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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Good, but gets repetitive after a while., 15 September 2016

While there are many reasons for comedy series to become stale, but a primary one is that when they rely on a single idea or joke for too long with no variation, the series in question becomes repetitive and boring after a while. For me that is exactly what has happened to Cinema Sins.

Before I complain, let me just say that at its inception, this was a great series. The unique idea served itself well in its early days, with interesting critiques of films with the crew finding no stone unturned when it came what is wrong with major films, both the huge (plot holes, bad writing) and the minimal (extras messing up, miscalculations involving time or science). It also helped that the series was quite funny. Now while the writers aren't the best comedians in the world, nor were they as funny as similar series around this time (Honest Trailers, How It Should Have Ended). However, the humour they managed to get from the mistakes in these movies could be at points extremely funny, mainly the ones where they delivered it via sarcasm. In short, it was a very enjoyable series initially.

But I will admit I don't watch the series much anymore. Why you may ask? This is because for me, the show has remained largely the same throughout with very little change or variation. Now I understand this can benefit sometimes, since if an idea ain't broke, don't fix it right? But for me, while the concept behind Cinemasins is still an original one, its lack of range is more of a hindrance than anything because it becomes rather boring and repetitive after a while. The occasional spanner in the works while very entertaining and enjoyable (mainly the ones with guests and the one where they mock themselves) aren't frequent enough to break this cycle up.

It doesn't help that the humour of the series is inconsistent at times, and on the whole very safe with no edge. Now, I have to say that I have found some older episodes quite funny and I don't expect every comedy series to be Frankie Boyle levels of edgy. However, the humour derived from the nitpicks can be quite poor at points, not helped by how as I said earlier, the writers aren't the best at comedy. This lack of edge doesn't help because it means the humour is very safe as a whole, something which would be fine if it funnier than it was. This can lead to episodes that while entertaining and offer insightful criticism of certain films can be very hit or miss in the laughs department & a bit of a drag as a result (their recent Alien episode is a good example of this).

So as a whole, Cinemasins for me is one gimmick stretched for longer than necessary. It's repetitive formula can get boring after a while and there are laughs, they're not as often as one would expect. So they're entertaining critiques of big films, but whose premise has had so little variation over the course of nearly 5 years of existence that there's not much to reward regular watching. Nostalgia Critic creator Doug Walker once said that one of the reasons that he initially stopped the NC was because he had felt he had run out of ways to say a film was bad. Unfortunately, while Doug's show was at least versatile enough to keep the viewer engaged and wanting more, Cinemasins has had so little change that it has led the viewer to become disengaged and turn off. The occasional episode is still entertaining and can be quite funny, but the show has now become like fast food. Fine in infrequent doses, but not rewarding in frequent ones.

4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Not as funny as it once was., 7 September 2016

When it originally started, I loved Honest Trailers. The idea was extremely fresh in that what would happen if movie trailers were truthful about the film being advertised? Thankfully, the series in its early days served that premise well, making fun of the shortcomings in many films in a smart and analytical manner. All of this the while having a narrator whose exaggerated deep voice (meaning to spoof similar narrators in actual trailers) delivered the scripts with such an over the top nature that it becomes hard not to laugh at some points (their Twilight episodes are good examples of this - the inability to pour ketchup still cracks me up every time). Because of this, the show in its early days was fantastic and along with other great web shows that mocked films (like How It Should Have Ended & Cinema Sins) showed how movie spoof and satire is alive and well on the internet, especially when film & TV have come up short recently (Seltzerberg anyone?).

However, like many other comedy series, it's fair to say that Honest Trailers is starting to lose its mojo. My main problem with the show is that instead of being a well mixed combination of criticism and comedy like it previously was, one element now dominates. They feel more like straightforward critiques of the films instead of more tongue-in-cheek ones. While this fine if you want that sort of thing, if you were expecting laughs, they are sadly far more sporadic than before, despite some exceptions (like the Frozen or Inside Out HTs). Also, whenever politics gets involved, it's rather cringey rather than funny. When they whinge about how bad the attitudes of old Disney movies were for instance, they come across as nagging Anita Sarkessian SJW types rather than witty comedians. When they mock Donald Trump, not only do they feel like they're going for the low hanging fruit for humour, but also don't offer anything new in that field. Not to mention how they won't be balanced and mock other politicians like Hillary Clinton. That leads me to another point, in that they aren't as brutally honest as before, which not only makes it less funny, but also less different especially when they go for the obvious points about certain films, like their Spider-Man trilogy trailer.

