Sunday, 26 May 2013

#46 HANGOVER III (26.5.13)

Directed by Todd Phillips. Starring Ken Jeong and Zach Galifianakis. 

Co starring Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Justin Bartha, Heather Graham, John Goodman and Melissa McCarthy.

I went in expecting a rehash, again of the first two films, but the 'writers' of this dreadful series did something unexpected. They decided to do something different and came up with a plot. Not that they should have bothered it hasn't helped.

First things first though! The good news - and there's two bits!
  • ONE: This isn't the worst film of the series!
That honour still lies with the second which really was a woeful sac of putrid shit, tied up with string and run over by a truck carrying piss to a vomiting convention.
  • TWO: This third installment in the tired, vile and unfunny series should hopefully be the last.
Like all recent American comedies this one does away with the need for jokes, comedy or anything funny happening and just replaces it with a psychotic drug addict and a manchild on the Autistic spectrum to mine its rich vein of comedy gold. Sadly the only gold here is of the fool's variety and the fool is anyone who pays to see it. Luckily for me, I've already paid for my Cineworld card so this one was a freebie.

The plot has the Wolf Pack hunting for Chow from Mexico to Las Vegas because he's robbed drug baron, Marshall of 21 million dollars. And apparently on that simple sentence, this film got green lit.

Don't get me wrong, this isn't a complete laughter free-zone. No sir! There's plenty to chortle at, well actually there isn't, but my mom told me that if you haven't got anything nice to say, try saying nothing.

I did giggle once and smile twice more. And I'm sure I heard someone else in the theatre laugh, although that might have been someone choking on popcorn, or stifling a yawn.

3/10 - don't bother. Not even Melissa McCarthy can save this lazy, tired, bored, laughter-free excuse for humour.

There is an amusing sequence just after the first end credits, which sadly shows you where this film should have started, not ended.

Review of HANGOVER 2

To honour the release this week of Hangover III I thought I'd dust off my review of the second film and post it for you here.


I imagine the two writers of the first Hangover movie, when told they were going to write the sequel sat down and thought long and hard about where they'd like to go on a free holiday and they decided on Thailand.  I get the feeling that was probably the hardest part of this film to come up with, the location. After that, they just pressed Apple 'A', for all, pressed copy and pasted it into a new document titled Hangover 2. Because beyond the change of the location nothing else original happens. This is a complete rehash of the original film, with incredibly even less laughs.

For months we've had the slow marketing burn, building up to the release and rest assured it's not worth it. The best thing about this film is the trailer. It's better than the finished article because it is mercifully far shorter.

This is a lazy, pointless film that only managed to raise the odd smile and two laughs. One involved a monkey chewing on a Buddhist monk's penis, it's in the trailer and the other was at the end and had something to do with the speedboat. There's also another knob gag which didn't get a single laugh but did get a collective gasp of disgust from the audience.

Bradley Cooper happily pisses away all the good will he garnished with Limitless by doing this. Paul Giamatti should know better and Ed Helms deserves better.

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

#45 FAST AND FURIOUS 6 (13.5.13)

This is the 6th film in the series. It stars Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, Paul Walker, Luke Evans, Michelle Rodriguez, Elsa Pataky, Jordana Brewster, Gina Carano, Gal Gadot, Sung Kang, Tyrese Gibson and Ludacris. And it's directed by Justin Lin.

What's it about, David?

Luke Evans is a baddie, he runs a crew which is the mirror reflection of Diesel and his posse and they're stealing top-secret McGuffins from all over the world, while hiding out in the East End of London. Dwayne Johnson is so muscle bound he can't stop them, so he tracks down Diesel and asks him to help. Before you can say, 'mirror, indicate, maneuver' practically the whole gang is back and driving around the world faster than you can say vroom, vroom!

Cue lots and lots and lots of fast and furious driving, people shouting into walkie-talkies while driving single-handedly, spectacular car crashes and lots of slap-downs. Every character in this film is contractually required to have at least one fist fight, one car crash, one gun battle, one slow-mo-walk and one earnest, pouting, close-up into the camera.

No dialogue was hurt in the making of this film. Everyone speaks in nifty, quotable, sound bits and cliches. And everybody is mean, moody and magnificent. Over the course of the next 2 hours and 10 minutes, much loved characters will come back from the dead, others will die, more cars will get destroyed than you can shake a stick at and some one performs a cinematic first, something never, ever seen before in the whole history of cinema - a flying head-butt!

This doesn't have the delightfully crazy, light-hearted feel of FATF 5, the film that re-ignited this franchise, it's far too serious and everybody is horribly earnest and sombre. The action is relentless and repetitive, car chase, punch-up, fire-fight, car chase. But then you don't go to a Fast And the Furious franchise installment expecting a period costume drama so shut up, buckle up and enjoy the ride. It ain't, clever, it ain't pretty, but it sure is bloody furious. And fast.

There's a post credit sequence that will leave you giddy with excitement for the next episode!


Sunday, 12 May 2013

#43 & 44 STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS (9.5.13 & 13.5.13)

Hollywood's next golden boy, J.J. Abrams's geek fest starring the same crew as last time plus Benedict Cumberbatch and Eve Alice.

After four years, which is quite a long time for these type of things, J.J. has put the old band back together and returned for another go on the star ship Enterprise. This time it's a relentless chase through the galaxy on the trail of an intergalactic terrorist who's just blown up a library in London and murdered a very important parental figure in Kirk's life. So, kid gloves are off, as Kirk played once again by Chris Pine, is sent on a personal, revenge-fueled, top-secret mission to assassinate the terrorist armed with the latest, super-powerful photon torpedoes deep inside Klingon territory. Except almost no one is who they seem. Cue the following template that the film follows from beginning to end. Run, run, run, punch, punch, punch, chat, chat, chat, zap, zap, zap, run, run, run- repeat, repeat repeat.

This film starts in mid-run and just carries on running, very, very fast. Everyone in this movie runs, at full pelt, as if their very lives depended on it, even when just chatting or having a cup of tea.

There's a sequence where Scotty, played once again by Simon Pegg, runs from one end of a star ship docking bay to the other, only to stop, look at something then run all the way back. "See Scotty run, run, run, run." Then there's the bit where Kirk and Spock run through the Enterprise, "See Kirk Run. See Spock run. Run, run run." Or if you like you can watch Benedict Cumberbatch run. He runs very well, very upright and straight, very British. "Run, 'mysterious character with two names', run. Run, run." Hang on do you like watching the women's 100 meters at the Olympics? Well you get to watch Zoe Salanda and Eve Alice run. "Run Uhuru and Dr. Carol Marcus. Run, run, run." They run everywhere in the future and I don't mean a nice healthy jog. No way, not in this future! It's full-pelt or nothing! Second place is not an option!

So, there's a lot of running in this film. A lot. In fact I'm beginning to realise there's probably as much running in this review as there is in the film, almost if I'm desperately trying to avoid having to say anything bad about this film. Almost as if I'm trying to avoid admitting something. Oh my god, I  hear you say, don't tell me it's no good?

Okay, I won't tell you that. But I will tell you the following. If you've never seen the original Star Trek movies or the original Star Trek TV show then worry not, this is a great fun, fantastically entertaining, if utterly empty, action-packed, slam-blam, thank you mam flick (even if there is a little bit too much running in it.) and it gets a quantifiable...






... if like me you've seen the original Star Trek movies and in particular Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Khan then this film is a fucking insult, a horrible, offensive, lazy stupid insult. Not right from the start, no sir! It's great fun right off the bat and stays that way for a long time. The story unravels very fast as truths are discovered, characters revealed and agendas exposed. The villain or villains are shadowy and overall I thoroughly enjoyed it. That was right up to the third act, then the film starts to unravel and it becomes a mess.

Why couldn't Abrams just make a new Star Trek movie with, say the Klingons, as the threat? Why did he have to rehash Wrath of Khan? Why, what does it add, what's the point? Also, how does it work in this rebooted Star Trek universe where Khan and Kirk have no shared history because Kirk's not set out yet on his 5-year mission to baldly [sic] go when no man has gone before? It's as stupid as when Hollywood's last golden boy, Bryan Singer revived Superman and once again did a story about Lex Luthor on yet another real-estate con. That said, Cumberbatch makes a bloody good Khan.

There is one telegraphed plot point in this new Trek film that is so lazy it's staggering. It takes place in the med lab where Khan's blood is being annalysed and Kirk says to Bones, "Are you still experimenting with that DEAD Tribble?" The camera cuts to Bones prodding said dead Tribble and preparing to inject it with something. "Yes, I'm going to see if Khan's 'amazing blood' can revive it." Explains Bones as he reads off the major plot point from a large autocute just off camera. Gosh, I wonder whether THAT is going to be significant later on, say if someone important were to DIE.

From here on it gets annoying very fast. With the Enterprise disabled and falling through Earth's atmosphere with no power, it falls to Kirk to save the day by entering the warp core and manually re-alining the core by kicking it, which is the future equivalent of banging the top of your TV to get the picture back. So he gets to make the ultimate sacrifice, behind a glass door where Spock on the other side can do nothing but watch his friend die and shout "KHAN!!!!"

In the original film, Spock's sacrifice is a truly surprising, emotional gut punch. It comes at the end of an impressive battle between two space ships and his death scene is deeply moving. This time, it's just one more cliffhanger to overcome before the next, one more dramatic action beat and nothing more, which devalues Kirk's sacrifice and the memory of Wrath of Khan.

Likewise in the original film, it's Kirk who gets to shout out 'KHAN!' with true emotion and rage, but not at Spock's death but at the utter frustration and impotent rage he feels at his opponent who seems to have won. This time Spock does the shouting, but why does he? It's not really Khan's fault that Kirk is dead. That blame lies with the true villain behind the whole plot and he's already dead. Similarly, isn't Spock a Vulcan and aren't they just emotionless logical beings?

Finally, a modern 21st Century, summer, blockbuster movie can't end like the original with a moving, sombre funeral in space and discussion about sacrifice and friendship, no it has to end with one more running and punching fight. This time in midair cos it's exciting. Except by this point it's not. It's just too much.

I started off enjoying this film and feeling it was a satisfying 8/10, the Tribble took it down to a 7/10. Kirk's death dragged it further down to a 6/10 and Spock's Khan cry sunk it with a 5.

I watched it again today to see if I was being unfair. And I'm sorry to report I'm not.

Too much running, too much shouting, too much everything and not nearly enough Star Trek.


Monday, 6 May 2013


Starring Steve Coogan, Anna Friel, Imogen Poots, Tasmin Egerton and directed by Michael Winterbottom. 

The life and lays of Paul Raymond, King of Soho, bad husband, bad, but loving (if you were his daughter), father and excellent realtor.

Some men claim to be leg men, others love a good bum, but I have a thing for breasts, I love them! Which means I loved this film, if only for the sheer volume of naked breasts on display, not a single scene went by without some and for that this film gets a solid 10/10

However, if you want a non-breast bias review then read on.

This is a rather sobering, and sad film which portrays Raymond as a lonely man, seemingly lost in a world where he could have, and did, everything and everyone he wanted.

Normally these types of bio-pic portray men, who have everything, spiraling out of control into an abyss of drugs, sex and alcohol, but not so with Raymond who never seems to spiral anywhere except into bed with another group of eager and willing young women. Seemingly able to control his drug taking to sensible amounts of cocaine and champagne, Raymond's only other vices were an addiction to buying up properties, putting on racy shows farces, protecting his daughter from everything except drugs and publishing a string of hugely successful pornographic magazines.

Following Raymond from the 1950s up to the death of his daughter in 1992 The Look of Love is told in flashback form, with Raymond returning from his daughter's funeral to watch a documentary interview with him and her. Along the way we watch his marriage to Jean Bradley, played by Anna Friel collapse and his relationship Fiona Richmond, Tasmin Egerton take over, while he puts on saucy-nudie review shows, over -indulges his daughter, Imogen Poots, drinks champagne, takes drugs, publishes porno mags, name drops Ringo Star and reminds people he used to be called Geoffrey Anthony Quinn. And that's about it.

While the film remains interesting, the period detail is lovely, it never really engages and you never really connect with Raymond as a character. And it's difficult to know why. Steve Coogan creates a believable Raymond, much in the way he did with Tony Wilson and he never slips into parody or comedy to play the role. Perhaps it's because Raymond never really did anything other than shag, buy property and keep his beloved daughter gainfully employed? 

Overall this film is a bit like a wank, great fun while it's happening but you're left feeling pretty empty once it's over, especially if you've done it right.