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Review: Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows: Part 1 by Jamie

Well the end is nigh for the Harry Potter series and it begins with this film, ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1’ or Harry Potter 7 for brevity’s sake. Yes it’s been a long, strange trip with it’s ups and its down but how does this film fare as the opening of the close? Let’s find out.

So the basic story is that of Harry, Hermione and Ron roaming Britain trying to find and destroy the horcruxes that contain Voldermort’s soul and the effects that the Dark Lord’s return are having on the wizarding world in general. That’s pretty much it. It’s a pretty simple story and yet it manages to be complex in it’s simplicity. Wow, that might be the wankiest thing I’ve ever written.

Wanky or not, it’s true. The film manages to be both incredibly simple yet deep and complex at the same time. The biggest change from earlier films is that all of the action takes place outside of Hogwarts. Gone are the little whimsical touches that were littered throughout that school in general. Instead what you get is a far more realistically grounded film. Yes, you still have people using magic and that but there’s no keys with insect wings or talking portraits. It’s much more serious fare.

And with good reason. This is a very, very dark film compared to others in the series. For one thing, there’s a very fascistic overtone to Voldermort’s overtaking of the Ministry of Magic. The parallels are obvious with Nazi Germany. There’s a scene where they are actually creating propaganda entitled ‘Mudbloods And The Danger They Pose To A Perfect Pure Blood Society.’ So yeah, you don’t really need to scratch the surface too much to find the analogy.

What I am surprised by is just how far they’re willing to take everything for what is still technically a kids film. There are scenes of Hermione screaming as she’s tortured by having the word ‘mudblood’ scrawled into her skin, an opening scene where someone is killed because they promote the ideas of muggles and wizards ‘mating’ (as Voldermort puts it) and a beautifully animated sequence about three wizards and their encounters with Death himself. Beautiful but dark.

There’s been much talk about the number of scenes where the trio are just camping with some saying that the film is basically just that but I honestly didn’t feel as if that was dragged out at all. In fact the film seemed to be paced relatively well, perhaps a little slow here and there but not egregiously so. Still, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t some problems with the film. For example, one of the horcruxes they find is a locket which, when worn, turns the person wearing it into a bit of a douche bag so my question is why wear it? Hermione had a magical Mary Poppins-esque bag so why not just keep it in there?

Importantly, this is also the first film where the story of the kids was the most interesting part of the film. In earlier instalments I found myself not really caring what the youngest generation of wizards and witches got up to, caring far more about the story of the adults. In fact I really wouldn’t mind a prequel that told the story of Voldermort’s rise to power the first time around and the death of Harry’s parents/ This time round, however, it was all about kids without much input from the adults at all and I went into the film thinking I might have some problems but the story was engaging enough that I didn’t really mind at all.

Still over all, it is a highly, highly enjoyable film. Just don’t see it if you haven’t seen the films that came before it because you really do need to know the story up to this point in order to follow it. I also have to say I wouldn’t recommend it for younger children, no matter how much they beg. Seriously, that scene with Hermione screaming continuously for what seemed like forever was almost too much for me and I like dark shit. Oh and thank fuck there’s no fucking Quidditch. That’s gotta make it one of the best in the series so far. Anyway, overall 4 pints out of five. Laterz.

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Zombie Month: Colin by Jamie

Zombies. As much as I love them, they’re not exactly have the most sparkling personalities of the monster world. They’re not seductive or lamenting of their curse like Vampires or Werewolves. No, they’re basically just walking corpses with a hunger for living flesh and aren’t really known for their conversation skills.

So I approached the film ‘Colin’ with a slight bit of scepticism because the basic premise is that our protagonist, Colin, becomes a Zombie within the first few minutes of the film and then we follow his journey as one of the Walking Dead. The fact that the film was allegedly made for around £45 didn’t do much to ease my… uneasiness. I’m not saying that low budget films can’t be good but they can definitely suffer for it and to have such an extreme low budget is enough to make a man think twice.

Still, I gave it a go and honestly, I’m fairly glad that I did. The plot isn’t far beyond what I’ve already stated. Just a Zombie wandering through a Zombie Apocalypse ravaged city in Britain. As he goes from place to place, you get little snapshots of what’s going on around him. He comes across various survivors all trying to cope in different ways with the end of the world. Some of them try to steal his shoes, some are weird Irish men who keep Zombie girls in their basement and some are relatives who recognise him and want him to recognise them.

Saying anything more than that would probably be travelling in to spoiler territory. Though, it’d be kind of hard to spoil this film. Nothing really happens yet at the same time so much is happening. For the most part, Colin is an impassionate observer apart from the scenes involving his family. He just shuffles along, occasionally taking the odd bite out of the odd corpse or incapacitated living person though his desire for flesh doesn’t seem to be as strong as that of his Zombie brethren. There are a number of times when he seems to pass up on a relatively easy meal, choosing instead to just walk on by.

There are certain clues through out the film to exactly what mental level Colin is operating on though it’s never made entirely clear. Does he forgo eating someone because they remind him of a person he knew whilst alive? Does he recognise his family on same basic level but, by the time they have him trapped in their kitchen has it been so long since he last had a meal that his Zombie instincts are over-riding his brain? It’s difficult to say.

The most important thing about the film is that, despite being a flesh-eating walking corpse, Colin is a sympathetic character. When bad things happen to him, you feel sorry for him. There’s a scene where he falls into a basement and you hear a snap, perhaps a broken ankle and, although he probably can’t feel pain and despite being a monster, you actually feel a little bit sad that he’s injured himself and that his shuffling exploits will be a little more difficult.

All in all, Colin is a brilliant little film. Yes, the film quality suffers a little due to the manner of it’s making but you get used to it after a while. All in all I can highly recommend it. Four and a half pints out of five.



Zombie Month: Colin by Jamie

Zombies. As much as I love them, they’re not exactly have the most sparkling personalities of the monster world. They’re not seductive or lamenting of their curse like Vampires or Werewolves. No, they’re basically just walking corpses with a hunger for living flesh and aren’t really known for their conversation skills.

So I approached the film ‘Colin’ with a slight bit of scepticism because the basic premise is that our protagonist, Colin, becomes a Zombie within the first few minutes of the film and then we follow his journey as one of the Walking Dead. The fact that the film was allegedly made for around £45 didn’t do much to ease my… uneasiness. I’m not saying that low budget films can’t be good but they can definitely suffer for it and to have such an extreme low budget is enough to make a man think twice.

Still, I gave it a go and honestly, I’m fairly glad that I did. The plot isn’t far beyond what I’ve already stated. Just a Zombie wandering through a Zombie Apocalypse ravaged city in Britain. As he goes from place to place, you get little snapshots of what’s going on around him. He comes across various survivors all trying to cope in different ways with the end of the world. Some of them try to steal his shoes, some are weird Irish men who keep Zombie girls in their basement and some are relatives who recognise him and want him to recognise them.

Saying anything more than that would probably be travelling in to spoiler territory. Though, it’d be kind of hard to spoil this film. Nothing really happens yet at the same time so much is happening. For the most part, Colin is an impassionate observer apart from the scenes involving his family. He just shuffles along, occasionally taking the odd bite out of the odd corpse or incapacitated living person though his desire for flesh doesn’t seem to be as strong as that of his Zombie brethren. There are a number of times when he seems to pass up on a relatively easy meal, choosing instead to just walk on by.

There are certain clues through out the film to exactly what mental level Colin is operating on though it’s never made entirely clear. Does he forgo eating someone because they remind him of a person he knew whilst alive? Does he recognise his family on same basic level but, by the time they have him trapped in their kitchen has it been so long since he last had a meal that his Zombie instincts are over-riding his brain? It’s difficult to say.

The most important thing about the film is that, despite being a flesh-eating walking corpse, Colin is a sympathetic character. When bad things happen to him, you feel sorry for him. There’s a scene where he falls into a basement and you hear a snap, perhaps a broken ankle and, although he probably can’t feel pain and despite being a monster, you actually feel a little bit sad that he’s injured himself and that his shuffling exploits will be a little more difficult.

