Thursday, 30 December 2010

Meeting Edgar

Meeting Director Edgar Wright

Had a fabulous day today meeting 'Scott Pilgrim vs. the World' director Edgar Wright in London so I've posted a little video about it! Got a few pictures below the video too! Enjoy :)




Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Doctor Who - 'A Christmas Carol' Video Review

Doctor Who - 'A Christmas Carol' Video Review


Hi Bloggers :) I hope you had a fantastic Christmas! Here's my video review for the latest Doctor Who episode which is spilt into two. I hope you enjoy it and let me know your thoughts! Many thanks!




Saturday, 25 December 2010

Merry Christmas from Haydon's Movie House!

Merry Christmas!

Just a little message to say Merry Christmas and thanks for being part of the site! Get more involved with the site too; become followers and post comments! I really want to get this site off the ground! Excuse the poor sound, crank up the volume! Have a fantastic day bloggers! :)


Thursday, 23 December 2010

The Best Posters of 2010

2010's Best Film Posters

One of the most important things in the film industry is advertising; it's how we, the audience become aware of new and future pictures. So here on Haydon's Movie House, I've decided to show what I think are the best film posters and one-sheets of the year. Enjoy!







                                             
     

'The Tourist' Video Review

'The Tourist' (dir: Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, 2010), Cert: 12A


I've had a go at reviewing this via video so hopefully it's ok! The sound isn't great as I filmed it on my iPhone so you might have to turn your speakers up a bit! Hope you enjoy!

'Black Swan' Full Trailer

'Black Swan' Full Trailer

I have just seen Darren Aronofsky's 'Black Swan' and it is without a doubt a mesmerising cinematic experience. Here's the trailer for this fantastic feature!


Tuesday, 21 December 2010

'Catfish' Review

‘Catfish’ (dir/s: Henry Joost & Ariel Schulman, 2010), Cert: 12A

2010 has seen a lack of documentaries; it seems the genre is beginning to fade from the big screen which I find deeply troubling. But in December, we finally have one; ‘Catfish’ and it’s probably going to cause the hardest film review I’ve ever had to write. Unlike most documentary cinema, this film survives on what is unknown, rather than on what it presents. So, let’s give this one a go, wish me luck...
In late 2007, Nev Schulman, a 24 year-old New York photographer received a package in the mail. Inside was a painting of a photograph he had taken for a publication. The image was painted by an 8 year-old girl called Abby. Nev and Abby then began a pen-pal relationship online, chatting over Facebook and other social networking sites. Soon Nev became more involved with Abby’s wider family including her mother, her sister Megan Faccio, who he has an online relationship, and her father Vince. Nev’s brother Ariel and his close friend Henry are budding filmmakers and decided to document the processes of his relationships with a family he’s never met before setting out on the road to go and visit them, but not all is as it seems, and unfortunately, that’s all I can really tell you. The film’s tagline is ‘Don’t let anyone tell you what it is’, so I’m not going to.
 ‘Catfish’ is certainly a film to question its genre; it’s far from a standard documentary and it provides plenty of ammunition for an argument as to whether it’s factual or fictitious, but as a picture, it works wonderfully. Much like a Hitchcock film, the audience are constantly engaged, yet concerned and probably confused with the subject matter and where the film is leading too. I personally think this film sits in the middle of ‘true and false’; some parts have to be real, it just wouldn’t work if they weren’t but other brief scenes made me question the reality of the story the trio are trying to tell. Nevertheless, this is a brave and greatly satisfying film that kept me excited and absorbed throughout.
 This film is also quite sinister in its content and tone; the three guys are likeable and witty screen presences but as the picture unfolds and the mystery begins, a sense of unease swept through me. This film in many ways is much like the unforgettable and magnificent ‘Capturing the Freidmans’ (dir: Andrew Jarecki, 2003) which really blurred the lines between fact and fiction, but more importantly, being rightly and wrongly accused. ‘Catfish’ paints a far bleaker and sure-footed portrait of the online world we all seem accustomed to and it provides quite shocking results.
 It’s going to stir up a fuss, and it will definitely be an audience divider but what lies underneath the surface of this movie is dark, baffling and generally rewarding. It would certainly make an entertaining episode of ‘Scooby-Doo’ if the computer happened to be a bandit under a mask. Many have been impressed by ‘Catfish’ and I’m one of them; it’s gripping, intriguing and unique. This is the social network film David Fincher really didn’t want you to see.
Verdict: 4 out of 5 – An original and incredibly audacious film that has to be seen by all. ‘Catfish’ captivates, compels and chills.
By Chris Haydon

Sunday, 19 December 2010

'Fred: The Movie' Review

‘Fred: The Movie’ (dir: Clay Weiner, 2010), Cert: 12A

He’s the YouTube sensation whose frequent short films have had millions of views and now Fred Fingglehorn (Lucas Cruikshank) has been given the cinematic treatment.  The film has been distributed by Lionsgate and is presented by Nickelodeon. Strangely enough, the film didn’t get a cinema release in the United States, it premiered on television, but here in the UK, we get to see Fred in all his squeaky voice glory in our local multiplexes; fantastic.
The film follows Fred (Cruikshank) over one weekend in which he tries his best to invite the love of his life Judy (Pixie Lott) over to sing with him, but his attempts are frequently stopped by bully Kevin (Jake Weary). Fred spends hours planning his moves but it’s all a waste; Judy has moved house! Now Fred must embark on an adventure to find her and invite her over to his house and make her his girlfriend.
 Ok, where to start, well as you can tell from the story, not a lot happens. In fact, for the film’s 82 minute duration we see Fred burn his tongue, dig a hole, talk to strangers on buses and scream. He screams a lot. In fact, he screams for so much of this film that the mind-numbingly irritating high-pitched sound haunted my dreams last night. Fred talks to the audience directly throughout the picture explaining what’s supposedly happening which I found rather insulting in all honesty. I know that is his character’s signature trait but even a new-born baby could keep up with this drivel, let alone hear him tell us about it.
 Fred is also slightly racist to a certain extent; in one scene when he realises Judy has moved and a family of Asians have moved in, Fred runs and calls the police screaming (obviously). He says that evil Asians have kidnapped Judy frequently and then tells the audience that he doesn’t understand why Asian people are there. He also meets a Mexican man who doesn’t speak English. Rather than leaving, Fred screams at him and tells the man to stop messing with his head, he then says to the audience that the man must be an alien because he doesn’t understand him. Now I know this is supposed to be seen as ‘funny’ but I found it quite troublesome.
 This film is also incredibly un-funny. In fact, spending a Friday afternoon on the M25 or being repeatedly ‘happy-slapped’ is much more fun than this. Fred is quite possibly the most annoying, brain cell killing and pointless character ever invented. In one scene in which Fred screams and destroys his living room, I psychically wanted him dead. Now I know this film was hardly meant for the critical eye, but I’d be surprised if it even impresses its toughest critics; children. I am still confused as to why the BBFC slapped it with a 12A certificate, a PG would have been perfectly fine, and that way, less adults would have to endure these 82 minutes of mental torture. I really can’t see children connecting with Fred or even finding him particularly funny, sure they will probably giggle when he falls over or gets hit in the face with a dodge ball (in fact, I would have loved to have thrown one at him), but ultimately, there are much better films out this Christmas for children and far more likable characters.
 Not even Fred’s Dad, played by WWE superstar and super-idiot John Cena could save this for me. He is the best thing about it for sure, and watching him smash a vase over Fred’s head was pleasant but this film had died for me after 5 minutes, which is 2 minutes longer than watching one of his ghastly videos online. Pixie Lott is the dumbest casting for some time; she waves a bit, sings a couple of lines and looks good, but she’s as vacant as a derelict house. Way to go and ruin your already non-existent acting career Pixie.
 Please do not waste your money on this film; save £7.50 and go see something else or rent a movie and buy some popcorn. ‘Fred: The Movie’ should never be witnessed by anyone and it’s going to take me a long time to remove it and the sound of his cat-drowning scream from my poor bruised memory.  
It’s taken until December but I’ve found the worst film of 2010. Congratulations Fred, you incredibly irritating dweeb.
Verdict: 1 out of 5 – The film version of pouring boiling water on your face and repeatedly punching yourself afterwards. Your brain will be fried and your eyes will burn. A horrible, useless and utterly foul excuse for a movie.
By Chris Haydon

Saturday, 18 December 2010

'TRON: Legacy' Review

‘TRON: Legacy' (dir: Joseph Konsinski, 2010), Cert: PG

Click Poster for Trailer

It’s one of 2010’s most anticipated movies and it arrives right at the end of the year. Film fans have been waiting a massive 28 years for the sequel to the hugely ambitious and technically advance ‘TRON’ which blew audiences away in 1982. The original film paved the way for computerised filmmaking; Pixar’s lead animator and Disney CEO John Lasseter has frequently expressed his thanks to director Steven Lisberger for being so courageous when creating this feature. But now its present day and ‘TRON: Legacy’ is finally here. This film has a new director in debut filmmaker Joseph Konsinski, it was created with the highest and latest technologies and it’s been frequently labelled “The 3D Motion Picture Event of the Year”; so is it actually any good?
Sam Flynn (Garrett Hedlund), the son of ENCOM founder Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges) is a reckless 27 year-old. The mysterious disappearance of his father has shaped his life and his attitude. When Sam becomes aware that a page has been sent from his dad’s old office at his Arcade, he heads there to investigate. Soon Sam finds the source of the page but in discovering it, he has opened a portal to a cyber world called ‘The Grid’. This world is a beautiful landscape of neon lights and rows of digital projections, but it’s also a place of great danger and is under the control of the evil CLU (also Bridges); a clone of Kevin whose good deeds are non-existent. Sam discovers that his father has been trapped here for the last 20 years when he meets a fearless ‘program’ warrior called Quorra (Olivia Wilde). Soon father and son are re-united and now the three of them must battle their way across this damaged land and return to safety and normality.
 To start, let’s talk style. ‘TRON: Legacy’ as a visual experience is utterly incredible; the streaming glows from the light cycles, the rushing whites that absorb the cold dark greys and the vacant spaces that glisten with digital beauty, this film is a real feast for the eyes. For any filmmaker this movie is a marvellous achievement, but for a debut director, it’s totally astonishing. In many ways in terms of style, this film reminded me of ‘The Wizard of Oz’ (dir: Victor Fleming, 1939); now before readers jump at this remark, I’m not saying this film is anyway near the stature of ‘Oz’, but in how the cyber world is presented bares various similarities; for starters Konsinski has left all the footage in the ‘real’ world in 2D but filmed all the footage in ‘The Grid’ in 3D, so the viewer can really see the transition in screen projection, much like when Dorothy is in Kansas, we view in black and white, but upon her arrival to Oz, huge pallets of Technicolor fill the screen. Plus the true feeling of fantasy and the unknown is available here; the huge jump between what’s old and new is very daunting for Sam, just how Dorothy feels in her adventure. But this film isn’t just about its style, although many critics are seeing it that way. ‘TRON: Legacy’, much like it’s older brother is about the future and how much technology is advancing; from the story revolving around a computer programmer and his world, to a ray of unbelievably beautiful cinematography and it’s striking and mouth-opening action sequences, everything about these movies boasts futurism.
 The 3D in general is pleasing but not totally essential, it’s a great addition for the transition in location and depth of field and it certainly enhances some scenes, but seeing as how beautiful the colours are in this film, it would have been nicer to view them without the specs. Still, it’s definitely one of 2010s best 3D pictures, and seeing as this is a futuristic movie; it kind of had to be in three dimensions.

Still from 'TRON: Legacy' (dir: Joseph Konsinski, 2010)

The narrative is based and held together by a strong father-son tale that has the usual ups and downs, but what’s extraordinary is that even though it’s set in a space-age world, they still have time to sit down with Quorra for a hog roast dinner, which is one of my favourite scenes in the film because it shows humanity still exists here. The awkwardness, the lack of conversation and the numerous shots of rolling eyes really presents a true family dynamic in such a bizarre and dream-like setting. Many critics have snubbed this movie for lacking substance but I feel this is a misinterpretation of what ‘TRON’ really means.

 However, one of the main attractions for this film is the music, which as most know was composed and performed by the incredible French dance duo Daft Punk. Now I am bias because Daft Punk is my favourite band but the score in general is mesmerising. For some tracks, the pair manages to blend their signature electronica with a brilliant orchestra to form an enriching and fresh sound. Tracks such as ‘Derezzed’ and ‘End of Line’ are stand-out but the score as a whole supports this film like a dream. The duo also makes a brief cameo in the movie too which was great fun.
 The performances are great; Bridges is equally good as the aging, wise and noble Kevin, and the strapping, youthful villain CLU (they used digital mapping to re-create Bridges’ face and then project it onto another body to form a younger double of him, which in my books is rather impressive). Bridges understands character acting and he shows all his tricks from the bag here. Hedlund plays Sam with conviction and manages to blend the feeling of awe and terror perfectly; his punchy nature and his ambition to succeed collaborates wonderfully with his dread and fear for his father and himself. Michael Sheen is fantastic in his brief performance as nightclub owner Castor, he provides great comedy with his overly-camp nature, but for me, Wilde is the star as the incredibly brave yet slightly naive Quorra. She is a warrior through and through who puts herself out for all, but underneath she’s a woman who really wants to know another life. In one scene when she asks Sam what the Sun is like, her facial expressions and her vocal tone are pitch-perfect and in doing this, she captures a little bit of your heart.  
 So yes, ‘TRON: Legacy’ is an incredibly good film that will massively entertain and dazzle throughout. It’s a work of sheer cinematic beauty that needs to be experienced on the biggest screen possible. If you can see it in IMAX 3D, do it, you won’t regret it. This film is a visual masterwork that stuns its audience with its technological dream world, but equally engrosses viewers with it’s tale of a re-united father and son.
Verdict: 5 out of 5 – What a way to end a year. ‘TRON: Legacy’ sends 2010 off with a humongous bang that all will remember. Plus the light cycles are ridiculously cool.
By Chris Haydon

Thursday, 16 December 2010

My Top 10 Films of 2010


Chris’ Top 10 Films of 2010

It’s that time of year again, and as always, I sit down and reminisce about the films that have filled our screens over the last 12 months, and which of these are worthy enough to land a space in my list of favourite movies this year.
2010 has been pretty tough; there have been some outstanding pictures and a fair few stinkers, but it’s fair to say, this year has been stronger than 2009. I’ve been head-scratching and brain-racking, but I finally have my top 10 of the year, and here they are….



10. ‘Kick-Ass’ (dir: Matthew Vaughn, Cert: 15)


Offensive, gory and down right extraordinary. Dave Lizewski (Aaron Johnson) is a lonely and unpopular high school student who spends his days reading comic books with his few friends. He dreams about becoming a super-hero and decides to make his dream a reality. he becomes 'Kick-Ass; a hero with no powers and no responsibilities. After a video of him fighting crime is uploaded online, Kick-Ass is the current hot topic and everyone wants a piece of the action. His new found life inspires others around the city to become super-heroes and soon enough, he is joined by Hit-Girl (Chloe Grace Moretz), Big Daddy (Nicolas Cage) and Red Mist (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) whose actions arent all what they seem. Kick-Ass is a carnival of blood, foul language and hilarious clichés on the super-hero movie. Moretz is my actress of the year and shes stunning as Hit-Girl; her potty mouth and her incredible killing skills are an utter delight to watch. Cage gives one of his two amazing performances of the year here. An excellent and side-splitting picture.




9. ‘The Town’ (dir: Ben Affleck, Cert: 15)


Ben Affleck’s second picture as director throws it’s audience into Charlestown, Boston; a city that’s ruled by it’s criminal underworld. Doug MacRay (Affleck) is a bank robber who after performing a job, realises he has feelings for one of the bank’s managers, Claire (Rebecca Hall). His best friend and partner James (Jeremy Renner) is obsessed with the next job and it’s getting suspicious of Doug’s actions. Now MacRay has to balance his friends, his love-life and steer clear of the FBI agents trying to bring him down. ‘The Town’ is a exquisite feature that blends grit, emotion and realism to create a compelling and believable Crime Thriller. Renner gives an utterly outstanding performance which is worthy of a Oscar nomination, and Affleck’s précised and accurate direction makes this film an absolute stunner. Ben’s definitely proved himself to be better behind the camera.




8. ‘Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call - New Orleans’ (dir: Werner Herzog, Cert: 18)


Nicolas Cage stars as Terence McDonagh; a corrupt police detective working in post-Katrina New Orleans. His life is fuelled by his raging drug and gambling addictions, and his ‘love’ for his prostitute girlfriend Frankie (Eva Mendes). McDonagh is investigating a series of murders but his policing duties become less important when he spirals further downwards leading him to join forces with a group of notorious drug dealers.
This is an outstanding film on so many levels; Herzog continues to impress me, he really is a genius filmmaker and this is as crazy as his work with the wonderful Klaus Kinski. Cage has given his two best performances this year (the other being in ‘Kick-Ass’) since ‘Leaving Las Vegas’ (1995). He is incredible in this picture; his warped and manic behaviour is something of rare genius and is fantastic to watch. Cage is my actor of 2010 for sure. Rapper Xzibit also gives a hilarious and enjoyable performance as drug lord Big Fate. This film is a breath of fresh air that was a sheer delight to watch; it’ll offend, it’ll appal and it will certainly entertain.




7. Unstoppable’ (dir: Tony Scott, Cert: 12A)


Denzel Washington reunites with directing pal Tony Scott for this fabulous runaway train Action-Thriller. Frank Barnes (Washington) is a veteran railroad engineer who is paired with conducting rookie Will Colson (Chris Pine) for a day’s work on the tracks. What starts out as an average day soon takes a turn for the worst when a runaway train is located on their tracks without a driver. The train, numbered 777 is under full power, carrying vast quantities of toxic chemicals and hurtling towards the highly populated town of Stanton. Now the pair must join forces and embark on a heroic adventure against time to stop this machine before it destroys all in it’s path. ‘Unstoppable’ is an incredibly tense and adrenaline-inducing rollercoaster ride that uses gallons of tension rather than mindless pyrotechnics to thrill it’s audience. It’s Scott’s best film in years and sports great performances from the two leads. It’s the most fun you’ll have at the cinema all year. Period.




6. ‘The Illusionist’ (dir: Sylvian Chomet, Cert: PG)


Another dazzling animation from French filmmaker Chomet. A French illusionist finds himself out of work as a rock and pop band take his spot at his local venue, so he decides to pack up and head for Scotland. On his travels he meets a young woman called Alice who becomes his companion as he entertains in various pubs, clubs and social venues throughout rural Edinburgh. Their adventure changes his perception of life, and indeed his actual life forever. This is without a doubt, the most beautiful and heart-wrenching film I’ve seen for years; the film is practically silent, yet Chomet’s score washes through it’s audience leaving you bursting with joy and wallowing in sorrow. If you see one foreign film this year, please make it this one. Life-affirming, visually absorbing and emotionally challenging. A marvellous animation.




5. ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1’ (dir: David Yates, Cert: 12A)


Harry’s final tale has been divided into two feature films and 2010 saw the release of the first. Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermione (Emma Watson) have left Hogwarts and have headed out alone into the big bad world. The trio are fulfilling the late Dumbledore’s task of finding all of Lord Voldemort’s (Ralph Fiennes) Horcruxes and destroying them to finally defeat him and save the wizarding world from evil. During their quest, they become familiar with the term, ‘Deathly Hallows’ and it’s origins. This term refers to three objects which collectively, will give a wizard ultimate power and possibility.
Harry’s latest outing is a stunning piece of cinema. Yates’ direction makes it’s audience feel visually arrested by the beauty of the landscapes, the vast spaces and the emptiness of our heroes world. The group all give fantastic performances, the film sports a gorgeously grim animated sequence for the telling of the ‘Three Brothers’ tale and the film leaves you craving for the second part released in July. Visually masterful, spiritually haunting and incredibly entertaining. Yes, it is the ‘darkest’ one yet.




4. ‘Easy A’ (dir: Will Gluck, Cert: 15)


Emma Stone shines in this hilarious and unique Teen Comedy. Olive Penderghast (Stone) is a anonymous teenager attending a local high school. After spending a weekend avoiding her best friend Rhiannon’s camping trip, she is forced into lying about a ‘date’ she never had. A white lie arises about her losing her virginity and soon enough she is the talking point of the school. Not long after, Olive is asked to help average guys who can’t get a girl and need a confidence boost. She starts pretending to sell sex for various favours and she is soon labelled by her fellow students. Olive begins to wear a red ‘A’ on her clothing to symbolise adultery which only makes matters worse. Blinded by trying to help others not get hurt, Olive soon realises the only person hurting is herself.
‘Easy A’ is the most original Comedy of the year and it’s hysterically funny. Stone’s comic timing is perfection and her sarcastic manner is immensely pleasing. The supporting cast give wonderful performances, especially her father played by Stanley Tucci. This is an incredibly smart, wildly entertaining and enjoyable comedy romp that’s rooted in 80s teen culture. It’s a John Hughes movie without Anthony Michael Hall. A real treasure of a feature.




3. ‘The Social Network (dir: David Fincher, Cert: 12A)


Fincher's Facebook fable was one of the surprise films of 2010 for me. The film tells story of Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) and how he, along with Eduardo Saverin (Andrew Garfield) created Facebook. What started out as drunken cyber-bullying in 2003 turned into one of the most profitable websites in history; it's currently estimated at a staggering $50 billion. This great story is about friendship, betrayal and all in between. Eisenberg gives a marvellous performance as Mark; he's the perfect anti-hero who can be so charming and pleasent, but he bares an acid tongue that whips and spits. Fincher's direction is fantastic and certainly sure-footed, but the real star of the show is Aaron Sorkin's masterful screenplay which is easily the best of the year. The film's punchy and often side-splitting dialogue binds this brilliant picture together. 'The Social Network' achieves what many pictures strive for; simplicity. There are no tricks, quirks or gimmicks here; this is just pitch perfect storytelling and filmmaking.


2. ‘Toy Story 3’ (dir: Lee Unkrich, Cert: U)


The toys are back for one last adventure in this incredible movie. Andy is heading to college and it’s time for him to put his childhood behind him As he is preparing to leave, Andy places the toys in a bag that’s meant to go in the attic, unfortunately they are accidentally taken to Sunnyside day care centre. The group believes they were abandoned by Andy and it’s up to Woody (Tom Hanks) to convince them they weren’t. Buzz (Tim Allen) and Jessie (Joan Cusack) believe they can start a new happy life at the centre but things take a turn for the worst when head toy Losto (Ned Beatty) starts to notice that a plan for escape might be being hatched.
As many know, Pixar is my favourite film studio, and I can say whole-heartedly, this film is an utter masterpiece. It’s unbelievably well-crafted, has a pitch-perfect narrative and it’s deep emotional themes rush through it’s audience leaving tears in your eyes. The film is blissfully funny too; Michael Keaton’s Ken is the star of the show and the funniest character of 2010. This is by far the best computer-animated film of the year, and indeed one of 2010’s best pictures in general. The ‘Toy Story’ franchise proves that you can actually make a successful trilogy, and this is most probably the greatest film trilogy in cinema history. A marvellous and incredible achievement.



And the Winner is…

 
1. ‘Inception’ (dir: Christopher Nolan, Cert: 12A)


The winner by a country mile. Nolan’s latest is utterly astonishing. Dom Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) is an ‘extractor’; a highly skilled thief who is able to access information from subjects through their subconscious whilst they dream. Desperate to return home to his children, Cobb is given a final shot at redemption which involves him and a crack team to perform the act of ‘inception’; to plant an idea into a subject’s mind and allow them to fill it with their subconscious. They must build a dream map which consists of various levels in order to create the perfect crime. But just when things couldn’t get any more complex, Cobb is battling with the demons of his past that are affecting his work, his life and the others around him.
This film is worthy of being called a masterpiece, simply because it is. ‘Inception’ is ground-breaking, awe-inspiring, visually impeccable and extremely intelligent. This is no popcorn flick, this is a brain-bashing journey deep into the mind and the human psyche. DiCaprio gives an outstanding performance as the deeply troubled Cobb. Ellen Page, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Tom Hardy and Marion Cotillard also present wonderful performances.
Nolan truly is one of the finest filmmakers in modern day cinema, and the fact that he’s British is only more pleasing. This is a big-budget blockbuster where the money wasn’t wasted on stupid amounts of CGI, or hurdles of dumb stunts, the majority of the money was spent on building sets, yes that’s right, the majority of what you see in this film was actually made, not green-screened. The rotating hallway, the exploding café, the demolishing fortress and so much more was built for the film. If you haven’t seen ‘Inception’, watch it instantly and revel in it’s masterfulness. I will remember 2010 for this film.

Runners-Up


‘Shutter Island’ (dir: Martin Scorsese, Cert: 15)

‘Cherrybomb' (dir/s: Lisa Barros D'Sa/Glenn Leyburn, Cert: 15)

'The Killer Inside Me (dir: Michael Winterbottom, Cert: 18)

‘Scott Pilgrim vs. the World’ (dir: Edgar Wright, Cert: 12A)

‘Brothers’ (dir: Jim Sheridan, Cert: 15)

‘Up in the Air’ (dir: Jason Reitman, Cert: 15)

‘Salt’ (dir: Phillip Noyce, Cert: 12A)

‘Let Me In’ (dir: Matt Reeves, Cert: 15)

‘Whip It’ (dir: Drew Barrymore, Cert: 12A)

‘A Single Man’ (dir: Tom Ford, Cert: 12A)

Saturday, 11 December 2010

'Megamind' Review


‘Megamind’ (dir: Tom McGrath, 2010), Cert: PG


2010 has presented audiences with some mighty strong animated features; they have been released in their masses and it seems that Hollywood has no intention of slowing them down. As the Christmas holidays are gaining on us, and the race for the Oscars are in full swing, the rivalry between Pixar and Dreamworks rages on, and the latter is playing it’s new wildcard, ‘Megamind’. The film is presented in 3D (obviously) and has a mighty strong voice-cast, but can it really be the number 1 Christmas film and pip ‘Toy Story 3’ to the post?

Megamind (Will Ferrell) is the world’s most unsuccessful super-villain. He has spent the majority of his life trying to destroy his nemesis Metro Man (Brad Pitt) but has had no success at all. His methods are obvious, his threats fail to cause a scare and his attempts at destroy Metro City are laughable. During an opening ceremony of the new Metro Man Museum, Megamind finally hatches a successful plan by capturing local news sweetheart Roxanne Ritchie (Tina Fey) and ultimately, beats his rival. Now Megamind is free to cause havoc to Metro City with nobody to stop him. Soon enough, he finds himself sad and lonely knowing that his job is complete, so he sets out on a adventure to create a new superhero called Titan (Jonah Hill), but unfortunately, things don’t go the way he planned and now the fate of Metro City rests in his hands.

This is the second super-villain starring film in the last two months which seems a bit of a silly mistake on the studios part. In October, ‘Despicable Me’ was released and now we have ‘Megamind’. The films also have obvious comparisons apart from their central characters. Both have a sidekick/sidekicks called ‘Minion’, they are both exactly 95 minutes in length, and they have the cream of Hollywood’s comedy voicing them, however, they are both very different films.

For starters, ‘Megamind’ is absolutely hilarious, much funnier than ‘Despicable Me’; it’s laced with smart and witty pop culture references (including a plug to the Barack Obama poster campaigns), gags regarding previous films and has a sub-character of Megamind’s that sports a brilliant Marlon Brando impression. This film is also really charming in an unusual way. The audience can really relate to Megamind and in sequences of high-emotion, you can really feel for him. The emotional connection in ‘Despicable Me’ is far more of a narrative function than in this film.

The animation is stunning; it’s as beautiful as ‘How to Train your Dragon’ and as charismatic as ‘Monsters vs. Aliens’. The way hair moves on character’s heads and how glass shatters in certain scenes looks incredibly realistic. The 3D isn’t bad either; I’m sure the film will be just as visually pleasing in 2D but for some scenes, it’s worthy of wearing the silly glasses.

I’m usually fairly anti massive Hollywood voice-casting, as it’s tends to end up being a pretty poor film masked by acting talent, however this film is an exception. Ferrell is perfect for Megamind; his zany humour, his mispronunciation of common words and his loveable personality really gave his character depth and dimension. Even though the audience can guess how the film will end, Megamind is far less predictable as a character than Steve Carell’s Gru in ‘Despicable Me’. Fey is as wonderful as always, and she was a great choice for Roxanne. Her trademark sarcasm and pleasant wit flows through the character making her an animated Liz Lemon from ‘30 Rock’. Pitt does a good job as Metro Man, but in all honestly, any Hollywood star with a large persona could have done it. George Clooney would have been just as adequate as Pitt, but in his brief scenes, his is very funny and enjoyable. Hill surprisingly makes Titan a really vicious and threatening character which is great and he swallows the scenes that he’s in. David Cross gives an actual good performance as Minion, and his chemistry with Megamind is loveable. I usually find Cross mind-numbingly irritating but I was happy with him here.

This is a really strong animated film and I have no doubts that it will be nominated for an Oscar, and I’m pretty certain that this will be a smash-hit over the Christmas holiday. It’s certainly the next best Computer-Animated film to ‘Toy Story 3’, so Dreamworks are really giving Pixar a run for their money. This is their best film since ‘Monsters vs. Aliens’ which was one of my top 10 films of 2009.

‘Megamind’ is a superb rollercoaster ride that’s filled with side-splitting comedy, beautiful animation and the best voice cast for ages. It’s a great family film that all will enjoy. A few may be thinking ‘didn’t we see this film 2 months ago?’ but the kids will adore it, and I personally think it’s an all-around stronger film that it’s slightly older sibling.

Verdict: 4 out of 5 - It’s whip-smart, visually absorbing and a wonderful film for a family movie night. The battle of the animation studios continues…

By Chris Haydon

Saturday, 4 December 2010

It's Top 10 Time!

What are your Top 10 Films of 2010?

It's that time of year again; Advent Calendars are having their doors torn open, decorations are being retrieved from the attic, but most importantly, another year of cinema is drawing to a close.

I'm currently compiling my list of my 10 favourite films of the year and I'd like you guys to do the same! Jot down your best of the year and whack them on the blog for all to see!

Just leave a comment on this post! :)

Here are a few posters for some movies I'm really excited about over the next few months. Click each poster for their trailer!

 

 

 

 

 

Saturday, 27 November 2010

'Unstoppable' Review

'Unstoppable' (dir: Tony Scott, 2010), Cert: 12A


It seems director Tony Scott has become rather fond of trains recently; coming off the back of his poor remake ‘The Taking of Pelham 123’, Scott has continued his prolonged relationship with Denzel Washington for his new high-speed Thriller, ‘Unstoppable’. Based on gripping true events, this movie should bulldoze through its audience and leave them perched on the edge of their seats. So does Scott pack the punches, or is this another over-crowded tube ride?
 Will Colson (Chris Pine) is down on his luck. His marriage is on the rocks; he’s living with his brother and desperately trying to hold down a job. He is a training conductor for a Pennsylvania train company. When he is paired with veteran train engineer Frank Barnes (Washington), it seems to be a typical day of being bossed around by his peers. But across town, a train numbered 777 has been left unattended and left in power mode causing it to runaway without a driver. The train is nearly a mile long and its cargo is incredibly dangerous. It’s more of a missile than a means of transport. Train 777 is heading towards the densely populated Stanton at 70mph which could destroy the town and its citizens. Will and Frank now need to set aside their differences and team up to stop this time-bomb exploding.
 ‘Unstoppable’ is another movie this year to be falsely advertised. The trailer makes it look like a fairly standard Action-Thriller when really it’s actually an incredibly tense and intelligent film that forces the viewer into a headlock for 100 minutes. Sure it has some cheesy moments; you can almost cue the overly dramatic cheers and Denzel’s signature chuckle, but as a film, it’s very solid and provides a whirlwind of entertainment.
 Scott’s direction is some of the best camerawork in 2010. ‘Unstoppable’ is crammed with crafty angles and shaky effects that only force the nauseating atmosphere onto the audience further. In one sequence involving a helicopter dropping a man with a parachute onto the train, Scott whips the camera round in such a quick and unique pan, it almost looks like the screen turns 360°. His brother Ridley may capture more epic landscapes, but Tony knows how to direct Action so well, and this is one of his finest examples.
 I was impressed with how well this film gelled together too. I was excited to see it but I had doubts as to whether they could make a film about a runaway train stay interesting for that period of time but my worries were eliminated after about 15 minutes. The train heads on its chaotic journey in the first 10 but from then on, the audience gasp and wheeze through the remaining 90 as the never-ending peril kicks in.
 Washington and Pine deliver great performances too; they have exceptional screen chemistry that was essential for the movie. Many joked that this film would follow stereotypical traits (White and Black men teaming up/Young and Old as partners), but the pair push these ideas aside and allow room for their relationships as characters to evolve. They share stories of their past which are amusing and saddening too which is a wonderful thing to see in a big-budget Actioner.
 I think many will be pleasantly surprised by this film; it’s definitely not what it says on the tin. The trailer is horribly misleading so take no notice of it. ‘Unstoppable’ is a riot of a movie that uses cool and collective tension to grasp its viewers rather than a tyrant of explosions and pyrotechnics.
Verdict: 4 out of 5 – Miles better than Scott’s last entry. A fast-paced, white-knuckle rollercoaster ride that pushes its audience to the limit. A grand achievement.
By Chris Haydon

Friday, 19 November 2010

'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1' Review

'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1' (dir: David Yates, 2010), Cert: 12A


The end has begun. The first part of Harry, Ron and Hermione’s final adventure has arrived.
J.K Rowling’s last novel in the series was a rollercoaster ride of self-discovery, trauma and chaos that had Potter fans like me craving each and every page. Director David Yates, who is now the veteran Potter filmmaker (He has directed 4 of the 8 features), has an incredibly huge burden resting on his shoulders. All the previous Potter films have been brilliant in different ways but the ‘Deathly Hallows’ requires vast knowledge of the text, skill and dedication in order to give our favourite trio the send off they deserve. Seeing as we don’t have to say farewell yet; has Yates managed to create a great film out of the first half of the story and given audiences enough to burst with excitement for part 2 in July?

Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermione (Emma Watson) have left home and Hogwarts and set out alone into the big bad world. Harry is determined to do Dumbledore’s bidding by finding and destroying the remaining Horcruxes which will destroy Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) once and for all. However, the trio’s adventure is becoming harder every minute. Voldermort’s Death Eaters and the Ministry of Magic’s Snatchers are after them and tracking their every move. Everything and everyone in the wizarding world is corrupt leading to a massive surge of dishonesty and paranoia, even Dumbledore’s name is being used in vain after a controversial book on his life by Rita Skeeter is released. Nowhere is safe and nobody can be trusted leaving Harry, Ron and Hermione more vulnerable than they could have ever imagined.
 Firstly, and most importantly; for fans of the book, you will not be disappointed. The screen adaptation of the ‘Deathly Hallows’ is greatly faithful to the novel. Key characters, stories, settings and information are portrayed on screen which is great to see. As for the film in general, it’s utterly brilliant; easily one of the best Potter films to date.
 The main thing that separates this movie from the previous is how cinematic it feels; losing Hogwarts has opened up so many more doors for the characters and the wizarding world in general. Some of the cinematography in this film is awe-inspiring; sweeping fields of lush green grass, thick mist streaming across rock faces and other images look like something from a National Geographic calendar. The movie also sports a gorgeous animated sequence for the telling of the ‘Three Brothers’ tale. The animation has the gothic feel of Tim Burton’s pictures or a Neil Gaiman graphic novel; it’s a warped and incredibly dark piece that slots into the film wonderfully.
 The other majorly different feature between this film and the previous entries is the subject matter. For all those who have read the book, it’s a deeply saddening and twisted story laced with deceit, murder and solitude. This is not kid’s stuff, and the film expresses this greatly. Menace, threat and even a brief scene of Bellatrix LeStrange (Helena Bonham Carter) performing torture circles this film making it at some points an uncomfortable experience. I don’t want to sound boring but I certainly wouldn’t let smaller children see this film; it’s fairly complex and contains images that may be pretty tough on youngsters.
Still from 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1' (2010)
 With the absence of Hogwarts, Dumbledore, the Burrow, the Order and anywhere or anyone else safe, this film really feels isolated just like its characters. It’s here we can really see the trio’s relationship grow and tarnish; Harry, Ron and Hermione depend on each other hugely but usually they have others not far away to help them. In this film they must move every day to avoid being caught; they really are alone in a terribly dangerous environment and it’s a pleasure to watch how different their friendship has become.
 This film, like all the others is long, in fact it’s 146 minutes long to be précise, which considering it’s only the first part of the story seems like quite a stretch, but actually Yates and his loyal team provide plenty to keep you entertained throughout its mega duration; from its stunning battle sequences to its nerve-shuddering tension, it’s safe to say you probably won’t be checking your watch every 30 minutes. Great film composer Alexandre Desplat provides a compelling and progressive score that haunts each and every scene. From crashing symbols to timid chimes, the music in the film only adds to the eerie atmosphere that surrounds our heroes.  
 The main thing that this picture needed to succeed however was great performances. This story is about the characters and how they interact so our three musketeers needed to deliver, and boy did they. Radcliffe pours his heart and soul into Harry and his passion for the character is continuously apparent throughout the picture. He brings a tear to your eye and shows audiences that behind the scar and the legend, he is a damaged and lonely young man. Grint has dropped the majority of Ron’s clumsy humour and become more adult which is refreshing. He has developed into a fine actor and he packs the punches here. Watson too has blossomed and portrays Hermione’s emotive state brilliantly. She’s torn between two boys, and basically two lives, but she strives for what’s right. The other performances are enjoyable too; Rhys Ifans takes on the important role of Xenophilius Lovegood; editor of The Quibbler, which he nails. He provides all the right madness and desperation the character expresses in the novel. Bill Nighy fills Minister Rufus Scrimgeour’s shoes which may only be for a brief period, but he provides the goods.  
 I will say however, if you haven’t seen the previous Harry Potter films, do not watch this one until you have. This may be a blockbuster movie, but it requires massive amounts of prior knowledge of the series. Newcomers will find themselves perplexed, confused and probably bored.
The ‘Deathly Hallows: Part 1’ is a fabulous film and one of Harry’s best adventures yet. It’s up there with ‘The Prisoner of Azkaban’ (2004) and ‘The Order of the Phoenix’ (2007).
Verdict: 5 out of 5 – An utter knockout. A beautiful film that’s made with perfection and excellence, and that’s performed with great skill and passion. July, please hurry up.
By Chris Haydon

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

'Skyline' Review

'Skyline' (dir: The Brothers Strause, 2010), Cert: 15


Alien invasion films are hardly a new phenomenon; in fact, creatures and robots from other worlds have lived in cinema practically since its installation. However, nowadays, it’s all about the money and the CGI to make a convincing alien picture, and they don’t come cheap. From Steven Spielberg’s ‘War of the Worlds’ ($132 Million) to James Cameron’s alien planet movie ‘Avatar’ ($237 Million), it’s clear Hollywood throw big bucks at these movies. So you’d guess that 2010s alien adventure would cost a similar price too right? Wrong. In fact, the Brothers Strause’s latest ‘Skyline’ cost a measly $10 Million and it’s a CGI festival; so it begs the question, can you still make a decent alien film with some spare change?
 ‘Skyline’ is set in Los Angeles and follows a group of friends who have just had a huge party. They are woken during the early hours of the morning to an incredibly bright blue light. The light is appearing all across the area and it is coming from space ships floating in the skyline. The beams cause human skin to cripple and burn, and it causes a blindness which controls your body, forcing you into abduction. The group now have to protect one another and find a way out of Los Angeles, or stay in hiding and hope they can survive the alien threat.
 Firstly, the good news; considering this film was made for next to no money, the CGI is just incredible. The space ships, the aliens and the mayhem that goes with them is brilliantly made and executed. It makes you wonder why so many other movies spend 10 or 15 times as much as this movie on their effects when really, in the right hands, a little can go a long way.   
 Unfortunately, the good news ends there. In fact, everything else about ‘Skyline’ is utterly terrible. The script is tedious, repetitive and sour, the performances are excruciatingly bad (it stars Donald Faison, more commonly known as Turk from ‘Scrubs’) and considering the film only lasts 92 minutes, it feels like 4 hours long. This film is being called a mixture of ‘Independence Day’, ‘Cloverfield’ and ‘War of the Worlds’, if you have seen any of these three films, you’ve already seen a 10 times better movie than this.
 ‘Skyline’ doesn’t want to break the mould; it just wants to be a stagnant film in an already dying genre. There are two points in the film when I thought something new and original would come along but it didn’t, it stayed exactly the same throughout. It also leads its audience to believe it’s going to end, but then another 35 minutes of film continue, and that feels more like another 2 hours. This film doesn’t make you feel annoyed or angry; it’s actually quite laughable at how awful it is. I just thought it might try and bring something new to this kind of filmmaking; a breath of fresh air, but all I saw was a cheap and poor imitation of ‘Independence Day’.
 So no, I don’t think you can make a decent alien film on such a small budget; not because of the issues regarding the CGI but because you need the money to cast far better actors and hire miles better writers and producers.
 I think cinema goers actually needed ‘Skyline’ however, because it proves the point that no matter how beautiful and spectacular a film may look, if it lacks a decent narrative and a collection of characters that you actually care for, you will never make a successful feature.
‘Skyline’ is a real shame of a movie that tries to cover up the tragedy that it is with some exquisite computer imagery.
Verdict: 1 out of 5 – It make look incredible on the outside, but ultimately, this movie is rotting on the inside. Totally awful.
By Chris Haydon

Harry's Here On Friday!

Potter's Back on the Big Screen!


For all you Harry Potter fans, the wait is nearly over! 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1' is being released on Friday 19th November!

If you're a huge Potter fan like me, get on the blog and let me know your thoughts! If you didn't know already, the first part isn't going to be released in 3D due to Warner Bros. running out of time with the release dates and requirements but the second part should be in 3D (Personally, I don't see the point of it but oh well!)

The review for the movie will be up ASAP so I want plenty of comments and your feedback on Harry's latest adventure!

Thursday, 11 November 2010

'Let Me In' Review

'Let Me In' (dir: Matt Reeves, 2010), Cert: 15


About a year ago when I first read that there was going to be an American remake of Tomas Alfredson’s Swedish masterpiece, ‘Let the Right One In’, I felt the cool hand of sadness grasp my shoulder. American remakes are usually poor, and it seems that Horror movies always come off worst. I adored ‘Let the Right One In’ and I have been praying to like its dollar-bursting brother. After seeing promising stills, trailers and being incredibly pleased by the casting, it seems to be on the right track, but has ‘Let Me In’ won my heart liked its European sibling?
 The film is set in New Mexico, 1983. 12 year-old Owen (Kodi Smit-McPhee) is a social outcast who drifts through day to day life trying to avoid any obstacle that heads his way. Living in the blistering coldness of Los Alamos, he is surrounded by a snow-soaked and empty world. As a regular victim of vicious bullying; Owen finds comfort in solitude and expresses his anger and emotion at home alone. When a mysterious girl named Abby (Chloe Grace Moretz) moves in next door, he aims to become friends with her. Abby herself too is socially isolated, but for a far different reason than Owen can imagine. Abby’s behaviour is impeccably odd; she doesn’t wear shoes, she doesn’t attend school and the aggressive arguments that ensue in her home are for the whole neighbourhood to hear. As time goes on and various reports of murders and attacks swarm the town, Owen’s new found relationship with Abby is about to take a strange turn when he finds out that she is actually a vampire.
‘Let the Right One In’ showed audiences across the globe how beautiful and accessible Horror can be when it’s mixed with a perfect romance and a story about childhood and innocence, and ‘Let Me In’ does exactly the same too. This is a perfect remake, probably one of the best I’ve ever seen, and here’s why.
‘Let Me In’ shares a lot of similarities with its original, but surprisingly, a large quantity of it is rather different. The story is basically the same, apart from a few scenes which uncover more about Abby’s father. As well as the story, director Matt Reeves has almost created a shot-by-shot remake of the 2008 picture, but the similarities end there. For starters, this film is far more violent than the original. One of the studios behind the remake is Hammer Horror so the extra gloop and gore was inevitable, however this is not a criticism; it’s actually praise. Violence is one of Horror’s defining features and it’s used sensibly and brilliantly in this movie; the images of the thick red blood draining across the town’s snow quilt is something of rare cinematic beauty. Rather than being like a typical Hollywood Horror that throws blood and brains all over the place, the violence supports key areas of the narrative allowing it to be portrayed properly. Reeves clearly knows the core of this movie is its story, and he does nothing to take the audience away from this. Some scenes are also quite distressing; especially the bullying sequences which made my heart sink. They are executed and performed wonderfully which makes them so effective.
Still from 'Let Me In' (dir: Matt Reeves, 2010)
 The film also sports some beautiful cinematography; sweeping images of bent trees, snow-covered climbing frames and slightly lit passageways only add to the ever-growing tense atmosphere that surrounds our characters and their world. It also has a gorgeous and haunting score that is a really great addition to this already stunning picture. Film and TV composing legend Michael Giacchino supplies the goods and this is his best work since his score for Pixar’s masterpiece ‘Up’ and his grand work on the television show ‘Lost’.
 The real heart of ‘Let Me In’ however lies with the utterly brilliant casting. Smit-McPhee is an utter delight to watch. He was incredible in ‘The Road’ and he gives an outstanding and moving performance here. His character provides plenty to make you shed a tear. But for me, the star of the show is Moretz. She was the best thing about the fantastic ‘Kick-Ass’ earlier this year and she’s knocked the ball so far out of the park with this performance. Abby is an intriguing, wonderful and equally horrifying creature, and Moretz nails her so well. She swallows the screen and every scene she’s in. She’s rapidly becoming one of my new favourite actresses and I can’t wait for her next picture.
 So, in answer to my earlier question, yes, ‘Let Me In’ won my heart and it’s refusing to let go. My top 10 of 2010 is going to be so hard to write, but one thing’s for sure, this movie will be in there.
Verdict: 5 out of 5 – Easily the best Horror movie this year; ‘Let Me In’ is a clever, cool and incredibly beautiful film that’s layered with fantastic performances, cinematography, music and précised direction. I absolutely loved it.
By Chris Haydon