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  #301  
Old 03-26-2012, 08:49 AM
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The Hunger Games:

Wow what a crap movie. Two and a half hours of boredom really.

Now I haven't read the book and i don't think i will now but i think the story is stupid. The only feeling i got during the movie besides boredom was shock because
Click for Spoiler:
it's not every day you see a what 18 year old guy kill 12 year old boys and girls.


I give it 1/5.
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  #302  
Old 03-26-2012, 08:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Australia's Finest View Post
The Hunger Games:

Wow what a crap movie. Two and a half hours of boredom really.

Now I haven't read the book and i don't think i will now but i think the story is stupid. The only feeling i got during the movie besides boredom was shock because
Click for Spoiler:
it's not every day you see a what 18 year old guy kill 12 year old boys and girls.


I give it 1/5.
You're totally wrong. Obviously you've never either seen Battle Royale, which has a very similar plotline.

I saw this film yesterday, it was brilliant. Not amazing, but it was really good. The story is smart and different, I know very few films that are like this and if you read the short text at the start of the film, then you'll understand it.

Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson & Woody Harrelson all play their parts perfectly and even Lenny Kravitz makes an appearance as the fashion guru. The "Hunger Games" themselves are brilliant, it's brutal, but not to the point that would turn people away.

I'm keeping this short, might come back and be more detailed, but I wanted to just tell you wrong.

Out of 10, I'd give it 8.
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  #303  
Old 03-26-2012, 09:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CP Munk View Post
You're totally wrong. Obviously you've never either seen Battle Royale, which has a very similar plotline.
Hey man that's just my opinion, i mean to me it was just like watching the Condemned or Death Race. Three movies about people killing eachother to entertain millions of people.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CP Munk View Post
Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson & Woody Harrelson all play their parts perfectly and even Lenny Kravitz makes an appearance as the fashion guru.
I thought Woody Harrelson was great in it, he entertained me the most.
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Old 03-26-2012, 10:58 AM
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Iron Man 2 (2010)

Currently rewatching all of the Marvel films before The Avengers comes out, so figured I'd give the most recent one I rewatched a review.

Plot: After revealing his superhero identity to the world, Tony Stark is balancing the life of both millionare playboy in charge of a weapons technology company with that of a superhero, whilst fighting off the US military's requests that he hand over the suit for the benefit of the country. Tony is also struggling to find a replacement for the arc reactor core in his chest that is keeping him alive, as slowly but surely, it is poisoning him. Not only that, a man with an identical arc reactor that supposedly cannot be replicated, Ivan Vanko, attacks him at in Monaco on a mission of personal vengeance. On top of this, he also has to deal with Justin Hammer, a rival weapons manufacturer, who is looking for any way possible to embarrass Stark, and ultimately bury him.

Something I was surprised by in the first film was the revelation of Stark being Iron Man at the very end. I thought this would have been something to be revealed at the end of a second, possibly leading into a third. But it opened up a lot of interesting doors for the plot; the pressure from the government for Stark to hand the suit over coupled with the friction this causes between Stark and Rhodie being the main one. It's interesting to see a superhero have to deal with the public knowledge of his alter-ego.

Also, this film gave us a new hero; one that was teased in the first film...WAR MACHINE! The souped-up, gattling gun wielding, armed-to-the-teeth mark II Iron man suit piloted by Colonel James Rhodes, modified by Stark Industries rivals HAMMER tech, brings a whole new dimension to the final fight with Vanko.

I liked the merging of two of Iron mans villains too; Crimson Dynamo and Whiplash. Putting them together made an interesting character, and the backstory behind Ivan Vanko made this a very personal attack on Stark; one neither man could afford to lose. Anton Vanko and Howard Stark worked together for SHIELD, until Howard had Anton deported for trying to sell te technology they were developing. His fathers death is the kick that drives Ivan to go after Stark, not least with his own technology.

In short, a solid plot. Not many surprises, but it didn't need there to be.

Rating: 8/10


Performance: Robert. Fucking. Downey. Jr. I love this man. He is perfect as the Tony Stark that doesn't take himself too seriously. I also love when he does get serious; he retains the wit, but his voice carries so much drive behind it; he may be joking with his words, but underneath you can tell he's not going to stop till he's achieved what he wants to. It's also great to see a superhero that, rather than worry about the pressure of being a superhero, isn't afraid to stand up for the fact that he fucking loves being Iron Man.

Miickey Rourke was someone I wasn't sure about, but he was an inspired peice of casting. He plays the polar opposite to Stark well; he's as smart as he is, but the complete opposite end of the class level. We get the impression that Vanko is having fun, messing with Stark, with his first attack on Stark nothing more than to prove that he can 'make God bleed.'

I wasn't overly bothered when Terrence Howard was repaced with Don Cheadle. Cheadle's performance isn't spectacular , but he keeps up with Downey Jr, and he looks all levels of awesome in War Machine's colours. No better or worse than Howard, to be perfectly honest.

Justin Hammer's reinvention as a young, bad-guy Tony Stark was inspired, and Sam Rockwell played it to perfection. A refeshing character who you just wanted to slap in the face for being so cocky.

Pepper Potts, as in the first film, is fairly forgettable, but good enough to not be bad. Some of the humour between Gweneth Paltrow and Downey Jr, while it flourished in the first film, felt a bit forced, and didn't quite capture the spark of number 1.

The rest of the cast does a solid enough job without being overly memorable. Scarlettt Johansson as Black Widow not only looks great pulling off flips and even a huracanrana, but is solid in her role. Samuel L. Jackson is...well, he's Samuel L. motherfuckin' Jackson playing a role written for him, what do you expect? Clarke Gregg as Agent Coulson has a much smaller role in this film, but it's a nice, familiar face, and one we've come to recognise as representing SHIELD. Again, not mermorable, but not intended to be, so it's okay.

It's a good cast, but at times it felt like too much was on Downey Jr's shoulders. Other than his, not many memorable performances here.

Rating: 7/10


Script:Not as strong as the first film, but not terrible by any standards. It had action, it had humor, it had a serious side, and yet...I dunno. It didn't make me connect in any way. The dialogue wasn't bad in any way but...it wasn't really good either. We're meant to emote with Stark and somehow the script doesn't quite have it right. A lot of the humour seems forced, and that was one of the first films huge plus points. It's odd but, it just doesn't click anywhere on the same level as the first one. Also...I understand that this is building towards the Avengers, but...why so much SHIELD? They were a minor role previously, and that could have worked well here too, but here they felt far too prominent, and it just bugged me, and made this feel a bit too much like an Avengers set-up movie.

One thing I hated was Jon Faverau's role of Happy Hogan, the assistant to Tony Stark/Pepper Potts. He had a very limited role in the first film, and that was fine. In this , he got his own fight scene. Why? Why does he need that? Alongside Scarletts fight scene, it isn't needed. Just one of those little things that bugged me, and could have been done without.

Vanko's role in the film...ehh. It could have been better. I got the feeling that they were holding it back, playing it safe. Rourke was great in this role and deserved more. I could have stood for a bit more of him smashing shit up, as opposed to him getting his ass kicked by Iron Man in Monaco.

Actually, thats my biggest complaint...this film lacked Iron Man. Why didn't we see any of his 'heroics'? Surely the point of being a superhero film is seeing the superhero do what he does best? Everytime in this film we see him don the armour, it's for personal reasons first. Monaco? Someone's attacking him. Party? He's fucked out of his head and thinks it's funny. The end? Vanko's taunting him into coming out so he can attack him. Why couldn't we just see Iron Man doing some proper heroics? Saving a town from terrorists in another, far away land, helping a millitary patrol out when they're pinned down somewhere in the middle east...I dunno, just SOMETHING!

Rating: 6/10

Visual: Iron Man and War Machine fucking an army of robots up. That one scene sold me on this film. Iron Man looks fucking awesome, War Machine looks better. The effects for Rourke's first fight with him look sweet, and you do get the sense that if he hits you with one of those whips, you are fucked. Vanko's armour at the end, which just looks like a beefed up Iron Man, was a bit dull and disappointing, but that entire end scene was that way, too.

One thing I've never liked from a design aspect is that in all other incarnations, Iron Man has more gold in his armour. It sounds silly, but personal preferance, it needs more gold in there. The chestplate looks fucking huge, and the gold would break it up a little bit more. That said, I loved the suitcase armour. Modelled on the Silver Centurion armour, little nods like that to the original comics are awesome, and it looks sweet. We get that it's a stripped down, very basic armour that can only do so much, but it serves it's purpose well.

Not the best SFX ever, but they still look sweet. Hell, what isn't to like about robots fighting guys in robotic suits with huge guns? It looks pretty in all areas, looks realistic enough for us to not roll our eyes, and is made to make it look almost real enough to believe.

Rating: 8/10

Overall: After loving the first film when it came out, this disappointed me a little. A guy in a modified Iron Man suit as a bad guy again, not enough Iron Man beating up bad guys, more humour that, mostly, felt a little out of place and forced. But, that said, the plot was solid, the performances were enjoyable, and we got a two new heroes in Black Widow and War Machine. Downey Jr was once again the main attraction, and I felt that this film relied a bit too much on him. It just needed a bit more substance. The story was there, the characters were there, but the script just felt a little lacking in making me care about the film. And whilst there was plenty of action, the flying through the air near the end felt far too long, and some of that time could have been given to some more Iron Man kicking bad guys asses all around the world, being the 'nuclear deterrant' he claims to be.

Very enjoyable, but probably the weakest Marvel film, definitely not a patch on the first film.

Overall Rating: 29/40
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  #305  
Old 03-29-2012, 06:57 PM
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The Vow (2012) 4/10- Paige (Rachel McAdams) and Leo Collins (Channing Tatum) survive a brutal car accident. Leo walks away with a few scrapes and bruises after the crash, but Paige isn’t so lucky. Paige eventually awakes from her coma, but she doesn’t remember the marriage, and she doesn’t recognize her husband Leo. Paige’s sudden and severe memory loss could destroy their marriage, but Leo is determined to help Paige remember their relationship. Leo struggles to help Paige retrace the lost steps in her life, but Paige slowly begins to accept the life she had before her marriage to Leo, and Paige’s feelings for her ex-boyfriend, Jeremy (Scott Speedman) return.

I’ve never been a fan of Channing Tatum. His films are usually awful, and he can’t act. But Tatum has the Hollywood look, and his films usually attract some good crowds at movie theaters. Tatum can appeal to teenage and adult males with his action films (G.I. Joe, Fighting), and the first two Step Up films (Tatum was regulated to a cameo appearance in Step Up 2) and The Vow will appeal to his female followers. Although, Tatum will always receive support from his female fanbase regardless, and the genre of his films won’t matter, because the possibility of seeing Tatum without a shirt is enough for them.

Tatum is on my list of the worst actors in Hollywood….but he wasn’t that bad here. Tatum didn’t deliver a career defining performance in The Vow, but he was convincing at times. Tatum gave a nice effort here, and unlike his other films, Tatum’s performance didn’t drag The Vow down.

Tatum’s decent performance surprised me, and Rachel McAdams delivered as always, but I can’t give The Vow a positive score. The source material for this film should’ve inspired a unique and special romance/drama film, but The Vow quickly turns into you’re typical and predictable Hollywood production. The Vow feels like something different at first, but this film just slowly goes through the motions as the story progresses, and you can see everything coming from a mile away. The Vow had a great opportunity to stand out, and this film could’ve been something to remember, but this one just left me with that “same old, same old” feeling. The Vow is inspired by a touching and heartfelt real life story, but the screenplay turns this film into your ordinary Hollywood romance/drama. They really did take the easy way out here, and I couldn’t escape this feeling.

And the picture of the real life couple that inspired this film did bother me a little bit. The real life story of Kim and Krickitt Caprenter inspired this film, and you will see a picture with them together once the credits start rolling. They’re with their kids, and the Caprenters just look like two average people. Mr. Kim doesn’t have the Abercrombie & Fitch look of a Channing Tatum, and Mrs. Krickitt doesn’t have Rachel McAdams’ gorgeous beauty. The Carpenters are just two normal people, but McAdams and Tatum don’t fit the profile of the ordinary couple. Channing Tatum is eye candy for his female fans, and Rachel McAdams is a well known actress, so you can expect these two to draw a good amount of moviegoers to theaters, and The Vow was a nice box office success. Also, this was a Valentine’s Day movie, so couples were more than willing to take a chance on this one, because The Vow is a “date movie.” Anyway, I wish they could’ve found a more unknown actress and actor for the lead roles. An actor and actress, who didn’t have the Hollywood look would’ve added a more believable realism factor to this film. But Spyglass Entertainment and Screen Gems wanted to make a lot of money, so that’s why they went with McAdams and Tatum.

The acting in this film is solid, and Rachel McAdams is the true star of this cast, because she did deliver the best performance in this film, but when it comes to romance/dramas, The Vow really doesn’t bring anything different to the table. “Ugh, I’ve seen this before.” This is feeling you will have, if you decide to watch this film, and The Vow just feels like your standard Hollywood romance/drama, that hits theaters during Valentine’s Day season every year. You might enjoy this as a “date movie,” and The Vow might entertain you, if you’re in a relationship with someone, because this film does feature some sweet and sentimental moments every now and then. But I couldn’t get into this, and The Vow was a real disappointment for me.

Wanderlust (2012) 6/10- George (Paul Rudd) and Linda (Jennifer Aniston) purchase the micro-loft of their dreams, and the happy married couple enjoy their expensive new home at first, but George and Linda’s successful lifestyle quickly takes a turn for the worst. George loses his new job on the first day of work, and Linda’s documentary about penguins is rejected by HBO executives. George and Linda are out of money, and they lose the loft. The distraught married couple hits the road, but along the way, George and Linda accidentally stumble into a hotel bed and breakfast named Elysium. Elysium is actually a hippie commune. George and Linda enjoy their brief stay, and the peaceful, carefree lifestyle relaxes them. But George and Linda decide to return to the real world after a while, because they need a stable lifestyle and they‘re dead broke. With nowhere to go, George turns to his obnoxious brother, Rick (Ken Marino). Rick is a real jerk, and George doesn’t want to put up with his constant teasing, so George and Linda decide to return to Elysium, but can they handle the hippie lifestyle?

For the most part, Wanderlust does provide some good laughs, but the bizarre hippie material in this film did annoy me at times. Yeah, I get it. Elysium is filled with a bunch of eccentric hippies, who enjoy living a free and peaceful lifestyle. They’re not going to join modern civilization, and Elysium is their sanctuary. But the humor in Wanderlust can feel so forced sometimes. For example, Wayne (Joe Lo Truglio) is the resident nudist at Elysium, and they really did try to push the “HEY! That guy is naked!“ stuff, but the shock value of seeing a naked man in awkward situations does fade pretty quickly. Wayne’s FIRST appearance could provide a funny moment…..but I couldn’t laugh after seeing Wayne for the first time, because this “Oh look. There’s the naked guy, and they‘re showing brief glimpses of his penis….again.” feeling started to set in.

Wanderlust’s zany and eccentric vibe can’t be ignored. “Look how weird and whacky we can be! And you haven’t seen anything yet, just wait until the next scene!” I couldn’t escape this feeling throughout the film. I wish they could’ve toned it down a bit, because as the story progressed, the overload of hippie freedom humor did start to feel tiresome and redundant.

And I couldn’t stand the Rick character in this film. Yes. I know. He’s supposed to be a dick. That’s obvious enough, but this character is so over the top, and Rick wasn’t some loveable jerk. He was just an obnoxious tool. Rick loved to gloat and brag about his success. This was his way of putting George down, as he crushed his spirit. Rick wasn’t pure evil, but still, this character didn’t provide any entertainment for me, and Rick‘s “I’M COCKY, AND I’M GOING TO RUB MY SUCCESS IN YOUR FACE, AND THERE’S NOTHING YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT, BECAUSE I’M A DICK! YEAH!!!!” persona couldn’t pull any laughs out of me.

Wanderlust wasn’t perfect, but I still enjoyed this film. Wanderlust can provide some good laughs, and Jennifer Anniston and Paul Rudd did share some nice chemistry. Rudd and Anniston were the perfect choices for the married couple, who wanted to chase big dreams. But George and Linda had to pull through some tough times, and I could feel sympathy for them, as they struggled to find a new life. I wanted George and Linda to find true happiness. I wanted them to achieve success. George and Linda are two likeable characters, and I wanted to root for them. Also, Alan Alda was hilarious as the senior member of Elysium, and Carvin (Alda) was one of the more enjoyable characters in this film. The majority of the cast was enjoyable, and Wanderlust does feature some very solid acting.
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Old 04-07-2012, 12:32 AM
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Silent House (2012) 7/10- Sarah (Elizabeth Olsen) is trapped inside her family’s secluded lakeside house in the country. Her father is left unconscious after a brutal attack, and Sarah must find help quickly, because someone doesn’t want her to escape.

Why are the intruders stalking Sarah and her family? Why do they want to cause her harm? What are they after? This was the big mystery throughout the film. Silent House tried to deliver a shocking surprise at the very end, but the big twist really didn’t do anything for me. The big surprise wasn’t awful, but the “it’s all in her head ” twist did feel a bit underwhelming. I was expecting a jaw-dropping shocker at the end. Chris Kentis (the director for this film) did such a wonderful job of building the suspense, and I did have big expectations for the grand finale, but Silent House just left me with that “Really? That’s it?” feeling.

The big twist was a let down for me, but Elizabeth Olsen was just fantastic here. The rest of the acting in Silent House is pretty mediocre, but Olsen really did carry this film on her back. Her character receives the bulk of the focus and screen time, and Olsen is the driving force behind Silent House. I NEED to find a copy of Martha Marcy May Marlene, because seeing more of Elizabeth Olsen has become a priority for me.

You’ll see some blood in Silent House, but this film really doesn’t feature any graphic scenes of gore. I actually enjoyed this approach, because Silent House is filled with some excellent tension, and the jump scares were just great. Silent House is a thought provoking horror film, that will keep you guessing until the very end, and Elizabeth Olsen’s superb performance is very enjoyable.

Silent House has received some harsh treatment from critics and moviegoers. The mass majority continues to bash this film, and the bulk of the hate is directed towards the big twist at the very end. As I said before, the big twist did disappoint me a little bit, but the grand finale didn’t ruin this film for me, and Silent House has made my list of favorites for 2012.

The Woman (2011) 7/10- Chris Cleek (Sean Bridgers) finds a feral woman in the woods, while hunting one day. Eventually, Chris captures The Woman , and he decides to hold her captive in his cellar. Chris wants to civilize The Woman (Pollyanna McIntosh), and with the help of his family, they try to transform her into a normal person.

At first, the Cleeks seem like your traditional American family. Chris is the strict father and husband of the household, and everyone fears the consequences of questioning his authority. Belle (Angela Bettis) is the obedient and silent housewife, and the children seem normal enough. Peggy (Lauren Ashley Carter) is the oldest daughter in the family. She’s quiet, and doesn’t cause any trouble. Brian (Zach Rand) looks up to his father, and he wants to follow in his footsteps. And Darlin’ (Shyla Molhusen) is the youngest child in the family. She’s innocent, and Darlin’ just wants to enjoy life as a normal kid.

But you begin to see the serious problems within the Cleek family, as the story unfolds. Peggy is hiding a serious secret, and she refuses the help from her caring teacher, Ms. Raton (Carlee Baker), because she fears the backlash from her father. Belle is a complacent housewife, but she decides to take a stand against Chris’ violent and cruel behavior, and eventually, Belle snaps. Brian admires his father. He’s a role model for him, but Mr. Cleek isn’t someone, who you should look up to, and Chris’ cruel treatment of the woman begins to influence Brian’s feelings towards women.

And then there’s Mr. Cleek. Chris takes his job as “man of the house” seriously, and he keeps a close eye on his entire family. Chris just seems like a normal family man, who’s passionate about protecting his loved ones, but you get to see the dark side of Mr. Cleek’s character, as the story progresses. Mr. Cleek is a sick and twisted man, who hates women. There’s no conflict within this character, and his sinister actions don’t phase him at all. I will remember Mr. Cleek as one of the most evil characters I’ve seen in any type of horror film, and Sean Bridgers’ performance was very convincing. Is he trying to do the right thing by “civilizing” The Woman? Or is Mr. Cleek trying to vent his hateful feelings towards women by torturing his prisoner? These are two questions that popped in my mind during this film, because Mr. Cleek ALWAYS believes he’s doing the right the thing.

And Pollyanna McIntosh was just fantastic as The Woman. The make-up effects provided The Woman’s savage look, but McIntosh is the one, who brought life to this character. Her rage was just excellent, and her cold, emotionless stare could feel frightening. McIntosh was a very believable intimidating threat, and she could destroy anyone in her path. But I could also feel sympathy for this character. The Woman was held prisoner by Mr. Cleek. She was tortured, raped, and beaten. The Woman is forced to suffer, but I always knew she would strike back at some point. Revenge was inevitable, and for the most part, The Woman’s brutal triumph towards the end did feel glorious.

The Woman is a character driven horror film. Peggy and Belle are the innocent members of the family. They’re just looking for a way out, but they fear the wrath of Mr. Cleek. Brian and Chris are the monsters of the family, and both characters are genuinely evil, especially Mr. Cleek. The imprisonment of The Woman causes an emotional split amongst the Cleek family, and the conflict eventually leads to an intense argument between Belle and Chris. The turmoil within the Cleek family reaches a dangerous boiling point towards the end, and I really cared about the main cast of characters here. Sean Bridgers was the true star of this cast, and this film does feature some pretty good acting.

The Woman is loaded with some very graphic scenes of gore, and the violence can feel shocking. If you can’t handle repulsive gore and violence, then you should stay away from this one, because The Woman can be a very disturbing film, and most people won’t be able to tolerate this bizarre story of a dysfunctional family.
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Old 04-09-2012, 06:55 PM
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Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy(2011): 8/10 If you head into this movie expecting the usual espionage film filled with with car chases, shootouts, and choreographed fight scenes, you'll be sorely disappointed. However, what the film does offer is a finely written script that merges anxiety, paranoia, and espionage, yielding a tale that delves into both the lonliness and desperation of the life, one in which the characters can never be fully honest, not even with themselves. Best of all, the movie treats the audience with intelligence, which so many movies fail to do.

John Hurt plays Control, the leader of an unknown sector of the British Intelligence service. After a secret intelligence gathering mission is compromised, leading to agent Jim Prideaux being shot in the back, Control and his second in command, George "Beggerman" Smiley (Gary Oldman), are ousted from their positions with British Intelligence. Control was under the impression that there was a mole among the top ranking members of the service, which was referred to as the Circus, due to their location being in Cambridge Circus. Control, who was already ill, passes on, but Smiley is brought out of retirement to find the culprit following Control's passing. With the assistance of young Intelligence officer Peter Guillam (Benedict Cumberbatch), Smiley focuses his investigation on the four remaining members of the circus, determined that one of them is the mole. The secret, fading out yet still powerful group consists of Bill "Tailor" Haydon, played by Colin Firth, Percy "Tinker" Alleline, played by Toby Jones, Roy "Soldier" Bland, played by Ciaran Hinds, and Toby "Poorman" Esterhase, played by David Dencik.

Without the gratuitous car chases and combat scenes, the film instead focuses on leading the viewer into a journey of discovery, and a feeling that they are investigating right along with Smiley. Every scene contains a piece of information or clue which draws the viewer further into the mystery. There was a time apiece during the movie where I was sure "Tinker". "Tailor", "Soldier" and "Beggerman" was the spy, which is the beauty of this movie.

The movie relies heavily on flashbacks, and Smiley's process as he attempts to discover which of the men is the traitor. The real genius of the movie is that the movie not only draws you into Smiley's process, but it leads you subtly to picking up the pieces of what Smiley is doing, and you wind up thinking like him, culminating in a scene where Smiley discovers who he believes to be the mole, goes into a long monologue, providing an "Aha" moment for the viewer as well.

If I had any complaints, it's in the true revelation of the mole, and how he's dealt with. After spending the movie learning the characters of "Tinker" "Taylor" "Soldier" and "Beggerman", Smiley simply captures the mole at the safehouse where the men meet in the movie's apex scene. "Soldier" had been having an affair with "Smiley's wife, unabashadly, but all to divert suspicion from himself. Following his capture, Smiley plans to turn over Haydon, or"Tailor" to the Russians for trial, but Prideaux instead kills him after finding out that it was "Soldier" who was responsible for him being shot. After a slightly meticulous yet acceptable for the context pace of the movie, the film briskly moves through this scene, heading straight to a short aftermath of Smiley being restored to his old position. The end made sense, but it felt slightly rushed after the movie built so well.

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy isn't going to get your pulse racing or draw you in with shootouts or high speed chases. That's not to say that the film is boring, it's anything but. It relies heavily on character development, especially Gary Oldman's Smiley, The movie is the definition of a slow burn, and moves at what to some may seem like a snail's pace. But without the pacing, one would miss out on the genius of the film, which is Smiley's process, one in which it's almost imposible not to be drawn into. The movie is layered, deep, and complicated at times, a thinking man's spy thriller, if you will. But with all it's layers and intricacies, it never presents itself as being over the audiences head. This is truly a movie that had me on the edge of my seat, where I was for about a half hour before I even realized it. Standout performances by Gary Oldman as Smiley, John Hurt as Control, and Colin Forth as Tailor really make this film greater then it might have been, as it was expertly casted.

If you're looking for car crashes, high speed chases, shootouts, and fast moving dialogue with a faster plot and a crazy twist, TTSS isn't for you. This movie isn't really about the final revelation of who the mole is, which is admittedly a letdown. Fortunately, the movie is about the journey along the way to get there, which is expertly crafted and impeccably acted. Highly recommended.
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Old 04-09-2012, 07:49 PM
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Default Hammer Time.

Thor 2011

Another Marvel/Avengers film here, and part of the huge superhero period of last year that included Captain America, X-Men and Green Lantern.

The Plot: Building on the old Norse God myth, Asgardians are actually Aliens from another world, replacing the magic of the source-text with advanced technology. Thor Odinson is the heir to the Asgard throne; a brash, cocky, bloodthirsty young warrior with the mighty hammer Mjolnir to control the power of thunder. Yet when he breaks an age-old truce against the frost giants of Jotunheim, his father strips him of his powers, and banishes him to Earth to teach him a lesson, and the mysterious Loki, Thor's brother and the god of mischief, looks on, sensing a chance to capitalise on his dominant brothers' absence. Meanwhile on Earth, astrophysicist Jane Foster is researching unusual electrical storms in New Mexico, and gets an unexpected eurprise when a man, Thor, falls out of it. However, she is not the only person taking notice of thse storms, as SHIELD come along when a second object falls out of the sky not too far away.

The film manages to cover a lot of backstory with Asgard in the opening ten minues, and in doing so also makes the idea of Norse gods much easier to digest by turning them into aliens worshipped as gods in Norse myth. Not only that, but it takes magic out of the equation, simply dubbing it as science we don't fully understand yet, negating the need to actually explain it.

One key thing throughout is Thors evolution. This isn't an origin story, this is a story of maturing into a man. We get a brief scene of no more than three minutes to explain Odin as the king, and Thor and Loki as his sons and potential heirs. We know very early on that Thor is brash, rude and arrogant, but we also get that he cares about his loved ones. By the end of the film (as a result of his time on Earth), Thor is more...well, human. Rather than previously, where he would take the fight and leave his friends to fend for themselves, he chooses to try and sacrifice himself to save them. And then, has a choice to either leave himself with a great personal sacrifice, or let Jotunheim, the world he earlier attempted to destroy himself, be destroyed. And he chooses to spare Jotunheim, cementing his evolution from the arrogant young prince to the mature, future king of Asgard.

A fantastic blend of myth, magic and science, bonded together in a compelling story. It doesn it's job, and then some.

Rating: 9/10


The Performance: Chris Hemsworth is, in a word, perfect as Thor. King of Shakespeare Kenneth Brannagh could have easily gone ye olde with Thor, as he is often depicted in some incarnations, and yet he had Hemsworth play Thor with a distinctive Englis accent; well spoken, and somewhat old-fashioned, but not to the extreme that has been portrayed in comics and cartoons. And Hemmsworth nails it. He is larger than life, he's a smash-mouth ass-kicker, and when he needs to he is subtle, caring, and almost gentile, without losing the core elements of the character; his pride and his honour. And he looks FUCKING awesome in a cape.

As Jane, Natalie Portman is a solid love interest, and is believable as her character. Nothing more or less, but that's okay. She connects believably with Thor immediately, and though she initially follows him for answers, Portman effortlessly connects with Hemsworth's Thor to make the transition into love seamless. a solid, if not a little understated performance that does its job very well indeed.

Now, if there was ever a man born to be Odin...Anthony Hopkins is that man. He's ridiculously believable as the ruler of a kingdom, and more-so as the dissapointed father. The exchange between Thor and Odin before Thor's banishment is of a father crushed by his sons childishness, and by the end of the film, Hopkins portrays an Odin full of pride for his son, as he has finally become an man worth to be king.

Loki is an important character, and needs someone similar, yet vastly different to Hemsworth to be able to compete with him. Tom Hiddleston pulls an intriguing shift as the god of mischief, as we learn with him that he is in fact a Frostgiant. His performance in finding out is superb, as it's obvious that he wishes to break out from his brothers shadow, and this is the final push to send him over the edge. Several scenes later, lying to his brother about their father being dead, we fully see the metamorphasis of Loki in to the evil mastermind, who wishes to crush the brother that, for all his life, has been the superior one. Hiddleston brings an understated, almost humerous, yet incredibly bitter and maniachal performance to contrast Hemsworth's loud and brash offering, and the two complement each-other superbly.

We see Clarke Gregg put in a longer than usual shift as Coulson, Idris Elba as the thoroughly badass gatekeeper Heimdall, and a small yet awesome cameo from Jeremy Renner as Clint Barton, amongst the rest of the cast, all pulling their weight in a fantastic ensemble of talent. I'd go as far as to say there isn't a single bad peformance here. Good stuff.

Rating: 8/10


The Script: Yet another area where this film comes good. As much as Hemsworth is to do with Thor being such a good character, the script lays the groundwork, and the words from Thors mouth are more than fitting for a brash prince. The scenes between him and Odin, and early scenes between he and Loki, is pure Shakespeare in the best possible way. The scenes are powerful and grab your attention, and are written to be striking, as indeed they are. What's also striking is the fight scene in Jotunheim, where we first see Thors mighty array of powers; a clever piece of writing to allow uninterrupted story telling to follow.

As well, Thor's relationship with Lady Siph and the Warriors three is well-portrayed and often hilarious. Little lines like "Yeah, we've got Xena, Jackie Chan and Robin Hood" (from a SHIELD agent reporting their walking through New Mexico) and when they bang on the window of where Thor is shouting "FOUND YOU!" bring in superb humor. Even Agent Coulson has a couple of cracking lines; when the armoured guard from the weapons vault lands and he is asked if it's one of Starks (an alusion to Coulsoins role in the Iron Man films) he relpies "I dunno. That guy never tells me anything." Simplistic writing, yet with the right delivery, superb.

It was interesting to see SHIELD in somewhat of an antagonistic role, but it was good to see them get a bigger presence in this film. It's purpose was relatively simple; to introduce SHIELD to Thor for the Avengers, but in this instance it's done pretty damn perfectly.

A small gem, too, was the first appearance of Clint Barton (otherwise known as Hawkeye) in the Marvel film franchise. Just by picking up a bow instead of a sniper rifle, anyone with basic knowledge of the Avengers had to smile at that.

One thing I wasn't sold on was the love story in this film, though. Portman and Hemsworth did well with it, but it felt like a bit of an afterthought, and was rather rushed through. It isn't a huge problem, and can be easily forgiven, but it felt like more could have been made of it, seeing as it's one of the factors in Thor's maturity. But meh, I can forgive this one small flaw.

Rating: 8/10


Visual: With Asgard, they had to get it right. One wrong design feature and the look of it was ruined. It somehow needed to look ancient yet modern, and beautiful. And my god did they get it right. Asgard looks stunning, and they even managed to make the rainbow road; the path to the bifrost that transports them to other worlds, not look cheesy and look somewhat impressive. The fight with Thor, Loki and the Warriors Three in Jotunheim looks gorgeous, and the power display from Thor is very, very impressively made. His armour, along with every other Asgardian characters, is impressively perfect on each character, and Mjolnir looks deadly, and yet so simple.

Rating: 9/10


Overall: This, hands down, is my favorite Marvel Avengers film. Iron Man is up there, but this shades it. It beats it for storytelling, and has less flaws. It also manages to avoid being an origin story, so most of the film can be spent on the main plot. It looks pretty, its not overly complex, it gives us some humor, and has a number of good to strong performances in it. Not only that, but it gives us an Avenger, and the main villain the the Avengers, too.

Final Rating: 34/40
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Old 04-13-2012, 08:10 PM
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Default ...and may the odds be ever in your favour.

The Hunger Games (2012)

Onto a film I didn't think I'd want to watch. But after reading the book (and the rest of the trilogy) I had to give it a go to see how it stacks up.

*note: As I normally do four sections out of 10, for this they will be out of eight, with a fifth section for adaptation

Plot: Katniss Everdeen is a sixteen year old living in District 12 of Panem (formerly the Rockies in the US). A small mining district, she and her family get by with the illegal hunting she and her friend Gale carry out. Every year, each district surrenders a random boy and girl between the ages of 12 and 18 (dubbed 'tributes') to the Capitol to participate in the Hunger Games; a huge deathmatch where the last remaining tribute alive is declared the winner. When her 12 year old sisters' name is picked out, Katniss takes her place, putting her life in the hands of the survival skills she has picked up over the years.

We have an interesting plot here, with all of the action coming in the final act of the film, with the rest of it building up. One thing I love is how in district 12, everything is very old-fashioned, to the point where you cannot possibly tell when this is supposed to be set. As the film goes on, and we're shown the full glory of the Capitol, we see that this district, as with many others, are neglested, and in such a state of disrepair that they do not show accurately the time period.

As with the book, the focus of this story is entirely on Katniss. And as it should be, this is her story of her time in the games. And we learn early on how important a person she is; she is the sole provider of her family, and main carer for her little sister Prim. The impact this has when she volunteers isn't immediate, as we understand she is doing so to protect her sister, but when her mother and Prim are allowed to visit her, we get the full sense of how important a part of the family she is, and how difficult their lives will be should she not make it back.

As well as the overall plot of the games, the subplot (which, to be honest, is more of a co-plot) is that of the past relationship with Peeta Mellark; the son of 12's baker and the male tribute for 12. We slowly learn through short flashbacks that Peeta once helped Katniss by providing her some bread; a debt she has never forgotten. The most interesting thing about their relationship is the way their feelings grow; Peeta unashamedly loves Katniss from day one, where as Katniss has no such feelings, and only plays on them during the build-up to the games (popular tributes earn sponsors, who can provide supplies once they have begun). By the end though, he realises this, but by this point her feelings have actually grown, and she herself is confused by what she feels.

Rating: 6/8


Performance: Jennifer Lawrence is, in a word, perfect as Katniss. She plays the hard-skinned hunter, who repels most warmth from others unless its from her sister well, but she also plays the vulnerable side superbly too. When another tribute that helped her dies during the games, she mourns her, and it becomes difficult to watch the outpour of emotion. There are moments in the book where Suzanne Collins writes Kaniss as being on the edge of tears, but using all of her will to stay strong; this is something Lawrence does magnificently. Multiple moments have her on the edge of breaking down, and she holds on, by a thread. But she holds on because she has to.

Josh Hutcherson grew on me as Peeta as the film progressed, and turned out to be a solid choice. He's a likeable guy who's in love, and has no expectation of coming out alive. Yet at no point does he ever seem desperate, and he is willing to die for Katniss. His performance is good, but overshadowed by Lawrence in every department.

Gale Hawthorne is nowhere near as important in the film as he is in the book, but that is mostly due to the first-person perspective of the book being able to do things the film cannot. But Liam Hemsworth gets the character spot on in the scenes he has, and comes across as a male Katniss, which, in many ways, he is. You get the true sense of friendship between he and Lawrence when they're on screen together, and you also see just how important they are to eachother; more like brother and sister that lovers.

Haymitch, the drunken former winner of the Hunger Games, appointed to train both Katniss and Peeta, is portrayed brilliantly by Woody Harrelson. You get the bitter saide of his character, though is can perhaps be mistaken for him not caring. The opposite couldn't be more true in fact, but you see how he takes pride in Katniss firing an arrow towards the Gamemakers (whilst they are eating food during her assessment session and not paying attention). Harrelson conveys all of the emotions underneath the complex skin of Haymitch, and the layers he possesses will be an interesting focal point of the coming films.

The rest of the cast is a good ensemble, but is there to be nothing more than just that. This is a story about Katniss and the people she is close to during these events.

Rating: 6/8


Adaptation: This film does a fantastic job at bringing the book to life. Everything I imagined in the books, such as the look of the Capitol, to the look of the Districts, even to the look of the Games arena itself, looked as it should. The characters are spot on, and they even manage to cut a few corners without losing much; the way Katniss gets her Mockingjay pin is different, yet it doesn't matter; it's dealt with well. The minor cuts it makes are neccessary; even witht hem, the film is running at nearly two and a half hours. That said, the film has a distinct flow to it, and it never dulls, meaning that you don't notice the time it takes to the point of disrupting the film. As faithful adaptations go, this is a prime example of a very good one.

They way in which they incorperate some plot-points is clever as well; the book is all first-person, so Katniss describes everything to you in detail. In the film, we don't have that, but the way they present them differently works equally as well; an example being the racker-acker nest; in the book, the explanation is all in Katniss' head, where as in the film, it is in a studio (scenes that do not exist at all in the book) that the properties of tracker-jackers (a genetically engineered wasp) is given.

