Sunday, 29 September 2013

Film Review: RE-ANIMATOR (1985)

Re-Animator - poster Director: Stuart Gordon
Writers: H.P. Lovecraft (story “Herbert West, Re-Animator”), Dennis Paoli, William Norris, Stuart Gordon (screenplay)
Running time: 95 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 18

Genre: Horror/Sci-Fi
USA Release date: 18th October 1985

Watched on Terrestrial PVR Sunday 29th September 2013.

PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE UNINTENTIONAL SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.

This is one of those films that, on release was talked about a lot in schoolyards up and down the country. One that gained more than its fair share of notoriety, mainly due to the exaggeration of the youth. Of course it couldn’t possibly be that gory; could it? Well I finally found out today, and yes, it is all that gory folks! Very much a B-Movie, but one with a certain something that I’m struggling to define right now. The acting is not bad, but equally not that good; the effects are a tad dated, but still do the job surprisingly well; I can only conclude that it must be the script. It’s one of those that creeps up on you and before you know it, you’re enjoying this crazy tale! But to re-cap for a moment; the story surrounds a new student at a medical school; Herbert West (Jeffrey Combs). He has some theories about death that are contrary to the head of research, Dr. Carl Hill (David Gale). Add to the mix a young personable student, Dan Cain (Bruce Abbott), his girlfriend, the beautiful Megan Halsey (Barbara Crampton) and her father, Dean Halsey (Robert Sampson); and you’ve got all the ingredients for an 80’s horror. When West begins to experiment and drags Dan into it, you know it’s going to end up messy.

Re-Animator - 3 A film very much in the style of the 1930’s classic horrors, it never pauses for a laugh and never misses a beat. I admire that it’s all taken so seriously and that the actors play it so straight. This gives it a bit of an edge over more modern takes on the genre (for me). Although none of the performances could be called great, I thought both Jeffrey Combs and David Gale come out on top. I really liked the musical score by Richard Band, almost a homage to the great horrors of the past. Over all, an intriguing film that I ended up enjoying despite a totally ludicrous story line; definitely worth a look for any horror fan. Be warned though, it’s definitely NOT for the squeamish.

SteelMonster’s verdict: RECOMMENDED

My score: 7.2/10.

IMDb Score: 7.2/10 (based on 26,184 votes when this review was written).
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0089885/

MetaScore: No Data: (Based on 0 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com at the time of going to press).

Re-Animator - 5 Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 95/100: (based on 42 reviews counted at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 61/100 “Want to See”: (based on 35,051 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/reanimator/

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Re-Animator - 1 LINKS:
(Note: All were working at the time of going to press)
Official Site: http://www.re-animatorfilms.com/Re-Animator.cast.html
Trailer:

Film Review: THE MAN WITH THE IRON FISTS (2012)

The Man with the Iron Fists Director: RZA
Writers: Eli Roth (screenplay), RZA (screenplay/story)
Running time: 95 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 18

Genre: Action/Martial Arts
UK Release date: 7th December 2012

Watched on Sky+ Sunday 29th September 2013.

PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE UNINTENTIONAL SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.

I remember when this one came out there appeared to be a certain amount of anticipation; probably due to the (tenuous) involvement of one Quentin Tarantino; he ‘Presented’ this one (whatever that means). Looking on how well it’s done since, it appears all that anticipation was misplaced. But I digress; the film is set in feudal China where a Blacksmith (RZA) is forced to make weapons in order to protect his village from feuding gangs and government forces looking for a lost shipment of gold. To add spice to this there’s also an English Officer in the village, Jack Knife (Russell Crowe), a son looking for revenge on his murdered father, Zen Yi, The X-Blade (Rick Yune) and a brothel madam who knows more than she lets on, Madam Blossom (Lucy Liu). On the bad guys side we have; Silver Lion (Byron Mann), Poison Dagger (Daniel Wu), Bronze Lion (Cung Le) and Brass Body (Dave Bautista). Finally there’s the Blacksmith’s sweetheart, Lady Silk (Jamie Chung).

