Thursday, 18 December 2014

Dumb and Dumber To Review

In the 20 years since the first film, Lloyd has been playing the most epic of pranks on Harry, his partner in dumb. Since the end of Dumb and Dumber, Lloyd has been trapped comatose in a wheelchair while Harry has patiently come to see him, changed his diapers and waited for him to snap out of it. As Dumb and Dumber To begins, Lloyd delivers the mother of all ‘Gotchas’ as Lloyd reveals he has been faking... for 20 years! It’s an amusing start to a film that can now get away with telling a story 20 years on where neither of the characters has done anything of interest in the interim. It’s like returning directors the Farrelly brothers have dangled their rods, hooked us in the mouths and shouted a big fat ‘Gotcha’ of their own.

Harry needs a kidney from a family member so after realising that his Chinese parents are actually his adopted parents, he receives the news that he also now has a grown up daughter, Penny. Harry sets off to find this daughter with Lloyd in tow, not completely out of friendship but more because Lloyd thinks the girl is hot. So begins another cross country road trip as the pair try to reach a KEN conference that Penny is speaking at. She was also adopted and is now being entrusted with delivering a speech on behalf of her adopted professor father.

Much like the last film, there are baddies in tow who want something that the dumbass pair have got hold of, so the story is very similar. Not only that, but we also pop in on the blind kid next door, have recycled jokes straight out of the first film and almost exactly the opposite of anything you would call character development. Lloyd in particular comes across as a crass, selfish prick with even the likeable Jim Carrey unable to save him from being a bit of a monster in this sequel.

There are some funny moments but these are few and far between and rely on some pretty poor humour. Like the recent Horrible Bosses 2, many of the jokes are racist and sexist with the only thing making them palatable being the fact that the white guys at the centre are so stupid that they are the real butt of all the jokes. Unfortunately Dumb and Dumber To has little of the heart of its predecessor and even invites comparisons by including clips from the first film in the end credits. 

While Carrey and Daniels work typically hard for their laughs, the main problem with Dumb and Dumber To is that despite a few good gags, the story is stale and the script fails to keep the laughs coming. It’s not atrocious, but it is a lazy and almost entirely unnecessary sequel. Do yourself a favour and just watch the trailer for the best bits:

More Reviews at I Love That Film

More Trailers at I Love That Film

London Film Festival 2014

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Thursday, 11 December 2014

Golden Globe Nominations 2015 for Films

It's time for the golden balls to come out shining again. The Golden Globe nominations were announced today with Birdman soaring above the rest with 7 nominations spanning a range of categories. Selma, The Imitation Game and Boyhood are close behind, each with 5 nominations and just behind them are The Theory of Everything and The Grand Budapest Hotel and Gone Girl, each with 4. Others worth a mention are Foxcatcher, Into the Woods and Big Eyes which all managed to land 3 nominations each, while St Vincent and Annie scraped 2 each.

Critics favourites Whiplash, Interstellar and Nightcrawler each have a single nomination to their name with the exclusion of Whiplash from the Best Picture category most likely to cause a stir. I'm also pissed to see that White God isn't up for best foreign language film but hopefully this is just due to its release date in North America. I guess Angelina Jolie will be heartbroken over the complete snub of her second effort as director, Unbroken, which looked like a proper piece of awards bait.

Of course UK audiences will just have to sit here fuming as we have to wait until 2015 for the likes of Birdman, Selma, The Theory of Everything, Into the Woods and Whiplash to be released. At least some of these will have been released by the time Amy Poehler and Tina Fey host the show on Sunday January 11th.

As usual, awards season is the only time of year that I decide to find out what it is like to have a gambling problem. I usually place some bets on the Globes and the Oscars and last year I lost some money on the Globes but won it back (with a little profit) on the Oscars. Hopefully I can continue my tiny little winning streak this year!

At least I've seen a fair few of these this year including Boyhood, Foxcatcher, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Pride, St Vincent, Gone Girl, Interstellar etc etc. As long as I get into early screenings of some of the others, I'll be very happy!

Here are the nominees in full:

Best film
The Imitation Game
The Theory of Everything

Best director
Wes Anderson - The Grand Budapest Hotel
Ava Duvernay - Selma
David Fincher - Gone Girl
Alejandro González Iñárritu - Birdman
Richard Linklater - Boyhood

Best screenplay
Wes Anderson - The Grand Budapest Hotel
Gillian Flynn - Gone Girl
Alejandro González Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris and Armando Bo - Birdman
Richard Linklater - Boyhood
Graham Moore - The Imitation Game

Best actor, drama
Benedict Cumberbatch - The Imitation Game
David Oyelowo - Selma
Eddie Redmayne - The Theory of Everything

Best actress, drama
Jennifer Aniston, Cake
Felicity Jones, The Theory of Everything
Julianne Moore, Still Alice
Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl
Reese Witherspoon, Wild

Best comedy or musical
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Into the Woods

Best actress, comedy or musical
Amy Adams - Big Eyes
Emily Blunt - Into the Woods
Helen Mirren - The Hundred-Foot Journey
Julianne Moore - Maps to the Stars
Quvenzhané Wallis - Annie

Best actor, comedy or musical
Ralph Fiennes - The Grand Budapest Hotel
Michael Keaton - Birdman
Bill Murray - St. Vincent
Joaquin Pheonix - Inherent Vice
Christoph Waltz - Big Eyes

Best supporting actor
Robert Duvall - The Judge
Ethan Hawke - Boyhood
Edward Norton - Birdman
JK Simmons - Whiplash

Best supporting actress
Patricia Arquette - Boyhood
Jessica Chastain - A Most Violent Year
Keira Knightley - The Imitation Game
Emma Stone - Birdman
Meryl Streep - Into the Woods

Best score
Alexandre Desplat - The Imitation Game
Johann Johannsson – The Theory of Everything
Trent Reznor – Gone Girl
Antonio Sanchez - Birdman

Best song
Big Eyes – Big Eyes (Lana Del Ray)
Glory – Selma (John Legend, Common)
Mercy Is – Noah (Patty Smith, Lenny Kaye)
Opportunity – Annie
Yellow Flicker Beat (Lorde) Hunger Games, Mockingjay Pt 1 (click for review)

Best animation
Big Hero 6
The Book of Life
The Boxtrolls
How to Train Your Dragon 2
The LEGO Movie

Best foreign language film
Force Majeure
Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem
Tangerine Manderin

What do you think? Got any tips for my gambling addiction? Where's the easy money at and who are the outsiders that are worth a punt?

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Being a Stars Wars Inbetweener

It’s weird being born in 1981. I missed the first two Star Wars films being released in cinemas as I was not even born (inconsiderate parents) and I was only two when Return of the Jedi was released. I’m too old to be a part of the prequel generation but neither am I one of those millions of kids who lined up outside cinemas to see the original trilogy on the big screen.

The first Star Wars film I saw at the cinema was The Phantom Menace when I was nearly 18 years old. I wasn’t young enough to want a lightsaber or Jar Jar Binks doll and I definitely didn’t queue up for hours and hours to see the film on opening night. And what is more, I was not keen on catching Attack of the Clones in the cinema and am bloody glad I didn’t.

When The Force Awakens trailer was released earlier in November 2014, I was chatting to my 16/17/18 year old media students about it. I realised that they were born in 1997 or 1998 and that most of them were too young to have even seen the prequel trilogy in the cinema. Many of them said they loved Star Wars when they were younger but hadn’t seen the films in a cinema. What is really crazy to me is that many of them experienced the Star Wars saga, not in the order of their release (4, 5, 6, 1, 2, 3) but in chronological order, as George Lucas possibly wishes we all had.

So as an early 80s baby I find myself in the strange situation of being between Star Wars trilogies; a Star Wars Inbetweener if you will. I’m not one of the uber-dedicated, super-geeky fanboys or one of the legions of filmmakers like Kevin Smith, Edgar Wright and J. J. Abrams who worship the original trilogy and have been inspired by it. I saw Star Wars first on TV, probably in 1987. I then had it taped on VHS so I could watch it over and over again. Of course, it was just ‘Star Wars’ to me; none of this A New Hope nonsense. It took me a long time to get through Empire and Jedi as I found Empire strangely off putting as a child. It was much later as a teen that I was strongly advised that I had to complete the trilogy, Ewoks and all.

I didn’t see the 20th anniversary George Lucas re-releases in the cinema but I did buy them on VHS. I was mildly excited to see The Phantom Menace, but not as much as those crazy-obsessed, heading-for-middle-aged men who grew up witnessing the majesty of the original trilogy on the big screen. It’s strange to be between fan bases when so many people that are older than me and younger than me claim Star Wars to be the biggest and best franchise ever. The fans seem to own Star Wars. Anyone born in the early 70s will have grown up with these films as the definitive blockbusters of their generation. Anyone born in the early 90s will also likely feel slightly similar. Us early 80s babies are just stuck somewhere in the middle, floating around aimlessly in limbo.

What is more, I was too young to see Terminator 1 and 2, Die Hard 1 and 2, Robocop 1 and 2, Back to the Future and A Nightmare on Elm Street at the cinema. Despite not getting to see Back to the Future in a cinema (as I was only 3 when it was released), I still consider myself the Back to the Future generation. Back to the Future Part 2 was the film that blew my mind on the big screen. Had I not seen the first film on video beforehand, I’m sure it would be a different story. Even if I’m stuck in Star Wars limbo, thank God I’m part of the video generation!

The reason I write all this is that I always felt kind of alone in this Star Wars apathy. It seemed like most people my age loved Star Wars just as much as the fans who are a decade older than them. But then I spoke to a guy the other day who is also 33 and he said he felt the same. Star Wars just wasn’t his thing... he was too young for the hype of the original trilogy to have affected him and too old to have cared much about the prequels.

Do any other early 80s babies out there feel strangely disconnected from the whole Star Wars phenomenon or is it just me?

More on Star Wars:

This is not the Star Wars The Force Awakens Trailer

Rejected Star Wars Episode VII Titles 

Star Wars Episode VII Title Confirmed: The Force Awakens 

More Star Wars Sequels and Spin Offs Every Summer 

The day I met new Star Wars star John Boyega



Friday, 5 December 2014

Terminator: Genisys Trailer Analysys (see what I did there?)

Everywhere I turn people are hating on the Terminator: Genisys trailer, so I’m here to provide a little bit of cautious and quiet optimism with this analysis of the first trailer. Watch it here:

Unfortunately my CG fatigue kicks in immediately with the opening shot. I hate it when every single thing on screen is completely computer generated. Give me Cameron’s old vision of the dystopian future any day. However, it’s a nice touch having the decaying Hollywood sign visible in the corner of the screen though. I’m guessing it’s not a deliberate comment on the state of the moviemaking capital of the world but it would be nice if it was. Three flying craft enter and head for a destroyed LA skyline.

Cut to Jason Clarke’s nastily scarred John Connor preaching to his fellow war survivors as Jai Courtenay’s Kyle Reese looks on. Was Jason Clarke just picked for his initials? Only Jesus Christ and James Cameron can answer that, but hopefully Clarke will prove himself worthy, though I doubt he’ll ever take the title of coolest Connor from Edward Furlong. On a side note though, imagine if they’d got Furlong back for the role. Have you seen him recently?

The future looks suitably bleak and it’s nice to see Connor and Reese fighting side by side because no matter how many times I’ve tried to watch Terminator: Salvation, it just never feels like I’m watching the version of the future that Cameron intended. So Genisys looks like it has gotten it a bit better but still not nearly as bleak as the vision offered up in the dreams of Reese in the first Terminator film.

 There is what seems to be a quick flashback to the best bit of Terminator: Rise of the Machines as Skynet sets off the global destruction of the human race as missiles strike targets all over our silly little planet. There are also a whole bunch of Terminators ready to be dropped off the production line at any minute, suggesting Connor and Reese are going to have their hands very full getting into Skynet in order to use the time machine.

And this is the point where it gets very interesting to me. What Genisys is going to have to do, is fill in a whole lot of little details that were glossed over in the original films. We finally get to see the time machine and Reese being transported back to the 80s (if indeed it will still be the 80s). After an incredibly homoerotic handshake between the naked Reese and clothed Connor, it’s all lightning and those familiar sphere things transporting Reese.

I will be interested to see how they explain how the resistance found out about the machines’ time travel scheme and if they attempt to justify why the machines decided to target Sarah Connor just before she becomes pregnant with John and why they didn’t just try to kill her when she was a child.

My favourite bit of the trailer is the recreation of those few shots in the alley from the original Terminator film of Reese emerging from his time travel sphere to immediately start being chased by the cops. It’s an interesting touch to have the Figueroa Lounge sign in the background featured quite prominently. I don’t remember that in the original film, but Don Figueroa is a guy who provided artwork for the Terminator: Salvation prequel comic so I suppose it could be a nod to him possibly.

And then we get the biggest shock of all! Sarah Connor comes crashing in, the cop is revealed to be another T-1000 and the roles are reversed as Connor demands that Reese comes with her if he wants to live. Now she is the Mother of Dragons, Sarah Connor is not so scared and weak and in need of saving as her future son thought she would be.

 Basically I’m a sucker for any part of the trailer where they seem to be delving into the first film’s scenes. So when we get the shot of the Griffith Observatory (which by the way I went on a pilgrimage to when I was in LA) and old 80s Arnie facing off against new (really old) Arnie, it gets me very excited. The fact new Arnie has been waiting for his other self and only thought to bring a shotgun doesn’t make a lot of sense but we’ll see how that goes.

 As Sarah says, everything’s changed but why the future hasn’t changed is a mystery to me. I don’t even want to get into the time travel paradoxes of these films as I’m sure they never made any sense in the first place but the films were just so damn good that it never really mattered.

There’s a quick shot of the T-800 saving a young Sarah Connor and a few tidy action beats but by the time Connor says ‘we can stop Judgement Day from happening’, you’re starting to think ‘yeah right, heard that before’.

And finally, the less said about the school bus flip and Arnie dive bombing a helicopter, the better. Let’s hope some of the action scenes have some vaguely practical effects and a real sense of threat instead of this OTT madness.

All in all, I’m quietly optimistic that this will at least have a really interesting new take. I’ve got to say I love the new even more badass Sarah Connor and the return of a liquid metal Terminator is very welcome. It’s never going to live up to James Cameron’s original pair but it sort of reminds me of Days of Future Past which can only be a good thing.

 What do you think?

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Bond 24 Titled Spectre and gets a Teaser Poster

Big things are about to happen in the world of Bond 24 so get watching below:

Sam Mendes calls the 007 stage ‘The stage where budgets go to die’

The title will be: Spectre

7 month shoot across the globe.

Sam Mendes mentioned the key new additions to his crew:

Editor: Lee Smith
Cinematographer: Hoyt van Hotema (Interstellar)

Mendes then unveiled the new Aston Martin DB10

Before he introduced his returning cast:
Rory Kinnear as Tanner
Ben Whishaw as Q
Naomie Harris as Moneypenny
The 'extraordinary' Ralph Fiennes as M
and Daniel Craig back as Bond

As for new cast members, it's a tantalising bunch: 

Andrew Scott as Denby
David Bautista as Hinks
Monica Belluci
Lea Seydoux as Madeline Swann
Christoph Waltz

And here is the teaser poster: