Sunday, 22 May 2011

Films 36 - 40!

So I'm doing this blog after having watched this years BAFTA awards on the television. Now normally I don't watch this as I don't like these award ceremonies where the awards are decided by a bunch of suits. I think it would be a much better idea if the awards were decided by the public. The normal people who have to sit down and wade through shit program after shit program before they find something good. It should be decided by these people!

Or at least, I thought so until tonight.

One award at the BAFTA's, yes only one, is in fact decided by the British public. They had a few options. A couple of them were actually good choices as well. 
The British public, in their infinite fucking wisdom have decided that the peoples choice award should go to a mind numbingly dumb show known as "The only way is Essex".
I guess I shouldn't be TOO surprised as the average IQ of folk in the UK is 100... But still! I like to think that as a people we're above actually voting for such mundane shit about a bunch of airhead wasters!

Clearly we are not.

Yes, it has put me in to a wee bit of a bitchy mood as you might be able to see but fortunately I decided on the scores for the latest set of films before I started watching the Bafta's.
So we'll get on to the latest reviews in a moment! Before we do though, I just want to bring your attention to a very under-rated film. A film which as a stand alone story is actually really good, if you don't compare it to other science fiction, superhero type films.
That film is "Hancock"
I can't include it in the reviews as I saw it a while back, before I started this project of mine at all. It is good though. If only for one particular scene. I've been playing it a lot lately because I think the music and the way the scene is put together is just stunning. Check it out here.

36.) Brazil (1985) Dir: Terry Gilliam

One of the most wonderfully weird films I think I have ever had the good fortune to see. This came at the recommendation of my old friend Thonoir. He asked me if I had ever seen it and if not then why not. This was a good enough prompt for me to give it a look.
The film is set in a dystopian styled future where everything is run by bureaucrats but in a more hard core extreme version of anything we have today. Everything and I mean Everything requires paperwork in some form or other. There are terrorists in the world but they are really just people who want to live free of the strict rules that have been enforced by the state.
The hero of the film is Sam Lowry (Jonathan Pryce - WALES! WALES!) a man who works for the society running administration as a sort of middle man with no aspirations to gain any sort of promotion. He's happy where he is. That is of course until he falls in love with a woman who by a clerical error, has ended up becoming an enemy of the state. He goes out of his way to do everything he can to stop the authorities catching up with her and by doing so, himself ends up an enemy of the state.
If you do a search for this film you find that one of the first names it will list is that of De Niro. I find this an injustice to the other actors who really make the film as good old Roberts part in the film is relatively small. It's pretty hard to put in to words how totally far out and fucking whacky this film actually is! The story is relatively linear and therefore is not like a David Lynch film simply in the sense that with "Brazil" you can actually follow and know whats going on. But there are some really trippy bits like when Lowry has these dreams that are inserted into certain parts of the films. In the dreams he seems to be an armour clad angel fighting to win his love. A love who turns out to be the woman he is obsessed with in the real world. The thing is, he dreams about her before he ever see's her in real life and this just fuels his obsession...
I think the way the film ends... With a sort of dream sequence... Has been ripped off in many other films since too.
I cant say much more really... I'll finish on the fact that I thought it was a really, really enjoyable film. At no point did I find it boring and I watched it all the way through to the very end without complaint.
It's not a film I would hurry to see again any time soon. I think it's something that every sci-fi fan should see once in their lives...
But once is enough.
Watch the trailer here.
Rating 4/5

37.) Zathura (2005) Dir: Jon Favreau

Holy Shit! This film was directed by Jon Favreau?! I did not know that!
This film can be summed up in one sentence really: "Jumanji" in space
But I know that's really not going to be enough of a review for you. I enjoyed the film (Gods help me...) but it is just an updated version of Jumanji. Instead of being about a jungle though, it's about a Space race. It even has a similar time element to it that Jumanji had (Kids grow up to adults, get trapped in the game etc...). One of two brothers finds the board game "Zathura" and the brothers begin to play. When they do they find that their house is no longer on Earth but has been transported to a distant section of space where they have to avoid meteor showers and hostile aliens if they ever want to get home. The only way they can hope to get home is if one of the brothers reaches the end. Then the game resets and you find yourself safe back at home.
The one thing that "Zathura" has that "Jumanji" didn't have though?
That's right folks. I don't know if they got the idea from that scene in "Empire Strikes Back" where Leia snogs Luke (Some would say that at that point she didn't know Luke was her brother but then in "Jedi" when Luke tells her they're related, the first thing she says is "I know... Somehow... I've always known." eeeeewwww.) but they work in the suggestion of incest into the story! It doesn't actually happen as such, but lets just say there's a point where Kristen "Incapable of smiling without looking like she is in pain" Stewart pretty much states that she wanted to fuck her brother. Give it a watch. You'll see what I mean.
The effects in this film are pretty great and I really do like the designs on the aliens, robots and Spaceships:
Pretty retro and cool if you ask me. Maybe i'm a little biased as since I got into tattooing, I've developed a stronger love for the old school, retro robot/spaceship designs.
This film has quite the cast as well with Tim Robbins playing the kids dad and Dax Shepard playing an Astronaut. I really like Shepard as an actor - I think he's very underrated. He's great in this at least anyway.
Although this isn't one of Favreau's best films, it is definitely a great family film and the sort of thing you would sit down and watch with your kids on a Sunday afternoon when it's raining outside.
Rating 3/5

38.) The Island (2005) Dir: Michael Bay

As much as I find the films of Michael Bay waaaay over the top with unnecessary CGI and explosions used on an almost constant basis, I cant help but find myself sucked in when I watch his films. I think with Bay people watch his films, are so dazzled by the spectacle of them, that they don't form a proper opinion of whether or not the film is any good for the most part, until after the film has finished.
This film stars Ewan "Obi-Wan" McGregor as Lincoln 6 Echo and Scarlett Johansson as Jordan 2 Delta.
The film starts in a facility which is supposed to be the last refuge of humanity. We've almost brought ourselves to the point of extinction and outside of the facility, the world is contaminated to the extent of being uninhabitable.
That is of course, with the exception of "The Island". All of the residents of the facility live in hope that one day they will be able to win a lottery and leave the facility to live on the Island which is the last known paradise left to us humans.
We're initially introduced to Sean Bean as the facilities shrink who helps the survivors if they have nightmares etc etc. He makes sure that the survivors stay at peak physical fitness and look after themselves too.
All of the "civilian" survivors wear white suits. They are policed by people who wear black suits. How very old school James Bond in a way to differentiate the "goodies" from the "baddies" no?
Ewan, with a terrible American accent, discovers that all is not as it seems on the Island and that, in fact, when people are supposed to be winning the lottery, they are in fact being harvested for organs. So Ewan and Scarlett escape the facility to find the world is not contaminated after all. In fact they're only between 3-5 years ahead of us as we stand now in time.
It turns out that Sean Bean is in fact running a facility that creates clones of people (White suits) just in case the original person ever develops anything like cancer or hepatitis. That way they can take the organs from their clones and live longer than they would otherwise be able to.
The only problem is, people in the real world don't know that the clones are ever allowed to live. They think that they are basically empty shells just used for organs later on.
So you can see why good old Sean Bean would worry when Ewan and Scarlett get free.
Hence the typical "over the top" Michael Bay action scenes with people surviving the impossible and lots of shit being destroyed... One specific bit sees a lorry carrying loads of giant dumbbells being chased because our heroes have hitched a ride on the back. Ewan starts unloading the dumbbells into the road behind the lorry but the lorry driver doesn't notice anything at all. No change in the handling or weight or anything. Just keeps driving.
Ewan meets the person he was cloned from, finds out he cost $5 million and that in the real world, he's a bit of a prick.
Blah, blah, blah, Ewan gets free, decides to free the other clones, fights with Sean Bean... The entire film was just absolutely predictable. It reminded me a bit of the old film with Emilio Estevez called "Freejack" for some reason. Only not as good as that... Seriously, I had this entire film sussed in less than an hour and with the adverts Film4 kept playing, it was nearly 3 hours long!
Oh and one last thing about this film, it was a blatant commercial for real world products. Honestly, there was so much product placement it was sickening. I mean, I know that with all the effects Bay uses, it probably costs a lot of money but still! I noticed blatant advertisements for: Puma, X-Box and Calvin Klein - and that was without even paying much attention to other adverts that might have been littered in the background!
Sean Bean was my favourite thing about this film. He's so good at playing... Well, Sharpe... In everything, to be honest! But still I love him. I have to ask though, with all the big, successful films he's made, he must be absolutely loaded! So why, oh why did he have to go and make "The Lost Future"? For those of you who haven't seen it or have forgotten about it/blocked it out of your memory, it was the fourth film I reviewed in this challenge.
Rating 3/5

39.) Star Runners (2009) Dir: Mat King

So yeah, this film is gash. Let's start as we mean to go on shall we?
This is what happens if you take a guy who used to be in "Star Trek" and get him to play a guy who is like a poor mans Han Solo getting trapped on a planet that is a rip off of something out of "Starship Troopers" whilst being pursued by government officials who fly around in a ship that is not too dissimilar to the "Battlestar Galactica" so that they can get hold of a girl who is basically a rip off of River from "Firefly".
The main characters name is Tycho. Now I thought this name was made up for the "Star Wars" character who is a member of Rogue Squadron. Since it's used in this film and I have heard nothing of any law suits then I guess it's not.
Tycho gets hired by some government, military guys to transport a cargo, which he opens to find is a gifted girl (Cue "Firefly's" River rip-off). They end up on a transport which crash lands on a planet inhabited by bugs that come out of the ground, fly in the air, sever heads etc etc (Cue "Starship Troopers" rip-off) which leads them to spend the rest of the film trying to get off planet only to be blocked by a big government ship (Cue the "Battlestar Galactica" rip-off)
It's so unoriginal that the River rip-off character is the last of a race of people who were experimented on and then wiped out by their own government in a fashion not too dissimilar to the Reavers from the "Firefly" universe.
It's that bad that i'm surprised that Tycho didn't fly around in a ship called something along the lines of "The Century Eagle". Honestly. Watch this trailer if you don't believe me! This is enough alone to make you think "Wow! Copyright infringement at all?.."
In fact the only reason that I'm not giving this film a big fat ZERO for ripping off a lot of Sci-fi franchises that I absolutely love, is that the effects on the Space sequences are actually not too bad. In a very similar style to the "Battlestar Galactica" remakes space special effects. This is limited to the space sequences though. The CG on the Bugs that attack the cast of the film when they crash land is just appalling. Really it is.
It's so bad I wouldn't watch it again even for a laugh. This is the conversation my dad had with me as I watched it:
"This any good?"
"But it counts so you're watching it anyway?"
Cue a chuckle from my pops as he walked out of the room.
Rating 1/5

40.) The Invasion (2007) Dir: Oliver Hirschbiegel

This film is a modern take on "Invasion of the body snatchers" minus the cool bit where the aliens would point at a human and open their mouths to make the siren noise.
A space shuttle crash lands on Earth but brings something back with it. An alien life form that can only really take effect of you and spread through your system after you have gone to sleep. Once you do sleep, the alien takes over and although you look the same, you're now under alien control and devoid of all emotion.
It's not too badly done if i'm completely honest. There's just nothing ground breaking or new about it. It doesn't even really have any special effects of note.
Nicole Kidman is our heroine who slowly comes to realise (With the help of a google search... *sigh*) that things are not as they seem and that people are changing. She needs help so takes a sample of some alien tissue she finds to her friend/love interest Daniel Craig. They scan an eventually find out that there are aliens among us slowly taking over and that Kidmans son has spent a lot of time with his infected father. Luckily he hasn't turned for some reason and they rationalise that the son must be immune. Cue attempts to rescue him. In the process Kidman herself is infected and so spends the next part of the film doing everything she can not to fall asleep to lose herself to the Alien parasite.
They seem to find a cure easily enough and the film kinda ends with a sort of massive anticlimax in my opinion.
It's not a bad film really. Just again, a case of there being nothing new. Nothing we haven't really seen before. I think they were trying to be clever with it and put a slightly different twist on the old 1956 and 78 versions of the earlier mentioned "Invasion of the body snatchers" but for me it didn't work so well. I think I would have preferred a updated version of the original. Like 78 was just and updated version of 56, I would have liked 07 to just be an updated version of 78... Having said that though, it has been a long time since I saw either of those films so maybe i'm way off on that assessment. Feel free to let me know.
Plus I know that they're all based on a book  that I haven't read. Maybe the Nicole Kidman is the most accurate to that in which case, I should probably shut my mouth. Again, if you have read the book, let me know which version of the films was the most accurate!
As a one off though, I quite enjoyed the film. I just wouldn't hurry to watch it again. I'd rather watch the Donald Sutherland version personally.
Rating 3/5

So another five films down! I've already watched 41 as I write this as well but obviously wont be including that in this update.
Still not getting bored of this! I would like to know how I can increase my audience though. If you know how I can get more followers or if you have a suggestion on a Sci-fi film you would like me to review, then inbox me on my Facebook page or you can email me at! Feel free to message me with any comments you might have on past reviews as well, that is, if you don't like to publicly post on here as i'm sure some people probably don't.
The one good thing I can say about this load of films though is that unlike other films I have watched as part of this challenge, none of this most recent five have made me want to gouge my own eyes out and then use them to block my ears. That's got to be a good thing right?

On a related topic, My mate Andy has decided to nick my idea and do a film challenge of his own. He's decided to do 250 chick flicks that he has never seen before. Kinda a hard one to judge on that scale since the IMDB doesn't have "chick flick" down as a genre so how do you decide what is and what isn't a chick flick? Some would be blatantly obvious but I think others would be up for debate. Discuss or debate the merits of this with him here. He's a bit of a girl in his reviews though and not quite as articulate as me (And that's saying something! Haha ;) Just kidding buddy!) so go easy on him and let him know what you think of his reviews!

Until next time peeps! 
Much love.


No comments:

Post a Comment