Friday, April 18, 2014

(NOIR) Fog Island - 1945 ***


A poorly done "B'' movie about a group of people invited to an old man's house at Fog Island. He invites them there under the pretext that they will be given some of his inheritance but he actually wants to uncover which of them murdered his dead wife. I was surprised but happy to see Jerome Cowan of the 'Fred and Ginger' films taking a moderate sized part here, but the quality of the film was so dire that a lot of the time it was hard to differentiate who was who.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Critical Condition - 1987 ***


Richard Pryor movies are always over the top and very silly. Especially the ones where he's paired up with Gene Wilder. He may be 'acting solo' here, but he's still pretty funny. Here he plays Kevin, a con man who is threatened with jail after being caught smuggling jewellery. Desperate to avoid a prison sentence, he pretends that he is insane (the courtroom scene in which he does this is totally improvised, and hilarious) and as a result is carted off to a mental hospital. When he arrives at the hospital a power surge renders the whole place in darkness and without medical equipment and he has to pose as a qualified doctor in order to escape. Escaping isn't so easy however when patients begin to need urgent treatment and he has to jump in and help them, despite not having a clue what he is doing. It's almost slapstick in some ways, but definitely has Pryor's manic, psychotic slant on it.
Funny.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

(NOIR) A Woman's Secret - 1949 ***


Susan (Gloria Grahame) lies on the floor shot. Marian (Maureen O'Hara) is found leaning over her with a gun. But is the story as black and white as it seems (did you see what i did there with the black and white...?)
Actually it's not. We discover that Susan is the young protegee of Marian, a popular singer who loses her voice and is desperate to find a replacement. It's a tiny bit like 'All About Eve' but with singing instead of acting. Luke (Melvyn Douglas) is her piano player, and to be honest he's my favourite character (and actor) in the film. He has enough gusto to keep it going, without stepping on the two lead actresses toes. When Susan becomes popular herself, (and appears to catch the eye of Luke, this makes Marian rather jealous. She wants a replacement, but not at the cost of her relationship or career. O'Hara isn't a bad actress, but I've never been particularly into her work, and although Gloria Grahame is the typical femme fatale in noir, she didn't appear to be at her best either.
Worth a watch though, although as one critic remarked - 'There's too much unintended mystery about A Woman's Secret for it to be anything but spotty entertainment'. Sadly I think that might be right.

(NOIR) The Big Bluff - 1955 ***


For a 'typical film noir' The Big Bluff  is quite good. Produced by Billy Wilder's overlooked (and much less talented) brother W. Lee Wilder might've given it a bit of credit. Alas it did not. And acting-wise it was rather shoddy, which spoilt it tremendously.
After a chance meeting and quick marriage, a wealthy fortune hunter hopes to cash in on his terminally ill wife's inheritance, but when he discovers that the 'last holiday' they are taking together is actually improving her health considerably, he and his lover have to resort to other startling tactics to get the money.
I like how the idea of 'The Big Bluff' is actually the bluff of the marriage and the relationship which the would-be killer has to keep up the pretence of for a lot longer that originally hoped.
Apart from that however, it's predictable and not very strong.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

The Big Wedding - 2013 **

Considering the massive stellar cast I was disappointed at this rather unfunny 'comedy' about a motley crew of characters when all congregate together when a relative is getting married. Robert De Niro is the father who has to pretend that he is still happily married to Diane Keaton in order to convince his son's stepmother of the traditional ways of their family. In reality he has been in a relationship with Susan Sarandon for eight years.  What follows are a series of embarrassing moments as the wedding gets closer.
Its moderately okay, but it wasn't as good as I had hoped.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

(HORROR) The Last Exorcism Part II - 2013 **


After the pandemonium of the first 'Exorcism' film, this second one follows Nell in the years after her exorcism. Believing that is cured from her past experiences, she takes a job as a chambermaid in a hotel and lives in a girl's home. However, it is not long before she starts experiencing strange things, and a close relationship with a co-worker at the hotel that appears to be going well ends in tragedy.
I didn't enjoy this as much as the first film, and couldn't quite come to grips with Nell as a normal girl in a normal environment.


The Sadist - 1963 *


If it wasn't for the plot, 'The Sadist' would've fallen by the wayside a long time ago. It was notably the first film to be based on Charles Starkweather and Caril Fugate, the loved up couple who went on a killing spree in the late 1950s in Nebraska.
Here we have 'The Sadist' and his moronically monosyllabic girlfriend, holding up three teachers who come into car trouble at an old junkyard. The whole film is basically 'The Sadist' grinning and laughing and pointing a gun at the hostages, while his girlfriend 'Jodeee' sits on a wall merrily swinging her legs and swigging coca cola. The Sadist appears to be cross-eyed, as well as sporting a crop of remarkable 'Beach Boyesque' floppy hair so his whole appearance is all the more terrifying. If he's trying to portray James Dean, he's failing miserably.

Antiviral - 2012 ***


Imagine if you were so obsessed with a celebrity that you chose to have a virus that they are suffering from have injected into your body. This film is about just that. A clinic which uses viruses from sick celebrities to inject into crazed fans who are hoping to 'become connected' to their idols. It is of course, quite likely that you will die if the virus is bad enough. The injections and treatments are all performed in a very controlled and serious way, almost as if the idea is normal. This is what makes the film so terrifying. There are also 'butcher' shops that fans can go to to buy meat that is grown from the cells of celebrities. The whole film is really twisted. To be honest, it reminds me a bit of 'Delicatessen' and I will probably think about it for days.
Although the film is meant to shock because of it's plot, I suspect that maybe the director was trying to get across the vast obsession we as as population have with famous people, and how being besotted with these individuals can sometimes damage our health and put our lives at stake.
Quirky and dark, morbidly terrifying and original.

(HORROR) The Resident - 2011 ***


Tough, no nonsense Hilary Swank stars as Juliet, a young woman who moves into what she believes is her perfect apartment after breaking up with her cheating boyfriend, but soon starts to believe that she is being stalked by somebody close by. At the same time, Max, the man she is renting the apartment from begins to make his feelings for her known, and the couple get closer. But there is something wrong, and when Juliet decides to start seeing her ex-boyfriend again, Max is not happy. Not happy at all.
I quite liked this, but found it dragged on a bit after the first hour or so. It was quite predictable and that might be what made my mind wander towards the end. Still a good watch though.

The Black Widow Murders: The Blanche Taylor Moore Story - 1993 **


Blanche Taylor Moore is a well known name in America. And this story chronicles the murders committed by her of two of her husbands as well as her father, all by arsenic.
I found Elizabeth Montgomery to be infuriating as Blanche, which probably proves what a good job she was doing. I definitely didn't ever feel sorry for Blanche as a character or a human being. She got what was coming to her, and had no remorse for any of her actions.
I have seen better 'straight - to - television movies about murders and their perpetrators and so wouldn't rank this particularly high on my list, despite the subject matter.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Delivery Man - 2013 **


Only Vince Vaughn could willingly take part in such a stupid film and get away with it.
David is an underachiever who works at his family butcher shop, and earns ridiculously low pay. To make matters worse, he is being chased by scary men who are after a huge amount of drug money from him that he will not be able to repay. Oh, and his girlfriend has just found out that she is pregnant.
Things are not going well for him. But one day when he comes back from work, he is confronted by a lawyer who tells him that because of his regular sperm donations years and years ago he has fathered 533 children.
142 of these children have started a lawsuit against the fertility clinic to release the identity of the man who fathered them.
Eager to see how his brood has turned out, David stalks each of his children, finding any little thing he can do to start a conversation of give them some support.
Before long, the thugs catch up with him, and he decides to sue the sperm bank for damages.
It's a very silly, and completely ridiculous film, and I must say, that although Vince Vaughn is quite funny, I'm getting a bit fed up of him playing the same pathetic characters in each movie.

Labor Pains - 2009 ***


Mildly amusing comedy about a young woman named Thea who fakes a pregnancy to stop herself from getting fired from her horrible boss.
Lindsay Lohan isn't a bad actress (it is after all what she became famous for years ago) and walking around pretending you are pregnant for the whole film isn't the easiest thing to do.
As time goes by, Thea gets caught up in the lie of being pregnant, and even starts to have feelings for a co-worker who takes pity on her when she splits up with her 'fiance'.
It's not going to win any awards, but it's still quite funny, and worth a watch.

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

The Bling Ring - 2013 ***


I'm pretty obsessed with the Bling Ring at the moment. I've been reading up on the true story avidly for some time, watched the film and got the book. I'm not sure what it is about the events that have captured my attention so much, but there appears to be a fine line between the fact that what the group did was illegal, but also that they did something so brazen and gutsy that they have amassed a great deal of admirers. They are in effect, now celebrities in their own right, which is ironic considering the reasons they committed the crimes was down to an obsession with fame and fortune.
They are idolized but hated at the same time. That's what makes the story all the more jaw dropping.
Although the character's names have been changed in the film it's quite obvious who is meant to be who. Emma Watson is the standout character, playing the role of Nikki (based on Alexis Neiers, who I have to say is my 'favourite' member of The Bling Ring). She and her friends live in the affluent area of Calabasas in California. By all accounts they have everything they could want. Except for one thing. They are all celebrity obsessed and fame hungry. One evening, the lead of the group Rebecca (based on Rachel Lee) takes a new friend from school to Paris Hilton's house after finding out that she will be away at an awards ceremony that night. Her friend comments that only Paris Hilton would be stupid enough to leave her house key under the mat. He is correct. They enter the house and in Rebecca's own words "go shopping", making off with money, bags, clothes and alcohol from Paris's house. This triggers off a chain of robberies that lead to the notorious group of 7 being known as the 'Bling Ring'. I am fascinated by what drives these people. I am also fascinated by how easy it is to rob a celebrity's house. The film alone is maybe not outstanding (although it does have a beautiful Sofia Coppola theme and cinematography) but if you put it with the real facts as well as the novel you have one explosive, controversial subject that will go down in the annuals of celebrity for years to come.

(NOIR) C-Man - 1949 *


Very poor Noir with Dean Jagger, who plays an Agent on the trail of the murderers of his best friend and boss. It's badly acted, (laughable in places) and incredibly fake. In some scenes Jagger quite obviously fake punches his assailants and the sound is added later. Added to which the quality is horrendous. It's not on par with other noirs I have seen and it's a pity that it doesn't have a higher respect for itself.

Warm Bodies - 2013 *


'Warm Bodies' probably only really strikes a cord for the obsessive 'Twilight/The Walking Dead' fans who enjoy the surreal 'dead boy/alive girl' ratio.
That annoying bloke from 'About a Boy' spends his days wandering around 'undead' in an airport after a post-apocalyptic disaster with loads of other zombies craving human flesh. He bumps into a girl who isn't 'undead' and falls for her. It's like a horrendous zombie Romeo and Juliet escapade.
I didn't like it.

Savage Grace - 2007 **


'Sensual and Decadent' this film has been quoted as. So I must have missed something. Sad really because I was looking forward to seeing this as I had done some research on the case earlier.
There was nothing sensual about this story, and even Julianne Moore could not save the day in her portrayal of the mentally unhinged Barbara Daly Baekland who went down in the annuals of true crime as the murder victim of her schizophrenic son Tony.
The true story is interesting, but the film doesn't appear to cover much about the growing incestuous relationship between Barbara and Tony 9apart from a horrible scene towards the end which we really didn't need to see.) I didn't see much regarding Tony's ever changing mental state which would ultimately be his undoing, more that he was simply sexually provocative.
For information it's best to go online and read up in detail about the story instead of watching this. 

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

The Starving Games - 2013 ***

Obviously it would help if I had actually seen 'The Hunger Games', but even so, this was a silly and satirical look at what happens when you have to fight to the death... on an empty stomach! Winning a chicken and half a pickle will no doubt spur on the contestants, but being starving will inevitably drag the process out.
Funny film.

