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Happy Death Day (2017)
Worth a repeat watch...Worth a repeat watch...Worth a repeat watch
When the Universal logo goes into a Groundhog Day/Edge of Tomorrow roll, its not hard to guess the plot of this film, especially when the loathsome leading character meets her demise within the first ten minutes, and then rewakes takes the audience onn her investigative journey as she gets to live the next 18 hours again.
This results in a myriad of different days and scenarios reaching the same conclusion. No point in telling anyone how it ends, just go along with this amusing Christopher Landon film and you will enjoy it as much as his last screen outing the really good 'scouts guide to the zombie apocalypse'. The comedy horror genre has got itself a good talent long may his reign continue.
The cast are good, the running gags work, the only disappointment is the lack of gore. The soundtrack selection offered my ear a load of tracks that I had not heard before, mind you I'm not the target audience for the soundtrack downloads.
Worth a watch, just try to find a screening time where the phone obsessed and plastic wrap scrunching morons are not in attendance
On Meerkat Wednesday I took the jump and watched this film. I was dreading it normally in this town the audiences for films listed as Bollywood they just talk and shout all the way through, only going quite when the songs play. Luckily there was only three people in the screen including me.
The film was a good three hours of Indian film making at its best. The simple script did not rely on an abundance of dance numbers, whistling sound effects and the brain damaged best friend. The juvenile antics of the thirty something Salman Khan chasing fallen kites was a well edited race and gave a good introduction to his love interest Anushka Sharma. The film played like a Rocky film set in the world of wrestling as a series of training scenes and fights followed the growing relationship between the two leads. The cockiness of Salman and the tragedy that befalls him works to a hard hitting end of the first half.
The second half working against this tragedy introduces a new cast and story line to this film and offers plenty of bone crunching fights in the ring. The songs in this film actually work and for a change does not slow down the pacing its almost 3 hour running time. The bright airy world of small town India in the first half contrasts nicely against the dark urban world of Delhi in the second half.
The director/writer Ali Abbas Zafar does a good job and this film easily falls into the top 20 films I've seen this year. Even the credit crawl doesn't waste time it fills the viewer in on the near future for the main characters.
Udta Punjab (2016)
One of the best
It's only in recent years I have started watching the occasional Indian film at my local cinema, and to be honest only when there are weak releases or too many films held over.
This is probably the best Indian film I have seen so far, its got a harsh edge to it none of the sentimentality or stupid sound effects that blight many a film. The music for a change serves a purpose and is just not an exhibition for extravagance.
I don't know how bad the drug culture is in Punjab, but the four story lines on offer have a level of credibility without jumping the shark. The actors are A1 and if international producers are watching this film I can see each one of the leads finding work outside of the Indian system. The camera work, editing, direction are as good as any film.
Its definitely worth a watch, but avoid seeing it in a town called Luton in the United Kingdom, the audiences are the worst you will find. They do not shut their mouths and have no idea how to watch a film and give other people any consideration.
Housefull 3 (2016)
Easily distracted watch in the cinema
Housefull 3 plot wise does not make sense even on it most basic level. This comedy of errors is carried out over the course of 2 and a half hours and does maintain a goofy energy that looks more improvised than scripted. If you are a European its Dirty Rotten Scoundrels meets Dinner For Idiots meets Dumb and Dumber in tone.
The lead males work well together as they try to usurp each other and work well on their own in their individual scenes, especially when they are tested by the potential father in law. The lead actresses are long legged and though not particularly used are efficient in their roles, the housemaids steal their scenes even though they are racial stereotypes from the 1930s films with big staring eyes.
Production wise the scenes shot in the UK look bright and sunny and the CGI ants are a standout, the St Patrick's Beer Day scene as to be seen to be believed it is very green.
This one has to be seen in the cinema, I think watched at home it would take hours to watch if the viewer is easily distracted and loves their pause button
Queen Of The Blues
Showing on Netflix, this is an informative documentary for those who do not know much about the 1970s British pornographic film industry and its one time leading light who lived every cliché before dying.
I had heard of Mary Millington growing up in the 1970s because she got a lot of coverage in the newspapers that were published on Sundays, and her films were always advertised in the fronts of cinemas.
The films themselves when seen on tape in the 1980s were rather bland unfunny smut fests than full on sex films. If it wasn't for magazines like Whitehouse and Playbirds being passed round school playgrounds the Mary Millington of porn legend would have been long forgotten.
The film was obviously made by a film maker who likes his subject and keeps the tone of the film positive and zips through her life with stories and photographs of Mary Millington from her child hood through to her tragic suicide. There are lots of talking heads who were there during this time including the man who turned Mary into a publishing house and made David Sullivan a millionaire many times over.
The documentary contains many clips from Marys rather explicit back catalogue and though not full on sex is displayed it manages to convey what her films were like outside of her soft porn career. Be warned there are brief glimpses of fellatio, rutting and girl on girl action from her porn loops and brief snippets and covers from the magazines she appeared in.
