Tuesday, 26 April 2011

21 through 25

Realising I've been somewhat lacking in the film watching department (Or at least the 'watching new films' department) I decided to pull my finger out and over the last weekend managed to get a fair few films in. Thank goodness for Bank Holiday weekends.
I also put it down to the new shop being my main focus at the moment. Had some rather amusing situations happen so far. In fact, before I get into the reviews, I'll tell you about a guy who came into the studio on Friday.
This dude came in looking pretty... spaced out. I dont think he was on anything but I think he normally is and its effected how he is in his normal day to day life... He approached the counter and rolled up his trouser leg
"Aaaah what it is butt, i've got a leg sleeve I want to know if you can finish off like. I got an angel holding a cross and jesus holding a cross and I want something to go in the gap inbetween like."
"No worries, did you have any idea of what you might want to fill in the gap?"
"Not really sure like, whatever you think would look good innit? Maybe a cross on its own like? Maybe another Jesus? I cant have the Virgin Mary though."
"Why cant you have the Virgin Mary out of interest?"
"Cos she's a Catholic like."
"Well... Actually she was Jewish"
"Same thing like"
Found it hard here not to piss myself laughing and then start arguing the differences of the worlds religions...
"I'm a Seven Day Adventist Christian see"
"Right... Well... um... without meaning to sound rude, what CAN you have?"
"Well I was thinking about having a headstone in the space."
"Ok... Did you want anything on the Headstone at all? Any sort of text?"
"Uh... Yeah... I'd want RIP J. J."
At which point I had to bite my cheeks to stop from laughing. Talk about completely unrelated to the religious imagery he had found so important only minutes earlier...
I gave him a break down of our prices at which point his junky head must have thought about all the drugs he could purchase instead, and he left.

So yeah a lot of stuff like that seems to be occupying my time these days.

Anyway, onto the films!

21.) Tron: Legacy (2010) Dir: Joseph Kosinski

I'd wondered if there would ever be a sequel made to "Tron" after the film did so poorly in the early eighties. I remember in the nineties there was an episode of the cartoon "Freakazoid" where they talked about how the original didn't turn out to be the success that Disney had hoped it would be and it was pretty much a financial disaster. That said, it kinda built up a massive cult following over the years with modern day popular culture oftern making reference to it. Things like "Family Guy" for instance.
So I was pretty happy when I heard that this film was being made as with modern effects I figured it could be something pretty special. I've seen the original numerous times but not for many years so only vaguely remember it but I always remember that I liked it. I heard various things about the film as it was in production. Things like Jeff Bridges real world son would have to fight his CG world son who was the spitting image of a young Bridges.
This was almost right with the young Bridges being pretty much a digital clone whose sole purpose is to improve the cyberworld. Of course, to develop the plot, he has to go bad and ends up imprisoning Bridges in the CG world or 20 years. Then Bridges real world son grows up on the outside and finds his dad is still alive and sets off to rescue him. Kinda. Dont want to give too much away.
This film is O.K at best. Visually yes it looks good but I have real problems with the story.
For example, I think they only really called this film "Tron" so that people would know it was a sequel as Tron is NOT a major player in the story. His appearance in it is totally predictable as well and his exit from the film is not one that I thought worthy of someone who is the film titular character. In fact I would go so far as to say it was completely unsatisfying and unmemorable. This pissed me off a bit.
It would kinda be like having a Conan film where Conan only appears in the film as a supporting character who you hardly really see and has little to no dialogue at all. Thats not what you're paying for on the door is it?
Another thing that bugged. If I came up to you and said "Here you go, this is a unsecure, easily accesible wallet that I want you to carry on the centre of your back where it can be easily removed by any third party. In this I want you to keep your: House keys, Car keys, Passport, Money, Credit Cards, Pin numbers, Jewellery and anything of any value to you." you would turn to me and tell me I was off my fucking head. Yet in this film its accepted practice in the CG world. They keep a disk which has their entire identity on their backs. I know it was kinda like this in "Tron" but I would hope that after 20 years of your identity being stolen in this CG world, they would have found a more secure alternative. Nope. Even the old Jeff Bridges is still carrying his on his back and his contains the key for any of the computer world people to leave and enter the real world. He knows his is the most valuable disk but instead of locking it away in a vault or something, he carries it. On his back. It ends up being stolen from him stupidly easily and everyone looks on as if this is a big shock.
I know you might think i'm over thinking it but after waiting over twenty years for a sequel, dont we deserve better than this? The ending is pretty gash too. Really, really disappointing. Have they left it open for another film? If so, will this one actually have Tron in it to justify the film name? We live in hope...
Rating 3/5

22.) 9 (2009) Dir: Shane Acker

I knew this film existed but I didnt really know much about it and for some reason, despite it being animated I wasnt really bothered about ever seeing it. Maybe the designs of the main characters just didnt do it for me or maybe it was the washed out colour scheme that seems to be used all through the film... Whatever it was, I decided that as it was on last weekend, I would give it a look.
The backround to the story is nothing particularly new: Humans versus Machines. I think Cameron had pretty much sown up this area in the Eighties. What I did like about this though, is that its not about the survival of humanity. We're already extinct. It's about the survival or some weird sock-puppet type things who were given life by the same human who created the machines that wiped us out in the first place. All this on top of flashbacks to the humans fighting the machines that sort of made it look more the World War 2 era when the machines attacked as opposed to some futuristic time.
There was also a clever way of handling death in the film that would still make it watchable to children while informing adults that people were being ruthlessly cut down and killed. I liked that. It didnt really directly show humans dying but it was implied. Human corpses always seem to be just slightly out of focus too so you cant really spend too much time studying them and they're really clever in the way that you're not really drawn towards the corpses but more the sock puppets anyway.
Now what did bug me was the character of 9. The only machine left to hurt the sock puppets was a robodog. The SP's track down the dog and see it trying to stick a special stone into a giant robot but they kill him before the robodog can finish inserting it. Most of the SP's celebrate whilst 9 thinks it would still be a good idea to see what would happen if the stone was inserted into the machine. Thus waking a maniacal machine hell bent on wiping out any life on the planet other than machine. Oh and it can create other machines as well and is in fact the main machine that started the whole human/machine war in the first place.
Good job 9. Maybe do some research before you go sticking that fork into the plug socket yeah?
Rating 3/5

23.) Paul (2011) Dir: Greg Mottola

I love Simon Pegg. I think he's done wonders for the whole Geek community. He's contributed, without a doubt, to Geek-chic. Making Geeks seem a lot cooler than perhaps we really are. "Spaced" was a stroke of absolute genius and I couldnt help but feel when I was younger that it was written about me (In "Spaced" the main character Tim was an aspiring comic book artist who worked in a comic book store. At the time I was an aspiring comic book artist working in a -yep you guessed it!- comic book store).
So whenever I hear that he's written a knew film I look forward to it. "Shaun of the Dead" and "Hot Fuzz" were both brilliant. "Paul" wasn't quite up to their standards... It was nothing really... new. I think maybe the missing factor in this film was the lack of involvement of Edgar Wright.
The film was basically Pegg and Frost getting all the other geeky shit they had built up off their chests I think. In the last ten minutes of the film alone I think there are a billion quotes from other famous science fiction films.
So basically 2 Brits travel across America and along the way they meet numerous whacky folks from the film "Superbad" and the series "Arrested Development" causing much hilarity to ensue. Seth Rogen was a pretty voice actor, some of the CG seemed a tad shonky but overall I enjoyed the film! It just didnt blow me away.
Rating 3/5

24.) Surrogates (2009) Dir: Jonathan Mostow

I wanted to see this film when I heard it was being made. I liked the concept even as ridiculous as it was. Plus the idea of Bruce with a really ponce like hair style amused me somewhat!
This is one of those Sci-Fi films where if you spend too long thinking about the story, you realise it couldnt work and pick lots of holes in the plot. If you watch it and switch off though, it's pretty enjoyable.
Basically in this film the majority of the population jump at their own shadows so instead of leaving the house themselves, they plug into a computer and let robot versions of themselves who are impervious to pain go out instead. You could be anyone you want though. You dont have to look anything like yourself.
Willis is a cop investigating a murder whose surrogate is destroyed forcing him to walk around as himself. He becomes disillusioned with the whole surrogate robot thing but still has to solve a murder. Since he doesnt have a robot version of himself to investigate with anymore it puts him in danger of actually being killed but thats nothing compared to what could happen.
I wont say more than that. There's lots of things you could tear apart in this film but its alright. Has a pretty decent cast too.
It kinda reminds me of all the internet games where fat, sweaty, middle-aged, unemployed losers pretend to be teenage girls and masterbate profusely as they "cyber" with teenage boys...
I saw a documentary about it once...
Rating 4/5

25.) Battle: Los Angeles (2011) Dir: Jonathan Liebesman

Not to be confused with my earlier review for "Battle OF Los Angeles" which of course is an absolute classic.
This is basically the same premise though. Aliens come to Earth and start attacking. You dont see too much of the actual aliens because of that "shaking camera" effect that seems to be so popular these days... Two-Face plays a staff-sgt who has to go up against the aliens with a inexperienced 2nd Lt. as his C.O.
It's not really strong on story if i'm completely honest. You learn a little bit about the backround of each main character but considering all of the main characters are Marines, you know they're really just there to be shot at and/or killed.
The marines go in, get their asses kicked and then spend the majority of the film trying to retreat to a safe zone before the area they're in is carpet bombed or nuked or whatever.
Two-Face is pretty bad ass and yet troubled all at the same time.
Michelle Rodriguez is in this too. She doesnt die in it either for a change. Seriously though, does anybody actually like her? Does anybody think "We need a hottie for this film, get Michelle on the phone" because if so, they clearly havent spent much time checking the wealth of hotties out there. I just find her really irritating with the whole "I'm such a bad girl" vibe she seems to like perpetuating. She's picked because she's so butch I think. The whole "Is she or isnt she a lesbian?" thing must appeal to a lot of guys who like it when towards the end of the film its revealed she is infact straight. I dont know, i'm probably reading too much into it but I dont think any film she has ever been in would have suffered if she HADN'T been in it. Anyone want to share any opinion on this?
Rating 3/5

So another 5 down! Only another 225 films to go! Easy...
I have a few lined up now that I want to watch but I've fallen a little behind so need to pull my thumb out and cram a few more flicks in I think...
Still taking suggestions for films.
Also if anyone knows a good source of old science fiction films online then please let me know! I'd prefer websites that would let me stream them. Films from the 50's and 60's etc etc...



  1. Paul defecates over the other films in this list from a great height. Not as good as Shaun but better than Hot Fuzz, I'd give it a 4.

    To be fair, I've not seen Tron. But then I didn't like the original except for the cool tech.

  2. I think people think its better than it is just simply on the basis that its Simon Pegg. He's popular on the Indie side of things and this film was catering far too much to the mainstream with only elements of his true geeky self in it... Or something.