Weird Science - 1985 ****

A film I had never seen, 'Weird Science' delivers in all areas. It delivers for laughs, costumes, sci-fi and a beautiful woman.
Two friends, tired of being nerdy and unpopular, decide to create their own perfect woman on the computer (which, as you can imagine has the largest and most dated monitor you have ever seen) with hilarious and touching results. 'Lisa' is not only the most attractive woman they have ever seen, but is willing to do whatever they ask her to.
A funny if rather dated movie now, but definitely worth a watch.

Monday, March 24, 2014

(HORROR) Motel Hell - 1980 *


'Motel Hell' is a cult classic. I would assume from those 2 words that it would mean it's a good film. But it's not. It's pitifully done, poorly acted, and really very bad in all aspects. Even the 'hilarious' play on words of 'Motel Hello' turning into Motel Hell doesn't raise a smile with me. It's just not funny. And the tone of the cinematography is that of low budget rubbish.
Literally all you need is the quote on the poster and you know the whole film ('It takes all kinds of critters to make Farmer Vincent Fritters').

Take Me Home Night - 2011 **


A ghastly rom-com. None of the characters are likeable, they all seem to have one purpose in life - to get drunk and go to parties (except for Anna Faris who is the biggest attention seeker ever and keeps going on about having a letter from Cambridge but not wanting to open it).
There is the usual big, unfunny bloke with curly hair who doesn't have any aim or goal in his life, and there is the typical suit-wearing 'I'm quietly intelligent yet also a complete snob' bloke too.
All romantic comedies, or even comedies full stop nowadays are filled with stereotypical characters, and it really annoys me. Also, the woman that one of the pathetic men is after (usually one from school/uni/work/the one that got away) is not only a total b**** but also not much to look at. There, that wraps up the film. Lots of drinking, doing drugs, trying to get off with women who are horrible, and soul searching about how pathetic life can be.
Not what you would call an uplifting film.
2 stars for 'Video Killed the Radio Star' at the beginning.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Heroine - 2012 ***


'Heroine' is an ironically bittersweet movie about the highs and lows of celebrity.
A young actress at the peak of her profession gradually becomes overshadowed by newer talent, causing her to take up low budget and independent films that hurt her career. She is also in the middle of a messy relationship with a co-star, who soon replaces her for someone else.
At the start she is a diva, and towards the end she is at her lowest ebb.
It's fascinating to watch really, as I'm sure film stars do have to deal with this sort of thing constantly. Always watching their back for the 'newer model' and knowing that one wrong word or picture can leave them with nothing.
Filming was marred for a time when one a rising star ( Meenakshi Thapar )who had a bit part in the film was kidnapped and murdered by 2 colleagues she met on the set. This, and the story matter, makes the film seem all the more gritty and real. Very sad what people will do for celebrity and money.
Worth a watch if you love Bollywood, beautiful dresses and catchy tunes however. 

Monday, March 17, 2014

The Birdcage - 1996 *****


The Birdcage is screamingly funny, and to be honest the laughs from Robin Williams and his super camp partner (Nathan Lane) are regular and bounteous. 
Armand (Williams) enjoys his life as the owner of a popular drag club called 'The Birdcage' where his partner Albert performs as 'Starina' on a regular basis.
Apart from their occasional hissy fits, the two live happily together. That is, until Armand's son Val announces that he is getting married. His future father-in-law is a Republican Senator and has very old-fashioned and narrow-minded views about homosexuality. With this in mind, Val suggests that Albert 'disappears' for a few days so that the impression can be given of a 'normal' family when the bride-to-be's parents come to visit. Agreeing to this, Armand decides to track down his ex wife to play the role convincingly, not counting on Albert upstaging the whole evening.
Very funny, enjoyable, easy going and entirely good-natured. Must be watched.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The First Wives Club - 1996 ****




After the suicide of their dear friend over her failed marriage, 3 women decide to get together and form a club based on women who are dumped by their husbands for younger models. Wanting at first to get even, they realise soon after that the best way they can make their ex spouses suffer is to become successful and happy.
A feel good film, with three great actresses all bumping shoulders (and singing too!) 

Virtual Lies - 2012 **



'Virtual Lies' is what happens when sad, middle aged men who are bored in their marriages find solace in chatting to women online. This is what happens to Jamie when her husband Will gets drawn into the shadowy world of cyber-chatting to a woman named Allison. When his wife finds out, Will decides to stop speaking to Allison, but she has other ideas and won't let him go that easily.
Mediocre film. 

Working Girl - 1988 ***



'Working Girl' seems to be a bit of an excuse to try and "big up" women in the workplace. It seems to try far too hard to defend how hard women have it, but comes across as a bit desperate. 
Griffith plays Tess, a woman who goes from one job to the next and finally stumbles on what she thinks is her dream position working for the professional Katherine Parker. However the dream is short lived when Katherine goes off sick and Tess discovers that she has been trying to land a deal using one of her ideas as her own. 
Get mad? Or get even? 
Harrison Ford is quite amusing, but I think the standout character is Joan Cusack who quite literally steals each scene she shares with Griffith. 
I didn't mind the film, but it definitely doesn't rank amoung the best rom-coms I've seen.

Saturday, March 08, 2014

(HORROR) Deadly Blessing - 1981 **


Stunningly bad horror where nothing much happens except lots of bad acting and stupid murders. If Sharon Stone was put in this to boost ratings it failed miserably. One scene involving a spider stands out. Horrible cyanotype style filter made the film even worse.

Monday, March 03, 2014

Loser - 2000 ***


'Loser' is one of the group of 'old school' rom-coms that was very popular in 2000. 
Jason Biggs and Mena Suvari seem to have disappeared into obscurity now, but were immensely popular at the end of the 1990s.
Here, Biggs plays Paul, a nerdy but dedicated student working hard to get a scholarship who falls in love with Dora, a quirky yet troubled student who is finding it hard to make ends meet in her financially, as well as keeping her relationship with her college lecturer quiet.
I liked it, although usually Jason Biggs is too much to bare. 

Zoolander - 2001 ****

'Zoolander' must have the biggest number of celebrity cameos in any film I have ever seen. But when Ben Stiller is around anything is possible. And with Ben Stiller, you know that Owen Wilson will not be far behind.
Stiller is Zoolander, a vain and narcissistic male model who constantly rivals Hansel (Wilson) in the 'top model' stakes. At his latest award show, Hansel steals the title of 'Best Model' from Zoolander, mortifying him, and sending him into hiding (a mean article in the local paper by journalist Matilda doesn't help matters.)
Meanwhile, Mugatu, a prolific fashion mogul, (played campishly by Will Ferrell) decides that he needs to recruit a male model to assassinate the Prime Minister of Malaysia who is trying to put a ban on cheap child labour.
Before long, Zoolander is in the firing line as a possible assassin and can only save himself by recruiting his arch nemisis Hansel.
Rather over the top film, but packed full of humor and quirky moments (it is obvious that Stiller and Wilson are best friends off set, because their chemistry is spot on). Must see.

Sunday, March 02, 2014

Bird on a Wire - 1990 ***


Mel Gibson's ponytail is ridiculous. I thought he was supposed to be a 90s pinup!
When Rick is given a new identity by the FBI witness protection programme, he happens to bump into his ex girlfriend Marianne. She demands that she go on the run with him after finding out that Rick is still in danger from drug addicts about to be released from jail. Some funny moments, and not a bad film, but wasn't anything special.

(HORROR) Dark Circles - 2013 **


A bit of a disaster. A new family move to a quiet house in the country to raise their child, but almost immediately find they are seeing apparitions of a bloody woman in rooms, outside and in cupboards. Because of this, sleep becomes a distant memory. This slowly drives a wedge between the couple and they begin to turn on each other, not knowing what is real and what is hallucination.
Sounds like it might be quite good, but actually it has as many holes as a fishing net.

