31 Jul 2013

Pacific Rim

Tonight I saw Pacific Rim  the movie that sounds like a dodgy new porno, but is actually the project that Guillermo del Toro did instead of the Hobbit.  But what did the creator of such films as Hell Boy, The Devils back Bone  and Pan's Labyrinth make instead?

Well here is a synopsis

Grrrr, raow ROOOAR, Oh no, Aieeeeeee, rend.
Huzzzah, budda budda, pitew, pitew, raaar, grrrr, Ha-ha, boom, smash, crash, take that evil alien horror. Boom. Oh no, raaar,  And now the Jaeger Bomb! KABLEWIE

Yes Pacific Rim  was super wickedly awesome.
Idris Elba is AWESOME

Essentially if you felt a wonderful child like excitement when you saw the trailer for Pacific Rim then you will get everything you want from this movie. If however you groaned and shook your head, then you will probably get the same. 

Forget  Transformers, Pacific Rim is freaking cool, and that is all you need to know.

7 giant robot monkeys from me.

27 Jul 2013

The end of the Cornetto

My best girl and I went to see the final in the three Flavours Cornetto Trilogy;  The Worlds End.  The first two  Shaun of the Dead  and  Hot Fuzz  were both brilliant homages to the Zombie genre and the buddy cop film respectively. Both filled with great pop culture references and both fantastically funny.

So Zombies, cults, and ice cream so far, what did the The Worlds End have to offer? Lets find out with a synopsis:

It's 1990 and Gary King  is the most popular kid in Newton Haven High School. Gary and his mates decide to go out on the town when school finishes. What follows is an epic pub crawl, the golden mile;  five friends, 12 pubs, girls drinks and fights. They didn't make it to the final pub, but it was the best night of Gary's life. Unfortunatly twenty years later and it is still the best night of  his life.

Gary (Simon Pegg) decides to get the band back together. He convices his reluctant old friends Andy (Nick Frost), Oliver (Martin Freedman) , Peter (Eddie Marsan) and Simon (Paddy Considine) to relive that night and try and make it to the World's End. But Gary has found that his friends have all moved on with their lives, and as the night goes on he finds that the locals are acting very weirdly and seem to have blue blood. But the really crazy thing is no one knows who he is! Madness.

Ensue drunken pub crawling hijinx.

The first thing that struck me about  The World's End  was the reversal in rolses for Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. Pegg plays the waster twat reminicient of Nick Frost's Character in Shaun.  This film like the others is character driven and also like the other films it is a homage. But more than a tribute to science fiction movies like  Invasion of the Body Snatchers it is a tribute to friendship, and the freedom and stupidity of youth.

I guess at my age we all have a friend or know someone that is still stuck in a bit of a time warp. They wear the same sort of clothes as they always have, listen to the same music and still act like they did in their early twenties. I have some great friends, some of whom I don't speak to for ages, but when we do catch up we just pick up where we left off. It is always fun to catch up for a pint, but the days of staggering in at some ungodly hour reeking of the girl you snogged out side the Univeristy pub (ours was called the Bongo) are over. Now we are all professional parents now with kids, mortages etc.Guys like Gary fade from our lives because we just don't have time for them any more, or they are just dick heads, funny at 19, bloody irratating at 40. So the story is quite evocative.

The screen play is well written and of the calibre we expect from Pegg and Wright, and like the other films character driven with great actors. Pierce Brosnan as the old guidence counsellor is terriffic, and there is a fun cameo by Rafe Spall. The ending is interesting, and not what I expected. But I think very appropriate given the nature of the film, but enough about that.

The fight choreography is really good, surprisingly good when you consider it is with five middle aged comedians. Nick Frost and Simon Pegg showing off their skills, or maybe just their experiences in pubs.

 The Worlds End  is a funny drunken romp down memory lane, if everyone you ever remembered living on that lane was replaced by an alien copy. If you liked the other two you will definetly enjoy this.

 I give it seven drunken Monkeys.

22 Jul 2013


Hi, I am home today as after a wee wobble in the city. My building has been damaged and I cannot go into work today.

But the situation has made me thing about the various disaster films out there. Hollywood created this new genre to feed our morbid fascination with destruction. Disaster movies create wonderful scenarios for drama, tension and heroism and awesome spectacle outside of war and science fiction films.

Ooooh drama

Ooooh Spectacle
 Of course there is an argument that any post apocalyptic film is a disaster movie. But I dispute this for the obvious argument that, by its very nature it really is a post disaster movie. It shares elements of adversity and human conflict, I think it is a sub genre at best.

For me a disaster movie is defined by a scenario where a group of people and this could be a group together or various people in various situations all coping with the same disaster. There is usually other sub plots like romance or a crime as well. Generally there is a hero/heroine who triumphs over adversity, usually while trying to save a group. Whether this is the disaster or an antagonist can vary. Typically there is usually a morality similar to horror films where good people survive, and selfish evil people die horribly.

Disaster movies run the gambit of natural disasters (including meteors), to carrier transportation like the ship in The Poseidon adventure,  technological disasters like  The China Syndrome, and my personal favourite MONSTERS! While the disaster movie had a golden age in the 70’s, Michael Bay brought the genre back with Armageddon.  The film where Aerosmith save the world from Steve Buscemi by placing more American flags in any movie since Andy Warhol filmed the Stars and Stripes waving in the wind for more than an hour.  
I would have gotten away with it if it wasn't for you pesky glam rockers and your flags

As an aside while Armageddon  is a ludicrous movie, I did like the montage sequence at the end of the film. That was cool.

I personally do not like disaster movies in general. I have seen a few and in general I hadn’t enjoyed them all that much. But I can understand the appeal of the tension and the wonderful spectacle and cinematography usually found in other genres. I just like those other genres more. Nothing like watching a man in a monster suit fighting another man in a monster suit over a burning model Tokyo, I say.

High art indeed

I think I just like my disasters more fictional than close to home. In times like these, and this is just a minor shake by all accounts, it is still a good chance to reconnect and reach out to people. Something that we should do without the need of a disaster.

 I hope you are all well and safe and sound. 

13 Jul 2013


This looks hilarious!
So bad it has to be good.

Here is the awful awful trailer enjoy :)

8 Jul 2013

Happy birthday Jon Pertwee

Ok so I'm a day late. but he was my favorite Doctor.

Anyway here's to him.

7 Jul 2013

Man of Steel (This is notAvengers)

In 2002 the super hero franchise was reborn with the success of Sam Raimi's Spiderman. In 2005 Christopher Nolan and David S. Goyers movie resurrected the Batman franchise from the dirty ashes of  Batman and Robin (nipples on the bat suit?) with Batman Begins. Nolan and Goyer took a different route from Raimi's lighted hearted Spiderman with dark, gritty more grounded Batman that worked, and superhero movies were back.

We soon saw Ironman, Thor, three more Spiderman, and two more Batman movies.  Not all were successful, The Green lantern and Hulk were pretty dire. We even saw the rise of the amateur superhero with Kick arse, Denfendor and  Griff the Invisible to name but some. Marvel and Warner Brothers have taken the success of the (majority) of Super hero films and created the ensemble hero film with The Avengers. Its success has not only put two more Avengers  movies into development but created the opportunity for Paramount to do the same with the Justice League movies and of course Superman the Man of Steel.

But make no mistake this is not Joss Whedon's humerous Avengers film which appealed to a mass audience. Warner Brothers has learnt the lesson of the failures Green Lantern and Incredible Hulk. The studio has brought back the succesful team of Goyer and Nolan to write the story and screen play, and the director is Zack Snyder who is well know for being able to create a very pretty film.

No synopsis today - I think we all know the story of Superman, but in saying that there are a couple of spoilers.

The quintessential problem with Superman is that he is almost omniscient. He is stronger, faster, tougher, braver and better than everyone else. It is hard to identify with someone like that. But with this reboot they tackle that issue with Clarks alienation (no pun intended) from society. Even as a child he was different and that difference isolated him. 

The first act revealed Kypton, its culture, why it blew up, Supermans biological parents Jor-el and Lara Lor Van and setting up General Zod as the villain of the piece, and that Zack Synder used the same production team as  John Carter.  But the real story was in act two, which addresses the issues of Clark's place in the world.. Kevin Costner's and Diane Lane's chemistry with Dylan Sprayberry(young Clark) and Henry Cavill is good and very believable.  The scenes with them as a family  presented us the difficulties of Clark's lonely child hood. Both Diane Lane and Kevin Costner were awesome in their roles as the parents trying to protect and raise Superman to be the best man he could be. Jonathon  is deeply concerned that by revealing himself Clark will be in danger from a suspicious and fearful world,  he even sacrifices himself to protect his son.  These scenes were my favourite in the film, much more than the cgi battles that came later.

There a couple of Jesus references in the film. The first, where Clark discovers who is his, is an acceptable addition to the plot. The second in the third act is completely over the top.

I really liked the  non linear second act. It was unexpected and refreshing. The artificial lens flare, the use of a single camera and other techniques to give an nostalgic, hand held feel to the story which supported the scenes with Coster and Lane.The first act however seemed a little disjointed, but that could have been the rather stiff acting from the Krytonians.

I am not sure if for those scenes Zack Synder was ill and M. Night Shyamalan took over, but I thought the Kryptonians were all a bit staid. The exception  was Faora-Ul (Antje Traue), who I thought was a better villain than Zod (Michael Shannon) who was a little shallow. 

Amy Adams gave us  probably the best Lois lane ever, intelligent and independent.  This was a Lois Lane we could believe in as an investigative reporter. She came across as intelligent and  compassionate, and while yes Lois is a bit of a damsel in distress as a character, Adams maintained her dignity for the most part.

Henry Cavill is a very good Superman. We all had high hopes for Brandon Routh, but  that whole film was a bit of a let down, him included. Cavill is strong and brings a humanity to the role which engages us, set up by Costner and Lane, Cavill keeps us interested in Clarke Kent the man in the world. Something that the previous Superman movie tried to do but failed.  I think that success started with removing the undies from outside the costume.

The fight scenes were good, although with the massive destruction to Metropolis I wondered if New Yorkers were going to get PTSD with all the buildings coming down. It did seem to drag a little though, but the climax was superb.

Overall I enjoyed it. Some of the story didn't seem to make sense, but nothing that was jarringly bad. Cavill took his shirt off for the girls, and punched baddies for the guys so it was fun for everyone.  It was the story of a Superman in a real world, not a comic book world. And I think it worked

A few haters out there but I think this is the superman movie to see.  Six and a half caped monkeys from me.

PS don't touch Superman's mum.

2 Jul 2013

The Great Gatsby

Show me a hero and I'll write you a tragedy.
F. Scott Fitzgerald

My girl loves Baz Luhermann. One of her favourite films is his 1996 version of Romeo and Juliet. She loves the spectacle, the music and the style of Luhermann. She also loves literature, and it was the literary themes that attracted her to Midnight in Paris.  When she heard that Baz Luhermann was taking on F Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby  she was dying to see it.  And we did.
It is 1922 and Nick Carraway has just graduated from university, but he has put aside his dreams of becoming an author to cash in on the wealth pouring into Wall Street. New York is the Babylon of America, full of money, jazz and parties.  Nick gets a job selling bonds on Wall Street and rents a little cottage on Long island between the estates of the rich and famous. It is an old cottage next to a mansion owned by a mysterious man, who Nick senses is watching him. 

Nicks wealthy socialite cousin Daisy lives across the bay with her husband Tom Buchanan. The three went to university together and are firm friends. However while resuming his friendship with Daisy, Nick discovers that his favourite cousin is unhappy. Tom is having an affair and is being less than discrete about it. Nick is even dragged into the affair when Tom brings Nick with him to meet his mistress Myrtle.  
While Nick is in New York everyone is talking about his mysterious neighbour, Gatsby. But no one knows who he is, and there is much speculation on the topic. But the fact is that he is rich and throws the greatest parties in New York.
And then Nick gets an invitation to attend one of these parties, and is apparently the only guest to ever receive one.  Nick is one of the few people to actually meet the wealthy and mysterious Jay Gatsby.  Gatsby falls over himself to befriend Nick, taking on his place, inviting him to high powered lunches, parties etc. Eventually Nick discovers that Gatsby has met his cousin before she was married. Daisy and Gatsby courted, but then Gatsby had to leave for the war.  While he was away Daisy married the wealthy, charismatic Tom.  Gatsby is hoping that Nick can facilitate a meeting between the two of them, in the hope that maybe Daisy and Gatsby can start where they left off five years ago.
Ensue decadent hijinks of the 20’s
The story is actually quite basic, but Baz Luhermann fills it with excess and spectacle that he excels at. The Great Gatsby reminds me of the Cecil b demille films, with dazzling sets filled with dancers and excess. Which is perfect for the story.
Luhermann uses close ups that you would confuse with 20s film or a soap opera, and somehow manages to avoid too much cheese. You see the cheese, you smell the cheese, but there is enough rich wine not to make you cringe. 
His use of music  fills the film to the point you might be confused into thinking this is a musical. Jay Z brought a great collaboration of artists together for the sound track, and manages to create a neo 20’s sound for a period film without breaking through the viewer’s suspension of disbelief. You hear Fergie, and Florence but it gels with the film elegantly. Very few period films that use modern music do so successfully, but Gatsby does.
The premise of Gatsby is dreams, dreams of wealth, success, love. Everyone has a dream.  Gatsby dreams of a life with Daisy, Nick dreams of success, Tom dreams of his mistress Myrtle, and Daisy just dreams. 
The cast is excellent; Di Caprio is great as the mysterious Gatsby, sometimes charming and debonair, but also as vulnerable, devoted and delusional as a teenage boy when it comes to Daisy. Maguire is perfect as Nick, an everyman character that is carried along by events, more an observer than driver. Maguire even now can conjure a wide eyed innocence that is credible. Luhermann of course casts his films with excellent character actors Carey Mulligan is good as the vapid beautiful Daisy and Joel Edgerton menaces as the aristocratic Buchannan, and shows hs range from a soldier in  Zero Dark Thirty.
However the success of the The Great Gatsby is not the story but the style, and Baz Luhermann excels in a stylish movie.  And that may not be enough for a wider audience.  Gatsby's blind obsessive devotion to an insipid girl, and the other unattractive qualities of the characters do not make for a sympathetic story.  And while that is Fitzgerald’s point, story style over substance may not be entertaining for many. 

I enjoyed the film and  give it a 6.5 monkeys, but if you love Luhermann you will love this film.
I've been drunk for about a week now, and I thought it might sober me up to sit in a library.
F. Scott Fitzgerald