Cheeky Quotes

Monday, 30 April 2012

The Avengers

Certificate: 12A

Dir: Joss Whedon

Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Jeremy Renner, Scarlett Johansson, Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L Jackson

Rating: 5/5

It is finally here. Five brilliant Marvel films and plenty of fan speculation have finally come together and culminated in the ultimate comic book film: The Avengers (or Avengers Assemble if you are in the United Kingdom – we have to be different). If you don’t know about The Avengers then where have you been – I mean serious, where?  So the basic premise of the story is that when Earth’s safety is threatened, Nick Fury, the leader of S.H.E.I.L.D, rallies together a group of superheroes – namely Ironman, Captain America, Thor, Hulk, Black Widow and Hawkeye – to save the planet from destruction brought about by Thor’s brother, Loki. If you are a fan of comic books and comic book films, then this is the ultimate cinematic nerdgasm that you have longed to see on screen, but have never had the pleasure of witnessing – until now.

The Avengers lives up to, surpasses and smashes (Hulk style!) any expectations that people had for the film. Joss Whedon has produced probably one of the best superhero film ever made, a film that is right up there with The Dark Knight for sheer spectacle and marvel. Admittedly I was concerned that the hype for the film, which has been building ever since Nick Fury (Samuel L Jackson) proposed the Avenger initiative to Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) in the post-credit sequence in Ironman, would ultimately make the film feel as though it had been just thrown together for the sake of it. However, the plot ties in all the elements from The Incredible Hulk, Thor, Captain America: The First Avenger and the two Ironman films brilliantly, allowing each character’s journey to continue right from where they left off.  The film allows each character to have their specific role rather than making it feel as though they are just there for the sake of being there, with no character being overlooked nor their screen time depleted.

Although all the characters are portrayed brilliantly, I feel come credit needs to be given to Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner and his green, powerhouse, bone-crunching alter ego that is the Hulk. There were concerns after Edward Norton was replaced that the character wouldn’t be as effective or as welcomed as he would have been before the re-cast. However, Ruffalo pulls it out the bag and delivers my favourite performance as the damaged and awkward Bruce Banner. Yet the Hulk, without a doubt, supplies as much comedy as Tony Stark, with some hilarious, unexpected moments of rage that had the audience in hysterics - HULK FUNNY as he would probably say.

All I can say is that the film was unbelievably good, with an ensemble cast that hopefully will be returning in another few years time for The Avengers 2 – that is after Captain America 2, Thor 2, Ironman 3 and others (potentially a Hawkeye spinoff). As with all the other Marvel films, there is a post credit sequence, but this actually occurs a few minutes after rather than right at the end. For all you Marvel fan boys out there, there is a little hint and the possible plot of any future Avenger films.

So have you seen The Avengers? What did you think of the film? If you could be any of the heroes, who would it be? Comment below, follow or contact me via Twitter


Friday, 27 April 2012

The Cabin in the Woods

Dir: Drew Goddard

Cast: Kirsten Connelly, Chris Hemsworth, Anna Hutchinson, Fran Kranz

Certificate: 15

Rating: 5/5

If you go down to the woods today, you’re in for a big surprise – literally. There have been so many generic horror films that fail to be unique or completely revitalize the genre. As I mentioned in my review for The Woman in Black, they tend to be gratuitously gory with actors that make Eastenders look like Chekov – I am not a fan of horror. However, due to the hype of the ‘game-changing’ film by Drew Goddard’s The Cabin in the Woods, I thought I would see what all the fuss is about. Youtube film, game and television critic Jeremy Jahns said in his review that the film reminded him of a Stephen King novel. Now when he said this I wasn’t too sure – there are a lot of good Stephen King novels such as ‘It’ and ‘The Mist’, and personally I thought Jeremy was building my anticipation up too much and that I would be disappointed and somewhat unfulfilled by the film – but he hit the nail on the head. This film, like the works of King, plays on your mind for a long time after you have left the cinema. It is not because it is overly creepy or scary, but because it is clear that the film has one objective: create a horror film unlike anything seen before.

Produced by Joss ‘The Avengers’ Whedon, the plot of the film sounds very conventional for teen horror film, where a group of high school teenagers travel to a heavily wooded and ominous part of the country and aim to let loose and party hard. Now in true horror style there is a killer or a virus or a Bigfoot-like Gremlin that picks them off slowly until the best actor among them is still standing – but this isn’t your normal horror film.  It would be a crime for me to spoil the true surprise of the film, but all I will say is that there were moments in this film and in the narrative as a whole that I did not see coming. It is a rarity to be surprised by a horror film – in fact the last time I was surprised in a horror film was ... er... okay I can’t remember, but my point is that this film not only pulls the carpet from out under your feet, it pulls the carpet from out under your feet wraps you in it and throws you off a bridge.

There were so many moments in this film when I reflected on Jeremy’s comment about Stephen King, and if this was a novel I would recommend it as a good read. It takes you by the throat, slaps you round the face and shakes off all the generic aspects of horror that we have become accustom to and thrown them back in to make a cocktail that will please, confuse and astound all fans of horror and even cinema in general. Even if you are not a fan of horror or this genre of film, I would advise you, as I did, to forget about every terrible horror ‘film’ you have ever seen and go and see this – it will not disappoint.

So have you seen The Cabin in the Woods? What did you think of the film? Feel free to comment below or contact me via twitter

Saturday, 7 April 2012

The Hunger Games - Review

Director: Gary Ross

Certificate: 12A

Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Stanley Tucci

Rating: 4/5

Most people would find it difficult to kill someone, but what if you were thrown into a survival of the fittest, fight to the death game of extreme slaughter in the wilderness that was used as a means of entertaining the masses in the future? I imagine you’d probably be ok with it. Suzanne Collin’s The Hunger Games has been adapted by director Gary Ross, which tells the story of such a world where twenty-four children from across the twelve districts of a dystopian America are placed into a last-man-standing fight to the death competition. The twenty-three losers die; the winner obtains their life – very simple. The story follows Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence), who enters the Hunger Games as a volunteer in order to save her younger sister from the brutality of the competition and almost certain death. She, along with the male contender from District 12, Peeta (Josh Hutcherson), leaves their impoverished district to head for the wealthy Capitol where they are to be trained by former Hunger Games champion Haymitch Abernathy (Woody Harrelson). Attempting to gain popularity from the audience prior to the games, the cold and emotionless Katniss must learn to get the public to like her and obtain sponsorship and be provided with assistance during the games if she is to ever survive.

As a viewer who has never read Collin’s novels, I can honestly say that I really enjoyed the film. The exhausting action sequences combined with the isolation felt by the competitors was brilliantly depicted on screen. I didn’t initially warm to Katniss as a character, which I suppose is intentional, as she is meant to seem distant and independent, however, as the game progressed and we saw her true character, I thought that Jennifer Lawrence was brilliant in the role. Woody Harrelson was hilarious and powerful as the former champion come mentor who has become an alcoholic mess due to his retirement – similar to many sports celebrities when you think about it. Other that the cast, the energy of the film was brilliant: despite a few long drawn out sequences of romances between Peeta and Katniss which allowed the viewer to breath, the action sequences and combat scenes of sword play and archery were very impressive. With reported increases in the sales of toy bows and arrows, along with an interest in archery schools and shooting range visits the film obviously triggers the adventurer and the Legolas gene within each audience member.

My only criticism of the film is that despite being a 12A, I actually found The Hunger Games a big too violent for the certificate. I mean it is not bloody violence, but breaking a child’s neck and watching other young adults get killed in imaginative and brutal ways is potentially off putting for some viewers. It doesn’t personally bother me, I still thought the death scenes were creative and well executed, but I just feel that caution should be advised when showing this film to children. Saying that, I loved the film and for the first time after seeing novel adapted to the screen, I am actually eager to read the original material. With a sequel planned for the near future, I will be raiding my nearest book store to purchase Collin’s Hunger Games series to be able to enjoy the future films as a viewer who is a true fan boy of the series.

So have you seen the Hunger Games? Are you looking forward to the sequels? Has the film made you want to become a real life warrior? Comment below or contact me via twitter

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

21 Jump Street

Director: Phil Lord and Chris Miller

Certificate: 15

Cast: Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill, Brie Larson, Dave Franco, Ice Cube

Rating: 4/5

Cop Comedies are great aren't they? One of the few styles of comedy that are almost certain to get big laughs. Hot Fuzz, Rush Hour, Blue Streak and Bad Boys: these are all films that I can still genuinely enjoy. So with the release of 21 Jump Street, I was looking forward to seeing yet another brilliant comedy in the long line of excellent buddy cop comedies, full of over the top explosions, cheesy lines and through the air gunfire, all topped off with some cliché cop movie references thrown in just for laughs.

21 Jump Street, for those of you born in Britain and in the 90’s, is based upon a TV drama series with the pre-Captain Jack Sparrow Johnny Depp and Dustin Nguyen as undercover police officers posing as high-school teens. However, the film adaptation, starring Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill, turns the serious (and frankly unrealistic drama) into a comedy, identifying the absurdity of the original series and playing with that idea. Schmidt and Jenko (Hill and Tatum respectively), two high-school teens at opposite ends of the popularity spectrum become unlikely friends when both join the police force, who are then instructed to work undercover in a high-school to uncover a drug ring, exposing the dealers and identifying the supplier.

During their time back in high-school, the once popular Jenko is alienated by how times have changed, becoming an ostracized individual and scorned by his fellow classmates. However, Schmidt, who was once shy and incapable of talking to girls, falls in with the popular kids in school, much to Jenko’s disapproval. Many fans of the original series would probably feel uncertain towards the change from a drama to a comedy; however, the change works perfectly. Hill and Tatum are perfect together; both actors deliver their lines sharply and with great timing. This surprised me, as I wasn’t sure whether I would buy into the pair of their being friends having been a different ends of the social spectrum becoming best-friends-forever. Yet their timing and the way they played off each other’s lines was fun and entertaining to watch, allowing a true friendship to blossom on screen.

Overall I will say that 21 Jump Street was another brilliant cop comedy. The film is slightly predictable, but as this wasn’t directed by Christopher Nolan, I did not expect to have my mind muscle exercised. Despite his predictability, the film had me in stitches, with the humour being the surprising element that kept the pacing of the film at a high level. If you are looking for a laugh with mates or need a film to take the girlfriend or boyfriend to see, this is a film that everyone can appreciate and laugh at in equal measure.

So what is your favourite cop comedy? Do you agree with what I say about 21 Jump Street? Let me know below or contact me via twitter @Rohanseal221B