Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Review : The Simpsons

The Simpsons Movie :  After Homer pollutes the town's water supply, Springfield is encased in a gigantic dome by the EPA and the Simpsons family are declared fugitives. From then on it's an adventure to see how Homer Simpson can save the day.


Hey Everyone

Welcome to my last film review of 2013. The Simpsons Movie. Why have I chosen to review this as my last review of 2013? I hear you ask. Basically because I've watched it recently and it got me thinking, this might be a worth while film to talk about, that I haven't talked about yet.

In retrospect, it is a very good film indeed. I can remember being immensely excited when I found out that this film was coming out when it was announced back in 2007. I love The Simpsons, was a devoted watcher and massive fan. To hear there was a feature length adventure coming out, back then to me it was unheard of.

I suppose the prospects of doing a film, were plausible. It was just an unexpected delight to know that there actually was a film such as this coming out. It gave me a reason to wait.

Having seen it. It does have it's faults in areas. However let it not be said that it's not a good film. It sets off on a real great pace, the storyline is good, it explores The Simpson family in more depth especially Homer.

This film sees The Simpsons going off on an adventure and Springfield is in it's worst jeopardy. It's about The Simpsons becoming the enemy, running away from their problems and then turning back to face them head on. It's essentially the same format of The Inbetweeners Movie, It's an extended episode.

Watching it today. My feelings for it have changed. I don't enjoy it as much as I used to. Which is shameful to admit but it's true. I think that's because I loved it so much that I've wearied it out. I am now sick to death of this bloody film. Haven't seen it in all of three years. I have sucked out all the juice from the carton and lead it bone dry.

The story itself, Its a good storyline for a film. But it does make me question is this storyline only adequate for a film?  I don't think this story would of worked so much as part of  a series for example.

Another problem with wearing it out is, it gets boring after a while. You know what's going to happen so what is the point of continuing with it. It's pointless.

The humour in this film, is typical yet controversial to what's going on with the plot as a comparison of being hilariously funny.

As far as the light comedy is concerned, it still has its moments. To start off with, when I first saw it certain jokes in this film were very clever and original and complied into the film brilliantly like The Spider pig gag and Homer's romance with the pig, it's obscene but funny. Now, it's not so entertaining.

Here's a trailer, just to break the ice.

I what is intriguing about The Simpsons Movie is, the fact that it makes out the people in government. the people in authority to be the bad guys. The ones with the power. That's communicated through Russ Gargills character.

He has schemes and plans to control the situation, which extends to a certain extent of him wanting to blow up Springfield. and not just that, him taking a pleasure in it. that's both artistic and evil at the same time.

Overall what can I say, The Simpsons are great, the show is fantastic.

This Movie, is a bit of a let down but you live and learn. 6/10.

Thanks for reading this review.

That's it for 2013.

See you in 2014, for many more upcoming reviews and recommendations.   

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Review : The Grinch

It's the... the... the... the... THE GRINCH!


Hey everyone. 

Welcome to my latest review, today I am reviewing an adaptation of Dr Seuss's  'How the Grinch Stole Christmas' though this version the title is modified and cut down to being plain and simply just 'The Grinch'.

Jim Carrey stars as the iconic green hairy creature who lives on the top of mount crumpet and  by the way, hates Christmas.

This is another great Christmas Cracker to take pleasure in just sitting back, relaxing and enjoying it for what it is, a fun filled family adventure which appeals to children equally as it does to adults.  It's a Dr Seuss classic, taken from the book and brought to life on the big screen, and it's a live action movie which for me helps in terms of making the story more believable.

The actual look of Jim Carrey as The Grinch is fantastic, the make up and the costume are absolutely incredible it's exactly like the creature that Dr Seuss wrote up for the book, the make up looks authentic in terms of disguising Jim Carrey and making him be the character, physically as well as visually. It's obvious to us it's Jim Carrey in the costume, because of the charisma and energetic nostalgia that he brings to the role.

Some might argue he goes a little too over board, I do question sometimes how or why he makes out his character of The Grinch to be a ranting, screaming, raving loony. But his madness entertains Children, and makes them laugh. So if it didn't work, I would understand why people are startled by it. But the fact that it does work, confirms to me, that Jim Carrey plays the part of The Grinch so effortsly and confidently that it appeals to Children, and that's what is important. 

As far as keeping the story is concerned, the film certainly is extended to the point where extra scenes are added or scenes are extended to make this story a feature length movie. There is more depth to the character of The Grinch than one might anticipate having read the book. There isn't anything in the book I don't think about his upbringing or him being quite mental to be honest. But all that backdrop and depth to his character, shows there is more to The Grinch than we might not have known. This film dares to explore things further and add little elements to it to add a little more to the story.

Here's a clip.

This film never fails for me. It's near perfect. Me and my mum love this film and we have been from many a year. It always gives us pleasure to sit down with a blanket and a cup of tea and watch 'The Grinch'. It's a very well established, thought out, authentic production which stands out to Children.

There is every bit of Dr Suess in their, every little quirk and rhyme and the character development. You can't miss it.

Watch it because, it's your opportunity to actually see how a Dr Suess classic can go from being the words in a book to a well done live action film.

Overall, very happy.

I will give 'The Grinch' a 9/10.

That's that. That was my last Christmas movie review for now. I'll review a couple more next year. but for this year that's your lot. Thanks for reading this guys. 

Have an excellent Christmas whatever your doing and I will see you for my last review of 2013 on New Years Eve. 

NEXT : I will review The Simpsons Movie.

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Review : The Polar Express

The Polar Express : Hitch a ride to the north pole. Jump on The Polar Express and experience a once in a life time opportunity that can only be done at Christmas time. Polar Express is an animated tale of how a young boy, who's name is never mentioned comes into contact with a magic train with a destination to the north pole to see Santa Claus.

Hey Everyone

In today's review I will be talking about The Polar Express. An animated Christmas adventure from 2004 starring Tom Hanks. I remember seeing this when it came out in the cinemas. At the time, it was something new and bold and fresh out of the oven of originality. Probably because it's so different to anything else that was out at the time.

It was always a story that I liked. The premise of it is exciting, the fact that young children can just escape for one night on a magical train on the night before Christmas and be back in time the next morning to open their presents, what a great thing for an eight year old boy or girl to experience. It's a lovely idea and it's something special for the director Robert Zemeckis to produce.

The best thing I find with The Polar Express is the fact, it doesn't much about. It sets off at its own pace an you just run with it, and you believe that you are on the train journey with the conductor and all the other children, and there is a believable anxiety to go along and have the time of your life on this train.

It also sums up some of the main factors of Christmas, The story covers : companionship, loyalty, trust, friendship, courage, greed as examples to name a few. There are lessons in it for the characters to learn as well as the audience.

The graphics and animation, very precisely detailed and down to the bone developed in every way. There is a lot of physicality in the movement of every character, they move like normal people, though evidently animated for a working progress it's a starting point.

The film takes us on an emotional rolar coaster, It's fun, happy and giggly in some areas and then it hits you with sad, and sensitive feelings. That of course is assisted by heart feeling, powerful scores which over score and adds a backdrop to everything, wither that is good or not is for whoever views it to decide, as everyone has and is entitled to their own opinion.

Tom Hanks, brilliant as he is. Has a chance to play six characters in this, really go to town with his talents and multi role. You can evidently tell it's him each time, however he gives a confident and passionate performances, gives 100% throughout and is so energetic, it's non stop.

Here's a taster of what to expect.

I'm sure some people would agree with me, when I say that 'The Polar Express' is not a great Christmas film. It's good, but doesn't dare go beyond the boundaries its expected of. I've always found it to be a film, that stays in its own little platform. It's in its own confined space, and it stays there.

As far as the story telling is concerned, you never get a sense of it being something truly special. I don't think that element stays with you and is there all the way through. There are some magical moments here and there, such things as the bell on Santa's sleigh for example, you can only hear it if you believe in him. Other than that there is simply the eagerness and anxiety to get to the north pole. 

I think we are delayed from the true magic of this film for quiet sometime. It does take a while to build up the progress, when it happens you feel all this could of happened sooner.

Another thing The Polar Express does is test your true belief in Christmas, what peoples opinions are on this celebrations. For instance the young girl's belief and opinions on Christmas and how it's such a wonderful time and compare that to that of Billy a young boy who Christmas is a not such a wonderful time. There is a complex there. When the truth is, Christmas can be whatever you want it to be.
 But If you wanted me to sum up 'The Polar Express' in two words, those words are Tom Hanks.
Because without him, this would be a poor production. Nothing memorable about it for me. It's Tom Hanks and his conductor character which does it for me.

Overall, It's a good film, but not anything truly 'Great'. It has it's moments where you learn from it, mini lessons and so forth. However it perhaps this film focuses too much on educating it's audience as well as telling a story.

Music is brilliant. Very well composed and works well in the film.

I would say 'Polar Express' should get a score of 8/10. Which is not a disgraceful score, just good going. I'm sure there are some people who would give it 9 or even 10, but not me.

Thanks very much for reading this review guys.

My next review will be 'The Grinch' and that will be my last review before Christmas. I will post a review of that on Christmas Eve. Tuesday the 24th of December 2013.

Friday, 20 December 2013

Review : Muppet's Christmas Carol

 The Muppet's Christmas Carol

As Christmas day draws nearer and nearer, let us look back and reminisce in what stands out to be a national treasure. A classic Christmas twist on a Charles Dickens tale told in the way only The Muppet's can tell it.

Hey Everyone

Welcome to my newest review, The Muppet's Christmas Carol.  Released back in 1992, The film stars The Muppet characters playing some of Charles Dickens most famous characters, and the stupendous Michael Caine playing Scrooge.

The plot is a basic retelling of the classic Dickens tale of Ebenezer Scrooge, miser extraordinaire. He is held accountable for his terrible dastardly ways during night-time visitations by the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and future.  

They're have been many versions of this story told, and many ways the story can be interpreted. However It can only be told The Muppet way once. The Muppet Christmas Carol is a barrel of festive laughs, filled with festive enjoyment to Christmas, mixed humor to please both children and adults, very well constructed, the costumes are amazing, the sets and atmospheric lighting are both brilliant, the music - light and jolly in some places and very dark and gloomy in others. 

When presented in the presence of The Ghost of Christmas future , I really felt this sense of benevolent, chilling, haunting which gave me a chill first time I watched it as a six year old. 

This film has always got me in a Christmas mood, me and my whole family. This one is on the top of our lists of best Christmas films. We always watch it on Christmas Eve, as the nearer till Christmas - the better.

Going into detail. I've always liked and appreciated the mixture between human cast members and puppet cast members, It's good in a way it's not an all Muppet cast. Because puppets don't have the physicality of humans such as facial expressions. They are operated, and operated quite accordingly, but you never miss a trick with the way the puppets do work in the film.

Every song, for me is a winner. Majority of which are happy, jolly and as merry as can be. These songs are very easy to sing a long to and give something for the audience to have as part of their own participation to the film.

Here's a clip.

The ways in which the story tells itself, it goes accordingly to the way Dickens tells it originally, however it has a little extra fineness to it, such as the humor and chief wit and grit of it. It's fun and plays on the advantage that this is a family film for families to enjoy.

Michael Caine as Scrooge is superb casting, he does such a controlled and structured performance. He plays the character of Scrooge his way, menacing in some places, funny in others and emotionally undeveloped in some places of heart break and peril.

The Muppet's themselves as I said before are all great and work brilliantly in the film. I liked The Great Gonzo as Charles Dickins his role is to guide us through the story and its done so simply, Dickens story is very simplified down and its not so difficult to understand than having to comprehend, lets face it the complicated language of text, it is in the book.

Kermit the frog as Bob Cratchit, just simply brilliant and amazing and nothing to be expected less of.

If your reading this and it's your first Christmas as a family, and you don't know what to watch on Christmas Eve together. I recommend you watch this one.

It is a fun twist of a Dickens tale to which is brilliantly told, stays true to the original but has a lot of fun factor to it.


NEXT : I will be reviewing 'The Polar Express' on Sunday the 22nd of December 2013.

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Review : Father Christmas

Father Christmas : As you know Father Christmas goes all around the world to deliver presents to people but have you ever thought of what Father Christmas does the other 364 days of the year?

Hey Everyone

In the second of two mini reviews, I'm briefly looking at Raymond Brigg's 'Father Christmas' a short film about the life of Father Christmas about what he gets up to when he's not at work. Good Idea, At the time it was unheard of.

The film basis itself off one character, which is Santa Claus, who in this film lives in a little house on a high street with his cat, dog and reindeer. After thinking about it he decides to take a holiday and tour the world. He goes to France, Scotland and Las Vegas all in one year and back in time to sort out everything for Christmas.

I watch this film and The Snowman every year. It's become a custom in my family home to watch these two films hand in hand, each year around Christmas time.

Like The Snowman, Father Christmas tells its story with the assistance of music and the animation is superb.

What makes Father Christmas, so unique and amusing is that you have Father Christmas doing things which you wouldn't expect him to do. He's going on holiday to Las Vegas and gambling and enjoying himself, tucking into a steak and chips and doing all this and yet still remaining in cogneto brilliantly.

This is simply a child hood memory which has stayed with me all my life.

The story as daft as it sounds, is a very clever idea which works so effortlessly in terms of capturing the attention of an audience.

Obviously it's not to be taken seriously, it doesn't give any hints about Christmas. It is simply just about the character of 'Father Christmas'. It doesn't go into a lot of detail about his character, just a possibility of what he does when he's not out delivering presents. I suspect he's getting things ready for Christmas each year thought the year.

For that reason 8/10.

NEXT : I will be reviewing 'The Muppet's Christmas Carol' I will post that review on Friday the 20th of December 2013.

Review : The Snowman


The Snowman : We've all seen it. It fills us with joy and mischief around the holidays. The story of how one magical snowman comes to life before our very eyes and takes us all on a fantastic journey.

Hey Everyone

Welcome to another one of my many film reviews. Today I'm going to review something a little different to what I usually do. I'm going to try out a little experiment. 

This is the first of two mini reviews today, I'm reviewing The Snowman and Father Christmas. Of course I will review each one separately and talk about them how I always talk about a film. 

With this being a short film, this won't be a very long review. But I do have quite a bit to say about it.

The film starts off with an introduction by the one and only David Bowie,  It's very insightful and starts off the story of the snowman very well. 

What's great about the snowman is there is no dialogue, the story tells itself through pictures and music.  For those who know the story, we the audience are following the friendship between a boy who creates a snowman to which magically comes to life.

This story sets out to emotionally connect with it's audience, I think emotionally for me I was blown away by how great it was. It's funny, it's festive, jolly, sad in some places. It's a story which fills the gaps of all emotions we feel as an audience.

The duration of this film, is very quick. It's timed brilliantly. It doesn't take up too much of viewing time. It's just beginning, middle and end. very straight forwardly presented of a boys love for his snowman.

Overall the mood, the setting and music very much emotionally communicates with its audience to tell a very powerful and heartfelt genuine story.

Great film.


NEXT : Father Christmas

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Review : Home Alone

Home Alone :  A Family comedy which sees a family go off on holiday, but leave behind one member behind. Kevin. For Kevin it's going to be a Christmas to remember as he learns to live independently and tackle two aggravating burglars single handed.

So Home Alone, It's looked upon as being a classic these days. There's just something about this film that tends to get whoever watches it in a Christmas mood. I don't know what it is, but for some reason Home Alone just connects with its audience splendidly.

John Hughes and Chris Columbus present a family comedy, without a family. It's set in a white part of Chicago where we are introduced to the McCallister's (arguably the worst family ever) I say that because they are a family who gang up on an 8 year old boy, who isn't very much appreciated at the start of the film.
Anyway, the worst part of it is they stick him in the attic and leave the country without even knowing, they've missed anything. well nobody in this world is perfect.

We as the audience witness years of neglect and abuse take their tole on this small child. As he shows all the signs of becoming a sociopath like for instance : manipulation, talking to himself and trapping two non-violent criminals in a sadistic house of torture from which is funny from our point of view, but be taken on in other ways as going a bit too far.

But of course, this film is looked upon for those scenes in which the wet bandits are trying to infiltrate into Kevin's house and Kevin - a child, out smarts them every time. It clever how he sets up his traps, but he can know that the two burglars would proceed according to his plan, isn't fully well communicated, it just happens.

The two burglars themselves who are meant to be these aggressors in this film, are rubbish. The two of them must share half a brain cell between them, as they are simply bumbling idiots. who rob in houses in broad day light, wear fingerless gloves during a burglary, and are erashnonaly obsessed with one house.

Though what I will say, for what is an early 90's production. It isn't too bad. I've never looked upon it as being one of the best Christmas films ever. I just find the scenes in the house with the burglars and the traps entertaining, and that's really it. I don't have much of an interest in the plot.

The film stars Joe Pesci who some people will know as a slightly familiar face in 'Goodfellas' which if you haven't seen. I recommend you watch. Anyway he's approaching a comedic role to show off his diversity and show off his talents. Looking at his performance, he does look like a creeper. Especially when he's at the house disguised as a policeman, and he's looking around, you do get a distintion of 'what's he up to?' and whatever it is, it can't be good. It's a shame that that element of his character doesn't stay with him all the way through, but his performance is good enough for me.

Macaulay Culkin as 'Kevin McCallister' now all grown up, but at the time a child actor just getting his shine at fame. He will always be looked on by the public as Kevin, I'm sure where ever he goes he gets stopped in street for that role. He did it well, he brought the character that John Hughes created from paper to screen. That is an achievement in it's own right.

Chris Columbus of course directs. And what a great job he does as well. He really captivates the target audience and just does what he does best, directs.

Here's a trailer.

So all in all, what's to say about 'Home Alone' for me it is about families, it is about standing your ground, and it's set at Christmas. what could be a better time. Sometimes in life experience they way to appreciate something is to see what life is like without it.

I will give this film a 6/10.

NEXT : I will review 'The Snowman' and 'Father Christmas' double whammy but the two come in hand together. I will post the review on Wednesday the 18th of December 2013.

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Review : Nativity

Nativity : An improvised comedy set at Christmas in which a primary school teacher gets his class together, to perform a Nativity play. For Mr Maddens it will be a challenge and a Christmas to remember.

Hey everyone

Excited for Christmas? because I am. I've always found it to be such a wonderful time, about togetherness and celebrations. What a better film to sum up Christmas than this film 'Nativity' an improvised drama directed by Debbie Isitt.

The films stars Martin Freeman, Marc Wootton, Jason Watkins, Alan Carr, Ricky Tomlinson with Ashley Jenson and Pam Ferris. As far as casting goes you've got a group of well experienced, concentrated performers coming together to be in a Christmas film together. All of which give a great performance in their own way, there isn't a bad member of the cast in it.

The film is about how one man Paul Maddens 'Martin Freeman' who was in show business with two of his closet friends, took his own path of becoming a primary school teacher, he is put in charge of production in directing a Nativity play by the head mistress 'Pam Ferris' and is assigned a classroom assistant Mr Poppy 'Mar Wootton'.

For the next few weeks, it's going to be a challenge to put on a good show. However when word gets out that Hollywood are coming to see the schools show, a buzz of excitement is let out amongst everyone in the school. The problem is, it's a lie.

Here's a clip.

As far as the story is concerned, It's not a difficult or complicated plot to get into. it's your normal, easy going, fun Christmas film which is easy to enjoy whatever mood your in. 

I think in the case of Nativity it's more fun, because it's improvised. It fooled me first time I watched it, I thought it was scripted. However when finding out that the dialogue and the actions were all based on the ideas of the actor, it's added a bit more diversity and arithmatic to it. Which I think is a very bold mood on behalf of the director, as she can communicate her ideas more clearly.

I liked all of it, every joke, every pun, every Christmas reference and link ups to the Nativity story, it was all very well established and carefully co-ordinated. It does really get you in a christmasy mood. It's great for families to watch together and enjoy for being what it is.

For me the best bits of this film, have to be the undermined yet deliberately silly competition between the two schools. St. Bernadettes is competing with a posh local school run by Jason Watkin's character Gordon Shakespeare. It's funny and silly how the competitiveness to better than the other kicks in, and suddenly it becomes a popularity contest, however we as the audience know the compotition between Gordon Shakespeare and Mr Maddens is friendly and has no violent intention.

Just when we thought 'The Grinch' was good. Nativity comes along and comes the ultimate feel good Christmas film for the whole family. 8/10

Thanks very much for reading this review.

NEXT : Home Alone - I will post that review on Tuesday the 17th of December 2013.

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Review : Elf

Elf : This is the story of an Elf. And his trip to the big city to find out who his father is.

Hello Everyone

During the holiday season, I will be going through some of the personal favourite Christmas films that are here for us to enjoy, year in and year out. 

Elf is a fun, joyful, Christmas comedy that we've all come to know and love. Will Ferrell plays a young man, raised in the north pole by Santa's toy making elves.

As he grows up working in Santa's factory, Buddy feels that he's not very good at doing what all elves do best, and that is make toys. It is then he realises that he isn't an elf at all, and that he was put for adoption as a baby, his father never knew that he was born, and he embarks on a journey to New York to meet his father.

The plot of this film is not bad, and the pace of it is great, I think what makes this film so good is the humour. It is so unbelievably funny. The humour is so well co-ordinated into the story that it's a crucial part of what makes this film enjoyable.

I think sometimes, when making a comedy you have to make it out as if the film isn't funny in order to make it funny. Where as I think Elf is a film that isn't afraid of that. I think that it's just plain old silliness told at it's best and as far as audience's taste's are concerned this film is like marmite or jam on toast.

Here's a trailer.

As far as performances go, Will Ferrell does the usual light comedy performance to which we are all very used to nowadays. James Caan as well, more used to playing serious roles, can come out of his comfort zone and try new and different things to which I find to be a very good thing.

Quickly commenting on the story of 'Elf' the storyline is very straight forward enough to follow, however for me I do think that with this being a Christmas film, I don't feel the edge or sprite of Christmas captivated within this film. Yes you can argue that it tests the people's belief in Santa Claus, it demonstrates the magic of Christmas, and communication of Christmas with singing and togetherness. However I think though those things are good to have, It's not the best Christmas film, and not regarded as being one of the best Christmas films ever made.

However, let it not be said that Elf isn't a funny film. Because it is. Every joke is just as silly as the previous one. Will Ferrell is excellent in this, so is James Caan.

I will give Elf a 7/10.

NEXT ON THE CHRISTMAS LIST : Nativity. I will post a review of that on Friday the 13th of December 2013.  

Friday, 6 December 2013

Review : Miracle on 34th Street

Miracle on 34th Street

A Les Mayfield film starring Richard Attenborough as Kris Kringle. A Christmas movie which actually sets out to achieve the true sprite of Christmas. It tests the belief people have in Santa Claus, who is he is, his importance to children at Christmas, and above all the character as a whole.

So I'll keep this review short, as I don't wish to drag on because with this film it's not the matter of dragging along. I love this film, I really do. I love the affection it has on people who watch it, and feel that the Santa Claus character and Richard Attenborough's performance touch their hearts. I'm not surprised, Richard Attenborough is phenomenally good, he's cheerful, funny, happy, jolly, serious and sad in moments of despair, just a genuine no nonsense, down the line, truthful performance to which no one can ask more from an experienced actor like him.

The comment that I made in my introduction when I said 'This film captures a true sprite of Christmas'. I'd like to refer back to that. What I mean by saying that is, I think this film gets people in a christmasy sort of mood, and gets the audience thinking about Christmas, and how it's such a festive time. 

But not only that, the effect it has on the characters. A young girl called Susan who at the start doesn't want to believe in Santa, Dorey Walker - a working woman and someone who takes pride in her work, Brian Bedford - a man in love, The executive's who don't believe in Santa - how they want to ruin Kris Kringle and their arrogance and ambition. 

This film is a mixture of things, but a mixture of things mixed together very well, and orderly.

Here's a trailer.


It's intreeging, the effect this film has on it's audience. Almost incredible. I say almost because it is so near perfect. I think what's so good about Richard Attenborough's performance as a whole is he keeps us guessing, is he the real Santa Claus? is he just a harmless old man who has a love for Christmas? who knows, he does such a good impression of 'maybe, maybe not' that it is just too hard to tell for definite.

But what makes this film work for me is, how well thought out and pieced together the story. I'd say particularly with the ending. There is a brilliantly directed scene with Richard Attenborough and Mara Wilson where Kris Kringle asks Susan what she wants for Christmas, and she says 'A House, a Brother and a Dad'. From that scene onwards, for me personally that makes me want to go on watching, just to see if she does get what she asked for, in the end it all links up, and makes perfect sense, so there's no need to worry in terms of this story having any loose ends or plot holes.

It's just your typical out going, Christmas movie which warms the hearts of who ever watches it.

I'll give this film a 9/10.

NEXT ON MY CHRISTMAS LIST : 'Elf' - with the one and only Will Ferrell. I will post that review on Tuesday the 10th of December 2013.

Saturday, 30 November 2013

Review : This is England


A story about a troubled young boy growing up in 1980's England. When walking home from school he comes across a group of skinheads, They become his new friends even like family. It is then he embarks on a journey of understanding about the world he lives in. Based on the life experiences of director Shane Meadows. 

'This is England' is absolute pure drama from start to finish. I'm sure the majority of adults living in this country have seen this film. By now shadow of doubt. Shaun Meadows takes his life experiences and incorporates them into one character, a small boy called Shaun who's played by Thomas Turgoose.

Shaun lives with his mum, in a suburban estate. His dad was killed in the Fawlanks War, life at school for him is tough, he's a boy becoming a man. Mods, New Romantics, and Skinheads are the major youth sub-cultures of English summer of 1983.

12-year-old Shaun is left wandering aimlessly during the start of his school holidays, until his chance of meeting Woody and his fun and friendly Skinhead pack. Finding a new lease of life; girls, parties, Ben Sherman shirts, Doc Martin boots and shaven hairstyles. 

Life during this summer holiday has got a whole lot better. That is until Combo arrives on the scene. He embraces a bitter, dangerous, racist, militant and psychotic life for young Shaun as he has just approached his first major crossroad.

I think Shane Meadows did a terrific job on this film, seriously It's so powerful to watch. All the dialogue and interaction between each character is so good. Though it basis's itself off the journey of one character, all the surrounding characters help assist to tell the story.

The Soundtrack to 'This is England' is current to the time in which it is set. The music I think is the key to setting atmoshpere, and that's why I think music and soundtrack is so important to a film. Though a lot of music in this is slow and develops a mood, it flows well into the scenes and creates an atmosphere.

All one has to is watch the opening title sequence to film and get connected, not just by the video footage being shown but by the song in the background. I felt the Soundtrack helped a lot, and there's a great sense of control in when music can be stripped down, and you have sound, just dialogue and acting and scenes are just played as they are, and the viewer can get the same feeling as they do to watching a scene with sound.

Here's a quick clip.

Now though the racial prejudice is strong in 'This is England' what Shane Meadows clearly points out is how racial prejudice was portrayed in the 1980's. Matters regarding racial prejudice are very different now compared to how it was in those days. It's very out going and emotionally put into perspective.

Shane Meadows seems to be deliberate in portraying a depression towards the 80's. I'm sure the 80's was a good decade, but considering the way things were going, as far as government and political terms were concerned you can sincerely beg to differ that things were not handled as best as they could have been.

In fact Combo makes a famous democrat and powerful speech in the film talking about life and how it is now. It's a very iconic scene and just for those reasons alone, he's talking about how the country is being over ruled by immigrants and that they should take back their country. It's it in all serious very eye opening and very much the old propaganda appeal for help.

Stephen Graham is fabulous in this film. Absolutely brilliant to watch, He makes himself the character of Combo. He brings the character and Shane Meadows words from paper to screen.

Joseph Gilgan as Woody, very good performance from him. The sort of happy go lucky guy, who likes to have fun with friends and go out and be a lad of his age, but when presented in the face of bigger people such as Combo he chickens out and feels uncomfortable around them. There's an uncertainty of 50/50 around Woody, and he brought that to the character, which is what makes his character so interesting.

Thomas Turgoose as Shaun, easily the best performance for me. In the whole film, he is Shane Meadows in the film. That's a trick not worth missing, he is the one that Meadows says 'All of my past experiences I will put into this character' all eyes are on Shaun. He is the one the viewers take an investment in the most.


So I've talked about Shane Meadows as a writer, what I wish to do now is talk about Shane Meadows as a directer, some people might think it's easy to direct something you've written yourself. When actually I believe that is more of a challenge, because there is a certainty and a vision to get every single bit of your script correct.

Luckily we don't need to worry, as we have confidence from the first five minutes that Shane Meadows creates, a very well executed piece of emotionally developed drama, with a good story and great iconic characters, which are still going strong today.

So overall I will give 'This is England'  8/10.

Thank You for reading this review.

NEXT MONTH IS CHRISTMAS MONTH, During the build up to Christmas I will review some of best Christmas movies of all time! 

Starting with 'Miracle on 34th Street'  I will post that review on Monday the 2nd of December 2013.

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Review : Bowfinger

Bowfinger: The con is on. Yes, that is correct. Bowfinger productions are making a movie, which is essentially made out to be Bowfinger's big break in the film making business, however there is one slight flaw to this. They don't have a main star. or do they?

Hey There Guys

Sorry I haven't been blogging as much as I'd like, I did have a plan to fit in 3 more reviews for this month however as it happens, I've been far too busy to even sit down for five minutes and have a cup of tea. But I'm back on the blog now delivering my next review.

Bowfinger, to those of you who don't know what this movie is about, it's a 1999 comedy classic about a desperate movie producer who fails to get a major star for his bargain basement film, knowing that he can't get the man he wants, he decides to shoot the film secretly around him.

The concept as a concept is very clever, it's written by Steve Martin and directed by Frank Oz. Steve Martin plays a movie producer 'Robert K Bowfinger' who in every sense of the word feels like a failure and is a failure. When he comes across a script he believes to be his ticket to success, he's eager to start production and get a big star involved who is played by 'Eddie Murphy' the flaw in this plan is that Kitt Ramsey (Eddie Murphy's character) is reluctant to being in the film.

But Bowfinger doesn't take no for an answer, and manages to fit him in bits of the film and work around it as part of a very well thought out plan.

I like to think of this film as a puzzle, the pieces are all apart and separated at the start of the film but very slowly and gragerly they form together. everything nicely fits into the film, the storytelling, the humour, the action, the drama, all of it. It's a very simplistic puzzle. so simple in fact you can just stick this movie on, and have no problems following it.


I have to say that 'Frank Oz' and 'Steve Martin' did a very good job with movie. It's great. I think they got a lot of things accurate and right. The whole working around being told no, and knowing not to give up, Bowfinger demonstrates the achievements of success and failure, so generally speaking this film gives off a nice image.

What disappoints me is that it had to end on a low note, I did think there was a lot more continuation need to be made, as there was time that could of been added to it.

The guest cast of it is good, It's refreshing to see Terrance Stamp and Robert Downey Jr in this film who are both fantastic performers in their own right. I only wish we'd see more of them.

The main cast were fantastic. They all seemed to put on great comical performances as you do watch the film and go 'this is to good to be true'.

Overall, happy with this film. Going to keep it short and say that Bowfinger bites the dust.


Thanks for reading this review. I will try to get one more review up this month, depends on how busy I am over the weekend.

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Review : Gravity

G  R  A  V  I  T  Y

What if I was to tell you that there was a new Sci Fi thriller movie, starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney. And that it would be released tomorrow in cinemas everywhere and be in 3D? what would you say to that?

Gravity dares to demonstrate the possibilities of a scientists struggle to survive in space, when an expedition is interrupted by a passing meteorite storm. It's a fight for survival for Sandra Bullock as her character, Dr Ryan Stone tries as best as she can, for an hour and a half to get back to earth.

I know that some people say that some action thrillers are 'grippingly tense' as a way to promote the film in a dramatic way. I never really approved of that. Saying something that was 'grippling tense' or 'epic'. However, Gravity is what I don't like saying. 'Grippingly tense', 'epic', 'dramatic' and all of that other stuff. Call it what you must, and say what you think about it. it is a phenomenally brilliant film.

I loved it from start to finish.

I think what makes it so good is the fact that whole story is character based. It basis itself around one essential character, that character being Sandra Bullock's character. George Clooney, though a Hollywood movie star he's very much in the background of things, he's not around long enough to create as much of a dynamic impact in comparison to Sandra Bullock. I loved how we saw less of him and more of her, rather than the two of them as equals. 

I feel that Sandra Bullock played a much more interesting character than George Clooney. As George Clooney I thought was a bit of a chatter box, sometimes his character would talk random stuff about his social life, the next he's being instructive and very directive. So I wasn't sure as to what the deal was with his character, but never mind.

So the film starts off, with subtitled information which comes up on the screen that informs the audience, that life in space is impossible. before flashing to the opening titles and the film adventure itself. I liked that, really got me informed as a viewer and helped me to understand the nature of the surrounding environment that was being portrayed on screen.

The way it was shot in CGI, as shown above was very clever and constructive. It was a neat trick to film it under water in front of a green screen and mold everything in, so this film is very cleverly edited to convince the viewer of what they are seeing on screen is believable.

Here is a clip from 'Gravity'.

I really felt for Sandra Bullock in this film, she really captivated my sympathy. Even at moments when she thought she could give up she didn't. She kept going, and if 'Gravity' teaches you anything it's 'see what your doing through to end' or 'if you start something, finish it'. 

I didn't quite know what to expect, when watching 'Gravity' it did take me by surprise. A few faults however, I felt it was 30 minutes too short. The ending was particularly disappointing, Sandra Bullock arrives back on earth and that she walks out into the middle of nowhere, and that's the end. With a little bit more timing or a little bit more something else the ending could of been improved upon. Rather than it just cutting and that being the end. It was all over too quickly.

Also another problem with 'Gravity' was that even though it's hard to survive in space, I didn't get any sense of ideal threat. I got the peril, but not the threat and what annoys me is, lots of things could of gone wrong to spice things up, and they didn't. 


Other than that 'Gravity' has to ideally stick out to me, as being one of the best films released this year.

I'd give it an 8 or maybe a 9/10.

Thanks for checking out the blog, guys. Please continue to do so as I have more film reviews on the way.

NEXT: I'll review 'Bowfinger' starring Steve Martin and Eddie Murphy. The Con is On, Thursday 28th of November 2013.

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Review : Captain Phillips

Captain Philips : A film interpretation of an Incredible true story of the man Captain Richard Phillips and the 2009 hijacking by Somali pirates of the US-flagged MV Maersk Alabama.

Hey Everyone

This week, I will be reviewing Captain Philips. A Film of which tells it's audience the incredible true story of Captain Richard Phillips, and his experience when his cargo ship gets hijacked by a small group of Somali pirates.

This film demonstrates the struggle of power and status, It pushes the limits of tension and suspense, I am telling you once the action kicks off, it's non stop until the end.

We've had a lot of films released this year, some have been great films and others have been less successful, in my opinion 'Captain Phillips' is up there as one of the best films released in 2013. I say that because of the fact of it's diversity, it's informal with it's facts with it being a true story, and it's dramatised with it's moments of tension and suspense.

Tom Hank's performance in this is incredible, he's so good at showing fear and even though in some scenes you couldn't tell he was showing fear, you knew deep down what he was feeling. for instance when Captain Phillip's ship was being taken over by the pirates, even though he was very calm and controlled, you could see in his face that Phillips was petrified and that's is super class acting. really top notch stuff.

I honestly think that they got the casting right for this, the director 'Paul Greengrass' selected his actors well, and they delivered the best possible performance, even some members of the crew who are supporting characters and minor parts all do a class job.

The Story goes, that on the 28th of March 2009 Captain Rich Phillips sets off on a journey to Africa, on board a cargo ship. It is to their surprise that the ship gets boarded by armed Pirates who wish to steal their cargo. They take £30,000 and Captain Phillips hostage in a life boat, from that point on it is up to the U.S Navy to resolve the situation constructively, and save Captain Phillips.

 Here's a clip

If I could just go into the negatives of this film, very quickly I will say that I didn't approve of the camera angles in this, and they way it was shot. It was all quite wobbly and all over the place, it was like watching an episode of 'Kath & Kim'. It didn't feel to me shot to the potential of an action blockbuster, it just seemed to me quite shifty and not as greatly shot.

That was my main concern with 'Captain Phillips' the camera angles, were below par. It does drag out a little as well, this film is quite long to keep the suspense going for 134 minutes is no easy accomplished challenge. Things could have been cut to speed things up, and the story could of progressed a bit more light hearted.

On a lighter side, I was very impressed with the trailer. I have to say, I thought the trailer was excellent, it made me really excited to go on and watch this film, it's edited really well and you get a lot of action taking place in it, and you get a brief understanding of what the films about.

So I am very sceptical when it comes to talking about this film, having now seen it. I like the concept and the story is good, The acting and the advertising is superb, however the actual finished product is a little let down by dodgy camera angles and dragged out scenes.

So all in all, I liked 'Captain Phillips' but I didn't love it. I wouldn't buy it on DVD. but what I will do is give it 7/10.

Thank you for reading this review.

NEXT WEEK: I should hope to review 'Gravity' as I'm seeing that soon. Hopefully a review of that, should be up next week. 

Friday, 8 November 2013

Review : THOR - The Dark World

Thor : The Dark World - The God of Thunder and his giant hammer return, In an all new adventure which will expand the knowledge of excited children and allow the audience to explore the MARVEL worlds of Thor. It's a comic strip on the big screen!

Hello Film Lovers

I would like to welcome you to my newest review, Thor 2 with a sub title of 'The Dark World'. I apologise I haven't been blogging as frequent this week. I was otherwise occupied with other important matters.

Just giving you all a note of warning, I won't be blogging as frequent as I have been over the past couple of months because I am going to be more concerned about complying my efforts in completing projects I got going on at college, than I will in  reviewing films. But I will try to get 1 or 2 review up each week. But just letting you know, there will be fewer reviews from now until after Christmas. I'm going to be very busy from this point on.

Now I got that out of the way and notified you all of that, I will go on to talking about Thor 2. The film is new to cinema's it came out last week during the 1/2 term break, and is doing brilliantly as far the box office is concerned. It's just a much better executed film in comparison to the last one. It's well polished, the story is much better, it's brilliant in 3D, and that's just some of many good things about this film.

Speaking as a person who is not a fan of the MARVEL legends, I have to say I am starting to invest in the MARVEL characters, which is surprising considering I had no interest in MARVEL before hand. I watched Iron Man 3 and loved it. I have now seen Thor 2 and loved that as well, so who knows maybe I'm on my way to becoming a true MARVEL fanatic, fingers crossed.

When going into Thor 2, a part of me did sort of get a sense of renationalisation, as it was starting that this is going to be a good film. It's not often that I get a gut feeling that I'm going to enjoy a film, but I did. I enjoyed it very much.

The start of the film, is brilliantly shot, very well timed and atmospheric and it starts off the story really strongly. As a viewer I was drawn into the story, quite quickly. However I also had to get into my head that the events that are happening in this film, are that based off a comic strip, therefore certain catastrophes taking place would be deliberately portrayed and set up to be over exaggerated or misplaced slightly to the human understanding. But when you have a big budget to create such amazing tricks in CGI - Go figure.

I loved the costumes and the make up, the two hand in hand were excellent. For me, that made me insure that what I was watching was believable, wonderfully authentic and very well atmospheric.

The acting I would say is one of the few points that lets this film down slightly, for instance Natalie Portman's lack of effort is so noticeable in her body language, I didn't sense any infusiam off her for this project throughout the entire course of this film. It's disappointing because you'd expect an actor or actress to make a good performance regardless of how they feel towards the production, this is the first time I have witnessed an actress's true lack of infusiam towards a project, and it was unpleasant and disappointing.

However Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston were excellent, I liked the Thor and Loki relationship. It's far more interesting to what Thor has going on with Jane Foster. And If Natalie Portman was so not bothered about performing, I would of liked it if Jane wasn't in it, and had Loki as the main companion, It was just mean Loki would get a lot more scene time and we'd get to see more scenes between him and Thor.

Anyway, Here is a quick clip which will hopefully excite. 

The atmosphere, I embraced from it was that of a 'Lord of the Rings' type fantasy, but in a good way. The way the costumes and world of Asguard was set up, it's quite similar to the city of Rivindale in 'The Hobbit'. It has an essence of period beauty to it, which to me captures my attention very quickly.

Time length wise, it dragged out a bit longer than it needed to. Nether the less, it stuck to the point and all action and battle sequences were necessary to what was going on in the story, so no complaints from me. But the golden time for doing a film is 100 minutes.

Overall, It is a very good film indeed, one of which families will enjoy.

I'll give it 7/10.

Thanks for reading this review.

NEXT : I will review 'Captain Philips' starring the one and only Tom Hanks. See you then!

Monday, 4 November 2013

Review : Philomena


A world-weary political journalist picks up the story of a woman's search for her long lost son, who was taken away from her decades ago after she became pregnant and was forced to live in a convent.

Hi There Film Lovers.

Today, I present to you a brilliant new film, seriously, it's so good. I had the pleasure of seeing this on the Friday it came out. It is a production which basis itself on the most remarkable true story, of an Irish woman called 'Philomena Lee'. Judi Dench plays her to near perfection, Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope do a wonderful job of making it really funny and then very sad, because the facts of this story are heart breaking.

What I love about 'Philomena' is the fact that it's absolute pure drama from beginning to end, It reminded me of that programme shown on ITV 'Long Lost Families'. 

What's also interesting is that the events that accrue in this story, are not one of  rare happenstance, this is just an example of one of many stories. It's tragic how sometimes we have to make decisions that can pertenially effect the rest of our lives. 

This film also demonstrates the love a mother has for her son, and her struggle to find him again. I could notice the anxiety Philomena  has to know what happened to her son, after he was taken from her. That alone told me that this was going to be a good film, and as a person who doesn't know the story, I was hoping it would end well.

Here's a quick clip.


The Director of this film, is very famous because he is best known to the public for directing 'The Queen' starring Helen Mirran. I'm sure coming on to a project such as this, must of embraced lots of interesting challenges. 

Because there is a part of you in which thinks, you must get your tactics right in order to make what your making true to the facts of the story, If you don't get that right, then your educating your audience in the wrong way. Judi Dench talked about this in an interview with Graham Norton, and stated more or less what I just said, and she pleased when the real Philomena liked the film, and that to her is what counts, and I think she's right.

So in terms of directing, and staying true to the facts of the story, I thought that was all there. I sobbed at the end. It was so emotional towards the end. And what I liked the most is you got the little facts at the end, when the end credits went out. Again it educates the viewer, they take in more facts about the story, because the more they know, the more they will understand. There isn't any loose ends in the script, it's all pretty straight forward and clear.

The only negative point I would criticise on is the advertising, and the posters. 


Shown above is a publicity poster, shown in cinemas.

To me this communicates the wrong sort of message, Yes you got the two main stars of the film, which in my opinion sell the film, and are the film. However to me, it comes across to me as a comedy, when really it's not. I think there should of been more of a set back, to how the advertising should be presented to communicate the right of message to a kean eye walking past.

Other than that, I loved this film. It's out in cinema's now, go and see it if you haven't yet. Just remember to bring the tissues with you for afterwards.

Thanks for reading this.

NEXT : I will review 'Thor 2 - The Dark World' I will post that review next Friday. I will see you then!