The Man with the Iron Fists - 4 There is plenty of action with a fight scene every five minutes (or so it seems); the pacing is kept pretty high throughout also. There are many impressive set-pieces with many tricks we’ve seen before being re-used. For me, this wasn’t a problem; I wanted to be entertained and that’s just what I got. There is quite a high gore-factor though, so it’s definitely not one for the squeamish. All the performances were very good with Russell Crowe, despite a very Aussie sounding English accent, standing out for me. I was impressed with RZA; I thought he did a very decent job taking on the dual role of actor and director. Lucy Liu was as reliable as ever and I also liked the performances of Rick Yune and Byron Mann. It’s quite a simple tale told with a very highly paced action orientated script. It’s well made and did just what it said on the tin. This is one of those where I’m going to disagree with popular opinion and give it more credit than most because I didn’t think it was that bad.

SteelMonster’s verdict: RECOMMENDED

My score: 6.6/10.

IMDb Score: 5.4/10 (based on 37,468 votes when this review was written).
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1258972/

MetaScore: 51/100: (Based on 18 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com at the time of going to press).

The Man with the Iron Fists - 6 Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 49/100: (based on 83 reviews counted at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 41/100: (based on 44,945 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/the_man_with_the_iron_fists/

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Man With The Iron Fist LINKS:
(Note: All were working at the time of going to press)
Official Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ironfistsmovie
Official Site: http://www.universalstudiosentertainment.com/man-with-the-iron-fists-the/
Trailer:

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Film Review: LONE STAR (1996)

Lone Star - poster Writer/Director: John Sayles
Running time: 135 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 15

Genre: Drama/Mystery/Romance
UK Release date: 11th October 1996

Watched on Sky+ Saturday 28th September 2013.

PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE UNINTENTIONAL SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.

I knew very little about this one on the way in and so it was a bit of a revelation to me. I’m not awfully big on Westerns but this modern take on the genre with a huge dose of noir was a nice surprise. Some great performances with the likes of Chris Cooper as Sam, Elizabeth Peña as Pilar and Kris Kristofferson as Charlie Wade all putting in some great work. The story revolves around the recently returned Sherriff, Sam who becomes embroiled in investigating the conduct of his father (the previous Sherriff) when a body is found in the desert outside the town. Set in southern Texas, there are many threads that are woven in this complex tale of corruption and intrigue. There are many flashbacks that help the audience to understand the characters and the various motivations of those being investigated.

Lone Star - 5 If anything I found this one a little too complex; there were several threads that seemed totally unrelated to the main thrust of the story. It’s also, I felt, a little too long; the filmmakers are asking quite a lot for an audience to concentrate for two hours and fifteen minutes. It is slow paced, but I didn’t particularly mind that; I’m used to the noir style and it is usually quite a slow burner. Some great performances with Chris Cooper coping well with the leading role and Kris Kristofferson playing the villain of the peace with gusto. Also we have Elizabeth Peña, who did an excellent job as the female lead and a small part for Matthew McConaughey as Buddy Deeds. Although it does have its problems I still found it an excellent watch; definitely one to look out for for all you noir fans out there.

SteelMonster’s verdict: RECOMMENDED

My score: 7.5/10.

Lone Star - 1 IMDb Score: 7.5/10 (based on 18,083 votes when this review was written).
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0116905/

MetaScore: 78/100: (Based on 22 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com at the time of going to press).

Lone Star - 3 Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 93/100: (based on 41 reviews counted at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 44/100 “Want to see”: (based on 8,927 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/1074022-lone_star/

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

Friday, 27 September 2013

Film Review: PONYO (2008)

Ponyo - poster Writer/Director: Hayao Miyazaki
Running time: 101 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): U

Genre: Animation/Adventure/Family
UK Release date: 12th February 2010

Watched on Terrestrial PVR Friday 27th September 2013.

PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE UNINTENTIONAL SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.