Ghost Shark - 2013 *


Oh good lord. This was (obviously) not going to be a good film. It's horrendously acted, horrendously shot, and to make matters worse,there is a rumour circulating that the directors and writers at the Sci-Fi channel sat around and took out 2 pieces of paper out of a hat of random words; these two words had to be made into a film, hence 'Ghost Shark.'
I feel a bit sorry for the ghost shark, partly because it looks like a CGI luminous nightmare, and partly because it has to share screen time with a load of morons who couldn't act if their lives depended on it. 
To say this film had a particularly ugly cast was a gross understatement. 



What's the Worst That Could Happen - 2001 ***


Relatively unknown comedy with Martin Lawrence as an experienced thief named Kevin, who meets his match when trying to burgle rich and crooked tycoon Max (Devito). In return for being burgled by Kevin, Max ends up stealing a precious ring that Kevin was given by his new girlfriend Amber. Desperate to get it back, Kevin enters into a cat and mouse game with Max, with hilarious results. 
I like both Lawrence and Devito as actors, so it was quite a pleasure to watch them both try to outsmart each other with their individual styles of comedy.


Little Nicky - 2001 ***


'Little Nicky' is a completely radical film. It's really funny, but also edgy and dark. Obviously you can't take it seriously. Adam Sandler is infuriating, but somehow the messed up, half devil half angel character he portrays actually suits him. His father is the devil, busy ruling hell with a fair but firm hand. When Nicky's two brothers escape through hellfire up to earth, it is Nicky's job to capture them and bring them back. His father meanwhile, is losing body parts in rapid time, and will eventually die if his sons are not returned.
Some parts are hilarious (I liked the superbowl scene) and Nicky's pal Beefy, a humorous and sarcastic pug adds other funny segments. 
Tarantino of course is the standout as the blind preacher Deacon who keeps finding himself falling down stairs, knocking himself out on streetlamps and tripping over tramps in an effort to get away from a strange, evil presence that appears frequently. 


Thursday, February 27, 2014

(HORROR) The Amityville Asylum - 2013 *


A young woman starts a night cleaning job at a mental institution in Amityville, unaware that the hospital has been built on the Amityville house site. Horrific things happen.
Its quite a stupid film, deeply unscary and badly acted.

Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa - 2013 ****




'Bad Grandpa' must not be taken seriously. It would be pointless too really, as most of the scenes are so ridiculous and over the top that it would spoil it if you saw it as anything other than a joke. Johnny Knoxville plays the ludicrous but likeable Grandpa Irving who is dealt the task of taking his grandson Billy to stay with his father while his mother is on jail. This takes them both on a road trip of epic proportions (to be honest I'm amazed that he isn't arrested for some of the things he does) and a hilarious climax involving a children's pageant brings it all to a farcical close. 
Funny, and silly. 

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Breach - 2007 ****



Another surprisingly good political thriller, the kind that really gets under your skin. Added to which, the fact it's based on true events gives it even more of a kick. 
Ryan Phillippe is a junior employee of the Washington Bureau named Eric who is assigned to keep an eye on an intelligence agent named Hanssen who has been reassigned to the FBI headquarters. At first Eric believes he is doing nothing other than checking out Hanssen in case he displays sexual perversions, but soon finds out that Hanssen is a lot more dangerous to the FBI than he first imagined.  
Well crafted and enjoyable, although could've been a bit shorter in length. 

Gravity - 2013 ***



'Gravity' has an exceedingly good premise - an astronaut and engineer find themselves separated from the shuttle they are working on, and are stuck in space with barely no oxygen and no contact whatsoever with anyone. The acting is excellent, and I'm surprised to say that Clooney and Bullock workvery well together. It's brilliantly designed too, to such an extent that after a while the idea of floating in space can give you a serious bout of nausea. 

