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.

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 Thing

It’s not human. Yet.

Look I know this came out in cinemas on the 2cnd of this month but here at Tripodfilm we strive to give you the best reviews no matter how late it is. Plus it helps me when I can look at other reviews and copy most of it for my own personal fame and glory! Muahahahahahaha! However copying is wrong and I insure you that everything written in this blog is 100% original. With a few inspirations here and there.

OMG! They’re in Antarctica and they found a big alien spaceship and there was like a frozen alien but then it wasn’t frozen and like started eating people and then turning into them so no-one can know who’s who anymore! OMG!!! I can’t believe no-one has thought of this before …

*Facepalm*

Maybe I’m being a bit harsh. Yes there was an original The Thing (that was directed by the legend that is John carpenter, starred Kurt Russel and was far superior to this movie), but in many ways Hollywood excuse of “it’s okay, it’s just a prequel” doesn’t really ring as true of the time when I saw Star Wars: Episode 1 – The Phantom menace. Man did I have sleepless nights uttering the same excuse that it was indeed just a prequel and in no way could be compared to the awesomeness that is the original trilogy. Yet as a “prequel” The Thing (That was directed by some Dutch guy, stars Ramona Flowers and tells a funny joke in Norwegian about a kid going at it with his grandma) does it’s job quite well all things considered. Some parts of the movie were quite gripping and at the end I didn’t mind that I had paid to see it as it was in some parts enjoyable. Of course I am on a deal with the cinema that means I only have to pay half price and yet for some reason I still didn’t mind.

I’m not saying this is a good film though. The main criticism I have with it is the fact that a lot of the characters aren’t given enough back story or lines for that matter for me to even give a damn about them when they meet their inevitable demise. Some of them might as well have just announced that they were the thing just so we could all have saved a little bit of time in our lives. They even throw in a random guy with a crappy British accent half way through the film saying that they should “bloody” leave even though everyone has been saying that since the thing got loose “mate”. It’s almost like what a 3D film would do in the middle of the movie. Subtlety hinting at the audience that it’s in 3D by poking a large spear directly towards the camera thus ruining what was probably a good film because of the cheap gimmick laid in front of you. Well this “british” guy was the same cheap gimmick but this time he’s basically there to make people think that he could be the thing. Hmmmm he’s the only british guy in the whole camp? well … HE MUST BE THE THING. There was one character, Lars, that was bad ass and deserved a little bit more than just ogling Mary Elizabeth Winstead throughout most of it. Although who would blame him! However the CGI was also extremely poor and was actually bettered by the effects used in the original. Hey, it damn well scared the bejesus out of me when I first watched it.

All in all this film is a solid rental that should only be watched if you want to watch the 82 version straight after. Indecently it does tie itself in with the original extremely well in the end. Using Ennio Morricone’s score to a terrifying effect as it cuts in with the credits to the point where the first film began.

The Thing gets two Facepalms (two stars) out of five

On a side note I’d just like to say … Hollywood stop remaking films. It shows no creativity that you have to scrape the bottom of the barrel like this and money only seems to be the keyword with film nowadays. Here’s a list of films that are upcoming remakes so you can also facepalm in disgust:

  • Scarface
  • Akira
  • The Seven Samurai
  • Raging Bull 2 (Okay it’s a sequel/prequel but WTF!?)
  • Total Recall
  • The Evil Dead (without Bruce Campbell)
  • The Birds
  • Godzilla (again)
  • Escape From New York
  • The Crow
  • Oldboy
  • Flash Gordon
  • Scanners
  • Carrie
  • Don’t Look Now
  • All Quiet On The Western Front

Just Stop Hollywood … Stop.