Sunday, 28 June 2009

The Hangover ****

You know those mornings when you've come home from a night out... Maybe it was your friend's birthday or you were in a really bad club and just needed to get through the night with a few drunks (we all know what club I'm talking about). This is what that movie is about, except on a pretty exaggerated scale. If you're a lad, and have been on a heavy night out with your closest friends this probably will be the most funny to you. I mean of course girls can find this funny, but I do think, like most comedies, they have aimed it at a male audience.

Set in Las Vegas, these 4 peculiar characters make their journey to celebrate their best friend getting married. A few drinks and drugs later they have quite a reality to face up to. You're put right into the action, and find out what's happened along with them which is quite fun. The events that are uncovered are quite hilarious as you can imagine. But I must say one of the funniest bits is the singer at the end - You'll know what I mean when you see this.

It's quite a nice touch towards the end with a collection of photos throughout the night, just to help explain things a little more. You don't really need to know what's happened though, it's funny enough just being as confused as them. I wonder what it would be like to see this film hungover... Maybe you could try it? Drink safely though.

For a comedy, the story is quite original. The director Todd Philips, and writers Scott Moore and Jon Lucas seem all fairly new to the mainstream industry - This is surely going to put them on the map. And with it looking like there's going to be a second one to this film, who knows what they will uncover?!

You will definitely have a lot of laughs in the cinema. I'm not so sure you're going to be crying with laughter, but you'll have a chuckle. There's no point in the film that gets sad or angry, it's just an easy going narrative with lots of events happening all throughout one day. You do get a little grossed out in a few scenes, you are shocked and you are entertained. It's a great light-hearted film.

And it's all set in Las Vegas. No obvious sets from what I could tell which makes it that little more authentic. How they managed to convince the owners of a hotel to completely trash the room and put a tiger it in, I'll never know - Maybe that was a set.

Guys, you HAVE to watch this film. Girls, you can watch it if you want to, I'm sure you'll find it funny like I did.

Saturday, 27 June 2009

Bolt ***

This is a very cute film. It's got a lovely white puppy, a witty black cat and a hamster that's convinced himself that he's a superhero - Perfect for a rainy day film. It's not too exciting, and then again it's not slow. It's just pleasant. It has the inevitable sad bit on a Disney film, it has the adult humour and it's got the Pixar charm that they all seem to have.

It's pretty much the whole picture for a children's film. It just doesn't seem to have that wow factor that Toy Story or Wall-E has. The animation is obviously flawless, but it again doesn't have any spectacular details like the fur in Monsters Inc. It really is just a film that's good to put on for children to keep them quiet for a while.

They will engage with the characters - Probably the hamster the most, as he is the most endearing character in the film. And if you go out and buy it now you will get the most adorable toy hamster you have ever seen. Alternatively, you can probably buy one in a Disney store.

This isn't a long film, and it definitely doesn't drag at any part. I can see this as being one of those films you have on your shelf and watch every year or so. It's entertaining enough for its purpose. There have been better Pixar films though. If you enjoy Disney stories this is probably a perfect example, so do give it a go. You don't need to see it in 3D to get the full effect, it's perfectly fine on your normal televisions, and you don't need to wear any glasses!

The DVD also has the Pixar Short based around Rhino - The hamster. Disappointing, I must say. It's like a very short version of the film Bolt, but instead of Bolt being the super animal, it's the hamster. Not very creative or original at all. But then again, the story of the film is very original. You definitely wouldn't of seen a story like this one. So that makes it quite fun to see.

So, if you're bored and like Disney - Watch it. But you're not missing out on anything if you don't.

Friday, 26 June 2009

W. **

What an odd little film we have here. Clearly it's been based on true events but you don't really know if they're accurate, purely because this is a film about his life, and for a lot of it there were no cameras documenting him.

This isn't particularly entertaining unless you're very interested in George Bush's life. Films such as Ray that have shown us their life are usually entertaining and enjoyable to watch. This isn't really. Because you almost know what's happened in his life partially from the media, the film as it's developing doesn't get anymore exciting or fascinating.

It's shot beautifully and the colours are crisp, so this does make it quite pleasing to the eye. Oliver Stone (the director) is clearly interested in American history as he has directed and produced films such as Nixon, JFK and World Trade Centre. And you can see this through the film. It never strays away onto topics of irrelevance, it sticks clearly to Bush and his life. So you're definitely get what you paying for.

The actors involved are also pleasing to watch during the film. Not necessarily physically, but the way in which they portray the various characters. A lot of research has gone into this. We have people such as Elizabeth Banks, James Cromwell and Ellen Burstyn playing family members, as well as Josh Brolin who plays George.

It does drag though. It's like a documentary with very good cameras. You're sent back in time, then to the present, then back again - Little snaps shots of all the events that have made him who he is now. It doesn't get confusing, it just because unoriginal and dull. However, if you are interested in this president I would say to watch it. It's literally all about him. I know it sounds silly considering that's what it's aims were, but a lot of films side track and create multiple plot lines. This sticks to Bush from beginning to end, accent and all. If you're also into politics you may enjoy it.

