27 April 2012

BlogalongaBond- LICENCE TO KILL Review

I feel like Daniel Craig had the same problems, 20 years later, as Timothy Dalton had in Licence to Kill. Hot on the heels of The Living Daylights, which I've demonstrated to be a pretty fucking brilliant Bond film, comes the second of Dalton's outings, which isn't quite as fucking brilliant. The same problem that dogged Quantum of Solace a few years ago, then, after all that praise for Casino Royale. Not to mention that Santum of Quolace very much followed the same kind of plot as this one.

With the actor playing CIA agent Felix Leiter having been replaced on every consecutive appearance thus far, it's a bit random to have David Hedison (Live and Let Die's Felix) returning to the role in lieu of The Living Daylights' John Terry. Then again, it's important that we feel for Felix when he and his new wife Della are attacked by a fiendish drug dealer, Sanchez. Bond's certainly not best pleased, when Felix is grievously injured and Della is killed, and his mission of revenge prompts M to revoke his licence to kill, not that such disciplinary action gives 007 much pause.

23 April 2012

LOCKOUT- Review

Apparently, Luc Besson need only contribute “an original idea” to Lockout, which owes a serious debt to Escape to New York and other such sci-fi action thrillers, in order to earn his salt. So, if we view this as a film on which Besson was not necessarily the most hands-on producer, we can go some way towards explaining its unfulfilled potential.

Read my full review, over at Movie Reviews >>

20 April 2012

THE AVENGERS- Review

Avoiding confusion with the adventures of John Steed and Emma Peel is the only rational explanation we've had for the title Avengers Assemble being applied to the UK release of Marvel Studios' long-awaited superhero team-up, The Avengers. Fair enough, but such confusion isn't very likely. However, it's not a spoiler to say that some Avengers do assemble in this film. Blimey Charlie, do they assemble.

As the culmination of the last four years of Marvel's cinematic output, the film does not disappoint. The film is a living, breathing comic book/cartoon of a movie, and it's more than a bit fantastic. It's the kind of film in which someone can get struck by lightning and suddenly be even more powerful, with no apparent adverse effect. If there were ever any doubt that writer-director Joss Whedon was the right man for this job, consider it vanquished.

16 April 2012

BATTLESHIP- Review

Two years ago, (which is aaages in Internet years) I wrote a satirical piece on Den of Geek about the trend of movies based on toy and board game licences. Well, actually, I pitched some films where Vin Diesel fought rabid, hungry hippos, so maybe describing it as a satirical piece is a bit like describing the story of Battleship as... well, a story.

Alex Hopper, as the film's protagonist, is basically a stand-in for Chris Pine's Captain Kirk from Star Trek. He's smart and cheeky, but he's wasting his life, and he's convinced to join the US Navy by those who think better of him, and his potential. Within years, he's a Lieutenant, but his insubordination and misconduct is about to see him drummed out, when an alien threat arises. Just like in Star Trek. In this case though, the aliens arrive at sea, closing off three Navy ships, including Hopper's, from their allies with a great big energy dome, and battle is joined.

13 April 2012

HEADHUNTERS- Review

The proliferation of American language remakes based on world cinema sources has gotten to the point where I just assume everything is going to be remade. With Headhunters, it's particularly easy, because the film seems to have been made with the international audience in mind, with the result being that I could totally picture Tom Cruise running around and doing the same thing over again in 18 months while I was actually watching it.

Based on the novel by Jo Nesbø, the dubious hero of the story is Roger Brown, a man whose 5'5 stature leads him to overcompensate in many ways. He's the most accomplished headhunter in Norway, and yet he still spends way beyond his means, in some deluded attempt to keep his loving wife satisfied. To cover the cost of their luxurious lifestyles, Roger moonlights as an art thief, and he prepares meticulously for each and every covert op. When he happens upon a piece of artwork stolen by the Nazis, and inherited by a potential colleague, he inadvertently enters a world of pain.

10 April 2012

THE CABIN IN THE WOODS- Review

Here's something you should know about The Cabin in the Woods, before seeing it- you shouldn't know a goddamn thing about The Cabin in the Woods, before you see it. However, at a time when everyone has the internet and movie marketing gives away spoilers all on its own, this might not be possible. Me, I'm going to help a little, by talking around the plot of this movie as much as possible without actually giving anything away.

So, in essence, all that you really want to know is that there is a cabin, in some woods, and five right-headed teenagers go out to this cabin for a weekend of partying. However, the film is written by Drew Goddard and Joss Whedon, so you know that's not all there is to it. Bizarrely, seeing as how the film is a satire of the lowest-common-denominator slasher flick, some have told me that they might not go and see this, because it looks like the same all over again, and yet something is keeping Platinum Dunes in business. The main bullet point, then? This ain't what you think it is.

5 April 2012

MIRROR MIRROR- Review

Tarsem Singh's most recent film, Immortals, was another downward lurch in the trend of exclusively male action flicks based in Greek mythology. In the week that Wrath of the Titans finds Sam Worthington working through his daddy issues by bellowing at monsters in a broad Australian accent, Tarsem's latest film, Mirror Mirror could not be more different.

As the first of two new Snow White movies coming to cinemas this year, this spin on the Grimm fairy tale at first appears to be a Wicked-style subversion that takes place from the perspective of the Queen, who keeps her stepdaughter under lock and key so that her tyrannical and wasteful rule goes unchallenged by her downtrodden subjects. The film soon branches out, however, when Snow White is exiled to the woods. She teams up with seven diminutive thieves in order to take back her kingdom and rescue the nice-but-dim Prince Alcott.

3 April 2012

THE PIRATES! - Review

After the strangely predictable disappointment of Cars 2, we animation fans can at least still cling to one maxim- Aardman really can do no wrong. Even the slightly less enjoyable Flushed Away was a rollicking good time, and their endeavours in feature films, from Chicken Run to Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, and their recent success with Arthur Christmas, have been worth getting excited about.  

The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists! is no exception. The endearingly titled film, based on Gideon Defoe's series of books, follows the Pirate Captain and his crew, who are, by their own admission, a bit rubbish in comparison to top Pirate of the Year contenders like Black Bellamy and Cutlass Liz. Nevertheless, the Pirate Captain gets it in his head to secure some booty that will win him the prestigious award, but instead, butts heads with Charles Darwin and inadvertently makes the scientific discovery of the century.