The worst film of the year so far

September 25, 2008

Up until yesterday it was easily 10,000 BC that was hitting the top of my list regarding really poor films.

Then I had the opportunity to see Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of The Crystal Skull.

This truly is a disgrace of a film.  I can only imagine it could possibly have been made for the money involved.  The story, acting and directing was below anything I thought possible for the franchise that filled my youth.  I wouldn’t even class this as an Indiana Jones.  Ford can only have taken this role for the $$.  It was diabolical.  Honestly.  It seems they took everything that was good about the films and the formula and chucked it out the window.  Boring and tedious for the most part with a story that was laughable, even for an Indiana Jones film.

I can’t imagine I am alone in thinking this and after reading some other reviews it’s clear that I’m not.

I feel like Lucas has done a Star Wars prequel to one of my favourite series of films.  It was a very sad day yesterday.  Felt like a part of me died….


iPod Out

August 31, 2008

Latest technological revolution in the house?  Well I have been wanting the ‘Apple TV’ for a while.  HD films via iTunes has it’s appeal even if the iTunes film service isn’t exactly up to scratch over here in the Uk yet.

Anyways, rather than shelling out £200+ I decided on a stop gap.  The rather over priced AV out composite cable for iPod Touch.

After being rather silly and trying to connect it via s-video / scart / RYW connections I had a proper look at the back of the TV and found the correct RGB composite connection.  Once fully connected up the rather large iTunes film downloads play excellently.  Almost DVD quality.

Our test run included the renting of Cloverfield and Beowulf.  Both average films with a download time of about 20mins each.  The Touch did an excellent job.

Saves a trip to blockbusters and works well until I decide to take the plunge for the Apple TV.

In The Valley Of Elah

July 19, 2008

In The Valley Of Elah

Tommy-Lee Jones puts in a very captivating performance as usual in what I found to be a rather mediocre thriller full of ‘The War in Iraq’ morality.

The unbelievably grizzled Jones has had some rather decent films out recently, not least the stunning ‘No Country For Old Men’.  But as far as I am concerned this is a rather weak effort as a film.  The story of his son being murdered, in a hideous way, after coming back from Iraq allows him to explore some of the deeper emotions which he does with aplomb.  The addition of Theron adds little to the mix other than the eye candy.

As for the story, as I touched on, it is rather a run of the mill mystery/thriller with the customary chase scenes and violence thrown in rather as an after thought.  The parts that really ground on me were the ‘effects of war on the average Joe’ scenes.  This has been done so many times before, and recently, that I think the film industry as a whole needs to stop pointing out to us that war destroys people and their lives.  The obvious is the obvious and I can take a subtle pod in whichever direction the morality of the film wishes, but having it forced down my throat is tiresome.  Susan Sarandon is also wasted here and seems to be cast to beef up the billing.

The actors do their jobs but this film was too much band wagon, not enough story for my tastes.


July 18, 2008

WALL-E Film Poster

Sometimes when you hear so much about a film it will taint your viewing experience one way or the other; and I’m afraid that is what happened for me with WALL-E.

Now don’t get me wrong before I have even begun the review.  I liked WALL-E, I really liked it.  But not as much I as was led to believe I would.  Yes I believed the hype.  A cardinal, cliche ridden, sin.

As with most Pixar films I find it hard to pick fault generally and I guess the only real one I can find with this isn’t even a fault at all.  I’ll repeat: I believed the hype.

What I have said so far makes it sound as if I didn’t get anything from the film and I did, I was just looking for more.

I am ending this rather short review with a summing up that I think holds the essense of my viewing experience.

WALL-E is an excellently animated morallity tale with a sweet love story.  It is nicely seeded with current affairs dilemas that are packaged perfectly for children.  It has enough to satisfy the young and old.  Is it ‘magnificent’ or ‘classic’?  I really don’t think there is enough substance for that.  Is it one of the best animated films in recent years?  Without a doubt.

Blade Runner: The Final Cut

June 1, 2008

Blade RunnerIt’s been many years since I watched this film on VHS.  I think back then I wasn’t old enough to appreciate or understand most of the finer plot points and as such had dismissed it in my youth.  But I was wise to give it another go when The Final Cut appeared on TV.

I love this dark vision of the future.  It doesn’t go into huge amount of detail about this version of our possible future and, I think it is fair to say, is slightly optimistic about how far we would come by 2019 in some respects.  But for a 25 year old film it doesn’t half hold up well.

The visual environment is stunning and epic in proportion.  Every scene, landscape and visual oozes quality and attention to detail.

Harrison Ford does what he does best.  He plays Harrison Ford but that doesn’t take away from the quality of the experience as a dark and foreboding  image of the future.

This story of replicants and their hunter, or Blade Runner, is as good as it ever was.  The script is delectable and as a fan of the sci-fi genre I can say that you won’t go far wrong with this.  Did I mention this is a Ridley Scott film?  No, the name alone explains most of the quality.

