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Showing posts from February, 2012

Andromeda Strain

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Title: Andromeda Strain (remake)
Rating: 3.5/5
Genre: Sci-fi, Drama, Thriller
Starring: Benjamin Bratt, Daniel Dae-Kim, Eric McCormack
Director: Ridley Scott, Tony Scott

A review I wasn't gonna write until I realised just how slow work was going to be; whether you want to call this a film or a mini-series is up to you. Certainly there are budgetary concerns with many of those involved more used to TV work over feature films, and the expected midpoint cliffhanger, but at just under 3 hours long, happily works as a long film. And it's not slow and drawn out like you may expect from a long film, rather it takes inspiration from the original, as well as the Michael Crichton book and tries to do them both justice in terms of tone and atmosphere, also taking liberties with the original story (a sure fire way to disgruntle many a fan of the original), asking questions around the subject and this mysterious disease and then consequently answering them (for better or for worse), and per…

Nightmare on Elm Street

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Title: Nightmare on Elm Street (remake)
Rating: 1.5/5
Genre: Horror
Starring: Jackie Earle Haley, Rooney Mara, Kyle Gallner
Director: Samuel Bayer

Ah glorious is the day I discover we get all the movie channels at work, and still this is the best I can come up with; a remake of a film that, if I'm honest, I was never too enamoured with though I wont deny its position as a quintessential slasher flick that went a long way to defining the genre. Just one of a number of horror films that have been revisited by Hollywood in recent years, it's not an idea i've ever enjoyed much, just proving the lack of cinematic ideas and the drive for a cash in, making a film they know at worst will make its money back due to sheer morbid curiousity as to how badly they'll screw up this time. The premise for those who don't remember it is simple; the mass murderer Freddy Kroeger already met his grizzly fate, but even in death manages to find his revenge on all those who wronged him by …

The Descent Part Two

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Title: The Descent Part Two
Rating: 2/5
Genre: Horror
Starring: Shauna McDonald, Michael Reynolds, Jessika Williams
Director: Jon Harris

Despite my usual apparent dislike for many mainstream efforts, the first part of this saga proved itself to be well thought out, and whilst being a shade predictable, never quite pandered to cliché. Quite impressive considering it was a film about women - none of who get their tits out - trying to escape a cave with what can only be called 'rock monsters' on their tail. Perhaps it was that they seem to have made something good out of what looked like a worrying premise that kept me away from this film. Perhaps it was the dreaded sequel syndrome. I honestly can't remember, but picking up where the last one left off, it certainly does feel like... well a sequel, with all the usual problems.

When our sole survivor emerges, she quickly finds herself in a hospital bed being treated for her relatively minor wounds; traumatised by her ordeal, her…

2012

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Title: 2012
Rating: 1.5/5
Genre: Apocalyptic Action Adventure
Starring: John Cusack, Thandie Newton, Woody Harrelson, Danny Glover, Chiwetel Eijerfor
Director: Roland Emmerich

Lets for the sake of argument ignore that the entire initial premise of this is pretty much a load of bollocks; that the Mayans predicted the end of anything except their calender (though that was only one throwaway line admittedly) or that the sun will ever randomly decide to start firing mutated neutrino's - whatever the hell they meant by that - that act like microwaves but only to the earths core, and not the surface. Lets gloss over this plot that a remedial high schooler could pick apart and move right on to all the other problems with this film that ought to be mentioned.

It follows the story of a number of people; a limo driver for a Russian Billionnaire - his daughter sporting an accent so bad it borders on the offensive - and their families, one of which who discovers the secret thanks to a madman i…

Sky High

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Title: Sky High
Rating: 2/5
Genre: Action, Horror
Starring: Yumiko Shaku, Takao Osawa, Shôsuke Tanihara
Director: Ryuhei Kitamura
Language: Japanese

Helmed by the man responsible for both 'Versus' and 'Azumi,' two of my favourite Japanese action flicks, I decided to save this one, sure that once again he would deliver the goods. But actually, far from being epic it's rather disappointing, and there's nobody else that can really take the blame for this one. Let me get on with describing the plot and perhaps you'll see what I mean.

It all opens promising enough; a wedding between a young detective and his bride to be all goes tits up when she walks down the aisle with her heart removed. After much deliberating about 'how could such a thing happen' - though in the case of the doctor, literally how could she walk so far without a heart - we begin to learn of Kudo and his dark plan. Head of the largest pharmaceutical company in the world, this young billi…

Doghouse

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Title: Doghouse
Rating: 3.5/5
Genre: Horror, Comedy
Starring: Danny Dyer, Noel Clarke, Stephen Graham, Emily Booth
Director: Jake West

