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Kick-Ass 2 (2013)
Falls very short of it's predecessor
The first Kick-Ass was a triumphant success, a film that despite displaying the same genre tropes (social outcast, loss of a close relative, seemingly unobtainable girlfriend etc...) packaged them in a completely skewered way that felt fresh to witness. By rooting the tale in a 'real world' setting, it up's the stakes of the peril facing our heroes while also presenting a satirical look at our own world and how we deal with not only superheroes but with violence also. Matthew Vaughn and Jane Goldman's first film handled that delicate balance masterfully. Sadly, Jeff Wadlow's sequel does not.
By losing Mark Strong and Nicolas Cage from the original, Kick-Ass 2 had a huge hole in need of filling at both sides of the spectrum and despite Jim Carrey turning in a wildly impressive performance (in relation to his frustratingly short 8 minutes of screen time), it is perhaps on the side of evil you notice this more. Christopher Mintz-Plaisse is woefully under-served as the films main foe and despite having a few funny moments throughout, he is never given the chance to shine and the film's bizarre plotting ensures that for every one step forward (nick-naming seems to be a talent of his) he takes two steps back. Evidence to this is the one scene cameo of Iain Glen as his Uncle in prison who threatens him to stop pursuing Kick-Ass, to which Chris says no, forcing his Uncle to kill Chris's only confidante (in itself, a very effective scene), only for this to do nothing to dissuade Chris as he continues with his plan anyway. And we never hear from his Uncle again.
Unnecessary scenes like this plague the film throughout and they really hammer home how disappointingly short Carrey's role as Colonel Stars and Stripes is. His performance is compelling as he sinks into the role, but rather than revel in it, the film only allows him two stand-out scenes and then continually uses it's supporting cast of character to eulogise him and ram down the audiences throat just how important he was despite his brief tenure as the leader of the pack. You really wish they could have trimmed the fat in other sections of the film to afford more Carrey time as the crazed Colonel.
With the lack of the Colonel on screen, comes a lack of fight. The film falls into a lull after his character meets his demise, with the delicate escalation of events in the first film being replaced by a mish-mash of random events seemingly undoing each other as they reach their rather uninspired climax. Moretz is again eminently watchable as Hit-Girl, but considering the most she gets to do is make people defecate themselves and stare at her Father's suit, the viewer can be forgiven for missing Big Daddy as well.
The film itself is not a bad one, it can have it's rather enjoyable moments, but in comparison to the first one, it falls decidedly short on all levels.
Tom Hardy loves grunting.
When this movie was in pre-production, I couldn't wait to see it. I loved The Road, which John Hillcoat directed also and its cast just excited me further. But I was left rather disappointed by the finished product, it seemed like the film wasn't entirely sure what it was aiming to do. Half of it plays like a prohibition Goodfellas, chronicling young Jack Bondurant as he rises through the family business of bootlegging. Which in fairness, would be a really fun film to watch, if the whole narrative was like it. But at crucial points the story takes itself way too seriously, trying to come across as a brooding epic, much like The Assassination of Jesse James, which considering the opening cheesy narration, it was never going to emulate.
I know a lot of people have problems with Shia LaBeaouf as an actor, but I'm not one of those. I thought he was great in Holes, Disturbia and even most of Eagle Eye. But watching this movie, I sort of understood what everyone else was saying. He doesn't quite have the charisma the carry a movie in the lead role, he plays the weedy brother in the first half of the film very well. But when the tone shifts and he has to take over his brothers mantle as leader of the gang, it's never once convincing.
Tom Hardy is an actor I love, he was great in Bronson and Inception (I personally didn't love him in Dark Knight Rises, but I understand why everyone else does) and I was excited to see him getting to grips with the classic Archetype of gang leader. But considering most of his work in the film is grunting and punching, he is underwhelming. As is Guy Pearce, who tries way too hard to be a quirky captivating villain from the big city. Trying to pull off a Christoph Waltz and failing.
But yeah, the film's not bad. Its just not good. And considering the talent involved, you think it would have been. Oh yeah and Gary Oldman? Literally in it for about 8 minutes. Ridiculous sub-plot which never takes place where you think it's going to. Be warned also, there is a lot of awkward silences in the film, where dialogue surely must have been in the script, only to be replaced by Tom Hardy grunting. A must see for grunters all over the world.
