Tuesday, 30 June 2009

REVIEW: Blood: The Last Vampire

Oh Dear. I knew I should have seen Night at the museum 2, but I didn't, because I'm a sucker. I saw the word Vampire. I saw the 18 rating. And at this logical thought left the building, that same nagging feeling of impending shit filminess was ignored and I suffered the consequences. The cinematic equivalent of a primary school kid's crayon scratching. Only with less subtlety. First up, this film isn't about vampires, or blood for that matter for that has been replaced by some CGI Coca cola bubbles which apparently is the new DNA of choice for monsters of all shapes and sizes. What it is, is the kind of movie that gives genre a bad name. The kind of movie snobs point to when arguing all movies should be adaptations of 17th century novels about grime. The kind of movie that will send you screaming back to your Buffy DVD sets.

The story follows Saya (Gianna Jun) who is a half-breed who kills vampires, not at all like Blade you understand. Coz Saya's like totally a girl. Anyway our Saya goes around chopping stuff and struggling with the English dialect, and we switch focus to Alice (Alison Miller), a plucky teen girl who rebels against her general father and whines and screams like a girl. Which she is I suppose. Some non-descript characters die in an unnecessary sub-plot revolving around a bent handler, who kills general Dad, and Saya's good handler before getting whacked. Ok. Oh and there's also this chick called Onigen who's ancient evil and all powerful and can't be stopped by anything. Then she gets stabbed and that's that. Oh and she is also Saya's mum. But by that point you won't care, and neither did I. Bad acting from everyone concerned really, and director Chris Nahon apes 300 to within an inch of his life. He does this well in places but not so well in others.

Its unfocused, and really is just a weak riff on the age old chosen one deal without anything really to add to it. Oh and before I go and do some substance D, I feel I have to mention Alice's ridiculous invincibility. This Nancy drew wannabe got beat down by monsters of all shapes and bad CGI, and yet emerged unscathed. Onigen exploded her in a fireball. Her lackey threw her off a cliff. Her evil gym teacher dragged her over rough tops. Most ridiculous thing I've seen this year. This level of ridiculousness deserves some kind of award.

Rating: 2/10

REVIEW: Year One

A comedy that in theory had a lot of potential, as the old testament has long been a vast resource of hilarity. In practice however, we've got a painfully formulaic moronic farce that got laughs from no-one older then ten, at least in my screening, and perhaps the death knell to Michael Cera's 15 minutes. Unless he plays a role different to his current shtick - adorable soft-spoken loser - which I count he has played every role that has brought him any success, I think long term relevancy is off the table. Still, more on that later.

Year One follows, Zed and Oh, two caveman who take to the road and have many biblically themed adventures, meeting Cain and Abel and more stuff that can be listed on somebody else's blog. Jack Black, who plays the afore-mentioned Zed plays it broad and I'd criticize him for taking the paycheck but I think this kind of thing is where his heart belongs really. He certainly seems to enjoy himself, and Black is the best thing about this. He's naturally funny, and his extrovert loudmouth persona remains entertaining. As for the rest of the cast, June Diane Raphael and Juno Temple act as the leads respective love interests, which entails standing in the background for the most part. David Cross plays Cain who for some reason is in the whole movie despite his only joke being at the beginning, still good to see Tobias Funke in a prominent role. The under-rated Oliver Platt is actually funny in parts, but the script isn't kind to him in a painfully weak role that exists solely so this movie can tell gay jokes. To add to its piss jokes, shit jokes, and penis jokes. To think this guy directed Groundhog Day, a low point for Harold Ramis to be sure. Anyways Back to Michael Cera. He's not bad in this movie, and in places his delivery is great, its just I'd like to see him stretch his wings a little which if he doesn't do he's likely to become a fad,. This decade's Molly Ringwald. Except male and more credible.

Rating: 5/10

Friday, 26 June 2009

Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen

Fuck this movie, Fuck it to hell. Fuck the billion dollars it will make worldwide, Fuck the moronic teenage boys who will see it and blaspheme it as better then the Dark Knight. Fuck Michael Bay and his Epilepsy inducing beyond talentless sub Tony Scott approach to film-making. Fuck Shia Lebouef or labeouf or whatever and his entitled fast-talking douche/nerd composite style of acting that makes me want to take a power drill to my ear to ensure that fellow cinema goers get their money's worth. Fuck Megan Fox for taking a role that may well have had more slow-motion bouncing cleavage shots then lines, and while the misogynist in me appreciated this, the reviewer is oath-bound to condemn it. Speaking of misogyny, Fuck a movie that features hundreds upon hundreds of soldiers that are all male and, on a more intellectual level women are presented as either ditzy idiots (Shia's mom), slutty predators (college girl transformer) or complicent girlfriends (good old Megan seems to have had her power-slut vibe from the first movie somewhat neutered.) Oh Right, back to my gimmick. Fuck the insanely offensive ghetto transformer twins speaking in MC Hammer inspired jive so clearly written by a middle class white dude. Fuck John Turturro, for so brazenly taking the paycheck, hamming it up and running. It is now OK to Fuck with the Jesus. Fuck the no mark comic relief best friend who seemed to serve no purpose at all. Fuck the awful plot, if it can be called that, that seems to have been put together on microsoft notebook such is its disregard for making sense. Fuck the time it is taken to insult this movie. Still, it was better then high school Musical 3, so there's that

Rating 4/10

REVIEW: My Sisters Keeper

You know when the world gets you down and your feeling low there's nothing quite like a movie about the slow protracted death of a child with cancer. Yes we are in Weepie territory, a genre admittedly not meant for a man of such masculinity as myself, but hey the giant robots will come soon enough. So, this movie is for the most part exactly what you get on the tin, lots of cancer, lots of crying lots of slow motion happy family moments nudged into poignancy by the specter of death. It briefly flirts with some more interesting moral territory, the cancer kid's sister refusing to be treated as a walking organ donor for her dying sister, but when that is revealed to be a huge fake out, MSK becomes another film about a saintly family dealing with tragedy. And sure it is tragedy, and I'm as capable of empathy as the next guy, but movie rules are different to life rules and a movie so unrelentingly sentimental and cliched is going to get no love from me. If I'm going to be manipulated by a movie I want it done with finesse, something it doesn't come close to managing. Still this comes from a guy who hates ET for the same reasons, and that movie is widely considered to be awesome, so maybe its my cynical unfeeling damage. Also, amidst the demolition I should praise Cameron Diaz, who in between Charlie's Angels movies and romantic comedies with Ashton Kutcher, can be quite a good actress, most notably in Being John Malkovich, but she handles the mother with the stiff upper lip quite well. Jason Patric shows up for a while and says 'Hey guys I was in Narc'. And Little Miss Sunshine alum Abigail Breslin continues her quest to be the most insufferably cute actress that ever lived and Director Nick Cassevetes overplays his mournful hand sheening a tearful glaze over the movie that is both heavy handed and dated. But to be fair I heard some sniffling so if your partial to this kind of thing have at it.

Rating: 5/10

REVIEW: Sunshine Cleaning

Another day, another entry into the Indie movie centered around a dysfunctional family with an occasionally dark sense of humor. Still, this is a tad better then most, keeping the quirk rationed into tolerable amounts and containing a couple of good performances. Highest praise goes to Emily Blunt, who gives her character a real warmth and relatability. She is very under-rated but seems to be getting her due, post Devil Wears Prada which she stole from even Meryl Streep. Similarly, this movie will do nothing to hurt the rising star of Amy Adams, earning yet more credibility on the back of two Oscar nominations and coming out of night at the museum 2 unscathed. She is solid here, and retains that beaming persona which has made her one of the most likable actresses around. The central concept of crime scene clean up is a good one which slots very nicely into the indie world which this movie so clearly resides, and provides many blackly comic moments such as the debate of whether scrubbing or spraying is best suited to getting dry blood of the walls, and people tripping and falling onto mattresses covered in brain matter. At its heart though, the movie is a character piece, and a quietly downbeat one at that, sure there's comedy, but the two sisters played by the actresses above deal with their disappointing lives, economic crises and lingering after effects of their mother's suicide. Its a pretty conventional indie movie really, doing nothing strikingly new, but the acting and at times the writing make it worth the watch.

Rating: 7/10