I adore penguins, I love them with all my heart. So after I received the Blu-ray for Christmas, I just had to set up all of my cuddly toy penguins on the sofa so we could watch this together. It was a great experience to see such stunning photography in beautiful resolution. Those familiar with penguins wont be too surprised by anything in this documentary, but Attenborough's voice echoes with authority. The film also contains some extraordinarily delicate moments such as penguin realising the egg he has been incubating is actually a rock. I just wanted to curl up and cry. Seeing these creatures in their natural habitat really does slap a smile on my face and I hope to see more penguin documentaries in the future. It's a heartwarming tale about a penguin finding love and raising his child.
John McClane is back, well at least Bruce Willis is, whether he's playing McClane or not is highly debatable, in this run of the mill sub-par action effort. McClane travels to Russia to see his son who turns out to be a CIA agent. Immediately we're thrust into a car chase that has no engagement because we are unaware of certain plot particulars. There's also a section that makes McClane unlikable as he jumps in front of a car, knocks out the understandably angry driver, and then makes a slightly xenophobic comment about not understanding him. Sure it's fast, but due to poor editing and a lack of context I had no idea what was going on or why I should care. This could be applied to the entire plot. There are some excellent moments of father/son dialogue and bonding, with a few laugh out loud humorous quips, but it just isn't enough. McClane was once the action hero everyman. He wasn't an invincible Schwarzenegger or Stallone character, WIllis was best known for his role in a sitcom at the time, so here he's lost everything that made him unique. If you like boring action with no consequence, and twists that are easy to spot, then you may like this. Otherwise you'll be annoyed it has the Die Hard name on it.
Cheap and Cheerful Japanese science fiction romp. A bounty hunter known as Iria has traveled to Earth in preparation for the arrival of a monster known as Zeiram. She encounters two electricians, who accidentally get in the way of her plans, and the trio must work together to take down the monster. Certainly held back by its budget, this is one of those films that is even more impressive due to its restraints. It uses costumes, practical effects, and stop-motion animation very well. However, it must also set a lot of the film in a desolate "parallel" universe, which makes the film seem kind of hollow. The story is also very repetitive, as Zeiram is captured a number of times, escaping each time, and then getting captured again. This runs the risk of getting very old very fast, and the film is definitely longer than it has to be. The three human leads have great chemistry, and what looks as though it will be gawkish humour at points, turns into little character quirks that are quite acceptable. It's a fun 90s film, from a time before CGI.
A testament to the ingenious power of practical effects and absurdity. Yokai Monsters: Spook Warfare, not only has an amazing title, but amazing visuals too. It tells the story of a Babylonian demon who is awakened and comes to Japan where he soon replaces a high ranking magistrate. The demon unwittingly awakens a Kappa (water imp) who gathers together a merry band of ghosts and monsters to fight. It's a simple plot, but handled at an amazing pace over its 80 minutes. The monsters want to help people is endearing and we soon rally behind such a gang of misfits. The real stars here are the creatively assembled monsters, who by no means look convincing, but with imagination and passion poured into them, they soon become as close to reality as anything you're bound to see anywhere else. From a one legged/one eyed umbrella type thing, to a stretchy necked woman, and a wolf creature with a beer belly that shows the future. These monsters are ingenious, and each one is handled with heart and sincerity. The action scenes and comedy also hit the right notes. Anyone who loves special effects that are actually special needs to see this underrated classic.
A foul and vulgar waste of space that blurs the lines of acceptability in terms of taste and coherent storytelling. Jason Bateman plays a man whose identity is stolen, putting into jeopardy his new job. Because the police in this universe are absolute fucktards, Bateman must travel to kidnap the woman who has stolen his identity (he has a girl's name you see, and that's hilarious right?), and bring her back into the state in which he lives. And nothing makes any sense whatsoever. The plot itself reeks of contrivance, and we're also left with two shitty characters. Bateman is a weak sap, but doesn't have anyone to play off such as in Horrible Bosses, and McCarthy's criminal is disgusting. I'm not sure, but I think we were supposed to empathise with this character in some way. God knows how the writer thought that was going to work. She ruins lives! Why should I feel sad when gorgeous women look at her like she's shit when she walks into a beauty parlor? She is shit. Sure they're basing things on her looks, but this woman is ugly on the inside and out. We also have a number of subplots that bring this crap to a painful 2 hours. Both a bounty hunter and some gangsters are after McCarthy, but neither plot seems to go anywhere. Every now and again it just cuts to them to fill some time. A hateful film that has no understanding of human emotions.