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Black Dynamite (2011)
Even funnier than the film
It's a crime that no-one has written a review for the animated series!
Keeping it simple - if you enjoyed the live action film of Black Dynamite and found it amusing then you'll love the animated series. A lot of the cast return to give their voices to the characters that were created in the film.
With animation you have the freedom to do anything and the creators use this freedom so well! I'm only 4 episodes in but so far the takes on real life celebrities of the 70's (Michael Jackson, Richard Pryor, O J Simpson) is absolutely hilarious. Incorporating such icons into a manic mickey taking episode is fantastic. The writers are on fire for the gags and stories so far.
If you enjoyed and laughed your ass off at Black Dynamite the movie, you'll do exactly the same with the animated series. It's adult humour all the way.
Wild Bill (2011)
Brit film making at its best
Oh Dexter Fletcher! How I have your name engraved in my mind for all eternity from when I was a little boy watching 'Press Gang'. An iconic name for those of my generation and British acting. He managed to appear in many a film but never a leading man but now tries his hand at directing.
I think Mr Fletcher may have found his way of breaking out by stepping behind the camera. What we have here is a very well written and directed film debut about a man who is released from prison and finds himself looking after his 2 sons whose mother has abandoned them.
It isn't an exciting film as this is a drama with some light humour thrown in. It's quality British film making where we go and take a peak at something which is more than likely true to real life.
Many familiar fine British actors are recognisable in this film and Mr Fletcher no doubt had no trouble in bringing out their finest performances as I'm sure he's probably friends or familiar with them. This makes viewing the film as if watching real life.
So, if you want to take break and watch something engaging then do so by watching Wild Bill. The performances are great (Will Poulter will be a star one day), the story is realistic and gritty and the direction for a first timer is spot on. This isn't the type of film you'll watch repeatedly but the type you'll be glad that you've seen the once.
Good supernatural/mystery/horror film
Long time since I've reviewed a film as I tend to use Facebook for that nowadays but this is a little gem that is well worth typing a few paragraphs about.
I wasn't sure what to expect from this film and so with expectations low I came away from viewing feeling very satisfied at having watched a bloody good film.
I've not heard of the director before and I've not seen the lead actress before now but have done a wonderful job. Basic premise is that a girl moves away after the loss of her sister and ends up at a séance trying to contact her sister. This leads to the vengeful spirit of a murdered girl choosing the lead to try and solve what happened to her.
Whilst there are horror aspects, this movie is more a supernatural murder mystery thriller. The direction is excellent and the cinematography mixed with good believable acting make for a highly polished film probably far out reaching its budget. It's not perfect - some of the stronger horror parts concerning the murderer do not sit comfy with the atmosphere given from the rest of the film and sometimes some of the actions/discoveries are all too quick. None of this takes away though from what is a very good story from start to finish. This film could have easily fallen flat by giving in to the slasher/gore elements of the film and could have easily become run of the mill fodder. Thankfully though it does not and for the running time you are pulled into the film and captivated.
This is one of those films that will not get a wide audience but deserves one. I'll be recommending to people I know.
A little taste of Italian
Not reviewed for a while but a zombie film is relatively easy to do and always worth it.
So, we have here a nice little Italian entry into the over populated zombie movie genre. It seems there's a zombie film popping up every other week since 2005 and before that they were 'dead' hard to come by.
So, I've stated before in reviews it is hard to breath new life into this genre (uninteded joke there) so if you can't do anything original, make sure that what you do ticks the required boxes for a good zombie flick.....and most of the boxes are ticked.
The film isn't of the highest budget but with some good make-up, nice locations and good use of the visual effects they have - it's not noticeable. A strong part to this film is the 2 male leads. They work perfectly with each other and the bad ass bald guy just has a totally likable character about him.
The story takes elements from Dawn/Day of the dead and mixes a little bit of Resident Evil in. The zombie make-up and good is of a good standard and the running time passes nicely by......except for the last 15 mins which feels rushed against the pace of the rest of film.