Another issue for me is that the current narrator (John Bailey) isn't as exaggerated as the other ones. I understand that their narrator differed in sometimes in their earlier trailers, but they still kept the tone right, whether they be similarly over the top (like in their original Phantom Menace 3D trailer) or be monotone in an exaggerate way (like their Avatar trailer). However, Bailey doesn't get it quite right, as he isn't very exaggerate and (like many other things in the series) a lot more straight faced than the other narrators. This means that some of the jokes come off as flat and he isn't as entertaining a narrator as his predecessors.

However, the new Honest Trailers aren't completely awful. As I said, as plain reviews they're entertaining and offer some interesting points about certain films, like how in their Hunger Games: Catching Fire supposed feminist icon Katniss Everdeen is helped more by men than that title would imply. Also, there are still some good laughs here and there and some episodes are consistently funny too. And at the very least, they're at least very entertaining videos to watch and their USP is still a breath of fresh air on a platform (YouTube) whose content can become very redundant at points.

As such, while I do think Honest Trailers is no longer as funny as it once was, it's not bad. Far from it, as they're still entertaining critiques of popular movies with occasional laughs. Even so, I do feel that the show's best work is behind them, and now we have a subpar version of what came before. It's like eating at the Ritz and then afterwards eating very nice food at your local pub. Still good, but quite anaemic in comparison as to what came before. And hey, at least you're not eating at some crappy KFC, which is what the rest of YouTube can feel like sometimes.

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
An important documentary., 3 July 2016

Over time, we as a society have become more liberal and supportive of one another. Our differences have mattered less over time and we are at a point where everybody has an equal playing field. However, there are still issues to deal with, mainly that of radical Islam. Not just terrorism, but the way many Muslims are willing to detach themselves from their communities, which create tension & division, as areas like Luton & Rotherham demonstrate. But how do we deal with such an issue?

In this documentary, all these issues are tackled and highlight some solutions to the issue. For the most part, this show consists of Trevor Phillips (behind the equally brilliant & uncompromising Things We Won't Say About Race That Are True doc) discussing the results of a survey whose participants consisted of half of British Muslims. The results found demonstrate how part of the problem is how a large amount of British Muslims refuse to accept many aspects of our culture. This includes freedom of speech (especially when it concerns their Prophet), homosexuality, how to treat women and worst of all wanting to imply sharia law in our country. That part about women is especially concerning when they interview some Muslim women who are happy to be slaves to their husbands on the grounds that it is the duty of their God to do so.

That is one of the recurring themes of the show: many Muslims are not extreme or evil, but are rather brainwashed by a backwards ideology. This is mainly applied to the aforementioned women & the ones who operate the stalls advocating sharia law that we see. The film shows how these people are simply that: people who have been vulnerable and impressionable to such views. Meanwhile, it shows how many Muslims feel that their religious lifestyle is stopping them from being who they are, including many gay Muslims. This is one of the strong points of the show, as despite what the hundreds of complaints of Islamophobia would tell you (presumably from people who either hadn't seen it or can't accept the truth), it is anything but. While it heavily criticises the religion of Islam, it demonstrates how many Muslims are either perfectly integrated and ready to accept our values (like the Great British Bake Off winner Nadiya Hussain and comedian Aatif Nawaz) or actively trying to help other Muslims to do so (like Dialogue Development Officer Anjum Anwar or Zurich scholar Elham Manea). This gives a balanced approach, showing that while there is a problem with Islam, many of those who practice it are peaceful.

Meanwhile, it goes into the explanations as to where such beliefs spring up from. This includes the obvious (many of the Muslims who come here come from countries where such beliefs are justified and as such don't change it when in Britain) to the less discussed ideas (including the suggestion that much of the Anti-Semitism in Muslims comes from the issues surrounding the Israel-Palestine conflict). It also shows how part of the blame includes the sharia councils that are set up, due to how they reinforce many of Islam's fundamentalist beliefs, mainly the sexism towards women. This is mainly highlighted with how they will have less chance of winning custody of their children & are worse off from trying to settle divorce at these courts. It is all very interesting and goes into much depth on the issue.

It also shows why this division is bad. It leads to many Muslims to be hostile to non-Muslims, due to their lack of exposure towards those outside their culture. This is mainly seen when the headmistress of a school in Birmingham was discussing how the Muslim boys were attacking girls and calling them sluts for not wearing hijabs, which is one of the more upsetting parts of the film. Meanwhile it shows how such isolation and vulnerability can lead to these children to grow up and become a part of Islamic terror groups.

The only problem I have with the show is the solutions it offers and the approval of other problematic ways to solve the issue. For the former, it suggests having race quotas for schools so that children can mix and therefore discourage the segregation that is going on in our society. While I understand the rationale behind it, to me it feels that it is restricting the freedoms of parents who want to send their children to certain schools because of this race quota. Meanwhile, if they don't want any school to be one ethnicity only, how would that work considering how the indigenous population is white, and how certain areas (like Allerdale & Eden) which are almost exclusively so? How can we justify penalising them? Meanwhile for the latter, it approves David Cameron's plans to fund English lessons for Muslim women. As they aren't compulsory, what good will they do, especially if those women don't choose to attend? Meanwhile, it also doesn't discuss the other solutions that are being used to change this, including the Quillim Foundation, or other potential solutions, like shutting down the many sharia courts in the country that cause such division that the doc brings up.

