Saturday, 31 March 2012

Film Review: THE HUNGER GAMES (2012)

The Hunger Games - poster Director: Gary Ross
Writers: Suzanne Collins (screenplay/novel), Gary Ross (screenplay), Billy Ray (screenplay)
Running time: 142 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 12A

Genre: Action/Drama/Sci-Fi
UK Release date: 23rd March 2012

Watched at the cinema Saturday 31st March 2012.

PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.

I first have to admit I’ve never read the books and so this franchise is all shiny and new to me. Knowing that it is aimed at a teenage audience, I took a risk and decided to go and see a Saturday afternoon screening. The (young) audience were quite well behaved over all, although the staff did seem to take a very long time in getting something up on the screen (they was getting a bit rebellious). But when they did eventually start the film they soon settled down (after a little coaxing… from me). But back to the film, very well made with some good performances and, despite the level of violence being toned down (a lot), quite entertaining. I will give you full skinny after this brief summary.

The Hunger Games - 4 In a future North America, now called Panem, (the rest of the world doesn’t exist for some reason) and after a civil war, a way is found to keep the defeated ‘Districts’ in tow. The Hunger Games are invented; a boy and a girl for each of the twelve districts must fight it out, to the death, until there is only one winner. The whole event is televised and broadcast across the nation with host, Caesar Flickerman, giving a blow-by-blow account. The games organiser, Seneca Crane, has the ear of the President Snow and uses his influence to make the games bigger and better each year. Now, the District we’re interested is District 12, and its contestants, Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark. We see the selection process and their training, with which they are aided by former champion, Haymitch Abernathy and style guru, Cinna, amongst others. See, it’s not just about training to fight, it’s all about winning the hearts and minds of the viewers (sponsors), who might send you some help during the games. And so we come to the games themselves, and this is where I’ll leave you hanging or the Spoiler Police (Futuristic Movies Division) will be entering me for the next event (even though I’m far too old!).

SC_D52_16365_R This is a very well made film with some nice CGI in places, although I did feel it was a little over-used in a couple of scenes. I wasn’t very impressed with the quality of the sound, although that might have been down to the equipment at my local cinema (not a multiplex). As far as performances go, well, the stand-out has to be Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen. She was ably supported by; Josh Hutcherson as Peeta Mellark, Stanley Tucci as Caesar Flickerman, Wes Bentley as Seneca Crane (with some extraordinary beard sculpturing), Liam Hemsworth as Gale Hawthorne, Lenny Kravitz as Cinna, Donald Sutherland as President Snow and finally, although he didn’t have a lot to say, Toby Jones as Claudius Templesmith.

The Hunger Games - 7 There are so many similarities (in part) to other films it’s hard to know where to start. I guess ‘Battle Royalle’ is a pretty good start, although I could see influences from; ‘The Truman Show’, ‘Rollerball’ (the original one) and ‘The Running Man’ in there too. I did get the impression that there is a lot more explained in the book than there was time for on the screen because I did feel I had missed out on a few plot points here and there. These particularly surrounded the relationship between Katniss and Peeta; I won’t discuss it here as I don’t want to go putting down spoilers. Over all though, the 142 minute running time seemed to pass quite quickly (always a good sign) and so I’m happy to deem this one… Recommended.

My score: 8.2/10.

IMDb Score: 7.8/10 (based on 56,220 votes when this review was written).
http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt1392170/

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 85/100 (based on 239 reviews counted at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 87/100 (based on 84,278 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/the_hunger_games/

If you’re crazy enough… You can find me on Facebook at:
http://facebook.com/andy.steel3

The Hunger Games - 2 FAVOURITE QUOTES:
President Snow: And it was decreed that each year, the 12 districts of Panem should offer up a tribute of one young man and woman between the ages of 12 and 18 to be trained in the art of survival and to be prepared to fight to the death.

Katniss Everdeen: May the odds be ever in your favour.

Katniss Everdeen: So you're here to make me look pretty.
Cinna: I'm here to help you make an impression.

The Hunger Games - 3 Caesar Flickerman: What did you say to your sister when you volunteered at the reaping?
Katniss Everdeen: I told her that I would try to win for her.
Caesar Flickerman: And try you will.

Rue: You have to win.

The Hunger Games - 1 LINKS:
(Note: All were working at the time of going to press)
Official Site: http://www.thehungergamesmovie.com/
Official Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thehungergamesmovie
Trailer:

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Film Review: CORALINE (2009)

Coraline - poster Director: Henry Selick
Writers: Neil Gaiman (book), Henry Selick (screenplay)
Running time: 96 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): PG

Genre: Animation/Adventure/Fantasy
UK Release date: 8th May 2009

Watched on DVD Sunday 25th March 2012.

PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.

This is a film I have wanted to see for a long time. I’m a fan of animation, as some of you know, and this is one that, for one reason or another, always got pushed back in the viewing pile. Well, a window of opportunity finally opened this weekend and it got its long-awaited viewing. It was well worth the wait! I’ll give you my thoughts after this brief summary.

Coraline Coraline Jones lives with her parents in an old building that has been split into apartments. They have recently moved in and Coraline feels her parents have no time for her. She visits the, very eccentric, neighbours to relieve the boredom, but it is when a local boy, ‘Wybie’, gives her a doll he got from his grandmother that things really liven up for her. She finds a secret door behind the wallpaper that leads to another version of the building. There she has another mother and another father, but everyone has buttons for eyes. This does not seem to matter to Coraline as her ‘other’ parents have time to spend with her and they cook such wonderful meals! But nothing is ever quite what it seems… I will leave it there or the Spoiler Police (Animation Division) will be re-animating me (again).

Coraline - 2 Excellent stop-motion animation and a rather brilliant storyline are what I took from this film. I must admit I love the look and feel of it, so hats off to the designers and animators who put it together. I should give mention to the performances, although nobody really stood out, but honourable mentions go to the voice talents of; Dakota Fanning as Coraline Jones, Teri Hatcher as Mel Jones / Other Mother / Beldam, Jennifer Saunders as Miss April Spink / Other Spink, Dawn French as Miss Miriam Forcible / Other Forcible and Keith David as The Cat.

Coraline - 3 I really enjoyed this film; it may be a bit quirky for some, but I really liked the animation and the storytelling. This, combined with some great characters, makes for a very pleasurable experience. I was trying to think what it reminded me of, and the only thing I could think of was ‘Pans Labyrinth’, but only in a very superficial way. If you liked ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’ then I’m sure you’ll love this!... Recommended.

My score: 8.5/10.

IMDb Score: 7.7/10 (based on 63,514 votes at the time of going to press).
http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt0327597/

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 90/100 (based on 231 reviews counted at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 77/100 (based on 317,343 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/coraline/

If you’re crazy enough… You can find me on Facebook at:
http://facebook.com/andy.steel3

Coraline - 5 FAVOURITE QUOTES:
Wybie Lovat: I'm Wybie. Wybie Lovat.
Coraline Jones: Wybie?
Wybie Lovat: Short for Wyborn. Not my idea, of course. What'd you get saddled with?
Coraline Jones: I wasn't 'saddled' with anything. It's Coraline.
Wybie Lovat: Caroline what?
Coraline Jones: Coraline. Coraline Jones.
Wybie Lovat: Hm. It's not real scientific, but I heard an ordinary name like Caroline can lead people to have ordinary expectations about a person.

Coraline Jones: [blank] I almost fell down a well yesterday, Mom.
Mother: [typing] Uh-huh.
Coraline Jones: I would've died.
Mother: That's nice.

Coraline Other Mother: You know, you could stay forever, if you want to. There's one tiny thing we have to do first...

Coraline Jones: He's not drunk, Mom, he's just eccentric.

[last lines]
Coraline Jones: Welcome, Miss Lovat!
Wybie's Grandmother: Oh, hello.
Coraline Jones: I'm Coraline Jones. I've got so much to tell you.

