For one of them British people like me it’s kind of insane for me to consider the idea that Battle Royale was not available in a home release form in the U.S. until 2012. It is entirely understandable though what with the alarming frequency of school shootings that have happened over the years, something that is, thankfully, very rare in the UK. We don’t have a history of violent gun crime amongst teenagers and maybe the thought of Battle Royale, a film that revolves around teenagers forced to kill each other off, struck too much of a nerve with U.S. distributors and the mess of an organisation that is the MPAA. So I understand that, as most of my views come from the U.S. there is a good chance that whoever reads this may not have seen Battle Royale. There may be some spoilers ahead, but please do read on, because Battle Royale is a film that needs to be seen as it is one of the most important works of cinema since the turn of the century. Click the link below.
Category Archives: Drama
Because my finger is always on the pulse of teenage literature I’m here to review the Hunger Games! That only just came out, right? No? It was over a year ago? oh…What’s Catching Fire? Maybe you should put it out then. OK, so maybe my finger isn’t entirely on the pulse of what the kids are watching these days. So I’m a little behind on getting to The Hunger Games. What did I think of it though? You don’t care? Oh… Well, it’s after the link. Would be nice if you at least read a little of the review.
Yes, I could have easily split this into two separate reviews and got me a few more ad hits, but that just ain’t how I roll. These two films come together as one complete whole and tell a story that is fully contained within these two parts and the comic it is based on. No, there isn’t a comic called The Dark knight Strikes Again. That never happened. Frank Miller’s Dark Knight Returns is a comic that fans have wanted to see adapted for years. Apparently Warner entertained the idea in the process of reinventing Batman for cinema audiences after the travesty that was Batman & Robin. It would have been a tough one to pull off seeing as it is among the most brutal Batman stories worthy of adapting. What you’d need is a medium that can get away with a little more and a fan base willing to buy. And that’s where Bruce Timm and his pals at Warner Animation come in. Click the link for my review.
Here’s a film I’ve been wanting to cover for a long time. Watchmen is a film that had been in development for nearly 20 years by the time Zack Snyder was able to bring it to the silver screen. In the past directors such as Darren Aronofsky, Paul Greengrass and Terry Gilliam had all made attempts to get this film made. Gilliam even termed the comic it is based on as unfilmable. If you’ve ever read the comic you’d probably agree. The story is thick with dialogue, richly layered with subtext and has some of the strongest character writing of the 20th century. I say with no intended hyperbole that Alan Moore is one of the greatest writers of modern times and Watchmen is his work at its most complex and creatively brilliant. When I first read the comic about 15 years ago I tried to envision what a film would be like. I just could not see it. I figured that Watchmen would be better suited to a 6-8 hour TV series, but then the budget would be ridiculous. I went to see this film in the cinema on release day expecting the worst, after all… there’s been a long line of terrible adaptations of Alan Moore’s work beforehand. Click the link to find out what I think of Watchmen.
So I happily admit to having a bit of a thing for classical Japanese cinema these days. Been trying to spread out the reviews so this doesn’t become Japanese Cinema Dump but it’s nearly Halloween and I felt like reviewing what is generally considered the precursor to the J-Horror genre. This film was recommended to me by Mark Cousins, director of The Story Of Film and, most recently, Here Be Dragons. I asked him to recommend either this or Kuroneko, and Onibaba was his pick. So, was his recommendation a good one? You’ll have to click the link below to find out I guess. Although he did feature this film in The Story Of Film so… yeah… it’s pretty good.
I recently decided it was time to up the ante when it comes to the sort of films I mostly cover on here. I tend to focus a lot of the more nerdy and mainstream big movies with occasional toe dipping into the more classical realms of cinema. Time to shake that balance up a little bit. I’m still going to be covering the more action focused stuff. Thor 2 review next week! What I want to do though is cover more of the greats. You don’t get much more great than this, 2001: A Space Odyssey. This is also the first Stanley Kubrick film I’ll be reviewing on here. So click the link below to open the pod bay doors (to this review).
What’s this? Justin Timberlake in a lead role? Ben Affleck playing a villain? How rare? Note that that isn’t sarcasm because those are actually both rare occurrences. Quite refreshing to see someone willing to take a chance like that. Especially as it kinda makes sense. Affleck comes across as an insufferable dick in 90% of what he’s in so making him the villain is a good idea. And, dammit, Timberlake is just so gosh darn charming. He should be a lead. So, does that risk pay off in Runner Runner? Well… click the link to go all in!
I think this might be the first time I’ve reviewed a new entry in a film series after having done a complete film season. Back when X-Men First Class was released I led up to it by reviewing all the X-Men films. Watching this series is much like being a gambling addict. You start of neutral and then your up, but before your know it your way down and you stay down but then your up again… but you know you could fall at any minute. The real danger comes when you keep getting up and keep feeling better, because after that come inevitable, crushing failure. The Wolverine manages to maintain the momentum started with X-Men First Class. This makes me worry about Days Of Future Past. But let us worry about that later. For now, click the link below to read what I thought of The Wolverine.
Superman Returns gets a lot of crap. Around 84.6% of this crap is unwarranted nitpicking. The remaining 15.6% ignore that we could have gotten a much worse film instead. For example, in the years between Superman 4 we nearly had: A Tim Burton directed Superman starring Nic Cage, a fight with Polar Bears and a giant mechanical Spider. A film directed by McG. A film directed by Brett Ratner. Ashton Kutcher as Superman squaring off with Jay Baruchel. For some reason the cancelled Superman films always seem to involve really odd stuff. Thank God for Bryan Singer and his respect for the work of Richard Donner, because instead of Superman wearing an electric suit we got something that treated the source material with respect, could serve as a better sequel than the previous 2 films, and had zero mechanical fecking spiders. Click the link to read how I try to validate the existence of Superman Returns despite overwhelming internet raging fanboy opposition.
When I reviewed Tim Burton’s Batman I made mention that, prior to that film, no-one had taken the superhero genre seriously… except for in the case of Superman The Movie. For most cult genres there comes a point in the history of film where they suddenly get treated seriously enough and, more importantly, are successful enough to swing the general perception of that genre towards something more mainstream. For science fiction, barring a few examples, it was 2001: A Space Odyssey. For horror, a genre that had become more comedy after years of Universal monster movies, its return to credibility came with films such as Rosemary’s Baby and The Exorcist. For superheroes it was Richard Donner’s Superman. There’s a few examples of the superhero genre before this film but most were confined to B-Movie grade, throw away silliness. Superman The Movie had a huge budget, a huge scope and, like many great films, a huge amount of internal conflict. How did Richard Donner, who had most recently given the world The Omen, make you believe a man could fly when so many before couldn’t? By treating the source material with respect and spending an incredible amount of money. But how good a film is Superman The Movie? Click the link to hear me say stuff you probably already know!