary.

disturbia_016_aaron_yoo_shia_lebeouf Kale, a high school teenager has had a hard time of it since his father died a year ago. It all comes to a head one day when he punches his Spanish teacher in class. He is sentenced to three months’ house arrest. He has to wear an ankle bracelet and if he wanders too far from the house an alert is sent to the police and they will respond immediately. Finding himself home alone most of the time, Kale gets bored and begins to watch the comings and goings of his neighbours. A new family moves in next door and he immediately takes an interest in the daughter, Ashley. His friend Ronnie comes around and they hang out together. They hear a report of a serial killer who may be in the area and Kale’s suspicions turn to another of his neighbours, Mr. Turner. He fits the bill perfectly, but how to prove it? Ashley and Ronnie help him, but Turner is getting suspicious and has taken an interest in Kale’s mother, Julie. Is Mr. Turner really a serial killer, if so, can they prove it before Kale’s mom becomes the next victim? No clues here, this bracelet around my ankle will go off.

disturbia2 I thought the plot was ok, but I guess I’m not really the target audience as the focus is very much on the younger members of the cast. Unfortunately Shia LaBeouf was in the leading role of Kale. He really has zero charisma and has very little screen presence (IMO); consequently, I found this one a little hard to watch. Sarah Roemer played Ashley, she did a decent enough job, but appeared to be there mostly as eye-candy. Carrie-Anne Moss played Julie and I was surprised to see her in such a small part… she deserves better (IMO). For me, the star turn was David Morse as Mr. Turner, very intimidating but also very charming when needed. Finally, Aaron Yoo was Ronnie, the clown of the piece if you like.

2007_disturbia_008 As I said at the beginning, I found this film quite disappointing and I think the problem was that I found it very hard to sympathise with any of the characters, particularly Kale. The script seemed to lack any originality and so the whole film suffered as a consequence. It wasn’t all bad though, it did have its tense moments and these where handled very well. Over all though, I found it pretty unsatisfying… Not recommended.

My Score: 5.5/10

disturbia2b LINKS:
(RT=Rotten Tomatoes)
IMDb Page: http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt0486822/
RT Page: http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/disturbia/
Official Site: http://www.disturbia.com/
Trailer: