I recently saw Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, directed by Timur Bekmamtimbuktu (Timur Bekmambetov). Now, I’ve not studied reviews, or listened to opinions from many people about the film, as I prefer to go into a film largely unbiased, besides my own reservations I make from trailers, titles, etc. In some respects, this makes it rather hard to decided where I stand on a film, in others, I’m not being reeled in by another opinion. This is the exact problem I have with reviewing this film.
Now, from the title, this sounds like it’s basically going to be a load of bollocks. It sounds like the Hollywood steam train of idea’s has run out of coal, and they’re going to have to use some bullshit substitute to keep it all running. This isn’t a particularly intelligent film. It’s not that historically accurate. And a fair bit of the acting leaves a lot to be desired. It is however, a very enjoyable action romp, which I have no problem with. Films are there to entertain are they not? Are they not there for us to have some escapism? That’s exactly what this is. It’s an enjoyable, not too deep, not too clever action movie.
The film basically follows the secret life of a highly fictional Abraham Lincoln. In many ways, I feel the plot would have worked better as simply, a vampire-hunting movie, as opposed to making it into this ‘president by day, vampire hunter by night’ gimmick. That said, the second half of the film probably wouldn’t have worked without the president part and it’s rather well done tie-in to the American Civil War.
The acting throughout left a lot to be desired, however, the dialogue really seemed to matter little as the film is pretty much entirely action driven, even when ol’ Abe is in his tender old years at the white house, and he’s still swinging an axe about like a lumberjack pumped full of LSD (Which sounds rather entertaining, your next film perhaps Mr. Director?). The acting almost feels unnecessary, and rather secondary to watching Mr. Lincoln cleave the heads off the undead. Benjamin Walker, who plays Abraham, was actually rather good at it. Earlier in the film he does a fairly decent job at portraying a very naive, revenge hungry young man, and progresses rather nicely into an axe swinging, speech making president (what was it that Theodore Roosevelt said? ‘Speak softly and carry a big stick’?). Dominic Cooper plays his mentor and trainer, Henry Sturgess, and does a fairly decent job at playing the American stereotype of the arrogant foppish English gent. Everyone else is fairly unimportant, and I felt that their characters/portrayals had pretty much zero impact on my opinion of the film. There is of course a customary ‘token black friend’ (apologies if that seems racist, it was not intended to be), who is linked in with the slave trade, which becomes tied in with the film. Mary Elizabeth Winstead is also present as Lincolns wife, and while she may have done a good job in other roles, here, I found her to be rather irritating. I’m not sure why. She just seemed over opinionated. Dumb bitch. No, I’m not a chauvinist pig. Screw you.
That’s about all I can fathom saying about the acting, the dialogue doesn’t do much beyond introduce new scenarios and motives, and there are some truly horrendous one-liners.
The action throughout, is a spectacle. It very much grabs the eye, and while alot of it at points may seems stupid, or completely unfathomable (they drift a fucking horse and cart at one point) I tried to keep in mind that this is a film about one of the arguable most revered and well known presidents making a career of hunting the undead. There are some bits in this film that did make me jump, and while it’s not going to keep you up at night, it does provided some very strong jolts, much like firmly clenching an electric fence. Much of the film features very visceral, violent combat, as we see the protagonist and company dispatch the undead in many wonderful and violent ways. It makes heavy use of slow motion, much akin to a Michael Bay movie, or as a friend pointed out 300. Personally, I enjoyed this, as it let me watch take in the detail of much of the combat. It’s a shame we can’t see this sort of violence being applied to Robert Pattinson, so that he can’t take part in any more Twilight, and that franchise would hopefully die.
The plot earlier in the film feels somewhat pointless, and cliche. But later in the film, with the civil war backdrop, and Lincoln in office, I felt it actually became quite ambitious for a ridiculous action film (one adapted from a book, at that).
Overall, it’s not the best thing I’ve ever seen. It’s certainly enjoyable, in a frivolous pointless way, like spending all your pocket money on Afterburner (classic game, if you did not play it, you have not lived) at the arcade. It would be stupid of me to dismiss this film as bad because of it’s basic premise, which while sounding ridiculous, does actually make for some entertaining viewing.
Time to review Dark Shadows, oh boy.
Where to start about Tim Burton’s adaptation of the cult 60’s/70’s TV show? Well, it’s a Tim Burton film, you big dummy. It’s got quirky characters, Johnny Depp, gothic themes and styles, Helena Bonham Carter, a Danny Elfman score, and that’s about it. So, besides the usual tripe Burton incorporates into his films (Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter), what’s this really got to offer?
As it’s a remake of what many people consider a classic TV series, I can’t really give this a great amount of creative and artistic credit, and I can honestly say that I feel that way about most Tim Burton films, adaptation or not. What this film does have going for it however, is some quirky dialogue (in places), and some amusing scenarios. It also has some intriguing Vampire mythos woven in, which I find refreshing, as Vampires have become the Jar-Jar Binks of modern horror/supernatural fiction (all credits going to Stephanie Meyer, nice going, ya dumb bitch).
Most of the humour in the film is derived from Johnny Depp’s character, Barnabus Collins, and particularly his struggle to adapt to the modern world, as he’s been stuck in a box for 200 years (arguably preferable to having to look at Helena Bonham Carters face regularly). A lot of the humour also comes from Barnabus archaic use and understanding of the English language.
Beyond that, there’s some nice 70’s style, music (Curtis Mayfield, very sexy), and some pretty decent visuals. That’s about all the good it does for me.
The rest of the characters, I have to say, I did not like. Helena Bonham Carter playing the usual ego-centric tosser that she usually does. Chloe Grace Moretz playing an unlovable obnoxious brat of teen (absolute twat, I have to say), who ‘digs’ all that 60’s/70’s free love hippy bullshit. And then there’s the rest of the cast, who besides Michelle Pfeiffer, are all pretty unmemorable, and yes, that includes the antagonist.
And that leads nicely to my next point, the antagonist is forgettable. The antagonist feels almost like a secondary plot point to the main plot, which is watching Johnny Depp act like Johnny Depp, except with pointy teeth, giving the audience his usual quirky wierdo schtick. That’s not to say I don’t like Johnny Depp. I genuinely think he’s a talented actor, he’s just overcast, and type cast in roles specifically made for him to do the usual wierdo twat dance by which he shall be remembered. Back to my point about the plot, the main villain, who set this whole thing off by cursing the Collins family, feels secondary. The plot lacks coherency. All the way throughout, I was thinking ‘what the fuck is going on?’. The plot jumps from situation to situation, without clear regard to maintaining a meaningful plot. By the time the climax of the film arrived, it felt like it came out of the blue (out of Tim Burton’s arse more like).
To summarise, this isn’t a particularly good film. It’s got some amusing dialogue. Some enjoyable scenarios (particularly where Depp’s vampire slaughters a group of hippies. I enjoyed that). And overall, looks nice, and has a nice feel to it. But that is not enough to save this film from incoherency and being pretty much, another Tim Burton film.
The Master Teaser Trailer
(Ian) Here’s the teaser trailer for my most anticipated film of 2012, Paul Thomas Anderson’s THE MASTER. I say give the Best Supporting Actor Oscar to Joaquin Phoenix NOW. (Probably Best Pic, Best Director for PTA and toss in Best Actor for Phillip Seymour Hoffman as well) I love that the teaser gives almost nothing away, yet has me salivating.
THE MASTER opens October 12th.
Who else is salivating???
It’s been an excessive amount of time since my last blog, so here’s a cheeky lil’ somethin’ somethin’.
So, recently, I saw Ridley Scott’s latest film, Prometheus.
(Quick note, if you’ve not seen Alien, switch off your computer, and go and watch it. ASAP.)
Marketed as a psuedo-prequel to his classic horror/sci-fi film, Alien, the film maintains a similar feel throughout, however, it is quite it’s own beast.
It follows new characters, in a new place, looking at in essence, a new (or should I say old, considering that canonically, the story takes place before Alien.) threat.
What I found most people were saying was, that they didn’t like it. I can’t see why. It delivers a top notch sci-fi story. Has a strong sensation of discomfort and unease throughout. Has some very compelling and well acted characters (David in particular, played by Michael Fassbender.). The cinematography and visuals throughout are spectacular (I saw it in 2D though, I’m not overly fond of 3D, I find it detracts from the film.). And one new thing I found, it had this wonderful sense of mystery and wonder to it. Personally, I feel this is something Alien, Aliens (and those two other pieces of shite which associate themselves with the franchise) did not have.
Ok, so that was just a brief comment on what I liked, which could rather easily be written off as me just being a bit of a typical fanboy, plus I spent money on that ticket so the hell if I ain’t gonna enjoy it, ya sumbitch. But honestly, I think thus far in 2012, this is my favourite film. Here’s a more detailed version:
1. It’s fucking beautiful to look at. Even the CGI, and things which are meant to be foreboding, or disgusting for me, caught my eye, and I bloody well enjoyed it. Grotesque, warped things that are depicted in this film as wholly antagonistic to me, looked stunning, they filmed me with awe, and fear, and at times disgust. ‘A viewer shouldn’t have to feel ill at the sight of something!’ I’m sorry, but anything that makes me feel physically ill, scared, or just cuts me to the very core, is doing it RIGHT. That’s film artistry at it’s best, it’s not just something to be ogled, it ogles you right back. Plus, y’know, the cinematography and shit are pretty nice.
2. Wonder. This couples rather nicely with my appreciation of the visuals, as everything I see gives me this overwhelming sense that a hell of a lot of effort has been put into making this world feel real. Looking at the sets, and the beings the film shows us and I can’t get them out of my head, ‘what is that?’ ‘where do they come from?’ and other such pointless thoughts as I desperately try to cling to straws of coherent analysis (which leads rather nicely into my next point).
3. Over-saturation. There’s just so much to take in here. Honestly, there is so much visually, and metaphorically to take in. I was struggling to maintain a single string of thought because ever 2 minutes I was like ‘Ooooh, what was that?’. It overloaded my brain. It crammed it so full, it was fit to burst. I was pregnant and little baby ramble was on the way (just been born, I’m oh so proud). There are so many visual pointers leading to subtle (some not so subtle) themes the film is trying to get across. A key theme throughout being linked to, you guessed it, Prometheus (No, not the ship you daft sod, the greek titan, dint u go 2 skool innit?). Prometheus stole fire from the gods, and gave it to mankind, sacrificing himself in order to give humans a 1up. Throughout the film, his sacrifice is played on heavily in metaphorical and very visual ways (I’m not listing them, you’ll have to see the film, or figure it out yourself if you already have). Theres also idea’s here bouncing around about how humanity was born, where we come from, what is our purpose, etc. But again, I won’t go into them. Alot of the fun I got from the film came from just thinking and hypothesizing about it afterwards.
That big, long paragraph right there, vaguely details how intricate this film is. It’s not just another ‘Alien’ film, where stuff happens, people die, and oh god oh god they’re coming out of the goddamn walls, it’s something much deeper, and in many ways, is far more intelligent than it’s predecessor. The fact it gives you so much to see, in such little time furthers this sense of wonder I talked about earlier, although, this could also be regarded in a negative light. Giving the audience too much to look at could cause the bigger, more important things to lose importance. It’s hard to find a needle in a haystack, however, I felt more like a wide-eyed child in a toy store; not quite sure what to do, but utterly in awe.
So, in conclusion to my latest (incredibly late) rant, I’d strongly recommend Prometheus. Don’t go into it expecting Aliens (the creatures, not the film), don’t go into it expecting it to be Alien (the film, not the creatures), you will be disappointed (or not). This film very much does it’s own thing. It creates a new, and wonderous world, introduces some very fine characters (I’ve really said far too little about Michael Fassbender’s portrayal of David, as it really is one of the best things about this film.), and for me, it added a whole new, exciting layer of intrigue to the Alien mythos.
Any film that leaves me thinking about it for a week afterwards is well worth the price of admission. Go see it, Prometheus is one of the best sci-fi films and above that films in general of recent years.
I do realise that it has been a very long time since I’ve done this, but I simply wanted to write. So, here goes. Bear with me here.
What can I say about this film? Well, to start, it was released in the year 2000, and it was directed by the Coen brothers. It stars George Clooney, John Turturro, Tim Blake Nelson, John Goodman, and Holly Hunter.
Honestly, I can only sing praises for this film, pure and simple, it’s a feast for the eyes and the ears.
The story is based primarily from The Odyssey, by the ancient Greek poet Homer.
The film follows three men, who have broken free from a chain-gang (a form of punishment for prisoners in America.), and it follows their journey through rural Mississippi, in 1937, during the great depression.
The story throughout is well plotted, and is a joy to follow, from encounters with bank robbers, to members of the Klu-Klux-Klan, the film is genuinely entertaining, and filled with vibrant and funny characters.
The setting is perfectly realised and is a brilliant representation of depression-era United States.
The mise-en-scene, and cinematography throughout the film are very captivating to look at, it’s got a very sepia-esque tone to it, which lends really well to the rural, and old setting of the film.
The performance from the cast throughout is wonderfully diverse, and showcases the intriguing range of characters this film has, from the smooth talking, yet bumbling Everett (Clooney), to the insane, yet amusing George Nelson. Along with the great performance from the cast, the dialogue throughout is brilliant. It’s well written, observant, and overall, very funny, as is a Coen brother’s trademark. Now, when I say funny, don’t expect a typical Leslie Nielsen style joke sentence type of funny. It’s far more subtle, and a lot more intelligent. A lot of particularly making playful nods towards the absurd culture of depression era America. Personally, to me, one of the best things about this film is the undertones humour, some of it very dark. It’s a standard trademark of the Coen’s, but I feel it really stands out in this film, this film is a lot more light hearted than some of their other endeavours, and because of that, the humour really has a great opportunity to flourish, rather than being crushed by their traditional dark overtones.
Now, if you can cast that memory of yours back to the beginning of the review (that’s right, a long way, this is no place for goldfish.), you’ll remember that I said this was a feast for the eyes AND the ears. Well, I wasn’t joking. I think one of the most astounding things about this film is the music. It’s rich. If my ears where a heart, they’d have a full on coronary whilst listening to this film. To start, it’s a beautiful, diverse, entrancing soundtrack. Filled with bluesy, soul-ey, folk-ey, old time music, and it’s all damn fine. The film literally flows through a myriad of wonderful songs from the depression era, really making this film feel more than authentic. I honestly found myself bobbing along to the music in this film. And what can I say? I enjoyed it, it wasn’t a guilty pleasure. It’s all thoroughly enjoyable. And best of all? It’s happy, upbeat, good mood invoking stuff, I didn’t feel sad at all throughout this film.
So, to finish up, I can recommend this film without any doubt. It’s sadly overlooked, as are most Coen brothers films, and trust me, there are some real gems, this being one of them. To be honest, I’ve not done this film enough justice. There’s an absolute wealth of brilliant things I’ve not mentioned about this film, but needless to say, you should definatly consider watching this, as it’s a pure, straight up, joy.
Thank’s for reading, and expect more reviews soon.
The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. What a film. Seriously, one of the greatest films of all time, it’s amazing.
Which is why I’m going to review it.
So here goes….
So, The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, one of Italian director Sergio Leone’s most famous and revered films, was first released in 1966. Whew, long time ago. And it hasn’t aged for the worse. Seriously, after all these years, and tons of modern gems, this film still retains it’s brilliance.
So, where to start? How can I possibly do this film the justice it deserves? Well, I’ll start with the films length.
It’s been called an ‘epic’ in the past, which in regards to how long the film is, is a very fitting phrase. The story is a long, bloody tale of betrayal, revenge, and more importantly, gold. Set during the civil war in the American west close to the border of Mexico, this films scope is huge, throughout the film you’ll see rugged frontier towns, sprawling deserts, a monastery, a prisoner of war camp, a civil war battlefield, and the final, iconic, cemetery.
That just gives you a small inkling of how large scale this film is.
Now, to the characters.
You’ve got Clint Eastwood playing the strong, silent, man with no name character, also referred to as ‘Blondie’, aka The Good.
Lee Van Cleef as the sinister military man on the hunt for gold, aka The Bad.
And Eli Wallach playing Tuco, the cruel, bastardly Mexican bandit, aka The Ugly.
They’re all well suited for their roles and the three of them make for convincing cowboys, bandits, or whatever. Eli Wallach is especially good in this one, despite his character being a pretty bad guy, he’s pretty damn funny too.
Now, to talk about the soundtrack.
Composed by the amazing Ennio Morricone (who, incidentally scored most of Sergio Leone’s films), the soundtrack is electrifying. It’s probably one of the best film scores in history, it is put expertly to use in the film to the make the experience much more thrilling and engrossing. The climax of the movie, in the cemetery use two compositions, both building up to the final showdown, a Mexican stand off. The music makes this bit that much more entertaining and spine tingling, the music itself could leave you hanging off the edge of your seat.
A lesser composer, sadly, could not have accomplished that, and it’s safe to say, Ennio Morricone is one of the greatest composers. Ever.
So, to conclude, if you have not seen The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, make sure you do, it’s one of the greatest films of all time, a true classic.
Hello good people. Time for another sterling review.
Today I will be reviewing Watchmen. The 2009 Adaptation of Alan Moore’s Graphic Novel epic.
