Thursday, 31 March 2011

Certain Fury (1985)

After my recent haul I decided to screen one of the many tapes, this one seemed to jump out of the pile more than any other. This was largely down to the awesome VHS cover and the fact that it starred Tatum O'Neal and Irene Cara. Unfortunately this movie was pretty lifeless and dull.

After a great opening scene in the court the movie turns into a brief chase and then a melodramatic TV movie. The two leads do their best but te script is average. And just when you think the movie has ended, up steps a further 10 minutes of pointless character development.

This film is far from furious and would have served better had it have been called a Certain Friendship.

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Tamara Drewe (2010)

This came out over here last year and to some great reviews too, but that still wasn't enough to drag me to the cinema. It just looked like your average run-of-the-mill romantic comedy, something like Bridget Jones's Diary. And while it is basically that sort of film, it held my attention a little more and I ended up quite liking it.

It's funny in parts and also quite charing but it features some of the most annoying characters set to film. Gemma Arterton plays Tamara Drewe and she is so annoying it's untrue, I wanted to jump into the screen and punch her myself. Having said that, it's charm far outweighs it's annoying characters and turned out to be a very pleasant experience. Nothing earth shattering, but decent fodder.

Sunday, 27 March 2011

The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes (1969)

I love old Disney movies but there are a fair few that I haven't seen, this being one of them. I'm so glad that I finally got to see this little treasure. Kurt Russell looks about 13 in the film but is still as charming and charismatic as ever. The plot is simple as all Disney movies are but the execution is quite brilliant.
It's made me want to revisit most and seek out others from that period.

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Gasland (2010)

One hell of a moving and powerful documentary that needs to be seen to be believed. You can't help but get sucked into the story and the lives of those affected. Who knows? One day it could even affect all of us, not just a small group of people but the whole World. It does make you down tools, sit up and take notice.

The Resident (2011)

This is one absolutely awful and pointless film that it begs the question, how the hell did they get Hilary Swank to do it? The plot is cliched and done to death. Think 100 Feet, Psycho, The Tenant, What Lies Beneath etc. apart from all of those average films are better than this sad outing.
The director was clearly trying to re-ignite some of that P.S I Love You (I like that film) chemistry between Swank and Morgan, but failed miserably. Christopher Lee is also barely used as the creepy grandfather.

Boring, unoriginal and not worth your time, not even for a pass-the-time movie. Avoid!

Faster (2010)

Now i'm a huge fan of Dwayne Johnson. I have no idea why but there's just something about him that makes me want to watch his movies. I loved him in Welcome to the Jungle, quite liked his cameo in The Other Guys, and found him enjoyable in both Race to Witch Mountain and Walking Tall. In fact, the only dog turd i've ever seen him in was the Richard Kelly train wreck Southland Tales.
Having said that, this film falls into the pretty ordinary category. I didn't care for it too much at all.

Billy Bob Thornton looks terrible, the plot is ridiculous and I honestly can't be bothered to talk anymore about it. Very, very average.

Friday, 25 March 2011

Meet the Parents (2000)

I've always liked this film but my wife had never seen it, despite watching the other two instalments. It had probably been about 5 or 6 years since the last time I had so it was due a rewatch.

I'm one of the rare people who actually get a kick out of the three MtP movies. I love this one, enjoyed the second, and like the third more than the average Joe. It has aged a little but it's still funny in parts, you can't dampen the comedy of that water-volleyball scene for me.

It's nothing spectacular but it's a fun little family comedy.

Thursday, 24 March 2011

The Parole Officer (2001)

Hmm... I wasn't exactly expecting great things from this one, and it delivered just that. While not absolutely terrible, it's still not hardly the best example of British humour. In fact it's yet another film to prove why i'm not a major fan or British comedies or even British based films like East Is East, Lucky Break, The Full Monty, Notting Hill and alike. I like mine to be in the mould of the greats like Withnail and I, Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz or even a little bit of Brassed Off.

Steve Coogan is funny enough and i'll always have a soft spot for him but as for the likes of Ben Miller and Om Puri, I couldn't care less. The plot is awful but understandable considering the target market, the jokes are few and far between if at all ever present and it's just a very average watch.

