A pre-horror Kelly (Alexie Gilmore) and Jim (Bryce Johnson) enjoy a Bigfoot Burger in Willow Creek.
A found-footage film that follows a young couple’s attempt to make a film about Bigfoot and the famous Patterson-Gimlin 1967 film. (looks very fake but experts have since struggled to replicate the gait of the ‘creature’ on the film). The initial setup is told quite well, the highlight being the couple mocking a mural in the nearby town that shows Bigfoot helping the townsfolk in various tasks and also sitting with his head in his hands looking depressed – is it any wonder after all that slave labour?
The woman Kelly (Alexie Gilmore ) I thought was pretty much perfect but Jim (Bryce Johnson) was a bit too bland to be worth watching for more than half-an-hour. Maybe though that’s the idea – a perfectly nice and inoffensive couple getting terrorised in the Californian woods is more frightening that a couple you don’t like and can’t empathise with.
Disappointingly after all the set up – nothing out of the ordinary happens for at least an hour into the film. There’s the standard frightening noises – cue unending shots of the couple in the tent looking scared. Eventually at the end of the film there’s 5 minutes when something does happen. But it’s not frightening at all and you don’t actually see anything. Ok maybe I blinked at the wrong time but I never saw a Bigfoot. In fact all I saw was a distressed looking topless woman. When you have no special effects budget she’s probably much easier to conjure up than a 300 pound 7 foot ape man.
I would now like to see a found-footage horror film where absolutely nothing scary happens at all. That’s certainly a twist the audience won’t be expecting. Willow Creek has already made bold steps in that direction.
Guess who the star draw is? New to this instalment is Nightcrawler (Alan Cumming) on the far left.
The X-Men films are strange, you have these mutants with amazing powers but they don’t seem to be able to do a lot with them most of the time. Take Professor X (Patrick Stewart) – according to this instalment able to kill any (non-helmeted) mutant on the planet just with the power of his mind. You wouldn’t know it normally. Storm (Halle Berry) can fly/hover above the ground but seems unable to use this power to save herself (or anyone else) when in a crashing plane. Cyclops (James Marsden), might as well just be a man with a gun because that’s mostly all he uses his eye beams for – shooting the odd person. Jean Grey (Famke Janssen) – incredibly powerful when the plot requires it but most of the time she uses her telekinetic powers in a very limited way.
All this neatly sums up most of the early X-Men films – interesting but unspectacular. (compare one of the X-Men films to The Avengers for example). The movies do have other strengths however and I will get to those later.
For now back to the story: William Stryker (Brian Cox) has captured Professor X and is planning to to trick him into using his aforementioned lethal mind power to kill all the mutants on the planet. This is as much a concern for the X-Men’s arch-enemy Magneto (Ian McKellen) as it for the X-Men so the one time enemies become allies as they team up to combat this deadly threat.
This is much better than the first X-Men film. It has a more gripping plot and is generally better executed. There’s still the problem that the X-men have to spend as much time saving the (mutant) children as they do battling the bad guys. Although even without the children there is always a reason why they are never to able to fully open up with their powers – some restriction or obstacle that’s stopping them. In a way though this what makes the series clever. It’s all about, getting the right X-Men into the right place so they can then use their combined powers to work around these restrictions. When everything does work it’s like a big satisfying puzzle, when the pieces finally click together to produce a solution.
I find most of the early X-Men films a bit lightweight, lacking in impact – and this is no exception but it’s intelligent (for the superhero genre) especially so with it’s layered commentary on attitudes and discrimination toward minority people and groups. More importantly though it has good action sequences.
Pull up to my bumper baby. Barbara (Scarlett Johansson) and Jon (Joesph Gordon-Levitt) get close on the dancefloor.
Jon Martello (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is nicknamed Don Jon by his friends because he never fails to pull on a night out. He’ll usually get the 8/10 or 9/10 girl. However the sex is never as good as the porn he’s addicted to on his computer. Like he says: “a girl that hot doesn’t need to give a proper blowjob”. They all want to do missionary and look him in the eyes when they orgasm but all he wants to do is “lose himself” while he takes them from behind.
Things start to change for Don when he meets his dream 10/10 girl Barbara (Scarlett Johansson). The “Perfect tits and ass” but she won’t give him what he wants straight away and he’s made to work for it. He has to meet her friends, family and even enrols on an evening class – just because she wants him to. However it’s not long until he’s back on his computer searching for “gym sex” and “pov bj” videos. It seems it will take more than Barbara to change things for Don…
This is Joseph Gordon Levitt’s directing debut and it’s an impressive one. It’s uncompromising and neither Don or Barbara are particularly likeable. Don is self-centred and doesn’t care much about his friends, job, church or family, seeing them all as a means to an end rather than as something to invest time and emotion in. He’s a compelling character though and the film is funny too as you watch Don struggle to adapt. When he’s given a baby to hold, he holds it straight-out at arms length and looks to Barbara and says “Am I doing ok?”.
Both Levitt and Johansson pull off impressive transformations to become their characters although there are times when both veer dangerously close to caricature. The sex between the main characters is filmed in a slightly conservative way, which jarrs a bit considering the amount of porn shown. It could be argued that this is on purpose to contrast between the fantasy and the reality, but it seems more likely to do with the slightly conservative nature of it’s stars. Pretty good overall though. Certainly worth watching.