Negatives - some characters are silly and the acting is not always the best. The story can be slightly confusing with unanswered plot points.
If you're a zombie fan then this entry is worth checking out. As a casual viewer then this may not do. I enjoyed it for what it was.
Not better than LOTR
Tut tut to the person who wrote the glowing review.
This is an oddball film. It's low budget with first time actors....I'd even go as far as to say this is some sort of strange LOTR fan-boy homage. That's the feel that I had at the end of the film.
So - 2 dorky park rangers, whilst out doing their jobs, encounter Orcs which have been living in the mountains for a long long time. It's up to them to stop them. That's it! As simple as that, you have the story.
I can't say that the film was an engrossing entertaining watch but for a low budget 'I have a film idea and I'm gonnna make it' labour of love for those involved in making the film, it's not too bad.
The acting could use some work but otherwise the locations, costumes and effects are admirable considering. If you want to waste some time watching something mildly entertaining then give this a try.
Chain Letter (2009)
NOt a bad horror, could have been more....
Vincent Winterbourne's review seems to think that fans of horror, 80's and 90's will lap this up. I'm one of those fans....but this film doesn't deserve that much praise.
Chain Letter is certainly a watchable film. It is clichéd, not hugely original and nothing none of us haven't seen before. This is another of those films that will go floating by and leave you slightly frustrated because, placed in the hands of someone else, it could have been a terrific new horror franchise. There's a good core idea - you receive a chain email/text which you must forward on or die if you don't or delete it. What do you choose to do? Ignore it and you'll meet your end via a nasty gory death by chains (and the use of chains is actually quite good). You can almost imagine, whilst watching, the film this could have been had the script been slightly more polished, a bit more time taken with character development and more confident direction.
I do applaud the filmmakers though as this isn't a big budget horror and for the most part it is an entertaining film. It has some nice ideas. Unfortunately, everything seems to be hurried. I hardly grasped who was who out of the school buddies and it seemed like the director just wanted to get on to the next murder scene or shock revelation. The writers couldn't settle on exactly what was happening. We're given details that it's a cult doing the murders yet only one guy does the killing. The cult hate technology yet that is what they use to track and kill?
It's a shame. This isn't a bad film and I would say give it a try. Could have been so much more though, especially after such a good opening.
Nice to see Keith David with a chunky(ish) role and also Brad Dourif in there too.
I Spit on Your Grave (2010)
Revenge done right
If you're going to take on a remake of a notorious film you have to do it right. If said remake is notorious due to it being one of the 'video-nasties' of the 80's, maintain the core element of the film that put it on the list! If you do this then you end up with a good (and sometimes better) remake. The Hills Have Eyes and Last House on the Left remakes worked by doing this and not trying to water down shock content. For a remake of 'I Spit on Your Grave' the same had to be applied otherwise it would have been pointless.
The original 1978 movie was a brutal and shocking film for its time. Still today you can not get an uncut version of the film in the UK. It's not an amazing film and will only have been watched by fans of the genre. So, how do the filmmakers approach this remake?.....
...with a brutal vengeance! Like the LHOTL remake did, the filmmakers have kept the raw, brutal violence of the original whilst polishing the story and injected some new life in to it.
Sarah Butler does a great job as the woman who is raped and brutalised who sets out for revenge. I thought the acting from all the cast was spot on. It must be really hard to 'act' in such a horrendous way for this type of film.
What elevates this film above the original is that they decided to reduce the rape scene in its intensity and go full hog on the revenge part of the film. Whilst still quite brutal and disturbing, when we get to the part of Jennifer being raped, it's not as drawn out or horrific as it could have been if they wanted to piggy off the original.
In this take of the film the main portion/concentration of the film is given to Jennifer getting her revenge....and boy does she do this in some really nasty ways....and when we get to those parts of the film, thanks to the scripting and direction, we're 100% behind Jennifers character in the justification of her actions. It may be gory and some may call it torture porn but when she exacts her revenge you'll be cheering on. I actually think this film should be shown to rapists as a deterrent (unfortunately you'd need a woman like Jennifer to back it up in real life).
So, this isn't going to be everyone's cup of tea due to its content but if you've seen the original, or you're a fan of the video nasties era, definitely check this out.
Very good remake.
When jokes go wrong...
Although depressing, I quite like films like this where one action taken leads to a downward spiral of doom as a situation continues to get worse - ala Very Bad Things or Before The Devil Knows You're Dead.
Brotherhood is in the same vein as the aforementioned films (though not as harsh) as we follow the exploits of a group of frat house students and pledges who's night takes a turn for the worse when a convenience store hold up prank goes wrong.
The story unfolds and the viewer watches as the characters continue to make bad decisions, digging a deeper hole for the situation they are in. If done right, this type of film can take you on a ride where you feel involved as you think to yourself 'but I'd do that', 'If only they'd done....'. Plausability always plays a big part and although some of the decisions made by Adam and the others are just plain stupid, it plays out well without going silly.
There were some believable performances and good acting all round. The film wasn't quite as tense nor dark dark as it could have possibly been for the story type but it was entertaining enough. I was impressed with the side track revelation near the end of the film which relates to something you will have forgotten all about by the end of the film (not giving anything away). Nice touch.
Brotherhood is worth a watch. It has a short running time and would make for a good rental.
Simple and charming
I do like a good coming of age story and I knew within the first 10 mins that I'd like this film. I find that stories and romances like this always work better set in an older more innocent time period.
I didn't realise until after that Rob Reiner had directed and in all honesty it wasn't too much of a shock. He did after all direct Stand By Me which is probably the daddy of coming of age stories.
As in the title, what I liked about this film was when it 'Flipped'. We'd first get Bryce's take on something that happens after which the same series of events would be told by Juli. It's a simple story - girl likes boy, boy doesn't like girl and only realises he does just after the girl begins to not like him. It's nothing new or original but it told with a simplistic charm and works wonders thanks to the two leads and outstanding supporting cast.
This is a nice film. One of the type that will put you in a good mood and make you long (if you don't already have it) for a true love story of your own. My only complaint is the running time which seems way too short. There's so much build up to the inevitable between Bryce and Juli that when it comes, that's it - end of film.
I'd like to think that a sequel could be made to continue the story but it probably won't happen.
This is my 4th Uwe Boll film review. I've slated the guy in the past - and rightly so - for some of the atrocious and bad films he's made. I gave up at one point watching his films hoping he'd get better....but, as my last review about 'Rampage' stated, Uwe had made something that wasn't complete rubbish and was actually entertaining. Whilst not converting me from a hater, this did give me an open mind to any future works. Which leads us to Darfur.
This film can't be called entertaining. It wasn't made to entertain but rather to raise awareness and send a message to people about the atrocities happening in Darfur. I for one had heard of Darfur in the news but knew nothing in detail until looking into to it thanks to this film.
This is simply Uwe's best film to date. This is a powerful, gritty, 'in your face' piece of cinema about the situation in Darfur. There is no happiness, no Hollywood ending. I've never found myself so angry and frustrated whilst watching a film. I don't want to watch it again - not because it's not good but because it's not nice to watch. You will feel uncomfortable and rightly so....and herein lies what makes this film very good - it will illicit emotion from you with it's non-sugar coated story telling.
My only complaint....and a common one when watching Boll films....is the hand held camera. I don't mind it's use but still Uwe overkills this method. Too much shaking makes little sense.
I thought the way this film was made - barely any scripting, the production values - was excellent. So, bravo to you Mr Boll. I think you should step away from video game adaptations and work on original projects as I think when you do this, you can actually show that you are a good film maker.