I wish I could say more for a film with a VHS tape on it's cover but I honestly can't.

The Club (1980)

"In this club, nobody plays by the rules..."

Like a cross between Any Given Sunday and The Damned United. This film is more about the off-field battles between the coach and the board than it is about the sport itself.
It's the story of an Aussie Rules football team called Collingwood. They are being coached by Laurie Holden, an ex-pro who is going through a rough patch at the start of the regular season. This isn't helped by the fact that the board are going behind his back signing players without consulting him first. It just so happens that the club President Ted Parker has signed the best player in the league, parting with $10,000 of his own money to help push through the deal. But when the player is dropped by Laurie after a bad start to his Collingwood career, which coincides with the club losing 5 matches in a row, another board member (and ex-pro) Jock decides to take matters into his own hands with the club administrator. It's then down to the coach and the players to teach the board a lesson they won't ever forget, by starting to win games.

It's a fantastic little film and the fact that it decides to stick to the boardroom and background issues only makes it a better film in my opinion. It gives me a great behind the scenes look at how clubs like that were run back then.

Overall it's well acted, well thought out and well told. I cannot recommend this little gem highly enough.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Modern Romance (1981)

"Robert was madly in love with Mary. Mary was madly in love with him. Under the circumstances they did the only thing they could do... they broke up."

I absolutely love Albert Brooks and was really looking forward to this one, it's not like it was bad by any stretch of the imagination, it just wasn't as great as I had hoped. Maybe I had placed too much expectation on it.

The plot is fantastic and the performances of both Brooks, Kathryn Harrold and Bruno Kirby were brilliant. It does have some great comedic moments, most notably the scene where Brooks, fresh after the break-up, decides to go and kit himself out with some running gear. The guy who works there immediately sees Brooks as an easy target and sets about selling him an entire range of sportswear, and not the cheap kind either.

If you love brooks you'll like this one, i'm just convinced that there are better examples of his genius elsewhere. Solid little film.

Monday, 21 March 2011

Eat Pray Love (2010)

I avoided this like I do so many films upon release due to it's lack of appeal and total bombing by the critics. I had hit a complete brick wall in terms of something to watch and the trailer sortof sold me, in terms of what I was in the mood for anyway. After the first half an hour I was already regretting my decision.

Julia Roberts's character was very annoying throughout and that fact was not helped by the 300 minutes run time that this film seemed to have. I don't wish to spoil anything for those lucky people that haven't seen this one but if a woman needs to be told by a guru that she's in love, that woman is beyond help. This films only saving grace is the scenery, Javier Bardem, Richard Jenkins and a touch of Billy Crudup. That apart, this one is a total waste of time.

Not a total failure, but so long that it drains out any form of positive that you have gained by the end.

Bad Boys (1983)

This was one of my all time favourites from when I was younger but I hadn't seen it in something like 8 years or more. I also wanted to show it to my wife seeing as though we have the quad poster on our wall.

It still holds up today. The acting is at times raw but you're talking about something that was filmed in 1982/3 and it mostly featured young newcomers, so it was to be expected. The other negative I have is the score, for me it just doesn't fit in with the movie at all apart from the opening credits and final scene. The plus points are the leads, Sean Penn as Mick O'Brien and Esai Morales as Paco Moreno. Both of whom are perfect for the roles. The guards are played brilliantly too and you even get the likes of Ally Sheedy, Alan Ruck and the permtastic Clancy Brown thrown in for good measure. That boy sure did have one magnificent head of golden hair.

The plot is gritty but simple, you have O'Brien who accidentally kills Paco's brother after a failed robbery attempt, and Paco who rapes O'Brien's girlfriend (Sheedy) in revenge. O'Brien has already served a bit of time in the juvenile facility when Paco is transferred there, and it's only a matter of time before the two come face to face in a breathtaking final showdown.

I still adore this film. It has aged over the years as expected but it's still one hell of a piece of work. It's a really underrated film and one I cannot speak highly of. Check it out!

Double Switch (1987)

I'm a huge fan of Disney TV movies but I was unaware of this little gem. George Newbern and Elisabeth Shue? I must be out of my damn mind.