Coraline - 1 LINKS:
(Note: All were working at the time of going to press)
Official Site: http://coraline.com/
Trailer:

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Film Review: FIRE IN THE SKY (1993)

Fire in the Sky - poster Director: Robert Lieberman
Writers: Travis Walton (book), Tracy Tormé (screenplay)
Running time: 105 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 15

Genre: Sci-Fi/Drama
UK Release date: 18th June 1993

Watched on DVD Saturday 24th March 2012.

PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.

Back in the nineties there was a TV show called ‘The X-Files’ and one of the characters, Mulder, had a poster on his office wall. It was a blown-up photo of an alien craft with the caption, ‘I Want to Believe’. Well, I was one of those who ‘wanted to believe’ back then, and so imagine my surprise when I came across this little ‘alien abduction’ movie a few years later. The first time I saw it, must have been in the late nineties/early noughties, I remember being quite impressed with it. Finding it in a DVD bargain bin, I snapped it up recently and decided to give it a second look. Well, I’ll give you my thoughts after this brief summary.

Fire in the Sky - 5 Based on a true story, the film follows the disappearance of one Travis Walton from a logging crew. The rest of the crew, led by Mike Rogers, return to town and tell the authorities the truth; he was abducted by aliens, as far as they know. The police bring in a special investigator, Frank Watters, but still can find no evidence of foul play. The townsfolk are getting all riled up when Travis suddenly re-appears; he is in a bad way, suffering from shock and has clearly been through an ordeal. What will this mean for the rest of the crew though? I will leave it there or the Spoiler Police (Alien Abductions Division) will be probing me (again).

Fire in the Sky - 4 Quite well made, but I’m afraid it does have a little of the look and feel of a TV movie of the week. There are some great effects in the second half of the film that are definitely worthy of note (no CGI there!). As far as performance go, well everyone was pretty good and so I’ll give honourable mentions to; D.B. Sweeney as Travis Walton, Robert Patrick (who starred in some latter episodes of ‘The X-Files), as Mike Rogers, Craig Sheffer as Allan Dallis, Peter Berg as David Whitlock, Henry Thomas as Greg Hayes and it was also nice to see James Garner as Frank Watters.

Fire in the Sky - 6 The first half of the film is a pretty run-of-the-mill drama with Travis being abducted and the fallout from that the crew suffers in town. It really picks up in the second half when Travis is returned and we see, in flashback, what he experienced inside the alien spaceship. This part of the movie stands out, although I must admit there are some good moments, from an acting point of view, in the first half. So, for me, I did find it a little uneven although I suspect fans of ‘The X-Files’ will like it; and as one of those I’ll have to deem it… Recommended (with reservations).

My score: 6.2/10.

IMDb Score: 6.3/10 (based on 7,682 votes at the time of going to press).
http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt0106912/

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 33/100 (based on 15 reviews counted at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 31/100 (based on 19,135 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/fire_in_the_sky/

If you’re crazy enough… You can find me on Facebook at:
http://facebook.com/andy.steel3

Fire in the Sky - 7 FAVOURITE QUOTES:
[first lines]
Citizen: [truck just raced into parking lot] What the hell is that all about?

Allan Dallis: Yeah, well. I think it's about time we got outta here, what do you boys think?
Lieutenant Frank Watters: You're real broken up about your missing buddy, aren't you?
Allan Dallis: Well, that's very perceptive. That's 'cause he's not my friend.
Lieutenant Frank Watters: I got that. Clearly.
Allan Dallis: Did you? Good. Now, ya' done?

Mike Rogers: Yeah, who is this?
Operator: I have a collect call from Travis Walton. Will you accept the charges?
Katie Rogers: You know, just hang up the phone.
Mike Rogers: I'll accept it.
Operator: Go ahead, sir.
Travis Walton: Mike!
Mike Rogers: Travis?
Travis Walton: Help me!

[last lines]
Mike Rogers: Let's get outa here - before they come back.
Travis Walton: Oh they won't come back. I don't think they like me.

