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 …

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.