One of those films that once you'd heard about knew it was only a matter of time, from the man who gave us the hilarious low budget flick 'Evil Aliens' comes another tale so depraved and sordid you'd think it would be Japanese, if y'know, Danny Dyer wasn't in it. Instead it's gloriously British; a film following in the footsteps of '28 days later' and 'Shaun of the Dead' yet of a different breed once again, happily spoofing the genre and giving rise to plenty of puns at womens expense. It all kicks off with Vince and his messy divorce, down and depressed and so it's up to his mates to cheer him up, dragging him out on a lads weekend to a town in the middle of nowhere, where the women outnumber the men 4:1, but when they arrive they quickly realise somethings wrong, as these women have quite a literal take …

Frostbite

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Title: Frostbite
Rating: 3.5/5
Genre: Horror, Comedy
Starring: Petra Nielsen, Grete Havnesköld, Carl-Åke Eriksson
Director: Anders Banke
Language: Swedish

Is it like "30 Days of Night?" Or is it another "Twilight?" This is the sort of question that every vampire flick gets asked these days, and despite pre-dating them both, the closest answer is that it's actually a little bit of each. Vampires are probably the most common mythical creature employed by horror films, except perhaps zombies for the perceived lack of thought required to make a zombie flick (not if you dont want it to be shit dumbass!) because of the versatility they can represent. The mysterious entity living in the shadows, hiding from man but plaguing us without our knowledge. It's this that keeps vampire films alive and this that you'd think might have something to do with this films creation. But no, this is far too much fun for that. Set in the arctic northern wastelands of Sweden, whe…

Cowboys Vs Aliens

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Title: Cowboys Vs Aliens
Rating: 3/5
Genre: Action, Adventure
Starring: Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford, Olivia Wilde, Sam Rockwell
Director: Jon Favreau

A film title can often tell you an awful lot about the kind of flick you can expect; a cheesy one, artsy, depressing, pretentious. The title here seems pretty obvious what sort of film this should be. It's not got a pretentious name, it's motherfucking cowboys vs motherfuckin' aliens; more 'Fast and the Furious' or 'Snakes on a Plane than anything that takes itself too seriously, and this is exactly what I was hoping for. Plenty of comic moments, cheesy one liners and manic mayhem in this unusual match-up, but it doesn't seem as though everyone was on the same page.

Much of the film concerns ourselves with these three protagonists, the cowboy Jake (Craig) and cowgirl (Wilde) searching for their missing friends, abducted by the aliens, forming an uneasy truce with the local town owner trying to get his son back,…

The Shinjuku Incident

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Title: The Shinjuku Incident
Rating: 3.5/5
Genre: Crime, Drama, Thriller
Starring: Jackie Chan
Director: Derek Yee
Language: Chinese / Japanese

I'll admit I never really followed Jackie Chan's career so what was news to me might not be to others; that he hadn't abandoned Chinese cinema for Hollywood tripe but rather was still active in both worlds, producing and starring in this film. Surprisingly, it never feels as self-indulgent as it easily could have, re-living his classic martial arts days, but instead there is not a karate kick in sight. In fact this is a very different role for him from what we would expect, as what he's created is a Chinese film about a side of Asia not too unfamiliar to a Western audience, based on actual events that occurred in Shinjuku, and hence has an almost Hollywood vibe to it all as he tackles an issue unique to no single country.

For this is a tale about immigrants, following the path of one as he navigates his way to Tokyo and getting …

I Saw The Devil

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Title: I Saw The Devil
Rating: 4/5
Genre: Action, Crime, Horror, Thriller
Starring: Byung-hun Lee, Min-sik Choi, Gook-hwan Jeon
Director: Kim Jee-Woon

Korea might not have the largest film industry, they may not have the most money to flash around on CGI, or the greatest number of films being released, but once again i've discovered proof that they have one of the strongest film industries and much of that is thanks to just three directors; Chan Wook-Park, Joon Bong-Ho, and this films very own Kim Jee-Woon, who is perhaps the weakest link in all of this and still capable of producing works others would be proud to call their magnum opus. This is the depraved tale of a serial killer whom the police have failed to catch, letting him roam free to commit atrocity again and again, choosing young women as his target of choice, except it was bound to be only a matter of time before he chose the wrong woman. Fiancée to a man on the other side, a special agent who devotes his attention to d…

Star Trek

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Title: Star Trek
Rating: 4.5/5
Genre: Action, Sci-Fi
Starring: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Leonard Nimoy, Karl Urban, Eric Bana
Director: J. J. Abrams

This is a film I intended to review a long time ago, way back when i first saw it at the cinemas but decided it needed to be watched again, just to make sure it really was that awesome and not just a pleasant surprise. For with reboots always comes more than a little dread at soiling the memory of great films, and the casual star trek fan in me acknowledges just how painful this could have been. The star trek legacy - whether you're a fan or not - is one unparalleled today; it's futuristic sci-fi still limited in what can be done and still bound by conventional physics, and still a dream of scientists worldwide trying to make it a reality. Its lore, history, politics and overarching mythos so in depth it makes lord of the rings look shallow. And through it all lies a human core, taking the action and excitement of exploring the u…