pacific_rim

What’s it About:

They say we have yet to discover 95% of the planet’s ocean area. Who knows what horrors lurk deep in it’s murky depths. Creatures like this:

uglyfish

Or like this:

a99_kelly

Who can tell for sure. One thing we do know, a rift to another dimension opened up at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean, and giant monsters are crawling out of it looking to destroy our coastal cities. That’s when we need some enterprising young characters to suit up in giant robot armour and lay down some pain. Ya gotta love the movies though – Pacific Rim is set after the monsters have been attacking coastal cities for 12 FUCKING YEARS! Why the fuck wouldn’t people move further inland? Because watching giant monsters attack deserted cities is no fun. Us viewers fuckin crave casualties and pain.

The Good:

Some film makers bring the art direction payload to the table, and when Guillermo Del Toro serves up a film, you know for damn sure you’re in for a decent feed. If Pan’s Labyrinth was the entrée, then this is the main course. The Robots are exquisite, the Kaiju eye catching. Every chunk of armed base or near future town is fully realised – it feels like these locations and characters were doing their thing long before we started watching, and will be long after the film is over.

Every fight scene is impressive, but when the Otachi Kaiju grew wings and took to the sky, forcing Gypsy Danger to whip out a secret sword and fight back – they had to evacuate Norwood Cinemas because my nuts exploded. No shit – it’s my favourite fight scene of 2013.

Most of the side characters are memorable, each with a kinda cartoonish quality added to make them pop. The mechanic has huge Rockabilly hair. Ron Perlman struts around like a Twin Peaks pimp. The Russian pilots looked like they’ve been on a steady diet of Dolph Lundgren flakes. Even Charlie Day isn’t annoying, which means the film should get a special Oscar right there for accomplishing that miracle.

The Bad:

I like Charlie Hunnam. I have six series of Sons of Anarchy under my belt as testament to that fact. But headlining a TV show, and starring in a film are two different beasts – and Chuck kinda struggles to maintain a presence here. Likewise the female lead, Rinko Kikuchi, who falls a bit short also.  Together they don’t have much chemistry. The performances certainly aren’t bad enough to sabotage the film, but it’s a shame they couldn’t get the leads right when everything else in the film is so perfect. If there is one thing the original Star Wars trilogy taught us, having a film full of robots and maintain decent human leads in a film

Australians traditionally have slow monotonous accents. I know, because I have one myself. It seems like it should be simple to emulate, so why do actors always struggle to pull one off? The Father and Son Jaeger team are sprouting real howlers of Awstraylian accents in this film. Not as bas as Quentin Tarantino, but certainly jarring.

The central human rivalry is between Hunnam and the fake Aussie just mentioned, and it is clichéd and hackneyed. Thank god there is so much robot on monster tomfuckery to make up for it.

Bottom Line:

Shame about the lead protagonists and antagonists, though it’s not enough to derail an exceptional bit of sci fi cinema.

4.5

the_wolverine

What’s it About:

After a traumatic experience in X-Men 3, Logan (aka Wolverine) has decided to live out his days in the cold Canadian wilderness in an effort to deal with his inner demons. His only sustenance is a diet of berries and badger blood, his only companion is a scarecrow made out of sticks and Moose hair named “Twiggy Dave”. His peaceful existence is soon interrupted by the mysterious Yukio, who drags him to Japan to meet her boss. It is there that Wolverine must battle Yakuza, battle ninja, and battle the urge to blow his whole travel allowance on tentacle porn. Damn you Tokyo.

The Good:

After the clusterfuck of X-Men 3, and the infected Horse Blood transfusion that was X-Men Origins: Wolverine film  -I thought I was all but done with these mutant hero films. But along came the pleasant surprise of X-Men: First Class in 2011, and the X Franchise took a turn for the better. Wolverine is a decent film, and a nice way to kill a few hours. It plays out like a mutant James Bond in Tokyo.

The Bad:

The ending stinks. After all of the good will they build up for the first two thirds of it’s running time, they decide to piss in our eyes with a dopey CGI villain with a dumb motive.

Stinger:

Sorta silly scene tacked on that teases the events of the next X-Film, Days Of Future Past.

