Archive for the 'films' Category

14
Mar
10

Kick-Ass!!!!

Got to see this superb movie about two weeks back, and at last I can tell people about it.
My review on Den of Geek is here.

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18
Feb
08

Death of the Effects Movie

I’ve been writing for Den of Geek again!
Go here to read about Effects Movies and how they’re not up to scratch!
I am, not very good at Effects, Legend

26
Sep
07

Be afraid! The Singing Ringing Tree…

A chance conversation unlocked childhood terror for me, which I put to some use in an article on Den of Geek here.

If you’re feeling especially brave here is some of the bladder weakening TV event for children from YouTube.

15
Sep
07

My Top 10 totally wasted film franchises

Counting down from the top, here are my 10 most disappointing attempts to convert some prior source material into new film franchise.

10. Catwomen (2004)

I’d read a few negative comments about this production before I saw it, but little prepared me for how utterly dreadful it is. What confused me entirely was that the title suggests a connection to the Bob Kane character, but what’s presented in it has as much to do with him as the carton series ‘Top Cat’. And, any delusions that winning an Oscar gives you some protection when you make a turkey soon evaporated for Halle Berry when this opened.

9. Van Helsing (2004)

This one is a bit weird, because it draws on the work of Bram Stoker, Mary Shelly and others, but curiously the Van Helsing in this movie isn’t the one that’s detailed in the Dracula book. The true source material is the 1930s Universal Studio monster movies, but whatever the origins it stunk. Much of the movie is entirely unwatchable as there is very little logic or connection between progressive scenes. Had Stephen Sommers given it the light and deft touch he’d used on the first Mummy movie it could have easily been a whole new outlet for High Jackman, but instead he used his mallet of sloppy film making to entirely trash it.

8. The Young Sherlock Holmes (1985)

With Barry Levinson directing, assisted by Frank Marshal, Steven Speilberg, and Henry Winkler producing, and the entire wealth of Conan Doyle’s archetypal detective Holmes, how could it go wrong? Big time, I’d suggest. I can’t really blame the cast, most of whom seemed well suited to their character rolls, with Nicholas Rowe being very good as the young Holmes. But parts of this production play like a weird Victorian version of the Goonies. It was an interesting premise, actually contradicted by Doyle’s own work, but ultimately an attempt to start a franchise that failed miserably.

7. The Saint (1997)

There are parts of this movie I enjoy, but what’s it got to do with the Leslie Charteris character? Not much from what I can recall of the novels, 1940’s George Sanders movies and his later TV incarnations with Roger Moore and Ian Ogilvy. The entire premise that the Saint was once a man who lived on the wrong side of the law, but is has chosen to fight crime seems entirely lost in this movie with Val Kilmer making the Roger Moore eyebrow acting seem positively expressive. The limp performance of this Saint at the global box-office means this franchise will need at least three miracles to be resurrected.

6. Lost in Space (1998)

It looked like converting this icon of 1960s TV for the big screen would be a challenge, but it turned out to be more of one than those assembled to make it could handle. Personally I love some of the design work in this production, but the performances of the actors and the script are not remotely up to the job. This was Matt LeBlanc’s only real stab at movie stardom, and it fell entirely flat, much like his career. Danger Will Robinson, this franchise is lost!

5. The Avengers (1998)

With what looked like interesting casting, and some amazing source material this could have been fantastic. But instead it was an utter fiasco, the likes of which I’m still coming to terms with. Sir Sean Connery should have kept the teddy bear outfit on for the whole dreadful proceedings and claimed he was never in it.

4. Æon Flux (2005)
If you’ve never seen the original animated version of this created by Korean American animator Peter Chung then you missed plenty, as it’s a curious blending of the stylised science fiction popularised by ‘Heavy Metal’ and hardcore animé. But the film version carries virtually none of these qualities with any success, and is a wholly abysmal celluloid experience despite having the stunning Charlize Theron in the lead roll. In most episodes Æon dies at the end, but this franchise was the fatality here.

3. Planet of the Apes (2001)

This is an almost unique scenario where an amazing film spawns a franchise that then is run into the ground. Then years later it’s relaunched and crashes a the first hurdle. Given the advances in effects since the 1968 original this could have been something special, but they appear to have started this movie without a script, and it ended before they’d rectified that. What didn’t help was people asking director Tim Burton what it was actually about and him replying ‘What do you think it’s about?’, while being interviewed to promote this drivel. Amazing potential, flushed down the toilet of film franchise.

2. Judge Dredd (1995)
While Arnhuld was the obvious choice for Dredd not too many people winced when they heard it had gone to Stallone, but they positively recoiled when they saw what had become of this British comic classic. In a film that swayed wildly between comic camp and a cop buddy actioner it managed to avoid hitting any of the potential target audience that enjoyed the comic, or science fiction for that matter. A mess of a movie where the events make little sense, and the characters would appreciate being one dimensional. I’d love to blame Rob Schneider, but he’s just gristle in the meat grinder that is Judge Dredd.

