Sunday, 3 April 2011

7 & a Half Films in 48 Hours

I want to precede this post by saying Happy Mothers Day to my mum. I'm incredibly grateful to her, she's always been very supportive and enthusiastic about the various things i've tried to achieve so far in my life. She's a pretty incredible woman definitely. She's kind and compassionate and a constant inspiration to me.

Right onto the main basis of this post.

Over Friday and Saturday i watched a LOT of films. Seven and a half to be exact, this blog will be a collection of brief reviews of those films, in the order in which i watched them. All of them were watched with the friend who i mentioned in a previous blog had come to visit.

The Hangover (Phillips, 2009)
Now i'd imagine the majority of people have seen this film, the tale of 3 men who wake up after a ridiculously heavy stag do with no memory of what happened to them, or where the groom to be is. What unfolds as they piece the night together clue by clue is in places hysterically funny. The hit ratio of the jokes in the film place it in the upper leagues of comedy; from the withering put downs, bizarre one liners, farcical situations they end up in to the almost show stealing cameo there are so few bum notes played that it's remarkable when compared to a lot of the equivalent comedies released in the past few years.


Zombieland (Fleischer, 2009)
I've written about this film a couple of times so i won't ramble on for too long, but after watching it again i can at least add that it stands up to repeat viewings better than most films do. The jokes are still funny, the action still dramatic and the characters still utterly brilliant. Woody Harrelson's 'Tallahassee' is one of the most entertaining characters to be seen on screen for quite a while, and he's also up there with the most bad-ass as well. It remains a definite favourite of mine.


Scott Pilgrim vs The World (Wright, 2010)
Edgar Wright's film of the graphic novel series by Bryan Lee O'Malley is great. He manages to capture the wonderful geekiness of the subject matter without alienating more neutral viewers; the film is packed with video game, film and music references that definitely add to the film as a whole, yet never distract from the over-arching plot. In the lead role Michael Cera plays Scott in his typical Michael Cera fashion; though a good actor, his performances are starting to get frustratingly repetitive and this impacts on the film for me. It's also that his character is in some ways not all that likeable; he treats several other characters really quite poorly, and though that is part of the point of the narrative, in that he is forced to change by the events that unfold, it stopped me connecting with the film as much as i might have. However that issue aside the film works well and includes some brilliantly realised fight scenes which deliberately riff off of games such as Street Fighter and other classics.


Collateral (Mann, 2004)
Now we didn't actually watch all of this on Friday, we were too frequently distracted, talking about all sorts of things and watching funny videos on Youtube, so eventually we gave up on the film for something less demanding of our attention. I've seen it before though and really rate it, it's a very entertaining if a little generic thriller. Tom Cruise and Jamie Foxx have a good degree of chemistry on screen, full of tension and power struggles and the action scenes are dramatic, as you would expect from a Michael Mann film; a scene in a nightclub is particularly impressive and well shot. The film could definitely use a bit more heart in terms of the characters and the cinematography is at times more distracting than it is enjoyable. Overall though it's enjoyable and the relationship between Cruise and Foxx's characters is intriguing.


Transformers (Bay, 2007)
This film is exactly what you'd expect from a Michael Bay film about giant robots fighting a war on Earth, i.e, idiotic, explosive, dramatic and frenetic. It's not an intelligent film nor is it one which spends much time or energy developing characters or logical exposition. However it is entertaining and some of the action sequences are as good as any you will see. So it all ends up being a question of what you're looking for in a film, if you go in expecting nothing more than an entertaining couple of hours of nonsense then there's every chance you'll enjoy it, however if you're looking for something a little deeper then you'd be dissapointed.


Lord of the Rings - Fellowship of the Ring
This was the first time i'd seen the extended cut of the first LOTR film and i was impressed. The additional bits were often subtle and understandably cut from the already lengthy cinematic version, but they added little bits of depth to characters or events and was well worth watching. I love the LOTR films, i always reference them as an example of a film/films which managed to do justice to it's source book. In fact i might even argue they improve on the books; they're great books but Tolkein doesn't half ramble on about the family trees of the characters and at points his descriptions of locations is unnecessarily complex. I have huge respect for the man's imagination and am in awe of the world he created, but the films manage to capture that world while losing some of the less needed embellishments. Two things stood out while i was watching it last night were just how brilliant the original score by Howard Shore is and how ridiculously beautiful the New Zealand scenery is. A superb film, both the original version and the extended edition.


Wanted (Bekmambetov, 2008)
This is a film where James McAvoy's office worker is introduced into a world of a secret fraternity of assassins, led by Morgan Freeman's 'Sloan'. It's a film which is utterly ridiculous from start to finish, brutally violent in several places and has some of the most predictable twists i've seen in a while. It's not without it's merits; the action scenes while utterly unrealistic are spectacular and audacious and the plot moves quickly enough that you can easily get caught up in the events unfolding even as you're aware of their utter lack of logic.


Despicable Me (Coffin & Renaud, 2010)
This animated tale from Universal Pictures is without a doubt one of the most adorably lovable films i've seen in ages. It's a definite rival to some of Pixar's best work and in the young female character Agnes has a child so cute it not just is the arguable equal of 'Boo' from Monsters Inc, but threatens to make anyone a little bit broody. The plot revolves around a super villain (voiced by Steve Carell) and his plans to steal the moon, aided by a mad scientist and a horde of hyper-active yellow minions. He ends up adopting 3 orphans, merely as a means to acquire a shrink ray, but unsurprisingly finds himself warming to the children. It's a brilliant feel good film, wonderfully animated and voiced throughout and i would recommend it to anyone.


Right as always i'll finish this blog post with a song, the first one that came on this afternoon when i stuck my iPod on shuffle.

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