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Monthly Archives: June 2014

For some reason they play Quidditch at Google. Freaks! (Um…please still link me to your search engine guys)

Using Google to Google for Google may not be same kind of genius that hit upon the idea of limiting facebook statuses to 140 characters or the same as that which put ‘i’ in front of ‘Phone’ but it still indicates a unique kind of thinking. After losing his sales job Billy (Vince Vaughn) does just that, and manages to get him and ex-sales partner Nick (Owen Wilson) onto the internship program at Google. This is just the beginning however as they will be competing for only a handful of jobs against a large number of smart sparky young graduates. Even worse Billy and Nick know next to nothing about computers, the internet or social media. Although as it turns out, this may just be their greatest advantage…

This is at least an interesting set-up. Unfortunately though the movie falls prey to that now standard comedy-movie flaw – if things for the most part don’t seem realistic then the jokes just won’t be funny. The most obvious example here is how over-the-top rude all the young graduates are to Billy and Nick when they first arrive at Google. (in reality they would be more likely to be niceĀ  – it’s worth noting here too that Vince Vaughn is a hulking 6 foot 5). It just doesn’t strike a realistic note. If nothing else though it makes you want to keep watching to see if Billy and Nick succeed. There is a sweeter more grounded message to the story later on and there are some funny moments too. Although most tend to crack a smile than a fullblown out loud laugh.

A fairly standard comedy, a predictable story but with an interesting if unrealistic setup. 5/10

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A typical scene: Gino (Ben Schwartz), Will (Glenn Howerton) and Chad (Steve Little) sit around drinking coffee when they should be working.

I enjoyed Coffee Town – quaffing down it’s witty charms with satisfaction. At first it seems like just another of those off-beat comedies set in a humdrum environment : Clerks, Mallrats, The Good Girl etc. However there’s zero monotony here and the dialogue between characters is sharp, genuinely funny and often unexpected.

It’s not just sitting around a coffee shop all day either: there’s a robbery to plan, a girl to get and The Ultimate Fighting Championship between regular and ‘special’ people to organise…

A favourite part: the main character – Will (Glenn Howerton) orders a coffee, smiling smugly as he gives the clerk a complicated and stupid made-up name to write on the cup. However instead the clerk just draws a huge penis on it.

Funny, clever, inventive and refreshing. 8/10

 

Amy (Heather Graham) cooks up a delicious meal for her ‘TV audience’. Her next dish however may be slightly less palatable…

This is based on a 1995 South Korean film 301,302. I haven’t seen the original but remembering The Ring, Dinner Le Cons and Old Boy made me immediately worried that I was watching the inferior version. Western film companies like to remake good foreign films with their own actors and at best render them less great. But at worst, they can be terrible (Dinner For Schmucks).

Anyway…Heather Graham is very impressive here as Amy, the obsessive, sociopath, needy wannabe chef in room 301. Her neighbour (in room 302), a famous actress Saffron (Carrie Anne Moss) soon becomes the focus of her attentions, and it’s not long before Saffron is receiving a daily knock at the door along with a dish of freshly cooked food. After Heather splits with her partner this obsession with her neighbour grows. Saffron’s vulnerability and need to be loved means her initial rejections of Amy soon turn to acceptance, and eventually, rather worryingly to complete trust.

I’m not sure if this is based on a play as well as a film but it has that feeling to it – it uses relatively few locations – and you can imagine Amy’s TV sections (where she pretends to have her own cooking show) working perfectly in a play. Here she is brightly spot-lit and audience sounds are played in. Possibly because of it’s original source being foreign, there is a odd feel to the story and character interactions (which probably would seem completely normal in it’s original Korean setting) which can make it feel a little strange at times. The acting is good however, and since the bare bones story requires a deep emotional study of both characters to help flesh the movie out – it needs to be. The overall story though needs to be a lot stronger – I wanted the final scenes to fit in better with what went before and to seem more dramatic – to make you feel the rest of the film was worth sitting through. It’s not… quite, which is a shame. An interesting movie however and also one that could have been a lot better. Refreshing though. 5/10

Superman (Henry Cavill) looks on as Faora (Ayelet Zurer), General Zod’s deputy, helps hostage Lois Lane (Amy Adams) with her breathing mask.

This is a difficult film to review. It begins well, with realistic characters, and an interesting storyline. Superman’s boyhood is neatly told through flashbacks – which means we don’t have to sit through that familiar set-up again. The standard superhero geek powertrip at highschool is also refreshingly avoided – Clark knows he must avoid showing his powers so that they can remain a secret. His father (Jonathan Kent here played by Kevin Costner) has drilled it into him that if people find out about his powers, then they will fear him and want to take him away. The action itself then begins slowly and builds up well. Clark is now an adult and General Zod (Michael Shannon) – a criminal from Kypton begins an invasion of the Earth. Things are still fairly realistic at this point, however by the end of the film all sense of grounded-ness is gone, and half your belief with it as Superman and General Zod look like exactly like the 2 animated CGI men they are while having a fist fight high above the Earth.

So General Zod? Cleverly Zack Snyder (the director) realises we probably wouldn’t take kindly to just an origins story especially after the long-running Smallville, Superman Returns and also that Lois and Clark series in the early 90’s. This film is an amalgamation of both Superman 1 and 2. Superman 2 being the best Superman film of course.

I liked that Synder has taken his own approach here and hasn’t stuck too closely to the comics, however some of his constructs end up being more unbelievable that the original film. (You may remember Superman flying round the Earth to turn back time at the end of the first film – and have then wondered why he doesn’t just do this every time a tragedy happens? Interesting Fact : he was originally going to do this again at the end of the original abandoned Superman 2 ). Here Superman’s powers somehow come from the reduced gravity on Earth and our young sun. O…kay… and although it takes Clark years to master them, General Zod is able to learn to fly and direct even more impressive laser beams from his eyes than Superman can, all within the space of a few minutes.The only explanation given is that Zod has trained in the military and so finds it easier to learn stuff. Hmm…

It has a good sense of realism at other times though, for example Clark (Superman) frequently doubts himself and struggles to come to terms with his ‘otherness’ (Just as you would be if you knew one day you would be the most powerful man on the planet). And then as the real action starts, the tension is built well and builds until sadly things go too far and then everything – story, realism, groundedness seem to take a back seat, and eventually even the special effects begin to break down in the pumped up final action sequence.

The best Superman film since Superman II but is spoilt by an over-the-top ending section. 7/10