Fire in the Sky - 3 LINKS:
(Note: All were working at the time of going to press)
Trailer:

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Film Review: THE TOWN (2010)

The Town - poster Director: Ben Affleck
Writers (Screenplay): Peter Craig, Ben Affleck & Aaron Stockard
Writer (Novel ‘Prince of Thieves’): Chuck Hogan
Running time: 120 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 15

Genre: Crime/Drama/Thriller
UK Release date: 24th September 2010

Watched on DVD Sunday 18th March 2012.

PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.

This is one of those movies that have been kicking around in my collection for some time now. It was looking a bit neglected and so I thought I’d give it a viewing today. I had heard some good things about it when it was released and so I was hopeful of a good experience. I wasn’t disappointed, the film delivered on several fronts and I think Mr. Affleck is developing into a pretty good director. I will tell you more after this brief summary.

The Town - 1 After a daring bank robbery in which the manager, Claire Keesey, is terrorised; the gang, lead by Doug MacRay discover she lives near another gang member, James Coughlin. They had all been wearing disguises and left no DNA at the scene, but they couldn’t be sure she wouldn’t recognise them. MacRay decides to see if he can discover just what (if anything) she knows. In doing this he becomes involved with her and they begin a relationship. Meanwhile the FBI are on the trail of the robbers and also they are commissioned for another job by a character known as ‘The Florist’, Fergus ‘Fergie’ Colm. As things progress with Claire, MacRay feels the urge to get out of Charlestown and make a fresh start with her. The FBI, however, and ‘The Florist’ may have other ideas about that. I will leave it there or the Spoiler Police (Heist Movies Division) will be locking me up on trumped-up charges (again).

The Town - 2 Made in a very realistic style which, as with his directorial debut, ‘Gone Baby Gone’ (2007), matches the mood of the piece really well. All the performances were excellent, but I particularly liked Rebecca Hall as Claire Keesey, Jeremy Renner as James Coughlin and Blake Lively as his sister, Krista Coughlin; all three put in sterling performances. Of course, Ben Affleck proved once again what a fine actor he is as Doug MacRay. Also worthy of note were; Jon Hamm as FBI S.A. Adam Frawley, Slaine as Albert ‘Gloansy’ Magloan, Owen Burke as Desmond Elden, Titus Welliver as Dino Ciampa and finally a mention for Pete Postlethwaite as ‘The Florist’, Fergus ‘Fergie’ Colm in one of his last roles.

The Town - 6 A complicated plot that’s quite heavy on dialogue in places, but there are some very nicely put together action scenes in there too. There are several threads to the story that all tie up in the end, although the poignant ending does leave the audience guessing to some extent. I must say I did enjoy this film with its multi-layered plot and, at times, edgy style. It’s certainly one I would give another viewing to at some point in the future… Recommended.

My score: 8.3/10.

IMDb Score: 7.6/10 (based on 118,712 votes at the time of going to press).
http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt0840361/

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 94/100 (based on 210 reviews counted at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 83/100 (based on 110,251 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/the_town/

If you’re crazy enough… You can find me on Facebook at:
http://facebook.com/andy.steel3

The Town - 5 FAVOURITE QUOTES:
WARNING: SOME STRONG LANGUAGE
Doug MacRay: [narrating] Driver's name is Arthur Shea. Former Metro Police officer, fifty-seven years old. Soon as his partner leaves with the coal bag, Artie cracks a Herald, and he don't look up 'til the guy gets back. Marty Maguire. Cummins Armored courier. Five-ten, two-twenty, fifty-two years old. Picks up every Wednesday and Friday at exactly 8:12, makes a hundred and ten dollars a day, carries a Sig nine. And he's about to get robbed.
[cuts to Doug and Jem briefing their comrades, Gloansy and Dez, in a dark room]
Doug MacRay: We're fucked if we see a helicopter; we're fucked if we see SWAT. We see a cruiser, stop, take out the engine blocks, keep movin'. No one needs to get hurt.
James Coughlin: Yeah, these guards like to test you, though. They wanna get hurt for ten dollars an hour, don't get in the way.

Film Review The Town Claire Keesey: So what do you do for work?
Doug MacRay: Boston Sanding Gravel, I break rocks. Punch the ticket at the end of the day, slide down the back of a brontosaurus like Fred Flintstone, call it a night.