Boy A (2007)
A film wrought with raw emotion.
With the films subject matter, Boy A was always going to divide opinion. Some could not let themselves into the film purely by labelling the main character as evil. This is proved by the countless posts likening the film to the case of Jamie Bulger. But to just compare the film to that would be unfair, and labelling the main character of Jack Burridge is as equally unfair. But of course there is a difference between the film and the real life tragedy, we are taken on the plot of Jack being a very unfortunate child, with an ignorant father and a mother with breast cancer. He is the outcast of his class and has no friends. But when he meets Phillip, he starts to become a normal child. Only to realise that Phillip is the same as himself, a very tortured child due to the fact of being sexually abused. The influential Phillip very much leads Jack (Eric) into a downward spiral which eventually ends up with murdering a young girl. Now this is why it is different, with the real life incident we are presented it merely as an act of unthinkable violence, whereas the film provides a completely unbiased approach. Showing the slow build up towards the inevitable crime alongside a sweet and shy Jack building a life for himself. And film is all about interpretation, so fair enough if you don't agree with him getting a second chance, just don't label him as evil as soon as you know what he's done. It was an evil act, but that doesn't make him an evil person.
Sorry to bring up a serious case in a review, but there was a lot of dismissing of the movie for those same reasons and I wanted to combat them.
The film features two terrific performances, one from reliable character actor Peter Mullan, putting in a wildly likable paternal role. Grounding Jack in his new reality, while always coming off as entirely trustworthy. But the main performance by Andrew Garfield is nothing short of spectacular. It's an understated emotional role, with his stutter and awkward demeanour, Garfield lets us know so much about his character with probably half the dialogue the rest of the main cast get. It is truly a revelatory performance, making it wildly exciting for the anticipation for his role in The Social Network and of course playing the titular Spider-Man in its 2012 reboot.
The film carries two completely differing emotions, at the start there is an incredible sense of worry. With Jack's every suspicious look, the films tension is at times unbearable, thinking every moment that he'll suddenly be found out. But the testament to the film is, that at the same time this incredible tension is created we are also taken on a rites of passage tale as Jack slowly establishes a new reality. Making the film brilliantly divisive in its tone.
The films finale is particularly strong, with the happy life of Jack coming down around him. The audience is treated to some of Jacks own suspicion when Michelle goes missing and we start to suspect somethings wrong. And the slow unravelling does the rest of the films perfect pacing complete justice.
Overall, the film is an incredible achievement. Taking on a bold subject matter and turning it into an incredible character study. Taking down previous ideals and shattering any pre-constructed notions of who deserves to live and who doesn't. The one image I am left with still is when Jack escapes his room by climbing down the roof, he jumps from the shed and hurts his knee. He struggles and walks down an alley, holding the wall. On the other side of the alley, two children pass him, seemingly happy in their own world. This image perfectly encapsulates the films message of who is a monster? We all start the same, some make horrible decisions, but if someone is willing and capable of change, who are we to deny it?
Nolan at his most intelligent best.
Inception is truly one of a kind. A concept which has long gestated in Christopher Nolan's mind, his eye for drama mixed with his large scale sensibilities ring true in Blockbuster season making Inception a true original in the sea of reboots, remakes and sequels.
To try and explain Inceptions many plot twists and incredibly intelligent arcs, would be a foolish task. As Nolan himself has been reluctant to. The best way to approach the film would be with an open mind, if you are prepared to be taken on a ride of a lifetime, then trust that you 100% will. If Avatar was a seminal film in technology (although coming out as a rather poor film, in my opinion), then Inception is seminal in it's storytelling. With a 148 minute running time, you would expect a lot to take place, but what you wouldn't expect is the pace of it all. I did not think at one time in the film about how long was left. I was simply blown away by the depth in every single part of the film. If my enthusiasm for the storytelling aspect of the film has left you worried about the spectacle, then don't worry. They are, as hinted in the trailer, incredible, looking real and unbelievable simultaneously. The most pleasing thing about the action set pieces, is that they are genuinely used to illustrate the story, rather than to blow stuff up a la Michael Bay.
