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i liked to draw
i liked tv
i liked video games
i "designed" my own games
i liked film
i liked music
i wanted to be in a band and "wrote songs"
i liked films too much
i wanted to make films
i made crap films
i joined imdb
i had sex
i didnt want to be a porn star
i edit and make films "better" than i used to, but want to make them "for real" and i do art at A2 level
thats all there is so far remind me never to write anymore
A new direction for the potter franchise with newcomer to the series David Yates. I wonder why he wasn't involved in all of them, as the previous four films have lacked solidity, direction, pacing, atmosphere and have just been generally disappointing and fairly poor in quality. Yates brings a much needed crunch to the series, with frenetic camera work, tight editing, special effects sequences that finally reflect the magic of the world being portrayed by the books and.....fantastic performances. Yes, I may have criticised Radcliffe in the past but his performance has finally broken out of the dulcet tones of the previous films. His performance matches the new pitch of intensity resonated by this outstanding film.
As the film begins, the grey clouds surround the WB sign, drifting forward and out of sight to reveal the Harry Potter logo set to what can only be described as a jaded rendition of the theme tune, which sets the tone immediately. Then the camera drops from the sky to a playground where Harry faces Dudley and his friends. What is instantly noticeable is that the camera work is much more well considered, effective and artistic than previous directors botched attempts at the franchise. What entails is an eerie contemplative build up that plunges right into a heart pounding chase. But its not that the cinematography is just good for the Potter films, it is fantastic beyond this and is some of the best work i have seen in recent films.
This is an overall much darker set of affairs than before, more serious, reflecting a desperate time for the wizarding world. Harry begins to become isolated in his mind's eye. He gets angry, he questions himself and others a great deal more. But this is also the time when he breaks from the mould and takes things into his own hands. A new addition to the fray is Luna Lovegood, providing an outlet for Harry's isolation. Drifting and flaky she adds a greater depth to the film. Umbridge is fleshed out superbly, a wicked callous performance laced with a buoyant sense of self indignation. Its good to see that Gary Oldman was in fact used on set this time, and delivers a fantastic and emotional performance. Emma Watson and Rupert Grint also deliver great performances, but I always felt they were never as problematic as Radcliffe. And, as per usual The rest of the supporting adults slink in nicely from Rickman's world weary, cynical and snarling turn to Gambon's dutiful and wise performance.
The success of this film is that it ..feels like Harry Potter, this is how it Should be. It never at any point feels rushed as the others have, instead taking time to reflect on itself with serene moments of ambiance that bring a wonderful sense of calm to the darkening world around the characters. The sets are also fantastic, the Ministry of Magic reflecting a sense post communist fascist nihilism, with the Stalin-esquire portrayal of Fudge looming over the cold black walls. Which ultimately sets up the genuinely creepy panic stricken dash through the Hall of Prophecies and the blisteringly exciting set of wand duels that bring the film to a close. Another new set is Sirius' house which is brilliantly shabby, tucked away between two muggle houses. It is both inviting and chilling, especially effective are the room with the family tree and the bitter house elf kreature who's ramblings are a refreshing change from the way the cgi creations have been presented before.
Although worth mentioning is the shift in music as well, as it now is not just chirpy renditions of the theme tune, but fantastically suited to the events and help to shape a mood and bring much needed emotional impact.
Overall Potter mad or not, this is and absolutely amazing film, subtle in places, brash in others, never is boring, always boiling with an underlying intensity, with a wash of ambiance and reflection. It is perhaps ironic that possibly one of the weaker books turns out to be the best film. I cannot recommend it any more : ) , but thanks for finally getting it right.
Hostel: Part II (2007)
But unfortunately not great. The start however is blisteringly tense, creating an overwhelming sense of paranoia and dread. Picking up straight after the first one, this should have been the main story line for the film. Paxton was the most interesting character in the film and hes only in it for about ten minutes. The introduction of the new three backpackers is lightly handled, and the build up to the horror is more gradual perhaps than in the first, with with Roth experimenting with different effects and ways of creating a tense atmosphere. One of the biggest problems with the film was that it seemed to be mirroring the first film a little too much, a number of the shots are almost identical and the hostel is the same one from the first. I personally thought there was going to be a different setting for the film, so was a little disappointed that this wasn't the case. However, outside of the hostel different locations are explored, in particular the freaky outdoor spa area.
The actual horror was actually not as horrific as it was tipped to be, the torture in this is much less disturbing and unsettling than the first, the tone was much softer, and more comic.
