Tag Archives: critic

The Problems Of ‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2’ (SPOILERS)


Evening all. Some people reading this will know, from my activity on Twitter and on the Bastnerds podcast, that I have been an avid Spider-Man fan for the best part of 25 years. I recently took part in a spoiler podcast with Chris Byrne, Christopher Ejizu and Amon Warmann for Marc Webb’s latest effort – ‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2’.

On the recording, I was pretty critical and decidedly negative about the movie as a whole. Give it a listen here.

Now, instead of a review. I decided it would be more ‘my style’ to basically talk about why I didn’t enjoy the movie as much as others. There are more issues than what I talk about here. These are the worst offenders, in my opinion.

So here it is, my ANAL-sis for ‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2’. Yes there are SPOILERS, so don’t moan.


1. Jamie Foxx’s character is fucking wasted…. And I don’t mean drunk.


Jamie Foxx plays electrical engineer Max Dillon at Oscorp, later transformed into the villain ‘Electro’. From the marketing (extensive within the first 6 months of promotion) of the movie, Electro is extremely prominent and was confirmed as the ‘lead protagonist’. However towards the tail end of the marketing campaign, I noticed that the focus shifted from Electro and more prominently to Harry Osborn (Dane Dehaan) and Oscorp. This seemed odd – but I remained excited to see the final product.

Now I’m not saying that Electro is a BAD character, or that Foxx doesn’t do a great job. Quite the opposite actually. The issue with Electro is that his character is built up to absolutely be a potentially awesome and dangerous villain for Spidey (Andrew Garfield) – but as soon as he’s built up, he’s left hanging in limbo. While Osborn’s ‘sickness’ plotline is fast-tracked through the movie’s midway point (more on that later). Dillon is the sympathetic, misunderstood man that becomes endowed with immeasurable power while struggling to fit in with the norms of society. Max, through his own admission,  just wants to be noticed. In terms of personality, being polar opposite of Spider-Man is a potentially fruitful plot device – As we could potentially see the character gradually unravelling through his jealousy of Spidey’s attention – THEN develop him into Electro, powers and all. Give him something to run with first. The direction they took the character was rushed and half-resolved until a convenient way to bring him back into the narrative was presented through Harry Osborn.

*Side note – that whole Doctor Kafka/Electro conversation felt completely ill-judged and seemed to be hammed up as fuck.*


2. Uncle Ben’s murderer…. Yes, remember now?


Ben Parker (portrayed by Martin Sheen) is the moral compass and strongest paternal figure of Spider-Man/Peter Parker. So whether you’ve seen the comics, the cartoons or the movies themselves, you know that he’s a prominent fixture in Spidey adaptations.

Marc Webb’s first Spider-Man movie was pretty much a retread of Raimi’s original in regard to Peter and Ben’s relationship. Culminating in a robbery that Peter had the opportunity to stop, electing to ignore it. Which in turn resulted in the fatal shooting of his dear old Uncle. In ‘ASM 1’, there’s a meaty sequence where we see Peter attempting to find the killer, using a likeness as a template. Unfortunately, there’s no resolution. And Peter vows to find his uncle’s killer. So were we expecting to see this plot point, this massive part of Peter’s life at least continued? Of course……..

Barely even mentioned. That’s right.


3. Hollywood 101 – Using the last shot in the movie as the last shot in a trailer.


Paul Giamatti’s  Aleksei Sytsevich is introduced at the top of the movie. Attempting to steal plutonium (why? who cares!), and is quickly and effortlessly thwarted by Spider-Man (again, spoiled by the trailers and tv spots). At the film’s end, we find out Oscorp made a big robot suit, and apparently Sytsevich is qualified to operate it….. Enter ‘Rhino’, his giant robot suit and its Transformeresque nonsense that pulls Spidey out of the doldrums and back into saving the day mode. Cue the dramatic final shot…. That we’ve all seen months prior. Killing any anticipation for the next movie.

Way to go guys, you fucking turnips.


4. Harry Osborn and The Mystery Of Harry Osborn.


Dane Dehaan’s casting as Peter Parker’s best friend, Harry Osborn, was particularly one of the movie’s strongest. Dehaan is absolutely commanding in his conveying of emotionally tumultuous characters. He does indeed showcase this as the young Osborn, later as this movie’s incarnation of The Green Goblin (never Christened/labelled). But like Max Dillon’s character, it’s underdeveloped and a hugely missed opportunity to demonstrate one of the key relationships in the life of Peter Parker. Harry just appears out of nowhere after a decade (?) away and there’s no real in-depth insight into their friendship or what’s been going on with Harry himself – the whole thing feels rushed and only as a servant to get things moving with the Sinister Six development. This becomes more apparent when Harry’s ‘sickness’ conveniently becomes more aggressive after his father Norman (Chris Cooper) is killed to death by the unnamed genetic disease. Peter and Harry’s brief time together feels vacuous because we, the audience, have seen Peter go through these differences and changes in his life, without Harry around. For the friendship to look and feel natural and resonate – Harry needed to be a figure in Peter’s life during the events of first movie.

Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man movies showcased the pair as school friends right from the get go. We knew exactly what motivations Harry had for going after Peter by the third movie, and it was an actual, properly constructed plot that made sense in terms of the story and its development of the characters. Here, it’s condensed into about 30-40 minutes.


5. Richard & Mary Parker Became Sony’s Bitches


Maybe not everyone felt this way.

We know Richard and Mary were both involved in Oscorp and the experimentation that was going down. Spider-Man himself being a successful result of this. To me, this all seemed irrelevant to the story as a whole. Peter just wanted to find out why his parents had to leave him and to understand the reasoning behind it. Now, as the second movie progresses, we find out that Richard worked with Norman on many ‘cross species’ experiments in aid of potentially curing Monster Mash and his fingernails. Eventually leading to Richard removing himself from the project and thus getting ‘removed’ permanently on an airplane during the film’s opening sequence.

From this, and the subsequent reveal of Oscorp/Ravencroft’s intention to create a group to, I dunno, take over the world… It felt like the true nature, the raw humanity and the effects of the Parkers’ absence from Peter’s life had been substituted, or rather discarded in favor of just a cheap. convenient method of pushing the establishment of more villains. Sequel bait, folks! $$$$$$$$$££££££££££$$$$$$$$$$ 




So there you go. Anyone agree? Disagree? Send me your thoughts.


Love you lots.

#10 ‘Fast And Furious 5’ (2011)

The Three Stooges finally cast!

*Vin Diesel
*Paul Walker
*Jordana Brewster
*Dwayne Johnson
Director:- Justin Lin
Of all film franchises in my lifetime – Three have eluded me… Saw, Final Destination and The Fast And Furious series. Now, call me a cynic – but it’s just down to taste. I purely and honestly admit that I don’t have any time for horror/slasher flicks. I just see it as mindless, wasteful and really degrading stuff. Using talentless actors and one-trick ponies to execute (oops) a mildly disturbing death scene that’s beyond comprehension of the natural order. I also translate this mindset to the overly popular nitro-nonsense that is the Fast and Furious.
I remember seeing the trailers for the first film back in 2001 when I was 15. The car races looked cool, had some hot broads to gawk at and some really neat CGI transitional workings of the cars within the race scenes. Sweet! Nothing like it had really been done before so it was sure to be a winner among the uprising of boyracers and Subaru spankers. Indeed, The Fast And The Furious was a dumb film, but with good intent. Didn’t exactly raise the stakes and it wasn’t gonna win awards but it was a fun film for teens and young adults and definitely knew what to target and focus on.
With that and the subsequent 10 years drifting by, I made a conscious decision to miss the next 3 in the series. Because if you’re smart – like me, you’ll know that if an original film is not GREAT, then any sequel/prequel/threequel will be a shower of shite in comparison. However, even with the lashing of critics, the franchise continued to rake in the green at the box office.
After a case of bribery and confusion involving the girlfriend, I found myself this past Wednesday night in the cinema… Watching Fast 5. After ten years I finally went against my better judgement (which is always better) and used my evening of free time to shimmy on down and get entertainment for the sake of entertaining. So what did I think?
In short, Fast 5 is not a good movie. I felt it really lacked the same spark that made the original bearable. And I emphasise on bearable.
The returning threesome of Vin Diesel, Paul Walker (ugh) and Jordana Brewster are without the Vasquez wannabe in this film, I’m not particularly sure why, but I’d take a stab at she wanted to avoid being typecast like most of the other mugs in this film series have settled for.
The three are on a job in Rio, Brazil, attempting to steal cars from a cargo train with the help of a local group of criminals vetted by Fast 1 alumni Vince (who appears sporadically in the film). However after the job is botched the three are caught up in the proverbial shitstorm involving Rio’s most notorious drug baron – resulting in the need to assemble a team to take him down.

The film had me scratching my head from pretty much the get-go… Everyone in this film just looks and sounds bad.

Vin Diesel seems to have aged 20 years and waved hello to a beer gut and chins that would make Jabba The Hutt jealous.

Paul Walker is just.. ugh.. just awful. The guy has no charisma, no presence, no drama and most definitely no personality. Putting him against Vin Diesel, and he just tears him down. Diesel’s still got that voice. Although he sounds tired, run down, lacking of any energy or enthusiasm. It really does not harken back to the original.

Jordana Brewster, Diesel’s on-screen sister, is an actress of non-demand, someone who really only pops up on the radar when one of these films are announced. There’s hardly anything for her to do in the film, save for the opening 10 minutes where it’s hinted then quickly revealed that she’s carrying Bore Walker’s baby. The scene itself it utterly pointless and has no effect on the plot, so that’s why I spoiled that one. Sorry!

Former wrestler, Dwayne Johnson, who plays the CIA go-to guy for nicking those meddling kids, is by far, by a fucking mile… The best actor in the entire cast of this film. He oozes energy, aggression, masculinity and bad-assness from the moment he walks onto the camera shot. His credibility as an actor will most certainly go up after the release of the film. Some very good timing and intensely intimidating moments aswell clock up some major points for the guy. It’s astonishing, simply astonishing when you think about it. These guys have been working in film for a considerable while longer than this wrestler turned actor, and most of his films are bad, yet he outshines all of them. It’s crazy.

I couldn’t shake off my observation that Johnson, at 39, looks at least 10 years younger than he actually is. Whereas Mr Diesel, only 4 years older at 43, could easily pass as 55-year-old trying to regain his ‘old body’. Odd stuff.

The production of Fast 5 really does spell out clearly that this was loaded with cash and to some good effect. The sequence near the beginning involving the train heist was heavy on the CG and stunt-work, but was definitely well put together. Save for some crappy editing towards the end, you’ll see… There are a few other small positives I can give for the last chase scene, but I won’t spoil that. What I will spoil are some the things they really got wrong with Fast 5. First and foremost – an offscreen car chase. I was totally shocked by the immediate cut from the challenge and agreement, to a regrouping scene in the team’s garage.

The films are notoriously famous for their fast paced street races and the stunningly unrealistic driver’s side green screen shots. So, what would a director gain by not including it in the cut? It is beyond me. Another glitch was the only car race they had in the film. Which was spoiled even before it began as the four racers were all driving the exact same car. It seemed like all coherence and thought just went out of the window.

Closing comments because I know I’m on a rant with this one. Fast 5 will not gain anymore fans of the series. If you are a lover of the other films, you’ll probably enjoy it. Although I personally see no relevance to the first film from this in any form apart from ‘these guys are those guys from the first movie.’ In all honesty you get less of what you would expect from a Fast and Furious movie. But, hey, there’s a sixth on the way.



#7 ‘An American Tail’ (1986)

Mousel tov!


*Phillip Glasser

*Dom DeLuise

Director:- Don Bluth


Back in the late 80’s, early 90’s. Don Bluth was the shit.

From ‘The Land Before Time’ to ‘The Secret of NIMH’ all the way to his work on the ‘Dragon’s Lair’ game franchise – He was undoubtedly my favourite filmmaker. Though I didn’t know who he was in all honesty. But hell, the movies – were awesome! Emotional, hard-hitting, gritty and realistic. All that, with some inspiring and beautiful animation that still stand the test of time today against the likes of Pixar.

An American Tail – set in 1895 – is a story of survival. It also plays out as an ‘all’s not lost if you have hope’ piece of narrative, which is probably some of the best, of this particular nature, that I’ve seen.

 The film’s lead, is a young Russian-Jewish mouse, Fievel, voiced by Phillip Glasser. Who, after being forced to leave their shack under a family home in Russia with his Father, Mother and two siblings – is swept away during a frightening sea storm en route to New York City – Their potential new home. Fievel is washed up ashore in New York, and is befriended by a French pidgeon, Henri. Who, willingly gives him a bubble bath in the near-constructed Statue of Liberty (the scene is crushingly funny and so heart-warming at the same time it almost seems impossible), and encourages him to look for his family – Who believe that their son perished during the storm.

Now, watching this almost 20 years after I last had the VHS tape, it’s really a completely different movie altogether. As a kid, I’d often pick up more on the ‘humour’ and the songs (Especially ‘Somewhere Out There’ – that one is a killer). But maturity and age allowed me to broaden those horizons and read between the pages – to find that this film is truly a classic piece of animated cinema.

In places – it does get rather depressing, Fievel is taunted constantly by the loss of his family – though with companions at his side throughout, he’s never truly alone. But there are constant reminders and teases that his family are closer than he thinks. It actually becomes excruciating to see how often it happens – all for Fievel just to wind up disappointed.

To be fair, it’s pretty heartbreaking. But Bluth’s knack for delivering such human emotion and characterisation to rodents(?) is quite the feat. There’s laughs, there are tears, joy, sorrow, anger, resentment – All thrown in this little bag. The negatives, in this respect, outweigh the positives, however the conclusion is very endearing and totally worth the anticipation.

An American Tail is probably not your average kids flick. It’s abundant with adult-overtones. Such as war, immigration, cruelty, mass genocide and a host of others. I did find a lot of similarity between this and Christian Bale’s plight in ‘Empire of The Sun’. Obviously his character’s situation was in the middle of full-scale war, however both himself and Fievel’s vulnerability and innocence are the heart of the two films. It’s what keeps you transfixed on the events to come, and encourages you to encourage THEM to get back to where they need to be.

There’s an amazing charm to Fievel, as well as his family. His oversized red jumper, his dopey tongue expressions, his dancing to his father’s violin-playing – Effective and simple. There’s not that much around these days. Where are you, Bluth? There’s a lot of support characters in the film, the villainous ‘Warren T. Rat’, which is an amazing villain name. And ‘Honest John’, a reliable but often inebriated mouse politician living in the New York, to name a few. But it’s Dom DeLuise as ‘Tiger’, the vegan cat – who steals the show in his few minutes on-screen. Channelling The Cowardly Lion character from The Wizard of Oz, DeLuise delivers some wise-cracking wit as the cat who befriends Fievel during his search. Capped off with a lovely bit of toe-tapping duet stylings from Glasser and DeLuise.

In closing – it’s definitive animated excellence – However some wishing to show it to children will find the content of the film slightly over the mark.

Very slightly.


5 Sequels That Ruined Their Predecessor

Ok, just a few picks that I, personally found suitable for this list. I’ll be giving a few thoughts on each one…

1. ‘Evan Almighty’ (Original – ‘Bruce Almighty’)

Awwww... Sheeeeet!

Let me be frank, Bruce Almighty (starring rubber face himself, Jim Carrey) was never a masterpiece, nor was it amazingly funny. But with the film being the jump start for the film career of Steve Carell, it did stir some interest – As a big fan of Carell in The Office, I decided I’d give this film a watch. The end result is a…ugh… ‘comedy’… that doesn’t even touch the sheer stupidity of Jim Carrey’s multi-digited limb. It’s just a damn miracle that Steve Carell is able to shine in other films and become lesser-known for this one.

2. ‘Alien Ressurection’ (Originals – ‘Alien’, ‘Aliens’ & ‘Alien 3’)

Oedipus Complex 101

 A disgustingly horrific way to fully kill one of the best sci-fi franchises of the last 30 years. Alien 3 pretty much ruined it all, but this one was the killing blow…. Actually no, I’m wrong. Alien 3 was the killing blow. This just beat its dead lifeless body down with a massive 40 inch dildo.

3. ‘Everything George Lucas has been involved with since 1999’ (Original – ‘Everything George Lucas was involved with before 1999’)

This picture, tells us exactly what George Lucas, as a filmmaker and what his films represented. Interest, excitement, art, honing a craft, inspiring.

Now, look at what he looks like now… Bloated, boring, egotistical, nonsensical overbearing smugness, dishevelled, piece of crap. These are traits he shares with the films he’s produced in the last decade. George, you killed your baby.

4. ‘TRON: Legacy’ – (Original – ‘TRON’)

"Anyone up for a game of S&M frisbee?"

TRON was one of those ‘kewl’ flicks from the 80’s that we all love. It’s not great now by today’s standards, but that shit was awesome 20 years or so ago. But it’s been slightly shitted on by this long-delayed sequel that would’ve been much better off being produced while technology was not as advanced as now. The first one just seems completely organic in comparison. Again, one of those CGI filled shit-fests that could’ve been so much more.

5. ‘Home Alone 3’ (Originals – ‘Home Alone’ & ‘Home Alone 2’)

Oh, John… John, John, Johnny, John, John…. I wish you could’ve died a happy man.

#4 ‘Crazy Heart’ (2009)


Jeff Bridges

Maggie Gyllenhaal

Robert Duvall

Colin Farrell

Director:- Scott Cooper


Let me be the first to admit – Jeff Bridges is one of my favourite actors of all time. This guy can seriously act his chops off and put the world to rights in the space of ten words. His cult iconic role in Coens classic ‘The Big Lebowski’ put Bridges well and truly on the map and ushered in a phenomenon of popularity for the character he portrayed – The Dude. Arguably, the ‘coolest’ man ever. Jeff later went on to star in K-PAX with Kevin Spacey, Iron Man and 2010 sequel Tron: Legacy (balls up there I think…)

But yes, it is a one-sided opinion, and I’ve been fairly off the mark with these things before. My only argument for this one in particular? Academy Award. Jeff scooped the best actor award at 2009’s Oscar ceremony, where he was heralded by his peers and mentors. Far fucking out man…

As it’s nearly Oscar time for the last 12 months of cinema, I thought I’d recap the film that gave Jeff the opportunity to win the award. Crazy Heart.

He plays country music legend, Otis ‘Bad’ Blake – For the duration of the film though, he only refers to himself as ‘Bad’, and will be ‘Bad’ til the day he dies – so he says. An audacious method of separating the good side from the ‘bad’ side – See what I did there?

Travelling across the States armed only with his guitar, bottle of whisky and a packet of smokes, Bad performs at downtrodden, beaten bars and bowling alleys to a pack of beer-swilling, slack-jawed fans of yester-year.  Bad’s problem (apart from this one), is that he’s on his last legs. After years of smoking and alcohol abuse, he’s pretty much one step from being face down in the dirt – but trucks on to make good on his gig commitment and to bag himself some well-needed cash.

Bad Blake, as a character is a screamingly obvious homage to stars like Kris Kristofferson. Jeff’s natural ability toward the character does make it seem so much more grounded and humble. Almost like watching a biopic or documentary – A whirlwind career turned sour. I found myself very skeptical of how the film would pan out however, questioning whether Crazy Heart would have a bigger payoff from either ending in Blake’s ultimate downfall, or ultimate rebirth. A little disappointed I was with the general ending, but it was one of a few niggling aspects which pinched this film of repeat viewings.

The performance from Maggie Gyllenhaal as journalist/love interest Jean was kind of out of place. Maggie’s a solid actress with a lot of good credits behind her – but her connection with Bridges is slightly…awkward(?) And at sometimes creepy. At times I thought this could be a show of pity toward Blake, a show of empathy. Sure, it looks lovely and full of ‘awwwness’ on screen but you may find yourself peeling back the layers and taking a closer look into her real intentions.

I’ll summarise this fairly rapidly…. Was Crazy Heart a great film? Not really. Was Jeff Bridges deserving of his Oscar? Hell yes.

Although formulaic and little too predictable (yesss) at times, it really wasn’t about the story that made it watchable – it was Bridges’ performance. Bringing such a subtlety of class during the musical numbers, and an eerily disheartening feeling in a deleted scene depicting Blake’s relapse into alcoholism and his unforeseen woes at being rejected by Jean.

With credible support from Robert Duvall, and Colin Farrell (yes, Colin Farrell ain’t too bad at all here). Crazy Heart, although not his best movie to date, definitely Jeff Bridges’ best performance to date. Best watched with a cold beer, and a couple of smokes.

That’s how The Dude abides.





‘Disastrous to Prosperous’

Last year was undoubtedly one of the worst years in recent memory for films. The release of Avatar and the subsequent universal popularity it received, plus an ever-increasing development of films being shot/post-produced in 3D casted an enormous blue-hued shadow over the landscape of modern film-making. Turning our brains into mush and forever fecal-powerbombing the art form of motion picture.

So, where did it all go wrong in the past twelve months? Or should I say, what should happen in the next twelve months…


1. No more fucking SAW movies

If there’s one fucking thing that’s outstayed its welcome, it’s Saw.

Convoluted and ridiculously back and forth plots, stupid retarded scary puppet thing, unimaginable dumbness on all the actors to a degree, and boring, predictable drawn-out bullshit films as a whole.

Are people this stupid? Are you stupid? This franchise needs to die…. Just straight down the line, dead. No more fucking plot twists or dead characters getting resurrected for the fifteenth time.

Saw, suck my balls.


2. Give the fucking Coens a services to film award at the Oscars

Paul and Barry Chuckle. circa 1823

Yeah, do I really have to explain myself here..?… Oh

Blood Simple, True Grit, Big Lebowski, Fargo, No Country For Old Men….

Any questions?


3. Enforce retirement upon Johnny Depp

Last place in goatee contest

Look, this is going to get a few boos. But this guy is just fucking annoying me now. He does his job well I guess… Love him in Fear and Loathing. He’s just fucking everywhere though, he doesn’t take a day off! I mean does he have a wife? I wouldn’t marry him… What a bastard fella he would be!

“Yeah I’ll be off shooting tomorrow” ….

“What, again? Another 3 months?”…..

“Yeah sorry, well what can ya do? I’ve got millions in the bank, and I’m sexually frustrated”

Ever since the release of the first Pirates of the Caribbean, I swear to god – Depp is just the most sought after actor in Hollywood. Now I’m not saying that isn’t a good thing… Because obviously he loves to work SOOOOO fucking much. But… You know, give someone else a shot?? Please?? Contrary to what people say, you, and Brad Pitt for that matter – are showing your age.

Let’s vote to see which one’s gonna be first to play the ‘bumbling old man’ role in a Farrelly brothers comedy.


4. Hire assassins to maim or possibly murder Aaron Seltzer and Jason Friedberg


After a number of years riding on the coattails (why?) of the Wayans team. These two cunts have found it increasingly necessary, and for some reason logical – To direct and script possibly the shittiest, most degrading, suicide-thought inducing ‘comedy’ films in the history of man. Yeah I went there.

They are the cause of the dumbing down of our society, they are going to single-handedly destroy all that is still good and pure of film-making.

Stop these men.

Stop them….. Please.

5. Minimalise post-production 3D conversion


Yeah, this one’s a pretty major one for me. As I’ve noted before. It wouldn’t be fair to say boycott 3D altogether, because it CAN work and compliment a film if used correctly. However, due to budget constraints, studios have opted to convert their completed films into 3D, instead of using 3D cameras during photography – In turn, making those films extremely harsh on the eyes when watched with 3D glasses on.

It’s simply just a marketing commodity, and it’s beginning to stink like the webbing in between my toes. The vastness of ‘eye-rapes’ from the past year is astronomical and it just needs to be calmed down, soon. It’s not always about the visual, people. Use all other forms of media to tell your story, that’s what we’ve paid our money for. Not a migraine.


Take the power back everyone, and take heed.

#3 ‘Watchmen’ (2009)

Blue Man Group Mk.2




*Jackie Earle Haley

*Jeffrey Dean Morgan

*Malin Akerman

*Patrick Wilson

*Matthew Goode

*Billy Crudup

Director:- Zack Snyder

Superhero films have become a more common entity during the last ten years. From the jump-starting ‘X-Men’ to the genre re-invention of ‘Batman Begins’, the influx of comic book adaptations into cinema features has turned the genre into an overwhelmingly popular market for all demographics.

There’s not usually much inward depth to these films in all honesty.. with a few exceptions. You take a guy, give him a power, create a villain, guy becomes hero and defeats villain (with possible smoochies at the finishing post). Simple, but an executable way to tell a story of triumph over evil. And who doesn’t like a good popcorn flick over good guys versus bad guys? It’s the bread and butter of most things we see on tv and at theatres.

Writer Alan Moore, however, took the archetypal redundancy of the genre and it’s ‘stay-safe’ elements. And created one of the most well-received and popular superhero stories of our generation. ‘Watchmen’.

In development hell for the best part of 20 years, ‘300’ helmer Zack Znyder finally got the gig after a torrent of rumours plagued the internet on who would direct the so-called ‘un-filmmable comic book’.

Set in an alternate 1985, nearing the end of the Cold War. Watchmen is not your average superhero movie. Besieged with the surrounding sensationalism of a ‘Doomsday Clock’, Americans have turned their backs on the vigilantes that had protected them before – with impending nuclear war on the horizon, they have simply accepted that they cannot be saved. Well that’s the basic synopsis… Trying to keep this spoiler free!

The film’s first part is narrated (through diary entries) of a masked vigilante named ‘Rorshach’ (Haley), a tormented soul dedicated to seeking out and ridding the cities of criminals, murderers and rapists. As the sole member of Watchmen still operating at the start of the film, he is disappointed that the others (most notably Dreiberg) had given up their mantles long before.

Supporting characters, are fellow members Dan Dreiberg, a tired, bloated Batman-esque former hero. Lost, and at a crossroads over his retirement from vigilantism. Laurie, daughter of a past heroine. And Dr Jon Osterman, a former scientist, who after a freak accident becomes a powerful being capable of controlling matter at his will. The rest is rounded up by former enemies, love interests, and probably the worst portrayal of former US president Richard Nixon ever committed to film. Let alone the comically oversized schnozz.

To be frank, there are some really strong performances. The sore thumb is most certainly Jackie Earle Haley as Kovacs/Rorschach. Who is not your average, friendly crime fighter. An emotionally uncomfortable man with a knack for breaking digits, Haley delivers a genuine fluidity through some of Rorschach’s most nightmarish of scenes.

The screenplay fully encapsulates the graphic novel more or less frame by frame. There are some differences that will certainly alienate a great deal of fans of the book – but in terms of keeping true to source, Snyder hasn’t really done a bad job here. Minor spoiler – One abundant aspect I took notice of was that the group are frequently referred to as ‘Watchmen’. Although, they were never referred to that name in the book – ironically, at the first meeting of the group they are labelled as the Crimebusters.

The story is full of ambiguity, and this is one of those examples. I believe this was Snyder’s way of avoiding confusion with audiences not familiar with the book.

Of course there’s a lot of CG, but it’s not over-utilized where it becomes stale and boring. A rare find is a big summer film whose story isn’t farted on constantly by green screen and computer effects – so it earned Watchmen some points in my view. Cinematography by Larry Fong is also very cleverly in-sync and much akin to the book’s frame flow.

A decent popcorn flick for the film buff, but it’s complexity and more risqué tones than your standard Superhero movie may not make Watchmen everyone’s cup of tea.


“We Can Remake It, Make It Stronger”

I’m a film lover. No questions asked. However, I can honestly admit that I hate going to cinemas to watch films. Not really without the risk of disappointment – it’s actually from loss of enthusiasm.
And that’s due to one word. One word that has plagued and addled my brain for the last 5 or so years…

They can sometimes fill us with woe and sometimes make us salivate with anticipation. But bearing in mind that this is now a big market in cinema – is it just alienating cinema-goers, or is it proving to be the best vehicle for bringing those films into the 21st century?
Case and point 1:- Christopher Nolan’s ‘Batman’ trilogy

Nineteen years on and still going strong

The idea of a character study Batman film had never been committed to film until Nolan’s 2005 film ‘Batman Begins’. Previous directors, Tim Burton and Joel Schumacher (guhhhh) had released interpretations that were visual-heavy, and tone-heavy with no real substance to the characters. Fleshing out had gone out of fashion. Not to deny that Burton’s flicks weren’t in any way impressive – but on the other hand, they were at an extreme where you had to embrace the inability of believability, and let the ‘comic’ itself steer your perception of the films. Schumacher’s on the other hand took it to a whole other level. Instead of cleverly using the best parts of Burton’s work, he took the bad parts… and made them worse. Or worser than worse. A couple of hammy, campy and shockingly homo-erotic schlock-fests with one that would subsequently become the widely-voted ‘Worst Film Ever Made’.
With two out of the way, and a third in pre-production – Nolan’s films have solidified the Batman revival as one of the greatest in recent film history.
Case and point 2:- Horror Remakes. Why?

"One, two, this film will be poo"

How many times do we go down this road? If anything has never worked in Hollywood, it’s horror remakes. A cheap, lousy homage to some of the best films we’ve seen. And it’s not an exagerration….
Here’s the lowdown of remakes, their revenue, and average rating from Rotten Tomatoes (out of 100%).

1. Texas Chainsaw Massacre – $107 million – 36%
2. Halloween – $80 million – 26%
3. Friday The 13th – $91 million – 26%
4. A Nightmare on Elm Street – $115 million – 13%

This is an endless list. I kid you not. The main trend is not only the low critical reception, but also the gross revenue. Yeah $100 million bucks is a hell of a lot of money to us folk. But in Hollywood, it’s pretty much just nickels and dimes. They’re barely breaking even with the film’s budget, which would probably lead to low DVD sales, decreased chances of a sequel, and also a great way to polish off a 25 year old actress’ career.
The common problem with Horror in the 2000’s has been what I like to refer to as the ‘Unholy Quadruped’ of film-making…
*Stupid dialogue
*Stupid actors
*Stupid plot
*Stupid endings
Horror remakes flesh out all of those to great effect, on a constant basis. It’s a great discomfort when I actually saw the amount of famous slasher/thriller flicks that have been redone in the last 10 years. Just try thinking of one film that scared the crap out of you as a child, and it’s been remade. It sucks as hell because it just (metaphorically) sucked the life out of everything that made the originals memorable and literally picks the film up, and shakes it tell it’s dead and blue in the face.
And somewhere, somehow Tyler Mane always has something to do with it….(Liev Schriber took his other job…)
So, just how longer will studios go funding these films? Progressively numbing our minds with their visual PCP, and rubbing their collective hands in the process? Probably never. Although I really do wish that if there does ever come a time when films like the above are remade, they’re done with a little more class, and a little more thought.
So there, a viewpoint from both sides of the fence. Personally, I really, really loathe the idea of remakes. Sure, everyone likes a good horror flick. But when you just put in jump-scare after jump-scare it really loses it’s purpose, and that’s a mainstay in these Hollywood remakes. Dramatics with little to no effect. It’s such a waste of our money and precious time – entertain us, for fucks sake!
On the other hand though some people can get it right and change things for the better. Giving us movies that are recognisable, but still fresh. With a lasting appeal and producing a great homage to previous work. It’s just not happening enough for me to think that way.
It’s high time that production companies should be looking outside the box, and not keeping cosy on the inside – Eventually they’ll be gasping for help.

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