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The Dark Knight Rises review, spoiler free (SPOILER: 7/10)

Batman: The Dark Knight Has A Haircut is a great film that I just went to see, so I decided to write a review of the film.

The Dark Knight Goes Surfing is a story about two dogs and a cat: one dog is a bulldog and the other is a golden retriever, while the cat is oh who cares cats are shit. Basically, thanks to spoilers a case of pets not understanding what humans do in their lives spoilers end the animals end up lost in the American wilderness.

There are incidents and accidents, hints and allegations, bears and mountain lions and – in one particularly evocative scene – the cat is nursed back to health by a kindly man who lives in the mountains. It’s a directorial tour-de-force by Christopher Nolan, though one does wonder where he spent all the £10 billion budget, as the animals don’t even have animated mouths.

Still, the passion and power contained throughout this rollercoaster, white-knuckle ride of a movie is what carries it, and carries it tall. Set piece after set piece, moment after moment – it never lets up, it never makes you think anything other than ‘this is a great film about some animals lost near a stream’. It is to movies what Citizen Kane is to movies.

But it’s not just an adrenaline rush: there’s emotion, and tons of it. You’ll feel the fear as the porcupine – a hitherto unknown DC Comics antagonist – assaults one of our plucky pooches, and you’ll shed a tear or seven when the golden retriever, old as he is, no longer thinks he can make it.

And that’s when Batman comes in and…

Oh, shit, no. I just got The Dark Knight Rises mixed up with Homeward Bound. My mistake.

7/10omHome

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The Raid review (7/10) The Raidview The Revaid The Reviaid

Imagine a film that just doesn’t bother too much with story. One that sets up its entire premise by having a bloke stroke his wife’s pregnancy bump, promise to ‘bring him back’ to his dad then cuts to heavily-armed police folk in a van where their boss man describes to them what they’re doing and why.

Then that’s about it, bar a bit of talking here and there for the next hour-and-a-half.

You might think that’s a load of shit. Which is fair. But then, when you add the rest of The Raid into it you realise just why it absolutely is not shit at all. In fact, it’s one of the best action films I’ve seen in quite a while, and it’s figuratively smacked my face off just like Ong Bak did all those years ago. Also literally.

It’s just utterly brutal. It feels real. I have no idea about martial arts. I am not a lover, nor a fighter, so I don’t know. But this feels like it could actually happen. I was jerking with every punch, block, kick, jump, snap, stab, slice, HORRIBLE BROKEN BACK and every other smashbangwallop yeeeeah I don’t know what I’m saying anymore.

The fact it was all made on $1.1 million, while making perfect sense (Indonesian production, not exactly massive on locations, special effects or whatever else), is still astonishing. And it means that even though barely anyone will watch it at the cinema (Indonesian production, not exactly massive on locations, special effects or whatever else), it’s already made at least four times its budget back. Which makes me happy.

I still have a place for Tony Jaa and his brand of set piece-driven ridicu-action. Mainly because it’s brilliant and if you don’t like it you’re dead inside and an idiot. But this is something different, and it’s feels totally fresh as a result – even if it isn’t (I’m not saying it is or isn’t – I genuinely don’t know). More please.

Now we await the terri-shit American remake, currently being planned, or whatever it is they do to make films.

This was almost a straight up review, sorry about that.

7/10

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Avengers something something review thing (7/10)

I just (well, 20 minutes ago) got back from watching Avengers Assemble Presented By Marvel In Film Form About The Avengers In 3D or whatever it’s called. So here are some vague thoughts I’ll get bored of writing part way through. GO:

It’s good. Really good, actually. It’s ‘just’ a superhero film, mind, so don’t expect your life to be changed if you hate watching things that are actually fun. And it’s a bit long, dragging a tad in the middle. But yeah – good.

Complaints about the bad guys being no-name, barely-faced tits can be headed off by pointing out this is a story of how a group of already-established individuals could come together and actually work together. It’s about the Avengers, not their enemies. See also: Loki as the main antagonist – established character, not actually pure evil and all that.

Wait, that’s too much like serious discussion of the film. Dangerous territory, this.

It’s very Joss Whedon. I have a mancrush on him. Sorry people who’ve decided it’s cool to hate him. I like his style. The snap finish in a moment you expect to be drawn out and last a while still surprises and amuses me. So there’s that.