Despite that, this is a great documentary. It may not be able to find a conclusive solution, but it does address one thing spot on: this is an issue that needs to be tackle now. It is clear that the continual sweeping under the carpet that the politicians, the media & many on the left are doing is only going to make things worse. It is a huge problem that needs to be dealt with, otherwise we're going to go down this spiral further until it's too late. Hopefully this doc will help many to understand that and could hopefully lead us to change. It may not have the best solution, but it shows how certain issues are no longer worth ignoring.

2 out of 10 people found the following review useful:
See this film before you cast your vote!, 22 June 2016

Before I start this review, I'll confess that I am a Vote Leave supporter, so already I agree with this film politically. However, that doesn't mean I let the filmmaking aspect slip by the wayside, as I have enjoyed good films with (in my opinion) bad politics and vice versa. Thankfully however, this film doesn't fall into that trap. While I would argue it is an important film for British politics, it is also a very good documentary. Well researched, detailed, very accessible & surprisingly very funny, this is not only a great film politically but also one technically.

The structure of the film is very straightforward. The film explains why the poor economy of a post war Britain led them to join the EU, the initial benefits of it & (for most of the film) argues why the EU is no longer good for us, both democratically and financially. While the film does give the viewer a lot of information to digest and is slow at points because of it, it never once bores the audience. This is because of how well paced the film is which never drags on the same point for too long, and how it uses humour to deliver the facts. This is mainly encapsulated by how they discuss how over regulatory the EU is, where they make sarcastic jibes at why there are hundreds of laws for towels & toasters. All of this helps to balance the dark nature of the film about the UK's future and it's light tone, so it never becomes a heavy headed seminar but never too light to undermine the seriousness of the piece.

And boy, are things seriously wrong with the EU indeed. I will find it hard for anybody not to be shocked at how corrupt it all is, regardless of where you stand. The fact that they are in bed with corporations who constantly lobby them to give them more power and kill competition or the staggering wealth it's MEPs get (even so much as to have an exclusive shopping mall for them) it's fantastically corrupt. Meanwhile, the film does a good job of demonstrating the lack of democracy and unaccountability the EU has, explaining how the people don't vote for (and a lot of the time don't even know) those who run it. The film also highlights how it negatively affects small businesses (as shown by the shocking interview at the once rife fishing market) & helps bigger ones. From this film, it is clear that the EU is a terrible prospect to be in these days, and it will only get worse if we stay in. One thing you can't accuse the film of it's arguing it's case passionately, that's for sure.

And while the film is lacking in balance, it does at least do a decent job of presenting why the EU was good for Britain at first. After WW2, countries like Germany thrived due to an economic revolution whereas those who had won the war like the UK were floundering due to an overly regulated market, which had killed Britain's workshop of the world status. When we entered in the 70's, it was the best choice for Britain, especially considering how weaker the economy had become and how inflation had rapidly increased at that point. It was good for stabilising us back then. However, the film presents how the EU became the antithesis of what it stood for. This included when it screwed over it's own citizens by eventually allowing foreign competition in the EU which severely crippled economies of countries who had benefited from such monopolies before, leading to the rise of unrest and the far right.

It also discusses what alternative system we could adopt post-Brexit, and offers Switzerland as it's main example. It's quite faniscating to see how strong it is in comparison to the EU economically, with more trade deals and a higher economic growth rate. While some could argue that Switzerland's portrayal in the film is slightly rose tinted, it still seems like an interesting example of what a post-Brexit Britain could look like.

All of this information is presented well, particularly with interesting facts and statistics and the compelling interviews from people like UKIP leader Nigel Farage, Conservative MEP Daniel Hannan, former Chancellor Nigel Lawson & many others. Add to that the humour and animated parts, and you have a case where all the parts make a satisfying & cohesive whole. While I will admit that it is very one-sided and slow at points, I would highly recommend it to all British voters, especially those who are undecided. It may preach to the converted, but I think it is definitely the most important film of the year and something you have to watch before casting your vote. Remember this: you future is at stake, and hopefully this film will help you determine which road you want Britain to go down. Choose wisely.

4 out of 19 people found the following review useful:
A mixed bag of a crossover show., 26 March 2016

Crossover shows are an interesting beast as popular programmes are combined and it is compelling to see how their individual styles play off one another to create something truly unique on its own. While there have been successful examples of such shows because of this, there have also been failures as the styles of the individual shows don't mix well together, creating something that can be tedious and awkward to watch. Therein lies the problem with this show: while Countdown is always enjoyable, the 8 Out Of 10 Cats element slightly suffers due to humour that is mildly amusing at best and completely unfunny at worst.

Firstly, I'll explain how the show works to those who are unfamiliar. The show is a panel show where two teams (one headed by Cats comedians Sean Lock and the other by John Richardson) compete to win Countdown. To do so, they play a series of games where a random set of letters or numbers is put onto a board, and the contestants have to either make words with the letters or find out how they can use the numbers to get to a pre-determined number set by the board. At the end, both teams have to figure out a Countdown Conundrum by unscrambling a word. Whoever has the most points wins.

That is the main part of the show that works, as with all good game shows, it is always engaging to try and play along by finding the words, working out the sums with the numbers and working out the conundrum. Meanwhile working out the Teatime Teasers (where you work out a conundrum set by the show during the break) is interesting, despite the quite juvenile clues which often sounds like something written by an immature teenager looking for cheap laughs. It is a great format that works well in its original form, and works mostly fine here too.

However its the 8 Out Of 10 Cats element that lets the side down, as doesn't work as well. While Jimmy Carr and the gang can be funny at times, they clearly aren't on top form here. This is due to how the humour either ranges from annoyingly quirky (highlighted with the random antics that Jimmy does during the Countdown games that can sometimes distract from playing along with the game itself) to generically safe and bland. Guest comedians they bring in, like Joe Wilkinson and Lee Mack, don't help matters as they usually don't tickle the funnybone either. And the previously mentioned juvenile Teaser gags don't work either as they are more concerned with appealing to the lowest common denominator by being stupidly crass and opposed to relying on clever humour. That is my biggest problem with the show as a whole: while the original Countdown format is always engaging and it can be humorous here and there, the lack of strong comedy (or any edge for that matter) spoils it.

It doesn't help that the pacing is slightly off as since the laughs are few and far between a lot of the time, the pacing can feel quite slow at points while you wait for the actual game to start. The fact that there are cases where it takes over ten minutes for the games to get going doesn't help this fact. It just feels quite slow and you would wish they would get started already.

However, it isn't all bad. As I've said, there can be very funny parts on the show (Joe Lycett's story about receiving an e-mail from a drunk fan in a recent episode is priceless) and the Countdown format, regardless of this variant, is always watchable. Adding in some familiar faces from the original show (like the Dictionary Corner's Susie Dent and the ever so beautiful Rachel Riley) is a nice touch and gives it some familiarity for Countdown fans who may be initially alienated by this variation of it, and even if irritating at points, it can be quite entertaining to see how badly some celebrities are at the game.

As such, I feel that while this show is a decent attempt at a crossover, it is seriously lacking in some areas but mainly in humour and edge. For a supposed comedic panel show, the humour is too sporadic to be consistently funny and the lack of edge to the humour makes it slightly bland at points especially considering how risqué the comedians have been previously (mainly Jimmy Carr). However, the good jokes and the game itself are always engaging and worth watching on that basis alone. Because of this, 8 Out Of 10 Cats Does Countdown isn't a complete failure, but it perhaps didn't need anything more than its initial one off status, and there isn't much worthwhile here to convince you of otherwise. Just stick with the original shows instead.

5 out of 11 people found the following review useful:
Overrated propaganda., 28 December 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Ever since films first starting being produced, many of them have had a political agenda, whether it be subtle or Leni Riefenstahl levels of obvious. However, that aspect alone shouldn't affect your judgment of the film overall, as you are reviewing the film, not the viewpoint it represents. Take Citizenfour for example, the documentary about Edward Snowden. Despite the prejudice I personally have for Snowden, I still had an open mind to the film. However, it is a badly made and boring film which lacks any structure, making it one of the most overrated films in quite some time.

The documentary focuses on Edward Snowden, the whistle-blower who leaked NSA's surveillance activities to the world. Here, we see his leaking of the story to The Guardian and him hiding out around the world in order not to be caught by the US government. On top of this, there is also footage of NSA building surveillance sites and worldwide governments trying to stop the NSA's spying. While it sounds compelling, the film is anything but. One main reason for this is that a lot of the film takes place inside Snowden's Hong Kong hotel room, without much happening, outside of Snowden watching TV and getting dressed. Whoopee.

It also doesn't help that the film is poorly structured. Besides the initial boredom you'll experience from watching Edward Snowden in his hotel room, the film also randomly puts in the aforementioned footage of the NSA building these sites and of the foreign governments without much context besides the film's obvious message (government surveillance is bad). It's put together in a very sloppy manner, and while I understand the circumstances behind this (director Laura Poitras had the pressure of the authorities finding her), it demonstrates the lack of experience Poitras has. It just makes you wish she would have handed the footage to someone with more skill, as it would have made the film more coherent.

Another problem is how overly one-sided this film is. I understand that many documentaries are biased towards a certain view, but at least they often consider the other side of the debate. For example, a good documentary like The Times Of Harvey Milk may portray people like Milk's assassin Dan White and John Briggs (of the controversial Briggs Initiative) as morally bankrupt, but also tries to explain their actions and humanise them to an extent. Not here though. Not only does the film ignore the other viewpoint, but portrays it as completely dangerous and volatile. So as you can imagine, there's no mention as to why the system was set up (in order to prevent disasters like 9/11 from repeating themselves), why the authorities are after Snowden (as he threatened national security) or the negative consequences of Snowden's actions (potentially giving terrorists a loophole to go through in order to harm innocent lives - the fact that the Boston marathon bombers are mentioned at one point makes this factor more important).

It also portrays Snowden in an overtly perfect manner, almost saintly, for his exposure, as if he was a kind young man wanting to protect the American people. So factors like how he didn't even read all of the documents he leaked or how thanks to him, Al-Qaeda are now changing their communication methods in order not to get caught by the NSA don't enter the conversation. Even some things that are mentioned in the film unintentionally work against him, mainly how he has put his own family at risk, and doesn't even try to protect them. On top of this, you can't help but feel that some of the criticisms of the NSA's actions in the film are filled with hypocrisy, mainly that of the Brazilian government, a country with higher internet censorship than the United States. I wouldn't mind the politics as much if the film was good, as I have enjoyed films in the past but don't necessarily agree with their ideology. Citizenfour however is extremely dull and boring, making the questionable politics even more problematic.

In conclusion, Citizenfour is a very bad documentary which is poorly structured, tedious and sloppily handled, and is a blatant Leni Riefenstahl-esque propaganda piece for Snowden, that not only glorifies one side and ignores the other, but demonizes that same side as well. It is also notable for something that is becoming a major problem in our culture as a whole: the glorification of criminals in the media. There's no problem if you think Snowden was in the right, but all too often, people are praised and martyred in the media through their behaviour, despite being dangers to society, leading to the silencing of those who criticise them, regardless of their legitimate points. Usually this applies to traitors like Snowden who are treated as heroes as well as terrorists like the IRA and many Jihadists being excused as martyrs, both of which undermine the serious consequences of their actions. On top of this, we see gangsters like the Kray Twins being made out as folk heroes and common thugs like Mark Duggan & Michael Brown being seen as innocent victims. All of this shows how criminals are portrayed as heroes, which encourages both the infliction and support of illegal behaviour through their media endorsement, meanwhile we see the constant lynching of groups like the police and the NSA for protecting a free society. This not only divides people to antagonize one another but also makes people forget who the real bad guys are, leading to a society based on lies and deceit, rather than truth and honesty. This film (along with its undeserved media acclaim and Oscar win) are a testament to this, showing that society is confused as to where our priorities lie and who are the bad guys truly are. Because of this, I suggest that you skip Citizenfour, as not only is it cruddy agitprop, but as it glorifies a potential traitor, makes it rotten to the core.

Four Rooms (1995)
1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
A failed experiment., 16 August 2015

An anthology film is often an interesting watch. Seeing as how multiple directors come together to create a project, if often gets people curious as to how each director's individual style meshes with the others, and what the finished film is like because of that. Sadly, most of the time, anthology films fail miserably, as the styles of each director are too different from one another to truly gel, meaning that while there may be standout parts here and there, they often don't work as complete films. Four Rooms unfortunately is one of the prime examples of this. While nowhere near as bad its initial hostile critical reaction would have you believe, the film is still very problematic.

The story is that Ted the Bellhop is asked to look after a hotel during New Year's Eve and while there has to deal with multiple situations including a convent of witches, a hostage situation involving an angry husband, babysitting for a gangster's children & a bunch of drunken Hollywood stars and directors having a very dangerous bet. That is the basic story of the film, with four segments in the film directed by a different person for each. Connecting these stories is Ted the Bellhop, who is one of the film's major problems. Tim Roth delivers one of his worst performances to date as Ted, hamming it up every chance he gets, and gets annoying rather quickly. While the film is a comedy, it isn't as wacky or as farcical as Roth plays it, lacking the restraint and subtly that all the other actors have, which clearly shows that he wasn't well directed, acting like something out of Fawlty Towers, and considering the seriousness of some scenes, feels widely out of place. All of this makes Ted not only not funny, but very annoying and hard to care for, and you'll wish for him to go away as soon as possible.

Each story varies in quality, although none of them are better than decent. The first one is The Missing Ingredient (directed by Allison Anders), whereby Ted has to have sex with a witch in order to create the ingredient needed in order to reverse the spell put on the coven's goddess Diana 40 years prior. It's about as ridiculous as it sounds. While it may appeal to some art-house fans, it is very corny, silly and cheesy. It is watchable though, acted well enough (Roth being the exception) and has a quirky charm to it that keeps you entertained throughout.

The second segment is The Wrong Man (directed by Alexandre Rockwell), and is honestly the worst segment of this film by a country mile. I'll go as far as to say it is one of the worst things ever put on a cinema screen. It consists of Roth going into the wrong room for delivery service and encounters an angry husband with a gun, and believes Ted to be the one who slept with his wife. Everyone acts way over-the-top in a non-comedic scenario (making the piece tonally confused), has multiple plot holes (Why does the angry husband go into the bathroom during a hostage situation, giving Ted the perfect opportunity to free his wife or call the police? Why doesn't Ted take advantage of this either, or after he leaves for that matter? Why does the wife mock and taunt her angry gun-wielding husband?) and has some forced ambiguity about the husband's homosexuality that is never explored. It is frankly unwatchable, and considering that Rockwell was the one who had the idea for the film in the first place, leads me to believe that he made a terrible film, knew it and dragged in the other directors to make other segments to hope no-one would notice it. Sadly, they did and it is no wonder that Rockwell hasn't worked much since the film came out.

The other two are the closet thing this film gets to decent. The Misbehavers (directed by Robert Rodriguez) is about Ted looking after some gangster's kids, with the instruction of not letting them misbehave. They do, and what follows maybe a one-joke skit, but it is quite funny, and the child actors are very good (Roth is thankfully restrained). It's unpleasantness towards the end (a dead hooker being found for example) may stop it from becoming great, but this is the best segment and it's punchline is priceless.

The final segment is The Man from Hollywood (directed by Quentin Tarantino), whereby Ted goes to a room of famous Hollywood actors and directors playing a drunken bet to chop off someone's finger for a $1,000 and Ted gets involved in the process. While funny and well acted, this is the most pointless segment in the film as it builds up to the bet and then just ends very aburptly, as if nothing happened. Yeah, no negative psychological side effects can come from chopping off from someone's finger. Makes sense to me.

Overall, this is just a failed experiment whose segments are widely uneven in terms of quality, the film is really smug at points and the thing connecting them together is really irritating and hard to care for. All of this combined makes this film something which while OK and not as bad as the critics at time would have you believe, isn't very good and it's no wonder why everyone involved has been actively trying to forget it ever happened. Sadly, it does and stands as a strong example as to why anthology film often don't work, as despite the talent behind camera, you often get overcooked messes like this. For curiosity's sake only.

2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Arguably the worst British film ever made., 29 April 2015

Throughout film history, the British film industry has contributed many films of varying quality to the world, some of which are arguably among the best films ever made as well as others which represent the true nadir of cinema. One such sad example of the latter would be the 2000 comedy Kevin and Perry Go Large (based on the popular UK comedy sketch Kevin the teenager from the show Harry Enfield and Chums), which due to its hateful characters, poor structuring and overall lack of anything funny, ranks not only as one of British cinema's worst, but arguably one of the worst films in movie history.

The story is that friends Kevin and Perry go on a holiday to Ibiza in order to become DJ's so that they can find their significant others. Along the way they'll come across sun, sex & clubbing as well as an evil DJ by the name of Eye Ball Paul who will test their friendship in the process. The plot is very lazy here, as it follows the typical plot of a British sitcom adaptation: take take the main characters out of their comfort zone and into a different place that they aren't familiar with. While not as undercooked as other sitcom adaptations (i.e. MacGruber, Keith Lemon: The Film), the story is still very generic, and becomes utterly redundant in the process. On top of this, the story is very poorly structured as well, as the film moves on without much narrative thread connecting it all together, eventually feeling closer to its sketch show roots than necessary. It honestly felt like one was watching a string of sketches they scrapped from the TV show, due to their lack of humour.

That's another major problem, as the film isn't funny in the slightest, due to its constant reliance on lowest common denominator humour. There's boner gags (Kevin manages to stop a bank robbery with a boner), gross-out gags (a spot popping scene that is so awful and crass that it feels like it should be in an American Pie straight to DVD sequel) and lots of terrible toilet humor. Another problem is the one-joke nature of the film, that being that Kevin and Perry are deliberately irritating, acting as a satire of teenagers and their culture, but due to how unlikable Kevin and Perry are, it gets very old and annoying very fast.

