So I know a lot of you are probably thinking from my last lot of reviews, I had to sit through a LOT of shit. You're absolutely, completely and utterly right. Eye bleedingly bad...
The thing I have come to learn though whilst doing this challenge is that having to endure so much shit makes you appreciate the good all the more.
This time I certainly lucked out. I think pretty much all of my reviews this time around are positive. Although that doesn't necessarily mean all the films were good... Just that they amused me enough to merit a positive response...
Take from that what you will...
One thing I can promise you is that I will never refer to this challenge as a "Journey" because every time someone on reality television says that, I just want to ram a rusty spoon into each of their eyes. The pore bleach down their throats so that they cant possibly refer to whats happened to them as a journey again.
Believe it or not, my shrink says i'm getting better.
Right! To the films! At the end of the last blog I mentioned the first film i'll be reviewing so it is with great pride that I bring you:
31.) Megaforce (1982) Dir: Hal Needham
If that picture doesn't sell it for you, nothing will. Right?
This is quite possibly one of the BEST and WORST films I have ever seen all rolled into one. Seriously. This film was so completely, utterly, positively, totally bad that in was INCREDIBLE. Amazing!
It was bad to the point where unlike with the other bad films I've been watching, I wasn't actually wanting to gouge my own eyes out so that I wouldn't have to see anymore of the dross. In fact, this film had me in constant fits of laughter. If you cant laugh at the green screen effects first really seen with the skydiving scene in this... Well... Then you cant appreciate film at all.
So I'll try and trim down the plot as much as I can here... There's a bad guy who leads a merc tank unit and has been blowing up property blowing up to the peoples of the free world. Generally causing trouble in hit and run tactics that have helped him elude capture by the authorities.
So you get a stuffy British General played by the old dude (Is it Denham?) from "Nightrider" - at least... I THINK its him. Feel free to correct me if i'm way off base here... and the General is joined by a Major from... Well... I'm not really sure where the hell she is supposed to be from but I guess its supposed to be a poorer country. Now the pair of them want to stop the Merc leader but some sort of bureaucratic nonsense is stopping them from doing it all public like... something along those lines. So they're invited to the Megaforce base of operations. Somehow.
Megaforce are a elite, secret fighting force put together from the worlds finest soldiers of the free world to stop tyranny from being triumphant. Kinda like the G.I Joe team were but with less of them being specifically American alone. The Megaforce guys aren't referred to as "Real American Heroes" at any point.
Megaforce are led by the greatest of all the elite soldiers. A man who goes by the name of, and wait for it because this is so bad, Commander Ace Hunter. His appearance is that which we have become accustomed to from our military leaders these days:
What? You were expecting something more like this?:
Within Megaforce, Hunter is the only one with any official sort of rank, as one of the supporting characters Dallas explains: "Rank? Why ain't nobody got a rank in Megaforce. 'Cept the Commander, but we all call him Hunter."
Now i'll be one of the first to hold my hands up and say I don't know ALL the ins and outs of the various different military ranking structures, but considering there are around 60 trooper types IN Megaforce, how would this work on a larger scale? Lets say theoretically during a mission Hunter is with part of the squad and the other part of the squad get ambushed. Who takes command of that part? "Hey, target that sector over there!"
"Fuck you! You don't outrank me fucker!"
It just wouldnt work.
So Megaforce go in at night and fuck up a lot of the Merc commanders shit and then plan to arrest the Merc commander the following day by leading him across the border where General Nightrider will be waiting to arrest him. At this point I should point out that they fuck his shit up by riding MOTORCYCLES with missile launchers attached to them. Oh and dune buggies. I better not forget the dune buggies.
So because the (Mostly American) International freedom squad have performed a military act within the Merc commanders native country, that countries government get understandably pissed. They wont allow for Megaforce to arrest the Merc and will open fire on them if they try to cross the border. They need an evac. So they have to get back to the planes that dropped them off. Unfortunately one of them gets damaged so now there's only one plane to evacuate 60 men (Thats right, not one was even seriously wounded during the nights raid or the following days hostilities despite the team being as subtle as a bull in a china shop) which means they have to leave behind all of their super fancy... erm... Dune Buggies and Motorcycles - The best in front line warfare. If I was going up against a tank I know I would want to be... armed with... a um... Motorbike... Yeah. They set a self destruct on their tech so the bad guys cant... Ride their motorbikes... When they're gone and board the plane.
Hunter has been knocked from his bike and is somewhat falling behind! It looks like he might not make it to the Plane!
So what does he do?
He rides his motorbike... Faster! AND!!!! AND!!!!! Turns it into a sort of flying motorcycle! Seriously!
Cue some more terrible Green screen aaaand:
Hunter gets on the plane and they fly back into a safe zone where there is much rejoicing. Hunter blows a kiss from his thumb at the female Major chick I mentioned earlier because now that it's all done and dusted, he can take her on a date.
So what was accomplished?:
An ill-disciplined military unit went into a country that up until that point wasn't hostile towards Western Civilisation just in the hope of capturing a fugitive hiding in their country. Without talking to that countries government.
They blow up a supply depot for the Merc bad guys tanks but don't manage to capture the Merc at all himself (Thats right, he survives.) and end up losing what is no doubt billions of dollars worth of equipment in the process.
I think they would be lucky if the cost of the loss of all the vehicles, weighed against the supply depot they destroyed, meant that they were even breaking even with this mission.
I fucking LOVED this film. If you and your friends are the types to sit down and just take the piss out of whatever film you're watching then you couldn't do better than this film!
Oh and if you want to see the whole "flying bike" scene in full, it's on Youtube here.
32.) Primer (2004) Dir: Shane Carruth
When I first announced on Facebook that I was doing this challenge (I'm www.facebook.com/griftersart if you want to send me a recommendation) there were quite a few people who suggested this film to me and I kinda forgot all about it. Then an old friend of mine, Jordan, sent me a message saying he'd been reading the blog and suggested this film to me again. So with it fresh in mind, I decided to watch this next so I couldn't forget about it again.
I absolutely fucking LOVED this film. It's insanely clever and manages to be so with a practically non-existent budget ($7000, which when you compare it against another sci-fi film of 2004 like "The Day after tomorrow" which had a budget of $125,000,000.00 is pretty impressive when you see what they achieve story wise.).
The film is about a couple of scientists trying to just get that one experiment perfect. I wont lie, when they were speaking all the technical, scientific shizzle at the start of the film, I had absolutely no fucking idea of what they were on about and kinda felt those bits a little hard to follow at one in the morning... but I kinda knew they were going somewhere with it.
All through the film I was waiting for some sort of special effect to occur but it never did and you know what? I'm glad it didn't. It goes to show how solid the story is and doesn't just rely on what can be done with CG like the earlier mentioned "Day After Tomorrow" did.
The two scientist discover a way to travel back in time. Not massively. They do things like go back six hours and things like that. They start to wonder about how they could make their lives better from this. Things like lottery wins or investing in stocks and shares etc etc. Of course though being scientists they then start to worry about what this time travel might be doing to them physically and whether or not they could possibly end up creating a time paradox. So they have to try and avoid anything that could create one when they travel back in time. like seeing themselves for example. They also have to make sure they turn their phones off. They wonder: If they travel back and leave their phones on and they get a call, does it goes to both mobile phones? Just the future ones? Things like that.
Don't get me wrong, this film is really one for those who are specifically sci-fi fans. It's boring yet interesting at the same time but you really have to stick with it.
That said, this film is a little bit of genius that the thinking film-goer will really appreciate I think. Let me know what you think if you do decide to watch it.
33.) I Am Number 4 (2011) Dir: D. J. Caruso
I knew this was a Sci-Fi and despite it having my man-crush Timothy Olyphant in it, I was going to put off watching it in this challenge for as long as I could because there was something about it that was really putting me off that I couldn't put my finger on...
Then I got a text off my friend Ned who insisted I watch it. In fact, this is the exact text he sent me in regards to it:
"I got a film you have to review. Just saw "I am Number four". It's an alien "Twilight" rip-off. I thought it was gonna be shit and to be fair the first half is but fuck me, it has the best fight scene I have watched for years. Better than any comic film. I loved the flick by the end. Please watch it and tell me if i'm way off as I feel like an emo teen turd for liking it so much."
After a message like that, how could I NOT watch it?
Ned was spot on with the "Twilight" bit. It starts off with the whole "Oh god i'm such a hard done by teen-in-love" feel to it.
Basically, number four comes from an alien species that are now all but extinct. He is one of the "Chosen" children (One of nine in fact.) who are supposed to be able to save his species. The only problem is, his species are almost extinct before he's even started growing hairs in the most curious of places. So he's never known his home planet. Each chosen child has a protector. Number Fours is Timothy. Numbers one to Three are dead pretty much as the film starts. Murdered by the alien race that all but wiped out Number Fours people. So Four and Timothy know they could be in trouble.
But instead of worrying about the possibility of impending death, Four decides to risk everything over a girl.
Hell we've all been there right?
Seriously, the start is so teen-romance-flick-like. The sort of film that at the age of fifteen you might take your girlfriend to see in the hope of being able to make out and maybe feel some boob at the back of the cinema - if you're male that is - or not, i'm not here to judge!.. Until the action starts, the only person who really makes the film watchable is Timothy Olyphant. The dude is freaking cool in everything he's ever in. He can do know wrong (With the exception of appearing in this film in the first place...) and really does a good job of playing the overbearing protector.
Eventually the action kicks in and Ned wasn't wrong when he made out it's good! It really IS good. It does piss all over a lot of the recent superhero flicks. I'm not sure if I would say it beats all of them though...
Nevertheless, it is really cool when you see Four come into his alien powers and start being able to stop things in mid air, shoot light of his hands and get pretty damn strong.
If this film had had less action or less impressive action scenes, I would have rated it lower. If it had had less of the mushy teen "I love you" bullshit, I would have rated it higher.
34.) Southland Tales (2006) Dir: Richard Kelly
As I watched this, I thought it was one of the weirdest, off it films to star such a big cast that I had ever seen. Then I found out it was written and directed by the guy who wrote "Donnie Darko" and was less surprised that so many stars would want to be in a film that at first glance seems rather nonsensical and bizarre.
They were probably hoping it would be as big a film on the mainstream and cult circuit as "Darko" was but this film (Some could could argue unfortunately) seems to lack anything that might appeal to the "Emo" audience. Christ, I used to work in a comic-book shop and the amount of emo-kids who would come in that liked "Donnie Darko" because it was the "cool" thing to do was unbelievable. None of them even understood that the film was about time travel and that it gave subtle clues to it all the way through. All they cared about was the guy in that fucking bunny suit.
Anyways i'm going a bit off topic on my rant there. Back to the main film!
I did spend a big chunk of this film just trying to figure out what the fuck was going on! Like the picture above? That didn't seem to make any sense whatsoever in the film. Stuff going on with Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson was bizarre and Seann William Scott seems as baffled in the film as I was watching it!
That said I was strangely enthralled and as the film develops (It's other two hours long so you really have to stick with it...) things really started to fall in to place and make some sort of sense.
There are weird twists and a clever use of time travel that really kept me interested, although I can understand why I had never heard of the film before simply on the basis of the films weirdness.
It's definitely not one for a casual film watcher. This is for the real film enthusiast or hard core science fiction fan. Having said that, if you enjoy the films of David Lynch and things like that, this might not be hardcore enough for you! Or maybe you would enjoy it more so than the average film viewer... Try it!
Oh and this film has one of the greatest film lines of all time:
"He IS a pimp. And pimps don't commit suicide."
35.) Megamind (2010) Dir: Tom McGrath
Now I know most people either love or hate Will Ferrell. There doesn't seem to be much in the way of in-between the two. No matter what your opinion of him is though, there is no way you can deny he is absolutely brilliant in this.
I would say that this is one of the best if not THE best performance of Ferrells career. And it's animated.
I realised that I hadn't really done a proper animated film with these reviews. I don't count "A Scanner Darkly" really as being animation in the same sort of vein as this.
I hadn't really heard too much about this film in terms of reviews so I went in without any sort of expectations but as some of you reading this will know, my degree is in animation so I already have a passion for it.
Megamind is an alien sent to Earth in very much the same way as Superman was. At the same time though, another Alien was also sent to Earth in the same way only from a different planet of origin than Megamind. Megamind grew up in a American prison whereas the other alien grew up in a very Bruce Wayne-wealthy sort of family. Megamind grew up to be a Supervillain, the other alien a hero called Metro Man. They constantly battle with Megamind always being the loser and ending up back in prison. On one of their many battles though, Megamind actually ends up winning and destroys Metro Man. Shocked, he decides to rule the city he has spent so long trying to conquer but of course eventually boredom sets in. He misses his arch nemesis.
He realises that without Metro Man, he's incomplete. He NEEDS a arch enemy and finds that the one he has killed was in some weird way, a friend. It's really nicely done.
Megamind hatches a genius plan to use Metro Mans DNA to give his powers to an ordinary human being in the hope that they will rise up to be the new Hero that the city deserves. Unfortunately he ends up accidentally giving the powers to someone who without the powers is a borderline psychopathic nut job. With them? He actually becomes a lot worse than Megamind.
So now Megamind realises... HE has to become the hero himself to stop the monster he is responsible for creating.
Really, REALLY loved this film and it's totally family friendly too. I cant recommend it enough.
Incidentally (And maybe this is just the uber-geek in me thinking this) the character that ends up being the main bad guy of the film is called (in his civilian persona) "Hal Stewart" which led me to wonder if this was a nod to the DC superheroes who use the title "Green Lantern". Those of you in the know will know there is a Green Lantern called "Hal Jordan" and another called "John Stewart". It sounds like they amalgamated the names. You may have picked up on the fact that I am a massive Green Lantern fan/geek so every time I see something I think is associated with it, I have a joygasm...
There we go friends and fiends! Another five films down! I'm thinking I'll draw up a picture in celebration for every fifty films I watch!
I think I am still running a bit behind schedule with how many I have watched so far. I need a week off work where I can just focus straight on this challenge but alas that isn't very likely whilst we're still living in a monetary based society. Bugger.
Once again, as always, I'm open to comments and suggestions on films and would love to hear back off anyone in regards to whether the agree or disagree with my summaries!
I keep getting asked if this challenge is getting to me yet and to be one hundred percent honest, I would have to say a definitive NO. I'm still really enjoying it! I'm a big fan of science fiction already so why would it get to me?
Till next time folks, talk care!