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  • tetsujin1979

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American: The Bill Hicks Story

Reviewed by tetsujin1979

  • Currently 4/5 Stars.

clever use of film footage, and family photos show us where the legendary comedian came from. Possibly a little long for a cinema release, but a definite DVD purchase

Hot Tub Time Machine

Reviewed by tetsujin1979

  • Currently 4/5 Stars.

very self aware comedy that mixes 80's nostalgia with some modern influences. Not the greatest comedy ever, but everyone involved knows this and is just having fun. Recommended.

Iron Man 2

Reviewed by tetsujin1979

  • Currently 4/5 Stars.

Is it better than the first one? No. Is it an X-Men 2 -> X-Men 3/Spider-Man 2 -> Spider-Man 3 fall from grace? Hell, no! Whereas the first film was a study in the climb of Tony Stark's character from international playboy to iron clad defender of the people, the second film is more about the descent the pressures of being the defender has wrought on his mind, and the suit itself has wrought on his body. Beginning with the press conference ending of the previous film, dubbed into Russian and viewed from the death bed of one of Howard Stark's (Tony's father) former co-engineers on the original ARC reactor, the film introduces Rourke's Ivan Vanko as the primary antagonist to Iron Man, while Sam Rockwell's Justin Hammer is to be the business thorn in Stark's side. While Stockwell performs the role admirably, he's not as viable a threat to Stark as Jeff Bridges' calculating Obadiah Stane in the first film. In the comics continuity, he's Stark-lite just missing the extra 10% that makes Stark one of the most intelligent, and sought after, men on the planet. In the film, he goes after the same contracts, the same technology, and (without realising it) the same woman. None of these are successful, and only make him look less and less of a danger. Indeed, one of the lingering images of Hammer is someone who cannot even master fake tan, never mind rise to become the weapons developer of choice to the US government. Gwyneth Paltrow picks up where she left off as Stark's assistant, Virginia "Pepper" Potts, and is becoming concerned by her employers increasingly erratic behaviour. This is only exacerbated when he promotes her to CEO, seeminly on a whim. While a capable assistant and confidant, it appears that running a massive multinational is beyond her powers and the stress starts to get to her. Introduced into their relationship is Scarlett Johansson's Natalie Rushman. All bee sting lips and hourglass figure, her motives are unclear until the end of the second act. Nick Fury, as portrayed by Samuel L. Jackson, is given a much larger role this time around, appearing in the film itself, instead of a post credits sequence. His appearances in the film contain several nods to developments across the wider Marvel film universe and future films. The first film focussed primarily on Stark and the developement of the suit reflected his development as a person. The second film spreads its gaze a little too much, on Vanko's rise from ex-con to super villain, on Stark's descent, on Pepper's concerns, on Rhodes' emergence as War Machine, and the overall product suffers because of this. The final act, however, surpasses the original's final battle as Iron Man and War Machine unite to take on Hammer and Vanko's knock off drones. The first of the summer blockbusters has set the standard, now it's up to the rest to surpass it.

Date Night

Reviewed by tetsujin1979

  • Currently 4/5 Stars.

highly enjoyable, if slightly unbelievable, comedy. The two main stars are one of the more believable couples I've seen on screen ever. Recommended for an actual date night, or a DVD night in

The Ghost

Reviewed by tetsujin1979

  • Currently 1/5 Stars.

Breaking my own rule of not reviewing a film before its release to warn people not to see this terrible, terrible movie. Opening with McGregor doing a contrived, Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins-level, cockney accent, and only getting worse with Liverpool native Kim Cattrall's attempt at a London educated political advisor, the opening hour is a battle to see who can do the worst English dialect. Brosnan and McGregor's attempts are mystifying. McGregor is known for his Scottish brogue, and also delivered a well received impression of Sir Alec Guinness in Star Wars, so why not repeat that, or just make his character Scottish and use his native accent?? Brosnan is known to audiences on both sides of the Atlantic for his portrayal of them most well known ficitonal English character since Robin Hood, James Bond, so why not repeat his style of speech? Cattrall suffers from her familiarity to audiences as New York socialite Samantha Jones in Sex and the City, so from her opening scene it's difficult to accept her as a political advisor. The accent that changes through out the film, sometimes in the same scene, does not help her case. Her final scene, descending into tears, only to straighten up and recover from this outburst of emotion is unintentionally laughable, as are many others in the film. From the principal cast, only Olivia Wiliams emerges with any credibility. While McGregor's flight to the States, transfer flight to a second airport, taxi, ferry and finally arrival at the former prime minister's American home serve to illustrate the isolation of the location where he must rewrite Brosnan's memoirs. We don't need another 10 minute car journey, ferry ride, and second drive to reinforce this. I'm pretty sure I can find his destination, such is the impact the monotonous drone of the product placed sat nav had on me. Despite all this, I tried to enjoy the film, but a gaping plot hole two thirds of the way through the film ended my interest in this "thriller" and I was tempted to leave a film for the first time ever. An earlier plot hole was almost acceptable from the point of view of moving the film along, but this second was the straw that broke the camel's back. I had forgotten the director, so spent some time trying to remember what hack director had been recruited from a second rate reality TV series to helm this. When "A Roman Polanski Movie" appeared on the closing credits, I nearly fainted from the shock.

Kick-Ass

Reviewed by tetsujin1979

  • Currently 5/5 Stars.

Imagine for a moment, if you will, a party. But no ordinary party. Instead of human guests, this party has movie franchises as guests. More than that, it has superhero movie franchises as guests. Batman went through the early goth years, then a bizarre "flamboyant" phase, and is now sitting in grim solitude in the corner. Spider-Man looked like having a bright future, made a few mistakes early on (as we all do) then progressed into a superior offering. And then descended into an emo-pandering non-entity. Fresh to the party is Kick-Ass. The six year old, ADD-riddled, Skittles-fuelled junior member of the group. Part of you is telling you that watching this creature run into walls, utter all sorts of profanity is just plain wrong. And the other part of you, the part that actually enjoys things, is telling you that this is the most fun you've had at these parties in a long time. While it doesn't cover exactly the same ground as the comic (his dad has a much larger role in it, and Hit Girl is even more over the top, if you can believe it, in paper and ink) but for the vast majority of the flim, it is a faithful translation of the original. Highly recommended, and the quite possibly the most fun you will have at the cinema this year.

Thor

Reviewed by tetsujin1979

  • Currently 4/5 Stars.

hugely enjoyable action romp that plays it equally classical narrative and tongue completely wedged in cheek. The build up to next summer's Avengers is well and truly on.

Shutter Island

Reviewed by tetsujin1979

  • Currently 4/5 Stars.

claustraphobic thriller that keeps you guessing right until the end about the truth. Possibly needs a second viewing to fully appreciate the twists of the plot

Alice In Wonderland

Reviewed by tetsujin1979

  • Currently 4/5 Stars.

slightly trippy trip back down the rabbit hole for Alice. Burton gets to make the film perfectly suited for his slightly warped take on reality. Perhaps 20 minutes too long, but one of the few children's films that isn't afraid to be scarey.

The Princess and the Frog

Reviewed by tetsujin1979

  • Currently 4/5 Stars.

a wonderful, funny, well told, return to form for Disney animation.

Ninja Assassin

Reviewed by tetsujin1979

  • Currently 3/5 Stars.

risible plot attempts to tie excellent fight sequences together.

Toy Story 2 in 3D

Reviewed by tetsujin1979

  • Currently 5/5 Stars.

one of the few sequels that surpass the original. Wonderful, wonderful film. The 3D doesn't add much but still well worth a trip to the cinema