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The Magic Box - 1951 ****




William Friese Green is a pretty fascinating character. Besotted with his work to the point of obsession, he was willing to break up his family, declare himself bankrupt and sell his house, also that he could continue with his experiments of moving pictures. That said however, he was also one of the most unsung geniuses of the 19the century. It is very tragic that his talent was not recognised until after his death. 
Robert Donat is perfect for the part, and I find him immensely watchable in this character, both for positive and negative reasons. His passion for his craft is clear to see, but in some aspects he is completely deluded and unresponsive (such as not paying bills because the money needs to go on equipment for his experiments). I do feel awfully sorry for him though, because no one would give him a chance to show what he could do. 

Philomena - 2013 ***





I can't say I was particularly excited by this, despite having Steve Coogan and Judi Dench topping the bill. Dench befriends Coogan, a weary reporter who believes he can find her missing son who was taken from her when she was a young girl living in a convent in the 1950s. 
The trip brings trials and tribulations, but most importantly it brings friendship between the two. It's not funny in the slightest in my opinion, and doesn't give either of the players the correct platform on which to perform. 

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Maternal Obsession - 2008 ***


 Gripping movie about a young woman named Lily who tries to live a normal life whilst being slowly smothered by her mother at home. The mother cannot stand the idea of her daughter having any sort of life, especially if it involves a man.
When Lily starts a relationship with a man from work her mother will do anything to stop it happening, whatever the costs.
Worth a watch.

Spring Breakers - 2013 **


Trying to justify this film is a waste of time. Its a pointless film about pointless people. It shows the world for the bleak place it is. Four girls, desperate to go on spring break but unable to secure the funds to do so end up holding up a store at gunpoint. The partying, casual sex and smoking goes ahead but only for a limited time as the girls are soon arrested for their crimes and only saved when a dangerous drug addict named 'Alien' bails them out.
This film basically highlights what is wrong with America and society in general. Awful film.

Identity Theft - 2013 **


One of those films that I hoped would be good but was awfully let down by. 
Melissa McCarthy is infuriating as the carefree woman who steals Jason Bateman's identity and has a fantastic time doing so. Bateman loses his job as a result of this and decides to track her down to get her arrested. McCarthy just oozes stupidity, even when designing fake credit cards in bright blue eye-shadow.
She's just a massive joke of a character, completely unrepentant for her actions, resulting in feeling constant sympathy for Bateman . I also spent most of the movie feeling quite annoyed that the subject of identity theft was taken as such a joke when it's not.

Saturday, February 08, 2014

Blue Jasmine - 2013 ***


I have a soft spot for Woody Allen, and therefore despite this film being slated beyond compare I thought it was okay. Granted it was nothing like 'Midnight in Paris' but that's one of my favourite films directed by him.
Cate Blanchett does an astoundingly good job as a 'fallen' Park Lane society beauty named Jasmine, who flees to her sister Ginger's 'modest' abode in San Francisco after her wealthy husband's sudden death. Here she must contend with (in her eyes) her intellectually inferior sister and her 'loser' of a boyfriend, whilst also trying to come up with a way to make some money so she can pay for an online interior decorating course. Blanchett is at times completely loopy, talking to herself in the street, having constant panic attacks and snobbishly looking down her nose at anyone who is not from her background. There is obvious tension between her and Ginger, and I think Sally Hawkins is an ideal choice. 
As usual, the music is brilliant and the cinematography is on top form. As long as Woody is around directing films I will be gobbling them up.

Filth - 2013 ***


'Filth' is a bit of a conundrum. James McAvoy is literally acting his heart out (he can even vomit on que) and going for gold here, but even so, it comes across as a bit of a dirty film. Not dirty as in rude (although there is plenty of sex to placate any hardcore fan) but dirty as in unkempt and uncared for.
McAvoy plays a womanizing, chauvinistic, alcoholic Detective in Edinburgh, who spends his days playing 'pranks' on colleagues (including defaming their character on the bathroom wall), drinking, getting high, sleeping with anything that moves, and generally being a manipulative and unpleasant bastard. 
Hoping to move up the corporate scale, he is assigned a murder case, but becoming increasingly detached and hallucinatory as time goes by until he (and we the audience) have no idea what is real and what is fantasy. As the film progresses we learn some disturbing secrets about him, and the lengths he will go to hide them from everyone. 
I can't say I hated the film. It was entertaining, and I commend James on a very difficult and uncomfortable role. But it's certainly not a film to watch unless you specifically want to feel unnerved and awkward.


