Thursday, 30 June 2011

Undisputed (2002)

Yet another Walter Hill movie that passed me by. All I knew was that it starred Wesley 'always bet on black' Snipes and Ving Rhames, and it was set inside a prison. That was enough to get me drooling.

Alright, so it isn't exactly the greatest film ever made, and the acting is a little stiff at times but it's still a fun romp. Like the good old Van Damme flicks of the 90's, there's plenty of action and plenty of fist pumping scenes to make it entertaining. Snipes is the best thing in this although Rhames is great too, Faulk is terrible though (God rest his soul), his accent made me laugh constantly.I never imagined Hill making a movie like this but I would definitely like to see more, they are fun.

I've also heard that there are a few sequels to this too, some saying that they totally outclass this one. I'm definitely organising an Undisputed marathon screening very soon, my eyes need more prison boxing movies. They remind me of Lock-Up with Stallone!

Sunday, 26 June 2011

I Love You, Beth Cooper (2009)

Well, if ever a films trailer sold the film, this was it!

While browsing the world wibe web for some film recommendations I came across a few lists for ultmate feel-good movies. This one featured pretty highly on those lists plus I already owned it which was a nice bonus. Sadly this film is pretty dire and lacklustre on jokes and even feel-good moments. The cast is decent if not unspectacular and it relies too heavily on a pretty weak lead, his best friend almost stole ever scene. Every scene worth noting anyway.

This is a case of cramming all the jokes into a 2 minute trailer, because beyond that this film is just another run-of-the-mill teen movie, it's even almost less funnier than Fired Up! I'd avoid, or at least see the trailer anyway.

Friday, 24 June 2011

Into the Night (1985)

Now, i'm a huge fan of one night movies but this one had somehow managed to escape my grasp, until tonight. It's weird because I have owned the UK quad poster for may years.

What a fantastic movie! This film really does have the lot, not to mention some of the greatest cameo's ever. Even David Bowie pops up in this one and he's also fantastic. And Landis himself too!
The plot is great, the two leads are unbelievable and rarely have they been better. At first I thought it was going to be a black comedy much like the pitch-perfect After Hours, but this is so much more, I don't think i'd say better but definitely more darker. And although it is quite brutal and even violent in parts, it still shows a little of the Landis touch in there too. None more so than the rather sweet cafe scene between Goldblum and Pfeiffer. The two are sitting there eating dessert and basically flirting, the mood is set and then BANG! The waitress (Thanks, Amie) drops a whole tray of sugar dispensers on the table, and then apologises as if it was to us, the audience. Brilliant!

I loved this movie and it's one I plan on seeing again and again over the next few years. I'm sick of putting films off for ages just because of the cover or the cast, look what i'm missing out on! See this movie!

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Cropsey (2009)

I knew aboslutely nothing about this documentary beforehand, I hadn't even seen the trailer. I was simply going by what I had heard others say about it and plus the fact that I am a sucker for a great story.

This is a chilling tale and document of events about a child killer on Staten Island. I don't wish to spoil anything and i'm pretty sure that i'm not by saying that it's one that you have to make your own mind up about. There is talk here of satanic cults, one guy (Rand) who took the children and killed them, a few people including Rand who all worked together, a bunch of people who killed them and then framed Rand, I mean there aren't too many cold hard facts here, that's for sure. Whenever facts aren't present, i've always believed to make no judgment because there is always a suspicion of doubt cast. Unfortunately in the case of Andre Rand, the fact that he doesn't wish to communicate to anyone and defend himself leaves me a little on the side of guilty, but then he is mentally ill so therefore that's the doubt again creeping in.

You could get lost talking for hours about this tale, it really is that fascinating, and unfortunately so. It's well made and doesn't lean towards one side which is always refreshing. Seek it out and make up your own mind.

Paul (2011)

I'm a huge fan of Mottola, I loved both Superbad and Adventureland, so I when I heard he was making a film with Pegg and Frost, my eyes were opened.

Sadly, it came out over here like a wet fart. Harshly received by the critics and disappears without much of a trace of mention since. I missed the cinema screening through one thing and another but I couldn't wait to check it out on DVD.
I really enjoyed this one. The movie references (something I love) are thick and fast and a special nod in the direction of Mac and Me went down lovely. Shame he had to dress up in a Cowboy outfit instead of a Bear.

It doesn't stick to the usual conventions of extra terrestrial movies, instead making light of them almost spoof like in parts. I really had a fun time with it and that is it's sole purpose, so for that I give it 3 and a half stars.

I Am Number Four (2011)

Not a huge admirer of D.J Caruso. I loved Disturbia but found Taking Lives and Eagle Eye a little dry on the old eyes. The trailer was the thing that sold me though, that and my strong affection to Disturbia.

I really had a fun time with this one, I love the way the director films teenagers, it has that Twilight kind of feel to it. The soundtrack must be amazing too because every track played seems to have been exported directly from my own personal itunes collection. I thought the story was great and the action scenes were done really well, a little over the top CG wise towards the end but not to the extreme like in many films these days.

I just can't wait for the sequels. Here's my credit card, i'm now personally attached to this franchise.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Candleshoe (1977)

This is a fantastic old school Disney movie, much better than Mary Poppins in my honest and humble opinion.

I was one of the very few people who never got to see Mary Poppins when I was younger, I grew up in the shadow of people who rated it as one of the greatest Disney movies of all time. Now, I can agree that yes, it is a good film but it didn't grab me like this one did. I loved the butler/driver/gardener character Priory, he was what Dick Van Dyke was trying to achieve but failed miserably in my opinion. The kids were great too, even if the youngest boy couldn't act to save his life. Wooden has a new meaning with that kid. The Grandmother was very annoying, that has to be said but it didn't really affect the film too much, and Foster was her usual best, at least best as a kid.

The story was also fantastic, a good old fashioned con movie/treasure hunt. Those are my kind of films.

I loved it! It really brought a smile to my face and has made me want to revisit more of the 70's to early 80's Disney efforts. It was fairly unknown to me at the time but I think this is one seriously underrated and underappreciated movies.

Monday, 13 June 2011

Bloodsport (1988)

This film was an absolute classic from my youth, this and The Karate Kid, they were known as the greatest martial arts movies in our household. It was definitely long overdue for a rewatch and I felt in the mood too.

This was even better than I remembered it being, in my opinion Van Damme has never been better. Sure, Kickboxer, A.W.O.L., Sudden Death, Hard Target and No Retreat No Surrender are all excellent films but it's in Bloodsport where he comes to life.
It's short on character development and leaves the film to rest on it's fights which is the greatest thing of all. Bolo Yeung who plays Chong Li is the meanest bastard i've seen in a long time, genuinely terrifying.
I also loved the relationship between him and Donald Gibb even if they do get a little too close for my liking towards the end of the film.

It has been years since I saw this the first time and it has really been an eye opener, it's made me want to revisit Damme's back catalogue for one, and oter martial arts movies for two. I still need to revisit all of the Karate Kid movies and make time for my Enter the Dragon first viewing too.
This is an incredibly pleasing movie and i'm glad to report that it still holds up.

Private School (1983)

Another one to tick off my #missedmoviesofthe80s list.

I am totally obsessed with Phoebe Cates, ever since I first saw Gremlins and Fast Times, she is a fox! After a few conversations with friends they all said that if I was in love with the Cates then this is the movie for me.

Unfortunately we don't get to see much flesh from the Cates but this is more than compensated for by the vivacious looking Betsy Russell who whips them out at every opportunity. The highlight scene for me is the breasts on horseback. Wow! That scene totally blew me away, I was not expecting what unfolded, or undressed, should I say.

This isn't one of the best examples of it's genre, not by a long shot. In fact, I felt quite let down by the whole film. With all of it's stars and considering it's setting (a school campus) it's nothing when compared to films like Making the Grade and Class or even Porky's. Matthew Modine and Phoebe Cates are the only two real highlights, add to that the impressive rack of Betsy Russell and that's your lot. The soundtrack is all over the place too.

Decent effort but by no means highly memorable. There are far better examples to be found elsewhere, worth a watch if like me you are making your way through all of the teen movies of the 80's.

Sunday, 12 June 2011

How Do You Know (2010)

After the train wreck that was Morning Glory from earlier on, this film was a pleasant surprise.

I can pretty much give Paul Rudd and Reese Witherspoon a go in anything, Owen Wilson is a bit different, I can take or leave him, mostly leave depending on the mood. I don't know what I was expecting from this one but I know I probably wasn't supposed to end up liking it. James L.Brooks has made some duds of late too.

I really liked the chemistry between Witherspoon and Rudd, and Wilson was quite likeable too as the unstable and over protective obsessive boyfriend. One major downfall for this one though is the runtime, it could have been sliced by a good half hour at the very least, there was no need for it to run for two hours.

Overall it was a good feel-good movie and great for a light-hearted Sunday night viewing. It's certainly made me feel a bit better, I was starting to feel the hate in chick flicks coming back again.
How can Empire magazine give this film 2 stars and Morning Glory 4? It is beyond belief, I may take back my subscription.

X-Men: First Class (2011)

My main summer movie and most anticipated movie of the year is Super 8, but I have to admit that this one came a close second. I was very excited to see this, it had received so much pre-hype buzz.

While I can agree that yes, it is a good film, really good in fact, I wasn't exactly blown away by it. I love all of Matthew Vaughn's previous efforts and this is another great addition but I can't ever see myself revisiting it, unless I went through a phase where I wanted to see them all back-to-back.

I loved the 40's and 60's settings and the acting was second to none. I also adored seeing some of the early character development too, especially Beast and Raven. I'm also quite glad that Jason Flemyng was confined to a very minor speaking part, i'm not exactly a huge fan of his work.

I did have fun with it and it was a really good film, it just didn't leave me with that buzz like I did when I came out of the Scott Pilgrim screening. For comic book fans this must be like a wet dream to you guys and gals but i'm not one of them, though I admire the films I can't say that i've ever picked up a comic book and read it from start to finish so I guess I can't relate to that, all I know is what I saw on screen.

Another great addition to the career of Vaughn and one which has obviously gone down well with the fans, it just didn't get to me like it should.

Morning Glory (2010)

Another film that I knew very little of, which came out earlier this year without so much as a whimper. I picked it up because i'm a major fan of chick-flicks but I only ever get in the mood for them on Sunday's. Go figure!

This isn't a great watch, in fact it's barely average but what it does have is a great central performance by McAdams. She excels as the TV producer who is armed with the task of reviving a dead breakfast show. The other cast members are great too with both Keaton and Ford pulling in some good comedy, unfortunately I felt a bit sorry for Patrick Wilson who appears to be reduced to bit-part roles these days. He's a great actor and should be doing more work, like the great sleeper film that was Barry Munday.

Overall it's pretty weak with only a few laughs and I should have been smiling more, that's how chick-flicks get me, they may not be my favourite movies of all time but they at least manage to make me feel good about my day. The soundtrack doesn't help this one either though, it's like it has come straight off a 13 year olds ipod playlist of great catchy tracks, it's almost sickly.

This tries so desperately hard to be the new Devil Wears Prada but that could be it's biggest downfall, think Devil Wears GAP instead.

The Peanut Butter Solution (1985)

I knew very little about this movie, other than it involved a kid who got a fright, went bald and then solved his baldness with a Peanut Butter solution. I was obviously very excited by the plot synopsis.

Unfortunately there is a hell of a lot more to this film than meets the eye. Firstly there is a fire at an old house and the two kids decide to go closer for a better look, Michael gets the idea of climbing the rubble and looking in the window, only to receive a terrible fright, one which makes him lose all of his hair. The kid has one seriously ugly head. Besides ghosts, scares and hair loss, you have a really creepy child catcher at the centre of it all, something which I was not expecting. This must have been very scary for kids in the 80's, I was freaked out and i'm 25!

The acting from all is pretty laughable at times and the wigs they use for Michael's head are out of this world. In one scene in school when the hair is starting to grow longer than shoulder length I could swear it was Robin Lively (aka Teen Witch) sitting there. You also get Conrad, his best friend, who decides to put the solution on his balls which has bad consequences. The kids are supposed to be in Junior school, what kind of sick directory would do such a thing?

All in all it's a terrible movie but quite likeable, even if it is a little too dark for kids. I mean, you get a child catcher in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, right? *shudders*

You like those opening and closing credits, too? None other than Celine Dion!

Last Embrace (1979)

This is another one I can now take off my #missedmoviesofthe70s list.

After seeing Roy Scheider in Sorcerer a while back I told myself that i'd pretty much like to see everything the guy had ever made, Last Embrace being quite high up on that list of films.

The story is quite complex but told so brilliantly that it unfolds like a great novel, which isn't surprising considering this was based on the book The 13th Man. It starts with Scheider and his wife having dinner at a restaurant, some guys walk in whom Scheider seems to recognise straight away, there is a slight pause and then gunfire opens up between the men killing Scheider's wife in the process. Then the story moves forward a few months and Scheider is being released from care after taking his wife's death quite badly. He arrives back home to find a young woman living in his apartment, she hands him a note that had been left with her, a threat of some sort written in Hebrew. This is when the story really unfolds as Scheider believes he is to be killed next, but must find out by who and why, everyone is now a suspect.

Shaber's dialogue is absolutely fantastic, you couldn't fault it, almost Warriors-esque in some parts... "Ya get me?". The film also moves forward at an unbelievably fast rate and you don't want to miss a second.

I loved this film, it reminded me a lot of The Long Goodbye, another 70's movie which I hold close to my heart as a personal favourite.
This movie is a masterpiece and one which needs to be seen and appreciated by more people. I've only seen a handful of Demme's over films like Philadelphia, Silence of the Lambs and the amazingly underrated Something Wild.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

North Shore (1987)

Don't you just hate it when you hold on to a movie so long, thinking it's just going to be average just by looking at the cover, even though every one tells you it's amazing? No, just me then.
I hope to never repeat the error ever again.

