Tag Archives: Lena Headey

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones

Movie studios have been desperately trying to find a franchise to be the new Harry Potter/Twilight/Hunger Games to fill up our cinemas. Movie bosses were so convinced The Mortal Instruments book series could be a hit that a sequel was announced even before the first movie had been released. But was this a wise move?

Teenager Clary (Lily Collins) thought she was just an average girl until she witnesses a fight that no one else can see. As she discovers a secret world with demons, vampires and werewolves, her mother (Lena Headey) goes missing. With help from the mysterious shadowhunter Jace (Jamie Campbell Bower), Clary must find her mother and the truth about her past that’s been hidden from her for so long.

While I enjoyed the book series, this adaptation is a bit of a mess. It tries too hard to be like every other fantasy franchise that it loses a lot of its own identity in the process. I’m not saying Cassandra Clare’s books were the most original novels ever but they did have memorable characters, a fun, sarcastic sense of humour and a deep and detailed mythology. Unfortunately a lot of this is absent from the finished movie. So much has been cut from the books that a lot of the plot and character motivation doesn’t make sense. The film is also almost completely derived of the humour featured in the books and ultimately it makes for dull viewing. There is also no chemistry between Clary and Jace, which is odd considering the actors were dating each other for a while off-screen. Also all the Shadowhunters look way to old to be teenagers, and are also frightfully boring.

However the acting is passable, Lily Collins makes for a likeable enough Clary and Jonathan Rhys Meyers is at least amusing as he hams it up as the villainous Valentine. Also if they do continue to make a sequel, Clary’s friend Simon (Robert Sheehan) has a bigger role to play which should hopefully allow Sheehan to show more of his comedic talents and charisma as he displayed in tv’s Misfits.

Rating 1.5/5 – a disappointing and boring attempt to cash in on the young adult market


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300 (2007)

With the sequel to 300 having just come to the big screen I decided to catch the original when it was on tv recently. But can I handle all the manliness and shouting for 117 minutes?

The King of Sparta Leonidas (Gerard Butler) refuses to submit to God-King Xerxes causing problems between the Persians and the Spartans. Denied by the Ephors to take his army to war Leonidas takes 300 of his men to fight against Xerxes army of thousands.

The opening part of the film describes how Spartans take new-born baby boys and throw away the ones who are weak, disabled or just not worthy. Then the ones who are deemed strong are made to fend for themselves in the wild when they are ten and if they come back they are good enough to be Spartans. Baby killing in your opening minutes? I must admit that didn’t really make me warm to our heroes.

But the thing with 300 is that everything is very, very silly and over the top. And overly macho in a homo-erotic way. It’s also very enjoyable. You can enjoy the story even while you question the plausibility of everything on-screen. Take their battle suits for example. I know the Spartans are probably so bad-ass they don’t need things like clothes but  is a jock-strap and a cape really the best amour for battle (just look at The Incredibles to show why capes are not a good idea to fight in).

The green screen did bothered me, becuase it was so obvious that the backgrounds looked so fake, although I guess the overall look did create a comic book feel to it. And while sometimes director Zack Synder sways towards style over substance, the style can be pretty impressive at times.

I’m not sure why Gerard Butler made the acting choice TO SHOUT. EVERY. OTHER. LINE. But I have to say he brings a strong presence to the role, you could see why these men would follow him into a hopeless situation. The rest of his men fade into one another, although it was amusing to spot a pre-fame Michael Fassbender among the soldiers.

Female characters are scarce in this film but at least they are well presented by Lena Headey as Leondias’ wife Queen Gorgo who shows that Spartan women are every bit as strong as their men-and you really don’t want want to see her angry.

I don’t know if the sequel can possibly live up to this gory, unintentionally hilarious fantasy/action movie but it’s easy to see why people are such fans of the original.

Rating – 3/5 a fun mindless way to spend a couple of hours, so go ahead and submit to Sparta


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Dredd (2012)

Over the busy Christmas period I finally got round to seeing this reboot of Judge Dredd. I can’t remember much of the Sylvester Stallone Judge Dredd film back in 1995 but I do remember it wasn’t very good. So can this remake be one of the few that’s superior to the original?

Set in future America where  crime is high and the only ones upholding the law are the Judges who go out and sentance people on site for their crimes. Judge Dredd (Karl Urban) is given a new partner- rookie Judge Anderson (Olivia Thirlby), a psychic, to see if she sinks or swims on her first day. Unfortunatly Anderson’s first day includes being sealed inside a tower block where gang leader Ma-Ma (Lena Headey) orders it’s residents to kill the judges.

It has to be said that this is a big improvement on the previous Judge Dredd film, and having Karl Urban in the main role is one of the film’s high points. Fans of the comic books will be pleased to know he keeps his helmet on the whole way through the film. Dredd is a difficult character to pull off due to his unflinching stance on the law and the fact that he seems to have very little sense of humour or warmth. Luckily Urban seems to have a good handle on the character and makes this steely character worth watching.

Dredd’s partnerhsip with Anderson is one of the more interesting aspects of the film. She is the rookie who is a bit of an outcast due to her psychic abilities and Dredd doesn’t think she’ll make it through the day. She is more compassionate and emotional than Dredd however she’s no pushover either and handles herself well as the situation dissolves into extream violence. Luckily she is never made as the typical damsel in distress, nor is she depicted as the love interest for Dredd.

So the film starts off well but eventually the fighting gets a bit monotonous. It doesn’t help that the plot is strangely similiar (on the surface anyway) to Indonesian actioner The Raid.  However while that film was able to come up with several inventive fight sequences  in its clasustraphobic setting the action in Dredd gets boring with its continuous gun fire. Another problem is that though the city of  Maga-City One sounds interesting we don’t get much of a chance to see it due to the fact we’re stuck inside the tower block for the majority of the film.

Still this is still an improvement on the 1995 movie and Karl Urban makes for a better Dredd than Stallone did. Fans of the comics and Karl Urban will enjoy this film but it still has a long way to go before being the classic action film it hopes to be.

Rating 3/5-B movie fun that doesn’t outstay its welcome


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