So, to start, it’s directed by Zack Schneider, who previously directed the 2004 remake of Dawn of the Dead, and another graphic novel adaptation, 300.
To start, I’m quite a big fan of Zack Schneider, his directorial style is really cool, and visually stunning, I mean, I can find absolutely no faults in the cinematography of Watchmen, there are so many beautiful, captivating, iconic shots in this movie, I mean, I could watch this film just for the cinematography.
Now, lets talk about the film itself, because this is an adaptation of a graphic novel, the story really doesn’t take a lot of doing does it? However, a lot of adaptations really mess up the story, but this one actually doesn’t. Schneider really did a great job of getting the plot just right, he’s stayed so loyal to the plot apart from one major change, which I can’t really fault because the original thing from the graphic novel would look silly on the big screen.
The pacing of the plot is great, all the twists, turns, and big events happen at the correct moment, and really kept me hooked, the locations, all the same as the locations in the book are fantastically done in the film.
Now, for the cast. The cast, for lack of a better word, are fantastic. Jackie Earle Haley as Rorschach, brutal, gritty, uncompromising. Patrick Wilson as Nite Owl, nerdy, humble, funny, a really good job at playing the true good guy. Jeffrey Dean Morgan as The Comedian, cruel, funny, likeable, bastardly, a fantastic portrayal. Now, I could talk about every single cast member, but that would take too long, but I must say, literally everyone in the film, even the people playing small roles, are all fantastic.
Now, for the last bit of my review. The soundtrack. Oh my lord. Oh sweet lordy lord. The soundtrack is brilliant. It goes so well with the film. Now, I’ve heard people nay saying about the soundtrack. Don’t listen to them. It’s fantastic. Now the film has it’s own original compositions to go with it, but it also has a fantastic selection of music by popular artists, you’ve got Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, Simon & Garfunkel, Nina Simone, Leonard Cohen, Nat King Cole, and not to mention an amazing composition by Philip Glass. So yeah, the soundtrack is amazing.
So, in conclusion, please watch this film, it’s a good 3+ hours or so. But it really is worth it, it’s brilliant. Watch it and enjoy it, and if you dislike it. I will find you.
So, I suppose as this is a film review blog, I’d better make a film review. So, my first review is going to be of Scarface.
So, to start, Scarface, the one I’m reviewing is a remake of the 1932 original.
Made in 1982, it chronicles the life of a Cuban immigrant turned drug lord. As far as gangster movies go, this is a classic, Al Pacino, in the title role is perfectly suited for the role, having previous experience in gangster films (The Godfather trilogy).
Watching through the film, you’ll see some pretty iconic cinematography, ranging from shots of Miami, to the final classic shot of Scarface firing a machine gun in a cocaine filled mansion.
As far as films go for capturing the excessive force of nature that was the 80’s, Scarface is one of the best. It’s portrayal of 80’s excess, style, drug dealing crime lords, are all perfectly suited for the story.
The story itself has multiple dimensions which can really keep the viewer hooked.
Director Brian De Palma makes a fantastic narrative just from the main character. You can look at the film from many different angles, Scarface’s tale is one of redemption, penance, about a man who made mistakes in his past life and is looking to find a new start, and reconnect with his family. At various points you can even look at him as a man with honour, with codes.
However, this is, after all a gangster film, and watching through, you can’t help but get a feel for what a power obsessed, drug taking monster that Scarface is. All the acts of goodness, and his codes are all broken apart because he is essentially, at his core, a bad man. He murders, steals, takes drugs, and betrays. You watch this man build his criminal empire, forge a marriage, and set up a pretty fantastic life, and then… Destroy it all through his flaws. His journey through the film is all closely intertwined with his life, and in a way, the empire, the life he builds, could be an analogue of himself, he destroys everything, including himself.
In conclusion, Scarface is a fantastic, iconic movie. A fantastic portrayal of 80’s crime in Miami. Watch it, love it, remember it.
So, make what you will of the review, I feel I may have rambled too much, but no way am I re-writing all that. But most of all, enjoy!
So, to all folks who may be reading this, I’d like to say hello, and introduce myself. My name is Joel. I intend to use this blogging service to review films, post news on films, and whatever else interests me.
So, in the coming weeks and months I’ll be posting reviews of films, news, etc. This blog is primarily for reviewing films, as that is what I do so enjoy.
Well, that’s my introduction done. Enjoy the wonderful stuff I’ll be sharing with y’all soon.