Hulk is great, Thor is great, even Cap is great. Black Widow has an arse only challenged by that of miss How I Met Your Mother herself, Cobie Smulders as if that’s a real name oh according to Wiki it is.

Anyway. Good film. Good review, too. So tired.

7/10

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The Increasingly Poor Decisions Of Todd Margaret… review, I suppose

I have just, as in about half an hour ago, finished watching the final episode of The Increasingly Poor Decisions Of Todd Margaret.

It stars David Cross, who I love, Will Arnett, who I love, Sharon Horgan, who I love, Spike Jonze, who I love, and Blake Harrison, who… well, he doesn’t irritate me.

It is a comedy show.

It is about a man who is a dickhead and who fails at everything and causes other people to suffer through his ineptitude, idiocy, selfishness and lies.

It is basically the perfect show for someone called Ian, like I am.

Yet I do not understand how it has hit a rating of 7.7 out of 10 on IMDB. Because it is… no. It’s lacking something.

There’s no reason to like Todd Margaret at all. Now that’s not a problem in itself – Gob Bluth from Arrested Development is a self-centred assmunch only out for himself, to get laid and to spend money. But he gets away with it.

As do the rest of Everyone On Arrested Development.

But there’s no reason to like Todd Margaret and there is nothing redeeming about him, beyond a couple of times he tries to do the right thing. Whatever that is.

There’s no connection. There’s constant leaps of logic and faith needed by the viewer to accept that someone could be as monumentally stupid as Todd Margaret is.

What could easily have been a very real show – cringeworthy in a way The Office is still a master of, annoying in a way Arrested Development always pulled off with sympathy, and surreal in a way 30 Rock still gets away with on a weekly basis – turns out to just be a bunch of irritating people doing unbelievable things that escalate in a fashion that just pisses you off.

Still, John Hamm playing John Hamm is good. “I need to go film Mad Men!”

And it does have something going for it, as I bothered with all 12 episodes. Hmm. I am a comedy masochist, it seems. That, or I’m really bored.

Your Face/10

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Live musical gig review from my brain: Apoplysmo Neurotisees

I am getting back into music reviewing. Here is my music reviewing of my best band they are called Apoplysmo Neurotisees:

‘A phenomenal discharge of aural symposium, defying genre and defining vivacity in a way only the work of Proust or Van Damme could truly even hope to mitigate towards equalling’. It was the only thought that traversed its way through the canals of my mind, electro-pistons firing in unity with the literal religious experience the throng-shaped masses were currently enjoying.

‘Transcendental doesn’t cover the sheer glorious verisimilitude of these ecclesiastical showmen’ I added using my brain, because it was just the right thing for my brain to say. While I achieved a genuine state of nirvana – literally – using just my own grey matter and the snapping synapses I previously mentioned using different words because I’m so good with words, this performance of composers, instrumentalists, singers, guitar-threshers and drum-singularities devastated the very notion of notions, fundamentally altering our state of existence as we know it, as we ever have known it and forever will be, now bereft of consciousness in the new age of enlightenment.

Three miracles of harmonious discord were born, lived a life and died on stage – while some of the intellectuals and comrades in our joint aural endeavour simply could not beholden the true majesty of what was taking place to the front of their ocular cavities, many were almost sharing parity with this very writer, though none could sincerely state they had equivalence with a mind so well-trained in the epithets of our sheer unfulfilled continuation.

Subjugation, eroticism, timorous, vehemence, ostracised, neo-classical antagonism laced liberally with agnosticism. Richardson Richardson. Beef and ham.

What the life-affirming experience taught me on a purely intellectual level is that philosophical debate is a requirement of any polite discourse and the conjuration of impossible mathematical hypotheses is something no discerning user of a carbohydrate-heavy mindset could do without. Such is the musical trope of our time, such is the parlance of our very being, such is the majesty of prosodies.

Oh, there was a band too.

7/10

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Drive Angry, or: How To Troll The World

I have just, about five minutes ago, finished watching the Nic Cage film Drive Angry. Unfortunately I do not have 3D capabilities so could not coo as the radicoolsome effects threw giblets out of the screen at me.

Not that I would’ve cooed anyway, as 3D is shit and gives me a headache.

Anyway, I have decided that Drive Angry is actually genius. I had heard it was a bad film, but I can only come to the conclusion that those saying it is no good have – fittingly, considering the subject matter – no souls.

You think it’s a bad film. You think the story is insane. You think the action is ridiculous in the bad way. You think Nic Cage is phoning in one of the worst performances of a pretty questionable career. NOT THE BEES.

But you’re wrong.

Know why you’re wrong? Because you’re being trolled. Drive Angry is a trolling masterpiece. A trollsterpiece. It’s taking the piss out of you for having the temerity to care about quality, storytelling, acting, sense. It’s laughing in your face as you gradually get more confused and annoyed at how utterly stupid everything about the film is.

It’s trolling you, and it’s trolling you well. That’s the hardest part – that’s why so many have clearly missed it. Why it’s gone over the heads of even the seasoned trollists out there. It’s a fine, fine trolling. So blatant it actually becomes subtle. So wanton it turns back on itself to become considered.

Basically, what I’m saying is this: Drive Angry is one of the best films I’ve seen today. Some would even go so far as to say it’s the only film I’ve seen today.

Regardless, I think it’s worth a watch just so you can be aware that we live in a world where films like this actually get made. It is a beautiful world. Allegedly.

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The Inbetweeners Movie: the definitive review (7/10)

Today we went to see The Inbetweeners Movie (that is the title of the movie) so here is my review of The Inbetweeners Movie.

  1. It has the word ‘clunge’ in it, but this feels overdone, even though it’s not used much. Familiarity breeds irritation with a word you once found funny, it seems.
  2. It’s more soppy that you’d expect, and clearly draws a line in the ground to say ‘this is it, we’re not making any more’. I’m fine with that. Peep Show should have done the same years ago.
  3. It suffers from the same problems as, for example, The Simpsons Movie and the Futurama 1.5 hour episodes – it just feels like a long episode and you get a bit antsy and bored after a bit.
  4. It’s funny enough to keep me laughing throughout.
  5. Some scenes, like the stolen sunbeds one, are a bit overplayed.
  6. There are a lot of naked bottoms, nipples and a couple of cocks in it. Just an observation.
  7. The dancing scene, which you may have seen in trailers, goes from reasonably funny to really rather funny quite quickly.
  8. The dancing scene is my entire life.
  9. No really, it is.
  10. The likelihood of four misfits meeting four hot girls willing to talk to them at all is very low. I am all for suspension of disbelief, but as I judge the series to be essentially a documentary on What School Was, it’s a bit jarring to see very Hollywood elements like these introduced.

Well, that’s all you’re getting out of me. It was quite good, though not brilliant. Well worth the nothing I paid to see it, though the normal, non-premier seats did mean I was hideously uncomfortable after an hour or so.

7/10

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Sprout Head: The Movie review (7/10)

[Missed yesterday’s entry, as I was out not coming home. You get two today!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!]

I missed out on Inception when it was in the cinema. We had tickets to see it, but on arriving at the movietastic theatretorium we found the place rammed. Neither of us could be bothered putting up with that many people, as people are a bit crap – so we opted out*. As such, I still hadn’t seen it until yesterday when it was suggested as a part of Never Going Home that we watch the film. Which we did. With our eyes. (We heard it with our ears)

Here is a brief review for you:

If you really found Inception confusing in any real way then I probably hate you. It’s a heist film. That’s it. There are a handful of layers to it. That’s not hard to take stock of. It’s not as straightforward as All The Other Films, but it is by no means difficult to comprehend – and if you did find it difficult to comprehend then kindly go and kill yourself, because you’re wasting everyone’s time by being alive**.

Naturally I don’t mean the ambiguous ending, which is left intentionally open (I like to call it a technique whereby you don’t have everything spelled out for you, you absolute ponces). That’s free for you to think up what you want about it. Personally I think it was all the feverish dream of a lonely sprout, imagining its life being more exciting in the world of humans, though never quite being able to shake off a sproutish air to his newfound humanness. SPROUT HEAD SPROUT HEAD SPROUT HEAD.

7/10

*Secondary story: we tried to give the tickets away to a few people in the queue, but these people – who were there to watch Inception and hadn’t yet got tickets – just shot us distrustful looks and politely declined. Absolute morons. What’s the worst that could happen? “Oh, these tickets are fake.” “Damn – they were free. Looks like I’ll have to buy some tickets now, which I was going to do anyway.” Idiots. They’re the kind of people that don’t understand this film.

**I don’t condone suicide, so kill yourself in a fun way that doesn’t involve you just hanging your fat ass. Something involving being covered in chocolate sauce and set upon by a frisky elephant, that kind of thing.

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The most official (and best) NCIS review ever

I’ve just watched seven minutes of NCIS, therefore I am qualified to review it in an official capacity. Here goes:

Apparently there’s some girl who’s kind of a goth or something, so she’s clearly in IT or is some other kind of tech expert. Anyway, she likes ‘candy’ bars, as far as I gathered. This probably means most of the cases she deals with are about Cyber Surf-Web Hackers from the Underground Systems breaking their way into the secret files of Hershey’s. Sounds fucking shit to me, just like their chocolate.

Then there’s some other people who were far less… loud. And they weren’t goths. So it doesn’t actually look like this is a crime scene investigation show that covers a super-cool band of alternative kids going around eating ‘candy’ bars and solving crime using Wiccan techniques or something. Missed a trick there.

Anyway, at some point the image changed quite bizarrely from a crime scene to what looked suspiciously like my bathroom. From there the show became a harrowing tale of someone bearing a striking resemblance to me brushing their teeth for a bit, while looking quite haggard. It’s the kind of shit that should win a BAFTA. Except seeing as I think it was still NCIS, it’s definitely not going to win one.

I might still be suffering some of the mild confusion I had yesterday. This is definitely not related to both entries being a little rushed.

Anyway – NCIS: 7/10.

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The Twilight Zone ‘To Serve Man’ review

I settled down to watch this latest episode of ‘The Twilight Zone’ full of hope as to what I was about to witness. Recent attempts at sci-fi parable have fallen some way short, with the re-make of ‘The Day The Earth Stood Still’ deciding to confuse and bewilder the viewer with bright visuals, whoosh noises and loud bangs – rather than the more sensible option of showing them a story with meaning, morals and a message. But I had heard big things about the TZ episode ‘To Serve Man’: it would present a tale that would throw you off completely, one that would make you think; it would introduce viewers to some of the freakiest, weirdest aliens we’ve ever seen; and it would not end well.

Well call me a cynic if you will, but I was not impressed. ‘To Serve Man’ only managed to hit one of those three marks, in that it didn’t end well. The aliens land, you try to get your head around how the special effects these days could be so bad, you ridicule the use of a lie detector, you scoff at the notion of an alien from ‘100 billion miles away’ having palms – you just cannot enjoy this show in any meaningful way.

Frankly it’s ludicrous that the creators would think we’re stupid enough to buy into this baloney. With the world of the internet at our fingertips and an entire planet of people working together to decode the alien language – even then it just wouldn’t be possible. Even ‘The Twilight Zone Companion’ agrees:

In the show … a staff of cryptographers led by Lloyd Bochner attempts to decipher the alien language as though it were some secret code, which is utterly ludicrous. Without some sort of interplanetary Rosetta stone, deciphering an unknown language would be impossible.

Though I don’t understand how that book exists, seeing as I only saw this episode today. Hmm.

It’s also an interesting choice by the creators – and not a particularly wise one – to… how should I put this? To use big words. See, the public of today are used to having things spelled out for them, but that’s as in ‘spelled out in the simplest form imaginable’. Using a word like ‘soliloquy’ is just going to shut the average viewer’s brain off for the length of the show.

I won’t spoil what happens at the end right here, though I might change my mind by the next paragraph. Safe to say it is a twist ending, and not a very good one at that. Hinging an entire plot on the ambiguity of meaning contained in a single word? Ridiculous. Where are the explosions? The CG ghouls from the netherworld? The little Japanese girls who steal your soul? The chainsaw hands? Hmm? ‘To Serve Man’ does nothing to take the medium of storytelling forward with its poor special effects, hammy acting and bizarre parlance.

As for Chambers talking directly to the viewer as the episode lurches towards its conclusion? Well that’s just ham-fisted laziness. In fact, the whole allegory element of this tale falls on its arse – what’s it trying to get at? That if we don’t change our ways ourselves then a greater evil (tall, bollock-headed aliens who look as dim as someone from Rotherham) will come to our planet to eat us? Well, I find that a mite far-fetched.

I expected a great deal more from this new ‘Twilight Zone’ franchise, but I’ve been left nothing more than slightly confused, a bit more bemused and not in the slightest amused.

… wait, it was made in 1962? Oh. Bugger.

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