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Were You Paying Attention?
Right, let's dispense with the rubbish I've had to endure over the last few months: "James Bond wasn't funny in the last 2 films". Oh, yes he was, you just weren't paying attention.
"Sam Mendes only ever does dramas, he'll be crap at action". Wrong again and Road to Perdition hinted on what he can bring to the table. Plus, if you had reservations about Sam, then you're an idiot! "Is this Daniel Craig's last outing as Bond?" No. He's contracted to do two more. In fact, why do people think this is the last Bond??? After the hype and mild disappointment that was The Dark Knight Rises, Chris Nolan will have to contemplate that he's missed out on the Big One here. Yup, Sam Mendes, Oscar winner supremo for American Beauty was by far-and-away, the only man for the director's chair (with a solid recommendation by Craig himself). What I love about Uncle Sam is that he's not afraid to be bold (we see more blood in this film, despite the 12a rating, but it's subtly done) and he's definitely found some niches with DC's reluctant hero (which Martin Campbell kick-started with Casino Royale). A pivotal ingredient of a Mendes film is the cinematography and with Skyfall, my jaw was dropping at Shanghai (a nod to You Only Live Twice). In fact, my jaw dropped a lot (and that wasn't even Bérénice Marlohe!) And despite the absence of David Arnold, composer Thomas Newman, doesn't disappoint.
It's the 50-year-old debate: Who Is The Best Bond? Daniel Craig: 3 films in & by the time you see Skyfall, there is no doubt in my mind that DC's Bond is the most fleshed-out and three dimensional. His cavalier attitude, his down-and-dirty assassin on the mission, and a very affectionate lover of the ladies, are some of the reasons he scores all the ticks. Sean Connery just wisecracked and shagged birds, but had that physical prowess which DC has equalled, if not bettered; George Lazenby was more of a pantomime; Roger Moore started out well with his debut, but romanticised 007 to the point where he wore flares and befriended steel-toothed villains who were baying for his blood; Timothy Dalton brought back the hard edge Bond was missing and very underrated (kudos to Jason Segel who acknowledged him in I Love You, Man); Pierce Brosnan carried on that darkness with GoldenEye, which was sadly lacking in future outings, along with a suspension of disbelief audiences couldn't buy any longer. DC is Bond, he now owns the role. He's comedy timing is impeccable, his reactions to the littlest things will have you laughing and he knows how to wear tight fitting clothing (thanks to TOM FORD). More importantly, DC can act which is what this role demands...and if like me, you've all watched the Bond films (as DC & Mendes did), Skyfall has done a tremendous job in avoiding past mistakes. The screenplay acknowledges why James Bond is the World's Most Successful Movie Franchise. From the opening credits that references past entries, to Adele's amazing vocals (someone shoot Madonna & Lulu for me; oh and Jack & Alicia too), Skyfall is peppered with nods that may anger or erupt knowing laughter from its devoted fan base. For the record, I laughed, quite a lot.
Javier Bardem as Raoul Silva, is probably the best entrance you'll ever see for a Bond Baddie. He is also by far, my favourite villain of the series and will be a hard act to beat. I really cannot say any more about Bardem, as he is one of many high points that Skyfall has to offer. A stroke of genius from Mendes to give him blonde hair (not only did he remind me of Scaramanga) but the hair does reveal a back story. Javier is proof that grade-A actors do get the best villainous roles, if they're written properly (remember what the Cohen brothers did for him a few years ago?) As I write this, I'm still grinning at Javier's comments...hahahaha! A great actor, just love him and so much going on in that masculine skull of his.
Nothing will touch Bond. Sure, you'll have the wannabe franchises out there (did someone say douchebag, toothless vampires? Not me) who will claim to be the movie event of the year (more like non-event) and the likes of Marvel Comics may one day, catch up. Stan Lee has to look at the accidental success of 007 in relation to his own creations. Sure, I love Spidey, Captain America and Daredevil, but I'm not a sweaty arm- pitted virgin with a fondness for pies and acne; I'd much rather be the man who's dressed to kill, with a Licence To Thrill and smells of the most decadent cologne that my wages will allow. No shame in admitting my inverted snobbery and can thank Ian Fleming for that. If he were alive today, I'm sure he'd approve of Skyfall (considering it's an original screenplay that relies on his healthy diet of sex, guns, snazzy wardrobes and fast cars). Happy 50th birthday, James Bond (you don't look a day over 40!)
Bond will return in October 2014 (I've already booked my tickets!)
Fast Five (2011)
Just Ate my Own Words.