Deliciously dark.  Tempered and paced to perfection.


May 19, 2008

So Disney have been on the rocks for the past decade, possibly longer?

I suppose Enchanted is a reach to try something new, maybe trying to reignite the love affair with the over 10’s who remember such classics as The Lion King, Aladdin et al.

Well it doesn’t work because the film isn’t good enough a vehicle for the live action cartoon cross over that is it’s novelty.

Neither the live action nor the cartoon are any good, on their own or as the bigger picture.  The children will love it of course, but it is boring.  Very boring.    The characters are two dimensional, obvious and cliche ridden.  Did I mention that it is boring too?

The title song with soundtrack is catchy enough but that’s about all the film as going for it.

If you want a decent live action cartoon crossover, go and watch Who Framed Roger Rabbit instead.


10,000 BC

May 9, 2008

Yep, I have watched it against my better judgement and after switching off at some point near the end I realised my better judgement is just that.

I had read the reviews and obviously know of Emmerich’s previous work, which peeked at the heights of his first film Independence Day and has slowly filled the testosterone heightened teenage boys lust for CGI over substance ever since.  And yet I still put it on.

What can I say to give you an idea of what you would be letting yourself in for if this graces your media player.

Well, think Dawson’s Creek / One Tree Hill / Desperate Housewives style acting. Basically the state of play of most American soaps with a few notable exceptions.  Then take your perception of said ‘dramas’ above and lower the acting bar a few notable percentage points, think maybe 40 – 50 %.  (They can’t afford to pay a decent cast after splurging on over the top CGI to drive the no existent story).

The story?  Think the Lord of the Rings style fantasy, except LOTR story is based on far more fact….

Ok, so I have given you a brief outline of my thoughts so far.  So lets go in-depth….

Except we can’t.  That is about as in-depth as the film gets.

Convoluted love story, fictional setting with a handful of facts about the historical period of 10,000 years ago, more than a handful of historical inconsistencies, abysmal acting,  2D characters, adequate CGI (which the film relies on totally, as it is the only substance to be found).

I was going to say this is a poor mans Apocalypto, but then that is way too generous.

Every other review I have seen is correct, and there are dozens.

Avoid.  Avoid.  Avoid.


April 10, 2008

<!– @page { size: 8.5in 11in; margin: 0.79in } P { margin-bottom: 0.08in } -It should have been an epic film about the Korean war. Instead it is an epic melodrama. There are good points though.

I know it’s horrific to say that the violence is a plus point, but it is. It is gritty and realistic, more so than most western war films I have seen. This touch of reality based in the generally good battle scenes falls down because of the convoluted main storyline. This ends up turning the whole story into a soap opera.

As the ending approaches any suspension of disbelief you may have had disappears as the film desends into pure farce.

It’s a shame really because it really was a promising first hour.


April 7, 2008

A Hollywood blockbuster of interest? Well almost.

The premise to this film is different. Well almost.

Think Godzilla vs The Blair Witch Project and you are pretty much there. As for the film, well it works, but probably the wrong way round for most film fanatics with taste.

The novelty of the perspective and film making itself works like a charm, even though I have heard reports of people getting dizzy or sick from the unsteady camera. The special effects are simply stunning and the combination of these attributes couldn’t work better together.

Where the film falls down however is with some aspects of the story and the characters. They just don’t work as well as I would have liked. I don’t really care what happens to the protagonists. At all. And that is a big problem. This is mainly because the acting really isn’t up to the standard I would require, but I guess that’s what happens when you blow your wad on the effects and are therefore forced to recruit unknowns.

As for the storyline, it basically works, however I wasn’t sold on the convoluted love story and I don’t think it was needed to make the film tick a long and, or, to force the leads into the situations required to ratchet up the excitement needed for a big budget Hollywood effects blockbuster.

These obviously detrimental flaws aside, I did enjoy the film as a whole, but then I have always been a sucker for a monster movie. King Kong it isn’t, but as a no brainer going in new directions, it isn’t unwatchable by any means.

Early Reviewing and Reviewing

April 4, 2008

I requested my pick of books from the selection available for early reviewing for April, and I should hear what I will be getting by the 8th.

I selected every title available to me and they were:

  • Being Emily by Anne Donovan
  • Jasmine’s Tortoise by Corinne Souza
  • Sugarcoated by Catherine Forde
  • My Miserable Lonely Lesbian Pregnancy by Andrea Askowitz
  • Opening Up: Creating and Sustaining Open Relationships by Tristan Taormino

I turned off Tourneuse de pages, La after about an hour last night.  Why?  Well it was a middle of the road ‘thriller’ without the thrills.  I have no doubt that the predictions I made to myself about how the film would have unfolded and ended were cast in stone.  This smacked of a ‘straight to video’ release and I was in no mood for below par film making last night.