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X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009)
Better Than X-Men 3, But Not Great By Any Standard
You can tell that Hugh Jackman put his heart and soul into this film, but at the end of the day, it was never going to be the new Citizen Kane, nor was it going to be the Citizen Kane of superhero movies.
The film overall is chock full of action, and relatively good dialogue, but I couldn't help thinking that it was all a little bit flat. There was one moment that upset me slightly, when a couple who helped Logan were mercilessly killed in order to demonstrate the "evil" of the bad guys. I felt that this moment spoilt the rest of the film for me, because it was as though the writer was scraping the barrel for reasons to despise the antagonists.
One thing to its credit though, is the final fight, which I truly appreciated. It was exciting, the choreography was impressive and the special effects were pretty damn good too.
So, overall, it's not going to be remembered in forty years' time, like The Dark Knight certainly will, but it was much better on every front than the disastrous X-Men 3, which took the franchise, and urinated all over it.
A very good film. An original film. Not top ten, though...
My brother has this film in his top ten. Most people I spoke to about this film had it in their top tens. IMDb, at the time, had it as the third greatest film on the website with a score of 9.1. Naturally, I was impressed by this, so I did what I haven't done in years, and actually went to the cinema.
When I left, my wife and I agreed with one another that although the film was original and thought-provoking, it was by no means the film of the decade, or even in our top twenty.
Now comes the point where people tell me that I didn't "get" the film. Don't worry - I got every single thing about it, but here is where the problem lies, for me, at least: When I pay eight pounds for myself, eight pounds for my wife, and a whole lot more for food, drinks and fuel money to get there, I like being entertained. In this case, I wasn't. It was like I had spent all that money, only to be handed a thousand-piece jigsaw and told I had what seemed like four hours to figure it out.
Ellen Page didn't even get her knockers out once, too. I was gutted.
Observe and Report (2009)
I found this film to be very average. I laughed a few times, but at the end of the day, this is by no means a groundbreaker. There is nothing special about it.
It seems to be the case that all you have to do to bring a comedy out nowadays is swear a lot, and show the odd bit of nudity or gross-out humour.
I find it quite a shame that films like this reach such a large audience, when to be honest, they deserve nothing but a bargain bin life.
Seth Rogen can be relatively funny, but he's starting to play more or less the same character in every film - the down-on-his-luck, angry-with-life caner with no chance of greater success. In this film, however, he grains on me more than he has before. I'm beginning to lose any appeal I once had for him.
Typical Iranian Film - Extremely Boring - Nothing Happens...
I find this film very boring, like almost all the Iranian cinema I have watched.
Despite Iran's political stance, Iranians have a reputation for making world-beating cinema. I must have missed that meeting, because every Iranian film I've seen has been a complete and utter snoozefest, and Offside is no exception.
With the film mostly set at Azadi stadium in Tehran, the scenery hardly changes, meaning that the brunt of the film needs to be carried by the actors, playing their characters in a humorous and entertaining way. On the whole, they fail to achieve the entertainment factor, meaning that like the characters in the film, I really wanted to see what was going on in the match itself.
Of all the Iranian films I've seen, this one is by no means the worst. I just find it ridiculous that Iranian cinema is seen as an art-house leader, when at the end of the day, it's the same old boring rubbish.
Like Blair Witch With One Exception - This Is Actually Good...
I don't have a million things to say about this movie. Suffice it to say, I enjoyed it, and would watch it again.
The special effects are decent, as is the acting of the wholly unknown talent on display.
The film is short enough not to become boring - it keeps your attention, whilst at the same time thrilling and scaring you. The editing is very different, as it appears to have been filmed on a camcorder, giving the whole film a tint of realism, allowing the audience to suspend its disbelief just that little bit more.
Overall, if you hate shaky cameras, don't watch it. Out of all the monster movies that have ever been created though, this one is pretty good.
I loved Lock Stock and Snatch - this was almost awful...
Okay, so it's been a while since Guy Ritchie made Revolver, which really was a poor film on many levels. So, one would have thought Ritchie would have taken the feedback received for that film, and channelled the criticism into making something that might equal, if not top Lock Stock, or Snatch. What he has come up with is something that offers very little humour matched by a convoluted storyline, with weak characters.
This monumental failure can best be characterised by Ritchie's choice of Tom Wilkinson as the head London gangster. In the past, when Ritchie watchers have been treated by the likes of Lenny McLean and Alan Ford, Wilkinson pales in comparison, due to his inability to master the cockney accent, and the overall weakness given to his character from the writing. The overall feeling in Lock Stock and Snatch was that the bad guys had the power, and were scary, whereas RockNRolla displays that the bad guys are pussies, and can be messed about with little consequence.
Some performances in this film help bring it up slightly - Mark Strong and Toby Kebbell are both brilliant in their own way, and fit their characters uncannily, saving the casting director any further blushes.
The storyline, as would be expected in most Ritchie gangster films, is complicated, with the difference this time being that it was unnecessarily complicated. Snatch and Lock, Stock needed certain characters and particular situations to act as catalysts for the next section of the film to take place. It seems that with RockNRolla, most of it was added to make the ensemble cast appear larger than it needed to be.
The worst thing about this film, though, is the severe lack of any humour at all. When compared with the biting scripts of his previous work, Ritchie can only be criticised for his dearth of imagination. He seems to have lost his spark for creative and witty dialogue contained in humorous situations.
Overall, I probably will not watch this film again, for a very long time. It's disappointments heavily outweigh its plus points. Whilst it is shot in a creative way, and the script, characters and storyline smack of Ritchie-isms, I could not help but get the impression it was Ritchie mimicking himself, rather than coming up with another brilliant film. He appears to have forgotten what made him great in the first place, and has taken a formula, added nothing, and has expected people to come flocking back - a big mistake.
Brief Encounter (1945)
Laughable In Parts, But Has A Charm That Will Keep You Watching...
Compared to films of today, Brief Encounter is incredibly old-fashioned in its subject matter, and its entire presentation.
The idea of committing adultery with a "spiffingly charming man" is one that is relevant today, as it happens more often than it used to, however, the taboo nature of the subject matter at the time the film was released creates a guilt-laden tension that draws the audience in, and keeps them involved the the pair's little secret.
One issue with the film, that made it laughable for a person from the 21st century watching this film was howincrediblyfasteverybodyseemedtotalk. It was as though, the director was running out of film, so they had to fit everything into a scene as quickly as possible. This is how people used to talk back then, or rather, how they used to act on screen.
Trevor Howard is brilliant as the charming, conscientious, good-willed Doctor. The entire cast does a decent job of keeping the audience interested in the film, but I couldn't help thinking how attitudes have changed somewhat since the film's release, and I kept thinking what it would have been like to watch the film with someone from 1945 to gauge their reaction. Maybe they would have stormed out of the screening in disgust at the notion of married couples having affairs with other people.
Brief Encounter is regarded as a classic, and who knows - maybe it was. But times change and so too do attitudes. This is a decent film, with often laughable dialogue, but it does not grip today's audience like it would have gripped the audiences of the forties. All it relies on now are its basic storyline contained within the social boundaries of its time, and half-decent acting, interrupted only by the fast-talking delivery of the cast.
Absolute Balls - Not Worth Watching...
What we've got here is a programme trying its best to fit the framework for what is popularly known today as the "quizcom" - a quiz with a comedic element forming the backbone of the programme.
Argumental, a Dave exclusive, is not shown on analogue terrestrial television, simply because it is nowhere near as good as every other quizcom out there. "Have I Got News For You," "Mock The Week," "Never Mind The Buzzcocks," et al contain more humour in their first two minutes than Argumental contains along the course of an entire show.
There are two reasons for this - one being the nature of the show, and how arguing for something you might not necessarily believe leaves you with a dearth of ideas. The main reason why Argumental fails dramatically to hit the mark, is the substandard comedians desperate to ply their trade, and prove that they are not, by any means, "C-list" comedians. In doing so, however, they prove more than any stand-up ever could, that they are nothing but "C-list" jokers, bereft of ideas, lacking the necessary charms required to drive a show and its audience on for the duration of an entire series.
EA Sports FIFA 09 (2008)
Some Decent Improvements, But Pro Evo Is Still Top Dog...
From the mid-nineties onwards, EA have annually produced their own take on the beautiful game, starting off in 1994 with FIFA International Soccer, then obtaining licences for clubs and players, and continuing the FIFA series year-on-year.
2001 saw a genuine threat to EA's FIFA dominance with the arrival of the most complete football simulation to date - Konami's Pro Evolution Soccer - a triumph in gaming terms, only defeated by Konami's reluctance to pay FIFA for the club and player licences. Gamers made their decision, and Konami successfully began to wrestle ground and fans from the once seemingly impregnable EA.
The biggest reason stated by converters to Konami's way of playing, was the realistic approach to matches, with gamers having become fed up of the tedious nature of the 15-13 final scores in the FIFA series. Gamers sacrificed real clubs, real kits and real players, not-to-mention decent commentary, for superb gameplay, realistic ball skils, and challenging finishing.
It was time for EA to rethink their product. Konami had laid down the gauntlet, openly challenging, and indeed, threatening EA's dominance.
Since 2001, EA has been gradually changing the way the FIFA series works, aiming to replicate many of the positive factors inherrent in the Pro Evo series. At the same time, Konami have managed to improve their Pro Evo series year-on-year, with no drastic changes being made to a programme that already works.
So, we come to FIFA09, and once again, EA has improved from last year's offering (the aptly named FIFA08). Controls are slicker than ever before, and the overall enjoyment experienced whilst playing the game has gone up.
Being a pro has never been so much fun, as the gamer can play as one player in a team, and can take this scenario online, playing with up to twenty-one other players.
The commentary in-game is nothing short of astounding, with the commentators saying new phrases all the time, even after countless matches - a weakness all too evident, even in the most recent Pro Evo title.
Graphics are the best they have ever been, but that is a must, in today's fast-moving technology-driven world, where the look means everything.
Despite all the improvements and terrific aspects of FIFA09, there are quite a few drawbacks.
First of all, despite the improvements made to the gameplay, FIFA09 remains behind Pro Evo in the grand scheme of things. Gameplay is edgy, compared to Pro Evo, and the scorelines can still become ridiculous, if the gamer opts for a longer match.
Secondly, the menus are confusing and unnecessary. Gamers need menus to be concise, simple, and user friendly, because no one wants to be in a menu forever. The menu in FIFA09 can best be described as non-user-friendly.
Thirdly, the waiting time for online matches to begin is too long, meaning half the time of the gamer is taken up waiting in a menu. If one person out of the twenty-two has not selected his side or player, twenty-one other people have to wait until the timer runs out. It is one of the most frustrating things for a gamer to face, and is completely unnecessary.
Overall, FIFA09 breaks new ground from a FIFA perspective. The music in the game is youth-oriented, but sounds rather good. The graphics are terrific, and being able to play as your own club, using your own real-life players is a nice feeling. However, despite Pro Evo's failings from a licencing, music and commentary perspective, the main reason people play it (ie the gameplay) keeps Konami's take on football ahead of EA's current offering - the gap is getting smaller, but Pro Evo is still on top.
3:10 to Yuma (2007)
It Surprised Me...A Really Good Film...
Russell Crowe is a very good actor, and Christian Bale is probably my favourite actor overall. Yet, I still found myself surprised at how good this film was, compared to my expectations before I watched it.
The storyline is rather simple and straightforward - get Russell Crowe onto the train to Yuma for 15:10. Fair enough. But the journey undertaken, and the characters on the journey really make this film what it is. It is exciting, thrilling, entertaining and at times, rather moving.
Overall, this is a very good film, and one of the best Westerns I have ever seen. Bale and Crowe light up the screen with A-star quality throughout, as we are taught that some bad people aren't all that bad.