Time being of the essence, I’m going to keep this short today. I heard many good things about Ponyo when it came out and have tried to see it a couple of times before, but always seemed to miss the boat (pardon the pun). Finally managed to pin it down about a month ago though and have been waiting for it to bubble to the top of the pile on my Freeview PVR ever since. Well the day finally arrived and it was definitely worth the wait. I’m a fan of the work of Studio Ghibli and of Miyazaki in particular and so that’s no huge surprise. No summary this time, I’m going straight into my thoughts.

Ponyo - 3 Beautifully animated with all the style and grace of Miyazaki’s work. It is distinctively his own and I hope nobody ever tries to copy it. I saw it in the ‘Americanised’ Disney version with some well known names in the cast. For me though, I feel it always loses something; I would have rather seen it with its original Japanese soundtrack. For some reason, that gives it a little more authenticity and also makes it a little more mystical. But the English language version was ok too with the likes of Cate Blanchett as Granmamere, Liam Neeson as Fujimoto, Tina Fey as Lisa, Matt Damon as Kôichi, Frankie Jonas as Sôsuke and (of course) Noah Lindsey Cyrus as Ponyo. They all did a pretty good job. I very much liked to music by Joe Hisaishi as well, it has a great feel to it and fits the visuals really well. Over all, although I’m far from the target audience, I have to say I really enjoyed this engaging mystical tale. Maybe one for a very young audience, which proves I must be young at heart, but certainly a worthy watch.

SteelMonster’s verdict: RECOMMENDED

My score: 8.2/10.

IMDb Score: 7.7/10 (based on 50,831 votes when this review was written).
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0876563/

MetaScore: 86/100: (Based on 29 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com at the time of going to press).

Ponyo - 6 Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 92/100: (based on 158 reviews counted at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 80/100: (based on 93,134 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/ponyo/

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Ponyo - 1 LINKS:
(Note: All were working at the time of going to press)
Official Site (Disney): http://movies.disney.com/ponyo
Official Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PONYO
Trailer:

Monday, 23 September 2013

Film Review: WILD AT HEART (1990)

Wild at Heart - poster Director: David Lynch
Writers: Barry Gifford (novel “Wild at Heart: The Story of Sailor and Lula”), David Lynch (screenplay)
Running time: 125 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 18

Genre: Crime/Romance
UK Release date: 24th August 1990

Watched on Terrestrial PVR Monday 23rd September 2013.

PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE UNINTENTIONAL SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.

I have to admit I knew very little about this one before viewing. I have seen copies of the DVD in many a bargain bin but never paid it much heed. On discovering it was directed by David Lynch I decided to give it a go when it appeared in the TV listings recently. So what did I think; well, it’s got Lynch all over it with many of his tropes well to the fore and I did like it, although it did have its problems. I’ll tell you more after this very brief summary.

Wild at Heart - 1 After a spell in prison for manslaughter, Sailor Ripley (Nicolas Cage) gets out and is met by his girl, Lula Fortune (Laura Dern). The pair decides to drive across country from Cape Fear to California but Lula’s domineering mother, Marietta (Diane Ladd) has other ideas. She sends a series of hit men after the couple as they travel to New Orleans and then on to a small town in Texas. This is where they run into Bobby Peru (Willem Dafoe), could he be the one to cash in?

Wild at Heart - 4 Filled with some crazy characters, this one certainly catches your attention and refuses to let go. Nicolas Cage is at his best playing the larger than life Sailor Ripley and Laura Dern does a great job as Lula. I thought Diane Ladd as Marietta was truly excellent and Willem Defoe was also great as the sleazy Bobby Peru. You cannot fail to notice the many references to ‘The Wizard of Oz’; a theme that runs throughout. Unfortunately I found the film ran too long, there’s only so long you can put up with all the craziness. It reaches a point where we lose one of the main threads that have been running through the first two thirds of the film and I found that quite distracting. Still, it’s worth a look for a decent Cage performance and the, almost comic-book, like characterisations from Lynch (well at least for the first two thirds).