It's interesting to see how mainstream celebrity at the time led to her downfall, and brought her into the world of cocaine and high living, whilst also battling depression. Even in her early days according to the film she was earning £200 a film (worth £4,000 in today's earnings), those 8mm loops cost £1,000 to make and could sell 300,000 units across Europe. Millington also appeared in porn magazines during the 1970s and these could sell upwards of a million copies per issue.
This film is worth watching and it handles its subject with respect
Jai Gangaajal (2016)
Indians vs corruption tale
Enjoyable Indians vs corruption tale. The bad guys are the politicians, the corporations and the majority of the police force who have beaten down an agricultural town and have used their power to steal the land from the population to build a power station.
The situation changes when a new officer under the selection of a government officer moves into the territory, instead of bowing to the whims of the corrupt politicians and turning a blind eye to the brutality of goons she takes them on using the force of the law.
The lead actress Priyanka Chopra plays SP Abha Mathur the honest Inspector who takes on MLA Babloo Pandey (Manav Kaul), chief land grabber (Ninad Kamat) and finds herself having to protect the rights of the bad guys has she tries to find out the truth about a series of brutal hangings. The script works well and does not fall back on lazy moments of comedy sidekicks and long drawn out dance numbers, Yes there are songs in the film but they are used emphasise scenes. The cinematography is good and this viewer could see how well it captured a dying town and a beaten people.
This film uses its actors well and the characters though clichéd are good especially Prakash Jha (also the director)as the corrupt police officer, whose conscience is finally opened to what hes condoned.
The only disappointment is the run of the mill ending.
Scouting for an audience
Horror films in recent years tend to be in the found footage vein, and Zombie films have been in decline since filmmakers could knock them out on low budgets with large amounts of CGI hordes of the undead for the straight to disc market.
Scouts Guide is a modestly budgeted comedy horror with lashings of gore with plenty of raucous laugh aloud.
The film does open up with a truly cringe worthy two minutes of inept nonsense with a janitor doing his job, but quickly changes its pace with the introduction of D.O.D. Christopher Landon (son of Highway to Heaven actor/director Michael London) has the guts to run with the laughs and some decent splatter for the next 90s minutes.
The cast of unknowns are capable and do have the charm and skill to carry the film over its 90 minutes running time. The film does not lag or waste any time introducing parental relationships and defining the social structure of high school culture it exists within its own universe of undead, scouts, strippers, boobs and pussies of all sorts. It's well edited, the script is tight,the photography is bright and clean and is definitely worth a viewing.
I just hope the producers don't plan a long series of low budget pointless sequels and just let the film find its own appreciative audience over the coming years.
Devil Dog Zombie Lake"
In the early 1980s when the VHS was starting to take its place in every UK home, video libraries were springing up all over the place. In my household my brothers and me were allowed to pick 4 films a week at £3 each and the were watched every day during the week hire period. Gradually we moved away from the man with his van, to using a town centre video store who offered 4 films for a fiver and over the course of a weekend they would get watch. Gradually with this new price structure we and our friends got to see hundreds of films and first all a truly rotten movie was awarded the status of a "Zombie Lake" and a title that disappointed based on its box, synopsis and anticipation got awarded the title a "Devil Dog" and if "Ghosts Of Sherwood" was about in the early 1980s it would have become a new breed of film a "Devil Dog Zombie Lake".
The dubbing on this film reminded me of a late night continental movie on the UK channel ITV and it absolutely killed the entire film with its flat monotone delivery and over explanation for each sentence spoken.
Bad films can develop a cult following, and this one does not deserve to classed in that division of so bad its good. Its just bad.
It is horrible to do this, considering a lot of people work hard on a film but i have to state.
The film is best avoided.
Shaun the Sheep Movie (2015)
I was late for The Interview
I am a grown male and got the timings wrong to see The Interview and could not be bothered to wait for the next screening so I selected the next film starting.
I have never seen the series, so cant judge if this is a good or bad adaptation all I can say this is a truly funny film though aimed at children is funny enough to keep me entertained.
The animation is uniformly excellent and honestly kept me guessing from the start to the end whether it was CGI or stop motion, I am still not sure even after reading all the credits. Maybe I didn't read them properly because the theme tune is very catchy and bounces round the head even now.
The story is easy to follow, the characters are likable and there is no trite wince inducing dialogue, everything is mumbled by the humans and the sheep communicate in a variations of bahs. There are some cracking running gags and a smattering of fart jokes. The sheep in disguise have to be seen to believed and the viewer would be surprised what goes on with a horse.
The closing credits though long are a fun roll with a funny bit at the end.
Watch it. I bet The Interview wont be as much fun.
Eh Janam Tumhare Lekhe (2015)
Excellent biopic starring Pavan Malhotro. Not being an Indian I can't specify how faithful this film is to the real story, but I found it very credible and enjoyable. The director and screenwriter do not push the sentimental button and manage to avoid the rather annoying use of multiple musical montages, dance numbers, wacky characters and whistling sound effects. The cast is uniformly excellent and are convincing in putting across the decent idea of maybe putting the needs of others before yourself if you can.
I don't know how this will fair at the box office, but it deserves to be seen by as many people as possible.