With this complex movie in it's high concept, a stellar cast is needed. And Nolan as always, delivers with just that. This is vintage DiCaprio, perhaps only equalled in The Aviator, which is even more impressive as his role as Cobb in Inception is not a showy one, needing DiCaprio to be the constant at the centre of the film. And he pulls off Cobb's emotional contradictions sublimely. The rest of the cast members all shine in parts of the films, Cillian Murphy shows off his usually non-existent tender side, Gordon-Levitt bottles his usual charm for his confidently reserved turn as the reliable Arthur, Watanabe is devilish as the seemingly ambiguous Saito, Page shows why she's the next big female star and Tom Hardy revels in being the comic relief of the film compared to his recent turns as decidedly psychopathic characters.
Overall, Nolan has indeed surpassed himself. He has created a world as expansive as his Gotham, a plot dwarfing the intricacies of Memento and one which blows The Prestige's cinematic reveal out of the water. This is truly unmissable cinema. Revel in it, we've still got to wait a whole two years before Batman 3.
The Marc Pease Experience (2009)
Misses the mark.
As a fan of Jason Schwartzman, I check his profile from time to time. Reading the brief synopses of his upcoming films. On reading this one for The Marc Pease Experience, I was quite excited to see it. But I needn't of, for it was quite a disappointment. The overall tone of the film stunk of second hand rip offs of, funnily enough other Jason Schwartzman films. His high school obsessed character rings true of Max Fischer in Rushmore and even Ben Stillers character comes off as the Herman Blume type. Someone who encourages Schwartzman's character before turning into his rival, not in the same entire quantity but with subtle similarities. With it's often offbeat approach to supporting characters and subplots, it rings off a bit like I Heart Huckabees. Again with subtle similarities in its attempted quirky style. But with these similarities the film falters, it lacks it's own coherent style. It has a Hollywood plot and structure in its three acts. And it's more predictable then it is funny. Schwartzman tries his best and it pays off in the smallest of bits in the film, but Ben Stiller is entirely wasted. The film was not appalling, but it was certainly not very good.
Mamet Keeps Fighting.
With David Mamet's reputation for razor sharp writing and his unwillingness to give in to the expected Hollywood model of a movie, I was expecting an unconventional and original movie. And I was not disappointed. In casting Chiwetel Ejoifor in his first lead role in an American film, Mamet pulls off a masterstroke. Ejiofor, a fine supporting character actor, gives an understated performance which leaves you wondering just how long it will be before more prestige films come his way. Mamet's script is one you could not guess the conclusions. I don't think it is a spoiler to say that main character, Mike Terry does not achieve or receive the rub of the green. Resulting in him being pushed around more times than a boulder in Mt. Moon. But this just strengthens the bond between the audience and the character. Other capable actors fill in the supporting roles, unremarkably but sufficiently. But this firmly remains Mamet's and Ejiofors show. And a very good show at that.
Star Trek (2009)
A good romp.
Star Trek for the Star Wars era. Out with the campness and scientific language. In with the one liners and special effects. This is not entirely a bad thing, being raised very much in the resurgence of the Star Wars prequels I have been fed by stunning set pieces held together with humour. Looking to the obviously superior original Star Wars trilogy, I saw the formula in which the new films were based. But looking back, not as a huge fan of sci-fi, the Star Trek series always seemed a bridge too far With this modern reboot courtesy of JJ. Abrams, both sets of fans are kept relatively happy. There are constant nods to the series ("Set phasers to stun" and even ol' Nimoy) as well as the younger generation humour ("I may be sick on you" and Simon Peggs green little helper).
The acting line up is an impressive mix of established talent and up and coming stars. Chris Pine wobbles a bit as Kirk, he pulls off the comedy with ease but struggles in maintaining his attitude and powerful status as the ships future captain. Zoe Saldana, Anton Yelchin and John Cho all do fine in their small roles as Uhura, Chekov and Sulu respectively.
Eric Bana grits his way through as the films villain, with his supposed accent getting the best of him, moving from a thick eastern European accent to a clean cut American for no meaningful reason, disappointing from the films most bankable and talented actor. Simon Pegg displays an atrocious accent in his role as Scotty, showing he should either fire his agent for assuring him he could do the role justice or his voice coach for assuring him his Scottish accent was even passable. It's in Karl Urban's Bones and Zachary Quinto's Spock in which the acting is displayed best. Bones being typified expertly with grisly attitude and a deep voice. And Quintos Spock acts from his eyes which move around intently throughout the film allowing the rest of his body to follow suit and turn in a moviestar performance.
