KUNG FU PANDA 2

Prepare For The Return Of Awesomeness

Director
Jennifer Yuh

Starring
Jack Black
Dustin Hoffman
Angelina Jolie
Gary Oldman
Jackie Chan
Seth Rogen
Lucy Liu
David Cross



Kung Fu Panda 2 is quite simply one of the most justifiable sequels of the last ten years; why yes, I would love to clarify that statement. But not yet, first you have to sit through my breakdown of the synopsis, for this is how I structure my reviews (just in case you’re new to this site).

The film opens with an almost shadow-puppet theatre style animation that recounts the story of young Lord Shen’s [Oldman] banishment after utilising the power of fireworks to create weapons. Upon learning that he would suffer downfall at the hands of a warrior ‘of black and white’ Shen mercilessly executed every Panda he came across. As he entered exile, Shen vowed to return and reclaim his inheritance as ruler of Gongmen City. Set shortly after the events in Kung Fu Panda, Po [Black] has accepted his role as the dragon warrior, continuing his training and protection of the outlying villages. Meanwhile, Shen is planning his return and sent his army of wolves across the nation, scavenging any metal they can find, in order to create an armada loaded with cannons. Calmly entering the castle, Shen confronts the three greatest kung fu warriors and decimates them with his new-fangled weapon. Shifu [Hoffman] receives word of this attack and sends Po and the Furious Five to counter the weapon and save the art of kung fu. Along the way, Po is haunted by cryptic images of his past – brought about by his father’s confession that Po was adopted (a minor running joke in the first film as Po’s father is a goose). Po soon realises that the answers to his questions, as well as the means to achieve inner peace can be found in Gongmen City.

So, yes, most justifiable sequel in a decade. Unlike the majority of sequels which are created for the sole purpose of earning the production studio more money, Kung Fu Panda 2 feels like a genuine opportunity to further develop the lead characters whilst telling an entertaining story. More specifically, examining Po’s past could easily have been a poorly handled, hollow waste of time (as it usually is in most prequel/origin flicks) but the events transpire so naturally that the entire affair feels like a carefully executed progression. On top of that, the unique humour, visual style and endearing characters ensure as much of the original appeal and success have been retained. Furthermore, the popular opening animation has been expanded and used in various flashback sequences, demonstrating the creator’s keen awareness of what the fans did and didn’t respond well to. But beyond the humour and action sequences, there is a surprising level of tenderness – not Pixar level but better than the majority of contemporary CGI animated fare. Much in the same way as its predecessor, Kung Fu Panda 2 walks a thin line between amusing family film, base-level humour and decent filmmaking, never veering too heavily one way or another; all the while avoiding that nasty ‘middle of the road’ mire that the Shrek series eventually sank into.

As entertaining as it is, there are still a few flaws. The first of which being the sheer amount of on-screen characters. It was only at the end of Kung Fu Panda that Po was accepted by the furious five and even then they were quickly defeated by Tai Lung. Granted, the only new introduction is a new bad guy and the goat shaman but with Po, the furious five and Shifu, that’s seven distinct individuals battling for screen-time and much like the last film, Rogen, Liu, Cross and Chan are all quickly relegated to a handful of one-liners. Equally, as much as I am praising this film for its similarities to the first film, a lot of people will find that not only annoying but a simple rehash of the same story. I don’t believe this to be true but there are individuals who will, so thought I’d make mention of it.

Overall I was very impressed with this release, I still don’t think the 3D element was in any way necessary but if you can see it in IMAX, I would advise you do so. With decent pacing, character growth, skilled animation and compelling voiceover work, this film is a stunningly impressive sequel (for what it is) and I’m eagerly looking forward to the next instalment.


Release Date:
10th June 2011

The Scene To Look Out For:
**Time for spoilers! Skip to the next paragraph if you wish**
Having discovered the rotting remains of his home and his identity (told you there were spoilers), Po returns to free the Furious Five and confront Lord Shen’s armada. Enigmatically, standing on a rooftop, Po calls out to the fleet before flinging his hat, with the intent of breaking the chains detaining his colleagues. Instead we witness a speech that no one can hear because of the distance and a straw hat that simply wafts away on the breeze. The series of events aren’t key to the humour but the delivery and keen pacing throughout sell the exchange beautifully.

Notable Characters:
As stated, with so many characters jostling for screen time, it’s difficult to fully appraise each performance. However, it is apparent that these films thrive on Jack Black’s energy and personality (unless you hate Black, in which case you’ll just find these films annoying) and the introduction of Gary Oldman. A peacock is a hard sell as a villain – especially when trying to rival a 150kg panda – but voiced with sufficient bitter spite, Oldman ensures Shen is a nice parallel to the physically honed Tai Lung [Ian McShane] of the previous release.

Highlighted Quote:
“Nothing is unstoppable except for me when I’m stopping you from telling me that something’s unstoppable”

In A Few Words:
“Every year audiences endure a wealth of mediocre and sub-par sequels but Kung Fu Panda 2 is proof evident that decent progressions can be made without going completely overboard”

Total Score:

4/5

X-MEN: FIRST CLASS

Witness The Origin

Director
Matthew Vaughn

Starring
James McAvoy
Michael Fassbender
Rose Byrne
Jennifer Lawrence
Kevin Bacon



Do you remember when it was announced that Star Trek was being rebooted, or Batman for that matter? Do you recall the outcry from fans and the nervous dread in predictions and early reviews? If you do, you surely remember that they were spectacularly surprising successes that stood out as one of the finest movies filmed under their respective series name. X-Men: First Class is no different and has neatly set itself up to be not only a fine, entertaining blockbuster but easily the best prequel ever filmed.

Opening in the mid-forties, the plot explores the harnessing of young Erik Lehnsherr’s mutant ability, under the cruel tutelage of Sebastian Shaw [Bacon]. Simultaneously, we are also introduced to a young Charles Xavier, who confronts an imposter that turns out to be a very young Raven/Mystique. As the film rolls on twenty years, Xavier [McAvoy] is studying in Oxford with his ‘sister’ Raven [Lawrence] and Lehnsherr [Fassbender] has spent his time tracking down and eliminating several prominent Nazis who worked in concentration camps. Outside of this, the CIA have been monitoring the movements of underground terrorist group, ‘The Hellfire Club’ led by Sebastian Shaw. Having witnessed mutant abilities for the first time, Agent MacTaggart [Byrne] travels to England to seek out the advice and assistance of the newly graduated Xavier. After a brief covert operation goes array and Shaw escapes, Xavier befriends Lehnsherr and the CIA grants them leave to recruit several young mutants. Shaw’s plan to destroy humanity, giving birth to a dominant brotherhood of mutants is slowly revealed – complimenting the tense cold war setting – leaving our leads little choice but to intervene and expose themselves to the world.

Granted, there are a handful of mediocre elements and a few liberties taken with certain characters but all-in-all, this is a stellar achievement. Vaughn has managed to not only breathe life into a series that was nearly throttled by the sub-par Last Stand and absolute dross Wolverine Origins but he’s created a truly fantastic film. The very fact that this is a 20th Century Fox flick and not produced by Marvel Studios is the biggest surprise; the locations, sets, costume design, visual effects, cinematography, pacing, everything registers as more than just a well-crafted genre piece but a genuinely thrilling blockbuster, masterfully combining humour, drama and action. More an intelligent character study than some disposable action farce, First Class really captures the mythology and feel of the X-Men comic series. From the examination of Erik’s tortured soul, to the aesthetic fears of Hank McCoy [Nicholas Hoult] and Raven, every aspect is handled with such a semblance of realism and credibility that you can’t help but be moved by the character’s trials and tribulations.

Additionally, Henry Jackman‘s score is exceptionally gripping, hitting every beat gracefully, from the dark stalking tones of Erik’s theme to the thunderous orchestral treatment of the action scenes. As far as the cast is concerned, I simply cannot fault them; the bond between Xavier and Lehnsherr is tenderly and often beautifully told, the younger recruits all deliver exactly what was expected of them and Kevin Bacon makes for an exemplarily sinister villain. There were, however, two minor points that niggled at me. The first was Hank’s transformation to Beast; it was well handled and keenly done but – to be honest – Beast is almost impossible to properly nail. Valiant efforts have been attempted in the past but no one has managed to crack it. Hoult is a brilliant McCoy but once he transforms we’re still left with a few unsatisfactory elements. But, this is a minor quibble. My main complaint is January Jones’ portrayal of Emma Frost. Visually, they did a great job and the sultry aspects have been highlighted well but without the sass and personality of the comics she feels a little under addressed; that’s not to say she’s little more than eye-candy but a great deal more could have been achieved.