FBI S.A. Adam Frawley: Now, we're a long way away from a grand jury here... and we'll never get 24 hour surveillance unless one of these idiots converts to Islam. So, we build the case. Alright, let's get to work.

[last lines]
Doug MacRay: No matter how much you change, you still have to pay the price for the things you've done. So I got a long road. But I know I'll see you again - this side or the other.

The Town - 8 LINKS:
(Note: All were working at the time of going to press)
Official Site: http://thetownmovie.warnerbros.com/dvd/
Trailer:

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Film Review: FAST FIVE (2011)

Fast Five - poster [A.K.A. FAST & FURIOUS 5]

Director: Justin Lin
Writers: Chris Morgan, Gary Scott Thompson (characters)
Running Time: 124 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 12

Genre: Action/Crime/Thriller
UK Release Date: 21st April 2011

Watched on Sky+ Saturday 17th March 2012.

PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.

I think I’ve probably seen the previous four ‘Fast & Furious’ films and so I thought it would be a shame to miss out on the latest instalment. I broke with tradition and checked a couple of sites before I decided to give it a look (didn’t want to waste my time on another turkey!). I was pleasantly surprised to see it scored quite well and so I thought I’d give it a shot. I must say it did exactly what it said on the tin and I can honestly say it’s a welcome return to form for the F&F franchise. I will tell you more after this very brief summary.

Fast Five - 1 Having sprung Mia’s brother and Brian O’Conner’s best friend, Dominic Toretto, from prison, the trio head for Brazil to lay low. Mia and Brian meet up with an old friend, Vince, who steers them in the direction of a job; a car heist. The job doesn’t quite go according to plan but they end up in possession of some very useful information about the operations of a drug cartel headed by one Hernan Reyes. Some American D.E.A. agents were killed during the heist and so tough lawman, Luke Hobbs, and his team are sent to Brazil to capture Toretto and his associates. Meanwhile, Toretto decides to use the information they have on Reyes to take all his money and retire. To do this they will have to assemble a team and one final, spectacular, heist is planned. I will not say any more or the Spoiler Police (Care Chases Division) will be suspending my license (again).

Fast Five - 6 Very well shot with some truly spectacular driving stunts and special effects; the driving in this film is really excellent; hats off to all those involved in the stunt work! As for performances, well everybody did a decent job; Vin Diesel as Dominic Toretto and Paul Walker as Brian O’Conner, reprising roles from previous instalments were just as good as they were in the first film. Jordana Brewster as Mia Toretto did a decent job, as did Dwayne Johnson as the no-nonsense cop, Luke Hobbs. Also worthy of note were; Tyrese Gibson as Roman Pearce, Ludacris as Tej Parker, Matt Schulze as Vince and Joaquim de Almeida as Hernen Reyes.

Fast Five - 2 You’d have thought a film about big men driving fast cars wouldn’t be all that appealing, but this one does have a bit of something about it. No, it’s not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but it is entertaining in its own way and I can’t knock it for that. The stunt work is excellent and the plot isn’t all that bad as either. It does, however, require some knowledge of at least some of the previous films involving the main characters though. It works quite well as a caper/heist movie with a bit of an edge to it, although I did find a little too much time was spent with the ‘good guys’. The city of Rio features very prominently and, for me, was also a bit of a star of the show. Over all, although it’s not a great film, it’s an entertaining film and one I have no problem in deeming… Recommended.

My Score: 7.2/10

IMDb Score: 7.3/10 (based on 105,098 votes at the time of going to press).
http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt1596343/

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 78/100 (based on 180 reviews counted at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 83/100 (based on 104,318 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/fast_five/

If you’re crazy enough… You can find me on Facebook at:
http://facebook.com/andy.steel3

Fast Five - 3 FAVOURITE QUOTES:
Hobbs: Hey Toretto, you're under arrest.
Dominic Toretto: I don't feel like I'm under arrest.
Dominic Toretto: [to Brian] How about you Brian?
Brian O'Conner: No, not a bit. Not even a little bit.
Hobbs: Oh just give it a minute, it will sink in.
Brian O'Conner: We didn't kill those feds. That was Reyes.
Hobbs: I don't give a shit. I'm just here to bring two assholes whose names hit my desk.
Brian O'Conner: Yeah, that sounds like a real hero.
Hobbs: That's funny. From a guy who took the oath of a cop, then went against everything it stood for, for some wannabe tough guy prick who beat a man half to death with a socket wrench. Yeah, real tough. You turn around and put your hands behind your back.
Dominic Toretto: I don't think so.
Hobbs: Your mistake is thinking you have a goddamn choice, boy!
Dominic Toretto: And your mistake? Thinking you're in America. You're a long way from home. This is Brazil!

Fast Five - 5 Brian O'Conner: You realize we're talking about going up against the most powerful guy in all of Rio?
Dominic Toretto: Yes, we are.
Brian O'Conner: Then we're gonna need a team.

Roman Pearce: [regarding going into a police station] Who's supposed to do all that?
[Everyone looks at Roman]
Roman Pearce: What do you mean? Why me?
Brian O'Conner: Cause you got the biggest mouth.
Tej: That is for damn sure.

Fast Five - 4 LINKS:
(Note: All were working at the time of going to press)
Official Site: http://www.fastfivemovie.com/
Trailer:

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Film Review: PAUL (2011)

Paul - poster Director: Greg Mottola
Writers: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost
Running time: 104 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 15

Genre: Comedy/Sci-Fi/Adventure
UK Release date: 14th February 2011

Watched on DVD Sunday 11th March 2012.

PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.

I know it’s quite rare for me to watch and review a comedy, but I decided that on a Sunday morning with a bad back I needed a bit of a laugh. This was a bit of an odd choice for me because I find Pegg and Frost a bit of a mixed bag… I liked ‘Hot Fuzz’ where as, controversially, I found ‘Shaun of the Dead’ a bit too predictable for my liking (I know I’m gonna get slagged off for that!). Also, from what I’ve seen of Seth Rogen’s work, he has yet to make me laugh… not even once. The film had a pretty good reaction in the press and so I hit the PLAY button with just a little trepidation. I’ll tell you what I thought after this very brief summary.

Paul-movie-image-Simon-Pegg-Nick-Frost-comic-con Two British sci-fi geeks, Graeme Willy and Clive Gollings, having visited Comic-Con, decide to go on a road trip around the famous American UFO hotspots. They hire an RV and the trip seems to be going well until, outside Area 51, they witness an accident and rescue Paul… an alien. He convinces them to help him escape ‘The Big Guy’ and her agents, Zoil, Haggard and O’Reilly. They head north and stop at an RV park where they meet Ruth Buggs, a fundamentalist Christian who accidently sees Paul. They now have to take her with them as they try to evade capture in a race against time to get Paul back to his people. I won’t say any more or the Spoiler Police (Aliens Division) will have me probed (again).

Paul - 1 Very well made with some nice CGI work and effects; I also very much liked the choice of music, but if you open with ‘Another Girl, Another Planet’ by The Only Ones you’ve got me right there! All the performances were pretty good, although I particularly liked Kristen Wiig as Ruth Buggs, she really stood out for me performance-wise. Of the others, well, Simon Pegg as Graeme Willy and Nick Frost as Clive Gollings pretty much did what they usually do and Seth Rogen as the voice of Paul was just about what I expected. I’ll give honourable mentions to; Jason Bateman as Agent Zoil, Bill Hader as Haggard, Joe Lo Truglio as O’Reilly and, not forgetting, Sigourney Weaver as The Big Guy.

Paul - 5 A film littered with nods and homage’s to many classic sci-fi movies; you could spend hours going through it and noting them all. This could be distracting, but, as it’s a comedy, I’ll let it slide (this time). I thought the theological question was handled quite well, although I can see it not going down too well in certain quarters. It’s a well scripted piece although I did get the feeling it had been very much ‘tweaked’ towards the American market; although a couple of ‘Brit’ in-jokes did squeak through. I must say I did enjoy it though and, at the end of the day, it did what it said on the tin. I was afraid it would go off in a certain direction at one point, but in the end they managed to steer it home! Would I watch it again?... Yes!... Recommended.