All in all, Colin is a brilliant little film. Yes, the film quality suffers a little due to the manner of it’s making but you get used to it after a while. All in all I can highly recommend it. Four and a half pints out of five.



The Depress-A-Thon: When The Wind Blows by Jamie

The Cold War era was a great time for depressing media. The nuclear threat cast it’s long, dark shadow all across the globe as the threat of complete destruction was, for one of the first times in human history, very real. From the 50s you had the awesome nuclear safety videos telling people what to do in case of a bomb being dropped such as the infamous ‘Duck and Cover’ which seemed to serve no purpose other than ensuring you died looking like an idiot.

It was this era that gave rise to some of the great post-apocalyptic films as well. ‘Mad Max’, ‘Planet Of The Apes’ and ‘Terminator’ all owe something to growing fear over the complete annihilation of mankind but these films weren’t particularly true to life and largely dealt with the consequences of the apocalypse rather than the apocalypse itself. It is those films which deal with an actual nuclear attack and it’s consequences that are truly the most terrifying and depressing, things like ‘The Day After’, ‘Threads’ and the subject of today’s review ‘When The Wind Blows’.(Spoilers Ahead)

The film is an animated feature and if you’ve ever seen the charming, though also ultimately rather depressing, children’s Christmas film ‘The Snowman’ then the animation style should be rather familiar to you. The story follows Jim (John Mills) and Hilda Bloggs (Peggy Ashcroft), a retired couple living in a remote cottage somewhere in rural Sussex. Jim has become increasingly worried about the possibility of a nuclear strike against Britain and so has decided to follow governmental guidelines and build himself a bomb shelter out a few doors. Hilda is less concerned but indulges Jim in his paranoia, helping him when she can as long as doing so doesn’t interfere with her daily chores.

Both members of the Bloggs family are generally quite optimistic about what would happen if the bomb were to fall. Both grew up during the blitz and have fond memories of nights spent in Anderson Shelter’s and communities coming together to help each other in times of need. Jim in particular is incredibly trusting in the government and it’s ability to continue running the country in a forthright and proper manner should war break out. Neither of them seem to fully understand just exactly what a nuclear attack would mean for them and the people of Britain.

Jim finishes his shelter and, with Hilda’s help, begins to stock it with everything they need to survive the 48 weeks (which Jim later realises is actually 48 hours, a mistake made by his misreading of the official governmental pamphlet) he believes they are required to stay within the shelter to bypass the fallout from the bomb. Suddenly an announcement comes over the radio. The unthinkable has happened. The bomb is on its way. Jim and Hilda scramble to get into their homemade shelter and the explosion rocks their cottage.

The rest of the film deals with the aftermath of the bomb and the effect it has on Jima and Hilda as they re-emerge from their shelter. They find a world in which the countryside they live in is practically entirely dead, their water supply is cut off and even the milk and postmen haven’t managed to make their daily rounds.

Of course Jim isn’t too worried. He theorises that there are bound to be delays during the emergency period that immediately follows the bomb. He’s also adamant that the government are working as quickly as possible to sort everything out and get all of the countries basic infrastructure up and running again. He’s also sure that emergency medical teams will be making the rounds as well, checking up on people, which is a good thing because it seems as though the shock of the bomb is having detrimental effects on both his and Hilda’s health. Jim, it seems, is completely ignorant of the effects of prolonged exposure to radiation.

As the days pass, Jim and Hilda succumb more and more to the effects of radiation poisoning and help still doesn’t seem to becoming. Eventually they decide to crawl back into their shelter, just in case a second bomb is dropped. The film ends with the couple praying before it fades to black.

All in all the film is a stark look at just what effects the bomb would have on people who are in regions that lay outside a major target such as London. There’s would be a slow, agonising death brought on by exposure to the radioactive fallout. Despite this the film is actually quite comical in nature, with much of the comedy coming from Jim’s adherence to the governmental outlines, the couples quintessential Britishness and the couples general ignorance about the consequences of a nuclear attack. There impression of what will happen is coloured by their experiences during the blitz and they expect much the same will happen this time. Of course, it’s this ignorance of the consequences which ultimately spells Jim and Hilda’s doom.

It’s a poignant, funny yet ultimately depressing film that I really do recommend. If there’s one criticism I can make it’s that there are occasional trippy little musical sequences, in particular during a scene where Hilda is hanging up her washing whilst Jim builds his shelter, which seem to serve no purpose and really just doesn’t fit with the rest of the film. Otherwise it’s another excellent example of a brilliantly depressing film based on events which, at the time of it’s production, seemed all too possible. Four pints out of five. Laterz.



Chick Flix With A Dick: Bridget Jones’s Diary by Jamie
Chick Flix With A Dick: Bridget Jones’s Diary
Hello there, I’m Jamie and it’s time to watch films that are really not made for me, to increase my film knowledge and make me a better person. After all if you want to improve yourself then sometimes you have to leave your comfort zone.
So let’s begin with Bridget Jones’s Diary, a film with no aliens or giant sharks and very, very few zombies… Nope scratch that, no zombies at all. To top it all off it’s lead actress is someone whose name on a film poster is generally a sign that I’ll not be watching that film. Most of the time she looks as though she’s eaten something incredibly sour or perhaps she’s got a tiny black hole sitting directly in the back of her throat. That irritates me. I know it probably shouldn’t and I’m a bad person for letting it but it does.
So the story goes like this. Bridget Jones (Renee Zelweger) is a single, thirty-something who works in a publishing firm in London. This depresses her because, as we all know, women are entirely defined by whether or not they are currently seeing anybody. In an effort to combat this she begins to write a diary to help her better herself and attract someone who she finds genetically compatible in order to reproduce and pass her DNA on to the next generation, thereby keeping her bloodline alive and fulfilling the meaning of life at the most basic level. Isn’t love grand?
So she’s basically given the choice between two men. Daniel Cleaver (Hugh Grant), her boss at the publishing firm and general rogue, scoundrel and Mark Darcy (Colin Firth), the apparently rude, dull and in no way named in a way that references anything else barrister. At first she tries out a relationship with Daniel which immediately makes it plainly obvious who she’ll end up with in the end with many a comic moment along the way.
Bridget’s world is also populated by a few friends and family members so let’s mention them because I can’t think of a smooth segue between this paragraph and the last. Her parents are Colin and Pamela Jones (Jim Broadbent and Gemma Jones) who go through a bit of a crisis themselves when Pamela leaves Colin for a man who sells cheap crap on a cable home shopping network. Then there are her three best friends, Jude, Shazzer and Tom. Jude is played by Shirley Henderson who played Moaning Myrtle in the Harry Potter films and apparently her voice is actually like that. I couldn’t help but laugh when she fist appeared on screen since the first time we see her she’s in a bathroom crying. I guess she was kinda typecast after that. Shazzer (Sally Phillips) likes to say fuck a lot and that’s pretty much all you learn about her character and finally there is Tom. Tom is a gay guy who wrote a song back in the 80s which has apparently been helping him get laid ever since. I doubt the validity of such a claim unless I can receive direct evidence that being a one hit wonder can result in sex whenever you want. Carl Douglas I await your e-mail. The most important thing about Tom is that he’s played by James Callis better known as Gaius Baltar from Battlestar Galactica. This film just scored major points by including the actor who played my favourite character in what may be my favourite TV show of all time. Well played movie. Well played.
So, let’s get to the point of this whole exercise then, shall we? What did I think of this film? Well despite it’s lack of monsters or serial killers I have to admit, I really liked it. There. I’m not ashamed at all. It’s a genuinely funny movie. In fact there were times when I actually laughed out loud. I was surprised by the general lack of soppy, fluffy bullshit that generally seems to pervade romantic comedies. Sure, it goes a bit cliché at the end but hell, most films do. I can forgive it that. I can also say that I was pleased by the amount of swearing. Hell, there was a scene where the word fuuuuuuuuuck was spelt out on the screen. That’s a nine u fuck there people, a beautiful thing to behold.
There are some really funny stand out scenes such as when Bridget, starting a new job at a television studio, has to interview a fireman. She’s told to slide down a pole, which she does, right into the camera before finding out that she’s run out of time for the interview… It’s actually kind of hard to explain so just watch the film.
Most of the performances were pretty awesome too. Jim Broadbent is always great so I wasn’t really surprised by his awesomeness here and it was nice to see Hugh Grant doing something other than his ‘Oh aren’t I a comically awkward Englishman’ schtick. And what of Renee Zelweger? Well, I thought she was pretty damn good in this film. She didn’t irritate me at all, her face didn’t look like it was collapsing in on itself and her English accent was pretty fucking good. Good for her.
There were a few things that really annoyed the shit out of me though. My first problem is why is that when Bridget weighs herself she notes down her weight in pounds? I thought that this was a British film about British people in Britain so why isn’t she using stones? Admittedly, I saw the American release of the film as distributed by Miramax so that may be the cause of it but if anyone out there has seen the Region 2 DVD I would like to know if it’s different just so I know if that’s the cause of the problem. Cheers. The second thing is the choice of ‘It’s Raining Men’ for the soundtrack. This is more of a personal problem because if I hear even a snippet of that fucking song it gets stuck in my head for the rest of the day. Thankfully I have a cure which is the A-Team theme. That normally clears it out and if it doesn’t then ‘War’ by Edwin Starr always does the trick.
Three minor points before I get to the most annoying thing. There are a few scenes where Bridget and Daniel are talking via e-mail and the letters type out on the screen which isn’t how e-mail works.  There is a character called Perpetua which can’t possibly be a real name. And there’s a cameo from that cunt Jeffrey Archer. Thankfully there’s a longer and funnier appearance by Salman Rushdie which kind of balances it out.
Now the major problem is Mark Darcy. For an hour he’s made out to be a generally unlikeable twat and then, with half an hour left, your mind is meant to be completely changed about him. That’s not an easy thing to do, even if for that last half hour he’s made out to be a wonderful, misunderstood human being. Ah, well, such is the way of choosing a partner with which to combine your genetic material.
So what rating can I give this film? I can’t really use my normal pint rating scheme. Gonna have to go for something a little girlier. Ah, I know. Over all I give this film 4 white wines out of 5. There. I survived a chick flick and actually rather enjoyed it. For my next edition of this feature I’ll have to watch something a little more formulaic and clichéd. Then I can tear into it which is far, far more fun to write. Laterz.

Hello there, I’m Jamie and it’s time to watch films that are really not made for me, to increase my film knowledge and make me a better person. After all if you want to improve yourself then sometimes you have to leave your comfort zone.

So let’s begin with Bridget Jones’s Diary, a film with no aliens or giant sharks and very, very few zombies… Nope scratch that, no zombies at all. To top it all off it’s lead actress is someone whose name on a film poster is generally a sign that I’ll not be watching that film. Most of the time she looks as though she’s eaten something incredibly sour or perhaps she’s got a tiny black hole sitting directly in the back of her throat. That irritates me. I know it probably shouldn’t and I’m a bad person for letting it but it does.

So the story goes like this. Bridget Jones (Renée Zellweger) is a single, thirty-something who works in a publishing firm in London. This depresses her because, as we all know, women are entirely defined by whether or not they are currently seeing anybody. In an effort to combat this she begins to write a diary to help her better herself and attract someone who she finds genetically compatible in order to reproduce and pass her DNA on to the next generation, thereby keeping her bloodline alive and fulfilling the meaning of life at the most basic level. Isn’t love grand?

So she’s basically given the choice between two men. Daniel Cleaver (Hugh Grant), her boss at the publishing firm and general rogue and scoundrel and Mark Darcy (Colin Firth), the apparently rude, dull and in no way named in a way that references anything else barrister. At first she tries out a relationship with Daniel which immediately makes it plainly obvious who she’ll end up with in the end with many a comic moment along the way.

Bridget’s world is also populated by a few friends and family members so let’s mention them because I can’t think of a smooth segue between this paragraph and the last. Her parents are Colin and Pamela Jones (Jim Broadbent and Gemma Jones) who go through a bit of a crisis themselves when Pamela leaves Colin for a man who sells cheap crap on a cable home shopping network. Then there are her three best friends, Jude, Shazzer and Tom. Jude is played by Shirley Henderson who played Moaning Myrtle in the Harry Potter films and apparently her voice is actually like that. I couldn’t help but laugh when she fist appeared on screen since the first time we see her she’s in a bathroom crying. I guess she was kinda typecast after that. Shazzer (Sally Phillips) likes to say fuck a lot and that’s pretty much all you learn about her character and finally there is Tom. Tom is a gay guy who wrote a song back in the 80s which has apparently been helping him get laid ever since. I doubt the validity of such a claim unless I can receive direct evidence that being a one hit wonder can result in sex whenever you want. Carl Douglas I await your e-mail. The most important thing about Tom is that he’s played by James Callis better known as Gaius Baltar from Battlestar Galactica. This film just scored major points by including the actor who played my favourite character in what may be my favourite TV show of all time. Well played movie. Well played.

So, let’s get to the point of this whole exercise then, shall we? What did I think of this film? Well despite it’s lack of monsters or serial killers I have to admit, I really liked it. There. I’m not ashamed at all. It’s a genuinely funny movie. In fact there were times when I actually laughed out loud. I was surprised by the general lack of soppy, fluffy bullshit that generally seems to pervade romantic comedies. Sure, it goes a bit cliché at the end but hell, most films do. I can forgive it that. I can also say that I was pleased by the amount of swearing. Hell, there was a scene where the word fuuuuuuuuuck was spelt out on the screen. That’s a nine u fuck there people, a beautiful thing to behold.

There are some really funny stand out scenes such as when Bridget, starting a new job at a television studio, has to interview a fireman. She’s told to slide down a pole, which she does, right into the camera before finding out that she’s run out of time for the interview… It’s actually kind of hard to explain so just watch the film.

Most of the performances were pretty awesome too. Jim Broadbent is always great so I wasn’t really surprised by his awesomeness here and it was nice to see Hugh Grant doing something other than his ‘Oh aren’t I a comically awkward Englishman’ schtick. And what of Renée Zellweger? Well, I thought she was pretty damn good in this film. She didn’t irritate me at all, her face didn’t look like it was collapsing in on itself and her English accent was pretty fucking good. Good for her.

There were a few things that really annoyed the shit out of me though. My first problem is why is that when Bridget weighs herself she notes down her weight in pounds? I thought that this was a British film about British people in Britain so why isn’t she using stones? Admittedly, I saw the American release of the film as distributed by Miramax so that may be the cause of it but if anyone out there has seen the Region 2 DVD I would like to know if it’s different just so I know if that’s the cause of the problem. Cheers. The second thing is the choice of ‘It’s Raining Men’ for the soundtrack. This is more of a personal problem because if I hear even a snippet of that fucking song it gets stuck in my head for the rest of the day. Thankfully I have a cure which is the A-Team theme. That normally clears it out and if it doesn’t then ‘War’ by Edwin Starr always does the trick.

Three minor points before I get to the most annoying thing. There are a few scenes where Bridget and Daniel are talking via e-mail and the letters type out on the screen which isn’t how e-mail works.  There is a character called Perpetua which can’t possibly be a real name. And there’s a cameo from that cunt Jeffrey Archer. Thankfully there’s a longer and funnier appearance by Salman Rushdie which kind of balances it out.

Now the major problem is Mark Darcy. For an hour he’s made out to be a generally unlikeable twat and then, with half an hour left, your mind is meant to be completely changed about him. That’s not an easy thing to do, even if for that last half hour he’s made out to be a wonderful, misunderstood human being. Ah, well, such is the way of choosing a partner with which to combine your genetic material.

So what rating can I give this film? I can’t really use my normal pint rating scheme. Gonna have to go for something a little girlier. Ah, I know. Over all I give this film 4 white wines out of 5. There. I survived a chick flick and actually rather enjoyed it. For my next edition of this feature I’ll have to watch something a little more formulaic and clichéd. Then I can tear into it which is far, far more fun to write. Laterz.




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