16 March 2015

Let's Talk About Sex



I've only made 11 posts this year and there's a long way to go before we get fully caught up on everything I've seen, so let's breeze through a few in column form...

Sex sells, we're told, and that used to be paramount in movies. Erotic thrillers were a hugely lucrative sub-genre in the 1990s, spurred by Fatal Attraction, Basic Instinct, Disclosure and basically anything Michael Douglas could bonk to the top of the box office. Although February is usually more of a dumping ground for the post-Oscars comedown, last month was nearer to an Ann Summers party at the multiplex than any for years.

There was the growed-up mega-hit 50 Shades of Grey and the old-fashoned JLo-starring erotic potboiler The Boy Next Door, and right at the opposite end of the scale, there was the subversive horror It Follows and Peter Strickland's artful emotional fantasy The Duke of Burgundy. Each of them approaches sex differently, but they all hop on the good foot and do the bad thing to some extent.

9 March 2015

Review: UNFINISHED BUSINESS

Every now and then, an actor that usually makes good choices will pick a less-than-brilliant movie role that, nevertheless, pays handsomely. Unfinished Business seems to be what happens when you get a whole ensemble cast of players who seemingly have no possible incentive to be here other than the money.

Dan, Timothy, and Mike are the sole employees of a start-up that's relying on a make-or-break deal with a European client. In a bid to close the deal, the three of them to set off for a business trip to Germany. When they run into Dan's former boss Chuck, they realise that their company may be the 'fluffer' company, brought in as a bargaining chip so that the clients can sweeten their deal with the market leader. Desperate to win the contract so that their business can stay afloat, the trio go all out to try and win the deal back from Chuck.

Read my full review on Den of Geek »

11 February 2015

Review: SHAUN THE SHEEP

The memorable quotes page for this one isn't exactly going to be chocka. In much the same style as the animated series from which it is adapted, Shaun the Sheep Movie revives the classic storytelling mode of silent comedy, now spread over a feature length running time. The result is another gem from the world's most British movie studio, Aardman.

There are no world-saving stakes here- the story is deliberately, beautifully simple. Shaun and his flock are fed up of the daily grind and buy themselves a day off by incapacitating the Farmer and accidentally leaving him lost, with amnesia, in the Big City. Together with the Farmer's right hand dog Bitzer, they set off to rescue their master, resorting to various hilarious means of disguise to avoid the clutches of the determined animal containment operative, Trumper.

30 January 2015

Review: BIG HERO 6

There's no Marvel banner ahead of Disney's latest animated action-adventure, but it's a Marvel movie in all but name. As source material, Big Hero 6 is about as unusual a choice for adaptation as last summer's Guardians of the Galaxy, but it marks the beginning of the House of Mouse adapting from the extensive back-catalogue of their most lucrative acquisition.

They've also thrown out much of the story from the comics, which were a tongue-in-cheek 1990s reboot that pulled in several characters created by Marvel to capitalise on the Western popularity of Japanese culture in the 1970s and focused on a new story with the young characters. Hiro Hamada is a child prodigy who is persuaded to stop squandering his skills on illegal robot fights and enrol with the university's robotics department. But a family tragedy throws him off course, leading him to use his talents to investigate a mysterious and powerful thief with the help of four of his fellow students and an inflatable robot health assistant named Baymax.

29 January 2015

Review: KINGSMAN

Daniel Craig is back as 007 this November in SPECTRE, but the James Bond series has long since dispensed with its often-spoofed staples, like far-fetched plots for world domination and innuendo. Very loosely adapting Mark Millar's comic series The Secret Service, Matthew Vaughn has seized upon both of these, with gusto, in Kingsman, which is comfortably the battiest Bond movie since Moonraker.

Centring around a covert organisation made up of nine gentleman spies, Kingsman opens with one of their number, Lancelot, being assassinated as part of a cover-up by communications billionaire Richmond Valentine. Each of the Kingsmen are asked to put forward a prospective replacement and Harry Hart, aka Galahad, chooses teenage tearaway Gary "Eggsy" Unwin, the son of another former agent. If he can survive the rigorous entry procedure and overcome the agency's snobbery about his working class upbringing, only gentlemanly conduct will help Eggsy face up to the unique threat posed by Valentine.