This is a double edged sword, however; no explanation is given to how Mockingjays (a cross between a Mockingbird and a fictional, genetically engineered bird) come about, and even to the large, dog-like creatures at the end. The book goes into this with a lot more detail, with some horrifying revelations, too. Not a huge issue, as you get the idea about these with the genetically altered Tracker-Jackers, but still, the impact loses something.

Another thing is the differences between the violence. Obviously, both the film and book are about teenagers killing eachother, but the book is very visual and gory. The film attempts to get around this (for the sake of a 12a rating) by using clever camerawork. The idea is pretty smart, but it just doesn't work. It becomes jarring and a little annoying, and you can't help but wonder what would have happened had they the balls to go with a 15 rating.

Rating: 6/8


Script: As the script was written by Collins herself, it's hard to criticise it too much, as she is the creator of this world. She does, however, capture the essence of her book, and transfers it superbly on-screen. It's humerous where it needs to be, its full of drama and excitement, and it handles the love story in a non-stereotypical, diverse way.

It's interesting to watch as Katniss develops through the story, and how she and Peeta manage to stay the same two people by the end of the games. It hasn't changed them, rather, it's focused them more on the horrors that happen in their workd, horrors that they are repulsed by.

Another interesting feature is how the story of Peeta and the bread is shown through flashbacks throughout the first two thirds of the film. It builds it up, and we eventually understand the importance that this scene has on both Katniss and Peeta, and the film does a great job to show us this element of backstory.

The highlight, without a doubt, was the scenes surrounding Rue's death. A tribute that katniss becomes attatched to; this is one of Katniss' most important moments, as she can either wallow in self-pity, or carry on in Rue's honour. And the scenes surrounding this moment are nothing short of beautiful, and come across so well, even in comparison to the book.

Something I love, mainly because it could have gone a different way, is the emphasis on survival in the Games. It could have easily just been turned into a bloodbath, but Collins was smart enough to turn it around, and make it into a desperate, intense battle of attrition, that in my opinion was incredibly well written.

Rating: 6/8


Visual: Two important things fall into here; the look of the Capitol and the Arena. The Arena looks inch perfect compared to its description; the dense forest with hidden traps, coupled with the Cornucopia (a large shell-like structure) in the centre, looks perfect to its description.

The Capitol, and conversely its people, look exactly like how they are described...a little too well. I get that the idea is to make the difference between normal district-born people and people from the Capitol alarming and vast, but the ridiculous facial hair, the wierd shaped faces...it all is just a bit too much, and makes it a bit silly.

As mentioned before, the camera-work, while a clever tool to avoid showing copious amounts of gore, is a little too much, and distracts rather than adds to the look of the film, and to be completely honest, by the end of the film, pissed me off.

Rating: 5/8


Verdict: I went to see this film with a friend who didn't really fancy it, who had never read the book, and had previously seen Battle Royale. And while he didnt think it was the best film ever, he really enjoyed it. He cited many flaws I did, plus a few I disagreed with, but he praised its focus on survival, and its overall story. And I can't help but agree with this.

It's a well told story, no doubt, but it does have a few problems, but nonetheless is incredibly faithful to the book. For how it sticks so close, it deserves praise. And what it does cut is only to stop it from running over three hours, and is well worked around for the most part.

If you're going into it conviced that Battle Royale is better, you're missing the point completely. It may use very similar tools, but as a film, this is very different world, a different story, and deserves to be set apart. Worth watching to garner an opinion, and my opinion is that this is one adaptation that is worth seeing.

Final Rating: 29/40
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Old 04-14-2012, 04:02 PM
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The Hunger Games (2012):
Director: Gary Ross
Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, and Josh Hutcherson

Just to clarify, this is coming from someone that has never read the original Suzanne Collins novel, so I will be impartial with comparisons (if there are any).

Essentially most people already know the back-story to the plot, 12 districts one female on male chosen to fight in the Hunger Games, there is one winner and the rest is history. Jennifer Lawrence plays a girl from district 12 who volunteers after her younger sister is chosen to participate form the district. Her fellow comrade (well not exactly a friend) from the same district is played by Josh Hutcherson, a scared guy who is willing to win at all cost (at least at first) they are taken to the oh so rich in technology capital where Katniss (Lawrence) soon becomes a favorite to win by many due to gaining many sponsors before hand due to an alleged love story between her and Peeta (Hutcherson). The games begin, early to late teenagers are killed, a bunch of action goes down, and the spoilers end here.

I think it's actually a pretty good film. It's got a great story (as is to be expected from a book from that stature of popularity), a good cast of actors and a big budget. To me the story is sort of complicated in the opening sequences but once you narrow it down to the simple fact that the Hunger games is taking place, it becomes more enjoyable. I don't really have to explain why in terms of appearance the movie looks grand, again look at the following the novel had. The acting is pretty good as well, I didn't see to many unbelievable and ridiculous moments here from any of the actors (besides one over dramatized scene when she finds him camouflaged as a tree). I will admit that the people of capitol look absolutley absurd, I get that there is supposed to be a major income/class difference between them, but do they really have to look like they just came from a Doctor Seuss book. With the exception of a few that run the games, most of them look a bit too colorful and silly. The capitol on the other hand itself looks fantastic and is really appealing to the eyes after looking at a poor rural district for the first part of the movie. The ending leaves you satisfied that's all I ca really say bout that. Overall I this is enjoyable and action packed, it will probalby satisfy people that either haven't read the book more that it will die hard fans with incessant comparisons, I give it a 7.5/10
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