Ultimately though, this is a film with little happening, monotone voices and little soundtrack. It's very slow and it's quite samey. You realise you're watching the 'behind the scenes' of his meetings, which aren't completely true because only officials were involved in these meetings, so basically you're watching a lot of made up meetings.


Monday, 22 June 2009

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen ***

They're back... And yes, they are ready for revenge. Michael Bay has again created an exploding cinematic experience that goes straight into action from beginning to end. Some people criticise Bay for only exploding things during his films - And he definitely doesn't stray away from it in this film, but I think if you're good at something, why not do it? Tim Burton doesn't make a romantic comedy involving Cameron Diaz, he makes quirky films with odd characters because that's what he's best at. Bay is good at creating an image so extreme and producing it on the screen to the maximum effect. So Transformers + Bay = A match made in heaven. I'm glad we have got that out the way.
If you pay attention to the narrator and dialogue you should be able to stick with the story the whole way through the film. But it is inevitable that you will be distracted by chase scenes, cars turning into robots, and oh yes... Megan Fox. She's stunning in this film, and most certainly exploited by lingering camera shots and all sorts of physical innuendos. Maybe if you just close your eyes and listen you might be able to understand the story the whole way through. But where's the fun in that? So be prepared to get a little lost, especially towards the end, because it does just seem like a Robot Wars episode with a big budget type film.

The parents are brilliant. They are possibly the best characters in this movie. The mother is just as funny, along with the dad being just as tight and grumpy. And with a new little dog on the scene they certainly haven't changed for this story. The comical side to this film doesn't come across in the adverts, so just know there are laughs to be had.

You see all sorts of new Transformers come to life in this. Many little ones, along with a couple of gigantic robots ready to destroy whatever is in its path. They also still have a few with their little witty comebacks towards Sam (Shia LeBeouf).

It's exciting, funny, thrilling and filled with special effects. Although it does seem a little long, it's well worth a watch if you liked the first one. It doesn't have that same fresh feeling as before because you know how the Transformers will look when they change from car to robot, but this doesn't matter. The realism that these effects create is just truly amazing. This film would have been shoddy 20 years ago, but thanks to modern technology and a giant amount of change in the producer's pockets, they have made this film not only realistic but just a truly immense cinema experience.

Steven Spilberg has again got into the action so you just know this is one professional, metal filled film. No matter if you're boy, girl, adult, elderly, there's something for everybody. Unless you're a person who doesn't like special effects; this will not be for you. But everyone else, give it a go!

Sunday, 21 June 2009

Milk ****

Living in the 21st Century now, we haven't really seen what discrimination towards gay people in the 70s was really like - This film tells you. Combining archive footage with current filming, this movie gives an accurate account of how the gay population were treated. It's realistic and charming to watch, and a real indication of just how many lives Milk and his team changed for people.

The music and sets are extremely accurate, and really does make you feel as if you're sitting in the 1970s. Along with this the acting is brilliant. Sean Penn can usually take any character and really bring them to life, and he has done it once more. But it is not just him that makes the film believable to watch. His team which includes James Franko and Alison Pill make this a pleasure to watch, and a real emotional roller coaster. You see the trials and tribulations they faced. And as these characters are based on real people, the film is that more inspiring and exciting to watch.

You get a real sense of community, and from the real footage you know the movie isn't exaggerating the story one piece. The little profiles at the end of the film are a lovely touch to it as well. I didn't realise this was based on a true story, so if you didn't you know now. It really makes the film eye opening to see how people were treated, and how strong they were.

The only thing that lets it down is the fact that it is slightly repetitive, but I guess that is what it felt like for Harvey Milk and his team with what they faced. It does become a little duller towards the middle, but only for half an hour. Once that is over you begin to love the story again and the events that are uncovered once more.

It's shocking, fun, saddening and creative. It's a real unique Hollywood film, with a true life story that makes you want to stand up and make a change. No matter if you're straight, bi, gay or a lesbian you will feel some sort of sense of drive when you watch just how hard these characters had to work to be accepted. And it really does make you appreciate how, in most cases, society has accepted these sort of situations today. Yes you still get the homophobic people but they're usually just insecure with themselves anyway. Maybe if they watch this film they will think twice about their beliefs.

If you fancy watching a refreshing and inspiring story, really please do watch this.

Sunday, 14 June 2009

My Best Friend's Girl **

I don't think this film could become anymore predictable. It's a romantic-comedy (the term romantic used loosely) about a young man (Jason Biggs) who is in love with a fellow colleague (Kate Hudson), but can't get her. So he asks his house-mate (Dane Cook) - A complete 'jerk' who makes having surgery more enjoyable than going on date with him.

I'm sure if you know the typical story of a romantic-comedy you can guess the ending, and just about every other aspect of this film actually. Although some of the antics are quite shocking, especially seeing as it's an 18, this film isn't anything new. It contains funny moments, it contains a love story, it's typical of its genre.

It doesn't really hold your attention all that well. The story isn't fast paced enough and what you're watching becomes quite boring. It's a shame really, because the actors involved are brilliant in these sorts of roles but the script just isn't exciting enough to keep you entertained the whole way through.

You could say this is more a love story for men. The situations that Tank (Cook) creates, and the topics of conversation he has are aimed at the male audience. He's crude, rude and down right mean, which obviously the boys are going to find hilarious because it's quite slapstick. In terms of the predominant audience, females don't seem to be catered for all that much, apart from a wedding scene towards the end. Romance doesn't really feature in this film, and it's really only the desperation that a few of the characters portray in the film which creates the romance.

I was surprised to see this film as an 18, but from the very beginning you can understand why the BBFC had a little trouble with this being a 15 or 12. Tank uses the C word multiple times throughout the film, along with lots of other profanities you wouldn't expect the Queen to say in her Christmas speech.

This film isn't original, very entertaining or hysterically funny. It's a mediocre creation aimed to provide an easy viewing with a few little giggles maybe for a first date. Just make sure you go for a really good meal afterwards because it's pretty appalling to watch what goes on through most of it.

Friday, 12 June 2009

Love Story ***

This film is kind of enchanting. It throws you right into the action, which I love about a film. You didn't need any introduction of the characters, you know straight away who the story is going to revolve around.

This is, yes, a love story involving two characters of opposite background, but equal intelligence. They work brilliantly together, and you see their relationship grow throughout the film. However, it becomes familiar and the story doesn't seem to go anywhere too exciting. The fierce relationship becomes something of the past while you're watching the film, and it doesn't produce that fresh love feeling that many love stories provide.

The lead actress Ali MacGraw plays a pretty heartless woman who's apparently in love with Oliver Barratt IV (Ryan O'Neal), who shows only his love for her. Through Jennifer's (MacGraw) 'playing hard to get' game, she becomes almost annoying and quite mean. However, she turns bearable towards the end which makes the film a little more pleasing.

If you're into your gushy love stories, this is definitely one to watch. You become entranced in the relationship - Despite the lack of love provided from one side. And you easily enjoy the witty banter between the two. They seem like a genuine couple, and the acting is pretty good in the film from all characters. If you look carefully, Tommy Lee Jones makes an appearance as a room-mate of Oliver's which is quite fun to see.

It came out in the 1970s; bar a few of the outfits and the quality of filming, this film has hardly dated. It could easily be in cinemas now if the picture was more refined. This is also where the quote 'Love means never having to say you're sorry' comes from. It made quite an impact when it was released and you can understand why. It's just a shame there isn't really much plot development, and the ending is very depressing.

Although, I do have to say it is quite an original film in terms of narrative due to the beginning and end of the film. You'll see why when you watch it, I don't want to ruin the fun of the story for you now!

This is a very comfy clothes, ice cream tub, chocolate, girl's night in film. If you cry easily in films, have a box of tissues next to you as well. Even if you don't, your eyes might become slightly more moist than usual by the end!

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Let The Right One In ****

If you were expecting something a bit darker from Twilight, you may enjoy this film. It has very similar qualities. A young boy falls in love with a young girl - The girl being the vampire. But the story is less text book love, and more real passionate love. And even though the two main characters can't be older than 12, they play their parts very maturely. Much more mature than the some what desperate characters in Twilight. (I must add, I AM a Twilight fan, so lunatic followers, don't come after me)

And the action involved is a lot more sinister. The director Tomas Alfredson hasn't been scared to use blood, breaking bones and very tense night scenes. And as the young boy is bullied, you really see the torment that he goes through, giving it a sense of realism to this very vampire world.

In terms of the special effects, they are very lacking. This film obviously didn't have a Hollywood budget, and a particular scene with cats doesn't give you the scare factor, but almost provides some sort of dark comedy due to the poor editing. It could have been much more effective to just leave the cats hissing, rather than pouncing on the vampire. Other than that this film is very effective and unique.

Some could call this film slow because in parts, if you're not interested in the originality of this kind of cinema, it doesn't provide the usual plot points a mainstream film would have. The films leaves it very much for you to decide what is going to make you jump. There is lack of music and camera shots making it a very lingering film which does add to the apparent slowness. But if you're willing to try a new experience then really, you have to watch this.

Straight away you'll see the deviation from American cinema because it really puts you straight into the gore. From then on you see what cinema has to offer if you really pay attention. This film doesn't give you every ounce of information, you have to work it out a lot yourself. It's not enigmatic, it's just very laid back with a real tense undertone. As the camera shots are so long, you have a while to take in the scenery yourself, rather than being given establishing shots and codes. It's a very good experience for a film in general.

Swedish cinema has been known for its slow pacing of films and this certainly lives up to its reputation. And being one of the most highly regarded films this year - Opening the Freight Fest, and creating frenzies for film reviewers around the world, it really has made a mark for this foreign cinema. With Sweden producing even more films in the future, this is definitely going to be one of it's trade marks.

So if you fancy a change and don't mind subtitles, go for it!