Fulham Film Week Broad Way House
Sep 2012 18

 

Curated by a good friend of RBTV this promises to be an intimate and exclusive festival.  I’m sure you will agree the running order looks amazing.  I will be attending on the Sunday night to watch one of my all time favourite films Leon.  Get there if you can.

 

TW

Prepare to be Judged! (Dredd 3D Review)
Sep 2012 19

 

Originally, I was going to avoid this. The trailers didn’t really tickle my fancy and Karl Urban is a bit hit and miss (Doom being a prime example). What Stallone did to the character in the previous, abomination of an adaptation (YOU NEVER TAKE OFF THE HELMET!!) also put me, and the legions of fanboys off.

The 2000AD comic stories were, and still are, different to the mainstream Marvel & DC fare. They are much darker, more sinister, and with more realism entwined in its stories than what we have come to expect from other stables. The first movie took some great elements from the 2000AD universe (the Angel Gang, ABC Warriors) and made them tame: disappointing.

Then there is the current trend of making movies 12A friendly with The Hunger Games being the most recent of casualties. So when Dredd was first announced I wasn’t buying it.

But then I started hearing good things.

Critic reviews were coming back as being very positive. Heck, on Rotten Tomatoes, at the time of deliberating on whether I should go see it or not, the rating was 90%! The certificate was not 12A but a full on 18. I also heard that the helmet does NOT come off! So I shed my preconceptions, donned the spouse on the arm, and bravely ventured forth to the eXtreme(!) screen at Vue Westfields.

You are first introduced to the action in a no holds barred chase through Mega City One. The city is shown in daylight, which may shock some who are used to cities of the future caked in never ending darkness (Blade Runner, the first Judge Dredd movie are just two examples). This expansive view helps to portray the vastness of the city using the host South African locations as fantastic backdrops. The mega towers in the city are just that: mega! These futuristic megaliths tower over the sprawling city below. These are self contained towns, if you like, rather than residential blocks and blend in to the Durban/Cape Town layouts perfectly. South Africa is now a hotbed of movie activity, and it should be welcomed if they can play host to movies like this and the fabulous District 9.

 That initial chase sets you up well for the rest of the movie. It’s a throwback to all of those 80’s no holds barred action movies like Robocop, in fact the opening scene was so reminiscent of Murphy’s exploits, and others of its ilk that I felt like I was right back there, hairstyles and shoulder pads aside. During the chase you are introduced to a form of drug called Slo-Mo. When users take this substance their brain interprets everything much more slowly, this is shown by the film employing slow motion. It reminded me of ‘Bullet-Time’ in the Max Payne games and the method of filming is used several times to great effect throughout the running time.

It’s immediately obvious that this movie will not go on without a brutal bang or two. The violence is ongoing throughout and at some points even I found it difficult to watch (and hear!). Let me tell you now, if you ever wondered what a bullet through the mouth would look like in slow motion, this is the film for you, because it shows you, about a million times.

The gist of the plot surrounds the Peach Tree tower and its chief inhabitant, Ma-Ma, played by Lena Headey. A one time hooker who was scarred by her pimp and decided to take revenge in a very Lorena Bobbit manner. She then proceeded to take over the tower and build a drug empire, ruthlessly.

As an antagonist, Lena Headey comes off ok, yes she does evil things but there was always the impression that once Dredd got to her, it would be a non-entity of an encounter, ending with a bullet through the mouth……………….in slow motion. To counter her lack of presence, Dredd (and his psychic sidekick Judge Anderson played by the lovely Olivia Thirlby) are sent hordes of tower residents to take on. If you have stopped there, and are thinking: ‘Wait, isn’t this just like The Raid?’ You’d be right, but the guys in The Raid didn’t have a Lawgiver did they!?! No they bloody well didn’t.

 Thirlby plays the Anderson character very well and she grows the character from the timid introduction into a fully fledged Judge by the end; her psychic powers growing with her as the chaos surrounds her and Dredd.

How about Karl Urban? Has he done the character justice? Does he get past the considerable handicap of only being able to use his chin to act? I’d have to give that a resounding yes! Dredd is not really a hero, he is a fascist, a thug, a bully, who just happens to be on our side. Urban pulls this off really well and I’d welcome him back with open arms if a sequel gets made.

One of the great things about this particular Dredd story is that it didn’t try to give us an Epic, it wasn’t an end of the world type scenario. They took a normal day, a normal routine check up and turned it into a movie. Ok, so the normal working day for Judge Dredd is most likely more eventful for him than us, but it worked. It was a great way to reboot the franchise on the big screen. Karl’s stoic performance leads well to some of the chuckle inducing one-liners he is given, which helps to add some welcome levity. It’s another good example of how script-writing and story writing can differ. A story can be incredibly basic but still succeed with a good screen writing, The Avengers is a case in point, and I believe Dredd is another.

With Dredd now fixed, I’m aching to see what the same team could do with a Dark Judges story arc. I think every Judge Dredd fan on the planet is just aching to see the Dark Judges on the big screen; especially Judge Death! This would be a wet dream come true for me! …Well, uhm, enough about my fantasies… Wonder Woman *cough*.

As usual, I don’t like to give too much away in my reviews, as it will spoil the movie, so I won’t ramble on-besides there isn’t much to the plot, it’s really just a staging ground for an endless run of violence Dredd style, and a reintroduction nay, a reminder to what Judge Dredd is……………..The Law!

Solid 8.5/10 from me.

 

KAZI

Sep 2012 20

20120920-070414.jpg

A crack of thunder echoed over Metropolis. The lightning made silhouettes of the city’s skyscrapers, sprinkled lights as far as the eye could see were twinkling as the tiring inhabitants went to sleep. Soon, only street lights remained amid the relentless downpour. A golden globe spun atop one tower, surrounded by the crest ‘The Daily Planet’. A lone figure floated above, wearing a cape, unmoved by the storm around him.

Adopting an observant posture, he listened intently for any signs of distress, any cries for help. He was expecting a quiet night, for the world had just endured and overcome one savagery. Tonight, of all nights, he was confident that the city would be safe.

Superman floated down silently, and landed softly on the roof of his alter ego’s workplace. His gaze never wavering from the city below. Never wavering, that is, until something distracted him.

“Show yourself” he demanded, “I know someone is there, I can hear your heart beat”

“Through the rain?” inquired a deep, gravelly voice.

“Yes” replied Superman, nonchalantly. The rain eased slightly, increasing visibility. “What do you want?”

The shadows behind the support pillars for the globe shifted for a moment, and then were still again. A gust of wind shot the standing water collecting on the floor into the air, as the mysterious figure responded only with movement..

Superman spun round and prepared himself.

“I’m not here to harm you.” Said the voice, “I’m here to warn you.”

“Warn me?” Superman responded, with slight disdain, “Sir, whoever you are, I advise you to think twice before entering into any confrontation with me, I’m here to protect, but will not hesitate to act, if necessary.”

“There are others who can stop you, if you go down the wrong path. Your actions, due to their very scale, have not gone unnoticed.”

“You talk of the Lantern?” Superman had heard of this one, a man with a ring of magic.

“He is not alone.”

Superman appeared to be looking at the floor, he was using his x-ray vision to penetrate each level until he saw his target, Louis Lane, still working late into the night. He relaxed, no longer sensing a threat from this presence. “Unfortunately, I am.”

“You are wrong, you have the city.” replied the stranger, “There will be times when they question you, fear you. But they will always need you. It is a responsibility. Are you ready for it?”

Superman looked to the sky, towards where his home once was, a world lost to the harsh will of the universe. Fate dealt him a cruel blow, but this new world, this new home had taught him much. The obligation to protect his new home grew exponentially, each passing day. There would be challenges, yes, but he knew what must be done.

“As long as I draw breath, I will protect this world.” Superman said as he gazed towards the voice.

Out of the darkness, the shadow emerged slightly, a flash of lightning illuminated the roof for all but a moment, exposing his form. A dark suited man, with a cowl shaped like a bat, his cape flapped across the city landscape. “Then we do so together”

Another flash of lightning struck, the thunder on this one was deafening, it distracted Superman for only a moment. He turned back to where the shadowy figure stood.

But it was too late. He had already gone.

KAZ

Sep 2012 21

The latest trailer for the Hobbit Trilogy.  I will stand by my previous comments about the turning of the Hobbit into a trilogy, that is ‘purely a commercial move’ and not required in anyway to tell this story.

Will I go and see it? Of course I will but I don’t think it is right.

 

TW

My Top 5 Computer Game Movies
Sep 2012 25

I had been struggling for ideas for a few weeks now when Tom A kindly sent me a list of things to write about.  Number 1. on his list was ‘My Top 5 Computer Game movies’ and to be honest I have put it off because it is comparable to looking at a selection of walls and deciding which one you would rather have your head smashed against.

I dont’ know this for a fact but I think it is a safe assumption that suits in Hollywood look at all the cash coming into the computer games industry and think ‘we want some of that!’.  What they don’t stop to consider is will the story of two Italian plumbers jumping on vegetables/animals heads translate to the big screen?  With hindsight we can all agree that it doesn’t, can’t we?

Since the release of Super Mario Brothers in 1993, 29 Computer game based films have been released none of them managing a Rotten Tomatoes score of higher the 43% and averaging somewhere in the low 20’s.  Japan love them so much they have release a further 33 films which haven’t made it to our shores thankfully.

A much more successful genre has been movies that include computer game themes or story lines.  For example; Tron, War Games, The Lawn Mower Man and the Wizard.  I’m a big fan of War Games and through some research on Wikipedia found out there was a sequel released in 2008 ‘War Games: The Dead Code’!  This has made this all worthwhile.

I suppose I better stop dragging this out and pick 5 films:

1) Final Fantasy The Spirit Within

2) Tomb Raider

3) Prince of Persia Sands of Time

4) Super Mario Bros.

5)Resident Evil

 

If you think I have been to harsh or there are better films that I have left out let me know.

Check out the Wiki link below for more stats and a full list of the movies.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_films_based_on_video_games

TW

Newsflash: Hollywood’s Not So Great When it Comes to Originality
Oct 2012 01

Back in January, the excellent website Short of the Week published an infographic on original ideas in Hollywood. I only recently caught up with it myself, and thought it was only right to share it with the readers of RBT.

The lack of new ideas in Hollywood is often bemoaned by film fans, and ridiculed by people not to enamoured with the film industry, and this graphic seems to indicate a trend going only one way. Of course sequels, adaptations and reboots don’t necessarily always make bad films, it’s just a depressing fact that unique voices with original, different ideas are being drowned out in the din of sequels and remakes. Enjoy the infographic, it doesn’t necessarily make for positive reading:

Source

TA

Stoker: The New Film From Park Chan-wook
Oct 2012 02

Never heard of Park Chan-wook? He’s only the South Korean director of OldboyI’m a CyborgJoint Security Area, and Thirst. South Korea has, in the last decade, produced some fine cinematic talents. As I mentioned in this article, South Korean directors are now making films in America, to show the ignorant masses in the West just what they’re missing.

Park Chan-wook: so bloody talented

Oldboy is more or less Park’s signature film. It’s the middle film in his Vengeance trilogy, and the best known. It’s hard to imagine another director who could weave such a complex narrative, operatic, but extreme and graphic acts of violence, and bravura filmmaking techniques into an emotionally-resonant and rich tapestry of a film. And I didn’t even mention the incest. Oldboy is one of those films that you have to see at least once, if you want to call yourself a film buff.

Thirst, released after the Twilight films took their own, angsty, vampire vibe into the mainstream, is about as distinctive a vampire film as you’ll ever see, featuring some strong performances and a genuinely unusual and surprising narrative. I’m a Cyborg is distinctive and surprisingly sweet, depicting a girl who believes herself to be a cyborg, leading to her committal to an insane asylum. Each entry in his varied filmography displays an unusual mix of unusual themes melded together by an engaging story, and it looks like the forthcoming Stoker will be no different.

After the death of her father, India (Mia Wasikowska)’s mother Evelyn (Nicole Kidman)’s already frail sanity is further tested by the arrival of her mysterious uncle Charlie (Matthew Goode), who comes to stay with them. It has been described as a psycho-sexual thriller owing much to the work of Brian De Palma, and, before him, Alfred Hitchcock. Nicole Kidman, despite her mainstream reputation, has an eye for a talented director, having worked with Alejandro Amenabar on The Others, and John Cameron Mitchell on the criminally-underseen Rabbit Hole, and the up-and-coming Mia Wasikowska should prove an able co-star. Matthew Goode, an actor who doesn’t get the body of work his talent deserves is perfect for the sinister but charming uncle Charlie, and with Park-Chan-wook orchestrating the onscreen entertainment, it definitely won’t be boring.

Stoker comes out in March 2013.

TA

The Honest Avengers Trailer and A Unique Trailer for The Comedian
Oct 2012 03

I love a good trailer. I love the way that a well-executed but still mysterious trailer can ramp up your excitement for a movie in sub 2 minutes. I love that feeling of unexpectedly seeing the first footage of a film you’re looking forward to, and I love the voice of that trailer guy, because it reminds me of good times in the cinema.

Recently, the trend for movie trailers seems to be to show you the entire plot of the film, and to ruin all of the money shots by showing them out of context. But even with that sizeable disadvantage, I still love them. Below, you’ll find a couple of embeds relating to trailers, that should be interesting. The first one is an ‘Honest Trailer’ produced by Screen Junkies that tells the ‘truth’ about The Avengers Assemble. It’s great fun and pokes holes in the film in such a good way, that even an avowed fan of the film such as I can enjoy it. Warning: spoilers abound from the get-go, so only watch if you have seen The Avengers Assemble.

The second video is the trailer for Jerry Seinfeld’s 2002 documentary Comedian, featuring Hal Douglas (the trailer guy) in a manner that sends up the formulaic trailer any regular cinema visitor will know and love. It’s an interesting film, showing the other side of comedy. But, it has to be said, the trailer is probably better than the film.

TA

A Good Day to Die Hard Trailer!
Oct 2012 04
This is the first teaser trailer from the new Die Hard Movie ‘A Good Day to Die Hard’.  My first impressions are good.
They seem to have taken into account how old Bruce Willis is these days and created a son ( Jai Courtney) to carry some of the action load.  From IMDB I gather the plot is the father and son duo are taking on the Russian Mob, which explains the European setting of the trailer.  I thought the shots of the token ‘hot Chick’ getting off her motorbike were a bit ‘Michael Bayesque’ but luckily were fleeting and you were back to the action.  John Moore is directing the 5th film in the series and has some big boots to fill, I’m not filled with confidence by his last few films, May Payne, The Omen, Flight of the Phoenix and Behind Enemy Lines.  I suppose those films were solid and he clearly has an understanding of action but I can’t help thinking the overriding factor for picking him was his price.
As much as I would like to see Hollywood creating some new action hero’s I will always happily pay to see another Die Hard film.
TW
Taken 2 Review
Oct 2012 10

Taken was something of a surprise hit, way back in 2008. Liam Neeson, that bona fide, middle-aged, thesp, an action hero? It had to be seen to be believed. Telling the story of a father using his own particular set of skills learned as a CIA operative killing half of Paris to find his kidnapped daughter, rocketed Liam
Neeson into the mainstream consciousness as an unlikely action hero.

Although it had an ending with plenty of closure, the box office return on the relatively small
budget virtually guaranteed a return to the world of Bryan Mills and his
unique, but brutally effective, brand of finding people.

Now how do you top Taken? Well, without wanting to spoil it (it is in
the trailer), you kidnap the father and mother instead! This leaves Maggie Grace as Bryan Mills’ daughter in the unenviable situation of having to help save them.

Cue phone calls to his daughter who manages to evade capture on the mean and exotic streets of Istanbul, Turkey. He later deposits his daughter at the US Embassy for safe keeping (after giving her a lesson in high-speed evasion in a taxi, natch).

This is probably a movie best suited to home viewing. I’d probably watch it on DVD as I did with the first film. It is a popcorn movie – disposable but fun fodder from
which drinking games can (and will) be created. I can see it now: drink a finger of
alcohol when you hear Liam Neeson say ‘Listen to me very carefully…’, do a shot when he snaps someone’s neck, down an entire bottle of vodka when he encounters a situation where his mysteriously thorough and all-encompassing CIA training can’t help him (spoiler: that’s never, then).

Neck snapping: Bryan Mills, up to his old tricks

The film is peppered with some unintentionally hilarious moments, despite the po-faced nature of the story. Mostly to do with Liam’s delivery of his lines and how they immediately transmit to the audience that something bad is going to
happen.

Liam Neeson carries on as he did before – the overprotective father who
just wants to make sure his family is safe. Famke Janssen has a relatively
thankless role as the kidnapped ex-wife, bound, gagged, and dragged
all over the place. Maggie Grace steps up from the kidnapped daughter

Kim to rescuer. The villains though, are largely ineffective. Merely there to present
Bryan with some vague form of resistance when walking from one door to another.

Liam Neeson has gone on record as saying that there really is no way to do a third Taken movie.
Contrary to this, there are reports that one is being plotted, possible sans Neeson. The first Taken was a lightning in a bottle situation, this struggles to repeat the trick and benefits hugely from the first. Can they do it for a third time? It remains to be seen…

SM

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