Tuesday, 12 August 2014
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug - Part two of the epic story sees Bilbo and the Dwarves finally reaching the Misty Mountains and coming face to face with the dragon Smaug. It's more fluid in terms of plot and action than the first however the entire success of Jackson's return to Middle Earth still feels like its put all of it's dwarven gold on the final entry of the series.
Rififi - A group of criminals begin to slowly turn on one another following the events of a bank robbery. Seminal French classic crime movie that has influenced nearly every heist-gone-wrong movie since.
Tuesday, 5 August 2014
Monday, 28 July 2014
I expected to come back from holiday and find the entire catalogue had changed, but this appears to not be the case. In any case, at least the majority of the new additions are actually pretty good.
Hemlock Grove (TV) - Netflix Original series that's like a lite version of some weird cross between Twin Peaks and True Blood. Continuing from the events of the first season, Roman and Peter struggle to accept their true nature as a new and powerful creature begins to rise up from the dark.
Gurren Lagan (TV) - After escaping from their oppressive underground village, two brothers find that the surface of earth is torn between a battle between mechanised robots and human freedom fighters. Quite possibly one of the best mecha-animes ever created, Gurren Lagan manages to be both uproariously fun to watch as well as an emotional tour-de-force at times. Only the first season is available however I'm sure if it's popular enough the deeper and more intense second season will likely be added too.
[EDIT: The first and second parts have been combined into the one season to make for one essential viewing experience]
Kill la Kill (TV) - A stranger seeks answers about her fathers death in a city where totalitarian oppressors are super-powered members of the local school council. It takes only 5min into the first episode to realise that this series is going to be a hyper-kinetic feast for sugar-crazed senses and yet every subsequent episode manages to outdo itself in the bat-shit crazy department, cementing Kill la Kill as one of the finest [weirdest] anime's of recent years.
Utopia (TV) - A group of strangers, who are all part of the same internet message board group, find themselves hunted down by a mysterious killer who believes they are carrying an important artefact. Surprisingly decent thriller from Channel 4 that's just about to start its second season, so is well worth catching up on here (ad free).
Secret State (TV) -A devastating oil spill and the mysterious disappearance of the prime minister thrust the deputy PM into a dark world of corruption and political conspiracy. It's not groundbreaking material in terms of corrupt politics, but what the series does do it does very well and Byrne is compelling to watch.
Filth - A sleezy and corrupt police officer embarks on a quest to get promoted to Chief Inspector, however his unorthodox habits send him into a spiral of depravity and insanity from which he may never return. It's certainly not for everyone, however this is still the finest Welsh adaptation since Trainspotting and McAvoy excels at bringing the disgusting Robertson to life.
Monday, 7 July 2014
A lot of 4oD content has been added, but smart people will likely have already watched it through other channels already.
Knights of Sidonia (TV) - With the remains of humanity confined to large spaceships, a it's up to a group of soldiers to defend them from the attacks of a deadly alien race. Netflix's first foray into anime (which is good, considering how sparse the anime collection currently is) may have shades of Battlestar Galactica but it is a true example of how uproariously entertaining Japanese animated series can be.
The Shield (TV) - Follows the exploits of a LAPD detective and his corrupt squad of officers as they use all the power they have to keep order in the streets. Before The Wire, this was the definitive cop show on TV, combining drama with edge-on-your-seat action and thrills, and it hasn't gotten any less exciting.
Have I Got News For You (TV) - Series 40, 41 and 42 of the incredibly funny BBC show have been added. While the episodes are from a few years ago, they are the longer, 'cruder' versions.
Le Week-End - An ageing couple head to Paris in an attempt to reignite the spark in their relationship, despite a few bumps along the way. The film is charming in it's own right, and the lead actors do an incredible job, but it never amounts more than a 'watchable' experience.
Insidious Chapter 2 - Starting almost exactly after the first movie, the Lambert family do their best to move on but find themselves haunted once again. The first movie worked because it was the right kind of scary and crazy but this time round the crazy goes of at odd tangents and the result is a meaningful, though sloppy, attempt to rehash the fun of its predecessor
Starlet - A rising adult film actress befriends an elderly lady when she finds a large stash or cash in an old vase she buys. A well acted and surprisingly touching drama about two people from completely opposite ends of society.
Monday, 30 June 2014
You're Next - A family reunion quickly turns nasty when they are attacked by masked killers, but the killers themselves did not anticipate for themselves to be targeted back. A really good horror film that keeps throwing twists and turns to offer something new to the 'home invasion' genre.
Carrie (2013) - A bullied teenager finds her angst amplified by growing telekinetic powers, which soon become too much for her to control. It offers nothing new from the de Palma classic and what results is a watchable, though somewhat unenthusiastic, excuse to redo the notorious prom scene using cutting edge CGI.
Tron: Legacy - 20 years after his father disappears, a son finds himself transported to a mysterious digital game world where he has to fight for his survival. The first movie, while watchable, was more of a CGI showcase than an intellectual pursuit and the same could be said for this emotionless sequel.
Hair - A young man gets side-tracked from joining the Vietnam War when he befriends a group of activist hippies. Cult musical that, while dated, is still a fun trip down memory lane.
Monday, 16 June 2014
The Great Beauty - After spending nearly all his life living extravagantly from party to party, an ageing journalist is forced to reconsider his priorities in order to make sense of his accomplishments. It's hard not to be reminded of the love and energy of Fellini films, but Sorrentino has managed to both pay tribute to the great auteur while also carving his own unique gem of a movie.
Lovelace - Biopic of adult film actress Linda Lovelace, who suffered much abuse from her husband before finally taking her life into her own hands. Seyfried does a good job at making us care about Linda, but the whole movie lacks any real depth to make us care about anything else that goes on.
Upstream Colour - After a woman is drugged with a strange substance, which forces her to divulge all her financial assets, she meets a man who suffered a similar incidence and finds that their lives are linked by the strange substance. Carruth's follow-up after the mind-numbingly complex time travel movie Primer is not exactly any more straight-forward, ditching conventional narrative for something else entirely, but even if you are unable to follow what is happening you can still marvel at the amazing cinematography on screen or the haunting music that Carruth himself composed for the film.
His Girl Friday - After finding out his wife is leaving him for another man, a newspaper editor will use every trick in the book to stop this from happening. Classic Cary Grant movie full of quick-fire wit and that level of class that Hollywood has been unable to reproduce.
Vacancy - After checking into a motel during a storm, a couple find themselves at the hands of a voyeuristic snuff-film enthusiast. It's a dumb movie, but it's also watchable thanks to good lead performances from Wilson and Beckinsale.
Archer (TV) - Follows the exploits of spy organisation ISIS, whose agents are not always exactly competent. Still as funny as ever, season 4 picks up following their return to earth after destroying the space station while season 5 changes the pace slightly with ISIS having been disbanded and the group resorting to drug running to pay the bills.
Tuesday, 10 June 2014
The new season sees the focus shift more onto the other inmates, especially with a violent new inmate trying to take over the joint. Piper, meanwhile, begins to do some investigative work on the prison's dodgy finances.
Odd Thomas - A young man with the ability to communicate with dead people becomes troubled by the dark omens he begins to see around his home town, forcing him to take action. It's a shame that this never saw a cinema release as Sommers' adaption of Dean Koontz's supernatural novels is a remarkably competent piece of entertainment.
Mighty Aphrodite - Discovering that his adopted son is a genius, a father heads out to find the mother but is disappointed to find she's a prostitute, and not a smart one at that. It may not be Allen's finest film but the auteur's attempts to bring Greek drama to the modern age isn't completely without its merits.
Deconstructing Harry - A famous author suffering from writer's block finds his himself facing the difficult choices in his past as events, both real and fictional, play out in front of him. It's become one of his more overlooked films, probably due to the more serious tone of the film, but this is still one of Allen's finer dramatic pieces that showed he wasn't afraid to bare his raw emotion in front of the camera.
Celebrity - A recently divorced husband and wife each find themselves trying to climb the different ropes of the celebrity lifestyle, both with very different results. Another Allen movie that was perhaps ahead of it's time, this is a sharp and scathing look at the glitz and glamour of being famous.
Monday, 2 June 2014
Pulp Fiction - A series of violent and unpredictable intertwining tales following the exploits of criminals as they try and get by in life. It's twenty years old but Tarantino's crime opus still hit's every mark thanks to it's terrific cast and quotable lines.
It's a Disaster - A casual brunch among friends quickly unearths a lot of deep-seated issues among them, a matter only made worse by the dirty bombs that have been set off outside. It's by no means perfect, but a great improv cast and sharp dialogue means this black-comedy ends up hitting all the right notes.
Romeo + Juliet - A modern re-telling of the Bard's classic romantic-tragedy about the two love-crossed children of rival families. It looks the part, and often that's just enough, but anyone looking for a deeper experience will likely not find it.
Days of Glory - Four North African soldiers who enlist in the French army to help fend off the Nazis find themselves fighting the enemy on their own side. Filled with both spectacle and brains, the movie paints a harrowing portrait of the racism men had to endure despite all believing in the same goal.
A Bug's Life - An ant, desperate to save his colony from the villainous grasshoppers, seeks help from a troupe of circus performers, whom he believes to be fearless warriors. Pixar's update of one of Kurosawa's greatest movies is often glossed over for their more popular movies but it still remains a fine example of what great animation actually comprises of.
What Maisie Knew - Divorce as told through the eyes of a 6 year-old girl, who becomes a pawn in a messy custody battle between two very self-centred parents. Heartwrenching to watch but also filled with moments of hope, the movie is one of the most emotional depictions of divorce since 'Kramer vs Kramer'.
Tuesday, 27 May 2014
Only God Forgives - A fighting promoter is pressured by his mother to seek revenge for the death of his brother by a renegade police officer. Hyper-stylised and hyper-violent, Refn's Drive follow-up is a brutal and nihilistic tale that may be too much for most.
Reality - A fishmonger with a 'Big Brother' obsession finds himself confronted with delusions of reality and paranoia when he believes himself to be a contestant on the show. Quirky-funny, and a sharp bite at reality TV in general, this Italian comedy-drama is worth a watch even if it never quite holds its footing.
Jeff, Who Lives at Home - A stay-at-home slacker, forced out into the real world on an errand run, finds himself on a quest to save his brothers failing marriage. Although the plot may prove to be pointless to some, there is a lot of heartfelt reality in this indie comedy that's brought to life thanks to an amazing cast and its unique interpretation on the movie 'Signs'.
Monday, 19 May 2014
Easy Money - A man begins to sell drugs in order to finance his double life, throwing his life into the paths of two men with similar problems. An excellent Swedish thriller that starts fast and doesn't stop until the credits roll.
Welcome to the Rileys - A family, grieving from the death of their daughter, find solace in helping a teenage stripper sort her life out. It's well acted, and it's heartfelt at its core, but the script is predicable and sometimes a little dull.
Monday, 12 May 2014
Silence - A sound recordist embarks across Ireland to record soundscapes free from human interference, meditating upon the necessity to isolate oneself from the everyday activities of life. There's not much in the way of plot, to the point that many will likely find this movie dull and tedious, but there's a deeper level of poetic wonder to be had from the stunning Irish cinematography and the quiet sounds of nature.
Tuesday, 6 May 2014
The Crazies - Residents of a small town are forced to flee to their lives after a bio-weapon turns most of the inhabitants into homicidal maniacs. Atmospheric, grisly and well directed this is a pretty decent horror remake that doesn't overstay its welcome but also sticks with you once it's over.
The Assassination (aka Assassination of a High School President) - When the SAT exams at a prestigious school are stolen, the school reporter and the popular girl team up to uncover the conspiracy. Don't be fooled by the cheesy title and plot, this is a clever little detective noire set within the realm of a high school (not unlike Brick) that deserved much more recognition than it got.
Beneath Hill 60 - Enlisting into the Australian army, an engineer finds himself under the front-lines of WW1 tasked with blowing up the German defences. It would be easy to pass this off as the Australian version of Birdsong but the movie (based on real characters too) is still a tense visual account of the horrors the troops faced in the trenches and well worth watching.
Down Terrace - A father and son, both released from jail, try to figure out the snitch who turned them in while trying to keep their family 'enterprise' afloat. Wheatley's first movie is a fresh take on the classic British gangster genre, complete with his own brand of dark and sadistic humour.
Rabbit Hole - Two parents find their lives spiralling down different paths after their son is killed in a car accident. An emotional drama brought to tragic life by excellent acting from both Eckhart and Kidman as well as excellent direction from Cameron-Mitchell.
Stitches - After being killed during a party, a clown comes back to life to have his revenge. Camp B-movie fun that, given the generic plot and bad acting, still has some merits.
Monday, 28 April 2014
Person of Interest (TV) - An ex-CIA operative and a reclusive analyst help prevent murders before they occur with the help of a government-controlled super computer that monitors everyone. Season 2 of this exceptionally good spy-thriller is now available, which sees the series steering more into sci-fi territory but not at the expense of its already highly-relevant political overtones.
Snitch - A father strikes a deal with the government to infiltrate a notorious drug ring in order to get his son's prison sentence reduced. Despite a good performance by Johnson, the movie fails to elevate past mediocre, but satisfactory, action-drama.
The Dictator - An oppressive dictator heads to America to give a speech at the UN only to find himself kidnapped and replaced by a look-a-like who has other plans for his country. Providing you like this humour, you will laugh at this movie and probably hate yourself for doing so.
Tuesday, 15 April 2014
Monday, 7 April 2014
Suits (TV) - A man with a photographic memory finds himself the associate of one of New York's greatest lawyers, despite never having graduated in Law. Oozing with style and wit and amazing performances from the entire cast, this is arguably one of the better shows on TV right now.
Continuum (TV) - In an attempt to prevent the rise of a police state Canada, a group of terrorists travel back in time to the modern day to change the future, only they end up bringing a determined law officer with them. Blending hardcore sci-fi elements and socio-political morals, Continuum is a remarkably well put together show that should appease fans of the genre as well as anyone into standard police procedural shows.
Trailer Park Boys (TV) - Mockumentary following a group of small-time criminals who operate our of their rundown trailer park. It's not for everyone but the characters are surprisingly well rounded and the humour somehow manages to be both dumb and smart at the same time.
Reaper (TV) - After his parents sell his soul to the devil a teen is forced into becoming a Reaper, a bounty-hunter for the escaped souls from hell. It works as a dumbed down version of Buffy that's played for laughs but this is not necessarily a bad thing thanks to some great writing and a fantastic turn by Ray Wise as the devil.
Stripes - After realising his life is going nowhere a man convinces his best friend they should join the army, only to use the opportunity to pick up girls and slack off. Essentially the military version of 'Police Academy', Stripes works mostly due to Murray's excellent comedic timing as well as a great supporting cast that ensure things never get dull on screen.
The Royal Tenenbaums - When his money begins to run out the patriarchal figure of a family of geniuses tries to earn the forgiveness of his ex-wife and children, despite having been disowned by them a long time ago. The film that made Wes Anderson a household name among the indie circuit, the film is a masterpiece on many levels as it carefully interweaves the intersecting lives of a dysfunctional family with Anderson's trademark film-making style.
Stand by Me - Four friends embark on an adventure to find the body of a kid who was supposedly hit by a train, contemplating the meaning of childhood and friendship along the way. One of the greatest examples of the 'coming-of-age' movie this film is a triumph in the way it portrays the relationship between each of the characters, taking us on an emotional journey into a past that nearly every person would have had.
See No Evil, Hear No Evil - After witnessing a murder two friends, one blind and one deaf, find themselves framed for it. Daft but amusing comedy that's made watchable thanks to the excellent on-screen chemistry between Pryor and Wilder.
Titan AE - Set in the far future, a young man discovers he holds the key to humanity's survival against a powerful alien race when strange marking appear on his body. Though it was a critical and commercial success, the film has achieved a low-key cult status thanks to it's implementation of CGI and hand-drawn animation as well as it's ambitious story and morally ambiguous characters.
Wall Street - A young stockbroker is taken under the wings of a Wall Street mogul but soon becomes caught up in the illicit activities that plague the sector. A great example of the nature of the world of finance, Wall Street holds back no punches as it leads its main character through a nightmarish world where people put monetary worth over life.
White Men Can't Jump - Two basketball hustlers, who team up to increase their odds of scoring big, find themselves in the sights of some dangerous men that one of them owes money to. A forgotten relic from the early 90's, it's a fun movie that works largely due to the charismatic performances from Harrelson and Snipes.
The Edge - A plane crash leaves a photographer and a businessman stranded in the Alaskan wilderness, forcing them to survive both the nature around them and their own human desires. A well acted and intense thriller that does a good job at exploring human nature in life-or-death situations without feeling like a social commentary.
The Thin Red Line - Soldiers attempt to hold off the Japanese at the infamous Battle of Guadalcanal but as the horrors of war set in, they become more focused on their own survival than on the reason they chose to fight. A contender for the greatest war film ever made, the film focuses less on the action and more on the existential feelings of the soldiers that, coupled with the beautiful yet contrasting cinematography, results in a film that is truly unique in style and execution.
Broken Arrow - After a rogue pilot steals some nuclear weapons, it's up to his best friend and a park ranger to get them back and survive the game of cat-and-mouse that ensues. Whether this film is any good is a debate that still rages on today, however if you can stand the OTT performances of Travolta and Slater, and you enjoy the mayhem of master-actioner John Woo, then this is the film for you.
Down Periscope - A US Naval Commander whose military record, while impressive, is filled with allegations of misconducts, is given a final chance to prove himself when he is put in charge of a rag-tag crew of inexperienced sailors and an ageing rust-bucket of a submarine. As guilty a pleasure if their ever was one, the humour is childish at best but it doesn't stop the film from being any less enjoyable.
Patton - Biopic of the exceptionally able yet controversial American General, following his career from the initial Africa campaign to the fall of Nazi Germany. It's a great movie all by itself but in the end it's Scott's exceptional performance as the emotionally unstable leader that turns this otherwise exceptional war movie into a masterpiece.
Raising Arizona - A couple unable to conceive decide to steal a baby from a rich couple, they become the target of the law, two dumb escaped convicts and a mysterious bounty hunter. Enjoyable farce from the Coen brothers, who manage to make Nicholas Cage one of the more down-to-earth characters in the movie.
Rising Sun - A detective and an expert of Japanese customs team up to investigate the death of a woman, whose murder seems to be one event in a grander scheme of things. Decent crime drama that suffers from an uneven plot but is redeemed from it's grey attitude to foreign affairs and a stellar cast.
The Fisher King - An ex-radio personality, who retreated from fame after accidentally inciting a murder spree in a bar, finds himself on the path to redeem himself when he discovers a mentally disillusioned homeless man whose wife was killed in the bar. An excellent modern fairy-tale about a man trying to make amends, boosted by great performances from Bridges,Williams and the Oscar winning Mercedes Ruehl and a seemingly straight-forward effort from Mr Gilliam.
Boy's Don't Cry - A girl who hides behind a male identity manages to achieve a high social status in her new town, until her secret is revealed and her whole world crashes down around her. That the film is actually based on true events makes the movie all the more shocking and tragic and Swank delivers a brutally honest performance as the transgender lead.
Silverado - A group of friends band together to take down the corrupt officials of the town of Silverado. Surprisingly decent westerner that evokes the classic feel of John Ford mixed with the updated politics of Leone,.
Hoffa - The life of the notorious mobster informant, from his rising in the ranks to his unexplained disappearance. The acting is top notch and the production design is spot-on though the film itself never really amounts to much else other than a cold reminder of the violent brutality of organised crime America.
Rabbit-Proof Fence - After being abducted from their village and forced to work as trained servants, three Aborigine girls escape and embark on a perilous journey back home. A shocking reminder at the inhumanity that plagued modern Australia, the movie packs an emotional punch as we follow these three girls who want nothing more than to live their own lives.
Go - A series of intertwined stories following three friends who spend Christmas eve as they spend the night living life on the edge, dealing drugs and winning big. Frenetic and well shot, Liman's dark comedy does a good job at evoking the mentality of the Californian youth who only see life as one big party.
Anonymous - A 'what if' scenario following the revelation that Shakespeare's plays were actually written by the Earl of Oxford. The success of the movie is based more on how you accept the theory that Shakespeare didn't write his plays than the actual quality of the movie, because once you get past that obstacle what's left is a completely absurd, yet oddly enjoyable, romp through Elizabethan England set against the backdrop of the Essex rebellion.
Life is Beautiful - After they are sent to a concentration camp, a Jewish father tries to mask the horrors of the Nazi agenda from his young son by pretending it is all a game. In what could have been one of the most insulting films ever, Benigni instead crafts an emotional tale of the lengths a father will go to protect his child even when the odds are stacked up high against him.
The Newton Boys - Biopic of the infamous Newton brothers, who's criminal exploits were well known due to their kind-hearted attitude towards the robberies they committed. A light-hearted attempt from Linklater who fails to offer any real significant depth to the story but ensures we are kept entertained by the personality of the main characters.
Hamlet (2000) - Modern interpretation of the bard's famous play. It works surprisingly well given it's modern context, and the acting is decent enough, but it still feels completely unnecessary.
Monday, 31 March 2014
Africa - BBC documentary about the world's largest continent. By this point we've seen some of it before and some of it is new but the cinematography is as amazing as it's ever been and Attenborough is still a charismatic tour-de-force.
Fright Night (2011) - After discovering that his new neighbour is a vampire, a teen turns to a Vegas magician for help in bringing him down. The original was good campy fun, nothing special, and yet the remake still manages to deliver a good solid movie with some great performances and an interesting revision on the original story.
An Inconvenient Truth - Documentary following Al Gore as he gives his famous climate change presentations across the world. Say what you will about the man or the subject but the film is still highly engrossing to watch, even if the facts may be slightly skewed to emphasise the apocalypse.
Monday, 24 March 2014
Dead Man Down - Two people with a lust for vengeance form an uneasy alliance in order to achieve their goals. What starts off as a decent thriller soon erupts into a Hollywood-wannabe mess of a movie, however if you can stomach the sudden change in quality it still ends up being a watchable movie.
Breathe In - A family has their relationship and morals tested when they take in a foreign exchange student. It boasts some excellent performances from the key actors, and the film is incredibly well shot, however the emotional impact the film is trying to convey often gets bogged down by a plot that seems far too linear given the events presented to us.
Days of Grace - Three stories about crime and corruption in Mexico city, set during the three football world cups between 2004 and 2012. It's not for the faint of heart, taking a similar stance to gang portrayal as City of God, but the result is a very entertaining crime movie reminding us of the chaos many people have to put up with on a day to day basis.
Monday, 17 March 2014
Homeland (TV) - A US Marine, returning home after being a captive in Iraq, only for a CIA agent to suspect him of being an al-Qaeda mole. Decent political thriller that does a good job of keeping it's viewers hooked on the edge of their seats thanks to it's impressive performances by the main cast.
American Horror Story (TV) - An anthology of mini-series that provide an eclectic mix of old-school horror tropes with more modern takes on the genre. AHS falls into that category of entertainment that you will either love or you will hate, throwing its viewers around for an often bizarre ride filled with many WTF moments and plot defining twists.
The Returned (TV) - A small mountain town find themselves at the centre of strange and wonderful phenomenon following the return of the recently dead, who continue life as though nothing had happened. Very atmospheric French chiller that does a good job at bringing a fresh take to the 'zombie' genre, while adding it's own spin on the Twin Peaks mythos.
Uwantme2killhim? - A detective finds herself caught up in the seedy underbelly of online chatrooms when she is put in charge of a case involving a boy stabbing his best friend. The acting is very good, especially considering the age of the younger actors, however the story, while trying to hype up the dangers of online socialisation, doesn't always manage to keep it's footing resulting in a well-meant but overall underwhelming film.
Cinema Paradiso - A young boy, with a fondness for the movies, befriends the local film projectionist who opens his eyes to the wonders of chasing your dreams. It's not hard to see why this movie is a favourite of film-lovers everywhere as it manages to capture the wonders of film through a child's eyes and yet finds a way to grab an emotional hold on all who watch it.
Avengers Assemble (AKA Marvel's The Avengers) - Iron Man, Captain America, The Hulk and Thor must put aside their differences and work together to fend off an alien threat led by Thor's brother Loki. The entire Marvel film line-up has been building to this one outing and it doesn't fail to disappoint, offering exactly what we want from a mega-hero movie - laughs, action and bickering among the lead characters.
Monday, 10 March 2014
Not much new and noteworthy this week but there's two pretty awesome movies to indulge in.
Toy Story 3 - With Andy all grown up now the toys find themselves relocated to a daytime nursery however they are soon forced to find a way to escape after they learn it is run by a human-hating stuffed bear. Pixar knock the threequel curse out of the park delivering their most affectionate, emotional and nostalgic movie yet and providing closure to one of the greatest series of modern times (until Disney force a forth movie out of them).
21 & Over - An over-achiever spends his 21st birthday doing all the things he never had a chance to do, and then some, leading to a night that soon spirals out of control. It provides some amusement, providing you like these sorts of movies, otherwise it's nothing different from the many other movies about teens 'going wild'.
Stories We Tell - Documentary following Sarah Polley's family as they each recount the families secrets with their own versions and interpretations of what happened. An engaging account of a family that serves as it's own detective story as well as works as a dissection of the family myth and an incredible in-depth look at the way we relate fantasy and reality.
Monday, 3 March 2014
Grimm (TV) - A man discovers he is a descendant of the Brothers Grimm and that it is his job to keep the real world safe from fairy-tale creatures who are very much real. While it shares a lot with Once Upon a Time, Grimm manages to offer a different look at the clash between fairy-tales and reality by crossing it with a police procedural thriller, which works for the most part.
Event Horizon - A rescue ship tracks down the distress signal of an experimental craft which has been missing for many years, only to succumb to the same mysterious horrors that killed the first crew. Trashy sci-fi-horror that has somehow developed a cult following.
Neil Young: Heart of Gold - Concert documentary following Neil Young performing in Nashville. Still widely regarded as one of the best music docs, though it may only appeal to Young fans, it is a fine example of how to mix music and the emotion for music that is felt by those who watch and listen as well as those who create it.
Monty Python: Almost the Truth (The Lawyers Cut) - Six part documentary that follows the lives of the Monty Python crew, from their humble beginnings to going about their separate ways. A must watch for any fan, this endearing documentary hits all the right notes in bringing forth nostalgia and generally fascinating tid-bits of one of the greatest sketch-comedy groups ever assembled.
Young Adult - A teen-novel writer, who's own life is going nowhere, heads back to her hometown to try to patch things up with her ex, even though he's happily married and expecting a child. It can be hard to warm up to, given that Theron's lead character is as unpleasant as they come, but if you stick with it you'll find that there's actually a level of warmth to this darkly twisted movie.
30 Minutes or Less - A pizza delivery boy finds himself forced to rob a bank when two dimwitted crooks abduct him and strap him with explosives. It should have been a lot funnier, given the talent involved, but fans of low-key toilet humour shouldn't be too disappointed by what is on offer here.
The Firm - An up-and-coming lawyer joins 'The Firm' after they lure him with irresistible perks, but he soons find there's a much more sinister side to the company when two associates turn up dead. It has a strong cast but the over-long running time means this thriller ends up fizzling out before the ending is even near.
Primal Fear - A high-profile defence attorney takes the case of a mentally-challenged young man accused of killing an archbishop, though what initially started as a ploy to raise his public profile soon turns into a sinister game of hidden motives. A very well made legal-thriller with great performances, particularly by Norton, that has enough great twists to keep you guessing until the very end.
The Great Muppet Caper - The gang have to try to solve a jewellery robbery after the culprits frame Miss Piggy. Fun feature-length outing for the Muppets that features a decent story and some catchy songs.
Sister Act - After witnessing a mob hit, a lounge singer hides out in a convent, impersonating a nun, where she finds herself in charge of the school choir group. Amusing, if somewhat lacklustre, comedy which features Goldberg at her best even if the writing isn't always up to it.
Monday, 24 February 2014
Monday, 17 February 2014
House of Cards (TV) - A congressman continues long and arduous scheme to bring his party down from the inside after being refused a position in the White House. The critically acclaimed political thriller continues down many dark and dangerous roads as Frank's mission to become president finds new grounds.
Arn: The Knight Templar - A Swedish knight finds himself caught up in the Holy War where he is tasked with protecting Jerusalem from Saladin's advancing army. A decent action/drama that, despite it's lower production values, manages to put a lot of the Hollywood interpretations to shame thanks to the focus on the characters.
NOTE: This is the edited version that combines the two original movies into one. It's still decent but a lot of the back-story and character development is lost.
Dark Skies - A couple find that their idyllic life is under threat after a mysterious presence begins to haunt their child. It's goofy and doesn't bring anything special to the horror genre but it still has a creepy atmosphere that manages to let of a few good jump scares.
Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back - The foul-mouthed/silent slacker duo trek to Hollywood to put an end to a movie based around their superhero alter-ego's. If you like Kevin Smith then this film has everything you could ever want from a movie; for everyone else, you probably might wonder why the film even exists.
Serenity - A ragtag crew of outlaws find themselves the target of a dangerous government agent out to capture the mysterious girl they are harbouring. The film is highly regarded as one of the finest sci-fi films of recent years, mainly because it revived on of the most beloved TV shows of all time (Firefly is also available to watch), but also because it manages to deliver an action-packed experience without compromising the characters or story.
You Don't Mess With the Zohan - A Mossad agent flees to America to live out his dream of being a hairdresser. It's Adam Sandler at his most Adam-Sandlerest; expect nothing else.
Cars - A young-hotshot racer on track to win the pretentious Piston Cup finds a new meaning to life after he forced to rebuild the town he accidentally wrecks. It feels different from what is normally expected from Pixar, which might account to the moderate response the film received, but it still excels in its visual prowess and, even if the characters aren't as relatable, it still carries the Pixar standards for storytelling.
The Black Cauldron - A boy and his friends embark on a quest to find the mythical Black Cauldron before an evil tyrant can get his hands on it. The film is famous for scaring a lot of children when it first came out, opting over traditional fantasy elements rather than the normal whimsical utopia Disney normally promotes, and though it may not do justice to the original source material it still holds up as one of the better movies that Disney took a risk in making.
Monty Python's Meaning of Life - A compilation of sketches contemplating life's most difficult question. It lacks the bizarre goofery of Holy Grail or the classic humour of Brian but the Python's final big-screen outing doesn't fail in delivering laughs and shocks.
Angela's Ashes - A young boy and his family try to endure the hardship of poverty in pre-war Ireland. Strong and compelling, the film does its best in capturing the prose from the original novel, but it's greatest strength is also it's biggest downside in that the gloominess haunts you for a long time afterwards.
Fletch - A investigative journalist, with a penchant for disguises, finds himself caught up in an elaborate criminal scheme involving a prominent businessman. One of Chase's greatest accomplishments, Fletch remains one of the most loved comedies from the 80's thanks to a healthy dose of humour and mystery.
The Jerk - A man with limited mental abilities goes off in search of his own life after he finds out he was adopted. How much you enjoy the movie depends on how much you can stand Steve Martin however he manages to successfully pull off the one-man-show with enough heart to ensure the film remains one of his better efforts.
Arthur and the Invisibles - In an attempt to save his grandfathers house from being demolished, a young boy turns to a race of small fairy-like creatures who live at the bottom of the garden for help. Besson's foray into animated movies is a decent attempt but it lacks any real depth and does little to appeal to anyone over the age of 10.
American Graffiti - The day before they all leave for college, a group of friends spend their final night on the town together as they contemplate the decisions they are making in life. Considered by many to be among the greatest depictions of youth in the 60's, Lucas manages to weave a tale that is both bitter-sweet and fun and serves as an ode to a bygone era who's themes of growing up are still applicable even today.
Black Christmas (1974) - A group of sorority girls are plagued by mysterious phone calls during the Christmas holiday that soon escalates into murder. Cult horror classic from Canada and widely believed to be the first slasher movie.
Gambit (1966) - A thief and a dancer team up to pull off an elaborate heist but things don't go exactly to plan. Sharp, funny and well acted, the movie is a prime example of a movie you can just sit down and watch and be entertained for your troubles.
Friday, 14 February 2014
That's right. You can now own Dungeon Keeper Gold (assuming you're one of the few who doesn't already have it) and realise that the games you have been playing these last few years have all been lies.
Never played it before? Here's you chance.
Hate the mobile version? Purge its memory from your brain with the classic.
Fed up of your friends saying you should get it? Just download it and never play it.
Plus, as an added bonus, Dungeon Keeper 2 is also for sale for less than £1.
Act fast, the offer lasts until Sunday!
Monday, 10 February 2014
The Seven Year Itch - When his wife and son go on holiday, a man begins to reindulge in the pleasures of being single but soon finds himself fantasising about the girl who lives next door. Classic Billy Wilder comedy with the iconic performance from Monroe that reminds why a whole country fell in love with her.
We're No Angels - Two fugitives on the run to Canada find themselves unable to escape the clutches of the Church after impersonating a couple of priests. Not the finest Mamet script to be produced but there's enough jovial fun to be had from De Niro and Penn to warrant a watch if there's nothing else on.
Monday, 3 February 2014
In the House - A literature teacher becomes drawn in by one of his student's work, describing his relationship with the neighbouring family, but their intrusiveness eventually causes events to spiral out of control. One of the finer French comedies of the last few years, and even if the ending is a bit of a let down, it's still an amicable tale of storytelling and family antics.
Welcome to the Punch - A detective is given a second chance in catching a master thief when he returns home on a personal matter but an external foe threatens to bring harm to them both, forcing them to pair together. It's not the most unique idea but there's enough twists to keep the story going and that action is decent enough to warrant a "style over substance" label that doesn't neccessarily affect the viewing experience.
Ruthless People - A couple looking for payback kidnapp the wife of a rich business man in the hopes for a ransom, not knowing that the businessman was planning to rid himself from her to begin with. One of the more forgotten gems of the 80's, particularly for a ZAZ movie, this movie is a riot from start to finish thanks to some incredibly snappy dialogue and some wonderful performances from the main cast.
The Adventures of Baron Munchausen - A senile old man claiming to be the Baron Munchausen embarks on a journey to regroup his lost allies and save a city under siege from the Turkish army. Classic Gilliam fantasy in that the madder it is the more sense it make, and while the plot may get a little too obtuse at times, it's still a hell of a lot of fun and few fantasy films can keep up with this amount of creative imagery.
Tears of the Sun - A Navy SEAL team sent to a Nigeria following a coup are forced to choose between their mission and humanitarian ethics after the doctor they are tasked to rescue refuses to leave unless they bring the villagers under her care. It starts of as being a highly promising political movie however the film soon descends into a generic action movie with America being our sole saviours, losing much of it's serious politcal message in the process.
The Missing - A father's hope to reconcile with his estranged daughter takes a turn for the worst after her daughter is kidnapped, forcing the two to work together to get her back. It's a decent attempt to combine the western and thriller tropes, and while that cast do a decent job of keeping you engaged, the story ultimately feels a little flat particularly towards the end.
Pusher - A drug dealer navigates the Danish underground in an attempt to raise cash for a drug lord after he is forced to dump his stash. A solid thriller from Denmark (would you expect anything less?) that delves beyond the cliche drug movie and into the realms of nightmarish despairation to deliver a brutal tale of crime.
John Carter - A Civil War soldier finds himself transported to Mars where he must fight to protect the natives from their opressive rulers. It got a lot of flack from the critics on its release but there's a sense of real fantasy about the movie, even if the actors don't quite deliver the performances you'd expect.
Monday, 27 January 2014
Winter's Bone - A teen goes out in search of her criminal father after his debts threaten the foreclosure of her home.An incredibly bleak portrayal of family life in rural America with a winning script and excellent acting, particularly from Hawkes and a then-unknown Lawrence.
The Secret In Their Eyes - Many years after an unsolved brutal murder, the lawyer in charge of the case begins a memoir about it in order to find closure but instead finds himself looking at new facts relating to it. A riveting drama/thriller from Argentina that is brought to live by a solid script and human characters.
Monday, 20 January 2014
The League (TV) - The adventures of a group of friends and they ways their fantasy football league disrupts their every lives. The gang return to their normal scheming ways, starting off the draft during Andre's wedding weekend.
Justified (TV) - A US Marshal is relocated to his hometown following the shooting of a fugitive where he utilises his own methods of justice against the many criminals who reside there. The critically acclaimed series returns with Raylan caught up in a decade long mystery involving the death of a parachutist who's body was found surrounded by bags of drugs.
Robot and Frank - An ageing man, and retired jewel thief, has a robot helper dumped on him much to his annoyance however they finally find a connection when he discovers the robot's aptitude for picking locks. The film is a poignant study on both the dependence on technology and the effects of living with Altzheimer's and Langella gives us a moving performance that makes for a heavily affecting drama.
The Iceman - Biopic of mob-enforcer Richard Kuklinski who was believed to have been responsible for over 100 murders. Given the dark nature of the story, the film doesn't always strike the correct tone, but Shannon is convincing and menacing at the notorious killer and his performance is worth the watch alone.
The ABC's of Death - 26 Letters of the alphabet, 26 directors, 26 horror shorts. As always with anthology movies, the segments vary in terms of quality (and with 26 of them, the majority are forgettable) but it's an interesting idea and there are some stand out shorts that mess with your head.
Step Brothers - After their parents get married, two 30-something-man-children have to find a way to live with each other. It's not a sophisticated movie but Ferrell and Reilly pull it off thanks to the great chemistry between them and the movie itself offers a good deal of laugh-out-loud moments.
Donnie Darko/Donnie Darko: Director's Cut - A troubled teen gets caught up in a mystery involving time travel and his own destiny after a plane engine destroys his house. Kelly's debut movie is a psychological-thriller masterpiece, weaving together cryptic science-fiction elements with urban family drama and teen angst, and both versions offer completely unique viewing experience of the same movie. The standard cut (watch this one first) leaves the mysteries for you to solve yourself while the director's cut reveals the true vision of the director (NOTE: Many people dislike the director's cut for this reason).
Flyboys - Two Americans become America's first fighter pilots when they join the French army at the start of World War 1. The story is heavily Americanised and the performances, while passable, are nothing special but the arial sequences themselves, though CGI heavy, are still thrilling enough to make this dud just about watchable.
Tuesday, 14 January 2014
The Unit (TV) - Follows the lives of a spec-op's outfit and their families back home. The show mixes the standard formula of watching army guys do their thing by showing the effect their jobs has on their families back home and it makes for an interesting blend of action and drama, propelled by an excellent cast and the watchful eye of master writer David Mamet.
Breakout Kings (TV) - A group of convicts are granted special leave provided they agree to help the US Marshals bring down the runaways. It's not the greatest example of the amateur/professional team-up genre but it's easy watching, particularly for fans of the Fugitive.
Virtuality - A crew on a long space mission pass the time using a virtual reality device on board, but a glitch in the system starts to warp reality for all the members. It may be the pilot for a failed TV series, and hence feels incomplete, but there's a lot of interesting ideas here that make for a compelling sci-fi experience and makes you question the ways the show could have ended up.
Who Framed Roger Rabbit - A lowly PI must put aside his hatred for cartoon characters after he gets involved in a murder conspiracy involving a rabbit. It's one of those films that you have to see only because the premise is so goofy, but there's a lot to love in this film even if it hasn't aged as well as it should.
Olympus Has Fallen - After failing in the line of duty, a secret service agent finds his chance for redemption after the White House is targeted by armed terrorists. The lesser of the two 'white-house-attacked' movies, it serves as a mild diversion for a quiet evening but is ultimately very forgetful.
Red Dawn (2012) - High school kids form a resistance following the sudden invasion of the North Korean army. The first movie, as great as it was, was a pile of American propaganda and racism, and unfortunately the world has changed too much for this near-direct remake to add any new social commentary making it completely unnecessary.
Hummingbird (aka Redemption) - A homeless veteran assumes another man's identity in an attempt to hunt down the people responsible for the murder of his friend. Better than average Statham movie that proves he has got good acting chops but the plot is a little too muddled at times to know whether it wants to be a serious drama or an action movie.
Bachelorette - Three friends find themselves throwing a bachelorette party for a girl they used to bully, and things get out of hand very quickly. Despite good chemistry between the leads and some funny moments, this still feels completely overshadowed by the highly superior bridesmaids.
Arbitrage - A hedge fund manager tries to quickly break up his empire before allegations of fraud reach the news, but unforeseen circumstances force him to confide in the people he's betrayed. Exceptionally well made drama-thriller that shows Gere in top form and is a powerful rendition of a man who knows he has done wrong.
Rapture-Palooza - Two teens left behind following the apocalypse find they must take down the anti-Christ, especially after he develops an attraction for one of them. One of those so-bad-it's-good movies, if you accept it for what it is there are a great variety of laughs to be had.
Rebellion - Historical drama inspired by the Ouvéa cave hostage situation which saw a group of New Caledonian separatists take hostages in a protest against French rule. One of the best hostage movies in a very long time, this film focuses just as much on the hostages as it does on the hostage takers creating a very engaging and endearing movie.
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides - Captain Jack pits his head against Blackbeard in a race to find the Fountain of Youth. It's basically a 'best of' compilation of the best moments from the trilogy, which is either a good thing or a bad thing.
Die Hard: With a Vengeance - John McClane is brought back from his suspension after a mad bomber calls on him to play a game of Simon says, or else he'll blow up a school. It's not the best of the series but the chemistry between Willis and Jackson makes for some good buddy-comedy riffs and Irons hams it up as the villain in a way that makes this threequal incredibly entertaining.
The Blues Brothers - Two ex-convict musicians travel cross-country putting their band back together to raise money to save a convent while being pursued by the law, rednecks, a killer woman and Nazi enthusiasts. Cult classic that's the perfect mix of wacky comedy, insane car chases and toe-tapping music.
Zoolander - After a washed-up fashion model is brainwashed by a lead designer to assassinate a foreign diplomat he must team up with his sworn nemesis to thwart the plot. Completely OTT satire of the fashion industry that still stands as one of Stiller's funniest movies, probably because of the amount of fun it has at the expense of fashion.
Wayne's World - Two slacker rockers find their public access TV show has attracted the attention of the local station, though their sleazy agent is trying to ruin them. One of the more successful SNL sketch-come-films, the film is a riot from start to finish and hits all the right notes thanks to its own self awareness and killer soundtrack.
The 13th Warrior - After being exiled from his homeland, an Arab finds himself among Norseman helping them to fend of a mystical and dangerous enemy. Though it was panned upon release, there is still a certain level of guilty fun to be had thanks to some well choreographed action pieces and a cheesy-yet-humorous performance from Banderas.
The Addam's Family - Con artists impersonate the long lost family member of the very odd Addam's family in an attempt to swindle them of their vast fortune. Distribution quarrels has until recently meant the last time this was ever on home media was VHS, but it's still an incredibly funny movie with killer performances (sometimes literally) from all the cast members and a fitting modern take on the classic cartoon.
Dead Silence - While looking for answers over his wife's death, a newly-wed finds himself at ends with the ghost of a ventriloquist. Not the greatest horror movie ever made but Wan knows how to craft a creepy atmosphere and there are some decent (though predictable) scares to be had.
Goin' South - About to be hanged, a criminal finds himself saved by a legal loophole by marrying a mine owner but he must find a way to make their relationship work or else the sheriff will resume with the lynching. It's completely off-the-rails goofyness but it's also very funny in parts thanks largely to Nicholson's smarmy persona and a plethora of great comedy actors.
The Duellists - Two French soldiers embark in a bloody feud with one another that sees their duel last for over 12 years. Scott's first movie is a visual wonder, particularly given it's small budget, and while the lead actor's 'English' accents will raise many eyebrows, it is still a gripping drama of honour and futility.
Joseph: King of Dreams - After being sold into slavery by his jealous brothers, Joseph finds himself with an incredible gift of interpreting the dreams of people that puts him in a favourable position with the Pharaoh though he must still find a way to forgive his siblings. Though not as good as King of Egypt, the movie is still pretty entertaining and has some good musical numbers even for a non-Disney movie.
Nevada Smith - A half Native-American, half white man embarks on a quest to track down his parents murderers. McQueen's casting was odd given the character's ethniticity but he makes the most of the role and the film remains a solid western and lingers on the edge between the classic style of the genre and the more violent, revenge orientated versions.
The Counterfeit Traitor - An American finds himself forced to spy on Nazi Germany where he slowly begins to realise the importance of his work. A great forgotten gem of a war thriller that sees Holden, in his later years, still manage to hold his own on the screen.
Chopper - One of Australia's most infamous celebrities reflects on his life from his humble beginnings to his ultimate goal - becoming Australia's most wanted criminal. It's a true story in that it comes from the real Chopper's mouth, but he was a compulsive liar who who knows how events really transpired, but it makes for a really fun crime movie and Bana completely dominates the film.
Enchanted - A Disney princess finds herself transported to real-world New York where she begins her search for Prince Charming. This is a movie that shouldn't have worked but the subtle pokes Disney makes at itself makes this one of the House of Mouse's better modern movies.
The Muppets - A human and his puppet brother team up to help Kermit and the gang raise enough money to save their foreclosed theatre. It's a return to form for Jim Henson's beloved creation, with enough material to please the grown-ups and usher in a new generation of muppet-loving youngsters.
Hot Rod - A daredevil-wannabe trains himself for his ultimate challenge - to jump a row of buses and impress his dismissive stepfather. It's not exactly the most subtle of movies but those with a taste for the crude will revel in the jokes the movie throws at them.