Think Eddie and the Cruisers meets The Parent Trap, or something like that. It has a great 80's soundtrack and a likeable enough lead, not to mention a hot love interest in the form of Shue.
It's the story of Bart, a teen pop sensation who has it all but has forgotten the true values in life, even forgetting about his Mother who he hasn't spoken to in six months. He attends a look-a-like competition and notices Matt (Newbern), an absolute dead ringer for himself. He immediately draws up a plan to switch places with Matt, a high school geek that rarely gets any attention. Matt goes along with the idea as would any of us and the two live a week in each others life. Bart goes to live the suburban family life and try to regain a sense of normality again. Matt on the other hand attempts to step into the shoes of a rock star and handle the pressure of a large group of screaming female fans.

It's a little dodgy in parts but overall it's a very fun movie. Shue is fantastic as always as the love interest and Newbern is great in both parts. I loved his sister and his bodyguard too but absolutely hated his manager. Not only his acting but his accent, drove me crazy.

If you like your teen movies with a hint of pop, ala Streets of Fire, you're gonna get a huge kick out of this one. I know I did.

FernGully: The Last Rainforest (1992)

I remember watching this movie alot when I was younger and it was about time I scheduled it for a rewatch.

I had completely forgotten about the great cast. You've got Samantha Mathis, Jonathan Ward (one half of Mac and Me), Christian Slater, Tim Curry and Robin Williams to name but a few. Ithas the exact same story and principles as Avatar (2010), but set long before that blockbuster. It follows the typical dark elements of animation that I love and is a childhood classic of mine that i'll be revisiting again at some point.
It's not hilarious but Robin Williams does a good job of adding just enough humour to make it work. Tim Curry is excellent as Hexxus, the evil oily substance that is hell bent on destroying the rainforest.

If you like your animation dark and creepy then you're going to love this one. Also check out The Rescuers Down Under, it would make for a great double header with this film.

Sunday, 20 March 2011

The Parking Lot Movie (2010)

I occasionally go through spells of craving documentaries and when they're this good, who can stop the addiciction? I loved this movie!

It's nice to get an insight into the world of the so called 'menial' jobs that most of us have to get through, as we try to find our more permanent career choice in life. I felt like one of those guys whilst watching this documentary and while we don't have the pop collared frat boys over here in the UK, we still get the same character types but just in different clothing.
I love how they have so much passion for the booth and when people don't pay, they run after the vehicle in a fit of rage. Because it's not about the not paying, it's the fact that they aren't willing to part with a few dollars for the service provided because they think they are above the attendants.

This movie just goes to further prove that you should treat everyone with respect, no matter what job they have. If there are no bin men in the world, who gets rid of your rubbish? Have a little diginity.

Rango (2011)

I really enjoyed this film. It has all the necessary plot points and cliches of a good western, with some great movie in-jokes thrown in for good measure. The Fear and Loathing one being a particular highlight.

In ways this film reminded me a lot of An American Tail, but just not as good. It's very dark in places and also funny, and that's the way I like my animated films to be. It has a central lone character, much like Fievel who arrives at a town being controlled by the Mayor. In this case though the problem is that the entire towns water supply has run dry, with no clues as to where the water has gone to. In steps Rango, the newly appointed Sheriff of the town who is armed with the responsibility of restoring peace to the town and it's people.

I highly recommend this one. I personally found it to be a little dark for children but there were very young people packed into the cinema and they seemed to love it too, so that proves me wrong.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

UHF (1989)

"TV as it was meant to be seen. In a movie theatre."

I didn't know what to expect of this one. I'm a pretty big Yankovic fan but i'd heard mixed things about this movie, despite it's large cult following.

It was good but not great. I loved the entire premise of the movie and some of the sketches were pretty funny. I couldn't help but crack up at the likes of Spatula City, Conan the Librarian and of course, the SUPPLIES cupboard. That one was right out of the Top Secret catalogue of jokes. Don't get me wrong though, there were some unwatchable scenes too and although the acting was probably intentional, it was still very bad.

It had something of a Be Kind Rewind vibe about it, which I liked. I just didn't love it.

Monday, 14 March 2011

Loverboy (1989)

"Randy Bodek has no idea how to treat a woman . . . but he's working on it."

Yet another entry into the #missedmoviesofthe80s for me. Having been a huge admirer of Dempsey's earlier films such as Can't Buy Me Love, I am at a loss as to how this one passed me by.
Dempsey was and still is to some certain degree a very likeable actor, but in his teens he was just incredible, he's no different here.

The women in this movie are smokin' hot. You have wonderful little cameos from both Carrie Fisher and Kirstie Alley but Randy's mom is even hotter than those two put together. The 'hottie' honour has to go to Nancy Valen though, she is absolutely stunning. It's made me want to track down some of her work like The Heavenly Kid etc. There are some really great scenes, some hilarious and the various characters all add something to the movie especially the Italian exchange student who works at Senor Pizza.
It does however get a little mad-capped and rushed towards the end but that doesn't harm the overall experience too much. I want one of those Korean robots!

This for me was even better than Can't Buy Me Love. I'll go as far as to say that it's in my top 80's movies of all time. I really had a great time with it. Both funny and charming, it's a bona-fide classic. < See what I did there?

Teen Witch (1989)

I picked this film up from a Wal-Mart last year on my trip across the States, it was a double-bill feature with The Heavenly Kid (another movie I haven't seen). It's one that I have been meaning to fit into the schedule at some point but I always keep putting it back. My wife finally pushed me as she remembered it from her youth.

I loved this film. From the laughable acting to the ridiculous and over the top dance sequences, this one blew me away. I want my hair in a scrunchie. I want a denim jacket from Shana. Hell, I even wanted Brad. It needs to be screened to be believed, it's pure 80's magic.
There are so many dodgy moments and bad filming throughout but it's completely outmuscled by the pitch-perfect soundtrack. Within the first 10 minutes you can clearly see the sound microphone dropping into shot about 4 times. The Brother is the most annoying screen presence that I have witnessed in a long time, I just wanted to punch his fat cheeks in. Then you have Brad, who apparently can switch between Louise (Teen Witch) and Randa whenever he chooses and neither seem to mind. Did I mention that she turns the annoying brother into a dog and then turns him back by dunking him in a ready-made bubble bath? Well she does.

Nobody can prepare you for the Top That! scene. I had a few nudges and I wasn't sure what to look out for, but when you see the bikes stop at the end of the street it's dreamland from there on in. Enjoy!

One of the best 80's movies. It can certainly stand tall among the cheesiest and finest from that period.

Taken (2008)

I first saw this film when it hit DVD back in 2009 and absolutely fell in love with it. I stll to this day find it hard to believe how it was universally panned by the critics. Don't get me wrong, I can't take the daughter seriously as this sweet and innocent young girl. It didn't help when the director slaps a glitter studded denim jacket on her which seemed fitted for a 12 year old. Apart from that and the occasional ham acted moment dotted in, this film is high on action and exciting beyond belief.

It's funny because I saw this film once on DVD, and the other 9 or 10 times have been when it has been shown on SKY or normal TV. It's just one of those films that whenever it's on, you cannot take your eyes away from the screen, but instead immediately go and grab a drink and settle in for the night. This time was no different, I was away on holiday the last week and this came on TV.

Monday, 7 March 2011

Fair Game (2010)

This weeks #mysterymoviemonday screening was Doug Liman's new film Fair Game. When the mystery movie was announced I gasped out loud believing it to be the Cindy Crawford and William Baldwin vehicle from 1995. I feel a little stupid looking back as it was announced with a 12 certificate, the Crawford is X rated only.

Sean Penn and Naomi Watts are superb in the lead roles as they always are, and the subject matter is pretty gripping if not a little overdone in the last couple of years. I guess I just wasn't expecting this type of film from Liman, this is the main man that brought us Swingers and Go.

Mankillers (1987)

In 1987 David A.Prior released three movies, this one being the third. After the runaway success of such cult classics like Aerobicide (aka Killer Workout) and Deadly Prey I was expecting great things from Mankillers, it didn't disappoint.

It's the story of a former female CIA agent who is given the task of training an all-female squad to try and take down a well known drug lord (John Mickland) in Colombia. She gathers together the meanest looking women from a prison line-up and takes them to a nearby training facility for bonding sessions. After learning some team spirit they all set off into the woods on their mission, but they are quickly ambushed (within minutes) by a group of Mickland's men.

Like in most of his films there are some breathtaking scenes, especially the one in the ambush fight sequence when you clearly see the same guy getting killed twice, and it's the same death too. Then when the girls are being selected from prison you get the one who won't spit out her gum so the former CIA agent steps in to help out. In fact, those scenes in the prison are among the best in the entire film. The women are apparently in there for manslaughter and various other serious charges, each loaded with sentences ranging from 10-30 years but none look like they could even survive a week.

I'd like to point out yet again the amazing soundtrack that Prior put to this film, it's mantastic.
This film sadly doesn't have the same feel to is as the other two from the same year but it's still a whole lot of mindless fun. I can't wait to check out the next Prior movie.

You can also check out my interview with the director at;

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Another Year (2010)

Mike Leigh is one of my favourite all time directors. He somehow manages to capture real life relationships and situations so perfectly. His films are not for everybody though as they can sometimes be quite long winded and sad.
This one is a very sad story told through the 4 seasons in a particular year. It's the story of parenting, friendship, love and even death, but overall it's a film about loneliness.

While this hasn't displaced any of his other movies in my top 5 list, it's still a really moving and powerful film. For me the likes of Life Is Sweet and Abigail's Party (albeit a play) are his greatest work.

Tron: Legacy (2010)

I gave this one a miss on the big screen due to the negative feedback, something i'm not very proud of but seeing as though I was never a huge fan of the first film, I thought it seemed fair.

This one totally took me by surprise though, I had a really great time. I loved the story, the old FLYNN'S arcade, but most all the Daft Punk soundtrack/score. They are the perfect group for such a film and without them it wouldn't have hit me as hard as it did. There music in this made me instantly want to screen Blade Runner and Escape From New York, very Carpenter-esque.
On the subject of Carpenter, the young looking Jeff Bridges as CGI Clu looked exactly like Bridges in Starman, albeit a cartoon version.

If you had or still have any doubts about this film please put them aside because it's just a fun, fun ride. I loved the hell out of it.

Cloak & Dagger (1984)

With a plot that is centred around a young boy who is given an Atari game by a wounded agent, this really does tick all the boxes of a classic. The game is fiited with a special micro-chip that the bad guys will do anything to get a hold of. It is down to Davey Osbourne (Henry Thomas) and his imaginary friend from the game Jack Flack to get the chip to the F.B.I.

Well what a magical film this one is. Henry Thomas has a fantastic face for kids movies, no wonder he was cast in such classics like E.T and The Go-Kids. It's a shame he only works in bit-part roles these days because he really is a great actor. Dabney Coleman is pretty fantastic as his father and Jack Flack, his imaginary friend. There is also a great little cameo by William Forsythe who works at te video game store at the mall, he only heightens the boys imagination by sending him on special missions for Twinkies.

I had a fantastic time with it and I urge everyone to see it if you haven't already done so. Magical!

Hansel and Gretel (1987)

As a kid I used to watch the same movies over and over again, sticking to what I know and never going out of my comfort zone. This was one that I must have watched 3 times a day for 2 years straight. It has taken me a while to track it down as the VHS is quite rare and the DVD is overpriced. That wait finally ended when I managed to find the elusive tape and it was quickly screened as part of my Sunday viewings.

There wasn't even a hint of nostalgia about this one, it is quite simply terrible. The acting is absolutely atrocious, especially from the two young leads. The mother's character is cringeworthy at best. Somebody should have rang social services on that woman as she isn't fit to be a parent. David Warner is probably the only one to come out of this one not smelling of shit, this is largely down to the fact that he isn't on the screen very long. Having said that, he also falls into that cringe factor category when he returns home from the village singing. The only positive point (and i'm really clutching here) is the appearance of Griselda the witch, played by Cloris Leachman. She may be better known to most as Frau Blucher (horse noise) from Young Frankenstein. I say appearance though because she is also terrible.

This truly is an awful film and one that I hope to never revisit again. This just goes to show that some things are better left as good memories because this was one of my favourites growing up.

Saturday, 5 March 2011

Yogi Bear (2010)

Like many I was a huge fan of the animated series, so there was a little bit of expectation going into this one. Not very much though as it has been universally panned.