SteelMonster’s verdict: RECOMMENDED

My score: 6.9/10.

IMDb Score: 7.2/10 (based on 44,027 votes when this review was written).
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0100935/

MetaScore: 52/100: (Based on 18 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com at the time of going to press).

Wild at Heart - 6 Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 65/100: (based on 43 reviews counted at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 80/100: (based on 42,112 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/wild_at_heart/

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Wild at Heart - 2 LINKS:
(Note: All were working at the time of going to press)
Trailer:

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Film Review: SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK (2012)

Silver Linings Playbook - poster Director: David O. Russell
Writers: David O. Russell (screenplay), Matthew Quick (novel “The Silver Linings Playbook”)
Running time: 118 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 15

Genre: Comedy/Drama/Romance
UK Release date: 21st November 2012

Watched on Sky+ Sunday 22nd September 2013.

PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE UNINTENTIONAL SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.

I wasn’t sure about this one before watching it. I’m quite wary of popular American comedies; I have fallen foul of their evil (and terribly unfunny) ways before. Even as I began to watch I was afraid it was going to be a big mistake, but as it transpired, there was little to worry about. The film actually does have a heart and I found I finally could connect with the characters by the end. I will tell you more after this very brief summary.

Silver Linings Playbook - 2 When Pat (Bradley Cooper) is released from a mental institution he has made several decisions about his life. Not least of which was to do everything he could to patch things up with his wife, Nikki (Brea Bee). But she’s not all that an important character right now, as will be revealed. His parents, Pat Sr. (Robert De Niro) and Dolores (Jacki Weaver) are supportive but have their own troubles. Pat Sr. has lost his pension and has begun taking bets in order to make ends meet. He’s obsessed with the Philadelphia Eagles and sees Pat as some kind of lucky omen. But while out for a meal with friends Pat meets Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence) who is widowed and also has emotional problems. She can get a message to Nikki, who has a restraining order out on Pat, but she wants something in return. And I think I’ll leave it there; that should be enough to give you a flavour.

Silver Linings Playbook - 4 I found it a little hard to get into at first with Bradley Cooper over-acting in places, which was beginning to put me off. The introduction of Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence) though changed all that and the narrative began to make more sense. All the performances were excellent with (for me) Jennifer Lawrence standing out. Yes, I know De Niro is there but he’s really not a major character although he does play his part very well. Bradley Cooper was good, but no better really than I have seen him before. The action is littered with an awful lot of music, some I was familiar with and some not so much; all of it fitted the visuals well though and it made for a welcome enhancement to the entertainment. Over all I found it a well rounded romantic comedy (with some drama thrown in for good measure) and just a twist of quirkiness. It even touched me on an emotional level (a rare thing these days) so it gets a pretty high recommendation from me.

SteelMonster’s verdict: HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

My score: 8.3/10.

IMDb Score: 7.9/10 (based on 266,428 votes when this review was written).
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1045658/

MetaScore: 81/100: (Based on 45 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com at the time of going to press).

THE SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 92/100: (based on 299 reviews counted at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 87/100: (based on 233,762 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/silver_linings_playbook/

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Silver Linings Playbook - 3 LINKS:
(Note: All were working at the time of going to press)
Official Site: http://silverliningsplaybookmovie.com/
Official Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Silver-Linings-Playbook/453807761317648
Trailer:

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Film Review: DOWN TERRACE (2009)

Down Terrace - poster Director: Ben Wheatley
Writers: Robin Hill, Ben Wheatley
Running time: 89 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 15

Genre: Crime/Drama/Comedy
UK Release date: 30th July 2010

Watched on Terrestrial PVR Saturday 20th September 2013.

PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE UNINTENTIONAL SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.

I can’t say I’m particularly a fan of Ben Wheatley’s work, but to be fair, I haven’t seen an awful lot of it. I put this partly to rights when one of the film channels here in the UK decided to show a short season of his films to coincide with the release of ‘A Field in England’, (review here). I certainly found this an interesting film with a very interesting style. I will tell you more after this very brief summary.