The 1970 trailer for the biker classic, Hell's Belles summed it up perfectly: "Hip chicks with an itch for the kind of action that takes a lot of man to scratch!" That same mentality prevails in all of the F&F series and as I've always said before: If it ain't broke, don't fix it.
In my Thor review, I slated Fast Five without seeing it; and now, I stand here before my legion of fans, holding my head (and spiky bonce) in shame. They say that no one talks about Fight Club, true. But when it's Fast & Furious, remember one thing: Leave your brain at home and set your motor to auto-cruise. Hey, I'm even 100% sure that NASA's finest could figure out the logistics and physics of cutting open the side of a fast moving train, but this is what F5 does: It's so ludicrous that you just have to give up and suspend disbelief until you come back to reality (haha, I made an Inception joke there, nice!) Fast Five does what it says on the poster and doesn't allow you to breathe a lot. Within 5 mins of the opening scene, we see Vin Diesel's Dom, being rescued by his family (whilst he's in a moving prison vehicle no less!) And a credit to the writers, they shift gears as quickly as they can and take us to Rio De Janeiro (yes, not a CGI city, but actually Rio, no orange Macaws plugging 3G crap, thank God!) What we then get after, is a fairly sane plot of a corrupt official Reyes (the always cool Joaquin De Almeida) who seems to have more money than God. After this Kingpin kills a member of the wannabe Ocean's 11 crew, Dominic wants revenge as only he knows how! Except, he didn't bargain on Special FBI bounty hunter, Hobbs (Dwayne The Rock Johnson). As Paul Walker's Brian O'Conner says: "Vey Old Testament". Say what you like about wrestlers-cum-actors, but DJ is better than 50 Cent, in that he actually took acting lessons and is the best thing about F5. In fact, Vin Diesel has been in this franchise for a while now, and wisely takes a back seat for the Rock and his motormouth do the talking. And this is what I liked: We're promised a showdown with 2 behemoths (albeit 3, if you count Vin's belly). While I do like the Bourne films, those frigging quick cuts in the action is off putting; but here, Justin Lin keeps it old school and even out does the Expendables and its constant clumsiness, by giving us a solid beat-down between the Tooth Fairy & XXX. It's A-Team style, punch-em-in-the-face with no suplex in-jokes. The Rock is in phenomenal shape and twice the size of Diesel (I for one, cannot wait until 2012 when he does a one-off reunion with WWE and takes out John Cena!) The women in F&F have 2 purposes: They're good wheel drivers and wield wrenches for self-defense. On the other hand, the ones who aren't allowed to speak on camera, simply let their finely tuned asses and over-the-crotch hot pants do the talking (not that I'm complaining you understand)...Gisele (Gal Gadot) is a skinny chick with balls and needs to eat more burgers if she wants to convince Sports Illustrated, she can cut it on their front cover. Elsa "Tacky" Pataky is good as Elena, the cop with a "nice smile" and wished she'd been in a bikini instead. But as always, my heart goes to Jordana Brewster as Mia. She'll never win an Oscar (like she gives a rat's ass!) but remains as beautiful as ever (and appeared in season 2 of Chuck, so clearly she has taste).
There was great interplay with the rest of the cast too, especially with Roman (Tyrese Gibson) and Tej (Chris Bridges) and their schoolboy put downs. And with a movie that takes itself seriously with action and very little CGI, a smattering of humour is always welcome in my books.
A few observations I noticed: Had Dominic Toretto and his motley crew watched Top Gear UK, they would've known that a TVR is the only car that could beat a speed camera (duh!) Also, don't even tell me that no-one has played Modern Warfare 2, because anyone who has (veteran, cough!) will be familiar with the Favela chapter and here, it's brought to the screen with some real ferocity, right down to the roof top chases. And just to reinforce the demographic F5 is aimed out, look no further than Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit, which they clearly emulated in the last 20 mins. And there were 2 other moments I cried (the first being Elena) - Mia driving a GT40 and Dom's 1970 Charger getting crushed (noooooo!) And if you're going to acquire the top sports car in the Western Hemisphere, at least have the decency to grace us with a band of attractive women to double the viewing pleasure! As my good American cyber friend Ashley said: "Stick around after the end credits". F&F6 is on the cards; but F5 could've tied-up its loose ends very neatly. I gave this movie 5/5 because it's F for Fun and after you leave, you'll think you've just been on the best amusement park ride, ever! Whether Justin Lin is the right man for the Terminator reboot is debatable - (don't get me wrong, I'm happy for the Far East Asian brother to hit the big time, and that Sung Kan gets a love interest who's out of his race!) but if Justin himself can contact me, we need to sit down and do some serious talking!