Future Films:

X-Men: Days Of Future Past (2014), X-Men: Apocalypse (2016), Wolverine 3 (2017).

The Final Word:

Is there any point in me chiming in here? By this point you’ve either joined the Super Hero train, or you’re on the side line scratching your head at the constant barrage of Super Hero films each and every year. This is the fifth, of eight proposed films featuring Hugh Jackman as Wolverine (not including his cameo in X-Men: First Class). It’s a decent addition to a series you are already watching/ignoring.

3.5

lone_ranger

What’s It About:

Popular TV shows from yesteryear, remade as modern tongue in cheek  films. It’s a tremendous idea, and it certainly worked a treat for Charlie’s Angels, Starsky and Hutch, The Green Hornet, The A-Team, Get Smart, Wild Wild West, Dukes of Hazzard, Bewitched, Dennis the Menace, Mr Magoo, McHale’s Navy, Alvin and the Chipmunks, Dragnet, Fat Albert, The Flinstones, George of the Jungle, The Beverly Hillbillies, I Spy, Inspector Gadget, Land of the Lost, Lost in Space, He-Man, Popeye, Rocky and Bullwinkle, Scooby Doo, The Avengers, The Mod Squad, The Smurfs and you know what, give the people at Guinness  a call because I’m pretty sure I just cracked the record for world’s longest sarcastic sentence.

The Good:

The epic train action piece at the film’s conclusion is a CGI nightmare, and in context quite stupid. But it’s also kinda fun. If you spot it kicking off while surfing cable TV some night in the future give it a peep, though I advise ignoring the rest of the film if possible.

The Bad:

Another year, another Quirky Johnny Depp film. I swear there’s a plaque on a wall somewhere in Hollywood that states “If all else fails, just add Johnny Depp + Wacky hair/voice/hat“. At NASA, Astronauts in training are taught to go to their nearest cinema upon re-entry to the planet. If there’s a film showing where Johnny Depp is dressed and acting like a dickhead, then they know they are back on modern day Earth and haven’t gone through a wormhole to a similar looking alien planet. Sure, you guys might love Jack Sparrow – but I’ll test your loyalty after the fifth and sixth Pirates films.

Tonto is an easy enough design, but Depp looks like an emo nightmare. His version looks like the result of Alice Cooper fucking a dead sea gull. I heard it was based on a painting of an actual Indian, and this film is so bad it has made me culturally insensitive.

I’m not a fan of the original Lone Ranger (Christ, I’m not that fucking old), but still I was pissed off how downright disrespectful this film is to the source material. Every iconic moment is ridiculed, Depp stopping just short of ripping the Lone Ranger’s mask off, dropping it in the dirt, and taking a steaming turd on it.

The Final Word:

Meh. Don’t bother. Life is too short. Go do something productive instead, like ring your Grandma, or pay a visit to the Dentist. It’s been ages since you had your teeth checked.

squirrelnew

the_end

What’s It About:

A group of funny movie stars attend a party at James Franco’s house, only to hole up there once the Apocalypse kicks in. During the opening scene, a giant sinkhole opens up in front of the house, and various familiar faces fall into the depths of Hell. Man, I wish I had been there. I would have kicked the entire cast of The Big Bang Theory into that fucker for sure.

The boys decide to ride out the rapture in Franco’s house, facing such perils as starvation, demons, and a gun toting Hermione from Harry Potter.

The Good:

The film is hilarious, I actually saw this half drunk drinking smuggled in bourbon at a cinema in Perth, and laughed like a drug-fucked homeless vagrant for most of the movie’s running time. This isn’t an Ocean’s Eleven circle jerk where you never quite feel like you’re in on the joke, the actors involved take merciless swings at themselves and each other.

The special effects and creature designs are fantastic. Prepare to have your LCD screen full of demon cock.

The Bad:

It can feel a little episodic at times. I read one detractor’s comment online that This is The End didn’t feel like a film so much as a series of webisodes stitched together, and I think it is a fair complaint.

At times, the film can fall into the trap many modern comedies do – too crass and not funny. The jerk off humour seems a little dated.

I don’t think they landed the ending, there’s a dance number that seems quite out of place.

 The Final Word:

Highly amusing, crass and violent. Recommended.

4.5

the heat

What’s It About:

Sandra Bullock plays an uptight FBI agent. Melissa McCarthy is a foul mouthed street cop. This is Hollywood at it’s absolute fucking laziest, I’d be surprised if the script consisted of more than drunken scribbles on a bar napkin.

The Good:

A scene where the girls spend all night getting hammered in a pub is kind of amusing – but at the same time seemed like a missed opportunity for better laughs.

The Bad:

Director Paul Feig had a winner with Bridesmaids a few years ago. He tried to catch lightning in a bottle a second time by employing the same tactic – leave the camera running and let the magic happen naturally.

But there is a huge difference between letting Kirsten Wiig do her thing, and Sandra Bullock who is about as funny as child murder.

Almost every scene is riddled with weak gags and dull jokes, I’d fucking hate to see the takes that didn’t make the cut. There must be a dire vortex of comedy sitting on an editing room floor somewhere out there, sucking hapless souls into it that venture too close. It doesn’t help that the unlikely partnership of “Uptight agent” and “reckless slob cop” is so trite that it’s positively migraine inducing.

The Final Word:

I’ll leave you with this thought: They cast Melissa McCarthy for this film, as they wanted to cash in on her “I’m overweight, but super confident because I don’t give a shit” attitude. She’s got an awesomely positive outlook about her self image. So naturally when the fuckers made the poster they went and photoshopped the fat out of her face rendering her virtually unrecognizable. Poor form.

mccarth

1.5

chop

What’s It About:

Lance Reed is in a bit of a pickle. He has woken up missing a finger. Not only that, but the psycho who removed the finger has demand Lance atone for a past sin – or face the regular removal of future body parts. Problem is, Lance has no idea who the psycho is, or what the past indiscretion actually is.

The Good:

I grew up on the Z Grade trash of Troma cinema. Grindhouse garbage such as Toxic Avenger and the Class of Nukem High – classically awful video nasties, that somehow brought their own weird kind of charm to the table. Chop was created by several Trom alumni, who took their education at this school of filth and utilised to craft a very decent Comedy Horror.

It’s a pretty epic journey watching Lance slowly lose his body parts and sanity in equal measures, as he tracks down the various characters of his sordid drug fuelled past trying to find the specific mis-step he is supposed to apologise for.

Almost every character is fascinatingly sleazy and surreal, imagine Twin Peaks if it was shot in the worst neighbourhoods of Modern Day LA.

The ending is quite awesome when Lance, and you the viewer, get to the bottom of the riddle.

The Bad:

They do surprisingly well for what must have been a miniscule budget, but still a few cracks show. One scene is cut in the middle of a character’s dialogue – mid sentence. I thought the DVD actually had a fingerprint on it, but the film is actually cut like that.

The two cops harassing Lance could have been great additions to the film, but are played out in dull seriousness by unskilled actors and are a non event.

The Final Word:

Wonderfully greasy little Comedy Horror.

Four_S copy

 

only god

Only God Forgives is described as a”Danish-French neo-noir art house crime thriller” and I’ve probably lost half of you right there. Now to lose the rest of you with the film’s plot: It involves an American drug smuggler living in Bangkok by the name of Julian, who must contend with his bitch mother (in town to avenge her other son’s death, murdered by the father of the 14 year old girl he had raped and beaten to death), and a local Lieutenant whose hobbies include dismemberment, eye gouging, and (shudder) Karaoke.

The Good/ The Bad

Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to the most divisive film of 2013. At the Cannes press screening, critics booed and walked out of the cinema. Those who stayed gave it a standing ovation.

The film’s structure is certainly an acquired taste – long quiet scenes, interlaced with moments of extreme violence. Not to mention the trippy visions that the central characters keeps having. If you can get into the groove, the film will lock you into it’s hypnotic rhythm. But odds are it really will not be your bag. It took many people by surprise, especially those who enjoyed Nicholas Winding Refn and Ryan Gosling’s previous collaboration Drive.

The Final Word:

Myself personally? I loved the film. I’m giving it five squirrels. But fair warning, it is definitely not for everyone.

Five_S

 

 

 

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