25/07/2014

The Signal (2014)


Three friends on a road trip through the South West of the US take a detour in the hope of tracking a
computer hacker, something very sinister happens, everything goes dark, when one of them, Nic (Brendan Thwaites) wakes he realizes he is in some US government experimental pound and being questioned about things not of this earth.

The obvious comparisons are an episode of "The Twilight Zone" and "X-Files" or the bigger budget "The Mist", but this has just as much intelligence and emotion. An absorbing screenplay, at time's beautifully poetic, fine performance's from the young cast (the only 'big name' being Laurence Fishburne) with a suitable ambitious, head scratching dénouement.

*****

24/07/2014

Behaving Badly (2014)

Socially inept 18 year old virgin Rick Stevens (Nat Wolff) will do anything to win the heart of the girl of his dreams Nina (Selena Gomez) and this entails avoiding her over bearing ex boyfriend, his Mother's horny best friend, strip club owners, psychotic school friends and an Eastern European mob!

Crass, rude, very lewd, the movie is packed with crazy characters, Elizabeth Shue is great value as the nymphomaniac Cougar Pamela Bender, then when you thinks things can't get any wilder, up pops Gary Busey as the Police Chief and Heather Graham as a short skirted, low topped Attorney (woof!)

It's "American Pie" without the subtlety!

*****

23/07/2014

Locke (2014)


On paper it doesn't sound too exciting. A successful business and family man's Ivan Locke (Tom Hardy) life is changed for ever by a phone call, a woman he had a one night stand is giving birth to his child, he makes the journey to be by her side, this film is the course of that journey as his life as he knows it starts to slip through his fingers.

The entire movie is set inside the interior of Locke's car, this is movie making at it's simplest, and most powerful, Tom Hardy puts in an incredible shift as Locke, a mesmerizing performance from an actor at the top of his game, you are a passenger in the car witnessing a man's life implode in this top quality piece of film-making.

*****

22/07/2014

Starred Up (2014)


19 year old Eric (Jack  O'Connell) is starred up, temporarily transferred from a Youth Offenders institution to the same adult Prison facilities as his estranged Father, here his explosive violent behavior with both the Prison authorities and fellow dangerous inmates gains him enemies, and pushes his frail relationship with his Father to boiling point

Tough, realistic,brutal and uncompromising, this is a Prison drama as it is, no bells and whistles, no hope for redemption, men who are confined for violent crime and very little sign of conforming to the world outside. Excellent performance from O'Connell as the ticking time bomb that is Eric and also Ben Mendelsohn as his Father, more wizened but equally psychotic.

Bleak, a film that offers no answers, but a fine piece of prison drama.

*****

20/07/2014

Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes (2014)


2011's "Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes" was both a huge success financially and critically, I re-watched it last night and had forgotten what a huge achievement it was, exciting, emotional and incredibly intelligent film making, so the planned release of this sequel was high on my 'to see' list, if not number 1.

 Released last week the reviews were very, very positive, 90%+ on Rotten Tomatoes, so expectation was high, I settled down to watch it, would it deliver.....oh yes, and some! First things first, the sfx are astonishing, these are living, breathing Apes, Chimpanzees etc, full of character, personality, yes personality, a joy to watch. The screenplay is mesmerising, thoughtful, intelligent, the action engrossing, edge of your seat stuff, I seriously think this film is a notch above it's illustrious predecessor, yes the humans do take second fiddle to the Apes (these aren't just a bunch of Monkeys!) but you still get excellent performances from the two leads Gary Oldman (obviously) and Jason Clark ("Zero Dark Thirty").

Compelling awesome film-making and my current movie of the year.

*****

All Cheerleaders Die (2014)

I wasn't expecting much really, some gore and maybe a little T&A for a Saturday evening, and things don't start of too good. Utterly obnoxious jocks (you'd want to round them up in a bus, drive them to a remote field and machine gun the lot) and a bunch of equally hideous (though easy on the eye) cheerleaders.

Thankfully though the movie takes a nice evil twist, Cheerleaders get killed in a car crash, get brought back as (sexy) Zombies (Woof!) by some supernatural witchcraft type stuff and extract revenge. A good humored body horror/slasher/zombie movie that delivers the bloody goods with a cool (we want a sequel) finale, good gory fun!

*****

18/07/2014

Under The Skin (2014)

Scarlett Johansson, starkers DING! DING! DING! you've got my attention. Scarlett plays Laura who wanders the streets of Glasgow seducing then murdering local men, why, is she an alien? well that would be telling.

The critics loved it, it's adapted from the 2000 novel by Michael Faber, it's very arty, very cold, and I'm sorry to say, very dull. Minimal dialogue, you won't recognize SJ, dowdy, sullen looking, it must be said a huge transformation for the character which she excels at, but that was it for me, I found it quite tedious at times, the Alien finale did stir me but by then I'd really lost interest with what was going on.

*****

Brick Mansions (2014)


Right the plot, this won't take long, a Cop (the late Paul Walker) goes under-cover in the 'Brick Mansions' a lawless environment surrounded by huge containment walls and housing Detroits most dangerous criminals, his job is to recover a bomb, stolen by Drug's Kingpin Tremaine (RZA)

What you get for the next 90 odd minutes is a lot of fisty cuffs, jumping around from David Belle, gunfight's, car chases....repeat! It's all a bit of a mess, the characters all ramped up to the max, dumb ass gang members who can't hit a target 10 foot away with an automatic machine gun, ridiculous right hand bad girl Rayzah (Ayisha Issa) , that's Rayzah not Razor, cleaver eh? and a quite preposterous ending.

Blehhh!

*****

The Hooligan Factory (2014)


On the outside this really doesn't look good, a comedy satirizing the Brit hooligan genre, but strike a light it works!

When young Danny (Jason Maza) has a chance meeting with football hooligan 'legend' Dez (Nick Nevern) his life is changed from a nobody to a somebody, someone in Britains biggest firms, and they intend to be number 1, which means toppling Dez's nemesis Yeti (Tom Burke) and leader of the top firm in the Country.

Manic, quite stupid and childish (the gang's local is "The Iron Hoof") but often very funny,their introduction to Ecstasy,  an amusing argument about how many of the firm have autobiographies ("you don't have a book? You mug!!")  the 'Good Fellas' gag a highlight of silliness and bad taste (..that's Mickey The Rapist ...oh and that's John The C**t!")
 The movie has a few amusing pop up cameos, Danny Dyer, Craig Fairbrass, but star of the show is Jason Maza as lead Dez and also the movies director, sporting a hideous 80's tracksuit and massive 'tashe, he's a comedy Charles Bronson (not the actor, the notorious criminal) all sneers and stares.

"I'm gonna open you up like a Village Fete, you saucy slag!!"

Some gags don't always hit the spot but when they do, and it's quite often, they hit the bullseye in this surprisingly funny flick.

*****

17/07/2014

The Other Woman (2014)

Can't imagine why she got the role
 
Three Woman Carly (Cameron Diaz-funny), Kate (Leslie Mann-annoying) and Amber (Kate Upton-DING! DING!) find out they are being cheated on by the same man, successful business man Mark (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) they befriend each other and hatch a plan to get revenge.

Slightly similar to 80's Dolly Pardon fluff "9-5", 'The Other Woman" biggest problem is that it takes a long time for it to get going, once the three leads get together to plot their revenge it's fairly amusing and likeable, Diaz is always good value in a comedy role, Mann though overacts to the point of annoyance for the first half of the movie with her tiresome drunk routine, though the producers hit +11 with the addition of model Kate Upton to keep the male contingent interested (first scene? slow-mo in a bikini!!)

Predictable fluffy nonsense but fairly entertaining.

*****

Noah (2014)


Russell Crowe is Noah who has a dream or a vision or something (I wasn't really paying attention) that the world is going to be engulfed by a great flood to cleanse it of evil, his job is to build a big boat to put all the animals on to save them, don't worry though Noah, the Lions will leave the antelopes alone!
To help him he enlists some creatures that look like giant Twiglets and were to silly looking for Lord Of The Rings, Ray Winstone turns up (you almost expect him to give us betting tips "6/4 you'll turn this crap off after 60 minutes!!!") so does Anthony Hopkins (cos this is a serious movie). The flood comes, everyone on the ark is pissed off, it turns into a 1 hour "Eastenders-The Thames Floods!" special of abject misery and melodrama, apparently it's adapted from a book, I hope that's a lot better than this wet weekend in Weston of a movie.

*****

Need For Speed (2014)

Yay! It's a movie adapted from a popular video game, well done Hollywood!

Jessie from 'Breaking Bad' Aaron Paul plays illegal street racer Tobey Marshal, out to win the winner takes all cross country race through California....and get revenge on rival Dino Brewster (Dominic Cooper) who framed him for the manslaughter of his best friend.

It plays like it was directed and written by a teenage boy but the 2 hours fly by, just like the cars, the racing looks great (just like the cars, Lambo, McClaren P1 etc) it's silly, predictable but fairly good fun.

*****

08/06/2014

Willow Creek (2014)

It's 'Blair Witch' goes Bigfoot in a found footage horror!

Bobcat Goldthwaite, whooooo? well he stared in the second 'Police Academy' movie as the bad guy with the funny high pitched voice but has made a name for himself in the US as a stand-up comedian and very accomplished director ( the excellent 'Worlds Greatest Dad' and 'God Bless America') and for this flick he's dipped his toe into the POV/found footage  horror genre, and a good effort it is too.

The comparisons to 'Blair Witch' are obvious, but thankfully no close up snot shots, just a genuinely creepy and tense horror flick about a couple hunting  Big Foot and camping out in the middle of nowhere (bad idea!) only to be haunted by a lot (I mean, a lot) of strange noises outside, the sound fx guys go banana's believe me, and all finished off with a WTF! finale.

Another fine effort from the Bobcat.

*****

He Who Dares (2014)

A bunch of ruthless terrorists kidnap the Prime Minister's daughter and hole themselves up in a booby trapped underground car park. This is straight to a dvd Brit action flick, akin to an ultra violent C5 drama, and I mean ultra violent, these bad asses waste about 20 people in the first 20 minutes!

The movie s obviously made on a shoe string, Tom Benedict Knight as leader of the terrorists Christopher Lowe is good value for money, but the rest of the cast are shockingly wooden and the movie has the usual bad guys who can't hit a target 10 foot away, even with a sub machine gun, and the obligatory bomb counting down with handy digital timer. Dross.

*****

05/06/2014

Joyride 3:Roadkill (2014)


I can't of the life of me remember parts 1 or 2, but it's safe to say we're not dealing with 'Lord Of The Rings' story telling here. Five twenty somethings (3 blokes, 2 obligatory hotties) set off to Canada for a motor racing event, they take a short cut (across "Slaughter Alley" for chrisakes!)  and before you can scream "No cellphone coverage!" they're being pursued by a pissed off Trucker.

It starts of promisingly but soon descends into a rather dull game of cat and mouse with little suspense and only the occasional slice of ultra violence to liven things up, with a painfully predictable finale. Disappointing straight to dvd fodder.

*****