Snow White And The Huntsman

Snow White And The Huntsman… and the Pizza Boy and the Mechanic and the Gym Instructor and that’ll probably do.

Now I can’t say I watched the Disney cartoon version to remind me of the original story, just not something I was willing to do, did watch it when I was 5 so it’s a bit hazy but largely irrelevant to this film; though it does give the odd nod to certain things and keeps certain pieces of the originals plot so that it’s still snow White in more than name.

Kristen Stewart is Snow White and she’s really in familiar territory, wide eyed innocence, mouth slightly aghast with a slight petrifying fear of almost everything for certainly first half of the film, she gains a bit more attitude as it goes on which is certainly needed to make her more likeable and it’s not that she does a bad job at all, it’s just familiar territory which leaves her role feeling like a safe bet despite being done well. Chris Hemsworth as the huntsman who for reasons I don’t understand is Scottish (for most of the time) possibly to seem less Thor-ish, not sure it was really necessary though given that he’s more grizzled, in need of a shower with some head and shoulders or sleek and shine to get Thor’s glossy coat and most importantly he’s wielding an axe as opposed to the one handed blunt force weapon of legend Mjolnir (I did have to look that up also I’ve decided axes may be the weapon of the year with Abe Lincoln opting for one as well and that there must be some kind axe martial art being created, Axe-Jitsu or Tae-Axe-Do or something). Accent aside Hemsworth is plenty convincing as the emotionally damaged brute with a soft spot. Chalize Theron is Ravenna the ice queen and evil step mother to Snow White who likes nothing more than to suck the life out of things (….lol) as well as remaining on her quest for immortality for which Snow may just be the answer, Theron really delivers the best performance remaining permanently cold and sharp tongued with sinister things brewing under the surface even down to the way she moves implies she’s almost other worldly. Also worth mentioning are the Dwarves, no not the singing type, these Dwarves actually fight and supply some humour along the way, a bonus then that they are played by some big names; Nick Frost, Ian McShane, Bob Hoskings and Ray Winstone amongst them.

On the plus side for this film is that Burton (as in Tim) didn’t get a hold of it, which when I first heard of it I thought may be the case and feared another Alice In Wonderland. It’s a more modern take on the idea, particularly throwing the Huntsman in to the mix, some violence and the Queen having more of a God complex as opposed to just not liking Snow because she’s pretty. I have to say its kind of hard to go through the successes and short comings of Snow White (partially because this review has been written over two weeks and I forget but) mainly because there are no glaring errors and equally nothing astonishing of note, slight plot hole how Snow suddenly develops a spine.

So an enjoyable enough re-imagining and it left room for a sequel, which given the ground work this film has already laid down, I would be quite happy to go and see, guess that means it gets 3 open mouthed Kristen Stewarts or 3 stars, point being that does that girl have any need of a nose?

Not sure I care why she keeps doing it but can’t say I’d be complaining, I kept my thing for her out of the review but it had to be mentioned at some point. Anyway here’s the trailer:

Hunger Games

Hunger games
It’s Hungry Hungry Hippos the movie…or it could be based on a book or something.

Hunger games is here, based on a book that I’ve not read to be made in to film that I know little about but I’ve now seen so I know if it’s any good.

Hunger games is set somewhere in the future where since the uprising against the Capitol by the twelve districts, which the districts lost they must now offer a tribute of one male and one female aged between 12 and 18 to compete in a battle/survival to the death in an arena, I say survival because they also need to find food, water and shelter and some die through that rather than actual bludgeoning.

The cast are unknown to me for the most part (except for Jennifer Lawrence who was mystique in X-Men First Class) but with some well known support from Stanley Tucci, Elizabeth Banks, Donald Sutherland and Woody Harrelson, who I think is brilliant and probably the best thing about this film. The lead role of Katniss played by Jeniffer Lawrence is, by my verdict, stale and Victorian, the idea that pausing before you say everything builds suspense only works in certain situations (like if you’re The Driver in Drive) here it serves simply to make her look like she’s struggling to grasp the concept of what’s going on or indeed decipher the words that have been said; her attitude is pathetic and spineless given her situation, she wants to survive and get home but pussy foots around like eventually they’ll all just get along. Josh Hutcherson plays Peeta, the other guy from district 12 who is much more interesting than Katniss as his agenda is unclear at points and he’s capable of speech without severe mental strain, there is a recurring flash back with him in that is never fully explained as to why he is doing what he’s doing and the consequences that followed *plot hole*. Woody Harrelson is their trainer, he drinks heavily and is rather blunt which suits him, also his hair is beautiful and makes him look much younger but more importantly he is likeable, a quality which many characters are lacking.

The setting is fictional, the districts look poor and the city look grand (ok it is well designed), the future people in the city however look ridiculous, like if Lady Gaga and Tim Burton’s imagination had a baby that was allowed to dress itself at age 8. The district people just look like peasants which is ok.

Now to really have a go, the action is ridiculous. Every time there is violence going on the camera shake is awful, it’s like *fighting* *camera shake* * camera shake* *camera shake* * oh look someone died/is dying/is injured* lucky the camera man had a minor fit to keep the 12a rating intact, it is truly atrocious. Apparently you don’t need to read the books at all either for this to make sense but I didn’t and at the end of the film after the initial feel good vibe wears off it turns rather hollow, without knowing where it’s heading I’m not sure I’d see the sequel, certain glances, lack of back story and a lack of information, the worst for that being the hunger games itself with the technology able to conjure fireballs and holograms that aren’t really holograms since they can tear you to pieces, all produced from nothing and at no point is the geography of the arena mentioned or how it’s intelligently designed or how it’s evolved since the first hunger games, say from being a death pit worthy of Roman gladiators to the now very complex game where everyone’s attributes can aid them in surviving. Just zero explanation or back story other than it was born out of the uprising. Lastly the guy who seems to be of some importance and the love interest at the start, or so you would assume, is of no consequence, maybe it’ll tie off in the next film but then to know that and make this film make sense we would somehow have to look in to the future… or read the books.

My verdict as you may have guessed will not follow the trend of the shiny 4 and 5 star reviews this film has had. The biggest reason I am yet to mention this is that this film is dull, certainly the first half of it, just feels like you’re sat there waiting for the main event (the hunger games) to get going, it was really dragging and in a 2hr 20 minute film it’s all the more noticeable. So this film is not essential as it’s claimed to be nor is it all that great, it lacks realism in its characters and their behaviour. For this reason and the others that I’ve ranted about it gets 2 films which are meant to be great but were just really disappointing (at least I thought they were), so that’s 2 stars out of 5.

And if I haven’t put you off too much here’s the trailer:

Sorry for the lack of hyperlinks and humour in this review

John Carter

Gambit goes to Mars and finds Wolverines dead girlfriend

Some background, John Carter is based on a series of comics (Barsoom series) from 1912 the first one  which was almost made in 1931 as an animated movie which would’ve made it the first ever, before Snow White in 1936, but it never quite happened and has been around a few times since with Disney trying again in the 1980’s, Paramount in 2004 with two different directors (Robert Rodriguez and Jon Favreau) then selling back to Disney for it to finally be made. So 100 years since it was published and 79 years since the first attempt until it got the go ahead.

Set in ye olde Victorian times and Mars as well obviously, the former being the opening for the film and its narrative, which I’m not necessarily a fan of but it does serve a purpose and is not present for the majority of the film, moving on John Carter is an ex Cavalry man who fought in the civil war (can’t remember what colour his coat was but pretty sure he fought on our side because he knew what was good for him) and for some reason now hunts for treasure when he stumbles on something and gets transported to Mars/Barsoom where he can jump really high and has hulk style strength.

Taylor Kitsch in the titular role is ok (my vocabulary is outstanding, I know) it’s hard to say much more, he does a decent job of being confused (and annoyed) but can’t help but feel the script yields little more for him to play with apart from the occasional far off look in his eye as he remembers… stuff (no spoilers here). John Carters powers seem a bit inconsistent as well, particularly his strength, capable of breaking prison chains and killing a Thark in one punch yet unable to break a similar chain or even some leather bindings later on as well as surrendering when he should be punching aliens in the face and getting on with his day. Lynn Collins plays Dejah Thoris a human like Martian who happens to be a princess (and happens to be really hot while sporting some sexy metal pants), her role alternates between damsel in distress and sword wielding Amazonian goddess (ok she’s not actually a goddess or Amazonian but hot warrior princess doesn’t sound as good), Collins does a good job with this particularly as she tries to convince John carter to save mars but falls short on being anything more than two dimensional, save my planet and oh new strange half naked man that’s forbidden fruit is about as complex as it gets, that coupled the inconsistency of Amazonian damsel warrior goddess in distress does not do this film any favours even if it/she looks good. Support roles mostly covered by CG actors, Willem Dafoe being one of them, Ciaran Hinds as Dejah Thoris’ Father and in a shocking new role is Mark Strong as a bad man (yes, I am being sarcastic and no, I am not better than that but he’s always evil save for when he played Archie in Rock’n’Rolla).

Far as I’m aware a lot of filming was done in Utah to double as the baron red planet (most of the series was also written in Utah), which is believable enough adding in the CG settlements and effects I can see where the budget went, it does look pretty amazing and I think only once I managed to spot a glimpse of an anomaly. That being said the 3D must be acknowledged and in the case of John Carter it is largely pointless, it didn’t seem to add much to the film at all, given that it’s Disney and has a 12a rating I was expected more things coming out of the screen, admittedly it added depth to the landscapes which probably made it easier to buy in to being on Mars but served little purpose other than that; can’t help but wonder how much of the mega budget went towards it.

Verdict time but first I’m going to ramble on a bit mainly about this films crazy budget and how much I keep hearing stupid US sites going on about what a major flop it is without mentioning if the film is any good or not. The budget is reported to be $250 million with an additional $100 million on advertising which it is not earning back but those kind of takings are usually reserved for summer blockbusters, even then the cinemas keep about half of it so really the bad press is only down to Disney for being so incredibly stupid, taking a series that virtually no one has ever heard of and getting a front man who almost is as equally unknown (for now, he should be pretty big soon with Battleship coming up as well) and pumping in so much money even past the original $150 million budget, in short heads deserve to roll for such a gargantuan cock up. Why am I so bothered about this? Because despite all its flaws John Carter is enjoyable, with it being a series I would expect another film to follow but thanks to poor budgeting and a complete misjudgement of the market it looks incredibly unlikely. It’s an enjoyable enough adventure with truly impressive detail and effects but suffers due to lack of depth and consistency in the characters and a storyline which is fairly predictable except for one twist somewhere in the film, there are a few one liners and things which are kind of funny which certainly adds a likeability to the film. I say John Carter deserves the three breasted alien from Total Recall so 3 boobs equals 3 stars.

Sorry all the pictures I could find were censored, go else where for boobage. And here’s the trailer for anyone who’s not seen it:

John Carter was reviewed in boobage loads of content by James Knowland.

Goon

So Sean William-Scott is here and I must profess a weakness to him because he’s Stifler, I think he’s brilliant and under used as an actor, that being said I’ll try to stem my man crush for the time being (oh yeah and he’s pretty stacked). Probably a bit late on this review given that Goon is no longer showing at most cinemas but we (tripod) watched it and nothing has been posted for a while.

Not really a lot to explain for the premise of this film, Sean William-Scott is Doug Glatt a Bouncer and therefore the black sheep in his brainy Jewish family (and Eugene levy is his dad, he may be the greatest film dad of all time), he then discovers ice hockey where his talent for punching people in the face can flourish. I should mention you don’t need to know anything about ice hockey to watch this film.

Obviously Sean William-Scott has the lead role and does a good job with it, the biggest problem is that he’s a bit type cast so it’s hard to buy in to him being the dim-witted Doug at times. Support is provided by Jay Baruchel as his foul mouthed friend Pat who I think goes a bit over the top at times and gets so wrapped up in the glory of being Doug’s friend it’s hard to tell if he really cares about him or whether having Doug as a friend was just handy in a bar fight, this could be forgiven for a script issue but Jay Baruchel helped write the screenplay so unfortunately it’s all on him. Alison pill (she was Kim pine is Scott pilgrim) is Eva, the love interest, her performance is without fault, hard to say why without giving away any spoilers but she has issues and is pretty torn. Oh and finally Liev Schreiber is Ross rhea, a famous ageing enforcer (that means a player who takes people down by body checking or throwing down (throwing down means fighting)…I think) anyway he’s pretty badass and that’ll do for casting as I’m not going in to all his team members.

With this being ice hockey it’s set in north America/southern Canada and there is some touring around but I know nothing of Canadian geography and I’m guessing most people don’t so it’s hard to know how far away Doug is from home and familiarity so all settings can be pretty much ignored, there is snow though.

Now a warning because some people have been fairly negative on this film for the gore factor so the warning is: this film is called goon and is about a guy with ‘golden fists’ so there is blood and some nasty injuries that really make you cringe but try to man up. I should say the people saying bad things are a few critics but they should lose their job, seeing this and complaining about violence and gore is like watching jackass and saying you expected much less stupidity and things involving genitals.

So the verdict; despite its flaws it’s actually a pretty great film and unlike a lot of recent films it ends in the right place even if it does meander somewhat in the middle but it’s loveable, a pretty good start to the year for all involved and hopefully the start of a good run for Sean William-Scott which hopefully will carry on to American reunion (not sure why they didn’t call it American pie: the reunion) anyway it gets 4 people that are on Doug Glatt’s intellectual level

So that’s 4 stars as Jedward are counted seperately, can’t help but think they should all get to together to play poker or orgainse the next live aid/live 8 sort of thing.

Lastly here’s the trailer:

This review was written by James “know it all” Knowland.

Film buff extraordinaire and the beefiest self proclaimed geek that i will ever know, james’ reviews are the cutting edge of tripodfilm’s witty entertainment, even if he has a man crush on Sean William Scott. Well who doesn’t.                        

And now you finally know that I’m not taking credit for all the reviews on tripodfilm.                                     

This segment was brought to you by Jon “huge liar” Hughes.

Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol

Their mission which they chose to except was to somehow put Ethan hunt back in the field and make him run around to punch and shoot more terroristy people in the face….

The result is not bad actually, Tom cruise on good form even if he is starting to look ‘too old for this shit’, Simon Pegg is back again and is probably the most likeable character in it, Jeremy Renner as an analyst with hidden past (that’s not a spoiler btw it’s in the trailer) and Paula Patton who is the eye candy but thankfully she doesn’t do the damsel in distress routine (she does need to change her name though because Paula Patton is not a sexy enough, maybe something Spanish… Isabella Fuentes possibly), no fault with any of their performances.

Now the real problem I had with this film, the plot, it’s the usual WMD, mass murder, war provoking sort of thing, only this time there’s not IMF to back up Ethan and his team since they were framed and the IMF has been disavowed so it’s up to them to sort it out. Sounds pretty good so far and it has to be said that the lack of back up does add something to the film as well as providing a few laughs. My problem lies with the characters and the back story, Ethan hunt all of a sudden has a heart and we’re meant to care about him, not the woman he’s trying to save but we are meant to care about his emotions and heartache which to me just doesn’t fit and it’s trying to add in this 3rd dimension that just seemed a bit pointless and almost pandering, maybe to make it less of a guy film, either way it seemed a bit late in the franchise to change the character to such an extent.

So on to the verdict, I know this is a fairly short review for such a big film but it’s not an easy one to pass judgement on, I can say that this is a good film (mind blowing stuff right) with some really incredible action sequences and amazing locations along the way, the locations being so far apart does make it feel a bit jumpy almost like on the first day of writing someone wrote an equation on the board, big film + big locations = big money, they really do earn some major air miles. Another problem is the length of the film; it starts to drag towards the end almost to the point of boredom.

My final word is that this instalment is a solid 3 star film punctuated with 4 star moments so it has to settle on 3 stars or 3 Danny Glover’s in this case (cos you know in the next film Cruise may have to admit it).



 

 

 

 

 

 

Oh and here’s the trailer:

Moneyball

Does Moneyball Strike Out? (bad baseball pun out of the way)

So Moneyball, sounds like a Jerry Maguire remake or the next Wall Street instalment? Thankfully not, as both would be a huge mistake (seriously don’t). It is in fact a film with Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill that’s based on a true story about a baseball team, the Oakland A’s, and their attempt to change the way the game is played.

This being a sports film means that the Oakland A’s are a low budget team, where all there players get drafted to major teams, leaving the A’s at the bottom of the food chain. However I would not consider this the conventional sports film, it focuses on more behind the scenes than on the field with Pitt as Billy Beane managing his team with the help of Peter Blake (Jonah Hill). Plus you would normally have the coach or manager in this case forming a bond with his team and making them believe in themselves the way he does (touching stuff,right?). Not the case here with Billy Beane’s belief and faith being in the statistics and method provided by Peter Blake, leaving the players to be traded or cut without you caring for them too much.

Brad Pitt is on top form, bringing a complex character to life from the confident minimal banter on the phone to the moments of insecurity from his own baseball career. All the while his job and team are on the edge and he ends up constantly having to convince his daughter that everything is fine. Jonah hill in an unusual more serious turn for him, does very well as the geek behind it all in a place where no one thinks he belongs. That’s really it for main roles but giving amazing support are the cranky old men in the board room, the players, his daughter and Phillip Seymour hoffman as the coach.

Now just a warning this film is long, far too long, well about 20 or 30 mins too long with the pay off feel good factor, underdogs triumphing moment coming well before the credits. And how things change in that last half hour, killing the feel good factor off and leaving an ending which begged the question, what’s was point?

So the verdict… Interesting idea, well executed and performances with out fault, should be good right? Unfortunately it’s pretty average, where a film like this needs heart, it is incredibly lacking, a manager with no faith or belief in the players and using them for his own gain, sure it works but it’s morally questionable in the least which is more an issue with the plot than anything but it leaves a bitter taste, which looking back on it is the only thing that has left a lasting impression.

I Give it 3 out of 5 baseballs

The Adventures Of Tintin: Secret Of The Unicorn

So Tintin is here, he’s in 3d and there’s a unicorn with a secret

Cards on the table I know very little about the comic books or Tintin’s history but this is one of his original adventures (or at least it has the same title) which may explain why I’ve not heard anything of hordes of angry fans on forums.

Now from my lack of Knowledge to the film, opening credits are very Bond like, more specifically Casino Royale, Silhouetted action going on; no surprise then it being called an indy-bond cross (that’s Indiana Jones btw, not Bond in skinny jeans with facial piercings). After the credits it’s a quick throw back to the art of the comic books and on with the film which is stunning, visually I mean, in terms of scenery, no hot CG women confusing me, no women at all in this film; point being incredible CG environments with great details which is probably the best thing this film has to offer.

Voicing of the characters is to a high standard, Tintin himself is perfect with Jamie Bell supplying the voice who was actually second choice to Thomas Brodie-Sangster (I have no idea who he is either). Captain Haddock by Andy Serkis is a character I would’ve thought to have a much rougher voice due to years of sea air and dehydration from being on an constant bender, no fault of Serkis’ though. I’m going to stop listing off the voices and their flaws now, except to add that the voice Daniel Craig’s villain  really does have a mildly unsettling tone to it.

Now back to my indy-bond point, action sequences are both innovative and complex especially for an animated film but it tries to stay within the realms of reality while also being a little ridiculous which made me feel just a bit awkward, like a meeting had been missed somewhere. That aside the action is still enjoyable.

Given what I’ve said you’d think this was a pretty great film, however it’s just not that memorable and seems to lack heart so there’s no real driving power behind the whole epic adventure, just a lot of tripping around with no edge of your seat urgency to it. This leaves a feeling that Tintin is wildly mediocre, plenty good enough to keep kids entertained but not one I’ll be adding to my dvd list, I may half heartedly watch if its on TV on a sunday afternoon though; certainly not the outcome I expected when I think two of the biggest and most experienced directors are behind it.