With the tasteful nods to its predecessors and memorable cameos from previous cast members, this feels like a Marvel Studios production. I know Fox are hoping this will be the start of a new trilogy and if the current cast and crew remain, I doubt there would be a single fan that wouldn’t be happy to see more.


Release Date:
3rd June 2011

The Scene To Look Out For:
**Spoilery spoiler time**
The multi-lingual t… no. The Wolverine cam… no. Er… turning the satellite dis… no. Curiously enough, this is actually a very difficult task. As the film is comprised of so many outstanding moments (from both a cinematic and comic-fan perspective), it’s hard to narrow it down to just the one. Alright, lets go for one of the big pay offs. Having distracted Shaw long enough to remove his telepathy-blocking helmet, Lehnsherr turns his back on Xavier and exacts slow, fitting revenge on Sebastian for executing his mother. Whilst sustaining a telepathic link with Shaw, Xavier shares the inflicted pain and lets out a chilling scream. Cleverly shot, it’s a very touching, if not gut-wrenchingly twisted, moment.

Notable Characters:
Much like the highlighted scene above, selecting a standout individual is an equally taxing task. Each of the actors involved have amazing shoes to fill and while McAvoy and company do a wonderful job, it’s evident that Fassbender is a truly phenomenal actor. During the opening half an hour, during Erik’s systematic hunting of the Nazis, he finds himself in a bar in Argentina. Confronting the two aged soldiers, Fassbender sells his performance so exquisitely that the whole scene felt more like a surreal spy thriller than a Hollywood action flick.

Highlighted Quote:
“I’ve suffered at the hands of men simply following orders. Never again.”

In A Few Words:
“Better than I could have expected, better than I could have imagined and I would even go so far as to say better than any X-Men adaptation to date”

Total Score:

4/5

Cinema City Film Quiz #46

[22 May 2011]


Winning Team:
The Philadelphia Cream-Cheese Experiment

Genre – Dairy time travel war movie

Runners Up:
Walks Into A Bar. A Time Traveller
Genre – Cross-temporal farce
13 Ass Sins
Genre – A film that culminates in a 45 minute bowel movement
Hot Tub Mime Machine
Genre – A comedy about a magical hot tub that produces mimes


ROUND I: Pre-Production
1. What is the name of Marlin’s son in Finding Nemo?
NEMO
2. Who played the title character in Pretty Woman?
JULIA ROBERTS
3. Who directed A Clockwork Orange? [bonus point for naming the fictional slang/language used in the film]
STANLEY KUBRICK [Nadsat]
4. What colour are the British uniforms in Zulu?
RED
5. Which two actors played the lead roles in Pearl Harbour? (one point per correct answer)
BEN AFFLECK / JOSH HARTNETT
6. Who played Cruella de Vil in the live-action remake of 101 Dalmatians?
GLENN CLOSE
7. Which Spielberg produced film features Mogwai?
GREMLINS or GREMLINS II
8. What animal does Buffalo Bill keep as a pet in Silence Of The Lambs? [bonus point for the animal’s name]
DOG [Precious]
9. In which film did a Michael Douglas character famously say “The point is, ladies and gentlemen, that greed, for lack of a better word, is good”?
WALL STREET
10. What type of sweet does Elliot use to lure ET into his house.. and then bedroom?
SKITTLES
11. What is the subtitle of Mad Max 3?
BEYOND THUNDERDOME
12. In what year was Roland Emmerich’s Independence Day released?
1996

ROUND II: Filming [Time Travel Special]
1. Which time travelling film alludes to The Army Of The Twelve Monkeys?
12 MONKEYS
2. Which of the three Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles films deals with time travel?
TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES III
3. What is the only thing that can safely pass through the time rift in the Terminator films?
FLESH (hence no guns and no clothes)
4. Why do Bill & Ted first travel through time?
TO ACE A HISTORY TEST (verbatim)
5. How many Star Trek films depict time travel?
FOUR (4 / 7 / 8 / 11)
6. What mode of transportation partly disappears, due to the contemporary presence of Hugh Jackman’s character in Kate & Leopold? Escalators? Elevators? Cars?
ELEVATORS
7. Which film features the TEC (Time Enforcement Commission) to police time travel?
TIMECOP
8. The 1921 film A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur’s Court was based on a play by which author?
MARK TWAIN
9. What is the name of the glowing-eyed, hairy creatures in the 1960 version of The Time Machine?
MORLOCKS
10. Which character in Austin Powers 2 is unable to withhold the answer to any question asked three times?
MUSTAFA
11. What three words are written under the Mr. Fusion logo in Back To The Future? (one point per correctly identified word)
HOME ENERGY REACTOR
12. The book, The Philosophy Of Time Travel, that features in Donnie Darko is based on the real book entitled The Ethics And Philosophy Of Time Travel. True or False?
FALSE

ROUND III: Post-Production
1. Which academy award winning writer penned the screenplay for Charlie Wilson’s War?
AARON SORKIN
2. What is used as currency in Caro and Jeunet’s Delicatessen?
GRAIN
3. Three actors have played the Tom Clancy character Jack Ryan on screen, name them. (one point per correct answer)
ALEC BALDWIN / HARRISON FORD / BEN AFFLECK
4. What is the name of One-Eyed Willie’s ship, in The Goonies?
THE INFERNO
5. What happened to John Rambo in the original ending of First Blood?
HE COMMITS SUICIDE
6. At the start of The Fifth Element, Billy is making a tally of the professor shouting ‘Aziz, light!’ What is the figure?
TEN
7. What was the difference between the budget and gross revenue for Oliver Stone’s Nixon? (point goes to closest answer)
30.5 MILLION DOLLARS (budget $44mil revenue $13.5mil)
8. “Candle On The Water”, “There’s Room For Everyone” and “Brazzle Dazzle Day” are songs from which Disney film?
PETE’S DRAGON
9. What is Yuri’s country of origin in Lord Of War? [bonus point for naming the actor who played Yuri’s brother, Vitaly]
UKRAINE [Jared Leto]
10. What year was the Robert Redford/Mia Farrow Great Gatsby released?
1974
11. What is the name of the monkey in the Pirates Of The Caribbean series?
JACK
12. What was Captain Blood’s title before he was convicted of treason in Captain Blood? [bonus point for naming the actor who played the lead]
DOCTOR [Errol Flynn]

ROUND IV: Promotion & Release
1. Which of the following is not a character in the Kevin Smith film, Dogma? Loki? Ramiel? Bartleby?

RAMIEL
2. What is the name of the law firm that Andrew Beckett works/worked for in Philadelphia? Wyatt Wheeler? Walker-Stearns? Webster, Webster & Cohen?
WYATT WHEELER
3. Which of the following isn’t a remake? Last Man Standing? Yojimbo? A Fistful Of Dollars?
YOJIMBO
4. Peckinpah’s Cross Of Iron was based on which novel by Willi Heinrich? The Mark Of Shame? The Crumbling Fortress? The Willing Flesh?
THE WILLING FLESH
5. The main theme of 1947’s Crossfire was changed from homophobia to what? Anti-semitism? Sexism? Animal Cruelty?
ANTI-SEMITISM
6. Which film afford Frank Sinatra his only Oscar for acting? From Here To Eternity? Ocean’s Eleven? Come Blow Your Horn?
FROM HERE TO ETERNITY
7. Which Cagney film features the quote, “Let’s go and say a prayer for a boy who couldn’t run as fast as I could” The Public Enemy? White Heat? Angels With Dirty Faces?
ANGELS WITH DIRTY FACES
8. What was the Rocketeer’s helmet made out of in the film of the same name? Toaster? Radio? Bucket?
TOASTER
9. Mel Gibson’s Payback was a remake of which 1967 film? Branded To Kill? Point Blank? The Dirty Outlaws?
POINT BLANK
10. Serpico depicts how many years of Frank Serpico’s time in the NYPD? Ten? Twelve? Fourteen?
TWELVE
11. Madonna broke the world record for most costume changes in Evita. How many items did she cycle through? 65? 75? 85? [bonus point for stating who held the record previously]
EIGHTY FIVE [Elizabeth Taylor]
12. During her archery training for King Arthur, Keira Knightley injured a horse which had to be put down. Subsequently, the film had to be put on hold while an animal welfare investigation took place. True or False?
FALSE

PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: ON STRANGER TIDES

Jack’s Back

Director
Rob Marshall

Starring
Johnny Depp
Penelope Cruz
Geoffrey Rush
Ian McShane
Kevin McNally



I think it’s safe to say, we all knew that Pirates Of The Caribbean was too big a franchise to leave at three parts. The question as to the series’ success was always down to whether the new direction would learn from the mistakes made in the two sequels: namely they tried to fit too much into a small space and introduced far too many convoluted plot devices, whilst leaving others to simply fall away unanswered. And despite being a loose adaptation of Tim Power’s novel, it would appear not a single lesson has been learned.

Opening in London, Gibbs [McNally] has been mistaken for Jack Sparrow and put on trial for crimes against the crown. During the court proceedings, Sparrow [Depp] himself poses as the judge and finds the defendant innocent of being Sparrow but charges him with life imprisonment. Escorting Gibbs supposedly to freedom, the two pirates discuss an imposter recruiting a crew to sail to the fountain of youth. Before they have a chance to investigate the matter, their carriage arrives at the tower of London and Sparrow is brought before King George II. Here we learn that the king wants to obtain the location of the fountain of youth before the Spanish; to ensure this happens, the king has enlisted the assistance of privateer, Captain Barbossa [Rush]. Jack refuses and once again manages to escape in a rather elaborate Rube Goldberg-esque series of events. Following a mediocre fight sequence, Jack finally discovers the identity of his imposter is in fact his former lover, Angelica .. er .. something or other [Cruz]. Her reason for recruiting a crew is a last-ditch attempt to save her father’s soul, her father being none other than notoriously feared pirate, Edward ‘Blackbeard’ Teach [McShane]. So, they all (Blackbeard, Barbossa, the Spanish) reluctantly set off to the fountain of youth, try to find two silver chalices, capture a mermaid, ship in a bottle, rum jokes, pig in the woods, blah-di-blah-di-blah.

First of all, there needs to be a clarification that this film is not nearly as bad as everyone is claiming. There are several foul elements but no worse than those previously utilised in Dead Man’s Chest or At World’s End. Taking a step away from the familiar elements of the series (namely reoccurring characters) was a wise decision but in trying to cover so much ground with so few characters, the script makes the fatal error of continually separating the crew. You see, one of the key elements to the success of the first film was getting these entertaining characters together, have them riff off one another as they’re stranded at port or on a ship and string it together with a reasonable story and praiseworthy action sequences. As with the last two Pirates films, rather than building a dynamic relationship between the leads, they’re forced off on their own random side-quests and personal agendas. Additionally, the race between the Spanish and the British was a nice touch of genuine historical rivalry but dismissively handled.

**Spoiler at end of paragraph**
The most common defence I’m hearing at the minute is the mermaids: ‘Oh, the mermaids were good’ ‘the mermaids were the best part’ ‘I really liked the bit with the mermaids’ yeah yeah yeah, they were very pretty and all but for one hundred and fifty million dollars they fucking should be! My problem is they looked great but no one knew what to do with them. Vicious mermaids serenading sailors before feasting upon their flesh is just the right level of macabre for a film of this nature but taking one ashore, who falls in love with a priest — that was just stupid. Moan about whatever you please but that was the worst factor. Forcing some pointless Twilight fish-lady love story would have been fine if it had been decently conceived and well structured. Instead all we got was a pair of actors who had little to work with other than filling the romance void left by Knightley and Bloom. Most frustratingly, their plot thread has no conclusion, they’re merely submerged for a ‘to be continued’ storyline in the next film – an act which is not nearly the clever plot device the writers believe it to be.

As stated, this film is not nearly as bad as people are making it out to be and there are several positive elements. First off, Hans Zimmer has started to enter renowned territory for his increasingly impressive scores. Combining the familiar themes and stings with a new eerier, darker element, the musical is not only complimentary to the on-screen developments but perfectly commendable as a stand alone composition. As with each film in the series, the costumes, sets and production values are flawless and everyone looks the part, despite the minor anachronisms. The casting is equally solid, with the inclusions of Ian McShane and Penelope Cruz fitting perfectly. My biggest complaint would be the random Judi Dench cameo in which her only line is “Was that it?” And then there’s Sparrow. The more you show of Jack, the more 2D he becomes – except for various outstanding moments (the “Oh, there’s nobody there” comes to mind), this seems to be a perfect case of too much of a good thing. I’m not saying any of he cast have done a particularly poor job because almost everyone does given thoroughly noteworthy performances, the problem lies with the scenarios and expeditions they are forced to undertake.

All-in-all, it’s a pleasing watch but if the series wants to continue, there needs to be a dramatic reassessment of direction, purpose and character drive – without that, we have little to look forward.


Release Date:
20th May 2011

The Scene To Look Out For:
Of all the spiralling scenarios and undertakings, I’ve decided to highlight the most frustrating moment – granted, it’s a brief moment but one of vital importance. During Sparrow’s escape from the tower, one of the guards calls out for reinforcements then places a sword and musket on the table that Jack is hiding behind. With these arms he is able to vacate the premises and begin his stupid carriage chase through London – Bullshit, I say! Utter bullshit! Who in God’s name puts down a musket and sword when chasing a criminal? You give me a valid reason and I will bow to you as the greater celluloid analyst.

Notable Characters:
As with Rush’s portrayal of Barbossa, Ian McShane is finely cast as the ruthless and terrifying Blackbeard. As much as I enjoy Depp’s performance, it’s these two individuals who actually feel like genuine, cutthroat, I’m-a-rape-ye-daughter-ya-scabby-landlubber pirates.

Highlighted Quote:
“If I don’t kill a man every now and then, they forget who I am”

In A Few Words:
“Frustratingly typical sequel fare littered with a handful of pleasing moments”

Total Score:

2/5

Quote

ATTACK THE BLOCK

Inner City Vs. Outter Space

Director
Joe Cornish

Starring
John Boyega
Alex Esmail
Jodie Whittaker



Set on the streets of South London, Attack The Block tells the story of a small-scale alien invasion as witnessed and combated by a group of delinquent youths. Having successfully mugged Sam [Whittaker], a young nurse on her way home, the group led by fifteen year old Moses [Boyega] are jarred by an object which crashes into a car parked close by; upon closer investigation Moses is attacked by a small hairless creature. With his pride cut deeper than the few gashes on his face, Moses gives chase. Cornering the creature in a wooden shack, the group proceed to beat it to death. Raising the corpse aloft they begin chanting victoriously before dragging it back to their council estate tower block to show it off. Upon arrival at the block, they take the lift up to see Ron [Frost], an overweight stoner/dealer, who houses a marijuana safe room for local villain, Hi-Hatz [Jumayn Hunter]. From the top floor, they witness several other falling objects and tool up in order to hunt them down. Once outside they soon realise that the small creature they faced didn’t adequately represent the larger, more aggressive males: clad in thick black fur, distinguished solely by their glowing neon-blue teeth. After a run-in with both the police and Hi-Hatz, the group retreat to the block and reluctantly team up with a shell-shocked Sam in order to survive.

I have no love for dirty, scummy, South London chavs (mostly for the fact that I’m a charming, polished, North London Irish gent), so a film focusing on the exploits of hoodie-clad tykes should infuriate me – and largely the yobbish bastards do – but Attack The Block has been executed in such an acutely brilliant manner by Joe Cornish, that you actually root for the little shits, without sympathising with them in any way. Yes, that probably sounds contradictory but although the story does a fair job of explaining the motives of these kids, it never justifies them. Sure, they each have their quirks, saving graces and amusing moments but they are deliberately written as louts who suffer the consequences of their short-sighted actions. Despite the indecipherable slang, drug paraphernalia and violence, I genuinely can’t get over how amazingly well Cornish has managed to make heroes out of loathsome cretins without glorifying or glamorising them.

Stepping up from his origins on the Adam & Joe Show, Mr. Cornish demonstrates a keen understanding of both writing and directing a supremely entertaining ensemble flick, similar to 80’s releases such as Gremlins and The Goonies. As stated previously, the characters are far from identifiable but they are portrayed exceptionally well by a hitherto unknown cast of young potentials. The story is arguably formulaic (being a sf/horror chase sequence) but thoroughly engaging for what it is. Equally, the visual effects, prosthetics and puppetry are well crafted and tastefully utilised. On top of all that, the score is brilliant. Mixing that distinctive 1950’s B-Movie sound with underground British electronica to produce a steady gripping pulse throughout. Naturally, there are a few negative aspects, first linking to the fact that this film is branded as a horror comedy or comedy horror or whatever, as such they have to fully explore both aspects and while the comedy is well written and the grisly horror action is decent, it’s neither uproariously funny nor horrendously scary; cemented by the lack of genuine peril, despite the overall body count. Additionally people may moan about the slang and dialect. I didn’t have any issue and I’m confident you can get the gist of what is being said so it shouldn’t hinder the flow – but that’s probably not going to stop people from complaining.

Like many cult British releases, the overall effect could have been more spectacular or flamboyantly shot but the air of charm and originality (recently displayed in Edgar Wright’s films) shines through and leaves you with the distinct impression that you have just witnessed something incredibly good.


Release Date:
13th May 2011

The Scene To Look Out For:
**Enormous spoilers within**
The closing shot. See? Spoilers, if this caught your eye, move on to the next paragraph or come back when you’ve seen the film. So the aliens have been defeated and Moses has been arrested for.. well, the police never make it clear but the dead bodies, blood everywhere and sword in his hand may have been evidence enough, I suppose. Sitting in the van, locked up with Pest [Esmail], Moses hears the crowd chanting his name out of respect and adoration. Smiling, the film ends. That was my favourite part; without making a fuss out of it, Cornish openly states what loutish kids are after. I’m not saying his actions are redeemed or that his scurrilous ways have earned him anything but all these kids wanted was attention and respect. Sounds silly but it’s another example of how well this film has been pieced together.

Notable Characters:
If you haven’t got the impression yet, the kids annoyed me. As a citizen of the United Kingdom, I’m FUCKING sick of mouthy little kids with flick knives and attitudes. I hate them and I hate that they make it necessary for me to hate them. But as the story goes, I found them entertaining to watch, bonding together, showing off in front of girls, trying to act like ‘men’ it was amusing – if only because they’re ultimately pathetic. Then there’s Whittaker as Sam, who maintains throughout the entire film that she needs to stick with the armed kids, to avoid being mauled despite holding a grudge and hating the shit out of them. It’s a really well composed ensemble and each brings something unique to the group. Except Brewis [Luke Treadaway]. Yeah, he was a bit of a one-note joke, sorry; didn’t like him too much.

Highlighted Quote:
“Maybe there was a party at the zoo and a monkey fucked a fish”

In A Few Words:
“Thoroughly commendable, exciting and often beautifully shot debut”

Total Score:

4/5

Cinema City Film Quiz #45

[08 May 2011]


Winning Team:
British Summertime Bandits

Genre – A harrowing tale of time loss (an hour)

Runners Up:
Can’t Stop Now, Bird Country
Genre – Drug crazed road movie.. with cake (or cake crazed road movie.. with drugs)
Attack The Gok
Genre – Youngsters on a council estate fight the onslaught of a terrifying fashion guru
Phwoar!
Genre – Disaster movie about a Norse goddess who becomes a royal bridesmaid
The Life Of Brian Butterfield
Genre – The story of a very naughty boy


ROUND I: Pre-Production
1. What is the name of the board game in Jumanji? [bonus point for correct spelling]
JUMANJI
2. The killer in Se7en executes people with reference to the seven what?
DEADLY SINS
3. Gandhi was filmed in the United Kingdom and what other country?
INDIA
4. The Wedding Singer is set in which decade?
EIGHTIES
5. What colour are the roses being painted in Alice In Wonderland?
RED
6. What colour is Dom’s (Vin Diesel) trademark Dodge Charger in the Fast and Furious films?
BLACK
7. What is the name of the killer in the Scream series?
GHOSTFACE
8. Peter Pan mocks Captain Hook by nicknaming him after which fish?
CODFISH
9. Who plays the lead in Brewster’s Millions?
RICHARD PRYOR
10. The van converted to look like a dog, in Dumb & Dumber, belongs to which character; Harry or Lloyd?
HARRY
11. What type of animal’s blood was in the bucket that was emptied onto Carrie during the prom?
PIG’S BLOOD
12. Who wrote and directed Weird Science? [bonus for the release year]
JOHN HUGHES [1985]