My score: 7.0/10.

IMDb Score: 7.1/10 (based on 75,553 votes at the time of going to press).
http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt1092026/

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 71/100 (based on 189 reviews counted at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 70/100 (based on 80,163 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/paul/

If you’re crazy enough… You can find me on Facebook at:
http://facebook.com/andy.steel3

Paul - 6 FAVOURITE QUOTES:
WARNING: SOME STRONG LANGUAGE
Adam Shadowchild: [Upon seeing the cover of Clive Gollings' book, which shows an alien woman with 3 breasts] Three tits? Awesome.

Clive Gollings: [Putting the phone to his ear] It's ringing.
Paul: [Out of view] I wouldn't do that if I were you
[Clive and Graham turn around]
Paul: Put... the phone... down!
Clive Gollings: [Falling backwards fainting] Ha ha ha ha ha!
Paul: Aw fuck me.
Graeme Willy: [Looks to his right, then down, and then back at the approaching alien] What did you do to him?
Paul: I didn't do anything to him - he fainted!
Graeme Willy: But you made him faint!
Paul: It's not like I set my Phaser to faint!
Graeme Willy: You've got a Phaser?

Ruth Buggs: The world is 4000 years old and can only be the product of intelligent design.
Paul: [off-screen in the bathroom] That's horseshit!

Paul - 7 Ruth Buggs: So everything that I have been told my whole life, is just a big fat lie? Do you know how that feels?
Graeme Willy: Look. Just because your truth, isn't the true truth, doesn't mean there is no truth, Ruth.
Ruth Buggs: That's easy for you to say.
Graeme Willy: It's really not.

Paul: This is America. Kidnapping a Christian is worse than harbouring a fugitive.

Paul - 2 LINKS:
(Note: All were working at the time of going to press)
Official Site (UK): http://www.paulthemovie.co.uk/
Official Site (USA): http://www.whatispaul.com/
Trailer:

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Film Review: SENNA (2010) - Revisited

Senna - poster Director: Asif Kapadia
Writer: Manish Pandey
Running Time: 103 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 12

Genre: Documentary/Biography/Sport
UK Release Date: 3rd June 2011

Watched on Sky+ Saturday 10th March 2012.

PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.

This is my second viewing of this remarkable documentary, I first saw it at the cinema back in July 2011. I must admit a second viewing hasn’t dampened my enthusiasm for this great piece of work. I will admit to being a Formula 1 fan and I remember most of the events depicted here very well, but never saw them from Senna’s point of view before. It’s a story that has has great drama, passion and emotion and even non-F1 fans have given it high praise.

42-19687857 The film tells the story of the Brazilian driver Ayrton Senna from his early days in carting through his rise to fame and fortune in Formula 1 to his untimely death in an accident in 1994. We are told about the feud he had with fellow driver, Alain Prost, and the battles they had both on and off the track. How he dealt with the politics of the sport and how he became a huge star, giving hope to millions, back home in Brazil. We also see events from the point of view of his family, journalists and commentators and those that worked closely with him.

Senna - 3 I love the way this film was put together, there is no commentary and no interviews with people made after the fact. It’s all archive footage and interviews, mostly with Senna himself, that tells the story, much of it in his native Portuguese (with subtitles – you have been warned). As has been said many times before, real life can be so much better than fiction and this story has so much drama and emotion in it I firmly believe, in this case at least, it’s true. The section of the film concerning his death I remember watching events unfold live on TV very well. It was the blackest day in Formula 1 history and I don’t think I’ll ever forget it. It is depicted with a lot of emotion and I will admit to the odd manly tear at that point.

Senna - 5 To many, Ayrton Senna was the greatest driver ever to race in Formula 1. I’ll admit that I wasn’t his greatest fan at the time; I wanted the British drivers to win (of course). However, always admired his talent and now I know more about him I am inclined to think that, yes, he was one of the greatest. This is a truly remarkable film and one I can highly recommend to both fans of the sport and those that don’t follow it alike. It’s a remarkable story and one I’m sure you will find yourself thinking about for a long time afterwards.

