Due Date

“The next hangover!”
“Funnier than the hangover”
“Due Date are left-over scraps of Hangover”
“The Hangover 2!”

All of the above, are comments that i’ve seen made about Due Date since its release. It seems that The Hangover is everyones favourite comparison point for this film, possibly due to Zach Galifianakis’ role in both of the films. Either way, I found this set up some high expectations for me as i loved The Hangover and thought Zach was awesome in it! So to see a film with him and Robert Downey Jr. in the leading roles? Pretty exciting concept.

Due Date see’s father to be Peter Highman(Robert Downey Jr) get pushed through a series of unfortunate events as he attempts to make his way to the birth of his child. Each of these events is of course brought along by Ethan Tremblay (Zach Galifianakis), an aspiring “actor” on his way to LA. The film see’s a variety of hurdles get in Peters way from being added to no fly lists, to driving off a bridge in a car, events that all occur as a result of him meeting Ethan.

The film itself was hilarious, I thought that Downey Jr and Galifiankis (I hate typing that name) worked well together in the film. If you like Robert in Iron Man and Zach in The Hangover then you’ll love them in this film as it draws together the best of both worlds in an amazing comedy environment. This combined with the company of a dog, and a pot of human Ashes in a coffee jar just made the film even more amusing!

I don’t think it is anything like The Hangover as i felt it lacked the random unexpected twists that the hangover had, for example with the hangover i didnt have a clue what was going to happen next then BAM! Tiger BAM! Baby! BAM! Crazy asian man! Whereas with this film i found a fair few of the comedy scenes to be a bit predictable, such as getting arrested on a plane and crashing a car.. all things that were bound to happen in a film where he struggles to get to the birth of his child!

Comparisons aside, Due Date was an amazing film and had me laughing throughout. I think that the main cast worked together perfectly and the plotline of the film was one that keeps you wanting to see where they’ll end up next! I just think it’s a shame that it carries an inescapable compairison with another comedy hit!

7/10

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The Social Network

Two weeks ago i managed to catch The Social Network as it showed in Bournemouth. I had high expectations for the film following feedback from various friends and the fact i’d been turned away twice that week due to it being sold out – I mean.. anything that sells out frequently, and has Spiderman in it has to be good, right?!

I felt my high expectations were met throughout the film as it kept me transfixed the whole way through.. There was just something about all the code that got me all..Sorry, what? But in all seriousness, the film managed to really interest me and keep me wanting to know more even after it had ended!

The film being based around Facebook gives it a bit of an extra pull point. Pretty much everyone i know (Bar my grandparents..) are on Facebook now! This gives an immediate point of relation within the film for everyone.. which just seemed to add to it. I think this is especially the case when people find themselves on it frequently. HELL, I have a tab open for Facebook right now! Afterall, Facebook appears to be everyones favourite online addiction, something that is if anything made even more appealing after you see this film.

Another pull to the film comes from the computer geek entrepreneur like style of Zuckerburg as he creates Facebook. This  is something that I’ve found seemed to interest guys who watched the film a lot more than girls. This was even mentioned by Greg James a few days ago whilst i was driving home and he mentioned how his girlfriend didnt really say much about the film after they’d watched it. As soon as he said this i found myself thinking about how when i first watched the film the girls with us didnt really say much about it after as much as the guys did!

The Social Network takes on an interesting narrative style as it constantly switches between the present day court trial of Mark Zuckerburg, and the past events described in the trial. The way in which these past events flow in chronological order creates a speed tour through the early days of Facebook for the audience. It also goes to show how something small, yet original grew at a rapid pace to become an international hit,  which was pretty cool as it illustrated all the stresses and problems that can come with creating a site like Facebook. Problems ranging from unpredictable growth speed, people constantly trying to sue you for intellectual property, and the personal choices that come between company and relationships…. Choices that in Zuckerburgs case he appear to frequently favour the company (Something that probably doesnt matter to him.. afterall! “You don’t get to 500 million friends without making a few enemies”)

The films casting….. This picture says a lot! Just look at the likeness! If you’re making a film based on real people you need likeness with how people look… you also need Justin Timberlake apparently.. who looks NOTHING like the real napster man.

Likeness aside i think the casting was pretty solid. When i heard Justin Timberlake was going to be in the film i was a bit cautious, however after watching the film I found myself believing that most of the leading cast deserved oscars for their parts in the film. Of the leading cast, Jesse Eisenburg as Mark Zuckerburg was probably the best cast role. The way he played the role of Zuckerburg made me forget he was an actor at times and believe he really was the creator of Facebook. Apparent personality traits of Zuckerburg were played perfectly and seemed to fit in well with the audiences perception of how a powerful computer geek should be presented!

All in all i found The Social Network to be an exceptional film that kept me hooked throughout! It even managed to give me a web design drive for a few hours immediately after watching it, and you don’t get that often! A film that makes you want to design things and do work… INSANE!

10/10

 

The Other Guys Review

Super-Cops like Danson and Highsmith would be nowhere without desk jockeys to clean up all the paperwork for them. This is where the “other guys” come in, as their roles within the police department see them sifting through paperwork whilst bad-ass cops roam the streets. At least, this is the case in Adam Mckays latest release The Other Guys.

Terry Hoitz (Mark Wahlburg) , and Allen Gamble (Will Ferrel) are the other guys. They find themselves stuck in the office each day working through the paperwork of New Yorks most beloved cops, Danson (Dwayne Johnson) and Higsmith (Samuel L Jackson). If anything, through the casting alone there’s an immediate spectrum set up for people watching the film, as on one end you’re shown two of hollywoods most bad-ass action stars, against people more related to comedy than gunfire and explosions.
When i first started watching The Other Guys i found myself being built up for an epic action comedy with insane scenes that see the cops saving the day through crazy scenarios that would normally be impossible! Unfortunately this only lasted for the first scene and i found the closest it got to action later was a building explosion and a gun scene. With this in mind i felt that from the action side of things, this film was a bit of a let down as it got further in.

However this film is more of a parody of the various cop movies that have cropped up over the years, so can’t really be put down for it’s lack of action as it makes up for it with the constant comedy throughout the film.
Whilst this film may not necessarily be upto par with Anchorman and Step Brothers, it is still a pretty funny release from McKay! Ferrels casting in this film was perfect as his random outbursts and unpredictable attitude shine through best! Quite a large part of the comedy within the film is based around Ferrels character, and his split personality in which one side of him is a timid office worker, and the other is a crazed chick attracting pimp with a strange hold over women.  This added with Coogans appearance throughout the film, various parodies of other cop films, and the most random plot twists you’ll see in a while, help this film maintain constant laughs throughout.

The one negative point i really had with the film was how it seemed to drag out unnecessarily in places, and use over done jokes to fill these spaces with humor – which if anything just made it worse! This came as the film followed Terry and Allen as they tried to solve the main case of the film. Whislt a necessary part to the film, i feel it was played on a bit too much and could have been condensed more to give more room for later aspects such as the climax fight scenes, or the crime fighting duo of Danson and Higsmith (Seriously annoyed they weren’t kept in!)

So all in all, i think this film is a must see if you’re a fan of Ferrels work in Anchorman and Step Brothers, or if you just fancy heading out to the cinema to have a few laughs with mates! But not a great film if you’re one of those people that hates long gaps that lose your attention! So with that in mind i’m giving this film 3.5/5 as it amused me throughout, but at the same time the massive drag out boring bit in the middle really had me yawning.

Scott Pilgrim vs The Review


Yesterday i had the oppurtunity to see Edgar Wrights latest film “Scott Pilgrim vs The World” at a London press screening, which was organised by the lovely people at Universal. Now, if you’re one for video games, awesome soundtracks, 8 bit graphics, comic books, Vegan Police, epic action scenes, and crazy asian stalkers… Scott Pilgrim vs The World is the film for you!

Upon leaving the cinema, my initial thought was that it had been fun to watch, and managed to keep my full attention on it the whole time. I also noticed that it didn’t leave half of the cinema asking what just happened, and didn’t end on ridiculous cliff hanger, which is always a plus!

I think that part of the films success in maintaining my attention can be attributed to its original style that mixes the world of video games and comic books with that of reality, creating scenes that would otherwise only be seen in dreams, or exaggerated recounts of past events. This style suited the film perfectly due to its comic book basis, and younger cast who, much like me, will have solidly grown up to the beeps and blips of video games, andvarious adventures of multiple heroes. This i think gives the film more as it puts it into the perspective of the generation that it is shown from. When i think about it, full grown adults dont really seem to appear in the film at all. Just young adults, and teens.

The plot of the film sticks  to that of the comic books. So if you’ve read the comics you’ll be happy to see various lines and shots that directly reflect the comics storyline, and narrative. I even thought this was noticeable with some of the characters in the film, as their casted actors match close resemblences to the original comic drawings. Though that might just me being crazy… i still think the close relation between the film and the comic books that inspired it add heavily to the quality of the film. I say this as many films based on good media artifacts can turn out really shit as they try to go off on their own thing to “improve” the story, but in reality end up ruining it and annoying a lot of people. The way in which Wright hasnt attempted this heaps with Scott Pilgrim makes me happy as it sticks to something that was popular with many people already!

Another positive aspect of Scott Pilgrim vs The World is the way in which Edgar Wright has managed to capture multiple genres; romance, comedy, action and fantasy, and weave them into the same piece perfectly! When speaking about his initial thoughts of making a Scott Pilgrim film after reading the comics, Wright noted that he felt the multiple genres portrayed within the comics would provide for an “Intriguing” challenge. An intriguing challenge which it would appear has been met with flying colours, as Scott Pilgrim takes each of those genres to new levels!

The aesthetics, and effects of the film see comic book panels, and 8 bit graphics featuring throughout. These give a touch of originality, and strongly identify the films comic  book origins well. Various recurring motifs such as the use of points when defeating enemies, power ups, level ups, health bars, extra lives, and bad guys that explode into coins, all come together through the unique editing to portray what is very much seems to be an insight into an overly imaginative persons dream world. The overly imaginative dreamworld that is the world of Scott Pilgrim.

In terms of casting, i think the film has been well cast with Michael Cera taking up the lead role of “Scott Pilgrim ” himself. I thought Cera was awesome for this role! His acting style just suited the role perfectly with his sort of timid, somewhat innocent, everyman style, as seen in Superbad and Juno really shine through in this film, and add to the character of Scott Pilgrim!

Another role that i thought was well casted was that of Ramona Flowers who is played by Mary Elizabeth Winstead. She was pretty much portrayed as the cool oiut of town girl that every guy wants. This might be why i liked her in the role….  I’d like to think it’s also due to how well she took on Ramonas personality throughout the film.

Obviously Scott Pilgrim isnt just made up of two people…. the film see’s various actors taking up the roles of Ramonas evil ex’s and the people that feature in Scotts life. These played by awesome actors such as Brandon Routh, Mark Webber, Kieran Culkin, Anna Kendrick and many more!

The film had me laughing throughout with various awkward moments, teenage myths like bread making you fat (BREAD MAKES YOU FAT?!), and of course the Vegan Police providing laughs throughout. One good touch to the comedy came from Kieran Culkins character Wallace who is Scotts gay flatmate in the film. He’s comes across as the type of comedic character thats always got something to say and is just always present.. event atthe most random and awkward times! This and the rest of the comedy that showed throughout the film just made it so much more fun to watch!

The soundtrack of the movie features various songs including some by Pilgrims own band Sex Bob-omb. I felt the incorporation of tracks like these put you more in the setting of the film, and kept you hooked than a film that uses one of the latest chart hits might. Because often wghen that happens you just stop and think “I LOVE THIS SONG” sing along, and miss the film. At least… thats what i do….

Zelda sound effects and themes such as the fairy fountain -stop and point up- also featured throughout the film, which just gave me a mental explosion of joy being a big fan of the zelda series as it is!

All in all Scott PIlgrim vs The World is the best film i’ve seen in a while, and i loved every minute of it! So as i’ve said. If you’re into crazy asian stalkers, vegan police, 8 bit video games, comic books and awesome fight scenes, you need to get yourself to the cinema on August 25th  to see Scott Pilgrim vs The World. Alternatively if you’re anywhere else in the world its probably out now! So why are you sitting on the internet?! Get out and add a little bit to your life expectancy by watching this amazing film! An amazing film that i am going to give, 5/5 stars!

Toy Story 3 – The ultimate trip down memory lane.

Last night, I went to see Toy Story 3 for the third time in what was an eerily empty cinema screen. After watching the film again / surviving a night screening in what was possibly a muggers lair, I finally feel capable of blogging about the wonderful film, which to me was very much a (partially emotional) trip down memory lane. Of course by partially I mean… 0.1 mm worth of emotional… cause you know… I’m a real man.. YEAH!

Toy Story 3 follows on 11 years after the first film with Andy now being 17, and ready to leave for college. The time progression between Toy Story 2 and 3 works amazingly as it creates a feeling that the films have grown up with you (if you were born before 1997…).

Toy Story 3 immediately introduces its initial focus on growing up, and the idea of what happens to old toys when you’ve grown up. This focus works well as it’s something many people can relate to at some point in their lives. For example, my attic is a vast maze of toy boxes which could be used to trace the various phases of my life!  This aspect of me matches that of Andy within the film as he chooses to store the toys safely in the attic as opposed to donating them to a daycare centre as proposed by his mother (“Mom” if you wanna go with crazy American spellings!). This part of the film is good as it explores the sentimental aspects behind your possessions as he refers to them as “Old Junk noone else would want” but chooses to store them in the attic safely rather than throwing away, which i felt silently showed the toys sentimental values to him. Especially considering these are also presented to have been the favourite toys from the whole Toy Story series, as they are the only ones he has held on to.

It should come as no surprise to people who have seen trailers, and posters for the film, that the toys all end up being donated to daycare. This setting brings in an large abundance of new main characters and sub characters to replace the ones that have been written out of the current movie (I still don’t think i can forgive pixar for getting rid of RC!!). These new Toys add a lot more to the new settings and storyline than i felt was given in Toy Story 2, as it widens the whole spectrum of the toy world further. The daycare characters also come with such a vast variation in styles due to them being donated that it allowed a solid set of original toys to be introduced which i feel works amazingly! Even though some of them don’t talk…. but none-the-less still amazing! GROUP PICTURE!

The storyline is awesome, as it explores a toys relationship to it’s owner, and the purpose of a toy. This is explored through Woody’s continued sense of belonging to Andy and desire to be there for him as he grows up and “has kids of his own”, but also from another perspective as some of the toys are doubtful and scared of being thrown away for good. This gives two ends of the spectrum as to the purpose of a toy when you’re too old for it, one being the end where you save your toys for your own kids or relations, and the other end being that of simply disregarding them when you grow up and never thinking twice about the toys and any fond memories you may have (Basically if you throw away toys you are destroying your past? Maybe??! YES. Yes you are. If you throw away toys you are a sick and twisted memory eater!) The film also considers that toys should always be played with until they break and die, as it presented through the daycare with broken toys going into the trash…

In terms of villains, i like how they kept it as a toy villain like Toy Story 2. I think it is built better in this case however on how the bad guys are purely seen to be the bad toys, where as in Toy Story 2 the collector, and Old Prospector were seen as the bad guys, giving a mix between person and toy. The use of a big bad (pink..) bear that controls and manipulates other toys works well in this as it introduces a chain of command feel to the toy world as Andys toys are seen to enter yet another society of toys.  Infact i think throughout the whole series of films it’s been interesting to see the contrast from a community of toys loved very much by their owner (Andys) to one where toys are beaten (Sids), a collectors haven and toy store (TS2), a daycare, and a small girls bedroom whcih is very much reflective of Andys room and the way he treated his toys in Toy Story 1,2 and the initial flashbacks of 3. This kinda gives a nature nurture sense to the film as the toys very much base around how they are nurtured, and owned.

I infact think that Lotso hugging bear is a two faced bastard of a toy in how he first comes across nice and loving, then turns into a hitler style dictator, before coming out as a general nob that you just want to see get hit by a truck. I thought the same of Ken in a way too, but he was always portrayed as the faker try to impress toy that in reality is just a girls play thing. Unlucky Ken. // Character moan over.

The soundtrack was once again composed by the amazingly talented Randy Newman! Each of the tracks flows with the film and just gave it the right feel! I loved the little “You’ve got a friend in me” style riffs that featured throughout various tracks, it kept it in suit with the rest of the films for me!

The ending of Toy Story 3 was without a doubt the most emotional part of the film. I don’t want to go into to it too much as for me it was the most beautiful, and perfect ending to a film i’ve seen in a long time, and should be witnessed personally. All i can say is that as soon as it got to that part of the film i found my eyes watering, as have many others according to my twitter and facebook feeds! I think the fact so many people have been set off by the end of this film says enough in itself as to the beauty. All i will give you is this amazing piece of music by Randy Newman that features over the end, which will remind anyone who has watched the film how AMAZINGLY AWESOME the ending was, and also give a feel of the mood to anyone who hasnt watched it so they can… prep the tear glands.

To round things up Toy Story 3 for me was one of the films i’d been anticipating most this year, and it lived upto surpassed my expectations, as it made me happy they hadnt killed a set of films i’d loved as i’ve grown up through  crappy sequels *Cough* Shrek *Cough*. With this in mind i will give Toy Story 3 a 10/10 (Mainly because it made me cry, and i give into things that make me cry… but not really! I’m a man.. REMEMBER!)