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Blades of Glory (2007)
Ferrell on form!
This is the story of two figure skaters - Jimmy McIllroy (Jon Heder) and Chazz Michael Michaels (the excellent Will Ferrell) - who, having been disqualified from singles competitions, form the first ever male duo partnership in order to attempt to win ice skating glory. The two leads are like chalk and cheese - Heder's character the clean living, butter wouldn't melt in his mouth type and Ferrell's self proclaimed 'sex addict'. The film itself has laugh out loud moments - mostly involving Ferrell - but, in the second half is also quite a charming film that sees you cheering McIllroy and Michaels along (although, obviously you know what's going to happen). The first 40 minutes of the film are admittedly quite slow as we get to meet the characters and learn a bit about their backgrounds. Yes, it's necessary but you can't help but feel there could have been a few more laughs along the way. Having said this though the second half more than makes up for it. The laughs come thick and fast, often with 'weiner' jokes, but it's the way you, or specifically Will Ferrell, that tells them! The dance and ice skating routines are well choreographed and offer laughs within themselves and there's an overall heart warming climax to the film that you can't help but enjoy. Be you a die hard Will Ferrell fan or not, go see this film for chuckles galore and a good night out!
I Want Candy (2007)
Gentle British comedy that hits the spot
I Want Candy is all about two young film makers, Joe and Baggy, who are striving to get their moving making career off the ground. However they soon find out that its more difficult getting into the trade than expected and hence chance their arms at the adult film industry. The two personalities of the characters are completely different - one confident and good at talking himself out of situations, the other naturally more reserved who comes out of his shell as the film progresses. Both though are played with amiable gusto by the two actors and there is plenty more people you'd recognise - Mackenzie Crook stars as a lecturer desperately trying to fit in, Felicity Montagu and Phillip Jackson enjoy their roles as Joe's staid parents and Jimmy Carr has some nice lines as the local video shop cashier - oh, and of course Carmen Electra. Though not laugh out loud funny, the comedy gently bubbles along and there's lots of good lines to be had which make you chuckle to yourself. Also, for a supposed 'sex comedy' the scenes are performed tastefully and there's probably only one scene that would have made it into an American pie-esquire film, involving an unlucky cameraman. Yes, the film has stereotypes, from the Eastern European sound guys to the gangster bosses and the first 20 minutes seem slightly slow, but there's lots to like about this film. The actors gel nicely with each other, the laughs from the different situations are plentiful and its a genuinely good British comedy that keeps you entertained.
Visually Stunning and enjoyable overall
The film tells the story of 300 warriors from Sparta who battle thousands in order to protect their land and honour. From early on in this film the imagery and graphics are of the highest order, helping not only to enhance the battle scenes but also to add more blood, guts and all round gore to the film. Indeed, this is the main, but not the only, reason most people would see this film. The CGI is very well done and is laden on thick so the action, once the fighting starts, comes fast and frequent. The battle scenes are well choreographed and, while sometimes over the top, are often more enjoyable for it. Gerard Butler seems to relish his role and portrays the leader of the Spartans well. The other Spartans clearly enjoy their roles of being oiled up, shouting and generally letting off as much aggression and adrenalin as possible. The narration over the top of the film ensures you know what is happening (though its not hard to follow) and does add an atmosphere that sits quite well with the movie. It's not just the men that have fun, but also the leading lady - Lena Headey plays the Queen of Sparta superbly and it is a shame her character and sub plot is not developed more as she handles the role more than capably portraying an strong, yet understanding Queen. There are certain aspects of the film that do seem quite far fetched and at times laughable though. The plot lines and what's going to happen are startlingly obvious and so easy to work out that you want to shout it out, but then again having seen the trailers you're probably not coming along for a deep and meaningful film. Finally it has to be said that this film also probably contains the campest characters in recent cinema history - not least of all the leader of the enemy - Xerxes. An 8 foot tall showoff who wears more gold than you could shake a stick at and strikes the most shocking of poses! But this just all adds to the fun of the ride that is 300. Go and see it for the visual effects and the excitement the fight scenes offer as long as you leave any scruples and expectations of anything other than a popcorn eating visceral film at the till!!
Good idea, poorly executed
Having seen the trailers for this film and enjoyed the Football Factory, I was looking forward to watching this movie. The idea of a vigilante group that rises up against all the unpunished criminals and blights on our society sounded like a promising one. Sadly the film itself was poor - the writing being disjointed, camera work annoying and the dialogue, at times, laughable. It seemed that Nick Love had all of these ideas in his head that he wanted to include in his film, but didn't have the skill or nous to bring them together so that they gelled and formed a compelling story. Sean Bean gives his role a good stab (no pun intended), but with the frankly awful dialogue he is supplied with he must look back on this film and wonder why he agreed to star in it. Furthermore, the film contains lots of scenes that you can't help but feel were thrown in to fill time, classic example being Sean Bean's "training sessions" in the sports hall. A great idea for a film, but unfortunately one that fails to live up to it's promise.