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USA. 2012. Directed by Rian Johnson. Story by Rian Johnson. Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis & Emily Blunt

Rating: ★★★½

Looper is the type of film that leaves you questioning everything you know about time travel! The science fiction thrill and thought behind it is evident as the movie progresses. The basic story is about a man named Joe who is played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt as the young Joe and Bruce Willis as the older Joe who are future contract killers called ‘Loopers’.

In the year 2074 civilization have created time travel however it is highly illegal to use. It can only be accessed by the biggest criminal mafia organisations in the world. In this future they can no longer simply kill a person & hide their bodies due to personal tracking devices. So instead they send the victims back 30 years and a looper’s job is to kill them and dispose of their body. Making them simply another blip in the missing persons lists. But when young Joe comes face to face with his older self who was sent back to get killed. He hesitates only for a minute and that’s when the plot takes off.Young Joe is determined to go through with killing his older counterpart something which their industry called ‘closing the loop’. They get paid a hefty amount and live their life in luxury for the next 30 years. But the plot thickens when older Joe manages to escape. Only to contact his younger self again to explain his current situation, unsure whether young Joe will choose to help him or continue with his determination to ‘close his loop’.

The storyline was quite confusing to digest and the plot did have many holes, but the movie does a decent job of explaining itself. To be frank, no time travel movie ever makes 100% sense, especially when the characters start crossing paths with themselves. You’ll always question ‘shouldn’t he have remembered what he did and saw everything coming?’ But generally if you come into the film with an open mind and are willing to let go of some of the flaws, it will definitely entertain you and leave you riveting.

The story had emotion, action and sentimental value. We laughed, we cried and we were hooked as it became more and more intense as the hunter became the hunted. The underlining message is profound and it will leave you thinking about it well after you’ve left the cinemas. It’s hard to walk away from Looper and say it’s just another typical pointless action film. And that in my opinion; is enough to pass as a good quality film. Lastly the acting from all three of the main casts were outstanding. This movie proves the legendary Bruce Willis still has it in him. I give this movie a 3.5/5!

Also have to say, I didn't think they could pull off Joseph Gordon-Levitt as a young Bruce Willis. But the make up was pretty darn good. I can definitely see essence of Bruce's hay days in Joseph's made up face
 
 
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Australia. 2010. Directed by David Michôd. Screenplay by David Michôd. Story by David Michôd. Starring: Guy Pearce, Joel Edgerton, Ben Mendelsohn, James Frencheville, Jacki Weaver

Rating:
★★★★½

Animal Kingdom is a riveting insight into a 1980’s Australian crime family. The film trails a teenage boy named Joshua ‘J’ Cody (Frencheville). Due to unfortunate family circumstances J moves in with his grandmother and mentally unhinged uncles.

New comer James Frencheville portrays the slow & vulnerable teenager, flawlessly. His pensive dopey expressions are approriate enough to gain sympathy without rendering him useless. Jacki Weaver’s performance as the grandmother is also absolutely amazing. Her sweet, doting, polite characteristics can also be seen as eerily threatening as the plot progresses.

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The film’s intensity does not waver from start to finish and is definitely not for light hearted entertainment. Animal Kingdom is a perfect depiction of the different rapacious instincts & cunning decisions brought out in each person for their own survival.

**Spoiler Alert**
The one scene I can’t seem to shake, is when J is on the run from his uncle and attempts to get his girlfriend’s family out of their house. To avoid alarming them for their own safety, he simply asks for a lift to the shops. As the family bustles around to leave, the urgency in J’s eyes enclosed by his calm demeanour was insanely nerve racking. I was so intensely enveloped in the scene I began chewing on my hair without even realising it. Not many films have ever caused me to chew on anything other than popcorn. Two thumbs up!
 
 
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USA. 2010. Directed by Mike Newell. Screenplay by Boaz Yakin, Doug Miro, Carlo Bernard. Story by Jordan Mechner. Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Gemma Arterton, Ben Kingsley

Rating: ★★★½

To bring out yet another film based on a video game (and with the quality of past video game films like Tomb Raider, Doom, etc) immediately heightened my critical scepticism. But as soon as the first scene leapt on screen, I was pleasantly entertained from start to end. Jerry Bruckheimer and Disney already accomplished a similar feat when they brought Pirates of the Caribbean to the big screen, a movie based on a theme park ride and reigniting the spark in a overly common dwindling genre.

There was really nothing I could criticise too harshly about the film. Some of the scenic choices seen in Prince of Persia were nothing short of breathtaking. The storyline and character development were just enough of an explanation to move the plot along without taking away from the action. No useless characters or WTF dialogue. The theme explores the idea of strong family values, which is a unique take on Hollywood’s usual action packed box office films. It took all the best parts of the original game bringing back the childhood nostalgia but finely tuned the good old Prince of Persia experience. The protagonist prince Dastan (Gyllenhaal) was introduced to the audience as loveable character, immediately intriguing us to follow this underdog’s story. Gyllenhaal who really bulked up for the roll showed off his impressive athleticism and fancy footwork which gave the action scenes a distinct look and feel; and frankly less boring to watch.

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**Spoiler Alert**
Of course there were annoying little flaws here and there throughout the film that could have been addressed better. Like the occasional awkward romantic moments between Dastan & Princess Tamina (Atertan) or the underuse of the Dagger in critical moments. And worse of all the typical Disney airy fairy happy ending which is as bad as ‘I woke up and it was all a dream’ (an amazing dream at that). But overall entertaining and amusing for what it was, great cinematography, likable characters portrayed by decent actors and an original plot and theme delivered through substantial script and storytelling.

There was no distinctly stupid or funny scene that I can recall, but I did love the 360degree rotation of Dastan standing on the roof’s edge during battle. Which reminded me a lot of the Assassin’s Creed video game and for an instant I thought he’d jump off and land in a shallow hay barrel (often used in the game). But instead he tied a rope to his ankle and managed to jump into the level below in one swift impossible manoeuvre, that gave me a little chuckle.

Looking forward to the next Jerry Bruckheimer & Disney collaboration - The Sorcerer’s Apprentice.
 
 
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USA. 2010. Directed by Ridley Scott. Screenplay by Bruab Helgeland. Story by Ethan Reuff, Cyrus Voris. Starring: Russell Crowe, Cate Blanchett

Rating: ★★½

Robin Hood - The untold story of the man behind the legend... A friend of mine came up with a much better tag-line. Robin Hood - Gladiator with bows and arrows. The same prologue, director and actor of Gladiator were used but nowhere near the same quality. The piecemeal scenes of Robin Hood that tied the storyline together were confusing and disappointing. A lot of the dialogue that contributed to the overall plot-line were unnecessary making the pace of the film appear choppy and condensed. So many ideas were brought into the story such as Robin’s paternal origins and the significance of certain characters were never developed or explained. The angle the director took to move the plot along were to make all the characters seemed partial and easily swayed, a king’s crucial decision for the future of this country made on a whim based on his mistress’ word. There was no debate or intense friction but a quick and easy dialogue delivery, like a bowl of uncooked instant noodles. 


In addition to the long winding war scenes, a large portion of the film danced around the romance between Marion (Blanchett) and Robin (Crowe), which was utterly excruciating to watch. The development of their growing love for each other was attempted through short awkward dialogue banter, only worsened by the lack of chemistry between the two actors. The fact that their mutual feelings were never addressed throughout the film made the 'declaration of love' scene; come as a sudden shock. They were excellent apart but skin-crawling in the scenes they filmed together.

**Spoiler Alert**
Blanchett convincingly portrayed Marion as a strong, independent, hard headed woman throughout the film, however the useless addition of her running into the final battle with sword in hand & full body armor leading her small legion of the lost boys was completely unnecessary! Ridley Scott, you’ve been pounding it in our faces that Marion is a heroine from the start. We get it! She’s tough! There was no need for her to join the battle and fail miserably. It completely undid her tough act and made the crucial farewell scene between Robin & herself obsolete. Although I have to give two thumbs up for the director of photography who made many of the scenery appear absolutely breathtaking. The film overall, didn’t bring anything new to the table of the already over-done Robin Hood legend.  

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And finally, my favourite scene from this 2010 rendition of Robin Hood was when Marion and Robin decide to share some intimate and dramatic lip-locking action... amidst a raging battle! Marion who’s fallen off her horse with heavy armor & is drowning/choking on the shore & Robin who’s bleeding from the head comes to her rescue with blood dripping onto his lover’s face; I ask this question. DO YOU REALLY THINK THIS IS THE BEST TIME TO BE MAKING-OUT?!? I don’t know if this “romantic” scene trumps Elizabeth and Will’s impromptu wedding ceremony/battle seen in Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End. *gag*
 
 
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USA. 2010. Directed by Louis Leterrier. Screenplay by Travis Beachman, Phil Hay, Matt Manfredi. Story by Lawrence Kasdan. Starring: Sam Worthington, Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes

Rating:

I haven't had the chance to see the original 1981 Clash of the Titans but I believe even with the lack of technological special effects, it couldn't have been as bad as the crap that was churned out this year. The re-make had such promise with the all-star cast ensemble, the foundations of the original film and the intriguing Greek mythology that can fuel the plot. But instead of doing a little research and actually closely following the myths that were well thought out for hundreds of years. Producer/writers/directors decide to cheapen the project by turning it into another Hollywood action pack block-buster with no plot and wooden actors... WHHYYY?????

The first scene already got me rolling my eyes when a baby was found alive and well floating in a coffin that just rose from deep under the sea. The kid was taken in by a sweet fisherman’s family who brought him up to become the brooding, handsome hunk of muscle Perseus played by Sam Worthington. I’m always supporting rising Australian actors in Hollywood with full force. But Worthington’s losing me as a fan with his wooden facial expressions, monotone dialogue (with a very heavy Aussie accent that made me cringe) and awkward demeanor. Perseus then gets swept into the battle between the gods and the people when his family became casualties of war. He stumbles into the royal court where his demigod status is discovered which forces him into the journey to save the princess, destroy the gods to avenge his family. Typical plot that could have been substantial if done well, unfortunately in this Clash of the Titans (COTT) it wasn’t. COTT lacked story-telling, character development and explanations in focal scenes that left the audience hanging with no satisfaction. 

The lonesome fisherman (who’s never picked up a battle sword in his life), single handedly fought off a hoard of soldiers with years of training. WTF!?!? I know you’re a demigod and all but that’s way too much BS one can handle, either that or the soldiers were all shit. In which case don’t wage war with the gods if you don’t have the goods!! The film was then followed by a series of eye-rolling, scoffing and choke worthy bullshit that I just was not able to accept. The heroes journey seemed irrelevant after the long sequence of heavily laden CGI fight action scenes & the laughable dialogue didn’t help bring the audience back onto the journey’s path at all. And was it me or did Zeus have a serious case of multiple personality disorder? One minute he appears to his son Perseus giving advice and offers help. The next he’s telling Hades to carry out the human slaughter with no mercy!?!? If I were Hera I would’ve advised my husband – the god of gods to seek psychological help. The one thing I thought didn’t make my head shake in disbelief was Hades (Ralph Fiennes) acting, his eerily cold appearance made me shiver at times and I have to say was a breath of fresh air in a film that had nothing else going for it.

One last thing I want to vent about. I’m sick of every movie becoming 3D just because it can. And I was stupid enough to follow the hype and go see COTT with those horrible glasses that fell off my nose every 3 seconds. It made the scenes blurry, darker and I didn’t see one bit of impressive eye popping 3D activity at all?!?! That was a big fat waste of money and headache inducing experience.

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**Spoiler Alert**
As always I’ll end it with my all time favourite scene/line that made me laugh out loud inappropriately. This time it was the all mighty Zeus who's guilty. In one of the final crucial scenes, he tells all the gods at the conference to leave him and Hades alone in the room. He slowly walks up the stairs and dramatically turns! and instead of having a private meaningful conversation that required the other gods to leave he utters ‘Release the raken!’ (oh no! it’s not a giant octopus it’s elephant man’s fucked up twin!) - WTF WTF WTF!!! 
 

G.I Joe

03/08/2010

2 Comments

 
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USA. 2009. Directed by Stephen Sommers. Screenplay by Stuart beattie, David Elliot, Paul Lovett. Story by Michael Gordon, Stuart Beattie, Stephen Sommers. Starring: Channing Tatum, Dennis Quid, Sienna Miller, Joseph Gorden-Levitt, Marlon Wayans, Rachel Nichols

Rating:


Paramount Pictures and Hasbro, whose previous collaboration was the worldwide blockbuster ‘Transformers’ join forces with Spyglass Entertainment for another extraordinary action-adventure ‘G.I Joe’ – that’s what’s being marketed globally for this new flick. But don’t get your hopes up because if you’re expecting an actual plot and a clever/humorous dialogue banter between well developed characters. You’d have more luck watching half way through a Disney Pixar film. 

 The film was all action… and that’s it. Script, plot, the art of acting & characterisation was all completely fucked! Not that the screenwriters and director Stephen Sommers thought any of these film techniques would help make the movie a little more bearable. They seem determined to mainly deliver one high-octane, heavily CGI-laden ultimately deadening effect. 

 The film revolves around the idea of “the Joes” (not just the one all-American-hero G.I Joe) - now a massive underground secret service division with the best ops from all around the world cumulated into one unit…. Right… this is a seriously flawed foundation for the film to be base on since all I was asking throughout the film was, where’s the funding coming from? Didn’t anyone notice all their best soldiers disappearing? Why the hell are all these solders cocooperatively turning their back on their own countries to work for America? .... Weren’t any of these questions raised at all??? The government must all be fucken stupid in the near future.  I mean… I’m all for good bullshit light entertaining actions films… but there’s only so much I can handle. And throwing in a whole heap of ‘the Mummy’ cast (Brendan Fraser, Arnold Vosloo & Kevin J. O’Connor) isn’t going to help the film whatsoever except maybe jack the budget up to make it seem like a bigger blockbuster film.  

But hey! That’s just my opinion. 

Don’t take my word for it; catch it in cinemas if you want to experience the mind numbing – eye rolling – ear and brain damaging film while it’s still available, because duds always get booted off the silver screens sooner than expected. Before i sign off i'd like to share my favourite line “You will now call me… COMMANDER! Muahhahaha!” – Hilarious... you’ll know what I mean when you see it. , ,

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