Film: Arena

Year: 2011

Cast: Samuel L Jackson, Kellan Lurz, Johhny Messner, Katie Winter, Daniel Dae Kim, James Remar, Nina Dobrev, Lauren Shihama, Irene Choi, Kofi Yaidom, Derek Mears, Dean J West,JasonZone Fisher, Kent Jude Bernard, Grant Case.

Plot: After his wife and unborn child are killed in a car accident David Lord [Kellen Lurz] goes off the rails and soon finds himself forced into the savage world of a modern gladiatorial arena, where men fight to the death for the entertainment of the online masses. As death dealer he has to complete ten kills to gain his freedom. Will he survive and will he get his revenge?

Review: I was expecting this film to be just a blood fest and a predictable one at that and I wasn’t disappointed, although I did watch it because Samuel L Jackson was in it and for that reason only.

As far as films of this type go it was ok and no more, the fight scenes should have been extended and not glossed over as they were; it ended up with just a load of killing scenes.

There is a little bit of a back story to this to get you into it but not much of one, you have no real understanding of whom or what the characters are until near the end a little confusing at first, as I am not sure that firemen are trained in martial arts etc… I have never seen any that take part in ultimate fighter either, so the fact that he can disarm and kill a samurai as well as other trained fighters was really strange. The change of Heart for his kidnapper the gorgeous Katia Winter was a little predictable, but added humanity to the film.  The main question I have is why? Mr Jackson Why? The only reason I can think he did this film was because he read the wrong script and thought oh go on then I’ll do it seeing I’m here!

But with that said if you’re not expecting too much out of a film and what you want is flat acting with plenty of blood sweat and guts, with the odd pair of tits thrown in. then this is the film for you. The ending is left open for a sequel, but if Mr Jackson has any scruples at all when he escaped at the end of this film he ran and ran, he then went into hiding till a proper script came along. Let’s hope the writers run out of paper when writing a follow up to this turkey!

Just as a side note, if you watch the trailer below you won’t actually have to watch the film as it pretty much sums it up.

5/10 watch on a cold dark day when there is only antiques roadshow on!

Trailer: http://youtu.be/3rOBJZn4JFo

Film: Untraceable

Year: 2008

Cast: Diane Lane, Billy Burke, Colin Hanks, Joseph Cross, Mary Beth Hurt, Peter Lewis, Tyrone Giordano, Perla Haney-Jardine, Tim De Zarn, Christopher Cousins, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Trina Adams, Brynn Baron, John Breen, Dan Callahan, Erin Carufel, Ryan Deal, Marilyn Deutsch, Gray Eubank,

Plot: A secret service agent, Jennifer Marsh, gets caught in a very personal and deadly cat-and-mouse game with a serial killer who knows that people (being what they are – both curious and drawn to the dark side of things) will log onto an “untraceable” website where he conducts violent and painful murders LIVE on the net. The more people who log on and enter the website, the quicker and more violently the victim dies

Review: this was a film that brings home some of the realities of people who spend so much time in the online world and not enough time in the real world. People who cannot distinguish what is real and what is fake. Also the human addiction to wanting to watch people in distress, and the fascination with the ghoulish.

This film is like driving past an accident, you know you shouldn’t watch but you just have to.

I think in a sideways view it just goes to show how fast something can become popular via the internet, if there is something funny or gross on you tube these are the ones that get the most views. In essence this is what the whole film is about, people watching something Gross and nasty and then telling other people to watch it, this then results in the end product of someone’s death.

Are people appalled by this? No they can’t wait to watch it again and are eagerly waiting for the next time the web site is activated. I really liked this film everything about it was good and it didn’t have or need CGI or anything it was just like a longer CSI programme and just as enjoyable.

This film isn’t for the faint hearted, even though its not a horror as such there special effects/makeup of the victims is pretty realistic. Although admittedly I haven’t ever seen someone dissolved in Sulphuric Acid before!

This film is definite must see for any cop show enthusiast, it doesn’t however keep you guessing as to who is doing the murders live on the internet what it does do is it keeps you thinking why he is doing it, what his motivation is, you don’t find this out till really late in the film, see if you can work it out.

9/10 well worth a watch, not for the faint of heart though, a real anti-social network film.

Trailer: http://youtu.be/OLYo5tMylQM

Film: The Tree Musketeers

Year: 2011

Cast:  Orlando Bloom, Mathew Macfadyen, Milla Jovovich, Luke Evans, Helen George, Chriustian Oliver, Ray Stevenson, Til Schweiger, Markus Brand, Logan Lerman, Dexter Fletcher, Jane Perry, Mads Mikkelsen, Andy Gathergood, Christopher Waltz, Freddie Fox, Carsten Norgaard, Gabriella Wilde, James Cordon, Juno Temple, Nina Eichinger.

Plot: After failing in a scheme to steal Leonardo Da Vinci’s airship blueprints, the Musketeers are disbanded by Cardinal Richelieu leaving Athos, Porthos and Aramis on the streets ofParis. In the meantime, the young, reckless and ambitious D’Artagnan has set off fromGascony with dreams of becoming a musketeer himself, not realizing that they have been disbanded. In no time, D’Artagnan manages to offend Athos, Porthos and Aramis on different occasions and challenges them all to duels. However before the duels can take place they are attacked by guards, trying to arrest them for illegal duelling. The ex-musketeers and D’Artagnan fight off the soldiers, leading to the four men becoming a band with the motto of “All for one, and one for all”. Count Richelieu is not only determined to be rid of the musketeers, but also schemes with Athos’ former lover Milady to undermine the reign of King Louis and his wife…

Review: Since Alexandre Dumas wrote the Three Muskateers in 1844 there have been too many films to count [ the first being made in 1903] each one brings it’s own character and its own flair this is no exception, the story is the same the characters are the same its just told in a slightly different way.

The one for me was the 1973 version with Spike Milligan and Roy Kinnear absolute classic, but this is a different film for a different age, in this one they have flying ships and a mission impossibly type spy version of Milady de Winter played by the very athletic Milla Jovovich who I remember best as Leeloo the very scantily clad woman from the 1997 film the fifth Element with Bruce Willis, but I digress so back to the film in hand. The Three Musketeers isn’t a bad film, it’s not fantastic but it’s not bad. The acting and the action are as you would expect from such a high class lineup. But it is all very predictable and nothing really surprises you. Even the flying ship didn’t leave me agog. As much as I like these film’s they are tired now and should just be left to one side for say 20 or 30 years so most of us have forgotten about them and then maybe try again to wow us with the story. However with that in mind would I recommend you watch it? Well yes of course I would even if it’s just for the really bad acting by smithy oops sorry by James Cordon [he really isn’t Roy Kannear is he?] You’ll see a few familiar faces and you can laugh or cringe and James Cordon getting shat on by Pigeons!!!

07/10 Rainy Sunday with nothing better to do

Trailer: http://youtu.be/38an1IAG1TA

Film: Kelly’s Heroes

Year: 1970

Cast:  Clint Eastwood, Telly Savalas, Don Rickles,, Donald Sutherland Carroll O’Conner, Gavon McLeod, Hal Buckley, Stuart Margolin, Jeff Morris, Richard Davalos, Perry Lopez, Tom Troupe, Harry Dean Stanton, Dick Baldduzzi, Gene Collins

Plot: During World War II a German Colonel is captured by the Americans but before he can be interrogated an artillery barrage hits the camp. However, Ex-Lieutenant Kelly manages to reach the Colonel, get him drunk and learn that he is on a secret mission to ship $16,000,000 of gold to a base inFrance. Kelly is determined to get the gold and plans for himself and a few of his fellow soldiers to slip into enemy territory and steal the bullion.

Review: This has to be the best war film and top name heavy; I watched this film in Manchester on Deansgate with my Gran in 1970 when it came out, I was only a little kid and didn’t really get who all these people were but was in awe at this all action fast paced film.

I watched it a good few years later when it was on the TV again watching it with my Gran and it hadn’t lost any of its appeal Eastwood is what he is straight faced and determined holds the whole thing together with a sterling performance from the late great telly Savalas as big Joe bad tempered and always on someone’s case. My favourite has to be the great Mr Sutherland as Oddball, his troop of misfits and vagabonds has me in stitches from start to finish, especially with his paint missiles and the music playing full blast as they drive out of the rail tunnel blasting everything in sight. Don Rickels plays a cracking part as the money grabbing quartermaster crapgame, who nearly has a coronary when he’s shown the gold bar by Kelly.

A cross between a war film and a black comedy this film has never lost its appeal for me and never looks old. This is defiantly not a film that could ever be improved as a remake; I don’t think you could ever recreate the chemistry that the stars have in this film and if it’s on I always switch over to watch it.

10/10 Awesome for any age and a great sound track.

Trailer: http://youtu.be/beAQVm1j56w

 

Film: The Woman in Black

Year: 2012

Cast: Emma Shorey, Molly Harmon, Sophie Stuckey, Daniel Radcliffe, Misha Handley, Jessica Rain, Roger Allam, Lucy May Barker, Indira Ainger, Andy Robb, Ciaran Hinds, Shaun Dooley, Mary Stockley, Alexia Osborne, Alfie Field.

Plot: A young lawyer travels to a remote village where he discovers the vengeful ghost of a scorned woman is terrorizing the locals.

Review: This is the second film of the same name based on the novel by Susan Hill, the first from 1989, there is apparently a stage show as well which is supposed to be really scary. I have to confess I haven’t seen the stage show and only watched the 1989 version after this new Hammer Horror version.

The film was classic Hammer the brooding sets the suspense and to a certain degree the tackiness of it all.

Harry sorry Daniel Radcliffe now an angle jawed veteran of stage and screen will unfortunately always be Harry Potter which is a shame as I caught myself muttering “watch out Harry” and “oh Harry you’re all dirty” amongst others which is real shame he played the part well, the scenes were set well the village and the house were perfect for this film, the creepy toys and the mist, spine tingling stuff.

Is the film scary? Erm no not really, it’s jumpy but in a you know its coming way. It has a sense of déjà vu about it, the locked room, and the guy who doesn’t take hints not to go to the house, scared locals, all which kind of add to the Hammer way of doing things.

On the whole if you can get over the Harry Potter thing it’s not actually a bad film, great costumes and scenery and the acting is well up to standard, not blood thirsty just jumpy in places.

7/10 well worth a look, try and get Harry out of your head though!

Trailer: http://youtu.be/7lReemWmO5o

Film: The Road

Year: 2009

Cast: Viggo Mortensen, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Robert Duvall, Guy Pearce, Molly Parker, Michael Kenneth Williams, Garret Dillahunt, Charlize Theron, Bob Jennings, Agnes Herrmann, Buddy Sosthand, Kirk Brown, Jack Erdie, David August Lindauer, Gina Preciado.

Plot: A father and his son walk alone through burnedAmerica. Nothing moves in the ravaged landscape save the ash on the wind and water. It is cold enough to crack stones, and, when the snow falls it is gray. The sky is dark. Their destination is the warmer south, although they don’t know what, if anything, awaits them there. They have nothing: just a pistol to defend themselves against the lawless cannibalistic bands that stalk the road, the clothes they are wearing, a rusting shopping cart of scavenged food–and each other.

Review: This is a strange one, I have had this film for what seems and age and something else has always been more appealing to watch, Not a fast paced film an one that is not very personal, a post apocalyptic film. Apocalyptic event is unknown so could be anything Nuclear, Asteroid. It’s unclear.

But what is clear is that there is nothing to eat and they are literally running for their lives, a few flash backs fill in the family blanks and why Father and son team are on their own and why they are heading south.

The film is rather slow in places but there is always a sense of foreboding with the odd glimmer of hope here and there, I think the main aim of this film is to show the strength you can have in the face of adversity, how surviving when you have nothing is actually possible, the on screen relationship between Mortensen and Smith-McPhee was electrifying and believable and eventually heart breaking, not that you didn’t see it coming.

And second as the post apocalyptic film that it is Stark, bleak and unwelcoming in every way, a possible look at how things will be if we make the wrong move as a species.

There were a few good cameo’s in the film Robert Duvall as the old man, wandering the wilderness a lonely weary yet worldly wise figure, a small part but defiantly memorable and Charlize Theron as the mother, happy at first and all the flash backs show a happy home life, then the desperation as she sinks more into depression and an inability to cope with the world around her changing, just thought provoking.

So is this film worth a watch? Well yes and no it depends on what you want, a good story and an intense film about the relationship between father and son in a difficult and impossible situation then yes, a slasher, explosion heavy and lots of killing then no not for you.

9/10 well worth a viewing, can’t believe I left it so long

Trailer: http://youtu.be/hbLgszfXTAY

 

Film: Texas Chainsaw Massacre

Year: 2003

Cast: Jessical Biel, Jonathan Tucker, Erica Leerhsen, Mike Vogel, Eric Balfour, Andrew Bryniarski, R. Lee Ermey, David Dorfman Lauren German, Terrence Evans,Marietta Marich, Heather Kafka, Kathy Lamkin, Brad Leland, Mamie Meek.

Plot: Driving through the backwoods ofTexas, five youths pick up a traumatized hitchhiker, who shoots herself in their van. Shaken by the suicide, the group seeks help from the locals, but their situation becomes even more surreal when they knock on the door of a remote homestead. It’s quickly apparent the residents are a family of inbred psychopaths, and the unlucky youths suddenly find themselves running for their lives. In hot pursuit is a disfigured, chainsaw-wielding cannibal known as Leatherface

Review: This is not a bad remake of the original, however about halfway through it becomes a scream fest not because of the horror content but because of the women in it, they scream incessantly throughout the film right from the point that the girl kills herself in the back of the campervan, the seta and the special effects make this film, the acting is ok but sheriff Hoyt’s shouting takes me back to him being the drill sergeant in Full Metal Jacket.

There is plenty of blood as you would expect from an American slasher but its ok it’s kind of in keeping with the whole massacre theme, there are a few places where you think you just wouldn’t go or things you just wouldn’t do.

Funniest part in the film is when leatherface turns round after killing one of the girls and he has the face of one of the guys he has just killed, hysterical.

Not a bad ending either, made me jump as I was expecting something but not that

7/10 Slasher remake nothing more, in this case the original 1974 movie is the best.

Trailer: http://youtu.be/Mra_Z3cpGCM

Film: Straw Dogs

Year: 2011

Cast: James Marsden, Kate Bosworth, Alexander Skarsgard, James Woods, Dominic Pucell, Rhys Coiro, Billy Lush, Laz Alonso, Willa Holland, Walton Goggins, Drew Powell, Fristen Shaw, Megan Cook.

Plot: L.A. screenwriter David Sumner relocates with his wife to her hometown in the Deep South. There, while tensions build between them, a brewing conflict with locals becomes a threat to them both. It’s time for someone to man up.

Review: I don’t remember the original 1971 film with Dustin Hoffman and Susan George as I am too young, Cough! Cough! So I really didn’t have anything to compare it with I enjoyed James Woods as the Failed Football star and disgruntled Ex coach always wanting to take it out on someone and rally the has been footballers of the town around him. I also like the character of Charlie [Alexander Skasgard of True blood Fame] the Local heart throb and ex lover of Amy.

The film starts slowly as we get to know the characters David [James Marsden] The Hot shot writer and Amy [Kate Bosworth] bit part actress and home coming queen.

There is boiling all the way through this film, your waiting for the cork to pop any moment, a few of those moments are supplied by James woods and although I really enjoyed watching him it did get a bit tired him going on about his daughter all the time, and yes I know her going missing is why the film comes to such a dramatic end but it did go on a bit.

There were a couple of parts in the film that I though “oh dear god! How cheesy” one was during the rape scene when david was in the woods him shooting the deer coinsided with an event during the scene, leave that you youre imagination. And the second when he finally got a pair and he put the music on in the house!

The last part of the film was the best part for me plenty of action and blood and guts, it would have been funny in places if it hadn’t been so violent.

7/10 Worth a watch once, good acting but won’t be rushing to watch it again. The Godfather it isn’t!

Watch the Trailer then watch the film, one is not a mirror to the other, a bit of great editing.  Trailer: http://youtu.be/7krZZabaC_U

Film: Pandorum

Year: 2009

Cast: Dennis Quaid, Ben Foster, Cam Gigandet, Antje Traue, Cung Le, Eddie Rouse, Norman Redus, Andre Hennicke, Friederike Kempter, Niels-Bruno Schidt,Asia Luna Mohmand, Delphine Chuillot, Wotan Wilke Hohring, Julian Rappe, Domenico D’Ambrosio

Plot: Two crew members are stranded on a spacecraft and quickly – and horrifically – realize they are not alone. Two astronauts awaken in a hyper-sleep chamber aboard a seemingly abandoned spacecraft. It’s pitch black, they are disoriented, and the only sound is a low rumble and creak from the belly of the ship. They can’t remember anything: Who are they? What is their mission? With Lt. Payton staying behind to guide him via radio transmitter, Cpl. Bower ventures deep into the ship and begins to uncover a terrifying reality. Slowly the spacecraft’s shocking, deadly secrets are revealed…and the astronauts find their own survival is more important than they could ever have imagined

Review: I have read a few reviews about this film and they have really gone to town to give it a really bad review, I must admit it is yet another film that has slid successfully under my radar, and must also admit I would have wanted to watch it on the big screen, I really enjoyed it.

Not one for tight spaces this film had me from the start crawling through ducts getting smaller and smaller then falling to a dead end, no not for me, gave me a bit of a squeaky bum!

However once Bower escapes this confinement the film starts to come into it’s own, with the atmospheric interior of the ship the flickering lights etc… really added to the suspense of what was going to happen, at first you don’t see who he is trying to get away from, but when you do you realise why he needs to get away, teaming up with some other members of the ship that have been “woken up” in their endeavours to find the core and reset it they get chased all over the ship, there are a couple of personal journeys of discovery in this film and an ending I didn’t expect which was a nice touch. Not as predictable as I thought it would have been.

All in all well acted well directed and great sets and CGI and not to mention the makeup for the villains of the film

8/10 well worth a watch, expect to be sat on the edge of your seat in places

Trailer: http://youtu.be/yMEhkTxs3_E

Film: Underworld Awakening

Year: 2012

Cast: Kate Beckinsale, Stephen Rea, Michael Ealy, Theo James,India Eisley, Sandrine Holt, Charles Dance, Kris Holden-Ried, Jacob Blair, Adam Greydon Reid, Catlin Adams, Robert Lawrenson, Lee Majdoub, Tyler Mclendon, Panou.

Plot: set 12 years after the 2nd film the humans have discover the existence of the Vampire and Lycan clans, a war to eradicate both species commences. The vampire warrior Selene is caught and placed in suspended animation, but so has someone else, who is it and what is going on with the increase in the Lycan number Selene leads the battle against humankind, and try and figure out what has been going on in the last 12 years and what happens next?

Review: This is the eagerly awaited fourth film in the Underworld franchise, Selene played as always by the gorgeous Kate Beckinsale reeks havoc as she comes to terms with the lost 12yrs of her life, the film starts with the back story just in case there are people out there who haven’t seen any of the other films, we are then plunged in to the star heavy cast lead by a brief appearance by Charles Dance.

The film in places seems to be a little rushed and you don’t really get too into any of the new characters which isn’t really a problem as the story does revolve around a very angry and gun happy Selene as she rampages after her 12yr old daughter that she didn’t realise she had. Bit of emotional turmoil there then? No not really you get a quick 2 second burst of emotion, well I think that’s what it was. Then on with the fighting.

It’s a good twist that her daughter is also some kind of Hybrid [Seleneis a kind of Hybrid as she can now walk round in the sun] just like her father Michael Corvin [Scott Speedman] who incidentally you see twice in the film once on the dock waiting for Seleneprior to her capture and once near the end when in suspended animation, but he’s not credited in the film! I have read in other places that his likeness was superimposed onto another actor using CGI, he is due to return for the next film though apparently?

The film is as always CGI heavy, you don’t get many werewolves walking round these days? But that doesn’t matter Beckinsale does a fantastic job as she kick’s, flips,  and shoots her way through this latest blockbuster, with the change from brooding vampire hideaway to the high tech labs of the new Lycans.

It’s a fantastic film from start to finish and as always the ending is left so wide open you could sail the Titanic through it, but who cares it’s vampires and Lycans battling and it’s great. and Kate wears her trademark rubber stuff, so all is good in the world.

10/10 Watch it, you won’t be disappointed

 

Trailers: 1 http://youtu.be/tUcrbUCWKQc

                  2 http://youtu.be/rzRQwjlecFE

                  3 http://youtu.be/-E5GBc6YuQY