12 ReviewsOrdered By: Date
Paranormal Activity- does exactly what it says on the tin!
7 October 2012
So the forth film in the series. If there is money to be made they will keep churning them out and usually with total disregard to maintaining the quality that made the 1st film so popular. However, i am pleased to report that -although we know what to expect- this film is both intriguing and enjoyable. For those of you who have seen all the films you know that its not going to cover new ground but you are still expecting a decent continuation and contribution from a franchise that you like. Well, there is a lot to like here i think! After attending a special preview screening of the whole film (the directors informed us it wasn't the completely polished movie yet- still a little editing to be done) the audience reacted very positively towards it.

//Plot- The film takes place five years after Paranormal Activity 2, which ended with Katie kidnapping Hunter. It follows the life of Alice, her boyfriend Ben, her mother, and her brother Wyatt as paranormal activity starts to occur when a mother and child (called Robbie) move into the neighbourhood. After Robbies mum goes to the hospital Alice's mother takes Robbie in, which leads to weird occurrences in their house//

Look, in all honesty, there are a whole host of better horror movies to watch out there, but i am writing for those who WANT to see this movie on its own merits not any one seeking out a mind-blowing plot with incredible character development!...okay?! :)

Anyway PA4 is kept simple which is a good thing, the acting, the format, the camera work and dialogue are all standard so this cant really be criticised. A new and amazing plot / acting etc is not what the directors are aiming for, what people are after is tension, suspense and jumpy scare moments which i believe delivers on all these aspects! With boo moments and fake outs a plenty. Also I like the fact there are weird occurrences in the day time as well as the night. The aspects that most stood out in PA4 was the use of an Xbox- this was a really cool effect and added an extra dimension to the film. The sound effects such as the well known vibration when tension is being racked up always gets me going, love that. It also contains an actual creepy kid and who doesn't like creepy kids! (!)

So all in all, if you have never seen any of the previous films and you go to see this one (for some strange reason?!) you will have had a decent movie outing with jumpy moments and will probably want to watch the others after! For those who have seen the previous ones, you wont feel let down or disappointed with this one because it miles better than the 2nd one and i'd say it beats the 3rd one too! So there is fun to be had here with the film just like there is with Scream 4 too. (if you haven't seen it because its number 4 go see it, its actually quite good!) My advice is see it with a positive mindset and if you do that then GOOD THINGS will happen... mainly PARANORMAL THINGS!! (star ratings are based on 6-average, 7-good, 8- very good, 9- superb 10- Epic)
33 out of 66 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Sinister (I) (2012)
Sinister- See It In Cinema
13 September 2012
DON'T WATCH THE TRAILER! or at least try not too. I went into this film only knowing the title and the fact i was waiting for a scary movie to actually be... yep scary. Well i was in luck, as Sinister is exactly that...quite Sinister! I say try to avoid the trailers if u can because quite a lot is shown, although having said that you will probably be so absorbed into the film that you'll forget about what you have seen and still be spooked, BOO! :)

All the actors do a good job, Ethan Hawke is solid, not quite sure about the chemistry between him and his wife but i guess its hardly relevant in this film. The directing and editing of the film is slick with interesting angles and shots. The imagery is great and so are your jumpy moments even if it does contain a few of the horror Clichés.

The plot is simple and follows true-crime writer Ellison (Ethan Hawke) as he discovers a box of home movies "found footage" of murders that put his family in danger. Some people may dislike the believability of the films central ethos for the evil protagonist; however i liked the original mythology created here, it adds something new to the table. Also If the film is successful (im guessing it might be) the Evil Character aka Bagoul will no doubt be a new item for Halloween stores! Although not a game changer in the genre, i would easily go and say this will be the scariest film of the year and if not, well thats just win-win for us all!! ((star ratings = 7 good, 8 represents very good. 9 superb 10 epic)
207 out of 305 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Drive (I) (2011)
Go for a ride!
3 October 2011
On the surface this is an action-drama, heist-gone-wrong film. Beneath the surface in the night time of down town LA, we meet a driver. The scene opens with a man (Ryan Gosling) dictating his terms over the phone with a calm assured tone and we can gather from this he's a no-nonsense, no questions asked type of guy. He, is a getaway driver. He is highly intelligent in his field and in constant control of his emotions even when under pressure. By day, we see the protagonist again driving a car but this time as a Hollywood stunt driver and this is all we really get know about our lead. No name, no family, no explanation of why, where, when and how he is what he is; he's just a driver who becomes an enigma with the more we learn about others and the less we learn about him.