The film is entertaining, its actions sequences intense. But it lacked the cutting edge of an out and out story. It struggles in deciding whether to be a hero and villain film or just an origins story. So it does both.
The films a jack of all trades, but sadly master of none. Commendable though.
Imaginative and Ambitious.
I went into the film as an avid fan of The Nightmare Before Christmas, which is of course also directed by Henry Selleck and not some guy called Tim Burton like every other person seems to think, including my film studies teacher.
So I was hopeful and even a little expectant in what I wanted from the film. The trailers had hinted at an eerie sub-plot to the movie and this is carried out delightfully throughout the film. But sadly this main point of story is what detracted from the film, but only minimally. The opening of the film spends too much time lumbering over character and setting, showing the undoubtedly beautiful animation at its very best. But its pace was slow, and I felt that if a film at 100 minutes running time feels slow then there is a problem.
Aside from this slight lack of cohesion the film was brilliant. It picked up pace furiously towards the climax, which is easily the best part of the film. Its characters were likable, there were a few funny moments, although no laugh at loud ones, and there was an enjoyable experience for all to have. Whether its for children being immersed into this gloomy environment or for adults marvelling at how beautifully and skillfully the film was made.
I came into the movie desperately wanting to love it, but came out just admiring it wildly.
The Weather Man (2005)
This film was an inbetweener by Gore Verbinski, squeezed into his schedule between Pirates 1 and 2. And you can really tell. Maybe Verbinski was distracted with attempting to plan a way to translate to ridiculous scripts of the sequels and completely forgot he was making this movie. Well, whichever way, every film he's made since The Black Pearl has been god awful.
Only brilliant directors can fit in movie's to be proud of during a making of a franchise they are handling also. And Verbinski is certainly not one of those. Nolan made the Prestige between Batman Begins and The Dark Knight and look how brilliant that was. Greengrass made United 93 between Bourne's Supremacy and Ultimatum. Need i give any more examples? The Weather Man tries so very hard to be indie. But it fails. Cage is as excruciatingly bad as usual. And I'm pretty sure Michael Caine has never had an accent lesson in his life. The film was a "Comedy" but i didn't laugh once. It's script was stupid, the performances misjudged and it was so unrealistic it made me a little angry. It picked up little side plots as if it was a collector and then it just as easily threw those away to focus on the "main" plot of Nicolas Cage. And to be honest i would rather watch paint dry.
I'm just puzzled at why people didn't love it as much as I did.
The film ran close to three hours? So what. Brad Pitt hardly acted? Who cares? It was just a love story? Maybe, but it was a bloody brilliant one.
This is not The Notebook. So women don't expect to have your heart strings tugged at for it's full 166 (thats right) minute running time. This is not Forrest Gump (although it does bear uncanny resemblances due to Mr. Eric Roth) so don't expect a lovable idiot whom you fall in love with. This is the story of an ordinary man in extraordinary circumstances. This is a totally different film and completely unique because of it. This is The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button.
The film completely charmed me. It was hilarious. It was heart-warming. It was beautiful. It was everything i could ask for in a movie. I could not recommend it any higher if i wanted to.
The Cottage (2008)
For people who'd already seen Paul Andrew William's fantastically gritty debut feature "London To Brighton", the trailer to his follow up "The Cottage" may have been bitterly disappointing to see as it was billed as a horror comedy, which we all know (with the exception of Shaun Of The Dead) aren't very good. But i had hope in my heart, i believed that the evidence of Williams as a writer in "London To Brighton" was good enough to stretch out across different genres. So i gave him a chance and went to see this film.
For a horror comedy, it lives up to half of its tag. The comedy, although sometimes bordering on the line of stupidity is generally funny. It sometimes delves too deeply into gross out comedy and would of been best suited to remain to the buddy comedy of the kidnappers. Now for the other half. The "horror" was awful. Full of clichés, and it basically made me a little angry, to see the fantastic realism of his first movie give into the Hollywood pigeonhole of horror. And this is the reason for the low rating. It wasn't the worst film I've ever seen, but from Williams i expected and hoped for much better.
Beautiful but thin.
