Saturday, 26 February 2011

The Jaffas 2011

Who needs Photoshop when you have Paint.NET?

It's the Award Ceremony everyone has been waiting for... Ladies and Gents, I proudly present to you the first annual Jaffa Awards:

Bleakest Film

Black Swan
Winter's Bone
Blue Valentine

Winner: Biutiful. Cancer – check. Domestic violence – check. Dead Immigrants – check. The director of Amores Perros does it again, with a film so depressing you’ll wish you were born inside a deep cave with no eyes or ears.

Guiltiest Pleasure

Piranha 3D
Law Abiding Citizen
Jackass 3D

Winner: Law Abiding Citizen.
Almost everything in the movie is unbelievable and (at times) offensive, but I couldn’t help but really enjoy myself. Does that make me a bad person? Probably.

Most Scenes Stolen

Josh Brolin - True Grit
Christian Bale - The Fighter
Tom Hardy – Inception
Chloe Moretz – Kick Ass

Winner: Christian Bale.
The Bale backlash has already begun, but if you watch the credits you'll see the real Dicky is even more irritating.

Dodgiest Accent

Mickey Rourke – Iron Man 2
Gerard Butler – Law Abiding Citizen
Ewan McGregor – The Ghost
Colin Farrel – London Boulevard

Winner: Colin Farrel.
It’s not English. And it’s not Irish. Hmm...

Most Redundant Sequel/Remake

Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland
The A-Team
The Wolfman
Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps

Winner: Wall Street 2. Did we really need to see an old Gordon Gekko? ‘Greed is Good’ - It is when you’re a Hollywood producer.

Most 'Up its Own Arse

Black Swan
I’m Still Here

Winner: Inception. Christopher Nolan sure knows how to take us on a ride. But first he has to have an hour and a half of explaining exactly how the ride works and why we’re going to enjoy it so much.

Most Misleading Trailer

Never Let Me Go
Iron Man 2
True Grit

Winner: True Grit. A close one indeed. The Iron Man 2 trailer did make the film actually look quite good, but the TG trailer is misleading in almost every conceivable way. Seriously, all footage in the trailer is manipulated to an unnecessary degree.

Most Foreign-y

Dog Tooth
A Prophet

Winner: A Prophet. Whilst not being the ‘foreign Scarface’ I was expecting, the film still packs a severe punch and extraordinary performances.

Least Bad Film

127 Hours
The Social Network
The Fighter
Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World

Winner: The Social Network. Wow, that was a toughie. But if we’re basing it on ‘which film features the most Jesse Eisenberg’ then The Social Network just clinches it.

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Blue Valentine

A word of warning: If you found 500 Days of Summer depressing (despite having a sickly sweet ending), you will not enjoy Blue Valentine. It's quite a relentless look at the start and brutal end of a masochistic relationship. And no cotton candy additional love interests on the way either. Which is probably why I liked it so much.

The film completely relies on the believability of its two leads, but luckily Gosling and Williams have the chemistry of nuclear reactor - affectionate flirting one minute to complete animosity the next. How Gosling evaded an Oscar nod I don't know. The juxtaposition of the Start + End of the relationship is also particularly effective with drip-feeding vital plot points and scene nuances.

Blue Valentine is not an easy watch and it may drag on 10 minutes longer than it should, but the final clincher of the film makes it all worthwhile. It is a side to American life we rarely see on screen, and will no doubt cause controversy with hot potato topics such as abortion, divorce, and domestic violence. And whilst it should be respected for its non-sugar coated storytelling, that's not to say the film doesn't have any fun: the flashback scenes essentially highlight the character's once playful and youthful nature (the ukulele scene is particularly awesome).

Oh yes, and it also has a great soundtrack by Grizzly Bear:

Blue Valentine = my sort of movie

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

True Grit Review

The Coen Brother's latest offering reviewed (via the medium of images):


Monday, 21 February 2011

DVD Cover Dungeon

On the rare occasion that I do decide to buy a DVD, I do like to think rather carefully about my purchase as shelf space is a valuable commodity in my room. But earlier tonight I suddenly realised that I loved Noah Baumbach's indie sleeper Greenberg at the cinema, so I looked it up online. What I found was this rather garish and completely misleading DVD cover.

Seriously, what the FUCK is that?

Firstly, having Ben Stiller's name in ridiculously BIG font makes the film seem rather self-conscious about itself - 'the plot isn't going to interest anyone, but the star might!' The quotes are also fucking retarded - "I LOVE THIS MOVIE" - do you A. O. Scott? I don't really know who you are so please stop clogging up valuable Greta Gerwig space - Thanks. And the picture makes me want to cringe until my face implodes. This is NOT a sweet love story. It's a story about a self-centred, egotistical prick who is completely oblivious to the fact that he's living in the past. I mean, what was wrong with the poster?

It made me think how many other decent indie films have fallen prey to the desperate marketing team of some dodgy distributor. Here are some other DVD covers that deserve to be kicked underneath the display stand at HMV:

Despite making the film look like Daddy Day Care, there's surprisingly no mention that the plot completely centres around his son dying of a wanking accident. And how was Bobcat Goldthwait involved in Donnie Darko exactly?

Apparently this film's quite good, but you wouldn't have guessed it from this sickly sweet cover. 'Oo look, its got a pink bow on it, so it'll be perfect for Mummy at Christmas.' FUCK YOU subliminal suggestiveness.

To be fair, this movie probably is quite bad.

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Geek Post of the Week

If you haven't seen it yet, check out the breathtaking new trailer for zombie videogame Dead Island. Its been so popular amongst the internet community (Simon Pegg even tweeted about it! ZOMG etc.) that Hollywood are already looking at a film adaptation, even before seeing any real in-game footage.

Here are some other great teaser trailers that prove videogames can be every bit as scary/moving/thrilling as a movie:

Gears of War

Bioshock 3

Halo 3

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Summer 2011 Breakdown

With summer just around the corner, trailers for the forthcoming Summer Blockbusters are coming in thick and fast (thank you SuperBowl). Ok, so this year is no 2012 - with films like Dark Knight Rises, The Amazing Spiderman, Star Trek 2, The Wolverine all set for summer releases. But lets not waste a year of our lives swooning after films that will inevitably let us down, and look at the brightside of this year's crop.

I've highlighted 3 films that might actually be half decent.

1. X-Men: First Class

Release: June 2011
Decent because: James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender look on top form for playing the young Xavier and Magneto.
Worrying because: January Jones recently admitted the film was way behind schedule. Lets hope it's not of Apocolypse Now proportions.
Best trailer moment: Magneto Erik lifting a Submarine 50 feet in the air. Wowzers.
Trailer score: 8/10
Inevitable score: 6/10 - A rushed shooting schedule and multiple writers = not good.

2. Captain America: The First Avenger

Release: July 2011
Decent because: I secretly love Chris Evans. His good:bad film ratio is appalling, yet he still makes a film 1.7x more watchable.
Worrying because: The barrage of American patriotism that is bound to shoved down our throats. Like Spiderman 3.
Best trailer moment: Flamethrowersss. Awesommmme.
Trailer score: 7/10
Inevitable score: 7/10 - a strong premise and cast will make this a solid blockbuster.

3. Super 8

Release: June 2011
Decent because: As much as I don't want to admit it, J.J. Abrams does spin a good yarn (although I still protest Lost is the worst thing to happen to TV since Big Brother)
Worrying because: The trailers so far haven't exactly enticed me. Do we really need another War of the Worlds?
Best trailer moment: No Aliens in sight. Lets hope they're more convincing than Indy 4.
Trailer score: 6/10
Inevitable score: 8/10 - Abrams has undoubtedly got some interesting tricks up his sleeve.

Monday, 14 February 2011


Biutiful is the latest film offering from Mr I Hate Life himself, Alejandro González Iñárritu. The film depicts the story of criminal go-to man Uxbal (Javier Bardem), and his road to redemption before succumbing to a very vicious type of cancer. Moving back to his native language after the criminally underrated Babel, Iñárritu has also taken charge of scriptwriting duties. Given that Iñárritu has never written for a whole feature before, it might explain why the film feels a bit messy in places. For example, the plot is a bloated mix of themes and ideas; from family drama, to crime, to immigration, to existentialism, to death, to the supernatural.

He sees dead people... occasionally.

With a running time of 148 minutes it tries to cram as much thought-provoking scenes of desperation and loss as it can, yet a lot of the film seems rather irrelevant. In particular, the lengthy scenes of him wheeling and dealing with the criminal underworld could have been easily removed without any significant loss to the coherence of the plot. What is good, however, is the family relationship at the heart of the film, and Uxbal's spiritual connection with his dead father. In fact, the best scenes are the first and last of the film - the other scenes just seem like filler.

There are moments of absolute beauty (or biuty) thanks to some impressive cinematography, and needless to say Javier Bardem shines as the flawed protagonist. But it just wasn't enough to warrant 2 and a half hours of utter bleakness. Plus Javier's hair hasn't improved since No Country...

Friday, 11 February 2011

Never Let Me Go

There's 3 reasons why I didn't really like Never Let Me Go:

1) The trailer was misleading. I know judging a film's content by it's trailer is rather like judging someone's hotness by their facebook profile picture, but I had really high hopes for this film. The trailer made the film out to be a poetic mix between mystery and human melodrama. The melodrama is present, but all mystery vanishes within the first 20 minutes.. and is anything but poetic.

Obligatory poster-friendly shot that's not actually in the film

2) The music was all wrong. This is something I rarely moan about, because I never really hear any obvious faults with a film's soundtrack. However, Never Let Me Go completely fails to find the appropriate tone to tackle it's very conflicting concepts. Scenes that should have been utterly heartbreaking were mysteriously taken hostage by eerie Kubrick-like string quartets.

3) For a film about the existence of the human soul, the film feels pretty soulless. I shan't ruin any surprises for anyone unfamiliar with the premise, but the film expects you to accept that this story takes place in an inhumane, ethically bankrupt, and merciless world. Something of which I sincerely struggled with.

I guess the biggest problem with the film was I was never really moved by it, despite having a mind-blowing performance by Andrew Garfield:

In short: read the book.

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Guilty Conscience Review of the Week: The Cove

Out of the numerous DVDs on my LoveFilm list, I do get tossed the occasional thought-provoking documentary (no matter how much I wish it was Jurassic Park 3). This time around it was The Cove, a documentary about a group of activists trying to uncover the truth behind a secret Dolphin poaching operation in Taijii, Japan. Leading the activists is Richard O'Barry, ex-dolphin trainer and creator of the classic 60s children's TV show, Flipper. Whilst being the driving force behind the film, he walks the thin line between heroic animal crusader and deluded hippy (Grizzly Man, anyone?).

No wonder Wildlife Activists have a bad rep.

Despite O'Barry's tendencies to appear like an absolute loon, the documentary is actually very powerful. Via some particularly effective footage of dolphins, we see how truly magnificent and intelligent (not to mention ridiculously cute!) these creatures really are - which therefore make the poaching scenes all the more shocking. It may be a little questionable to single out dolphins as the only animal to be cruelly mistreated in Japan, but once you realise how emotionally aware dolphins are it's hard not to compare them with human beings.

More information:

But to keep in with this blog's light-hearted/ignorant tone, here's a video of a dog swimming with wild dolphins: