Monthly Archives: May 2013

Epic

This year has already given us one great animated film in the hugely enjoyable The Croods, and we still have  Monsters University and Despicable Me 2 out this summer. So can new movie Epic compete at this level?

Epic introduces us to M.K (Amanda Seyfried) a teenage girl who is forced to move back in with her scientist dad Professor Bomba after her mum dies. Her relationship with her father is strained, not least because of the fact he believes there’s an advance civilisation of tiny people living in the nearby forest. However a series of events make M.K shrink in size and find her father isn’t so crazy after all. Now she has to help the Leafmen protect a pod and save the forest from the evil Boggans.

Epic has an admirable pro environment message and the animation is lovely but the story and design lacks that memorable punch to keep you interested in the film. Compared to The Croods which had dazzling colours and designs in its creatures and plants, Epic lacks something as spectacular in its visuals to make it as memorable.

As for the characters M.K is an agreeable enough protagonist. However the Leafmen, while they may be very noble and all are so dull. Colin Farrell as  leader of the Leafmen Ronin and Josh Hutcherson as rookie Leafman and M.K’s love interest Nod, try their best but the characters fail to register interest. They are also stuck with delivering lines such as “Many leaves but one tree”. The baddies the Boggans are initially intriguing, covered in the carcass of dead animals but unfortunately that’s about as interesting as they get.

The best thing about this film is the double act of Mub (Aziz Ansari)a slug whose in love with M.K and Grub (Chris O’Dowd), a snail who wants to become a leafman instead of looking after pods. They provide most of the jokes and are welcome comic relief from the boredom of the mission. But my favourite character is Ozzie,  Bomba’s three-legged dog who runs around in circles and gives slobbery kisses to everyone. Unfortunately he is not in it enough.

Rating 2/5- It tries hard but in the end Epic fails to live up to its title

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Star Trek Into Darkness

After four long years away the crew of the Enterprise meet their most dangerous foe yet.  Benedict Cumberbatch (BBC’s Sherlock) plays the villain John Harrison who is being hunted by our heroes when he commits a terrible crime. But what is his motivations? And what will happen when they catch up with him?

I have been waiting for so long to see this film (it’s Sherlock vs Kirk!) and though it was annoying having to wait so long at least I can safely say it was worth the wait. Now that the origin story has been dealt with we can delve right into the story. What I enjoy about Star Trek is seeing the crew working together, they may argue and have differences but they are like a family. I also enjoy how Kirk is not just seen as the big hero of the piece, he is a leader of a team of hero and they aren’t afraid to question him when they think he’s going off track.

The cast is as good as they were in the first film. The bromance between Kirk (Chris Pine) and Spock (Zachary Quinto) is still a central part of the movie, and both actors seem really comfortable with their roles whether dealing with drama, comedy or romance. Cumberbatch plays a great villain, just on the right side of hammy without distracting from the action. Other newcomer Alice Eve is also a welcome addition as the ship’s new science officer.

If there are any disappointments in the film it’s that some characters don’t get enough screen time. Poor Chekov is barely in it. Sulu is also marginalised but at least he gets to spend a few minutes as captain while Kirk and Spock are off ship and gives a bad ass warning to John Harrison. I’m still not completely sold on the Spock/Uhura romance but the actors play it well- I just think it’s a personal thing. Also I would have preferred a bit less Scotty (as great as Simon Pegg is) and more McCoy. Just like the first film Karl Urban shines with his dry one liners and exasperated emotional outbursts. Can he get his own storyline next time?

However those minor points are not enough to derail the film. There is high actions and plenty of emotional moments for audiences to get swept away by and despite the film’s title the film doesn’t get too dark-The Dark Knight this ain’t. Instead Star Trek Into Darkness sticks to what it does best, action, drama and characters you care about.

Rating 4/5-Please don’t let it be another four years before we see Star Trek again

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The First Cut Is The Deepest-Excision and Teeth

For those who like their horror films with a heavy dose of black humour and are unafraid of body horror and gore, you should really give Excision and Teeth a try. Both these films are low-budget American films and both have unusual teenage girls as their protagonist/antagonist. They also shouldn’t be watched if you are the least bit squeamish or prefer more straight forward horror films.

Excision is the 2012 debut film of Richard Bates Jnr. The film starts as a dark comedy focusing on Pauline (AnnaLynne McCord) a delusional and antisocial  high school student who wants to be a surgeon. She has sexual fantasies about blood and dead people. Her father is passive and henpecked. Her mother finds her disturbing and focuses on Pauline’s younger sister Grace. Grace is ill and is the only person Pauline seems to care about. As the film progresses it goes more and more into the horror territory.

Warning if you do not like the sight of blood this film is not for you.  However if you can stomach it Excision is a successful blend of horror and comedy. It has a great cast and even a small cameo of John Walters. What makes Excision elevated from just being an amusingly trashy horror is the central performance by AnnaLynne McCord. For those who only knows her as rich bitch Naomi from the teen series 90210, Excision is quite a departure. McCord convincingly transforms into an acne ridden, deeply disturbed outcome.  She is terrific whether its her sarcastic comments to her mother or put downs of her fellow classmates, and also handles the more sensitive scenes with her sister with aplomb. She also convinces at being completely crazy with her horrific fantasies. Some scenes may be a bit much for sensitive viewers.

Teeth is a 2007 film that follows Dawn (Jessica Weixler), a young Christian who preaches abstinence to her fellow teens. After a boy tries to rape her she struggles to get away and bites off his penis with her vagina, killing him (I cannot believe I have just written that sentence).  Dawn realises she has vagina dentata and tries to cope with what she has done as well as coping with her ill mother and perverted step-brother.

With a synopsis like that Teeth walks a fine line between black comedy, horror and silliness. However ridiculous the premise is, the subject is treated seriously by the actors (a few one liners aside). You can’t help but cross your legs in sympathy to the guys on screen-even if some of them do deserve their grisly fate. Jessica Wexiler is brilliant as Dawn. A more sympathetic protagonist than Naomi. We see her go from naive innocent Christian girl to a jaded, determined woman hell-bent of revenge.

So if you like your horror films a bit on the trashy side and with strong female protagonists then I recommend you give these films ago. Just be prepared to reach for the sick bag in between the laughs.

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My Unpopular Film Opinions Part 2: The Reckoning

So here we are again, following on from my earlier post My Unpopular Film Opinions, I’m here to divulge other embarrassing opinions that most people respond to with gasp and horror!

1) I prefer Greese 2 over Greese

Greese is obviously a classic musical and rightly loved by everyone, but I’ve always had a soft spot for its unloved sibling. Yes it’s ridiculous but that’s part of the fun. How can I not love a film that has a song named Reproduction? That rhymes cycle with Michael? That brings Frenchie back to Rydell High School only for her to disappear half way through the film and never mention again? Plus I thought Michelle Pfeiffer was really cool in this.

2) I still think Titanic is amazing

For some reason it became cool to hate Titanic. It seemed to happen right after the film swept the Oscars.  So when I admit my love of the film I get met with horror. I’m sorry but yes damn it I think it did deserve to win those Oscars. I can’t help it that I cry every time I see this film (seriously it’s a bit of a problem, I may need help). Most people assume it’s because I must be in love with Leonardo Dicaprio or something. Funnily enough I think I was the only girl on the planet at the time who didn’t find him attractive (I didn’t like his hair-I was really picky at that age). It may be cheesy, and I do get annoyed by the whole “I’ll never let go” line but if I never need a good tear-jerker I can always rely on Kate & Leo to help me out.

3) I don’t think The Phantom Menace is that bad

Granted I’m not in any way an expert on Star Wars films. But I just didn’t think the film was as bad as everyone said. I guess for fans it was so highly anticipated that it was bound to disappoint. But for me I was just happy to see Ewan McGregor and Liam Neeson,  the special effects were good, and I enjoyed the pod race. Yes it’s not nearly as good as The Empire Strikes Back and I don’t have an overwhelming need to see the film again  but I’d rather watch that again then sit through the tedious love story in Attack of the Clones.

I will admit that Jar Jar Binks was a terrible character though. See I’m not all bad.

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Iron Man 3

The summer blockbusters are here! And first out the gate is the third in the Iron Man Franchise. The first film was a surprise hit which propelled Robert Downey Jr to the A-list. The second one was ok but didn’t have the spark of the first film, feeling more like it was settling the scene for  The Avengers. So how does this film stack up?

First the plot. Tony Stark is trying to recover from the events of the aforementioned Avengers film, staying up all night making new Iron Man suits (42 and counting) and neglecting live in girlfriend Pepper (Gwyneth Paltrow). Not that they have time to worry about relationship drama when dealing with a new nemesis called The Mandarin (Ben Kingsley) who isn’t afraid to take the fight directly to Stark himself.

This film sees the Iron Man franchise back on form. New director and co writer Shane Black is a smart fit for this film. Having worked with Robert Downey Jnr on Kiss Kiss Bang Bang he plays to the actor’s strengths in this film, making sure Tony Stark is full of the witty one liners that makes him such a joy to watch. This is probably the funniest of the Iron Man films to date.

As well as being hilarious with several laugh at loud moments, the film also delivers on an emotional level with Tony and Pepper’s relationship getting ample screen time. The couple are great together, bringing a real warmth to their scenes-probably helps that this is their third time playing these characters and so they fall back easily into their role.

There are also some jaw dropping action sequences that Black directs with great assurance considering this is only his second film. It’s hard to pick the best one but stand outs definitely include the attack on Stark’s home (as seen in the trailers) and a daring rescue to save the passengers on a falling airplane.

Of the supporting cast its great to Don Cheadle get more action this time as War Machine/Iron Patriot while Ben Kingsley is fun as The Mandarin and thankfully not overused in the role. Guy Pearce is suitably smug in his role as a business rival to Tony but ultimately isn’t that interesting. Rebecca Hall does well in what she’s given as Tony’s old flame Mya but unfortunately isn’t in it enough to show what she is really capable of.

There are rumours that this could be Robert Downey Jr’s last Iron Man film. I obviously can’t reveal how this film ends but if this ended the last time we see him put on the Iron Man suit he definitely bows out on a high.

Rating 4/5-Start the Summer Blockbuster season in style and prepare to let yourself laugh, gasp and be amazed.

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