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

Contraband

Mark Wahlberg did not wear A hat!

Right before the film started I was just hoping he’d wear a hat. I mean what are the chances of not wearing a hat in a feature long film? But to my disappointment he didn’t wear one and he didn’t even look away from an explosion in slow motion. In fact, I’m pretty sure I recall there being absolutely no explosions (or at least one very stupid explosion). Right, that’s it! Who fucking kidnapped Michael Bay?! And where is he so I can give him a medal? A solid gold transformers medal that he has to buy himself … Obviously.

I don’t think many people were taking hits from the Bong Of Destiny when they thought of this films premise.

The story is as rehashed and underwhelming as you can get in the age of raping every good franchise from the 80’s. And this film isn’t even a remake. Not that I know of anyway, unless this was secretly supposed to be the first film of the 80’s video game Contra … and the characters from that game formed a band???

But If you do want to know the story from a film that has the least scariest drug lord in Giovanni Ribisi

“To protect his brother-in-law from a drug lord, a former smuggler heads to Panama to score millions of dollars in counterfeit bills.” – Imdb. This Synopsis was brought to you by Tripod Film’s CBA(can’t be arsed) umbrella corporation, excreting the shit out of films everyday. Whoa, back up … He has to leave for Panama to protect his brother-in-law and ultimately protect his family? Just kill the drug lord and his gang or at least stay home so you can kill them in self defence if they try anything. You’re Marky mark freakin’ Max payne, freakin’ Elliot Moore, freakin’ Bob lee swagger Wahlberg and … well … you should damn well bloody do something!

This Film is so mind numbingly average!

The Acting – Distinctly average.

The Script – Distinctly average.

The Direction – Distinctly average

The thought of this film re-done in 4D and having to smell wahlberg’s B.O. – Stinkingly distinct of averageness.

By the way I’m not sure where the 4D bit came from but if I do see some smell-o-vision film in the future sometime it best not be made up of James Cameron’s farts!

Small Points of the film that weren’t actually average

Well the cargo ships holding massive amounts of containers was beautifully captured by some excellent cinematography from the same guy that did Hurt Locker, Barry Ackroyd. It did have some moments that made me laugh even if it was supposed to be unintentional i.e making homoerotic comments about some guy eating you and then joking that a guy’s room is full of pussy because there are a load of cats in there. The one gunfight scene was well done and had some Heat style aspects put in but it would have been great if there were more consistency. Especially at the end as I felt like it needed some kinda full-blown slow motion blow shit up scene however it still was a tense enough ending so it didn’t bother me too much.

Basically I give the game Contra and it’s band

Sorry, The film Contraband gets 2.5 iconic hat wearers out of 5.

and the .5 goes to …

Safe House

Denzel Walks, Will Smith Walks … Mark Wahlberg is wearing A hat!

It’s been a while guys and apart from James Knowlands great John Carter review (which you should check out if you haven’t already) I’ve been ignoring the number 1 rule of the Internet … Watch porn, whoops, erm i mean post content on a regular basis. I do apologise for not putting pure brilliance out on a weekly basis but when you ‘re busy playing the best game of the year (Mass Effect 3) it’s hard to keep track of things. But I am erected, er, I mean, effected no more!

Ryan Reynolds!? and not Marky mark!? Damn, that’s a shame! He was so good in Max Payne. I just wanted to compliment him on his amazing acting. He’s in Contraband?… I’ve Seen Contraband!

Future review of a hat wearing/non hat wearing Contraband Mark Wahlberg will come in due time. But for now the review of Safe House, that’s still in the UK cinemas would you believe even though it came out on the 24th … of February,  will be dumped on your eyes as if it was green lantern’s feces.

South Africa. CIA. Tobin Frost. Matt Weston

Safe House involves a slightly overdone but in the end good story of an ex-CIA suspected terrorist, Tobin Frost(Washington), who gives himself up to save his hide from getting shot to pieces by stereotypical Arabic people with customised Modern warfare like guns. He’s then taken to Matt Weston(Reynolds) safe house for interrogation by the CIA. The extremely misjudged Asian/African people show up that probably just wanted to go on the rubber dinghy rapids and are forced, via the script, to kill all of the CIA agents apart from Frost and Weston who are only spared so that the story can progress. Once Weston has Frost on the move and in his “supposed” captivity he has the task of keeping himself alive, keeping frost alive and keeping his girlfriend safe.

Reynolds’ hot french Girlfriend: So Where the hell have you been?

Reynolds: I was with Denzel, we homoerotically wrestled each other, then he joked if I was gay and then nothing happened after that. I swear.Apart from laughing about Mark Wahlberg wearing a hat.

Both Laugh in a maniacal fashion.

Washington and Reynolds made this film theirs. The comradery between them was quite funny at times with friendly sarcastic retorts from the two making the scenes without them seem really dull. Denzel’s performance was man on fire esque giving cold tough stares directly towards the camera making you think this guys a bad ass, if you didn’t know already and were living under the sea with Aquaman. Reynolds however not being to the same standard as his turn in Buried, although I don’t think he ever will be, filled his likeable everyman character with a ticking emotional bomb that seemed to go off every time he was knee deep in shit … which is pretty much the whole film. He did do a good job though and it’s also thanks to the same fight choreographer from the film Taken, Olivier Schneider, you weren’t pulled out of the realism that most CIA attributed films don’t show. His Character is an inexperienced fighter and it shows in the way he’s bar room brawling. It takes along time for him to put someone down that already has the jump on him and the fight scenes become as realistic as Haywires was. Thank god this had an actual story compared to Haywire.

Criticisms

The film had tense action and scenes filled with much welcomed overkill from Denzel yet became predictable in it’s own pre set Hollywood twist(now a new cocktail .. Patent pending) that you could see a mile off even if Mark Strong wasn’t cast in this film. Excluding Reynolds and Washington the rest of the cast were dull and the dialogue was way too poor in the CIA headquarters scenes that If they’d said free ice-cream I still wouldn’t of …Wait there’s free Ice Cream! Where?

Anyway this movie although solely carried by the two main leads remains a good action thriller

I give Safe House 4 mark wahlbergs with hats on (4 stars out of 5)

P.S click the pictures for more Hyperlink goodies

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.

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.

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).