Dan Aykroyd will look back at this one in the same way that Bill Murray reflects on his Garfield voice over. That feeling will be total embarrassment, echoed also by that of Justin Timberlake. The Social Network to Yogi Bear? David Fincher should have full care of that misguided fool.
On another note, how fat has Anna Faris got? She is a monster. And ugly too, her lips are ridiculous. That was another painful memory from the film as I could keep my mind on little else.

This is absolutely dire from start to finish. I kept drifting in and out of consciousness throughout, it was quite painful towards the end. It's going to take one hell of a film to help my eyes recover from that hour plus raping.

Friday, 4 March 2011

Jackass 3D (2010)

The Jackass films divide a lot of people but for me they do exactly what they set out to do, make me smile. And lots!
There really are some hysterical moments in this, the cock-ball one being a particular highlight for me. If they had nailed that one i'd never watch another film ever again. So close!
We used to have a British version of the show but they faded off the scene a few years back. Dirty Sanchez were like a poor mans Jackass, although they did have their great moments too. With Jackass it's like you're one of the gang, you feel almost every kick and punch. Throw up at the sheer volume of shit on the screen and even get all wrapped up in the nostalgia of those closing credits.
I absolutely loved it. Highly recommended if you're a fan of their work, if not avoid like the plague.

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale (2010)

One of my most anticipated movies from last year, Rare Exports has been on my mind for quite some time now. Unfortunately I completely missed the cinema release in December, meaning I have now had to wait until the DVD release, something i'm not very proud of.
The film centres around a small Finnish village at Christmas time. A group of workers are digging at the top of a mountain when they make a huge discovery a few hundred feet below the surface. Then the children of the town start to disappear and a boy and his father are left to protect their own find. With the help of a few other friends they decide to sell their prized asset back to the corporation that funded the original dig.
I loved the little boy in the film, he was like a miniature John McClane. The friends who help are also brilliant in the film, as to is the main captured 'Santa' character, very dark and creepy.
It's a good film, it just didn't live up to my high expectations. I guess it's my fault really for putting so much anticipation into it. It's not one i'll be revisiting every Christmas but i'll definitely be coming back to it at some point in the not too distant future.

Due Date (2010)

I'm a huge fan of Todd Phillips so I was expecting good things from his latest installment.
The cameos in this film range from the amusing (Danny McBride), to the mildly annoying (Jamie Foxx and Juliette Lewis). The combination of Zach 'I had to google his name' Galifianakis and Downey Jr. was however pretty great, they both had me laughing  throughout.
The story is very familiar and compared to such classics like Planes, Trains and Automobiles or Midnight Run it's fairly poor, but I wasn't bored at any stage.

I hate to use this time and time again but it is a typical pass-the-time Sunday viewing.

While this isn't a Hangover, it's certainly a close Road Trip.

Paranormal Activity 2 (2010)

I was desperate to see this one on the big screen but I just never found the time. Plus my wife refused to go and see it anyway, or even this DVD for that matter. Things like this play on her mind.
This one really surprised me. I was expecting a giant turd and for it to fail on every level possible but it just never did. Maybe I lowered my expectations so low just in case it was terrible that it turned out to be highly enjoyable and pretty scary. I found it to be tense and creepy in parts. Don't get me wrong, this is exactly the same tone as the original with the 60-70 minutes being build up, but if you can buy into that and remain patient then I genuine think you will like this one.
This is a pretty great sequel that matches and somewhat even surpasses the original film with more scares and creepier set-ups. Do not keep avoiding this one!

Gleaming the Cube (1989)

It's been a weird few weeks and purely coincidental of course, that I have managed to screen the greatest BMX movies of all time, in Rad and BMX Bandits, followed by the greatest skateboard ones in Thrashin' and Gleaming the Cube. I have loved all of them equally.

I really enjoyed this one and i've decided to hand it the exact same rating as Thrashin'.
Christian Slater is fantastic and so too is Richard Herd as the main gun smuggler. The plot is fantastic and such a throwback to the 80's. Only in that decade would movies like these be made.

If a gun was pointed at my head i'd probably say that Thrashin' is the better film experience, but this one is technically a better film. Check both of them out though, maybe as a double bill screening.