Down Terrace - 4 When father and son Bill (Robert Hill) and Karl (Robin Hill) get let off drug trafficking charges in court they return home to their terraced house. There waiting for them is Maggie (Julia Deakin), Bill’s wife, and a lad who works for them, Garvy (Tony Way). They want to get to the bottom of who had set them up and their suspicions initially fall on Garvy. Other characters begin to turn up; Eric (David Schaal) and Pringle (Michael Smiley), both of the criminal fraternity and then there’s Valda (Kerry Peacock), an ex-girlfriend of Karl’s who happens to be pregnant with his kid. As I said, there were suspicious of Garvy, but how far will it go before the week is out?

Down Terrace - 1 This film was billed as a comedy but I found it so darkly comic that I could almost take it as a straight-up drama. All the performances were excellent with both Robert and Robin Hill putting in stellar turns. A cross between a kitchen sink drama and a fly-on-the-wall documentary, I found the filming style made for a compelling watch. Unfortunately there were a couple of niggles. They are supposed to be drug dealers but we see no drug dealing going on. Also, the police were very conspicuous by their absence; not one policeman seen al the way through. You’d have thought the police would definitely be watching someone with their track record. Other than that I found it an interesting and compelling watch. Just a word for the squeamish though, Ben Wheatley does not hold back on the violence. There are a couple of quite graphic scenes in there that might have you wincing.

SteelMonster’s verdict: RECOMMENDED

My score: 7.1/10.

IMDb Score: 6.1/10 (based on 1,424 votes when this review was written).
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1489167/

MetaScore: 68/100: (Based on 14 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com at the time of going to press).

Down Terrace - 2 Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 85/100: (based on 34 reviews counted at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 60/100: (based on 1,371 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/down-terrace/

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Down Terrace - 3 LINKS:
(Note: All were working at the time of going to press)
Official Site: http://www.downterrace.com/
Official Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/downterrace
Trailer:

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Film Review: TROUBLE WITH THE CURVE (2012)

Trouble With The Curve - poster Director: Robert Lorenz
Writer: Randy Brown
Running time: 111 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 12

Genre: Drama/Sport
UK Release date: 30th November 2012

Watched on Sky+ Sunday 15th September 2013.

PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE UNINTENTIONAL SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.

Now baseball is not big here in the UK, in fact, other than it’s a bit like rounders and it’s really big in North America and the Far East, I know little about it. So why watch a film about it; well, I have seen a few films centred around the sport before and I’ve always found them quite interesting, so I thought I’d give this one a go. The fact it’s also got Clint Eastwood and Amy Adams in it, two of my favourite actors, is just incidental (honestly). I will give you my thoughts after this very brief summary.

Trouble With The Curve - 7 When ageing scout Gus (Clint Eastwood) discovers his sight is failing him his estranged daughter, Mickey (Amy Adams) decides to go with him on a scouting trip to help him out. Mickey has a high powered job and is up for a promotion and so this trip could not have came at a worst time for her. Gus has issues with her coming along, apart from him being fiercely independent, he still sees her as a little girl sometimes. Whilst on the trip they meet Johnny (Justin Timberlake) who is a washed-up player who it trying out as a scout for another team. Johnny and Mickey eventually hit it off but it’s her relationship with her father that is important. Will it survive this trip or have those bridges already been burned?

TROUBLE WITH THE CURVE Well made with many baseball references that went well over my head but that didn’t matter. The film isn’t about that, it’s about relationships and as such I found it an engaging watch. Both Clint Eastwood and Amy Adams were excellent in this; I admire them both as actors and they didn’t disappoint. Justin Timberlake gets better each time I see him, I just wish he’d stop making those awful records! (It’s a joke folks). Also worthy of note were Matthew Lillard as Phillip Sanderson, Robert Patrick as Vince and John Goodman as Pete Klein. It’s not a tear-jerker or a heart rending tale but I found it did strike an emotional chord with me. If, like me, you admire Eastwood and Adams then it’s well worth a look.

SteelMonster’s verdict: RECOMMENDED

My score: 8.1/10.

IMDb Score: 6.7/10 (based on 28,479 votes when this review was written).
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0087075/

MetaScore: 58/100: (Based on 40 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com at the time of going to press).

Trouble With The Curve - 5 Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 52/100: (based on 182 reviews counted at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 66/100: (based on 41,982 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/trouble_with_the_curve/

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Trouble With The Curve - 4 LINKS:
(Note: All were working at the time of going to press)
Official Site (US): http://troublewiththecurve.warnerbros.com/dvd/
Trailer:

Film Review: THE WORLD’S END (2013)

The World's End - poster Director: Edgar Wright
Writers: Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg
Running time: 109 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 15

Genre: Action/Comedy/Sci-Fi
UK Release date: 19th July 2013

Watched at the cinema Sunday 15th September 2013.

PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE UNINTENTIONAL SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.

Finally managed to catch up with ‘The World’s End’. I had wanted to see it since it was announced although the more I found out about it the more I feared a clone of ‘Shaun of the Dead’. I will tell you whether I thought it was or not at the end. It certainly hits all the right comic notes with Pegg and Frost to the fore (as expected). Here’s a very brief (& spoiler-free) summary before I give you my thoughts.

The World's End Gary King (Simon Pegg), a 40 year old man desperately trying to cling to his youth, is trying to put the old gang back together. His quest, to complete a legendary pub crawl they had failed to complete twenty years ago. The other members of the group are Andy Knightley (Nick Frost), Oliver Chamberlain (Martin Freeman), Steven Prince (Paddy Considine) and Peter Page (Eddie Marsan). They are returning to the town they all grew up in, Newton Haven, for the legendary ‘Golden Mile’ pub crawl; twelve pubs, twelve pints in one night. But when they get there all it not what it seems. There, said it would be brief and I’ve probably told you a lot less than you could get from the trailer.

The World's End - 6 Very well made with all the usual tropes you expect from and Edgar Wright/Simon Pegg script. There are an awful lot of references to their past work and very subtle nods to other films along the way. I guess you’d have to watch it many times to get them all. All the performances were excellent with Frost and Pegg taking centre stage (of course) but with the talent on show, nobody could really put a foot wrong. Oh, and I have to mention Rosamund Pike who plays the female lead, Sam Chamberlain, I thought she was excellent as well. So was it just a clone of ‘Shaun of the Dead’? Well, it has many similarities but the characters are all different and the antagonist is also different. So not a direct clone but you can see where it came from. Over all, I liked it, an entertaining romp well worth a look.

SteelMonster’s verdict: RECOMMENDED

My score: 7.7/10.

IMDb Score: 7.6/10 (based on 26,613 votes when this review was written).
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1213663/

MetaScore: 81/100: (Based on 45 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com at the time of going to press).

The World's End - 1 Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 89/100: (based on 184 reviews counted at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 80/100: (based on 56,125 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/the_worlds_end/

If you’re crazy enough… You can find me on Facebook at:
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The World's End - 4 LINKS:
(Note: All were working at the time of going to press)
Official Site (UK): http://www.theworldsend-movie.com/uk/
Official Site (Focus Features): http://www.focusfeatures.com/the_worlds_end
Official Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheWorldsEndMovieUK?brand_redir=1
Trailer:

Saturday, 14 September 2013

Film Review: THE COMPANY OF WOLVES (1984)

The Company of Wolves - poster Director: Neil Jordan
Writers: Angela Carter (story “The Company of Wolves”/screenplay), Neil Jordan (screenplay)
Running time: 95 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 18

Genre: Horror/Fantasy
UK Release date: 21st September 1984

Watched on Sky+ Saturday 14th September 2013.

PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE UNINTENTIONAL SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.

I first saw this film many years ago and when I noticed it in the listings recently I decided to give it another look. I have to admit I was quite impressed; for its day it stands up pretty well even by today’s standards. Now I’m not particularly big on horror movies; I find the majority of them far too predictable and made for a much younger audience; but I did enjoy this one. I’ll tell you why after this very brief summary.

