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Rating History

David Brent: Life on the Road
8 hours ago via Flixster
½

The man, the legend, is back! Yes for all 'The Office' fans (possibly both from the US as well as the UK) this could be the greatest news ever, maybe the greatest film ev...no no going too far. Good old controversial Ricky Gervais is back doing what he does best in his monumental creation...being controversial. For those in the know (should be everyone) that will be music to your ears, for those not in the know or simply not a fan, you probably should just pass this by, unless intrigued.

So as I'm sure most will know (ahem! see what I said above), this movie is based on the smash hit satirical UK comedy series 'The Office'. The show is a mockumentary that focuses on the employees of a small fictitious paper company based in Slough, UK. The idea is quite simply, a TV camera crew is making a documentary about this small firm, filming the day to day goings on and how the company operates. What is captured is actually the cringeworthy, embarrassing, facepalming shenanigans of the companies general manager of this particular branch, Mr David Brent. While most of the companies employees try to do their work, Brent mugs, shows-off and generally attempts to make himself look good or cool for the cameras. What we see is a hideous display of generally offensive behaviour that Brent regularly doles out to all, but for the most part, blissfully unaware of what he's actually doing (and the damage).

This fantastic TV show was short lived with two series (go out on a high, take note America) and an hour long Christmas special. The show was also taken on and remade in the US (no shit). After a rocky start the US equivalent finally got going and ended up being pretty good too, if completely milked dry of laughs and ideas by the end. This movie follows on from where the UK series and Xmas special left off. Following Brent after he was sacked from Wernham Hogg, his short lived career as a travelling sales rep, and his even shorter lived career attempt at fame and fortune.

Brent is now a sales rep for a bathroom company called Lavichem. He is desperate to try his hand at a music career again so he decides to take a month unpaid leave to follow his dream. The movie kicks off on familiar ground with a similar set up that we saw from the original series. Brent is back in an office and acting the tit, generally unawares. Most of his fellow work colleges find him obnoxious, one or two seem to like him but keep it to themselves, and Brent has yet another sidekick to play off. So essentially its back to what you know, basically recreating it, a remake of sorts. Does it work? hmmm no not really. When the film starts and you see these familiar sights it does excite you no doubt (if you'r a fan). But as quick as it excites you, it disappoints you with flat unfunny dialog. Most of the office characters are pretty much the same types we got in the original show and Brent's sidekick is really quite annoying, but for real this time.

So the film doesn't really start off well if you ask me, but luckily we're not spending too much time in this office as Brent is off rampaging with his quest. We meet his so called rapper friend, a mixed race man...who raps, and watch as he hires a crew of musicians and tech guys. Basically none of them are really interested but Brent foolishly offers them good money thinking his success is a foregone conclusion, ironically the name of new band. And thus the tour begins! A tour of venues across Berkshire.

For the most part we follow the band as they travel from gig to gig, obviously. We see them at their hotels, practising, setting up for gigs, after gigs, talkin' bout money deals, having drinks in the hotel bars, jammin' and generally having a bit of a laugh. Then we see Brent tagging along behind (see what I did there? huh? huh??), trying to get in with the guys, trying to be liked, trying to be accepted, trying to be the cool lead singer of a band and generally playing up and showing off to the camera. So nothing to new then to be honest. The amusing part of all this, is the fact that Brent's the person who set up this whole series of events, he created the band, he's paying the wages, its his baby. But he's treated like a fifth wheel, as if he's part of the clean up crew or something. The other band members are only there for the money and to bum around while Brent sees this as a genuine push for glory. Heck Brent even ends up paying them to sit and have a drink with him after gigs!

To make matters even worse for Brent is the fact that his 'best friend' the rapper is actually a very gifted rapper. The guy has skills and could go places, maybe Brent could manage his career? Maybe they could work on a double act? But naturally when Brent discovers this his jealousy gets the better of him. Cue an obvious scene where Brent is looking pissed into the camera as he finds out his best mate is really good, better than him, and is going down a storm at a gig just after he's performed.

As the disastrous tour continues Brent ends up shelling out more and more to promote his band. It all comes to a point where even his crew see his floundering into ruination and tell him to stop. Spoiler alert but everything doesn't really work out for poor old David and he ends up going back to his sales rep job without a record deal. But luckily one of the staff members that kinda secretly liked him comes out and shows it (a lady). So once again David manages to end up with a shoulder to cry on and possibly (this time?) a long term partner.

So in the end is this any good or as good as the classic original series? Its a firm no from me I'm afraid, not even close. The main brutally obvious, slapping you in the face problem here is the simple fact that this movie just isn't very funny. Sure there are tonnes of gags, visual gags, the usual crushing satire, innuendos etc...but most of it falls flat every time. Obviously there are some good chuckles in there, Brent trying to get a tattoo is good (probably the best), seeing him hook up with some middle aged ladies out on the razz is another...I'm straining here. You can see what they're going for but its just not very funny, extremely basic humour at best. What's worse is you can see it all coming a mile off, there are no real belly laughs, no surprises, no cringeworthy shocks, or any shocks, and no real emotions to get you going. Sure you feel sorry for Brent towards the end, I really felt myself wanting this guy to win for once, but its all so tame and predictable. The ending is so painfully soft and forgettable.

I guess in the end I have to ask, why exactly would a film crew still be following David Brent around? In what world would any production company think that it would bring in good viewing figures to show this universally unlikable guy doing more of what everyone seems to hate him for. I guess you could say morbid curiosity, but at this point in this fictitious world Brent is literally someone who had fifteen minutes of fame, over fifteen years ago on a documentary, and now he's a complete nobody. The original production was a moment in time that worked, but now the whole idea would seem an odd decision. A bit out of time or too late in the day. A bit like this movie really.

Clue
Clue (1985)
10 days ago via Flixster
½

Obviously this movie is based on the famous original Parker Brothers/Waddingtons board game which is in fact called [i]Cluedo[/i], a play on the words Ludo (Latin for [i]I play[/i]) and Clue. The basis of the game is a period set murder mystery within a mansion or large old house. The murder in question is of the mansion owner, the suspects are an array of six respected people from various backgrounds. The murder could have taken place anywhere within the mansions nine rooms, and the murder weapon could be one of six items.

Amazingly the basis of the movie does actually follow along with the board games rules, in a way. Set in 1954, New England, USA (keeping in tune with the original games artistic look and era of creation, except not being set in the UK), a group of six relatively wealthy/influential/high profile people are invited to a remote mansion for a small gathering, the reason being unknown to all of them. The organiser of the evenings event is Wadsworth the butler. What do all six people have in common with each other? Mr Boddy is apparently blackmailing each of them over various dodgy things. Why have they all been gathered together? Because they are all unaware Mr Boddy is blackmailing each of them and Wadsworth wants to reveal this to the guests. Why does Wadsworth want to do this? Because he too is being blackmailed by Mr Boddy. The plan? to hand over Mr Boddy to the police with all the evidence from each guest.

Alas things go awry when Mr Boddy says he will simply reveal all of the guests deep secrets (some incriminating) to the police (why he's blackmailing them). To further complicate things, he then hands each guest a lethal weapon and offers them the opportunity to murder Wadsworth and destroy the evidence. There by keeping their secrets safe with him and pretending the evenings events had never occurred. Next thing we know Boddy is dead and everyone is suspect. Stupid really because they could of just killed Mr Boddy outright, no mystery required, and gone about their daily lives with no more blackmailing. You do wonder why they all just didn't decide to do that seeing as they were all on the same team and it was bloody obvious.

Its from this point onwards that the movie takes up the mantle of the classic board game where by any one of the guests could of killed Mr Boddy, with any weapon, in any room (well actually we know the room). So yes essentially its a 'whodunnit?', period piece murder mystery. Admittedly that should always be the obvious route for this idea but it could of been so easy to mess this up by adding action set pieces, outside locations, extra characters or general over the top padding. So I do really respect the fact they stuck close to the board games roots and kept the story contained within the mansion, with all the classic characters, no pointless alterations, no needless filling and no unnecessary sub plots. Basically if they remade this now you just know they'd change everything and add lots of shit involving CGI...somehow.

That's not to say there aren't any other characters or mini plots in the film, because there are, but they fit into the story. In fact this entire film is a cobweb of lies, deceit, backstabbing, double dealings, underhandedness and mini sub plots all over the damn show. Basically, as the film progresses nothing is what it seems, no one is who you thought they were and you're constantly guessing who did what, with who, why? and did they kill Mr Boddy? There are so many links between all the characters, both main characters and the background/extra characters. The characters stories fly to and fro, you never know what will crop up next or what will be twisted around. Every character has a purpose in the film no matter how small, the trick is trying to guess that purpose (you won't). This is all handled with much speedy dialog, double entendres aplenty, slapstick and gallows humour. The whole movie starts off with a wry, dry, sarcastic tone but eventually breaks out into full farcical lunacy and tomfoolery that, somehow, does manage to entertain you. In fact the lunacy becomes the butt of the joke as the tension is cranked up from the midway point.

The characters are all present and correct from the board game too which is nice to see, as I said no pointless changes here (although in the film their classic 'game names' are actually pseudonyms to protect their real identities, because of the blackmail plot). Admittedly the board games colour scheme for each character hasn't been upheld. In other words Colonel Mustard isn't wearing a yellow suit or whatever and Miss Scarlet isn't wearing a scarlet dress etc...you get my drift. But all the characters are here being the correct gender and race, and all the weapons are here too. There are some small differences though which is down to the American and British versions of the game. Mr Boddy is in the American version of the game, Dr Black in the UK. Its Mr Green in the US where as its Reverend Green in the UK. And a wrench is used in the US where as in the UK its a spanner. All of these minor changes are in this film seeing as its an American production.

As for the cast well its a mixed bunch of retro stars that many I'm sure have never heard of. This was actually one factor that I never liked about the movie, the cast seemed weak to me, maybe they could of used some bigger names? Straight off the bat with the more recognised stars you've got Tim Curry as Wadsworth the butler (presumably a nice little play on the company name of Waddingtons). I don't wanna say any one of these actors held this film together because they all contributed equally well, but Curry has to be the most fun. Curry's performance is one of the main factors in the movie getting more crazy as it progresses. His wild eyed craziness is infectious and surprisingly amusing, I say surprising because you'd think it would grow tiresome or come across as childish. Also this character is an addition to the board games roster so it could of failed miserably.

Professor Plum is played by the legendary Christopher Lloyd. Lloyd plays a slightly shifty character in Plum, not the more crazy eccentric you might have expected. A member of the World Health Organisation who had his medical license revoked for having relations with a female patient. Mrs Peacock is played by Eileen Brennan; a brilliantly neurotic performance as a US Senators wife whose been taking bribes. Miss Scarlet is played by Lesley Ann Warren. The flirty floozy of the bunch who owns an illegal escort service in Washington DC. Martin Mull is Colonel Mustard, a war profiteer whose working for the Pentagon on a fusion bomb and had relations with a girl from Miss Scarlet's escort service.

Mr Green's big secret is that he's a homosexual, something that would cost him his job in the State Department. Green is played in a charmingly submissive, jumpy, clumsy and cowardly fashion by Micheal McKean. Lastly we have Mrs White played by Madeline Kahn; the black widow whose husbands die under mysterious circumstances. White is drawn into this twisted little game to avoid a scandal surrounding the death of her latest husband. In extra roles, Mr Boddy is played in a sightly unconvincing fashion by Lee Ving. Obviously this guy doesn't last too long and this is probably for the best as Ving's greasy cad is pretty terrible. Clearly Ving can't act too well, possibly he can't deliver his lines either as much of his dialog is clearly dubbed for some reason. Then we also have Yvette the maid played by Colleen Camp. Dressed in sexy French maid attire complete with fishnets and horrendous accent, poor old Camp/Yvette seems to be in the plot purely to be killed off adding to the mystery (oh and some much needed sex appeal).

Lets be clear here, all these characters are meant to be devious, dirty, sleazy and completely untrustworthy. At no point throughout the movie are you ever completely sure if any of these people are telling the truth. This is the sheer brilliance of the film (and to be expected). You truly don't know who to root for, who to like or who to feel for, everything is up in the air. Heck! half the time you're not even sure if people who have died will remain dead. But watching all these smartly dressed folk dash around this mansion, from room to room, in pure pandemonium, trying to stay alive and keep other arrivals from smelling a rat, is a guilty pleasure. Its at these points you're not really bothered about who gets bumped off next, you're just curious as to where the film will go next. Nonetheless its still easy to pick a favourite from the madcap group of slimeballs. For me (and I'm sure most everyone) Curry steals the show with his rambunctious, googly eyed, well spoken antics. McKean as the strait-laced homosexual Green comes in second, followed closely by Brennan as Peacock.

The entire film is clearly shot on studio sets but what sets! The mansion interior may be easy to call out as a set but its incredibly detailed with period dressings and design. You've got all the rooms that feature in the board game of course, each looking very regal and quite impressive (the mansion is supposed to be a posh pad after all). Admittedly things do seem to get a bit cramped for the scenes upstairs, clearly not as much room for expansive rooms, but overall the whole film looks really nice and sets the mood perfectly. Naturally all the cast are dressed in period attire which looks lovely, those darling 50's styles where everyone looks so smart and picture perfect. But yeah, its all obvious sets (except for literally one or two exterior shots at the start), and there's a nice but obvious matte painting shot of the mansion at the start too. Other than that its all pretty much like a theatre-esque production with dialog and actual acting, no action, CGI or chase sequences to be found here folks.

The film has since picked up a cult following since it disappointing release, and I can see why. As said before its definitely a film that requires a few viewings. It does grow on you over time and you do find yourself coming back to it (its a great little Halloween flick). The fact they filmed multiple endings also adds a bit of extra life to the movie. Sure you get them all as extras now but at the time this was a really bold fresh move. Depending where you saw the film depended on what finale you would see, genius money spinner (had people liked it).

Overall I would say 'Clue' is a curious little gem. Its not actually a funny film in my opinion, not hilarious, yes its a comedy but still...its not that funny. Much of the comedy seems a bit childish at times or just misses the mark. Its a highly enjoyable ride with some great performances (that tend to have air of improvisation about them), zippy quickfire dialog, great theatrical-like visuals and some great twists. But at the same time it just feels like it could of been even better, wittier, maybe some better slapstick? Alas the movie is now dated and was even back in 1985 with its McCarthy hearing references and heavy dialog, Poirot-esque, drawing-room set murder mystery style. So there you have it, good fun in that classic golden age of Hollywood style. A brave stab (hehe) at a movie based on a board game, but I just think it could have been much better.

Underworld: Awakening
14 days ago via Flixster

Following on from 'Evolution' we see both the lycan and vampire species under threat from humans after being hunted down to the brink of extinction.

You know what to expect here and boy do you get it in spades, slow motion high flying kills, double gun totting shooting, swishing blades, spurting blood and endless dumbass man fodder to thicken the brew. In short its exactly like the newer 'Resident Evil' films and you half expect Jovovich to pop up and take over. The super lycan serum which results in an uber lycan is pretty much the pinnacle of crapola in this franchise now, a total 'Resi Evil' idea type rip-off and it lowers the overall class of the whole series.

The plot isn't tooo bad, they manage to carry it on quite well and do a good job with keeping Corvin around despite Speedman not being involved, but the rest of the cast is pretty awful really. Charles Dance seems to be there only to provide a new Viktor type character and he clearly has difficulty speaking with his fangs in, he even tries some of Nighy's head movements. The rest of the supporting cast all come across as B-movie fare frankly, even previous vampire actor Rea can't help the cause.

The whole film feels very basic really. Some terrible CGI effects (worse than the previous films), bad greenscreen scenes, the lycans look like shaven rats, transformations are pretty dreadful looking, the 'vision' perspective looks crap and the young Eve looks like something outta 'Mortal Kombat'. Everything basically looks plastic and fake.

End of the day it does what it says on the tin and we all know what this film is about so I can't moan too much, but I just get the feeling they should of left it alone. They really have gone way way over the top with all the slow motion action sequences. The fact that Selene can kill endless lycans yet no one else can, just destroys your suspension of disbelief...even in this universe. Yes its an over the top fantasy flick but there is still a limit for any Mary Sue type characters, or there should be.

The thing is I can see this franchise really being completely milked into the depths of the 'straight to DVD' abyss. A shame as it is/was a half decent concept with some solid ideas and reasonable early entries. Alas this kind of W.S. Anderson-esque film making is becoming infuriating in a highly tacky way.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
35 days ago via Flixster

Ah the trump card in the DC universe, the main player, the saviour, the movie to bring everything together and utterly destroy Marvel once and for all (well that was the idea anyway). First we got 'Man of Steel', the reboot Superman flick that was supposed to herald a new dawn (no pun intended) for Supes. Alas it was a polarising movie and divided audiences everywhere. OK no worries DC thought, lets press forward with a sequel and make it better. That's where this movie comes in, the supposed original sequel to 'Man of Steel'. But as we all know that soon changed, the Superman sequel quickly became a slightly different beast with the inclusion of Batman, so now we had a vs flick. Even though it was still a Superman sequel, Superman himself had suddenly taken the backseat to Batman. But just when you thought Superman couldn't get screwed over any further, the studio (and DC) then threw in other characters like Wonder Woman and other cameos. So the once Superman sequel was now a full blown franchise kick starter/prequel for the proposed Justice League movie. Just a glance at the movies title hints at how overblown this film could be.

So at first this movie goes to some lengths to try and show the devastation we saw in MoS (Supes fighting Zod) from the human perspective. Snyder clearly took on board all the negativity he got from MoS and tried to rectify it somewhat. Does he achieve this?? well to some degree I guess. OK he clearly shows us the collateral damage caused and how people suffered, so I guess that helps. It also showed us Bruce Wayne amongst the people and how his building gets destroyed killing one of his work colleagues. Didn't quite get why that guy died really, Bruce clearly tells him to get out of the building at one point. Cut back a little later and the guy is still in the building, for some reason, as it starts to come down. The guy is literally in the same office that Bruce had told him to leave, what an idiot. Did those people actually need Wayne to tell them to leave the friggin' building?!

So basically Superman destroyed tonnes of property, inadvertently killed innocents and racked up massive bills for...everything! Because of this Superman has become a controversial figure, people are not sure if he's a force for good or a force to put humans at deadly risk. Bruce Wayne doesn't like Supes, he destroyed his building, killed his work mate and he's stealing his thunder essentially. Bruce thinks Supes needs to be controlled, killed or exiled, and he's the man to do just that. In the mean time Lex Luthor is after Kryptonite and is basically using the whole situation to try and rid the world of both Supes and Batman whilst gaining total power. Wonder Woman merely floats around turning up at places to simply show she's in the movie. Important characters like Lois Lane, Alfred, Jimmy Olsen, Perry White, Martha Kent etc...are now secondary (or defunct) because there are simply too many characters here and compared to the likes of Superman, Batman, Lex, Wonder Woman etc...they're pretty much boring and no longer of importance.

So lets look at some of the big hitters here, the main protagonists and antagonists (except for Supes played by Henry Cavill because we know him from MoS. He's still boring, can't act and always uses the same facial expression). Lex Luthor played by Jess Eisenberg, easily the most annoyingly stupid portrayal in the movie because of everything he does. His voice is annoying, he has hair, his facial expressions and body movements are annoying, he is annoying. Not only that but its clear to see he's merely phoning in a Jim Carrey-esque Riddler impersonation, or just another take on the Joker (or to some degree, a Max Landis impression). Oh and he also has an Asian female sidekick because of course he does. All supervillains have a female sidekick it seems. Suffice to say Eisenberg's Lex is horrible and doesn't fit the character or movie, the hell was all that [i]'ding ding ding ding'[/i] about?

Wonder Woman played by Gal Gadot...badly, because she can't act (yes I said it). Bottom line, the fuck is this character doing here?! She wants a file, spends the entire run time looking for this file because she wants a picture or something (the pic showing her and the characters from the, as yet unreleased, Wonder Woman movie). She gets the file and the picture, discovers the other Justice League members and decides to help Batman and Superman fight whatever, for some reason...wut?? She literally pops up in this movie for no reason whatsoever, she fights alongside Batman and Supes for no reason whatsoever. Who is she? what does she do? why is she here? where did she come from? why does she have super powers? why does she drive a super car? Like literally what the literal fuck is this all about? This movie is meaningless to someone not in the know and this characters vapid inclusion sums that up perfectly. Anyway we all know she's only in this movie to help set up the Justice League flick and make the BvS trailers look more attractive to the juveniles and female audience.

We do get some laughably bad snippets showing other future DC characters which are all planned for the upcoming Justice League movie. When I say laughably bad, I mean it; the small cameo for Aquaman shows us said underwater hero in his full tattooed glory. Was that wise? I know we all know what he looks like but surely a bit of mystery for his first time on the big screen (plus he looks stupid). And what happens in that snippet anyway? An underwater probe just happens to find Aquaman who totally reveals himself straight away, not too clever methinks. The Cyborg snippet was a horrific, obvious looking CGI mess whilst The Flash snippet didn't really show anything, literally. And why do all these characters have their own logos in the movie? Duh??!

Lois Lane played by Amy Adams, again, why is she here? Her role? to merely try and prove that Superman didn't kill all those people in the opening desert scene where she and Olsen are sent to interview ISIS or whatever. Why was she even sent there? she's a reporter. Why would everyone think Superman killed those people who were killed with bullets, Supes doesn't use guns. Notice Supes doesn't save poor old Olsen or those blokes that were shot, but manages to save Lane...again, ugh! Lane is only used in this pointless sub plot just so she can point out that Superman didn't kill those blokes in the desert, and prove that they were killed by Luthor's men. By which point, it doesn't even matter anyway, the main plot had moved well past all that crap and no one cared. Just stick Lane in a tub, naked and have her kiss a topless Superman because cheap sex appeal.

Doomsday, a big invincible CGI turd with spikes coming out of it...great. Created by Luthor using his own blood and the dead General Zod's DNA (still not really sure how Kryptonian technology does that but whatever). Yeah this thing is so flippin' powerful it should have killed everyone and wiped out America with ease, the end. But no, instead it just throws everyone around a bit, you know, into buildings, debris whatever just happens to be there...blah blah blah. Good job Wonder Woman turns up with her glowing whip and powerful gauntlets...meh who cares.

Lets look at the dream sequence in the movie, the main one, you know, Batman Fury Road. This entire sequence made no sense, no sense! Why is it in here? what's going on exactly? who are the human fly type characters? I understand what the gist is don't get me wrong, Batman is basically afraid of Superman taking control, he's afraid at the fact he's essentially powerless against him, OK fine. Did we need a big long dream sequence on the set of Fury Road? Why do I get the impression this is yet another set up for another possible movie, a stupid movie where Batman looks stupid in the daytime and in the desert. Then you have the Flash moment. The Flash seems to enter Wayne's dream and warn him of something, a future premonition if you will. But how could The Flash enter Wayne's dream? was this visual image a dream itself? had Wayne woken up prior to The Flash coming through? Does The Flash have the power to do this??

Then you have one of the cheapest, lowest moments in this movie, if not the entire DC universe so far. The death of Superman, yes they actually managed to squeeze the death of Superman into this movie, on top of [b]everything[/b] else. Here's my problem with this (and surely its bloody obvious), this is the kick starter movie for the entire Justice League franchise, the acorn that will presumably grow into the massive oak. There is obviously going to be quite a few movies after this that will obviously include Superman because he's one of the main team members. There is no way in hell they are obviously gonna kill off Superman right now, in this movie, before the Justice League comes out. Like seriously! how fucking stupid do these studios think we are?? So what you have here is a ridiculously pointless and inane mini plot where Superman gets killed, gets buried, and we're all supposed to take this as a high emotional moment, a tear jerker. As if we're supposed to be worried about Superman. No DC, no Warner, we're not worried about Superman, we're not crying because we all know he's gonna come back. Quite literally, fuck you Snyder, fuck you for allowing this tacky shit.

Honesty, as I watched this I was actually kinda OK with it, to a degree. But after completion, some thinking, some research and obviously going back over the movie, it basically kinda sucks. Despite the huge budget, numerous people involved and the fact that both DC and Warner have had previous chances to get this stuff right, they still haven't! The film is all over the place, its messy as hell, this cut is about three hours long (or whatever) and there's only actually about ten minutes of Batman vs Superman in it! Bruce Wayne doesn't live in Wayne Manor anymore but instead lives in some underground modern art pad. The batmobile seems to be utterly invincible and can smash through anything whilst the bad guys never seem to learn that shooting it doesn't do anything (the obligatory car chase sequence with a gazillion explosions, car wrecks, mini guns, expendable goons galore etc...).

Product placement is through the roof as is the use of present-day media presenters and various media outlets. This is supposed to be a comicbook world, not our real present-day world. Why are you trying to make out that these characters exist in our reality? that's not the idea. There are too many characters, too many mini plots, choppy editing and pacing and nothing really seems to add up. But at the end of the day, no matter how much they try, Batman had no real motivation to kill (or even fight) Superman and Superman had no real motivation to kill Batman (outside of his kidnapped mother whom he could and should of saved himself easily at any point). Although, we do learn that Batman can be stopped dead in his tracks simply by uttering the name Martha. Lets hope future villains don't pick up on that huh.

I guess my main question is...how did they manage to fuck this up so badly? How, yet again, did DC, Warner and Snyder manage to get this wrong? It just defies believe frankly. I still stand by my opinion that if you were to show this to someone who had little to no knowledge of these characters, this comicbook world as a whole, they would be completely lost watching this movie, totally lost. Is that how a movie should play out? is that the aim? To only cater to the (hardcore) fanboys and fanbase who just wanna see snippets from their favourite comics recreated on the big screen. Of course not! every movie should be able to stand alone and not rely on future instalments to help it out or back it up. A studio should focus on one movie at a time and try to assure that movie is the best it can be. Put simply, this just isn't happening anymore and it certainly didn't happen here. This movie is an outright failure on all counts as a stand alone movie.

The Magnificent Seven
38 days ago via Flixster
½

So surely everyone knows this is a modern remake of the old 1960's classic western, which itself was a remake of the old 1954 Japanese classic 'The Seven Samurai'. And again surely everyone knows how influential both movies, especially the 54 film, have been in cinematic history. So this does beg the question, do we really need to see yet another remake of this concept? Do we really need an almost exact copy of the 1960's version merely with up to date stars? The answer to that is no we don't.

So what we have here is essentially the same film albeit with minor changes throughout, because you can't make a beat for beat remake can you (ahem!). So that means you have a small town in the wild west of America that is under threat from a corrupt industrialist, a Mr Bartholomew Bogue (Peter Sarsgaard). Mr Bartholomew is using the good people of Rose Creek as slaves to mine for gold, I think that's what it was, doesn't really matter. His henchmen kill a load of innocents when they stand up to him which forces Emma Cullen (Haley Bennett) to go off in search of help. Cullen comes across warrant officer Sam Chisholm (Denzel Washington) and manages to convince him for the job. Chisholm then sets off to hire more good men to help him. What follows is surely obvious to all.

So lets look at the heroes, the seven. Well its a nicely rounded, dare I say, politically correct group of gunslingers that's for sure. Most of whom are gunslingers by default but some have other skills too. Yes the group is diverse but for me it was a little too obviously diverse. You've almost got a person to represent every community, which is fine for marketing purposes (and today's overly sensitive climate) obviously, but it just seemed a bit too forced to me.

So looking at the characters what have we got. Denzel Washington naturally plays the all round hero and leader of the gang, Sam Chisholm. Of course we discover that Bogue had killed his family years earlier so that's very convenient and cliched. The overrated Chris Pratt is Joshua Faraday, a ladies man and slick gambler. Ethan Hawke plays the hard to pronounce and stupidly named Goodnight Robicheaux. A southern dandy type who fought for the confederacy and is a sharpshooter, he's basically the Doc Holliday of the bunch. Vincent D'Onofrio plays Jack Horne, a larger than life man of the wild who likes to stab people and wears an odd hat. Lee Byung-hun is Billy Rocks (again stupid name), an immigrant who is an expert with knives and doesn't use martial arts amazingly.

Manuel Garcia-Rulfo is the stereotypical Mexican of the team who uses two guns. And lastly Martin Sensmeier plays the native American Red Harvest who does exactly what you'd expect the character to do, looks exactly as you'd expect him to look and joins the team for no real reason whatsoever. Its like he joins just so they have a native American on the team. But wait there's more! Just to really make sure everyone is covered in this modern remake, we even get a woman on the team at one point (Cullen), technically. Nothing wrong with that of course, but again it just feels a bit forced, a bit obvious.

So how do they compare to the 1960's seven? Well lets be frank here, they can't compare in any way, how could they, I don't even have to explain why. Plot wise its actually a very similar affair though. The old seven consisted of a Cajun (the fast gun), a drifter (the humorous one), a knife expert (errr...the fast knife guy), a fortune seeker (after lots of loot any way possible), a traumatised veteran (once feared, since lost his nerve), a brash young gunfighter (wanting a reputation as a tough guy and gunslinger), and a half Mexican, half Irish professional in dire need of cash (the loser?).

The old movie does utilise diversity for sure but its not as obvious, not as in your face, the old seven feel a bit more natural. But the old team were helping Mexican townsfolk where as the new movie shows the seven helping a more white European bunch of townsfolk. Some interesting switches there. Obviously there are plot differences between the 1960's version and this new remake, I won't delve into them as this isn't really a comparison of both movies. I compared the characters because they are clearly the meat and potatoes of the movies and in both cases have big A-list names attached.

This remake is a technically impressive film that's for sure. Nothing that will blow your mind I might add as we've seen it all before, but nonetheless, credit where credits due, this film does look the bees knees. The camera work on the landscapes, the wild west sets both exterior and interior, the costumes, the weapon close-ups, the make-up, the pinging bullets, stunts, the camera work on gunslinging etc...Everything looks slick, crisp and completely authentic, as said...as you would expect these days.

But even though the majority of the movie does look sweet, they do mess things up by going over the top in places. For example the character of Billy Rocks, sure he looks cool...but maybe too cool? Having all these small katana blades around his waist seemed a bit silly to me, a bit too comicbook-ish. All the main heroes seemed a tad overdressed for my liking, a bit too flash really. Also at points the camera work/angles on some gun fights almost seemed almost too good, too flashy; maybe a more grounded approach would have looked better?

As for action, fisticuffs and other such cliches, well its a mixed bag of dull and dumb truth be told. For a start we all know what's gonna happen, how its gonna end. We all know most of the good guys will be killed off in heroic last stands (I won't say who but...its all very clearly politically correct put it that way). The gun fights are loud and realistic but totally cliched and uneventful. The big finale at the end is even more cliched and even more ridiculous than I even thought possible. Big bad guy Bogues has this entire army of a few hundred men descending on this small town, yet seven men manage to fend almost all of them off, riiight. All of the good guys seem to have guns with infinite bullets in them, hardly ever do we see much reloading.

The bad guys are a constant stream of stupidity, literally one after another running into plain view for the good guys to gun down easily. All the bad guys are utterly useless at gun fighting...and taking cover. And lastly, Bogues has around two hundred men I think it was, so that's a lot sure. But I would say at least half are killed in the first wave of attack on the town. Then after that each of the seven take down loads of these useless cowboys, one after another like on a shooting range. It just feels like the good guys take down way too many bad guys, of which there seems to be an endless stream. Plus we never see any horses get killed despite the fact that clearly tonnes would have been blown to pieces.

On one hand a modern retelling is a good way to show how an old movie could look with up to date effects, camera work, stunts etc...On the other hand it can still be completely pointless in many cases, and this just happens to be another case. Bottom line, all you have here is a remake just for the sake of a remake in order to use current big bankable stars together. Why do I get the feeling the bigwigs behind this are just jumping on the current 'Avengers' team-up angle, sticking groups of A-list names together in anything they can. The thing is they didn't even make good casting choices in my opinion. There are way better and more interesting actors that could have been cast here, both A-list and B-list/quirky character actors. There really is no reason to ever come back to this after your first viewing; why would you when you have two far better original movies to watch instead. Yep this flick isn't gonna stick with you for very long, already forgotten, next!