Tuesday, 25 September 2007

Shoot 'em Up

BANG! BANG! BOOM! BOOM! And that’s about it.

Don’t get me wrong you don’t pay to see a film named Shoot ‘em Up and expect to see Oscar winning performances or great character development, but I was expecting to see some decent eye candy and some interesting gun fights to stimulate the senses. Unfortunately that just wasn’t delivered. After gun fight after gun fight followed by cliché after cliché, it all gets very boring very fast.

Firstly lets just point out that it is possible to have a decent story, good dialogue, interesting characters and then have you’re cool gun fights all included in one film. Why because you’re selling your film on a lot of ‘unique’ gun fights you think it gives you the right to ignore everything else that goes into making a good film I don’t know. The thing is, if these action sequences were spectacular or really pulled you in and amazed you, then maybe paying for some eye candy would be worth it. But just firing a lot of guns and turning on some heavy metal music does not make a good action sequence or hold the attention of the audience for an hour and a half. It just becomes a bit mundane and tedious.

Then there’s also the fact you don’t care about any of the characters, so there is no tension at all, and after you see Mr Smith miraculously dodging thousands of bullets for the hundredth time, there is very little to hold your interest.

The one liners are appalling, just down right awful and predictable, like a illiterate retarded 12 year old boy wrote them after reading his first porno.

The main baddie Mr Hurtz (wow, another slice of originality), I just didn’t like at all, but not in a cool ‘I hate that villain because he’s a bad ass’ way, more of because he’s sleazy, completely underwritten and a waste of a character annoyance.

After seeing the animated action sequences (that the director made in order to sell this film) a couple of years ago, I was genuinely impressed and couldn’t wait to see the final product, but something was lost in translation. Not the action, as it’s virtually shot for shot the same as the animatics, but more to do with the fact it doesn’t hold together as a film. Maybe it should have been released as six 5-minute shorts on the Internet, or something that people could download and just forget about the story all together (because they seemed to anyway) and enjoy some of the unique stuff in the gun fights in small doses. When it’s all cluttered and as frequent as in the film, the magic is lost.

Don’t get me wrong it’s not entirely bad, there is some decent imagination on display here, I was just underwhelmed I guess. It most definitely is not John Woo’s wet dream.

The thing I enjoyed the most about the film was Monica Belluci, she oozes sex appeal from head to toe and her character is probably the only one with more then a sentence of back-story.

So overall, the film is mediocre. The action is good, but everything is too samey to actually stand-out, and the rest (e.g. characters, story, etc) was left on the back burner.

I’d wait for it to be on TV to be honest.


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Friday, 21 September 2007


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Monday, 17 September 2007


It’s actually SuperGood!

So here comes the third comedy from the guys that bought us The 40 Year Old Virgin and Knocked Up. I wasn’t a huge fan of Virgin, but genuinely enjoyed Knocked-Up and based on that had pretty high expectations for Superbad.

I really enjoyed it, it’s very funny from start to finish, though it has to be said that the majority of the big laughs are in the first half. As with Knocked Up, the funniest moments come from the characters and their conversations, rather than elaborate set pieces. This is why the first half is much better, as this involves a lot of scenes where the three main characters are together just talking, once they get split up and the story begins to unfold in the second half, things start to slow down (though it never gets boring, it’s just not on par with what came before).

The story is relatively simple and is essentially told over the course of one day. It isn’t highly original (not a bad thing here), and revolves around three guys wanting to get laid before they leave for college (and hopefully having lots of practice before they get there) as Seth says “You don’t want to suck dick at fucking pussy (when you get to college).”

This leads to them heading to a house party and trying to obtain lots of alcohol to get the girls drunk and thus into bed. The plot can be summed up quite simply by this quote -

“You know when you hear girls say 'Ah man, I was so shit-faced last night, I shouldn't have fucked that guy?' We could be that mistake!”

And so the crude humour and very funny conversations begin…

What gives this story it’s foundation and soul is the bond between Evan and Seth (the two leads), as they are both dealing with the fact they are going to different colleges. Two best friends since childhood upset about going their separate ways, and not wanting to admit it to each other or themselves. This is where the films heart lies and it does a very successful job of conveying their relationship, without ever seeming forced.

The stand-out for me is most definitely Seth played by Jonah Hill, nearly every line of his dialogue is extremely funny and most definitely quotable. He delivers his lines with pitch-perfect timing and comedic flair, he is one to watch in the future.

As with most comedies, going into any more detail or explaining particular jokes is a waste of time, as it’ll ruin the film, so I shall leave it at that.

Overall this film is very good, it delivers laughs and a cohesive (if rather straight-forward) story from beginning to end, and will make you wish you were 17 again.


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Thursday, 13 September 2007


A very unique film indeed…

It is very hard for me to review Atonement, in the normal sense as it is a fairly strange film. From a purely aesthetic point of view, the film is a marvel to behold, the cinematography, the direction, the acting, the music and sound design are all nigh on perfect, even how it tells the story is brilliant and interesting.

But (and this is a J-Lo sized but) the story itself isn’t really that in-depth and my biggest problem is the fact that the main driving force of the plot (most definitely the 2nd half) is based on a lie told by a 13 year old girl, a little girl named Bryony. A lie which doesn’t need to be told and for some reason should never have been told in the first place. This lie then proceeds to ruin (and end) the lives of the two main characters, the only two characters you actually like and feel for - Robbie (James McAvoy) and Cecillia (Kiera Knightly).

What the film then tries to do is make you feel sorry and empathise with this stupid 13 year old girl who caused all this hurt in the first place! It doesn’t succeed.

You see, to begin with the lie is slightly understandable in the fact that Bryony has mistakenly confused Robbie to be a sex maniac, due to an unfortunate incident, involving a letter being wrongly sent filled with dirty writings about Cecillia (hey, it happens to the best of us, get over it).

Therefore when the prudish Bryony witnesses her cousin being raped by (what appears to be) a man she doesn’t clearly see, she assumes it was Robbie. Despite the fact you already begin to dislike her for getting an innocent man sent to jail, at this moment it is slightly understandable based on her age and situation, but when at the end of the film it is revealed that she saw the rapist as clear as day. The film falls apart, and you realise that all the sorrow you have just watched was all based on some stupid little girl telling a lie for absolutely no reason! And therefore there is no way in hell I ‘m going to feel sorry for her. She just caused the deaths of two interesting and likeable characters by being a nosey stuck-up twerp (best posh insult I could think of)!

Despite this rather large plot hole, everything else in the film – from production design and special effects to the acting is so well done that I can’t really say it’s a bad film, because it’s not, it’s bloody good.

The standout being a shot that lasts nearly five minutes (with no cuts) when Robbie and his two buddies arrive at Dunkirk. I really couldn’t say if there is any CGI used as everything looks real, but in which case they must have had thousands of extras and used a lot of the budget on this one set-up.

I also particularly love how the first half is predominantly told in a fairy like state, with loads of bold vibrant colours filling the screen, when everyone is happy. Then how the second half (when the mood shift considerably) is shown through much more washed out colours.

It’s hard to give this a final score, because despite how good everything is and how well produced it is, the fact that this stupid lie ruined the ending and could have made a lot of what happened easily avoidable, it really knocks it from getting top marks for me.

But it’s bound to win loads of Oscars, because they love this kind of stuff!


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