Monday, 19 August 2013


Directed by Dennis Dugan. With Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Chris Rock, David Spade, Taylor Lautner, Salma Hayek and Maria Bello.

Following on a few years after the first film, Grown Ups 2 follows our four all-grown up school boy chums on the last day of school for their children. Along the way they all learn valuable life lessons while breaking children's legs, assaulting and hospitalising teenagers and encouraging drunk driving, drug use, sexually assaulting a series of large breasted women, bathing in and drinking rain-deer urine and abusing the elderly all under a 12A certificate.

I think the biggest shock of this film isn't the fact it doesn't have a plot at all, or the fact that it stars talented actors like Salma Hayek and Maria Bello, it's the fact it credits three different writers for the screenplay. I have to say that again, it credits three different writers for the screenplay. I mean I know what writers do when they're writing screenplays, but seriously what the fuck did these three do? Did they take turns getting the coffees in or was one of them doing that all the time, if so, what were the other two doing, certainly not writing funny dialogue or good gags. I'm assuming they used three because they were hoping for the infinite number of monkeys school of writing but could only afford three? If so, those other monkeys were the lucky ones, not so the poor apes I saw this with.

All that said, there's still stuff you laugh at, not necessarily because it's funny but because you can't believe they've just done what they've done. Most of the humour comes from OTT violent slapstick and prat falls which are always funny, not so the attempts at witty dialogue or well written jokes. no sir, there's no room for that type of thing in an Adam Sandler film, he really does seem to be on a one-man crusade to see just how much shit he can throw at the screen before the American audience finally goes, 'No! No! No, Adam Sandler, enough is enough. And this is enough.'

Like watching a terrible car crash involving a coach load of clowns and circus freaks, you want to look away because you can't believe what you're seeing.


#70 KICK ASS 2

Starring Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Chloë Grace Moretz, Christopher Mintz-Plasse and Jim Carrey. Directed by Jeff Wadlow running time 103 minutes.

Continuing a few months after the events of the first and vastly superior Kick Ass movie, Kick Ass 2 dumps all the irony, freshness and humour of the first in favour of an unnecessary sub plot involving Hit Girl joining the cheerleading squad and fitting in at school and another about Kick Ass's new fitness regime, while Red Mist re-imagines himself as the Mother Fucker and puts together a squad of super villains to wreck a bloody and brutal revenge on Kick Ass.

It's sad when you see a sequel to a film you really loved and enjoyed and all you can do is sit there wishing you were watching the original again, in stead. Where as the first KA, directed by Mathew Vaughn was a glorious, free-wheeling assault upon super-hero conventions this is just a tired rehash, ignoring rules and instead just featuring an endless stream of dull fights and beatings leading up to a brawl in a wharehouse. 

'Thank heavens for Hit Girls' sang Maurice Chevaier and watching her in action you can see why he did. She, Jim Carrey and Christopher Mintz-Plasse are the best things in this film, while Aaron Taylor-Johnson sadly gets the most boring role in the film and serves merely as an emotional and physical punching bag for the film to arrive at the final showdown.

Some scientists claim that time travel isn't possible, well I don't know if that's true or not but I urge them to examine this film because I have to say this film felt a whole lot longer than 103 minutes, yes sir, it felt more like a 103 hours, so dull and repetitive was the action and surely if they could understand this process they might be able to unlock the secrets of time travel?


#69 2 GUNS

Do you know what makes this film special?

It's not that it stars Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg, it's not because the director is called 
Baltasar Kormákur. Nor is it because it has the always good-for-value, Bill Paxton playing the villain (brilliantly I might add!) And it's not that the film's only female, Paula Patton gets her puppies out. No sir! It's because it's only 109 minutes long! That's a short film these days! It means you can drink a big Cola Zero and not have to sneak out for a pee half-way through. How fantastic is that, a film that doesn't outstay its welcome, this means it's got a director who's happy to be edited, what a delight. I wonder what else this Icelandic actor, producer and director has done? Gosh, that other Marky Mark 'classic', Contraband.

So, what's it about, David? Since you asked so nicely I tell you. It's about these two blokes who both seem to be gangsters (but are they...) who rob a bank expecting a haul of 3 million but end up with a take of 43 in stead. Now it seems that the money belongs not to the Texas drug baron they expected but a very peeved, Bill
Paxton - sporting a very nifty pork-pie-hat as a psycho gangster king pin (or is he...). What follows is twist upon twist upon cross and double cross as our two heroes stumble from one outlandish shoot-out to the next all the way up the food chain to the top via car chases, gun battles and explosions all the while dealing with rogue elements of the US Navy, the ICA and corrupt lawmen.

This is billed as a comedy action film those the use of the word 'comedy' might be over doing it a tad. That's not to say this is a bad film, it's not, far from it! It's great fun thanks in no small part to the terrific chemistry between the two leads, I've not seen Marky Mark this much fun since his turn in the Other Guys. it's a shame he keeps succumbing to the films like Contraband and Broken City, where his himbo persona lets him down, in films like this, where he's having fun he's always a hoot.

This is all sadly let down by a rushed ending and the inability for our heroes to get shot, unless it's by each other.



Starring Steve Cogan, Colin Meany, Felicity Montagu, Sean Pertwee and Tim Key. Written by: Steve Coogan, Armando Iannucci, Peter Baynham, Neil Gibbons, and Rob Gibbons and directed by Declan Lowney. Running time 121 minutes.

North Norfolk Digital gets taken over and to save his own neck, Partridge gets his fellow DJ, Pat fired instead. When Pat goes postal and takes the radio station and the management hostage, Partridge, seeing a chance to rekindle his fame, becomes Siege Face and the hostage negotiator.