The Company of Wolves - 1 The story is told through the eyes of the young Rosaleen (Sarah Patterson) who lives in a small village in a forest with her mother (Tusse Silberg) and father (David Warner). Rosaleen is told stories about wolves and men by her granny (Angela Lansbury) but little does she know just how near the truth they might be. There, I said it would be short.

The Company of Wolves - 3 I remember when I first saw this film (many years ago); I found it quite slow and plodding. This time I appreciated much more the measured approach taken by the director. It gives the audience time to take in the story and become familiar with the strange world he has created. Yes, there are a few clichés in there, the medieval village with a 17th century manor house and the fact the snakes (big ones) live in an English forest did seem kind of wrong to me. Also in the ‘dislike’ column came the musical score; sorry but synth's just don’t cut it any more. May have sounded cool at the time but now it’s just too damn cheesy. Okay, so what’s to like; well, first there’s the performance of Sarah Patterson, who I though did a truly excellent job given the talent she was working with. I also liked the special effects; all mechanical with not a hint of CGI (after all, it didn’t really exist back then). I really liked the way the story was structured but it could have done without the ‘modern day’ bits tagged on to either end. Over all I found it an entertaining watch and something every horror fan should have seen at least once.

SteelMonster’s verdict: RECOMMENDED

My score: 7.3/10.

IMDb Score: 6.6/10 (based on 8,905 votes when this review was written).
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0087075/

MetaScore: No data: (Based on 0 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com at the time of going to press).

The Company of Wolves - 5 Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 7.7/100: (based on 13 reviews counted at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 54/100: (based on 8,147 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/company_of_wolves/

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The Company of Wolves - 6 LINKS:
(Note: All were working at the time of going to press)
Trailer: (Sorry about the quality)

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Film Review: TAKEN 2 (2012)

Taken 2 - poster Director: Olivier Megaton
Writers: Luc Besson, Robert Mark Kamen
Running time: 88 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 15

Genre: Action/Crime/Thriller
UK Release date: 4th October 2012

Watched on Sky+ Sunday 8th September 2013.

PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE UNINTENTIONAL SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.

Having seen and enjoyed the first film in this series I was quite looking forward to a second instalment. Sadly it fell flat due to the studio’s insistence on “maximizing the audience” by toning it down to get a lower age certificate. So I was surprised to find the version showing on TV with a 15 Cert. as opposed to the 12 Cert. it was given on release. Now I know certification for TV works differently to that for a cinema release but even so I was actually looking forward to this one. I won’t do a summary this time because it’s basically the same story as the first film but with an element of revenge.

Taken 2 - 2 A well shot film making full use of its surroundings, Istanbul in this case. Well paced with the level action keeping the adrenalin pumping almost from the start. The performances were all very good although I felt nobody was particularly stretched. Liam Neeson was his usual self as Bryan Mills, Maggie Grace was good as daughter Kim, as was Famke Janssen as wife Lenore. Also worthy of note was Rade Serbedzija as major bad guy, Murad Krasniqi. It was ok as a piece of entertainment but I felt it didn’t do anything the first film didn’t. You usually expect a sequel to expand on the story of the first but this one virtually told the same story but with a couple of alterations. It seemed like the studio (Fox) were just out to cash in on the success of the first one. I’m just glad I didn’t go and watch it in a cinema but still, if you want entertainment that won’t stretch the little grey cells to much, then this is the one for you.

SteelMonster’s verdict: RECOMMENDED (Just)

My score: 6.3/10.

IMDb Score: 6.2/10 (based on 124,940 votes when this review was written).
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1397280/

MetaScore: 45/100: (Based on 35 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com at the time of going to press).

Taken 2 - 1 Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 21/100: (based on 162 reviews counted at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 54/100: (based on 197,482 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/taken_2_2012/

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Taken 2 - 3 LINKS:
(Note: All were working at the time of going to press)
Trailer: