Saturday, August 14, 2010

A Handful of Film Reviews

Thanks to LoveFilm, my recently seen movie quota is significantly up at the moment. And you lucky people get to enjoy my so called reviews.

Beginning with..!

Frequently Asked Questions About Time Travel

What Shaun of the Dead is to zombies, FAQ about Time Travel is to, well, time travel. And the comparison is obvious and no doubt one that's been used numerous times before (including in the trailer). But, it does capture the general style and feel of the film quite well. It's that quirky, off-beat, British humor we've all grown to know and love (unless you haven't).

Staring Roy out of the IT Crowd, Shakespeare out of that episode of Doctor Who and this other guy, the misadventures of these unlikely heroes centre around the men's bathroom of their local pub where there's some sort of time leak - Weirdness ensues!

And to be honest, I thought it was fantastic. I mean, it's the sort of convoluted time travel madness that Steven Moffat would be proud of, and frankly I welcome it with open arms. And like all infuriating time travel stories, it ends with the major events of the film not actually having happened. Technically.

If you like Doctor Who, if you like time travel, if you like British comedy.., you should like this film.

I'd definitely recommend it.

Catch Me If You can

Great fun. The life of Frank Abagnale Jr. - renowned fraudster. The man who could charm the pants off of anyone. Then slip out the window with all your money. But you'd be too damn impressed to care.

I wouldn't buy it on DVD (unless I were feeling particularly impulsive). But odds are, if you wait til Christmas it'll be on then, if not before. And it is worth watching.

The Imaginarium of Dr Parnassus

Heath Ledger's last film. Which is a shame, because he was damn good in it! Johnny Depp was similarly on form; Jude Law and Collin Farrell, nothing special. And Lily Cole was surprisingly not crap!

The story itself surrounds Dr Parnassus and his on-going deals with The Devil - the latest of which is first to five souls, the prize being Parnassus' daughter. And thank God Heath Ledger showed up (hanging from a bridge) or Parnassus would have failed miserably. I mean he did still failed, but it's a lot more intricate than that.

It's quaint and magical and charming; But surprisingly underwhelming. I mean it was 4 out of 5 stars good, but I was expecting something a little more.. epic. If you were planning on buying it, I'd give it a couple of months til the price drops again, but it is worth watching nonetheless.

The Mist

For the love of God, why didn't they kill that nut-case sooner?! The Mist, for those who don't know, features the most infuriating religious psychopath you will ever see, and it'll have you wanting to round up all the God-fearing and have them shot. You know, just in case.

Based on a book by Stephen King, it's fantastic, end of the world, horror that's more about how people can turn against each other in dire situations, than about the actual threat. Though the monsters are suitably formidable.

The Dream Lord himself (Toby Jones)co-stars as friendly shop assistant and surprise bad-ass, and he was just plain amazing. So how dare they let him get eaten when he was so close to freedom and safety.

The other amazing thing about The Mist is its ending. So bittersweet, you'll hate Stephen King for daring to think up something so sinister. But I'm not going to give it away.

Just watch the God damn film! About £10 in HMV, but if you can find it in ASDA (Living) it's £3, and for that price you might as well. Online, you'll have to look it up yourself.

A Scanner Darkly

The rotoscoped marvel - it's basically a cartoon traced from live action film. And it works to good effect. Especially in the more bizarre scenes.

Based on the book of the same title, this is a semi-autobiography of a period of Philip K Dick's life, and as such, it's one of those stories that doesn't really seem to be going anywhere until the big reveal at the end. And what you have at the end is that reveal that a drug rehab clinic uses its most messed up patients to (secretly) grow the drugs that put them in rehab. Keanu was purposefully made addicted to the drugs (unbeknownst to be) by the government so he could get them their evidence.

Robert Downey Jr is great in it. Keanu Reeves is Keanu Reeves. Overall, it's decent. I wouldn't pay for it. I probably wouldn't be bothered about watching it again. But it was worth watching the once. So if it's ever on TV..

Total Recall

"I just had a terrible thought - what if this is a dream?"

Inception, eat your heart out! Based on the story "We Can Remember It For You Whole-sale" by professional mind-fucker, Philip K. Dick.

Staring Governor Schwarzenegger, for the most part it's Sci-fi action thriller, and a decent one at that, if a little flamboyant.

But it gets bonus points in my book thanks to how it's framed. It starts with Arnie going to 'Rekall', a company which offers 'holidays' in the form of implanted memories (claiming that it's just as good as actually going on the holiday). But they offer Arnie something special - an adventure holiday, where he plays the part of a secret agent, who has to save Mars.

But when the machine's started up, it triggers some erased memories that, in fact, he was already a secret agent. Then shit gets real as he's hunted down by his ex-employer, eventually venturing to Mars and so on.

Or does he? Okay, my description was biased because I reckon it was all just implanted memories, but if you watch it yourself you may disagree. And it is just a massive mind-fuck.

The ending may not be as subtle as Inception's. But it doesn't really need to be. It suffices. Again, it's not something I'd pay for, but if you can see it for free, you definitely should.

Apparently they're remaking it as well, so should be interesting to see what they do with it.

And finally

Mr Nobody

My new favourite film. Why, oh why aren't you available outside of France yet? Over a year ago I saw a trailer for it on the Empire website and I've been waiting ever since. Anyway, I did finally get to watch it. And wow!

It stars Jared Leto (the 'pretty boy' from Fight Club and lead singer of 30 Seconds to Mars), as the dubiously named "Nemo Nobody"* - but I'm willing to forgive that, because it's just so damn good. It's Sci-fi with a heavy dose of quantum physics and it's three love stories for the price of one. In fact, Jared essentially plays 12 different possible outcomes of the same life - any and all of which could be real. And the big reveal is just magnificent.

The cinematography is just plain gorgeous; the music is perfect, visually it's stunning, and the DVD need to be released over here right now!

As I may have mentioned, you can't buy it outside of France yet. But when you can, you should. And if you can't wait til then, well, there are other places you can find it...

[*- nemo is Latin for nobody]


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