1. Thunderbirds (2004)
Given the richness of the source material this was a diabolical trashing of a franchise almost without precedent. Despite the potential to tap into an adult audience, like Transformers, Jonathon Frakes focused instead on the child friendly aspects, making the kids the leads. Too many kids, too many characters, not enough Thunderbirds action and Ben Kingsley playing Widow Twankie. The end result; a complete turkey. You might have directed the best Trek movie of recent times, but Please Mr Frakes, stay away from any other of my childhood memories.

14
Sep
07

Big Trouble…in little China

My assessment of this classic movie is up on Den of Geek! Enjoy here.
Big Trouble in Little China

18
Aug
07

Jurassic Park IV – Dumb and Dumbersaurus

There’s a story running on Bloody Disgusting currently that actually blew my mind, entirely. It’s a report which suggests, get ready for this, that the plot of the next Jurassic Park (IV) will be ‘about the government who has trained dinosaurs to carry weapons and use them for battle purposes.’ Oh, that’s…err…incredible.
If this is true, and a dark side of my personality wants it to be because they don’t make make big budget movies based on such god awful ideas often, then I wish I’d been a fly on the wall when some script guru pitched this to Spielberg and Co…and they went ‘That’s a cool idea…give the Dino’s big guns!’
I’m sorry, either this isn’t the real idea, or those green-lighting this project where dipped in psycho-reactive slime!

But it has inspired me to think up the Ten worst ideas for a franchise sequel.

10. The Bourne mediocrity – Jason Bourne discovers the best way to remain hidden is to master the art of being average, but makes too good a job of it.
9. The Fantastic 4: Baby Boom – The Fantastic 4 become parents, spawning super-powered kids with hilarious consequences. Stan Lee cameos as their paediatrician.
8. Legal Weapon 23: back in a diapers – Yes, they really are too old for this shit
7. Terminator 4: Total Recall – Our heroes must travel into the distant future, create a manufacturing fault in the Skynet factory, and get all the Terminators warranty recalled!
6. Bewitched: Witch and Bewitched – Exactly the same plot as the original, but with someone different playing Darren.
5. Ace-less Ventura – An Ace Ventura Movie without the named character or Jim Carrey(oops..sorry they’re doing that one!)
4. Out for a Quarter Past Under Siege – Seagal…need I say more?
3. Unnamed Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez project
2. Ghostbusters: the Musical
1. Jason vs. Pee Wee Herman – Pee Wee dresses up as a notorious serial killer, with hilarious consequences.

17
Aug
07

The Bourne Ultimatum Reviewed

Bourne UltimatumGosh, I’m still in a little shock. This summer’s blockbusters, or the ones I’ve seen, have all very much followed a pattern, of being mildly entertaining while not actually delivering on their promise. It’s not like that’s amazing, but the contrast is dramatically enhanced when one comes along that does, and do so in such an in-your-face way. The Bourne Ultimatum delivers on some many levels that it shouldn’t be compared with the Hollywood vehicles it’s competing or even the films that preceded it.
Interestingly, Paul Greengrass directed Bourne Supremac, which I enjoyed but isn’t remotely like this one. Yes it has many of the same characters, but Greengrass has unleashed some sort of directing demon with himself here. For starters he’s had the audacity to make the entire film, for it’s 111minute running time, a chase. Like Jason Bourne, the chase is unforgiving, unrelenting and utterly gripping. From the previous outings we’ve had hints at know how good Bourne is, but in this one we get to see him at his most clinical, tactical and incisive. In many ways it was entirely reminiscent of Ian Flemming’s conceptual James Bond; a person at the peak of mental and physical fitness, able to use the clarity of thought and purpose to achieve almost super-human tasks. Where the Bond franchise left this aspect begin, in Bourne it’s what grounds the movies in a type of hyper-reality where any person is just a split second away from death or serious injury in his presence.
Bourne’s quest, to discover his real identity, is ironically progressed by the same forces that so wish to keep this secret. The more they try to take him down, and the people around him, the more they propel him onwards. I’m not going to spoil the plot for you, and where it ultimately takes us, and him. But the end of a film completes a perfect circle that started with Jason Bourne falling shot from Wombosi’s boat at the start of Bourne Identity.
But along the way we’re blessed with some set sequences of breaktaking action, tension and drama. The reality as presented of a fluid battlefield of intelligence may be nothing like the real thing, but it seems frighteningly real. ‘Assets’ are called into use, positioned chess like, and then ‘activated’. We get to see through Bourne’s eyes the threats around us, and how best to deal with them. Each door or window is a possible escape route, object a projectile, vehicle a means of pursuit or lethal weapon. The movie takes us inside the Jason Bourne mindset and manacle’s us their for the entire running time.
And, in the end I was left desperately wanting more, which is exactly the way it should be. After this episode I can see the studio’s not wanting to let this franchise die, but they’ve now used up the Ludlum source material and entire motivation for Bourne to go on. Their are two other Bourne books by another writer, but the danger is that they’ll carry on until they mess it up. I’d rather they stopped now, while they’re significantly ahead, than produce another inferior chapter.
If you only get to see one movie this year, make it The Bourne Ultimatum.




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