My Score: 9.1/10

IMDb Score: 8.6/10 (based on 14,373 votes at the time of going to press).
http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt1424432/

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 92/100 (based on 115 reviews counted at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 96/100 (based on 12,051 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/senna/

If you’re crazy enough… You can find me on Facebook at:
http://facebook.com/andy.steel3

Senna - 6 FAVOURITE QUOTES:
Jean-Marie Balestre: The best decision is my decision!

Senna - 4 LINKS:
(Note: All were working at the time of going to press)
Official Site: http://www.sennamovie.com/
Official Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sennamovie
Trailer:

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Film Review: HARD CANDY (2005)

Hard Candy - poster Director: David Slade
Writer: Brian Nelson
Running time: 104 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 18

Genre: Drama/Thriller/Crime
UK Release date: 16th June 2006

Watched on Sky+ Sunday 4th March 2012.

PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.

This is one of those films that came up in a conversation a while back. I can’t quite remember the context, but I do remember it came highly recommended. Of course I duly added it to ‘The List’ and it finally put in an appearance this week. I must say I was impressed with the performances in this one, the two major characters were both excellently portrayed. This is vital because the whole film lives or dies by those performances. I will tell you more after this very brief summary.

Hard Candy - 6 When photographer Jeff Kohlver is persuaded to meet with a fourteen year old girl he has been chatting to online, he has no idea what she has planned for him. The girl in question, Hayley Stark, is very forward, almost bullying him into taking her home. But when they get there things turn very bad for Jeff and he finds himself exposed in more ways than he imagined possible. I really don’t want to say any more as this is best watched with very little (or even no) prior knowledge. Don’t worry, what I’ve said here will not spoil anything for you… I hope not anyway or the Spoiler Police (psychological Thrillers Division) will be doing similar things to me that occur in the film (no clues).

Hard Candy - 8 Although most of the action takes place in one location I thought the film was beautifully shot. The use of close-ups and fading to coloured panels made the film more watchable than it might have been. I must say that both Patrick Wilson as Jeff Kohlver and Ellen Page as Hayley Stark were both excellent! Although there’s hardly anybody else in the film I will give a quick mention to Sandra Oh who played neighbour, Judy Tokuda.

Hard Candy - 1 This is a pretty tough watch; uncompromising and brutal, where the action on the screen is only half the story. It’s the bits you don’t see that stay with you, not just the physical things but the way Haley uses the psychological to persuade Jeff to do her bidding. It’s not one I could watch again, well not for a very long time anyway. I must admit that I was very impressed with both Ellen Page and Patrick Wilson; the whole film hung on their performances and they delivered in spades! It’s certainly a film that will make you think twice about meeting an online acquaintance face to face… Recommended.

My score: 7.6/10.

IMDb Score: 7.2/10 (based on 67,324 votes at the time of going to press).
http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt0424136/

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 68/100 (based on 136 reviews counted at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 76/100 (based on 99,662 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/hard_candy/

If you’re crazy enough… You can find me on Facebook at:
http://facebook.com/andy.steel3

Hard Candy - 5 FAVOURITE QUOTES:
Hayley Stark: Well, 4 out of 5 doctors agree that I am actually insane.

Hayley Stark: You really just don't look like kind of guy who needs to meet girls over the internet.
Jeff Kohlver: Well, I think it's better to meet people online first, sometimes. You get to know what they're like inside. When you work as a photographer you find out real quick peoples faces lie.
Hayley Stark: Does my face lie?

Hard Candy - 7 Jeff Kohlver: Those letters are mine.
Hayley Stark: Nothing's yours when you invite a teenager into your home.

Jeff Kohlver: Ah, so you and your mom are both wacked?
Hayley Stark: I dunno. There's that whole nature versus nurture question, isn't it? Was I born a cute, vindictive, little bitch or... did society make me that way? I go back and forth on that...

Hard Candy - 4 LINKS:
(Note: All were working at the time of going to press)
Trailer: