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Review: Fast And Furious 6 by Jamie

I’m not a car guy. Never have been, never will be. Because of this fact I pretty much ignored the Fast and Furious franchise for quite some time until pretty much earlier this year, or maybe late last, when I began listening to a podcast called “How Did This Get Made“. It has quickly become not just one of my favourite podcasts but one of my favourite things. Anyway, one episode they delved into Fast 5 and, being somewhat obsessively compulsive when it comes to film, I decided to watch all five entries in the series. Back to back. To say it was something of an endurance test would be understating it.

The first four films are terrible. At least I think they are. I remember literally nothing from part 4. Nothing. Then I watched the fifth one and it was, well, it was stupid but it was fun. Ridiculously fun. Yes, it was still a pretty bad film but it was unashamedly so. It was pure, high-octane insanity and the thing that made it beautiful was how little it relied on CGI. Things actually happened. Cars were wrecked, things exploded and stunts were pulled. It was also greatly improved by the inclusion of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson who, it could be argued, is literally impossible to hate.

So what then of the 6th installment of this series? Does the insanity continue? Well, I’m happy to say that it does. Not only that but, and I realise that I risk losing some credibility here but fuck it, it’s a legitimately good movie. I mean that wholeheartedly. I didn’t like this film ironically or sarcastically. I enjoyed it pretty much from beginning to end, an end which literally had me on the edge of my seat. I understand that the trailer somewhat spoils the last scene though so it’s a good thing I managed to avoid it.

That’s not to say that the film isn’t stupid in places. It is but it revels in it’s stupidity in such an endearing and enjoyable way that you can’t fault it for it and the bits of the film that are great are genuinely great.

Once again the stunt work here is amazing. You can tell that the film makers love cars and want to try and get them to do crazy shit you haven’t seen before. There may be a little more reliance on CG here than in, say, part five but the basic skeleton of it is all practical stunts and just seeing it all unfold is wonderful.

I will say that this is the first Fast and Furious film that I’ve actually seen at the cinema and it’s entirely possible that seeing the stunt work on the big screen with surround sound is part of why I loved it so much. In fact I’m sure it is. It’s entirely possible, perhaps even likely, that my opinion will change when revisiting this film on Blu-ray. But that’s all in the future, for now I’ll just say see this movie where it will be most effective.

As for the plot well, and this is very rare for me to say this, the plot isn’t that important. Still what is here is a perfectly serviceable means to get from point A from point B. In this episode of the series, Dom Toretto (Vin Diesel) and his crew are approached by special agent Luke Hobbs (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson) to help him take down Owen Shaw (Luke Evans) and his crew who are robbing and wreaking havoc all across Europe. Hobbs offers them a full pardon for their past transgression and sweetens the deal even more by informing the crew that the formerly thought dead Letty Ortiz (Michelle Rodriguez), Toretto’s past love, is working with Shaw. The mission laid out, the crew head to London to stop Shaw and get Ortiz back.

So yeah, it’s nothing we haven’t seen before. There are countless times that retired criminals are offered a pardon in exchange for helping law enforcement catch someone who are just like them. In movies, I mean. Not in real life. That’d be awesome though…

Still, the movie points out the ridiculous in the plot even going so far as having the comic relief Roman (Tyrese Gibson) point out that the villains are essentially the crew’s evil twins. It’s as if the movie is saying “Look, we’re on the same wavelength here. We know that you’re not really here for a deep, involved story. You want stunts and explosions. Trust us, so do we. Just stick with us while we get this out of the way and we’ll return you to that.”

Adding to this is the fact that Hobbs is referred to three times as different Marvel superheroes. Captain America, The Hulk and Thor. Again it’s almost like the film is referencing them directly as if to say “Look, those superhero movies you all like are equally as ridiculous as this and you love them. Love us.” I may be overthinking that one, I’ll admit. It may just be that The Rock is ridiculously muscled.

Still, the story moments are enjoyable because the characters are all, in some way or another, likeable. Are they all somewhat cliches that serve to fulfill certain cliched roles? Yes, to an extent but they’re all just having so much fun with it and sometimes you just need something simple and uncomplicated with pretty cars even when you didn’t know that’s what you needed. Seriously guys, I loved this fucking movie.

My biggest problem with it? Probably Vin Diesel. I just kinda don’t like the guy. He’s aweome in Pitch Black and, to hi credit, he does exactly what he needs to here but there’s just something about the guy that rubs me the wrong way. My fault not the movies.

So yeah, the plot’s paper thin and it’s all something you’ve seen before but you’ve never seen it this way before. And it’ eminently enjoyable. Four pints out of five. Laterz.

Poster



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.



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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