An extremely funny, witty and thoroughly entertaining comedy, without doubt the funniest film I've seen all year. Steve Cogan's comic creation just keeps getting better with age, finally growing into his age and look. Cleverly avoiding the pitfall of other British comedy big-screen transfers, Alpha Papa keeps it small and simple by remembering that Patridge is in essence a small and petty man.

If you can't make up your mind to see this then ask yourself a question. 'Have you ever seen any of the many series of Alan Partridge in all of his incarnations (radio sports commentator, News-show sports commentator, Chat-show host, Motor-lodge resident, North Norfolk DJ)?' If you have, then you're in for a delightful continuation of Patridge thanks in no small part to the brilliant writing and Cogan's skill.

However, if you've never seen anything of Alan Partridge, then you're an idiot and I don't care if you see this and don't like it, you wouldn't recognise good comedy it if ran over you in a truck then reversed over you to ask you for directions to the comedy workshop at the local social club.

It's been a good year for British comedy this year, and for the best of it, see this!


Tuesday, 6 August 2013


God might forgive, but I don't.

Directed by Nicolas Winding Refn. Starring Ryan Gosling, Kristin Scott Thomas, Vithaya Pansringarm and Gordon Brown.

Some grumpy, criminal psycho goes mental and kills a child prostitute so some another bloke, a copper, turns up and lets the victim's dad kill the killer before chopping of the Father's hand with a sword. Then the dead killer's mum turns up, rather annoyed, and orders her other son take revenge on the one-armed father, only he doesn't so she does. A few more people die and the brother and the copper have a fight. Then it ends. To fill the tedium we are treated to three very long karoke sessions.

Self indulgent, snail-slow, empty to the point of ludicrous. Kristen Scott Thomas is superb.

This starts off well but over the course of its incredibly long 90 minute running time, the endless slow, dialogue-empty scenes start to take their toil on your patience and by the end of it you're begging for something to happen. It looks good and the atmosphere of menace it generates is palatable but after a while you just stop caring. The sound track is effective too but even that gets on your nerves after a while. And to get the full Ryan Gosling effect, you really need him to act and do stuff, rather than just have him stand there pouting, which isn't really enough.


Sunday, 4 August 2013


Directed by Noah Baumbach, written by Noah Baumbach and Greta Gerwig and starring Greta Gerwig and Mickey Sumner. 86 minutes looooong.

When her best friend decides it's time to move on and out of their New York apartment,  scatter-brained, gawky, free-spirit and perennial woman-child, Frances - a 27 year-old apprentice dancer for a second-rate dance company, who's forever scrabbling for the next rent cheque is forced to move from one apartment to another in an ever decreasing spiral of poverty till she's reduced to working as a greeter for the summer at her old college and sleeping in her old dorm room. Along the way she meets a series of well-off people who all seem to find something special in her that for the life of me I couldn't.

What makes this film interesting is that it's a film about a young woman and at no point does she have to have a relationship or have sex with a man to propel it on. It's just a film about a young woman forced to grow up a little.

Sweet, endearing but crushingly aimless and empty.


#64 RED 2

First off I have to warn you, despite the fact there's communists involved and a large portion of it is filmed in Moscow and the Kremlin, this ISN'T a sequel to Warren Beatty's 1981 movie, Reds. This in actual fact is a sequel to the 2010 comedy/action movie, RED. It's important not to get those two confused otherwise you're going to be in for a very disappointing experience. 

Starring: Bruce Willis, John Malkovich, Helen Mirren, Anthony Hopkins, Catherine Zeta Jones, Mary Louise-Parker, Byung-hun Lee, David Thewlis, Tim Piggot-Smith, Neal McDonough, Brian Cox and Steven Berkoff! Directed by Dean Parisot. 

Running time:116 minutes.

There's trouble in the Frank/Sarah household, where the non-violent domesticity is beginning to ruin their relationship. So when Malkovich's Marvin turns up briefly before dying, even more briefly, with news of a coming conspiracy that threatens them all with hit-squads from both the CIA and MI6 and a lethal, unstoppable Chinese assassin, the mis-matched pair are off on a spot of globe-trotting marriage guidance in search of a missing atomic device that ricochets our mismatched band of heroes from America to London, to Paris, to Moscow and back again, and again. And again.

I know, I know, I know what you're thinking. Wow, what an amazing cast! All in one film, gosh that's impressive, good grief, look! It's even got both Hannibal Lektors in it! That's a first isn't it? the plot sounds rightly potty too! More madcap-action, tongue-in-cheek adventure!  The first REDS was great fun so I bet this is going to be a hoot! And the trailer looked like fun too, didn't it? Hopkins acting loopy, somersaulting cars, gun battles, punch-ups, Kung Fu, Malkovich showing off his comedy chops again and Willis at his usual, laconic, laid-back but charismatic best!

Can't wait!

119 minutes later.

Oh. I wish I'd waited for the film makers of this to come up with a stronger story and a better director.

Lack-lustre, rather bland and unexciting really. Everyone's fun in it, apart from Willis who doesn't even bother phoning in his performance, relying in stead on one of those life-size cardboard cut-outs to do his job.

There's a real sense of blandness about this, a lack of danger or a fear that our plucky bland of heroes might fail, that's never in doubt. The villains never shot to kill (unless it's needed to advance the plot), just destroy property and they take turns to shoot while aiming high. The action is constant and repetitive and monotonous. Everyone's game for it, except for Willis who these days seems to show passion only when he's being interviewed after on press junkets for these films. 

It's not all bad, there are some funny moments, any time Helen Mirren turns up (doubly so when Brian Cox shares the screen with her), Marvin and the others discussing relationships and what Frank should be doing with Sarah and the idea that they all talk to Sarah behind Frank's back.

However, this is sadly disappointing and uninvolving. Might be more fun on DVD.