This film really is like The Karate Kid of surfing movies. I was almost fist pumping by the final credits. Yeah, some of the acting is a little dated but the actual charm of the plot is pretty potent, especially the relationship that he builds with Nia Peeples.
I loved this movie from beginning to end, it has such a great soundtrack and general feel-good vibe to it. A must see for lovers of all things 80's.

If Rad is the greatest BMX movie, and Thrashin' is the greatest Skateboard movie then North Shore has to be the ultimate Surfing movie. There can't be too many out there but nothing compares to this one.

Monday, 6 June 2011

Lobster Man From Mars (1989)

Another late VHS find, cost me the princely sum of 20p. Nice ex-rental box too, I figured it was even half as good as the cover i'd be in for a treat.

Sadly it isn't. This film within a film is intentionally awful, but it's awful because of that. It's not cleverly bad like Ed Wood was, this one missed the brief entirely. It's supposed to be funny but I never cracked a smile once. Tony Cutis looks terrible too, dressed in a white Miami Vice style jacket and sporting a loud hairdo that would make Rick Flair cringe.

A really bad film and not in a fun way. Whether you view this one with a group of friends or on your own, I don't think you'll be having a good time. I'd rather watch a really bad B-movie that tries to be good.

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Three For the Road (1987)

I picked this movie up for 50p this morning. I first heard about it while watching the trailers on the movie Remote Control and i've wanted to see it ever since. It's hard to believe that this one is still unavailabe on DVD and a release date is nowhere in sight. CBS/FOX used to put out some of the greatest movies and I own a hell of a lot of them, the trailers included are fantastic too.

The cast is fantastic and the artwork on the box is pretty amazing too, sadly this one isn't as great as it should be. Road movies are always fun but when the bar is already at an almighty high, it's difficult for any film to reach those dizzy heights.

Some scenes are pretty ridiculous and cringeworthy but by the same token some are really fun, it's that kind of movie. Although, the scene where Sheen sees Green (Shit, that's hard to say) getting told off by her Father is unwatchable. He stands and watches behind a glass door and he's shouting "Hey!" "Hey!", very awkward to watch. His hair gets bigger thorughout too, watch out for that.

This isn't a movie for everyone. I can see how it got panned upon release and even why it's not getting put forward for a DVD release, but it is pretty fun in parts. Like back in my rental days, this would be perfect for a Sunday afternoon screening when nothing else is on.

Saturday, 4 June 2011

Pee-Wee's Big Adventure (1985)

Tim Burton's directorial debut is a weird treat for the eyes.

It starts off with a showcase of Pee-Wee's bike, a real stunner. Then a friend pops over on his birthday, a real rich spoilt kid who has everything, and offers to buy his bike. Pee-Wee declines the offer and on the same day the bike goes missing, the whole film is then about a quest to track down the stolen bike and make the world right again.

There are some fantastic characters that he meets along the way, most notably Large Marge. It took me back to the Twilight Zone episode with Dan Aykroyd in the car, genius.
It's so quotable it's untrue, without the voice of course.

"Tell 'em Large Marge sent ya!"

This movie is so ridiculous in it's plot and execution that it actually works. The soundtrack is pretty special too, very Beetlejuice like. What the hell happened to Burton, eh? Shame.

Just Go With It (2011)

Although i'm a fan of Sandler's earlier efforts like Happy Gilmore, The Wedding Singer, Big Daddy, The Waterboy and a few others, i'm well aware that every now and again he does a Billy Maddison, Mr. Deeds and Grown Ups. So I proceeded with caution on this one, that's probably because i'm a bit of a Jennifer Aniston fan. Not so much a fan, it's just that her films have a certain appeal for me, The Break Up being a perfect example.

This is a good Sandler movie, along the lines of 50 First Dates good. Aniston is great and Sandler is Sandler. The cameo of Kidman was a bit of a strange one for me, it literally came right out of the blue having heard nothing beforehand. How the hell did she get on board? Is there another Writers Guild strike?

Funny in parts without being hilarious, it's a great film for a Saturday night in.

Neds (2010)

I am a huge fan of Peter Mullan both as an actor and as a director. More people should check out one of his first films Orphan, it's a mini masterpiece. He was also in one of the most underrated horror movies of the last 10 years in Session 9.

This is hard hitting stuff and similar in ways to This Is England. It follows the story of a young Scot called John McGill, a very well educated boy who is slowly drawn into the ways of the tough streets. The young first time actors are great too, if you can understand what they're saying most of the time. It's not one that leaves you in a very pleasant mood though, quite a depressing film overall.

It's no This Is England but it's definitely not one to be missed.

Kick-Ass (2010)

I've lost count of the amount of times i've revisited this one, sometimes not all the way through. It's just a movie to throw on when you need cheering up. This time I was showing it to my 9 year old Niece.
I checked with Simon Bates first before screening, he was fine about it.

My brief thoughts on the film from last time:

I love this movie!