Australia is an old fashioned swooping epic in every sense of the genre. It's landscape is vast and beautiful, the players are all fine specimens of humans and it runs over two hours long. And you can really feel it.
About 90 minutes in every single thing in Australia is wrapped up. Conflict has been settled, rights have been wronged and the enemy have been vanquished. Well at least I thought they had been. But Baz Luhrman had other ideas, he threw in an extra hours work covering a completely different plot point. This extra plot point was not itself bad in any way. It was just incredibly annoying due to the fact that the film itself had been wrapped up.
The film itself is good, if not incredible. The acting is up to scratch but not outstanding. Jackman plays the hunk well, the little child actor playing Nullah is incredibly sweet and makes you smile just looking at him, Nicole Kidman is annoying as ever and David Wenham's villain who we know is a nasty piece of work, never really shows us why. He doesn't have the glint in his eye as other villains do to make you feel really bad for liking them such as Malcolm McDowell in A Clockwork Orange or even Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight.
It's beautiful to watch in the cinema. I just wish the substance matched it.
The Aviator (2004)
A fantastic film.
This is a fantastic story of a man who had it all and quickly lost it. Scorsese presents us with a fascinating look at the world of showbusiness but in a completely three dimensional way. With some people thinking this film is just about the glitz and nothing else, they just need to take one look at Leonardo Dicaprios performance. Not only do i strongly disagree with the academy favouring Jamie Foxx's unremarkable depiction of Ray Charles but i also feel that this one of the most remarkable displays of acting in the history of cinema.
Scorsese uses his a-list cast to perfection. Alec Baldwin is used to perfection in a small role. Cate Blanchett shines and deservedly wins an Oscar for it. Alda shows us that actors do improve with age. And smaller roles from the likes of Beckinsale and Jude Law show us that there's a reason these actors wanted to be part of this movie. And its simply because, it's brilliant.
The Darjeeling Limited (2007)
Not just for Wes fans.
I am myself a huge Wes Anderson fan. But don't think of my view as biased. I try to go into every movie with a clear and undistorted brain and just enjoy the movie. Which I did, thoroughly.
I was completely taken in by the story. The music as always with Anderson is pitch perfect and it completely sets the tone. The characters are believable and the writing is incredibly witty. For all its breathtaking visuals and its carefully constructed mise en scene, The Darjeeling Limited remains a character film. With each brother differing in personality (and appearance but lets not go into that) the film makes for a diverse and largely accurate view of sibling rivalry.
The scenery is beautiful, the characters compelling and the writing has never been better. Wes Anderson has hit his peak, this is in my opinion, his best film to date. Its not as quirky as say The Life Aquatic. And its structure is not as full as The Royal Tenenbaums. This lands an effective blow with just over 90 minutes. 90 minutes which you will gladly give up again to revisit this gem.
The New World (2005)
A beautiful film.
As with other Terrence Malick films, this broody lingering drama improves as time passes after you watch it. On initial thoughts i wasn't too impressed with the movie because i thought it too slow. After a few hours when the film had finished i found myself reveling in how beautiful and how understated this film really is. The long establishing shots are meaningful and used to great affect for this epic love tale.
Don't expect a formulaic heart wrenching romance at the center of this movie as it will disappoint. It is replaced by a truly heartfelt deeper than words relationship established through gestures and actions, it is truly wondrous.
Colin Farrell is subtly commanding as John Smith, showing that his performances have aged beyond blockbusters. All the actors do an extremely good job considering the amount of dialogue in this film as it is used sparely. This film is just short of completely breath taking. It is not quite a masterpiece, but a film very much to be proud of.
The Illusionist (2006)
I expected more
This film had great reviews. I had heard it being called the years favourite magician movie. This coming in the same year as Christopher Nolan's fantastic "The Prestige" came as very high praise. It had Edward Norton and Paul Giamatti in it so that just improved the excitement level.
It was mediocre. The plot was alright but i just felt a little disappointed. The film lacked punch. Giamatti was pretty good as the Inspector but what i was most disappointed with was Norton, on cruise control throughout the entire film. I've read other people say he's mesmerizing and fantastic. He's not. Compared to American History X and Fight Club, this is a very reserved performance. Just because he has an accent doesn't mean its a masterful performance. Its average. As is the film.
Its an enjoyable watch. But not enjoyable enough to be a romp. Its good, but no way near good enough for award recognition. Don't expect too much and you won't be disappointed.
Fight Club (1999)
This film is nothing short of breathtaking. Fincher has created a modern masterpiece on the ground of the fantastic Chuck Palauhnik novel. The film covers every bit of angst dripping off the pages of the novel. Its quick edits and clever film-making is something to revel in, still after multiple viewings. It's dark, it's hilarious and the plot is one hell of a ride.
The characters are fantastic, as are the actors portraying them. Edward Norton does a fantastic job as the everyman sucked into a dark underworld. Helena Bonham Carter shines as Marla Singer with some of the best dialogue in the film. This of course coming behind perhaps, the greatest character created, in film, novels and the whole world. I am of course talking about Tyler Durden. Masterfully portrayed by Brad Pitt, Tyler is a dangerous, sneaky but ultimately, cool customer.
This film will capture every part of you with every time you watch it. If it doesn't, there is something clinically wrong with you.
Briefly Excellent. Mostly Excruciating.
The first series of Heroes was ultimate TV viewing. The overall storyline of save the cheerleader, save the world was absolutely brilliant. The characters had depth for example: Isaac Mendez, Simone and D.L. My favourite character of series 1 was easily Peter Petrelli who was the reluctant hero, with visions of grandeur and i thought that it was a part very well acted. How wrong was I? After gradually and steadily telling myself that Milo will get it back, he'll be back. I realised that he wouldn't, this was compounded by one painful scene where there are two Peters shouting at each other. Excruciating. Acting at its very worst.
Hiro, was another unlikely hero. An outcast trying to make a difference with his best friend. Hiro was used to perfection in the first series as the comic relief but also the most powerful with the exception of spongey Peter. But he has been wasted in series 2 and 3.
It all started with season 2, way too short. I know its because of the writers strike but other shows were affected by the writers strike and had to be cut down, but other shows didn't actually make you feel it wasn't complete, see Entourage for example. There were characters i hated such as Maya and her nob brother, because they were pointless, whiny and their powers sucked. And lets face it the shows called heroes. Not whiny dramatic people. I'll admit it. Season 3 is marginally better. But i mean Marginally. They decided to bring back pretty much every character, even ones that died. The writers have thrown in way too many storyline's that they can't even handle. It seems they can't make up their mind. We had Sylar briefly a good guy... Oh wait. No he's Peter and Nathans brother... Cue irritatingly awkward scenes with Sylar calling Angela mum (you just wouldn't if you'd found out like two days ago) and Peter his brother. Woeful. Oh and Peters dads alive. What a shock? I wouldn't be surprised if the next hero introduced was secretly just a cat. Dressed as a man.
Heroes season 1 was key. But i wished i had left it there. I long for the days of Isaac struggling with drugs, Simone choosing between him and Peter, Claire actually seeming helpless, Sylar as an actual villain and an awesome storyline. But i guess i'll have to just sit out the rest of this series and hope it gets better. Oh yeah and Greg Grunberg? What a really really really bad actor. Nearly as bad as Milo Ventomiglia.
Freedom Writers (2007)
I thought this film was very over dramatized. It thinks its a lot more profound than it actually is.
I do not live in America but i struggle to believe that this is what it is like in even 10% of the schools there. The characters are unbelievable and ultimately unlikeable. I wasn't expecting very much going into the film and i got out exactly what i thought i would. An alright performance from Swank, a couple of kids who really annoyed the hell out of me, especially the lead female teenager, who doesn't know who Anne Frank is? Ridiculous.
The only recommendable scene in this film was when they had the holocaust survivor come into the school as it was truly a touching moment. I don't know if she was a real Holocaust survivor but I'd be more impressed if she wasn't as it was powerful acting.
But that aside, this is a poor film.
House M.D.: Joy (2008)
One of the best House episodes
Along with the two part season finale of season 4 i honestly believe that this is one of the best House episodes ever. It has a very interesting diagnostic case but this is not what makes it better than average. The cinematography seemed different in this one, it lingered over House's eyes and it seemed like a real dramatic film. I love every episode of House but this one had everything. Taub was actually funny, we had emotional explorations of Cuddy and saw some actual emotions (barely) from House. For those of you who've seen it, I am not saying this is my favourite episode because Cuddy and House finally got it on. I truly believe this was an outstanding episode.
Ghost Town (2008)
I love Ricky Gervais but...
I wish he had played this role straight. I think the character was so deadpan and rude that it still would of been funny if he had played it straight. I know he says he can't take himself seriously but it would still be funny if he played it serious. Look at Alan Arkin in Little Miss Sunshine, played it serious for the whole film and he was hilarious.
Gervais just plays himself in this movie. Don't get me wrong I love Ricky Gervais, i have all his stand up dvds, all of the office and all of extras. I even have his Flanimals books. He is the sole funniest man on this world but he shouldn't of made this movie, at least not the way he did. The whole movie suffered from him just playing himself as it made the movie uneasy and patchy.
I don't think much of Greg Kinnear as an actor perhaps apart from in As Good As It Gets so he didn't impress much. The movie had a few laughs, but that was it. A few laughs, as far as the movie went, it sucked.
Burn After Reading (2008)
I was distracted at the start. It didn't engage me. It was a bit slow and not much happened. I like Malkovich but i didn't really want to watch him anymore after seeing so much of how funny Brad Pitt looked from the trailer.
Don't read into it that much, the start was still better than half of the generic movies out there right now but it didn't match up to the rest of the movie. This doesn't mean that Malkovich is the short straw either as he and his character do get a lot better.
Brad Pitt as I pretty much already guessed stole the show. Just as Robert Downey Jr. in Tropic Thunder and even though in a whole different context Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight. If he doesn't get his 2nd Oscar nod (maybe 3rd if The Curious Case gets him one as well) for this then there is something cruelly wrong with this world. He's a shoe in for the golden globe nomination at least.
The plot is so Coen-esquire that you just can't help but smile the whole way through the film, even through some deliciously dark parts. Its laugh out loud funny and subtle funny at the same time. It's quick, sharp and breathtaking film-making.
Stellar performances from Pitt, McDormand and the minimally used J.K Simmons with apt help from Clooney make this the Coens best non serious movie since The Dude's last sip of his white Russian.
Tropic Thunder (2008)
Stiller back on form
Some people seem to forget this is a comedy. It has it's tongue in cheek when it talks about going full retard (hilarious speech) for a movie. It is merely mocking the Hollywood lifestyle when they argue over Tivo. This is a fun look at a crazy world with an outstanding performance from Robert Downey Jr.
The start seems a bit patchy but it manages to pull it off, just. If there was one more trailer i think it would of been too much but due the quality of content in the trailers i wasn't too fussed.
It's far-fetched, it's quickly paced and it doesn't run as smoothly as other comedies. But it's a hell of a lot of fun, and there's quotes by the pound amongst this film. It's not perfect but its definitely worth a watch.
A great voice cast is wasted here. The jokes were not funny. What is an animation without a few laughs? I couldn't count the number of punch lines that went down with silence in the theatre, and this was one packed with kids! The idea is not too bad if not heavily influenced by other work. Cleese is not in it much, but he wasn't particularly funny when he was in it. To waste Cleese is a sin, but to waste Cleese, Izzard and Buscemi is something else.
The animation is annoying as we have seen so much better from Pixar. If this film had been given to Brad Bird, we would have seen a better and more successful movie. With this version i was only left with the question. Would this of ever been made without Tim Burton?
Does exactly what it says on the tin
How To Lose Friends And Alienate People looked like it might be different to the average rom-com we get these days, it looked like it was going to be a smart and satirical look at mainstream Hollywood. It isn't and it wasn't. It's in exactly the same vein as Run Fat Boy Run. I'm not saying that it's a bad film because it isn't and neither is Run Fat Boy Run, but I just felt like I'd seen it all before.
The start was rushed and lacked that flowing feeling. The middle was the best part, with a couple of laugh out loud moments. The end was a walking cliché which came straight from the school of Cameron Crowe (once again not always a bad thing).
Simon Pegg stuck to his normal schtick when he's without Mr. Wright and Mr.Frost, playing the lovable but overall clumsy fish out of water Brit. Jeff Bridges was and still is The Dude so he can do no wrong. Kirsten Dunst stuck to her guns and Megan Fox was thrown in as the so hot at the moment crumpet.
An entertaining film. Not bad. Not great either.