The King's Speech (2010)
My Favourite Bromance!
OMG, when I say believe the hype about this film, believe it! Just saw it today and it's one of those experiences on the big screen that makes you forget where you are in the moment, truly astounding. And so far it's my film of 2011.
Colin Firth continues to impress me as an actor, and clearly, the man knows his stuff when it comes to picking roles. From Fever Pitch to The King's Speech, how did that happen? I have to say, that I much prefer this to The Queen, probably because I'm a sucker for wartime period drama, with subtle hints of PG Wodehouse thrown in for good measure! I cannot compliment the production team enough in re-creating a post Second World War Britain and Tom Hooper who just got the best from all of his cast. And for the record, why are people saying Timothy Spall was hamming it up as Winston Churchill? He's playing a larger than life figure who was renowned for his robustness and stature (a different time and style of Government, people). You can't go wrong when you have cameos from greats, such as Michael Gambon whose voice alone could command a naval fleet; Guy Pearce as King Edward VIII; or in my opinion, a louche-douche and Helena Bonham Carter as a younger Queen Mum (amazing what she can churn out when she's not directed by her wacky hubby, Tim Burton!) I never understood Colin's reference in his Golden Globes acceptance speech, when he referred to Geoffrey Rush as his Geisha Girl (after seeing TKS, it made sense). These two are more dynamic than Batman and Robin and would cut more dashing figures with their capes! When you hear about actors finding a beat in their lines, in that rhythm, Firth & Rush do that with great delight. Personally, I could sit in a room with these gents and wax lyrical all day long, I kid you not. Their on screen relationship is everything a Bromance should be: Defiance, crossing the line and inevitably, loyalty.
I was emailed a list of Oscar winners by my buddy, and because I'd not seen TKS, I chose the Social Network and Jeremy Renner as winners. Well, I'm certain that Geoffrey Rush will beat Christian Bale to the Best Supporting Actor nod in March, as will TKS as best picture (and as a surly reminder to this douche-bag Conservative Govt, why do they want to close down the UK Fim Council, when clearly, they can produce feel-good gems like this? The mind boggles).
Have to say it again: Firth & Rush, thank you for the Bromance and look forward to seeing it at least 2 more times at my cinema & countless times on Blu-ray.
PS: When I compile my top 5 actors of all time and Geoffrey Rush isn't on the list, feel free to take it in turns and kick my ass, please?
The Twilight Saga: New Moon (2009)
Thank God For True Blood & Supernatural - Boycott This Film & the Books
Whilst I do not begrudge Stephanie Meyer on her success with the Twilight series and the untold pots of money she's amassed; she's no J.K Rowling either. To quote one of her critics, Stephen King: "while both authors spoke to young readers, the real difference is that Jo Rowling is a terrific writer and Stephenie Meyer can't write worth a darn. She's not very good." I get the feeling Steph was a stay-at-home soccer mum, whose only boredom was to reinvent a genre. Don't get me wrong, it's nice to bring something different into Vampire folklore (as Joss Whedon did with Angel and Ron Koslow with Moonlight. Both vamps walked around in the day,whilst avoiding the sun; and displaying their fangs-for-all menace at night). Angel was in love with Buffy Summers, but their love was not cringe-inducing and much can be said for Mick "Moonlight" St.John and his passion for Beth Turner. Sadly, if Twilight was written in the 80s and turned into a movie in that period, we could have had a different story in the Romeo & Juliet vein (which was sadly alluded to in New Moon and possibly insulting to Shakespeare himself!) Bram Stoker said the inspiration for Dracula came to him after contracting VD, a BLOOD related disease. Does this mean that Steph Meyers happened to get inspiration from her menstrual cycle? So, what's wrong with the Twilight movies? First of all, why doesn't Edward Cullen possess fangs? Can a Twilight reader explain this to me? The notion of a veggie vampire isn't new and was seen in Supernatural's season two episode "Bloodlust" - (featuring Buffy Alumni, Amber Benson) as a vegetarian vampire with an impressive set of retractable fangs and a new craving for Cow blood. She was a badass girl and yet, you liked her nobility too. A very convincing storyline, thanks to the writers and actors of the show (Eric Kripke, you're God! Jensen & Jared, you two make Pattinson & Lautner look like real amateurs!)Steph Meyer has said on Oprah recently that she avoided horror stories and it seems she should have stayed away!
If you want decent, hardcore horror by a female author, look to Charlaine Harris and her Sookie Stackhouse girl, that inspired HBO's "True Blood", a sick, shocking and very funny vampire show with attitude. Tonight, I sat through New Moon, in a sea of giggling girls who just didn't know when to STFU! In fact, if Twilight was made as a comedy, it would actually work! Upon seeing Robert Pattinson as Edward, one girl shouted out: "Is that him? He's not all that!" I have to admit that was almost the highlight of sitting through the torture. I wanted to leave; but also remained seated to see if New Moon would conjure a surprise or two. Well, it did, most laughably that werewolves transformed in the daytime (the cute, cuddly, ferocious kind; not the tear-your-heart out muthas, mind you)and vampires going for long swims (WTF??)It even tries to be pop-culture clever in the form of Victoria, but the attempt was poor and looked smug and painful at the same time. Also, is Bella supposed to be a poor-girl's suppressed Goth? Watch Katie Holmes do a far better job in Disturbing Behaviour.
If you want wiseass remarks, look to Dean Winchester in Supernatural, the King as far as I'm concerned. Sadly, today's generation has no clue about anything, and the demographic for Twilight, clearly proves that. I miss the glory days of the 1980s, when films WERE films, and not concerned about "original" ways of enticing an audience. And how does someone like Chris Weitz go from directing American Pie to this???
If there are any redeeming qualities to Twilight, it's really underused actors like Billy Burke as Charlie Swan; Michael Sheen as Aro and Dakota Fanning as Jane. Michael's no stranger to the horror genre and cuts a convincing Lycan in the Underworld series. They could've given him fangs here, but guess they didn't want their audience to have nightmares (please!) Kristen Stewart is a good actress but struggles with the dialogue at times. Rob Pattinson (whose career will only last 2 more years)does a good American accent but is no Brad Pitt (who incidentally, played a great romantic fanged lead in Interview With The Vampire). The real horror here, is that Hollywood has been running out of ideas for years and this is the best source material they could find? Sit through and watch at your peril - and get the hell out while the screaming of prepubescent girls rings in your ears! You have been warned.
The Hangover (2009)
Long Live This Bromance!
As a long standing admirer of movies and acting, I do enjoy my comedies (as the doctors say, laughter is the best medicine!) Sure, the face of comedy has changed from the sophisticated seventies of Annie Hall, but that isn't a bad thing either
which brings me to the Bro-com or Bromance as I prefer. We've seen its early stages from Road Trip, Old School, Anchorman, The 40-Year-Old Virgin and blooming into gems such as Role Models, I Love You, Man & now the classic Hangover! (God, I still can't stop laughing as I'm writing this
)And before you ask, I have seen this film 6 times already and aim to watch it even more upon its DVD release sometime in October (lucky guess I think).
From the posts I've read on this thread, I would agree with some opinions, such as the fact that The Hangover is Sex and the City for men – but funny. It proves again that when a bunch of guys get together (as wonderfully illustrated in this film) that they're not leering at women from afar in Benny Hill fashion; but paying them cheeky compliments along the way: "Excuse me Ma'am, in the leopard dress, you have an amazing rack!" says Bradley Cooper's Phil Wenneck on a megaphone. I won't recap the scenario for you, as I am sure 95% of the USA has seen this already! Oh, and don't get me started on dweebs who say that the tiger in the backseat is unreal – IT'S A COMEDY for crying out loud! It's the same with Stu Price confronting the tiger in the bathroom and screaming like a girl when giving him his raw meat. The laughter would've been lost if he simply threw the morsel at the animal.
Why I embrace the Bromance so much is that it outlines women's faults as much as ours. In I Love You, Man Rashida Jones's Zoe thinks it's fine for her to gossip with girlfriends about her sex life with Peter Klaven (Paul Rudd) but he can't behave in the same manner with his male pals. The same goes for Ed Helms's (Stu Price) and the fact that his Antichrist girlfriend won't let him have a lads weekend away; but it's okay for her to sleep with a bartender! It also illustrates America's constant homophobia issues and luckily, it's acceptable for straight men to declare their brotherly love without worrying about waking up in bed together! What grates on my nerves are people who express their disapproval about so-called gay bashing in this and other movies such as The 40-Year-Old Virgin. This is comedy after all and you cannot be politically correct to please your demographic audience, that's just plain silly. Lines such as: "Paging Doctor Faggot!" are simply hilarious, because it's mocking that character's stupidity, not making fun of homosexuals. If you're gay and want to be offended, go and watch Bruno with Sacha Baron Cohen or Beerfest where they do nothing but reinforce the stereotype. If people start to nitpick about the flack racial/religious/sexual groups receive from comedies, then what will you eventually make fun of? I am actually mixed-race myself and have never taken offence to a classic comedy where the majority of the players are white. In fact, I welcome these movies than drivel such as Pooty Tang & A Thin Line Between Love & Hate (4.7/10 on IMDb's start rating?). Oh, and Bad Boys – unfunny, shouting and self indulgent.
What makes The Hangover an instant classic is the casting & chemistry with all the leads (and Todd Phillips's hilarious cameo). Bradley Cooper, whose character of Zachary "Sack" Lodge in Wedding Crashers was such a douche-bag, but played the part to perfection in other words, he was unforgettable. I was surprised at his casting initially, but the man can play comedy very well and gets a few good laughs, as I have mentioned already. He seems like a stand-up guy in real life and look forward to seeing more of the Coopster in the future! Ed Helms is also phenomenal in his role as Stu – and quite sympathetic at times as well. Don't know much about him but believe me, I am a convert now and will be watching The Office as soon as possible. Great comic timing and delivery doesn't hurt your appeal, does it? Zach Galifianakis: I used to watch him in Tru Calling but had no idea he was so funny! Yes, he's out of shape but that makes him more believable and his deadpan humour gives this movie some of its funniest moments – including the threat of not being afraid to beat-up an old man at the gas station or "the side effects of Roofies is memory loss, remember?" or the side-splittingly hilarious "I didn't know they gave out rings in the Holocaust?" Justin Bartha as (white) Doug: He didn't have a lot to do in this film, but as a testimony to visual comedy, his red face in the end is something else – and pretty sure his on screen bride-to-be couldn't keep a straight face either! The thing I love about this comedy is that unlike Sex and the City, these guys have ordinary professions (except for Alan & Doug, whom we don't find anything about) -which makes it easier as an audience to bond with and best of all, is the shared dynamic they all have. Also, the fact that you miss comedic moments the first time, means you'll savour them on repeated viewing. A great chemistry and a comedy that doesn't apologise when it comes down to using a baby for a jack-off joke! Let's hope Hangover 2 is as good as or surpasses this milestone classic. Todd Phillips, we salute you! PS: Ken Jeong what a legend and a great sport for understanding the values of being in a R-rated comedy. His "So long gay boys" line will forever be on my cellphone when the DVD is released!
The Hidden (1987)
Rock Loving, Girl Lusting, Ferrari Driving Alien - This Can Only be the 80s!
I have just watched The Hidden and cannot tell you how psyched I am! It's like catching up with an old friend and cracking open a couple of beers.
This film has it all: Great direction; superb performances & good locations and it's from the 80s! Really, you just can't gush enough when it comes to this cult, Sci-Fi classic. Yes, it's low budget, but at least its heart's in the right place and despite its B-movie premise, there's definitely an A-plus delivery in the proceedings. I know a few people have said this predates The X-Files, which I'll have to agree with (in fact, why couldn't the last X-film have had the feel of this??) Kyle MacLachlan obviously precurses his-soon-to-be famous Agent Cooper role in Twin Peaks and pulls it off convincingly. He handles guns with effortless cool and deadpans to great effect. Michael Nouri as Tom Beck (gotta love the cop names they came up with in the 80s) is just a legend (as is Ed O'Ross from Red Heat) and it's hard to believe this is the same guy who garnered respect in roles for The O.C and Damages later in his career. The weird thing is that he's hardly ever changed and has aged really well. And of course, Claudia Christian (smokin' hot!) who is just a badass stripper that has tons of fun with firearms. Oh, there's a blink-and-you'll-miss cameo from Danny Trejo, which is pretty funny.
Forget the inferior sequel and watch this again and again - if only to watch how the writers had loads of fun with the running joke of who/what the alien would inhabit next - and trust me, when the dog gets it, you'll be falling off your chair with laughter!
The Substitute (1996)
Underrated Actor In A Underrated Movie
What strikes me as strange is that this film has a 5.5 star rating on IMDb - why?? Even more of a crime like Perfect Weapon, why hasn't this seen the time of day on DVD? Hell, I managed to obtain a legit DVD from Sweden(with a very cool menu by the way!) To me, (and would have to agree with another comment on this board), this is very much an unofficial Punisher movie. If anyone's read the War Journals, it echos a very similar storyline where Frank Castle goes undercover in a rundown school. With the way society is, this film has a strong message on how to deal with scumbag students who won't tow the line (yeah, call me Dirty Harry!) I love Ernie Hudson who plays a very unlikely principal, as well as Diane Venora and William Forsythe.
In an age where action demands being either CGI or stylized choreography, the action here at least, kicks ass. Tom Berenger not only looks like Frank Castle, but handles action with gutso and relishes every opportunity. In my opinion, he is such a gifted actor and should've been given better roles after this.
If you liked James Belushi in The Principal, you'll definitely love this - and trust me, it gets better with repeated viewing. Do yourself a favour and order a DVD from Sweden!
P.S. I Love You (2007)
Sweet start to 2008
Finally saw PSILY this afternoon. I went in with fear & doubt as this movie was savaged to bits on Rotten Tomatoes (33% out 100). At the end of the day, those bad reviews came from overweight, divorced journalists who've forgotten the art of romance. PS is supposed to be sugary sweet, what's wrong with that? Whatever bad points there were in the film (Butler's Irish/Scots brogue - why not just set it in Scotland??)and forced comedy in places, you cannot escape the charm of not only the 2 attractive leads (no way is Swank ugly)- but the supporting cast, too. Jeffrey "Supernatural" Morgan was great & look fwd to seeing him in The Accidental Husband. I could also relate to Harry Connick's character where he quotes "repelling the women he wants the most".
Plus points of PSILY:
1. The reality of Holly Kennedy's situation, that neither she, or her hubby, have enough money to support a future baby and secure a bigger apt.
2. Gerry's singing: Why has Galway Girl not been included on the soundtrack??
3. Swank being as endearing as ever and showing to be adept at comedy. But where are those highlights in her hair that we saw in the poster?? Saw Phantom of the Opera as well. Plods along but would've been a far different affair if Tim Burton was directing. Gerry was amazingly good in the role & displaying the heroic qualities that would make him the ideal Leonidas in 300. A good singing voice, but given the operatic tone of Phantom, somehow doesn't fit in with everything else. However, in PSILY, that's quickly forgotten.
Why Moonlight is good!
First of all, if you're expecting Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Angel, then forget it. This is something like Forever Knight, but what makes this CBS series a standout, is the way it's shot and the fact there isn't a hellmouth in sight. Very beautiful cinematography and the way nighttime L.A. is captured is in keeping with the whole vampire mythos (fast forwarding to create an eerie atmosphere,etc). I've noticed a few comments being made that the stories are cheesy. Really? Were you expecting Mills & Boon? There are twinges of humour, but you need to look out for it.If you had bad actors, then yeah, that would be the case. But Alex O'Loughlin (who was so good in the last season of The Shield)makes a really convincing vamp PI with morals. He kinda reminds me a slimmer version of Gerard Butler's Dracula 2000 movie and is naturally broody without trying. It's also good to see the gorgeous Brit, Sophia Myles (aka Keira Knightley's more voluptuous, better actress friend) get a decent role where she does a very good American accent. Brian J. White, Kevin Weismen & Jason Dohring also deserve mentioning as they bring more meat to the table. Let's hope their roles develop and as Joel Silver is producing this, we can hope this will be commissioned for a second season - because it is that good & CBS is known for its quality output - (Hey, if Shark can be renewed...?)
Chuck is great
Wow, the team behind The O.C have now written a great nerdy companion to Heroes, Chuck. To start off with, this show,like Psych, has a nice charm to it. Zachary Levi as Bartowski is a believable nerd who tries to be heroic but can't quite pull it off. The idea of embedding downloaded information into your mind and becoming America's most intelligent man is hilarious! I have to say, this show has grown on me a lot and really like the ensemble cast, too. And is it me, but that Nerd Herd car is a zippy little gal, isn't she? I also love Josh Schwartz's look of the show, where every frame is glossy in its appearance, almost like watching a mini movie with better stories and gags. Oh, and who liked the Oceanic 815 gag as well? Let's hope this show fares better than other stuff out there and gives the writers a chance to develop the characters.
Great fun, but could've been so much more...
I saw Transformers today (in England) and thought I'd start off with...
The Good parts: For me, the first hour-and-a-bit is the best, because we get to know Sam Witwicky & Shia Labeouf's natural comic timing (I'm being followed by Satan's Camaro!) Bernie Mac's turn as an auto salesman was great and of course, those wonderful autobots! Loved how the gang were eventually introduced, particularly Ironhide's trigger-happy attitude and his willingness to assassinate Sam's parents! Thought Prime's attempt at humour wasn't bad but they should've kept him serious as he was in the cartoons & leave the laughs to Jazz & co (was it Jazz who bit the dust in the end?) For me, I loved Bumblebee who was probably the most emotive of the autobots. Mr & Mrs Witwicky were great comic relief & to a lesser degree, John Tuturro & was that Gary Cole in a beard??? Oh, the scene where the bots descend on Sam's house is hilarious! The bad parts: Megan Fox, who's good at pouting but definitely isn't a Mary Elizabeth Winstead. Sorry, but I can't believe her character would find Sam attractive in a million years. Why was the fight between Optimus & Bonecrusher short-lived? This was meant to be a money scene from the trailer, but guess I was wrong. Also, while there were gleeful exchanges of dialogue between Megatron & Prime (It's just you and me, Megatron! No, it's just me!!), nothing was fully explained as to why they hate each other so much. And poor Josh Duhamel, so good in Las Vegas, but very under-used as Capt Lennox (as well as the guy who plays Sucre in Prison Break). I felt that the last 20 minutes was just there for the hell of it and could've been broken up some more in the movie. Not sure about Optimus having a mouth that moves and were they going for a slightly human angle with him? This is a teen comedy that happens to have big, cool robots, but if you're going to pay homage to the Japanese fighting flicks like Godzilla vs King Kong, then at least show proper slam-bang action & destruction. They should make 2 more films and not the 5 as planned. If you're going to take a girl to see this, my advice is to wait and see The Bourne Ultimatum.
Las Vegas (2003)
I was shocked to learn that Jimmy Caan has left this show, does anyone know why? I regard James as one of the all-time greats and wasn't surprised he ended up on TV, which can be better than the crap you see on the big screen. The stories are slick and the camera faster than a speeding bullet! Mustn't forget the rest of the cast: James, Vanessa(yum!)Nikki, Molly, Josh, Mitch.. Also,can anyone tell me why on earth there's a crap theme tune on the DVD sets, but Elvis's JXL remix of A Little Less Conversation is used on the initial NBC broadcasts?? Does it not make sense to use a tune that you would associate with the gambling mecca of America for DVD releases??
Live Free or Die Hard (2007)
Die Hard 4.0 - Unrated Edition! SPOILER ALERT
Well guys, I saw the unrated cut of Live Free or Die Hard and here's what I think.
Okay,the plus points: The Ultimate Action Edition as it's called here is certainly more brutal than the PG13 version. You see more blood spurts, John McClane cursing a bit more (especially in the elevator shaft where he calls Mai an "effing bitch" just as she blows up in the SUV!)There's also the tunnel scene where JM is driving towards the copter and makes the comment: "Bonnet's on fire, that can't be good. This is a bad effing idea!" He does say MF earlier on and a few more times during the film. There are extended scenes too, namely the evacuation of employees in the anthrax scare and Olyphant's dialogue where the Wall Street brokers are panicking. The action scenes, notably McClane taking out Gabriel's henchmen are slightly more extended, but worth it.
The bad: There's dialogue tweaking here & there, which I think, takes away the fun of the edited version. For instance, when Matt Farrell runs up to McClane and says: "You just killed a helicopter with a car!" McClane's response is simply: "People get killed by hundreds of thousands of cars every year...only this is four more", then they chuckle. Personally, I prefer the "Ran out of bullets" line a lot more. Because we were so used to the PG13 version, you do feel at times that perhaps the addition of swearing just crops up for the sake of it, although there is a nice touch where Deputy Director Bowman loses it with the 2 NSA agents.
I haven't had a chance to go thorough the special feayures of the DVD, but the gag reel is hilarious, where the cast are really having a laugh.
One more thing and I'm sure you're all dying to know: Does McClane say yippee-ky-yay **********er? He sure does and believe me, justice is finally served!
Spider-Man 3 (2007)
How To Kill a Franchise - Star Wars can rest easy
I'm sure by the time you've read this, most of you would've seen Spider-man 3. Of the good points I will mention, I thought most of the special effects were great and definitely the biggest highlight for me, was the segment of Peter Parker becoming badass (to the point where the audience were cheering their heads off at Tobey Maguire's sex-machine routine. Does anyone know who that funky Spider-man sample was done by?).The other point worth mentioning is James Franco, who definitely ate his lines for breakfast & spat them out during the main course.
And now the bad points (trust me, there's loads). Why is it that during the swinging-crane-of-control scene -(a nice nod to the 60s Spidey cartoon) - was Gwen Stacy just staring at the beam, before realising it was coming straight at her?? Quite possibly the worst bit of direction & editing I have ever witnessed. Gwen is a major part of Spidey folklore, as she is considered to be the true love of Peter Parker. Why was Sam Raimi allowed to write this story & make her a less significant character than she actually is? I had goosebumps when I learned she'd be appearing in this film & Bryce Dallas Howard was great choice to play Gwen. Alas, we have 10 minutes of screen time from her and that's it. To say this is insulting is an understatement.
Another thing: Why is the hellbent-on-revenge Harry Osborn suddenly reduced to being a good guy at the end? It doesn't make sense that he suddenly transforms into a goody-goody & helps Peter. For this injustice, his character suffers at the hands of Venom in order to save a pasty-faced Kirsten Dunst?? Personally I'd have preferred Scarlett Johansson or Mary Elizabeth Winstead to have played MJ.
If you wanted to add dramatic irony to this third & dark sequel, I would've written it so that bad Parker as black Spidey kills Harry as the Goblin; only to find out later the consequences of his actions. Speaking of the black suit and if memory serves me correct, but in the comics & 90s animated series, doesn't Parker find out that noise affects the symbiote, which prompts him to seek the church tower bell? That being the case, why is it that Spider-man enters the church tower without any explanation for his actions? And why was the origin of the symbiote not referred to? (Wasn't it brought back by John Jameson after a space mission? Instead, Raimi chooses to rip-off the meteor crash scene from SLITHER).
The last points I want to touch on are that bloody English reporter! Someone shoot her! Quite possibly the worst piece of commentary recorded on celluloid...EVER. Honestly, it was so bad the audience I sat with just laughed or were as embarrassed as I clearly was. And as for the shameless flag-waving, forget it. America isn't the Super nation it thinks it is & quite sure that this patriotism wasn't prevalent in the early Stan Lee issues. By the way, is it me, or does anyone else find the Sandman monolith just as unnecessary as it is pointless? Didn't The Mummy do this to better effect? And why doesn't Sandy form his hands into hammers when facing Spidey? In the comic books, he's a proper bad guy; but here, they try to make him sympathetic being like Alfred Molina's Doc Ock. Unfortunately, this didn't quite work for me & suggesting his killing of Ben Parker was accidental, is utter crap.
This film was so bad (in that it destroyed the Spider-man ethos) I needed to see Blades of Glory again to take the taste away (note to Raimi: That film cost a fraction of Spidey 3's $250 budget and has already made over $100 million worldwide).
In short, make mine not Marvel, but Live Free or Die Hard (unless Fox kill that with making it a crappy PG-13), Ocean's 13, Transformers (kick ass trailer of the year) POTC: World's End & Shrek the Third. Oh, and The Bourne Ultimatum (if we don't suffer the shoddy editing which killed the sequel).
A friend of mine downloaded this 2 years ago and haven't regretted it since. In fact, I watched it before he did and had to tell him (BEGGED) to view it right away! Reasons to watch this film: Politically incorrect to the hilt (how many movies can say that these days??) Michelle Trachtenberg is simply horny and a vision to behold.
Vinnie Jones plays the most ironic character in the film by saying he loves Manchester Utd FC! Love the fact he hates the French & every other nationality out there.
A special mention to the Hitler kid and Mieke (Jessica Boehrs) - a stunning Euro Honey. Lucy Lawless is just inspired as well as the randy Italian man on the train: "Mi Scusi, Mi Scusi!" Hahahahaha! A great cast and knowing nods to those crazy Warner Bros cartoons from the early days.
PS: For the record, the unrated version is the only one to watch. Glad I've got mine!
Psyched about Psyched
What can I say about Psych? A great, great TV series that has class written all over it! I've been a big fan of Dule Hill's since She's All That and he compliments James Roday's equally fine comedic talents.
The series doesn't depend on punch-ups and curse words to get its point across (sorry HBO!)Instead you have top-notch people like Tim Omundson (Carlton Lassiter), Maggie Lawson (the ever so hot Juliet O'Hara!) and Corbin Bernsen that make up such a wonderful ensemble. Plus, the stories are inventive & fresh.
I love the banter between Shawn Spencer (Roday) & Burton "Gus" Guster (Hill) and then Shawn vs Lassiter! I haven't laughed this hard in a long time and one can only hope this will get a much deserved DVD release in the future (with blooper reels guys!) The only gripe I have is that they could make the opening theme tune longer, have more of Corbin Bernsen as Henry Spencer and get Shawn a decent girlfriend who's not connected to the crime he's investigating! Love this show and it gets 10/10 from me! PS: Why is the color green associated with the show?