Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Hangover Part III (Todd Philips, 2013) Review

It's finally time to get on with the latest film in the Hangover trilogy. This is also my third '2013' film...figures it should be the third film of a franchise...after already reviewing Iron Man 3....and Iron Man 3 this is not. I guess it's up to you what that means (how many of you hated the twist in Iron Man 3). Well then, let's take a look at the...I guess long awaited finale to the wolf pack trilogy.

After more of Alan's (Zach Galifianakis) shenanigans (most likely fatal for some), his dad (Jeffrey Tambor) passes away from a stress induced heart attack. Phil (Bradley Cooper), Stu (Ed Helms), Doug (Justin Bartha) and their wives all agree that Alan needs to be taken to a hospital to fix his mental issues. On the way there, the wolf pack is intervened by a man named Marshal (John Goodman). Marshal tells them that Leslie Chow (Ken Jeong) has escaped from prison and Alan is the only person with contact to him. Marshal kidnaps Doug so that the Wolf Pack will be motivated to find Chow and bring him to Marshal.

I'm not sure that I would label this film as a comedy through and through. It's more of a thriller film. It's not that there's no humour, it's just that there wasn't a funny moment that really stood out as much as a comedy film should do. It focuses more on the narrative (which is different from the other two, thank God), which I admire but that's not what The Hangover should be doing. This will put a lot of people who enjoyed the first two off this one.

Why didn't Stu get a song in this one? Why isn't Mike Tyson in this one? Are you trying to keep this part of the series? I like that there's no actual hangover otherwise it would end up being a rehash of a rehash which would have made this one much worse than The Hangover Part II.  Yeah, this one is better than Part II but is not better than Part I due to the impact it had (okay, it wasn't exactly mind blowing but at least it was different enough to other comedies). The actors are STILL good (and their characters actually have development this time) and the narrative is quite enjoyable.

The Hangover Part III is...okay. It's definitely above average and comes out as the 'middle one' of the trilogy. The first one is the best, then this one and Part II is the worst one of the trilogy. It's kind of hard to sum up the trilogy as it's based on how much you liked the previous two. The ending is an excellent way to finish off the series though so I really hope there isn't a The Hangover Part IV.

A good attempt at ending the franchise but still fails to reach the goodness of the one that start it off.

And based on how you approach it, the credits scene could either ruin the ending (like it did for me so I'm pretending it didn't happen) or make up for the lack of references to previous films.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Hangover Part II (Todd Phillips, 2011) Review

The Hangover proved to be a popular film but I'm actually shocked as to how long it took for a sequel to come out. Hollywood clearly was trying to restrain itself but, alas, it failed...twice by the looks of things (and here's hoping that it's ONLY twice). Now, a sequel can go either way (I used to say it could only be worse but...I am so wrong) so which way does the Hangover franchise seem to be going? Let's find out!

Now it's Stu (Ed Helms) that is getting married! In Bangkok too. Stu invites Doug (Justin Bartha) and Phil (Bradley Cooper) but is reluctant to bring Alan (Zach Galifianakis) due to what happened last time. After caving in, the wolf pack head to Bangkok. The gang plan spend a night out drinking beer and roasting marshmallows by a beach fire along with Stu's fiance's brother, Teddy (Mason Lee). Stu, Phil and Alan wake up the next morning in a seedy apartment with Teddy and Doug missing and with no memory of the previous night which they apparently spent with Leslie Chow (Ken Jeong). Once again, it's time to unravel the mystery and get to Stu's wedding on time. 

To be blunt, this is just a rehash of the first one but in Bangkok. This means that it ends up being predictable, except for minor twists, and samey. It also seems to lack in the humour department. I'm not saying that there's no humour, because there is, but it sort of misses the point of the first film. It relies much more on gross out humour which is NEVER A GOOD THING....EVER! There are also moments you can actually here a joke die. I remember one that had some good build up that ended with "...whatever". NEVER DO THAT!

The actors are still great in this film since most of them return from the first one and the new ones add to this. Paul Giamatti is a good addition to the franchise that I wish there was more of in the film and Stu's fiance's family is also enjoyable...if only they were in it longer (well, Teddy is a plot device but...that's about it). Thee are some good and serious moments (and we get another one of Stu's songs...there's a reason the best song in The Lorax is sung by Ed Helms).

The Hangover Part II is a weaker film than the first that relies more on gross out humour which, as previously stated, is NEVER A GOOD THING...EVER! The purpose of the film isn't done perfectly but the minor things such as acting and casting among other things. It is cool to see what other scenarios the writers can come up with but when it's a rehash, it's not exactly going to feel new. Let's hope the third film does a much better job of, oh I don't know, something else!

A rehash of the first that relies too much on gross out humour but has some good points that make sure it wasn't a complete failure (and keeping it away from a 5.5....just barely).

Sunday, May 26, 2013

The Hangover (Todd Phillips, 2009) Review

Yup, It's time for another trilogy (because every god damn film has a sequel now). I saw The Hangover Part III yesterday so I thought it was high time that I review the trilogy that seems to be so popular. I'm sure there are good reasons for the film's popularity so it's time to dive into The Hangover.....this'll be fun!

Doug Billings (Justin Bartha) is getting married and to celebrate, he invites his friends Phil (Bradley Cooper), Stu (Ed Helms) and his future brother in law Alan (Zach Galifianakis) to a bachelor party in Las Vegas. The only problem is that when they wake up the next morning, things were not as they remember. There is a tiger in the bathroom, Stu has lost a tooth, they have a baby with them and Doug is missing, among other things. Now Phil, Alan and Stu must learn what events took place last night and must find Doug so they can get back to the wedding on time.

This is a funny film, there's no denying that. The writing is pretty well done which is helped by some good acting for some great characters. There isn't a character that I hated (except the one I was supposed to hate). Everyone knows about Alan and I would be lying if I said I didn't like him. Zach Galifianakis is the standout performance of this film. The majority of the humor is risque but if you can take it, then you will find some of it hilarious.  

This film is mostly a comedy so if you don't like all sorts of risque humour then I wouldn't recommend this to you. It's not the most accessible film but he target audience is huge so my general area of readers (I'm guessing) will probably not be too horrified by this film. It's a good romp if you just want a random film to stick on. 

The Hangover is just a silly good time. If you want a film that you can watch with friends after a night out ad want to kick back and relax, then go ahead and stick this film on. If you don't like too much swearing or risque humour, then you may want to avoid this...and the other two in the trilogy as well. It's still got some excellent things such as writing and acting but it's not the most diverse film out there...

With some great writing and acting, this film offers some good laughs with friends. 

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (George Miller and George Ogilvie, 1985) Review

With every film, it ALWAYS has to come to a trilogy, doesn't it. You just can't stop can you? Well, this Mad Max will be very different to the first two. Why? Because Hollywood got it's grubby little hands on Mad Max and decided to make it more noticeable to the American audience. It's pretty obvious that there is an American influence consdiering that Tina Turner has a main role in this film. Yeah. So is this is good way to end the Mad Max trilogy? Er...well....sort of.

After having his stuff stolen by a pilot (Bruce Spence...and no it's not the same one from Mad Max 2), Max (Mel Gibson) travels to find his stolen stuff and discovers a shanty town known as Bartertown watched over by Aunty Entity (Tina Turner). Max is hired to assassinate the Blaster (Paul Larsson) so that Entity can claim full ownership from the Master (Angelo Rossitto...yes, when paired they are called Blaster Master). To do so, Max must fight Blaster to the death in the Thunderdome. Max must  also learn of the mysteries (ahem) beyond the Thunderdome. 

I'll start with the bad stuff. My biggest complaint is that part way through the film, the focus is taken away from Bartertown and focuses on a Peter Pan-esque story with a tribe of lost children. I wouldn't mind so much if it wasn't so disengaging or that the kids weren't so annoying. The film builds up Bartertown as quite an interesting location and the Thunderdome is only used in one scene! I really wish there was more time spent in Bartertown or at least sped the pace up when Max is out in the desert. Is this the weakest of the Mad Max films? No. It's not a Mad Max film, it's a film with Mad Max in it. It doesn't feel like the other two.

Yeah, so it sounds like I hate this film. No, I don't. There is some good stuff in here. Firstly, I think the ending is a surprisingly good way to end the trilogy off. It's kept reasonably subtle (well, after a massive train chase...yeah it went from bike to truck to train...only Mad Max can do that). Mel Gibson is still doing his best role well and the other actors like Tina Turner (who is surprisngly good) and the return of Bruce Spence are fun to watch. Even the idea of the Thunderdome is cool...just underused.

So Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome is a bit of a mixed bag. I REALLY want to give this at least a 6 but the plot with the kids REALLY kills the film for me. It was a good way to finish off the franchise (stay back, Tom Hardy) and it did have some really good action scenes and actors but...the narrative needed some major tweaking. Well, that's that trilogy done...LET'S REVIEW ANOTHER!

There is so much potential but the narrative dies for about half the film. I want to love this film but just can't although it does finish off the trilogy very well.

Yeah, I had no idea that 'We Don't Need Another Hero' was from this film....although after hear her sing "Beyond The Thunderdome" makes me feel stupid now...

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (George Miller, 1981) Review

It's time to continue on with our Australian epic! So it would appear that the first film flew completly under the radar and Hollywood completely missed it. Australia decided to try and grab their attention with this sequel under the name The Road Warrior. It did significantly better in the box office than the previous film but this isn't a guarantee of quality. I mean, come on, Scary MoVie is number one for weeks (thankfully Star Trek Into Darkness and Iron Man 3 are at the top where they belong). So let's see if this truly deserving of it's...I say success

Max (Mel Gibson) is now a lonely traveller who now lives on the roads. He begins to run out of gasoline for his car and finds a gyrocopter unattended. Turns out it's a trap and the pilot (Bruce Spence) tries to scare Max off. Max manages turn the situation around and gains the upper hand  He takes the pilot hostage who pleas to get him go if he shows him where to get fuel. The two venture out and find a community kept under the fear of a street gang led by The Humungus (Kjell Nilsson). Max agrees to help the community for some fuel in return. 

I know some will disagree, but I personally prefer this film to the first one. When I think Mad Max, this is the film I think of. This is the high speed road action that you've been wanting (I can assume, unless you don't then that's fine too). There is also less time spent trying to develop characters as Max is, of course, continuing his character from the first film while newer characters are introduced effectively. This film has much more enjoyable characters such as the Pilot (he's my personal favouite) and even the villain The Humungus is engaging (although the knowledge of an unused twist might help this),

Some people may have problems with the pace of the film. It's a bit erratic as it seems to put Max and the pilot into the town very quickly but they stay there for a while until they leave again...and then go back almost instantly. It doesn't offer much variety but the entire final sequence makes up for the whole thing. I love the last scene of the film because it shows what Mad Max should be about and leads to an excellent twist that sets the mood for the series (two twists technically but the second isn't as good).

Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior is a better film than a original as a result of a more clear focus, better characters and is an all around more engaging film. It's no where near perfect as it still retains that cheap feel that the first one had but that's definetly part of the charm of this franchise. I hope to see more good things from this series...I mean, it's not like there's a third one or anything! ....ohhhhhhhh.....crap....

Great characters and an engaging plot line help drive a film with some pacing issues and other little problems.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Mad Max (George Miller, 1979) Review

Yay! Another late review! Why? Oh, plenty of reasons. I was gonna do this yesterday but A) it was really nice and sunny outside (that's rare here) B) I had a singing lesson (beautiful, isn't it) C) Series finale of Doctor Who (anyone who says "Why's John Hurt" gets a slap from me) and D) Eurovision for God knows how long. So yeah, I had a lot on my plate. It's time for another franchise, don't you think. Let's see what Australia can do!

In a not-quite-post-apocalyptic-yet-still-is-somewhat-apocalyptic Australia, all crime has taken to the road in the form of biker gangs and street gangs. After a run in with some biker gang members, Max Rockatansky  (Mel Gibson) takes a leave of absence from police duties but slowly his life starts to unravel after disaster strikes his family and home. Max's now takes it upon himself to get sweet revenge on those who have wronged him.

Mad Max is definitely an experiment film in order to make people realise that Australia is still relevant (apologies to all Australian readers...). It's clearly has a low budget but, to be honest, that's part of the charm of the film. It's cheap goodness. However, there are some things that do stand out. Max is one of the biggest badass in film history with Mel Gibson providing a good performance for the character. I wouldn't have ever imagined that there was a time I liked Mel Gibson. Plus the tragic...ness of the plot is conveyed well.

The bad stuff starts, there isn't anything that is strictly 'bad' about Mad Max but there isn't that much about the film that really stands out as amazing which just leaves the film as a bit 'okay'. I did enjoy watching it and some of the stuff that happens is good but it doesn't do anything that stands out. It just comes off as a bit bland. If I had to say one thing, it is the vehicle combat which is at is pinnacle in this franchise.

Mad Max is the pioneer of vehicle combat and has some excellent stunts. Mel Gibson is suprisingly good and the narrative is well put together (one scene apparently inspired Saw!). Other than that, it's quite bland maybe because it hasn't exactly aged well due to the low budget. It's a classic, sure, but that doesn't mean it's a masterpiece. I'm glad I saw it and I may watched it couple more times but after that...probably not. 

It has some really good stuff like the vehicle combat and stunts but there isn't much else that stands out.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Son of the Mask (Lawrence Guterman, 2005) Review

Everyone! PREPARE THE TRUMPETS! PREPARE THE MARCHING BAND! Why? Because it is now the Opinionated Movie-Goer's
not just that but it is also my
200th REVIEW!!! (timed it perfectly!)

Ahhh, it's been a whole year since I started this site with my review of Avengers Assemble and because it's such as joyous occasion...we're not going to look at a good film. Not at all! Instead, we are here for an Opinionated Movie-Goer first! Yeah we've had plenty of 10/10s but how about the opposite end of the scale? Well, we'll have to see how this film goes!

Ten years after the events of The Mask, Loki (Alan Cumming) himself invades Edge City in search of his mask last used by Stanley Ipkiss (not in this refunds!). Instead, the mask winds up in the hands of an aspiring animator, Tim Avery (Jamie Kennedy), who is also given the mask's powers. As a result of his mask usage, his new born baby is now born with the mask's powers! Loki no longer needs the mask, he could just take the baby instead. Now Tim has to protect his family from Loki's wrath.

This the worst live-action film I have ever seen. Why? *Breathe in* The narrative sucks, the actors suck, the acting sucks, the comedy sucks, the CGI sucks, the other special effects suck, the writing sucks, the subplot with the dog is pointless, the sub-plots lead to nothing, the ending is stupid, it's disgusting, it's disturbing and it's just a stupid, stupid movie. Yeah. This is an absolutely terrible film. The fact that it's even affiliated to a classic Jim Carrey comedy is just plan wrong. 

Do I like anything? Anything at all? Ok, that's a lie. I did enjoy Bob Hoskins as Odin (eat your heart out, Anthony Hopkins) and the return of Ben Stein but they don't even warrant a 0.5 onto the scale. The film is THAT BAD! The baby and the dog are the main reason I hate this film. They are really disturbing to look at and lead to some horrendous CGI and slapstick. I wish I could forget this film exists...

Son of the Mask is, without a doubt, the worst live action film I've ever seen. Don't watch this unless you have a death wish. What's that? You're wondering why I'm saying the worst live action film? Oh, because it isn't the worst film I've ever seen. There is another film that is even worse that is animated. No I'm not reviewing it any time soon because I want to get the taste of Son of the Mask out of my mouth. Errrggghh..

One of the worst films I've ever seen. Everything that makes a film is done horribly!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The Mask (Chuck Russell, 1994) Review

Here we stand on the edge of 200 reviews. Not only that but the next review sees my 1 year anniversary since I started reviewing films! I chose The Mask as my 199th review which may give some people an idea of what film I will be looking at for not only my 200th review but also my 1 year anniversary. Oooh the suspense (how many of you have already guessed correctly, thus ruining the suspense?), anyway let's get this one out of the way first!

Stanley Ipkiss (Jim Carrey) is shown to be a complete pushover and too nice for his own good. This all changes when he finds a mask depicting Loki (no this is not part of the Marvel universe). When he puts on the mask, Ipkiss becomes his inner self who is dubbed 'The Mask'. Dorian Tyrell (Peter Greene), a crime boss, finds out about The Mask who ends up causing the death of his partner in crime. Now Tyrell wants revenge against The Mask.

While this may be considered one of Jim Carrey's most famous movies, this doesn't necessarily make it his best one. Far from it in fact. The Mask is funny, inventive an filled with some good acting and writing but...that's about it. Everything else just comes up as "". It's nowhere near a bad film (believe me, we'll get to that soon), it's just that certain aspects of it are a bit, well, "". The CGI looks pretty dated now (albeit stylised to look cartoony) and also there are some scenes come off as more awkward than funny. It's a mixed response but there are certainly some good aspects.

It's not a bad film, I'm making that perfectly clear. Some of the good stuff stems from Jim Carrey's iconic portrayal of The Mask which leads to some quotable and memorable moments. You will remember this performance for a long time which overshadows some of the other actors in the film. That's not really a bad thing so much as the performance that stands out is exceptionally good. The writing helps accompany this which helped forge some of the most remembered lines in film.

The Mask is filled with some excellent stuff while it also has many aspects that hinder it and make it seem a bit dated. I will, however, cherish this film for not only introducing me to Jim Carrey but because it also got a sequel...a sequel we must never speak of...ever. A sequel that makes me realise how much better this film is. It makes it look better by comparison. It's not like I'm going to review that film anyway...hopefully not anyway.

A funny and witty film with Jim Carrey leading the way. It seems a bit dated now but you will remember this for a while after.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Star Trek Into Darkness (J.J. Abrams, 2013) Review

Yes this is a very late review but I was debating between 2 films for this weekend's review...and then I saw a third film that was relevant so I'm reviewing that on instead (those other two will be reviewed eventually). Now, if you have seen my review of Star Trek, you may know my thoughts on it were summed up with "it was okay" so naturally I wasn't that hyped for a sequel. Should I have been or was I right to almost pass this by? Let's find out.

The crew of the Starship Enterprise are called home after an almost botched mission, leaving Captain James T. Kirk (Chris Pine) demoted under Captain Pike (Bruce Greenwood). Things get worse, however, when ex-star fleet pilot John Harrison (Benedict Cumberbatch) attacks the HQ lead Kirk into a revenge mission against John. Now under the rules of Captain Marcus (Peter Weller), Kirk and his crew now seek out John and finish him off.

This! Right here! This is what you call a progressive sequel. I didn't care that much for the first film but my God is this a good film! It sacrifices the boring planetary scenes to make way for more character driven scenes which is where the film really shines. I didn't care for Zachary Quinto's performance as Spock in the first film but he really puts in the effort in this one and it shows. He, Benedict Cumberbatch and even Simon Pegg as Scotty really provide some powerful performances. The writing is well put together and the direction  of J.J. Abrams makes me realise how good he is as his job.

I guess if I had to nitpick, the overuse of the lens flare (I swear, it's in every single scene) and there were a few times that the film went in a direction that I didn't really want it to but it certainly came to an excellent conclusion that is sure to please long time Star Trek fans. There are some funny moments, shocking moments, tear jerker moments and some truly awesome moments. It's quality stuff all around.

Star Trek Into Darkness was a nice surprise that I didn't expect to not only be better than the original but surpasses it by more than a mile. The acting is improved so much, the narrative is actually engaging this time, there are new characters that actually are relevant to the plot and the balance of character driven scenes and sci-fi action is well done. J.J. Abrams has officially past the test and is now allowed to do Star Wars Episode VII if it's anything like this.

The very defintion of a progressive sequel. It expands of everything from the first and proves to be some of Abram's best stuff.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Moonwalker (Jerry Kramer, 1988) Review

Do you remember a little film called Justin Bieber: Never Say Never...I never saw it, for painfully obvious reason, but what I did see was another film made by a famous singer...except that this was a GOOD famous singer (yay for 'Justin Bieber sucks jokes') so that would naturally mean the this would result in a good film, right? Well, let's find out.

After a series of videos display Michael Jackson's ego (really, that's all it is), we get into the main story which sees Michael Jackson (played by Bob Hoskins....okay, he plays himself) playing in a field with a bunch of children (this sounds...risky). After their dog runs off, Michael and some of the children end up discovering a drug lord named Mr. Big (Joe Pesci) who comes up with a scheme to get kids hooked on drugs. Michael, through the use of his magic powers (how many of you close this web page just then), attempts to outwit Big and put and end to his drug reign.

Yeah, about what I said's not good, at all. Well, there are one or two things that I do enjoy such as the amazingly awesome Smooth Criminal segment (the only reason to watch it...just YouTube it) and I did enjoy the music used...and that's all the good stuff. Let's being with the bad stuff. (Ahem) Michael Jackson can't act, the children do nothing, Joe Pesci just shouts the whole time, the songs are phoned in to the film, the songs take up for time than narrative, the effects scare me (the stop frame is just terrifying)'s just crap.

I've basically summed up the film but I'll go on. This film is a perfect example of someone stroking their own ego. I guess it is justified considering how massive Michael Jackson was but watching it now say the least. I don't understand why singers think they need films based on them made. At least this was unique because it wasn't a documentary (I hope) unlike other films in this genre (what ever genre this may be).

Moonwalker is certainly an...interesting film. It's one of the many reasons that Michael Jackson went from famous to infamous (thank you Mr. Jameson) and is, quite simply, a load of crap. The only thing that makes it worth while is the Smooth Criminal video (which is somewhat plot relevant...kind of...not really) and even then you could just look it up rather than sit through this crap fest! Not the worst film I've ever seen but that's not really saying all.

A terrible attempt to boost Michael Jackson's ego with a terrible narrative, wasted screen time and useless characters.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Lupin the Third: The Secret of Mamo (Soji Yoshikawa, 1978) Review

For the record, this is the Manga UK dub that I'm reviewing.

I think accuracy is something that is important to a film adaptation of a franchise. If it's not accurate, then it would seem like a disappointment to the fans (see Super Mario Bros. The Movie) but when a film steers in a direction that I feel actually improves the source material, when they make another film that is more accurate it seems to be a bit underwhelming. What am I talking about? Let's find out.

Lupin the Third (Bill Dufris) is dead (good start). Inspector Zenigata (Sean Barrett) refuses to believe this and goes to find Lupin's corpse. It turns out that Zenigata is right but Lupin is as confused by the situation as he is. After a run in with the sexy femme fatale, Fujiko (Toni Barry), Lupin finds out that a man named Mamo (Allan Wenger) may have something to do with this false death. Lupin, Jigen (Eric Meyers) and Goemon (Garrick Hagon) set off to find Mamo and learn (ahem) the secret of Mamo. 

This was the first Lupin III film which would explain its accuracy to the franchise but there was just one problem, it was followed by The Castle of Cagliostro (a film I considered a masterpiece). Cagliostro update the animation and gave the characters slightly different personalities and guess was much better. Now, I can respect the accuracy to the original manga and anime but Cagliostro made Lupin a very likeable character by making him a jerk with a heart of gold. Mamo, however, kept him as a perverted moron which kind of makes Cagliostro the black sheep. Even the animation, while amazing in some places, makes the characters less likeable which may be down to the character design. It takes away what characterisation was set up in Cagliostro (well, the other way round considering that it came first)

You probably think I didn't enjoy this film then. Of course I did! They may be slightly different characters but, hell, they're the same characters I grew to love from Cagliostro. The action is what you would expect from the Lupin III series....awesome. I love this franchise despite basing it on these two films and a few episodes but its because of the characters, settings, situations and action (especially the action). The voices (in the version I watched at least) were very different from last time but I think they suit the more comedic tone that they were going for very well and, as always with this series, the highlight is how Zenigata and Lupin  work off each other. Their relationship is one of my favourites in any film/series/comic/whatever due to the overblown and subtle (yes, both at the same time) things about them.

The Secret of Mamo is still an enjoyable film but the thing constantly on my mind is "not as good as Cagliostro". Is this film for you? Well, I gues the best way to sum up the war between Mamo and Cagliostro is Avengers Assemble vs The Dark Knight Rises. The former films are more comedic and focuses more on laughs rather than depth while the latter films are darker yet give off better satisfaction (you know, that's why I gave Avengers and TDKR the same score...God I'm stupid). Mamo is an excellent film in its own right with some good animation (for the most part), great voice acting, awesome action and twist after twist to keep you guessing.

There's some good animation, great voice acting and awesome action but I would recommend The Castle of Cagliostro if you want a more fulfilling film.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Ted (Seth MacFarlane, 2012) Review

2012 catch-up season continues (unofficially. This isn't a recurring thing) as we delve into the big screen d├ębut of the mind behind Family Guy and American Dad (and some other third show that no-one cares about), Seth MacFarlane. From that fact alone, you can probably guess what this film will be like so expect adult humour and all that sort of thing. Does Seth MacFarlane's style translate well onto the big screen? Let's find out.

On Christmas 1985, Johnny receives a teddy bear and, that night, wishes it to be real. The bear comes to life  and gains universal fame. But, like all famous things, he is forgotten. 27 years later, John (Mark Walberg) and Ted (Seth MacFarlane) are now adults living together with John's girlfriend Lori (Mila Kunis). Complications come up which leaves John to have to make a decision: keep his best friend or his girlfriend.

In terms of comedy, it's very crude. That's not to say it isn't funny (some moments are pure genius such as having Patrick Stewart as a snarky narrator) but it really is an anquired taste that is a perfect transition from Family Guy's humour. I guess the best way to describe it is if The Hangover had dignity. Seth Macfarlane does an excellent jump to the big screen which is helped by a great performance from Mark Walberg, a surprisingly likeable Mila Kunis and a surprising performance from Seth himself as Ted (Never expected some tear jerker moments from him).

I guess my main complaint is some of the directions the film took weren't exactly wise. I did lead to a good conclusion though and the film has a gift in that it is somehow both predictable and unpredictable at the same time. It's hard to explain but you should see for yourself. Thee are some very funny and quotable lines and moments but it's definitely not for everyone.

Ted is a good start to Seth MacFarlane's film career but it's definitely made with his fans in mind. There is some stand out stuff here with some excellent writing and acting but there are a few missteps that stop it from being a stand out film. If you like a god comedy and can appriciate it, check it out. With all the crap the general public watches (why the hell was Scary MoVie high in the box office?) this is certainly a nice enough film to stray away from the same generic crap.

A feel good film with some excellent writing and acting. Just don't expect a masterpiece from the mind of Family Guy.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Argo (Ben Affleck, 2012) Review

So it seems like it's 2012 catch up season. A lot of the films from last year are now available on DVD (or, at least, almost are) so I figured I might as well look at the Oscar winner for Best Film, Argo. I went into this film with little to no idea of what this was about. I took a dive so I guess the ultimate question is, did it truly deserve the Oscar for Best Film? Let's find out.

In 1979, the American Embassy in Iran is invaded by the locals and taken over. However, four Canadian citizens managed to escape in time but have no gone into hiding. Back in America, Tony Mendez (Ben Affleck) comes up with a plan to resuce the hostages. He teams up with Hollywood regulars, John Chambers (John Goodman) and Lester Siegel (Alan Arkan), in order to make a fake film named Argo. The plan is to pose the hostages as film crew members and get them out of the country. Complications begin to arise as Tony will stop at nothing to see the plan go forward.

Good God, is the suspense in the film amazing. It's a result of the film being a breath of fresh air considering how little violence there is (why is it that every film now has to be violent?). The finale had me on the edge of my seat which may be because of the excellent writing. Oooh, so many compliments to give. The secondary cast members are excellent (although I can't look at Bryan Cranston and not see Walter White) with the best of the bunch being Alan Arkin due to how delightfully witty he is ("Argo f**k yourself" has got to be one of the best new movie lines, surely).

The only problem I find is that Ben Affleck, to being with, is pretty bland. I liked him by the end but we doesn't do a very good job of bringing me in. That, and this is an example of Hollywood taking a real life event and glorifying itself just like Pearl Harbour did but at least it's much more subtle than that abomination.  If you can get past the glorification of America (technically it was Canada that got the praise...) and Ben Affleck being a bit bland then you'll reach the really good stuff.

Argo was not the best film of 2012 in my opinion (Skyfall, step forward) but I can definitely see why the Academy made it so. The writing is pretty damn good which leads to one hell of a suspenseful climax. The film is topped off by some excellent acting (for the most part) and some good humour mixed with the serious nature of the film. Do yourself a favour and watch this film at some point.

Some excellent writing topped off with memorable acting and a truly suspenseful climax.

Also check out where Argo landed itself on my top ten films of 2012 list HERE!