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Monthly Archives: August 2013

He-Man (Dolph Lundgren), Teela (Chelsea Field) and Man-At-Arms (Jon Cypher) all ready to battle the evil Skeletor (Frank Langella).

You can play a really difficult game during this film : Find The Standout Actor. There’s so much hammy and wooden acting, just to find someone half-decent is almost a Herculean task. One thing is certain : Dolph Lundgren (He-Man) is the funniest. Almost every time he opens his mouth it’s funny. He never seems bothered by what’s going on around him and sounds incredibly laid back almost as if he doesn’t really know where he is – like a mental patient on a day out.

Watching this it’s easy to detect a heavy Star Wars influence : Skeletor and his minions (essentially black Stormtroopers) are introduced using similar imagery and music to that used to introduce  Darth Vader and his Stormtroopers. The film also initially has a similar epic feel, as if some great story is waiting to unfold. (Don’t get too excited – it doesn’t) For anyone who used to watch the He-Man cartoons you will be pleased to recognise many of the characters – albeit slightly altered ones, Teela now preferring to actually wear clothes for example. In another departure from the cartoons, a large proportion of the film is actually set in our world (home to a young Courtney Cox and her boyfriend) not that of Eternia (home to the famous Castle Grayskull).

It’s not really possible to compare this to other films since it’s one of those that almost falls into the ‘So Bad It’s Good’ category. Going against this is it’s length (it’s overlong). You’re be better off watching half of it and having some fun and then give up and watch something else. Subjecting yourself to the whole film would be masochism. Some of the laser gun fights are frustrating. He-Man and his friends (Teela and Man-At-Arms) will normally be crack-shots but If some drama is required they will suddenly lose the ability to hit enemies, even ones standing right in front of them.

Yes it’s crap but there is some fun to be had just from how bad it is, and it also has the classic 80’s film qualities of warmth and innocence, now all but lost in these harsher more realistic times. 3/10

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Gary King (Simon Pegg) and his slightly less enthusiastic friends…

I have one of the most embarrassing drunk stories ever. I won’t go into the dark details, except to say that night also featured me attempting the rap from ‘I’m Free’ by the Soup Dragons and a friend who was a big fan of the Sisters of Mercy. All of which (except my friend) feature in this film.

I have no desire to relive that night, but that’s certainly not the case for charismatic loser Gary King (Simon Pegg) who had one of the best nights of his life in 1992 while drunk with his gang of friends from school. They were attempting ‘The Golden Mile’ – a pub crawl taking in 12 pubs, one drink in each pub. They failed to make it to the end and even though it’s now 2012, King still hasn’t moved on, seeing that night as the best of his life. While his other friends now have families, jobs and responsibilities, he’s a loner attending an AA meeting. Still wearing his trademark trenchcoat and Sisters of Mercy T-Shirt, he decides to round up the old gang and finish what they failed to do 20 years earlier.

There’s a lot of great jokes in this film and you will especially appreciate them if you grew up in 90’s Britain (like me). If you didn’t you will still be entertained but there are many subtle references to English culture you may not get if you didn’t live here. There are also times when Gary quotes song lyrics verbatim and although these songs were played earlier in the film – if you aren’t from the UK you may not be familiar enough with them to notice.

In a way it’s a shame that what happens halfway through the film  – the group find out that most of the inhabitants of their old home town have been replaced by alien robots – couldn’t have been kept secret and out of the trailers, but even so it’s a great idea. Exactly how would you know in many of these towns? the inhabitants already look like robots! At this point the film becomes very action-orientated as the group have to fight the robots and also desperately try to avoid being replaced by robots themselves. Thankfully this doesn’t stop Gary and his friends carrying on with the pub crawl regardless. Do they make it to ‘The World’s End ‘ (the final pub)? You’ll have to watch the film to find out.

Overall it’s very enjoyable and also very funny. If you enjoyed Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz (the other two films in The Cornetto Trilogy of which this is the third) you will enjoy this. The only negative point for me was that some of the humour is lost as the action takes over and you wish the pub crawl could have gone on a little longer in it’s normal state first. My favourite bit? when Gary tells the alien leader to “Get back in your f*cking rocket ship and fly back to Legoland you c*nt!” 8/10

“I AM THE LAW!!”

I really enjoyed this film, it’s exactly what you want from a Judge Dredd film : straightforward, uncompromising and violent. All words you can also use to describe the titular hero himself. Dredd (Karl Urban) is at a murder investigation in Peach Trees (a 200 storey slum tower block within Mega-City One) along with female psychic and rookie Cassandra Anderson (Olivia Thirlby). It’s not long before they find themselves sealed up in Peach Trees behind bomb-proof doors, with 99% of the inhabitants baying for their blood..

The script is written by Alex Garland (The Beach and 28 Days Later) and the scenario – almost all of the film is set within the same tower block –  is refreshing and never boring. The inclusion of rookie Anderson and her psychic ability adds an extra dimension to the film – as well as emotional elements she adds uncertainty and vulnerability to the film. Something which would be lacking if it was just Dredd by himself.

It’s believable within it’s own universe but you do feel there are a couple of ‘fudges’. The drug slo-mo, which slows down human perceptions seems to have been chosen just so the director can make use of ‘beautiful’ slow motion segments in which people are shown falling to their deaths or being shot in the chest with flesh shown rippling out in concentric circles from the point of impact. Still it’s a nice effect, it’s not overused and it combines with the audio to create moments of almost dream-like contemplation. There are also a couple of occasions which seem over engineered such as when Dredd eventually faces off with the villan of the piece – the drug lord Ma Ma – and finds she has a bizarrely over-complicated booby trap rigged up, something which ultimately does her no good at all.

Overall though a very enjoyable film, if you like Judge Dredd in comic form you will enjoy this (as long as you aren’t one of those really anal fans, in which case you will probably spend the entire film feeling enraged about the slightly-different-from-the-comics belt buckle design worn by Dredd). A very good film and much better than Stallone’s Dredd too!  8/10

When searching for a image from the film I kept being shown pictures of Miley Cyrus but I resisted temptation so sensibly here is an actual image from the film. “If looks could kill…”

John (John C. Reilly) meets his dream woman Molly (Marisa Tomei), but she has a clingy 21 year old son still living with her : Cyrus (Jonah Hill).  His relationship with his mother is unusally close and slightly unhealthy. Cyrus initially appears amicable and welcoming towards John, but this is in fact just the start of his plan to turn his mother against her new boyfriend.

The best thing about this movie is that it’s unexpected and subtle. The worst thing is the same two points. The subtlety is a cover for the fact that there isn’t much going on – the film is really not that dramatic. Cyrus is a major obstacle for John sure but never in the scary, slightly frightening way the name and set-up of the film seem to imply he will be. Just not that much really happens, that’s the unexpected part. It is a comedy drama but it’s not laugh-out-loud funny. ‘Wittily observed’ is probably the best way of describing it.

It’s well produced, has good performances and is the sort of film that critics would like just because it’s understated and goes against convention but that’s not enough to make a decent film 4/10