Monthly Archives: May 2013

Amy Smart – you may remember her as the topless girl from Road Trip. Here playing playing a drugged-up version of Kayleigh, Evan’s childhood friend.

College student Evan Treborn (Ashton Kutcher – note the reborn in his surname) after suffering numerous unpleasant episodes during his childhood, finds that he has the ability to go back in time to inhabit his younger-self during these episodes and to then change what happened. However  he has no control over the effect these changes will have on his later life and the people in his life…

It’s thought provoking because it makes you question how much of people’s behaviour is because of events that happened to them in their past. It also makes you wonder if things had been different, would they have really turned out to be a totally different person? Contrast Evan’s childhood friend Kayleigh (Amy Smart) who becomes – dependant on Evan’s life choices – a down-trodden waitress, a popular soroirty girl, or a drug-addled whore.

It’s dramatically very tense and also a little unpleasant : A large proportion of the film is focused on Evan’s childhood, and to put it bluntly – it’s not an easy time for him or his friends. They suffer sexual abuse, violence and a lot of guilt from the accidental killing of a baby. Unlike many time-travel films where people go back and change the past, it doesn’t feel repetitive in any way. You always want to see what will happen next, and it helps that the film tells it’s story in an imaginative and clever way. Ashton Kutcher’s acting occasionally seems a little ‘off’ but it’s easy to put it down to a quirk of the character of Evan rather than anything negative.

I’m glad this film was made in 2004 because I think if this had been made today it would have been much more teen-orientated and a lot less mature.

As it is though, it’s definitely worth watching  7/10

Jack Harper (Tom Cruise) taking a well-deserved break from his work. I’d advise not watching the trailer for this film since it spoils at least one plot twist…

Has Tom Cruise finally got old? He certainly looks thinner and more gaunt. Directors will be hoping  he hasn’t aged too much because he is one of the few remaining stars with genuine box office appeal (read : money-making ability). It’s also true that Cruise produces consistently good performances in almost every film he appears in and I’m pleased to say that’s the case here too.

The Story : It’s the year 2077 and Cruise plays Jack Harper a maintenence engineer left behind on Earth. There has been a huge war leaving the Moon smashed and the planet in ruins. The rest of Earth’s population is now on their way to Titan, one of Saturn’s moons. Harper’s job is to fix and repair the attack-drones which are used to defend what is left of the Earth’s infrastructure from the Scavs – the remanants of the invading alien force. Harper works with and is romantically involved with Vikki (Andrea Riseborough) his partner who is a communications officer and she assists him by providing intel and remote assistance on his missions.

I can’t really say much more without spoiling the film, but I can say that information soon comes to light that has Harper questioning himself, his mission, and later his whole existence. It’s very reminiscent of the Matrix or Inception in that new details are regularly given to you which make you reassess what’s gone before. Movies like this are very effective because you become much more closely involved with the story. There is also a strong emotional backstory with Vikki and a new female arrival which too adds a lot of depth to the film.

Its beautiful, well shot, and well-acted. Morgan Freeman is (again!) involved in a periphery role, and adds a little class to the film. The only bad point is that it would be very easy to ask questions about the plot such as ‘Well if that’s the case why didn’t this happen?’. In other words you can find plot holes if you want to. But if it got to the point where you were looking for them then you wouldn’t have been enjoying yourself anyway. Go and see it if you still can! 8/10

The film follows The Pirate Captain’s (on the right here and voiced by Hugh Grant) quest to win the coveted “Pirate of The Year” Award.

Arrr….Initially I was very impressed by this film. The stop-motion clay animation is superb and very smooth. It’s so smooth in fact that it ironically makes you wonder if they could have eased the workload somewhat and used computer graphics to create the same effect.

This is different from many of the other animated films made by giants such as Pixar and Disney in that it doesn’t show you a joke and then pause as a cue for you to laugh – the funny things are just there, and you can laugh if you want but the film will carry on regardless. In other words the humour is very British, very understated and also very refreshing.

Unfortunately I didn’t feel the story or character development were good enough for a full length film. The character of The Pirate Captain himself is well developed but all of the other characters are pretty much ciphers – they are there just there to make you laugh, there’s no depth to them. As a result there’s little emotional involvement, and when the film does try tugging at your heart strings it fails.

Well made and funny at times, delightful in fact. but there’s just not enough depth for a full-length film. 5/10

Andy (Steve Carrell) finds out that the “It’s ok I’m a doctor” line doesn’t always work after inappropriate touching.

40-year-old Andy Stitzer (Steve Carell) is – for slightly unconvincing reasons – still a virgin. After his friends find out, they make it their mission to help him finally ‘pop his cherry’. Much hilarity then ensues. Actually that last statement is untrue, more accurate would be ‘Some amusing situations occur.’

Good things about this film : his friends are all well defined (in comedy terms) characters and are often funny to watch. The Hair medley at the end is funny…. and… er…the film is well made.

Bad Things about this film : I smiled a lot but only laughed out loud a couple of times. Unless you are 13 years old, the mention of body functions/parts in themselves isn’t funny and this is a trap the film falls into a lot early on. Later when the film does conjure up some genuine funny situations you then wonder why it didn’t before.

It all depends on your sense of humour, but for me it’s average. 5/10

Smith excels in the fighting scenes but can otherwise come across as a bit ‘girly’.

Hmm…. This is a remake/reboot of the original 1984 Karate Kid film, with Jayden Smith taking the Ralph Macchio role. His mother gets a job in China and after they relocate there, he soon becomes the victim of playground bullies. Jackie Chan (playing the Mr Miyagi role although here called Mr Han) takes him under his wing and teaches him kung fu. You will probably remember the ‘wax on wax off’ training scene from the original. Well here it’s all about putting your jacket on, taking it off and hanging it up. Not as catchy but surprisingly effective in a fake movie fight.

The fighting sections of this film are better than the original and there is of course the equivalent of the original’s ‘crane kick’ to finish the film, but the rest of the movie lacks charm. There is also no fight between Mr Miyagi and the bullies’ abusive kung fu teacher which is a disappointment. In fact the film lacks any sort of edge and it’s also hard not to feel (much of the film was filmed in China, sometimes in quite sensitive locations) that the Chinese government had a hand in limiting what was and what wasn’t possible. This does feel very much like a children’s film, so I will be generous and give it an average 5/10