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.

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The Artist

Blah blah blah The Golden Globes. Blah blah blah The Baftas. Blah Blah Blah The Oscars.

The artist certainly shot to award winning fame last month and for that reason I’m going to stave away from mentioning the Oscars too much. Yes, ladies and gents, I will bring you a review without me even criticising the highly overrated award show that gives prizes to self-promoting millionaire actors whose fake smiling appearances makes my eyes pop out through sheer boredom.

Damn! I just couldn’t help myself.

All being said and done The Artist is a truly fantastic film and deserves it’s plaudits. The film is set in 1920’s in and amongst the studios of silent era Hollywood. Peppy Miller(Berenice Bejo) is an out of work actress who stumbles onto the red carpet of big film star, George Valentin’s film premiere. After getting snapped up in the papers she gets her five minutes of fame that land her in a role as an extra in Valentin’s new film. When the two meet again  they are unable to take their eyes off of each other and she gradually falls in love with him. As these heart warming scenes pass on by the technology for sound films or “talkies” came into fruition and this was Peppy’s chance to make it big time with the new young generation of film stars. But George Valentin (Jean Dujardin) is too stubborn for change and finds himself broke from losing money on his own personally financed film. With George out of work the circumstances that the two lead characters find themselves in have been reversed. Can Peppy’s love for George overcome the dividing factor of fame? Can George stop being so stupidly determined on his own silent film fame? Can I stop talking about the story and actually review the film before your eyes pop out?

Lets hope so.

I think I’ll start off by saying this film is basically a film buff’s dream. There are so many references to old black and white films, silent and sound, namely Sunset Boulevard for example. Yet it excels as being the paradigm of all the golden silent films. Of course, a silent film in an era full of Michael bay explosions, Zach Snyder Slow-motion and George Lucas franchise raping will stand out even if it wasn’t as truly sexcellent as the film turned out to be (yes, Sexcellent). Is it now suddenly overrated because of that? No chance. Especially with a wonderfully juxtaposed plot of the two leads fame and fortunes or lack thereof. Music that flows in keeping with the films mood and kept my Nicholas Cage action minded brain to the full attention of the film. Michel Hazanavicius’ Superb directing and his crafted scene of Valentin’s dream that included sound effects with a feather dropping to the sound of a huge explosion. Or is it just Dujardin’s and Bejo’s sheer drive for the possibility of there own fame that made this film stand out. Dujardin was phenomenal. In it he just seems to command every scene flawlessly and his clever facial reactions speak for themselves and the environment he is in. Bejo suited the role perfectly being young, beautiful and talented. She carried an almost mysterious persona but lacked the powerful presence of Dujardin. The other actors like John Goodman and James Cromwell did well but were out staged throughout and even the dog,uggie, merited more attention than they did. Just so you know Cromwell is that guy who played the farmer in Babe. That movie really brings home the bacon! mmm Bacon. Mmmmm Barbecue!

Anyway getting past my insane appetite for salty foods aside

I did have one criticism … when the film was truly silent and the music stopped … I got kind of bored. Damn you Nicholas Cage and Jason Statham. And damn you chuck Norris for filling my brain with too many awesome and truly sexcellent mind blowing action scenes(phew, dodged a bullet. I thought i was going to get a roadhouse kick to the face then). Apart from my one cynical nitpick, The Artist is a top film and will no doubt be referenced in other media for years to come. Even when you’re going in you don’t like the prospect of a silent movie you’ll still be leaving with a permanent smile on your face. Now how many films have done that this year?

The Artist gets 5 Awesomely awesome action stars. (5 out of 5 stars)

Chuck Norris = 5 stars.

Hmmm maybe Nicholas Cage’s eyes will pop out in Ghost Rider? Nooooo! it’s too soon!

 

Chronicle

“Dude, where’s my car?”

“You impaled it on top of that skyscraper’s antenna, remember?”

“Oh yeah … Sweet!

We like things that come in three’s at Tripodfilm. I mean, it does take three legs to make a tripod.

Now where the fuck are our powers!? So Three American high school kids get it and not us. I’m just saying we would do a much better job with these telekinesis mind fuck powers than they ever will. Oh well, I guess going to the cinema every week and getting half price tickets is the only power we are going to get.

I showcased inside-her.

Trivial boyish in-joke humour aside, Chronicle actually turned out to be a well thought out effort and not the stereotypical teen high school bromance flick that people thought it would be. The film centres around a socially awkward high school kid called Andrew who is bullied by his washed up alcoholic dad and by some of his classmates. Add to the fact that his mother is dying from cancer and it’s obvious to see there are some serious issues that he carries with him. Andrew isn’t your normal spoiled American kid. With his only “friend” being his cousin, matt, who seems to laugh at him behind his back, life isn’t looking good for him. Until he, Matt and Steve(matt’s friend that appears from nowhere) suddenly find a hole in a forest and get zapped by this alienthingymebob. Now they have superpowers! Wahey! Hilarity ensues. Especially if you haven’t seen the trailer a kaflobitybigillion amount of times.

So a bit like Hancock then?

Well they do have there fun moments and the comedy really suits the style of the film. The use of special effects became almost camouflaged from Tripodfilm’s scrutiny as scenes were funny enough for the CGI to go unnoticed. However given Andrew’s back-story you do start to understand that things can only get darker than what they already are. This is when the CGI effects pulled me out of the films flow and just seemed a little off putting at times. That said, it was the same with the Cloverfield found footage style as taking the feed from security cameras near the end was out of touch of the homemade indie cinematography at the heart of the film. To be honest the ending was just way too forced and way to in-keeping with the superhero action medium that’s hitting the silver screen at the moment(trying not to spoil this film is becoming a real bitch right now!).

Okay too deep for Hancock references … Cloverfield then?

The dialogue wasn’t the greatest at times. Just like Cloverfields flaming homeless subway guy it made some scenes a bit unforgettable when instead it should of  included more tension. Especially when they go investigate the alien meteorite hole. I mean, I could have sworn the dialogue went something like this:

“Hey Andrew, me and matt found something really interesting. I think we should take that camera and check it out.”

“What is it?”

“It’s this big hole that only the three of us should go down and check out cause no mysterious shit is going to happen. Even though it keeps making some weirdly ominous noise.”

“But shouldn’t we at least tell some more people about it first.”

“Nah, they weren’t in the trailer so they’re not allowed”

“Cool … ahhh look a flaming homeless guy!”

I’m going overboard with this as the dialogue was mostly reasonable and so was the acting. It’s not like I’m reviewing lines from Uwe Boll’s House of the dead. So a few scenes were too forced into continuing the story but all in all the actual story itself was really good and didn’t seem borrowed or influenced. It was about three teenagers who just so happens to have powers, hanging out and confronting there issues. And not a film just about the powers and what they are going to do with them. Most of it seemed faultless and the unexplained nature of the powers leaves you with unanswered questions at the end(namely is there going to be a sequel?). Sure you can reference it to Hancock, Cloverfield and maybe even Superman but it unexpectedly becomes a film in it’s own right and holds it’s own candle away from the most obvious of references.

Now if only I could do a review without referencing other films as my rating.

Chronicle gets Superman, Hancock, Cloverfield and some house of the dead zombie (4 stars out of 5).

That’s the rudest zombie I’ve ever seen. He’s dumb enough to direct Movies too.

Quick write the script for Gears of War and get this guy behind it … Nothing could go wrong.

I can see it now … Gears of war: Toast of the Dead … Chronicle.

The Grey

Live and die on this day

Looking at the die hard style tag-line and watching the action style trailer you’d be forgiven into thinking that this film is another Liam Neeson action flick. But that’s far from the truth. Instead it has more to do with death and the primal will to survive. It was a totally unexpected cinema experience and one I enjoyed a lot.

If you review this film, that will be the end of it. I will not look for you, I will not pursue you.

But if you don’t…

*gulp* Liam Neeson plays Ottway, a man who earns his living by defending Alaskan oil workers from getting attacked by wolves. It becomes known to us that he had previously lost his wife and he is left contemplating suicide. After having a sort of epiphany moment he reluctantly gets on the plane back home only for the plane to crash, stranding him and 7 others in an extremely cold snowy desert. Not only are they freezing to death and are lacking food, they also find themselves against a pack of almost mythological wolves. Ottway chooses the impossible task of leading himself and the men to safety on what turns out to be a life altering journey(in both meanings of the words).

Wolves were quite scary in the first place …

Now they are twice the size and bite peoples face off!

AHHHHHH!

Of course they were mostly computer animated wolves but a lot of the CGI used was unseen and minimal as you focused more on the characters. I felt more terrified for them than at the wolves. That and adding breathtaking cinematography of the films Canadian countryside location really gave it a beautifully scary perspective that most films can’t give these days. Even some of the close ups on the actors was intensely captivating. Showing the long dark stare of someone in there final moments to a horrifyingly good effect. Therefore the cheesy filmmaking saying of “the eyes are the gateway to the soul” could never have been more appropriate with this film.

No solid criticisms or nit-picking? C’mon, this is TripodFilm!

The plane crash at the start did seem a little far-fetched especially as Ottway found himself pretty much unscathed yards away from the wreck. The obvious killing off of some lesser known actors was a little cheap and it lost that added dimension of a tense build up. They might as well have given them a red shirt. Plus the ending made the trailer look a little misleading and there is some initial disappointment with it. On that point though you’ve already been put through some thought-provoking cinema that the ending was powerfully poetic in it’s own way. It leaves you with unanswered questions that will have you thinking about it for a while at least until the deleted scenes are put on the DVD. The story itself also had some odd “what is the meaning of life?” undertones and issues with ottway’s faith that felt slightly out of place (I know, my nitpicking has sunk low but surely, reviews need some sort of devils advocate?).

The meaning of life = 42

Like I said this isn’t the run of the mill Neeson movie. Off the wall one-liners aside this was a physically demanding and emotional performance from Neeson. It’s also one I would like to see more of in his films just so he can get out of that stereotypical action star that films like Taken seem to trap him in(not that I have anything against Taken … Man that film was bad-ass). In fact everyone on set should be actually given an award for enduring such harsh temperatures while still having to deliver their lines or direct the film. It probably would be a good time now to mention Joe Carnahan directed this and that he also directed The A team but it’s not like I’m going to reference The A Team any time soon …

The Grey gets The A Team and some guy in a red shirt (4.5 stars out of 5).

Just a heads up If you’re thinking about seeing The Grey. There is a bit at the end of the credits.

Intruders

Clive got Owened by his nightmares!

Hold on, this isn’t Killer Elite or Shoot ‘Em Up or the five minutes of the Bourne Identity that everyone seems to remember. This is a Psychological thriller where people have bad dreams. According to IMDb it’s also a horror film but I don’t think it was scary enough. Even if that poster of Mr. Owenage(I’m taking it a bit too far now) horrifically shows him without any eyes or mouth.

Woah Dude, that whole no mouth thing happened to me on The Matrix!

Yes Keanu, We Know it’s nothing original. Also can you stop taking the red pills? You know going down the rabbit hole is just stoner speak for getting high.

Anyway the film is set between two stories: One of a Spanish kid who is constantly having nightmares about a monster, the other of a family in England whose daughter gets the same nightmares. The monster becomes known as Hollowface when the girl finds a chilling incomplete story of a faceless monster who one by one steals parts of innocent kids faces so that he himself has a face. She writes herself in the story thinking that it’s all make believe but little does she know that Hollowface has hid himself in her bedroom ready to pounce. Is he real or is he made up? Or is he in fact just Bruce Willis from unbreakable?

Hollowface in Unbreakable?

Willis in Intruders?

The Idea had potential but the film didn’t live up to expectations.

It just lacks a solid M.Night shyamalamadingdong(twist). The guesswork of how the two stories tie in is way too simple to work out because no effort of throwing you off the obvious was put into play.  The Actors however did do their job admirably and believably and even the two kids did a great job of putting the early Harry Potters to shame(well you don’t have to do much acting for that). Also there was a very good Pan’s Labyrinth designed scene at the end but that sort of creative set design should of been used to greater effect.

Given that it didn’t deliver on the tension of a horror film the journey throughout was still genuinely intriguing.

Intruders gets 2 M. Night shyamalans and a confused Mark Wahlberg in TheHappening.

(2.5 stars out of 5)

Haywire

They gave her no choice … no one had a choice … 

We just couldn’t stop looking at the epic beard that was played by Antonio Banderas.


All action. All star cast (with one badass film newbie thrown in). A Creditable director that in the poster’s opinion wasn’t that creditable as Ocean’s Eleven it seems. And Yet … no substance. So much so it was only saved by the few style point martial art fight scenes that would have Bond, Bourne and Batman step back for a second. To me it felt like the biggest budgeted B-movie ever made with a Bruce Lee attitude of lets kick the shit out of people and the story will work itself out. Course Bruce Lee movies are instantly legen … wait for it … but in kind can no way be seen as anything other than just brilliantly choreographed kung fu on film. Thus the distinction between a film that knows what it is and works because of it and a film that should know exactly what it is yet it tries too hard in it’s “approach” to a story. Haywire, you’ve guessed it, is in the latter of those two films.

Wait a sec … You’ve gone a little off topic with that Bruce lee stuff.

Well depicted, subtle bold font sentence. Well The film stars Gina Carano, A former MMA fighter and probably the most badass woman on film since Arnie in Junior (I’m kidding, LOL it’s obviously Terry Jones in The Life Of Brian). She plays an American off the record spy who’s mission in Barcelona apparently goes haywire for some reason. Was it Channing Tatum’s bad “lets look around sporadically so it looks like I know what I’m doing” acting? Or the off putting but tension building jazz music that annoyingly was played over what should have been a heart-pounding gunfight? Anyway the mission it turns out was made to look like it had gone horribly wrong. Just so they can frame Carano for killing the guy she just rescued. They try to kill her and she starts taking names (*spoiler alert* Big hollywood names *gasp*)  and then blah de blah de derp de diddly derp de derp zzzzzz.

It’s the kind of sypnosis you hear with most action films … but it gets worse

The film starts off at a high frantic pace with a coolly shot fight scene however it’s all being depicted midway through the story. Not at the end when she’s supposed to face the badguy and the “story” then should be showing you how she got there; Instead it’s right in the middle where absolutely nothing is answered. Once it’s tied itself back to when the movie kicked off I’m already thinking this is the end of the film and from that point on I was immediately zoned out of everything that took place in the actual closing scenes. One thing to mention though is that the last line of the film was unfortunately also the best line and for any of you that have seen the film you would realise it is also a great way to describe the calibre of the script. As acting plaudits go well it seems like most of them turned up for the money as dialogue was at a minimum but Carano seemed focused on the job. She did a hell of a great job in her comfort zone of muay thai kickboxing in what was well edited and believably realistic action sequences. She even Commanded a few scenes of her own whilst the big stars where almost surprisingly off put by her presence.

And … It’s a wrap! – The Link that went too far

Lacking a good writer but laced with gripping on the edge fights makes this film one for the rental list … if you have even got one. Or do u like to download movies for free like all the cool kiddies are doing now a days? Well Tripodfilm for one disapproves! unless it’s either a really shit film, you’ll buy the film later or you are a penniless film review blogger that has to get high off of someone else’s supply just so they can get that much needed fix they deserve for writing overlong reviews with random links. Wait I was talking about illegal films, wasn’t I?

Haywire for it’s great fighting scenes gets the Ultimate fight of Bruce Lee Vs Chuck Norris (2 stars out of 5).

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.