Friday, 14 May 2010

Reviews in Brief

Mainly because I have nothing to write about at the moment, and also because I am incredibly lazy, I have decided to cut and paste a load of my Facebook film reviews over here. They are mostly in no discernable order, and feature very little genuine insight into the film in question, but they sure are short!

I'll probably get 'round to writing something "proper" soon, but in the mean time; have a look:

Fantastic Four
Not funny. Not exciting. Not dramatic. Not anything. An anti-film, riddled with inconsistencies and juvenile plotting. And Jessica Alba looks like she's doing hard sums in her head whenever she has to use her wacky powers.

Ghost Rider
Lame, damp squib of a flick. Obvious CG and the inherent absudity of Ghost Rider's look render the action scenes (all surprisingly brief and action-free) ludicrous, and any time GR talks and his little jaw bone moves, it makes him look like a muppet. Throw in Emo villains, terrible dialogue, deliberately unbelievable characters and situations, and Nic Cage being upstaged by his hairpiece and you have the weakest comic-book adaptation since Daredevil.

Although, the bit with Cage watching a karate-chimp and pointing and laughing is hilarious.

Nacho Libre
Funny. The comedy is, however, strangely subtle for the ridiculous set-up, with a gentle pace and pervasive amiable quality rather than gut-busting guffaws. Great soundtrack too.

Napoleon Dynamite
A very divisive film. Personally, I find it beautiful to look at, consistently hilarious, and subtly touching.

The Usual Suspects
Solid thriller with a great ensemble and one of the most memorable twist endings you'll see. If you don't know, Chazz Palminteri's character turns out to be a MAN!

Reservoir Dogs
Still Tarantino's best film?

Boogie Nights
Funny and brilliantly constructed icarus story about the end of a "golden age". Great performances, great dialogue, great visuals, great film.

Magnolia
Massive achievement. Elegant, moving, funny, gritty, surreal, whimsical, warm, downbeat, hopeful and featuring lots of frogs. Classic.

Jurassic Park III
Lacklustre. Terribly muted ending as well. It does feature a dinosaur with a ringtone, though.

The Lost World - Jurassic Park
Same as the first one but with less inspiration and requiring greater suspension of disbelief as it becomes ever more ludicrous (a little kid gymnastifies a velociraptor out of a window? Fuck off).

Jurassic Park
Competent adventure which is ultimately little more than a series of (admittedly classy) set-pieces strung together on a whisp of a plot.

Dodgeball - A True Underdog Story
Amusing flick. Vaughn comes on like a young Bill Murray, and Stiller plays it big and daft with his cartoon villian. Rip Torn chucking wrenches at people and saying "You're as much use as a cock-flavoured lollipop" is good value too.

Ali G Indahouse - The Movie
Lame. The Ali G movie seems designed to appeal to those who the character was originally satirising. He gets politicians high! He has sex in the prime-minister's room! He poos on the floor! Lacking the wit and subversion that made Ali G a hit in the first place.

Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan
As uncomfortable is it is hilarious, illiciting an air of shocked disbelief at the audacity of Cohen's sheer BALLS to pull some of this stuff off.

Tenacious D in: The Pick of Destiny
A good fun film. Nothing astonishing here, but consistently funny and filled with cracking songs.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest
Bigger and sillier than the original. Infinitely more inventive and complex than your standard blockbuster fare. Sure, the first half hour could easily have been cut down to about half the size, but once it kicks off, it doesn't let up. As for the accusations of it being half a film; it's called "Dead Man's Chest" and they find the chest at the end. It is about Jack's debt to Davey Jones, and the debt is settled by the end. Just because the film doesn't end how you expect (or want) doesn't make it any less valid. Infact I would argue it is the unpredictability of this series which lifts it above the standard summer blockbuster.

300
Big fun. Cinema of excess. Gerard Butler is a charismatic central presence (even if the question "why does the king of Sparta talk like Sean Connery?" is raised) and the violence is unrelenting. The whole affair is as camp as christmas, with its caricature of masculinity and endless strutting about in little pants adding up to the gayest film since Top Gun.

Pirates of the Caribbean: At Worlds End
Don't believe the anti-hype. The Pirates "finale" is massive and insane. Yes, it's complicated, yes it's silly, but it's more fun than throwing cabbage at the mentally challenged.

Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey
Better than Excellent Adventure; funnier, more inventive, more surreal and visually arresting. God Gave Rock N Roll to You.

Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure
Classic fun. Reeves has more chemistry with Winter than he ever did with that dominatrix from The Matrix. An inventive and lively comedy, filled with great dialogue.

Dumb and Dumber
Possibly the funniest film ever made. The best thing about it is that our dual protagonists don't learn anything through the course of the film. They finish in exactly the same position they began; aimless and stupid, with only each other to rely on. A film close to my heart.

TMNT
Cracking action adventure. Throwaway plot about stone warriors, monsters and eternal life is excuse for infighting drama between Raphael and Leonardo. Easy entertainment.

Severance
Amusing horror thriller thing. Worth seeing if you like casual, brutal violence, occasionally smart dialogue, cockney geezers and naked chicks in pits.

Hot Fuzz
A brilliantly funny film packed with indelible characters and quotable dialogue. Not as good as Shaun, simply because it is more ungainly, sags a little in the middle, and the "pay-off" is slightly jarring due to the investment in the characters and their world which is sacrificed in favour of popcorn logic in the final act. The action sequences are a slight let-down too, with Wright mistaking fast-cuts and high-volume for excitement and awe-inspiration.


Feel free to post your own bite-size reviews in the comments below!

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