Cinepub


Review: The Social Network by Jamie

Some small spoilers but I’ve tried to keep it relatively spoiler free, nothing that isn’t really obvious from watching the first third of the film or so.

Facebook has irrevocably changed the way human beings interact, either for the worse or the better. It’s hard to tell which. It ensures that we can stay in touch with old friends who it’d just be difficult to keep in touch with otherwise but then there’s always the odd report of a paedophile setting up a group so they can get pictures of kids. Whether true or not (and I tend to lean towards not because it’s my experience that the internet creates the ultimate herd mind, a mass organism that has all of it’s fight or flight instincts multiplied by billions compared to that which you’d experience in a single human being. If you don’t understand then just ask Tommy Lee Jones in Men In Black), these reports certainly help to bring into question just how good of a thing Facebook is. But rarely is the question asked How is Facebook? The reason that that question is rarely asked is because it’s poorly worded. A better question would be where did Facebook come from? And that just so happens to be the subject of this film ‘The Social Network’.

Now I remember when their was first talk of this film being made and everyone, including myself, were basically saying “A film about Facebook? That’s fucking retarded! Who the hell’s gonna see that?” It didn’t matter that David Fincher was directing or that Aaron Sorkin was writing. It just seemed like a film about a website was a really stupid idea. And on reflection it would be a really stupid idea if that website wasn’t Facebook. The reason that Facebook is the exception is, as I stated, it is a world changing thing but more importantly it’s the way in which the website came to be that is fascinating.

Still, even knowing that the movie was about the complicated relationships behind Facebook, I wasn’t completely sold. The trailer pissed me off a little. What with the whole choir version of Radio head’s “Creep” it just seemed so pretentious and so self-important for a film about the founding of a website. Still, I had thought the same thing about the trailer for ‘Frost/Nixon’ and that ended up being a film that I really loved. The proof I decided would be in the pudding and, as it turned out, what a fucking awesome pudding.

From the opening film where Mark Zuckerberg (Jessie Eisenberg) was having a war of words with his girlfriend to the films final resolution, I was fucking hooked. The story is twisty and turny, filled with betrayal and intrigue. It’s hard for me to even begin this review.

Ok, so the basic plot is Mark Zuckerberg breaks up with his girlfriend, hacks Harvard’s computer network and creates Facesmash, a website that allows people to compare girls at the university whilst blogging nasty things about his ex. The website goes viral and within a few hours, Zuckerberg has managed to crash the entire Harvard network. He is reprimanded by the school but his actions gain the attention of the Winklevoss twins (Arnie Hammer) and Divaya Narendra (Max Minghella) who approach him with an idea for a new social network, completely exclusive to Harvard, allowing friends to share photos and keep in touch and that kind of thing. Zuckerberg agrees to help them.

As he’s working on the site, however, he comes up with his own idea. It’s similar to their idea but greatly improved allowing for greater user participation and a wider range of features. He calls it ‘The Facebook’ and launches it with the financial aid of his friend Eduardo Saverin (Andrew Garfield) who becomes the manager of the business side of The Facebook. Eventually the website expands beyond the grounds of Harvard which attracts the attention of another internet pioneer, Sean Parker (Justin Timberlake) the creator of Napster who finds himself having fallen on hard times due to being sued by pretty much everyone in the music industry. It’s here when things really start to expand and soon everyone is rich.

Of course the Winklevoss twins and Narenda haven’t exactly been too pleased with all this as they feel that Zuckerberg basically just stole their idea. Finding no help from Harvard’s higher ups, they send a cease and desist letter and pretty much leave it at that as one of the twins is really reluctant to sue. That is until they find out Facebook has spread all the way to England. Then it’s litigation time.

Meanwhile Zuckberberg basically screws over Saverin who also decides to sue him and Zuckerberg suddenly finds himself fighing two cases.

It’s these trials that are basically the framework of the film with all the other stuff provided as flashbacks. It’s handled really well all though the first time the film left one trial only for the flashback to end in another I was a little confused though it didn’t take long to figure out what was going on. It’s a really interesting way for this film to play out especially if, like me, you haven’t read the book it was based on ‘The Accidental Billionaires’. You know that Zuckerberg is gonna screw over the twins and Narendra, at least from their point of view, and it’s fairly obvious how but you can’t figure out just how he’s going to screw over Eduardo who, to be honest, seems like the only real friend that Zuckerberg has due to his… somewhat abrasive personality.

So yes, it’s time to talk about Jesse Eisenberg’s portrayal of Mark Zuckerberg. Well, for years the standard joke has been that Eisenberg is basically the guy you get in your film if you can’t get Michael Cera but in ‘The Social Network’ he really shines. I honestly couldn’t see Michael Cera pulling this off. The way he portrays Zuckerberg as this arrogant, selfish, self-centered… Hell, basically sociopathic individual that for some reason you still feel something for is amazing.

Hell everyone’s amazing in this film. Andrew Garfield stands out as poor Eduardo who sticks with Zuckerberg through everything despite his personality and is ultimately discarded. In fact the scene when he is finally just screwed over by his best friends is one of the most heart-breaking things I’ve seen since maybe Toy Story 3. I didn’t cry this time but I think I was actually close.

Even Justin Timberlake surprised me as Parker, again someone who, like Zuckerberg, should be truly, truly unlikeable but there’s something about him that just you just can’t fully hate him. Oh, you can hate him more than Zuckerberg but still there’s something just kinda likeable beneath all of his doucehbaggery.

Fuck, everything in this film was great. The plot and the way it unfolded, the score by Trent Reznor, the way Eisenberg handled the quick, snappy dialogue, the fact that one guy is playing both twins and you would swear that, no, they must’ve just cast twin…. Everything. Go see this movei. Drop whatever it is you’re doing right now and go see it.

On top of everything else there is a personal investment in this story. We all use Facebook. That’s just the way life is now and to see it’s origins and to see how it spread and became this major force in our lives, well, it’s just incredible. See it. Five pints out of five. Laterz.



Review: The Social Network by Jamie

Some small spoilers but I’ve tried to keep it relatively spoiler free, nothing that isn’t really obvious from watching the first third of the film or so.

Facebook has irrevocably changed the way human beings interact, either for the worse or the better. It’s hard to tell which. It ensures that we can stay in touch with old friends who it’d just be difficult to keep in touch with otherwise but then there’s always the odd report of a paedophile setting up a group so they can get pictures of kids. Whether true or not (and I tend to lean towards not because it’s my experience that the internet creates the ultimate herd mind, a mass organism that has all of it’s fight or flight instincts multiplied by billions compared to that which you’d experience in a single human being. If you don’t understand then just ask Tommy Lee Jones in Men In Black), these reports certainly help to bring into question just how good of a thing Facebook is. But rarely is the question asked How is Facebook? The reason that that question is rarely asked is because it’s poorly worded. A better question would be where did Facebook come from? And that just so happens to be the subject of this film ‘The Social Network’.

Now I remember when their was first talk of this film being made and everyone, including myself, were basically saying “A film about Facebook? That’s fucking retarded! Who the hell’s gonna see that?” It didn’t matter that David Fincher was directing or that Aaron Sorkin was writing. It just seemed like a film about a website was a really stupid idea. And on reflection it would be a really stupid idea if that website wasn’t Facebook. The reason that Facebook is the exception is, as I stated, it is a world changing thing but more importantly it’s the way in which the website came to be that is fascinating.

Still, even knowing that the movie was about the complicated relationships behind Facebook, I wasn’t completely sold. The trailer pissed me off a little. What with the whole choir version of Radio head’s “Creep” it just seemed so pretentious and so self-important for a film about the founding of a website. Still, I had thought the same thing about the trailer for ‘Frost/Nixon’ and that ended up being a film that I really loved. The proof I decided would be in the pudding and, as it turned out, what a fucking awesome pudding.

From the opening film where Mark Zuckerberg (Jessie Eisenberg) was having a war of words with his girlfriend to the films final resolution, I was fucking hooked. The story is twisty and turny, filled with betrayal and intrigue. It’s hard for me to even begin this review.

Ok, so the basic plot is Mark Zuckerberg breaks up with his girlfriend, hacks Harvard’s computer network and creates Facesmash, a website that allows people to compare girls at the university whilst blogging nasty things about his ex. The website goes viral and within a few hours, Zuckerberg has managed to crash the entire Harvard network. He is reprimanded by the school but his actions gain the attention of the Winklevoss twins (Arnie Hammer) and Divaya Narendra (Max Minghella) who approach him with an idea for a new social network, completely exclusive to Harvard, allowing friends to share photos and keep in touch and that kind of thing. Zuckerberg agrees to help them.

As he’s working on the site, however, he comes up with his own idea. It’s similar to their idea but greatly improved allowing for greater user participation and a wider range of features. He calls it ‘The Facebook’ and launches it with the financial aid of his friend Eduardo Saverin (Andrew Garfield) who becomes the manager of the business side of The Facebook. Eventually the website expands beyond the grounds of Harvard which attracts the attention of another internet pioneer, Sean Parker (Justin Timberlake) the creator of Napster who finds himself having fallen on hard times due to being sued by pretty much everyone in the music industry. It’s here when things really start to expand and soon everyone is rich.

Of course the Winklevoss twins and Narenda haven’t exactly been too pleased with all this as they feel that Zuckerberg basically just stole their idea. Finding no help from Harvard’s higher ups, they send a cease and desist letter and pretty much leave it at that as one of the twins is really reluctant to sue. That is until they find out Facebook has spread all the way to England. Then it’s litigation time.

Meanwhile Zuckberberg basically screws over Saverin who also decides to sue him and Zuckerberg suddenly finds himself fighing two cases.

It’s these trials that are basically the framework of the film with all the other stuff provided as flashbacks. It’s handled really well all though the first time the film left one trial only for the flashback to end in another I was a little confused though it didn’t take long to figure out what was going on. It’s a really interesting way for this film to play out especially if, like me, you haven’t read the book it was based on ‘The Accidental Billionaires’. You know that Zuckerberg is gonna screw over the twins and Narendra, at least from their point of view, and it’s fairly obvious how but you can’t figure out just how he’s going to screw over Eduardo who, to be honest, seems like the only real friend that Zuckerberg has due to his… somewhat abrasive personality.

So yes, it’s time to talk about Jesse Eisenberg’s portrayal of Mark Zuckerberg. Well, for years the standard joke has been that Eisenberg is basically the guy you get in your film if you can’t get Michael Cera but in ‘The Social Network’ he really shines. I honestly couldn’t see Michael Cera pulling this off. The way he portrays Zuckerberg as this arrogant, selfish, self-centered… Hell, basically sociopathic individual that for some reason you still feel something for is amazing.

Hell everyone’s amazing in this film. Andrew Garfield stands out as poor Eduardo who sticks with Zuckerberg through everything despite his personality and is ultimately discarded. In fact the scene when he is finally just screwed over by his best friends is one of the most heart-breaking things I’ve seen since maybe Toy Story 3. I didn’t cry this time but I think I was actually close.

Even Justin Timberlake surprised me as Parker, again someone who, like Zuckerberg, should be truly, truly unlikeable but there’s something about him that just you just can’t fully hate him. Oh, you can hate him more than Zuckerberg but still there’s something just kinda likeable beneath all of his doucehbaggery.

Fuck, everything in this film was great. The plot and the way it unfolded, the score by Trent Reznor, the way Eisenberg handled the quick, snappy dialogue, the fact that one guy is playing both twins and you would swear that, no, they must’ve just cast twin…. Everything. Go see this movei. Drop whatever it is you’re doing right now and go see it.

On top of everything else there is a personal investment in this story. We all use Facebook. That’s just the way life is now and to see it’s origins and to see how it spread and became this major force in our lives, well, it’s just incredible. See it. Five pints out of five. Laterz.



Documental: Waiting For Armageddon by Jamie

Ah, religion. Religion, religion, religion. Yep. That’s a thing that happens. I’m sorry but as I know all too well, writing anything about religion on the internet can provoke some fairly extreme reactions from people on all sides of the argument. So it’s once again that I throw myself into this quagmire with a review of ‘Waiting For Armageddon’, a documentary which focuses primarily on fundamentalist evangelical Christians and their views on the coming apocalypse which they see as being imminent.

Now, I’m fairly sure that ever since humans came to understand the passage of life and it’s eventual end, there have been those who have expected to see the end of days in their lifetime and from my point of view, these people are no different. It’s just that, as this movie shows, there are a shit ton of them and they aren’t entirely without political sway. No, it should be said that I think this film was made during the Bush administration when the religious right certainly did have quite a large amount of sway in Washington and I’m not sure what the climate is like now but either way, these are a loud and, to my mind, scary group of people.

That being said, the film doesn’t seem to really take a side though it’s kind of similar to Jesus Camp in that it interviews the people about their beliefs and shows them participating in various activities and largely leaves what the viewer thinks of the issue up to said viewer. Whereas I came away from this disagreeing with most people and their apocalyptic beliefs and the destruction and devastation they’re willing, almost happy, to see take place in order for those beliefs to come true, I’m sure there will be others who already agree with these views to come away seeing it as a documentary which does nothing more than espouse those views. That also being said, much like Jesus Camp, the context of the clips does seem to lean a little more towards my side of the argument. Then again, I could just be seeing it that way because that’s the side of it that I fall on. In other words, I’m confused.

So for anyone who isn’t familiar with the book of revelations, it’s sort of explained in this film. The basic gist is that Jesus is gonna come back and fight the forces of the Antichrist in one major world-ending, pay-per-view event. Jesus is going to be carrying a flaming sword or something and he shall mete out righteous justice and then hit the reset button on all creation, abolishing evil forever. Before this all the righteous Christians will be called up to Heaven so they won’t have to endure the terrible tribulations that will proceed this awesome Holy War which we sinners will have to. The final fight itself shall take place in Jerusalem because if there’s one thing that place needs it’s a massive Holy War. Some Jews will finally accept Jesus as the messiah and the rest will be obliterated and all the rest of us that don’t will suffer a similar fate. I’m not sure whether Hell get’s destroyed with the giant universal reset or not so I’m not sure if I’m due for an eternity of torture or an eternity of oblivion which is what I’m expecting anyway. I suppose that’s kind of beside the point at this juncture. So that’s basically the end of the world according to the various accounts from the people in this movie. In other words Revelations is Jesus’ gritty reboot which, according to the fundamentalists, is long overdue.

Of course, there are a few things that have to take place before this occurs, paramount of which is the destruction of the Dome Of The Rock and the rebuilding of the Jewish Temple of Jerusalem. The destruction of the Dome is joked about quite often during a conference at the end of the film ass is, rather disturbingly, God’s “failure” to stop 9/11, the joke being that God didn’t fail to do anything because by definition God cannot fail and so all things occur according to his whim. This means that anything bad that happens, especially with regards to the Middle East or anything even slightly related to it, can be seen as a sign of the apocalyptic prophecies coming true because it’s God’s will.

I couldn’t help but laugh at one particular speaker during this conference. Something about the way he talked about post-modernism and us troublesome atheists just reminded me of the speaker at the police conference in ‘Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas’. You know, the one who talks about reefer addicts. Yeah, guy reminds me of him and it tickled me pink.

Perhaps one of the most interesting aspects of the documentary is when a group of evangelicals head of to Jerusalem on a visit and it’s interesting to see their interactions with the Israelis. There’s a sort of grudging politeness. I say grudging because at their heart each one of these people simply cannot respect ‘the other persons point of view. The Christians believe that the only way to get right with God is through Jesus and the Jews just don’t see things this way. The Christians have to be polite and support the Jewish people because if they don’t then they don’t get to see all the sites they consider holy plus they don’t get their Armageddon they’ve so been looking forward too. The Israelis have to be polite and put up with what I’m sure is a lot of evangelising, because these are evangelicals after all, because as one Rabbi puts it ‘We have a phrase called the golden rule. The one with all the gold makes all the rules.’ The same rabbi also claims that if Jesus did exist he was a womanizing sorcerer and has the best line in the film ‘So they believe that Jesus is coming back. We don’t think he’s going to make it a second time.’ Hilarious. Just something about the way he phrases it makes it seem like a threat.

Anyway, this film was pretty good despite it’s rather scary subject matter, it didn’t make me as angry as ‘Jesus Camp’ and there is some fairly interesting stuff in there besides the whacky prophecy stuff. The main thing it highlighted for me was that I just don’t understand religious belief. Maybe it is something genetic or something to do with brain chemistry that makes someone more susceptible to religious thinking (I’m not saying it’s the only reason just something that could make something like that more likely in certain people) but I’ve never believed, even when I was a child being taught all this stuff in primary school. I just don’t have the capacity for it and so it’s one of those aspects of human nature that will always remain a mystery to me. I don’t begrudge anyone their beliefs, they’re just not for me. So yeah, the film gets four pints out of five.



Review: The Loved Ones by Jamie

It takes a lot for a film to disturb or scare me. One that did both those things in recent times was a little Australian horror film called ‘Wolf Creek’, released in 2005. It’s basically the story of what happens when a group of backpackers come across a really fucked up version of the villain character from ‘Rescuers Down Under’. I mean really fucked up. Like torture and kill people fucked up.

Yeah, that film certainly left an impression on me. It somehow managed to include scenes of people being tortured but I didn’t get that general feeling of pointlessness that I normally get when watching films which have been dubbed, for better or worse, as ‘Torture Porn’. There was just something going on beneath the terror that made me actually care and get scared. It was a genuinely good film.

So we come today to another little Australian horror film which I would certainly put in the exact same genre as ‘Wolf Creek’. I dunno what that genre would be called… ‘Good Torture Porn’ maybe? No, that has completely the wrong connotation. ‘More-ture Porn’ because there is more going on than in the typical torture porn film? No, that doesn’t seem right either. It doesn’t matter. The film for today is ‘The Loved Ones’.

Brent is an Australian high school student who killed his father in a car crash whilst trying to avoid a bloody figure in the road. He has a hard time dealing with the events of that day, understandable really, especially since his mother seems to blame him for her husband’ death, even if se doesn’t say it directly. Still he does find some comfort in his girlfriend Holly. Sexual comfort, that is. Plus she loves him or something. There’s also his somewhat comical sidekick Jamie who has a crush on Mia, goth daughter of a local policeman who’s dealing with some pretty deep issues of her own.

Then there’s Lola. L-O-L-A, Lola. Lo, Lo, Lo, Lo, LoLola… Sorry. That had to be done. Anyway, Lola seems to be a bit of a quiet girl, doesn’t have too many friends, that kind of girl. She approaches Brent by his locker and asks him to the school dance but he turns her down, saying he’s already going with Holly This is a decision he’ll probably end up regretting.

While Brent is what I’ll assume is the Outback, because it’s outside and in Australia, Brent is chloroformed and kidnapped. When he comes round, he’s tied up to chair inside Lola’s house, with decorations hung all over the place as though it were some kind of homemade school dance. Lola is present as is her father and a woman, who doesn’t seem particularly cognisant of what is going on, whom they call ‘Bright Eyes’. From here the torture begins.

Whilst all this is going on there’s a subplot running concurrent involving Jamie and Mia and their adventures at the high school dance which provides a little bit of humour to the otherwise very dark proceedings whilst also adding another layer to the main story through the problems Mia is dealing with.

And that’s pretty much all the plot I’m going to give away. Anything beyond this would probably be considered a spoiler. I’ll just say that FUCK! The torture in this film is brutal and when you come to realise just what it is they plan to do with Brent it just becomes more and more disturbing. The film also manages to just draw you in, the tension in one particular scene (all I’ll say is it involves a drill and a kettle) becoming so heightened that I kept on standing up and walking around the room, occasionally taking my eyes of the screen as it just kept building and building to almost unbearable levels. It was fucking awesome.

Despite this rampant torture, there is, like I said earlier, so much that sets this apart from your ‘Saw’ films or your ‘Hostel’ films. I couldn’t give a fuck about any of the characters in any of those films (except for Danny Glover in the first Saw because every time he plays a policeman, I like to think he’s still Murtaugh after something terrible has happened to Riggs) but in this film, and indeed in Wolf Creek, I do. I care about the people being tortured which just makes everything so much more visceral, tense and generally uncomfortable.

The performances are all solid particularly those of Lola (Robin McLeavy) and her Daddy (John Brumpton) who play of each other as a psychopathic, serial-killing and possibly incestuous duo with seemingly twisted glee. Brent ( Xavier Samuel) is also pretty great especially conveying his thoughts and feelings the way that he is forced to because, well, let’s just say that after a certain point he doesn’t have much to say.

Overall if you like sick, twisted horror but can’t stand bullshit like the ‘Saw’ series then ‘The Loved Ones’ is probably the film for you. If I have one criticism I have, it’s the ending which just kinda happens whilst leaving a few storylines a little too unresolved for my liking. Still, four pints out of five. Laterz.

What follows is a trailer which to my mind is actually quite spoilerey. Watch if you want!



Review: REC 2 by Jamie

Massive Spoilers Ahead

The original ‘REC’ was one of those rare horror films which managed to creep me out, in particular the end scene with the creepy Zombie girl stumbling around in the dark waving that hammer. There was just something about the way that thing and the way it moved that just put me on edge. It’s probably one of those images that will stick with me for the rest of my life. Fuck, just sitting here thinking about it now is sending a shiver up my spine.

In fact, I still remember the first time that I watched it. For those of you that don’t know I am currently employed as a hotel Night Porter, a position which enables me to watch films whilst I work. I watched REC whilst at work, got proper scared and then had to spend the rest of the night going about performing my workly duties terrified that I was suddenly going to be attacked by some hideous Zombie abomination wielding a hammer. It was a bad night but a great film.

So I was genuinely looking forward to the sequel REC 2. Of course, I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect and sequels generally have a tendency to fail to recapture the feeling that made the first film so great but there are definitely exceptions to that rule. Jaws: The Revenge, for example, is a far superior film to the original… I’m sorry, I threw up a little in my mouth just joking about that. Anyway, the point is would REC 2 live up to my expectations? Let’s find out.

The film takes place pretty much moments after the ending of the first one. A Grupo Especial de Operaciones (GEO) team, which I’m guessing is basically the Spanish equivalent of a SWAT team, are sent into the quarantined building from the first film, each with cameras mounted on their helmets. Joining them is a representative from the Spanish Ministry of Health, Dr Owen. Before long their Zombies are falling from ceilings and the battle begins. Dr. Owen manages to fight off the creatures using rosary beads and mantras and it’s revealed that he’s not actually from the Ministry of Health at all but is actually a priest. I guess this was kept quiet because there are potentially children in that building and well… you know…

I kid, of course. It turns out that the whole infection is actually due to something that the Catholic Church would really like to keep hidden. Basically the deal is thus, a catholic priest was doing experiments in the penthouse of the building on a possessed girl in order to see if some kind of scientific cure for demonic possession could be created, treating the demon as some kind of virus. Unfortunately the experiments led to the demonic infection spreading hence the current situation. Owen needs to find a blood sample from the girl in order to try and finish the priest’s work and find a cure. Unfortunately, due to some demonic blood catching fire related mishaps, the sample is destroyed and they need to get another sample from the original girl.

Whilst all this is going on a fireman, the father of the girl from the first movie (the one who was sick, not the Zombie girl… although she did eventually become a Zombie girl… The one who wasn’t the one at the end with the hammer… There, I think that sorts it out) and three teenagers sneak into the building through the sewer system only to find themselves sealed inside. They also get attacked by Zombies and, after a while and a few deaths, the two groups come across each other as well as Angela, the reporter from the original film. One of the teenagers, Tito, gets bitten and Owen ties him up and forces him to tell them where the original possessed girl is. It seems as though the infectious nature of the possession has created a hive mind where the demon’s consciousness can inhabit anyone of the infected. Tito basically tells them that she’s in the penthouse and the team go up there, though they are somewhat confused as to why they didn’t see her when they were up there before.

Owen asks Angela how she saw the girl before and she explains that it was through the night vision on the camera she had with her. Tito had also mentioned that the light blinded their path and Owen figures out that maybe they can only see the girl in the dark with the aid of night vision. Anyway, they find the girl but Angela shoots her with a shotgun, pissing off Owen because he needed her alive. Angela doesn’t care because all she wants is to get the fuck out of the building, which is really rather understandable to be honest. She starts to beat the shit out of Owen in order to try and get him to authorise their departure and when the one remaining GEO officer tries to get her to stop, she shoots him. Owen then realises that the demon has possessed Angela. She reveals that she can impersonate his voice, kills him, radios the outside and tells them using Owen’s voice that, though he is infected, he is authorising the exit of one female survivor. It is then revealed through a flash back that when the Zombie girl caught Angela during the end of the last film, she didn’t kill her, she just deposited a large, fleshy thing which I’m guessing is the demon into her mouth. Unfortunately this reminded me of ‘Friday The 13Tth IX: Jason Goes To Hell’ which is one of the worst films of that particular franchise and that’s saying something.

Well that was REC 2. So what did I think of it? In all honestly, I was actually pretty disappointed. The film just lacked that certain, indescribable something that the original had. It also left me pretty fucking confused about a number of things. Firstly, just how much influence does the Catholic Church have over the Spanish government? Is it really so much that they can use their resources in order to propagate massive cover-ups regarding mass demonic possession? Seriously, is the way things happen in European countries where their King didn’t break ties with Mother Church because he wanted to get a divorce? It just seemed highly unlikely is all I’m saying.

Secondly, the idea that you couldn’t see the Zombie girl in the light just really pissed me off. She’s still a physical being right? She’s not become a ghost, I mean she can still carry a hammer, so why is she’s invisible in the dark? The explanation that the light blinds them from seeing the path seemed a little lacking, especially because at that point she doesn’t even have the physical demon inside her anymore, Angela does. Surely she’s the one who should be invisible… I dunno. I honestly think that the only reason they did it is because they knew how people reacted to seeing her in the first film purely through the night vision camera and didn’t want to dilute that by showing her in the light.

Thirdly, the teenagers were fucking annoying.

Despite it’s faults, this is still a moderately enjoyable Spanish horror film but that’s the problem. It’s only moderately enjoyable and I’m sure that viewing it back to back with the original would only make it seem worse. I expected so much more from this and just came away feeling disappointed though I did find the idea of a Zombie hive-mind kind of interesting and certainly something I don’t think I’ve seen before although it does beg the question as to if one Zombie spots them why don’t the rest instantly know where they are and head there to attack them. It’s also a pretty interesting take on the possession genre which, let’s be honest, has been pretty much been ‘The Exorcist’ and movies very much like it since the 70s. Oh, and the picture in picture stuff was kinda cool as well. It’s kind of the logical progression of that last scene in the ‘The Blair Witch Project’, enabling you to watch one character go investigate one thing whilst still hearing the audio from the other characters as well.

Oh, and that Zombie girl was still creepy, shambling and waving that hammer about. Overall, REC 2 gets three pints out of five. Laterz



Review: La Horde by Jamie

Ah, the French. As someone from England it is my national duty to hate them and everything they stand for. I assure you, it’s nothing personal. It’s just something burned into the minds of every English person from the moment that they are born. Sure, the Americans flirted with a bit of French hating a while back, going so far as renaming ‘French Fries’ to ‘Freedom Fries’ which was very cute but ultimately the work of amateurs when it comes to the art of French hating. To put it in a way that you might understand, they‘re like our Canada but only the French part of Canada.

Of course I jest. I have no actual hatred for the French whatsoever but aren’t national stereotypes fun? The truth is I’m about as indifferent to the French as I am the rest of the English. They exist, I exist. Hopefully we can all continue to exist without causing each other any discomfort. That would be just lovely, thank you. The point I suppose I’m trying to get at here is that today I’m reviewing a French film, ‘La Horde’ which when translated into a proper language (again, just kidding) becomes ‘The Horde’. It’s a film about Zombies and, as you may or may not know, I’m rather a fan of that particular genre of film. Let’s get into it.

The film is about a group of police officers who, after one of their friends is killed by a gang decide to take out revenge and raid the building where they are known to hang out. It’s whilst they are doing this however that Zombies happen. The police suddenly find themselves trapped in the building and having to team up with the gangsters in order to find a way out.

So let’s address the elephant in the room straight away, shall we? What kind of Zombies are we dealing with here? Well, it’s the fast kind that have been gaining popularity these days which I’ve largely made my peace with after seeing ‘Zombieland’ and ‘Diary of the Dead’. It is because of those films, however, that I have made my peace with them only in certain situations and trapped in a building isn’t one of them. They make sense in Zombie road movies where the characters are constantly on the move. It’s why they worked in Zombieland and why the slow ones failed so miserably in Diary of the Dead.

Still, they aren’t completely awful here. Much like ‘REC’, there are some tense scenes where people are walking down the corridor and suddenly something will burst from around the corner or out of the darkness so yeah, fast Zombies are fine if you like jump scares. There’s also something about this kind of Zombie that does lend itself well to multi-storey buildings, again as in Rec. The slow kind would be somewhat pointless if you wanted characters being chased up and down stairs although a slow moving, heaving throng slowly making it’s way upstairs would make for quite a nice, tension-filled film.

To be honest, it’s not the Zombies I had the biggest problem with in this film, it was the people. They all seemed to just be total assholes. Expected perhaps of the gangsters but the police as well? I suppose they are on a mission of revenge so they’re not the exactly your by-the-books kind of cops but still. In fact the most likeable character is one of the gangsters. There’s also a bizarre old man who seems quite funny and likeable right up until the point when he just becomes over-the-top weird and perverted with regards to zombies.

Basically, I couldn’t get emotionally engaged with any of the characters and that’s a bit of a problem in a Zombie film. If I can’t care about the characters then what’s keeping me around to see whether they live or die? Sure a few of them redeem themselves by sacrificing themselves to save others but it’s all just a bit too little too late for me to care by that point. Watching this film was basically like watching a few other people play ‘Left 4 Dead’. It could be mildly entertaining at times but at the end of the day you don’t really have anything invested in the outcome. Still, they did get one thing right and that was making the people you’re trapped with the true threat… In fact this may have been the best example I’ve ever seen of a film with both threatening people and threatening Zombies. I commend it for that.

So overall I was left slightly disappointed by this film. It just didn’t grab me like I had hoped it would and I swear my dislike of it has nothing to do with the fact that it was made by French people. Overall I give it two and a half pints out of five. Laterz.



Review: Buried by Jamie

Oh boy, this one’s going to be difficult because to do a decent plot synopsis, I feel that I’d have to give away far too much of the story… So, for a synopsis let’s just say that Ryan Reynolds plays Paul Conroy, a truck driver working in Iraq who awakens to find himself buried alive with nothing but (initially) a lighter, a knife, a pencil, his empty wallet and a mobile phone. Throughout the course of the film he uses the phone to contact various people, including the police in America, his family, the hostage takers themselves and people at a group set up to help people taken hostage in Iraq, in order to try and get him released from his predicament.

That’s pretty much the basic outline of the film and all I feel particularly comfortable telling you about the story without giving too much away. What will say is that this film is fucking awesome. It’s hard to believe that such a simple idea could produce such a tense and intriguing story but it does and it does it excellently. It’s the perfect antidote to ‘Devil’ if you had the misfortune to watch that as well. It’s incredible how a film about five people trapped in a box is so utterly and completely dull whilst this film about one man trapped in a box kept me on the edge of my seat.

Now, I’ll admit that this film probably isn’t for everybody. I heard a few people moaning and complaining that the film was crap but I have a feeling this are probably the small minority. Also they were laughing like fucking retarded hyenas during the film so I don’t think their opinions are exactly the ones you’d really want to trust anyway. Douchebags. If you‘re not that kind of person but instead you can actually sit there and allow yourself to be drawn into what is a fantastically engaging story then I‘m sure you‘ll enjoy it.

That’s not to say that the film isn’t without it’s problems, the main one being that I’m fairly sure an episode of ‘Mythbusters’ proved the basic premise of the film, that someone could be buried underground for any extended period of time, to essentially be highly, highly unlikely if not outright impossible. Still, maybe the writer didn’t see that episode.

The stand out performance in this film is, unsurprisingly, that of Ryan Reynolds. I didn’t realise just how good of an actor he actually is. His panic in this situation is palpable and yet it still occasionally tinted with the sense of humour that still keeps me hoping he’ll play Deadpool someday (and properly this time). It’s actually made me look forward to the Green Lantern film something I didn’t really care about that much before because, if I’m honest, I’m just not that big a fan of the character.

So in conclusion , if you’re not a fucking idiot, go and see this film. See it as soon as humanly possible. The last scene in particular left me shaking when I walked out of the cinema and only one film I know of has ever done that to me before and that was ‘The Dark Knight’. Four and a half pints out of five.




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