One new feature that Roth included to vary the events was to build a storyline about American businessman travelling and waiting to torture someone. This was quite a clever and at times unsettling (when one of them is having breakfast at the family dinner table and receives the phonecall about it). But this also detracts from the actual horror and mystery that was the in the first film.
Ultimately this is still worth watching, but is less visceral than the outlandish first installment, its still an effective horror, but just less impactful. If this had taken the course it was suggesting at the start of the film it would have been better, as it would have been more interesting to have followed Paxton's character further rather than setting up the audience with new characters too soon.
Hot Fuzz (2007)
The Spaced team serve up another
I don't want to say too much, as there is some brilliant comic timing in the film and as always is well written and contains a couple of sly references to old jokes. Of course, the film is riffing on action/cop films and creates a fantastic running joke around the "cop whos dedicated to his job".
Containing just about every British comic working in the business, as well as an amazingly dastardly turn by Timothy Dalton, this is a must see for any fans of spaced of shaun (obviously) but manages to make the film more consistent that shaun, and overall is a better film. THe only slight reserve i have is the action, as it is stamped "action/comedy" you'd expect more, i wasn't disappointed at all just recognised that this wasn't going to be an actioner!: so don't go expecting lots of action, because this is essentially just a (gory) comedy. There are a couple of throwaway sequences towards the end but while slapstick and humorous i feel the films merits lie in the amazing writing and comic timing, as well as the performances. Oh and the fact that it is very refreshingly British as well.
Surprisingly the story itself is a twisting tale, and a few surprises along the way. Overall this is a fantastic film, that id gladly go and see again. Keep it up is all id say!!
The Way of the Gun (2000)
One of my two favourite films of all time
It seems strange that Chris McQuarrie hasn't done more since the usual suspect, and this his directorial debut, seeing as the latter was a fantastic film, and way of the gun was even better.
The film follows the quick fire lives of Parker and Longbaugh who are looking for a big break, and by chance one presents themselves to it. The break of course, is the kidnapping of a surrogate mother for a very wealthy couple. The success of this film is in its understatement. A lot of the intricacies of the plot and the character relationships are not spelled out let alone mentioned at all by the characters. So much relies on the subtle hints by the body language of the actors. Benicio del toro in particular, McQuarrie has managed to capture a great deal of facial expressions that prove very evocative and effective. This is the outstanding thing about the film; while most films love to be blunt, self righteous, over elaborate, over long etc etc etc, way of the gun is very much an antidote to all of this. The film has a real soul, and is keen to explore the darker side of humanity, equally flippant between savoury and detestable characterisations. No character remains constant in their course on the film, or at least, they are presented as devious and calculating each with their own agendas that slowly drip through to the audience. This adds a lot of tension to the proceedings and creates a wonderful atmosphere. Of course, the performances are brilliant, and again, not overdone.
The film is, in this sense, very realistic. The characters are very believable and all of them revolve around the murky "grey" area characters Hollywood is so keen to ignore. The backdrop is very dramatic; the bleached, faded western scenery and the isolated surrounding lend further effect to the film. The film is constantly referred to as similar to Peckinpah, but really, this is very far removed from the likes of the wild bunch. Yes, there is a western premise but this is a far more subtle film, containing a lot of scenes with no, or very little, dialogue. Also, Peckinpah's films while iconic and fantastic where not all that realistic it is fair to say. Way of the gun's closing gun fights bear a level of ferocity but are intensely realistic. The film also contains a level of poetic contemplation, similar to Peckinpah perhaps or John Woo, but again, its is more subtle.
Ultimately, this is a film in its own right; and bears little resemblance to anything else because it is so fantastically original. This is perhaps not a well known film, certainly where i live, but it deserves to be, as this is a real cinematic gem and one of my all time favourite films. I think the perfect way to describe it is : "A boiling pot of pulp flavour with a western premise".
Im not Tenacious d's biggest fan, as i don't own any of their albums but i do think they are hilarious and this definitely comes across in this outstanding big screen effort which I saw at the weekend in an advanced screening. Packed with catchy tunes, punchy wit and some of the best visual gags (check out Tim Robbins scenes and the powerslide)i have seen in a while this is a must for any D or jack black fan.
