Dec 2012 02

The first Monsters Inc has always been one of my favourite Pixar films.  Mainly because of the inclusion of Billy Crystal and his wise cracks, but also the pacing and the story was immense.  I always remember seeing the fur effects for the first time and being blown away.  Monsters University may be the return to form that Disney Pixar have been waiting for.



Dec 2012 04

First Picture of Ashton Kutcher as Steve Jobs
Dec 2012 04

Although Ashton Kutcher may look the part in this picture I have my reservations about his acting ability.  Don’t get me wrong I think Ashton Kutcher is good in comedy roles, but this is a different kettle of fish.  Here he as to portray a popular figure known all around the world, for some people I don’t think it is a stretch to say they saw him as some sort of technological messiah.  The script is in safe hands with Aaron Sorkin who has a proven track record in dealing with stories of modern technological events with his work on The Social Network.  In a recent interview Sorkin has revealed he the film will be made of just three acts all set before Jobs is due to go and stage and reveal a new technology.  An interesting concept, after reading his biography I wonder how in just three scenes they will be able to give you the whole picture of a very complicated man though?



Seven Psychopaths Review
Dec 2012 09

Quentin Tarantino has a lot to answer for. In his wake has come a slew of verbose, pop-culture referencing crime flicks, trash-aesthetic exploitations films, and a dystopian cornucopia of film student imitators. Seven Psychopaths, writer-director Martin McDonagh’s second film, will inevitably be grouped with said postmodern post-Tarantino crime movies, but it deserves more than that.

Describing the film’s plot is something of an exercise in futility, but here goes: struggling screenwriter Marty (Colin Farrell) reluctantly accepts input on his abortive screenplay, Seven Psychopaths, from his seemingly-unhinged dognapping friend, Billy (Sam Rockwell). Throw into the mix Christopher Walken’s character, Hans, as Billy’s partner-in-crime, and psychotic gangster Charlie (Woody Harrelson), a plan that gradually unravels, and a whole lot of violence, and you have a difficult plot to summarise.

Eccentric clothes? Check. Self-aware dialogue? Check. Now all we need is some violence… Oh, there it is!

The dark sense of humour McDonagh exhibited with In Bruges is evident throughout here, with violent punchlines to profane jokes. Like Tarantino’s movies, McDonagh’s films seem to inhabit a similar but different world to ours, that owes as much influence to the movies as it does to real life. Just like most films about writers, this film is ultimately about the process of writing, as Colin Farrell’s character struggles with writer’s block, and writer’s boozing. With moments that blur the line between Marty’s screenplay and the reality of the film itself, some might find the narrative too confusing or obscure for their tastes, but ultimately the film’s internal logic holds true.

Colin Farrell is as effective as he was in In Bruges, showing the same instinctive feel for McDonagh’s dialogue, and comic acting that often mark out his best performances. The rest of the cast are uniformly excellent, never better exemplified than in Woody Harrelson and Christopher Walken’s elliptical, violence-free Western-style standoff in a hospital waiting room. However, the film itself is stolen right out from under the noses of everyone else by Sam Rockwell. His gleeful, eccentric performance gives the film its energy, and continues his fine career.

Woody Harrelson is clearly having a ball as the gangster Charlie. Dude’s got a scorpion tattooed on his neck.

This film is violent. At times, distractingly so, with its graphic nature potentially unsettling even those who are familiar with his prior work. Catholic themes of crime and punishment pervade throughout, also something McDonagh fans will be well-versed in, but there is a streak of violence against women that could potentially leave a nasty taste in the mouth. Although women are shown perpetrating violence themselves, and violence against women is repeatedly condemned by characters, actions speak louder than words. Do I think Martin McDonagh is sexist? No. Did I find some moments troubling? Yes. But I think that is ultimately the point with this story, slight as it is. Your tolerance for violence and appreciation of film references will be key to your overall enjoyment of the film, and it is stimulating to see such a unique voice able to get his work released with some A-list stars. See it, you need to have an opinion on this.



New Trailer Roundup
Dec 2012 13

Whoa! This has been a big week in movie trailers. The new Man of Steel trailer is up, The Lone Ranger got its first full trailer, and the Tom Cruise-starring Oblivion set its first trailer on an unsuspecting public. In addition to this, a promising-looking upcoming Brit-crime film Welcome to the Punch brought out its own action heavy trailer, in order to remind us that us Brits don’t only make worthy period dramas. But this is all beaten by my personal favourite, Pacific Rim.

Tom Cruise plays a droid repairman (one of the last few on Earth) in Oblivion. A post-apocalyptic Sci-Fi directed by Joseph Kosinski, the guy who made… er… Tron: Legacy. Still, the early footage looks inviting, with strong production design, and as an avowed Tom Cruise fan, I still think the guy can make a comeback. Even if there’s a credibility gap when it comes to imagining him as a droid repairman.

Despite Zach Snyder’s reputation as a brash, showy, slo-mo merchant, the early footage for Man of Steel has retained a restrained, thoughtful, obtuse quality. Could it the steady hand of exec producer Christopher Nolan on the tiller? His brother Jonathan and David Goyer shaping the story? A young up-and-comer in Henry Cavill in the starring role? Or could it be that Zach Snyder finally grew up? We’ll know when we see it in 2014.

The Lone Ranger shouldn’t work. On paper, I mean. A remake of a 1930s radio serial and 1950s TV show? Get of out of town! Still, the Jerry Bruckheimer factor turned Pirates of the Caribbean from a theme park ride to a cinematic behemoth, Armie Hammer has the talent to carry a franchise, and it has kooky Johnny Depp… er, being kooky Johnny Depp, by the looks of things. It has an interesting visual style, as well it might, with Gore Verbinski on board. As maligned as the Pirates sequels are, it’s undeniable that Gore Verbinski has an interesting visual style, and hopefully he can marry it to the kind of storytelling he displayed in the first Pirates movie, or the still criminally under-seen Rango.

As an initially unlikely action star, James McAvoy showed some action chops in Wanted and showed he likes a genre pic with X-Men: First Class. Here, he plays an unhinged detective given one last chance at redemption in this anticipated Brit-thriller gathering plenty of buzz. Oh yeah, and it also stars Mark Strong. If that doesn’t excite you, I feel sorry for you.

And finally, we have Guillermo Del Toro’s Pacific Rim. Del Toro got sick of the pace of making The Hobbit, and went and make this, and boy, does it look exciting. We have monsters from the sea, giant robots, future Earth, Idris Elba, and…. GUILLERMO DEL TORO. In case you hadn’t guessed, I’m a little bit excited.

Excited by these films? Maybe you hate them? Either way, feel free to tell us why in the comments.


Dec 2012 24


Happy Christmas from all of us at Raised by TV! Thanks for reading!

Not Fade Away: David Chase’s Sopranos Follow-Up is Almost Here!
Jan 2013 22

How do you follow up one of the defining television series over the past 20 years? Fortunately for us lesser beings, it’s not a dilemma we’ll ever have to face. David Chase, on the other hand, does. Five years after the televisual phenomenon that was The Sopranos, Chase is about to release his latest opus: Not Fade Away.


His hair prevented intimacy

Set in the 1960s, and titled after a Rolling Stones song, it already sounds painfully hip. It would be understandable if well-trodden path of photogenic young cast, themes of coming of age, music and love all alongside added trendiness, make you want to barf in your rucksack.

But, with this being David Chase, the man who brought us the conflicted, flawed, but scarily relatable Tony Soprano and his brood, you’d like to think you can trust him to bring us some memorable characters. Partly autobiographical, I am personally hoping it can echo Dazed and Confused, and bring us believable teens and that same sense of nostalgia for a time I never lived that Dazed and American Graffiti engendered.

The Sopranos was more than a TV series about gangsters, using a violent criminal subculture as a prism through which to view society was a masterstroke. Can Chase do it again?


See that? That’s ANGST right there

Sadly, early buzz coming out of the film festivals has been mixed, but if one of the GODS OF TELEVISION can’t benefit from the doubt, then I don’t know who can. Check out the trailer below.

Jan 2013 28


American filmmaker David Gelb’s first feature length documentary is an educational insight into the skill and discipline of sushi preparation, a craft that not many of us are familiar with in the west. In Japan, 86 year old sushi chef Jiro Ono is a culinary legend, a man so devoted and focused on his work who has been seeking perfection in his craft for over 70 years. He runs a small immaculate 10 seater restaurant called Sukiyabashi Jiro in the Ginza district of Tokyo which is reputed to make the best Sushi in the world earning him three Michelin stars.

Jiro is a workaholic and takes the utmost care and precision with preparing the sushi before serving and insists his trainee chefs undertake a tough ten year apprenticeship under his supervision. He is a strict perfectionist but also works in a state of calmness which is fascinating to watch. His two sons who are almost as good as Jiro and have worked in the restaurant virtually all their lives are frustrated with their father’s lack of desire to retire, thus the youngest son has no choice but to open another Sushi restaurant in the fashionable area of Roppongi. However Jiro trusts both his sons to source the best quality fish daily from the local fish market and he samples all the sushi before serving every day until it tastes exactly right.

This is an informative piece of filmmaking and one cannot help but feel that you have learnt something by watching this well executed and enlightening documentary. The score mostly comprising of compositions by Philip Glass adds a sophisticated tone.

Even if you’re not into eating fish at all or, like many, morally concerned about the long term effects of the amount of overfishing in the ocean due to mass sushi and fish consumption globally, Gelb’s documentary is essentially an accolade to a man you cannot help but admire, a man who has come from nothing and by sheer hard work, by loving and devoting his life to his craft has become very successful is nothing short of inspiring.

Sara Seaton

Disney’s Latest Short ‘Paperman’ to Play Before ‘Wreck-It Ralph’
Feb 2013 02

I believe I have it right when I say that the cartoon before the main feature used to be a cinematic staple. Why, I just about remember seeing a film as a child that had a short before it, although I must have been very young. Looking back, I think it was the re-release of The Jungle Book. I can’t have seen many shorts (I’d seen enough to get the joke at the start of Who Framed Roger Rabbit, anyhow), before they did away with such entertaining nonsense. I remember being vaguely sad when I realised it didn’t seem to happen any more.

Disney’s Wreck it Ralph may have come out in the US and other territories last year, but it launches in the UK on February 8th. And on that date, when lucky cinema-goers settle into their seats, fistfuls of popcorn in hand, their feet adhering to the already sticky floors, they will be treated to the sight of Disney’s short film Paperman before the main feature, where it should be.

Showing a chance encounter between a man and a woman on a commute, Paperman eschews dialogue, all colour, except for greys, whites, blacks, and reds, and makes a central feature of its music. Featuring subtle CGI that coalesces delicately with the kind of charming, traditional animation with which Disney made its name, and nurtured the imagination of many generations of children. If this doesn’t brighten your day and put a spring in your step, then I’m afraid you’re a lost cause. For all the rest of us, hopefully we’ll have the pleasure of seeing it on the big screen, and rejoice in Disney-Pixar’s quest to revive the cinematic short before the main feature. I’m super-psyched about Wreck-It Ralph, too.

Vive la revolution!


Movie Round-Up
Feb 2013 03

It has been a long break for contributing to the site due to Christmas and some side projects. All that aside I have still been watching a lot of movies!

Here is a quick round up of what I have been watching and my brief thoughts:


I hadn’t really planned on watching this but found myself home alone and wanting to watch and Action Movie and had a quick scan on the ‘On Demand’ section on my Sky HD box and there is was.  ‘Dredd’ is the latest re-visioning of the 2012AD comics character Judge Dredd, the previous film was a slightly more light hearted affair staring Sylvester Stallone.  The 2012 version Stars Karl Urban as our lead and Olivia Thrilby as his new psychic partner.  It is a fast paced violent affair which it doesn’t apologies for and nor should it.  It is a very tightly put together action film which doesn’t hang around too long and ticks all the comic book fan boxes.  My only issue with it is the casting of Karl Urban who really isn’t that physically intimidating.


Jango Unchained

I always look forward to new Tarantino films, no one puts all the pieces together with as much style and liberal amounts of cool like he does.  Jango delivers everything you would expect from a QT movie, Violence, threat of violence, great dialogue and an amazing sound track. The familiarity with his product may be why I didn’t like it as much as I hoped I would. It is similar to my reaction to the iPhone 5 it looks like an iPhone and it does everything my old one did which I liked but where is the innovation?? One of my favourite QT films was Jackie Brown which was a step away from the norm and shooting someone else’s story.  I can’t help feeling he should start looking for a writing partner or another great book for his next project.  Jango is still leaps and bounds above a lot of the trash that gets released these days.



Ben Affleck just gets better and better in my opinion.  He has had a few miss steps as and actor but I think he has potential to one of the truly great American directors and reminds me a great deal of Clint Eastwood.  Argo is a masterpiece in story telling, the cast is strong but none of the actors over cook their parts allowing the story which is a great one to play out on screen.  I don’t want to spoil the film to much so I will keep this short, just go and see it.


Zero Dark Thirty

Dogged by controversy since its announcement Zero Dark Thirty (ZDT) is Kathryn Bigelow’s latest film and her second modern day war film.  The film follows one female CIA operatives crusade to locate and capture or kill Usama Bin Laden (UBL as he is referred to in the film).  The controversy stems from two main issues; 1. It hasn’t been long since the events took place, 2. The first third of the film features scenes of graphic torture and doesn’t apologies for it or really suggest that is was wrong. The torture as with most elements in a Kathryn Bigelow film is portrayed in as an authentic manner as possible, what I mean by this is it would have been out of place if the script had featured troops or the CIA questioning the techniques they were using.

These points out of the way I can start telling you what I thought of the film itself.  I thought Hurt Locker was an amazing piece of film making and it felt like one of the most realistic depictions of the conflict in the middle east.  My anticipation for Bigleow’s follow up was high, the buzz and the oscar tipping for ZDT has been phenomenal.
The cast is first class with faces you will recognise in nearly every role, some more recognisable for their work in television than cinema but still good actors.
All round this is a solid film but for me felt a little by the numbers and more of a dramatic reconstruction of events than a movie.  The by the numbers approach I’m sure is a nod at the sensitivity of the subject matter and the level of scrutiny it would receive on its release.


End of Watch

This is one of those films where the trailer doesn’t do a very good job at telling you what the film is about.  The trailer portrays the film as non-stop action film with the the two cops being chased through LA by Mexican drug cartels.  This is not what ‘End of Watch’ is really about, yes the end of the film does feature a chase but at really the film is about two cops and their friendship over the period of roughly a year.  Very violent in parts but it feels like one of the most genuine portrayals of life as LAPD since ‘Colors’.  I’m a big fan of the american TV series ‘Southland’ which is very similar to ‘End of Watch’ in that it is more about the relationships than the setting.   Michael Pena and Jake Gyllenhaal have the some of the best on screen chemistry I have ever seen on film, truly great performances. This is the first film I have seen in a long time that left me wired and wide awake.
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