Archive for the ‘Film reviews’ category

The Dark Knight Rose

August 7, 2012

I’ve just watched The Dark Knight Rises. Don’t be silly. I just watched it for the second time. I watched it for the first time two days before general release. #winning. I didn’t want to blog about it right away and spoil it for y’all, but now you’ve had ample time to see it for yourself.


Just in case, here be spoilers!




Have they gone?




Good, don’t need the riff raff in.


I want to start this by bragging, I totally called it. Here is my prediction of the plot for Batman III, posted 22 September 2009. All I can say is that Chris certainly had a look at it when putting his script together.


Here is what I prophesied would make it into the film. Bullet points are fun!

  • Talia would be in it

  • Rachel’s death would cause Batman to put away his life as Wayne

  • Bane would be in it, as a member of the league of shadows

  • Talia and Bane would be working together


I love Batman and this love spans every medium he has appeared in. I found it very rewarding when watching TDKR and seeing how seriously Nolan took the comics and how deeply they influenced him. This is something more directors, and writers, have to learn before setting out to make a good superhero film.


Without a great story as the backbone you can get a bloated film that lacks direction. Iron Man 2 and Green Lantern certainly fell victim to this. Read the comics, find what you like, think how to translate it to the screen. Shouldn’t be too hard. When you are dealing with nerdy fanboys you have to be extra vigilant because your audience is already doing this, i.e. this article.


This begs the question, what is next for Bats? Rumours are now circulating about a Justice League film. With Avengers being the third most successful film ever released, Warner Bros. must be licking their lips with anticipation. Marvel took the route of introducing the heroes one by one. This is not an option for the franchise starved DC.


Batman’s legend has ended – for the moment, Green Lantern went out, and Man of Steel looks like it is trying so hard to please everyone that no one will like it at all. So a re-re-re-boot is in order, bringing out all DC’s favourite toys and putting them in one $200 million basket. A harrowing prospect.


Potential plot lines for the Justice League film? Well I can’t think of any good ones. If they go classic it’s an origin story where all the heroes team up to stop an alien invasion (reeks of Avengers rip off) or they go modern and it’s an origin story where all the heroes team up to stop an alien invasion (Avengers rip off, but more modern). In the first case it’s Martians, in the second it is the forces of Darkseid.


Both those options suck. I loved the Justice League DCAU cartoon. My favourite stories were just too far out, or too far reliant on previous knowledge of the characters to make it as the first film. Sequels would be great to see: For the Man Who has Everything, Justice Lords, Once and Furute Thing. Doesn’t help Warner Bros. with their current quandary – how do we get Batman back on the big screen as quickly as possible?


Non Justice League options include: Batman Beyond, The Dark Knight Returns, or a World’s Finest film. I am not an expert here so I don’t really want to say. If I get any ideas I’ll be getting in touch with DC directly. Obviously I know how to write good Batman.


That’s all folks.


Avengers Assemble!!

April 27, 2012

Summer has started. Welcome to the Avengers Initiative. Funny how they were called the Avengers before they had anything to avenge, Nick Fury must have had a bad feeling about this.

That was my lame ass attempt at Buffy speak. But you don’t need to listen to me, we have Joss Whedon’s brain. The dialogue was like music to my ears. I think Buffy really reshaped comedy for my generation. That sounds hugely hyperbolic but it has changed how we speak, not even kidding a little bit.

By now you know if you like Buffy speak or you don’t. Luckily the film has huge special effects and some superfolk you may have heard of before to draw in the crowd too. And, boy, did it pull in a crowd. I went for a matinee thinking it would be quieter but I haven’t had the displeasure of an audience that annoying for a while. Rustlers, talkers, frequent pee-ers, and even two people who walked out never to return.

Very strange to walk out on a film this good. Green Lantern or Transformers x (where x is any value greater than 1), sure. But this is the film where they did the Hulk right! You know how they improved it instantly? No Betty Ross and the slightest hint of intellect when Hulked out. The new guy does a good job in the role but I couldn’t help but wonder how Norton would have looked with these advantages.

Maybe Betty was going to be in there but she didn’t make the cut against the huge number of characters. Deep breath now: Nick Fury, Black Widow, Hawkeye, Agent Coulson, Maria Hill, Iron Man, Pepper Potts, Thor, Loki, Mouth of Sauron, Hulk, Captain America. Twelve characters in a two hour run time means ten minutes each, no remainder for puny love interests.

Some characters get more screen time than others but it is incredible they pulled that off. There was one odd moment of editing where Cap was on a jet and I had no idea why they showed him to us. Seconds later he was upside down and on fire. Cutting straight to that would have been weird. What else is weird is how much you get used to seeing a character upside down and on fire. Happens quite a bit actually.

Another weird bit of editing comes half way through the film where we montage quickly through some focus group called ‘dull mushy stuff’. We come out the other side repaired, emotionally and physically, and ready for battle. Thing is Thor is absent for this montage which must have atleast lasted an hour or two. So a god on Earth alone with a couple of hours to do? What is he going to do? He booty called Natalie Portman. Who wouldn’t?

Marvel is famous for its Easter eggs and we get a bunch here. I won’t spoil them but I counted a few. Some of which not so subtlety points towards the giant sequel looming over us like a giant space lizard thing. There is an after credit scene. If you didn’t know that you are not much a geek. You don’t have to wait very long and it is worth seeing.

A superhero film, or any film, is only as good as its villains. Whedon does a fantastic job of raking up tension and stakes but it still didn’t make the villain live up to the Joker. Inevitably that is what all comic book films are compared to. The Bat casts a long shadow, one he may not even be able to escape later this Summer. Loki has some good moments but his motivation feels too arbitrary. He becomes a cackling bad guy rather than the more interesting character we saw in Thor.

That had me scratching my head for who could be a bigger threat next time round. The post-credit scene answered that, but it could be a problem. Like Superman, when you have this much power how do you compete? Avengers Assemble is like the big Summer crossover events we get in the comics. They have there place but it favours smashing over deep story telling.

The group works well together and I’ll be watching more of their films in the future. I had fairly low expectations for the film and they did go far beyond those. The banter makes the film a lot of fun but not incredibly memorable. The big attack on New York felt like watching Team America. Like it was 911 times a thousand. I realise that is poor taste but the property damage on show here would run into billions. Whose paying for all that? Disney that’s who, when they line their pockets with all our cash. Keep employing Joss Whedon and I can’t give you my money quickly enough.

Day 15 – The Film That Depicts Your Life

March 20, 2011

(500) Days of Summer

You must be getting sick of me mentioning this film but it rocks. I watched it whilst going through my own 500 Days and it did a better job than any film ever has of capturing what it feels like. The excitement, the soul destroying lows and the slow climb back up.


So many of the scenes in this film reflect moments in my life. The smart and sarky sister, the free spirited lover, the calm voice over, the dance routine. Well they happened in my head any way.

I reviewed this film here. It will cover my initial reaction to the film. But here we are several months on and like our man JGL I have moved on. About to start a new career in the theatre, no longer settling for mediocrity. That is what these women do to us, take us past our limits.

I still listen to the soundtrack and smile. I have become a champion of the film and made a lot of people watch it. I look forward to watching it in 10 years time and thinking about how important it was then and all the new things I’ll be thinking about then. So keep reading, who knows what will happen in 500 days.


11 Days, 1 Post

March 20, 2011

Ok. Deciding to do a blog post a day the same month you are moving house was not a good idea.

To make it up to you here is 11 days of the film challenge.

Day 4 – A Film You Watch to Feel Down

Synedoche, New York.

Philip Seymour Hoffman and Charlie Kaufman team up to make you feel crappy about the world. A strange tail where a theatre director recreates his whole life to a huge degree while his wife makes works of art smaller and smaller. A depressing speech by a priest at a funeral seals the deal.

When I watched this film I went out and bought a giant bar of Cadbury’s to cheer myself up. Not a great cooping strategy. When my sister saw me later that day she was terrified. I felt like I’d seen my soul murdered.

The best thing is the blurb on the back of the film that assures you this is a comedy.

Day 5 – A Film That Reminds You of Someone


Speaking of my sister, this fi;m reminds me of her. Maybe it is because they are both hilarious and utterly bonkers, but Thor knows I love them.

Michael Keaton cements himself in my mind as a comedy genius here playing the damned bi-exorcist and Tim Burton shows he has brilliant flare and imagination. Also, Alec mother truckin’ Baldwin.

Day 6 – A Film That Reminds You of Somewhere

Muppet Treasure Island / Lucky Number Slevin

Where I saw this topic I knew I’d need two entries. Muppet Treasure Island was viewed on my birthday, with two excellent friends, a lot of Pimms and a Winnie the Pooh cake. Middle class and surreal, that is just how I roll.

Tim Curry rocks and shall appear again on this list (do you know what it is yet?). This film firmly set my love of pirates in motion and influenced my Beggar’s Opera adaptation more than a little.

Lucky Number Slevin was the pinnacle of my Norwich cinema viewing experience. Every week, without fail, my friend Michael and I would go to the pictures after history class.

We watched Lucky Number Slevin in the Balcony VIP seats of the UCI. It is undoubtedly my favourite movie going experience. Comfy seats, corking film, great company and had a super-spicy Nandos before hand.

Day 7 – A Film That Reminds You of Your Past

Lord of the Rings

It may surprise you, but I am a massive nerd. What do nerds like? Fantasy. Who is the King of fantasy? Tolkien. I used to watch Lord of the Rings religiously.

Fellowship is the best one for the record. A billion different monsters to fight, the Last Stand and it is what started it all. LotR was the cinematic event of my generation. (Harry Potter, we have already had words. Go sit over there!)

Day 8 – The Film You Can Quote Best

Monty Python. All of them

Proving my geekiness beyond a doubt. I f’ing love all things Python. Holy Grail is my favourite but I can quote Meaning of Life like I the life of my many children depended on it or they would all be sold to medical experiments.

Dead parrots, naughty boys, watery bints, unladen swallows. It is all there and it is all fantastic.
Day 9 – A Film With Your Favorite Actor (Male)

Jeff Bridges

Fans of this blog know I love Jeff Bridges. For this amazing category I am going for the Big Lebowski. It is as quotable as the finest Python and it has scissor wielding nihilists.

Jeff Bridges is also excellent in Iron Man, True Grit and Tron of course. Look forward to seeing much more soon.

Would also like to give an honourable mention to Dustin Hoffman for everything (Graduate, I HEART Huckabees and Kung Fu Panda).

Day 10 – A Film With Your Favorite Actor (Female)

Anjelica Houston

What an incredible actress. I find it enormously difficult to cry in films but Anjelica’s performance in Choke had me right on the verge.

Her glorious turns in Adamm’s Family and Royal Tenenbaums makes her my favourite actress.

I am now out to watch her projects where she has directed.
Day 11 – A Film By Your Favorite Director

Jackie Brown

Tarantino feels like an obvious choice but it is for good reason. I have always loved his films and even the awkward members of the family, here’s looking at you Death Proof, have brought me a lot of joy.

Michael Keaton makes the list again in a terrific comedy performance as a desperate FDA cop. And the guy is Batman, awesome.

Jackie Brown is such a brilliant film, full of all the usual Tarantino magic. Pam Grier is the sassy Jackie Brown from which the film takes it name. My favourite character has to be the bond salesman Max Cherry. He has no other name. It is what I kept calling him when he appeared in Heroes. Pam’s turn in Smallville wasn’t quite as cool.

Day 12 – A Film By Your Least Favourite Director

Terminator 2

What happened James? Terminator 2 is one of the scariest films I have ever seen. It terrified me as a child and I loved it.

But Titanic, Avatar? Really? I know they are hugely popular but they don’t do it for me. Some where along the line you sold out. That makes you my least favourite director.

Day 13 – A Guilty Pleasure

Cross dressing films

This could be a bit revealing. I like an exorbitant number of films about cross dressing. Rocky Horror Picture Show, She’s the Man, Bird Cage, To Wong Fu Thanks for Everything, Prisicila: Queen of the Desert, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Monty Python.

Maybe its those long titles, maybe its the comedy, but for some reason I can’t get enough of these films.

In my time I have played women on the stage a few times and it is a giggle. I sych myself up saying “the Pythons did it.”

I fear I am the stereotype which Family Guy so rightly ripped us on.

British man 1: I say, you know what’s really funny? A man dressed in women’s clothing.

British man 2: Yes. Ripping good laugh.

Day 14 – The Film That No One Expected You To Like

Love and Other Drugs

As a rule I do not like RomComs. Have been some exceptions, my post on 500 Days of Summer goes into this in more detail. But Love and Other Drugs didn’t feel like a romcom, all the time.

I really like Jake Gyllenhaal as an actor: Jarhead, Donnie Darko, and Bubble Boy rock. He has been in some real stinkers: Prince of Persia springs to mind.

In Love and Other Drugs he gives a very entertaining performance as a Viagra salesman. Anne Hathaway makes a great foil and shows her range stretches far beyond syrupy Princess twaddle.

I did like this film but it had the worst adverstising campaign I’ve seen in years. This could be because you can’t market it as one thing. Its not a romcom, its not a disection of 90s culture, its not a hard hitting drama. Irritaningly it is though.

One thing I did not like in the film is the big emotional speech at the end. Could get away with one heartfelt speech but having the 5 we get saddled with is too much. Fix it in the director’s cut (like Darko) and show us how great this movie could be.

Now we are up to date on the 30 film challenge. Hope you are enjoying it so far. Get in touch if you have any thoughts. Use the comments below or find me on twitter @antbuoy

Day 3 – A Film You Watch to Feel Good

March 8, 2011

Its gold, its gold, its solid gold bayb. No not the Spandau Ballet song that has been desecrated at every karaoke night since the dawn of time, but Austin Powers: Goldmember.

Groovy baby

I can hear you groaning from here. Knock it off. You may well say that that is the worst film since the dawn of time, its only redeeming quality being that Gold Member did not in fact sing that loathed Spandau Ballet song. But I say nay. Any film with a midget, a musical number, Beyonce in a bikini and Michael Caine cannot be bad.

In fact – it is a film I watch to feel good. It makes me smile. It is juvenile and silly and gratuitous. But it also came out before I knew the meaning of those words. Some people who have had conversations with me would say I still don’t. I had this film on video and within seconds it always made me smile.

And lets face it. Gweny looks hot in her hilarious opening scene. Pepper Potts should not be hotter than Black Widow. But I am throwing a cat amongst the pigeons and saying she does here. Let the catsuit battle commence.

When ladies wear catsuits, everybody wins.

Granted I haven’t watched this film in ages, I don’t have it on dvd, but I still think it would make me smile. It was a great spoof that became a fourth-wall-smashing-meta-pooning-behemoth.  And it made Michael Caine really happy.

That is pretty happy

What is your feel good film? What can take you from sobbing wildebeest to a regular human being and to the far side of becoming a howling beast again?


Your Least Favourite Film

March 7, 2011

Day 2 of the film challenge. And it is time to Flame on! No my least favourite film is not the Fantastic Four (although it gives the title a damn good try). My least favourite film is Harry Potter and the God Awful Acting.

Some may say this is a soft target, and it is. Poor dialogue, no suspense, stock characters. You have heard all this criticism before. The films are just not any good.

Don’t get me wrong, I like fantasy. I like the idea of Hogwarts. I like wizards fighting dragons. But do it right. I always knew Harry was going to be ok because he had to make it through 7 books (and 8 films). Hermaphrodite and Ron had to be ok because it was a children’s film. That left us with shoe horning in character’s just so they would die or killing Dumbledoor and he wasn’t even very good at staying dead.

A lot of this criticism could be thrown back at the Lord of the Rings, and rightly so. It has parts where it is down right hammy or the dialogue sucks or you are just willing Frodo to hurry up and get there.  But it always felt epic and important. And they steered away from having too much unresolved sexual tension.

The biggest thing that separates Lord of the Rings from Harry Potter is Harry Potter. He is an immensely irritating character. Played by an immensely irritating, and short, actor. I was going to put a picture of him here but I just dislike him so much I’m going to put an expanse of nothingness as it is a marked improvement on his visage.

Despite it all Potter has some good points, it is a great way for British actors to earn mega bucks. Alan Rickman, Robbie Coltrane, John Hurt, Gary Oldman, Maggie Smith. Too many to count. All the more reason to hate Harry Potter, how can you take that much awesome, rub it with pixie dust, and still end up with a story about a whingy turd?

All those delicious goodies and the films focuses on the goody two-shoes. I really dislike Haemorrhage. Go away, no one likes you! And if you fancy her, you are sick. She is bleedin’ seven years old for Christ’s sake.

Rant over. I am sure I have pissed a lot of people off with this view but I don’t care. Blame the 30 day challenge. Daniel Radcliffe must be stopped. Go read the books, then you are only giving one idiot a big wad of cash.


30 Day Film Challenge

March 6, 2011

Hello boys and girls,

Something special for you. A micro blog update every day for 30 days. Each day a new film reviewed and the story that goes with it. That is what I really love about films, not the stories that happen in them but the stories that happen around them. For me they are like photos of what you were doing with your life at the moment you saw them.

Give your comments, what would your film choice be for the daily topic? To hit it off I give you Day 1 – Your Favourite Film. My changes between a select few but today it had to be Fight Club.

Soap hasn't been this cool since Florence Nightingale

Coming out in 1999 this film still gets me with its wealth of ideas, fantastic pacing, excellent performances and a visual style that Fincher crafts out of shadows.

This is a very popular choice for men’s favourite film and for good reason. It whispers to some of our inner most desires. Looking at the need to fight, the feeling of inadequacy and ultimately the frustration with our day to day lives. The film visualise the aching anger in your chest that you couldn’t begin to describe.

The story is well known now. Ed Norton plays ‘Jack’. His character is never given a name, also seen in the excellent Withnail & I and not-quite-as-good-but-still-thoroughly-enjoyable Layer Cake. Brad Pitt plays Tyler Durden. The two men meet by happenstance and their lives keep getting drawn into each other’s in spite of the toll it takes on both of them.

The film spends a lot of time looking at big philosophical ideas. I didn’t care much when I was 15 and it was on tv. I ran out to get it on dvd that weekend. I felt I had become a part of project mayhem buying this 18 whilst massively underage. The guy who sold it to be didn’t care and was happy to be a part of our secret, and minute, anarchy.

And that is why this is my favourite film. It plays on our need to escape, to find something bigger than our relentless march into monotony. It is understood by your peers and offers you acceptance. I’d love to know what the equivalent is for women. Fight Club reminds you what a man can be and a glimpse at why he is controlled.