The storyline is perhaps not to be taken seriously....at all maybe. The idea of the pick that makes rock and roll bands the greatest is certainly hilarious though. Jack Black and Kyle Glass are fantastic as are the deranged cameos from both fellow frat packer Ben Stiller and Tim Robbins. Both are incredibly funny and provide some great scene stealing moments. Liam Lynch directs with competence and manages to capture the life of the band as he has done in the music videos. The film is just bursting at the seams with laughs and had me laughing the whole way through.
I cannot recommend it enough, any person who is in to rock music in some extent should appreciate the rock and roll history museum and the film on the whole. Great, just great, and I feel privelaged to have seen this before it came out SCORE!
Like ( I imagine) taking speed at thorpe park
OK...I've finally got around to reviewing this, and i gotta say this was the biggest surprise of the year. I went to see this the day it came out and had in mind a gritty actioner, i was anticipating something like the recent running scared. The credits began, and I was treated to a nifty sequence calling back to old coin op arcade games. Did this tell me much about the film? Well, um...the heart kinda did. From then on in, the film never lets up EVER. The frenetic camera work that kick starts Chev Chelios' rowdy day is just the beginning of the colossal head trip of this film.
The plot is undeniably simple, he gets poisoned with a seemingly incurable disease and then rushes around trying to boost his adrenaline while looking for an antidote and revenge. The film moves so fast it is actually reminiscent of a roller-coaster, or something of that nature. Statham tears his way through the town and on the way bumps into and (most frequently) severely harms a host of deranged and wild characters and it is presented in an almost cartoonish fashion. As the movie progresses, the violence and debauchery increase and it all adds to the fun. And chev chelios is one of the coolest characters to grace our screens for a few years now, he just keeps on going.
What I found in this film was pure escapism. Its simply fantastic, for a little under an hour and a half you can be sucked into this blisteringly hilarious actioner. Yes, it is quite possibly one of the funniest films ever too boot. The script is so well observed, and, i don't know maybe its in the British in me that felt a sense of national pride when Statham mouths off "you f---ing toe rag", inspired. The support is great too, Dwight yoakam is the "doc" and his various phone calls to chev are a hoot. There is also the main villain, a slightly inept hilariously temperamental character who always rises to Chev's bait. Chevs transsexual friend provides (at times) a slightly odd choice of side kick. Amy smart is also there, although i have a sneaking suspicion she only serves to be seen half naked, and to have sex in public. HAHAHA, i guess everyones heard about that by now, but she is actually good in the film though and adds a certain comedic charm to the film. And thats another thing, the film just not give a s--t, it is blatantly in your face and relentlessly un pc. And in this day and age of toeing the line of "whats OK", that just is great.
So overall, at least give it a try, it might not be everyones cup of tea (i can see it appealing more to guys if I'm honest.....but thats not to say girls cant enjoy it) but it is what is an absolutely adrenaline fuelled(ha) riot.
Cabin Fever (2002)
Nah I'm kidding, i'll shoot em if they're gay or straight.
OK, here goes. This film is quite simply, a masterpiece. Relentlessly watchable and better each time it is watched. Initially when I saw the film I thought it was good, then I watched it again and i thought it was still good then I watched it again and it was amazing! Honestly, this is up there with the best horror films ever, but then thats not saying much as there are so many bad ones. This film has it all, hilarious characters with a complementing script; a smattering of blood ( a couple of real cringe- OW painful moments) and a very unsettling atmosphere with nerve shattering music.
The premise is simple. Kids in a wood (pretty damn stupid ones) deserted except for a nearby village full of mentalists, a diseased hermit, a "party"ing cop (hilarious....quite simply hilarious) and a crazy stoner (Eli Roth himself- in a fantastic little role) with his vicious almost demonic dog (that, oh, just so happens to want to eat everything it sees). Endlessly self knowing but not to the extent that it becomes irritating because you are too taken in by the no holds barred nature of the film. IT rockets along at such a pace that nothing is even remotely boring. One minute you'll be on the floor in tears of laughter and the next you'll be cowering or cringing (well the most squeamish of you at least, like my friend Sam, haha when i showed it to him the other day); and other occasions it mixes both- for instance the head on collision with a (very fake looking deer) and its subsequent bloody demise; i literally laughed my ass off.
SO in conclusion, despite all the hype that has led to people not liking the film; I say, ignore every prejudice you may have about the film. Buy it from amazon UK for like a pound and watch and enjoy then watch again and again, and introduce all your friends to it. THis is a criminally under-appreciated film. IT fooookin rocks! Eli ROth is a legend! Blows every horror film recently out of the water, its just so much fun to watch! Forget wussy "psychological thrillers" like abysmal crap of hide and seek the ring and godsend vein and see this. A TRUE horror film, that'll have you laughing as well. WATCH IT!
Running Scared (2006)
Paul walker, not an actor that has had immediate success, instead being overshadowed by Vin diesel in fast and furious and out sexed by Jessica alba in , the frankly pretty bad anyway, into the blue. But here he strikes gold. In this tough, brutally uncompromising tale of increasingly sordid events.
The film starts after the action, then cuts back to an intense and ferociously violent gun fight involving some drug dealers and some masked strangers. Kramer shows incredible flashiness in his direction, with intricate set ups and unsettling camera work. The gritty overtones are supported by the grimy settings and the stark lighting. The quick cut editing, now often used, works well in a similar way that "Narc" too was successful but not to the extent that it reduces it to a MTV documentary or something of that nature.
Walker himself provides a good screen presence, a convincing action star and an all round bad ass mutha f****. But hes a family man. This "grey" area character is something that Hollywood always likes to tip toe around; good guys v bad guys. Walker is not necessarily "good" in this film and it plays to strengthen the films appeal. Although not quite a John Woo type exploration; this is rather a step into a (very) seedy underworld, where essentially none of the characters are particularly good, honourable, or even likable.
The plot is simple, yet very original. Seemingly a simple action seems to kick start a night of all out chaos and escalates, as do the bodies, as the film goes on. Starting with this idea of a missing gun, that everyone seems to want to get their hands on; including the mob and the cops.
Its hard to say more without spoiling it, but Walker pursues it and, of course, its not that simple.
With action scenes (although not an all out action film) that show violence not seen in films for a long time, it makes a refreshing change from these watered down "pg 13" actioners; and trust me, this is nothing like them, stepping into themes that are well suited to the gritty atmosphere.
Overall i would thuroughly recommend it; highly worth your time and breathless right up to the last minute. The acting is also pretty damn good (no complaints here, not even about the kids), although those with fragile ears might be best to steer clear.
Eli Roth is back!
Despite whatever criticism Cabin Fever received I personally thought that it was a decent horror film with suitable amounts of gore and a general unpleasant atmosphere hanging in the air. It was one of the best horror films i have seen, this is saying something as I generally find them boring, clichéd and NOT scary. I'm not saying cabin fever was particularly "scary" as such but rather that it creates a very unsettling atmosphere and builds on it to create a panic stricken "adventure" in the middle of nowhere.
Now hostel is quite a different beast. While starting, to me at least, in quite a similar fashion to cabin fever with a bunch of loudmouthed stoner friends and frat-pack humour, it divulges into a far more perplexing film. It is hard to say much about the film without spoiling it but i'll try my best.
First note that this is not as the posters claim " the most vicious brutal bloody film ever" or whatever, because that implies that it is some kind of all out gore fest. NO that is not Hostel. In fact i felt that the use of violence was quite reserved.....OK well there is quite a lot of blood here and there but the films success is rather on the disturbing nature of what the film transgresses to. From the trailer you should have gathered the focal point of the film, a place where people are allowed to torture other people. The torture scenes are quite disturbing, as one must consider why the hell anyone would actually pay to do this. The way the place is shot is very unsettling, with stark use of light and grimy, deshevled surroundings. Although, this place is not actually introduced right at the start, Roth instead builds up his characters so the film is not quite what one might expect.
Overall, a strange film but a successful one it is quite uncompromising however and Definitely not for the weak hearted or easily offended.
Near Dark (1987)
Cult Viewing of the highest order
Near Dark follows the travels of Caleb (Adrien Pasdar) as he is lured into the world of blood sucking, daylight fearing strangers when he falls for the beautiful Jenny Wright. What ensues is an incredible fusion of horror and action, which echoes eternally of undying romance, while adhering to the classic western theme. Brimming all along with black humour.
The performances are something to be amazed at, whether it is the the restraint and fear of Adrien Pasdar's Caleb, the seductive powers of Jenny Wright's Mae, the calm creepiness of Lance Henriksen's Jesse, the all out off the rails lunacy of Bill Paxton's Severen or the Jenette Goldstein's tough diamondback. This combined with Bigelow's wonderful cinematography creates a truly unbeatable atmosphere; that you cannot help being sucked in by.
Overall the very definition of cult, a majestic exploration of "vampires".