And they are indeed unlikable characters. They are so hateful in fact that they are some of the worst characters ever seen in a comedy film. They are very inappropriate towards the female characters in the film (including stalking them and sleeping with them against their will) and treat their parents like dirt, with constant verbal abuse and rudeness towards them, despite how kind and caring the parents are. On top of this, they don't seem to have much of a strong friendship, as at the first threat to their friendship in the film (Eye Ball Paul manipulating them for his own gain), they immediately refuse to speak to one another. Why are we meant to like these characters again?

And yes, I do understand that they are meant to be a satire of both teenagers and their culture, but it doesn't excuse how truly detestable the main characters are, and the fact that it isn't at all funny (or even good satire, considering how the humour is aimed at, ironically, at the same lowest common denominator audience the film is meant to be making fun of) only serves to make matters worse. In short, it would probably be fine in a 20 minute show, but in a full length film, these characters become utterly unbearable, and considering that they take up the most screen time, it makes the film legitimately painful to sit through.

It doesn't help that the other characters are as underwritten as Kevin & Perry (but thankfully not as unlikable), and feel like their only purpose in the film is to make it even longer, mainly that of Kevin and Perry's girlfriends and the aforementioned parents. This also sadly applies to the villain, Rhys Ifans' DJ Eye Ball Paul, as despite the fact that he doesn't really have any effect on the story, is the most sympathetic character, mainly due to how he bullies and is horrible to Kevin and Perry, and you can't help but feel that some of his behaviour towards them is deserved, considering how utterly horrible they both are. It also helps that Rhys Ifans (as always) is very good, and in turn, becomes the only thing in this film anybody could stomach.

It is because of all these problems that I feel that Kevin and Perry Go Large is not only one of the worst British films ever made (a title it takes very easily), but is one of the worst films ever made. Everything is completely inept, whether it be the hateful main characters, the poorly developed supporting characters, the lack of any laughs, a plot that is lazily recycled, a very poor structure to the film and the utterly toothless satire. Bottom line: Kevin and Perry Go Large stinks, and it should be avoided like the plague.

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Don't listen to the critics., 28 April 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Over the years, there have been many films that have been seen as classics of their genre, due to their critical and commercial success as well as fan support. However, this doesn't represent everybody, as there will inevitably be backlash against the film, and those people would feel that the film in question is overrated. Casein point, The Hunger Games, as while there are some good elements here and there, it seems surprising that a film so derivative, lazily written and overall quite weak would be praised as much as it has, and is one of the most overrated films over the past few years because of it.

The plot is that after volunteering instead of her sister, Katniss Everdeen takes part in The Hunger Games, a show that consists of young people fighting each other to the death for the sake of entertainment. When at the games, Katniss will do anything in her power in order to survive. If you feel that that synopsis sounds familiar, that's because it has blatantly been recycled from films like Battle Royale and The Running Man. If the film wasn't derivative enough already by this point, it also rips off bits from other films (like the authoritarian city from 1984 or the chase scenes from Apocalypto) in order to tell its story.

The writing is also undermined by other factors as well, like the multiple plot holes within the story, like why do the Capitol let two people live despite being intent on killing everyone else, or why Rue's district starts rioting, despite having their tributes killed for the past seven and half decades. It also lacks any sort of fundamental character development, leading to characters who are two-dimensional at best and at worst, quite boring and unsympathetic.

The latter of that definitely applies to Katniss, partly due to her poor writing, and the other part due to Jennifer Lawrence's poor performance, as while her character is meant to a strong, independent young woman with a dark past, Lawrence acts like a bored, whiny teenager who's upset that her Ipod ran out of charge. It makes her completely disengaged from the audience, as since she doesn't seem to care about her predicament, it makes the viewer question why they should care either. Thankfully, the rest of the acting is perfectly fine, but their character writing is still quite weak. The most notable example of this is when a character called Rue is killed off, and despite the fact that she has only five minutes of screen time or so, the audience is supposed to be shocked and saddened by her death.

It doesn't help that the film is constantly switching tone, and it becomes distracting after a while. At the beginning, the tone is serious and downbeat, and the setting of the film reflects this perfectly, with its muted colours and overall depressing mood. However, later scenes in the Capitol (where the Hunger Games takes place) are completely the opposite, with bright colours and people being dressed up like they had escaped from a Dr. Suess book. I understand that this is meant to be a juxtaposition on the rich and the poor, and how greedy the former truly are, but due to the film's serious tone, this part of the film feels overly cartoony and it becomes harder to take seriously as a result, something made even worse by the hugely unconvincing fire and attack dog special effects during the film's major set-pieces.

Sure this film has positive attributes, as it is finely acted for the most part, has strong production values and has pretty good action scenes here and there, despite the overused shaky cam technique, but there's not much to recommend the film otherwise. From its unoriginal story, to its badly written script, to its unsympathetic lead, to its bizarre tonal shifts throughout, the Hunger Games is an overall bad film that is only recommended to die- hard fans of the books, but even then I feel that some fans might struggle(due to how superior the books are meant to be). Sure, the sequels are better, but that doesn't wash away the bad taste that the first film left in the mouth.

Predators (2010)
1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Strong candidate for the worst thing to come out of the entire Predator canon., 22 April 2015

The Predator film series has had many hits and misses during its existence, as for every good entry, one or two bad ones show up quickly in its wake. The original Predator was quite good and AVP was decent (although admittedly more as a guilty pleasure than anything else), but Predator 2 was a complete letdown and AVP: Requiem stunk as badly as cow manure. So how does this one fare? Well with its bad characters, rubbish storytelling, dreadful dialogue and abysmal action, pretty poorly actually.

The story is that a group of deadly criminals on Earth (i.e. corrupt mercenaries, militia members, murderers) are abducted from Earth and placed onto the planet of the Predators during the species' hunting season. In order to survive, these various characters will have to unite and fight against the deadly threat that awaits them. The plot is one of the first problems you'll notice about the film, as it feels both utterly generic, tired and lazy, like this was some sort of crappy Predator fan-fiction rather than a new entry into the series. Sure it doesn't have the same pacing problems Predator 2 did (it doesn't take as long for the Predator to show up for instance), but it isn't very ambitious either, and is filled with plot holes (i.e. why did the Predators pick an serial killer for their hunt, considering that he is not as dangerous as the mercenary and assassin characters?). Needless to say, it is clear why this story and script had been left on a shelf for so long.

Another big problem is the characters, as they're all two- dimensional at best, and at worst, they're essentially pointless deadmeat, only being there to increase the film's bodycount. It is a clear sign of poor character writing when the main characters' names aren't revealed until the last five minutes or so. On top of this, whenever the film has any good characters, they are killed off very quickly, leading you to question why they are even there.(Spoiler) This is mainly notable in Laurence Fishburne's character, as he seems to be an interesting examination on the isolation and madness someone can experience when being alone in a hostile environment like this, but is killed off swiftly.

The acting is also very average, as while everyone is fine, that's all they are rather than great, and no-one stands out as a result. Adrian Brody is a big problem, as despite his efforts, he's not a competent action hero, and his attempts act tough come off as a weird mix of the ridiculous voice of Christian Bale's Batman and a little kid swearing trying to impress his older peers. I don't expect him to be Arnie (something Adrian even admitted to), but at the very least, they could have hired someone who least swear competently.

Another major problem are the Predators themselves, as like Predator 2, the eponymous villain of the piece has little threat and screen time. Sure, it doesn't take as long for the Predators to be introduced like Predator 2, but for a film called Predators, there is sadly very little Predator action, as most of the run-time consists of the boring characters talking to one another, making the film feel slower than it actually is at points. On top of this, the Predators themselves aren't much of a threat, as they are killed off very easily, despite being in groups, compared to the first film whereby it was hard to kill one of the things. It isn't as insultingly useless as it was in Predator 2 (as even a average built cop could beat it by that point), but considering that there are more Predators in the film, you would expect them to be much more of a force to be reckoned with. The film also adds very little to the Predator mythos either, and the things it does add are staggeringly awful, mainly the new Predator dogs, which look like something out of the next Ice Age sequel, and a new type of Predator, whose mask is Power Rangers levels of camp and is killed as quickly as the other Predators.

It doesn't help that the action is very poor, with hack Nimród Antal directing the action in a very lazy and generic manner, leading to many copy-and-paste action sequences that don't get the adrenaline going but rather put you to sleep. Casein point, the criminally wasted Predator vs. Samurai fight in the film, as it is slowly paced, tedious and ends a lot quicker than it should. The action scenes also lack any bite either, as due to their poor handling, lack of any true visceral violence (the fact that it was rated 15 in the UK as opposed to the earlier films' initial 18 rating is a testament to that) & the fact that you don't care about any of the characters make the action lack any sort of tension or threat whatsoever.

It is also notable for the amount of Robert Rodriguez-isms (who wrote the story and produced the film) in the film, clearly showing that, despite different writers and directors, he's had his grubby mitts all over the film. Casual misogyny, creaky dialogue & constant (not to mention annoying) homages to the earlier films are main examples of this, but Rodriguez forgets (like fellow filmmaker Quentin Tarantino) that homages alone don't make a movie.

And what a bad movie it is too, as due to the huge amount of problems in the film, it is an undercooked mess overall. Not only does it add another nail in the coffin for Rodriguez as a filmmaker, but it also does the same to a once-credible franchise that clearly needs new blood in order to survive. Hopefully the upcoming Shane Black-directed sequel will be better, but for now this is the massive waste of potential we're left with.

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