This is one of those films I heard about on the BBC Radio 4 Film Programme. It's a bit of an 'arty' film show that tends to focus more on British and art-house films. Even so, I'm always interested in what they have to say and this one came quite highly recommended. As usual, I watched it without looking at any reviews or scores on various web sites and I was surprised when I came to write my review just how poorly it had been received! I found it a lot better than the scores would have you believe; it's far from prefect, but it's certainly better than the 1/10 that Rotten Tomatoes seems to think it deserves! But I digress, here's a very brief summary before I give you my thoughts.
Joe (Martin Compston) is a shy young man living and working in London. He idolises his big brother John (Neil Maskell) who looks out for him. But his world falls apart when John is killed by a gang of men who he had been having a spot of trouble with in a local pub. Joe is devastated and even Clair (Louise Dylan), a friend, can't console him. Enter Piggy (Paul Anderson), who claims to be an old friend of John's from school. He takes Joe under his wing and teaches him all about life in the big city; how to avoid trouble and how to cope should the need arise. Piggy wants to help Joe in other ways too (no, not like that), he wants to give Joe his revenge for his brother. To this end they begin to track down the five men responsible. One by one Piggy takes his revenge as Joe watches on; but what effect is all this having on Joe? How will this change him?
I found this very dark with extreme levels of violence, For the most part the acts of violence are not actually shown on the screen, they are alluded to enough to make you cringe though. Great performances all round, particularly from Paul Anderson; he played the part superbly! Martin Compston wasn't all that bad either! As revenge thrillers go, this may not be the best, but it's certainly one of the darkest I've seen in a long time. Maybe it's just too dark and that's the trouble with it; I found myself looking at my watch in places which is never a good sign. Certainly worth seeing for Paul Anderson's performance but definitely not one for the squeamish.
SteelMonster's verdict: RECOMMENDED (Just)
My score: 5.9/10
There are extra bits & pieces (photos, links, trailer and BIGGER PRINT) on my blog at: http://thoughtsofasteelmonster.blogspot.co.uk/2013/05/film-review-piggy-2012.html
This film was never going to be loved unfortunately; a remake of such an iconic story is never going to find favour with its many fans. Personally, I tried to watch it with an open mind even though I appreciate that's quite difficult having seen (& loved) the 1990 original 'Arnie' version many times; let's say at least I tried. Action packed throughout; heavy on the GCI but also some excellent stunt work thrown in, I have to say I quite enjoyed it. I'll tell you more after this very brief summary.
In a future where most of the Earth's surface is inert, there are only two habitable regions; The United Federation of Britain or UFB, and the Colony (Australia). Transportation between the two is achieved by 'The Lift'; a kind of massive elevator that goes through the Earth's core. When factory worker Douglas Quaid (Colin Farrell) begins to have dreams about escaping the authorities with another woman, his wife Lori (Kate Beckinsale) puts it down to overwork. Douglas is more sceptical and asks his workmate, Harry (Bokeem Woodbine) about a place called Rekall who can implant memories. Harry tries to put him off but Douglas is determined and goes anyway. This is where it really begins to kick off; it seems there's already an implant in his mind. His wife is not who she seems; the woman in his dreams, Melina (Jessica Biel) is real and working for the resistance leader Matthias (Bill Nighy). There's also a conspiracy that goes right up to the President, Cohaagen (Bryan Cranston). But can he figure out what's real and what's been implanted?
Very heavy on the special effects, which are all very well done by the way, this film looks great. The narrative, although quite well known to me, was told in a unique enough for me to accept it as a new take on the same story. The performances were all very good, particularly Colin Farrell and Kate Beckinsale. I just wish they had made Jessica Biel look a bit more different to Kate Beckinsale; they look too similar, a different hair colour would have helped! On the downside, I did find the premise a little weak and that did kind of spoil it for me. It does look very spectacular though and for those who are fans of the original; yes, there a triple breasted hooker to be found. Worth a look; yes... Unless you're a die-hard Arnie fan.
SteelMonster's verdict: RECOMMENDED
My score: 6.7/10
There are extra bits & pieces (photos, links, trailer and BIGGER PRINT) on my blog at: http://thoughtsofasteelmonster.blogspot.co.uk/2013/05/film-review-total-recall-2012.html
This is a film I've seen several times over the years but this is the first time I've watched it with my 'critical eye'. There are many things to like, particularly if you were brought up on a good dose of 'Python' in your comedy diet. Outrageously over the top in places but also quite calm and even tender in others, it certainly has a huge scope. Here's a very brief summary before I give you my thoughts.
When young Kevin (Craig Warnock) goes to bed one evening, he's awoken in the middle of the night by a mounted knight in full armour crashing through his wardrobe. The next night, taking provisions (a camera, a flashlight etc...) he goes to bed early, hoping to catch the knight again. This time though, it's a band of dwarves that come through his wardrobe. They are; Randall (David Rappaport), Fidgit (Kenny Baker), Strutter (Malcolm Dixon), Og (Mike Edmonds), Wally (Jack Purvis) and Vermin (Tiny Ross). They have stolen a map from The Supreme Being and are out for adventure. They take Kevin with them on a daring raid on Napoleon (Ian Holm), and then it's off to the middle ages where they meet Robin Hood (John Cleese). Escaping from there/then, Kevin finds himself separated from the group and in ancient Greece where he befriends King Agamemnon (Sean Connery). It's not long though before the gang catch up with him and they're off again. All the while, Evil (David Warner) is watching and planning a way to get them to the land of legends. You see, he wants their map and he'll stop at nothing to get it...
I know it's not a perfect film by any stretch of the imagination; but it is fun and entertaining. A film with enormous scope and with some really great set pieces from the crazy mind of Terry Gilliam. You can see the Python influence all over it, although there are bits where it calms down and we see a more tender side of things. The performances were all excellent with Craig Warnock and David Rappaport taking star billing (for me). Oh and look out for a recurring gag featuring Michael Palin and Shelley Duvall, very funny. If there is a down side, it's that it's a little too long and the bickering between the dwarves does get a little tedious after a while. Over all though, well worth a watch; it may look a little dated, but it's still worth your time (get it?).
This is a film that has been on my radar for quite a while now; I understand it has quite a cult following, which was enough to peek my interest. Time travel films can be a tad problematic in that the consequences of it are never fully explained. This one goes a little way to, at least, partially putting that right. I must say I did enjoy it, with a couple of reservations, but more of that after this very brief summary.
We begin with four guys; Aaron (Shane Carruth), Abe (David Sullivan), Robert (Casey Gooden) and Philip (Anand Upadhyaya) all working on some project in a garage. It's never full explained just what they're up to but when two of them, Aaron and Abe, make an important discovery we don't see much of the other guys again. At first they don't know exactly what it is but eventually they discover they can use it to travel through time to the past (only about a day). Initially they use it to make money on the stock market; taking care to isolate themselves from the world while their 'doubles' are at large. But you know there are going to be consequences and that's about all I'm going to tell you.
An independent film full of nice ideas but maybe without the budget to fully realise some of their potential. Nicely scripted, although I did find it a little too 'wordy' in places. Performance wise; both Shane Carruth and David Sullivan did an excellent job. The film hangs on these two characters and I thought they both pulled it off to an excellent standard! I found the film quite absorbing at first; there's enough mystery there and I know enough about engineering for it to keep my interest. It did, however, become a little wearing towards the end, I think because the film relies so much on the dialogue between Aaron and Abe to tell the story and there is so much to take in that I found I was in 'dialogue overload' by the end. I think I'll probably have to watch it again sometime to fully appreciate it, but well worth a look; it's an interesting take on the time travel theme.
A decent espionage thriller is something to behold; the majority of the Bond films are a case in point. This, however, falls into the category of 'Nice idea that didn't quite work'. I will keep it briefer than normal because this one is quite easy to sum up, but you don't escape my very brief summary first.
We begin with a Russian agent, Bozlovski (Tamer Hassan) being smuggled into the US via Mexico. There's then a plot about a series of seven Russian agents, headed by a character known as Cassius. Six of them were killed by CIA Agent Paul Shepherdson (Richard Gere) and Cassuis had mysteriously disappeared. When a US Senator is killed using methods used by Cassius, alarm bells begin to ring. A young FBI Agent, Ben Geary (Topher Grace) is brought in and paired with Shepherdson, after much protest. They set off to track down Cassius, but he is much closer to home. And just what does Bozlovski have to do with all this?
First off, all the performances were very good; I only wish the same could be said for the script. The plot wanders about; giving away very key information far too early (IMO) and taking all the mystery out of it for me. Yes, there is a twist at the end, but by that time I'm just pissed off with it. It's well shot with most of the action taking place in and around Washington DC. It was nice to see Martin Sheen as CIA director Tom Highland; it was kinda odd seeing him in Washington & not being the President. Over all, a film that failed to live up to expectations; I know which direction I would have taken it in and that would have been a much better story.