So I have mixed feelings for the sequel to the G.I Joe franchise. On one hand it is just the cartoon fun that you’d want from a film about a range of action figures, but the story is so unbelievably stupid that it’s too much for a film that is ment to be just dumb fun in the first place. Pressing the reset button but still sticking to the cliffhanger ending of Zartan disguised as the president of the United States, returning Joe’s Duke (Channing Tatum) and Snake Eyes (Ray Park) return with new recruits Roadblock (Dwayne Johnson), Lady Jaye (Adrianne Palicki), Flint (D.J. Cotrona) and Jinx (Elodie Yung) replace the cast from the previous film. When Storm Shadow free’s Cobra Commander and Zartan sanktions an air strike that wipes out nearly all the Joe’s, they turn to original Joe, General Joseph Colton (Bruce Willis) to help the serving few to save the world from Cobra Commanders evil plan.
Retaliation feels like a reboot as here as Duke is now the leader of the Joe’s with no mention of Dennis Quaid and this time are no more special enhancement suits, just a shed load of guns. The Joe’s in this film are more like a platton of elite military soliders rather than the hi tech, top secret unit and the film makes the point of sticking with the new batch of heros to root for. Johnson is value for money as always but most of the cast is given nothing to do while the rest are just carisma vacuum. Thank God for Jonathan Pryce who is hamming it up big style playing both roles of the president and his impostor. Ray Stevenson as fun with what I think is a southern american accent, playing villein Firefly. Cobra Commander looks the part but is don’t around to make much of an impact and while Storm Shadow returns without any explanation as to how he survived the last film is placed in what is a sincerely bad plot device that is so shoe horned in, you’d think that the writers made the script up on the day of filming. As for Willis, well he’s just picking up the pay check, in fact he sleeps walks through this film so much that you’d think he was really trying on the last Die Hard movie.
It would be a mistake to take G.I Joe Retaliation seriously. It is in fact a film based on a line of toy’s, so it is expected it (and rightly so) that this is a cartoon of a movie. In cartoon worlds, the bad guys plan to take over the world by destroying it, Bruce Willis has an arsenal in every cupboard and Cobra plan to break out their leader from a high security prison, when one of their own is already acting as the president. But there is only so much you can leave behind you so it all depends on the entertainment, which has some nice action beats to it. The Snake Eyes/Jinx mountain fight is partially fun to watch but by the time you reach the climax you just have most of the hero’s standing with guns just shooting at things. It need to give more bang for our bucks if we’re having to swallow the honking big plot contrivances.
Good Vibrations tells the story of Terri Hooley, an owner of a record shop in Belfast in the 1970’s. When he attending a local punk band, he falls flat out in love with punk music and decides to get create a recording label by his own means, to get these unsigned punk bands out to as many people as possible. The most notorious of the groups would be The Undertones and Hooley’s struggle to get Teenage Kicks aired on the radio.
Directed by Lisa Barros D’Sa and Glenn Leyburn, Good Vibrations is a heart felt tale that captures Hooley’s love of music and the power that it contains. Hooley the man himself is a loverable if self distructive personalty. Placing all his time and money on trying to reach as meny people to the undiscovered bands that he encounters. Richard Dormer’s performance taps Hooley’s energy and attitude perfectly, while at the same time leaving you caring about his personal life as he neglects his financial troubles and his supporting wife (Jodie Whittaker) who is left to raise their child on her own as Hooley goes off on his exploits.
The film is fairly by the numbers in it’s plot as Hooley’s reckless actions destroys his personal life in favor of chasing dreams and ambitions outside his own needs. The film did remind me of 24 Hour Party People by embracing it’s self fully into the music around he story and Terri’s own fantasies as a country singer. It’s a simple true to life story but its all heart and all soul..
No film of the week in this epooisde, Ian @i_nesbot Raghav @raghavmodi and Scott @Celluloidical join me in talking about random shit while giving me stick for not seeing Apocalypse Now. Amongst other things I talk about my love for Trance, me and Ian defend G.I Joe : The Rise of Cobra, Raghav hasn’t seen Fight Club and Scott hates new horror films and re-makes…. and so much more in an epic podcast that is so long, I could of sat down and watched Apocalypse Now.
The new film by Danny Boyle starts of as a cool, slick thriller about a robbery of a painting. When Simon (James McAvoy), an art auctioneer who’s involved with the gang of criminals, makes a switch and receives a knock on the head. After recovering from hospital, he is found by Franck (Vincent Cassel) and his band of thugs who have questions about the whereabouts the painting. Since Simon can’t remember due to his head injury, they bring in Elizabeth (Rosario Dawson), a hypnotherapist to search inside his mind and find where he hid the painting and then it everything changes to a film that is a twisted Rubik’s Cube set in a dream state.
To tell you any more about Trance would ruin the surprises that fill the movie. It is not often that you get to watch a film and have no idea of where it is going to go. Boyle re-teams with writer John Hodge for the first time since The Beach and has connections with Shallow Grave with the relationship of mistrust and mixed/confused feels between the three lead characters. Boyle takes the camera and shoots scenes out of focus and crazy angles that questions the audience about what is a dream and what is reality. As the pieces of the puzzle reveal themselves, they leave more questions than answers, the film goes to dark twisted places that shock and leave you flabbergasted you at moments. Boyle seems to channel his inner David Cronenberg using brief flashes of graphic sex and violence that at time may feel misogynistic but in fact are cleverly placed in context to the rest of the plot.
Such scenes may leave a bad taste in some people mouths in the way that it is just so over the top. You very well could say that this is Boyle showing off his skills as a director but it’s hard to deny the skill on show here. Over all Trance is a film made by a great director having fun with his craft and it’s hard not to join him..
This weeks guest is Kat Moir @kathrynmoir and fresh of this weeks bonus podcast Scott Allden @Celluloidical as we talk about the late great Tony Scott film True Romance. Also Ian Nesbit @i_nesbot gives his two cents on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtals and Raghav Modi @raghavmodi astonishes us all with his thoughts on the Toy Story series
Aren’t we all just sick of all these re-makes that have nothing new to give us other than repeating what the original did without being anywhere near as good. It’s not that re-makes aren’t a great idea. All you need to do is watch John Carpenters The Thing to realise how brilliant a re-make could be. All you need is to take the basic premise of the original and create different movie entirely. That’s what Maniac is, taken from the 1980 William Lustig film of the same name, the plot is basically the same. Frank Zito (Elijah Wood) is a troubled young man who has a rather nasty habit of stalking young woman and murdering them whilst collecting their scalps and dressing them on top of mannequins. When a photographer Anna (Nora Arnezeder) comes into his life, he is left torn between his inner desires to find love or keep her as a trophy in his ever-increasing collection.
This was the most uncomfortable experiences I had in the cinema for quite sometime. Wood is creep as hell as the a predator, conflicted with his two personalities. One side just wants to find love but can’t stop the others murderous ways. Most of the film places the audeance in Frank’s POV, making the viewer an unwilling accomplice to his actions and completely powerless to stop him. Gore fans will be happy as it takes no prisoners and goes all out in the gross out department. It also gives insight to Franks warped world as we see the bloodied mannequins come to life as the girls he murdered tormenting him.
Arnezeder is a likeable damsel is distress while director Franck Khalfoun and producter Alexandre Aja make great use of the L.A setting, channelling a crisp neon noir 80’s sheen with a classic synth score that adds a dirty taste to the sharp good looking cinematography. Maniac may to too full on for some palates as the scalping and tearing off flesh will turn stomachs, it will unnerve viewers as it gives them something that is different. In a word, it’s a classic.
Being a massive fan of the action genre, I always thought, “Why is it that us brits has never attempted an overblown action flick? Sure we have our Rom-Coms, crime dramas and you include the Bond franchise as an action movie, so why not just go all out and add a ton of gun play and stunts. It looks like director Eran Creevy thought the same, coming of the heels of his feature debut Shifty, Welcome to the Punch couldn’t be more different. Staring a fine choice of British actors including… (deep breath)… James McAvoy, Mark Strong, Andrea Riseborough, Peter Mullan, David Morrissey and Daniel Mays .. (phew)… to name but a few, they all turn up game for it.
The plot revolves around a grudge between a cop Max Lewinsky (McAvoy) and a criminal, Jacob Sternwood (Strong) who while escaping the country after a heist, shoots Max in the leg leaving him out of action and disgraced. Years later when Jacob’s son is found shoot and in critical condition, forcing him to return giving Max one last chance to catch his man. The relationship between McAvoy and Strong is a clichéd formula but two actors carry it off well with the films “fuck it” attitude. Welcome to the Punch doesn’t hold back on the Michael Mann theme of connecting cop and robber. Riseborough also is very sold in her role as Max’s partner Sara, giving another dimension to the stereotypical though female cop role that bounces well of McAvoy. Produced by Ridley Scott, it looks gorgeous and feels slick just as all good action films should as the bullet shoots boom so loud that they rattle your seat. Mullan and Morrissey add class and grit and Johnny Harris is his usual menacing self as a ex-army thug who still loves his mum.
Creevy wears his influences on his sleeve. Taking inspiration from the likes of Hong Kong and western cinema, it feels slick and well paced all the while keeping the coolness of the 80’s American action films that I sorely miss. If the film has a weakness, then it’s more concerned with the action sequences rather than telling it’s quite complex plot that leaves the door open for a sequel, however you’ll be having so much fun that by the time the credits roll, you’ll be left wanting more.
We also talk about who should direct the next Bond film, we express our excitement for Kick Ass 2 and review Oz: The Great and Powerful, Welcome to the Punch, Maniac, The Master, Parker and I tell everyone to see Breakdown and Retroactive.
In this podcast we were discussing the good third film of a Sam Rami trilogy (ahem…. Spider-Man 3), which moves on the various things such as re-makes like the Russian take on Commando (were i provided the clip of that trailer so you all don’t think I’ve been smoking something I’ve shouldn’t)
We also talk about Stoker, Robot and Frank, Tower Block and much much more
Original guest @thompson_film couldn’t make it due to a errrrrr….. technical issues so we had to re-record without him. However you watch his short film Laughter of the World right here.
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