ROUND II: Filming [Terry Gilliam Special]
1. Terry Gilliam started out working as a member of which British comedy troupe?
MONTY PYTHON
2. What was the only Monty Python film that Gilliam directed?
MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL
3. What is the colour of the hallucinatory knight that haunts Parry in The Fisher King?
RED
4. Which five actors played the role of Tony in The Imaginarium Of Doctor Parnassus? (one point per correct answer)
HEATH LEDGER / JOHNNY DEPP / JUDE LAW / COLIN FARRELL / ZANDER GLADISH
5. What is the name of the ministry that Sam Lowry works for in Brazil?
THE MINISTRY OF INFORMATION
6. How many dwarves accompany Kevin in Time Bandits?
SIX
7. Which of the following did not star in Fear & Loathing In Las Vegas? Cameron Diaz? Jonathan Pryce? Tobey Maguire?
JONATHAN PRYCE
8. What is the name of Bruce Willis’ character in 12 Monkeys?
JAMES COLE
9. Eliminating Evil Since 1812 was the poster tagline for which Gilliam film?
THE BROTHERS GRIMM
10. Which musician cameos as the soldier put to death for bravery at the start of The Adventures Of Baron Munchausen?
STING
11. “Squirrel butts don’t glow” is a quote from which Gilliam film?
TIDELAND
12. Despite protests from Gilliam, Jabberwocky was released in the United States as Monty Python’s Jabberwocky. True or False?
TRUE

ROUND III: Post-Production
1. What are the subtitles of the Home Alone sequels? (one point per correct answer)
2: LOST IN NEW YORK / 4: TAKING BACK THE HOUSE
2. How much does Preston enter on the cheque in 1994’s Blank Check?
ONE MILLION DOLLARS
3. Goodfellas was produced and distributed by which studio?
WARNER BROS.
4. Correctly spell Geppetto.
GEPPETTO
5. Which three actresses played the lead roles in First Wives Club? (one point per correct answer)
DIANE KEATON / GOLDIE HAWN / BETTE MIDDLER
6. Who plays the villain Voltan in Hawk The Slayer?
JACK PALANCE
7. What was the name of the 1987 Whoopi Goldberg movie about a burglar who returns to a life of crime only to find she’s being framed for murder?
BURGLAR
8. The longest single shot in a mainstream film is 17 minutes long. What was the film?
HUNGER
9. To date Matthew Vaughn has directed four films, name them. (one point per correct answer)
LAYER CAKE / STARDUST / KICK ASS / X-MEN: FIRST CLASS
10. During Elliot Ness’ first raid in The Untouchables, what was in the crates instead of bottles?
PARASOLS
11. During J’s induction in Men In Black, K explains the majority of our technology has been confiscated from aliens. The first example he gives is Velcro, what are the other two? (one point per correct answer)
MICROWAVE OVENS / LIPOSUCTION
12. What was the name of Bill Paxton’s directorial debut?
FRAILTY

ROUND IV: Promotion & Release
1. These Are The Armies Of The Night was the poster tagline for which film? Red Dawn? The Warriors? New Jack City?
THE WARRIORS
2. Which of the following is not a song from The Producers? Hello Boys? You’ll Find Happiness In Rio? Prisoners Of Love?
HELLO BOYS
3. How many completed wall jumps does Donald O’Connor perform during ‘Make em laugh’ in Singin’ In The Rain? One? Two? Three?
TWO
4. Which of the following films not based on a video game? Wing Commander? Lifeforce? Far Cry?
LIFEFORCE
5. What was the name of the virus in Mission Impossible 2? Bellerophon? Lamia? Chimera?
CHIMERA
6. Who starred alongside Maureen O’Hara in 1942’s The Black Swan? Basil Rathbone? Tyrone Power? John Carradine?
TYRONE POWER
7. After the opening scene in Crash (2004), the story flashes back how many days? One? Three? Five?
ONE
8. What is the name of the snuff killer in 8mm? Machine? Razor? Monster?
MACHINE
9. Charlie Bales works for which emergency service in Roxanne? Police? Fire Dept? Ambulance?
FIRE DEPT
10. In what year was the first adaptation of The Picture Of Dorian Gray released? 1945? 1952? 1963?
1945
11. What film did Joel Schumacher release in between Phone Booth and The Phantom Of The Opera? The Number 23? Veronica Guerin? Bad Company?
VERONICA GUERIN
12. The 1990 film Cool World was dramatically re-written but the director was told he couldn’t leave the project, even after punching the producer in the face. True or False?
TRUE