Saturday, February 01, 2014

Dirty Movie - 2911 *


Well National Lampoon seems to be heading for a permanent fall. This was just another shocking attempt at comedy that was as funny as a hernia.
The idea of a film about making a film (oh, and it's chokablok full of perverted jokes) has been done before so wasn't really a treat. The actors all looked like this was their last chance at fame before they got a 'normal' job, and to be honest I'm amazed this was even given DVD release. Horrendous.

(HORROR) Tamara - 2005 **


Pretty laughable horror film about a girl named Tamara who is picked on by her classmates and tragically buried alive by them one evening. The next morning she is shockingly back at school, but this time looking completely different and utterly irresistible to all men. It's just a bit of a stupid movie.

(HORROR) Rites of Spring 2011 *



Another awful horror film. A deranged lunatic kidnaps young women on the first day of spring every year as a pagan/sadistic ritual. At the same time a completely unrelated sub plot is taking place between a husband and wife who are having financial trouble. It's ghastly.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Scenes from a Marriage - 1973 ****




'Scenes from a Marriage' is many things. Bleak, desolate, depressing, positive, hopeful, heartbreaking. But the thing that stands out most about it is how powerful and interesting it actually is. Weighing in at nearly three hours long, and originally broadcast as a mini series, it could be accused of being heavy. 
Ingmar Bergman again focuses on the emotions and character development as opposes to a strong narrative. 
It's intense, and the whole film revolves around a couple's disintegrating marriage. Things start off well, with the couple seemingly happy, but then put of the blue the husband returns from a trip to Europe to say that he has fallen in love with a younger woman. He leaves to be with her, then comes back six months later.
Both characters are incredibly unlikeable, the husband, thoughtless and chauvinistic and the wife, pathetic and desperate. (When the man goes to leave his wife, instead of begging her forgiveness, he insults and criticises her and lists all the reasons he hates her, dhe in turn apologises to him and offers to help him pack!)   
Whether the film reaches a conclusion is really up to the individual viewer. The pair don't seem to be able to live with or without each other which seems to make the whole film utterly pointless anyway. 

(HORROR) Sawney: Flesh of Man - 2013 *




This had surprisingly good reviews for a film about a cannibal so I wasn't too worried about watching it. It turned out however to be nothing like I had imagined. Awful. Diabolical even. 
Sawney Bean is a perverted, blood lusting lunatic who captures women on their way back from parties and clubs and cuts them up into little pieces. 
The acting was bad. And I didn't get much of a sense of the story which I had been hoping for. It's one of those legends that I don't know much about. 
I'll maybe research him a bit more, but by books, not awful horror films. 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The Knack... And How to Get It - 1965 ***



When I was about ten I caught a clip on one of my Dad's VHS's of Rita Tushingham running up and down the road telling 'Rayyype' at every possible moment. I never knew what film that clip came from, but not I've seen this, I do.
For a film that is so positively reviewed as me of the 'landmark' films of the 1960s I found it moderately funny, and just a bit silly. Colin, Tolen and Tom share an apartment, but that is about all they have in common. Tolen is a womanising chauvinist while Colin is calm and sensible. Tolen is so narcissistic that he believes he can teach Colin how to hook up with as many women as he does. This is 'The Knack'. Tom is neutral and doesn't really think much about anything.
Nancy is a skittish, frankly infuriating woman who bumps into them whilst they are out trying to purchase a bed and proceeds to take over all three of the men's lives (and apartment). I thought it was too obscure and too 'quirky' for its time, although I quite liked Michael Crawford not yelping 'Bettayyy' at every available moment. 
If you want a good 1960's film try something like 'Georgy Girl'.