Showing posts from February, 2010


Title: Zombieland
Rating: 3.5/5
Genre: Action, Comedy, Horror
Starring: Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone
Director: Ruben Fleischer

Perhaps it was the healthy dose of drink ingested during the film, or perhaps it was the company I kept (though my money’s on the booze), despite a pessimistic prediction for yet another Hollywood comedy hot on the heels of the hugely disappointing flourish of seemingly endless teen comedies, my arm was sufficiently twisted into enduring the torture. Except for all my preconceptions, this played out more like ‘Shaun of the Dead’ than another overrated ‘Superbad,’ and whilst not without its flaws surprisingly succeeded where it needed to, creating humour without relying on repeating the same joke.

A plot description feels almost superfluous as the concept has been done multiple times before, and the notion of a world filled with zombies with only a few stragglers is not one that warrants particular explanation, and seeing as the nonsensical plot…

Lupin III: Castle of Cagliostro

Title: Lupin III: Castle of Cagliostro
Rating: 4/5
Genre: Animé, Adventure, Mystery, Romance
Starring: David Hayter, Dorothy Elias-Fahn, Ivan Buckley
Director: Hayao Miyazaki
Language: Japanese (dubbed)

“Lupin! Don't you dare die before I get to arrest you!”

Allowing my partner in crime to deal with the required viewing, this has finally spurred me on to explore the origins of this mastermind. If you hadn’t already gathered by the number of his films already reviewed for this blog, his name stamped on the cover of a film is something of a seal of quality as whilst only occasionally capable of brilliance, never can be said to descend into mediocrity. But thus far we have only focused on his recent works, alluding to the fact that Miyazaki is a man who has been in the animation industry for over 40 years but never exploring it, and its potentially with this film that we see the man coming into his own; his full-length feature directorial debut, as well as co-writer, character designe…

Princess Mononoke

Title: Princess Mononoke (もののけ姫 Mononoke-hime)
Genre: Animé, Adventure, Drama, Fantasy
Rating: 4.5/5
Starring: Billy Crudup, Claire Danes
Director: Hayao Miyazaki
Language: Japanese (Dubbed)

So, good T. Bawden and I decided to team up again for another special. While "Miyazaki" isn't relatively unknown nor is this the first time a film of his is reviewed here, this is one is a review waiting to be done. Being my first animé film, I was amazed the first time I saw it and am still amazed even after my 7th time. Set in Medieval Japan during the Iron Age, "Miyazaki" took a seemingly clichéd story line to a matter far deeper than what we'd originally think. We are introduced to "Ashitaka", a prince cursed and slowly dying after having battled with a stricken forest god, and his quest to discover what unleashed such a beast on his village, during which he encounters "San", a princess raised by the ancient wolf clan of the forest. While the gene…

Terminator Salvation

Title: Terminator Salvation (Terminator IV)
Rating: 2.5/5
Genre: Action
Starring: Christian Bale, Sam Worthington, Moon Bloodgood
Director: McG

I wasn’t intending to watch this, for after the fiasco of the abominable third things looked like they were not going to shape up to much more, even with a larger ensemble of cast members reputed to be able to act, a larger budget, and a plot that isn’t just a re-imagining of the first three, and yet the result was not as bad as it easily could have been. Skipping to the year 2018, the resistance waging war against the machines seems to approaching its conclusion with the discovery of a frequency capable of disabling the enemy. With a major assault on Skynet imminent, it is the discovery of straggler Marcus (Worthington) – an ex-Death Row inmate given a second chance by a bio-research company – that has Connor (Bale) worried; speaking of his father Kyle Reese (Yelchin) trapped by Skynet, he will need to infiltrate the enemy to rescue his fathe…


Title: Ponyo
Rating: 3.5/5
Genre: Animation, Adventure (Family)
Director: Hayao Miyazaki
Starring: Cate Blanchett, Matt Damon, Liam Neeson, Tina Fey, Noah Lindsey Cyrus, Frankie Jonas
Language: Japanese (dubbed)

You’d think this is a film that would have gained a lot of media attention, but since its release I’ve seen next to no mention of it. Another Miyazaki film well past the time he decided to ‘retire,’ some 3 or 4 films back, and with four films reaching the imdb’s “Top 250” you’d think that the fact that the film comes with his name attached would be enough to start a frenzy. Then add the consideration for the dubbing – Studio Ghibli films always have excellent dubbing for the wider audience – with respected actors, and then both then throwing in two young pop stars to handle the lead characters, well lets say when I arrived to discover I had the entire cinema to myself I was a little surprised.

Following the story of Sasuke (Jonas) and his mother Lisa (Fey) who discover a fish …

District 9

Title: District 9
Rating: 3/5
Genre: Action, Sci-Fi, Thriller, Drama, (Comedy)
Starring: Sharlto Copley
Director: Neill Blomkamp

Having not been living under a rock for the past few months, inevitably my attention had caught upon this film promising the latest and greatest in sci-fi thrillers, and whilst my enthusiasm had waned after the abysmal effort of ‘Pandorum,’ it is seeing Peter Jackson’s name on the bill as producer that spurred me on, having the financial backing to make something monumental. Except it isn’t; neither an epic classic in the making or a complete failure, instead the only real aspect that feels grand is the fact that it seems $30 million can vanish into thin air and miraculously be replaced with an Oscar nomination. What we have on our hands is possibly the most overrated and over hyped film since ‘The Dark Knight.’

A mysterious large ship emerges over Johannesberg, silently hovering without explanation until progressive thinking politicians decide to break their…

Joint Security Area

Title: Joint Security Area (JSA)
Rating: 4.5/5
Genre: Drama, Thriller, Mystery (War)
Starring: Yeong-ae Lee (Lady Vengeance), Byung-hun Lee (The Good the Bad and the Weird, Bittersweet Life), Tae-woo Kim, Kang-ho Song (The Host, Thirst)
Director: Chan-Wook Park
Language: Korean

“People with constipation should seize the chance when it comes.”

The debut from this now notable director currently most likely to have garnered the most recognition outside of his Korean home and the last of his films yet to have received a review. It is always with debut efforts that I become apprehensive, the twin issue of a low budget and the inexperience of the man in question played against the lack of time constraint, allowed as much as required to perfect the script. This was certainly not a film I should have had this apprehension for as the result is probably one of his strongest to date; almost unlike his other works, his trademark glorification of violence demonstrated later works notably absent – pe…

Wallace and Gromit: Curse of the Were-Rabbit

Title: Wallace and Gromit: Curse of the Were-Rabbit
Rating: 4/5
Genre: Animation, Comedy (Family)
Starring: Peter Sallis, Ralph Fiennes, Helena Bonham Carter
Directors: Steve Box, Nick Park

How many times have I seen the words ‘Family’ on a film and wondered if they actually meant it? I mean, I could watch chick flicks but I simply wouldn't want to as it isn't designed with my wants in mind, and despite my dislike, they still keep coming out and people still keep buying into them. The bad situational comedies have been flourishing for years – is it “Youth in Revolt” which has just been released, which is just nerd becomes generic bad boy to win heart of generic bad boy loving teenage slut, but I’m getting off topic – show no sign of stopping and Hollywood still churns out action films like a well oiled machine, but how many people would want to actually watch all three? Who could just as easily see themselves watching a teen comedy as they could - whatever the modern equivalent…