The film is a slow burn. By this I don't mean it takes a while to get good, i mean that the pace is not rushed, there is the constant intense heat throughout, ensuring that the finished article is cooked to its fullest. This, is Drive. By the time the end comes you will no doubt say wow. Nicolas Winding Refn has topped his game with this picture and it's the recipe of Hossein Amini adapted screen play, the cinematography and a superb lead actor which produces a beautiful meal for the audience to enjoy.

When The Driver finally rests he goes home to an apartment block where he instantly catches the eye of his neighbour, the beautifully innocent Irene (Carey Mulligan). They connect, and after helping Irene with her car, it's her young son who wants to bond with our usually impassive lead only this time some emotions are displayed as he takes a shine to the boy. Unfortunately after a week, her husband Standard (Oscar Isaac) is released from prison and rather than being violent towards a man who has been helping his wife, he weighs up The Driver and quickly befriends his new neighbour. Although Standard is out of prison he is not out of debt and when our protagonist spots him beaten up, his deep feelings for the family take over he agrees to help in a £1 million heist by being the man behind the wheel!

To describe any more would ruin the movie, but the rest of the cast are all important. Bryan Cranston plays a surrogate father type or is the batteries of our Driver, if you will. Ron Perlman and Albert Brooks are your day time 'friends', night time gang members. Carey has a strong on screen connection with Ryan; however this is Ryan Goslings film. He embodies everything great about this movie. He is always cool, he picks roles that are challenging so he can produce his best and more importantly becomes the role rather then acts the role. If he wasn't already a wanted man, he is now.

What's great is the film feels real, real time, real characters and no CGI in sight. The cinematography plays with lighting, initiating moods and emotions with panoramic shots while the mise en scene provides a 1980s atmosphere filled with 80's style music within a gloomy LA.

The real kudos of this film lies with Director Nicolas Winding Refn. He has created an elegant, stylish movie with deep emotion which is subtly shown. He achieves this by utilising specific camera angles which speak volumes so the actors can say nothing and the scenes be incredibly powerful. Images and relationships that are transcendent, it's a film that gives and deserves respect. Drive may not gather huge main stream success but it will be a cult classic.

(my ratings are based on 6 average, 7 good, 8 v.good, 9 superb, 10 epic)
2 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
You'd be Crazy and Stupid to miss it!
22 September 2011
Crazy Stupid Love

Yes it's a rom- com, and I can hear the sound of guys being dragged to go see yet another one just to please their partners. Well guys, you're in for a shock and a good one too! As finally after a long time, Hollywood provides a romantic comedy that is actually funny, smart, charming and one that men will actually enjoy rather than just pretending!

The plot is as follows; mid-fortys, straight-laced Cal Weaver (Steve Carell) is living a dream-good job, nice house, great kids and marriage to his high school sweetheart. But when Cal blinded by love learns that his wife, Emily (Julianne Moore), has cheated on him and wants a divorce, his happy life quickly unravels. Worse, in today's single world, Cal, who hasn't dated in decades, stands out as the epitome of un-smooth. Now spending his free evenings sulking alone at a local bar, the hapless Cal is taken on as wingman and protégé to handsome, thirtysomething player Jacob Palmer (Ryan Gosling).

The humour is family suited; running gags with no toilet humour in sight. Its refreshing that its predominately dialogue that is funny and peoples reactions rather than slapstick falling over etc.

A stand out feature is undoubtedly the cast as each actor provides laughs in their own characterised way. Even the additional cast never falter as Liza Lapira aka Liz is the no nonsense quick witted bff of Emma Stone and not forgetting scene stealer Marisa Tomei adding the 'crazy' to the title whilst Emma Stone- who may not be utilised a much as she is cable of – is still beautiful and solid as ever. Young guns Analeigh Tipton and Jonah Bobo also provide positive acting abilities but it's the two leads the movie hangs on. Steve Carrell brings his perfected dry wit to the proceedings but also a range of emotions which we don't normally get to see from him. Playing the socially awkward character is second nature to him now and he does it so well that throughout crazy stupid love you may miss the glimpses of his ability to be serious when we see him in this adult 'dad' role. There are strong indications there that he can gain stronger roles in different genres if given the chance.

Ryan Gosling is the 'player', who takes it upon him self to transform the luck of Cal, inject some mojo and bring back his "lost manhood". To describe his character it would be that girls want him and guys want to be him. The personality he shows us is on a perfect line of confidence without the arrogance and makes his uber cool persona seem achievable to the everyday man.

Another element for the audience is the films nicely balanced soundtrack, one for those interested in finding some unheard of bands, jazzy pieces and songs of soft delight. The screen play is clever in that it shows the picture as if to be admired from afar and not to be subjected up-close. The individual stories are to be taken on the surface, lightly and not questioned because its not a deep movie, the strength lies in the believing in good hearted people overcoming life's obstacles.

In summary, Crazy, Stupid Love is all about the love, laughs and life. While it may not be magical, it's fully worthwhile and produces a golden 'OMG' moment! The length is near the two hour mark which admittedly the pace / tone dips in the middle but it does pick up again and leaves the audience with hope that even though love make us crazy and stupid, we wouldn't want it any other way!

(my ratings are based on 6 average 7 good 8 very good 9 superb 10 epic)
0 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
A well directed genre mash-up
16 August 2011
Cowboys & Aliens better than what the name suggests and when you replace the & with Vs you basically have the plot of the movie. Although that is a rather simple summary because included in the mix are Apaches, a faithful fear sensing dog, a young whippersnapper, a symbolic hummingbird, a magic bracelet and a beautiful young woman who actually looks like she could the product of a cowboy-alien!

I praise Jon Favreau for an ambitious story, of trying to bring the western into the 21st century and trying to appeal to a mass audience of young and old. Considering all this, he hasn't actually done a bad job and the film is, in a word, good. This is because when attempting to cross genres like this it is always such a difficult task, the audience are usually not so keen and often unsure of how to react with such unfamiliar categories much like, but to a lesser degree, comedy horrors. Here, the film is balanced in that respect and made to feel quite plausible that in 1873, modern aliens in spacecrafts can battle against the bow and arrows of Indians and the pistols and whips of cowboys.

All the mis-en-scene is thoroughly thought out and the aliens / spacecrafts wouldn't be out of place in one of Jon Favreau's Iron Man movies they are that nicely designed. The cast has been well chosen and the acting from just about everyone is solid.

One problem I have is, the aliens are made to be not as intelligent as humans yet if this where the case, the humans in this movie would be flying around in aircrafts and modern technology not the aliens so that is a little disappointing. Another problem with this film is I believe, had it entirely been a cowboy western it probably would have been a far better film. I found the best aspects throughout were actually the 'cowboy' moments and that the opening scene was full of suspense and tension, more so then when the aliens arrived. On the other hand, it's also quite possible that had it totally been a sci-fi alien film that would have been far more appealing and interesting for many.

As we have it, the western is a dying genre for mass audience attendance and so we have been given this mix up. Cowboys and Aliens are a non-alcoholic cocktail if you will, nice, refreshing but lack of punch. An enjoyable movie that I guess families will be the ones who will benefit mostly from.
0 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Looking for Depth- Take a dive
11 August 2011
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is a finely balanced piece of film making. The combination of imaginative screen play (by Charlie Kaufman) and acute directing (by Michel Gondry) is one that produces an original, thought-provoking love story. Narrated in a non-linear fashion, we are hooked in straight away with the meeting of our two leads; Joel Banish (Jim Carrey) is a shy, and despondent gentleman who has no love or excitement in his life. Whilst going about his daily routine of going to work, he randomly has a change of heart and without a thought jumps on a train to Montuak. He is greeted by Clementine Kyskovi (Kate Winslet) a free spirit who is driven by her impulses and feelings. During the early exchanges they both play off each other, as if to show opposites attracting by a chance meeting on a train journey.

However after the credits, we re-join at the moment the couple are coming to the end of their relationship and in doing so find out the principle idea behind the films plot. The fascinating concept of being able to erase parts of ones memory if they so desired, which is no doubt the question you will be asking yourself long after the film's finale. So we watch our lead male undergo 'surgery' as it were, a sci-fi process which the director has portrayed skilfully and realistically.

As the story continues, dipping in and out of Joel consciousness, we are never lost as the Director shoots in a timely manner with scenes that are allowed time to breathe. There's a charming moment that the director has managed to transcend through the screen, and its when the two protagonists are lying on ice looking up into the camera as if we are the stars. What I like about the directing, is the fact that the deep premise of ESSM could have easily been produced in the same confusing manner much like 'Momento & Inception', however the team have kept everything rather simplistic (in comparison) and this is i believe, to its advantage.

Jim Carrey in a serious role hits the mark and possibly because he is restrained from being the funny guy, he suppress a lot of his excitement and natural mad acts that it actually fits perfectly with how Joels personality is meant to be perceived. Kate Winslet is a burst of colourful energy that even though crazy at times, the audience and Joel are always drawn back to her because of her likability and infectious character. The supporting cast makes sure the film continues the high standard throughout with performances by Tom Wilkingson, Kirstin Dunst, Ellijah Wood, and Mark Ruffalo.

A key message that is portrayed during the film and that a lot of people will relate to is the old cliché "you don't know what you go till its gone" none more so then Joel, who fights to keep hold of the cherished memories. Just as there are bad times there are good times and its both experiences that define who we are. If we erased moments in life, how would it define who we are today..? Some questions are left unanswered and perhaps this is the way it should be; open to interpretation, take from the movie what you will. Yet, what Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is however; is an emotionally powerful near perfect story telling, one that you should not miss out on.
0 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
The Thing (1982)
The Thing Reviewed in 2011
11 August 2011
Is the strangest thing I have ever seen! John Carpenter's sci-fi horror film about a mutant molecular cell that once it comes into contact of any living entity manifests itself, transforming and imitating the original DNA of that being. 'The Thing' as it becomes known is capable of assuming the physical and mental characteristics of anyone it chooses or to put it simply, an alien life form in disguise! Many top critics have missed the mark in their reviews of this film, although most being from when it originally came out. The public nonetheless knows a classic when they see one and that's why this film has developed such a long legacy and rightly so. The story is plausible if a little thin at times but the continuous 'guessing game' of who is infected keeps the viewer on edge, building up to a wonderfully tense moment in the film I like to call, 'the blood test'.

This is the first time I have watched this film and what is great is that even by today's high standard of modern technology, the special effects are smashing and holds strong within today's market. The aliens are designed brilliantly, totally realistic (if that's possible with aliens?!) and gross out scary. I felt at times nauseated but that is the hallmark of this movie's intent. Everything from the opening credits to stage sets is very artistically designed so any remake of this remake would be very hard to beat in terms of creativity and visuals.

Where the film slightly disappoints is emotionally, with little viewer-character sympathy. I didn't really feel any empathy towards any of the guys involved however I could definitely understand their feelings of paranoia in the 'who to trust' scenario. Also, as there are no females cast in the film, women viewers may find caring about the characters hard to come by. Having said this, the movie does achieve its main aim, which is to provide the horror and not character development. There is no bad acting only stereotypes which some people dislike but Kurt Russell as Mac does a fine job.

When a solitary movie has an 'open' beginning and unclosed ending like this, the viewer is left with intrigue and wanting more which always is a good sign. Yet nowadays everybody wants to have trilogies and quadrilogies settling for quantity rather than quality. So it's not surprising that I have read there is a prequel & sequel in the pipeline, with the latter being undertaken by John Carpenter. Sometimes trilogies can be good, wrapping everything up nicely, filling the hunger, and as the possible sequel will contain the same team- I'm hoping they will look at this film as the stepping stone, correct the weaknesses and raise the bar. However the one thing that is for sure, no matter how many transformations The Thing takes on...this... is where it ultimately took hold!
2 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Due Date (2010)
Grab this comedy for a night in!
21 July 2011
Due Date is a comedy directed by Todd Phillips. Firstly, no I haven't seen Planes, Trains and Automobiles so I am basing this film on its own merit.

The plot tells of two guys who, after a series of unfortunate events have to endure a road trip together. We begin when are two protagonists- Peter Highman (Downey) and Ethan Tremblay (Galifianakis) meet or rather 'bash' into each other outside Atlanta Airport. Peter is a methodical, precise architect with a schedule to meet. Ethan is a messy, bumbling no-so-grown-up grown up, who is at the airport to try and fulfil his dream of being an actor. Ethan is lucky guy but possesses the unfortunate ability to jinx the people he comes into contact with. It therefore leads to Ethan indirectly but comprehensively, destroying Peter's trip by getting them both chucked off the flight and when Peter loses his wallet after being banned from flying he dejectedly realises he has no other alternative but to join Ethan for a road trip!

Downey Jr's character seems to come so easily to him and its no surprise. It's Downey's signature sarcasm and distinctive slow burn that make the movie. The ability to switch his temperament instantly is marvellous and delivers effortlessly. Galifianakis, in a perm that makes for not comic gold but rather silver and they both play off each other well, sharing banter that supplies amusement throughout. Im not sure if I felt any connection for Ethan Tremblay as his character is so inept (its fun but provides little character connection for the audience).

The soundtrack blends well with the film and provides good music for the duration. The tempo of the film never drops because of the entertainment provided throughout, having said that, the problem is you wont miss anything from laughing to hard or to long because the film seems to stay in 2nd gear with only a couple of very humorous bits but no real 'roll on the floor laughing' moments. This is one of my only hang ups about the Due Date, considering the film before it The Hangover (by the same director) was such a huge success, its disappointing that the most isn't being made of a good cast. The story was there, the script could have been better- it just feels like the production was a bit lazy considering the actors performed highly. Im not saying Due Date is a bad film by any means, it is just after a bit of research, you get the feeling it may have been seen or used as a 'filler' for the directing team whilst they worked on a sequel to The Hangover, which is a shame as Due Date could have stood next to The Hangover rather than in the shadows.

Overall Due Date is one of the better comedies produced in recent times, with good acting and sufficient entertainment, but if your expecting a comedy to match the delights and heights of aforementioned 'Hangover' you will be very disappointed. If you lower the bar a bit and simply want to grab a funny, enjoyable movie to watch, then choose your Due Date!
0 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
A Halloween Treat
29 June 2011
Trick r Treat (directed by Michael Dougherty) is set in the small suburb of Warren Valley, Ohio and over the course of one Halloween night a series of sinister events occur from the different viewpoints of the local neighbourhood.

The great aspect of the film is the way the story has been shot and told to the audience. In the fashion of an anthology of short stories, we begin with one couple who have been parting and then come home, only for a few minutes later the 1st of many "Halloween" happenings to hit our screen. As soon as Henry tells Emma not to blow out the Jack –o- Lantern because it's against tradition but she does so anyway... we know there is trouble ahead! Once we see the resulting outcome of this 'rule breaking' we do not find out any more, but go back to moments earlier in the evening and enter a new tale from a different member of the publics position. This happens again and again, the story being told in a reverse but in doing so unravelling the mysteries, facts and strange happenings in a small town on the spookiest night of the year.

The film is an original so gains brownie points for being so. The unique 'evil' main character that I like to refer to as 'sack boy' (aka Sam) is unsettling at best. When possessed it is very creepy and makes for a cool new baddie rivalling 'Chucky' from Childs Play. Included in the fray, are the other traditional Halloween characters, from vampires to werewolves, psychopaths to zombies and they all play there part nicely, but I believe the real power of this film lies solely on 'sack boy'. Turn him (it) a bit more 'demonic' unlocking the full potential, then not only does Sam become a huge cult figure but the movie itself would have all the ingredients to ensure a hit franchise.

Trick r Treat has the ability to be interesting and tense throughout but the main problem I found with it was that it lacked in the scare department. Having said that, finding films that are not all about the gore these days is welcoming and if you could only inject a few big 'boo' moments into Trick r Treat, then I believe this film would have received a lot more main stream attention and subsequent success. As a result, we have a straight to DVD movie, which in turn will possibly lead to it developing a cult following through fans of 'Halloween history' and as far as genre classing goes, i would call this as a light horror rather than a full blown one, which in essence is enjoyable for all to watch.

Overall all the credit must go to Michael Dougherty for producing a slick Halloween treat. With factual writing, he has covered every detail and aspect of Halloween legends which makes for a refreshing tribute and innovative take on the genre.
6 out of 11 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Easy A (2010)
Easily A Delight!
2 June 2011
Easy A:

Is a teenage comedy about one girl's high school experiences. Directed by William Gluck it's a tale of rumours and reputations. Olive Penderghast (Emma Stone), is a bright student who unfortunately has higher social standing with teachers than with her fellow students. Also with regards to her appeal to the opposite sex, in her words "If Google Earth was a guy, he couldn't find me even if I was dressed up as a ten story building".

In the opening scene we meet her best friend Rhiannon'Rhi' Abernathy (the exuberant Aly Michalka) who after hearing a little lie from Olive about her having a guy over for the weekend wants Olive to admit she lost her virginity with him and will not take no for an answer. Olive gives in and says yes only to stop Rhi from nagging. Unfortunately this is overheard by Marianne (Amanda Bynes), a sanctimonious religious student who spreads the story like wildfire. However the overnight notoriety gained, is completed absorbed by Olive who previously went unnoticed by others and now that all eyes are on her, decides to use the school's gossip grapevine to advance her social standing, taking on the new'experienced, predatory' image with supreme confidence and comedic authority.

Once Olive becomes an established name in school, she inadvertently takes on a type of heroism with the ability to help the schools various 'outsiders' become 'some bodies'. Through "intimate" association with our promiscuous lead the outsiders become 'cool', improving reputations and putting them on the schools social map!

In Easy A the beautiful Emma Stone takes the lead; stepping out from her Superbad tag and leaving it in the shadows, becoming the centre of attention and deservedly so. There is no doubt that she has a bright future ahead as she plays lead role with consummate ease and intelligence, reminiscent of an early Lindsey Lohan. Upon viewing her credentials in Superbad, Paperman, Zombieland and now Easy A, its seems Ms Stone possess all the innate characteristics and acting ability that -given the right roles- will surely see her enter the next young Hollywood elite alongside Ellen Page, Kirsten Stuart, Carey Mulligan, her Superbad co-stars and not down the road of a later Ms Lohan.

The notable element to Easy A is simply the writing (debut by Bert. V. Reynolds). Its witty, sharp and gives each characters a good standard of vocabulary, not opting for the modern day spoken word that you hear in schools such as slang & text-isms i.e. 'lol's & Omg's' which is highly refreshing to watch and just shows that teenage comedy can still have attitude when given a decent use of English language.

Another shining light or should I say lights in this film is the two parents of Olive- Dill and Rosemary (played by Stanley Tucci and Patricia Clarkson) there chemistry is strong, providing weird but wonderful performances with quirky personalities much like the 'Meet The Fockers' parents but rather toned down versions to meet with the needs of its target audience. Despite this, when its there scene, you'll be sure to laugh and I think they definitely warranted more screen time then they received. The supporting cast all do well with; Thomas Haden Church as the Head Teacher, distracted Guidance Counsellor (Lisa Kudrow), and long time crush (Penn Badgley) all adding their distinctive elements.

Nearly all comedies have far-fetched stories its what makes them funny and this is no different (a state school where apparently losing ones virginity is condemned which leads to counselling etc) so certain aspects like this cant be deemed negative points as others have suggested. Granted, the film doesn't quite take you to the heights of a 'Juno' and hasn't achieved the success of 'Mean Girls' (this film is better) but Easy A is easily a; smart, fun and enjoyable movie... Grade A!!
1 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
An error has occured. Please try again.